Friday, 31 October 2014

I hope you all have a Blessed Samhain!

I wanted to share my post from earlier today on Ian's blog, as this is an important day for me, and now for him too. I hope you like it, despite how different it is to his normal postings!

Jan

x




Most of you will no doubt be celebrating Halloween tonight, I hope you have a great time! As a pagan I celebrate Samhain, which is a festival to mark the end of the harvest season, and the start of the dark half of the year. Traditionally, it is a night to prepare for winter, in times past stores would be filled and livestock slaughtered in preparation for winter. There is some evidence that many pagans celebrated Samhain as the start of the new year. As a modern pagan, sadly I can't ever know fully how it was celebrated, so I have developed my own rituals and traditions. I use the festival as a time to remember those I have lost. I light a white candle in our windows, to guide our loved ones home. Another thing I used to do (before I was the mummy to furbabies, who tend to eat anything which isn't nailed down!) is to leave a lost loved ones favourite food with the candles, it is all symbolic obviously, but it brings a measure of peace and helps to honour those we've lost. The scary aspects may stem from people attempting to scare away unfriendly spirits. Now, it's a nice day for kids (and big kids!) to have fun and dress up, trick or treat and go to parties. Some people may expect me to find modern Halloween offensive, but I don't. We all have our rituals and traditions, while I celebrate in my way I'm glad others are marking the day of a ancient festival to this day!





So, everyone, be safe! Have fun! Celebrate with all your might! Ian and I will be doing one of his traditions, which is now ours, by watching some of the Halloween movie series snuggled up in the dark, with a white candle lit to guide our loved ones home......



Hopefully I will be feeling better soon and can get back to posting regularly! 

Thanks for popping by!

Love 

Jan

x


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Freddy Vs Jason Vs Michael Vs Leatherface

Tomorrow is October 31st...Halloween! It's about time I did a Halloween themed post... Allons-y!

Leading up to October, I had planned to do Halloween themed posts all month (horror film reviews, horror themed photography, horror figure reviews etc). Sadly, as is usually the case, life saw to it to make my plans fall through. With a few hours left before All Hallows' Eve I have decided that I need to do at least one themed post. With that in mind, I have decided to pit the four biggest names in 70's and 80's slasher films against one another and share with you, who is my favourite...


04. Jedidiah 'Jed' Sawyer - Leatherface

Leatherface is the main antagonist in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre film series. He is a disturbed individual however, he is often seen to be of diminished mental capacity. He undertakes a number of heinous acts under the orders, and supervision of his family. He is known for his iconic appearance...mask made from human skin (hence his name) and wielding a chain saw (hence the film's title).


03. Frederick Charles Krueger - Freddy Krueger

Freddy Krueger is the main antagonist in the Nightmare On Elm Street film series. A serial child murderer known as the 'Springwood Slasher' Freddy, due to a technicality, was never prosecuted for his crimes. The parents of his victims burned him alive at the back of the power plant he worked, and killed from. In death, Krueger became a Dream Demon, an entity that can enter it's victims dreams and kill them within the dream world, which would, in turn, kill them in the real world. He is known for his iconic appearance...red and green striped sweater, brown Fedora, razor glove and burns all over his body.


02. Jason Voorhees
Friday The 13th (2 onwards)

Jason Voorhees is the main antagonist in the Friday The 13th film series. Well, from part 2 onwards...part one was all down to little ol' Mrs Voorhees. Born to Pamela Voorhees, Jason had facial deformities, Hydrocephalus, large heart, and was mentally disabled. For fear of bullying, his mother kept him isolated until one day, unable to find a babysitter, she was forced to take him to the camp she worked at. When he was attacked by the other children, he fled them, accidentally falling in the lake, where he drowned (or did he?). When the camp was to be reopened, his mother went on a mass killing spree (killing Kevin Bacon, the b***h!), however, she was stopped, and beheaded by one of the counselors. After witnessing his mothers downfall, Jason took her head, her sweater, and her machette back to a cabin. From then on, he proceeded to kill anyone who "trespassed" on the camp grounds. He is known for his iconic appearance...blooming massive, hockey mask and wielding a machete.


01. Michael Audrey Myers - Michael Myers

Michael Myers is the main antagonist in the Halloween film series (how's that for convenient Halloween is number one for Halloween!). Unlike others in this list, Michael's murderous career started young, committing his first murder at 6 years old (Rob Zombie's remake timeline is different). Whilst his parents were away, Michael's sister Judith was supposed to be babysitting him, Judith however, was busy getting jiggy with her boyfriend, Danny. When Danny left, Michael took a knife from the kitchen, walked up the stairs and stabbed Judith to death...I forgot to mention, he did this whilst dressed as a clown. After violently murdering his sister, he went back downstairs, out of the house and sat waiting for his parents and the police. He spent 15 years at Smith's Grove Sanitarium, never speaking a word. Escaping the night before Halloween 1978, he returned to Haddonfield on Halloween night with the intention of 'reuniting' his family. He is known for his iconic appearance...boiler suit, white mask (which happens to be a modified William Shatner mask) and wielding a butcher knife.


So, there you have it, the big 4 of the 70's and 80's slashers...

Who is your favourite? Who's your favourite 90's and 00's slashers? Leave me your thoughts below.

Thanks for stopping by, I do hope you enjoyed yourself.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

'Godzilla' Review

Tomorrow sees the UK dvd release of Godzilla. Is the film a roaring success, or is it a flop like the 1998 outing... Allons-y!

Rather obvious but I shall say it anyway...SPOILERS FOLLOW


Godzilla opens with a team, lead by Dr. Daisuke Serizawa (Ken Watanabe - Batman Begins) investigating a mine collapse in the Philippines back in 1999. Where the mine collapsed, they find evidence of radiation, humongous bones and, what looks like a fossilised egg.

The movie then shifts to Japan, still in 1999. Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston - Breaking bad, Malcolm In The Middle) is the chief engineer working at the Janjira nuclear power plant. He has, over recent weeks/months, discovered strange, unexplainable seismic activity that could potentially cause devastation to the plant and surrounding areas. As this is an action monster movie the seismic activity hits again before he can tell his superiors. This time, rather than just a minor inconvenience, it leads to the plant's destruction and the death of his wife...I should have mentioned, this all happened on his birthday!

15 years later...Joe, now considered, how do I put it nicely, mental (even by his own son!), is searching for the real reason behind the meltdown. When Joe is arrested inside the quarantine zone surrounding the plant, his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson - Kick Ass), recently back from his tour of duty as a Navy EOD technician (a bomb guy...the kind that stops them going boom!), travels to Japan to bring him to America. Ford goes with Joe to the quarantine zone (in an attempt to show him it was an accident) where, it becomes obvious, Joe was right all along...why does nobody listen to the crazy person when they say we're all doomed?

Within the carcass of the plant lays an egg, similar to the one at the start of the film. A multinational group are performing research on it (basically, poking it with a big sticks to see what happens...like a child would!) when, just as Ford and Joe are taken there, it hatches and the s**t really hits the fan...I realise there had already been a mine collapse and nuclear meltdown but, this is an action movie, they are merely appetisers.

The rest of the movie is filled with mayhem and destruction as Ford and the US military battle...I say battle, they might as well have blown kisses at them...the creatures that is, and Godzilla finally shows up and saves the day!


Some people have complained about the lack of screen time the title character gets. For me, this too is a big issue...the film is called Godzilla for crying out loud!

Considering the subject matter is a little far-fetched (unless you know of a real 350 foot dinosaur like creature?), the addition of things like a problematic family dynamic, and Ford's struggle to be reunited with his wife and child add a much needed sense of realism and relatability to the film. Admittedly, the characters are quite thinly fleshed out with you having to effectively insert your own backstory for the missing 15 years. At times, they feel like an unnecessary time filler.

The film also suffers from a lack of logic at times. I think this lack of logic stems from the makers trying, a little too hard, to put an intelligent spin on the simple premise of a creature feature.

The action scenes involving Godzilla and his foes are big, brash, and over the top...I like em! Helicopters are swatted like flies, tanks are hurled like frisbees, buildings are flattened like styrene cups...basically, it's like Michael Bay's wet dreams...minus Megan Fox,


I went into this movie expecting to like it, I went in thinking 'it's about a 350 foot uber-dinosaur, what's not to like?' however, I was wrong. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the first half hour featuring Bryan Cranston, and the fights between Godzilla and his foes however, these sequences came far too late on in the movie...it was most certainly a case of too little too late.

Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts on it? Leave me your thoughts below.

Thanks for stopping by, I do hope you enjoyed yourself.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Flora Photography... As In Plants, Not The Margarine!

If you saw my last photography post 'Creepy Crawlies' you will have seen me mention I also photograph flora. Well, today I thought I'd share some of it with you... Allons-y!


As I said in my previous post, photographing flora came about completely by chance. A magazine was running a competiton and because of the time of year, the theme was flowers. Before that, I hadn't even looked at a flower with my camera unless it had a bug on it. I figured what the heck and gave it a go...the rest as they say is history.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the results from my early forays into flora photography...











Please feel free to leave me some comments below letting me know what you think of my shots...

Thanks for stopping by, I do hope you enjoyed yourself.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Christmas 2014 Gift Guide - Lens Cup & Shot Glasses

With Christmas fast approaching, allow me to point you in the direction of some more gift ideas... Allons-y!


If you have a photographer in your life, you will know, it can be hard buying them presents that relate to their hobby/career. It can be difficult, especially if you don't share their passion, to get the right brand, the right equipment, the right accessories etc. Then there's the price, don't even get me started on the price of photographic equipment!!!

Luckily, these presents, whilst great for photographers, do not leave you facing the potential pitfalls I mentioned before...having said that, they do ideally need to drink tea, coffee, hot chocolate, Horlicks (you get the idea so I won't continue), and/or alcohol!

My first suggestion comes from IWantOneOfThose.com (I have also seen them on Amazon), and it's...a lens cup...available HERE.



The cup is reasonably sized...for any photographers reading, the site states that it is based on a Canon EF 24-105 (although, the image shows the product has 28-135 on it)...holding around the same amount as a standard travel mug. The design features all the dials, measurements and details that you would see on a DSLR lens...rather obviously, anything specific to Canon isn't on it for copyright purposes.



The cup also comes with a lens cap and hood. This cap can be used as a coaster or, more importantly, it can be used as a handy biscuit holder.

The cup would be great for any photographer out early to shoot, in their studio when they are on a break or, when they are sat editing pictures on their computer.


If the photographer in your life is less a latte drinker and more an espresso drinker, or prefers something a little stronger, then this second idea may be for you. Also from IWantOneOfThose.com (again, also available on Amazon) it's...a three pack of lens shot glasses...available HERE.



Again, styled from a Canon lens (I'm assuming, it doesn't actually state so on the site), this three pack features a very similar lens design to the cup. They feature a 50ml capacity, plenty of room for a double shot of your favouite liquor, or espresso...UK servings that is, which having looked into it, it's kinda puny compared to other countries.

They would be a great way to serve drinks at a photography get-together or for a photographer to have a little tipple, winding down after a hard days shooting.


So, there you have it...two gift ideas for the price of one!

Do you have one of both of these? What do you think of them? Leave me your thoughts below.

Thanks for stopping by, I do hope you enjoyed yourself.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 episode 3 'Making Friends and Influencing People' recap and review

Just in time for tonight's 4th episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, here is my recap of last week's episode 3 'Making Friends and Influencing People'! Tonight's episode Face My Enemy will be recapped and reviewed and up on my blog as soon as possible! Enjoy!

Jan

Episode 2 left us assuming Simmons had turned to the dark side...which as it turns out was a masterpiece of trailer editing! So, onto episode 3, Making Friends and Influencing People.....




Daniel Whitehall is pouring himself a drink and reminiscing about how he bought the case when he enlisted for $10, now each bottle is worth over $2000. Nice reminder that he's been around since World War 2! He talks about patience paying off, how $10 seemed so expensive to him then, but how well it's paid off for him. He's talking to a woman, Agent 33, who is strapped into a frame, watching psychedelic images. He's attempting to brainwash her.

We see Simmons in bed, her alarm goes off, playing a nice jaunty tune, and we see her getting ready for work....all very cheerful and normal! She gets to work, has a lovely chat with the security guard, who searches her bag, before walking over to the lift, where she scans her thumb print - no ordinary workplace!  She walks through a state of the art, posh lab where she puts on a black lab coat. Her boss walks past her and then past the HYDRA sign eek!

Skye is at the shooting range, hitting the targets by imagining them as Ward. May is unimpressed, telling Skye that she should imagine them all as targets, and not to get cocky. May gives her a speech about control, then checks her heart rate, 61 beats per minute. May is impressed. Hunter and Mac turn up with inventory - and a bet over whether Skye attended the Academy, winner doesn't have to record the inventory. Hunter loses, Skye was a field agent, with a badge - at least for a day - but she tells him it was 'a work study thing'. He tells her that he knew his old teammates so well, that he knows what they would do in any situation - he doesn't know the team well enough to do that now. Hunter needs to know more about Skye so that he knows what she might do. May is still pissed that he shot her, despite numerous - 470 to be exact - apologies! Skye tells him that she's never taken anyone out, since she correctly guessed that's what he was asking..

May sees Coulson and catches up to him, and asks after Agent 33. He tells her that she was taken by HYDRA. He's tired of losing his best and brightest.

Simmons is talking to her boss about some of her results, he needs to know what to tell them 'upstairs'. As she's telling him she's sees a photo of the subject, Donnie Gill, who she and Fitz helped in season 1. As many of you may know, he's developed freezing powers as a result of being struck by lightning while touching his ice machine. He takes out some agents in Marrakech by freezing them solid, where he's hiding, who have been sent after him.

Simmons gets home and hears a noise. She pulls her gun and swings round the corner to find Coulson waiting for her and asking if she thought he'd never find out....as it turns out he means about her terrible diet! He's brought fixings for a healthy steak meal! She debriefs as he cooks. Simmons hasn't made friends - aw - but she needs to in order to advance. She tells Coulson about Gill....then Coulson goes to brief the team. He says that HYDRA want Gill or they'll take him out. Fitz gets confused when he's trying to say that Donnie had trouble making friends. 



Skye goes down to talk to Ward again, to find out how HYDRA gets such loyalty. Ward says HYDRA didn't control him, that he was only loyal to Garrett. He tells her that his family knocked him down, and that Garrett built him back up to be what he wanted him to be. She mocks him for this, saying that she knows who his family is, and that they're pretty much universally loved. After slipping by talking to him about anything but what she needs to ask him, she gets the questioning back on track. He tells her that they will either recruit gifteds or take them out. He tells her that this is why HYDRA will always win, as they're not looking for the morality of the situation.

Gill has just found out who the agents were going to take him to, once they recaptured him, Maribel Del Mar. Turns out it's a ship....so he proceeds to freeze it in place while he investigates further. As you do.

Simmons is hard at work in her HYDRA lab, when she's accosted by some burly armed guards and escorted 'upstairs' for questioning over a security matter. Whitehall's right hand man has found out that she's been lying to them - eek! While she told them she was a Level 5 S.H.I.E.L.D Agent, she didn't tell them she knew Donnie - which is a tad unfair as she had no clue who the subject was til she saw the photo in her boss' files! Terrible employers, HYDRA. It's like they're an international terrorist organisation or something. The quicker Simmons is back in the good guys fold, the better - seeing her in the lair of the beast makes me jumpy! She masterfully manages to lie without really lying...yay Simmons! She says that she's loyal to science, and she goes wherever she can do her work. Creepy McRighthandman makes a veiled threat about loyalties being tested, poor Simmons!

Whitehall is still working on Agent 33, she's still managing to resist and even manages to get her wrist free, but to no avail. Whitehall catches her. He wheels out the Loki speech, heard it before! Creepy McRighthandman asks for permission to 'evaluate' Simmons...eek.

The Scooby Gang are leaving for Marrakech to pick up/take out Gill. Mac is happy to have the night off but Fitz is upset that he's being left behind. He knows they're keeping things from him....I just want to give him a cuddle!

Simmons is being marched down a white corridor by The Burlies, understandably nervous. Creepy McRighthandman is taking her to find Donnie, seeing as she knew him.

Donnie is systematically taking out the ship's crew.....he's pissed. 

Fitz and Invisible Simmons are arguing about him going to see Skye's 'asset' - he had no idea it was Ward. His reaction is heart wrenching. He starts having an anxiety attack, Ward tries to talk to him. He seems genuinely sorry for what he did to him.

Skye and Hunter are getting ready to jump from the bus. He asks if it's her first jump - other than with Coulson in Lola, which she starts to explain but gives up....she tells him it's her first. Her heart rate had started to rise, but she manages to rein it in.

Ward is telling Fitz that he did his best to avoid killing him and Simmons, Garrett expected him to put a bullet in their heads. He says he tried to give them a fighting chance. Fitz can't remember the words he needs, so he decides to show Ward instead. He turns off Ward's oxygen supply to show him what hypoxia feels like. He says everyone has gone after Donnie and he should be with them, that it's Ward's fault that he isn't. Ward tries to tell Fitz something about Donnie, but he's struggling without air. He manages to tell Fitz that they don't know what they're walking into.

Simmons is searching the ship for Donnie. Creepy McRighthandman has told her that he'll stay in contact through her earpiece, and that if things don't go well there will be an opening at the HYDRA lab....meanie. She sees the frozen corpses dotted around the ship, but keeps on calling for him. He shows himself to her and wants to know who sent her and what side she's now on. She tells him she wants to help him again, and that's she's on his side.

Some of the HYDRA team are wandering round the ship, and give the Scoobies the chance to get past them. Hunter tells Skye to cover the door, she responds by telling him that he doesn't give the orders, then calls him 'Trainspotting' - he is (quite rightly!) peeved by this and tells her he isn't Scottish! Wonder if/when America will realise that there are different countries within the UK?! Hunter and May enter the ship to find Donnie. 

Mac is enjoying himself on his night off, playing video games (no idea which one, I'm not a gamer, unlike Ian!), when Fitz rushes in to try to tell him what Ward has said about Donnie. 

Simmons is still trying to talk Donnie down by talking about how impressed Fitz was by him. Creepy McRighthandman tells her to repeat what he's saying, he starts to feed her the brainwashing phrases.

Fitz is struggling to explain what he knows about Donnie to Coulson. He says that Donnie didn't escape the Sandbox, he helped HYDRA to take it! They brainwashed him! Coulson tells May and Hunter to stop him talking to HYDRA - namely Simmons! Hunter gets ready to shoot her, but May recognises her just in time and shoots Hunter - thus getting her revenge for last week! Go May! With the re-brainwashing interrupted, Donnie loses it and tries to freeze Simmons. Luckily he only gets her jacket and she manages to wriggle out of it and run. May tries to shoot him as he chases Simmons, but she misses and gets the pipes, which Donnie helpfully freezes. Hunter, who was wearing a vest - luckily - tells Coulson that May shot him....which upsets Trip as he wanted to be the one to shoot him! May tells Coulson that Simmons is onsite and asks whether to maintain her cover - May knew Simmons hadn't left them completely! Coulson tells May to maintain Simmons' cover - to the surprise of everyone. Coulson tells them that if they can't take him in they need to take him out. Simmons manages to get to the HYDRA team, with Donnie in hot pursuit. Creepy manages to trigger Donnie's brainwashing, and tells him to stop anyone following them, so he freezes the door. Creepy then tells Donnie to freeze the ship and kill everyone on board. May and Hunter are trapped inside and Donnie is freezing the ship - until Skye takes him out. Poor Skye, first kill and it's a kid that she knows - but her heart rate stays steady at 61bpm. She fires at Creepy, giving Simmons the chance to push him out of the way, thus cementing her cover. HYDRA is leaving empty handed but the Scoobies manage to go home with loads of tech - so Mac is a happy bunny - other than the fact he needs to take inventory!

Hunter tells May that he's fine, he just has a nasty bruise. He wants to know if that makes them even....well, he's now even with May, but Trip still wants his revenge much to Hunter's dismay! Skye is sat on the holo table on the bus, it reminds her of before. She's been scanning law enforcement in Marrakech - the authorities haven't found Donnie's body yet. Skye is worried about Simmons, as she's a terrible liar. May reassures her, that Simmons is good and compliments Skye too, telling hr that Simmons isn't the only one that's good. Coulson tells Fitz that he sees that he's improving and that he's still an important member of the team. He watched the recording of Fitz and Ward, he's concerned that Fitz almost killed Ward. Fitz tells him that he isn't a killer. Coulson tells Fitz that he can't look at Ward, that he hates that he's there, but that they need him. Fitz wants to know if Coulson is keeping anything else from him - as he's Director he tells him there's lots of things he isn't telling him. He does tell him that Simmons is on assignment, that's why she left and hasn't been in contact. Fitz asks Coulson if Simmons asked to go, if she wanted to go on assignment, to leave him - Coulson tells him that what's she's doing is important, cleverly avoiding the question!

Whitehall and Creepy are talking about S.H.I.E.L.D becoming a problem. Whitehall wants to know who's in charge. Agent 33 steps off the elevator to bring some files to Whitehall - he finally broke her...boo! Creepy tells his boss that Donnie's programming was unstable, but boss man says it held in the end. Creepy then says there's a scientist in the lab who's talents are being wasted - he wants to bring her 'upstairs' - Simmons has achieved her goal of infiltrating the higher levels of HYDRA but I still don't like it! Creepy trusts her - for now. There's always the brainwashing option - noooo!

Skye goes to visit Ward. She asks about the brainwashing. Ward says he wasn't brainwashed, that he chose to do everything he did. Skye believes him, but she doesn't know what he's trying to achieve by his complete honesty with her. He tells her that her father is alive and looking for her, that he'll take her to meet him if she'll let him. She quickly leaves - her heart rate has skyrocketed - uh oh.

In the teaser for next week May and Coulson are undercover, and all glammed up! They're really dangling the relationship for us May and Coulson shippers! Looks like a fun one, which is well overdue! 



Another great episode, although I'm biased! I'm glad that we know where Simmons is, and that she hasn't deserted Fitz - is it just me who wonders if she's also using HYDRA's resources to find a way to help Fitz? I loved the fatherly way that Coulson treats Simmons, she seems so much more at ease with him now. Not sure about Skye The Unflappable, we have one of those characters in May. Skye's strength was in her emotions, her difference to everyone else on the team. She seems to still be reeling from Ward's betrayal, she's hurt and is trying to stop herself getting hurt ever again by shutting down the things that made her so useful before. I do, however, like the new relationship between her and May...it brings out a softer side of May - dare I say one which might start to see Coulson in a new way?? Seeing May smile more is a joy too....Ming-Na Wen shouldn't be underused! The relationship between Fitz and Mac is lovely too. Mac is the only one who didn't know Fitz before he was hurt, so he just accepts him on face value, which lets Fitz rely on him for help. The scenes with Fitz and Ward were just brilliant! So well acted, and so heart wrenching - bravo Iain De Caestecker and Brett Dalton! Will we see Donnie again? As his body wasn't found, it certainly seems like a possibility!

What did you think of this episode? Are any characters standing out? What would you like to change in season 2? Leave me a comment!

Thanks for popping by!

Jan

x

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Shows That Need To Come Back - 03: The X-Files

It's been a little while since I have done one of these posts (exactly one month to the date in fact). I've found myself sidetracked writing action figure reviews, as well as making halloween-y props for some shoots I want to do. Anyway, here it is, finally, part 3 of my 'Shows That Need To Come Back' series, this time it's the turn of The X-Files... Allons-y!



Before I begin, here is the opening theme to the show (YouTube won't upload the opening credit sequence! Sorry!)...it's one of the best known tv themes, not just of the 90's, but possibly of all time (it's up there with The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air!).


The X-Files 1993-2002



The X-Files was an American, science fiction horror drama about two FBI special agents, Fox Mulder played by David Duchovny, and Dana Scully played by Gillian Anderson. Each week, the pair would investigate unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena such as...werewolves, zombies, aliens (as in E.T not An Englishman In New York), spontaneous human combustion, possession, creepy dolls, invisible animals...to name but a few.

Even though most weeks were, in effect, a 'monster of the week' show, the show also had an ongoing, conspiracy/alien invasion theme (which they overused towards the end of the shows life!).

The shows two main characters, despite working together, had very different opinions towards aliens and paranormal phenomena. Mulder was a steadfast believer in all things paranormal, whereas Scully was a skeptic, convinced that all things could be explained scientifically. It is Scully's skepticism that is the reasoning for her superiors assigning her to the X-Files in the first episode. They want her to debunk Mulder's work so they can force him to return to 'normal' cases, Throughout the shows run, the pair grow close, eventually trusting each other and barely anyone else.


The Agents Investigating The X-Files


FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder - David Duchovny

Mulder is often considered 'weird' or 'spooky' and his views 'far fetched' by his peers. Despite this ridicule, time and time again his theories are proved correct.

The mysterious disappearance of his sister, when he was a child, is what steered Mulder down his path as an investigator, and towards the paranormal. After joining the FBI he worked in various departments (such as profiling and the violent crimes units), before stumbling across the X-Files.

He is said to be red/green colourblind and have a photographic memory (TV and movie's made up version of Eidetic Memory).


FBI Special Agent Dana Scully - Gillian Anderson

Scully (or Dr. Dana Katherine Scully, B.S., M.D to give her full name) is the polar opposite of Mulder. She comes from a happy home which was never hit by such a tragedy as Mulder's. She is skeptical of all things paranormal, believing instead that all things can be explained with science (it's around season 7 that she finally becomes a 'believer').

Scully was recruited by the FBI straight out of medical school. After two years service with them, the director placed her, with Mulder, in the X-Files, the purpose of which...to debunk Mulder's work.

Despite her skepticism, Scully finds herself on the receiving end of paranormal phenomena including...an alien implant which gives her terminal cancer when it is removed. A full, miraculous recovery from the terminal cancer, and mysteriously falling pregnant despite her being extremely infertile (possibly not paranormal but, they never address if the daddy is Mulder or a little green man!).


So, there you have it, another addition to my list of shows I'd love to see back on our screens...

Did you/do you watch The X-Files? What shows do you want to see back? Leave me your thoughts below.

Thanks for stopping by, I do hope you enjoyed yourself.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

McFarlane Halo 4 Series 1 Cortana Action Figure Review

Today I have for you another action figure review. This time, it's the McFarlane Halo 4 series 1 Cortana... Allons-y!

CORTANA, AS SHE APPEARS IN HALO 4





Just in case anyone is unaware of both Halo and Cortana, allow me to quickly explain them. Halo is a military science fiction first-person shooter...basically, it's somewhat a cross between Saving Private Ryan and Star Trek.

Within the game, you take on the role of Master Chief (incidentally, I have a review of a Master Chief action figure coming soon!), taking on enemy forces known as the Covenant and the Flood.

Throughout the games, Master Chief rarely has a companion for long, that is, with the exception of Cortana.

Cortana is a artificially intelligent being, created from the cloned brain of the creator of the Spartan project (the project that created Master Chief). Throughout the games she learns, adapts and grows, she acts as a companion to Master Chief and, helps him complete his missions.









Now you know a little about the character, lets crack on with the review...



The Sculpt

As you've probably noticed from the pictures, Cortana shares a stylist with Jennifer Lawrence and Rebecca Romijn's Marvel character Mystique. The nude design of the character means the sculpt is relatively simple, with no clothing or accessories having been sculpted onto the figure. The simple nature of the character design could quite easily have shown up any obvious flaws in the sculpting. Luckily, there are no obvious flaws, well...with the slight exception of her face. Don't get me wrong, the face sculpt is ok, what I don't like about it is her expression. Cortana has quite an emotional storyline in Halo 4, this gives her various emotional states they could have chosen from. Instead of this however, they have, either intentionally or by accident, made her look bored.


The Paintwork

The paintwork on the figure is good...and bad. Whilst McFarlane have done a great job recreating the patterns that cover Cortana's body, it's this application that causes issues. 

Cortana is a holographic projection, meaning she is created from light and appears translucent. The figure, however, because of the paint application, is pretty much opaque. Even if you modify the base, adding lights (previous versions came with an illuminated base as standard), you can't easily make her appear holographic, which is a shame.



Articulation

This is the first Cortana figure McFarlane made that featured articulation, which is nice...kind of.

The packaging boasts a whopping 10 points of articulation (which is odd, she has 12!), unfortunately, most of these are pointless. Due to the sculpt, and the type of joints used, her hip, ab, shoulder, bicep and neck joints are almost useless. Unless you have them in their standard position, it mishapes Cortana's body, giving the illusion that she possesses abnormal growths.

Her elbow and wrist joins are the only joints you can really use without ruining the aesthetics of the figure. They also give you a little posing possibility, especially when used with her alternate hand featuring the holographic panel.



Accessories

Considering this is such a basic figure, McFarlane have done their best to make up for it by giving you a few accessories.

Firstly, you get a Halo Micro Ops Master Chief. I have to be honest, until getting this I had no idea what it was. Having looked into it, it seems it's basically Halo's equivalent to toy soldiers. Despite it's small stature, the detailing and paintwork is remarkably well done.

Also with Cortana, you get two different right hands. You get a standard hand that is in a relaxed, open pose and you get one featuring a holographic panel. The holographic panel features a diagram of Master Chief, the UNSC (United Nations Space Command) logo as well as, buttons and read-outs of various things. The figure looks great when posed with the panel.

The last accessory you get is a base. As I mentioned before, unlike the bases you get with previous Cortanas, this one doesn't light up. The base features pegs for Cortana's feet, which is good...she stands abouts as well as a drunk, on a ship, during a storm. It features some nice detailing and is painted very nicely with silver, grey and metallic teal.



Overall

Overall, despite it's few flaws, I quite like this figure. McFarlane have, yet again, created quite an accurate representation of a popular figure from an extremely popular game series.

Should you pick up this figure...sure, it's a great figure and, it would look great in any Halo collection. One thing I will say though is, bear in mind, due to the nature of the character, articulation is lacking. If you are someone who wants many, many points of articulation, this figure probably isn't for you.


So, there you have it, my review of the McFarlane Halo 4 Series 1 Cortana action figure...

Do you have this figure? What do you think of it? Leave me your thoughts below?

Thanks for stopping by, I do hope you enjoyed yourself.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Originals Season 2 premiere 'Rebirth' recap and review

As Ian is currently slaving away writing action figure reviews, I thought I would share with you my recap and review of the season 2 premiere of The Originals... Enjoy!

Jan

x

The day has finally arrived! The Originals returned for season 2, with a rather aptly named Rebirth. When we left out favourite vamp family, Klaus and Hayley had just become parents, but they had to sacrifice their happiness in order to save their daughter's life. Klaus handed his precious and longed for child to his sister Rebecca, in the hope that, by faking his daughter's death, she would be safe. Twas extremely heart wrenching! So, onto season 2....



Rebecca is telling Klaus' daughter a 'fairy tale' about her father and why he sent her away, serving ably as a recap! Klaus has isolated himself, letting the wolves take New Orleans. 

Elijah is viewing an old, almost ruined building, wanting to preserve it. The wolves want to destroy it, to make way for a casino. Ha, slapped down wolves! Klaus is destroying blank canvases, he is pissed big time! He wants blood, mostly to use as paint. Elijah has found the last of the 12 rings that were made with Klaus' blood, that weakened him. Now they need to go after them and destory them. Hayley has also isolated herself, even from Elijah. She's in the bayou, looking at the remnants of her home. Marcel and Cami are getting busy, but without strings! He's still banished, but wants to take back his city. He doesn't understand why Klaus hasn't acted against the wolves. Cami tells him that Davina is doing well, she's back in high school and told her coven to shove it! Speaking of Davina, she's in a record shop, buying old Icelandic folk music - presumably for Michael - when Oliver, the creepy traitor wolf, comes in and tries to destroy the store owner as he's a vampire. Davina stops them, by giving the wolves a wicked headache! 

Francesca, the chief wolf woman, is pissed. Speaking to the witch who's making the moonlight rings for the wolves, Cassie, she wants to know why Davina is stopping them killing vamps. Cassie tells her that Davina isn't part of their coven, that the rules don't apply to her anymore. Francesca is cracking up, the threat of Klaus and his inevitable attack is too much. Cassie turns out to be extra creepy....implying she's their dead mum and talking to their 'brother', who is now in the body of a young black man!

Cami is being followed by wolves...she slaps em down pretty damned well! She goes to Klaus's house, he keeps playing hide and seek, standing behind her until she turns around then vamp speeding away. Elijah tells her Klaus doesn't want to see her. She tells him that Marcel wants to help them, they just need to use him. 

Marcel is trying out a new set of potential human recruits, apparently he's been trying out lots of these groups, but to no avail.  He's looking for a keeper. He influences them to not be afraid, and to listen to him, The he gives them a big speech about the potential of becoming vamps, which he demonstrates by whizzing a bloke at a building, where Josh catches him to stop him getting hurt. Marcel leaves a suggestion in their minds thanks to the vamp mind trick, that if they decide they want to be vamps they will find their way back. Klaus comes in, and basically calls Marcel family....

Elijah starts to dismantle the baby's cradle. Hayley walks in and throws a fit, she's not ready to clear out the room. We want a Hayley and Elijah baby!!!!

Michael is sulking about being controlled by Davina, he is extremely pissy! She won't let him kill Klaus until she has released her friends from his bloodline.

Klaus and Marcel are having a friendly drink, playing a game. Marcel wants to know why Klaus hasn't acted. He tells Marcel that he thinks that the wolves have the white oak stake, the only weapon that can kill him, he wants Marcel to help him get it back. Joe, the record shop owner, comes into the room, and Marcel introduces him to Klaus as someone who fought the Guerrera wolves in the 20's. Marcel tells him to leave town for a while, but Joes refuses to run. Klaus has clocked that the wolves don't have the stake, so are defenceless against Originals. Klaus offers Joe the chance to fight with them. They're going on a wolf hunt! Elijah isn't happy about the idea but, shockingly enough, Klaus is stubborn. Joe goes back to his shop, and tells Wolfboy Oliver that he wants to get his stuff and leave town, and that he has information that the Guerrera's want, he'll tell them if they'll let him leave. Oliwolf takes him to Francesca, to tell her that Klaus thinks the wolves have the white oak stake. She tells Cassie to cast a spell to find it. Elijah says they need to be united, in order to beat the Guerrera's. Klaus asks Hayley if she's ready to fight. She wants Francesca dead. 

Cassie can't find the stake with her spell. Francesca threatens to kill Joe if he doesn't give her more information. He says rumour has it that the priest, Cami's uncle Kieran, had it. The wolf lackeys go to Cami's and tear the place up until she tells them where it is. Once they leave with the location, she looks to the window and nods to Elijah. Nicely played! Francesca sends the wolves out to attack our team, while she stays locked safe in her house, because she thinks no vamps can get inside because they aren't invited. Josh locks some of the wolves in the old building with Marcel, who then wolfbane sprinklers their asses! More ambushes take place, and more rings found, usually still attached to body parts, Klaus is getting stronger with every one found. The Guerrera house gets attacked by Elijah, while Hayley kicks the arses of a group of wolves, including Oliver! She doesn't kill him though, sadly! Klaus finally gets to use his enemy's blood as paint, direct from the source, he's a much happier camper now. Francesca is happy because Elijah can't come in.....or can he? He tells a story about Capone being caught because he hadn't paid his taxes....then drops the bombshell that because the house has heritage status, which he fought for, it is open to the public, therefore anyone can get in. Klaus says he still isn't at full strength. Elijah tells him that Francesca ran....only to be found by Hayley! Yay Team Klaus!

Josh tells Marcel that Joe is dead,  and gets a speech about soldiers....Josh is unimpressed, he's a modern lad! Doesn't understand that they're fighting for the soul of the city, he thinks it's stupid to keep fighting over a few blocks of real estate. A girl walks in, unable to say how and why she's there...one of Marcel's recruits has arrived!

Elijah finds Hayley tearing apart the baby's room, in an angry, tearful rage. She ripped Francesca apart, and killed 8 other wolves. She tells him that she felt that she had finally found what it was to truly be a wolf while she lived with the Crescents in the Bayou, and now she's lost it. She hates being a hybrid....she thinks she's a monster, that Elijah looks at her differently now. 

Davina goes to Joe's record shop to find it's closed. The cute boy she saw the last time is there too, he introduces himself to her as Caleb....dodgy I'm guessing!

Klaus and Elijah are working to destroy the moonlight rings. Klaus is devastated that he brought it all on by his behaviour. Elijah encourages him to talk to Hayley, to try to help her.

Cami and Marcel are back in bed together talking about the fight, and if anything will change. She tells him they have to stop, that she needs to help humans and if they carry on, she'll keep being pulled deeper into the supernatural world.

Klaus is telling Hayley that things will get better. Tells her that immortality means loss and pain but she will only remember the good moments, everything else just fades away. She just wants her baby back, and Klaus says that she will. He tells her she is now the queen of the wolves, that they will now follow her. He says they will face all the enemies together as a family.

Cami meets her new advisor....he's the man who was with Cassie, who turns out to be Esther Mikaelson. It turns out that Esther, the mother of The Originals, has brought back the soul of her son, Finn. He's Cami's new advisor! Oh, and Caleb? Yup, he's another brother, Col! Bad bad bad!

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, unsurprisingly! The pain of Klaus and Hayley was portrayed perfectly by Joseph Morgan and Phoebe Tonkin. Of course, Daniel Gillies is always sublime as Elijah, and his quiet strength, supporting and fighting for those he loves, still trying to find Klaus' redemption, shine through in this ep. Long live King Klaus! 

Do you love this show as much as we do? Who is your favourite character? What did you think of this episode? Leave me a comment!

Thanks for popping by!

Jan

x

p.s. Here are a couple of cute photos of the cast in their downtime, just for fun!
Sebastian RochéPhoebe TonkinPaul Wesley and Daniel Gillies...how cute are they??!



Awwwwwww!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 2 episode 2 'Heavy is the Head' recap and review

In preparation for watching episode 3, Making Friends and Influencing People, I thought I'd share my recap and review of episode 2 - just in case anyone missed it/forgot every detail! Stop over to my blog for episode 3 recap on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning (unless something terrible happens, like our wifi dies or I just take my time getting around to doing it!)! Enjoy! Jan x


Ian and I watched S.H.I.E.L.D Season 1 again over the weekend....I could lie and say it was for research purposes, so I could be a better recapper and blogger, but mostly it's just cos I love S.H.I.E.L.D! So, without further ado, let's look at episode 2.....



The ep opens pretty much where it left off last week, I actually wish they'd done a double episode premiere event, as it does feel like they should have been shown together. Plus, I just want extra eps so I don't need to wait a week in between! Hunter is still stuck in the SUV with the bodies of his comrades (still can't believe they killed Xena after 1 measly episode!), he hears an engine, which turns out to be May on the bike she randomly stole last week. He sends her after Creel while she leaves him a torch to cut himself out, and waits for the approaching soldiers. May races after Creel, who has stolen a truck, but Coulson orders her to observe, not to engage.

Skye and Trip return to base with the new quinjet. Coulson wants Mac to reverse engineer cloaking so they have the Bus back in action. Skye tells him that the Obelisk has the same freaky symbols that Garrett (and Coulson, but not Skye despite having the same drug in her system.....) was drawing but he brushes her off, to her disgust. Skye is pissed that Simmons has deserted all of them, not just Fitz. Fitz still seems to have issues, but Mac seems to be a good help to him....at the start he's still isolated. 

Hunter is dumped in a field where he is picked up in a copter by Talbot, who tries to bond over his service in the SAS. Talbot wants Coulson, so he tells Hunter to name his price. He wants $2m and a proper burial for Hartley, he doesn't want her branded a traitor for working with S.H.I.E.L.D. Talbot agrees. 

Coulson has finally learned how to use the holo technology! Skye tries to talk to him again, she wants to go into the field to help her fellow agents. She finds out that Hartley and Idaho are dead. She wants to help, but all Coulson will let her do is pack up Hartley's bunk. She tells Coulson to try yoga, and he tries to respond with humour, to start the banter they used to enjoy, but it falls flat.

ImaginarySimmons is still appearing to BrokenFitz....but, is it just me that wonders if seeing her is his brain's way of accessing the knowledge he has, which he can't access because of the brain damage? It's all still in there, but without her he can't grab hold of anything properly. They decide to ignore the cloaking problem, and concentrate on trying to neutralise Creel's ability. They steal info about Creel's DNA....it's very sweet!

Creel is at a diner, having issues with his powers....it appears that the Obelisk has infected him. A waitress touches him and she starts to petrify, May races in at the sound of screams, but there's nothing she can do. 

The perimeter alert sounds, turns out that Hunter is back. Trip brings him in. Hunter rants at Coulson about losing his friends, and Coulson asks what Talbot wanted in return for freeing him. Hunter fibs slightly, mentioning only Hartley's burial, and conveniently forgetting the money he asked for. He does tell Coulson that e wants his pay, and that of Hartley and Idaho, to give to their families.



ImaginarySimmons and BrokenFitz are discussing Creel's DNA. Mac asks Fitz who he's talking to, ImaginarySimmons says she likes him, and encourages BrokenFitz to show him what he's working on. He keeps saying that he 'didn't solve this today' but Mac doesn't understand at first. Then he realises that Fitz means he'd already solved it before, with one of his other designs. They go back and find the design they need to make the disrupter.

Skye packs up Hartley's stuff, and she sees a framed photo of Izzy and another woman. Hunter walks in and tells her that she is Hartley's sister Jane, and that they were close. Skye asks how he met Hartley and he says it was through his ex wife. He takes a pendant from Hartley's stuff, to return to her sister, he says it was her mum's and that she died of breast cancer 5 years beforehand, and that Jane now has it too. 

Creel returns to his van, a tad panicked that he can't change the skin which has been infected by the Obelisk. His employers call him, they know he's been infected, and promise to 'take care' of him. Raina turns up to see him, she wants the Obelisk for her 'employer', and she offers a new substance for him....one harder than diamond which can store energy. Creel tries to intimidate her, then steals the substance. She then sends Coulson a message, with a number to call. When they do, she tells them that she's not working for HYDRA and that the thing he stole from her has a tracker. She offers them Creel. The team set off to take him down, armour piercing rounds and all. Hunter manages to persuade Coulson to send him with the team.

Creel meets with the posh bloke to drop off the Obelisk. Posh manages to reverse the Obelisk's effects by saying 'compliance will be rewarded', which seems to be a form of trigger phrase. Hunter knocks out the team, he wants to kill Creel himself, for Hartley. Posh runs when Hunter turns up with his big ass gun, but Creel manages to turn his skin into the material he stole from Raina, and the rounds bounce off him. He chases Hunter, while Raina nips in and steals the Obelisk. Creel starts to beat up Hunter, but before he can kill him Coulson appears and stabs him in the back with Fitz's device, which turns him to stone.

Hunter is watching Hartley's funeral, she is being buried with full honours. He breaks into a car and leaves the pendant behind. Coulson has followed him, turns out that he was responsible for her funeral. He offers Hunter a job, despite the fact that he shot 3 of the team. Coulson tells him that it was a bad move to shoot May, as she 'nurtures' grudges! Coulson doesn't actually trust Hunter, but he needs his help....luckily Coulson still has his George Forenan grill, despite losing everything else! He then tells Hunter to sell him out.....

BrokenFitz seems to have made a new friend in Mac, they understand each other. Skye and May are watching, they've been worried. Skye is also worried about Coulson, but May swears he's fine.....then we see her telling Coulson off for going into the field, and for fighting off his 'episodes'. He gives in and it turns out that the 'episodes' are his little art attacks, where he carves the symbols into the wall, as May takes photos of them.

Raina is admiring the Obelisk, when a strange man, played by Kyle McClachlan, walks in wiping blood from his hands. He tells her she did well....then tells her to pick up the Obelisk. She is obviously somewhat reticent, but does as he says, and the Obelisk doesn't actually kill her, but the symbols on the surface start to raise and glow. The man tells her that it let her live....then he tells her to bring his daughter to him and he'll show her why and how.

Coulson is stood alone in a field, next to a white van, as a cavalcade of SUVs drive towards him. Talbot emerges, as he believes Hunter has followed up on his promise and delivered Coulson. Obviously though, he's mistaken! Coulson tells Talbot that Creel is in cryostasis in the van, that he is stone but he probably won't stay that way. He offers to keep dropping such gifts for Talbot if he gives them some breathing room. Talbot scoffs at that, saying that Coulson doesn't have the firepower to back him up. Coulson tells Talbot that he has plenty, and the Bus drops it's cloak to show it hovering above them with its guns aimed at Talbot and his men. He tells Talbot that it's just the tip of the iceberg. Coulson walks away, to where the quinjet has just dropped its cloak and boards. He quietly tells them to get going before 'the iceberg runs out of fuel), exposing the bluff to the audience! Love it when Coulson shows off!

Next weeks teaser shows Simmons....working for HYDRA! Nooooooo!!!!!! I'm guessing she's only doing it to find a way to fix Fitz.....I hope.....

As I said, this may have been better as the second part of a two part premiere. I do miss the humour so far, but hopefully it will come back soon when the team find their feet. I do like Hunter, but I am still pissed that they killed Lucy Lawless after 1 episode! Now, is it next Tuesday yet?!

Did you catch episode 2? What did you think? Leave me a comment!

Thanks for popping by!


x

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Creepy Crawlies

One of my big passions in life is photography, it's something I would like to do professionally. I figured it's about time, if not long overdue, that I share with you some of my photography... Allons-y!


As you may know, if you have read the mini bio over there, to the left, under my picture...I'm a photographer. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way David Bailey or Helmut Newton. I don't have Canon wanting to give me a free 5D Mk III or a 1DX, although Canon, if you want to, I will be most grateful!

As I was saying, I'm a photographer...an enthusiastic amateur who would like to become professional. Sadly, I don't get to shoot as much as I would like, although, this past summer I did manage to get out a little. As I am really just an overgrown child, one of the things I did was play around in mud photographing creepy crawlies. I did also happen to photograph quite a lot of flowers this year. I had never shot flowers before (I don't know why) but, I did it for a competition and kinda carried on...anyway, I'll show you them in another post!

Enough of my rambling...onto the pictures, I hope you enjoy!


Warning: creepy crawlies ahead, including Spiders!
I hate spiders! I figured you'd appreciate a warning as I would.







THIS WAS ACTUALLY TAKEN 2012/2013 BUT,
 IT'S ALWAYS BEEN ONE I'M PROUD OF








So, there you have it...a little of my photography.

Please leave me some comments below letting me know what you think and...Canon, please feel free to email me to find out where to send the camera to.

Thanks for stopping by, I do hope you enjoyed yourself.