Thursday, 4 July 2013

Monthly Mini-Reviews: June

Welcome to another line-up of mini-reviews for your reading pleasure! First up, stretching the definition of what this monthly feature is for, here's a look at something I attended recently...

Return to the Eleventh Hour

Over the weekend I went to my second Doctor Who convention and am pleased to say it was as enjoyable as the first. Whereas the previous one I went to was a celebration of Russel T Davies' Who, featuring guests such as David Tennant and Billie Piper, Eve Myles and Gareth David-Lloyd from Torchwood and Anjli Mohindra from the Sarah Jane Adventures this one was largely dedicated to the Matt Smith era - with two of the headline guests being Madame Vastra and Jenny themselves, Neve Mcintosh and Catrin Stewart. Plus, it seems just because the organisers could, Catherine Tate was also there!
The guests (of which these names are just a selection) were all extremely nice, funny people and my fellow conventioners were also very friendly, coming from a variety of places from across the world. At one point, Karen Gillan was attached to appear at the convention and while I can't deny, as a big Amy Pond fan, that her attendance would have been brilliant, Catherine Tate stole the show all on her own, being incredibly warm and inviting  - and hilarious. Her Q and A session that wrapped up the weekend must be the highlight of the convention. However, close in second place must be the unexpected surprise of Simon Fisher Becker, who played the wily and blue Dorium Maldovar in a string of appearance in the show recently, slipping into character at the event's closing ceremony - as a life-long Doctor Who obsessive himself, he knows what the fans like.

The Dark Knight Returns

For the third year of my Creative Writing degree, I'm studying graphic novels (I know, university's a grueling thing, really) and so in preparation I decided to read that bastion of comic book greats, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns which sees an old Bruce Wayne come out of retirement to clear up Gotham City once and for all. As a fan of the bat from mainly his many forays onto the small and silver screens, it's interesting to read the comic from which both Tim Burton's and Christopher Nolan's film adaptations were inspired. However, none of the films have gone as far as this in its depiction of violence and a very amoral Dark Knight. Personally, I prefer my Batman a little more heroic and the story's primary villains, the Mutants, have none of the show and iconography of many of Batman's other enemies. Having said that, you have to admire Miller's ambition and confidence to take Batman's world and make it his own.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World 
While it is not a superb film, I was left rather fond of this unusual genre-bending sort-of romcom when I saw it for the first time this month. An asteroid is set to hit Earth and while the rest of the world lives it's way to oblivion, Steve Carrel is sitting around, moping after his wife has left him  - until quirky Keira Knightley drops into his life and the pair end up on a road trip to tie up loose threads before the end of the world. It's an intriguing spin on both romantic comedies in general and the usual presentation of the apocalypse; the film explores just how different people really would react if the end was nigh. Although I am not totally convinced by the film's climax, it's lightly funny and occasionally touching and I would recommend a watch, though it might not be good enough to feature on one of those 'films to watch before the world ends'-type of lists.

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