Hunt Showdown review: Zombies, hellhounds and guts galore

By James Cannell

Hunt Showdown creates an atmosphere that Pennywise himself would shy away from. From the terrifying enemies to the panicked encounters with other players, the only thing scarier than the gameplay is the waiting times.

Hunt_Showdown

The game focuses on bounty hunters who hunt down monsters, kill them, banish them and then successfully escape. Of course, it isn’t that simple, the world is overrun by monsters as well as other bounty hunters trying to kill you to take the bounty for themselves.

Crytek has outdone themselves this time, the game is loaded with as much potential as a Springfield sniper. Since its release, it has given players a chance to hire female hunters, as well as adding even more terrifying night-time missions.

The 1890s setting is reminiscent of classic games such as Red Undead Redemption and Left 4 dead. The capabilities for both PvP, as well as PvE, have added fear no many other games can match, along with the threat of permanently losing your character, there is no doubt this game raises the states to the next level

With clever map design, and an endless roster of potential playstyles, there are tactics that can suit anyone, whether it is all out-melee attack, stealthy hit and runs or even long-ranged sniping. Expect the unexpected.

And that, like any new game, includes bugs. With waiting times that can exceed nearly five minutes there is even more of a reason to play it safe, and not die. Unfortunately thanks to the limited capabilities of consoles, it’s impossible to see an enemy if they stand over 30 meters away.

The clunky action ironically gives the game an extra level of terror as players frantically attempt to showdown against each other and their bounties. It becomes easy to be overwhelmed by even the simplest enemies.

Originality Crytek revitalised their development of the game in 2014, then was released in early access in 2018, it is clear that Hunt Showdown is the living example that waiting is better than rushing.

One can only hope that, if Crytek continue to delight us with updates, Hunt Showdown will become one of the best horror games for the new generation of consoles. There are endless possibilities to be explored within the game not to mention the chances to play with friends, hunt monsters and panic so hard you lose 10 years of your life.

1917 review: modern, flowing and phenomenal

By James Cannell

1917poster

This means war: the poster for 1917

Sam Mendes’ 1917 is a masterpiece of artistic cinema with a tyrannical focus on cinematography. Its dramatised narrative and gut-wrenching performances are a solid reminder of the woes of war and a beautiful revitalisation to the war genre.

The Academy Award-winning film seemed destined for glory, with a cast list that could pack a punch harder than an artillery cannon. Unfortunately, each round of A-list ammunition seems to be locked, loaded and fired before the audience are given a chance to even recognise them.

The casting of George MacKay and Dean Charles Chapman as leading protagonists is ideal. It is uncommon to find such young talent to portray the reality of war, their desensitised opinions are both a breath of fresh air while also disturbingly calm to the whole situation.

The heightened pace of the film leaves little time for questions, and none for answers. Colin Firth’s character announces “your orders are to deliver a message calling off tomorrow’s attack” and that’s it; we’re away. Anyone in the audience with their hands up, wondering why they couldn’t just drop the message by plane, or send more than two boys will just have to keep puzzling.

Nevertheless, the film itself is such a spectacle we can overlook its blatant audience manipulation. Just as advertised, it delivers a seemingly flowing, uncut single shot. While you’re sitting there, with your hand up, waiting for your answers, you might want to try spot one of the 34 or more hidden cuts throughout the film.

1917 trades in the traditional war movie tropes in favour of a cinematic marvel, blending the tragedy of war with the glorifying immersion of the drama. The characters that are in the film for more than three minutes are genuine characters, ones who you believe to have families and loved ones. You cannot help but route for them.

Ironically some have criticised the British/American produced film, that focuses on two British soldiers fighting for the British and following the British ideologies of the time for being too British. The criticism that the film is nationalistic isn’t an arguable point, but rather a quintessential part of it, you cannot portray a British-centred film by focusing on the rights and wrongs of both sides.

Mendes’ snapshot of the First World War is far from perfect, however its pace and immersion leave little argue with. The acting plunges its audiences into the reality of war while waterboarding them with the kind of graphic detail we have come to expect from the genre.

Leicester Comedy Festival review: Jo Brand and guests at De Montfort Hall

JoBrandspecialguests_680x680

Review by Olivia Maclaughlin

Tonight’s line up featured Eshaan Akbar, Arthur Smith, Ivan Brackenbury, Hal Cruttenden, Jo Brand, a barking dog and a man in the front row who came to watch, and ended up on stage.

In a night supporting the Big Difference Company, the charity behind the comedy festival, the entertainment didn’t stop right from the moment the host Phil Nichol stepped on stage.

That isn’t to say there weren’t moments that weren’t planned. Like the dog, making an unplanned guest appearance by barking at the back of the room. Thinking on his feet, Nichol made it part of his act.

He made connections throughout the crowd, whether four-legged or not, especially a man in the front row, who became a running gag whenever Nichol returned to the stage.

By the end of this two-and-a-half hour fundraiser, Neil had been lured on to the stage, and was singing while the audience chanted for him.

The line-up all brought their own different styles, ensuring there was something for everyone.

Akbar was first on, and brought political commentary and self-deprecation to stage which appealed to the younger members of the audience, but brought a tut from one woman near me.

She was keener on Arthur Smith, the godfather of British comedy, who came pre-armed with crowd-pleasing puns and a comedy poem. But at the end he recited a poem about kindness which allowed for moments of sincerity and added another level to the show.

Sometimes using using a gag over and over again doesn’t work, but with Brackenbury it did. His hospital radio DJ act has been around for a few years, but his songs and simple one liners got us back in the swing of things after the break.

After this came Cruttenden, immediately confessing to looking like Mr Tumble. Well, the crowd was thinking it too. His routine mined a rich seam of gags from marriage and turning 50.

Last up was Brand, who appeared from behind the red curtain to thunderous applause, and commanded the room from joke one.

Never one to shy from cheek-blushing comedy, she tore into topics about weight and the menopause, along with her life with her husband and two daughters.

She’s a natural storyteller, and showed just why she has lasted so long in comedy.

A perfect way to end an hilarious night.

Leicester Comedy Festival review: Tom Stade at Just the Tonic at Hansom Hall

TomStadeYouAintSeenNothingYet_680x680

By Aleksandra Brzezicka

Warning: Tom Stade’s show is not for children, the faint-hearted or easily insulted. Stay away for your own safety.

The man enters the room like a washed-up rock ‘n’ roll star would enter the hall of fame. Ladies and gentlemen, Tom Stade. Let’s get on with this already.

Stade starts off with an announcement. He’s 50 this month, so he can finally get a grasp of what it means to be old. Obviously, he chooses the oldest-looking lad in the audience to bond with over the young stuff they can’t do anymore.  Like showing off your penis in a public restroom for a quick mates-involving STD check. Or during kids’ parties. You may even end up making toilet plans for your bum on the road instead of checking out chicks on the way. Highway to hell, indeed.

Well, at least you were brought up tough, not like the spoiled brats of the new generation.  “Violence makes you learn,” says Tom. The teachers didn’t beat the crap out of you so you’re plainly dumb, probably don’t even drive and don’t worry about bills. You’ll just make a joint out of them. Yes, Tom, that’s what we all do.

Despite all the drama and squeezing the f word in every other sentence, Stade’s show was very informative and took us on an exclusive tour to the toilets and a vending machine shopping haul. Women learnt that in the gents you can buy paracetamol, condoms and, for only three pounds, a vibrating cock ring. Then in the women’s you can get paracetamol (for when your gal need to fake a headache), tampons, vibrating bullets and tests to check if your drink has been spiked. For some reason, the last one caused a wave of indecent laughter. Hilarious. Tom Stade, what a lad you are.

He also made a homage, of a kind, to “the greatest paedophile in the world, Michael Jackson.” If you’re forced to do it with your uncle, it’s a crime; if it’s MJ you’d get a career out of it. How perceptive.

Stade walks a thin line of daring dark humour and bad bad taste. That’s the most exciting element to his show. You never know what’s gonna hit you – a penis pun or satire on fake news – or if he’ll just shout at you.

He poses as a comedian who poses as a schmuck to manipulate the masses into laughter, this time at the ornate Hansom Hall – or this “piece of s**t room.” He doesn’t care about opinions, hates people and loves to swear. And that’s his charm.

Leicester Comedy Festival review: Laurel and Hardy Cabaret at the Guildhall

TheLaurelHardyCabaret_680x680

Review by Sofia Luis-Hobbs

Laurel and Hardy are undoubtedly a classic comedy duo but they’re an acquired taste in this day and age.

And if I didn’t quite acquire it, it certainly wasn’t for want of trying. I grew up watching them on DVD with my dad. It wasn’t my cup of tea but I sat and watched nonetheless, as he was reduced to hysterics beside me.

It’s been years since I’ve seen any of their films, but when the chance presented itself to go and see a cabaret version of their act I couldn’t help but smile at the thought – not necessarily at the show but at the memories it sparked.

The show began with the immortal theme tune, triggering giggles around the room and I knew then that the next 120 minutes would be a trip down memory lane for everyone in there.

Well, pretty much everyone. The cabaret had drawn a mixed crowd to the Great Hall of the Guildhall, including several younger children and a toddler or two who cooed during some inopportune moments – but Tony Carpenter and Philip Hutchinson had it covered. Quick on their feet, they found ways to incorporate these noises off into their performance, particularly whenever Laurel needed a talking to – which, of course, was often.

The duo really are the full package when it comes to impersonating the iconic pair. Not only did they embody the characters perfectly, they bear an uncanny physical resemblance of the original Laurel and Hardy.

Carpenter, who plays Laurel, mimics the famous head wiggle, the outbursts of crying and sheer naivety throughout the performance to a tee. Hutchinson, as Hardy, gets to dominate, which of course brings with it the famous tie grab alongside a flustered laugh and pursed lips.

The cabaret includes an array of the duo’s classic sketches, from their earlier works to their final ones, as well as some sketches that were never released.

Performing famous routines from Swiss Miss, Men O’ War and Sons of the Desert, Carpenter and Hutchinson pull it out of the bag – and no, I’m not talking about the random things Carpenter seems to pull out of his bag to irritate his onstage partner.

Yet they also brought the act up to date, with a song performed to a photo of Susan Boyle. It was unconventional but a stroke of genius, alongside other tricks they had up their sleeves to get younger audiences involved.

Fun-filled and family friendly, the cabaret is a true homage to the duo, which Laurel and Hardy fans will be sure to adore.