Anton van Beek  |  May 16, 2011  |  0 comments

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is a must-see for any fan of the undead. Coming from the same channel that gave us Mad Men and overseen by Frank ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ Darabont, this adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s award-winning comic book is probably the best thing to feature the living dead since Romero’s original zombie trilogy. This is truly adult horror; an intelligent and intense show that focuses as much on the everyday horrors the survivors must endure as it does on flesh-eating corpses. Of course, if you are just here for the zombies, then rest that it also packs more gore and thrills into its six episodes than all of the Resident Evil films put together.

Anton van Beek  |  May 14, 2011  |  0 comments

Family Guy's tenth season provides another 15 episodes of animated chaos featuring the misadventures of the Peter Griffin and his family. Highlights this time around include abortion-themed Partial Terms of Endearment (which was initially banned from broadcast in the US and ended up making its worldwide TV debut on BBC Three last June), the 150th episode special Brian & Stewie (a smart two-hander featuring the popular dog and baby pairing trapped in a bank vault) and the surprisingly dramatic 55min murder-mystery special And Then There Were Fewer (which actually kills off some of the supporting cast). Like always, the show's mix of gross-out gags, gross stupidity, desire to offend and pop culture spoofs make it an acquired taste - but if you've stuck with the show this far then you won't be disappointed.

Anton van Beek  |  May 02, 2011  |  0 comments

The Twilight Zone: Season 1 does a spectacular job of demonstrating why this 50-year old TV series had such a lasting impression on all who watched it. Hosted by creator Rod Serling, this half-hour sci-fi anthology series lived up to its promise of transporting its adult viewers to ‘a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man… This is the dimension of imagination’, one where anything could happen and usually did. What stands out today (about from how well made the show was) is how marvellously subversive it all was, mixing its thrills and chills with liberal doses of social criticism that somehow bypassed the TV censors of the time.

Ed Selley  |  May 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Little PJ with big ideas This budget full HD projector has much to recommend it, says Martin Pipe

The W1000+ can be yours for roughly the same amount as you’d pay for a good 40in TV. And none can offer the same big- screen thrills. The machine is capable of casting a 300in image thanks to the high output of its optical engine.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 19, 2011  |  0 comments

Away from the multiplayer arena, fans of first-person shooters have had a pretty tough time of it recently. The short-lived campaign modes served up by high profile releases like Call of Duty: Black Ops and Homefront have failed to live up to expectations and felt more like developers going through the motions rather than pushing the genre in either exciting or interesting new directions. Thanks heavens then for games developer Crytek, which has delivered the shot-in-the-arm this withering genre so desperately needed with its latest offering Crysis 2.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 18, 2011  |  0 comments

The Scream Trilogy finds director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson (replaced by Ehren Kruger for the third outing) in full-on self-reflexive, post-modern mode, deconstructing the slasher genre for a new generation of horror fans. Unsurprisingly, it’s the original Scream that still stands up best, being an effective piece of horror cinema as well as a fun commentary on the sub-genre. Scream 2 follows the sequel path of upping the body count, but fails to really offer anything really fresh, while Scream 3 misses the point completely and is a total dud.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 18, 2011  |  0 comments

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader finds the fantasy franchise setting up a new home at 20th Century Fox after Disney dumped it following the disappointing box office performance of Prince Caspian. Sadly, this third film in the saga doesn’t offer a bright new beginning for the series. What should be a rip-snorting adventure concerning Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Shandar Keynes) and annoying cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) helping Caspian (Ben Barnes) rescue the seven Lords of Narnia, proves to be a fairly dull and episodic slice of fantasy hokum dripping with heavy-handed Christian overtones. Yawn.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 18, 2011  |  0 comments

From The Penetrator to A Clockwork Orgy, Batman XXX to Spankenstein, the adult film industry has a long tradition of parodying mainstream movies. In recent years, adult studios have become more and more ambitious with their porn parodies, thanks in large part to the increased availability and enhanced features offered by today's 'prosumer' visuals effects and editing software packages - the same kind of tools that allowed Gareth Edwards to create his recent critically-acclaimed micro-budget sci-fi drama Monsters.

Anton van Beek  |  Apr 11, 2011  |  0 comments

Monsters is in many ways a remarkable film. Shot entirely on location for less than £500,000 with a tiny crew, two unknown actors and visual effects knocked up by writer/director/cinematographer/etc. Gareth Edwards on his home computer, Monsters is a testament to just what it’s possible for a filmmaker to do with such limited resources these days. However, Monsters is also notable for the way it was knowingly mis-sold to audiences, with promises of epic sci-fi spectacle rather than the road-movie-cum-immigration-allegory it actually delivered. On its own terms Monsters is a success, but it’s one that audiences expecting more traditional sci-fi thrills may find difficult to engage with.

Ed Selley  |  Apr 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Lit up by laser Lasers are an economical backlight alternative to the old-school halogen bulb. Martin Pipe assesses this slimline wonder

Casio’s XJ-A235 is not a dedicated home cinema projector; it only has 720p (1,280 x 800) resolution, a single HDMI port and lacks professional calibration options, while employing only single-chip DLP technology. Yet this lightbox might pique the interest of shoppers also looking at £1,000 models from the likes of Vivitek and Optoma, because of its cutting-edge lighting under the bonnet.