Saturday, 29 June 2013

Awkward Situations For Men



Awkward Situations for Men
Awkward Situations For Men
Danny Wallace
 

"DANNY WALLACE IS A MAN.
And a man is a very tricky thing to be these days."

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie



Scrape your Knuckles, Catch some Tails
Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie
 "You might know everything I'm going to do, but that's not going to help you 'cause I know everything you're going to do! Strange isn't it?"

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Adventures of Captain Underpants



The Adventures of Captain Underpants
The Adventures of Captain Underpants
Dav Pilkey
"When naughty George and Harold hypnotise their headteacher, they accidentally create the greatest superhero in the history of their school -- Captain Underpants! His true identity is so secret that even HE doesn't know who he is... but he's fighting for truth, justice, and all things pre-shrunk and cottony!"

Friday, 21 June 2013

Unnovations



unnovations
Unnovations
Charlie Brooker


Tomorrow's outmoded artefacts today. From the makers of TV Go Home comes a comic spoof of the consumer-product catalogues that arrive like an unwanted rash from newpapers and magazines. Modelled on those catalogues that are so welcome as they spill unwanted from your weekend newspapers in a magfall of bizarre information, this is a celebration of triumphantly useless and inappropriate consumer choices.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Popcorn Pirates



The Popcorn Pirates
The Popcorn Pirates
Alexander McCall Smith
 "The inhabitants of the Popcorn Islands lead a peaceful and comfortable existence - that is, until pirates attack Captain Foster's ship on its way to America and steal half the popcorn harvest. So Lucy, Hermione and Sam offer to accompany the captain and his dog Biscuit on the next trip to keep a lookout for danger. But danger is exactly what they run into! Now the pirates aren't just after more popcorn ...they want new recruits too! Will three children - and one small dog - defeat the greediest gang of grub-guzzling pirates ever to sail the high seas? It's going to be an EXPLOSIVE adventure!"

Monday, 17 June 2013

5'000 Views

Just a quick update to say that tales from iDEATH has just passed 5'000 views. 

When I started this blog I never thought it's be seen by anyone but me and a handful of folk that stumbled across it. 5'000 views is unbelievable and I appreciate every one of them. 

Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to check out the site.


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Reaper Man



Reaper man
Reaper Man
Terry Pratchett 


"DEATH IS MISSING - PRESUMED...ER...GONE.

Which leads to the kind of chaos you always get when an important public service is withdrawn.

Meanwhile, on a little farm far, far away, a tall dark stranger is turning out to be really good with a scythe. There's a harvest to be gathered in..."

Friday, 14 June 2013

Book Haul 14/06/13

Book Haul 14/06/13
Was in Glasgow yesterday for shopping and jumped into HMV, as part of their continued downfall/relocation/adjustment period they're getting rid of a lot of stock and reducing it to clear. I of course gravitated toward the book racks and came away with a handful of titles with ridiculous low prices. I was like a kid in a candy store and picked up the books bellow. A lot of these were already reduced beforehand but I got six books with a total RRP of £55.95 for £2.94

Unnovations
 Unnovations - Charlie Brooker
This is a re-release of the book that started off Charlie Brooker's career. He started out writing a website called TV Go Home, a fake TV guide. Unnovations collects the advertisements for fake products that lined its pages.

Reality Hunger
 Reality Hunger - David Shields
This book proposes to be an investigation into the concept of the ownership of ideas and plagiarism. From my initial glances it seems to consist of short snippets of text and quotes working towards the completion of the writers thoughts. should be interesting, 

the popcorn pirates
 The popcorn pirates - Alexander McCall Smith
This is a book about an island where you can plant popcorn and grow popcorn trees....then pirates come. There was no way I wasn't picking this up.

the perfect fool
 The Perfect Fool - Stewart Lee
I consider Stewart Lee to be one of the most intelligent comedians around. His stand up is just brilliant, hillarious, smart of tightly written. I'd no idea he'd written a novel and if it's half as well written as his comedy material it should be a treat.

stone junction
 Stone Junction - Jim Dodge
No idea what this is, I pretty much bought it because there's a skeleton on the cover. It's apparently a cult classic and has a bunch of weird and wonderful characters so it should be good.

awkward situations for men
Awkward Situations For Men - Danny Wallace
Not 100% what this is, I think it's a collection of Wallace's newspaper articles but I'm not certain. It's certainly presented in a short article format so I think I'm probably right. His articles are always fun to read so this should be a good one. Jordanaan's already started it and she's been enjoying it a lot,

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sonic The Hedgehog Portal



Sonic the hedgehog
It should be fairly obvious too long time readers of this blog that I'm a huge Sonic the Hedgehog fan. Since I was a little kid and got my hands on the first game for the Sega Megadrive I've been absolutely hooked. Over the years I've built up a fairly impressive Sonic collection and it only makes sense that every now and then, reviews or articles dealing with the blue blur make their way into my blog. 

This post is designed to be your one stop shop for all things Sonic related here on tales from iDEATH. Whenever I post anything to do with  the hedgehog with attitude I'll link it in one of the sections below. I'll continue to update this page as and when I upload new Sonic stuff so be sure to check back regularly.

Hope you enjoy,
                               Jake

Sonic Cartoons, episode by episode

Easily one of my most popular segments here on the blog are my cartoon reviews where I list my thoughts on every single episode of a given series. So far, Sonic has starred in four different cartoons and a movie so obviously they were high on my list to review. 
And with the recent announcement of Sonic Boom and the Sony Pictures Sonic movie, there's sure to be more to come.

Adventures of Sonic the hedgehog
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the hedgehog satam
Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic Underground
Sonic Underground

Sonic the Movie
Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie
Sonic OVA

Sonic X
Episodes #01-05 - Episodes #06-10 - Episodes #11-15 - Episodes #16-20
Episodes #21-25 - Episodes #26-30 - Episodes #31-35 - Episodes #36-40
Episodes #41-45 - Episodes #46-50 - Episodes #51-55 - Episodes #56-60
Episodes #61-65 - Episodes #66-70 - Episodes #71-75 - Episodes #76-78

Book Reviews

Aside from games and animation, Sonic has appeared in a number of books over the years. Every so often one of them falls into my hands and up goes a review.


Sonic the Hedgehog in Robotnik's Laboratory

Articles

A series of articles either to do with Sonic himself, or that include him in some way. 

20 Years of Sonic The Comic: A Tribute 

 The Top 5 Moustaches in Animation

My Top 10 PS3 Games 

Videos

Coming soon

Way past cool!


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The palace of laughter



The Palace of laughter
The palace of laughter
Jon Berkeley

This book started off really strongly. I love a circus story, especially one with a sinister edge and this one had sinister in droves. The creepy clowns, tattooed giantess, battle scarred ringmaster and the mysterious creature called the Null. I was hooked and devoured the first two hundred pages almost immediately.

The problems started around the halfway point however and the book quickly ran out of steam. It fell into the wizard of oz format, the characters making a journey, bumping into interesting character after interesting character until they reach their goal. I’ve no problems with that format but here it simply didn’t work. The journey is supposed to lead the characters and the reader to the interesting part of the book, we all want to get to the emerald city. Here, it felt as if the journey was taking us away from the interesting part. As much as I wanted to learn what the palace of laughter was and wanted the characters to get there, I felt my time in the Circus Oscuro was all too brief. I wanted them to go back and have more adventures in the circus itself.
The characters that they meet aren’t even all that interesting and more than once I found myself wishing they would go and I could just get on with the next chapter.

I also had trouble placing the book. At first I thought it was set in a pseudo-Victorian era but later into the novel there are some hints that it’s a more modern world. A little more time could have been dedicated to fleshing out the world and giving the reader a decent grounding.

There was a lot of good things in this book though, don’t get me wrong. The main characters were fun and I cared about them, the circus stuff was great and the hints of the mythology surrounding the angels was interesting, making me want to learn more about their world. The book is the first in a trilogy and while I didn’t fully enjoy this book, I’d still consider reading the next in the series just to learn a bit more info about all of these things.

I’d recommend giving this one a go if you stumble across it. It’s decent with some good moments, I wouldn’t urge you to seek it out though.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Great Gatsby Double Bill



The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
 F. Scott Fitzgerald

It is no easy task to fill a novel with an entire cast of unlikable characters and still grip the reader yet that’s what the Great Gatsby manages to pull off flawlessly.
Each character is introduced to us as a glamorous aspirational character but these layers are quickly and bluntly peeled away revealing the black hearts and moral ineptitude of the characters true self.
Tom constantly cheats on his wife Daisy, Daisy herself is selfish and materialistic going so far as to treat her own child as a possession, Jordan too is selfish and then, there’s Gatsby.
Gatsby, the richest and seemingly most perfect man who has ever walked the earth is revealed as a criminal and an obsessive.
The only character with any real positive traits is nick Caraway, out narrator, but even Nick grates on the reader as he is so small a personality, so willing to be used, taken advantage of that you just want to grab him by the shoulders and lead him away from these vile people.
The moment when the group are arguing over Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship and Nick suddenly realises it’s his birthday is simultaneously one of the most heart breaking and infuriating passages I’ve ever read. He does nothing for himself, pouring every minute of his time into providing for the wants and needs of these people. He constantly gives, and they do nothing but take.

The main focus of the novel is of course Gatsby, the image obsessed and Daisy obsessed. He is desperate to think of himself and Daisy as star crossed lovers when in fact he knows nothing about the woman. She is little more than a status symbol, an object. The bauble at the top of his tower. The final part of his climb from poverty to majesty.

The disgust Fitzgerald feels for these people is evident in every delicately written paragraph. The wealthy lounge around all day, the most important decision of their day whether to take drinks on the veranda or go to a five star hotel in town. Meanwhile, the dirt stained poor of New York are forced to drag out their days in Valley of Ashes, the slag heap that bridges the divide between the City and the Egg. Watched constantly by the ever present eyes of Dr Eckleburg.

The Great Gatsby is a wonderful novel, exposing the corrupt heart of a post war America, lavishing in excess and selfishness. The prose is steeped in symbolism and is a delight to read. The characters well realised and perfectly presented. I struggle to find anything to say about this novel that hasn’t been said a hundred times before. It’s a must read. 

The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby 
Dir: Baz Luhrmann

I had trepidations entering this film. The Great Gatsby has a history of being a very difficult novel to adapt. Characters are miscast, signs misinterpreted, points missed. Add that to my general dislike of Baz Luhrmann’s previous films and….well I was worried.
I was pleasantly surprised however. The film turned out to be very good, the glitz and glamour of the East egg and the pomp and ceremony of the West were captured perfectly but the point of the novel was not missed and the selfish corrupt heart of the egg and its inhabitants is equally on show.

Amitabh Bachchan, Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio
The whole cast is great, Leonardo DiCaprio steals the show as the eponymous party host and manages to brilliantly convey completely separate emotions with his dialogue and facial expressions. Tobey Maguire is loveable as Nick Caraway and brings a touch of humour to the role. Carey Mulligan is great as Daisy, managing to give her hints of likeability while not taking away from the character as a bauble. The whole cast feel realistic, there are not simply horrible people, each one has at least some shred of like ability, however small.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see Amitabh Bachchan in the role of Wolfsheim. His appearance may be lost on the majority of western filmgoers unaware with Bollywood stardom. But those who understand how insanely well known he is, will understand how wonderfully appropriate it is that Gatsby would be on first name terms with arguably the most famous man in the world.

The film was far from flawless of course, I’m not a Gatsby obsessive and I’m sure the obsessives will find fault in the plot itself. For me though, the majority of the faults lay much more on the surface. The film, like all of Luhrmann’s films, keeps moving constantly. At times it’s as if the entire 20’s is locked in a seizure. Nothing anstay still for a moment and, while this is fairly appropriate for Gatsby’s parties, when played out on a fifteen foot screen, the whole film becomes almost unwatchable.
Then, there’s the horrible glossiness of it all. The whole film looks photoshopped beyond belief. For a while, I sort of liked it. The unbearably fake style of the film reflecting the shallow nature of the wealthy Egg. But then, the valley of ashes and New York City, two places ground in reality and poverty, are both smudged with this filter too. It would have been much better had these locations been grittier, truer to life instead of looking as if they’d been captured for a cosmo photo shoot.
And then there’s Jay-Z. His involvement was by far the most annoying thing about the film, the rap music and jazz era covers of modern pop songs were, I suppose, intended to lend the film a sense of timelessness, but instead, were cheesy and made certain scenes laughable. It’s hard to take the tenseness of Tom attending Gatsby’s party seriously when you’re forced to listen to Beyonce singing Back to Black.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby
Faults aside, I still found the film very enjoyable and a decent adaptation of the novel. I would of course, encourage you to read the novel before you see it if you’ve never read it but once you’ve read the book you should find the film very enjoyable.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Nosferatu



Nosferatu - Viper Comics
Nosferatu
Christopher Howard Wolf, Justin Wayne & Sal M.
 “Nosferatu” is a dark, edgy tale inspired by the film of the same name. This modern spin on the timeless horror story follows Tommy and her roommate Elle as the nefarious vampire Count Orlok draws them into his obsession with death and disease. Old-world magic combines with technology and terror alerts when Orlok, the Nosferatu, pays our shores a visit.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

20 Years of Sonic The Comic: A Tribute



Sonic The Comic
20 Years of Sonic The Comic: A Tribute

Britain’s fortnightly Sonic The Comic turns twenty this year. Published by Egmont Fleetway, the series, which ran from 1993 to 2002, was originally conceived as more of a Sega comic. The book featuring a lead strip featuring Sonic but also backup strips featuring other Sega titles like Golden Axe, Shinobi, Wonder Boy and Streets of Rage. Over time, the focus shifted further in the direction of Sonic eventually dropping all other strips entirely (with the notable exception of Decap Attack, a strip initially used to advertise a now little known game but which evolved into something of a pet project for writer and artist Nigel Kitching).

STC was my first introduction to comics, I first picked it up at issue 101, just missing out on the issue widely considered to be the best in the series….*sigh*. Nonetheless, I was hooked and bought every issue from then on up until the series’ cancellation. I have many fond memories of the series, of taking my copies to school and reading them on my lunch break, re-enacting scenes with m friends and of my first tastes of freedom as a child when I was allowed to go into town by myself to buy it from the newsagent. The series has been with me my whole life and means a lot to me. But my love of STC is not only nostalgia talking, it was a genuinely great comic.