Monday, 31 October 2016

Gods of Egypt Giveaway

Gods of Egypt, directed by cult director Alex Proyas who previously directed The Crow, Dark City and I, Robot, is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD. The film pits Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) and Gerard Butler (300) against each other as all powerful Gods of Egypt. Featuring some epic action and jaw dropping CGI creations, it's a movie packed fun of adventure and fun. Gods of Egypt is not to be missed. So, fancy winning some Gods of Egypt swag?

To celebrate the release of Gods of Egypt on DVD & Blu-ray October 24, we are giving you the chance to Win prizes fit for the Gods! Fancy winning some epic prizes?

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MCM London Comic Con Photo Contest

Couldn't make it to London for MCM London Comic Con last weekend? Don't worry, you can check out all the fans who visited our stall and their cosplay talent below. Don't forget to vote for your favourite and they could win up to £250 in CeX vouchers!

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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Top 5 Scariest Game Characters

Tis the season for scaring the yellow liquid out of each other and you can't get mad without being a bad sport. Halloween is a time to scare other but also yourself. What better way to spend all Hallow's Eve by scaring the metaphorical bollock off yourself with the Top 5 scariest characters in video games.

5. Animatronics - Five Nights at Freddy's

When innocence and happiness turns dark, it's unnerving! What the family at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza represents is that you cannot trust robots or happiness. While their eyes are scary enough, it's how they present themselves to you that makes it worse. When you least expect it, they can jump scare you and it gets you every single time! I never want to go to Chuck e Cheese now because of it!

4. Richard Trager -  Outlast

You enter a mental asylum with mangled faces screaming gibberish at you and all they want to do is hit and chase you around the halls: punch first, ask questions later. You eventually come across Doctor Richard Trager. He speaks well, is obviously intelligent but is completely sadistic. After doing some reconstruction surgery on your hands, you've got to get away from him. It's that calm tone of his voice that makes it even worse *shivers*

3. Alma - The F.E.A.R. series

Nothing is scarier than a creepy child. Anytime you see one you can’t help but say "What the hell are you doing? Why are looking at me like that?" and then the child answers back with watery eyes "Why are you being so mean daddy?" But seriously Alma not only looks creepy but is dangerous. She kills everything around her and a blaze of gory glory. Equally creepy and dangerous, she does some horrifying things to you too! She is in control  of everything and there's nothing you can do.

Check out F.E.A.R. HERE

2. Slender Man - Slender Man: The Arrival

Kinda hard to believe that the internet came up with the one. Stalking prey in the forest, he seemingly really doesn’t like when you pick up some pages. He stalks you, getting increasingly more agitated as you pick up more pages, jumping in front of you as you run from him. The featureless face and tall, gaunt frame complements his creepiness. Even if you collect all the pages, the hell that he has put you through means you never really win.

1Pyramid Head - Silent Hill

As beloved as he is terrifying, Pyramid Head was one of the first horror game enemies that became iconic. Lurking around halls, dragging that massive weapon around and letting out sounds that instantly make your heart skip a beat, this is how you strike fear into people.   Like Slenderman, he is a horror without a face making him feel alien and makes it impossible to feel a connection in any single way. A nightmare and nothing more.

Check out Silent Hill HERE

Jason Redmond

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Saturday, 29 October 2016

Top 5 Movie Buddies

“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” – Rick, Casablanca
Everyone can relate to a movie friendship, and so, there are countless films based featuring this sacred bond. Here are five of the best pairs of movie buddies out there.

5. Han Solo & Chewbacca (Star Wars)

Favourite activities: smuggling, completing the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, saving the day, having #banter
“You hurt Chewie, you're gonna deal with me!” – Han Solo
When it comes to movie buddies, the first pair that come to most people’s minds are Han and Chewie. These guys are an inspiration to friendship everywhere, not letting race or language get in between them. And most of us can relate to having a hairy, growling creature in their lives – see: in-laws.

Check out Star Wars HERE

4. The Dude & Walter (The Big Lebowski)

Favourite activities: bowling, deceiving kidnappers with briefcases full of dirty undies, asking Larry about his homework
“Walter, I love you, but sooner or later, you're going to have to face the fact you're a goddamn moron” – The Dude
Ah, The Dude and Walter. Here’s a pair of guys that I’d love to hang out with, even if I was Donny. This is the kind of friendship where it’s okay to blatantly say when the other is being a moron – the foundation of any good relationship. Just ask my mate Josh…fucking idiot.

Check out the Big Lebowski HERE

3. Andy & Red (The Shawshank Redemption)

Favourite activities: talking about hope, watching Rita Hayworth films, being in prison
“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies” – Andy
If I was in jail, I’d want to be pals with these two. They’re wise, they’re full of hope, they avoid conflict…they’re everything you want from prison buddies. You can just sit and play chess with these guys or watch movies or organise libraries together. And maybe one day, you could meet them on a tropical beach somewhere restoring a boat. Bliss.

Check out the Shawshank Redemption HERE

2. Woody & Buzz (Toy Story

Favourite activities: chasing removal trucks, falling with style, falling out and making up, being played with by Andy or Bonnie
There's a good toy down there and he's—he's going to be blown to bits in a few minutes all because of me. I've gotta save him! But I need your help. Please. He's my friend. He's the only one I've got.” – Woody
These two remind us that it’s okay to have disagreements or fall out every now and then. The friendship will always shine through and make the argument a think of the past. Woody and Buzz met on bad terms, and have had several fights (“YOU! ARE! A TOY!”), but they’ll always have a friend in each other – especially when the road looks tough ahead and they’re miles and miles from their nice warm beds…ahem. You get the point.

Check out Toy Story HERE

1. Elliot & ET (ET: The Extra-Terrestrial)

Favourite activities: trick-or-treating, flying around on a bicycle, having a psychic connection with one another
“I’ll be right here” – ET

If ET was remade today, everyone’s favourite short-arse alien’s parting words with Elliot would be “bff m8”. These two have protected each other from all sorts of danger and, hell, they’ve even got a psychic connection. You can’t get any closer than that. Even when ET fucks off back to his home planet, their bond remains. Lovely stuff.

Check out ET HERE

Sam Love

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Friday, 28 October 2016

Top 5 Film Cars

“Whoa, whoa. You better watch what you say about my car. She's real sensitive.”
-Artie Cunningham, Christine

Some films are remembered for their acting. Some for their plots and twists. Some for the music. And some are remembered for the cars. There are countless automobiles in the history of cinema that are worthy of note, but here are 5 of the best.

5. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)

Model: Original design, by Ken Adam and Frederick Rowland Emett.
Despite being difficult to drive in real-life – Dick van Dyke described its turning radius being similar to that of a battleship – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is absolutely one of cinema’s finest rides. It’s colourful, it can fly, and it’s a big part of all of our childhoods. The original car sold for $805,000 in 2011 to none other than Sir Peter Jackson. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you.

Check out Chitty Chitty Bang Bang HERE

4. James Bond’s Car (GoldFinger)

Model: 1963 Aston Martin DB5
Everyone’s favourite womanizer James Bond has had many cars in his time, but there is one that takes the cake. The ’63 Aston Martin DB5 was the first car to be equipped with gadgets in the series, and old Q took the idea to the limit with revolving number plates, a GPS dashboard, tyre slashers, smoke screen, built-in machine guns, bullet-proof glass and of course, an ejector seat. 

Check out the adventures of 007 HERE

3. Christine (Christine)

Model: 1958 Plymouth Fury
‘She was born bad. Plain and simple. Somewhere deep on a darkened assembly line. Christine. A '58 Plymouth Fury possessed by Hell’ so says Christine’s marketing. Despite being evil, Christine is a truly beautiful machine. With a car as gorgeous as this, you’d be willing to forgive the fact it possesses you and commits murder. 

Check out Christine HERE

2. The Time Machine (Back To The Future)

Model: 1981 De Lorean DMC-12
“You built a time machine…out of a DeLorean?” And with those words, cinematic history was made. Nobody in the world can look at a DeLorean without thinking of Doc Brown’s invention. Equipped with a flux capacitor (“what makes time travel possible”) and a Mr Fusion Home Energy Reactor, the driver of this legendary car is guaranteed to see some serious shit when it hits 88mph.

Check out Back To The Future HERE

1. Ecto-1 (Ghostbusters)

Model: 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor

And finally, who ya gonna call? You’re absolutely not going to call the 2016 Ghostbusters *shudder*, you’re going to call the 1984 Ghostbusters. Ecto-1 needs to introduction, nor does it need any explanation of why it is at number 1. It is a legendary film car, and one of the most memorable. Admit it, you can hear its siren wailing as you read this. 

Check out all of the Ghostbusters HERE

Sam Love

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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Top 5 Hollywood Most Upsetting Sellouts

5. John Travolta

Offences– Battlefield Earth, I Am Wrath, Criminal Activities, Killing Season, From Paris With Love, Old Dogs, The Taking of Pelham 123…
In the 1970s, Travolta was a star. Sure his popularity declined in the 80s, but in 1994, he was rescued by Quentin Tarantino who put him in a little movie you might’ve heard of called Pulp Fiction. Shortly after, he starred in Get Shorty and Face/Off. But what’s he done since? A whole load of unwatchable shit. This seems like as good a time as any to watch Pulp Fiction again though, right?

Check out Pulp Fiction HERE

4. Al Pacino

Offences – Misconduct, Jack and Jill, Righteous Kill, 88 Minutes, Two for the Money, Gigli…
Al Pacino was in the god-damn Godfather trilogy. He was in Scarface. He was in Heat. The man is…was…an icon.Recently, he’s been in all sorts of rubbish – his lowest point being appearing in Adam Sandler’s disgusting Jack and Jill. Al, may the devil have mercy on you when you reach hell.
Take a step back in time to before Pacino lost his self-respect, and revisit The Godfather trilogy.

Check out The Godfather HERE

3. Kevin Spacey

Offences – Fred Claus, Edison, Nine Lives, Father of Invention…
Ah, Kevin Spacey was a hard one to admit. He’s one of the finest actors alive, with stunning roles in American Beauty and The Usual Suspects among his best. But he’s clearly never been against selling out, with this year bringing us his biggest offence yet – Nine Lives. He plays a cat. A fucking cat. Unfortunately, that role alone is enough to solidify his place in this list. Go back to 1995 and watch The Usual Suspects again – there isn’t a talking cat in sight.

Check out The Usual Suspects HERE

2. Anthony Hopkins

Offences – Misconduct, Solace, Go With Me, Kidnapping Freddy Heineken, The Rite, The Wolfman…
This Welsh icon was Hannibal Lecter. He won an Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs, in which he appeared as the famous cannibal for just 15 minutes. That is talent. And yet in recent years, he’s seemingly taken any job he’s been offered – from trashy legal thrillers to exorcism horrors. What an embarrassment. Seems like he’s been drinking a little bit too much of that Chianti. It’s always time for an appointment with Hannibal.

Check out Hannibal HERE

1. Robert De Niro

Offences – Far too many to list…
Robert De Niro…I just…There are no words. You know what you have done. You have butchered your career and shat on its remains. You have then thrown these shit-covered remains in the faces of the public over and over again. There is no redemption for your sins. Hollywood’s biggest tragedy, right here. Remind yourself how good De Niro was, and watch Taxi Driver again.

Check out Taxi Driver HERE

Luke Kemp

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CeX @ MCM London October Comic Con

Come see us at this weekend's October MCM London Comic Con 2016 and check out our awesome pop-up store!

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 competition of fans and cosplay aficionados who've visited our store, vote for your favourites from Monday onwards and the top 3 will win a £250, £150 or £50 voucher (voting ends 14th October)! You can also see what's happening via our Instagram feed and Twitter.

Post by CeX.

Held at ExCel centre, MCM London Comic Con is the UK'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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Tuesday, 25 October 2016


There’s a hell of a lot of classic films based on the works of Stephen King. The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Shining, Christine, Misery, Children of the Corn, It, The Mist, Stand By Me, The Running Man…The list goes on. But Stephen King’s works have unfortunately lent themselves to some utter shit, too. The 2013 adaptation of Carrie was a load of old wank, and his less-known works have been recently adapted into shite films – such as Mercy and A Good Marriage. Have you heard of them? Nope, neither had I… 2016 brings us another Stephen King adaptation, and this time the ol’ horror legend even contributed to the screenplay himself so surely this one must be good? It could be up there with The Mist in the modern King classics set, right? Please?

Cell takes place in a world where an electronic signal broadcast across all mobile phones can turn you into a rabid zombie-like killer. And everyone knows if you want to sort out this problem, you call in John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson. Yes, I am serious. Fuck me…Cell is one of those films that should be a timeless classic in how ridiculous and bad it is. But unfortunately, Cell takes itself far too seriously for the viewer to find any unintentional laughs anywhere in it. It’s a completely straight-faced pile of shit, so self-assured in its own quality that it clearly thinks it doesn’t even need to try. “I’ll just sit back and relax, I’m that good” is what the film is saying. But it is sorely mistaken.

Cell needed to try because, without the effort, it was just shit. Utter shit. Where do we begin with this abysmal train wreck? The acting. John Cusack is a fantastic actor – his performance in Love & Mercy in 2014 was one of his finest yet while some of his 90s output is pure class – but this was clearly a “pick up the paycheque and move on” type deal. Cusack sleepwalks through the film, even as a shotgun-toting slayer of virus-ridden maniacs. Unfortunately, in recent years, this is becoming more regular for him. In the last 5 years, he has starred in 7 direct-to-video films. 7! And yes, this is one of them. We’ve also come to expect this from Samuel L Jackson. He’s similar here in his complete lack of interest in the project, also aimlessly wandering through the production occasionally squeezing off a few rounds from his boomstick. And no matter how bad a film is, I’m always happy to see a shotgun go off. Chick-chick, bang. Chick-chick, bang.

The film is directed by Tod Williams – a man whose cinematic output includes Paranormal Activity 2 – and it’s clear throughout this film that either he isn’t making any effort either, or he has no idea how to direct a film. I find the latter hard to believe, since Williams’ 2004 John Irving adaptation The Door in the Floor was actually a rather good little film. So why is Cell so bad? Is the direction to blame? Is it King’s ridiculous attempt at satirical content in his ‘technology is the root of evil’ source material? Is it Michael Simmonds’ cinematography? Is it Jacob Craycroft’s editing? It’s hard to pin-point what tipped this film over the edge into such a terrible cinematic cesspit. 

One thing is for sure, though. John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson are better than this. They’ve both been reduced to laughing stocks with their frequent appearances in these sorts of films, although Samuel L Jackson still gets offered some pretty good stuff here and there. He’ll always have Tarantino to look after him…

 So, is Cell worth a watch? Absolutely fucking not. This is another damp squib in the history of cinema, and another stinky entry in the ‘bad Stephen King adaptations’ camp. One for hardcore fans of Cusack, Jackson or King only. If you want to see some thrilling modern King, check out The Mist – an unforgettable modern classic. I was hoping Cell was going to be good so I could say it was “exCELLent”. Fuck it. 0/5


Sam Love

Cell at CeX

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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Touched With Fire

Mental illness is a really difficult subject to portray within film – skirting around the issue can end up causing offense and failing to include pivotal details, yet too much emphasis can somewhat trivialise the matter. ‘Touched With Fire’ is one of the few films that I’ve seen that thankfully depicts it in just the right way.

Directed by Paul Dalio, who suffers from bipolar himself, ‘Touched With Fire’ is the story of two bipolar sufferers who meet each other within a psychiatric ward. Carla (Katie Holmes) is a poet who can’t understand why she has bipolar and so spends a great deal of time trying to work this out; Marco (Luke Kirby) is also a poet, who is convinced that the apocalypse is nigh and that he doesn’t need to live within society in order to survive. The two initially don’t get on so well but, after forming a connection over the Van Gogh painting ‘Starry Night’, a strong, yet intense, relationship is formed. After a situation occurs in which the two need to act maturely and responsibly, the two start to struggle and destruction begins to occur.

The film itself portrays bipolar beautifully – there’s no dressing it up, as what we see is as raw as you can get. There’s no insulting or degrading of the illness, but it doesn’t tread carefully either. Instead, Dalio has shown up both the positives and negatives of bipolar to the extreme, meaning it’s hard to get a clear, concise message from the film, but then that reflects bipolar and its conditions perfectly.
Holmes gives a wonderful performance as Carla, as does Luke Kirby as Marco – the two grow quickly into their roles and create an entirely believable couple. The intensity of their relationship is built up through the dialogue and the extremities of each situation, completed by beautiful, harrowing imagery of pain and suffering. It’s quite an emotional ride which will challenge even the most stoic of us not to shed some indicator of empathy. 

What really tore me apart over ‘Touched With Fire’ was just how much I was praying for a happy ending for them both – naïve of me really, as their very relationship was what was getting in the way of this happiness. It’s this that really makes the film impressive though, with Dalio gaining such a powerful response from the viewer that we’re left feeling unsure about mental health issues and what they actually mean. Sure, we know that a mental health disorder can be a very bad thing for a person yet, by seeing all the positives that occur at the same time (such as the feverous creativity that both main characters experience during their worst moments of the illness), it brings about a whole new perspective on the topic.We’re even provided with a list of famous artists, writers, and composers that also suffered with bipolar, and this really does make you thing.

‘Touched With Fire’ is a stunning film that certainly achieves what it set out to do. It’s highly relatable for anyone who has experienced mental health issues (first-hand or otherwise), and manages to come across as both gentle and hard-hitting. It’s definitely not one to watch if you want something light and cheery but, with such a difficult subject portrayed so effortlessly, it’s hard not to recommend. 5/5


Hannah Reid

Touched With Fire at CeX

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Friday, 21 October 2016

Long Way North

I love animated films. From Pixar to Studio Ghibli, there’s hundreds of great animations out there that prove that storytelling can be relevant and inspiring even when the characters aren’t real human beings (or human beings at all). With so many big budget studios around though now, it can make it particularly hard for the smaller, lesser-known animations to have such a great impact – which is why I felt it particularly important to watch ‘Long Way North’ as soon as it came out.

‘Long Way North’, directed by Rémi Chayé, tells the story of 15 year old Sacha(voice) , an aristocrat-born Russian girl who goes on a secret journey to find her lost Grandfather after her first ball with the prestigious (character) goes horribly wrong. Her Grandfather isn’t just anyone – he’s a well-known explorer who has gone missing somewhere between Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land after trying to reach the North Pole and set down the Russian flag. Sacha finds a clue as to his whereabouts and, worried that everyone else has given up, decides she’s going to go there herself to find him. 

This type of survival story has certainly been told before in different contexts, but it’s magical here all the same. It’s not particularly complex, yet is still gripping from start to finish as we watch a real honest and determined character do everything she can to find out what has happened to the family member she treasured most. The film is quite short anyway, but it’s so captivating that it just flies by. 
I thought the animation style was beautiful – a style that perhaps isn’t used quite so widely, and yet works really well. The animation has a particular emphasis on simple shapes, and presents light and dark in a very striking fashion. I’ve seen it in indie games but not so much in film, and so this made a nice change to the more well-known drawings that we’re used to seeing everywhere we go. 

I felt the style also worked brilliantly considering the harsh changes in environment – block colour helps to define the Russian architecture within the town, and simple shapes also intensify the frozen landscapes of the Arctic circle. The best scenes were where we got to view them from a distance, as they appeared more as stylised paintings than stills from a film.

It’s amazing how something so simple can bring about such strong emotion. The emotion is slow to develop, as are the characters, but it’s very strong by the end. A beautiful soundtrack by Jonathan Morali aids this, combining soft stringed pieces with more modern folk songs (a combination I felt a bit unsure of at first, but it gelled together quite nicely). The voice acting was also very believable, and I felt quite a strong connection with Sacha by the end, as well as some of the other characters.

‘Long Way North’ is a charming animation that’s appealing to both adults and children. It’s got something magical about it that will keep you entranced until the very end. If you enjoy stories that are a bit less mainstream and a bit more low-key and empowering, then this is a great one to sit down and watch with the kids. 5/5

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Thursday, 20 October 2016

Mount and Blade: Warband

Mount and Blade: Warband may be a game you’ve heard at some point but it has finally made the jump from PC to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The most surprising thing about this is that the game came out in 2010 on PC and it seems like no visual upgrades have occurred for the console versions meaning it incredibly underwhelming in the visual department. Apart from the, the whole game’s design feels far too random to be enjoyable and with so many other alternatives out there, it’s hard to think who this could possibly be for.

Developed by TaleWorlds Entertainment and out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Mount and Blade: Warband has no place in the library for any game player out there. There isn’t anything inherently band about the game though. It feels open, one that is consistently alive and you are simply another person in the world trying to build up your troops. However while its openness feels like it is there for emergent gameplay, it’s randomness just leads to frustration. 

There were many times when I was tasked to go to a location to give a certain character a message. When I finally made it there I was told they were currently on the road and will be back soon. So you spend some of your very limited resources to stay there a few nights to pay for the ever-growing troupe that you grow. Then you’re told that character is actually on the way to somewhere else. You get up and leave and go to the next location. Then when you get there and ask about them, they are back at the first location. Then you get back once again and they are not there anymore so you simply get your controller and lob it across the room. What originally is set up as a game built on freedom can eventually devolve into a game of chasing characters around. 

You can be any kind of character you want whether you want to be a good guy or a hostile bastard that pillages every ton you visit. When trying to be the good guy, you are left chasing characters and losing resources but being the bad guy can quickly lead to death. It’s frustrating game but honestly, slowly growing your army is satisfying as it can really be a grind.

Visually though, Mount and Blade: Warband is disappointing. It looks like a game from six years ago and even if it launched on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 it would be considered out of date even then. Everything is muddy and lacks any sort of detail. What is most shocking though is that it doesn’t perform really well. It runs at 30 fps and even though it isn’t always smooth.

Even though I’ve mentioned of its design shortcomings and outdated visuals, there is a certain raw enjoyment to be found here. However, with so many other similar games out there that perform, look, and plays better, I find it really hard to recommend over any of its contemporaries. Combat is rough but enjoyable but I found it very hard to play more than a few hours of it simply because there is no real motivation and reward for getting there. Mount and Bleh: Warbland. 2/5


Jason Redmond

Mount and Blade: Warband at CeX

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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

When Marnie Was There

‘When Marnie Was There’ is Studio Ghibli’s newest animation and, as ever, it’s a delight to watch. Twelve-year-old Anna isn’t feeling so good at home as she suffers from asthma, and her attacks are getting quite bad in the busy city of Tokyo. She’s not feeling very good on the emotional side either – whether it’s her teenage hormones kicking in or something bigger we don’t know, but it’s obvious that there’s a lot of tension between her and her family.

After a bad asthma attack, Anna’s doctor suggests that she spend some time out of the city. She goes and stays with some relatives in Hokkaido, a small place by the sea. While she is there she still feels an outsider, but develops an obsession with a nearby abandoned mansion. It is here that she meets the mysterious Marnie, a girl of the same age, but she can’t quite work out where she’s from, and why she feels so familiar.

I haven’t seen a single Studio Ghibli film that I can’t describe as enchanting, and ‘When Marnie Was There’ is another one that is described perfectly in this way. These sorts of Japanese animations often start with a main character leaving the city for somewhere a bit more natural, yet it never really gets old – it’s a situation many people can identify with, either as people who have done this before, or people who really need to. Anyone who’s ever felt like the outcast will identify with Anna, who is a bit of a tomboy and heavily introverted. Instead of going to parties she spends her time drawing and exploring, and Marnie is the first person in her life who’s really got her to confront her emotions.

As always, the animation is wonderful, complete with its adorable charm that will grab your attention straight away. The animation has been upgraded somewhat with a few depth-of-field effects spread throughout – I didn’t feel these were necessary, but they added something in their own way. 

The story is particularly interesting this time around as it’s much more of a slow-burner. The plot is very gradual and the emotional side of it doesn’t come into full force until near the end (which somehow makes it all the more powerful). There’s a positive message hidden within it all about imagination and running free, and it captures this beautifully with the childlike innocence displayed in every scene. Watching this felt particularly emotional for me - not only did Studio Ghibli animator Makiko Futaki sadly pass away this year, but there’s also been a lot of suggestions that, after 30 years of creating wonderful animations, Studio Ghibli may be ceasing to make anymore. And, given what a difference they’ve all made to the world of animation and film, this would be a real shame.

‘When Marnie Was There’ isn’t quite as fantasy-driven as many other Studio Ghibli films; in fact, it’s rather the opposite. Although a bit more psychological than some of the others, it’s a beautiful story that really will tug at your heartstrings – let’s just hope it’s not the last one. 4/5


Hannah Read

When Marnie Was There at CeX

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Gears of War 4

Wanna start feeling old? Well it’s been half a decade since we stopped the Locust Horde in Gears of War 3 and the last time a real Gears of War title launched (Judgement doesn’t count). We’re are back now 25 years later on the Planet of Sera and a type of peace has been experience by the inhabitants, but obviously that won’t last much longer.

Developed by The Coalition and out now on Xbox One, Gears of War 4 is an excellent return for the franchise. The campaign takes place 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3 and stars Marcus Fenix’s son, J.D. After a raid on one of the cities, the team are accused of taking people away from new the C.O.G. Obviously not responsible for this. They all find very soon that a new threat is here and the remnants of the Locust remain. 

The campaign starts slow as you take on robotic enemies with limited ammo and weapons that don’t naturally feel like staples of the series. The early areas feel fairly dull but thankfully that doesn’t last long. The rest of the campaign takes the best moments of Gears of War 1-3 and creates. There are sequences that  some of the best set pieces the franchise has ever seen. One moment sees you go through claustrophobic areas with some horror elements to massive open arenas with bombastic gameplay. There are some moment that are reminiscent of the Uncharted series rather than Gears of War but it is executed very well. By the end of the campaign, you would have experienced some great call-backs to the series as well as moving things forward enough that the next game is going to feel entirely new.

You will be facing two types of enemies: The Deebee robots and the Swarm. Deebee’s are relentless and will simply just walk toward you with no reactions from being shot. The Swarm are much smarter as the try to flank and even pounce on you. The Swarm both feel familiar to the Locust as well bringing new elements to combat scenarios. Controls feel familiar but even more refined. Players can now not only mantle the cover and attack the enemy but also mantle the cover while running as well as pull the enemy from there cover over to you. Pressing the Y button will execute the enemy which looks gruesome and fits in perfectly.

The competitive multiplayer is better than it ever has been. There are the modes you expect from previous Gears of War games like Warzone and Team Deathmatch. The new modes are just as fun with Dodgeball being a back and forth tense mode that can swing things around in literally a kill or two. Arms Race sees your team killing the opposite team with most weapons in the game starting with the strongest and ending with one of the weakest. It’s casual but good bloody fun.

Then there is the king of modes in Gears of War 3: Horde 3.0. It takes the best elements of previous Horde modes and adds so much more to the formula that feels like you could spend hundreds of hours simply playing this mode, playing each of the five new classes, increasing their skills and defeating all 50 waves of Deebees and Swarm on Insane mode. Horde 3.0 is almost worth the price of admission on its own.

Gears of War 4 is the perfect return for fans as well as an excellent package for all fans of Third Person Shooters. It looks stunning and controls are refined to a degree that it is always satisfying. And let’s be honest:  A gun with a chainsaw on it is still pretty hard to beat.

A perfect active reload of the series. 5/5


Jason Redmond

Gears Of War 4 at CeX

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Monday, 17 October 2016

Lenovo Z2 Plus

Lenovo's strategy of acquiring Motorola & Medion looks like it's paying off well , seeing the number of handsets coming out of their stable. While Motorola is still launching it's line up of Moto G series phones year on year , Lenovo has some brands like Zuk which are sold online only. The newest Zuk phone is not being branded as Zuk though , it comes out as Z2 Plus with Lenovo branding. Let's see what it's offering to the world.

Design & Hardware  

Most of the phones in the market today are 5.2” or larger but the Z2 Plus comes with a 5” screen, contrary to the use of “Plus” in it's name. That said, it's easier to handle due to the high screen to body ration and would have some buyers who don't prefer the phablets. The screen is bright & at 441ppi it's colourful thanks to the use of a HD LTPS (Low Temperature Poly Silicon ) LCD ;but isn't too great in sunlight. 
The front & back are made of fibre glass which are stronger & lighter than Aluminium that you see on most premium smartphones. Also, something that most people might not know is it's a better insulator ,hence enabling better cellular reception.  
Internal components are mounted on a Magnesium alloy Roll Cage which protects the them in the event of it falling on the ground. NO, I'm not going to test it ;)
The phone is a bit thick at 8mm and weighs 150 gms. There's a SIM card slot, power button & volume rocker on the right side while the left edge has been untouched. 
At the bottom edge, you'll find the 3.5mm jack, USB Type C charging port & speaker grill in that order from left to right. The back has the Lenovo logo at the bottom & the camera & flash to the top right . 
The fingerprint sensor on the front is fast & accurate also known as the U touch 2.0 home button. Dubbed as one button “to rule them all”  with a capacitive sensor & a physical button. It has 7 functions & you can assign 5 of our favourite apps to  them. You can swipe left / right  , go back or press and get to the Home screen . It's something which if Apple would have come out with would have had the world going crazy. I expect other manufacturers to absolutely copy this & make it better! Great stuff on the innovation front, Lenovo! 
The self learning Fingerprint sensor can also work if your fingers are sweaty/ wet but it didn't work 2 out of the 5 times I tried. But if you're someone who still likes the on screen buttons, they can be activated as well for Home, Back & Recent apps / Menu. 

In terms of hardware , it's powered by the Snapdragon 820 with 4 custom Kyro cores @2.15 Ghz , 4GB DDR4 RAM & 64GB memory ( Another variant is 3GB RAM & 32GB ROM) . There's no expandable memory slot & it's a dual SIM variant supporting 4G VoLTE.It's also a large 3500 mAh battery with an ICC (Intelligent charge cut) off feature preventing unnecessary charging cycles & increasing the device battery life.  
The charger in the box though is a disappointing 10W one which isn't Quick Charge 3.0 compatible & Lenovo doesn't sell one ! You can't use the Quick charging feature then unless you try out a compatible charger, thanks Lenovo !? 

The Z2 Plus is available in 2 colour options of Black & White .


The Z2 Plus has Android 6.0.1 with a custom ZUI skin on top.It's parting ways with the Cyanogen OS used in Z1 last year.
The ZUI is basically a Google Now Launcher with some minor tweaks from Lenovo like Home Button & Quick settings. This is their first attempt at making a UI & I'm sure they know it's not the best in the market out there which form me personally is the MiUI. Hopefully it'll improve over time.

Camera - 

Z2 Plus has a custom 13MP ISOCELL sensor with large 1.34µm pixel size. Coupled with the Spectra ISP of SD 820, you get excellent images. Or so they say! The truth is the camera is good but not great. It struggles in low light & pictures look somewhat grainy. There are filters & modes like Panorama, Time Lapse , Slow – mo etc . The Slow motion video also boasts of a 960 fps mode which was unbelievable but in reality is only a software gimmick that tries to slow down to beyond 120 fps post recording and obviously shows frame lags when played back.
Outdoor photos are better but lack depth & colours don't pop out like on Samsung phones . It also supports hybrid autofocus system with PDAF & CAF so that there is no shutter lag. The camera supports 4K recording and Slow-motion recording at 120 & 240fps.

For the Selfie fans, there's an 8MP sensor with large 1.4 µm pixel which can also record at 1080p.


In terms of overall performance the Z2 Plus doesn't disappoint owing to the 4GB RAM aided by the light ZUI. Have tried multiple games like NFS : No Limits , Asphalt 8 & FIFA 16 all working great but a bit of heating is observed along with  minor frame drops. The performance was supported by the high benchmark scores in the AnTuTu test with 123250 . 
The speaker on the device isn't the best in terms of playback but still pretty loud & audio quality with earphones is better than expected . 
There's also a U Health app for fitness tracking can count your steps , distance & Speed which most phones now are capable of & you don't need those fitness bands anymore!


All in all, the Z2 Plus is a good device is you're on a budget and want a device with specs of a flagship this would be one to consider. There are lower priced devices which could be an overall better phone as compared to the Z2 Plus like the Moto G4 Pus or the Mi Note 3. With an average camera & no extra storage not everyone would want this to make their device of choice but if you want a good battery , overall build quality & good performance on a budget, go for the Z2 Plus.
Rating – 3/5.  


Pritesh Khilnani

Lenovo Z2 Plus at CeX

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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Money Monster

Since the dawn of cinema, there is one group of people that Hollywood has always made villains out of. Bankers. Bloody money-grabbin’ bankers. From the cruel Mr. Potter in It’s A Wonderful Life, through to Gordon Gekko in Wall Street and up to the troublingly true tales like The Big Short; bankers have always been portrayed as greedy and nasty fuckers. Because, for the most part, they are. If you’re a banker reading this and you’re thinking “I’m not a greedy and nasty fucker” then great, there are a few of you out there. But you’re in the minority.

Jodie Foster’s latest directorial effort is ‘Money Monster’, which is out now on DVD & Blu-ray. It’s a fictional story but despite the lack of factual truth, it is still startlingly relevant and believable. George Clooney plays Lee Gates, the charmingly smug host of a financial TV show that dishes out investment advice to its many viewers. When Gates gets a projection wrong and loses a lot of money for a lot of people, one of these now-penniless followers (Jack O’Connell) takes everyone at the TV station hostage at gunpoint, and straps a bomb onto Gates. He demands to know why this happened, and if he doesn’t get answered, everybody dies. Tense, huh? And throw in Julia Roberts as Patty, the show’s director - you’ve got yourself a decent cast, too. So, is the film any good?

Unfolding in real-time, Money Monster is an often tense and gripping 90 minutes. Think of it as Dog Day Afternoon meets The Big Short, and you’re somewhere close. The film holds a mirror up to the finance world and says “this could happen”, and it is all the more gripping because of it. One of these days, a film with this exact same plot could come out and be based on a true story. But despite this relevant theme, the film is a bit of a muddled mess at times – and, on the whole, feels like a disappointment.

Let’s start with the positive. The cast are superb. George Clooney is completely at home playing a smug hot-shot television host, completely nailing the obnoxious grins and self-assured swagger. Jack O’Connell is great too, but despite his talent he doesn’t do anything particularly memorable with the role of Kyle Budwell. It feels like a role that anyone could’ve played – which doesn’t apply to Clooney’s Gates, a role I can’t imagine anyone else in. Dominic West plays an arsehole banker and seems to have fun with it, while Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo ‘Gus’ Esposito shows up as a police captain. Bless him. Oh, and again, Julia Roberts is an afterthought in this paragraph – which says it all. She’s decent enough here, but evidently forgettable.

The next point – the screenplay (which took 3 people to write), and the story itself (which took 2 of those 3) – is either a positive or a negative, depending on who you are. Money Monster could’ve been a smart, socioeconomic tale about the power of finance and what it does to people. Like I said, it holds a mirror up to banking, sure. But that’s all it does. It doesn’t delve below the surface. That is the film’s biggest issue – it never gets deep. This could’ve been a hard-hitting banking drama but, alas, it often falls back into bog-standard siege thriller territory. However, if this is what you want – maybe you just want to switch your mind off and enjoy a cheesy thriller – then you’ll be in your element. For me, this overly simplistic narrative delivery detracted from what could’ve been the film’s power.

So, is it worth a watch? Maybe. As noted above, it all depends on what you want from it. If you’re looking for a deep and intelligent drama about modern banking, watch The Big Short. And if you’re looking for a tense and unforgettable siege drama, watch Dog Day Afternoon. But if you want something in-between that requires very little of your concentration, Money Monster will satisfy you.

Money Monster is a disappointment, but still an entertaining watch. 3/5


Sam Love

Money Monster at CeX

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