Archive for July, 2013

The Apprentice Episode 11 Review – Interview With The Vampires

the apprentice tv2

No, I’m not for a moment suggesting that Claude, Margaret et al are creatures of the night – not-at-all-they-are-all-lovely-people-I-have-not-been-hypnotised … what? Where was I? Went a bit glassy-eyed, you say? Can’t think what that could have been. Anyway, yes: lovely people, all of them. Wouldn’t have a word said against them.

Seriously though, if you think about it there are similarities. Like the undead monsters of legend and fiction, these four advisors tear the candidates’ business plans to shreds, suck out any lifeblood from them, discarding the irrelevancies, the bravado and the plain lies, and leave behind either a shattered torn wreck of a person or, if they’re very lucky and very strong, a new creature worthy of joining their exalted ranks.

Donald Trump is fond of describing the original US version of the show as “the interview from Hell”, but this week, as the contestants dwindle down to the final five, that description could not be more appropriate. After all the tasks, all the pressures, all the personal growth, the learning curves, the blunders, the victories and the crushing failures; after all the excuses, blame-shifting, credit-taking, the disposal of almost everyone else in their way, the candidates now have to face head-on and alone the careful taking apart of their business plans, and with it their own character.

These are The Interviews, this is the day when they are grilled by Lord Sugar’s top advisors as they try to peer past the business-speak, the self-promotion, the grandiose claims and the impressive resumes, to both the hard details of the business plan and the person behind that plan. This is it: there is finally nowhere to hide. Like the Gestapo of the Second World War (again, no offence guys!) this quartet of inquisitors will peel back the onion, rip out the heart and soul and get to the truth behind the grand words, even if it breaks the author of those words.

We’re left of course with Neil, Luisa, Leah, Francesca. Oh yeah, and Jordan, who from last week looks to be first to be likely to be hailing a cab home. But then, Lord Sugar has made odder decisions and if the plan tickles him sufficiently, who knows? The final five are given twenty-four hours to hone their business plans, make any last-minute adjustments and then present them to Lord Sugar’s aides. Despite his massive setback after the shocking revelations in the Boardroom last week, Jordan seems confident, saying he is “by far the best investment opportunity in the process”. Well, the Big Guy didn’t seem to agree last week, but we’ll see.

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We first see a collage of snippets from the interviews, which shows first Luisa, and Claude does not like her comparing herself to Lord Sugar, while Margaret has withering comments on Jordan’s choice of his role model – David Beckham! Claudine Collins talks to Francesca, tells her she comes across as boring, while Mike Suter gets Leah to offer him some cosmetic advice – which she does! She certainly proves she knows her stuff, but I wonder if Mike is too pleased that he would need all this work done in her opinion. Neil however seems to be up for it, saying he wishes he could do all four back-to-back.

Claude however points out that Neil can certainly sell his own house, he has the sales skill but few people have that talent. Neil is unshakable in his confidence in his plan, even though Claude tells him he has no chance. None. Zero. Margaret grills Jordan on his work with the Oxford Entrepreneur society, while Claude uncovers the fact that Francesca does not know her numbers, confusing profit with turnover, but worse, she seems to admit putting down a figure of five million turnover on her application as a figure she grabbed out of the air!

On the other hand, he seems to be unable to find much to complain about or pick holes in with Luisa’s plan, while out in the waiting room she asks Jordan if he feels he has something to prove after last week, and he agrees he does. Claudine however starts to pull apart his story as the king of the Oxford Entrepreneurs, saying that he is taking credit for the successful businesses and ideas of others. Jordan makes a lot of those “air quotes” which I have to say really annoys me. Claudine also uncovers what we already knew from last week, that Jordan already has a business partner, whcih is going to complicate this deal.

Luisa admits to Mike that writing business plans is not her strong point; he tells her she should have written in her plan the examples she has that her business works. Claudine worries that the very idea behind Leah’s business may have moral implications, an accusation she totally refutes, while Jordan is put to the test by Mike to prove his boast that he can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under three minutes. Like every other claim he makes, this one turns out to be false: he can’t do it. This I think speaks volumes about the man. Mike also points out that the business Jordan is offering Lord Sugar a partnership in is already established, and oh look! Jordan is not on the board of directors! Fancy that!

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Claudine is impressed with Neil’s wish to live up to his late father’s aspirations for him: it gets a little emotional and even the hard-nosed interviewer looks moved, though she tries to hide it. On his return to the waiting room the guys notice Neil is for once quiet; seems this part of the interview has had quite an effect on him. Luisa is accused of being a game-player, of being manipulative and when she gets out shoots something of an accusation at Francesca, who looks less than happy that her fellow candidate is bringing up the past again. What Luisa doesn’t realise is that this is exactly what she’s being accused of doing: mind games, manipulation. She’s still doing it.

Neil is told by Mike that his business plan is flawed, however this is nothing compared to Claude’s savaging of Jordan – we’ve all seen this coming – when he realises that the guy is not a partner in the business he’s offering Lord Sugar, and has no right to negotiate a percentage of it, never mind fifty. He literally throws Jordan out, telling him he is a parasite, and has no right to be in the process. Crushed, Jordan exits but says nothing to the others. Whereas Neil says he could do another interview (but they’re finished now) Luisa admits she’d rather give birth again than go through that again.

Interviews concluded, Lord Sugar meets his advisors before making his decision. Luisa comes out of the process well; few people having anything negative to say about her, though Claude admits her business plan is a little light, while Francesca’s plan is also praised as is she herself. The revelation however that she made up her turnover figure does not, of course, go down well with the man who may be investing a quarter of a million in her. He’s less happy to hear that the general consensus is that Neil’s business plan cannot, will not work. Lord Sugar looks almost as crushed about this as Jordan was when he left Claude’s office.

Leah gets a lot of praise too, though Claudine calls her “cold”, but Claude is very impressed with her. Not so with Jordan, as he now reveals that having read through his business plan it’s become clear that Jordan does not own or have any share in the business he is offering, and Mike says he is not an entrepreneur; he takes credit for other people’s ideas, as we have seen.

It’s no great surprise then (and I have to admit I enjoyed it) when Jordan is the first to be fired from the final five. Lord Sugar says he has “nowhere to go” and there’s nothing else he can do. Jordan tries to bluster that he has a “gentleman’s agreement” with the owner of the company, but Lord Sugar tells him to “cut the crap” and shows him the door. Neil he is similarly annoyed with, but for different reasons. It’s clear that had his plan been in order Neil would have been definitely in the running, but as it stands he’s been advised that Neil’s business plan cannot work under any circumstances, and he simply can’t invest in it. He tells Neil sadly that he is “the right man but the wrong plan”, and that if he were hiring, as in the earlier seasons, he would give him a job tomorrow. But that’s not what’s happening, that’s not what’s on offer, and Neil becomes the second of the final five to be let go. Man, there’s even a tear in the old guy’s eye when Neil leaves, though whether that’s from frustration, anger or genuine remorse, only he knows. Maybe he just got a bit of grit in it. Still, it looks genuine. Neil seems totally crushed, realising he has come so close and then failed. You have to feel sorry for him.

So we’re left with three ladies, and Lord Sugar has to choose between them. He tests the morality issue with Leah, but she stands up for her own strong sense of ethics, which seems to satisfy him. Luisa’s claim that she can work in a team comes back to bite her in her rather perfectly-formed backside, when Leah agrees but Francesca, who has only just a short time ago been on the receiving end of one of Luisa’s barbs gets a last shot in at her; damning with faint praise, and you can’t blame her. There was no need for her comment earlier; it was just catty.

Weighing up the three options, Lord S accuses Francesca of not being much of a leader and not explaining her idea too well. But he makes the decision and tells Leah that she is in the final, before pointing the Finger at Francesca, leaving us with Luisa and Leah as the only ones left standing.

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And so the final has come down to this: Luisa versus Leah, blond versus brunette, ditzy bimbo versus cool level-headed scientist. Karren wastes no time rubbing in the fact that the final is entirely an all-girl affair, and that no matter how it turns out, Lord Sugar will be going into business with a woman. Yeah! Girl power!

So no doubt next week we’ll see the return of some of the fired candidates to help out on the final task. Be interesting to see if Jordan gets asked back. Personally I hope Jaz is not there; I really coud not stand her. But either way we’ll have a winner next week, and to the shame of my gender, it will be one of the softer sex, who have proven here that they may look better than most of us and have a different way of thinking and of doing things, but they are in no way the weaker sex.

Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen! Place your bets, and be here next week for the decider! Winner takes all on July 17.

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Updated: Jeff Wadlow To Write & Direct X-Force Movie


Updated: Matthew Vaughn’s & Mark Millar’s connection to the X-Men franchise seemingly stays true. Kick-Ass 2 helmer Jeff Wadlow is set to write and likely direct the X-Force movie, a spin-off from the X-Men saga, that will be officially announced at Comic Con. Right now The Hollywood Reporter says he’s just writing the script but is eyeing the director’s chair too.

Bodes well for Kick-Ass 2 that Wadlow has won this gig, and definitely bodes well for Fox’s confidence in the two X-Men movies that will be hitting our screens soon. More expected to be announced at Comic Con.


20th Century Fox will release The Wolverine in a couple of weeks ( are seeing the movie next week, and we are far more giddy for this one than we were X-Men Origins: Wolverine), and as we know Bryan Singer is already deep into filming on X-Men: Days Of Future Past that opens in May 2014… but the future of the X-universe over the next few years looks much less clear.

Will future solo Wolverine movies follow? Will we have two alternate X-Men storylines going forward, one with the Patrick Stewart/Ian McKellen era, and one with Michael Fassbender/James McAvoy? Will Fox ever get round to that Ryan Reynolds’ led Deadpool movie?

The answer likely depends on The Wolverine’s box office and then the financial and critical reception to X-Men: Days Of Future Past… but maybe Fox are already planning to build the saga even further.

X-Force creator Rob Liefeld has confirmed on Twitter that Fox are planning a spin-off to the X-Men saga that is based on his creation. Liefeld says he first heard about Fox’s plans in March, which coincides with’s discovery of the studio’s registering domain name, but that no greenlight has been ordered just yet.


Launched in the early 90s, X-Force were a much more aggressive and military style faction to the X-Men whose missions often involved protecting Xavier’s men by any means necessary. Kind of like President Obama’s own private navy seals. The team consisted of Cable, Cannonball, Warpath, Feral, Domino, Shatterstar and Boom Boom. Deadpool was also part of the early stories.

Of course as ever with comic books other characters often floated in and out including Wolverine and Colossus but obviously it’s too early to tell which characters are being planned for this. Though we should note their are roles for Booboo Stewart plays Warpath in X-Men: Days Of Future Past and another one-time member of X-Force – Sunspot – is being portrayed by Adan Canto. With DC not going ahead with a Green Lantern sequel any time soon, could X-Force be a way to bring back Ryan Reynolds to this Marvel franchise to reprise his character?

The success of The Avengers series has obviously shown the rest of Hollywood how a multi-film universe with a huge ensemble of characters should function and the massive rewards that come with getting it right. The potential of the X-Men movies died down after X-Men 3: The Last Stand’s release in 2006 but it’s been picking up lately and the future looks bright. With the potential of two era storylines, an X-Force movie and the possibility of a Fantastic Four cross-over… X-Men fans have never had so many possibilities.

More is expected to be announced about an X-Force movie at Comic Con later this month…

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10 (More) Old School Games That Deserve A Remake


It’s sad to say, but I’m not getting any younger. Mixed in with the sadness that I can’t outrun The Grim Reaper forever (but I do continually flip him the bird from over my shoulder) is a cool compilation of great memories. Memories are an awesome aspect of existence in the sense that they can be sparked by all kinds of situations. Looking at an old photo of friends sitting around a Nintendo or Sega Genesis sparks memories of that day and that time, not to mention that era.

Thinking about the games we played and the conversations we had are a great part of getting older and anticipating the good times to come, there’s a lot to look forward to (especially since I plan to hang in there until I can be downloaded into an immortal killer cyborg that will eat planets). Thanks to technology and nostalgia we can have our cake and eat it too. Old school can be retrofitted for a new audience and a generation of gamers who often wonder what the fuss was all about.

Here are 10 games I think are worthy of a new lease on life, so that they can spark fond memories for the youngun’s now.

10. General Chaos

general chaos

EA games was well on their way to being known for Madden football and atrocious press by the time General Chaos hit the Genesis. A rare game that actually seemed better suited for the PC due to the point and click control scheme that would be used to great effect in the Diablo series and other RTS games. However the camera was set far closer to the action and the number of sprites to work with was never more than four. The character classes available determined what combination the player could work with. The game had a pretty serviceable single player experience but where it shined was in its one on one multi-player.

The object of the game was to navigate the rather intimate map and eliminate the opposing players units. The presentation was very comical with cartoon representations of violence and explosions. The units were highly varied with demolition experts, guys with flame throwers, machine gunners and medics for starters. The units also had a limited AI as the game required the player to guide players and instruct them to behave outside of direct control. Being able to scroll through the squad and coordinate the group effort in real time made for some memorable battles.


With the use of the voice command technology of the Xbox One and the PS4 General Chaos could really take advantage of the whole chaos aspect. The field of play doesn’t need much of an update aside from expected graphic updates; making the maps any bigger wouldn’t be exactly beneficial. The size of the maps really made EndWar a bit of a hassle in the end. Being able to issue verbal commands would allow for the player to eschew the complex button pressing and get right to the real strategy.

The comedic style of the graphics and game play would also be a bit of fresh air as more and more games do away with skirting the lines between hyper realism and cartoon graphics. The strength of the next gen systems could allow for adding more players (factions) to the experience and add another worthy entry into the competitive party game. Currently the party usually ends when in my excitement I smash a friends ‘guitar’. No one said rocking was easy.

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Man Utd Transfers: 2 Former United Players Who Should Return Under Moyes

David Moyes

Manchester United have always had a mix of experience and youth in their squads, whether you look at the 1999 treble winning side or the last team under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Throughout the years, players have come and gone. Arrivals excite and departures disappoint, but two of the biggest mistakes of Sir Alex’s reign should be rectified by newly appointed Manchester United manager, David Moyes.

With Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand playing in the last few seasons of his career, now is the time to search for his replacement. Whilst Manchester United already have young English duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, as well as experienced defender Jonny Evans, realistically United’s defence could benefit from one other centre-back.

The first player Moyes should bring back to Old Trafford is Stoke defender, Ryan Shawcross. The Englishman was sold to then Championship side Stoke City for a fee of just 1 million back in 2007.

Since then the he has dominated the Stoke defence with his experience, leadership and determination, but despite impressive displays, Shawcross has never been lured away from the Britannia. Last season, the defender played in 36 league games for Stoke proving he can keep up with United’s busy schedule.

At 25-years-old, Shawcross still has a promising future ahead of him and whilst other may doubt him, in the past Sir Alex Ferguson has heaped praised on his former player, proving that Shawcross could easily step up to a top four side.

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5 Invaluable Life Lessons You Didn’t Realise You Learned From Gaming


As a child you believe that, if you follow the rules outlined for you, you will be achieve anything and everything you’ve ever wanted. The world is a ripe orchard of opportunity waiting to be picked at a moment’s notice. But anyone over the age of 20 knows this isn’t always the case. In fact, the most valuable lessons of life are learned outside the government-required methods of teaching and learning.

As I grew up, I encountered some harsh realities that no one really prepared me for. However, they seemed familiar, as if I had lived another set of lives that gave me an insight – albeit the slightest one – into how to best deal with what was happening to me. That’s when lightning struck, and I realized that any reality check or life lesson I would encounter, I would already be prepared for… thanks to video games.

Yes, video games. Throughout my 30 years of life there are five main lessons I’ve learned because of my digital adventures and tribulations, and chances are, you’ve learnt the same things…

5. Most People Are Out To Serve Themselves

Human Shield

One thing I came to grips with through my 20s was the fact that, no matter what field you work in, you will be surrounded by people whose main objective is to further their own lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re working for a non-profit, or deal in some kind of client services; the services rendered are often fueled by an individual’s desire to increase their own repertoire of accomplishments. If it so happens that they are able to do it in a field that allows them to help people, all the better. Those are called psychic benefits. Although nice, most people understand that you can’t pay rent with good vibes.

In the gaming world you often see a similar situation in FPS multiplayer games – particularly in team deathmatch mode. Your teammates aren’t there to help you get the highest score, and you aren’t there to help them. You are all there to achieve as many unlocks and points as possible with the added benefit of being able to use your teammates as distractions. A few games reward the “support” role, like Ghost Recon, or the Battlefield series, but unless you’re playing Journey you won’t find anyone rooting for your cause.

The incentive just isn’t there.

Helping others may give you a brief feeling of accomplishment in the vein of psychic benefit, but it won’t get you the rifle decal you crave so much .

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Pacific Rim: 5 Reasons It’s The Film of the Summer


Giant. Robots. Fighting. Giant. Monsters. It’s a mashup smash-’em-up from the mind of a child and as the description of one of the summer’s hotly anticipated movies, it’s an intriguing and enticing premise at that.

Pacific Rim is the story of a group of survivors in an apocalyptic world as they struggle to fight against watery demonic creatures known as kaiju with their own weapons, massive robots known as Jaegers. At the centre of it all is the story of two different and broken people learning to work together and heal their wounds.

So, without further ado, here are my top five reasons why Pacific Rim really is the film of the summer and why you should go see it immediately if you haven’t already.

5. It’s A Fairytale


Del Toro is especially entrenched in telling us his versions of fairytales – Pan’s Labyrinth is the darkest imagining of Alice In Wonderland possible, mixed in with some traditional Grimm-style darkness and violence and the Hellboy films have an otherworldly beauty to them that slots alongside punch-ups and apocalypses.

Pacific Rim is, arguably, a fairytale at its heart as it follows two very different but similar people on a journey from their respective traumas, overcoming their painful pasts to become heroes. All of this set against the classic backdrop of good versus evil with very solid avatars in the form of the robotic Jaegers and the sea-demon kaiju. Del Toro is perfect at mixing the light with the dark, making Pacific Rim a painful yet hopeful story about survivors saving the world.

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10 Actors Whose Careers Went Downhill After They Won Oscars

Cuba Gooding Jr.

For most actors, winning an Oscar usually marks the single greatest moment in their careers. Having an Oscar under your belt is, after all, confirmation of years of hard work and dedication, the highest honour that your peers can gift upon you to show their admiration and respect, and the best possible guarantee that, hey, you’re pretty good at acting, after all. Put simply, it’s the most esteemed acting award available and winning one should – in theory – open up all kinds of possibilities, ventures, and the promise of more great movie roles.

And whereas all that does happen to the majority of actors who find Oscar glory, sometimes winning the most prestigious acting award around can be something of a curse. That’s to say, lots of actors have found themselves to be the toast of the movie scene one minute, only to try to merge with the industry afterwards to find that Hollywood doesn’t really know what to do with them. Sometimes, of course, a couple of naff post-Oscar movie roles will prove fatal: you won’t believe how quickly Hollywood can kill your career if you screw up, Academy Award or not.

So here’s 10 actors whose careers took a sudden nosedive the moment they became Oscar-winners. Although winning seemed to point them towards brighter futures than ever, it actually had the opposite effect entirely…

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