Fast Five Review: American Gods

americangodsbanner

American Gods

Drama | Television Series | 2017
Reviewed by Jennifer

Shadow Moon embarks on a road trip across America with enigmatic conman Mr Wednesday. On their journey, Shadow discovers that Mr Wednesday is one of the old gods, who warns of a war brewing between the forgotten gods of myth and the new American gods of money, technology and media. As Shadow finds himself embroiled in this world of gods among men, he has a choice to make. Should he follow Mr Wednesday into battle and find out more about his own mysterious past or attempt to reconcile with his recently deceased wife, who has now returned from the grave?

1) Did you like it?

Yes. I loved the Neil Gaiman book it’s based on, and have been looking forward to the TV adaptation for a while. I think it was worth the wait, though I’m only about halfway through the series as I write this.

2) Why?

The original book of American Gods is a series of intricately woven, atmospheric, intertwined tales, with a grounding in history, religion and mythology, all held together by the main narrative. Book adaptations are always a bit of coin toss, and this one presents many challenges. But to my eyes, the TV series retains the nuances of the book – due in part, I’m sure, to the fact that Gaiman was involved in the screenwriting process. The characters look exactly the way I imagined, and the whole show is beautiful, visually.

americangodsimage2

While the decision to create an R-rated show made with online streaming in mind may seem like a cynical attempt by Amazon to compete with Game of Thrones and the swarm of Netflix Originals, I think it was ultimately the right choice. Unlike a lot of screen adaptations (especially of graphic novels), American Gods retains the raw impact of the original story. The sex and violence is in context, and without it some of the characters just wouldn’t make sense.

3) You’ll enjoy this TV series if…

You like the urban fantasy genre – shows like Stranger Things, Grimm, The Dresden Files, etc. If you were a Buffy fan in your youth and are willing to take that extra step further into the darkness, this will probably take your fancy.

4) This TV series made me think about… 

The fairly new phenomenon of the R-rated TV series, with cinematic sensibilities. I’m glad I have a projector to watch this one on!

5) Stars out of five?

4-stars

The Digitales Digest – Edition Eight

digitales digest banner 2The best thing about social media is that it’s full of interesting articles. Chockers, in fact. The only problem? It can be difficult finding news and views that are right up your alley. We love reading interesting things…and we think we’ve got pretty good taste, if we don’t say so ourselves, which is why every Friday on the Digitales blog, we post the Digitales Digest, our weekly roundup of the best articles, opportunities and more that we’ve discovered and shared on Twitter and Facebook over the past few days.

As a wise philosopher (okay, it was Roxette) once said, “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” – so let’s get started… Continue reading

Top Ten August New Releases

newreleasesbannerWhere is the year going? With August just around the corner (already?!) it’s time to take a look at what’s coming out on DVD this month…and, spoiler alert, it’s a pretty impressive selection! Somehow, we’ve managed to whittle it down to a top ten.

Here are just some of the movies and television shows coming out on DVD in August that we’re looking forward to watching. As always, they’re in no particular order, and you should definitely check out the August New Releases category on our website to see what we’ve missed!


Guardians of the Galaxy – Vguardiansofthegalaxyvolume2dvdol. 2

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Classification:
 M
Audience: Adult
Release Date: August 23

Set to the sounds of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

Finally, the sequel to one of the very best sci-fi comic book adaptations ever is here, and it’s just as exciting and action packed as the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, with a cracking retro soundtrack that will have you tapping your feet.

Make sure you watch the end credits, which features Groot (everyone’s favourite, right?) dancing – a CGI motion capture sequence that took the visual effects team nearly two years to create. Talking of special effects, we don’t want to give anything away, but there’s a planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that’s considered the most complex visual effect ever made.


Get Outgetoutdvd

Genre: Horror
Classification:
 MA15+
Audience: Adult
Release Date: August 9

Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents stage of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behaviour as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries leads him to a truth that he could have never imagined.

Get Out was made on a budget of five million dollars, and after spending the first two months of its release in the US box office Top Ten, it’s managed to earn well over $175 million dollars.

The film was inspired by Eddie Murphy’s famous Eighties stand-up routine, Delirious. Riffing on horror films, Murphy joked that it’s only ever white people who decide to remain in a haunted house – black people hear “get out” and make a run for it. Debut director, Jordan Peele, wanted Eddie Murphy to play the lead character, Chris, but eventually had to concede Murphy was too old to play the role.


Orphan Black: Season 5orphanblackseason5dvd

Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama
Classification:
 MA15+
Audience: Adult
Release Date: August 16

Neolution is pushing the boundaries of science beyond what anyone thought possible. But at what cost? For Sarah and her sisters, this is the start of a deadly endgame that will have extreme consequences – not just for them, but for the entire human race. Can they finally expose the terrifying secrets at the heart of this corrupt corporation?

Orphan Black centres around Sarah Manning, played by Canadian actress, Tatiana Maslany, and her many clones – who are also played by Tatiana Maslany! There’s so much more to Orphan Black than amazing acting, cool special effects and thrilling sci-fi action though. It’s also heaps of fun! With the fifth and final season of Orphan Black coming out on DVD, now is the perfect time to join the Clone Club!

orphanblackimage


Snatchedsnatcheddvd

Genre: Action, Comedy
Classification:
 MA15+
Audience: Adult
Release Date: August 9

After her boyfriend dumps her on the eve of their exotic vacation, impetuous dreamer Emily persuades her ultra-cautious mother, Linda to travel with her to paradise. Polar opposites, Emily and Linda realise that working through their differences as mother and daughter – in unpredictable, hilarious fashion – is the only way to escape the wildly outrageous jungle adventure they have fallen into.

Fifteen years. That’s how long it’s been since comedy legend, Goldie Hawn has starred in a film. In fact, the studio executives backing Snatched took a little convincing that Hawn was right for this role, prompting co-star, Amy Schumer to threaten to leave the film unless Hawn was cast. The pair had never met before they were introduced by the film’s producer, Paul Feig. Not only is the resemblance between Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer striking, the instant rapport the two stars formed on set shines through every scene.

Snatched


A Dog’s Purposeadogspurposedvd

Genre: Adventure
Classification:
 PG
Audience: General
Release Date: August 9

A Dog’s Purpose shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.

This heartwarming movie is a must for animal lovers. It’s based on the bestselling novel of the same name, written by W. Bruce Cameron. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wag your tail.  Perfect family viewing.


The Sense of an Endingthesenseofanendingdvd

Genre: Drama
Classification:
 M
Audience: Adult
Release Date: August 23

Tony Webster’s reclusive, quiet existence is disrupted by long-buried secrets from his past that force him to face the flawed recollections of his younger self, the truth about his first love and the devastating consequences of decisions made a lifetime ago.

The Sense of an Ending is based on the Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Julian Barnes, published in 2011. The director of the film, Ritesh Batra, met with Julian Barnes to discuss his adaptation, but Batra was so nervous about meeting Barnes that he forgot the entire conversation, apart from Barnes’s joking final words: “Go ahead and betray me”. Critic Stephen Romei, writing for The Australian, calls The Sense of an Ending “…a quiet film, but it will make a lot of noise inside your head, inside your heart”. As for whether it betrays its source material…you’ll have to decide for yourself.


Baywatchbaywatchdvd

Genre: Action, Comedy
Classification:
 TBA
Audience: Adult
Release Date: August 30

Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchanan butts heads with a brash new recruit. Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay.

Get into your red swimming costume, because it’s time to head back to the 90s! A “reboot and sequel” to the original series, the Baywatch movie stars Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and Bollywood actress, Priyanka Chopra as the film’s antagonist, a role originally written for a male actor. After meeting Chopra, director Seth Gordon changed the script for her. Slight spoiler alert: keep an eye out for cameos from Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff!


Big Little Liesbiglittleliesdvd

Genre: Crime, Drama
Classification:
 Ma15+
Audience: Adult
Release Date: August 2

In the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, nothing is quite as it seems. Doting mums, successful husbands, adorable children, beautiful homes: what lies will be told to keep their perfect worlds from unravelling? Told through the eyes of three mothers, Big Little Lies paints a picture of a town fuelled by rumours and divided into the haves and have-nots, exposing the conflicts, secrets and betrayals that compromise relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbours.

Originally envisaged as a feature film, Big Little Lies is a small screen adaptation of Australian writer, Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel; the subject of a bidding war between Netflix and HBO. Star Nicole Kidman came to Australia to meet Moriarty and secure the rights to the book in person. Since working on Big Little Lies together, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon have become best friends, and together they’ve obtained the rights for another of Liane Moriarty’s novels, Truly Madly Guilty. In the meantime, will there be a second series of Big Little Lies? Liane Moriarty thinks so – as do the show’s stars. Fingers crossed…

bllimg


King Arthur: Legend of the Swordkingarthurlegendofthesworddvd

Genre: Action, Fantasy
Classification:
 MA15+
Audience: Adult
Release Date: August 16

The young Arthur runs the back streets of Londinium with his crew, not knowing his royal lineage until he draws the sword Excalibur from the stone. Instantly confronted by the sword’s influence, Arthur must learn to master the sword, face down his demons and unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern, who murdered his parents and stole his crown – and become king.

Directed by Guy Ritchie – best known for Lock, Stock and Two Smoking BarrelsLegend of the Sword is a bold retelling of the classic King Arthur story, with a gritty urban setting and fast-paced action. It stars Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Djimon Hounsou…and, surprisingly, soccer legend, David Beckham as a disgruntled knight. If you loved Legend of the Sword, you’re in luck – it’s the first of a projected six film series!


Fate of the Furiousfateofthefuriousdvd

Genre: Action
Classification:
 M
Audience: Adult
Release Date: August 2

Now that Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon and Brian and Mia have retired from the game, the crew can finally live normal lives. But when a mysterious cyberterrorist seduces Dom into working with her and betraying those closest to him, Dom and his team will face trials that will test them as never before.

The eighth film in the Fast and the Furious franchise, Fate of the Furious stars the usual suspects: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris…and Helen Mirren? In an uncredited role, Mirren plays the mother of series bad guys, the Shaw brothers, played by Jason Statham and Luke Evans. After attending the London premiere of Fast and the Furious 7, she literally begged Vin Diesel for a role in the next film. If you think I’m making this up…frankly, I wouldn’t blame you. There’s proof over at Buzzfeed.

fateofthefurious


That’s it for August’s top ten! What are you most looking forward to watching in August? And what would you like us to review in the next few weeks? Let us know in the comments!

Fast Five Review: Jasper Jones

jasperjonesblogbannerJasper Jones
Drama | 2017

One night in the scorching hot summer of 1969, outcast Jasper Jones knocks at Charlie Bucktin’s window and beckons Charlie to follow him into the bush, where Jasper reveals to Charlie evidence of a crime – a crime for which Jasper is sure to be blamed. It’s a secret that will change Jasper and Charlie’s lives forever…and will tear their small town apart.

1) Did you like it?

First up, it’s taken me a while to watch Jasper Jones because I really enjoyed the book (which was written by Craig Silvey and published in 2009, by the way) …and I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand bad adaptations of books I love. I get grumpy when filmmakers take too many liberties with books. Or play it safe, and follow the book too closely. In summary: I’m pretty picky.

So, with all that in mind: yes, I liked Jasper Jones.

2) Why?

The thing with Jasper Jones is that it’s a seriously complicated book, with subplots galore – and even though it juggles some pretty heavy themes, it’s also genuinely funny.

Of course, the film can’t capture every one of the book’s nuances and threads. That’s always the case with film adaptations. However, Jasper Jones does a really good job of capturing much of what makes the book unique. Sure, there are a few questions that the film doesn’t quite have time to answer, but for the most part, this is a faithful, careful adaptation that does its source material justice.

(In fact, there are even a couple of elements of this story that the film actually improves, like the relationship between Charlie and Eliza, and Toni Collette’s portrayal of Ruth, Charlie’s mum, brings a humanity to the character that didn’t seem as pronounced in the book.)jasperjonesimage1

3) You’ll enjoy this movie if…

…you loved the book. But that’s not to say that this will only be a hit with novel fans – it’s also set to become a classic in its own right.

4) This movie made me think about…

How rare (and welcome!) it is to encounter a good film adaptation of a much-loved book.

5) Overall rating?

4.5-stars

The Digitales Digest – Edition Seven

digitales digest banner 2

There’s nothing we love more than reading interesting things. Welcome to the Digitales Digest, where every Friday, we round up some of the best articles, opportunities and more that we’ve discovered and shared on Twitter and Facebook over the past few days.


YOU TURNED ANOTHER PAGE

I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite books when I was young was The Monster at the End of This Book – a Golden Book in which Grover implores the reader not to continue reading the book because there’s a terrifying monster at the end. Author David Burr Gerard is a fan too. He writes for LitHub about the influence Grover had on his life as a reader and as a writer.

Obviously I don’t remember exactly what drew me to the book; this was before I knew that attachment to a book was something that required an explanation. But I think I sensed something agreeably weird and different in it.

the-monster-at-the-end-of-this-book


Game of Loans

Any Game of Thrones fans out there? If you haven’t seen the most recent episode, you might want to skip this next bit. Not that I’m going to discuss any massive spoilers or anything, but still…just in case.

Right. For those who saw Monday’s episode, Sam started work in the Citadel library, which involves a lot of heavy duty reshelving, as well as bedpan cleaning, toilet scrubbing and helping out with the odd dissection. Gross. But at least he doesn’t have to show people how to use the photocopier five times a day, right?

Anyway, so those heavy chains keeping the books on their shelves in the Citadel library? Turns out that real medieval libraries chained their books to the shelves as well…to prevent patrons doing exactly what Sam does in Monday’s episode. Read all about it


Cats aren’t jerks. Science says so.

People who scoff that cats only hang around with humans for food – you are SO wrong. New research has found that most cats, when faced with the choice, will choose human socialisation to food. Take THAT, dog lovers. Click here to read the rest.

cats


Smart Sounds

Ohhh nooooooo. As if I’m not already far enough behind in my podcast listening, the BBC had to go and write a list of great podcasts. NICE ONE, BBC.

podcastsEntitled “The Best 24 Podcasts to Make You Smarter”, this list is brimming with podcasts that sound amazing. And clever. I’m going to need more listening time. And possibly a bigger pair of headphones to fit around my expanding brain…


On the Digitales Blog…

Actually, it’s been a little while since our last Digitales Digest (shhh!) so we’ve got a few reviews lined up to share! Here’s what we thought of The Lego Batman Movie, The Boss Baby and Ghost in the Shell.

batmanandrobinNext week, we’ll have another of our famous Fast Five reviews, as well as a look at what’s coming up on DVD in August!