‘An Idiot Abroad’ is the book that accompanies the excellent TV series of the same name that saw Karl Pilkington, a not very well travelled Englishman, being sent abroad to visit some of the wonders of the world.
As I have mentioned before (indeed it won ’Best Factual’ in my TV Awards in 2010) the series was great fun and it definitely did show you a different side to the wonders of the world.
Told from Karl’s perspective the book gives you some further insight into just what was going through his mind while all this madness was going on around him. Whether it’s the Pyramids or the Taj Mahal, you can guarantee it won’t be a straight forward affair – especially as it’s Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant that are planning the trips for him.
So if you’ve seen Karl in action on TV already, do you need to check out this book?
Unfortunately, almost all of the best bits of the book will be stuff you’ve already seen which obviously dampens the impact and to some extent the enjoyment of them.
I wouldn’t recommend reading ‘An Idiot Abroad’ if you’ve seen the show however for those of you with no plans to view it, this is a good, solid read that is worth checking out.
Ah, Shadows Of The Damned… a cautionary tale for makers of games everywhere. If your publisher doesn’t market your game *at all* there could be trouble ahead.
Releasing in the traditionally quiet period of June with no fanfare at all (I don’t recall seeing a single ad anywhere) Shadows Of The Damned is a third person shooter with hints of Resident Evil and a completely deranged plot to boot. Marketed properly it could’ve cleaned up.
But it wasn’t. And it’s sold 120,000 units since release, which is pretty poor. As a comparison Rage, which is (apparently as I’m yet to play it) an average game that has been marketed everywhere, notched up over 600,000 units in A WEEK!
And that’s the best comparison I can think of because Shadows Of The Damned is not a bad game. It’s a few hours too long but is generally fun to play.
You take on the role of Garcia Hotspur – demon hunter – as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend Paula from the clutches of a demon in hell.
My main problem was the marmite humour – it’s very much a case of lowest common denominator. While there were a few funny moments the fact that one of his weapons is called ‘The Boner’ says it all really.
The actual story was interesting and eventually asked some great questions – which I’m guessing we’ll now never find out about due to the poor sales of this title.
And that is a sad state of affairs – Shadows Of The Damned might not be the best game I’ve played this year but it was something different and by the time I got to the end I would’ve been tempted to pick up a sequel had one been announced.
Hot Rod tells the story of Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg), an amateur stuntman who dreams of breaking into the big time and proving his stunt credentials to his stepfather, Frank (Ian McShane) to gain his respect.
Rod’s crew consists solely of his friends and despite their best efforts he hasn’t been able to land any jumps so far.
Soon enough his old neighbour Denise (Isla Fisher) returns home and love sick Rod invites her to join the team. When Frank falls ill Rod decides to do a huge stunt to raise funds.
Hot Rod was originally written with Will Ferrell in mind but ended up as a Lonely Island project, with the members of that taking over the main roles.
This is one of those films like Old School or Anchorman but it just doesn’t have that quality of comedy. That’s not to say this is because Ferrell isn’t involved but while amusing in places Hot Rod just didn’t spark with me.
There are some decent performances – Ian McShane, Isla Fisher and Bill Hader do well with what they’re given and Samberg isn’t bad in the main role but I just didn’t think this movie came together well enough to impress.
Hot Rod definitely isn’t a bad film. It’s an average comedy in the vein of Napoleon Dynamite or Stepbrothers. Your enjoyment of it will probably depend on how much you like those types of comedies but there are plenty of better examples (including the four mentioned in this review) that I’d recommend instead.
And so the festive season comes to a close and there were plenty of seasonal movies at the box office.
One of the few I’ve seen is Nativity, starring The Office’s Martin Freeman as Mr Maddens, a washed up actor who teaches primary school kids in one of the worst schools in the area.
To make things worse his girlfriend left him to become a director in Hollywood and his old acting rival is a teacher at the best rated school up the road.
Mr Maddens is tasked with putting on this year’s Nativity, despite a scathing review in the local paper of his last attempt. With the help of classroom assistant Mr Poppy he aims to put on the best Nativity ever.
An overheard lie however throws a spanner in the works and soon everything thinks Hollywood is coming to watch their Nativity.
This is a really nice little film with lots of Christmas spirit – the kids are the stars and steal the show from the grown ups but Freeman just about holds his own and let’s the kids get on with it.
Obviously if you hate Christmas and small children then avoid at all costs but if you’re in the mood for some festive fun then you should definitely check this film out.
2009 has been a good year for comedies in my opinion, with great films like Zombieland, Role Models and I Love You, Man. Now I can add The Hangover to this years comedy greats.
Telling the story of stag trip to Las Vegas it’s the story of the groom Doug, two of his friends and his slightly eccentric (soon to be) brother in law.
After starting their night up on the roof of the hotel with some drinks we then cut to them waking up in their trashed room, nursing horrific hangovers and having no idea what happened the previous night.
The Hangover’s comedy isn’t sophisticated but it is occasionally subtle and always very funny.
Stand out role here is Zach Galifianakis as brother in law Alan. Having previously only seen him as the sedate Davis on TV show Tru Calling it was fantastic to see such a performance from him. His line about having found a baby before in a Coffee Bean coffeehouse had me in stitches for ages.
Strong performances from all the leads make sure the film never feels too outlandish and it retains that kind of ‘I’ve done similar (or could’ve done) when I’ve been drunk’ mentality for the audience.
The film is a very funny one and is definitely something everyone should check out. Be warned however that this is adult humour and if you’re offended by swearing, nudity and general crudeness then you’d be well advised to leave your sensibilities at the door.
Lots of the lines are quotable and with an almost throwaway soundtrack that perfectly compliments, but never takes away from, the action onscreen The Hangover is a well packaged film.
Paul Rudd is fast becoming one of my favourite actors.
Films such as Role Models, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Anchorman and even old skool classic Clueless have seen him cement the kind of reputation that I will base seeing a film on.
His run of great films continues with ‘I Love You, Man’ – the most accurate description of which was the term ‘Bromance’ that was coined by someone when the movie hit screens earlier this year.
This film is essentially a love story. Man looks for companion, takes them on dates until he finds one then gets to know them better. Except both characters are men
Peter Klaven (Rudd) gets engaged to his girlfriend and then realises he doesn’t have a male friend who can be his best man.
He sets about trying to find a friend he can ask before he gets married and after some memorable encounters ends up befriending Sydney Fyfe (Jason Segel).
The film plays out around their new found friendship but is treated like a love story of sorts, which just adds to the comedy value.
I won’t spoil anything here but as you can imagine there are plenty of laughs in the various situations they end up in and the way that their relationship takes off.
The two leading men have such a great chemistry that you can’t help but love them despite their faults.
I Love You, Man is a great film that plays on our pre-conceived notions of rom-com movies and flips them 180 degrees.