Photo of the day: Marlon Brando before and after his Don Corleone makeup for The Godfather in 1973. Is it just us or does he look a little bit like Brad Pitt in the ‘before’ pic? Or, at least, Brad Pitt’s older, unsuccessful brother?

Photo of the day: Marlon Brando before and after his Don Corleone makeup for The Godfather in 1973. Is it just us or does he look a little bit like Brad Pitt in the ‘before’ pic? Or, at least, Brad Pitt’s older, unsuccessful brother?

bastilleoutboy:

Fuck off if you don’t think Glastonbury isn’t going to be amazing this year

bastilleoutboy:

Fuck off if you don’t think Glastonbury isn’t going to be amazing this year

Teebs is a LA based producer and part of Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label, and with those nuggets of information, you should have an idea of the type of music he makes. It’s the type of electronic music I expect from LA and it certainly delivers, lots of jingles, chimes and shakers with a throbbing bass underscore and drums that sound as dry as the desert surrounding the city. Estara is the third release after 2010’s Ardour and 2012’s compilation album Cecilia Tapes Collection and has a much more varied soundscape than those two predecessors.
The album opens with “The Endless” a song of idyllic wavey synths and chimes whereas the next track, ”View Point” has a Cosmogramma-esque rhythm before calming down towards the end. The first single released from the album is the Jonti-collaboration entitled ”Holiday”,a song which sounds like it could have been in Animal Collective’s back catalogue. A lot of Teebs’ productions use field recordings that he gathers himself and manipulates, adding layers and beats, and mixing it in Fruity Loops, and you can hear that DIY roughness in it which I think makes it sound so beautiful. “Shoouss Lullaby” is one of my favourite songs from the album, beginning with lots of delicate jingling, before building with acoustic guitars, reverb-laden beats and vibrating bass, and then slowing and ending where it began. The album takes a break with “NY Pt. 1” as a kind of reflective regard, with a distant, more ambient feel which goes on for the next three songs before transitioning into “Mondaze”gently throwing you back into the bass, beats and lush melodies that fill the rest of the album. Estara closes with “Wavxxes”, which starts like some kind of breaking news bulletin then slowly reintroduces synths, bass and sparse drums, before bringing a chap called Lars Horntveth a Norwegian jazz musician, into the mix for some nice clarinet towards the end of the song. I’ll certainly be exploring Horntveth’s work further.

Estara has a sense of lavish melancholia and a yearning to it; when I hear this, I feel like I look at the world through Instagram-tinted vision with sun-rays and those rainbow rings you get. Having said that, I had to give the album a few listens before I really appreciated it. With this type of music, it can feel quite similar to other works - although you can differentiate between his label mates like Samiyam and Lapalux. The genre needs undivided attention when you listen and only then can you really get a sense of the music and the craft and how much work goes into it. This is a much more varied album than his previous work but still has the beauty and lusciousness you would expect from Teebs. 
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Teebs is a LA based producer and part of Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label, and with those nuggets of information, you should have an idea of the type of music he makes. It’s the type of electronic music I expect from LA and it certainly delivers, lots of jingles, chimes and shakers with a throbbing bass underscore and drums that sound as dry as the desert surrounding the city. Estara is the third release after 2010’s Ardour and 2012’s compilation album Cecilia Tapes Collection and has a much more varied soundscape than those two predecessors.

The album opens with “The Endless” a song of idyllic wavey synths and chimes whereas the next track, ”View Point” has a Cosmogramma-esque rhythm before calming down towards the end. The first single released from the album is the Jonti-collaboration entitled ”Holiday”,a song which sounds like it could have been in Animal Collective’s back catalogue. A lot of Teebs’ productions use field recordings that he gathers himself and manipulates, adding layers and beats, and mixing it in Fruity Loops, and you can hear that DIY roughness in it which I think makes it sound so beautiful. “Shoouss Lullaby” is one of my favourite songs from the album, beginning with lots of delicate jingling, before building with acoustic guitars, reverb-laden beats and vibrating bass, and then slowing and ending where it began. The album takes a break with “NY Pt. 1” as a kind of reflective regard, with a distant, more ambient feel which goes on for the next three songs before transitioning into “Mondaze”gently throwing you back into the bass, beats and lush melodies that fill the rest of the album. Estara closes with Wavxxes”, which starts like some kind of breaking news bulletin then slowly reintroduces synths, bass and sparse drums, before bringing a chap called Lars Horntveth a Norwegian jazz musician, into the mix for some nice clarinet towards the end of the song. I’ll certainly be exploring Horntveth’s work further.

Estara has a sense of lavish melancholia and a yearning to it; when I hear this, I feel like I look at the world through Instagram-tinted vision with sun-rays and those rainbow rings you get. Having said that, I had to give the album a few listens before I really appreciated it. With this type of music, it can feel quite similar to other works - although you can differentiate between his label mates like Samiyam and Lapalux. The genre needs undivided attention when you listen and only then can you really get a sense of the music and the craft and how much work goes into it. This is a much more varied album than his previous work but still has the beauty and lusciousness you would expect from Teebs. 

Planningtorock - Let's Talk About Gender Baby
142 plays!

Song Of The Day

Lana Del Rey - Meet Me In The Pale Moonlight
8,724 plays!

andrewpresents:

Lana Del Rey | 'Meet Me In The Pale Moonlight'

Another new track from Lana Del Rey has surfaced, and this time it’s the moody ‘Meet Me In The Pale Moonlight’. With her sophomore album on the way, many are speculating that this could be an early leak or a track that just didn’t make the cut. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is probably a little older than people are guessing, but it’s still classic Lana and an overall strong track. 

intelstat:

cine31:

Lucy - Trailer

ooh my jesus fucking christ this looks like the best film in the fucking world

Song Of The Day
The first two days of April mark both the anniversaries of Marvin Gaye’s death and birth; were he still alive today, he would be 75. Today’s song of the day is his relatively lesser-known track “When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You”

Nine years ago, way back in 2005, Craig Thomas and Carter Bays somewhat painted themselves into a corner. Unlike, say, Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof of Lost fame, Thomas & Bays already had an idea of how How I Met Your Mother was going to end. So confident were they in this idea that, for the sake of continuity, they had Lyndsy Fonesca and David Henrie record their scenes as Ted Mosby’s children being told the story by an off-screen Future Ted (voiced by Bob Saget), towards the start of production; this included the final scenes of Penny and Luke that appear at the end of last night’s finale. And so it was pegged at the show’s conception that the titular Mother was going to die, thus being the reason why widower-of-six years Future Ted is telling the story to his kids. 

The problem is that no one back in 2005 really expected the show to take off how it did. The two part finale “Last Together” which aired last night signalled the end of a show that lasted for nine seasons and almost a full decade on air; something which is becoming an increasing rarity in today’s TV landscape, especially for a sitcom. Throughout that time, we’ve watched a group of friends twist and turn, adapt and survive through the end of their twenties into their thirties. They’ve been promoted or changed jobs entirely, got married, nearly got married, dated around a lot, or just slept with a lot of people but in the end, the core was just these five friends - Ted Moseby, Robin Scherbatsky, Barney Stinson, Marshall Eriksen, and Lily Aldrin - sat in their regular booth in a pub. It’s this reason why “Last Forever” doesn’t feel like the finale this show deserved, and one that fans were disappointed in (as evidence by any HIMYM Twitter search will show you), as it doesn’t do justice to these characters we’ve spent nearly ten years following. 
To point to other disappointing finales of beloved shows, Lost’s Cuse & Lindelof, as well as Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D Moore, created endings that weren’t satisfying merely from a story point of view, particularly BSG’s which I still to this day find utterly ridiculous, whereas at least the over-arching themes of Lost work with the finale. How the characters of these two shows ended their personal stories, on the other hand, felt natural to their personalities and, although the characters were surrounded by a finale story that was wrapped up in often ludicrous concepts, they stayed true to the attributes and personalities we had spent so long watching develop (save for, perhaps, Sayid who ends up in the afterlife with Shannon, a relationship that always felt to me like just a “thing” that happened that the show never really invested in as opposed to his relationship with Nadia). How I Met Your Mother’s finale, however, is one that doesn’t seem to conform with the characters that we’ve come to know and, in that regard, feels rather cold and empty and, in some cases, like we’ve wasted our time.
To begin with, it’s probably best to focus on Barney and Robin, the relationship that was the centre of this final season and the breakdown of which would act as the catalyst for that final scene that closes the show; a mirror of the final scene of the pilot. The final 24-episode season took place, in an surprisingly daring and interesting turn, over the course of one weekend as Barney and Robin prepare to get married at an inn in Farhampton, Long Island, I having gotten engaged in Season 8 two-parter “The Final Page”. Throughout this season, we followed the two, as well as the rest of the gang, as they tried to make sure the wedding went off without a hitch, dealing with the usual sitcom scenarios of crazy parents, distant relatives, missing guests, band problems, Karate Kid stars, etc, as well as dealing with the pair as a couple and how they see their future together. Penultimate episode “The End Of The Aisle” sees the two finally tie the knot but, with the dust barely even settled from that, “Last Forever” sees Barney and Robin divorced before the first half of the two part finale is even over! It’s difficult not to feel cheated; after following the trials and tribulations of the Stinson-Scherbatsky relationship over the last few seasons plus an entire season dedicated to their wedding, the whole relationship is torn apart in merely a few smash-vignettes. 
In creating this season, the writers were creating a relationship that we as the viewer were meant to invest in despite them knowing full well that, in one quick sweep, it will be put aside for the sake of the long-planned over-arching story. It’s particularly disappointing when noting that the season did have some incredibly beautiful moments between Barney and Robin, particularly the scene which saw Barney shedding his playboy ways by promising to never lie to Robin about anything. It negates many of these moments, leaving a bitter sense that the writers could not just stick with what they had laid out, and makes the whole thing feel like a big waste of time for many. The idea of a season set over just one weekend was one that piqued my interest, just to see how they would do it, and, after a stuttering start, it worked exceptionally well, producing some of the best episodes in HIMYM’s recent history. But when the core of the season is ultimately pointless, you can’t help but think that there must’ve been a better way to construct the final run that isn’t so heavily invested in a relationship the writers were ready to pull the plug on almost immediately. 
This leads on to what the dissolution of Barney and Robin led up to, the rekindling of the Ted and Robin flame that burned brightly through much of the first few seasons but had been blown out for years by this point. The chemistry between Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor in the first few series was undeniable and infectious. It was that will-they-won’t-they ‘Sam & Diane’ style thing done extremely well and watching the two develop over the first three seasons was fantastic. This relationship faded out in a wonderfully natural way in Season 3’s “Slapsgiving” before Ted moved on to one of my favourite relationship arcs with Stella (played by Sarah Chalke). It was a relationship I was happy was over and, even though this final season brought back some of those residual feelings that may never leave when you think someone is ‘the one’, it once again put them to bed with the ultimately poignant but poorly executed episode “Sunrise” in which Ted finally lets go (in one of the season’s most unintentionally hilarious scenes which sees Robin float off into the sky, soundtracked by The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame”). I know that it’s all in the spirit of the cyclical nature of the show, with the finale ending with Ted outside Robin’s window in 2030 with the infamous blue French horn from the pilot, but the idea that the story Future Ted is telling his kids is merely a façade for him to pluck up the courage to ask them if it’s OK he starts dating Robin now The Mother has been dead for six years feels like a betrayal of everything this season had worked up to, particularly that floating Robin scene, as well as Ted’s personality which leaves me, again, feeling a little cold.

Though it does make sense as to why the story so far had been less about The Mother and more about “everything else”, it’s incredibly unsatisfying when Thomas & Bays managed to get the casting of The Mother so completely spot on. The introduction of Cristin Milioti as The Mother (finally given a name in the finale: Tracy McConnell) was a shot in the arm for the show. Every scene she was in since her introduction in the finale of Season 8 (being merely a shot of a pair of legs or an bright yellow umbrella up until now) was elevated by her chirpy, infectious presence, be that meeting the characters in the present day or interacting with Ted in flashforwards. It would be criminal not to focus on The Mother-centric episode, “How Your Mother Met Me”, now one of my favourite episodes, which manages to give an emotional rollercoaster of backstory to a character who was more of an idea than a person beforehand, all in the space of just one episode which really let Milioti shine. Though it has been rumoured since pretty much forever, and then heavily hinted at in “Vesuvius”, that The Mother would die, I was less annoyed at the fact that she did but more at how they dealt with The Mother and her death in this finale. The Mother was always a plot point before this final season; she was the end goal for Ted Mosby and his story. But Season 9 turned her into a proper character, one we grew to love and looked forward to glimpses of each episode. Cristin Milioti brought something to the character that made it ‘her’ role, a role that you could never see anyone else playing anymore. 
To then portray her as a mere footnote in the finale feels like, in the end, it was the story of Ted and Robin the showrunners wanted to tell, and Tracy was a mere obstacle. The final meeting of Ted and Tracy, a moment fans had been looking forward to since the show began, was as touching and beautiful as one might expect, with lots of callbacks and a nice reveal of The Mother’s name, but their actual life together after that took place mostly off-screen, particularly the moment they find out she is sick and then her death; her illness completely unexplained and her death barely even mentioned. The progression of Ted and Tracy throughout the decade in which they are together doesn’t appear to be of any interest to the writers, who would much rather get back to trying to set Ted and Robin up once again. There’s barely any hint of mourning on Ted’s part which seems utterly ridiculous and completely against his character. Had their casting of Tracy not been so perfect, I doubt I would’ve been as bothered by this; my investment would be much less. But as is, I feel the finale did not give her character the dues she deserved. Altogether, it painted How I Met Your Mother as a show of misdirection; this was never a show about how Ted met his future wife, it was always, right from the start, about Ted and Robin; a relationship that had already been neatly wrapped up not once but twice. The final scene was a very typical How I Met Your Mother scene, soundtracked to The Walkmen with plenty of callbacks, but the idea is just not one I can get behind.
This disappointment about how the finale panned out is all the more when you look back and see that there are actually some great moments in this finale that works as finale moments. Barney seeing his newly born daughter for the first time and declaring his undying love for her using the exact words he used to mock that he would never declare his undying love for anyone is an incredibly sweet moment, as was Ted and Tracy’s first meeting on the Farhampton train platform as they realised how intertwined their lives actually were despite having never met before, and there are plenty of great callbacks to such things Ted’s Hanging Chad Halloween costume and the Cockamouse loose in Lily and Marshall’s apartment (speaking of, Lily and Marshall had some fantastic moments together throughout the finale proving that they really are the show’s best couple). This finale was capable of hitting the right marks yet, on the bigger points, it missed the board completely, putting holes in your wallpapered wall. 


As much as I didn’t like “Last Forever”, though, I doubt it will mar my enjoyment of the show as a whole. How I Met Your Mother was Friends for a new generation, updating all the social norms and graces to something we could relate to in a world of changing technology and general social acceptance. From the many rules and principles, such as The Olive Theory, The Slap Bet, The ‘Nothing Good Happens After 2AM’ Rule, to the general view of the modern dating scene and of friendships, How I Met Your Mother painted a great picture of this world. Though it may seem that the old adage “the journey is always better than the goal” would not apply here, seeing as the point of the show is the goal itself, the journey was still a fantastic one. A poor ending isn’t going to put a dampener on my enjoyment of the running slap bet, of Ted’s two minute date with Stella, of Barney’s ridiculous ways to flirt (namely the full scuba diving suit in McLaren’s), of the search for the Best Burger In New York, of the casting of Milioti and everything she did as Tracy, and of one of the best pilot episodes of a sitcom I have ever seen; so perfectly setting up this world and this group of friends that seemed like they had been a gang for years already, before we even learned anything about their backstory. I may not have enjoyed the way it ended, but I sure as hell enjoyed the journey. Farewell, McLarens, I’ll probably be back soon to revisit the journey all over again.

Nine years ago, way back in 2005, Craig Thomas and Carter Bays somewhat painted themselves into a corner. Unlike, say, Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof of Lost fame, Thomas & Bays already had an idea of how How I Met Your Mother was going to end. So confident were they in this idea that, for the sake of continuity, they had Lyndsy Fonesca and David Henrie record their scenes as Ted Mosby’s children being told the story by an off-screen Future Ted (voiced by Bob Saget), towards the start of production; this included the final scenes of Penny and Luke that appear at the end of last night’s finale. And so it was pegged at the show’s conception that the titular Mother was going to die, thus being the reason why widower-of-six years Future Ted is telling the story to his kids. 

The problem is that no one back in 2005 really expected the show to take off how it did. The two part finale “Last Together” which aired last night signalled the end of a show that lasted for nine seasons and almost a full decade on air; something which is becoming an increasing rarity in today’s TV landscape, especially for a sitcom. Throughout that time, we’ve watched a group of friends twist and turn, adapt and survive through the end of their twenties into their thirties. They’ve been promoted or changed jobs entirely, got married, nearly got married, dated around a lot, or just slept with a lot of people but in the end, the core was just these five friends - Ted Moseby, Robin Scherbatsky, Barney Stinson, Marshall Eriksen, and Lily Aldrin - sat in their regular booth in a pub. It’s this reason why “Last Forever” doesn’t feel like the finale this show deserved, and one that fans were disappointed in (as evidence by any HIMYM Twitter search will show you), as it doesn’t do justice to these characters we’ve spent nearly ten years following. 

To point to other disappointing finales of beloved shows, Lost’s Cuse & Lindelof, as well as Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D Moore, created endings that weren’t satisfying merely from a story point of view, particularly BSG’s which I still to this day find utterly ridiculous, whereas at least the over-arching themes of Lost work with the finale. How the characters of these two shows ended their personal stories, on the other hand, felt natural to their personalities and, although the characters were surrounded by a finale story that was wrapped up in often ludicrous concepts, they stayed true to the attributes and personalities we had spent so long watching develop (save for, perhaps, Sayid who ends up in the afterlife with Shannon, a relationship that always felt to me like just a “thing” that happened that the show never really invested in as opposed to his relationship with Nadia). How I Met Your Mother’s finale, however, is one that doesn’t seem to conform with the characters that we’ve come to know and, in that regard, feels rather cold and empty and, in some cases, like we’ve wasted our time.

To begin with, it’s probably best to focus on Barney and Robin, the relationship that was the centre of this final season and the breakdown of which would act as the catalyst for that final scene that closes the show; a mirror of the final scene of the pilot. The final 24-episode season took place, in an surprisingly daring and interesting turn, over the course of one weekend as Barney and Robin prepare to get married at an inn in Farhampton, Long Island, I having gotten engaged in Season 8 two-parter “The Final Page”. Throughout this season, we followed the two, as well as the rest of the gang, as they tried to make sure the wedding went off without a hitch, dealing with the usual sitcom scenarios of crazy parents, distant relatives, missing guests, band problems, Karate Kid stars, etc, as well as dealing with the pair as a couple and how they see their future together. Penultimate episode “The End Of The Aisle” sees the two finally tie the knot but, with the dust barely even settled from that, “Last Forever” sees Barney and Robin divorced before the first half of the two part finale is even over! It’s difficult not to feel cheated; after following the trials and tribulations of the Stinson-Scherbatsky relationship over the last few seasons plus an entire season dedicated to their wedding, the whole relationship is torn apart in merely a few smash-vignettes. 

In creating this season, the writers were creating a relationship that we as the viewer were meant to invest in despite them knowing full well that, in one quick sweep, it will be put aside for the sake of the long-planned over-arching story. It’s particularly disappointing when noting that the season did have some incredibly beautiful moments between Barney and Robin, particularly the scene which saw Barney shedding his playboy ways by promising to never lie to Robin about anything. It negates many of these moments, leaving a bitter sense that the writers could not just stick with what they had laid out, and makes the whole thing feel like a big waste of time for many. The idea of a season set over just one weekend was one that piqued my interest, just to see how they would do it, and, after a stuttering start, it worked exceptionally well, producing some of the best episodes in HIMYM’s recent history. But when the core of the season is ultimately pointless, you can’t help but think that there must’ve been a better way to construct the final run that isn’t so heavily invested in a relationship the writers were ready to pull the plug on almost immediately. 

This leads on to what the dissolution of Barney and Robin led up to, the rekindling of the Ted and Robin flame that burned brightly through much of the first few seasons but had been blown out for years by this point. The chemistry between Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor in the first few series was undeniable and infectious. It was that will-they-won’t-they ‘Sam & Diane’ style thing done extremely well and watching the two develop over the first three seasons was fantastic. This relationship faded out in a wonderfully natural way in Season 3’s “Slapsgiving” before Ted moved on to one of my favourite relationship arcs with Stella (played by Sarah Chalke). It was a relationship I was happy was over and, even though this final season brought back some of those residual feelings that may never leave when you think someone is ‘the one’, it once again put them to bed with the ultimately poignant but poorly executed episode “Sunrise” in which Ted finally lets go (in one of the season’s most unintentionally hilarious scenes which sees Robin float off into the sky, soundtracked by The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame”). I know that it’s all in the spirit of the cyclical nature of the show, with the finale ending with Ted outside Robin’s window in 2030 with the infamous blue French horn from the pilot, but the idea that the story Future Ted is telling his kids is merely a façade for him to pluck up the courage to ask them if it’s OK he starts dating Robin now The Mother has been dead for six years feels like a betrayal of everything this season had worked up to, particularly that floating Robin scene, as well as Ted’s personality which leaves me, again, feeling a little cold.

Though it does make sense as to why the story so far had been less about The Mother and more about “everything else”, it’s incredibly unsatisfying when Thomas & Bays managed to get the casting of The Mother so completely spot on. The introduction of Cristin Milioti as The Mother (finally given a name in the finale: Tracy McConnell) was a shot in the arm for the show. Every scene she was in since her introduction in the finale of Season 8 (being merely a shot of a pair of legs or an bright yellow umbrella up until now) was elevated by her chirpy, infectious presence, be that meeting the characters in the present day or interacting with Ted in flashforwards. It would be criminal not to focus on The Mother-centric episode, “How Your Mother Met Me”, now one of my favourite episodes, which manages to give an emotional rollercoaster of backstory to a character who was more of an idea than a person beforehand, all in the space of just one episode which really let Milioti shine. Though it has been rumoured since pretty much forever, and then heavily hinted at in “Vesuvius”, that The Mother would die, I was less annoyed at the fact that she did but more at how they dealt with The Mother and her death in this finale. The Mother was always a plot point before this final season; she was the end goal for Ted Mosby and his story. But Season 9 turned her into a proper character, one we grew to love and looked forward to glimpses of each episode. Cristin Milioti brought something to the character that made it ‘her’ role, a role that you could never see anyone else playing anymore.

To then portray her as a mere footnote in the finale feels like, in the end, it was the story of Ted and Robin the showrunners wanted to tell, and Tracy was a mere obstacle. The final meeting of Ted and Tracy, a moment fans had been looking forward to since the show began, was as touching and beautiful as one might expect, with lots of callbacks and a nice reveal of The Mother’s name, but their actual life together after that took place mostly off-screen, particularly the moment they find out she is sick and then her death; her illness completely unexplained and her death barely even mentioned. The progression of Ted and Tracy throughout the decade in which they are together doesn’t appear to be of any interest to the writers, who would much rather get back to trying to set Ted and Robin up once again. There’s barely any hint of mourning on Ted’s part which seems utterly ridiculous and completely against his character. Had their casting of Tracy not been so perfect, I doubt I would’ve been as bothered by this; my investment would be much less. But as is, I feel the finale did not give her character the dues she deserved. Altogether, it painted How I Met Your Mother as a show of misdirection; this was never a show about how Ted met his future wife, it was always, right from the start, about Ted and Robin; a relationship that had already been neatly wrapped up not once but twice. The final scene was a very typical How I Met Your Mother scene, soundtracked to The Walkmen with plenty of callbacks, but the idea is just not one I can get behind.

This disappointment about how the finale panned out is all the more when you look back and see that there are actually some great moments in this finale that works as finale moments. Barney seeing his newly born daughter for the first time and declaring his undying love for her using the exact words he used to mock that he would never declare his undying love for anyone is an incredibly sweet moment, as was Ted and Tracy’s first meeting on the Farhampton train platform as they realised how intertwined their lives actually were despite having never met before, and there are plenty of great callbacks to such things Ted’s Hanging Chad Halloween costume and the Cockamouse loose in Lily and Marshall’s apartment (speaking of, Lily and Marshall had some fantastic moments together throughout the finale proving that they really are the show’s best couple). This finale was capable of hitting the right marks yet, on the bigger points, it missed the board completely, putting holes in your wallpapered wall. 

As much as I didn’t like “Last Forever”, though, I doubt it will mar my enjoyment of the show as a whole. How I Met Your Mother was Friends for a new generation, updating all the social norms and graces to something we could relate to in a world of changing technology and general social acceptance. From the many rules and principles, such as The Olive Theory, The Slap Bet, The ‘Nothing Good Happens After 2AM’ Rule, to the general view of the modern dating scene and of friendships, How I Met Your Mother painted a great picture of this world. Though it may seem that the old adage “the journey is always better than the goal” would not apply here, seeing as the point of the show is the goal itself, the journey was still a fantastic one. A poor ending isn’t going to put a dampener on my enjoyment of the running slap bet, of Ted’s two minute date with Stella, of Barney’s ridiculous ways to flirt (namely the full scuba diving suit in McLaren’s), of the search for the Best Burger In New York, of the casting of Milioti and everything she did as Tracy, and of one of the best pilot episodes of a sitcom I have ever seen; so perfectly setting up this world and this group of friends that seemed like they had been a gang for years already, before we even learned anything about their backstory. I may not have enjoyed the way it ended, but I sure as hell enjoyed the journey. Farewell, McLarens, I’ll probably be back soon to revisit the journey all over again.

We never learnt what The Rock was concocting in his kitchen , but the sixteenth and final episode of The Walking Dead’s fourth season answered the question pretty emphatically. Terminus is (cooking) people! Well… we don’t know that with 100% certainty yet, but the show. all but said it with the brief look into that ominous, candlelit room; the walls daubed with slogans “NEVER AGAIN - NEVER US - WE FIRST, ALWAYS”, the floor covered in trinkets and the names of the presumable dead. The “Hunters” arc from the comics is the basis for this cannibal villains angle, and also one of the best things Robert Kirkman has written; that we’re likely to see it play out in admittedly heavily altered form on TV is cause for tentative celebration.The long-awaited arrival at Terminus was a solid capper to what has been a season of two distinct halves. The first five episodes dealt with the threat of disease and illness within the prison, which, whilst being a nice dash of speculative realism, was essentially a convenient way of killing off the majority of ex-Woodbury citizens gained after the end of Season 3, before three episodes were devoted to a ultimate resolution to The Governor plot strand. Now don’t get me wrong, that trilogy of eps formed a vaguely satisfying mini-arc, and were a valiant effort from new showrunner Scott Gimple to correct his predecessor Glen Mazzara’s mistake of not using the iconic attack on the prison from the comics as the finale of Season 3. But the first half of this season was really a whole load of nothing punctuated by an action packed ending, not too dissimilar from how Season 2 turned out. Sure, we got “Internment”, that excellent Hershel spotlight episode, but it was merely a pinhole of light in a dark box of a run. And as switched-on fans know, when TWD gives you a heroic hour in focus, you’re not long for the fictional world, as was proven when Hershel met an undignified, drawn-out death during the Governor’s prison attack. 
However, with the end of the prison arc came a new dawn. Whilst by no means a perfect run of episodes, the back end of Season 4 was a marked improvement and possibly the most enjoyable the show’s been since its debut. With our central group now scattered across the Georgian wilderness with little food, shelter or support, we’ve been able to actually get to know them, and grow to love them as characters (or hate them a bit less at least). Yes, character development makes fiction better! Who’d have thunk it?! Okay, it hasn’t been quite at the level of the show’s AMC stablemates Breaking Bad and Mad Men; Tyreese is still a shadow of his comic counterpart, Maggie & Glen are still defined by being in love with each other and nothing else, but thanks to these last eight episodes, the world of The Walking Dead is a far richer, interesting place to spend 40-odd minutes. Michonne was once a glowering samurai with potential awesomeness gone mostly unused, but now she’s glowering AND a insightful, warm, realistic human being; Daryl was a similarly stoic badass amongst a relatively incompetent group, but his episode with Beth revealed a far more complex and emotional character; Carl (or to give him his proper name KOORRRAL) is a lot less of an angsty nuisance nowadays; Carol was already going through an incredible transformation before we reached the second half of this season, but when remembering she was a timid, mistreated and abused housewife all the way back in the first season, it’s amazing to see her become this strong, rational, hardened character, and probably the best bet to lead the group should Rick go the way of the zomb.
What has helped the show round out its characters/zombie fodder is what was previously a sign of impending doom; the spotlight episode. By handing over an entire episode to one of the smaller groups of characters we were left with and letting them move forward, bounce of each other and just barely survive their environs, we know them better, we connect with them more, and we’ll respond more when they’re in peril (as is wont to happen in the world of The Walking Dead). It’s partly that which has made the video game version of The Walking Dead such a huge success; a focus on characterisation and emotion over action and set-pieces.
Coincidentally, speaking of cannibals and character development, Hannibal has done this recently with the first four episodes of its second season; moving a secondary character into a much larger and significant role in order to make their inevitable and gruesome death pack a lot more of a punch. The demise of this character was intended for the first season, before showrunner Bryan Fuller decided to push it back in order to truly wring all the emotional response possible out of it. Unfortunately Gimple’s only feasible way of doing this with The Walking Dead was multiple episodes of characters trudging through forests and fields and dilapidated houses (as opposed to the cold, beautifully-shot Lynchian world we see on Hannibal), which has become a major bugbear of the vocal minority of its audience.
I’ll be honest however, despite this excellent run of episodes (including the shocking Carol/Tyreese/Sophia/Micah-centric “The Grove”), The Walking Dead will never be a television show of the calibre of canonical greats like The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, nor will it likely ascend to the level of current must-sees like Mad Men, Game Of Thrones, Hannibal, True Detective or Girls. It’s just not of that quality, nor is it really of the same breed; it’s a slightly absurd, pulpy comic book adaptation. It shouldn’t always attempt to “Dark Knight” things and be as bleak as possible, it should revel in the crazy more often. Part of the problem could be that there’s no tangible goal for the characters to aim for. This show is designed to run and run and run; the original comic is still going at 124 issues, with a new issue every month, and no end in sight, so there’ll never be a dearth of material to adapt. And think about it, how do you end a piece of zombie fiction other than everyone dying or a cure being discovered?

But that scramble to find a satisfying conclusion is, at the very least, a year or two away for Gimple, Kirkman and AMC. What comes next is pitting Rick & co against the hungry and heavily-armed inhabitants of Terminus. They don’t know who they’re fucking with…

We never learnt what The Rock was concocting in his kitchen , but the sixteenth and final episode of The Walking Dead’s fourth season answered the question pretty emphatically. Terminus is (cooking) people! Well… we don’t know that with 100% certainty yet, but the show. all but said it with the brief look into that ominous, candlelit room; the walls daubed with slogans “NEVER AGAIN - NEVER US - WE FIRST, ALWAYS”, the floor covered in trinkets and the names of the presumable dead. The “Hunters” arc from the comics is the basis for this cannibal villains angle, and also one of the best things Robert Kirkman has written; that we’re likely to see it play out in admittedly heavily altered form on TV is cause for tentative celebration.The long-awaited arrival at Terminus was a solid capper to what has been a season of two distinct halves. The first five episodes dealt with the threat of disease and illness within the prison, which, whilst being a nice dash of speculative realism, was essentially a convenient way of killing off the majority of ex-Woodbury citizens gained after the end of Season 3, before three episodes were devoted to a ultimate resolution to The Governor plot strand. Now don’t get me wrong, that trilogy of eps formed a vaguely satisfying mini-arc, and were a valiant effort from new showrunner Scott Gimple to correct his predecessor Glen Mazzara’s mistake of not using the iconic attack on the prison from the comics as the finale of Season 3. But the first half of this season was really a whole load of nothing punctuated by an action packed ending, not too dissimilar from how Season 2 turned out. Sure, we got “Internment”, that excellent Hershel spotlight episode, but it was merely a pinhole of light in a dark box of a run. And as switched-on fans know, when TWD gives you a heroic hour in focus, you’re not long for the fictional world, as was proven when Hershel met an undignified, drawn-out death during the Governor’s prison attack. 

However, with the end of the prison arc came a new dawn. Whilst by no means a perfect run of episodes, the back end of Season 4 was a marked improvement and possibly the most enjoyable the show’s been since its debut. With our central group now scattered across the Georgian wilderness with little food, shelter or support, we’ve been able to actually get to know them, and grow to love them as characters (or hate them a bit less at least). Yes, character development makes fiction better! Who’d have thunk it?! Okay, it hasn’t been quite at the level of the show’s AMC stablemates Breaking Bad and Mad Men; Tyreese is still a shadow of his comic counterpart, Maggie & Glen are still defined by being in love with each other and nothing else, but thanks to these last eight episodes, the world of The Walking Dead is a far richer, interesting place to spend 40-odd minutes. Michonne was once a glowering samurai with potential awesomeness gone mostly unused, but now she’s glowering AND a insightful, warm, realistic human being; Daryl was a similarly stoic badass amongst a relatively incompetent group, but his episode with Beth revealed a far more complex and emotional character; Carl (or to give him his proper name KOORRRAL) is a lot less of an angsty nuisance nowadays; Carol was already going through an incredible transformation before we reached the second half of this season, but when remembering she was a timid, mistreated and abused housewife all the way back in the first season, it’s amazing to see her become this strong, rational, hardened character, and probably the best bet to lead the group should Rick go the way of the zomb.

What has helped the show round out its characters/zombie fodder is what was previously a sign of impending doom; the spotlight episode. By handing over an entire episode to one of the smaller groups of characters we were left with and letting them move forward, bounce of each other and just barely survive their environs, we know them better, we connect with them more, and we’ll respond more when they’re in peril (as is wont to happen in the world of The Walking Dead). It’s partly that which has made the video game version of The Walking Dead such a huge success; a focus on characterisation and emotion over action and set-pieces.

Coincidentally, speaking of cannibals and character development, Hannibal has done this recently with the first four episodes of its second season; moving a secondary character into a much larger and significant role in order to make their inevitable and gruesome death pack a lot more of a punch. The demise of this character was intended for the first season, before showrunner Bryan Fuller decided to push it back in order to truly wring all the emotional response possible out of it. Unfortunately Gimple’s only feasible way of doing this with The Walking Dead was multiple episodes of characters trudging through forests and fields and dilapidated houses (as opposed to the cold, beautifully-shot Lynchian world we see on Hannibal), which has become a major bugbear of the vocal minority of its audience.

I’ll be honest however, despite this excellent run of episodes (including the shocking Carol/Tyreese/Sophia/Micah-centric “The Grove”), The Walking Dead will never be a television show of the calibre of canonical greats like The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, nor will it likely ascend to the level of current must-sees like Mad Men, Game Of Thrones, Hannibal, True Detective or Girls. It’s just not of that quality, nor is it really of the same breed; it’s a slightly absurd, pulpy comic book adaptation. It shouldn’t always attempt to “Dark Knight” things and be as bleak as possible, it should revel in the crazy more often. Part of the problem could be that there’s no tangible goal for the characters to aim for. This show is designed to run and run and run; the original comic is still going at 124 issues, with a new issue every month, and no end in sight, so there’ll never be a dearth of material to adapt. And think about it, how do you end a piece of zombie fiction other than everyone dying or a cure being discovered?

But that scramble to find a satisfying conclusion is, at the very least, a year or two away for Gimple, Kirkman and AMC. What comes next is pitting Rick & co against the hungry and heavily-armed inhabitants of Terminus. They don’t know who they’re fucking with…

As a very big fan of the last Muppets movie I admit that I was a little apprehensive going into this one. My concern, really, was that without Jason Segel (who was a major force in the production of the first film) on board the movie might not be so good - admittedly the film does addressed these concerns within the first minute breaking into “We’re Doing A Sequel”, admitting that sequels don’t tend to match up to their originals. Segel’s absence was not my only concern however as the plot - Kermit has a dangerous criminal doppelgänger who switches places with him - didn’t really grab me. Despite these concerns I was still very excited to see Kermit & co back and I left the cinema ten times more excited than I went in.
The movie was great! Yes, there were a lot of star cameos but… so what? There were still just as many of the Muppet brand humour jokes as you’d expect! The opening song was perfectly catchy and funny; by its end I had no doubts about how this film would measure up to the last. The music throughout was incredible and comparing it to the music in the original, I’d say it’s better (as the song quality is more consistent). Bret McKenzie writes perfect Muppets music, fun songs which draw from a range of genres with lyrics which match so well the humour in the picture. Jemaine Clement was involved this time too, playing a Russian convict in a Serbian gulag; it was nice to have both Concords.
The only criticism I can think of is: Muppet babies. Muppet babies being puppet human babies which are exactly as creepy as they sound. Constantine, the “Bad Frog” impersonating Kermit, was hilarious. His lines were delivered perfectly and with very comic contortions of his little felt face. The film was packed with great puns, the stand-out one being Constantine’s “It’s Not Easy Being Mean”. 
This second Muppets instalment is very different to the first with a plot driven by action rather than emotion however it met (and surpassed) all of my Muppets expectations and, like the 2012 release, it was fun with a capital F. Fun. 

Highlights include: Christoph Waltz waltzing, Usher ushering, Tina Fey’s Kermit shrine, Constantine calling Gonzo ‘Zongo’ and watching Ricky Gervais be humiliated by a frog in the “I’m Number One” number.
★★★★☆

As a very big fan of the last Muppets movie I admit that I was a little apprehensive going into this one. My concern, really, was that without Jason Segel (who was a major force in the production of the first film) on board the movie might not be so good - admittedly the film does addressed these concerns within the first minute breaking into “We’re Doing A Sequel”, admitting that sequels don’t tend to match up to their originals. Segel’s absence was not my only concern however as the plot - Kermit has a dangerous criminal doppelgänger who switches places with him - didn’t really grab me. Despite these concerns I was still very excited to see Kermit & co back and I left the cinema ten times more excited than I went in.

The movie was great! Yes, there were a lot of star cameos but… so what? There were still just as many of the Muppet brand humour jokes as you’d expect! The opening song was perfectly catchy and funny; by its end I had no doubts about how this film would measure up to the last. The music throughout was incredible and comparing it to the music in the original, I’d say it’s better (as the song quality is more consistent). Bret McKenzie writes perfect Muppets music, fun songs which draw from a range of genres with lyrics which match so well the humour in the picture. Jemaine Clement was involved this time too, playing a Russian convict in a Serbian gulag; it was nice to have both Concords.

The only criticism I can think of is: Muppet babies. Muppet babies being puppet human babies which are exactly as creepy as they sound. Constantine, the “Bad Frog” impersonating Kermit, was hilarious. His lines were delivered perfectly and with very comic contortions of his little felt face. The film was packed with great puns, the stand-out one being Constantine’s “It’s Not Easy Being Mean”. 

This second Muppets instalment is very different to the first with a plot driven by action rather than emotion however it met (and surpassed) all of my Muppets expectations and, like the 2012 release, it was fun with a capital F. Fun. 

Highlights include: Christoph Waltz waltzing, Usher ushering, Tina Fey’s Kermit shrine, Constantine calling Gonzo ‘Zongo’ and watching Ricky Gervais be humiliated by a frog in the “I’m Number One” number.