9 items from 2013
Feature Ryan Lambie 24 May 2013 - 06:10
This week's selection of geek-friendly crowdfunding projects includes a Marvel movie documentary, a game remake, and some classic manga...
Aside from all the new ideas to be found on crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter - including a new variety of beef jerky made from posh Japanese cows - there are all sorts of opportunities to indulge our sense of nostalgia.
Through sheer coincidence, the projects that caught my eye this week all have a retro theme; there's a documentary about a forgotten adaptation of a Marvel comic book, a timely revival of one of the most innovative computer games of the 1980s, and a special English language edition of a classic Japanese manga. Although very different, each of these crowdfunding projects is worthy of support, since they're all niche interests that simply couldn't find financial backing through other means.
There's another retro-themed Kickstarter project on the horizon, »
Odd List Ryan Lambie 16 Apr 2013 - 06:46
Eccentric and sometimes ungainly, here are seven 80s videogames that were full of innovative or outlandish ideas...
Placing our rose-tinted goggles of nostalgia aside for one moment, it's fair to say that a large percentage of games from the 1980s were painfully simplistic. But in among all the clones of popular arcade machines, which were ubiquitous on computers and consoles throughout the decade, there were legion lesser-known games which were full of innovative ideas and a sense of ambition that far outstripped their technical resources.
Not all of these ideas necessarily came off in the way they were intended, admittedly; while some are utterly brilliant, in other instances, their outlandish concepts were let down by some iffy execution. This list is devoted to the more eccentric games of the 1980s; the ones full of imagination and wit, and which, although not necessarily discussed much today, »
Giving Us moviegoers enough thrills to possess the top spot at the North American box office last weekend, Evil Dead will have its UK debut on Thursday, April 18.
And in anticipation of the remake's arrival on British screens, Studiocanal and Vue Entertainment have teamed up to offer interactive photo-booth experiences in the foyers of some London cinemas.
This evening was the turn of North Finchley Vue Cinema, tomorrow (April 12) the activity is at Westfield Shepherds Bush Vue Cinema from 4.30pm to 8pm and on Saturday (April 13) it moves to Islington Vue Cinema from 2pm to 6pm.
There's also a cryptic challenge called The Cursed Word, which you can find on the official Facebook page.
Pages of The Book Of The Dead which contain parts of a 'cursed word' have been hidden. Players need to find all the pieces and translate the word into English for a chance to win a »
- David Bentley
From Sam Raimi to Peter Jackson, horror has always been a great way for directors to get a career start: as long as they provide marketable gore, they can pretty much make whatever they want. David Cronenberg used the tactic too, but his early films are perhaps closer to science fiction.
Scanners was his big breakthrough success. It fulfilled the basic horror requirements with little more than a single image – the exploding head – but it was such a strong image that it sparked a trend in the early 80s. Scanners are misfits with telekinetic powers who don't fit into society. A scanner underground network is waging war against multinational ConSec, whose reckless drug testing on pregnant women caused these aberrations (playing the rebels' leader is Michael Ironside, a never-unemployed actor with the ideal »
- Phelim O'Neill
On 8th April the seventies British comedy horror The House in Nightmare Park will be released on DVD and here are two exciting clips from film!
Comedy legend Frankie Howerd stars as the victim of sinister shenanigans in a wacky parody of seventies British horror films when he’s invited to give a dramatic reading at a country home and instead discovers dead bodies, foul intentions, lots of snakes, and a madwoman in the attic.
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ITV2's new sitcom set in ancient Rome belongs to a fine tradition of historical TV comedies, from 'Allo 'Allo to Blackadder
Sitcom locations may vary, but the vast majority are set in contemporary times. Every so often, however, a show such as ITV2's Plebs arrives on screen ready to face the challenges of both period TV and situation comedy. Set in ancient Rome, Plebs – which began last night – follows Marcus, Stylax and Grumio as they juggle love and work in a city that doesn't care whether they live or die. Coming fresh on the heels of Hunderby, Julia Davis's extended riff on the language and oddness of Victorian period drama, it shows that there still exists an appetite for making funny shows set in the past.
- James Donaghy
Away from the shadow of Ricky Gervais, Merchant tackles awkward preconceptions of his comedy skills head on – and is all the funnier for it
Title: Hello Ladies
The set-up: It has always been obvious that Stephen Merchant has it in him to be funny. If you watch The Office, which he co-wrote with Ricky Gervais, or listen to the radio shows and podcasts he and Gervais did together, or even watch his and Gervais's most recent TV series Life's Too Short, you'll find them full of wit and accuracy in their portrayal of the awkwardness that cramps our lives. As you may have noticed, there has also been a bit of a theme to his career.
Merchant met Gervais in 1997. Indeed it wasn't just a meeting, it was a job interview, after which Merchant was hired to work at Xfm. Ever since, they've been a perhaps uniquely unequal double act. »
- Leo Benedictus
Play It Cool (1962)
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After a string of short films, Winner broke into features in the early 60s, with low budget thrillers and trendy pop musicals. Quite a few of them had "cool" in the title – including the nudie pic Some Like It Cool. The Billy Fury pic Play It Cool was considerably more commercially viable, no doubt inspired by the success of Cliff Richard's Young Ones film. Fury – in a real stretch – plays an up-and coming rocker called Billy Universe; Anna Palk the heiress who he might or might not get together with, and Dennis Price (!) as her overbearing dad.
The Cool Mikado (1962)
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- Andrew Pulver
Michael Winner, the film director, food critic and TV personality famed for his "calm down" Esure adverts, passed away today at the age of 77. Born in Hampstead, London, in 1935, Winner started his career as a showbiz newspaper columnist before moving into filmmaking in the early '60s. Early movies saw him direct Frankie Howerd musical The Cool Mikado and comedy The System, the first of six films in which he worked with Oliver Reed.
- By Simon Reynolds
9 items from 2013
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