Monthly Archives: April 2017

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage…

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♥ Baby Groot ♥

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is really, really, really, really, really good. Hands down my favourite movie I have seen this year. It is just so much fun.

I think that Guardians 2 once again nails the ‘fun space adventure’ genre and I am actually finding it really difficult to review this film because quite frankly I can not think of anything else to say other than ‘its brilliant, go and watch it. You silly buggers why haven’t you already gone to see it?’.

The returning cast are all great, the new characters are really cool. Chris Pratt is pretty much the coolest man alive right now and Dave Bautista Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Kurt Russel and Vin Diesel are all excellent too.

Vol. 2, as you’d expect, has a brilliant soundtrack and it looks incredible as well. The immense array of colours, coupled with the musical choices make everything seem so bright, wonderful and adventurous. It is really nice to see the contrast of the Guardians franchise in a world of full of ‘dark and gritty’ superhero films.

Enough gushing though butI really liked it. Can you tell?

A few nit-picks I want to mention though. Sometimes Vol. 2 does try to squeeze in too many jokes and there are a few that fall flat. Mostly it moments that do not even need a joke taking away tension or intrigue. Secondly, the musical choices worked seamlessly in the original and really added to the film. This time around ‘the gimmick’ does occasionally feel a little more forced, maybe its just that the soundtrack in the first one is especially excellent though. Finally, good lord there were a lot of cameos and new characters introduced.

As I said though, in the grand scheme of things I am just nit-picking. I loved this film and spent the entire time I was watching with a big dumb grin on my face. Guardians continues to be my favourite Marvel cinematic property by some distance. Plus, I mean…Baby Groot is just awesome right?

Verdict: Thumbs up

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Predictions: WWE Payback

It is the first WWE PPV since Wrestlemania 33 and RAW really need to knock it out of the park to keep the casuals around. In theory the match card has the opportunity to do just that. There is only one match that I think is doomed from the start (cough, House of Horrors) but everything else has the potential to be either good or great.

However, I cannot be the only the only one slightly uninspired by the Superstar Shakeup. Nothing seems to have been, well, shaken up very much. I suppose you have got Jinder Mahal as number one contender for the WWE Title on Smackdown, so I suppose that’s actually pretty huge. Yet unfortunately it is awful so, I cannot get behind it. Jinder Mahal?! Really?!

The other problem we have is that we now have a very predictable cross promotion match. Chris Jericho is leaving soon, so obviously Kevin Owens will retain the United States Championship. Meanwhile, the House of Horrors match…I can only assume WWE are trying to outdo the awful ‘asylum match’ from last year. Bray Wyatt does not get his rematch for the WWE Title (for some reason, Jinder Mahal is more important these days) so it is just a regular singles match. This does mean either man can win as there was no chance the title was moving to Raw previously, so I suppose that is nice.

As for the rest of the show, it does look like a ‘standard RAW PPV’ to be honest, but the potential is there like I say. The additions of The Hardys and Alexa Bliss to their respective divisions is appreciated, if not game changing.

Pre-Show: Enzo & Cass vs. Gallows and Anderson

A pre-show tag team match? Who would have thought it? It is completely unheard of!

I will admit it right now; I am not currently a fan of Enzo and Cass. Their characters have become assholes this year despite continuing to be babyfaces. Crowds however, still love their catchphrases.

Gallows and Anderson always seem like they are one loss away from being binned completely. The duos momentum has been so stop start that it is has all but completely damaged their reputation. I constantly feel that they ‘need’ to win to maintain their, admittedly, limited credibility. I still maintain that Gallows and Anderson could be something really special, but WWE seem hesitant to roll with them.

Enzo and Cass however, could lose every single match and it would not matter. Wins and loses do not make a difference for them, it is practically their gimmick. Charismatic loud mouths who never win.

Having said all of that. Despite how strongly I feel about Gallows and Anderson. I still believe that Enzo and Cass will pick up the victory. Hopefully not though!

Winner: Enzo and Cass

Kevin Owens (c) vs. Chris Jericho
United States Championship

20170417_1920x1080_payback_kojericho-d4cdaf0184e21ecb57e232348b2df9eaIt is such a shame that this amazing feud has fizzled out. It had such potential! I still really enjoy the interactions between the two, even though they are now on different shows, but it has slowed down.

Their match at Wrestlemainia was okay, solid but mostly unremarkable in honesty. I hope that they go all out with this one and steal the show. After all, Jericho is about to go on tour with Fozzy so this is his last real chance to do so.

Obviously Kevin Owens is retaining the US Title, but that is fine really. As long as the wrestling, storytelling and drama are all there. And I think it could be both are tremendous at what they do and have worked brilliantly together for most of the last year.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Review: Going In Style

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

Going In Style is a heist comedy film directed by Zach Braff. Starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin as a trio of struggling retirees who plan to rob a bank after their pensions are cancelled.

In honesty this film was a lot better than I thought it would be. I expected it to be simply age related jokes, old people referencing sex and mobility scooter chases and… well, it was. However, I thought that those jokes were a lot funnier than I thought they would be and I spent most of my time with a smile on my face. Sure there are a few misses along the way and the film never hits its full stride or potential but it is enjoyable enough throughout. Freeman, Caine and Arkin do seem somewhat underutilised in their respective roles but I would argue that it is their presence that makes this film what it is at all. Freeman and Caine warm your heart no matter what they do these days and Arkin is perfect at playing a grumpy old sod.

No it is not the best film ever made; yes it has its faults but the world needs casual feel good films like this to keep on ticking over. It has its moments and is keeps you entertained for 90 minutes. If you watch this film in the right mood, you will enjoy it. Simple as that.

Youtuber Thomas ‘Tom Ska’ Ridgewell described the film as a perfect plane movie and I would have to agree with him. It is an enjoyable inoffensive ride, with a few laughs and makes for pleasant viewing. Personally though, I think it is slightly more than that. If you’re looking to spend a casual night in with an easy watch, I would recommend this movie too.

Overall Going In Style is worth a watch if you do not fancy anything too taxing.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Review: Fast and Furious 8

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

8fbd1362-8e2f-480a-be55-e8ee48eee897Eight. Eight Fast and Furious films. Who would have thought it?

Fast and Furious 8 or The Fate of The Furious depending on your region is quite possibly the best of the entire series. Certainly since it entered its ‘completely over the top, ridiculous, mind numbing at times’ incarnation. Basically, it is the best film since The Rock joined the cast. And that is not a slate on Dwayne Johnson, since joining he has been one of the best parts of the franchise.

This films is very funny at times and infuriating at others. So standard Fast and furious fodder really. I will say this, in the previous two films I thought the balance of ‘really cool’ moments and ‘oh God that is so unbelievable I want to rip my own eyes out’ moments was balanced in the wrong direction. In Fast 8 however, I think they get it right. The stupid, logic and physics breaking moments are still there are fewer in number but still are really dumb. However, it is what the series is known for now so you just have to accept it.

This film also contains perhaps the greatest scene in the history of the franchise too. Jason Statham, single-handedly fighting his way through an entire plane of mercenaries, whilst carrying a baby. It is both hilarious and utterly bad ass.

Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson are by far the best part of the film. Their relationship is brilliant. Continuing from Furious 7 they absolutely hate each other and trash talk each other every step of the way.

The addition of ‘new Paul Walker guy’ however was rather awkward. Perhaps they should have waited another film or two before replacing him. I have nothing against Scott Eastward’s performance I just think the character, so obviously being lined up as the replacement in future films is a little insensitive. Yet mostly it is unnecessary as The Fast and Furious cast is now so large that, what with The Rock and Jason Statham as well as countless other returning characters, they could have just let it be.

Overall, I found this latest film from the franchise to be very enjoyable. As long as they can reign in the utterly nonsensical nonsense (and just stick with mildly nonsensical nonsense) I can see this franchise continuing to go from strength to strength. If you’re an existing fan of the series you will love this film and due to it not being quite so frustratingly daft as previous iterations, this might entice newer viewers to stick around for the next one too.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Review: Wrestlemania 33

Wrestlemania has come and gone once again. Thankfully, 33 will be looked back upon far more fondly than 32. I thought it was an above average show with a few awesome moments as well as a few sad ones.

The Undertaker had his final match and has retired. The ‘big dog’ took control of ‘the yard’. Brock Lesnar and Goldberg had a perfect storm. Bray Wyatt lost yet another Wrestlemania match…oh, and The Hardys showed up!

If you were putting the two shows head to head at ‘Mania, then Raw obviously won at the big event. They had the main event, the Universal Title went on after the WWE Title, the US and Tag Team Titles were defended on the main show. Mean while on Smackdown, their biggest feud opened the show. The Intercontinental was dropped to the pre-show, the Women got 5 minutes filler between main events and the Tag Titles didn’t make any sort of appearance!

Let’s get to it!

Pre-Show

Neville vs. Austin Aries

002_preshow_04022017ls_0198-83a03b28797ef36fe384725ae2323419Pretty good way to kick off the show I must say. While I’m sad that they aren’t considered important enough to be on the main show, being on the pre-show was probably the best thing that could have happened. Neville and Aries had a 15 minute match, which no doubt would have been 5 minutes had it been higher on the card.

Excellent closing sequence with Neville escaping the ‘Last Chancery’ and hitting the ‘Red Arrow to retain his title. However the entire match was enjoyable. Neville and Aries are two men who you can build an entire division around if given time, so this was pleasing to see.

Andre The Giant Battle Royal

Mojo. Rawley. Mojo? Mojo?! MOJO?!?! That’s just dumb.

I don’t know, or care, who the guy who got involved on Mojo’s behalf was but I did find it hilarious when a security guard stormed over and stopped him getting in the ring. Only for the referees to quietly shuffle her out of the way so he could do his spot. Give that woman a raise, everyone else was sleeping on the job. Or you know, brief the staff about someone coming in from the crowd?

In a match with Braun Strowman, Sami Zayn, even Big Show. Mojo Rawley seems like one of the worst choices possible. Still, at least it wasn’t Mojo R….oh for fu-

Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin

20170313_wm33_ambrosebaron-5ad2d03480323c68c0395fc1b904bcf1I suppose the reaction they got from the crowd for the ‘pre-show main event’ explains why they were bumped down to the pre-show. No one cared.

I wonder if that’s because like me, they find Dean Ambrose incredibly dull and irritating or Baron Corbin a little uninspiring. Still, Ambrose retained and that’s pretty much all I have to say on the matter.

Review: The Lost City of Z

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

At the dawn of the 20th century, British explorer Percy Fawcett journeys into the Amazon, where he discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilisation. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment, which views indigenous populations as savages, the determined Fawcett returns to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case.

Long, drawn out, flat, dull…boring. All words I would use to describe The Lost City of Z. At 140 minutes, it feels even longer while you watch it. You might be able to tell that I was not a fan. I’m actually surprised over the number of positive reviews this has. Maybe I’m in the minority, although the people leaving the cinema all seemed to agree with me from what I overheard.

the-lost-city-of-z-posterThe story and history of the events are quite fascinating but the movie itself just wasn’t a very exciting or interesting watch. Far too much time was spent not adventuring. For a film about an explorer, you would have thought he’d be exploring in it.

Charlie Hunnam as Colonel Percy Fawcett, is wooden, one-dimensional and generally uninspiring. Tom Holland as his son is awkward and unconvincing. Sienna Miller however is quite good as Mrs Nina Fawcett and Robert Pattinson is probably the best I’ve ever seen him.

Fawcett’s obsession with finding Z was merely hinted at as well, rather than focused on. In this film it seems more like a casual hobby to do on a Sunday afternoon than anything else.

There were a few good moments strung throughout though, finding an opera in the middle of the jungle and a tense exchange with a slave dealer for example. Not enough to keep me interested though unfortunately.

Verdict: Thumbs Down

Review: Free Fire

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

During an arms deal at a deserted warehouse in 1970’s Boston, tensions rise and complete pandemonium ensues, with everyone at the scene suddenly thrust into a heart-stopping game of survival.

Free Fire, also known as ‘How much crawling on your belly can you do in 90 minutes?’ is a 2017 action-comedy film directed by Ben Wheatley starring Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Jack Reynor.

It’s a great cast playing, somewhat limited roles. I think that’s the best way to describe them. After all, it’s not a character drama. It’s a shoot ’em up. I think everyone does well with what they are given though, as you’d expect. Sharlto Copley as he tends to be was brilliant and he steals every moment of screen time he has. I’m really starting to like Armie Hammer as an actor too.

imagesYou don’t get much character development or even background. Other than, here is why this guy is an idiot and why this guy is clearly an asshole. Basically everyone is a douche bag in someway but they give you just enough information about everyone to move forward with.

I think it’s great for what it is. In other words, I think it’s a great little film about a cagey fire fight in an old abandoned warehouse. If you expect anything else going into it, you’re an idiot. Seriously, I overheard someone complaining about it ‘just being a shoot out in a warehouse’ on the way out. Did you not see any of the advertising?!

I thought it was nice to see a lower scale action film. We don’t need to see whole scale destruction of cities and explosions. Instead this is a gritty, dirty and cramped affair in which bullets hurt and immobilise leading to, everyone crawling around desperately trying to survive.

Enjoyable, doesn’t out stay its welcome and doesn’t take itself too seriously either. Free Fire is worth a watch but won’t blow your socks off.

Verdict: Thumbs Up