In short, yes.

Football Manager will always sell. It has its hardcore fans, and religious players so as long as it does no worse than last year, it will be played consistently on it’s year of release. It’s like the tactical, data driven equivalent of FIFA – it’s always going to do well.

At Digital Fox, we received the beta review code expecting a few bugs, a few issues but hopefully some great developments. We got very few of the former, and a lot of the latter. Good news. It’s almost a finished, polished version of the game, even at this stage before the mass of updates due to come.

In short the only bugs appear to be issues with penalties becoming too frequent (plus players not being able to react to rebounds), audio issues where one second it’s ear-splittingly loud, and another where it’s deathly silent.

On the plus side, there’s some great developments. There’s more than ever going on behind the scenes, and more information for you to scour over as a manager. This also means that it’s harder than ever to truly know how your decisions will impact the game and your teams performance.

Football Manager historically can be a bit intimidating to new players, and it’s the same case here. There is a introductory layer at the start which helps compensate for this, but the depth in the game means that recruiting new, dedicated players is probably getting harder. Once the new player gets to grip with the breadth of the game, they are likely locked in for life and Football Manager 2019 is no different.

The training system can either be really, really simple, or really really complicated, which is great, because it adjusts to how much time you want to put into the game. Your assistant can take care of anything you don’t fancy.

Football Manager 2019 is generally a huge upgrade on 2018. This includes its aesthetics, it’s game engine, the licenses it has available, the depth of data. We’re looking forward to the released version.

Eduardo is the Product Marketing Coordinator at Alienware

 As Alienware prepared for PAX, Australia, we wanted to get the scoop on what the marketing team thought of Australia, the future of the VR industry, Eduardos own background at the company, and the future of Alienware.

How are you finding PAX Australia and how does it compare with the US?

The Australian attendees of PAX are every bit as passionate as the US. The questions are very often highly technical product questions, which is interesting and it’s great to have a savvy audience approaching us here.

What’s the future of gaming and do you see VR becoming a dominant form of gameplay in the near future?

Our goal at Alienware is to deliver the most immersive experience possible. VR helps with this, and we are committed to VR but the complexity of functions you can achieve with a keyboard or controller are quite high and PC gaming culture is anchored strong with keyboards and mice. Whilst VR is coming along, it’s not on that same level yet but it’s still a relatively young technology.

gaming with alienware

You’ve just launched Alienware M15, what can you tell us about that?

The M15 launched on Friday in Australia. It features the thinnest Alienware design ever. We’re launching and showcasing it from PAX Australia, TwitchCon, ESL One Hamburg, and For Games 2018.  It’s got exceptionally long battery life and as always is built using premium materials and has some very impressive power. (for full details on the M15 you can click here)

How did you become Project Marketing Coordinator at Alienware?

I’ve been here for almost 15 years now.  I was a gamer and needed a job. I was hired into the marketing team, with my focus being on helping out the sales team for a premium ALX brand that we had just launched.  Since then I joined the online merchandising team, then ran seasonal campaigns, and finally joined the product messaging and go-to-market team, representing Alienware full time.  It’s been an exciting and wonderful journey.

What’s your approach to marketing an Alienware product?

How we market has changed a lot since I started. Our community and social approaches are much more developed and now we also invested into eSports.  Partnering with various teams and enabling them at events as well as their road towards competitions.  We are seeing a great relationship with Team Liquid, and naturally, if the pros are happy to use Alienware in their competitions, we’re on the right track.

What’s next for Alienware?

We’ll continue to evolve, and evolve with users of Alienware. We have 4 brand tenets including Innovation, High Performance, Premium Quality and Iconic Design which will continue to be at the core of what we do.

Vero is attracting users, influencers and creators fast. But what is Vero?

Vero, after being around for a few years, is suddenly generating serious growth. It’s a social media platform very similar to Instagram where creators, and well, everyone else too, can publish their content.

Vero Social Media App
What is Vero? Source: Vero

Vero promotes itself as “a social network for anyone who loves anything enough to share it – and wants control over who they share it with. Just like we do in real life.” This is actually underselling it, and makes it sound pretty standard. What Vero actually is, is a slicker, faster, more controllable platform similar to Instagram.

Digital Fox decided to give Vero a go

You can find us on the platform by searching for Digital Fox through the top menu search icon. Have a flick through the content and you can see how we make use of it.

Vero Digital Fox
This is the Digital Fox account on Vero, Yes, we know we need to charge the phone.

How does Vero work?

You can have followers in the same way as you can have Followers on Instagram, Acquaintances which might be people you know a little, Friends who are obviously more likely to be within your social circle, and Close Friends, which is your closest social circle.

This gives you layers to share your content with. It’s a bit more granular than sharing to public or sharing to friends etc etc. You can do this on Facebook but Facebook hasn’t been designed in a way to encourage this as well. Because of this, you can use Vero as a business/influencer/brand platform sharing to all of your fans (followers), or as a personal social network.

Vero SamSamCam
Our good friend @SamSamCam is on Vero too.

Vero also categorises the content in ways that Instagram doesn’t. With Instagram you get one feed, and there isn’t an opportunity to post links (outside of stories). But with Vero you can go to someones profile and just look at the video content, or the links that profile has posted. If you’re in a mood for reading content, this makes the app more useful than Instagram which has increasingly become video focused.

Vero categories
Here are some of the categories on Vero. Source: Vero

There is no advertising on Vero.

According to a company statement, there never will be. For brands and publishers, this takes us back to the good old days when it was all about the quality of content, and growing your following. For users, this means no unsubscribed content appearing in your newsfeed targeting you. Instead, in the future, there will be an annual charge for using Vero, which is planned to be around the price of two cups of coffee.

The other way Vero will make money is through commissions. Users have the ability to sell items on Vero, and Vero will eventually make a very small commission on these sales.

Vero for publishers

For publishers with a website presence, the ability to place links onto Vero is very appealing. There is no algorithm in place to restrict your reach either, so what you see in your follower count is what you get.

There is also the ability to review music, movies or TV shows in an instant, which brings the app into the pop culture hemisphere, and with the acquisition of Zak Snyder it further resonates with superhero and fantasy fans.

Overall, we highly recommend giving Vero a go, particularly if you’re a cosplayer, or have a focus in the movies, TV, gaming, music world.

We want to start by saying Airbnb is winning

Firstly, we’ve got to say, with the amount of travelling we do, we love airbnb.

We love the technology and how it rebels against the system. It’s always worked out well for us and indeed plenty of people with a spare room, spare apartment or  spare house. Some people even find success by signing up and renting out their spare shed to the platform.

If you want to be the next Airbnb host, and grabbing that extra income, you can sign up here. Hell, you could do it now anyway, just in case you need some extra dollar in the future.

Sometimes though, the free to use and unmoderated airbnb technology can reign hell on the hosts. Here are the top 3 worst airbnb experiences.

 

3. The airbnb crunch time.

airbnb disgusting renters

In 2011, a San Francisco woman came home to find her apartment destroyed. This was the watershed moment for airbnb. A public lawsuit with Airbnb commenced, and eventually airbnb agreed to cover the costs. There is now a million dollar insurance policy in place for all hosts.

2. The airbnb brothel

Airbnb prostitutes

Two working girls were caught in the act in an apartment in Stockholm. The women who lived in the apartment and had taken a vacation only found out when the police had alerted them. The note left on the door was simply: ‘your house has been a whorehouse for a month and we had to raid it. Sorry about that!’

1. The airbnb crime scene

crime scene at an airbnb

Jessica Penzari was greeted by a woman who stated she was in the military and wanted to rent her airbnb room in Manhattan. Penzari received a call from the cops midway through the stay to alert her that a woman, who in reality was a prostitute had been slashed by a customer. To compensate her, Airbnb gave her accommodation and cleaned the place.

This is a quick guide to Bitcoin.

Struggling with the highly detailed breakdown of Bitcoin and crytocurrency? Want to get in on the action but don’t know where, or even why to start? We break it down for you in our Bitcoin explained guide.

How can I buy Bitcoin? Or other Cryptocurrency?

You can buy them with more traditional currency. During our test run we found Coinbase to be the best method. It’s very secure and you can track everything in an app on your phone. You can also drop and withdraw money whenever you feel like it. You can sign up and buy bitcoin securely and quickly here: www.coinbase.com

guide to bitcoin

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is the first decentralised digital currency. They are simply digital coins you can send through the internet. You send them directly, from person to person without going through a bank. So, less hassle, less fees and no restrictions (such as country). Your bitcoins are kept in a digital wallet – no bank needed. They are a global currency and can be spent anywhere on anything.

What can I buy with Bitcoin?

Anything, theoretically. As long as they have a wallet to receive the Bitcoin. Purchasing with Bitcoin is a great way to minimise transaction costs. There are no fees. It’s also very quick and easy to set up, unlike your last bank account.

Explain Bitcoin
Where can I buy Bitcoin? Well, quite a few places.

How are Bitcoin produced?

Bitcoins are produced by a network called “miners”. Miners are rewarded newly generated Bitcoins for verifying transactions. Once the transactions are verified they are recorded in a public ledger with a unique code. The software is completely open source, and anyway can see the code.

What is Bitcoin doing to finance?

Well, it’s certainly changing finance. It’s doing it in a similar way to how the web has changed publishing. It’s allowed everyone to have access to a global market, just as everyone has access to publish content to a global audience.

What’s next for Bitcoin?

Well, it’s opened up a whole new platform for companies, businesses and people to innovate from. There are unique opportunities that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have now opened up that haven’t even been explored yet. These opportunities could lead to further growth of the value of Bitcoin, or indeed they could stump it. It’s hard to see where this will lead. We’re not going to pretend to have those answers.

Quick tip for Bitcoin (or not Bitcoin)

Rather than purchasing Bitcoin, you might want to try Litecoin. During our trial period the growth in value of a Litecoin far surpassed Bitcoin. In the longterm it would seem to have more potential as a commercial currency – it takes less energy to produce.

When the United Nations was founded, it was a historic moment. But you might not know that Master Yoda was present.

In fact, according to a history book, King Faisal and Yoda were sitting next to each other during its foundation. The Saudi government is now desperately trying to withdraw the history textbook that had been printed with a doctored photograph of King Faisal and Yoda sitting together.

The photograph used is the work of Abdullah al-Sheri, a 26-year-old Saudi artist. When asked, the Saudi education minister, Ahmed al-Eissa said they regretted “the inadvertent error”. The ministry has already begun printing a corrected copy, and withdrawing the previous versions.

When contacted by the New York Times, Mr Abdullah al-Sheri stated “I am the one who designed it, but I am not the one who put it in the book.”

Yoda was not sitting next to the king.
Yoda was not sitting next to the king. Source: LucasArts

Yoda of course, is a famous fictional character from Star Wars, one of the largest grossing movie sagas of all time.

He was not at the United Nations launch, although I am sure he would have been a great asset to the leader there.

Mr Sheri clearly agrees, and he mentions that when he was producing the unusual doctored image he was thinking that the king “was wise and always strong in his speeches,” and that he found Yoda was “the closest character to the king”.

history book yoda
Yoda’s wisdom carries through into the classroom in a misprint. Source: StarWars.com

The misprint was spotted in Beirut, Lebanon, where high school students opened their history books to find the great Jedi Master himself.

You can see other work by Mr Sheri, fondly nicknamed Shaweesh here. Mr. Shehri had previously presented the work in galleries in Dubai, Houston and Aspen, Colo.

It’s still unclear how exactly his work ended up in a history study aid, but the investigation continues. Sounds like they could use a little of The Force.

Firstly, what is TopBuzz?

TopBuzz is an app (newly-launched) which supposedly helps content creators reach more people and drive more revenue. After a barrage of ads directing us to the platform, and always being open to new opportunities to develop, we decided to take a look and give a TopBuzz review.

The idea behind the app is really appealing. Essentially it take your content and distributes it to an app audience. For those publishers without an app of their own this can seem really beneficial. It’s a way to build up an audience that you might not otherwise have, and the financials are already sorted. You just publish and you generate revenue.

So, if the idea is sound, what are the problems? This TopBuzz review explores it in detail, from a publishers experience.

6 big problems with the TopBuzz service

Unfortunately we encountered some pretty big problems from a publisher perspective.

TopBuzz Publishers
Publishers can publish content through TopBuzz. Source: Digital Fox

1. Spam on TopBuzz

Firstly, the amount of spam and click-bait based content on the platform makes it an impossible place for anyone genuinely trying to produce good content to compete. There are only so many videos of “Waterbuffalo takes on giant snake” that a user can put up with.

And even if you are into that sort of content, the odds are that the video is just of the two passing next to each other. It really is click-bait heaven – so if that’s your game, it might be worth it. If it’s not, consider steering away.

2. Communication from TopBuzz

You can try commenting in the FAQ section, or even reaching out to them by email, but the responses are pretty average. To most people that do receive an email back it would seem that they don’t care.

Here’s an example below. We followed this up formally requesting our account to be deleted, but no luck initially.

Contacting TopBuzz
You might get the impression getting in touch with TopBuzz is a bit pointless. Source: Us

3. You can’t delete your account on TopBuzz

Which brings me on to my next point, and it’s a big one. If you’re unhappy with the way your brand, blog, business etc etc is reflected on TopBuzz, and the fact that they own the right to do whatever they want with your content, you can’t delete your account to stop it. Even if you email them. Your account remains on the app. We had to get to the stage of a direct conversation through whatsapp in order to persuade them to delete our account.

The thing that worries us is that TopBuzz had a page where it listed some premium publishers, such as New York Times, Huffington Post, Mashable etc etc as users. I wonder if those publishers simply can’t get the content off the platform. We can’t find that page now.

4. You can’t remove your settings on TopBuzz

So you can’t delete your account. Okay, that’s annoying but at least you can just follow the standard process and remove all of your contact details. For example, the RSS feed the site is pulling the articles from and the link to your Youtube page etc etc… right?

Well. No. You can’t do that either. Or the site makes it so hard to do this that you end up giving up. TopBuzz gave us direction on how to do this (which are very unclear) via our whatsapp conversation, but without knowing that process it would be tricky to figure it out.

5. Low revenue on TopBuzz

Okay, let’s say you ARE a click based focussed site. You want money and you don’t care about what content sits on the platform. You’re not too bothered about how your brand is presented amongst the click bait publishers, or that there are no good communications coming from the TopBuzz company. At least you’re making money right? Well. No. After a month of publishing over a hundred pieces of content to the app, which we can’t remove, we made…. $2.04.

And even if you do start to make good money from a viral piece of content, they own the rights to re-publish it – which explains the 400,000+ community they now have on FB. Which brings us on to our final point, and it’s a big one. So, if TopBuzz can take this content and republish it the next day as their own, then how are you ever supposed to have vast success using TopBuzz?

Revenue on TopBuzz
TopBuzz earnings. We’re millionaires. Oh wait.

6. TopBuzz takes your best performing content and then re-publishes it as their own

Lets say you have at long last produced that awesome piece of content. The one that’s going to drive subscribers and revenue for you for months. The one that you can use to develop your business. Well, if you’re signed up with TopBuzz and that happens then you might find the very day after you’ve had success that they have taken that content and republished it as their own across social channels. There’s no credit involved and they think they have a right to do this because you have signed up to the platform.

You can see the T&C copy as of today below:

TopBuzz T&Cs
This is where TopBuzz claim the right to use, modify and distribute your content however they wish. If you produce a viral piece of content, they will be able to publish it as theirs. Source: TopBuzz

To their credit (after this article was published) TopBuzz got in touch, but stuck to their guns and saw no problem in re-publishing other publishers content with their branding all over it.

After lengthy discussion TopBuzz (below) the new app didn’t see anything wrong with taking the top performing content and re-publishing it. Also, they finally agreed to delete the Digital Fox account. Imagine if they hadn’t? All of our content would effectively be left for them to do whatever they liked with.

TopBuzz experiences
During the TopBuzz review, we reported on a few problems. TopBuzz got in touch but didn’t really address or recognise the problems. Source: Digital Fox

Publishers and TopBuzz
Here’s the interaction with TopBuzz when we suggested they shouldn’t be taking other publishers content. Source: Digital Fox

TopBuzz revenue
Again, they refer to T&Cs which give them the right to take the content from anyone who is signed up. The only problem is, if you don’t agree to this and are already signed up you can’t delete your account. Source: Digital Fox

As publishers, we are all searching for new ways to generate revenue. Facebook and YouTube are continuing to make us work harder for our dollar, and that will create opportunity for new platforms.

TopBuzz has massive potential, but there needs to be some considered investment in liaising with publishers, and generating and promoting quality content, not to mention not taking other peoples content and republishing it as their own.

Oh, and TopBuzz should definitely give us an option to remove ourselves from the platform whilst they are making these developments. Or else it’s kind of like copying and pasting other people’s content after they have told you to stop…

All of the information here is correct at the time of publishing. If you’ve had a similar experience, feel free to share with us.

Yep, it’s very possible that Luke Skywalker is a Grey Jedi. Here are the reasons why.

There’s been plenty of coverage recently about the future of Luke Skywalker. There have also been a few cases made about his transition into a Grey Jedi.

It’s worth exploring this further. Let’s start by looking at the events from the original trilogy. Here’s some of the rational behind why it’s possible that Luke Skywalker is a Grey Jedi now.

1 – How affected was Luke’s mental state after watching his Father come back to the light, and then pass away?

Luke seemingly never really swayed from the light side. But Emperor Palpatine could sense a lot of anger within him. He also felt he had a good shot at swaying him, as did Vader. Now, why would they think that?

Under certain circumstances, even the most reputable Jedis have been turned. We learned that fear and anger lead to the dark side in the original series.

Luke had a pretty rough time of it in Episode VI, being tortured and watching his Father die in front of him. He’s also had to deal with the knowledge of his Father’s atrocities.

Who knows how this might have affected him in the last 40 years? That’s some trauma to deal with for such a long time. It’s enough to make you consider a few things about good and evil, light and dark.

Luke’s Father passing away would have been pretty traumatic. Source: LucasArts

2 – What did we learn in Episode VII? A lot of references in the movie could make you think that Luke Skywalker is a Grey Jedi now.

Luke has had another tragedy. He had clearly spent a lot of time developing a new Jedi training facility, and one of his students turned to the dark side, before killing his students. These were the actions of his own nephew.

Luke then isolated himself. But why? He could have fought Kylo Ren and repaired some of the damage caused. But, what if he was protecting others?

Perhaps he felt the anger swelling within him again, and chose to hide himself away, rather than act on all of that rage? Could this have made him shift towards a Grey Jedi?

Also, that grey outfit is pretty suggestive huh? Turning to the dark side might be a bit of a stretch but it’s perfectly plausible that Luke Skywalker is a Grey Jedi now.

Luke Skywalker is a Grey Jedi
Make up your mind Luke, which colour are you?

3 – Star Wars also needs to go in a new direction, and get with the times. Showcasing the balance between light and dark seems like a good way to go.

I like to think that movies have generally moved on from the notion that people are either good or bad.

A common theme with modern movies, and one that I enjoy, is that the difference between good and evil is actually very narrow. It’s commonly down to circumstance, perception and your environment.

What it really comes down to is your choices, and that’s what I hope this potential transition from light and dark to grey is all about. It could be about the acceptance that there is a balance and you have the potential to be both evil and good, rather than exclusively one or the other.

Maybe this is what Luke has decided too. It would certainly be very rational and give a new, modern perspective to Star Wars.

Game of Thrones fans were shocked to see someone that looked very much like Catelyn Stark behind Arya, in episode 4.

GrennsGal, of House Reddit, spotted something that appears like a wonderfully crafted nod to Lady Stoneheart. It appears she isn’t making an official appearance in Game of Thrones as per the books, but directors David Benioff and D.B. Weiss sure know how to keep fans happy, and talking.

You can see what sparked the curiosity in the clip below, just as Arya mentions her mother, a robed figure wanders past in the background.

From a timing point of view, it’s pretty clear this is intentional. When you think about a director setting the scene up, and the detail and craft that goes into every scene it would be hard to believe this was done by accident. The camera is so far back, and giving a clear view of the gap in the wall.

As fans of the books will know, Lady Stoneheart is the resurrected Catelyn Stark, brought back to life after being murdered at The Red Wedding. Which is perhaps one of the most shocking scenes in television history.

In the books it seemed that she was destined to wreak vengeance upon The Frey’s. Murdering someone, after welcoming them into your home, and particularly at a wedding is begging for Game of Thrones karma. It’s even referenced as something that’s, well, just not done, and is bound to upset the Gods (new or old, I can’t remember).

I suppose the question as to whether Lady Stoneheart will be coming back into the series will continue, but personally I think it would complicate the already heavily story-lined plot too much.

You can see some more thoughts from our Westeros expert, on whether Game of Thrones is living up to expectations, here.

Prison Break is back, and in classic TV series re-boot style, the main character Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) is back too, even after dying.

Pokemon, Ghost in The Shell, Star Wars and every Disney movie ever. All of these are being re-made and brought back playing on that money driving feeling, nostalgia.

And now Prison Break is the next in line for a slight re-boot. When I watched the first series of Prison Break, it gripped me. It was a great premise. And as someone who is notoriously organised I thought it was extremely efficient to have a project plan tattooed onto your body. It appealed to me.

But, didn’t Michael die?

How do you resurrect a series where the most loved and influential character died? Well, they get around this by plotting the storyline around his survival and location and they reverse the rescue dynamic. Now Lincoln has to rescue Michael.

I always felt that the writers of the show had never thought past the very first (and best) season. And this always showed to me in the randomness of the following seasons.

Planning ahead and constructing a plausible storyline has never been Prison Break’s strength. So, I think to enjoy the rest of the series and in particular season 5, you need to put logic to one side and just be along for the ride.

Prison Break Season 5

Seeing the characters come back together for a new series is hugely satisfying. Knepper (T-Bag) again is one of the best parts of the show. Dunbar (C-Note) gave another solid performance, but sadly the other characters such as Sucre (Amaury Nolasco) and Kellerman (Paul Adelstein) were largely restricted to minor roles.

If you’re looking for a satisfying end to the series though, Prison Break Season 5 is worth the watch – especially if you’re a life long Prison Break fan.

Prison Break Event Series out now on Blu-ray & DVD

Call me a sceptic, but I struggle to believe that the genius producers of Game of Thrones didn’t think this level of backlash was going to happen to Ed Sheeran.

They’ve dealt with Game of Thrones fans for long enough now. Surely David Benioff and Daniel Brett Weiss can spot an issue like this during the editing stage? Then rework, re-edit, or do whatever is needed to avoid this kind of publicity.

Why they didn’t bothers me. I’m going to go ahead and call it for what I think it is – an impromptu PR stunt to drive conversation online through Ed Sheeran’s failing.

Wow, I hate my own level of skepticism there. But unless they didn’t watch Ed Sheeran’s scenes after filming them (of course they did), how can they let them go ahead if not to benefit from the digital chatter.

Was Ed Sheeran sacrificed for social media engagements? Source: HBO

From a publicity point of view, if they did choose to leave the edits untouched at the expense of poor Ed, it was a good call.

When combined with Foxtel’s failure to deal with the amount of people wanting to watch the show through their platform, and Ed Sheeran’s painful performance there were impressively almost 1,000,000 online mentions during the show time. This is according to Brandwatch.

Whilst a sacrifice in Game of Thrones style might seem apt, this was a little on the harsh side. Poor Ed. What do you think?

A Monster Calls is a wonderful film lover’s movie. It’s packed with emotion and care.

Let me explain what I mean by this.

For a bit of context, I have watched 7 Superhero movies this year and 9 remakes of classics that became averages. I even went to the latest Resident Evil and King Arthur pre-screenings. Whilst this is all well and good, sometimes those movies can lack a bit of soul.  

A Monster Calls however, is packed with themes, relevance, emotion, a great plot-line (helped by being based on a book). It also features a lovely combination of CGI and animation throughout.

I also had the perfect setting for this. I watched A Monster Calls at Backlot Studios in Melbourne. This is a very cool little place complete with a Candy Bar and some very comfy mini sofas. It’s pretty hidden away (as per all the good places in Melbourne), but if you get a chance to watch something there give it a go.

There’s plenty of emotion in A Monster Calls. Source: Apaches Entertainment

Here’s some background on A Monster Calls before I get started.

Liam Neeson is a talking, walking tree (what’s not to like already). Think Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy plus something from Fangorn forest in Lord of the Rings and you’ll have a good idea. The Monster is called upon unknowingly by a young English lad named Connor (Lewis MacDougall). Connor is fearful about the current circumstances around his Mum’s (Felicity Jones) health, which is deteriorating, as well as his relationship with his Grandma.

The Monster (talking tree), demands that he tells Connor three stories. He doesn’t really explain why, he just demands it, and in return he wants one “truth” from Connor back. The Monster wants his story.

Throughout the movie other complicated relationships are thrown into the mix. One with Connors Father (Toby Kebbel), his Grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) and a school bully (James Melville). To take a quote from Connor’s Dad, these relationships illustrate just how “messy” life can be, and is for “90% of us”.

Sigourney Weaver is as you would expect terrific in the role of Grandma. In a graceful way, she manages to take her talent and simply add to the other acting props on screen without her presence taking over. A wonderfully subtle, supporting performance that felt like she understood her role and executed it perfectly.

The first two of The Monster’s tales are beautifully depicted in animation.

The first tale is more traditional in it’s use of animation and the second tale presents itself differently with elements of CGI. There are some very high class visuals here.

I was disappointed with the third as there wasn’t actually much of a story in that one and it seemed to skip through making it feel disjointed from the first two. But you can’t have everything, and there was a scene featuring a bully being taken down which is always nice.

The emotional connection between Connor and his Mum feels real and genuine. Source: Apaches Entertainment

I’ll also add that one of our FanWriters had to sadly drop out of the showing, which meant my girlfriend joined me in her debut movie pre-screening. She spent half the movie in tears and I almost joined her. Almost.

A Monster Calls doesn’t just pull on the heart strings, it felt like the monster itself was gripping these heart strings and dragging them down.

There’s a particularly intense scene between Felicity Jones and Lewis MacDougall which re-enforces Felicity Jones’s acting chops, but introduces Lewis MacDougall’s. Keep an eye on that talent as it develops.

I suspect that A Monster Calls whilst having wonderful themes running throughout relevant to anyone in Connor’s situation, may be too dark for that young audience to enjoy. This may depend on the child watching though. Perhaps it will appeal more to an older audience whose life experience may be resonate with the film, and perhaps it may even help banish some demons they carry.

I still can’t work out whether the ending was an uplifting, joyous end to the movie, a bit of a sucker punch, or both… and actually, perhaps that’s the purpose of the movie – to showcase the finer lines between black and white with a mix of grey.

Thanks to: Apaches Entertainment, Monster Calls, A, Participant Media, Películas la Trini, River Road Entertainment for producing a thoroughly enjoyable film lovers movie.