Our 5 Most Popular Posts in 2014

Happy New Year! Bit late we know but we’ve given you enough time to sleep off your hangover. And what better way to start 2015 (albeit, a bit belated) than a peruse of our most popular posts of last year. Yes, 2014 is over and we can’t think of any better way to celebrate this New Year than living in the past and showing you our top five articles.

The Baby’s Coming by Virginia Howes: 52 in 52 Book #25

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Kat read this autobiographical account by Virginia Howes – a Kent based midwife – back in August as part of her 52 in 52 challenge. At the time Kat was in training to become a midwife also and so this book served her well as it was engaging and informative as the author described the trials and tribulations of this highly important role played in lots of peoples lives.

Robot Wars Live – Glow at Bluewater, Dartford, Kent

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Back in September, Jimmi took us on a nostalgic trip down childhood memory lane when the opportunity came up to go to see Robot Wars – the very popular robotic combat sport previously shown on the BBC – and relive the carnage that kept him tuning in every Friday evening. But once the TV show was cancelled, a live show was set up to keep metal shredded and sparks flying. It didn’t disappoint!

Gabriel’s Angel by Mark A Radcliffe: 52 in 52 Book #9

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Another one of the 52 books, Gabriel’s Angel saw Kat delve into this interesting premise after she came by it by sheer luck. Gabriel has been hit by a car and rather than going to heaven, he becomes involved with a therapy group ran by angels that caters for people who are on the verge of passing into the afterlife. Characters include a murderer and their victim and also the woman who hit Gabriel. It set out to be a rather fascinating journey.

Body Double by Tess Gerritsen: 52 in 52 Book #35

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Body Double was book number 39 in Kat’s challenge (there is a pattern emerging here) and one of many by Tess Gerritsen that featured from the Rizzoli and Isles series. Full of murder, twists and turns, this had Kat gripped from cover to cover.

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith: 52 in 52 Book #29

Tears of the Giraffe

The very first Kat read back in January 2014 was Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and nine months later, she read Tears of the Giraffe – it’s sequel. Although she felt it suffered from “sequel syndrome” where the previous installment came across as better, she did enjoy the vivid imagery of the charming African landscape; the creation of new and interesting plot lines and the easy pace that this detective story gave.

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Introducing 52 in 52 2: The feature film sequel!

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Over the last year Kat embarked on a literary challenge to see if she could read 52 books in 52 days; essentially one book per week; and to kick off 2015 with something new and fresh, we are pleased to say we are going to continue tradition. This time, however, 52 feature length movies will be in the spotlight but rather than having Kat just do all the hard work, I am also taking part in the challenge as well. Again, like last year, we will have a few rules, as followed:

  • The films have to be at least one hour long – Some early or specialist feature films are therefore not permitted
  • At least one of us cannot have seen the film before – This is so one of us watches the film as new experience but the other is not allowed to spoil any of the plot.
  • The one who hasn’t seen it previously will have to write the majority of the review – The other will be contributing however
  • Mediums allowed – DVD’s, Blu-Rays, Online Streaming services (i.e Netflix), Network broadcasts and of course, the actual cinema
  • Sequels are permitted – However, only if they are a new cinematic or home entertainment release during 2015 or the preceding film has been watched first. Prequels are also allowed regardless if the original film has been watched or not

Like the book challenge, it’ll give us both an opportunity to watch some great films that we have always wanted to watch but never really got round to do so. Some films will be watched at around about the same time they become relevant, so we could watch a romantic comedy on Valentine’s Day or a Christmas film during December.

So which films are we going to watch? Here is an extensive collection of the films that have been shortlisted for our challenge. You may notice that collectively there are more than 52 films on our watch-list. This is so if we can’t come by a copy of one thing, we will still have a back-up to watch.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Science Fiction; directed by Stanley Kubrick

2012 (2009) – Disaster; directed by Roland Emmerich

50/50 (2011) – Comedy Drama; directed by Jonathan Levine

A Christmas Carol (2009) – Christmas; directed by Robert Zemeckis

A Long Way Down (2014) – Black Comedy; directed by Pascal Chaumeil

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) – Comedy; directed by Tom Shadyac

Airplane! (1980) – Comedy; direct by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker

Around the World in 80 Days (2004) – Comedy Adventure; directed by Frank Coraci

Beetlejuice (1988) – Comedy; directed by Tim Burton

Dirty Dancing (1987) – Romantic Drama; directed by Emile Ardolino

Divergent (2014) – Science Fiction Action; directed by Neil Burger

Donnie Darko (2001) – Supernatural Drama; directed by Richard Kelly

Enchanted (2007) – Fantasy; directed by Kevin Lima

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – Comedy Drama; directed by Michael Gondry

Godzilla (2014) – Science Fiction; directed by Gareth Edwards

Goodfellas (1990)  – Crime Drama; directed by Martin Scorsese

Grave of the Fireflies (1988) – Animated Drama; directed by Isao Takahata

Groundhog Day (1993) – Comedy; directed by Harold Ramis

How to Train your Dragon (2010) – Animated Comedy; directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois

I Am Number Four (2011) – Science Fiction; directed by D.J. Caruso

Indian Jones and the Curse of the Crystal Skull (2008) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Jaws (1975) – Horror; directed by Steven Speilberg

Jingle All The Way (1996) – Christmas; directed by Brain Levant

Kindergarten Cop (1990) – Comedy; directed by Ivan Reitman

Maleficant (2014) – Fantasy; directed by Robert Stromberg

Monsters University (2013) – Animated Comedy; directed by Dan Scanlon

Need for Speed (2014) – Action; directed by Scott Waugh

Never Been Kissed (1999) – Romantic Comedy; directed by Raja Gosnell

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – Fantasy; directed by Guillermo del Toro

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) – Comedy; directed by John Hughes

Pulp Fiction (1994) – Black Comedy; directed by Quentin Tarantino

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Ratatouille (2007) – Animated Comedy; directed by Brad Bird

Sharknado (2013) – Disaster; Anthony C. Ferrante

The Blues Brothers (1980) – Musical; directed by John Landis

The Breakfast Club (1985) – Comedy Drama; directed by John Hughes

The Godfather (1972) – Crime Drama; directed by Francis Ford Coppola

The Hangover (2009) – Comedy; directed by Todd Phillips

The Hunger Games (2012) – Science Fiction; directed by Gary Ross

The Karate Kid (2010) – Martial Arts; directed by Harry Zwart

The Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – Christmas; directed by George Seaton

The Wind Rises (2013) – Animated drama; directed by Hayao Miyazaki

There’s Something About Mary (1998) – Comedy; directed by Peter Farrelly and Robert Farrelly

Top Secret! (1984) – Comedy; directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker

Wayne’s World (1992) – Comedy; directed by Penelope Spheeris

When Harry Met Sally… (1989) – Romantic Comedy; directed by Rob Reiner

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) – Comedy; directed by Robert Zemeckis

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Action; directed by Bryan Singer


Not contempt with enough films to watch at home, here is a list of the films we could potentially see that are being released whilst we do our challenge. These include films that will be shown in cinemas during the 2015 period:

Fifty Shades of Grey (releases February 2015) – Drama; directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson

Avengers: Age of Ultron (releases May 2015) – Action; directed by Joss Whedon

Jurassic World (releases June 2015) – Science Fiction; directed by Colin Trevorrow

Furious 7 (releases April 2015) – Action; directed by James Wan

Minions (release June 2015) – Animated Comedy; directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda

Spectre (release TBC but possible October or November 2015) – Action; directed by Sam Mendes

Fantastic Four (releases August 2015) – Action; directed by Josh Tank

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (releases February 2015) – Animated Comedy; directed by Paul Tibbitt

The Little Prince (releases October 2015) – Animated Fantasy; directed by Mark Osborne

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (releases December 2015) – Science Fiction; directed by J. J. Abrams

As you can fully see, there is a diverse range of films; from cult classics to big blockbusters as well as some highly anticipated titles such as Star Wars and James Bond’s new outing. There’s some that I haven’t seen and others that Kat hasn’t seen whilst the rest neither of us have seen. This challenge not only gives us the chance to put across double-perspective accounts from both of us but also gives us the chance to say why we thought it deserved a place on the list whilst the other gives their verdict, for the better or possibly worse. And because of the social nature of watching a film, we can include guests to give an even more in-depth discussion.

As always, if you think we’ve missed out a critical film that we must see, send us a tweet @Reviewinators; send a comment on Facebook or comment on this post below. Don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll be updated on the new articles as and when they come out. You know it makes sense!

Jimmi

‘The Reviewinators’ is due an update!

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It’s the blog cliché to end all blog clichés but to keep everything fresh and swish, we’re going to be doing a few updates before 2015.

We’ll be updating the our blog to coincide with a new year with an updated layout and some new features that’ll hopefully be a welcome addition to our little slice of the wider Internet picture. We’ll be improving our social features too so keep an eye out on Twitter and Facebook as we’ll be posting more updates, what we’re doing and also what we have done. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing our reviews reach a large scope of like minded individuals.

We’ll be introducing a new about section that’ll teach you about who the Reviewinators are and what they do. We’ll also be trying out new reoccurring posts for the new year hopefully a replacement for the 52 book challenge will be replaced with something similar! You heard it here first. We would also like to record some new videos and maybe an occasional Tubecast or similar as we have a YouTube channel with not a lot on. Also we are thinking about bringing in some of our friends as guest bloggers to give us a broader reach and a different outlook on something that we might have missed or something that needs bringing to the table.

Aside from a new lick of paint, everything else will remain. We’ll still go out of our own way to show you what the unavoidable (and the avoidable) world has to offer!

So if things are a bit barren, there’s a few rough edges or things don’t match up then hold tight whilst we try out new layouts, colour schemes and everything else WordPress offers us that doesn’t cost a bomb to make The Reviewinators a little bit better and fresher.

As always, if there’s something you think we should give our outlook on, then hit us up with your suggestions on Twitter and Facebook. You should totally follow us and like the page and please subscribe to the blog to keep in the flow.

Kat and Jimmi

Lamborghini Gallardo

“….The Lamborghini Gallardo is dead,” TopGear.com told me. My heart couldn’t help but feel the weight of what I just read.

The final Gallardo may have rolled off the production line late this November but the legacy the Italian supercar manufacturer has created has been staggering. After ten years, just over 14,000 (with ever so slightly less variants) Gallardo’s have been built and it’s not difficult to see how popular it really was. Lamborghini have always had a sight for making great cars. With the likes of the V12 LP700 Aventador; the insanely expensive Veneno; the equally bizarre one-off showcase Egoista; and going further into the past; the Diablo and of course the car that started it all; the Miura, it would be correct to assume that Lamborghini has the means of making something the other manufacturers can’t seem to match. The Gallardo it seems fits nicely in with all these crazy speed-machines that captured the balance between civilised and not so civilised.

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Photo credits: Lamborghini s.P.a

After Lamborghini fell into financial trouble in the late 80’s, American car giant Chrysler took hold of the hallowed Italian marque. No matter what Chrysler did, there were still problems and cars such as the Diablo missed production deadlines and Countachs were hurried out of the factory instead to make up for any loss. The American market didn’t help; they just weren’t interested in fire-breathing, hard to drive wheel-demons and so Chrysler, it seemed, had a dying breed on its hands. They had to let go of Lamborghini. An Indonesian company called Megatech acquired the name and it started to make a difference. With the profit, Lamborghini could start again designing cars and called off the Diablo at the end of the century and had a few aces up their sleeve. Megatech then sold everything to Audi, and with a bit of German common sense, the ideas they had begun to flourish. Two new cars were in works; The Murciélago and the Gallardo. The Murciélago emerged in 2001 and the Gallardo came a few years later in 2003. The Gallardo was designed to be the ‘Baby Lamborghini’ to give the company two tiers of supercar, in much the same way Ferrari had the 360 and the Enzo and Porsche had the 911 and the Carrera GT. The Murciélago was fitted with a V12 whereas the Gallardo had a V10 powerhouse but was just as furious as its bigger brother. This meant that customers could have the Lamborghini experience for a fraction of the price without having to shell out on £300,000+ supercar. The Gallardo would then go onto outsell and even outlive the Murciélago.  It’s no small wonder why this car has found its way into not just mine, but also a lot of people’s admiration.

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Photo credits: NetCarShow.com

I have actually driven a Gallardo as part of a track day. I had to choose one of four cars out of either a Ferrari 360, an Audi R8, the Gallardo, and even more painful, an Aston Martin DB9. For a car-fanatic like me, the decision wasn’t easy. I wanted something special. I thought about the Ferrari but as much as I love Ferrari, I thought no. It’s not the most powerful out of the four cars, it only had a V8, it’s a bit old and it’s a bit showy and too ‘play-boy’. So what about the DB9? Well, the Aston, as beautiful as it is fast, had the biggest engine; a 6 litre V12. “Yes” I thought “however…” that V12 was mounted in the front and that kind of turned me away from a car-maker I so dearly love. I wanted the engine behind my ear so the Audi and the Lamborghini were left. Technically, the R8 and the Gallardo are very closely related. Both are made by Audi (no doubt), both have four-wheel drive and both are built on the same essential platform. The Audi ticked all the right boxes but there’s something too sensible about it. I have no qualms with the R8 but the Gallardo just seemed more fun which at the end of the day is why people like Lamborghini. The Gallardo is also a rarer sight to see on the roads. You notice the bright red Ferrari’s and people think and know it’s a Ferrari. The R8 seems too familiar but the Lamborghini’s aren’t in the spotlight all the time. So, with a 5.2 litre V10 producing more than 510 horsepower and a top speed of 190mph, I strapped myself into a bright orange Spyder with a 7 speed semi-automatic sequential gear box. Starting the engine was a joy in itself, I was happy to just do that to hear every one of those spark-plugs and pistons work together in a crescendo of noise as the entire thing shook under its own ferocity. Crawling it out onto the track I had this amazing sense that I was driving a £130,000 supercar and was still in awe. I was wise to choose a mid-engine car as the sound of a wailing V10 reverberate around one eardrum from behind put you in a strange position. It sounds like the thunder is angry at you but no matter how far you plant your foot into the carpet, you can’t escape it. And then there are the brakes. Those carbon-ceramic discs are incredibly sharp and I couldn’t help but feel the car squirrelling and squirming ahead of the bends. Couple that to short, sharp growls when downshifting, where the throttle is slightly initiated to give the engine a tiny increase in power for a smoother gear change, creates a sensation that makes you think this possibly couldn’t be a car that people can buy and go to ASDA to get shopping with (if you really like). Despite the fire-breathing, demonic demeanour that doesn’t pump oil and petrol but adrenaline, the Gallardo out of all of the vehicles I have driven with an internal-combustion engine – and admittedly that isn’t many – was the easiest. And that’s even comparing it to a ride-on tractor mower! It was like driving a very big, very loud go-kart. It was incredibly simple and it’s something that’s going to be with me forever. I now want one. I feel like Baron Bomburst from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when I say it but ‘I want that car!’ If I get the opportunity to drive another car like it then I doubt my opinion will change because the impression it had made on me will be around for a long time.

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Photo credits: NetCarShow.com

The Gallardo leaves behind a long line of amazing cars and its bonkers off-springs. There’s the LP560-4 which increased the power from the standard; then there’s the 550-2 Balboni, which gave rear-wheel drive thrills and added a stripe in honour of Lamborghini’s test driver; and then there’s the 570-4 Superleggera which refines everything and puts the car on crash diet to lose a few kilos; not forgetting the Super Trofeo; the Tricolore; the Bicolore; the Noctis; the Nera; the Bianco Rosso; a fleet of GT3 and American Le Man race cars; and the last of the last, a Spyder Performante to name but a few as well as a face-lifted version that came just last year. But in the automotive world, we have to remember that this isn’t a sad occasion because the Gallardo had leave to make way for a brand new supercar to be born. It’s how they car makers spice everything and keep it fresh and exciting. The new car – speculated to be called the Cabrera and currently being hidden under the guise of ‘Hexagon Project’ – is set to capture the same essence that made the Gallardo so appealing. Test mules and prototypes have already been made and taken around various test tracks so Lamborghini are continuingly heading forward. With styling cues from both Aventador and Sesto Elemento, this is going to another interesting blast from the Italians that is definitely going to be worth the couple years wait.

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Photo credits: NetCarShow.com

As it stands then, the Gallardo may have gone but it surely won’t be forgotten. It has made a huge impression being the centre of movies, videogames, songs etc. It continued to be held in high regard by motoring journalists such as Top Gear and AutoCar for being sublime and adding a bit of sparkle to the otherwise computer-precise Ferraris or sensible Mercedes-Benz and Porsches. Like the Countach and Muira before it, the Gallardo is going to be one of those cars that no matter what – be it ten years, twenty years or fifty – it will always be regarded as a timeless classic that will still look as epic as it did in any boyhood poster and heralded also as the ferocious, stampeding bull it was.

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Photo credits: TopGear.com

Words by Jimmi

Check out the Lamborghini website

Or check out Hexagon Project

And also read the TopGear.com article

Introducing World Wide Wednesdays

The internet is a vast place, I’m sure you’ll agree. There’s a lot of great stuff hiding out there that needs to be highlighted for you right here. Every other Wednesday (via the very clever name World Wide Wednesday), we will bring to you a selection of the best websites I have come across and give them our traditional down-to-Earth analysis. There is a plethora of choice! From flash games, cool tools, funky gadgets and fountains of knowledge and inspiration, we aim to show you what you are potentially missing out on. Watch this space and as ever, if you have any suggestions, don’t forget to hit us up on Twitter or Facebook and we can try and bring them up and show the world too!

Jimmi