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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a science fiction action adventure film based on the French comic series Valérian and Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. It stars Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as Laureline.

Now, granted I know absolutely nothing of the original source material but I simply refuse to accept that for something first published in 1967 all the way through to 2010 that this movie is the best that could be made. It’s rushed, sloppy and ultimately soulless.

It’s a shame because the opening scenes with Valerian and Laureline do show some potential, however unfortunately everything quickly devolves into a big mess of nonstop…Things happening. You meet this character for a scene and then this character for another. It is all so meaningless. The movie barely takes a second to breathe and when it does try, it misses the mark.

Valerian was written and directed by Luc Besson, who directed the cult classic Fifth Element and in many ways this does feel like a 2017 version. It has a similar vibe, the same bright colours and a daft, poorly executed plot. Truth be told, it is not as good as the Fifth Element. Maybe the whole thing just needed a Chris Tucker cameo to tie it all together though? Maybe…

Meanwhile you have Dane DeHaan, I just don’t see him as an action star. He’s has that scrawny, weird-looking kid kind of vibe about him. To me, he felt like a fish out of water but again, I do not know the source material so that casting could have been spot on. In my opinion it looked like a nerd trying to play a badass, but it wasn’t done intentionally for laughs. He’s just been miscast.

The main problem however is the lack of any sort of back story, who are these people? What have they done before? Couple that with very minimal character development and you leave me wondering why I should care about anything I am watching. I literally did not care for anyone in this entire film, they were either boring or CGI. Okay fine, I thought the little animal converter thing was cute, but that is just playing on my weaknesses. A friend of mine said that hopefully we would get more information if a sequel was greenlit but that is one film too late!

The love story, which is the only thing that you could even pretend had any development in was forced, on the nose and in honesty kind of boring. There is pretty much zero chemistry between the two leads. Valerian is meant to be some sort of big time ladies’ man, but I didn’t believe it and by the end I was just rolling my eyes.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets also ticks another box on my pet peeves list. Too much CGI! Many others are praising the movie for how good it looks and in some shots it is fantastic but the main aliens themselves reminded me far too much of John Carter and the Star Wars prequels. Which I believe we can all agree is not a good thing! Can we not get some make up and prosthetics up in here?!

Ultimately watching this film I was both bored and frustrated, which is not a particularly good combination to have. I have to say that I would not recommend it and in my opinion this movie is an absolute bomb. Which I take zero pleasure in saying. If you were hoping for a new ‘Guardians of the Galaxy out of left field’ hit franchise, this isn’t it folks. It’s more Jupiter Ascending.

Verdict: Thumbs Down

 

Review – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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

Things get worse for a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow when his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar, escapes from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon…

Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment because I keep going to see these massive pieces of trash. Some how they just keep getting worse…and to be honest that’s saying something because they’ve been utter rubbish for 4 films now. Which is a massive, massive shame because when it first came out the original Pirates of the Caribbean was probably my favourite movie as a kid.

I still can’t get my head around the fact that producers, script writers and directors have completely missed the point on what made the first film so brilliant. They’ve taken the ‘curse of the black pearl’ and decided that the reason fans liked a pirate film was the magic element. It couldn’t possibly be the fact that a fun, swash-buckling romp is just…well fun? Instead, every film since they’ve doubled down on the whole magic nonsense and quite frankly its just a little bit pants.

Not only that, the franchise quickly went from exciting action set pieces to completely over-the-top, bizarre and down right implausible moments. Now I know that you’re meant to have some level of suspension of disbelief (and in a film about magic you probably should) but it’s just dumb. Continue reading

How Not To Adventure (Episode 2): The Rat Cupboard

Three months ago the township of Durgon’s Rest exiled Elia Fenfrost for practicing witchcraft. But now as the first harvest approaches the crops are failing, local farm animals are becoming sick with disease, and all of the food stores have gone foul.

The town’s folk suspect that the accursed blight is the work of Elia – exacting her revenge for casting her out into the wild. Our three brave, yet incredibly stupid, ‘heroes’ are the villages last hope, but can they find Elia and end the curse before its too late?

Probably not.

Players:
Dungeon Master – Doug
Dalton Sebastian Belvedere Grey – Rob
Jibblewick – Josh
Skaram – Chris

The majority of this campaign is based on the Dungeons and Dragons story ‘The Witchfire Curse’ from The Brinoceros, check it out! Other stories used are ‘Deepwood Memorial’ and ‘Workshop of the Mad Alchemist’.

Review – Busted: Night Driver

Is Busted’s new album a thumbs up or a thumbs down?

If you’d have told me back in 2005 that Busted’s next album would be released in 2016 and that it would have a completely different style and is actually fantastic. My first question would be ‘who are you and how do you know the future?’. My second thought would be that, you’re a bloody liar.

As we all know Charlie went off to focus on Fightstar full-time and he refused to ever consider returning to Busted. Yet here I am, listening to an album that completely slipped under my radar and it is actually brilliant.

That’s right, gone is the pop punk rock sound of the early 2000’s. Now more ‘Air Hostess’, ‘Year 3000’ or ‘That’s What I Go To School For’ to be found here. Instead we’ve got synthpop, new wave and indie pop vibes. I think it’s really good. It’s a big risk though, returning after over a decade in hiatus to do so with a completely new sound. Here, it works though. The songs are just as catchy as they used to be as well.

Also, there’s several saxophone solos to be found. Do I really need to say anymore?

The thing is, Busted have grown up and it wouldn’t really make sense for them to try to recreate their old sound. This new sound is what’s left after you get rid of all the juvenile pop punk from their original run and instead what you’re left with is a really solid musical group who are finding a new something and not afraid to take a huge leap to do so.

While it might not have been as successful as either of their previous records it certainly deserves recognition. The problem is that the trio are effectively a brand new band under the same name. A name that has a lot of sentimentality and history with its fans and some of them won’t want this new sound. It’s likely to create a divide between fans of the old and fans of the new, with people like me balancing in the middle.

That’s life I guess, at the end of the day this is a great album and I highly recommend it.

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.

Thoughts about Smackdown [11/02/16]

Chris Jericho Vs AJ Style 2

Chris Jericho opens the show with a promo in which is flip flops between face and heel every other sentence. It’s a little weird, but hopefully its all just a slow burn for a Wrestlemania season heel run. He calls out AJ Styles to fight then and there!

006_sd_02092016jg_0215-2370905439You’re first thoughts are: Why is this the opening match?! That doesn’t make any sense! Oh, it’s so the Social Outcasts can interrupt and the match can be switched to a tag team match instead, with Jericho and AJ working as a team. It’s just like last week when the main event talent open and close the show doing double duty. It’s really weird that WWE don’t have enough talent on Smackdown to fill all of the matches without people having to wrestle twice. Or is that just me?

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