Hey! You over there! Stop what you’re doing for a second (unless what you’re doing is saving a family of badgers from a burning building, in which case don’t mind us) and have a peek at this, the second edition of our shiny new digital Mosh Pit. This month, we’ve got a stack of DVDs, tubs of hair dye, a pocket watch and thousands of comic books to show you. Also, Minecraft things, because it’s been a while since we got our hands on a diamond pickaxe.
The Official Minecraft Handbooks: updated editions for the 1.8 patch
Minecraft is a game that you’ve probably played, seen, or at least heard about and, one day when you’re someone’s grandfather, you’ll be telling the little ones that back in your day Minecraft was The Big Thing. Just think, the fact that you’re living in the era of Minecraft means you are a part of gaming history. Isn’t that exciting? Of course with any successful thing, the books, guides and toys must all make an appearance. Minecraft is no different, and the super-successful game has spawned a few how-to guides in the shape of real books made out of paper and everything.
In case you’re wondering, the best one to start with is the smartly named Beginner’s Handbook. From surviving your first night to getting you well on your way to your first big construction project, this is the one to get. A big bonus with this series of official handbooks is that they contain tips from the creators of the game. The Redstone, Combat and Construction books are a good bet for players who already know their way around the game, but that said you can always find out everything you need via the wiki and the millions of videos posted online. These are great as gifts or perhaps for console players who can’t quickly check the Internet. They’re well put together and full of tips, and are easy to recommend. These updated versions include the latest game changes, new blocks, items and mobs as well as an extra 16 pages of new content in each book.
Necklaces, bracelets and watches
RRP: anything from R100 to R200
Pretty Pandora is an excellent choice if you’re looking to get your hands on the sort of eye-catching accessories that instantly scream “yes, I’m a geek, what of it?” They sell everything from necklaces to compact mirrors, all delightfully themed around your favourite franchises. There’s a Batman bracelet to go with your new Star Wars watch. If you’re on the hunt for a necklace, check out the one sporting the Assassin’s Creed logo. Fancy yourself more of a Minecraft fan? Then why not hang a Creeper’s face dangerously close to your jugular.
Most of the accessories represent a high standard of quality, and the Doctor Who pocket watch is a particular favourite of ours because it’s so brilliantly kitsch. The only item that’s of suspect quality is the Stormtrooper wristwatch: even though it’s undoubtedly awesome, it feels a bit rickety. Still, it’d make a great gift for your Star Wars-obsessed offspring, and everything in Pretty Pandora’s bag of tricks is so attractively affordable that it’s easy to overlook a few questionable materials used here and there in their construction.
Punked Neon Hair Dye
RRP: R55 per 75ml tub of powder; R90 per 125ml tub
If you’re bored of your dull, plain-coloured locks then this chemical-free neon hair dye is just what you need to reinvent your look. Ideally it works best on light to bleached hair to get the full effect of the neon colour, but darker hair will also work, albeit a bit more subtly. We were super keen to try it out but our test subject already has pink tinted hair so we hijacked a Barbie doll and gave her hair a makeover. The application process requires a comb, hair clips, tinting brush, bowls, rubber gloves, petroleum jelly and your colour of choice. You should set aside about an hour and a half once the dye has been applied to get the best colour results, and afterwards it is recommended that you use their shampoo and conditioner range which will maintain your colour when you wash.
Wikipedia will tell you that “inherent vice” is the tendency in physical objects to deteriorate because of the fundamental instability of the components of which they are made, as opposed to deterioration caused by external forces. Interesting term! In the movie of the same name, this applies to a leading character’s ex-girlfriend, probably. We say probably because this is one of those movies that will leave you confused, because it’s confusing. [Nice. – Ed.] It doesn’t fit into the mould we’re used to when being fed stories at the cinema. It’s full of great actors (Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston and Benicio Del Toro) doing great acting and it’s led by a decent director, but what the hell it’s all about will take some extra reading and perhaps even a second viewing. It’s compelling viewing as the characters are great, but halfway into it you’re going to pause, grab the DVD case and read the blurb on the back. You know, just to see if you’re on the same page. Not sure what else to say here… it’s worth an intellectual watch.
The Lazarus Effect
Scary movies are usually rubbish: either they’re not scary at all, or in an “eighth-movie-in-the-franchise” state of dilapidation. There have been some good ones – like Event Horizon and the brilliant Cabin in the Woods – in amongst the trash, but they are few and far between. The Lazarus Effect falls into the “okay but predictable” shoebox and the whole thing feels like a remake of something you’ve seen before that had Kevin Bacon in it. Of course the clue is in the movie’s name: someone is brought back to life and then bad things happen that make you question everything you think you know about journeys to the other side and so on. From a technical point of view it’s well put together with some fresh characters that aren’t as predictable as you might expect from something like this. There are some high points and a little originality, but overall you can miss this one safe in the knowledge that you won’t be losing out on much.
Will Smith and Margot Robbie are con artists who end up in a complicated relationship in this been there, done that movie. We won’t bash it too much because it does manage to contain one surprise you won’t see coming. Maybe. It’s pretty and well-crafted, but you have to ask: why did they even bother making this movie? It’s really just another con movie with a somewhat clever twist and it doesn’t really bring much to the party, even though it stars Will Smith, one of the biggest stars in the world. That said, it’s an easy-to-watch bait-‘n’-switch movie and would score about a 6 or 7 out of 10 if we scored these things. It won’t leave you feeling like the money you spent on the popcorn and tickets was wasted, but it’s just not exceptional or unforgettable – you know like Ocean’s Eleven is. Definitely watch it because it’s a good one, just don’t expect it to set the world on fire.
“Issue #1” doesn’t have quite the same meaning it once held for comic book enthusiasts, but modern reboots and new series are still exciting enough to warrant some attention. That’s certainly the case with DC’s current lineup called DCYOU, which breaks from The New 52 lineup to be even newer, and far more widespread than just 52 series. All bets are off now, all rules can be broken, and stories can be rewritten. It’s an exciting time for DC, and in the selection of #1s we picked up for review, things are off to a great start.
Constantine: The Hellblazer #1
John Constantine, ultra-British mercenary slayer of demons (when he’s not shagging them), makes for an interesting anti-hero. Followed by a pack of curious and vengeful ghosts, Constantine takes life in its stride, contrasting delightfully with the bizarre nature of this first issue – and we expect the oddity to continue for the rest of the series. It sets the tone and explains just enough to whet the appetite, as any good #1 should. Art is courtesy of Canadian Riley Rossmo of Proof fame, and portrays the gritty nature of this story without dwelling in the darkness too much. The pervasive halftone gets a little much, but it lends the pages an old-school charm that’s hard to stay mad with.
All-Star: Section Eight #1
We giggled all the way through Section Eight #1. Originally created in 1997 by the renowned duo of Garth Ennis and John McCrea (Hitman, Judge Dredd, Hulk Smash!), Section 8 is a rag-tag group of wannabe superheroes with odd powers but a desire to do something good with their lives. This modern return sees a few of the old favourites out the door, with newcomers to mix things up. There’s also Batman, but he’s not really into it, and he gets a parking ticket. We’ve already said to much – just get this, you’ll love it.
We Are Robin #1
We Are Robin falls under DC’s latest effort to appeal to a younger crowd, and follows the exploits of Duke Thomas, an angry youth whose parents have disappeared following the events in Batman: Endgame. It takes place in a Gotham City where vigilante justice and rebellion are rife, and puts a clever spin on the “concept” of Batman’s sidekick, Robin. With the character of Robin being constantly changed throughout recent history, we guess DC figured now’s the time to open it up even more, and their idea works well. This is definitely aimed at a youth market, but with some neat canon tie-ins on the cards there should be something here for everyone.
JLA: Justice League of America #1
With all the weird and wonderful new content across DCYOU, one might think that DC has become less interested in their mainstream content, and JLA #1 is here to prove you wrong. It’s everything you’d expect from a core series: safe, predictable, world-ending stuff. The art is on point, delivering the typical DC level of quality, and the writing exists to move the story along, introducing the good guys and the bad guys. It’s all a bit “done”, really (especially considering we’ve just come off the Convergence/Divergence story arcs), but this particular treatment of multiverse chaos might still have some life left in it. If you want to follow a main story from DCYOU, this bumper issue is a good place to jump in.