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Penny Glen’s Rants
The Run-Up to Christmas...
AKA Penny’s awesome film and game guide

Pre-Christmas Film Guide
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Hi everyone!
I’m back, less angry and rather tired this month. I’ve seen many brilliant things over the past week or two – including the London Dungeon which is freaking brilliant. I expected to walk in and rant after spending twenty pounds each to enter and see less than mediocre plastic pumpkins...but I found that this price was well worth it. The actors especially scared the bejeezus out of me and I highly recommend it as something to do in London if you’re going anytime soon.
As to the tired part – Christmas is coming and to everyone reading this who works in our beloved retail sector, you know what this means. More stock, more clueless customers and more hours in our working establishments. However, you all know me by now – my distaste of the public is equally matched to my love of film and entertainment.
Christmas is undoubtedly a time of excitement and joy for children and a time of confusion and frustration for adults. Am I right parents?
To this end, I am here to help you all!

I have decided to write this piece and dedicate to those out there who have been asked for a console, but don’t know what one is, to those who want a Blu-Ray player/television and don’t want to get fooled by those eager salespeople and to those who want to know what films are worth watching for Christmas (other than National Lampoons Christmas Vacation of course).
I hope that I am able to help you make your decisions more informatively and without bias, so first I’ll give you some updates to my film repertoire and my previous pieces.

 Firstly, to Blu-ray and 3D. I’ve covered what these things are in two of my previous pieces, so if you would like some help on the basics – refer to them before reading the next part.
 Blu-ray and 3D updates: manufacturers are now starting to send retail companies 3D versions of the latest large releases e.g. Thor, The Green Lantern, X-Men First Class, The Lion King (Disney re-release), Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and Beauty and the Beast. There are also several Blu-ray copies on the shelves that have accessible 3D capabilities for 3D televisions e.g. Piranha and Saw 3D. Here is a very handy list to see more -
 Unfortunately - there is not enough demand for 3D at the moment so these films are not likely available to rent. Buy more 3D stuff if you want to see a change in rental distribution. Short and simple answer.
 LoveFilm online update. If you’re unfamiliar with online rental services, please refer back to my previous article.
 I’ve discovered recently something quite interesting about LoveFilm. Post 2009, they are not permitted to rent out any Universal Pictures films due to an on-going dispute regarding trading terms. Have you noticed? For those who can’t wait for Bridesmaids on Monday the 14th and who are customers of LoveFilm – to cut to the chase, you won’t get it. The spat doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon and if it does go in Universal’s favour, the prices of rentals for LoveFilm will most likely increase to something silly.
 For a list of Universal Pictures UK titles, have a look at this (after 2009) -  
 Harry Potter distribution update:
We all know that this bespectacled wizard in some form or another, but I often find that he is most enjoyed by little ones who watch him in the films. Apparently Warner Bros. have a different view though...
If you don’t purchase one or all of the 8 Harry Potter films by the 26
th of December, you won’t be able to buy them at all. They are taking a page out of Disney’s book and are re-calling their DVD and Blu-ray units from the shelves, to be able to release them later whenever they want (and in fancy special edition boxes no less).
Remember the elusive Disney vault? When they decide to, Disney release a new film in an awesome sparkly re-mastered edition? The Lion King is the most recent release from the vault, but unless it is released – you cannot find it to buy new anywhere. Warner Bros.  are going to do the same thing with Harry Potter – and this makes me mad. A very Hulk-type rage is brewing inside me due to the colossal mistake that Warner Bros. are about to make. They think they’re making more money? Wrong. They will be losing customers and overall respect.
So if you don’t want this to happen to you, the best thing to do would be to pop along to a high street store like Blockbusters, HMV or whatever and pre-order the 1-8 boxed set to guarantee yourselves a copy. If you don’t, I see suppliers running out of stock and not being able to get hold of more...

For everyone who wants to know what films are out for Christmas and whether they are actually any good or not – this next section is for you.

New DVD releases from the end of October to the end of December:

The Green Lantern.  DC Comic superhero flick and something we’ve all seen before to be honest. It adheres to the unspoken ‘rules’ of being a superhero e.g. chip on your shoulder, parents dying in some tragic event, cocky then sincere demeanour etc. – so I rate this film slightly lower than Thor (Marvel Comic’s latest attempt). Thor attempted to be different, and I reckon the Green Lantern would have been better received around 15 years ago when the whole Superhero thing was just being rebooted. This film just suffers from being released in the wrong year, and thus qualifies as boring to me. Give it a try if you like Ryan Reynolds though, he just about makes up for it.
X-Men First Class. Saw this film in the cinema and expected big things from the creators – but no such luck. The younger versions of Prof. X and Magneto are decent enough, although Michael Fassbender (Magneto) suffers from a little accent re-emergence at the end, clearly speaking in his native Irish tones. Hm. It’s like he got too tired or bored to even try to fake an American accent anymore – but hey. He was sinister enough for the bad guy, but it is James McAvoy who acts his way through the film with style. It’s all been done before and unfortunately gives the series no justice, but do watch if you fancy something fun and big budgety this winter.
Bridesmaids. Very funny film from the mind of Kristen Wiig – who I believe is some sort of comedy genius. Vulgar, truthful and raw – Bridesmaids is the tale of a group of different women aiding their friend (the Bride) up preparations for the big day. All goes wrong obviously, but there is enough style and wit to make this a wholly different experience. Don’t watch if you’re easily offended by vulgarity, sexual scenes or swearing.
The Whistleblower. True story about a woman uncovering an underground sex trafficking ring embedded deep in her new line of work as peacekeeper for the United Nations in Bosnia. Deeply unforgettable, Rachel Weisz is excellent in her role and perhaps overshadows the rest – but it is a film worth watching if you fancy seeing a good drama. Like Trust – it will not make you feel good due to the subject matter, but what is the use of enjoying a film if every storyline is a happy one?
Set Up. On pain of death, do not watch this film. It has 50 Cent (Or fifty P as my mum calls him) as the main character and boasts a lead role from Bruce Willis. He shows up for ten minutes. That’s all you need to know...
Flypaper. Awful bank robbery comedy that ruined an hour or so of my life. It was unusual to see Patrick Dempsey go a little bit crazy, but this is where the novelty ends.
The Tree of Life. Terrance Malick’s epic drama starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn is destined to leave a few tears in your eyes. It is the story of childhood and how we become who we are through events in our lives, perhaps even the ones that make you lose your childhood innocence. Recommended for those who wish to see the rare poetic quality in a film that doesn’t exist in around 80 to 90 percent of today’s releases.
Life in a Day. Produced by the Scotts (Ridley and Tony), this is life as we know it – taken from footage around the world that all becomes a composite of one day in the life of human beings around the Earth – this is something new I haven’t seen before. I definitely appreciate the ingenuity to show life in a different way. Worth seeing.
Cowboys and Aliens. Released late December. Haven’t seen it yet, but Daniel Craig is billed before Harrison Ford. Worth seeing just for the A-list power struggle. James Bond Vs Indiana Jones....
Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Released Late November. If this is anything like the second instalment of Michael Bay playing with his toys, you can count me out. For sure.
Captain America: The First Avenger. Released late November. Worth seeing in preparation for the Avengers movie next year (squeal!!!), to see the Cap’n in his own film. I’m hearing this is distinctly average though, but Hugo Weaving as Red Skull/The Big Baddie should make for some fun viewing this Christmas.