Blessed Are We By The Beards

You can forget your hipster, quinoa munching, chai latte sipping, wanko beards. Here we celebrate the true beards of cinema. The beards of power, of distinguishability, of magic, of evil, of the bloke stuck in the Antarctic who can’t be arsed to shave or maybe it’s just a bit cold.

These are my top 5 beards of cinema.

 

  1. Ian McKellen in Lord of The Rings Trilogy/The Hobbit Trilogy

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No beard list would be complete without an epic wizard beard. I could have gone for Saruman but I am saving Christopher Lee for my ‘What Cher would have looked like without the surgery’ and ‘Best Wizard Fingers’ lists. McKellen’s grubby, lanky yet oddly glorious chin wig gives Gandalf that all important distinguished gravitas. He looks like a wizard who’s been in scraps, been around Middle Earth a bit and knows what he is talking about. Try to imagine him yelling ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS!’ clean shaven… you can’t can you. It doesn’t bloody work.

 

  1. Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

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Oh Alan, my Alan. To be honest, the late, great Sir Alan of Rickman has had some cracking facial garnish in his film career, see the quality moustache in Truly, Madly, Deeply, the wonderfully manicured slimline feature of his lower face in Die Hard, and the seedy moustache coupled with lower lip hair nubbin in Bottle Shock, but for me the piece de resistance is his deathly dark and malevolent mush in Prince of Thieves. I’ll admit now i re-watched Prince of Thieves last night over a bucket of fried chicken at a mate’s house so this particular beard is fresh in my mind. It is glorious though. No patches, no wispy bits, just proper full coverage, moving and molding around Rickman’s sneering chin as he yells at the guards to ‘CLEEOOOOWSE THE GATE!’

 

  1. Chia Hui Lui in Kill Bill 1 & 2

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It’s a fake; we know this. But a proper homage to old school martial arts films wouldn’t be complete without a kung fu master sporting a ludicrous, glossy beard, with some fucking gloriously OTT eyebrows to finish the look. Riffing on the White Lotus films of yore and the Bak Mei legend, Tarantino ups the facial hair ante and dons Chia Hui Lui with one of the most striking looks in modern film. How Lui manages to complete any fight sequences with that hairy face tail whipping around his persons i will never know. Either way, it all looks cool as shit.

 

  1.  Mr T. in Rocky III

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I spent years arguing with my ex about whether Rocky III was superior to Rocky IV or vice versa. It was an argument that was never settled. He maintains Rocky IV is superior because Ivan Drago and because Rocky defeats Communism by avenging Apollo Creed’s death. While this is all well and good, I would also mount my defence by saying Rocky III had Thunderlips, the emotional implosion due to Mickey’s death, EYE OF THE TIGER (!!), the best homo-erotic training montage ever committed to film, and of course, the one and the only, Clubber Lang. I may be biased here by being a big fan of the mutton chop look, but Clubber Lang’s epic chops combined with the delightful mohawk perched upon the dome of his head gives him a look like no other.

 

  1. Kurt Russell in The Thing

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The absolute beard of beards. If there was ever an Academy Award for Best Beard then Kurt Russell as MacCready would win every single year regardless of the fact that The Thing came out in 1982. It doesn’t matter. His beard is the milestone to which all other movie beards are measured against. No one has yet come close to meeting its majesty. Kurt Russell, like our old friend Alan up there, has a varied history with cinematic facial hair and has come close to usurping himself (observe the wonders on his face in Bone Tomahawk and The Hateful Eight) but i don’t think anything will top his turn in The Thing. We see bored MacCready beard, angry MacCready beard and frosty MacCready beard, all looking full and luscious, enveloping his lower face in a nice furry blanket. Add to the mix his utterly sublime hair do then i am afraid we only one winner here folks.

Board Game: Ghost Stories

Players: 1-4 Time: 45-90 mins Ages: 14+

Do you like Kung Fu Movies? Got an interest in Eastern history and philosophy? Or just enjoy the aesthetic? Do you like games that give you loads to think about? A game with a massive challenge? Or even just enjoy a good co-op game?  If the answer is yes to any of these questions then this game could very well be for you.

Back in 2008 the good people at Repos Produduction’s publish this beautiful game from Antoine Bauza, who would later go on to design 7 Wonders, the winner of the inaugural Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur Game of the Year at the Spiel de Jahres) in 2011.

In this game you’ll be trying to protect the village by killing as many ghosts as possible. If you manage to survive to the end, you’ll meet an incarnation of the big bad guy Wu-Feng. Defeat him and you all win (this is a co-op after all, you all win or lose together), run out of ghost cards before defeating Wu-Feng, allow three village tiles to become haunted or if all players are dead at the same time, you all lose.

What’s in the Box?

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  • 4 player boards
  • 9 village tiles
  • 4 Tao Dice
  • 1 Curse Die
  • 65 Ghost Cards
  • A whole load of various tokens
  • 8 Haunting figures
  • 2 Buddah figures
  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Help sheet
  • 1 Score sheet

 

How to play      

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Ghost stories starts out with the nine village tiles randomly arranged in a square in the middle with the four coloured player boards placed along the sides. Each player board is one colour with a corresponding Taoist monk figure, which starts off in the middle village tile. Each colour has it’s own special ability to help you defeat the barrage of ghosts that will be coming your way, and each player board has two different sides with different abilities so you can choose which one you would rather play with, or if you like to live dangerously, just randomly assign.

At the start of each turn there will be a ghost drawn and placed on the appropriate player board. You then get the choice to get help from one of the villagers or to go and fight a any ghost on the board.

20160407_194851.jpgIt’s these horrible guys that you’re going to be fighting. They all have dots down the side, which indicate how many dots of that colour you need to roll to kill it, and down the bottom they have any effects they may have (depending on positioning this can be when the ghost is drawn at the start of the players turn who’s board it’s on, or when it gets killed)

Fighting is pretty simple, position your Taoist monk in front of a ghost, roll the three Tao dice and if you manage to get the correct number of colours the ghost dies and is removed from the game. For example if you were in front of the yellow ghost above and roll two yellows on the dice that sucker gets killed. You can bolster your roll with Tao tokens that you can gain through help from certain villagers or from your special ability. So if you were to have only rolled one yellow, you can chuck in a yellow Tao token to make it up to two.

What’s so great about it?

Well, so, so much. I’ve tried to keep my rules explanation brief, otherwise we could be here a while. The basic rules are quite simple, (draw ghost, place ghost, perform any curses ghosts require, move about the village, either get help or fight). The strategy involved is ghostlydeep and can be quite intense at times.

There’s a new ghost drawn every turn, so you need to keep on top of them or else you’re going to get over run and start losing Qi tokens (they work kinda like lives in an old school Mario game, run out and you die). It’s this constant barrage of ghosts that can really make it nail biting, as you can be quite on top of things, and due to a run of bad luck you’ll suddenly find yourself staring at a board full of ghosts, all proving a threat to killing you or ending the game at any moment.

While you want to be fighting ghosts as much as possible, you might also need help from the villagers to be able to improve your chances of killing them. Sometimes you can spend ages weighing up if you can leave that haunter ghost (they have the little ghost figurines, and if left un-killed can haunt a village tile so you can no longer use it, and possibly end the game) and instead get help so that you’re more likely to kill it. Do you have time? Will another haunter come out on the next go? Can one of the other players maybe tackle it? Would going for another ghost be better? They’re all some of the questions that can go through your head within about three seconds.

This is a very hard game, even on the easiest setting (There are various ways to set up the game to make it easy or harder) I have only managed to win the game once, and have  only made it to the incarnation of Wu-Feng a handful of times.ghosty

As it is a co-op game you can plan out your moves to a certain degree and you can ask for help from your fellow players. This can have drawbacks as some people can be a little forceful and plan your next 10 moves for you. We find it best to play with the rule of ‘you can discuss as much as you like, but the player whose turn it is gets the final say as to what they do’, which helps to eliminate some of that.

The Artwork is simply stunning. The amount of work that has gone into the design of the game is bewildering when you think about it. Every Ghost card has been individually designed with some very gruesome images. Each village tile and player board has all had the same treatment. This all helps to give the game a real sense of atmosphere and brooding.

What’s not so great?

Well, as I’ve stated before, this is a really tough going game. Which is great if you’re looking for a challenge. However it can be a little disheartening when you still haven’t won after 20 games.  I haven’t even attempted this on the harder settings. The rules do state that it will be hard and it will take you a few games to really get into it, and possibly win the game (again, this can be great. I like a slow burner that you can take your time to really get to know, but some might get a little impatient). on the board

The rule book is awful. It was very difficult to understand. I had to look a few bits up on-line just to clarify what it meant. The flow chart on the back is handy for the basics, but for some of the more fiddly rules you might be better going straight to on-line sources. The rule book is the only thing that I feel could do with a redesign and a re-write. Even Antoine Bauza himself has admitted that the rule book was a little confusing and has learnt from his mistakes on that one.

Reccomended?

Yes. I fully recommend this game, it’s a great stepping stone from gateway games to something a bit more meaty to sink your teeth into. It can be difficult, but the challenge is great and rewarding when you do well.

As it’s co-op it’s great for if you want to bring everyone together for a change from competition.

The artwork is atmospheric and really goes with the theme.

On top of all this, if you get bored of the base game there are at least two expansions, one of which allows up to 5 players, one of whom will be playing as Wu-Feng himself. As well as an iOS app to play on the go and practice for when you’re playing with friends.

One last thing worth mentioning. It can be played solo. So if you’re having trouble getting everyone together or want to practice at it a little more or even if you enjoy a little time lost in your own thoughts on a game you can bust it out any time.

★★★★★

 

 

 

 

Wrestlemania 32 Wrap Up

Well there it was again, the biggest event on any pro wrestling fan’s calendar for the year has been and gone. Overall I’d say it was a very confusing show and in my opinion a lot of matches ended with the wrong people winning. 

Wrestlemania is basically wrestling’s season finale, it finishes off all of the current storylines so they can start fresh the next night on Raw. But it’s also a time when the most eyes are back on the WWE. Whether it be lapsed fans who want that yearly nostalgia bump or perhaps new fans who’ve been caught up in the excitement and want to be part of the conversation. So with this in mind you’d think WWE would go out of their way to create a feel good show but that’s not what they did this year. 

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with subverting expectations but when that comes at the expense of a fun show maybe that’s not the right call for Mania.

  

Kevin Owens(C) vs Dolph Ziggler vs Stardust vs Sami Zayn vs Sin Cara vs The Miz vs Zack Ryder in a 7-Man Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship

What seems to be becoming an annual tradition we have a big cluster muck of a ladder match involving anyone they couldn’t fit anywhere else. The only real story going into this match was the feud between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Owens had previously injured Sami so we were all expecting it to be a one on one match between them to settle the grudge. Both of them have a huge history together from their early days of wrestling and they have both worked extremely hard to get to where they are today. So that alone would have made an awesome match, instead they decided add a bunch of unrelated losers last minute and make it a painfully forgettable ladder match. 

The only big moves that spring to mind were Stardust taking a nasty body splash through a ladder from Sin Cara and Kevin Owens getting suplexed painfully onto a ladder by Sami Zayn. But after all of this the biggest loser of them all Zack Ryder who hasn’t won a meaningful match in years gets the belt. Straight away I felt this was a totally pointless victory and that was confirmed when he lost it to Miz the next night on Raw. This was the first in a night full of confusing choices by WWE and a disappointing open to the show for me.

Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles

Unfortunately this is the 4th time this year these guys have fought so it does suffer from diminishing returns but at least they tried to add some new dimensions to the match. This is the first time they’ve faced off with Jericho being a full on bad guy. 

Even though he’s a respected legend from the 90s he still knows how to piss off a crowd when he needs to. He shows no respect to AJ by slapping him, holding submissions on after the ref has called for the break and even busts out his cocky pin from his WCW days. This match also shows that both men have been learning from each other on the previous bouts. Both get chances to reverse each other’s signature moves, the ending coming from Jericho catching AJ out of an aerial dive into his Code Breaker finishing move to get the win.

At the time I thought that Jericho didn’t need to win this match especially now that AJ Styles became the no.1 contender for the title on Raw yesterday. So I think it would have made more sense for AJ to win here then go one to have a successful Raw too but maybe they didn’t want to give him a Mania win because he’s a newcomer to WWE.  

 

The League of Nations vs The New Day 

The New Day are inarguably the biggest stars the WWE has right now. So big that they got to do a special entrance that involved them falling out of their own big custom cereal box dressed as Saiyans from Dragonball Z. Yes you heard that right, New Day have really captured the attention of the internet generation and it’s helped rocket them to super stardom. 

  
They really deserved a better match than this one, taking on a bunch of boring bad guys who’ve been shoehorned into a team isn’t really Mania worthy in my opinion. Also New Day are the tag team champs, they should have been defending the gold against an impressive tag team.

So despite The New Day being the absolute favourites WWE decides The League of Nations should beat them in a forgettable match. At least they won by cheating so New Day still looked like the better team. Another pointless win that really took the air out of the atmosphere after New Day’s legendary entrance.

So after the match the League of Nations get on the mic and make the age old wrestling mistake of declaring no one can beat them which every wrestling fan knows immediately summons a super team of legends to prove you wrong. In this case it was HBK Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin coming out for nostalgia’s sake. It was pretty entertaining we got to see everyone do their finishers. We got a Sweet Chin Music, the return of Mr. Socko and the crowd favourite Stone Cold Stunner. Then New Day got back in to try and persuade the legends to dance with them to which Stone Cold politely declined with a Stunner for Xavier Woods. 

  

Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose in a Street Fight

The Beast Incarnate vs The Lunatic Fringe in a no holds barred street fight. This match should have been awesome but it was very one sided with Brock Lesnar dominating for most of it. Now this is perfectly understandable because Brock is a terrifying monster of a man in real life but this is wrestling, none of that matters in this fake world. The crowd and me included really wanted Dean to finally get his big win because he’s been losing a lot lately but Brock pretty handily destroyed him. For a street fight the weapon usage wasn’t really anything special either, Dean had even been gifted a barbed wire bat from the Hardcore Legend himself Mick Foley but he didn’t even get to use it! Brock dodged it and that led to him hitting the F5 for the win.

  

Charlotte(C) vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks for the WWE Women’s Championship

It feels great to be able to say with 100% certainty that this match was the best on the show but again it fell victim to a weird and unsatisfactory ending. However this was a pretty important match in WWE history, for year the female wrestlers have been branded Divas while the men got to be called Superstars which never seemed fair to me. But they’ve somehow managed to get Vince to give up this sexist term and now everyone is a Superstar and the Diva’s Championship has been renamed the WWE Women’s Championship.

For years now the women’s matches have been pretty bad at most events but they’ve finally got the talent to really turn things around. Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks are absolute stars and they really led this match. Early on there were lots of fast paced move combinations involving all 3 women and the pace never really slowed down which was great. There were also some great top rope moves highlights being a huge moonsault to the outside by Charlotte and out of nowhere frog splash from Sasha which was a tribute to her favourite wrestler Eddie Guerrero. 

Unfortunately this was all ruined by Ric Flair’s interference at the end. His cheating helped his daughter Charlotte pick up the win and forever have to accolade of first WWE Women’s Champion. I wouldn’t have minded this outcome if it was a fair match between the 3 women but the fact that they had a man interfere just ruined it for me and tainted the new serious direction they’re trying to go with women’s wrestling. 

  

The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon inside Hell in a Cell

No, this isn’t a joke. I haven’t accidently put in a match from 2000. They actually decided to pit the 46 year old Shane McMahon against the 51 year old Undertaker in no holds barred match inside a giant steel cage! And yes it was as stupid as it sounds.

First of all Shane is not a formally trained wrestler, granted he’s had a lot of high profile matches and he’s known for some amazing high flying moves which have been genuinely impressive and endeared him to the fans but he’s not a wrestler. The only reason they put this match together was for some reason Shane was ok with jumping off the near 30ft Hell in a Cell cage through a the announce table. Now this was an amazing jump that I didn’t think they had the guts to actually do but it was all for nothing! Shane lost to the Undertaker because he moved off the table just before Shane hit, it was an awful landing too, there was some kind of cushion but he didn’t really hit it straight on but he also didn’t die so that’s something right?

The match before that was pretty boring because of the slow pace and it was long too, clocking in around 30 minutes in total. Undertaker was always my favourite wrestler but I wish he would retire soon, he’s just not the same. Give the old deadman a rest already!

  

The Andre The Giant Memorial 20-Man Battle Royal

It’s telling that this match was a 30-man battle royal last year but WWE’s had a bad year for injuries and the roster was a bit think this year so we have this 20-man match full of nobodies. Big Show and Kane were the only wrestlers of note announced before this started and the rest of the made up with random tag teams mostly. 

The winner of this match was Baron Corbin a relative unknown from NXT which was actually a surprisingly good choice because no one was excited for this match. And it was a strong main roster debut for Corbin. It’s always good to see them supporting the new guys, I was worried they’d just give to Kane or something after the previous decisions.

  

The Rock vs Erick Rowan

This was a really pointless segment, The Rock got a huge stupid entrance with the Dallas cheerleaders dancing around him and he was shooting a flamethrower for some reason. So comes out to chat with the crowd for a bit but then he gets interrupted by the Wyatt Family who (for the uninitiated) are a band of mystical voodoo hillbillies who have no previous connection with The Rock as far as I remember. So The Rock rips his clothes off revealing he’d been wearing his wrestling trunks all along(maybe he always does?)! 

This wasn’t even a match, the bell hit and Rock hits his Rock Bottom finisher and that was it. Then the enraged Wyatts try to beat him up but the John Cena comes out to save him! They both do their signature moves and the Wyatts slump back to their swamp shack.

  

Roman Reigns vs Triple H(C) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

So here we go, our main event between the King of Kings Triple H and Roman Boooooooooooo. 

  
Seriously the boos for Roman during this match were deafening. Bit of backstory on Roman Reigns, he’s Vince McMahon’s golden boy at the moment and he’s being given all the high profile matches and title shots but the problem is he’s not a very good wrestler. He can do big power moves fine but the rest of his moves are just boring strikes and instead of thinking of new stuff he just repeats his same moves ad nauseum. He also has almost no charisma, I literally have no idea what the higher ups see in him. The crowds have completely turned on him because he’s being shoved down our throats as the guy we’re supposed to cheer.

Triple H tries his best to drag Roman through this match but it was really boring, it probably didn’t help that at this point we were past 6 hours of wrestling if you include the pre show. But their job is to keep our attention no matter how long the match goes but unfortunately Roman just stinks it up too much. We all knew he was going to win too, Triple H shouldn’t be champion for too long because he’s the COO of the company (in real life and the story) so we knew it could only be Reigns at this point. 

So he hits his Spear finisher and Triple H goes down for the 1-2-3 leaving Roman to celebrate in front of a booing and hissing crowd. It was pretty hilarious, I just kept thinking “someone has got to come out and save this, right?” But they never did. It was seriously the flattest ending I’ve ever seen at a Wrestlemania. They’ve got a lot of work cut out for them if they’re set on making this guy a star, on raw he showed some signs that they might start playing him off as a bad guy which is probably their only option at this point. 

So yea that was it, a disappointing end to a disappointing show. The only way to save the show for me would have been to have the women’s match on last and ban Ric Flair from ringside. But no matter what happens we’ll probably all watch it again next year. Overall I’d give the show: 

★★☆☆☆

DC and WB Need To Address The Elephant In The Room

I’m going to throw this curveball out there before we even begin. I didn’t hate Batman vs Superman, nor did I dislike it as much or as venomously as many fans and critics. For me, BvS was a classic example of a hot mess, a pizza with all the toppings but with no particular order or sense to them. I attended a screening of BvS with three other people, one of whom shared my particular opinion, another thought it was atrocious, another thought it was great. Whichever way you look at it, for DC and Warner Brothers, BvS has been a little bit of a wet fart. Yes, it started strongly, churning out best ever numbers for a March opener and the opening weekend numbers were ludicrously high, but bad word of mouth and a critical mauling (lower than Paul Blart: Mall Cop would you believe) has seen the second week numbers plummet by a startling 68% in the US, and similar drops can be seen in the international markets (bare in mind here that with marketing costs included, BvS needs to make at least $800million just to break even). It’s all looking a little bit shaky for this beast of a tentpole film, designed in part to usher in the Justice League films from 2017 onwards, and start the mythological DC ball rolling. Zack Snyder is also set, at the moment anyway, to return to the helm for the first Justice League film and therein lies the problem.

 

Zack Snyder is directoral marmite. He frustrates and enthralls in equal measure. Just looking at his filmography you’ll be lucky to find a film that didn’t cause some sort of agitated grumbling, Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole aside. Dawn of The Dead irritated zombie purists, Watchmen irritated the beardy comic book guys, Sucker Punch irritated everyone I knew, Man of Steel irritated many Superman fans, 300 irritated the sober and over 30s. And now BvS has caused the kind of constipated consternation amongst the general populace that can end careers. But alas, Snyder is one lucky man, as he has a massive fat contract with DC/WB to have his sinewy finger in pretty much all of their important comic book film production pies until the next start of the next decade, if not beyond.

 

Before you spit out your rice/pasta/carb-based dinner option and accuse me of being a Snyder hater, I will mutter ‘au contraire’. I enjoyed Watchmen (I also like the graphic novel). I was even young enough to revel gleefully in the stupid macho noise that was 300, and I will boldly admit to enjoying parts of Man of Steel (the first 25 minutes mainly). Snyder’s films all show us his eye for a particular aesthetic, that slightly saturated, dark and brooding look, layers of slow motion on action sequences, wide shots morphing into extreme close up, heavy use of shadow and silhouette. There is never any doubt that his films look good and that he has made that aesthetic very much his, however, what Snyder frequently fails to transfer to the screen is the emotional heft or complexity to elevate his films from merely eye catching diversions to something affecting and impassioned.

 

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Watchmen is a perfect example of Snyder getting so close yet so far. There are shots and scenes in Watchmen that are pretty much lifted from the graphic novel itself but in concentrating on the form and presentation, and how good Silk Spectre looked, Snyder muddled the genuinely interesting ‘Who’s Watching The Watchmen’?’ theme under a waves of slo-mo violence and bombastic noise. The whole point in a comic book adaptation is just that, to adapt, to mold the inherent plot and themes into a moving visual form. Snyder had the tools there, the cast were spot on, by goodness he was given a big enough budget to do it with, the screenplay was pretty decent, even if a little heavy handed in parts, but in the end we were left with something that was enjoyable and pleasing to look at but emotionally and thematically hollow. Watchmen the graphic novel had everything to say about twisted motivations of the powerful, the motivations of the superhero and how they fit into a ‘real’ society while Watchmen the film told us that The Comedian fought well for an old man and Patrick Wilson was still a stud even after packing on some beef and wearing Deirdre Barlow glasses.

 

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This method of extensive visual lifting from comic books onto the big screen can on very rare occasions work, 300 being a decent example. Thematically speaking 300 is about as deep as a paddling pool. It’s basically some buff men with large biceps and even larger swords heading off to fight some pierced fellows from the other side of the fence. There’s some eyebrow furrowing, much shouting and excessive violence. The graphic novel has no deep seated political leanings nor anything to say about the history of the Persians or the Spartans, it’s just good old Frank Miller violence. And that’s why Snyder’s film presentation of 300 worked. There was nothing deeper to project than what was on the surface on the screen, so Snyder could go the whole hog visually with the violence, with Gerard Butler’s beard, with the ripped muscular physiques.

 

With BvS we find Snyder struggling again to find that balance between the aesthetic (though he made me fancy Affleck so one point to him there) and the emotional. The resonance just isn’t there. The only time he comes close to managing to portray something emotively is the opening sequence in which we see the close of Man of Steel from Bruce Wayne’s perspective. It was mildly refreshing to see an attempt to show the actual human cost from all that destruction, and if Snyder had continued that theme and stayed true to it throughout the film we may have had an actual thread to cling on to for the next 140 minutes, but alas he dropped it all in favour of more wanton destruction later, crowbarring in an embarrassingly turgid line about the Gotham port being abandoned so NO INNOCENTS CAN DIE (CAN YOU HEAR ME IN THE BACK?!).

 

DC/WB need to take a step back here and look at what they have. In terms of actual characters DC have a roster of delightfully peculiar and wonderfully dark oddballs to choose from. They have made some cracking casting choices for their future films (Will Smith as Deadshot and Jason Momoa as Aquaman spring to mind), and have enough money to get the writers they need and to market the royal shit out of anything they release from their sandbox. Snyder is a producer on most of these future projects (Suicide Squad included) so he is going to be involved in some capacity, but DC/WB needs to make a decision about what kind of superhero films they want to make.

 

To stick with Snyder as director is to stick with director slavish to the visual replication of a comic book without much concern for narrative integrity or cohesion. DC/WB have to be bold and plump for another option if they want their universe to come together as beautifully as Marvel’s has done so far. They need someone who can bring the visuals and the narrative otherwise they are going to be left with a lot more to be concerned about than just second weekend number drops.

My tips for getting out of a reading slump

Now we all have moments where we just don’t want to pick up a book. Sometimes it’s a day or a week and then we get back into reading but sometimes it’s longer and when it gets to that point I realise I’m in a real reading slump so try to get myself out of it. Today I thought I’d share some of my tips. They won’t work for everyone but they may help some.

Of course these tips wont work for everyone but they may be worth giving a go. They work for me.

1 – Don’t stress

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been in a reading slump and stressed out about the fact that I’m in a reading slump. Trust me, it doesn’t make it any better. Try to relax about it and remember that reading is something you should enjoy doing and not something you should feel pressured about.

2 – Take some time off

I’ve found that sometimes in order to get out of my reading slump, I simply need to give myself a few days off. This goes back to number one, if I don’t give myself some time off from reading I start to realise that I’m not enjoying reading. I’m simply reading for the sake of it and on those occasions, I don’t pay full attention to what is going on in my book.

3 – Dedicate time

Find a time of the day that you know you have free. It might be first thing in the morning before you get ready or it may be just before you go to bed. It may even be a half hour break at school/work where you know you have time to sit down and read. I like to set an alarm on my phone so that I physically can’t ignore the fact that I should be using that time to read.

I like to plan my time in advance. Generally I read before bed so I set an alarm for 10pm all week and I mentally prepare myself to read in this time frame.

4 – Pick a spot

Find somewhere comfortable to read. I’m a big fan of reading in bed because I’m generally quite restless so can’t sit on the same spot for too long. I like to move around while I read so a bed allows me to sit up if I want or if need be I can stretch or lie down.

5 – Try to turn off any distractions

Sometimes this tip is impossible (like sometimes I read while at a cafe and I can’t help the fact that there are people around me who could distract me) but try to get rid of anything that might distract you. Turn your phone onto airplane mode or silent. Turn off your TV and use the loo before you sit down to read. This way you’ll stay way more focused on reading.

6 – Work out if you prefer sound or silence.

I read more when I listen to music so putting some on in the background helps me concentrate but this isn’t the case for everyone. Some of my friends can’t read unless there’s silence while others are only able to read if there are people moving on around them. If you’re stuck in a slump and don’t know why, try changing environment to see if that help.

7 – Pick up another book if need be

If you don’t like the book then put it down and pick up something new. I’m the kind of person who has to finish a book regardless of weather I like it or not however if it’s a book that I’m just not picking up then I’ll read a a different book before finishing my current book. Sometimes all it takes to get out of your reading slump is simply a book you really love.

8 – Watch a film to get you in the mood

Don’t get me wrong, I generally don’t like to watch a TV/film adaptation until after I’ve read the book because I don’t want to ruin the ending. Sometimes however, I just don’t know what’s happening in my book and when that happens I put on the TV show or film to help myself understand.

If you’re completely against the idea of ruining the ending then try watching something of a similar theme. After watching Game of Thrones I generally want to pick up a fantasy book and after watching Disney I normally feel like reading something for a younger audience. Sometimes watching a film will help you find out what mood you’re in for a book.

9 – Go online

BookTube is my lifeline when it comes to books, watching someone talk about books they they’re excited about makes me more excited about reading in general. It reminds me how amazing books can be.

There are also a tonne of other sites and apps (Goodreads and Books Amino being amongst my favourites) forums and blogs. Luckily for us the book community is awesome and so supportive so if you’re in a slump, head over to your favourite source and someone will always be happy to chat and help you out of your slump.

10 –  Reward yourself

Cake gets me through everything so I often set a goal and if I reach this goal I will reward myself with a tasty treat. I often decide that for every 100 pages I read, I can have two chocolate biscuits. Of course your reward doesn’t have to be food, it can be anything you enjoy. Just promise yourself that you wont do it until you’ve reached your goal.