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Movies, Food, Beer and Geek Stuff

Still from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Directed by: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis (MoCap), Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman
IMDB

Ten Years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes mankind, plagued by the man made simian flu virus, is on the brink of extinction. Meanwhile, having escaped to the woods surrounding San Francisco, Caesar and the group of genetically enhanced apes have built a home and a community and number in the thousands. When a small community of humans, unaware of the apes’ existence, venture into the woods to re-activate an abandoned dam to restore power to the city, the two groups meet and seeds of fear and distrust are sown, setting them on a path to war.

I’ve always found the concept of the whole Planet of the Apes franchise to be a really interesting one and the way that this new rebooted series (Rise and Dawn – too many “of the” to put the names in full) is telling the story from the other side (Movies up to this point have dealt with human astronauts landing on earth generations after the events detailed in the reboot) is something I really love about it. I can’t fault the way the plot of Dawn is set up either, it flows logically and ties off loose ends nicely. No James Franco this time around, leaving the viewer to assume he is one of the billions who have died from the simian flu. Instead, the story starts focussing on the thriving ape community, with a group employing a sophisticated hunting tactic to catch a herd of deer in the woods. As a special effects movie, you can see why Dawn started here. The sequence shows off the remarkable level of detail in the CGI used. From a visual point of view, I can’t find a single fault. The Apes were so realistic that suspension of disbelief wasn’t broken for a single moment.

We meet the humans when a small group encounter two apes on patrol and, when frightened one of the humans shoots and wounds one of the apes. It’s from this point the character development gets a little bit clumsy. There’s not a lot I can put my finger on that makes it this way, that’s just the way it feels. One thing’s for sure, I couldn’t tell you, without looking at IMDB any of the human characters’ names. The apes, on the other hand, those characters developed just fine with distinct, memorable characters becoming evident very early on.

I have to mention this now because I can’t let it slide any longer. After three Dark Knight films and, I’m sure others that I don’t recall, why in the nine fucks do writers/directors insist on getting Gary Oldman to play an American!? I mean, he’s a fine actor, one of my favourites, but the man can’t do a convincing American accent. It’s not even like the kind of accent you get when an American has lived in England for a while either. He over-pronounces Rs in words that don’t even have them, like “calm” and “idea”. In Dawn, it makes an already poor character even less believable. If you want an american character, hire an american actor, or at least hire a foreign actor who has a proven track record for great American accents like Colin Farrell. Oldman’s isn’t quite as bad as Jason Statham’s but it’s close.

…come to think of it, Ray Winstone can’t do one to save his life either.

Anyway, I digress. Should you see Dawn? Yeah, I’d recommend it for sure. The one thing I will suggest is that you re-familiarise yourself with Rise first, just to properly set the scene. There are bits in Dawn that won’t make a lot of sense if you haven’t seen Rise. All in all it’s a tidy little movie with some good suspense and, as I said, pretty incredible CGI and MoCap work. What it also does is set the scene for what is going to be a pretty epic third part to the trilogy.

Verdict: 3.5/5

Craft beer, as a concept, is nothing new to the UK. For decades pubs have been priding themselves on their selections of “real ales” which typically means ale from small, often local breweries served cellar temperature, hand pulled from a cask. These beers *are* craft beers in the sense that they are not mass produced, they use top quality ingredients, and have limited distribution. This hasn’t just existed for longer than the US craft beer scene has existed, it’s existed for longer than the US itself has existed.

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Yesterday I placed my first order from Buxton Brewery’s online shop which is operated by drinks distribution outfit Eebria. Eebria basically drop-ship direct from manufacturers which means not only is your beer the freshest it can be, having not sat around in their warehouse for ages, it offers the cheapest delivery I’ve seen for an online beer seller at £5.99. The only downside; you have to pay one delivery charge per manufacturer. That didn’t apply in this case however because I only bought from Buxton Brewery.

I didn’t order a massive haul, just four bottles to see how they were in terms of service because I’ve had some not so great experiences from ordering through other online beer shops in the past. The results were astonishing.

bux-eebria

Sure enough, I tracked my order this morning and it’s out for delivery. Any issues now will be down to the Courier (they use Parcel Force in case you wondered) but having seen how awesome both parties are I have no doubt they’d do anything in their power to sort those problems out too. Colour me impressed.

So all in all, I can’t speak highly enough of how well Eebria and Buxton Brewery are handling online orders. It really makes me confident in buying from them again knowing that they both operate very active social media channels.

As for the beer I ordered one of each of the following:

  • Far Skyline – A dry hopped Berliner Weisse
  • Wild Boar – IPA
  • Ace Edge – IPA hopped with Sorachi Ace
  • Wyoming Sheep Ranch – Double IPA

Reviews of those beers to follow. I’ve never had any of them before so I’m looking forward to trying them.

When you talk about craft beer in the UK you can’t do it without mentioning BrewDog. Formed in ’07 in Scotland, BrewDog have made it their mission to cultivate a craft beer scene in the UK that is more akin to the edgy, adventurous US scene and less about warm, bland, flat “real ale”. And they’ve done it well. Seven short years later their beer is available in most supermarkets, online beer stores and, most prominently, BrewDog’s own bars which seem to be popping up all over the world like a freakin’ zombie hopocalypse (see what I did there?) Throughout those seven years the brewery’s branding has remained much the same across the bottles, bars, online and print material but this year that is all changing. This month James Watt (founder and MD) revealed the new branding on the company blog and it was met with, shall we say, mixed feelings.

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Musings

Renewed

I used to write here all the time. I loved seeing a new movie and writing a review here or reeling off a bunch of movie recommendations for you. I even loved having a good old rant and exercising my bitter demons. But some time a coupe of years back I stopped. I’m not sure whether it was apathy or a lack of what I deemed to be worthy content or a bit of both, but the desire to blog just faded away.

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Directed/Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

In a semi-dystopian future, time travel is controlled by mob syndicates. They use it to carry out untraceable murders by sending the victim back 30 years to be killed by specialised assassins called Loopers. When a Looper is to be retired the mob “close the loop” by sending his older self back as the target. When a shadowy figure in the future, known only as The Rainmaker, begins closing all the mob’s loops at once Joe (Levitt), faced with his future self, must not only ensure the loop is cosed but also determine the identity of The Rainmaker in the present and stop a destructive 30 year circle of violence.

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Movies, Reviews

Review: Super 8

Directed by: JJ Abrams
Starring: Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffiths

Soon after witnessing a catastrophic train crash, a group of friends begin to notice strange phenomenon in their small home town. Eager to somehow incorporate the events into their own movie, the group dig deeper into the events surrounding the crash only to discover something a lot more sinister is at hand. J. J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg invite us to remember how movies used to be.

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Directed by: André Øvredal
Starring: Hans Morten Hansen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Mørck

I first heard of this by way of a trailer on iTunes a few weeks ago and it sort of caught my eye. As rubbish as they usually are, I really love it when movies come out that deal with an established myth or folklore story in a new way (that said, I have no interest whatsoever in seeing Red Riding Hood). Trollhunter is a Blair Witch style mockumentary set in rural Norway. A group of filmmakers on the trail of a bear poacher, instead end up tagging along with a bizarre government employee, the only one in Norway, who’s job it is to track down and kill trolls to protect the public while also working to keep them a secret. Sounds pretty bonkers, but check out the trailer to see why it caught my eye:

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A few months ago I got an iPad. When they were first released, I like a lot of people looked on them with a doubtful “really?” considering them to be nothing more than a giant iPod touch. When a guy I know bought one on a whim I got a chance to really use one for more than five minutes in an Apple store and my opinion did a total 180°. It all made sense. Using the large touch screen simply feels like the most natural way to use a computer. Instead of interacting with a device which moves a cursor which then interacts with a UI element, you just interact with the UI directly.

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Tech

Thoughts on Tweetbot

At some point during the night of the 13th of April, iPhone app kings Tapbots launched their long-awaited twitter client, Tweetbot. Having purchased other apps by Tapbots (Calcbot and Convertbot) and been more than a little bit satisfied, I downloaded Tweetbot first thing Thursday morning and removed Twitter for iPhone from my home screen. What follows are my initial thoughts after using the app for a day.

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