Sunday, 4 March 2018

Download & DVD Round-Up

The Cloverfield Paradox (15)
Director: Julius Onah

The third of the Cloverfield movies, this is set on a space laboratory where a team of scientists are trying to solve the world's power crisis. What could possibly go wrong? Parallel universe theory gives the director a chance to play with some gory scenarios, interesting protagonist dynamics, grim humour and weird science. A disaster movie in horror movie clothing with an ensemble cast including: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl, John Ortiz, Chris O'Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zang, Elizabeth Debicki and Roger Davies.

Three out of five stars

Thor Ragnarok (12A)
Director: Taika Waititi

The next Marvel instalment of superhero mayhem starts tying together the various franchises towards this summer's Avengers:Infinity War. Thor, Loki and The Hulk team up in an action packed brawl set across the Guardians of the Galaxy universe as Thor tries to save Asgard from a new enemy, his big sister Hera. A big, fun, brightly imagined slab of superheroness. Break out the popcorn and enjoy.
All star cast includes: Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Mark Ruffalo, Karl Urban, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson

Four out of five stars

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (15)
Director: Matthew Vaughn

Unfortunately this follow up to the first Kingsman fails to grow into anything particularly likeable which is a shame as the franchise could have become a teen Bond/The Avengers. What should have been smart, funny and slick gets weighed down by caricature and 70's vulgarity. The plot is psycho woman, holding world to ransom, gets arse kicked by man spies...
The cast includes: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore and Hannah Alström

Two out of five stars

Altered Carbon ~ Season 1 (18)
Creator: Laeta Kalogridis

A much anticipated adaptation of Richard K Morgan's cyberpunk book, this complicated dystopian sci-fi series places a digitally reanimated long-dead warrior in the body of a dead cop working the case of a rich man's murder to gain freedom from prison. The plot interweaves the main character's dual stories against a backdrop of sex and violence in a world where endless digital life has muted morality. Interesting and quirky enough fantasy to watch to the convoluted, bloody end. Cast includes: Joel Kinnaman, Will Yun Lee, James Purefoy, Martha Higareda, Chris Conner and Dichen Lachman.

Three out of five stars

Travelers ~ Season 2 (15)
Creator: Brad Wright

In this second series the team of intrepid mind-time-travelling specialists continue to save the world, beamed back in time and taking over the bodies and lives of a disparate group of people. They battle past and future foes in order to reshape the past to save the future. Set in the present, this series avoids overblown special effects and keeps the plot firmly human-centric. Cast includes: Eric McCormack, MacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahmson, Reilly Dolman, Leah Cairns and Patrick Gilmore

Three out of five stars

Star Trek Discovery (12)
Creators: Bryan Fuller & Alex Curtzman

Star Trek Discovery boldly travels back in time to reboot this franchise with a prequel to the original mission. It also steps into uncharted space with Machiavellian main characters, violence and more torturous violence. The re-imagining of old foes, spaceships and Trek lore is curiously unbalanced for example, while the Klingons are unrecognisable, verbose and ready-wrapped in tinfoil, the Vulcans are unchanged. There is a plot twist to shake up and make sense of it all but it is far too late in the series. This new Star Trek series is fleshed out with some cute sideline crew stories and great female leads but it seems to want to both embrace and stomp on what has gone before. 
In an overcrowded fantasy/superhero market there was a chance to spearhead some space science backed with a bit of soul-searching and fast-thinking action. If there is a second series of this space opera, let's hope it tries to find a more hopeful vision, it doesn't have to be politically correct but it does need to be likeable.
Cast includes: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp and Mary Wiseman.

Two out of five stars

Monday, 26 February 2018

Spring in the Garden soon...

Last week I was almost fooled into thinking Spring was here. Mild temperatures, sunshine and all the birds in bright plumage meant working in the garden was a delight. Bumblebees buzzed me and bramblings, goldfinch and chaffinch cheerily encouraged me to keep filling the feeders. Luckily I refrained from planting out anything too tender as we are now in the grips of the much reported 'Beast from the East' a spell of Siberian winter. As I type, soft snowflakes are flurrying past the window, few and far between. The air is too dry at the moment for heavy snow but this will change by Wednesday.
So, I have bought in the geranium that has so far survived the winter outside and the Giant Sequoia saplings are back in as well. With no camelias to wrap up, everything else will have to make do. Spring bulbs are reasonably resilient and a blanket of snow will insulate them, worst case scenario for the garden is snow melting and refreezing, turning tender and soft stemmed plants to mush.

Despite the cold spell, plans are underway for the continuing garden revamp. New planters are being made for a mini allotment. Once the beastly weather has moved on, they will accommodate onions, carrots, french beans and strawberries. So, time to start following the moon phases to work out planting times for seeds and sets. I think at the moment it is waxing gibbous. The old shrubs, crowding out the flowerbeds and pushing out the walls have been cleared to make way for new fencing (soon...) and rebuilding and new plans for planting schemes are being earmarked in plant catalogues.

Removing plants and roots to rebuild walls...

Goldfinches in the garden

Starling flock on its way to roost.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Landscapes on Show...


Abbey Pond

Top of the Tor

Lost and Found

I am exhibiting watercolour and oil landscapes at the fantastic pop-up gallery in the Crispin Centre, Street, Somerset this month ~ more details here:

Unit 6, Crispin Centre, Street, Somerset

Fifty local artists have filled the space with a range of painting, sculpture, ceramics and textiles, details on Facebook Group page Create:Space II.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi Review

Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi 12A

Director: Rian Johnson
Website: Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi

This movie really opens up the marketing opportunities. New toy space ships, teddy bears, costumes, milk drinks... That said, if you can get past the marketing and rebooting opportunities, it is a chance to bid a very long, nostalgic, fond farewell to the original three Star Wars films and cast.
Without giving away too many spoilers, think Battlestar Galactica meets Mary Poppins. There are a couple of stand out WOW! moments, a couple of  WTF! moments and an awful lot of angst from the two main protagonists, Kylo Ren and Rey. See it because, after all these years of being a fan, it would be rude not to.

Three out of five galactic stars.

Meanwhile, on the small screen...

Halt and Catch Fire

(Amazon Prime)

Four seasons of this great series based around the intertwined lives and careers of four people riding the wave that was the computer boom of the 80's. Not to be missed. Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishé and Toby Huss head up the cast.
Five out of five shift key eights.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Garden Round~Up for 2107

New garden, new plants...

and new projects...

Old decking...

...repaired and painted

& plenty of plans for 2018!