Archive | June 2012

Film Thoughts – Rio

by Jamie Downes

Director – Carlos Saldanha

Cast – Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jemaine Clement

Released – 2011

Despite an inevitably simple premise, the above-average humour, excellent animation and beautifully vibrant characters and locales allow this bird boasting adventure to sit comfortably aloft in the treetops, chattering at-length with Madagascar whilst staring up at only the most revered few of its kind. Perhaps of greatest importance to note, is that Rio is very much a family film and not a cheap and lazy, cringe-soaked kids flick. In other words, the laughs are generally well earned through good writing, planning and a willingness to be slightly daring with the material. Also, Nigel!

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but for those who enjoy animated family comedy, Rio will provide a carnival of fun with a terrifically malicious villain as its unlikely star.

Fiction Thoughts – Diary of A Nobody

by Jamie Downes

Author – George Grossmith & Weedon Grossmith

Genre – Humour

Published – 1892

Recently decided to read Diary of A Nobody, a fictional recollection of a year in the life of one comically self-important Charles Pooter. Enjoyed it immensely. As a fan of classic British comedies such as The Two Ronnies, it was both a surprise and delight that a work of fiction predating them by the best part of a century was similarly capable of coaxing forth genuine bursts of laughter. Given some of the tripe studied during my school days, it beggars belief that an opportunity to contemplate this engaging work of modest brilliance was never offered. I suspect the powers that be have either never read F. Scott Fitzgerald/Jane Austen/Geoffrey Chaucer or have a wicked and spiteful sense of humour.

Final Thoughts

If ever there was a work to prove that classic fiction isn’t necessarily long-winded or boring, Diary of A Nobody is it. An understated, whimsical masterpiece that would serve as an excellent introduction into fiction of yore.

Diary of A Nobody is available as a free download for the Amazon Kindle.

Fiction Thoughts – Under The Dome

by Jamie Downes

Author – Stephen King

Genre – Sci-fi, Epic

Published – 2009

Despite having a wide and varied vocabulary supported by innumerable idioms and colloquialisms, the meaning of the word ‘sugar-coating’ appears to have passed Stephen King by. Under The Dome sees him as uncompromising as ever, both in the story he tells and the way he presents it. Disregard and disrespect for human life are vividly described and demonstrated in abundance, but while it’s at times brutal and hard-to-stomach, what really makes it a tough read is that the characters are not unbelievable. Under The Dome doesn’t do villains, it does selfish, considered perversity. The most graphic and disturbing scenes do not even involve the most detestable element, and I can categorically confirm that never before have I hated a fictional character so much as Big Jim Rennie. The monster of this tale makes the blood boil so rigorously that returning to read the next chapter doesn’t simply require spare time but also a degree of mental preparation. That’s in no way hyperbole; the physical horrors that take place in Chester’s Mill are so improbably dwarfed by the repulsive, deliberate mind of the town’s head-honcho that it would take a very laid-back individual to not let it rile them.

Final Thoughts

Seemingly a master of the small-town epic, King has once again superbly managed a large cast of characters and created a world that feels all too real. It’s a rough ride but well worth the effort. Those at risk of heart problems should probably steer well clear.

Game Thoughts – Sherlock Holmes Versus Arsene Lupin

by Jamie Downes

Developer – Frogwares

Genre – Adventure/Detective (1st & 3rd person)

Released – 2007

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write to inform you of my experiences in attempting to thwart the master French thief, Arsene Lupin. I will not bore you with the specific details of the case, but will instead highlight the major factors that impacted upon it.

Read More…