Wednesday 31 October 2012

Today's Review: The Person Who Has Been Running Their Car Engine Outside My Window For An Hour

It started out as just a noise. There I was in the living room, and over the hum of the boiler, the whir of the XBox, there came another. I couldn't describe it at the time, I thought it was one of my electronics performing awkwardly. But as I moved into my bedroom I realised it was coming from outside. From a car parked on the driveway right outside my windows.

But it's not parked like an average car, no, the engine is running, and the resulting noise can be heard from any given point in my flat. At first it was annoying. Then it was very annoying. Now it is maddening. The engine has been running for an hour. Why? Why would you do that? Does this person not have any concern for fuel conservation, let alone how annoying it is for me to have to listen to this consistent revving, rattling noise? If your car is parked in a certain spot for a certain amount of time, it's just common sense to turn the damn engine off, and there are two people in there who have been having a conversation for some time. I mean, sure, they may want to stay warm in this cold weather, but as far as I know you can activate all of that stuff without having the engine rev up. 

It's not just the noise that's driving me crazy now, it's my inability to understand what is going through this person's mind. There is no rational reason why I am being made to suffer this torture, why these people think the best place to converse is by sitting in a driveway in a car that is eating fuel and spewing it into the atmosphere. I know I may sound petty, but this has really gotten to me, and it's showing no signs of stopping. It's simply maddening.

My rating: 0/5

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Today's Review: Disney Buying Lucasfilm

It has been announced today that Disney have bought Lucasfilm for the small sum of $4 billion dollars. This also comes with the news that there will be three new Star Wars movies made, and that George Lucas will be serving as a creative consultant.

How should we feel about this? I for one am somewhat excited. Many are apprehensive after the prequel trilogy of Star Wars, and the last instalment of Indiana Jones. They want their beloved franchises to remain as unsoiled as they can be, and Disney seems to be this big kid friendly company who are looking to shit all over them. But Disney has done a lot of good in my eyes recently. Since they made John Lasseter chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios we've seen some classic movies like The Princess And The Frog and Tangled, and the awesome-looking upcoming Wreck-It Ralph. Disney also acquired Marvel back in 2009, and in recent years they have provided us with some high quality superhero movies culminating in the kick-ass ensemble Avengers movie.

So yes, Disney have Star Wars. Will they ruin it? I'd like to think they won't. Many people think that it's been pretty ruined already, by the guy that created the whole thing. But now he's not the one in charge maybe we'll have someone around to knock ideas like Jar Jar Binks and crystal alien skulls on the head before they become a reality.

That's my opinion anyway, but since I'm a huge Disney fan I may be a little biased. Not that I'm completely sure these new Star Wars will be fantastic, but I am cautiously optimistic about what we shall receive in 2015.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 29 October 2012

Today's Review: ChokaBlok Gold Digger Dynamite Cupcakes

Not content with making awesome ice cream and chocolate, ChokaBlok have ventured into the cake business too. So here we have Gold Digger Dynamite cupcakes, a toffee flavour sponge generously heaped with caramel cream mousse and sprinkled with honeycomb pieces.

Quite a lot of flavours there, I know. But they all complement each other really well. The sponge is moist and packed with flavour, and the creamy mousse gives it even more of a melt in your mouth feeling. The honeycomb chunks are quite plentiful, and they taste gooood. All in all it's an awesome, spongy, creamy experience. Well done, ChokaBlok.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 28 October 2012

Today's Review: Pink Lemonade Lucozade

I'm quite a fan of Lucozade Energy. The orange flavour gives me mystical healing powers, and all the rest of the flavours I've encountered have been pretty nice, apart from that tropical one with coconut. But today I found an entirely different flavour. Shying away from such flavours as actual fruit, they've brought out Pink Lemonade, a flavour that's always seemed a little unnatural to me, like blue raspberry. Of course, having typed that and then looked it up, I found out there is such a thing as a blue raspberry.

Anyway, yes, it's a pink lemonade Lucozade. It seems like a strange choice, as lemonade is meant to be enjoyed on the front porch of your white picket fenced home, after you bought it from a neighbourhood kid running a stand on a lazy suburban afternoon, it doesn't seem synonymous with a kick of energy. Still, they get the flavour spot on in comparison to other pink lemonades I've had over the years. It's dry, but refreshing, with a little hint of something that makes it taste pink. But while it tastes nice, the dryness seems to drag it down a little, as I failed to get the kick that I usually do after drinking a bottle of Lucozade. It's a nice change from the regular fruity line up, but I think I'd rather have one of those flavours, as long as it didn't have coconut in it.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 27 October 2012

Today's Review: Cadbury Crispello

Holy crap, apparently Cadbury haven't launched a new bar since the 90s. Not that we'd notice, given the vast number of variants on old classics and revitalised bars that had no reason to be killed off in the first place. I'm still feeling sore after all those years without a Wispa. But now we have Crispello, Cadbury's new bar that is apparently for women. Well screw you Cadbury, because I went ahead and ate one.

Yes, apparently there's been a slump in the chocolate market, and it's been blamed on women buying less chocolate because they want to be healthier. So Cadbury have decided to combat this by providing them with... chocolate? It's not any ordinary chocolate though, it's got some wafer in it, so that means it must be healthy. Also it comes in three separate parts, which apparently women find appealing because they're not compelled to thrust the entire bar in their face in a matter of seconds. Also, it has a fancy name, and I'm sure there's some ignorantly justified reason for that too.

So yes, it's marketed horribly. But it's a new bar, and I can't shy away from that, even if I'm breaking the gender boundaries imposed by a chocolate company. The best way I can describe this bar is if a Dairy Milk had sex with a Kinder Bueno. The wafer is pretty much the same, but the innards are filled with a smooth Cadbury chocolate. It's actually very nice, if over a bit too soon. I guess it should last me a while, seeing as I'm meant to eat it in three sittings, but clearly this bar is not for me, it's for some warped ideal of a woman that I'm afraid I'll never become.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 26 October 2012

Today's Review: Toffee Apple Fingers

Yes, more Halloween themed stuff. I can't seem to get enough this year. This time it\s the turn of the classic Cadbury Finger to have a makeover, trying out a brand new toffee apple flavour. Fruity chocolate may seem a little strange, but I guess the toffee is generously added in to bridge the gap.

The result is not quite like your average Finger. The texture of the biscuit is different, as well as the flavour, making it seem more like a Rocky than anything else. The fruity hint is certainly present too, and gives a nice little kick of flavour. I'd say these are definitely worth a go. They're a little weird compared to the original Fingers, more brittle and definitely more flavoursome. They make a nice little Halloween nibble.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 25 October 2012

Today's Review: What To Expect When You're Expecting

What should you expect when you're expecting? Golf cart races, of course. At least, that's what I took away from this movie.

What To Expect When You're Expecting is a movie based on a pregnancy guide. Yes, we're doing that now. As such it offers no actual help for those who are pregnant, and instead trots out an ensemble cast of Hollywood stars, whose characters are uniformly uninteresting, but who all have glamorous jobs and lifestyles. They cover the full spectrum of pregnancy though, from obsessive wannabe mum to fresh faced youngsters who just don't feel ready yet. But most of the movie doesn't cover the actual symptoms and effects of pregnancy, it's just another excuse to parade all the parents' relationships in front of the camera for comedic(?) effect.

So we have the aforementioned golf cart race, we have the group of dads who meet at the park wielding buggies and carriers. Sure, there's some truthful tidbits in the mix, but on the whole it's just too Hollywood. Too safe. You know what I wanted to be told to expect when we were expecting? The placenta. In all these movies you see the baby coming out after often minimal effort from the mother, they have a little cuddle and that's that. Except wait, it's not, because there's still a massive blue organ waiting to slither out. I wasn't expecting that. Thanks, Hollywood.

My rating: 1/5

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Today's Review: Tyrrell's Sour Cream & Jalapeno Chilli Popcorn

Yeah, that's right, sour cream and chilli popcorn. The mere thought of it is probably enough to distract the standard salt and sweet guzzlers, but don't be so quick to dismiss it. After all, it's abstract thinking like this that brought us bacon popcorn, even though that was pretty gross.

I must say I approached this bag with apprehension. But I pressed onward, because trying new things can sometimes yield pleasing results. Sometimes horrifying ones too, but we do not speak of them. It takes a few kernels to get used to. It's not so much the flavour itself, or the popcorn, it's the combination of the two that's a little unsettling. You're expecting a regular popcorn flavour to go with the soft, bumpy kernels, or a far more crunchy experience to accompany the sour cream and chilli flavour. But once I got used to it, I enjoyed this popcorn. The flavouring is quite liberally applied, a nice creamy taste with a spicy kick. While I did get used to the texture, it did still feel like I was eating some mushy crisps.

This popcorn is an interesting effort from Tyrrell's, and it's quite tasty once you get over any preconceptions you may have about popcorn. But I definitely prefer sweet popcorn to savoury.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Today's Review: Unconsciously Turning Off Your Alarm

Whenever I have to do the school run in the mornings, I set my alarm for 7:15, giving me half an hour of snooze time before I have to kick myself out of bed. Whenever I hear the dulcet tones of the alarm, which have become more tones of annoyance to me, I just need to reach over and tap the snooze. It consistently works. Well, apart from today.

Today I woke up at 8:55, a full five minutes before school started. What happened? Did I forget to set an alarm? No, I distinctly remember doing that before crawling into bed. So obviously at some point my alarm went off, and without even being consciously aware of it, my brain decided the best thing to do was to turn it off completely. Or maybe I deactivated it before the first chimes. I don't know exactly what happened, all I know is that my brain decided to be a douche. So in future I have to set more than one alarm just because I don't know if I can trust my sleeping self anymore. So yes, unconsciously turning off your alarm is not something I'd recommend. Though I don't see how you can stop it. You have been warned.

My rating: 0/5

Monday 22 October 2012

Today's Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Being distinctly un-American, I know some amount of Abraham Lincoln, but probably not as much as those guys across the pond do. Thankfully, my knowledge has increased due to this educational film, which taught me certain facts about the president's life and struggles, especially the part about all those vampires he slayed.

Okay, I know he didn't really hunt vampires, but hey, history is boring, right? So this movie spices up the otherwise bland details of Abe's early life by interspersing it with him learning how to hunt the vampires that killed his mother through a series of montages. We go through all the key stages of his life, from meeting his future wife to signing the emancipation proclamation, but it's made much more awesome by him periodically wielding an axe and chopping dudes' heads off.

Still, the two parts of his life, the real and the imaginary, aren't really gelled together too well, not that I see how it would be possible to do it perfectly. So while we get treated to several kick ass vampire fights in the first half, Abe suddenly seems to get bored and decides to free the slaves instead. Still, it picks up again soon after, and the action scenes are pretty impressive, with stampeding horses and trains used to full effect.

So yes, I had fun watching this. Sure, the vampires seemed a little disjointed from the history, but I can say I learned a few things about Mr. Lincoln, even if I have to verify them first. Also, Abe grows the beard way too late into the movie. There should have been more beard. Still, this is an entertaining watch, especially if you like watching presidents fight against supernatural entities. It will keep you happy until George Washington: Werewolf Slayer or Barack Obama Vs. Zombie Cultists. Oh, wait...

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 21 October 2012

Today's Review: Yoghurt Tubes

They could be Frubes, they could be Choobs, they could be any combination of the words "yoghurt", "fruit" and "tube", or something else entirely. I'm not sure where the idea originated, but someone somewhere had the idea to stick a yoghurt in a squeezy tube, and they didn't win a Nobel prize, which I think is criminal.

You see, yoghurt is a good thing. It's healthy, creamy, delicious. But if you want to take them out and about you need an effective way to store the pot, and you have to remember to take a spoon with which to eat the thing. But put the yoghurt in a tube and suddenly all problems are solved. Tubes are fun, especially get to squeeze yoghurt out of them. My kids liked yoghurt before we started buying the tubes, but now they're crazy for it. Just because you're an adult doesn't mean you can't join in the fun. I enjoy gulping one of these bad boys down. We should just go ahead and put everything in tubes. Then the world would be lots of fun.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 20 October 2012

Today's Review: Getting Licked By A Cat

My cat sometimes like to show me affection. It's mostly in the form of snuggling or purring, which I'm fine with. There are also the times where she invited me to play with her by wrapping herself round my arm and sinking her teeth into me. That's not so great. But it's more bearable than having her lick me. Because cat tongues look like this:

Wait, is that a tongue, or a medieval torture device? Hard to say really. I know I'm overreacting compared to most people. I find it very hard to stand touching or brushing anything dry and scratchy, it doesn't feel good on my skin. But how can anyone enjoy having that abomination of nature dragged across their flesh? Those spines are made of keratin, so it's basically like being scratched by a bunch of tiny sharp fingernails. You know what they use those spines for? To groom their fur. You're weird, cats. Just get your human to brush you or something. Maybe you'd be able to bribe him with a lick or two if your tongue wasn't a freaky, spiny abomination of nature.

I guess I shouldn't care too much about what my cat does with her own creepy fingernail tongue. I just wish she would never lick me again, because I hate it with a passion.

My rating: 0/5

Friday 19 October 2012

Today's Review: Having No Wi-Fi

It's in the later stages of the evening. At this time I'm normally sitting at my computer, Facebooking, Redditing, YouTubing, or whatever else tickles my fancy. Normally I'm getting ready to write my review for the day. But not today. Because my Internet has decided to crap out for no apparent reason.

What did we do with computers before the Internet? Nowadays a lot of our entertainment is streamed, and while I do have a large collection of videos and music that I can watch sans connection, I've become used to bite-size chunks of video, brief articles, all of which are now inaccessible to me. Well, that's a lie. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology my phone can still connect to 3G. But it's not the same. Now I'm just huddled over my phone like some kind of unfortunate hunchback.

Sure, I should be thankful that I can still get Internet on my phone. He'll, I should be thankful I have it at all. But you know the saying, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, and I miss my Wi-Fi so bad. And that, my friends, is how the Internet has ruined me.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday 18 October 2012

Today's Review: Dishonored

In amongst the FIFA 12s, Assassin's Creed 3s, Halo 4s, and various other sequels coming out this season, it might be easy to overlook an original title. But Dishonored got a good deal of attention at E3, and now it's out for the masses to feast upon.

In Dishonored you play the role of Corvo, the chief bodyguard of the Empress of Dunwall, a fictional city going through an industrial revolution after discovering the many technological uses of whale oil. Returning from a trip to neighbouring cities, seeking help with the dreaded plague that is crippling Dunwall, Corvo is betrayed and imprisoned, and starts out on a journey of revenge.

There are many weapons at your disposal as you work your way through the ranks of the conspiracy, such as knives, crossbows and grenades. But Corvo is also bestowed with a mysterious power by an equally mysterious entity, which gives you the ability to teleport short distances, possess animals and humans, and even summon hordes of plague rats to deal with enemies. Although, even with all that firepower, it is often wise to avoid direct conflict. Once outnumbered by guards you can easily be killed, and the various vantage points and secret tunnels you can teleport to will often give you the opportunity to pick off guards silently, one by one.

Of course, there's always the very clean approach of not killing anyone at all. Several of the missions offer alternative methods to take down your targets without bloodshed, and sneaking around enough can ensure that you never have to fight anyone throughout the whole game, simply knocking a few guards unconscious. This is where Dishonored shines. Whether you want to get through the game with clean hands, or kill everyone in sight, there are various methods to do so. The achievements are also steadily balanced between these two extremes, and I was certainly compelled to do another playthrough straight after the credits rolled.

While finding the easiest route through the missions may be tempting, Dishonored rewards your exploration, giving you more money to spend on weapon upgrades, or hidden runes you can use to upgrade your supernatural powers. There are also countless books, notes and sound files to stumble upon that flesh out the story. That being said, I didn't actually feel all that drawn in by the extra information these files give. The game is quite short and methodical, just having you skip from target to target, and it didn't do much to make me care about the state of the city, just where my next mark was going to be.

While many will compare Dishonored to Assassin's Creed, I found it to be a cross between Hitman and Bioshock. The branching paths and multiple methods of taking out targets are very Hitman-esque, although a bit simpler in execution. The first person view, the use of the left trigger to use various mystical powers, and even the music and "crumbling society" feel of the whole game, conjured up memories of Bioshock at many points throughout. Perhaps that's why I wasn't so drawn into the story. I was longing for the atmosphere and depth that Bioshock's Rapture exuded, but instead Dunwall just feels a little empty and robotic. Guards are pretty much all the same, wandering in the same patterns, and while there is some variety towards the end, it all seems over a bit too soon.

Still, Dishonored is well worth a play. The variety of methods for completing your missions is very well employed, giving changing environments and different endings depending on your actions. If you're getting impatient while waiting for the new Assassin's Creed or Hitman, this will probably sate your appetite for stealthy stabbing.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Today's Review: Nik Naks

It'd been a while since I'd tucked into a bag of Nik Naks, but recently I rediscovered them, and I'll have a hard time going back to any other crisps. If you're not aware, Nik Naks are odd things. they're crunchy corn snacks that are completely misshapen, kind of like Chipsticks with several weird growths.  But that's the charm. They're nobbly, bobbly, quite original. Not that they taste anything like Chipsticks.

The flavours are awesome. You\ve got your Rib 'n' Saucy, which do taste quite rib-like, the Nice 'n' Spicy, which are what the name says they are. Then there's the Pickle 'n' Onion, more generic, still nice, but I haven't managed to find a pack of those for a while. But my favourite has to be the Scampi 'n' Lemon, which is the most pungent of the flavours, but my word they taste good. Who'd have thought fish flavoured crisps would be a good idea?

So if you've never tried Nik Naks, you're missing out. The flavours are bold and varied, the shape is unique, they're probably some of my favourite crisps to snack on.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Today's Review: Having To Turn The Heating On

I wrote a review last year on October 24th, lamenting the fact that the weather was getting colder, and soon I'd have to turn on the heating. Today it is October 16th, and I'm ashamed to say I turned it on today. I wish I could have held out for longer, but it's just cold in here.

I don't like having to turn on the heating. Not because I'm particularly worried about the world's lack of resources, it's simply because I don't want to pay that much for gas. But now I have felt that sweet warmth of the radiators, it'll be hard to stop turning u[ the thermostat. It's a slippery slope of warm snuggliness that leads to such atrocities as accidentally leaving it on overnight or while you go out somewhere. I hate having to turn on the heating. If only I wasn't so weak, maybe I could've kept it off until November. Oh well, there's always next year.

My rating: 1/5

Monday 15 October 2012

Today's Review: Haribo Halloween Cupcake

Let the Halloween build up continue. This time we have a Haribo Halloween cupcake, because nothing says "scary" like cupcakes. But wait, the frosting is orange, and there are gummy sweets on top! I got a witch, a broom, a spider and a skeleton. You are forgiven, Haribo.

For guys that normally churn out chewy sweets, the cake isn't bad. There's a generous amount of frosting, and the cake itself is light and fluffy. It's topped with sweets too, so there's an extra bonus. Or is it a curse? I'll say the latter. They're two consistencies that don't mix well. The sweet takes a while to chew through, while the rest of the cake disintegrates and kind of sloshes around your mouth, distracting you from the chewy goodness at hand. Plus, the combining flavours of the frosting and sweets isn't that great. I'd have much preferred these cakes without the novelty toppings. But hey, then they couldn't be Halloween related, right? Oh Haribo, you make weird decisions.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday 14 October 2012

Today's Review: Ill Manors

Not content with switching up his musical style between albums, Plan B has decided to write and direct this movie too. Now, we know what happens when rapper try to enter the movie industry (hint: it's generally awful), but hey, this isn't written, directed by and starring Ben Drew, so perhaps we're going to be okay.

Ill Manors follows the story of a few unfortunate Londoners. You have your drug dealers, your drug users, your prostitutes and your naive young gang members. All of their stories interweave as they deal with real life problems like lost mobile phones, abandoned babies, being forced to shoot people in the face, and being shot in the face. While it's an ensemble cast, there's an obvious frontman in the form of Aaron, played by Riz Ahmed. He seems to be the most level headed guy in this movie. Not that that's saying much, but he provides a bit of morality during the dark and murky things that the other characters do.

This is actually quite a well made movie. I was a bit skeptical when I heard Plan B was behind it, but it's actually nicely filmed. Even though it's mostly swears and threats to kill people, the dialogue has a certain improvisational quality that gives the whole production a more natural feel. There are also some pretty well written raps by Plan B inserted upon the introduction to each character, giving them a little backstory. It still takes a while for the plot to get going, but once it did I was drawn in. Ill Manors is just a well written, well polished production overall.

That's not to say it's not completely depressing. The stuff that happens in Ill Manors is pretty damn dark, so if you're into your nitty gritty London gangster movies, you'll feel right at home. It's a messed up, but very good, film.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 13 October 2012

Today's Review: Borderlands 2

Yes, I know this game came out a good few weeks ago, but I like to finish my games before reviewing them, and dammit, this is a huge game.

The story continues some time after the first Borderlands, and yes, we're still on the planet Pandora. This time there are four new Vault Hunters, lured to Pandora with the promise of a brand new vault, only to be quickly betrayed by Handsome Jack, the enigmatic and sadistic madman who has taken charge of the Hyperion corporation and forced the remaining good citizens of Pandora into hiding. It's up to you to join the resistance and stop Jack's nefarious plans.

If you've played the first Borderlands, you should know what to expect here. The gameplay mechanics, the graphics, the weapon system, all pretty much the same, though that's by no means a bad thing. What this game does is build upon those core elements with some new innovations that make it a much more enjoyable experience. Now you can pick up ammo and money on the floor just by walking over it, fall damage is eliminated completely, so you can jump off cliffs like a maniac. You can even move around while downed, increasing your chances of killing an enemy and coming back to life. The whole game is just a more streamlined experience.

Of course, the emphasis is still on looting various objects and finding different guns. There are countless chests, lockers, cardboard boxes and dumpsters to open to find various amounts of money and weaponry, and the amount of guns that fly out of enemies and toilets is immense. Thanks to the gun generation system, each one has different properties and elements, meaning you'll constantly be checking which ones stack up better against your current equipment. A lot of people don't really like this concept, but there's nothing more satisfying than coming across a pistol that will take down your foes with one shot as opposed to the several you were using before. As well as the shields and grenade and class mods, you can also equip relics that give extra bonuses, so the right combination of equipment can really make you a force to be reckoned with.

The story of Borderlands 2 seems a lote more involved than the first. There is a very clear and menacing protagonist in Handsome Jack, who is constantly contacting you to let you know how much he hates you and wants to kill you. A neat touch is the fact that you can see his base orbiting Pandora's moon no matter which are you're in, and the robots that are sent down to kill you later are beamed directly from Jack's unreachable lair. Jack's presence is always felt, and while it's quite intimidating at first, you begin to sense the desperation in his voice as you press on through the story. Couple this with some great new quest giving characters, such as Sir Hammerlock and Tiny Tina, as well as some old favourites, and the game just feels a lot more fleshed out and well rounded than the original.

There's still a massive focus on exploration though. Some of the areas are vast, with all kinds of hidden nooks and crannies just waiting to be found. In fact, there's a whole new system put into the game to encourage players to explore and revisit certain areas in the form of Badass ranks. Similar to the challenges in Borderlands, these reward the players for killing a certain number of enemies, with a certain type of gun, but instead of experience you earn Badass tokens, which can increase various stats for every character you play as across your profile. Technically this means you can keep making more and more characters, finish the challenges for each one and become even more unstoppable than usual. The exploration factor comes in with the area specific challenges, urging you to find hidden areas and Vault symbols, or defeat bosses in a certain way. So even after the copious amounts of sidequests are done, and all the achievements are unlocked, there's still a whole lot more that can be done.

Borderlands 2 is a fantastic game. It has a well written, involving plot, the locations are varied, vast and beautiful, and the amount of firepower available is mind boggling. It took me a good 50 hours to finish, and while I completed the vast majority of the sidequests, there were still a few more to do, and several challenges to polish off, and I only managed to reach level 32 out of the possible 50. If I had the time I would gladly do it all again, facing the tougher enemies and better guns available on the second playthrough. And with four DLC packs coming out over the coming months, it seems like the fun has just begun.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 12 October 2012

Today's Review: Chewits Vampire Fangs

Yay, it's Halloween! In three weeks. Still, the themed candy has all been rolled out, and these particularly caught my eye. From the guys that make Chewits, but not Chewits, they're chewy teeth instead. Wait, Halloween, better make them vampire fangs.

They're gummy, they're bendy, they fit right under your lip, which you're obviously going to do. There are even little red bits on the fangs, so you can pretend that you bit a gummy bear or something. They've got a nice, fruity, berry-like flavour, and I certainly enjoyed them. They may not be like normal Chewits, but they're very juicy and satisfying. Though they missed a trick, should've called them Ch-oooooooo-its. Geddit? Ghosts.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 11 October 2012

Today's Review: Crunchie Blast

Yes, two ice lolly reviews in two days. I know, I spoil you. I feel weird calling this an ice lolly though. What is the proper term? Ice cream bar? Should I mention the stick, or is it just an ice cream? It's a mystery to me.

Anyway, the Crunchie Blast combines all kinds of awesome things. It's Crunchie flavoured ice cream, wrapped up in Cadbury chocolate with bits of popping candy. If that doesn't make you drool, then there's probably something wrong with you. Or you have different tastes to me, and that's fine I guess. It tastes awesome, like some kind of amazing Crunchie Magnum baby.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Today's Review: Cornetto Enigma: Cookie

Ooh, what an enigma this ice cream is. What could possibly be lurking inside? Read the ingredients and you'll find out. Food standards has no place for mystery these days.

Still, Walls have soldiered on with what they've got. Here is a new addition to the Cornetto line, in a few flavours, but obviously nothing can beat cookies. It's pretty simple, but effective. It's the normal Cornetto ice cream, but with some cookie chunks thrown in, and quite liberally too. Every bite is crunchy and delicious, and when you get through all that, you reach the enigma. It's a chocolatey core, much like the ones you'll find in Ben & Jerry's Core ice creams. It's rich, creamy, and quite a nice surprise after you get through the ice cream protecting it, even though it doesn't extend all the way into the cone as the picture implies.

This certainly is a tasty Cornetto, with a nice surprise under the surface. Creamy, chocolatey, cookie-ey? Whatever, it's awesome.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Today's Review: Snow White And The Huntsman

Hur, Kristen Stewart, hur hur, no facial expression. Well, now that's out of the way, I can focus on the rest of the movie.

Yes, it's the second Snow White themed movie this year. But it's pretty different from the slapstick family Mirror, Mirror. This is a dark and dreary Snow White, an attempt to sex up and mature the tale, like Red Riding Hood did, but with less emo. Yes, we have Kristen Stewart as Snow White, who is probably not everyone's choice for "fairest of the land", but they've made all the other women disfigured and stuff so it makes sense here. Charlize Theron is the evil queen, who has some pretty powerful magic to play around with, but when she's not using that she can still scream in a scary manner. We also have Chris Hemsworth trying out another accent as the huntsman, who swears to protect Snow White once she escapes the queen's clutches, and accompanies her on her journey to lead the resistance.

Yeah, the resistance against the evil queen and her army of glass soldiers, that was in the tale, right? It seems this is another one of those movies that cash in on a well known property, but probably could have been a good movie on its own merits. Instead we have plot elements from the fairy tale forced in alongside Lord Of The Rings-esque rally and battle scenes. It all seems a bit mish mash, especially when in the midst of all the dark, serious stuff our heroes come across a bunch of dwarves.

They're probably one of the best things about this movie though, to be fair. There are some great faces in the band of dwarves, such as Ray Winstone, Bob Hoskins, Nick Frost and Toby Jones. Their performances outshine those of the rest of the cast, though really that's not saying too much. Still, mish-mashy plot and somewhat bland acting aside, it's not a bad movie. The special effects and battle scenes are well done, and the atmosphere of the whole thing is certainly quite dark and mature. Good, but not great.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 8 October 2012

Today's Review: Prometheus

The year is 2089, and a bunch of dudes discover a cave painting that's similar to other artistic depictions  around the world, all containing the same star map. Naturally, these science dudes come to the conclusion that these paintings are an invitation from the alien beings who created them to go and meet them and hang out on their planet, so they convince a corporation to shovel billions of dollars into a trip over there. But what will they discover on this mysterious planet? Will it be the key to our existence, or the catalyst for its destruction?

Of course, it's the latter, or maybe both. I don't know, nothing's ever fully explained. Sometimes that's a good thing, but a lot of this movie seems to be deliberately vague to lay ground for a sequel, or because they couldn't think of anything cool enough. It was written by one of the Lost guys after all. I mean, sure, there's some semblance of plot, but a large chunk of it is just proposed as exposition and immediately accepted as the truth. Literally, a guy who never leaves the ship says "Yeah, this is probably what's happening", and no one questions him.

So yeah, the plot could be better. But Prometheus makes up for it in other areas. The production design is stunning, with sprawling, atmospheric caves, awesome spacey gadgetry and suits, it just feels like the epitome of murky science fiction. There are some great performances too. Michael Fassbender steals the show as android David, but Noomi Rapace is excellent as the leading lady. Charlize Theron and Idris Elba are also around to complete an awesome line up.

Prometheus is a dark and dingy space thriller that is excellently made. It's just a shame that the plot isn't quite as developed or explained as it could have been, otherwise this could have been perfect.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 7 October 2012

Today's Review: People Who Complain About Shops Selling Christmas Products Early

Well, it's October now, and that means the supermarkets and various other stores gearing up for Christmas. So out comes the wrapping paper, Christmas cards, advent calendars, festive food, you name it, they've got it. They've probably had them since September to be honest. Some find it annoying, some may think it's too much. But you know what's more annoying than seeing Christmas stuff around at this time of year? Hearing people complain about seeing Christmas stuff around at this time of year. 

Seriously, I can barely think of worse things to complain about, and I work at a Tesco where the majority of my complaints are about how the queuing system goes the wrong way. At least they're somewhat justified, they have to actually wait in the queue. But in what way is a selection of Christmassy items so reprehensible? Here's an idea. If you're not ready to start buying for Christmas, don't do it. Are these people so weak willed that the moment they see a tub of Cheeselets they're somehow compelled to load their trolleys against their will? 

I suppose I get it somewhat. People don't want Christmas to be the focus for a quarter of the year. But those people are clearly grinches. I think Christmas is awesome, and because we don't make a lot of money to splooge in less than a month, my fiancĂ©e starts buying Christmas presents in summer. Take that, Christmas haters. We'll be done by November, while you are rushing around on Christmas Eve for that new Furby that somehow costs £60. 

So really, these people should stop complaining. The only places I really see Christmas stuff at this time of year is in the seasonal sections, and guess what? This is a pretty big seasonal occasion. It takes a lot of preparation. Christmas is designed to bleed us dry by promoting the ideals that not only do we need to spend a large amount on presents for everyone we supposedly care about, but we also have to spend the whole day with them and feed them as much food as they'd normally eat in a week. If anything, that's what we should be complaining about, not the fact that they're trying to get a good head start on raping our wallets.

My rating: 1/5

Saturday 6 October 2012

Today's Review: Fingernails

Fingernails are freaky, aren't they? There our fingers are, just covered in skin like the rest of our bodies, and suddenly, boom, there's this slab of hard stuff stuck on the tip. Stuff that keeps growing, and requires trimming lest you want dirt to build up under it, or have it ripped off and cause you immense pain.

They're pretty damn useful though. We can use our fingernails to peel stickers off things, scratch itches, make everyone cringe by running them over a chalk board, the possibilities are (nowhere near) endless. Here's an exerpt from Wikipedia on the function of the fingernail:

A healthy (finger) nail has the function of protecting the distal phalanx, the fingertip, and the surrounding soft tissues from injuries. It also serves to enhance precise delicate movements of the distal digits through counter-pressure exerted on the pulp of the finger. The nail then acts as a counterforce when the end of the finger touches an object, thereby enhancing the sensitivity of the fingertip, even though there are no nerve endings in the nail itself. Finally, the nail functions as a tool, enabling for instance a so-called "extended precision grip" (e.g. pulling out a splinter in one's finger).

Holy shit, science. I didn't even know my fingernails enhance my fingertip sensitivity. If I didn't have them would my fingers just be flopping around on the keyboard, lazily brushing the keys with a 50% success rate? I don't know, and thankfully I'll never need to, because my fingernails are there, like a watchful guardian.

What was the first organism to have fingernails? Was something just born with a weird freakish lump of keratin on an appendage, and spent the rest of his days impressing (and impregnating) ladies with his ability to scratch itches? I don't know, but I thank that freak of nature for giving me these keratin lumps. They're pretty useful.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 5 October 2012

Today's Review: Subway's Raspberry Cheesecake Cookie

You know what's always a winning formula? Dessert + Dessert. This cookie certainly follows that formula, but gets extra marks for having one of the desserts be cheesecake.

Yes, a cheesecake cookie. A brilliant idea. After all, cheesecakes already have the biscuit base, so why not just replace it with a cookie? Then add in some chunks of raspberry and cheesy goodness to retain that cheesecake taste. Of course the ratio is a bit off, thats to be expected, it's more biscuit than cheesecake after all. but it's a tasty effort from Subway, and quite different compared to the regular old cookies they've had for a while. If only there were more chunks...

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 4 October 2012

Today's Review: Looper

I had hardly heard a thing about Looper before I went to see it. You could say I was out of the loop. Yes, I'm doing puns today.

Looper is set in the near future, in which time travel has been invented in the near future, 30 years away in fact. Problem is, when time travel was invented, it was instantly banned due to all the loopy stuff that can result from it. The future also has handy tracking devices installed in people's bodies, so when gangsters need to get rid of someone, they need to use their well hidden illegal time machines to send them back in time 30 years to be disposed of by "Loopers". Joseph Gordon Levitt stars as Joe, a Looper who is thrown for a loop when one of his marks takes off, leading him on a twisty, turny, loop the loop thrill ride as he uncovers some truths about the future and himself.

Don't like time travel all that much? Does it twist your brain into loops? Don't worry, this movie doesn't want to explain time travel to you. Every time the conversation strays into that territory, a character immediately puts a halt to it. It's good to have some grasp of timelines and basic rules and effects of time travel, but really it's just a driving force behind the story occurring in the present time in the movie. The future is barely seen. we merely see a couple of glimpses. It may seem like they missed a trick with that, but the story of Looper is so engaging and well planned that I didn't find myself wishing to see the future. I'm glad the whole thing is open ended and left up to the imagination.

There are very few characters in this thing as well, but they're all pretty great. Gordon Levitt is as amazing as always, although his face looks really weird, for reasons that become apparent. Emily Blunt turns in a good performance too as a farmer and single mother, putting on a surprisingly good American accent. The young Pierce Gagnon is fantastic as mysterious young boy Cid too. Plus there's Bruce Willis. You can't go wrong with him.

Looper is a fantastic dark, low key sci-fi movie. Not everything is explained, there's just enough to understand what's going on, with everything else left for the viewer to figure out. It has some great, multi-layered characters with changing loyalties and agendas, and I can't really find fault with it. Looper is probably one of my favourite movies this year, and there have been quite a few great movies.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Today's Review: Vanilla Charleston Chew

I like to eat as many American candies as possible, so when I watch or listen to something that references a candy bar I can finally "get it". Obviously having eaten a Charleston Chew I can really relate to Eminem in Forgot About Dre. Well, it's been a while since I had me a chocolatey, chewy Charleston, but this time I found a vanilla one.

It's quite a different experience. While the original is all about the chocolate, this packs a significantly different flavour. The box proudly states it's artificially flavoured, and it sure tastes like it. It's certainly a very unnatural vanilla, not that that's all bad. It's extremely sweet, and although it gets quite sharp towards the end, the combination with the chocolate coating makes for a pretty decent tasting bar. Not as good as the original, but a good effort.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Today's Review: KFC's Nacho Stacker Burger

It was just another day at KFC HQ. Security guarding the secret recipe stronghold, people are talking casually about fries (probably)...

All of a sudden, The Colonel's voice calls over the tannoy. "Dad gum, chickeneers, we done need a new burger! I want it on my desk in five minutes!" The employees look around like nervous meerkats, and one drops a taco shell into his tower burger. "That'll do", he sighs, dejectedly.

That's probably how it happened, because this burger is a regular tower burger with a massive nacho in the middle. That is literally it, there's nothing more I can say about it. The nacho is just like a nacho. Salted, crunchy. It certainly adds an interesting texture to the burger, but its nothing to write home about. Sure, it's still nice, but this variation is pretty bland and unoriginal.

My rating: 2/5

Monday 1 October 2012

Today's Review: Fabulous Fingers

No, it's not gay porn, it's some chocolate. They're like regular Fingers, but even more fabulous. If by "fabulous" you mean "with an extra layer of white chocolate". But this is how you shake things up a bit in the chocolate world. You just add more chocolate of a different colour and people go crazy. Well, it certainly worked for me.

Indeed, these are very nice. The extra chocolatey bit really changes up the consistency of the finger, they are now significantly more chocolatey and less crunchy, which gives a nice smooth, varied flavour. They are a bit stingy though. regular boxes of fingers normally have about two layers worth in the plastic tray, while these only have one. Disappointing, but I'm sure I still would have eaten them all in one sitting if there were more.

My rating: 4/5