Thursday, 31 July 2014

Non-Stop

Star of Non-Stop, Liam Neeson, has had a sort of career re-invention of late. After starring in highly lauded masterpieces such as Schindler's List and Michael Collins in the 90’s, the 2000’s saw him find a new niche in the form of action thrillers. The first real one being Taken, which launched Neeson into films like The A-Team, Unknown and now Non-Stop, perhaps the best, and most original, of the bunch.


The film follows Air Marshall Bill Marks (Neeson) on a routine flight that is put in peril by a mysterious person who keeps texting our hero with various threats. It is soon revealed that this mysterious man or woman is not only on the same plane as Bill but has also made it appear that Bill is responsible for the crimes. Bill has to figure out who the threat is before it’s too late. As with similar films the supporting cast is fleshed out with interesting characters such as the enigmatic Jen (Julianne Moore), a slightly racist cop from the NYPD (Corey Stoll), a Middle Eastern doctor (Omar Metwally), Bill’s suspicious Air Marshall colleague Jack (Anson Mount), a cowardly school teacher (Scoot McNairy) and that’s just to name a few. Because of these brilliantly acted and diverse side characters the mystery at the heart of the film is brilliant and full of suspense and the reveal at the end did take me by surprise, unlike a lot of other Hollywood films. The twist might make certain audience members roll their eyes but by this point in the movie I was completely swept up and didn’t care. The films focus bounces around numerous plot points, from multiple murders to cocaine trafficking to Air Marshall Bill’s dark past, so by the time of the reveal you are completely swept up in the exciting world that the film has created.


Watching the trailer might make the film seem more action packed than it actually is. While the film isn’t a straight up action movie, it’s all the better for it. The slow pace aids the mystery and the acting and direction is top notch; better than the usual level found in Hollywood thrillers. Director Jaume Collet-Serra shows more flair than he did in previous Liam Neeson vehicle Unknown, and uses techniques such as long shots to make Non-Stop a surprisingly classy affair and due to this the film becomes much more than your average thriller. The actors also really bring their A game, with Neeson playing much more than the bad-ass he has become known for. While we are meant to root for his character we don’t initially warm to him. He’s a depressed alcoholic and just an all-round grumpy old man. This is until we learn about his slightly generic depressing back-story. But despite being the back story of hundreds of depressed protagonists, it does its job and makes us feel sorry for him, mainly thanks to Neeson’s convincing acting which really helps the audience connect with the character. Julianne Moore’s character Jen is also convincingly acted, perfectly balancing a sweet and funny love interest while also remaining a real suspect in the greater mystery of the film.


If you are a fan of Liam Neeson’s action career than there is enough nose breaking and throat punching to get you through the film, but that’s not all the film has to offer. Non-Stop is a great thriller with a solid mystery at the centre which delivers a (mostly) satisfying pay off. All of the actors give solid performances and the direction is better than it has any right to be. If you’re in the mood for something fun and slightly cleverer than the usual Hollywood fare then Non-Stop is a gripping, imaginative, airborne thriller.

Non-Stop gets a solid 4/5.

[★★★★☆]

Tom Bumby


Non-Stop at CeX


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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

As I Lay Dying

Out now on DVD and Blu-Ray is an absolute depress-fest of a film, a book adaptation by James Franco, which he made basically because of a bet. As I Lay Dying is about a group of people who watch their mother die and then don’t really give a shit, and seeing as she asked to be buried in a very specific place, spend the next two hours doing awful things to themselves to move, what essentially is some meat, to a hole in the ground somewhere really far away. Adapted by, directed by and starring James Franco this film is amazing. Amazingly shit. Hur hur hur.


The film starts off with the joyous image of watching an old woman die which is always uplifting but it wasn’t long before I didn’t care anymore. Due to the delivery of the dialogue, the camera work, the weird editing decisions and the mismatched versions of hillbilly accents between the cast members, I was suffocating her and everyone else in the film under a pillow in my mind within minutes. Mind Pillows aside, the cast all sound like they are on Saturday Night live trying to do ‘that kind of accent’.


The central focus of the film, and the book, was that the homemade coffin that contained the meat that used to be the matriarch is being dragged to a place she wanted to be buried, as mentioned in her logistical nightmare of a dying wish. Out of honour or whatever, everyone decides to get mixed up in abortions, arson, leg breaks, badly made casts, infections and crying just to put her in the ground. Now I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but absolutely nothing would happen to the mother’s mood if James Franco crept in to the coffin at night, with a drill, pierced a few holes into the corpse and put his willy in them over and over again for a laugh. Which I think may have been a more reasonable reaction to a dying woman asking you to drag her skeleton and off cuts across America.

James Franco decided to make this film because someone said to him once “Here you know what, that book As I Lay Dying by Faulkner, no one could make that into a film, it would be impossible. I think if anyone made that book into a film, even if they used weird split screen effects, it would be a dreary, depressing pile of shit, that completely abandoned the gothic southern feel of the novel.”  He responded by saying “Nah mate, I’d nail that shit no bother.”


I didn’t care about any of the characters and it all feels like a final piece of coursework from someone who has just got the recent version of iMovie. (Where you can actually do split screen work with the touch of a button I found out the other day.) I sort of respect Franco for giving it a go, and he was throwing some interesting ideas into the mix that other people would’ve been too realistic or ashamed to try, and sometimes they actually worked okay. Mostly I found myself feeling like I was watching ‘a funny YouTube video’ where I would feign interest while trying to remember the video it was that I wanted to show instead.

Anyway, 2/5 because the bits that were good were good but the bits that were bad was the entire film.

[★★☆☆☆]

Dave Roberts


As I Lay Dying at CeX


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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

CeX MCM Manchester Picture Competition Winners!

Many thanks to all our wonderful fans who entered the CeX MCM Manchester Comic Con Picture Competition, we absolutely loved seeing all of your creative cosplays and can’t wait to see what you come up with next time!

To our 3rd place winner, a £50 voucher and 7 dragon balls (if we can find them round back).


To our 2nd place winner, a £150 voucher for showing us how to do cosplay harder, better, faster and stronger.


As for first place, drum roll please!

The winners and lucky individuals who will receive a £250 voucher are a truly criminal duo, congratulations and try to share the voucher without going all Injustice on each other ;)


We'll get in contact soon with your prizes!
Thanks to everyone who entered, and stay tuned for more competitions in the future!


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Monday, 28 July 2014

The Pretty One

If you’ve ever sat around in your pants wishing that you could watch a film that’s even worse than, yet almost exactly the same as, Sliding Doors, then you’re in luck. Put your trousers on, go to CeX and get yourself a copy of ‘The Pretty One’ starring Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson. It’s directed by Jenée LaMarque and is a coming of age story, which taught me that a nice hair cut makes you oddly upbeat and selfish about the sudden death of your more successful twin sister.


The Pretty One begins with two identical twins, Laurel and Audrey (Kazan) celebrating their birthday. The ‘pretty’ one in question is Audrey and she’s also meant to be a bit of a bitch. It’s impossible to be pretty and nice in films nowadays, and Laurel, the other one, is feeling a bit left out due to the lack of attention. Audrey is worshipped from a far until people get up close, then they worship her there too – there doesn’t seem to be much reasoning for this other than her hair and dress. The present she gives her sister is a contrived setup for the plot; she brings Laurel for a make over and makes her look exactly like her. She also gives her a necklace with “Audrey” written on it, saying something like “Now you’ll always have a piece of me with you, and it’ll totally confuse paramedics if I ever end up dying in a car crash.”


So the The Pretty One would have you believe that, after said car crash approximately 30 minutes later, Laurel and Audrey’s parents don’t recognise which daughter survived… because of hair. Now for some reason my year/grade in school was blessed with almost five sets of twins. It took about three months before they started to look essentially the same but recognisably different, so I severely doubt that her parents wouldn’t have been able to tell. Now if they were in fact the same actress playing two girls, then yes maybe I could understand…

So nobody really cares that “Laurel” (actually Audrey) is dead, because the pretty one survived. Even Laurel only appears irritated that people aren’t more upset at her death without ever showing the slightest bit of sadness that her life-long best friend and twin sister has died. I read somewhere that when an identical twin dies the other one absorbs their soul and they can transform into their spirit animal at will, like a tiger or something. None of this happens for a second in the film and I think it would’ve been far more entertaining.

From now on the story is simpler, by which I mean ‘a different version of exactly the same stuff I normally see in the cinema with people I love’. Because I wouldn’t traditionally go see a film that reeks of tedium like this one did unless it’s with someone that I need to constantly prove my worth to. Girl meets boy —> boy and girl fall in love —> girl and boy have fight over framing device —> they get back together —> the end.


On the plus side it had an inkling of maturity about it that I’m not used to from debut directions. Despite this it still feels a bit too much like a late night pub idea. “How long do you think it would take you to notice I wasn’t me if I was replaced by a doppelgänger… hey that’d make a good film”. It’s not awful, and the nurse I watched it with only really complained about Laurel driving with a broken wrist, so maybe its more of a ‘girly’ film for casual film viewers. Or maybe solely for nurses in their twenties. Either way I’ll probably never remember having seen it. While researching funny references to relate to you about twins (I didn’t find any) I did find a woman who genuinely believes eating sweet potatoes will bless you with twins of your own. Apparently it’s science. But you know what they say when you accuse them of being fucking insane because they are clearly making up sweet potato based facts? I yam what I yam.

This film has been twinned with a poo I saw a naughty dog do in the street, 2/5.

[★★☆☆☆]

Dave Roberts


The Pretty One at CeX


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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Noah

Since the announcement that Darren Aronofsky was to helm a film adaptation of the Biblical tale of Noah's Ark, the entire production has been questioned and ridiculed from start to finish. Upon release the question on everyone's lips was simple; whom exactly is this film targeted towards? The film drew major criticism from Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups and has even been banned in a few countries to boot. I'll admit it; this is one of those films that I kind of prejudged. But not for any religious or non-religious cocerns, mind you. As a reviewer I always keep an open mind (I loved The Lone Ranger, after all!), But sometimes there comes along a film that sounds like such an utter mess that's it's hard not to prejudge. Noah is one of those films, and I suspect that many reviewers already made their minds up long before they even saw the film. Though I passed up on Noah when it hit the cinemas, I got a hold of the Blu-Ray and decided to give it a chance.  The question is... is it any good?


Directed by Darren Aronofsky and out on DVD and Blu-Ray is Noah, a film that was undoubtedly a labour of love for its director. Work on the script of Noah began in the year 2000, and over the years development fell through a few times for various reasons. Thinking he wouldn't get it made, Aronofsky decided to turn the tale into a graphic novel with the help of comic book artist/writer Niko Henrichon. Though the film of Noah did finally enter production, Henrichon still finished his graphic novel of Noah, which was based upon an earlier script. Growing up, the story of Noah I knew was that he was just some guy God chose to build an Ark, fill it full of two of every animal and then use it to survive the great flood. That was pretty much it, but this version of Noah is... different.


The film opens with a prologue of the story of Cain and Abel, two sons of Adam and Eve. After getting into a fight, Cain kills his brother Abel that leads to “the Creator” putting a curse on Cain and his descendants. Fleeing to the East and under the protection of a group of fallen angels known as The Watchers, they help Cain build a thriving industrial society. However, Cain’s poisonous influence spreads across the land, and ultimately leads to a world that is teeming with sin. Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, and his descendants are tasked with protecting what is left of creation. This is where Noah comes in, the last in the line of Seth. After enduring various visions from the Creator that shows the world will be wiped clean of sin, Noah must build an Ark, and not only fill it with animals that will inhabit the new world, but also his family. With the help of The Watchers and all the while with Tubal-Cain, the last in the line of Cain, and his sinful followers threatening to take the Ark for themselves, Noah must finish the task the Creator has placed before him.

The first thing that struck me about Noah was that despite its $125 million budget, it feels like a small film. Headlined by a great performance by Russell Crowe and a truly extraordinary one by Jennifer Connelly, Noah is, much like all of Aronofsky's work, very much a deep character study. From the anguish Noah finds himself put through even after the Ark sets sail, to the birth right Tubal-Cain sees upon himself, Noah delivers on so many different levels. I was incredibly surprised by how personal, moving and thoughtful it was, as on its surface it sounds very Hollywood. For instance, The Watchers are these large, hulking almost Transformer-like collection of stone and rocks, and even end up taking on hundreds of warriors head on in an incredibly breath-taking battle. Then you have Ray Winstone playing Tubal-Cain, and absolutely chewing up the scenery. From leading a group of Mad Max looking warriors to Noah's Ark, to the post-apocalyptic look of his city, without seeing the film you'd be forgiven in thinking it had no heart. It just sounds batshit insane, right? But yes, while those fantasy elements are over-the-top and very much akin to something like The Lord of the Rings, at the heart of Noah is a story of human struggle, a struggle that is told amid the Creator's decision to wipe out humanity.


This isn't a sugar coated God either, this is the unashamedly vengeful God that in the Old Testament killed the first-born children of Egypt in opposition to Rameses II. The God in Noah seeks to cleanse the world of sin, as the society that Cain began is quite literally tearing itself apart at the seams. This becomes apparent when Noah ventures to see the city for himself, and happens upon a place that is quite literally hellish. From human sacrifices, rape and an overall feeling of humans turning on each other like wild animals, the world that the Creator is vanquishing is one that had it coming. There's something almost refreshing by how brutal this world is, both visually and narratively.

Sporting a overall wonderful cast, a truly beautiful score by Clint Mansell, a visual style that really sets it apart from any Biblical film so far, intense action that isn't just mindless CGI and a genuinely powerful human story at its heart, Noah really impressed me. Though Noah is based upon the Biblical story of Noah's Ark, it doesn't ram it down your throat. That said, the film doesn't distance itself from the source material either. So, whom exactly is this film targeted towards? It's aimed towards the viewer that doesn't bring any preconceived notions to the table. What we have here is a film that both the believer and the sceptic can enjoy, and come away from it inspired by its intense human drama.

Noah rides out the storm and gets a 5/5.

[★★★★★]

Denis Murphy


Noah at CeX


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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Endless Love

Does anyone out there have a Blu-ray player or a DVD player and want to watch a film so self indulgent and wrapped up in its own sugary sweetness that I missed two thirds of it because of the insulin I had to inject into my retinas? That’s a diabetes reference. I can’t even return the film because I had to have my foot amputated after about forty-five minutes. Endless Love stars Gabriella Wilde and Alex Petyfer as Jade Butterfield and David Elliot respectively, two love struck teenagers, so deeply and terrifyingly in love that it very literally causes a house to burn down at some point.


When I was younger I fell in love with a girl, a girl I wrote songs about, wrote stories about, wrote letters for, designed websites for and deeply cared for. We planned to get married, to run away as soon one of us could drive and to have children together when we were in our mid thirties. We dreamed of spending hours lying on foreign beaches just existing together, loving each other, absorbing the essence of Europe and discovering and living life the way it was supposed to be lived. Unfortunately after about a week and a half she ran off with many other men and I was left weeping uncontrollably in the street, confused and heart broken, too embarrassed to go home and ultimately cursed to live this experience again and again. Sure the girls are different, they range in various degrees of cruel and vindictive and naive and uneducated. Les Salopes eventually destroyed any belief I had in a soul mate and it’s fair to say that believing in such a thing is as much of a waste of energy as Santa, the tooth fairy, Jesus Christ, and a ‘good day at work’.


This film takes the Syd and Nancy-esque relationship that David and Jade had in the book of the same name and does a candy-striped multi coloured sugar coated turd all over it. In the book David burns down Jade’s house in a micro-rage, the relationship they had was tumultuous, interesting, life affirming and gripping. The film less so, everything is perfect the whole way through, beautifully polished and perfectly crafted. That may sound good, but imagine Michelangelo’s David, it probably has some flaws or embellishments that make it inaccurate but more beautiful. A massive cube of marble, there’s not a lot wrong with that, but it’s not particularly interesting either, it doesn’t even have tiny shrivelled genitalia to laugh at. At least the Mr. Men had faces. Boy + girl + disapproving parent = grumpy remorseful dad and a happy ever after story. There’s really nothing to it at all, they get together they break up, they get back together, you adopt seven cats and eat a big cake.

The thing that strikes me as particularly odd, and I hope this doesn’t spoil it for anyone, is a small ‘vomit-uncontrollably-from-cheesy-dialogue and you’ll miss it line’ at the end that implies that though the title of the film is endless love, and after various trials and tribulations they end up together because that’s what fate wants, Jade pretty much says that it didn’t last; that the whole film was a waste of my time, having watched it. It also drew a big picture of a penis during the end credits with “That’s you that is” and an arrow pointed to the bell-end. It made me quite sad.


So, though I had to stop watching it and do other things twice in the middle, here is the embarrassing bit – I nearly wept every few minutes while watching this film, not because it was good I hope you understand, but because I am easily drawn in by overly romantic, soppy nonsense and that is exactly what this is. Please don’t buy this, I’m not saying it’s good, and if you don’t watch it you can’t judge me.

Yea fuck it, it was shit, 2/5.

[★★☆☆☆]

Dave Roberts


Endless Love at CeX


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Friday, 25 July 2014

Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn

Both the Dynasty Warriors and Gundam series are absolutely massive in Japan. Though greatly different in terms of content, both franchises have an equally big following of fans. That said, there is love for these franchises in the West as well, but not to the scale of in Japan. I mean, back in 2009 Japan built a full-scale replica of the RX-78 Gundam. Now that's countrywide fandom for you! Then a few years ago someone had an incredibly smart idea, and that was of combining both the Dynasty Warriors and Gundam series. So when the original Dynasty Warriors: Gundam was released back in 2007 for the PS3, it was a huge success in Japan and spawned its very own series. Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn is the fourth entry in this Dynasty Warriors and Gundam mash-up series, but considering it merges two of the biggest and most respected Japanese franchises ever... is it any good?


Developed by Koei and finally out now in the West on PlayStation 3 comes Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn, a game that while sounding astoundingly awesome and utterly tantalising on paper, is lacking at times. Essentially, Gundam Reborn takes the characters, mechs and various story arcs from the long running Gundam anime series, and builds a large scale fighting game around it using Dynasty Warriors as a template. So while there aren't any Dynasty Warriors characters running around here, the sheer idea of putting a Dynasty Warriors combat centric brain inside of a hulking Gundam body is all kinds of awesome.

Gameplay falls in line with the usual direction of the Dynasty Warriors series, and could be described as merely a hack-and-slash. But I'm not here to decry that genre. In fact, I found it quite fun during my review of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition, but here it feels far too simplistic. That said, Koei have added a bit of spice to combat that prevents it from teetering on the edge of utter tedium, and that comes in the form of partners being used during combat. Mostly used during Ultimate Mode, partners add a splash of freshness to the game, and considering that there are many characters to choose from to be your partner, this feature adds a fantastic sense of choice and customisation to the game.


There are two modes in Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn. Firstly, during Official Mode you can experience various key points that took place during the Mobile Suit Gundam and Gundam SEED anime series. The decision to exclude certain Gundam series' in Official Mode makes sense as it was originally aimed at a Japanese audience, but some Western fans may by sadden by the fact that Gundam 00 is overlooked. Though levels are mostly based Mobile Suit Gundam and Gundam SEED, non-Gundam fans won't be left scratching their heads. Thanks to some pretty heavy exposition between battles, even a non-Gundam fan (like me!) will easily grasp the context of the various epic battles on offer here. The other mode available is Ultimate Mode, which offers up over 20 original story arcs, created solely for the game. I'd imagine that this mode would be incredibly exciting for any hardcore Gundam fan out there, as it crosses over many characters from the anime's long list of entries and spin-offs. Throughout both the Official and Ultimate modes, various Gundam suits can be unlocked too. This adds a great sense of depth to the game, but the pitfall here lies in the fact that eventually playing and replaying levels starts to get incredibly tedious.


The biggest downfall of the game is the incredibly bland level design and overall lack of visual appeal. Like with any Dynasty Warriors title out there, Gundam Reborn puts a lot of enemies on screen at once, but that isn't an excuse for low resolution textures, boring level design and a general feel that it's lacking any kind of polish. Though it’s got intense combat, a fun multiplayer and a large array of customisation, Gundam Reborn sometimes fails at evoking any sense of tension, dread or excitement in the player. It's not terrible, but damn, it could have be epic, man!

It's fun, but Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn isn't as good as it should be and gets a 3/5.

[★★★☆☆]

Denis Murphy


Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn at CeX



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Thursday, 24 July 2014

More choice online!

We've added a huge pile of stock to our online selection at webuy.com. Don't take our word for it, just take a look at the size of the Andriod phones, iPhones, iPads, iPodsXbox 360 and PS3 games.

Remember you can also sell for Cash or CeX vouchers online as well as in store. Find your nearest CeX store here.


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Jobs

A thousand songs in your pocket” Try pitching that idea to a teenager today and they’ll probably laugh at you. We live in a world of smartphones and 4G, after all – there are 20 million songs on Spotify alone, which can be searched and sorted and beamed out of the sky at a moment’s notice. But when Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs announced the first iPod back in 2001, it quite literally changed the world.

And it wasn’t just the world that changed. Apple’s pre-iPod history is littered with failed product launches, infighting, and corporate coups. It used to be the company that made those weird computers only designers used, but the iPod marked an important turning point for Apple: nowadays, you can’t move ten feet in a shopping centre without running into an iPhone, iPad, or MacBook Pro.

It’s fitting, then, that Jobs, Joshua Michael Stern’s 2013 biopic starring Ashton Kutcher, also gets off to a pretty rocky start.


Starting with the iPod announcement (Kutcher appears in some of the worst old-man makeup I’ve ever seen), the film flashes back to mid-70s Oregon where Jobs was attending college. The prevailing mood for the first half of the film is “distracting”. There are distracting appearances from James Woods and Masi “Hiro Nakamura” Oka, and a distracting sequence where Steve Jobs dances about in a cornfield. And Ashton Kutcher himself is distracting at first – he really, really nails Jobs’ accent and mannerisms and even looks the part but, for whatever reason, his performance just didn’t sit right with me.

The writing? Well, that’s just distractingly lazy. There are multiple one-liners intended to make us go “gosh, look how quirky Steve Jobs was”, but they’re too frequent and far too obvious. I felt like I was watching “Steve Jobs: The Teen Drama”.


It’s not that the subject matter isn’t interesting – we’re talking about a monumental series of events that, indirectly, lead to you being able to read this review right now. Jobs discovers his friend Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) has created a sophisticated computer capable of displaying its output on a TV screen. Woz is the brains behind the operation, but lacks the charisma and business-mindedness to make any real money out of his creations. Jobs creates a brand and sets to work making business deals, schmoozing investors (notably Mike Markkula, played by Dermot Mulroney), and successfully flogging Wozniak’s second design – the Apple II – at a San Francisco computer fair. He even finds time to be an asshole to his girlfriend, breaking up with her after she announces she’s pregnant. There’s meat on the film’s bones, to be sure, if you can get past those early problems.

Thankfully, the film really picks up in its second half, easily matching The Social Network in terms of its storytelling and execution. We see Jobs’ ruthlessness as he phones then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and screams at him for stealing Apple’s ideas. We get to see his vulnerable side as he’s forced out of the Apple Lisa project and, later, the company he cofounded. And we see his genius and obsessive perfectionism as he returns to Apple and takes over the Macintosh project, firing a team member who doesn’t share his enthusiasm for fonts. This all leads up to the dawn of the slick, successful Apple we know today, with Jobs reinstated as CEO and genius designer Jony Ive – the man behind iOS 7 and the “Bondi Blue” iMac, among many others – becoming his right-hand man.


The film’s second half is excellent – smart and pacey, and bolstered by emotional performances from Kutcher, Gad, and Mulroney. Giles Matthey delivers probably the most convincing impression of anyone I’ve ever seen as Jony Ive, somehow even managing to look identical despite the fact they’re nothing alike. And there’s a show-offy slideshow at the end, comparing the film’s cast to their real-world counterparts. Most of the likenesses are dead on.

Like Apple boldly moving into the music business in 2001, Jobs’ second half displays a level of confidence and polish I never would expected after its first sixty minutes. And that’s why, despite the film’s many problems, I just wouldn’t feel right giving it anything less than a 4/5.

[★★★★☆]

Mike Lee


Jobs at CeX



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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Walk of Shame

I love writing for CeX. Love it. But sometimes that love is tested, I must say. Like a long lasting marriage rocked by infidelity, my love affair with CeX was put to the test while recently watching Walk of Shame. But don't worry kids, CeX and I worked through this. Just know that it wasn't CeX's fault as it was entirely it was my decision to review Walk of Shame. I know, I screwed up, but all I can do is apologise, right? But while I am holding my hands up on this one, some of the blame must be placed on the entire team behind Walk of Shame. Yeah, I'm looking at you Steven Brill, Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden! Thanks for creating the film equivalent of the Ebola virus.


Directed and written by Steven Brill, mastermind writer behind D3: The Mighty Ducks, comes Walk of Shame, a film that should be used as a form of torture. The film kicks off with various clips of TV news bloopers. However, despite the fact that all of these bloopers are real and actually exist, Walk of Shame decided to re-film them. Why? I have no idea, but through re-filming them with z-grade shitty actors, they're no longer in the slightest bit funny. Not off to a great start, I know, and Walk of Shame only gets worse. The film focuses on Meghan Miles, a news reporter played by Elizabeth Banks. After losing out on a job to another reporter, Meghan's friends take her out for a night on the town. Meghan ends up getting pretty drunk and finds herself in the bed of everyone's favourite Cyclops, James Marsden. Then, after waking up and trying to sneak out, she discovers that she’s left his apartment without her phone. The problem is that she's also unable to get back into his apartment to get her phone and purse. Alone, without a phone, directions and money, Meghan must make her way across down town L.A, through a legion of drugs dealers, drug users, hookers, cops and all kinds of other weirdos. Think of it kind of like The Warriors, but instead of a group of badass dudes running from 10,000 murderous gang members, it's Elizabeth Banks in high heels wandering around down town L.A. Yeah, it's not exactly great...


The problem with Walk of Shame is, well, everything. The premise is actually not that bad, but from the start of the film until when she returns home, it's just pretty damn awful. It's not as funny as it thinks it is. From cops mistaking her as a prostitute, crack-heads who end up being charming dudes, various uncomfortable racial jokes, a fat taxi driver that demands Meghan gives him a lap dance, to a kid that wants to trade his bike in order to see her breasts, Walk of Shame is just bloody awful. It's one of those weird films that manage to do something very unique; it comes across as being both sexiest to men and women. You see, in Walk of Shame world, men are either creeps or James Marsden, while women are either ditzy or hookers, basically. Ugh. Falling in line with films like The Hangover trilogy and Bridesmaids, Walk of Shame tries to be edgy and crude, and while it does ultimately achieve that, it forgets to throw in a few worthwhile laughs along the way.

But the worst part about Walk of Shame is the fact that most of the actors here are actually quite decent. I mean, Elizabeth Banks is pretty great in The Hunger Games while James Marsden... well... who doesn't love James Marsden, right? But In Walk of Shame they're reduced to the generic one-night-stand-hunk and stupid blonde girl, which sure, they kind of slip right into that category visually, but they deserve so much more!


Overall Walk of Shame is just a complete waste of time. It's a film that wanted so badly to be the next The Hangover... but for girls; a film girls can drag their sulking boyfriends along to, watch and think “LOL, I've been there!” But this plan of roping in women failed, as their much smarter than Steven Brill assumes they are. Walk of Shame appeals to no one. Ever.

Walk of Shame does the walk of shame (see what I did there?) and gets a 1/5.

[★☆☆☆☆]

Denis Murphy


Walk of Shame at CeX



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CeX Parramatta wins Outstanding Retailer award!

Congrats to CeX Parramatta. Their hard work has netted them an award for Outstanding Specialised Retail Business in the 2014 Parramatta Local Business Awards.


Head on down to CeX Parramatta at Westfield Parramatta, Shop 2137, Parramatta, NSW, 2150 and find out what makes us so "Outstanding" ;)


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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Samsung Galaxy Gear [SM-V700]

It seems Smartphones are no loner, or soon to be no longer, the new kid on the block. Right now we're witnessing the rise of the SmartWatch, yet another device that'll eventually replace the now ancient time keeper on your wrist. Though the concept is still technically in its infancy, if this piece of kit is considered early days, it's a very good sign indeed. There's a few different types of Smartphones currently on the market, and while I can't speak for the rest of them yet, the Samsung Galaxy Gear SM-V700 is a beautiful piece of innovation.


First off, a lot of what makes SmartWatches so good is the fact that they can sync up with your SmartPhone, which ultimately lets you enjoy features and apps across both devices. Sure, technically you don't need a Samsung Smartphone to use the SM-V700, but to enjoy its full potential I'd highly advise that only Samsung users need apply. In the long run you'll get more out of the device. Visually the SM-V700 is stunning. Sleek and smartly designed, the surprising thing about it is the fact that it looks far more fragile than it actually is. At a first glance you'll be wondering if the SM-V700 could withstand all the wear and tear of daily life. Thankfully, once it's on your wrist those fears fade away, as it ends up feeling incredibly secure, though not large and bulky. The face of the watch has fantastic crystal clear clarity, while the fully adjustable rubber strap hugs the wrist comfortable.


Powered by Android, the SM-V700 is simple to navigate through. Simply using your finger to swipe though the options available, the typical choices are on offer here; Notifications, Voice Memo, Photo Gallery, Music, Pedometer, S Voice, Settings and Apps. The initial options are quite standard, but using S Voice to compose messages and generally interact with and control your device is especially welcome. The Photo Gallery comes into play after using the built-in camera, which is instantly accessible when you swipe down on the screen. The camera resolution quality is 1.9 megapixels, which considering its discreet positioning on the wristband, is pretty much perfect. You can also record 15 seconds of footage, and while it's quite a disappointment that the device can't record for longer at any one time, it's a welcomed addition to the overall package.

Connected to a Samsung Smartphone, the SM-V700 impresses even with the simplest of features. For instance, through it’s wireless connectivity you can control the music player on your Smartphone with the flick of a finger. Also, if you happen to lose your phone somewhere nearby (behind the cushions on the couch, anyone?), there's a feature on your phone that will make your SM-V700 light up and send out an alarm. Through Gear Manager on your SmartPhone plenty more device-to device-options can be fiddled around with, including a few that change the visual design on your SM-V700's interface.


It's a big purchase, sure, but if you're even considering buying this then you're certainly in the market for a SmartWatch, as opposed to making a frivolous purchase. I really can't speak for other SmartWatches out there, but with the SM-V700 you get the entire package, both technically and aesthetically. You may have just found a replacement for that old sun dial that's been sitting on your wrist for the past few years.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear SM-V700 does more than tells time and gets a 4/5.

[★★★★☆]

Denis Murphy


GRID Autosport at CeX



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Monday, 21 July 2014

The Motel Life

It’s Friday, one of the seven days for film watching, and tonight I watched a film called The Motel Life. A coming of middle-age story about that moment in every boy’s life when their one legged brother accidentally kills a child. As the film co-starring Kris Kristofferson and Stephen Dorff I like to imagine this film as a prequel to the film Blade, but there are too many continuity errors for that to make sense. It also stars Emile Hirsch and also Dakota Fanning in one of her crazy girl roles that she’s growing increasingly fond of.


Based on Will Vlautin’s novel of the same name, The Motel Life is a film concerning two brothers; Jerry-Lee (Dorff) and Frank Flannigan (Hirsch). The film alternates between the past and the present day (narrative wise, not like Back to the Future) with the past primarily focusing the impending death of Mother Flannigan and the non-subtly presented implications that the two boys must help each other get through life.

“Even if your brother loses a leg”
“Yes mom”
“Even if your brother kills a kid on a bike”
“Yes mom”
“Even if your brother becomes suspiciously rich by selling your fathers gun”
Yes mom”
“Even if your brother kills Morph in front of Tony Hart’s weeping eyes moments after he celebrates being better than Rolf, at art and non-molesting”
“Yes Mom”

The film continues with a small, broken montage of Frank telling Jerry-Lee some stories, Jerry-Lee losing his leg under a train and the gradual creation of Jerry-Lee’s artwork, which accompany the stories that Frank is telling. These drawings and animations play a part throughout the film and definitely help give it a unique feel. They are not used often enough though and they were delightful. I was left thinking that the film would have been better if it was almost entirely animated. But that would’ve destroyed the point of adapting the film from the book.

In the present day Frank accidentally kills a kid with his car and in his guilt he decides to kill himself. For some reason he decides to shoot himself in the amputated leg instead, winding up in hospital soon to be under scrutiny by the police. Despite the brothers appearing to be in the clear most of the time, Frank’s growing unpredictability leaves that a bit uncertain as the film progresses. Ultimately, despite the fact that one of the brothers accidentally murdered a child, it’s very sweet and a genuine depiction of brotherly love, and I found myself growing to like them both quite a lot by the end of the film.

Sub-plotting its way through the story is the relationship between Dakota Fanning and Frank, who’ve seemingly broke up in the past because of some horrible prostitute mother thing. The whole film is what country songs are made of, stories of normal people in shit situations and it’s very well executed. It might be a bit dry for some people’s tastes but for me it was a definite win.


It’s a dark film presented with innocence in much the same way as some of the best songs, the soundtrack of the film also deserves attention and it really is an original piece of cinema.

The Motel Life gets 3/5.

[★★★☆☆]

Dave Roberts


The Motel Life at CeX



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Sunday, 20 July 2014

All Is Lost

Something called “Sortie en mer” is doing the rounds on the Internet at the moment. Part of a campaign to get people to wear life jackets, the French-made “drowning simulator” game uses live-action video to put you in the shoes of a man stranded in open water. It’s unwinnable, which makes it pretty harrowing – all you can do is prolong your character’s struggle, making his inevitable death slower and more painful and watching in horror as he loses his fingernails due to the sheer cold.

All Is Lost, J. C. Chandor’s 2013 experience movie starring Robert Redford, feels a bit like a movie version of “Sortie en mer”. It’s not as outwardly disturbing (it doesn’t need to be), but the feeling of hopelessness – of being lost at sea with no one to help you – is there in spades.


Whilst sailing the Indian Ocean, our man (that’s actually what he’s called in the credits) wakes to find a wayward shipping container has pierced a large hole in the side of his boat, and it’s taking on a lot of water. To make matters worse, all the vital electronics on board – like the radio and GPS – are waterlogged and have stopped working. Despite that, things actually look pretty promising at first, as our man surveys the situation, manages to pump out most of the water, and even carries out some cursory repairs. But a massive storm hits not long afterwards, and it’s pretty much all downhill from there.

What follows is our character’s eight-day struggle for survival, as he comes up against every imaginable obstacle from dehydration to sharks. Thankfully, he’s pretty resourceful – no matter how bleak things looked, I always felt like there was a slim chance of him getting back to civilisation.

What’s great about this film is that it doesn’t try to do too much. It has one character, one cast member, a very small handful of spoken lines… and that’s about it. The film doesn’t try to crowbar in a backstory for our character, and even manages to steer clear of clichés like “let’s have him look at a family photograph and cry; it’ll make him more relatable”. The lack of dialogue is equally unusual: most films would have had the main character vocalising his every action, or at the very least muttering expletives in a gravelly Batman voice, but our character barely says anything for the film’s entire hour and forty minutes.


This refreshing approach is bolstered by Redford’s fantastic acting – we root for and relate to our man because we can see the fear and frustration in his eyes, not because he’s a handsome, God-fearing war veteran-cum-action hero with a stunningly beautiful, American Dream family. Or, like, Tom Cruise or whatever.

The same goes for the movie’s visuals and soundtrack. There are no crazy action setpieces and, other than right at the end, the film never really tries to be “stunning” or “beautiful”, or do anything particularly visually impressive. Special effects are used tastefully and realistically, rather than for spectacle. It’s conservative by Hollywood standards but it really works in this case, creating a nice sort of “fly on the wall” feel. Music is used equally sparingly, underscoring certain scenes just enough to give them a lift without you ever really noticing it.

There are a couple of minor issues with pacing – the need for something to always be happening means our character sometimes behaves recklessly, climbing about on deck in the middle of violent thunderstorms and the like. I was left silently willing him to act like a sane human being, like in the Scream movies when everyone inexplicably runs upstairs to get away from Ghostface. And, a couple of times, he literally just does the same thing twice in a row. I’m not sure what the filmmakers were going for, but to me it felt like unnecessary padding.


Overall, and in spite of these minor issues, All Is Lost is a fantastic film that manages to tell its story in a stark, conservative way without ever feeling boring or dragged out. Redford’s superb acting makes our stranger instantly relatable: I defy anyone not to be moved and, at times, thrilled by his story.

All Is Lost gets a solid 4/5.

[★★★★☆]

Mike Lee


All Is Lost at CeX



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Saturday, 19 July 2014

GRID Autosport

I'll be honest; I'm not a huge fan of racing games. From Gran Turismo to Ridge Racer, they just aren't my cup of tea. That said, I do enjoy them from time to time, but I'd always rather play anything else, basically. But when my copy of GRID Autosport arrived in my letterbox, I was actually pretty excited. You see, one developer out there has, over the years, created racing titles that even I (a crusty old negative gamer) can enjoy. That developer is Codemasters. My introduction to Codemasters came in the September of 1999 when my mam and dad bought me a copy of No Fear Downhill Biking for the PlayStation on my birthday. Though I was pretty damn sceptical at first (I remember thinking, “Biking... that's a sport?”), the game had an exceptional sense of speed and tension. It was fantastic!


From there my mind was open to their other titles, which eventually led me to picking up Colin McRae Rally and, a few years later, TOCA Touring Car Championship. Both titles explored two very different types of racing, with each of them spawning franchises of their own. However, while the Colin McRae series has recently ditched the name that made it famous, and the TOCA name also being kicked to the curb, something new has arisen in their place; the Grid series. Technically an additoin to the TOCA series itself, Grid kicked off with 2008's Race Driver: Grid. Now the third entry in the Grid series has been released, but the question is; does it deserve to be ranked among some of Codemasters masterworks?


Developed by Codemasters and out now on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 comes GRID Autosport, the third and best entry in the Grid series to date. Grid 2 seemed to step back on the promises of Race Driver: Grid, and offered an experience that didn't demand as much discipline and skill as it should have. Thankfully GRID Autosport undoes the failures of Grid 2, as this is a game that requires focus, practice and time to master. First off, the handling in GRID Autosport is beautifully nuanced, and that goes for almost every one of the 78 cars the game has available. Broken up into five different types, which are Endurance, Touring Cars, Open Wheel, Tuner and Street, Codemasters have replicated cars to Gran Turismo levels of perfection. From the rough and tumble physics of car-on-car action to merely cruising around a hard turn, GRID Autosport is for the racing enthusiast, as it offers gameplay that is more realistic than arcade-like. While newcomers will easily find their feet here, the Grid fan will slip into it and forget Grid 2 even existed. However, GRID Autosport does let down slightly as there's only 22 tracks on offer. That said, though you'll find yourself racing through them time and time again during Career Mode, they'll very rarely feel boring and overused. Sure, it would have been great to get some new tracks, especially since some are rehashed from Grid 2, but they're pretty impressive nonetheless. Also once again, much like the cars on offer, the tracks in GRID Autosport just scream realism.

Though not released on the PS4 or Xbox One, GRID Autosport pushes the PS3 and Xbox 360 to the max, and the outcome is quite stunning indeed. From the absolutely lovely car models Codemasters have recreated here, to the breath-taking and highly diverse courses you'll find yourself speeding around, GRID Autosport is a show-stopper in the graphics department. Whether you're merely enjoying a track purely for its visual fidelity, or utilising the returning first-person view while bombing it past other drivers, GRID Autosport is gorgeous, utterly gorgeous.


Overall GRID Autosport is a welcome return to form for Codemasters. Learning from their mistakes on Grid 2, they've given us a sequel that betters it in every way. Packed alongside an excellent 12-player online mode to boot, GRID Autosport offers one of the best racing experiences to date. Coming from a gamer that often detests racing games... it's awesome.

GRID Autosport blazes past the competition and gets a 4/5.

[★★★★☆]

Denis Murphy


GRID Autosport at CeX



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CeX @ MCM Manchester Comic Con 2014



Yup folks, we’re here at MCM Manchester Comic Con 2014! You can drop by to say “Hi!”, check out our treasure trove of goodies, and of course buy, sell & exchange to your heart's content. Watch our live video stream below or check out our photo feed of cosplay aficionados who've visited our store, vote for your favourites on the CeX Facebook page by liking and the top 3 will win a £250, £150 or £50 voucher! You can also see what's happening via our Instagram feed and Twitter.



Held at Manchester Central (Formerly The GMEX), MCM Manchester Comic Con is the North's biggest festival of popular culture and all things delightfully nerdy. It's the perfect place to indulge your inner geek!




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Friday, 18 July 2014

CeX opens in Newcastle-Under-Lyme

On the same day CeX opens in Amsterdam we haven't forgot the UK, where CeX all started 22 years ago. Raise your glass again as CeX opens in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire. Were getting very close to the 250th CeX in the UK!

Look at the proud parents of this new CeX.

If you haven't a clue where Newcastle-Under -Lyme is get up to speed with the CeX store locator. Why not make the pilgrimage, you know CeX pays more than anyone else on the planet for your old gadgets, phones, games and movies. You could blow your payout at Alton Towers which is nearby.


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CeX Opens in Amsterdam

Some of you may have noticed we've been busy rolling the red CeX buy, sell and exchange recycling machine to new countries recently, opening in Portugal and The Netherlands in 2014.

Great news for Dutch geeks, film fanatics and gamers is we've just opened your third CeX, with a store in Amsterdam! Find CeX at Waldenlaan 126A, 1093NH Amsterdam.

Our techies have taken a break from a Minecraft marathon and are updating webuy.com now, but here's photographic evidence.

Some of the global CeX team that made it happen.

 CeX lands in Oostpoort Shopping Centre.

 Inside CeX Oostpoort Shopping Centre just before we opened.

This is just the start folk. Raise a glass and hold tight, we've got lots more great news to come in 2014. Find you nearest CeX here.

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Empire State

Recently released on Blu-Ray and DVD comes Empire State, starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (yes it’s one of those ‘The Rock’ films), Liam Hemsworth and the lovely Emma Roberts. It’s based on the true story of an eleven million dollar 1982 robbery from the Sentry Armored Car co., represented in this film as the ‘Empire State Armoured Car co.’, and probably made to capitalise on GTA’s popularity and recent success.


Chris (Hemsworth, but not Chris Hemsworth) is a young man caught up in a neighbourhood where crime is the most popular pastime and the absolute best way to kill a few hours is to kill a few men and to take all their money. Drug pushing, granny pushing, hair pulling, bum squeezing, heroin shaking, salmon arranging, penis showing, vagina misinterpreting and all the other things kids get up to nowadays in the 1980s have become all to commonplace and it makes Chris (not Chris Hemsworth) sad and frustrated.

He decides to do something with his life, as he is a good honest boy, more interested in bettering his community than battering his local newsagent within an inch of his life, so he applies for a career with the Police. Unfortunately, shortly after applying, he gets told that he can’t even take the prerequisite exam. In coming to terms with not joining the Police he applies for a job with a Security firm instead, keeping things secure and securing things, like great big bags of money. Ironically, the place he worked for was less secure than the emotions of a pregnant teenage girl, watching a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, while arguing with her on again off again boyfriend on the phone while at the same time drinking gin cocktails.


Early on in his experiences as a man who carries large amounts of money from one place to another, he gets robbed and his co-worker gets shot to death in the stomach, kidneys, liver and spinal column. This makes Chris sad and he finds out that his friend’s wife is getting no insurance money for his death. Chris and his crazy friend who just had to be called Eddie decide to rob the building he works in to pay the family of his dead comrade, but eventually Eddie robs it for no reason and gets caught up with drug dealers and all kinds of messy stuff like that.

The film is entertaining, the Rock is constantly on their trail but is never a dick about it, and seems like such a nice guy that you wanna just give him evidence and send him to bed with a glass of milk. He’d tell you he drank it but he actually stayed awake guarding your bedroom door against ghosts and WWE wrestlers for you. The pace is not bad, though it starts to slow down near the end, leaving me with the feeling that there wasn’t enough story in relation to the average length of a film. The introduction and the outro were clips from actual news reports of the original crime and an interview with the real Chris Potamitis where he tells you clearly that he has no idea where the money has gone. It’s been done before and it messed with the suspension of disbelief as the only way Liam Hemsworth would grow up to look like the real Chris is due to a bizarre scenario wherein Liam had to eat his way out of a burning building.


I’ve a soft spot for true story crime films, there are many more out there that are much better than this, and there are a lot of films that feel more sincere than this one does, but it is delivered quite lightly and you’ll feel satisfied after it ends… unless you wanted to see Liam or Dwayne take their shirts off.

Empire State gets 3/5.

[★★★☆☆]

Dave Roberts


Empire State at CeX



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