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Blackadder the Third | Burn After Reading | Draw Slasher

Schemes and swords


TV Review - Blackadder the Third

Series summary: In the Regency era, Mr E. Blackadder serves as butler to the foppish numskull Prince George amidst the fads and crazes of the time. (IMDb)

I have to admit that this season of Blackadder probably influenced my sense of humour more than any other piece of fiction I've experienced. Considering that the main character is pretty much a complete villain this time, I don't want to think about what that says about me! But yes, Blackadder is unquestionably a bad guy here and that's what makes this season so interesting.

In all incarnations, Blackadder is selfish and weaselly, but over the course of just six episodes, he arranges the deaths of multiple characters, including outright murdering one, and leaving others for dead because he'll benefit from it. The thing is, I'll bet anyone who's watched this already will think 'really?' and anyone who watches it afterwards won't notice it until they think back on it.

It's so well-written and Rowan Atkinson is again so masterful as Blackadder that you'll be enjoying watching his exploits more than you'll care about who's getting hurt along the way - a proto-Joker almost. Hugh Laurie as the Prince Regent also does great work by making a truly idiotic character never become annoying, while Tony Robinson is always great as the long-suffering Baldrick. Not the funniest season, but making the protagonist a bad guy who ultimately wins definitely makes it the most interesting.



Movie review - Burn After Reading

Movie summary: A disk containing mysterious information from a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous and daft gym employees who attempt to sell it. (IMDb)

Before watching it again, my memory of Burn After Reading was that it was quite funny, but a bit of a mess. The latter part is still accurate, with it feeling pretty insubstantial from start to finish, but I was wrong about how funny it was, because I was pleasantly surprised by just how hilarious it proved to be. The humour is silly enough to detract from and make it hard to care about the story, but it'll make you laugh.

The thing is that the movie is aware of how ludicrous and over the top everything is, in the form of J.K. Simmons' CIA Superior, but that only serves to make the comedy seem that little bit too far-fetched than it already was. Pointing out to the audience that this story is supposed to be taking place in something approaching the real world makes a lot of what happens feel very artificial.

Burn After Reading is very, very funny, with Pitt and Clooney providing their career-best comedic material, but the humour does go a little too far at times and renders every role into that of a caricature. As a result, the movie isn't particularly satisfying to watch, but it's not that long and is genuinely that funny while it lasts. It's definitely worth watching at least once, but maybe as part of a double bill or movie marathon with other titles adding more substance.



Game Review - Draw Slasher

Game summary: Meet Hanzo. He’s a ninja. While he was training ‘out there’ the Pirate Monkey Zombies - stupid, ugly, smelly, rotten and disgusting creatures - kidnapped his family. Take control of his awesome blade and aid him in the quest to free them. (Steam)

In some respects, this is similar to 10 Second Ninja X in that it has a simple set-up; can easily prove repetitive; it does make you wonder why this isn't a mobile game where you can just swipe a finger across a screen rather than clicking and dragging with a mouse; and also convinced me to change how I do reviews. There is one key difference though: this is actually quite good.

For one, the art style is much more pleasing to look at and the animations are much better, with far more variety early on than 10 Second Ninja X. The music and sound effects are much better too, plus it simply controls far more solidly.

I just don't get why this isn't a mobile game though. I can sit and play Draw Slasher for a solid twenty to twenty-five minutes before the repetition becomes too much, which would work pretty well on a mobile device, but just doesn't work for me as something to use my time up with when sat at a desktop PC. It's really cheap though, so if something you can play in bite-size chunks is what you're after, you could do a lot worse.




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