The Good Dinosaur – Hits the spot

Pixar’s latest feature The Good Dinosaur hit UK cinemas on 27th November, and I had the great pleasure of viewing it yesterday (yes I know I’m nearly 2 weeks after the initial release, but a student has work to do believe it or not).

I didn’t really know what to expect from this film – I hadn’t seen much in the way of promotion other than a trailer preceding Inside Out at cinemas in the summer, which managed not to give much away – so I was almost going in blind … and sometimes that can be the best way to watch a new film, with little or no expectations.


The Good Dinosaur follows the story of a young Apatosaurus named Arlo in a world where the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs never hit Earth, and they lived on. Arlo’s journey takes him across a land unknown to him, where he faces his fears and learns the value of selflessness, and makes an unlikely friend along the way in Spot (hence the title … see I was trying to be clever there), a human.

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The Man in the High Castle – The promise of great drama

I saw a trailer for The Man in the High Castle at the cinema and immediately wanted to start watching the show: the idea I thought was original, and the fact that a film could be so powerful was something I found quite interesting. After seeing the trailer, the question of “what if?” revolved in my head. It is set in America, in an alternative future where the Nazis won the Second World War, and our protagonist Juliana discovers a film which shows the account of history we know, which (obviously) poses a threat to the control the Nazis have over the nation.


Yesterday I watched The New World, the first episode (which are all available on Amazon), and I can safely say that I will be continuing to watch the series to its end. It’s a fairly strong start to the series, supplanting the audience in the middle of the world we know, but which is so unrecognisable – shots of Times Square covered in Swastikas. It introduces numerous characters without fully explaining the connections between them or even who they are, adding further to the sense of intrigue that the show permeates.

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Attrition: The First Act of Penance – The new fantasy superpower

There’s a new player in fantasy fiction, and it’s going straight into the big leagues.

Of course, that’s my personal opinion, but as a lover of fantasy I can highly recommend S.G. Night’s Attrition as a shining example of fantasy at its best. I’ll give you a basic run-down, shall I?

The story takes place in the world of Io, which has been suffering under the oppression of the Demonic Dominion for over a century. The demons exiled the elves, all but enslaved the humans, and almost completely wiped out the Majiski battle-mages…almost. Racath Thanjel is one of those Majiski, now living in the shadows as an assassin, and fighting against the demons, but the assassins’ leader seems to be keeping more secrets than the demons themselves. Racath is plunged into the fight and forced to choose his destiny. Can he become the saviour Io needs, or are the demons to great a force to overcome?


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A Song of Ice and Fire – Lady Stoneheart

First things first: definitely DO NOT read this post if you have not read both parts of A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, because this includes major spoilers. And I would advise not reading this if you’ve ONLY watched the TV show of Game of Thrones – this one’s for book readers only unless you want spoilers – but you need to have seen the TV show to the end, or at least know what happens in the season 5 finale. You have been warned.


Well now that’s out of the way, the epilogue of A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold has caused much intrigue. I actually thought it was interesting that there WAS an epilogue in this book, as the first two volumes didn’t have one. And things picked up again when we met what appeared to be Lady Catelyn Stark reincarnated. She was described as being damaged (for want of a better word) by water from the river, and the wounds she had inflicted on her own face were present, as well as a large gash from where her throat had been slit.

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The Inheritance Cycle – Top 3 most memorable moments

Now, when I say “Eragon” most people probably think of the not-so-brilliant film of 2006, but there’s much more to Eragon than that. Eragon is the first of four books in The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (followed by Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance), a series that I would highly recommend. The Inheritance Cycle was responsible for igniting my love of fantasy: dragons, magic, elves, dwarves, languages, and beautifully written … what’s not to love?

Not only were these books an absolute joy to read, they were so immersive and magical that I became really emotionally invested in the story and the characters. If you have read them, perhaps you can relate to these ‘most memorable moments’ from the Cycle. If you haven’t read them, I suggest that you do (granted they look a little intimidating in size, but they are well worth it!) and then maybe come back and read the memorable moments after.


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Inside Out – Does the genius of Pixar know no bounds?

Now anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love Disney films, and Pixar films are most definitely a part of that package. I admire the studio’s courage for moving to solely computer animation, but Pixar films have always been a big part of my life since I never knew a time without them. I actually love Pixar films for their genius: bringing toys to life; exploring the monsters in the wardrobe; venturing both forward and back in time; and now bringing our emotions to life. It never fails to surprise me how original their films are, and likewise, they never fail to impress me. Their latest production Inside Out was no exception.

For anyone who has missed out on the trailers for Inside Out, it’s about 11 year old Riley, who is undergoing some changes in her life, and told from the perspective of the leading emotions in her head: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust.


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Humans – Channel 4’s latest triumph

The lines between human and machine have begun to blur in this near future, science-fiction drama, when the latest family must-have is a Synth: a robot designed to make home life easier, only distinguishable from humans by unnaturally bright green eyes. The Hawkins family purchase a new Synth for themselves, but mum Laura suspects that something is amiss.

The final episode aired here in the UK on Sunday, but the whole series (along with some bonus content) is available to view on Channel 4‘s website, and I would highly recommend it.


Humans focuses around the Hawkins family and their experiences with their new Synth ‘Anita’ along with numerous other characters whose true importance is revealed as the series goes on. However, it isn’t just an empty narrative built for escapism – there is some real poignancy in the questions raised about the current relationship between humans and technology.

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