Archive for January, 2012


Oh no, this is yet another film I missed at the cinema (I missed a few) and only just got around to seeing on DVD.  Please don’t read if you have not seen the film, spoiler alert.

In the present day, scientists in the Arctic uncover a circular object with a red, white and blue motif.

In March 1942, Nazi officer Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) and his men invade Tønsberg, Norway, to steal a mysterious tesseract possessing untold powers. In New York City, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is rejected for World War II military duty due to various health and physical issues. While attending an exhibition of future technologies with his friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Rogers again attempts to enlist. Having overheard Rogers’ conversation with Barnes about wanting to help in the war, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) allows Rogers to enlist. He is recruited as part of a “super-soldier” experiment under Erskine, Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), and British agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). Phillips is unconvinced of Erskine’s claims that Rogers is the right person for the procedure but relents after seeing Rogers commit an act of self-sacrificing bravery. The night before the treatment, Erskine reveals to Rogers that Schmidt underwent an imperfect version of the treatment, and suffered side-effects.

In Europe, Schmidt and Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) successfully harness the energies of the tesseract, intending to use the power to fuel Zola’s inventions. Schmidt, having discovered Erskine’s location, dispatches an assassin to kill him. In America, Erskine subjects Rogers to the super-soldier treatment, injecting him with a special serum and dosing him with “vita-rays”. After Rogers emerges from the experiment taller and muscular, one of the attendees kills Erskine, revealing himself as Schmidt’s assassin, Heinz Kruger (Richard Armitage). Rogers pursues and captures Kruger but the assassin commits suicide via cyanide capsule before he can be interrogated.

With Erskine dead and the super-soldier formula lost, U.S. Senator Brandt (Michael Brandon) has Rogers tour the nation in a colorful costume as “Captain America” to promote war bonds rather than allow scientists to study him and attempt to rediscover Erskine’s formula. In Italy 1943, while on tour performing for active servicemen, Rogers learns that Barnes’ unit was lost in battle against Schmidt’s forces. Refusing to believe that Barnes is dead, Rogers mounts a solo rescue attempt with Carter and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) flying him behind enemy lines. Rogers infiltrates the fortress belonging to Schmidt’s HYDRA organization, freeing Barnes and the other captured soldiers. Rogers confronts Schmidt who reveals his face to be a mask, removing it to display the red, skull-like face that earned him the sobriquet, the Red Skull. Schmidt escapes and Rogers returns to base with the freed soldiers.

Rogers recruits Barnes and some fellow soldiers to attack the other known HYDRA bases. Stark outfits Rogers with advanced equipment, in particular a circular shield made of vibranium, a rare, nigh-indestructible metal. Rogers and his team successfully sabotage various HYDRA operations. The final HYDRA stronghold is located and Rogers leads an attack to stop Schmidt from using WMDs on American cities. In the resulting fight on board Schmidt’s plabe carrying the tesseract, Schmidt is killed and Rogers crashes the plane into the Arctic. Stark later recovers the tesseract from the ocean floor, but is unable to locate Rogers or the aircraft.

Rogers awakens in a 1940s-style hospital room. Deducing that something is wrong due to an anachronistic radio broadcast, he flees outside into what is revealed to be present-day Times Square. There Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) informs him he has been “asleep” for nearly 70 years.

In the post-credits scene, Fury approaches Rogers, proposing a mission with worldwide ramifications.

In my opinion, this was a thoroughly enjoyable film with some pretty good special effects and lays the foundations for this years “Avengers” movie.  I think It has been very clever how they have managed to link the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America films for the “Avengers” movie. I just hope it satisfies my expectations. Anyway, as a Science Fiction Superhero film I thought Captain America was pretty good.  I think it’s always nice to see how superheroes start and where they get their powers from.  In addition, I thought Chris Evans was awesome as captain america. Although I must admit I thought he was going to say “flame on” at one point :).

So well worth a watch in my opinion.

What do you think?

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Time for something different again.

January has always been hard for me.  The cold winter months and dark nights really did make me feel down and unmotivated.  November and December are just about bearable as there’s christmas to look forward to.  But after the new year celebrations I normally felt down and I just want to sleep and mope around. And it’s not until spring kicks in that I feel human again.

when you are self-employed and work from home, like me, it can be even worse.

I don’t think I am the only person that thinks this as psychologists believe January is a depressing time for many. The weather’s awful, you get less daylight than a stunted dandelion and your body is struggling to cope with the withdrawal of the depression-alleviating calorific foods, such as chocolate, of the festive period. January is one long post-Christmas hangover. And the media even claim that the third Monday in January is the most depressing of the year.

But I find that a couple of things help me…

1) Exercise and remain active. I think exercise helps a lot. Just getting out of the house and going for a walk or run makes me feel a lot better. And getting air into my lungs and raising my heart rate makes me feel great.  At the moment I go for a run twice a week and go for a walk with the dog every day. And because I am in training for the Manchester 10k run in May this has given me a goal to aim for, which helps. In addition, keeping active not only helps with depression and motivation it also helps to keep me warm :).

2) Networking. Getting out of the house and meeting others really peps you up as well. One of my goals for this year is to network at least once a week. I find that when I goto to networking events and meet other business minded people it really motivates and energizes me.

3) Maintaining a balanced diet.  I think eating a varied balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables helps you keep healthy. And when you are healthy I think this helps prevent depression and ward off illness. I particularly enjoy making/drinking fresh orange juice.

4) Cuddling/keeping warm on the sofa with your loved ones.  I don’t think I need to say any more on this :).

Dont get me wrong, it is still hard motivating myself but I think these steps help. Well, they help me anyway :).

So what about you, do you find January hard going and what are your tips for getting through these cold dark winters days?

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Last night was the second episode in Eternal Law, a new ITV fantasy science fiction drama series.  I thought the opening episode last week was pretty dire but I thought I would wait till seeing the second episode before writing a review. Please don’t read if you have not seen the series yet, spoiler alert.

Before I start I will tell you what it is about (I think).

It is a tale of guardian angels amongst us, sent down from the  heavens by somebody called Mr. Mountjoy (God) to help the helpless. And they do this by, wait for it….. by becoming barristers (that’s lawyers for you American’s) and establishing a small legal practice in York.

Yep, that’s right, the angels are crusading defence counsel,  sporting wigs as well as wings :).  The day-to-day seems to involve them taking on unwinnable cases, and trying to win them.  The opening episode started with Tom Greening coming down to earth (Ukweli Roach) to join Zak Gist (Samuel West) who has been doing this for all a while. So Greening wanders around looking wide-eyed at the beauty of the earth, whilst Gist is all cynical. They are helped by Mrs. Sheringham (who we later find out happens to be a fallen angel but has been allowed to stay on and help the angels)

In Eternal Law the angels operate a  look-but-don’t-touch policy. So they can influence, but they must not intervene. Love, naturally, is out of the question (which is why Mrs Sheringham lost her wings).  We also have the evil Richard (Tobias Menzies) another fallen angel (who also happen to be legal counsel working for the prosecution). However, he has a very different policy and can love and influence as much as he likes.

In last nights episode we had the barristers battling, wait for it, in a custody battle over who should have custody of a little boy, the father or the mother. In addition Zak is besotted by richard’s lovely assistant Hannah and is in danger of falling for her and thus losing his wings.  But if it weren’t for the fact that the lawyers were angels/fallen angels it would be just like a normal legal drama.  This maybe a compelling story for something like  “law and order” but not what I would expect from a fantasy science fiction drama. And so, I hate to say this, but at the end I really did not care who had custody of the little boy.

ITV1 hasn’t had a lot of luck with this genre of TV, and it looks as though this is set to continue in my opinion.  The supernatural side of this series was an interesting idea and the acting was pretty good.  And Tobias Menzies was pretty good as the fallen angel. But I am really sorry but why? As a fantasy drama I just don’t like it.  I just don’t get it! With all that is going in the world I would have thought angels would be more interested in helping people overcome more important things like illness, bereavement, war etc….. And so unfortunately, it doesn’t really leave me with a compelling hook to come back for more.

What do you think? Do you agree or am I the only one that thinks this.

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Hi every body, first of all I just want to wish you all a very, very happy New Year.

I hope you had great christmas. I took about 2 weeks off to spend with my family so that I could recharge my batteries and now I feel refreshed and energised.  And having time off, especially when you are self-employed, is very important I think.

And now we are in the new year it has got me thinking about the year ahead and my goals and objectives.  2011 was a good year but I want to make 2012 better.  I havent made any new years resolutions as such, I have just made a list of business/personal goals for the year and I thought I would share them with you.

First (which applies to both business and personal) I want to be more positive, learn to appreciate the good and bad in life and learn not to say “can’t”. There is no such thing as “can’t”.

Business

1. Set up Key Performance Indicators (KPI’S) and put measures in place to measure my sales generation.

2. I want to do more networking and attend at least 1 networking/trade fair each week.

3. Review my business plan every month and always look at ways to improve my business

4. Continue to set goals and objectives.

Personal

1. Get fitter (Keeping my walking/running regime going).

2. Get healthier (Eating more fruit, nuts and fish).

3. Run the Manchester 10k run in under an hour.

4. Learn something new (for example a foreign language).

5. Start work on my next novel

6. Continue to set goals and objectives.

So, those are my goals, what are yours?

Are you looking for science fiction and horror comics, books and collectables? Then please look at the science fiction and horror online shop.  For the free monthly science fiction and horror newsletter, please subscribe here free.