Choosing the Right AI for Your Needs: A Comparative Guide

The Age of AI seems to be upon us, with everyone and their dog offering some type of AI chat solution to all your needs, desires and problems. But which one is for you?

While all AI language models are competent to a degree, some function better than others, particularly related to what type of question and information you’re looking for, and some have a cost.

Here’s a breakdown of the main players, with what they’re good at, what they’re not so good at, and what kind of experience you can have with them.

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2022 Games We’re Looking Forward To

Another year has swung by and it’s time for the most important New Year’s resolution – which new games are you going to be eagerly playing in 2022? There’s a boatload of amazing releases heading our way, so what better than a carefully curated selection of the best of the best games you’ll be snapping up on the day of release!

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Hinterland – London Film Festival 2021 Movie Review

London Film Festival Movie Review: Hinterland

Hinterland is a creepy, dark psychological thriller, following Peter Perg, an Austrian soldier returning home to Vienna after time in a Russian POW camp, who is forced to help track down a serial killer plaguing the city.

Perg, a former famed detective is thrown back in society, clearly not having dealt with his trauma of the war, as well as his estranged wife and daughter. As Perg’s world collapses around him, his mental state is captured in the distorted, murky and expressionistic-style CGI backdrops that evoke a surreal nightmare, with walls slanted, towers leaning over and everything closing in. The heavy blue-screen style recalls Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow and Sin City, while the twisted architecture references the classic German silent horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

The thriller plays out with familiar film-noir style murder mystery beats, but the characters speak more loudly to the historical context of 1920s Austria and Europe. We have former Counts arguing with so-called Communists, alongside nods to the economic and political future of the country, including Nazism. All in all, Murathan Muslu’s Perg is the star attraction here, a grizzled, beaten and lost soldier, desperately trying to piece his life back together, saying very little but expressing a lot. His interactions with forensics specialist Dr. Theresa Körner Korner (Liv Lisa Fries) showcase their respective talents, both victims of a horrific past.

An interesting take on a well-trodden genre, Hinterland is worth seeing alone for its fantastically unique visuals, compelling lead and intriguing historical backdrop.

Azor Film Review – London Film Festival 2021

Azor LFF2021 Film Review

Azor is all about atmosphere. Well, not all about it, but it’s what makes it special. The film, which explores the story of Swiss banker Yvan and his wife Ines in Argentina in 1980, negotiating his missing bank partner, his clients, and the tempestuous economic and political situation, is a banquet of glorious cinematography, vivid characters and pitch-perfect dialogue, all set to an intimidatingly bold soundtrack.

Long, lingering and beautiful shots soak up the beauty and rippling tension and smoky atmosphere, taking us from grand hotel lobbies, to suburban mansion pools and even the jungle. The film plays like a noir-infused detective story, recalling at times Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or The Quiet American, but with very minimal action, with the drama locked in the dialogue and subtle imagery.

What makes the film great is its slow-burn pacing. Andreas Fontana’s film is a masterclass in building up the tension and dread, drip-feeding snippets of hints at the background political situation where the military junta ‘disappeared’ thousands of people, finally culminating in Yvan finding the mysterious ‘Lazaro’.

There’s some incredibly powerful visual moments, a subtle shot of soldiers’ guns (no faces shown) at a checkpoint, a Lynchian-style nightclub scene with creepy-as-hell strobes, a family portrait on horses, and the jungle riverboat journey, which seems like a nod to Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now. Scenes already dripping with dread are punctuated by the film’s menacing punchy synth soundtrack piercing the silence with off-putting sounds.

Yvan’s story is simple, but effective, him finding his way through the moral murkiness before him, pushed by his wife Ines, overcoming the shadow of his father and partner, lectured by junta members on the justification for their ‘disappearing’ of thousands of political dissidents, before coming to his own realisation and rebirth.

Azor is a fantastic piece of political filmmaking, choosing to show the monotonous experience of an elite foreign banker, removed from the action, but who experiences the struggles, pain and misery of those he encounters on his journey.

The Suicide Squad, 2021 Review

Does James Gunn’s gamble to reboot a film that was only released 5 years ago pay off, or is it a bit of a misfire? Surprisingly, it’s a remarkably successful reinvigoration of a formula that didn’t quite gel before – it’s colourfully vivid, incredibly violent and most importantly, fun. The film feels like the mirror universe version of Guardians of the Galaxy – pumping rock/pop songs, clever gags and small furry CGI creatures, but instead of a bunch of misfits with a heart, this gang of reprobates with bizarre powers probably has just one heart to share between them.

There’s some incredibly fun visual set-pieces, such as the carnage-a-thon from Harley Quinn where the bodies explode with colourful flowers instead of blood, King Shark’s playful encounter with multi-coloured aquatic leeches and pretty much any time Polka Dot Man flexes his powers. One of the best things about the incredibly enticing and intense opening beach assault is the way the action and threat combine with the comedy from when some of the characters, like Nathan Fillion’s The Detachable Kid, finally decide to use their powers.

Idris Elba doesn’t have a lot to work with, but he’s superb as a gruff, old-action hero leader, while Margot Robbie gets the film-stealing scenes and doesn’t disappoint. David Dastmalchian brings quiet, introspective energy to his troubled Polka-Dot Man, Stallone does his few-syllables thing as King Shark and a big shout out has to go to Julio Cesar Ruiz, who plays the team’s fixer Milton, who, most importantly, brings the team empanadas in their time of need.

While the film grinds slightly to a halt in its rather slow third act, as is often the case with epic-battle heavy superhero films, the finale is more than satisfying, and mostly pays off in the lightweight emotional stakes. What’s important here is there is enough back-story to make you care about the fate of the squad, something that was severely lacking in the earlier 2016 entry in this series.

5 High Grossing Films That Critics Can’t Stand

Last weekend saw the opening of Suicide Squad, the latest movie from DC Studios in the seemingly ever-lucrative comic-book movie era. However, audiences proved sluggish, with the star-studded, ant-hero movie earning what Hollywood Reporter called a “lowly” $26.5USD from its opening weekend – something Forbes called an “underperformance”.

Despite a slow start at the box office, the 2021 release of Suicide Squad has received mixed critical acclaim, with Rotten Tomatoes awarding it 91%, and The Guardian awarding it three out of five stars. With pressure on movies to make a profit more important than ever before in the movie business, can even the least popular films bring home the big bucks?

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Riders of Justice Film Review

Riders of Justice is a dark dark dark revenge comedy that remarkably manages to warm the heart amid the gut punching f*cked-up-ness and bouts of nihilism. Mads Mikkelsen is incredible as the brooding, angry Marcus, who pummels and shoots his way through much of the movie, while his bumbling trio of sidekicks grapple with their own messed up lives and coming to terms with dealing with their past. Despite Marcus’ demons, Mikkelsen’s portrayal makes the character extremely compelling to watch, a man broken inside who can only respond through what he knows best – violence.

The film twists and turns in its genre, moving from mystery to action to satire and tragicomedy, often within two or three scenes. There’s a lot of odd character moments from Nikolaj Lie Kaas’ Otto, Lars Brygmann’s Lennart and Nicolas Bro’s Emmenthaler, which pay off in little ways as you progress through the film. On top of this, the violence is extremely vivid and comes right out of the blue, amid laughs and pathos, creating a very surreal sense of narrative.

Some of the best moments in the film are the family-style setting that emerges, as the trio move in with Marcus under the guise of pretending to be psychologists for Marcus and his daughter, in response to the loss of his wife and her mother. The playful acting from the characters adds another level of distortion to this rather confused film, and makes it all the better. While the ending unravels into an all-out murder-fest, the characters and great performances hold it together, and we’re lucky enough to be witness to some amazing festive apparel before the credits roll.

Jungle Cruise Film Review

Jungle Cruise is the latest in Disney’s roster of live action-adventure films and an obvious attempt at returning to its previous glories of power film franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean. So does it channel the success of Jack Sparrow and co, or is it more of a John Carter or Lone Ranger?

The idea is a promising one, and the two leads give enough energy and excitement to their roles, but aside from the boat ride itself, there’s too much meandering in the shallows to really get the audience on the edge of their seat. One of the main issues is the huge numbers of films Jungle Cruise draws from – you’ve got the lead trio mirroring the cast of the Mummy, nods to everything from Indiana Jones to the African Queen, Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo to Romancing the Stone, plus fantasy elements and snake-filled zombies that could have been directly lifted from Pirates of the Caribbean. All these similarities mean the film doesn’t have room to breathe on its own and is stuck in the shadow of other people’s ideas.

That said, there’s a lot to enjoy, there’s cheerful camaraderie galore between Blunt’s Lily and Johnson’s Frank, while the latter steals the show with his theme park-style hosting duties, fleecing tourists for money on his river cruises. Plemons gives a fun star turn in his brief scenes as the over the top bad guy aristocrat Joachim who pursues our heroes down the Amazon. The less said about the other antagonists the better, especially the CGI-filled fest of an ending action sequence which drags the film down considerably.

Aside from that special effects-laden section at the end, the cinematography is bright, vivid and captures the sense of wonder as we’re drawn into the majesty of the rainforest, and the little touch of a silent film camera moment is particularly endearing. There’s also a fair few moments of comedic action which work well, thanks in no small part to the charisma of the leads, but nothing really shines in the way to get you fully invested. Part of this is down to the characters themselves, who are little more than threadbare caricatures, with just enough characteristics to give some sense of personality, but just not enough to give the audience a reason to care, especially in the early sections of the film.

While there’s some charm and joy to be found on this theme park ride, Jungle Cruise is a confused mood board of classic adventure films that doesn’t really know what direction it wants to go in. It’s a shame, as the adventure genre has been lacking of late, and pulling this one off well could have been the shock in the arm this style of film could definitely do with.

Best retro trainers you can still buy in 2021

From the Cortez to the Gazelle, this is our ultimate throwback to the best retro trainers you can get your hands on. Some trainers just never go out of style. And, apparently, neither do some cliches.

These classic designs are just as popular now as when they were first released, undoubtedly becoming some of the most iconic trainers of all-time. Since there are so many awesome vintage kicks to choose from, we’re running through the best retro trainers you can still add to your collection today. Let’s get nostalgic. 

10 best retro trainers you can still buy

10. Vans Old Skool

Release Date: 1977

First launched as a skate shoe way back in 1977, the Vans Old Skool is instantly recognised all over the world. It was the brand’s founder, Paul Van Doren, who had the real lightbulb moment all those years ago, doodling on a sketchpad until he came up with the famous “jazz stripe” we all know and love today. Not bad for a day’s work. 

This is the quintessential Vans look. An invincible trainer. 

9. Nike Air Jordan IV

Release Date: 1989

You just can’t go wrong with a pair of Jordans. Inspired by the greatest basketball player to grace the court (apart from Bugs Bunny), the Nike Air Jordan has continued to evolve over the past few decades, but the fourth generation is arguably the pick of the bunch. And people will argue about it. 

8. Adidas Stan Smith

Release Date: 1971

Timeless. It’s actually quite easy to forget that the Adidas Stan Smith was originally named after a different famous tennis player and that the design of the 60s was instead called the “Haillet”. Yeah, I know, it definitely doesn’t have the same ring to it. 

7. New Balance 990

Release Date: 1982

Possibly the most underrated trainer on this list, the New Balance 990 is arguably one of the best sneakers the American brand have ever produced. Launching back in 1982 with one hell of a price tag, the 990 was a high-tech running shoe which truly pushed the boundaries of innovation on the track. Hence the eye-watering price. 

6. Reebok Club C

Release Date: 1985

Ah, the Reebok Club C. Yet another classic tennis shoe which makes us all grin a little with nostalgia. Once you’ve stopped grinning, though, you might even feel inclined to open up your wallet and bag a pair, because this is honestly a trainer that goes with just about anything. You could wear some to your mate’s wedding if you really wanted to. 

5. Nike Air Max 90

Release Date: 1990

Following up from the hugely-popular Air Max 1, it’s fair to say that these trainers had pretty big, um, shoes to fill. The Nike Air Max 90 introduced us to a much larger Air unit, featuring a colourway which drew attention to the increased size, while also throwing up all kinds of fresh new materials. 

4. Puma Suede

Release Date: 1968

The Puma Suede isn’t just a giant. It’s a giant that’s sat at the heart of modern culture for over 50 years, wrapped in tough suede materials and refusing to move from its seat. New trainers might come and go, fashion trends might change like the tides, but this is a trainer which will outlive absolutely all of it. 

3. Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

Release Date: 1917

It’s crazy to think how few changes these trainers have had over the past 100 years. Okay, so huge improvements were made back in 1970, but the Converse Chuck Taylor is still very much the same shoe as it’s always been. With its black upper, white toe box and classic “All-Star” logo, this is just about as vintage as trainers come these days. 

2. Adidas Gazelle

Release Date: 1966

Dating back to the mid-’60s, this is undoubtedly one of the world’s most iconic trainers. The first Adidas shoe to be made from suede, the Gazelle burst onto the scene absolutely packed with colour and invention. All these years later, the colours and stripes are still there, but it’s now very much seen as the classic Adidas look – rather than anything spectacular. 

1. Nike Cortez

Release Date: 1972

You don’t have to be a Forrest Gump fan to know how iconic this trainer is. Launched during the 1972 Olympic Games, the Nike Cortez didn’t just introduce us to a legendary sneaker collection but also became the main building block for a global brand. Make no mistake, Nike would not be where they are today without the impact of the Cortez. 
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The Best of Emily Blunt

British actress Emily Blunt has made a name for herself in Hollywood by consistently surprising audiences with her unpredictable choices- wildly talented, she’s able to make any role her own – whether it’s a sharp tongued fashionista, a fiercely determined Special Forces fighter, or anything in between.

To celebrate the release of Jungle Cruise we’re taking a look at some of her best work to date…

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