Thursday, 31 May 2012

Today's Review: Caramel Wagon Wheels

I hadn't had Wagon Wheels in ages, and I'm not sure why. Everyone loves a bit of marshmallow biscuit. They came to my attention again when they made that stupid ad campaign about an alien conspiracy, apparently to reinvent Wagon Wheels for the teenage market? Man, teenagers are weird.

Still, the rebranding has resulted in something interesting, a limited edition caramel flavour. Basically it's a regular Wagon Wheel, but the marshmallow is caramel flavoured. Not too imaginative, I know, but it's not actually that bad. The flavour is perhaps a little weird, I reckon if they just put a thin layer of actual caramel in it would be nicer, but they do a nice job of blending it in with the marshmallow. Pretty tasty.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Today's Review: The Woman In Black

What's Harry Potter doing here? Phnar phnar. Yes, Daniel Radcliffe is playing someone else, you know, apart from that guy who got all naked in Equus. Here he is as Arthur Kipps, a lawyer who is sent to an eerie house near a small village to sort out a recently deceased woman's affairs. But all is not well. The villagers want him gone, and there seems to be a secret lurking in the old spooky house on an island cut off from the mainland for a large portion of the day. Who'd have thought?

I remember my English teacher talking about the stage play of The Woman In Black, but I've never gotten round to seeing it because I'm unsophisticated like that. But from what I can tell the essence of the whole production is carried over quite nicely to the movie. It's not the normal horror that we've come to know, it focuses mainly on atmosphere menace, with a good handful of jump scares scattered throughout. It takes a little while for the story to get going, but once Kipps is in that house the whole thing gets pretty relentless. It's purely supernatural, and Kipps rarely has a chance to stop for breath after running from one thing before another pops up. It's just a shame that the vast majority is just the woman's face appearing in different places, the movie really would have benefitted from a larger variety of scares.

I must admit Daniel Radcliffe was a little bit of a strange choice. He looks pretty young in this movie, way too young to have a four year old boy at least. Still, he pulls off the role quite well, even though the majority of his acting is comprised of jumping and staring at things with fear filled eyes. He really carries the entire movie though, as the rest of the characters, while quite good, are relatively minor. He does a good job in that respect.

If you're sick of all the gore and hacking and slashing seen in today's horror movies, The Woman In Black is a return to basics. This and The Awakening from a few months back have rekindled my interest in horror. It's not perfect, but it's a very big step in the right direction.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Today's Review: Mango & Passion Fruit Fanta

When it comes to fruity fizzy drinks, none have quite surpassed Fanta Fruit Twist in my esteem. But now a challenger has arrived, the limited edition mango and passion fruit flavour. I say no drinks have quite surpassed Fruit Twist, but the Rubicon tropical fruit drinks have comes pretty close, so combining those flavours with Fanta has got to be a winning formula, right?

Yes indeed. This stuff tastes awesome. Perhaps not quite as nice as Fruit Twist, but pretty damn close. It has the same kind of flavour as most mango and passion fruit drinks, which is by no means a bad thing. It's sweet, smooth, and slightly tangy. If you like your tropical fruits, grab a bottle and chug it down before it's too late.

My rating: 5/5

Monday, 28 May 2012

Today's Review: Poundland's Never Lose Pens

There always seems to come a time at work where I'm in need of a pen but I can never find one. So imagine my delight when I came across these babies in Poundland. There are two in a pack, and they clip onto your belt loops like they're part of some superhero utility belt. If you're, say, a stationary based superhero that is. The elastic stretched out to a comfortable distance, allowing you to write to your heart's desire before letting it reel back into place. Awesome, right?

Wrong. Have you ever tried writing with a pen that is constantly trying to ping back into your crotch? It's not particularly comfortable. Most of the time when I could have used it I was quite content with taking a few seconds to search for a normal pen, just to spare trying to write against the resistance. Even the idea of having it attached like a cool utility belt didn't last long, because when you walk around with it it flaps around like a small black penis. Oh yeah, and when I was showing off its elasticity, it broke.

As my uncle Ben used to say, "with great power comes great responsibility". Still, it's a nice idea for people who seriously have trouble keeping track of their pens, and like to produce something from their crotch like magic. It's just, you know, not very well done because it's from Pundland.

It's the hero Gotham may deserve, but doesn't really need. It's a shitty pen on a belt clip.

My rating: 2/5 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Today's Review: Man On A Ledge

First we had The Ledge, about a man on a ledge, now we have Man On A Ledge. This movie is also about a man on a ledge, but also about other things, so I guess that makes it a little more interesting than the other one with a man on a ledge.

This man is named Nick Cassady, a man who just escaped from prison and now finds himself on a ledge. What starts out as an apparent suicide bid expands into something more as negotiator Lydia Mercer begins to uncover the truth about Nick's escape and the reason for his incarceration. You see, there's something going on in the building opposite, and what first looks like a desperate cry for help from Nick could all turn out to be a distraction tactic.

Well, yes, that's what is happening. While there certainly are a few twists and turns throughout the movie it lays its cards on the table pretty much from the beginning. It's more of a heist movie than any kind of mystery, and it pulls it off relatively well. It's just that the whole thing is populated by unlikeable characters. We're expected to be rooting for Nick once his full story comes out, but he spends the whole movie telling the cops to hold on a minute while he moves out of the way to bark orders at the robbers, who, by the way, are quite annoying too.

So yes, the movie has a relatively good idea, that is quite well thought out, but with a lacklustre script and annoying characters it just falls short of being quite a good movie. Still, it's the best movie you'll see about a man on a ledge this year.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Today's Review: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Oh, hee hee. I see what you did there. Worked the sequel indicator into the title so it reads as "Journey To The Mysterious Island". That's clever. Yes, Journey 2 is a sequel to 2008's Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, except that it only features one person from the original. I figured if that it must be a bad movie if they can't even get Brendan Fraser to agree to do it.

Instead we have The Rock, because it's a kids movie, and kids love The Rock for some reason. He plays the stepfather of Sean, the guy from the first movie, as both are dragged into another adventure after uncovering the secret location of the mysterious island that Jules Verne and a couple of others wrote about. I say uncover, but they seem to figure it out pretty easily after about five minutes of looking into it, which makes me think that this movie is set in an alternate universe where people are stupid or just don't give a crap.

But really the whole of the movie works this way. I realise they don't have much time to explain all the precise mechanics and twists and turns of the adventure 'cause they've got kids to entertain, but the majority of the movie is the characters discovering they're in some kind of trouble, and then figuring out the next super secret clue to get out of harm's way in a couple of seconds. It's way too fast paced, switching from place to place all the time.

I guess that's my only real quibble with Journey 2 though, even though it's quite a big one. The rest of the movie, despite my apprehension, was actually not that bad. The visuals are really nice, and the 3D is pretty awesome too. The performances are what you'd expect from this kind of movie, decidedly average, even from Michael Caine, but The Rock's constant spouting of one liners does manage to hit the right note from time to time, and the squabbling between him and Caine's character is quite entertaining.

Journey 2 is just a fun movie, nothing more. Kids will like it, and that's who it's aimed at, there's nothing much in the way of substance or acting that will make it a well remembered classic. The story hurtles along at a fast pace, but it does use the time effectively to cram in a whole lot of stuff. While I thought I'd hate it, it isn't all that bad.

My rating: 3/5

Friday, 25 May 2012

Today's Review: Apple & Kiwi Relentless

Yes, it's the second energy drink review of the week. Must they keep churning these out? It's so hard to resist. While it's true that I am a fan of regular Monster, there was a time when I was addicted to berry flavoured Relentless. The flavour was awesome, and it perked me up too. Good times were had by all. But here we have apple and kiwi, and while I hate real kiwis, I was certainly willing to give this a go.

Really, it tastes like Lucozade. A stronger version of Lucozade, sure, but Lucozade all the same. I probably only make that comparison because I've had quite a bit of apple Lucozade, but still, this Relentless is pretty nice. The flavour is pretty sweet, with just a slight sour kick. The kiwi is certainly present, but isn't too overwhelming. It was refreshing, and didn't have that aftertaste you can get with the regular non juiced energy drinks. While it's not quite my favourite of all time, it certainly is a pretty awesome flavour.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Today's Review: Chronicle

Kids these days, they just can't put their damn video cameras down. Our protagonist Andrew has a good reason though, I guess, as he wants to document the verbal and physical abuse he suffers at the hands of his alcoholic father. But when Andrew's cousin Matt and his friend Steve lure Andrew into filming their descent into a strange hole they've discovered in a field, Andrew diligently follows, even after they touch a weird glowy object and start to develop super powers.

Yes, it's Blair Witch with superheroes. It's an origin story from the eyes of the developing. A unique twist on the genre, sure, and for the most part it works well. If you had an obsession with filming stuff and suddenly found you could move stuff with your mind, why wouldn't you want to film it? We see the whole scope of the development, from moving Lego around to playing pranks on the general public, right up to the final scenes where everything gets a bit crazy, yet awesome. Let's just say you shouldn't give the creepy disturbed kid super powers.

The performances for the most part are pretty good. Chronicle really creates a good feeling that everything that's taking place in front of the cameras is genuine, as long as you have the suspension of disbelief about the powers of course. Andrew's character development especially, while predictable, is very nicely handled, as he turns into quite a force to be reckoned with.

The only problem I really had with the movie is the very way in which it's filmed. Sure, it starts out with Andrew's personal video camera, and that's a cool idea that is well done, but after a while it becomes clear that seeing things through this one camera is not enough, even if Andrew is moving it around with his mind to create all sorts of random shooting angles. So by the end there are just countless cameras thrown into the mix for no particular reason, just so they can get some different shots of the action, and of course there's always a camera out there that captures the good stuff, and it's all been seamlessly edited together like most found footage actually would. I think not.

Still, that's my only quibble, and for the most part I really enjoyed Chronicle. There are a lot of good ideas that make for some really cool scenes, and despite being just under an hour and a half, the sense of scale is pretty immense considering the events that occur. Hopefully they focus on all the right things for the sequel.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Today's Review: Haribo Gold Medals

What? Is there something going on in England this summer? Some kind of sports related event? We don't know anything about that, we've just decided to release some generic gold medal sweets, because referring to such sporting event would most certainly get us in trouble as we haven't paid through the nose to be a sponsor.

I believe you, Haribo. You release different varieties all the time, so this is purely coincidental. But what are gold medals? Quite simply, they're jelly sweet medals with a foam backing, which the packet claims are "mixed fruit flavour". Trouble is I don't really know which fruit, it's all so decidedly vague. They taste a bit like fruit salad, but even with those I'm not sure which fruits they taste like. It's just one of those generic sweet flavours you take for granted, like bubblegum flavour.

Well, they're okay, there are certainly a hell of a lot of nicer Haribo varieties out there. On top of it all, a lot of these didn't even have the foam backing, so I felt a bit cheated. They're good, but not great, let's just hope Haribo get back to their usual good selves after all this Ol... sporting event business is over.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Today's Review: The Descendants

I've expressed my dislike for indie style dramas quite a few times over the years, movies where somewhat likeable characters bore me by not doing much except talking about things in a slightly witty manner. I was hoping The Descendants wouldn't disappoint in the same way, and it certainly does not.

George Clooney plays Matt King, a lawyer who lives in Hawaii who is close to selling off some family land for a considerable sum of money, which would be split with his many cousins. Unfortunately, his wife has been in a terrible accident, so it's also his duty to look after his two daughters, Scottie (Amara Miller) and Alex (Shailene Woodley), both of whom are not quite the best behaved. But as secrets are revealed and new circumstances come to light, Matt is forced to embark on a few journeys with his daughters, trying to mend his relationship with them and other members of the family.

Sure, the premise doesn't sound like much, estranged father spending time with his kids, but The Descendants pulls it off really well. The relationship between Matt and Alex is particularly wonderful, and both actors are utterly convincing through a range of emotions. Even the smallest parts in the movie are beautifully played, I couldn't really find fault with anyone.

Sure, it can be a bit of a slow burner at times, but The Descendants is a thought provoking drama with some great performances and a tight script to pull it all together. While I went into it thinking I would be bored, I couldn't help but be dragged in by the multi layered characters and several heart felt moments. It's probably one of the best dramas I've seen in a while.

My rating: 5/5

Monday, 21 May 2012

Today's Review: Monster Rehab: Rojo Tea Flavour

I certainly wasn't too keen on the Monster Rehab flavour that I tried a while back, but while in a pub today I noticed that it now comes in a red variety (the can may be pink, but the drink is red), and everyone knows that red versions of food are better.

I'm glad I tried it, as it's somewhat redeemed the Rehab line for me. This one actually tastes like a refreshing iced tea, rather than a weird dry mixture of things. Plus it has energy, apparently, as the list of ingredients along the top of the can say "refresh" and "rehydrate". It's certainly not my favourite Monster, I don't get the psychosomatic kick that I do from the pure taste of an energy drink, but this was refreshing and tasty. Jolly good show.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Today's Review: Coco Orange Shreddies

Wow, look how big that orange on the pack is in proportion to the Shreddies. I hoped that wasn't an accurate representation. But I bought them anyway, because I'm a sucker for any kind of limited edition food item. Coco Orange Shreddies are just that. Your regular Coco Shreddies with an orangey twist.

Not much more I can say about them really, apart from that they're awesome. Normally manufacturers feel that they can add in a little bit of flavour and call it a new variety, but the orange in these babies is pretty intense, but not enough to overpower. It's like a chocolate orange kind of taste, except there's no one judging you for eating it for breakfast. Awesome. My new favourite Shreddies.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Today's Review: The Darkest Hour

False. This move takes place over several hours, and is itself more than an hour long. Which hour is the darkest? We'll probably never know.

The Darkest Hour is a Russian movie made by Russian people in Russia, that stars Americans. Go figure. Well, said Americans are visiting Russia to promote their idea for a social networking website exclusively for clubbing douchebags, but their plans are somewhat scuppered by an alien invasion. But these aren't your ordinary gun toting big headed guys, they're invisible, are horny for electricity and disintegrate humans with a single touch. Thankfully our American heroes survive somehow, and we follow them the rest of the way through abandoned "Moss-cow" streets as they attempt to find survivors.

In theory, The Darkest Hour has a pretty cool premise. There's definitely a constant feeling of suspense when you realise that these aliens are invisible and could be anywhere, but that feeling is constantly ruined by the fact that the characters just start running through places after they assume it's all clear, which it pretty much always is. If there were invisible aliens everywhere that could envelop me within a second, I'd be scared to even move. This isn't the only stupid move the characters pull, for example the part where they don't realise a bridge has been destroyed until they're literally standing at the edge of the hole. I'm sure I could overlook some of their slip ups if I actually found them likeable in any way, but they're just generic teenagers running around screaming and generally being unsafe, yet somehow surviving.

I figured at the beginning that there must have been some lazy effects guys working on this movie when they all agreed that the aliens should be invisible, but to be fair to them they had to make a crap load of people turn to ash. So yeah, the effects are probably the best thing about this movie, with all the explosions and bolts of energy and people dying. It's just that everything else is so half assed. The plot is cliched, the characters are boring, this is just mindless Hollywood stuff. It's a quick fix for anyone who's really into alien invasion stuff, but mostly it's a good idea made into a sub par movie.

My rating: 2/5

Friday, 18 May 2012

Today's Review: The Grey

Liam Neeson plays John Ottway, a guy whose job is to kill wolves who threaten a drilling team in Alaska. With the contract coming to an end, it's time for John and the guys to fly home, but unfortunately the plane crashes in the middle of nowhere and the few survivors find the tables turned on them as they are hunted by a menacing and unrelenting pack of wolves. Even with John's professional know how, the odds are stacked against the team as they fight to make it through the harsh landscape and keep ahead of the pack.

The Grey is a pretty unrelenting movie, which is made clear near the beginning as soon as John starts telling people they're going to die. There's the odd lull in the action where character development and campfire stories take place, but there's always the lurking presence of the wolves in the background and the harsh weather around. It's like a slasher movie where the killer is nature, the survivors being picked off in different and creative ways.

Obviously it's a lot better than your standard slasher movie though. For one it's got Liam Neeson being his normal bad ass self, and the supporting cast do a good job portraying boyish camaraderie to pants shitting fear. The locations are beautiful and there are some great shots captured throughout, especially the jump cuts used during the plane crash scenes at the beginning. The violence is quite visceral, but never over the top. But while the character development is definitely there, there's not much to set the group of survivors apart from each other, they just end up being wolf fodder at the end of it all. Still, The Grey is a good movie, a great survival tale that keep the suspense built up right to the very end.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Today's Review: Goon

I've dabbled in ice hockey before, but like all sports I am generally disinterested. I must say that it's a lot more entertaining than football or cricket in my opinion. I guess I just like American sports. When I found out this movie was about hockey, I wasn't sure what to think.

Scott plays Doug Glatt, a guy whose family are off working in fantastic careers while he's scraping by as a bouncer. He's not particularly bright, but the one thing he can do well is beat the crap out of people. After using his talent against an aggressive player at a hockey game he's watching, he is drafted into a team as an enforcer, a player who protects his team mates by fighting off opposing players. Before long he is sent to the minor leagues in order to help a once great player who has lost himself after being concussed on the ice by veteran ass kicker Ross Rhea (Live Schrieber).

Yes, Goon is a sports movie, but it's kind of the American Pie of sports movies, and I didn't just make that comparison because it's got Sean William Scott in it, although that was a large contributing factor. There's a load of swearing, some quite good jokes, and the amount of punches flying around could probably rival Rocky.

While I wasn't too enthralled at first, Goon did eventually draw me in. The performances are not too great, Scott kind of stumbles along while portraying Doug, with awkward stuttered lines. His character is supposed to be pretty stupid, but it feels like they went too far trying to portray him as such. Still, while Goon is an okay comedy movie, it's actually a pretty good sports movie, with some good hockey scenes, whether the players are scoring or punching each other. While the plot may plod along a little at first, it builds up to the satisfying showdown that is hinted at throughout. Goon was definitely different to what I thought it would be, but also quite surprising.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Today's Review: Magnum Infinity: Chocolate & Caramel

Ahh, Magnums. They're choc ices for grown ups, and they've tried to make them even more grown up over the years with the addition of different kinds of chocolate, swirls and nuts. Here we have the next step, perhaps the ultimate step? After all, it is called Infinity.

It's pretty much like a regular Magnum, but the ice cream inside is chocolate with some caramel swirls. Pretty damn nice, although the caramel isn't too noticeable. Then we have the outer shell, formed of dark chocolate with all kinds of nubby bits. Now, I'm no fan of dark chocolate, but while it was bitter at first it began to blend in with the other flavours and give a nice overall package.

If you're looking for the next step in the evolutionary ladder of choc ices, this is the one for you. It's very indulgent, and despite a couple of minor flaws it's a very nice dessert.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Today's Review: Underworld: Awakening

I'm going to have to admit right off the bat that I haven't seen the first three Underworld movies. Perhaps shameful, but perhaps a good thing, it depends which circled you consult. But looking at the all important "critical reception" section of each's Wikipedia page, it looks like I'm not missing out on much. But this one was in 3D, so how could I resist?

It seems the movie itself immediately forgave me for not watching the others, as it spent a few minutes relaying the plot to me, before going ahead with its own plot, or lack thereof. Everyone's favourite sassy female vampire Selene is captured by humans after they discover the existence of vampires and lycans and become intent on wiping them out. She is freed 12 years later, to discover a world where vampires are hiding and lycans are extinct. Or are they...?

Yes, the plot is quite thin on the ground. Awakening is pretty much all style and no substance. It seems the plot points and twists only serve to launch Selene into the next gory battle where she can stab and slice up various creatures. Yes, it is very gory, and the action scenes are pretty well put together, but with some weak performances and little character development to help you actually support the heroes, it's just an action movie. For those after a mindless blood soaked movie, it's probably a good choice. But don't expect anything more than a Hollywood cash in.

My rating: 2/5

Monday, 14 May 2012

Today's Review: End Pieces Of Loaves Of Bread

It is a problem that has long plagued mankind, but has generally gone unmentioned. After all, we can have loaves of bread whenever our hearts desire, several kinds, cut at any amount of thickness. But with every loaf comes the unavoidable end pieces.

Some people might like end pieces, but I'm sure there is not a living soul who would choose one over a regular middle piece. In my parents' household and mine they were always cast aside, often thrown away once the rest of the loaf was gone, except if there was an urgent desire for bread. They're bearable, sure, but one side is all crust, and it can be a little disheartening.

Why has no one thought of a solution yet? Are we so comfortable in our ways that we're ignoring the fact that given the invention of a new method we could make a whole other sandwich out of the space those end pieces are taking up? Perhaps a massive circular oven of some kind that can bake a ring of bread without compromising the traditional bread shape? CERN, I'm thinking of you. Stop trying to uncover the workings of the universe and use that LHC to bake some bread for mankind. Hell, I'd nominate you for the Nobel Peace Prize. Some kind of conflict in this world probably arises from a guy getting pissed that he had to make his sandwich mostly crust. End pieces suck.

My rating: 1/5

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Today's Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

I had to watch the first Sherlock Holmes twice to fully enjoy it, it didn't really catch my attention the first time round. But here we have the second, and sadly in between the first movie and this I've had the pleasure of watching BBC's Sherlock, which is just awesome.

So how does this stack up? I guess it does okay. Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law return in their roles, and do quite a good job of carrying them on. Downey Jr. is as erratic and humorous as ever. There's a lot less of Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler though, instead we're treated to another female sidekick who just isn't as good.

The whole plot is concerned with the rising threat of Moriarty, and the grand master plan he's leading up to. But there are so many different operations and plans going on throughout the movie that it becomes a little hard to keep track of them all. It seems like they were just trying to fit as many action sequences in there as possible, and while they're mostly well done it does get a little jumbled and rushed in places, with our heroes skipping around the globe. Jared Harris' Moriarty isn't even that menacing either, despite the mythos built up around him, he's just a little bit dull.

I don't know. A Game Of Shadows is certainly an entertaining movie, but my previous watching of Sherlock has probably just left me biased against the movie franchise. Still, if it was amazing in its own right I'd probably hold it in higher esteem, but as it stands A Game Of Shadows is a good blockbuster movie. There are some good performances from the leads, not so much from the supporting cast, and while it gets a bit jumbled in places it holds itself together quite well. If you liked the first it's definitely worth checking out.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Today's Review: The Sitter

Noah (Jonah Hill) is a bit of a loser. He's been suspended from college and has his "girlfriend" Marisa takes advantage of him, and not in the good way. When his mother forces him into babysitting another family's kids for the evening, Noah reluctantly agrees. But when Marisa asks him to bring some drugs to a party with the promise of sex, Noah loads the kids up into a stolen minivan and drives on into the night.

Hilarity ensues, apparently. What follows is some pretty weird and disjointed stuff. I guess you could call this a stoner movie, because it may make more sense if you watch it stoned. Sure there's a plot, but it seems to be driven by thinking of funny situations for the characters to be in and just lumping them all together to make a movie. In particular we have the headquarters of loca drug dealer Karl (Sam Rockwell), which is just completely surreal and nonsensical. Sure, there are some good jokes, and of course the odd one liners from Jonah Hill and his typical acting style, but there's also the rest of Jonah Hill's typical acting style which can be a bit tiresome.

Well, at least we have the kids, and they're probably the best part of this movie, especially Slater (Max Records) and the out of control adopted son Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez). Their performances were awesome, even though the rest of the movie was juddering along around them.

So yes, The Sitter is a strange movie. But despite the nonsense elements, I still enjoyed it to some extent, and laughed in quite a few places. If you're into your stoner comedies, this will probably keep you entertained.

My rating: 3/5

Friday, 11 May 2012

Today's Review: The River Murders

I'm impressed with the casting of this movie, they've managed to get three leading men whose faces just don't look right.

Ray Liotta plays detective Jack Verdon, a man who is currently happily married, but spent quite some time beforehand bedding a lot of ladies, a fact that becomes apparent when a lot of his former squeezes show up dead. With Verdon as a prime suspect, he is stropped of his gun and badge, but as the odds stack against him he must take the law into his own hands to find out who is out to destroy his life.

Well, it certainly does sound exciting, and the movie does pull it off to some degree, but the whole aspect of Verdon being a suspect seems to be largely ignored. No one really believes he did it, so we're just left with jibes from investigating FBI agent Vukovich (Christian Slater) about how many women he's slept with.

There is a certain thread running through the movie though, and a trail of clues to follow, to quite a well thought out conclusion, but The River Murders was a direct to video affair and it shows. The acting is okay, and the plot just kind of plods along, with scenes never wandering outside of the safe, low budget police thriller. Still, they can't all be blockbusters, and The River Murders is a good effort. It just could have used a bit more polish.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Today's Review: Curiously Strawberry

I already explained my long and complicated love affair with Golden Grahams in my second ever review, and also my life long hatred of Cinnamon Grahams, now called Curiously Cinnamon for some reason. That was all I thought I needed. The light side and dark side in my Star Wars of cereals. There wouldn't even be the nasty surprise of cinnamon turning out to be my father, because that's biologically impossible.

But today I stumbled upon a new addition to the family. Curiously Strawberry, they call it, not Strawberry Grahams. What ties does it have to the dark side? Apparently not too many, it seems light hearted enough,in its pink box, and the cereal itself even has swirls on it. How crazy. I did a dry taste test first, just in case there are some heathens out there who don't have milk on their cereal. Quite powdery to be honest, and the flavour was a little too sweet and overwhelming.

All that changed with the addition of milk though (seriously, why wouldn't you want milk?) I guess the best way to describe the whole experience is to say that this is basically crunchy cereal coated in strawberry milkshake powder. When you add the milk, you are left with a quite nice strawberry milkshake flavour with a crunchy texture. It's quite odd, and still a little overwhelming, but also quite delicious. Sure, it doesn't reach the godly heights of the Golden Graham, but it's a nice novelty, and a lovely addition to the range that detracts further away from those awful cinnamon things. So give them a go. They may surprise you.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Today's Review: Galaxy Cookie Crumble Slice

Not content with providing endless variations of chocolatey goodies, Mars have wandered into cake territory. Or have they?

It's not your regular cake, that's for sure, but it's not a biscuit either. It's kind of inbetween. Slightly crunchy, slightly chewy. But still good. What are you, strange creation?! I guess it's pretty much like a brownie, but covered with Galaxy chocolate and with cookie bits in. Clearly that is an awesome thing, and there's not much fault I can find with it. If you get a pack just don't expect to have them hanging around for long. They're small and delicious, so clearly they will all be eaten.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Today's Review: War Horse

Yes, I know, it's a movie about as horse, but why should dogs have all the fun? War Horse was already a well renowned stage play, but Spielberg decided to bring it to the unwashed masses of the cinema, so here we have the epic movie version.

War Horse follows Joey, a horse bought by a down on his luck farmer because he looks like a really nice horse. The farmer's son Albert (Jeremy Irvine) is also quite smitten, but instead of going all Equus he decides to train him and make him a useful and faithful work horse. But sadly the farm falls upon hard times, and Joey is sold to the war effort, with Albert being too young to join him. What follows is an epic journey for Joey, traversing war torn France and Germany, exchanging owners under several circumstances. But will he ever be reunited with Albert, and will he survive the war with all odds against him?

Yes, War Horse does indeed focus on Joey more than anyone else. Sure, there are some solid performances, especially from Irvine, Celine Buckens as a French girl who comes to find Joey, and a brief appearance from Benedict Cumberbatch. But what's really amazing about War Horse is the horses themselves. They're clearly well trained, leaping and running from place to place. It does seem like Spielberg is focusing perhaps a little too much on them though. Whenever something dramatic happens we get lingering shots of the horses' faces, as if waiting for an expression, but instead we're just met with a standard horse face. 

I guess this is the only problem with the movie in general. Our main character is a horse, and despite how well the training is, and how many dangerous situations Joey goes through, I just couldn't reach the same emotional connection with a horse as I could with a person. Perhaps I'm just strange, as people seem to go crazy over animal movies, but this is an epic war film, and the adventures of a horse just don't seem quite enough to carry a almost two and a half hour plot. Still, the human performances that are there are great. the battle scenes are very well done, and you can really get sucked into the whole thing. War Horse is a unique look at the drama of the first world war, seen through an unlikely pair of eyes, no blinkers included. 

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 7 May 2012

Today's Review: Choka Blok Rocky Road Bar

I love a bit of Rocky Road, so it was awesome to find the Choka Blok variety on sale at Tesco. Just look at all that stuff, awesome. Despite the loaded top portion, the bottom is split into nine separate chunks, so it's easily portioned out, not that you'd want to save any for later, but at least you don't need to shove the whole thing in your face.

It tastes pretty damn good too. There's a great ratio of biscuit to marshmallow, and the different kinds of chocolate bring it all together nicely. I just wish there was more in a pack, but hey, that's not their fault, they've just successfully made me want to buy more. Damn you, chocolatiers.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Today's Review: Haywire

There seem to be a lot of movies coming out with one word titles. I guess they've run out of ways to make their titles both relevant and catchy, so they open the dictionary and find something that sounds vaguely thrilling. So here we have Haywire, a secret agent movie about things going a little bit haywire.

Gina Carano stars as Mallory Kane (what an awesome yet awful name), an agent working for a privately contracted company who has been hired for a job that went a little bit wrong. Now finding herself on the run from her employers and colleagues, she has to get to the bottom of this betrayal before it's too late.

Well, I'll just say that Haywire isn't overly thrilling. Sure, there are some decent action scenes, with Carano herself pulling off some quite impressive stunts. Trouble is the plot isn't too involved, and the dialogue is quite lacking, especially due to the fact that they have people like Michael Douglas and Ewan McGregor to work with. The performances are okay, but the whole movie just feels a little underdone. While you might expect a thumping soundtrack to go with the action scenes, the music is sparse and not very involved. Some parts of the flashback to the doomed mission are cut out altogether, giving it a bit of a disjointed feel. I guess in a way it just doesn't feel finished.

Still, Haywire is not an awful movie. There are some adequate performances and some great stunt and action work in play. It's just lacking the polish that has been seen in Steven Soderbergh's other works, like the Ocean's series or last year's Contagion. It could really have been something with some more work.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Today's Review: Ben & Jerry's Berry White

I do love Ben & Jerry's. Mostly because they give me a load of free ice cream every year at their festival, but also mostly because all their flavours are awesome. This one is no exception. Berry White is half raspberry ice cream, half white chocolate chunk ice cream, with a fudge core going right down the middle. So I guess the percentages are a bit more complex than half and half, but whatever.

Yeah, these core sundaes are pretty cool. I had one at the Odeon a while back, and I'm sure the core itself was warm, but obviously you can't accomplish this in the store bought varieties. As such I didn't really think too much of the fudge. Sure, it was nice, but mixed in with the two light flavours, the fudge just kind of sticks out as quite a dark, gooey flavour. I can't fault the ice cream itself. The raspberry in particular is smooth and flavoursome, and there are plentiful chunks in the white side. The fudge does add a certain something, but I get the feeling that I wouldn't miss it if it were not there. So while the ice cream is awesome, the slight intrusive quality of the fudge keeps it from a perfect score. I'm sorry Ben, Jerry. I still love you.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 4 May 2012

Today's Review: Turbo Tango

"Hey guys, we've been selling regular Tango for a while now, I think it's time to spice things up."
"Well, what do you suggest?"
"How about a drink in aerosol form?"
True story.

Yes, despite the odd looking bottle, I was not expecting Turbo Tango to be so weird. It's basically a foamy orange soft drink, but it's pretty much like having some watered down, orange flavoured squirty cream and just unloading it into your face. Here's what the stuff actually looks like:

Yummy. Normally if you get this stuff in a glass when pouring a carbonated beverage, it's closely followed by impatiently waiting for it to go away. But Turbo Tango isn't actually that bad. Once you get used to the fact that you're spraying it into your mouth, it just tastes like slightly foamy Tango. It does get a bit sickly after a while, but the overall product is quite nice. I suppose the whole squirty aspect is a fun novelty, but I'd feel slightly idiotic doing it in public. 

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Today's Review: Shame

Shame follows the life of Brandon (Michael Fassbender), a successful well adjusted man who lives by himself in New York. Well adjusted apart from his sex addiction that is. Yes, Brandon likes the company of a lady, or several, and is always looking for the next opportunity, with little else taking precendence. So when his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) shows up unannounced to stay for a while, Brandon is quite annoyed at the interruptions to his constant boning.

Shame certainly is quite a hard hitting drama. There's a certain uneasiness present all the way through, which is only helped along by Fassbender's awesome performance. He plays an addict wonderfully, always eager for the next woman, but with a certain apprehension and sadness in his eyes. The movie is filmed beautifully, with many lingering shots on Brandon and his conquests, allowing you to take it all in and attempt to figure out what's going on in his head.

On the flip side though, this does make it quite a slow burner. It's another of those movies that is quite deep and meaningful, but not too much happens. While there certainly is a plot and a point where everything comes together, Shame just coasts along focusing mainly on Brandon's different conquests. I guess it's reflective of his obsessive lifestyle and the unwillingness to face his problem, but it didn't hold my attention as much as it could have. Still, Shame is a very well made movie with some great performances.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Today's Review: Rolo Chocolate Bar

Rolos? In chocolate bar form? What won't they do with them? Well, Rolos are good, and the biscuits were nice too, so I was guessing this would be quite nice too. I wasn't wrong there, but it just seems a little off.

The best way to describe it is if a fat guy sat on a bunch of regular Rolos, so that they got quite squished and melted. Every square is basically a flat Rolo, and the caramel inside is a lot more gooey than their regular counterpart. It's pretty much like Cadbury's Caramel, but obviously it tastes like Rolos. It's an interesting twist, and quite nice, but there are better bars out there.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Today's Review: Mini Dark Chocolate Toblerone

I got a tub of mixed mini Toblerones a little while back. They come in three varieties, original, white chocolate and dark chocolate. Probably the most boring varieties you could get, but hey, original is all good, and white chocolate, in my opinion, tastes even better.

But then there are these. I can't say I'm a fan of dark chocolate, but I enjoy it in moderation sometimes. But the Toblerone version is pretty damn dark. It's totally bitter, and the almonds inside only make the taste hang around for longer as you try to chew them into submission. Perhaps there are some people with more of a tolerance for bitter chocolate, but I can hardly stand to eat one, let alone several. I'll just stick with the lighter flavours, thank you very much.

My rating: 0/5