Alan Turing Decoded – A Graphic Novel

Posted in Books, Comics with tags , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2016 by Jess

​Do you ever sit at home and think, “wow i really like reading comics about fictional superheroes who save lives and do extraordinary things…if only i could read these things but for the real heroes!” ? Well, I’ve got you covered

Now if you’ve been following this blog you’ll know i recently delved into the world of the comic book and I’ve not looked back since! Suddenly here was a graphic novel telling the story of one of my favourite people – i got hold of it as soon as i could!

I’ve read quite a few books about Alan Turing (you only have to give his name a quick search on here to see which ones) and they’ve varied massively in accuracy and quality so i was interested to see how this would work. Upon a quick scan of the references in the back of the book and seeing the author’s note about how many years it took to create i started to gain confidence it would do Turing true justice. Even more so when i saw the author, Jim Ottaviani, had written several other comic books around true figures of history and science.

What i loved about this book is how readable it was when it came to Turing’s work. Some of his theories and ideas were explained really nicely so i felt i understood them much more than i have done from reading many pages of blocky words. It’s split into sections of Alan’s life and is a surprisingly quick read. I was quite disjointed in my reading of it – i might have to go back and try for reading it all in a day or two – but i found myself getting through it pretty swiftly.

One piece of advice i would give reading this is try not to get too hung up on where the “narrative” voices are coming from. To explain, the format is such that we see events in Alan’s life told in past tense from others who were there: colleagues, friends, Joan Clarke, his mother and Arnold Murray to name a few. This situation pieces itself together quite early on in that they seem to be being interviewed about Alan specifically.

It starts as almost a separate part to the story and we see new people showing up and taking over the story as it goes along but towards the end, i think once we are settled into how the story is being told, new people just sort of appear and you just have to go with it.

I may have to go back and read it again because maybe it’s me, maybe i missed something since my reading of it was quite spread out.

Sometimes Alan himself will appear and start telling you the narrative. This makes sense early on as it is depicted as his mother’s memory of him, but later it seems to just happen. That and one of the ‘interviewees’ saying the phrase “after i died” were the slightly confusing parts for me. I never felt QUITE clear what that section of the novel was doing.

BUT! That’s a very small detail despite how much i managed to waffle on about it. It does not hinder the story in any way and it is always clear what is happening (though i would like to hear from someone less familiar with Turing’s story and friends if this is still the case for them).

The illustrations are all very quirky and clever! The style wasn’t my absolute favourite at times but i think it worked very well for this story and everyone was recognisable and that’s all you needed really.

A final thing i want to praise is the writing of the conversations inside the stories themselves. I know (as i recognised them) some factual quotes and wordings from letters were used in these conversations but the majority were made up. Considering we obviously have no idea what was actually said and they are largely formed to aid the telling of the story, it is amazing how realistic and plausible they sound.

It is a really wonderful graphic novel and i would definitely recommend it to well versed Turing fans and those who are new to him – to everyone! It brings the big moments of Alan’s life together so beautifully whilst weaving in enough to give us a bigger picture and a sense of his character. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for other works by Jim Ottaviani in the future! 

“This doesn’t make any sense”

Posted in Comics, Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2016 by Jess

“Not everything does. Not everything has to.”

Freakin’ love that line. Right i know i’m a bit slow but SDCC weekend coincided with family staying for the weekend and since then i’ve mostly been completely exhausted but i really wanted to write about the new Doctor Strange trailer!!

I’m just going to go through basically with some screencaps (it’s amazing how much you need a moving image to get the full impact of most moments in this trailer but it’ll’ll know what i’m on about) and comment.

Also you really need to get this trailer up on a big screen in HD and pause every second of it to get its full impact. I had only watched it on my phone until just now. Fantastic!



I absolutely love the emphasis on his hands throughout. Establishing their importance to his tale with such simple every day things but really beautiful shots, especially here as he’s scrubbing up for surgery we can see how important his hands are to his work and life….until they’re smashed to bits.


Not a great shot here, one of those where you really need a video or gif to do it justice but you’ll recognise it if you’ve seen the trailer. I absolutely love this kaleidoscope thing they’re using to represent the hundreds of different dimensions that they can tap into. It’s a bit like look these are existing here all at once and if you use energy and magic the way we do then you can see them.

In the comics, thinking of the most recent serious specifically, there is quite a bit showing us Dr Strange walking around the streets near his home and where everyone else sees nothing he sees all these other worldly creatures existing in the different dimensions and he’s often fighting things off that could come in and cause damage to this one. If i remember correctly each dimension has its own sorcerer supreme (the title of which dear Stevie shall eventually inherit) and they’re sort of holding everything together in ways us normal folk wouldn’t even notice.


This i’m fairly sure is The Ancient One judging by the yellow cape (see a previous post for a bit more here) and the build of this person. Plus i think if you pause the trailer in the correct place you can see her face a bit but anyway. Again we’re seeing examples of this layered and kaleidoscope effect they’re using to warp dimensions and reality. A bit later in this shot you also get the image behind her of people walking past and paying zero attention to this happening which suggests it is a sort of “you can’t see it unless you’re doing it/part of it” sort of thing.


Now this is interesting! Bit of a Catherine wheel thing going on. Judging by the couple of quick shots in this trailer this is their way of visualising their travel from place to place. I’m interested to see more about this because the yellow glow certainly has an air of the astral projection we saw in the teaser trailer (and i hope we see more of in the film). Plus in the comics i believe Strange can only travel this way when he his in his astral form weaving between dimensions of reality.

Maybe this will be a different thing to that in the film, or maybe it will be this film’s version of their travel instead of glowing yellow Stephen flying through the air. I suppose we can only wait and see. The fact that we saw the projection in the previous trailer at least shows it will exist so i’m interested to see the choices made here!

I suppose in terms of film practicality, you can’t really mirror the comics in that a lot of his inter-dimensional fighting is done as his projection and his “body” is sort of left in a coma somewhere (though if i remember correctly he is still doing these things as his full self in the more recent comics) so it makes much more sense practically to have the actors as their full selves for the majority of the time or it’d be overkill of CGI and green screen!


Cool shot here of Strange learning to use the magic. I love how the rune shapes travel up his arm too! Really excited to see the magic elements and how they are explained! If i remember from parts of the comics there seems to be the idea that there is magic everywhere and in everything but only select people can access it and bend it to their will…enter Super Steve!

I love these shapes they’re using i think they really fit well with the course of learning the art of this magic and showing its ancient routes and not just blasting streams of light out of their fingers.


Mordo here saying “there’s a strength to him”, which i think is a good lead into the fact we know Strange will become the top gun sorcerer supreme etc. We see there are many people here in this…village or wherever they are..and they are all trying to learn these arts but seems Stephen Strange is surprising people and getting top of the class. Mordo may not be very pleased about this, he is definitely one of the most ambiguous characters so far for me. From the comics we know him as Strange’s top enemy but he seems to start out (since he is also a pupil of The Ancient One) as a mentor and a friend. Maybe once he sees Strange getting ahead he won’t be so pleased. I’m going to mention him again later.


Our first look at Wong! At San Diego Comic Con Benedict Wong (who plays Wong) told us that from the beginning he wasn’t really happy with the idea of Wong being this man-servant tea-maker he seems to be in the comics. Well, he is quite a bit more than that but i can understand they want him to be more of an ally and less of a servant.

I mostly reference comics Wong as Strange’s ninja chef. It seems he will be part of training and guiding Stephen at the start of his journey. I’ve never been too sure of where Wong first came into the story but i know they go on to be fast friends. Obviously we won’t see the relationship at that level this early on but i’m excited to see the interaction between the two of them.


I swear this isn’t an excuse to bring in a screencap of shirtless Strange (mostly) i actually wanted to comment on his beard! At the start of this shot we see him dabbing his face with a towel (yeah i could have screenshot that bit but….) which i believe implies he’s sorted his little beard out – a rather defining feature of Strange’s. At SDCC Cumberbatch did talk about Strange and his beard and implied that it represented how mentally okay he was. Along with probably losing quite a lot of the physical ability needed for a close shave in damaging his hands, Stephen tends to pretty much give up on everything that doesn’t involve fixing himself including, apparently, personal grooming. It’s fun to watch the trailer through and put the different shots in a timeline depending on the length of his facial hair.


Now, Mr Creepy-Eyes Mikkelsen. I’m sitting here with my face against the screen analysing his look but i can’t quite see the effect they’re trying to show as of yet. It’s almost reptilian but also seems like a broken surface. Mads is apparently playing a character called Kaecilius. I am completely unfamiliar with this character so i’ve just looked him up. (Be aware here, i don’t know how much, if at all, they will use the story outlined in this character page but if you’re staying clear of potential plot-lines be wary of reading that link and the section i’m about to write).

The link explains that Kaecilius is a minion of Baron Mordo – which would explain why he is also skilled in their magic and the warping of reality as we see him doing in the trailer. Unclear at this point if they will link him to Mordo or just have him as a former pupil of the Ancient One gone rogue. (This is the mentioning Mordo again i was talking about). It will be interesting to see if Mordo is secretly on side with this guy, or whether he picks him up after the events of this film, or if they link them at all. I would think it is safe to assume Mordo will eventually become a villain if we have more Dr Strange films in the future so maybe Kaecilius will have a part in that.


Night Nurse hello! Now, Rachel McAdams is playing Christine Palmer aka Night Nurse. I am personally only familiar with Night Nurse having read “The Oath” series of Doctor Strange comics (highly recommend). Reading this character page in the link and a few other things it sounds like the film will do the, sensible and practical, thing of merging a few bits and pieces together to have Christine in Stephen Strange’s life when he is a doctor.

In “The Oath” Night Nurse has a clinic which she runs especially for the care of superheroes (so you can rely on discretion) and Wong takes Strange their after a shooting. I think it is implied in this series that they had not met before this but i can’t fully be sure. But, as i say, having her in his hospital makes sense in this film and if she gets to witness the Stephen before and after his magical awakening then it would also be a good explanation of how she ended up with this clinic.

This shot here, initially i was unsure whether Strange was injured or whether he was in one of his projection comas (if you read “The Oath” there is a scene that looks very similar to this indeed…with his cloak sitting patiently in a chair in the corner…) but upon closer inspection she does seem to be holding a defibrillator so i imagine she’s not just using that for fun.


I’m nearly done i promise. I’m actually just including this because i paused the video randomly on this shot and i thought ohhh there’s Strange and Kaecilius I wonder if they are in the Sanctum Santorum here judging by the surroundings. Strange getting the fireworks going there. The sort of whip effect we see in this shot in the trailer is one of my favourites. Super cool.


Same with this shot really just a random observation. We can see Mr Red Cloak down on the straight there possibly having it out with Kaecilius. I also can’t decide if that’s Mordo looking down on them from the left. But this shot is absolutely bonkers. The visuals in this film are going to be way into the ‘mind blowing’ territory for sure. If you watch this shot in full the building around them seem to reverse from destroyed into okay again. Wowsa.


The CLOAK! Anyone else make a sort of whale-like noise when they saw this shot? Super smooth badass-ness on the highest level. I’m really excited to see how they have the cloak. It clearly possesses some sort of power of its own as it seems to be somewhat symbolic and not just treated as a piece of clothing. There are references in the comics of the cloak “hiding” and it sometimes gets itself involved in fights and things so i’m really interested to see if it has any sort of “personality” (for lack of a better word) in the film or whether it’s just there to help him fly and be powerful…which would also be pretty ace.

I feel like the totally effortless swish we see here may indicate the former but maybe i’m just reading into it a bit too closely! We shall see.


There is no other reason for me posting this screen-cap other than to say:

Just look at that.

The kaleidoscope “between dimensions” thing is out in full force here in what i assume is New York. Fabulous.


Final point! Good to see a little insertion of a funny scene in the trailer to show it’s not all going to be super serious and doom and gloom. It is a Marvel film after all and the well integrated humour is one of my favourite things about them. Plus from what I’ve read (and what Benedict Cumberbatch has told us) Dr Strange is a super sassy and funny guy.

Right i’ll shut up now. Off to watch the trailer 1000 more times!

Welcome to the fun house

Posted in Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2016 by Jess

I really want to give some love to “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”. As a fan of Martin Freeman I’ve been following this film through production, with its multiple titles changes and endless pushing back of the release date.

My local cinema is fairly large and will often get even the small little screenings making their way around the country. For this film, my cinema had showings available for 1 week – sometimes twice a day, sometimes once and on some days not at all.

I saw this film with my dad and he (being completely impartial based on actors involved) really enjoyed it and couldn’t understand why more hadn’t been made of it.

I don’t know how these decisions are made and how popular it was in America. I saw pretty much zero advertising over here in the UK and it was released in America early March, so the buzz had plenty of time to fade away which was a shame.

There’s a good chance if you haven’t seen it by now you may have missed your chance in the cinema but it’ll be making its way out onto DVD in the near future and I am taking this opportunity to highly recommend it to you!

The film sees Tina Fey playing journalist Kim Baker who is transferred from her unfulfilling life and job in America to be a war reporter in Kabul, Afghanistan. Based on a true story (and a book written by the real Kim Barker – name ever so slightly changed) we follow her story as she adjusts to life in Afghanistan. Struggling to get a worthy news story now that the focus on war has moved to other parts of the world, Kim also quickly gets quite addicted to the adrenaline rush of putting herself in dangerous situations – which comes with its own risks and rewards.

You get a bit of everything with WTF (yep…if you haven’t clicked by now, that is the joke). It’s mostly labelled as a comedy and it is very funny but also deals with some serious subjects and there are some heart-warming moments where you truly see and feel for the characters involved.

There is a great cast involved! Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman (if, like me, you are a fan of his you will definitely want to see this. He is brilliant and beautiful and Scottish), Alfred Molina, Billy Bob Thornton (really funny and brilliant as always) to name a few. I was less familiar with Christopher Abbott but I wanted to give him a mention because he was very good indeed. Lovely character.

So, yes, please do see it if you get the chance. It deserves more love and attention than it has received. I’m quite interested to read the book myself now too!

What I desire is man’s red fire to make my dream come true

Posted in Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2016 by Jess

I was searching my brain trying to remember if we’d had another live action Disney film before but I remembered we did have “Cinderella” last year which I heard was good. We’ve got “Beauty and the Beast” coming up next year that’s sure to be a great one. I know we had “Snow White and the Huntsman” but that didn’t really follow the cartoon so much. But anyway.

Jungle Book! I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from this film. I know it had an all-star cast and the trailers looked pretty exciting, but I mostly went I blind. I really, really enjoyed it!!

It’s a PG rating and warns of “mild threat”. I suppose more personal recommendation would be to check it out first before showing it to quite young children. I mean I’m fairly wussy but I think the threat level reached above just “mild” more than once.

It was funnier than I expected it to be, Bill Murray’s Baloo took care of most of that but there were giggles from most angles.

I thought the CGI was absolutely fantastic. For a film that is 90% talking animals it never once felt fake or over the top. The animals were all very realistic looking, though King Louis looked like his parents were made up of an orangutan and King Kong. He was HUGE! I mean, it was pretty cool but quite odd after seeing all the animals at a fairly standard size.

A highlight for me actually was the score. A couple of songs from the cartoon were snuck in which was fun but just within the general score itself they drew upon the melodies and instruments from the animated film and those sections really stood out for me and gave me a nostalgic vibe.

My hat goes off to Neel Sethi who played Mowgli. He did a really fantastic job, especially being so young and surrounded by CGI. He seamlessly fit into the digital world around him. I’d be interested to see exactly how they filmed with him to be honest, like his conversations with the animals and leaping through the jungle.

Finally, there were naturally a few adjustments to the story, mostly regarding the roles of man and fire. The ending took a bit of a turning around too but I was personally quite happy to see it done that way.

Wales Comic Con

Posted in Other with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2016 by Jess

This is a bit of a random post, but I just thought on the off-chance there is someone scouring the internet wanting to see if this con is any good before attending, here is my two cents.

I’ve been to this convention 3 times now: November 2014, November 2015 and April of this year. I’m not sure how long it’s been running but for my first visit I only heard about it accidentally from a friend. I can see even in the short time I’ve known about it, it has massively upped its game.

They seem to have part 1 (April) and part 2 (November) each year. I believe April of this year was the first time they have spread the event across an entire weekend.

As you can expect with any comic con, once you’re there it’s all a bit manic and there’s quite a bit of queuing and squeezing through crowds but overall it’s a really wonderful atmosphere. It takes place at Glyndwr University in Wrexham so events are spread across the campus. This means, although it’s still busy, the chaos is at least dispersed quite nicely and there is always room for a breather somewhere.

For such a “small” place in comparison to the big cities like Liverpool and Manchester in the North West region, I think it does tremendously well on guests. I’m a huge Hobbit/LOTR fan and I’ve met a good number of the cast there including: Billy Boyd, Sylvester McCoy, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, Ryan Gage and more! Last month I also got to see Miriam Margoyles which was all kinds of fabulous.

They have all sorts there. At the autograph tables you can take something you’ve brought yourself or pick from the prints available to be signed. I think photos and autographs are very reasonably priced, especially in comparison to some conventions you see these days, and they’ve recently started including the option of a selfie at the autograph tables.

Of course all guests are different. What you get for one may not be the same with another.

The main hall they use for talks is a good size and there’s usually plenty of room for everyone! Beware though; you can’t go in once it’s started. Not sure why, maybe too much disruption.

My only small issue is the printing of the photos. You are given a waiting time of 2 hours before you can come back and collect your photo. This April I think a combination of their first weekend, technical issues with the printers and some really popular guests made this experience generally a bit manic. But it all worked out in the end. Plus I hear they are looking into moving over to instant printing so fingers crossed there!


Posted in Books, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2016 by Jess

You’ll have to forgive me I’m a little late in getting this post up. It’s now been a little while since I read the book. For some reason I was under the impression I’d already written about it.

‘Instrumental’ is classical pianist James Rhodes’ story of horrific sexual abuse as a child, the impact this had on the rest of his life and how his love of music helped him through these difficult times. It is as much a celebration of classical music and the effect it can have on a person as it is about what it means to go through such abuse and to facing mental and physical health problems at such a level.

I suppose the thing with this book is that I could sit here and tell you all about the story and what happens but my attempt would be doing it a disservice. The way the book is written is a lot like hearing James actually talk. He has a way of communicating these difficult subjects that really makes you listen and understand. He knows what he’s talking about. He is funny, self-depreciating and honest, often brutally so, but you feel the necessity of this in every word.

It’s a heavy read at times, I won’t lie, but there are rays of humour and happiness and positivity that shine through in the form of Rhodes’ friends, family (especially his son) and music.

There were issues for a while in getting the book published because Rhode’s ex-wife tried to prevent it as she feared it would somehow harm their young son. I remember hearing about it all in a conversation between James and Stephen Fry just a short time after the Supreme Court has ruled in his favour. What a terribly tough thing to have to go through on top of everything else. I can only hope that James knows how brilliant this book is and how much it has helped many; many people and I hope that it was all worth it.

I do understand the concerns, of course I do. I would probably be extremely upset if I read about my dad going through such things. Whatever age I was it would hurt me. On the other hand, these feelings exist and horrible things happen. If things weren’t allowed to be in the public domain every time they might possibly cause someone a bit of distress then we’d never have anything. It is so important these things be spoken about. In an ideal world they would never have to be discussed but when these actions and emotions are subject to such a huge level of stigma I can do nothing but applaud the bravery and selflessness of anyone who helps to oppose that.

Plus, personally, what absolutely stood out for me is how much Rhodes loves his son. The idea that someone could read it and think he would intentionally cause even the slightest bit of harm is simply baffling to me.

I have not experienced mental health issues to the extent written about in this book by any means, but I have, and still do, experience them.

I think James and I are almost polar opposite in our response to these feelings. He seemed to travel almost willingly down the road of self-destruction whereas I am about self-preservation to the point of ridiculous. At some points I felt it almost impossible to imagine feeling the way he described. I simply could not get my head around it probably because I am subconsciously wired in the opposite direction. But, most importantly, I believed him. I believed undoubtedly that he felt this way and thought these things whether I felt it was possible or not – because I know how wonky brains can get. That alone was enough. Plus I think that is an important message here – just because you might not understand it doesn’t mean it’s not real.

I am verging on rudely ignorant when it comes to classical music but I would absolutely jump at the chance to see Rhodes perform (well, agoraphobia pending). His relaxed, welcoming approach and wildly infectious enthusiasm for his work will be bringing in audiences from all walks of life for years to come and, fortunately for the world, that is the plan it seems!

I really don’t feel like this post has been very coherent. It’s quite late and my brain has stopped being useful for the evening so here, have a summary:

  • Book is brilliant
  • Book is emotional, honest, funny and powerful
  • Book gives serious education about mental health
  • Book gives fun, enthusiastic education about classical music
  • Book has Spotify playlist. Yeah – check that out
  • James Rhodes is one of the loveliest people ever
  • Go read book.

I cannot say I have been affected by music in the ways James Rhodes describes, but I certainly know what it’s like to have something that brings so much joy and strength that is has helped me through difficult times and has, at times, absolutely been my saviour.

Never be ashamed of what you love. If it makes you happy, if it gives you a reason to get up in the morning and go out and do things that your wonky brain thinks are impossible then you grab it! Cling to it, love it, keep it and don’t let anybody take that love away from you.

You do not choose your destiny, it chooses you.

Posted in TV with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2016 by Jess

When I saw this advertise I decided I’d give it a go. When “Heroes” was on I absolutely loved it. Well, series 1 and 2 anyway. I think we can all agree after that it pretty much died a tragic death.

Maybe I should re-watch “Heroes” now that I’ve seen this series. There were moments when I’d see something and know it was a reference to the original show but couldn’t remember what it meant. I do think that you definitely don’t have to have seen “Heroes” to understand “Heroes Reborn”, you’d just know a couple of the characters in advance. But it’s all explained anyhow.

I have to say; considering my expectations weren’t very high (I’d been told already that it was cancelled after series 1) I really started to get into it as time went on.

I thought it was all a bit “X-Men” but with ‘Evos’ (not sure how that’s spelt) instead of mutants. But starting this way was a much better idea after what had happened with “Heroes”. More and more people developing powers in the original series just got out of hand and a bit dull whereas if you start by saying there is already this divide – it doesn’t make the main characters seem less significant every time you find another Evo.

Starting with the new characters! My favourites were Ren (how adorable is he?!) and Luke (once he broke off from his wife – how much of a total psycho was she by the way?! Woah). I thought they were all interesting as characters and loved all their stories. Tommy annoyed me a bit for a while but he grew on me. I also like that they kept the smart move they made in the original series which was having a few different stories that all wove together without it getting too crowded and complicated.

Returning characters! I loved that it was centred a lot on Noah. I really like him as a character. It was so funny that they obviously couldn’t get Hayden back as Claire but they attempted to squeeze her in there for a while however they could.

Matt. Well. I was so disappointed in Matt. He was one of my favourites in the original series and he’d gone all bad-guy. I suppose his power does lend itself to evil deeds though. Wish we’d seen a proper conclusion for him though.

Biggest shout-out goes to Hiro! I was SO pleased to see him and I absolutely adore him. He’s so smart but still adorable and his role in this story was really brilliant.

Overall I really enjoyed “Heroes Reborn” and thought it was an interesting story. A few confusing bits at times but it’s super-people with gifts including entering a gaming dimension and time travel so it’s fairly expected.

It’s a shame it’s not going to be renewed for another series though they did the smart thing of setting it up. But on the other hand quite a few of the characters who made it joyful for me won’t be around for more so, pros and cons.

“Okay, anybody on our side hiding any shocking and fantastic abilities they’d like to disclose?”

Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2016 by Jess

Captain America: Civil War! During the promotion and advertising of this it was very much about Cap vs Iron Man and i was faintly starting to wonder why it was specifically a Captain America film but upon seeing it and learning more and seeing how related to Bucky it was i understood and i really, really enjoyed it!

When people asked me how it was i found myself saying, “it was quite long..i think” because i believe technically it was. But it needed to be and i wanted it to be. I remember having a slight moment of realising i’d been watching the film for quite a long time and there was still quite a lot left to wrap up but, sign of a good film, i was quite happy to sit there for the rest of the day to see everything come to its conclusion. Really got into it.

Now THE big question of this film seemed to, apparently, be Team Cap or Team Iron Man. I went in completely unbiased and had no idea of my choice, i came out Team Cap. Though as everyone has said, both sides have strong arguments. I think the main contributors to my decision were:

  1. technically they were right in the end in defending Bucky.
  2. Like i get wanting to reduce the amount of collateral damage but my feeling is either the Avengers pop in and make the least amount of mess possible, or the bad guys wade in and just make things terrible for everyone or whatever they want to do. (Alright sometimes their exposure INVITES challenge but they didn’t start it!)
  3. Ant-Man. I mean…he was just hilarious i adore him.

I do like you Tony it’s okay bro we cool.

Quite convenient of course that Thor and Hulk were AWOL but i don’t think it’s an unrealistic situation. A bit sad for me because Thor would have determined my team really. Team Thor all the way.

Who do you think they would have sided with? I think Bruce probably would have bunked with Iron Man. Though Natasha hinted at one point she didn’t think so if i remember correctly? Maybe the idea of not wanting to cause any damage would be overridden by not wanting to have to become “the other guy” whenever the government said so.

Thor…is difficult. I imagine him a bit “I ANSWER TO NO HUMAN I AM A GOD” but he is a careful soul. Hm. Well, if i ever come across Stan Lee i’ll ask him. Maybe he’s been asked. Maybe it’s in the comics and i’m sounding like a total ignoramus right now but hey ho. (Speaking of Stan Lee – one of the best cameos so far…brilliant).

Also leading on from Thor and Hulk i was quite glad we saw someone (aka Scarlet Witch) was capable of going up against Vision. I didn’t know the whole connection between them before going in and when contemplating teams i spent a lot of time thinking “seriously though surely Vision will just wipe the floor with everyone?” but there we are. Plus, infinity stone reference weyhey! (See i’m totally getting to grips with things now. Jess and Marvel are becoming fast friends).

Hat tip to our new boys! Black Panther – so much yes. He is awesome. Plus when you took the whole misdirected revenge thing out of him he was so lovely and grounded. I look forward to his stand-alone movie (also part of me is clinging to the whispers that this may involve more of Everett Ross – Martin Freeman’s character. Please and thank you). Spidey! Welcome to the Marvel MCU my lad. Now part of me did think “ANOTHER Spidey really?”, but i really liked him. He’s such a cute kid and i think he really captures the essence of ‘normal kid gets super-power and just wants to do good’. Also a take on Aunt May we’ve not really seen before. Interesting.

Final word to Daniel Brühl (sorry i just have to say i’m so excited i remembered the keyboard shortcut for that ü on my first go having not used it for a good few years..thank you German A Level). I am very much a fan of Brühl i enjoy watching him in many a thing. I like that his “villain” was emotionally motivated and clever about it. He knew his limits and knew a smart way to go about it. I mean obviously preferably he wouldn’t be blinded by revenge in the first place but his character really fit in with the story of the film and allowed them to have an opposing figure without him seeming like a random bad guy who wants to rule things.

You could say there wasn’t really a villain at all in this film (i give it to Zimo because he did needlessly kill people as part of getting what he wanted) and it worked out brilliantly. Much better than the likes of Iron Man 3 (i think) and The Amazing Spiderman 2 that just throw random bad guys in left right and centre. Marvel take note of yourself.

An open letter to everyone who has a problem with a member of the acting profession having an opinion about politics and other things in general:

Posted in Other with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2016 by Jess

A little bit off the norm but i’ve been stirred into writing this in order to stop myself having a pointless argument with a lot of people on twitter. It’s come about because today it was revealed that 250 “cultural” stars (film/music etc) have signed an open letter that backs Britain staying in the European Union.

Naturally it’s all the rage to grab one of the most popular names out of that list and write 1000 articles about it making it all about them. Clickbait lowered, page views secured. What the hell else is new.

I am not writing this as a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch (even mentioning this probably discredits me immediately to some but believe it or not i am open-minded, hopefully reasonably intelligent and certainly capable of a negative or opposing opinion of someone i admire) i am writing this as a nobody person with a brain.

Actually, maybe i can’t speak for 249 of the people on that list..maybe they are completely up themselves and think we all need to listen to them because they’re famous and totally important (is Kanye West on that list? I haven’t checked..i doubt it) but i have followed the work of Cumberbatch to an extent for a reasonable amount of time so in fact maybe it does earn me a slightly knowledgeable opinion about him.

Also i’m not going to tell you my opinion on brexit because it makes absolutely no difference to what i’m about to say. It’s not about my opinion (though i am not of the acting profession or indeed currently of any profession so at least that means you may listen to me).

General overview, or statement if you will: Benedict Cumberbatch is a smart, educated person who has lived in this country for nearly 40 years (and has only been well known for about 5 or 6 of those) and has as much knowledge and right to an opinion as everyone else does.

In fact, have any of you actually ever heard the man speak? He’s a wise owl is that one, very intelligent. He knows a damn sight more than i (and probably quite a lot of people) do about politics and the world in general, but if i went on the news and stated my opinion i’d more likely be taken seriously. Seriously me and politics and all of that stuff, we don’t get on, but it’s okay because i’m just an every day person so i must know more.

Why should profession make any difference? The government is smashing down on the arts industry just like everything else. You wouldn’t ask what right does a builder have to voice their opinion or a dentist or an accountant! Acting is a profession why does it make them any less knowledgeable?! All of this “they don’t live in the real world” bulls**t i’m sorry but please remove your head from your narrow-minded, over-generalising bubble and have a look at the world. There’s people in almost every profession just as “posh” and educated as Cumberbatch but it’s okay for them to say what they want.

Indeed, we’ll listen to bloody tosh-waffling politicians with a personal agenda attached to every word that comes out of their mouth about every bloody issue in the country and it’s the norm.

Anyway, i’m not saying it’s all ignorance. I imagine the majority of those complaining are against what he says and are upset he will be listened to as a popular and well respected person. all i can say. Last time i checked, Cumberbatch didn’t hijack a news crew and share his view with the world himself. He’s not personally asked to be listened to. He agreed with something other people agree with. I mean are you seriously surprised this is a thing? Are you telling me that having well known people endorse a certain thing or idea doesn’t make a difference because i’m fairly sure the entire world pretty much runs on that. OBVIOUSLY the press are going to make a thing of it, just like they tell us when any fairly well known person has a view on a hot topic.

Disagree with him, or indeed anyone, as much as you want. Be free be happy and merry in your opinions. But if your best argument at discrediting Cumberbatch’s view is that he’s an actor, you’re going to have to try a bit harder than that.

War is a spectator sport

Posted in Books, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2016 by Jess

It’s been a little while since The Night Manager BBC series reached its conclusion here in the UK but i see it still making its way around the globe so i figured i wasn’t too late to write about it here.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into all detailed spoilers. Mostly because I’m writing this on my phone and don’t have a lot of time but if i don’t do it now i never will.

Based on the book by John Le Carre (Writer of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy among others) of the same name, it’s an absolutely gripping tale with lots of twists and turns and a general feeling of never quite knowing who to trust. The author makes a brief cameo in the series too, that was amusing.

“The Night Manager” as a title makes me giggle a little bit because, as muchnas that is where our lead character, Jonathan Pine, starts off…he isn’t one for very long.

Pine finds himself accidentally caught up in a plot to bring down a very rich and powerful criminal and weapons dealer that has been avoiding punishment for a long time.

The cast alone brought me to watch this show. Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Coleman, David Harewood, Alistair Petrie, Tom Hollander and brief appearances from Jonathan Aris and Neil Morrisey.

Quite male dominated…and i believe they changed Olivia Coleman’s character from the book so that she was a woman instead of a man. But there is the lesser known (to me anyway) face of Elizabeth Debicki playing Jed. One of the lead roles, she is extremely good.

The whole cast is absolutely fantastic and personally Hugh Laurie was the absolute stand out performance for me. So charming and British yet so subtly evil and manipulative and potentially violent. You always felt like you never knew if he was lying or not and that you didn’t want to cross him.

There’s a certain moment in the last episode where he just gives a TERRIFYING look that says “you are in SO much s**t right now”. It’s brilliant.

Lots of ‘edge of your seat’ moments so prepare to feel the tension.

Also, shallow moment, if you’re a Tom Hiddleston fan – it’s an almost constant treat for the eyes. I mean, he’s a fabulous actor of course..but yeah.