Review – Money In The Bank (2017)

Money In The Bank did not disappoint, it was a solid show from start to finish with some excellent wrestling at times and a few surprising moments. Controversy in the first ever Women’s MITB ladder match, a shocking debut and hopefully a few teases of things to come.

It’s vary rare for me to walk away from a WWE main roster PPV with a good overall opinion of it, but I was very happy with what happened. I see potential in all story lines and even though my favourite wrestlers didn’t win. I am content.

Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Winner: Carmella

054_mitb_06182017jg_0611-caa06542d3384264da149ee1e3b35a8cStraight in with the controversy! Oh the internet seems to be massively divided on this on. Some people despise the ending other people love it. I personally loved it.

In case you are unaware the finish of the match saw James Ellsworth tip Becky Lynch from the top of the ladder, proceed to climb the ladder, retrieve the briefcase and then drop it into Carmella’s waiting open arms. It was a complete mockery off a finish, showing complete disrespect to all of the women involved. This was their moment to show the world they could do it just as well as the men and it was ruined.

It was the PERFECT heel move. Absolutely brilliant! I mean, what a disgusting thing to do. To ruin the inaugural Women’s MITB ladder match by having a man decide the finish. The heat Carmella should receive from this is unreal. This is where a lot of people seem to be getting confused again. You didn’t like what the heel did? You aren’t meant to. It’s meant to rile you up!

The only problem I had with it was the confusing referee discussion after the bell rang. It made it seem like Shane McMahon or Daniel Bryan were going to come out and restart the match but never did. It clearly confused the crowd to who just stood there waiting for something to happen.

As for the match itself, I thought it was unfortunately a little sloppy. Certainly not the high standards we know the women can reach on their day. I certainly thought the ‘this is awesome’ chant early on was incredibly generous of the St Louis crowd. Not that anyone is going to remember the match itself its all about the finish.

I’m not entirely sure why the WWE made the creative choice of having all 5 women come out to the ring, then show a 3/4 minute video hyping up the match. Surely it would have made more sense to open the show with that promo package? As for the video itself, even more marketing bullshit promoting the women’s revolution. Stop patting yourselves on the back every chance WWE, it makes everything seem so much more forced and false.

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Review: Wonder Woman

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

Before becoming Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot who tells her of the war to end all wars that is raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time and finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

Oh wow, it actually happened! A good, no, a great DC movie! I, along with the rest of the world, had given up hope yet after the disappointments of Man of Steel (although admittedly I thought that was okay, though flawed), Batman Vs Superman and Suicide Squad comes Wonder Woman and it’s really quite good!

I loved pretty much everything about this film and sat there with a great big dumb grin on my face for the entire time. If DC can correct their course for the rest of their cinematic universe things might just be okay again.

JL_Wonder_Woman

Wonder Woman is showing DC the way to make decent superhero films, but can they do it again?

Wonder Woman is everything it should have been and more. It shows that you don’t need to go all in on gritty and real and depressing to make a great superhero film. How has it taken DC this long to make something that’s worth watching? It’s fun, endearing and the action scenes are great too. Stylistically its excellent, the humour is spot on and it actually shows genuine heart as well. Wonder Woman is 100%, completely and totally bad ass.

The relationship between Diana and Captain Steve Trevor is the linchpin of the entire movie. The chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine is excellent. In fact to be honest, both are just excellent throughout. Pine is charming and confident while Gadot is equally as confident, strong, independent, noble and caring and sexy as well. Yet at the same time slightly naive too. It’s a perfect combination.

Here’s a thought, Wonder Woman wasn’t directed by Zack Synder and it’s a good film. Coincidence? Well, no not really. As he didn’t direct Suicide Squad and that was all sorts of horrible. What it does seem to show is that everyone was on board with the vision of this film and worked towards it, unlike the absolute messes that have occurred previously.

Instead Wonder Woman is the first ever superhero film to be directed by a woman, which is all sorts of crazy. Patty Jenkins, who was briefly signed on to direct the sequel to Thor, did a fantastic job here. Again I loved the stylistic choices, I thought everything looked great and the tone was spot on. I wonder if Marvel are kicking themselves for letting her go now?

If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, put aside your disappointments of previous DC movies and go out and see it. You won’t regret it.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

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’.

Predictions: Money In The Bank (2017)

Money in the Bank is actually one of my favourite PPVs of the year. Unofficially its the real fourth member of the ‘big four’ (sorry Survivor Series), so I guess we could make it the big five? At least in my opinion anyway.

It’s actually one of my favourite match types as well. Ladder matches are always fun but then you’ve got such an interesting stipulation to play with as well. Will the winner cash in on the night? Will they bide their time and wait for the perfect time to strike? Or will they announce their chosen time to challenge fairly for the title. Potentially you’ve got a years worth of story lines being created in one match. I love it.

This year Money In The Bank is a Smackdown exclusive, which I really dig. You don’t need both shows having a briefcase each. Make it more exclusive, make in more unique and make it more important.

Having said that this year is the first year that the WWE are doing a women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match. So you can go ahead and scrap that more unique and exclusive nonsense I just spouted. Okay, so first of all I really like that they’re doing a women’s match. It will be really cool to see what they can all do and I love the idea that we’ll get to see them play out all of the possible ‘cash in’ story line options for the first time. It would be fantastic if they’d figured out a new, never seen before twist for this, but even if they do something we’ve seen before it will be with new people and a new spin.

However, I said the same thing when Raw and Smackdown had a Money In The Bank ladder match each or when WWE have three Hell In A Cell matches in one night. Less is more. The main problem is far too often they end up spreading themselves too thin, having to share out moments and spot ideas. After all you can’t have the same table spots two matches in a row, the crowd wont keep on popping for them. So potentially instead of having one brilliant match you get a few good ones, or worse average ones. Hopefully we get two excellent matches though.

I do wonder in what order they will lay out the match card though. Will they have the Money In The Bank matches before the Women’s and WWE Championship bouts allowing for cash in opportunities. Will they have one on the night at all? Would they have two?! That would be crazy and I bet few people would see it coming. I think its more likely that the winner of the women’s will cash in than the men’s though as I see Jinder holding the title for a while. Whoops, prediction spoilers…

Money In The Bank Ladder Match

20170602_mitb_womenladder-3c948664588094cfa324b23beefeafd1The first ever women’s Money In The Bank Ladder match. Will it be great or will it be a flop? I mean, hopefully it won’t be a flop…why would anyone hope for that? Weirdos.

I joke but in all seriousness this match, just like the Hell In A Cell match, the tables match and the Iron Man match has to deliver. Not just to shut up that section in the audience who just love to see things fail but to continue to show Vince McMahon that yes, the women in his company can be just as good as the men. I have complete faith that they have all the ability in the world to knock it out of the park, they just have to do it right on the night.

But who is going to win? Well, I think it’s between three ladies. Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Carmella.

Carmella?! I hear you cry. If there was ever a dark horse in this match it would be Carmella and I can just imagine James Ellsowrth following Carmella down to the ring each week carrying her briefcase for her. That image alone would be fantastic! I think I can rule out Natalya and Tamina without any second thought but Carmella (who I know a lot of people will say is the weakest of the group) could be a brilliant heel with that Money in the Bank contract up her sleeve.

Which leaves Charlotte, who is an obvious contender simply for being Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Now with Charlotte you have to think about who she would feud with, if Naomi is still champion I think it will be unlikely for Charlotte to win. That is of course unless WWE a thinking very long-term.

With Becky however, she has fallen from number one babyface on Smackdown AND Women’s Champion, to neither the champion or number one babyface. With Charlotte arguably taking over the role of face and Naomi obviously champion. Becky kind of needs the briefcase to stay relevant in the topper half of the division. Plus, you can go a few ways with her as Ms Money In The Bank, either as a face or perhaps with a heel turn. Which again, Charlotte probably wouldn’t do as she’s only just turned face.

My pick here is Carmella, thanks obviously to a massive assist from James Ellsworth.

Winner: Carmella

Review: The Mummy

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

Because everything in Hollywood has to be a reboot and have its own cinematic universe, here is the 2017 version of The Mummy. A franchise reboot that nobody was wanting or asking for. It’s the first in the Universal ‘Dark Universe’ which will also feature films like Dracula, Frankenstein, Van Helsing and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

The Mummy stars Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Russel Crowe and Sofia Boutella as the titular character of The Mummy or Princess Ahmanet if you want to be slightly friendlier. I’ve listed four people there, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is anything more than the regular Tom Cruise show. Which normally I wouldn’t have a problem with, as I like Tom Cruise, but it’s just one of many things that stop this being a ‘Mummy’ film as it focuses its attentions elsewhere.

First of all, like many before it, The Mummy is the first film in a franchise that spends far too long trying to set up multiple movies down the line instead of making sure that the first movie is actually good. Why would people want to return to the universe if the first one is rubbish? For example, you know what made Iron Man one so successful? Despite being the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it actually just focused on being a good Iron Man movie, with Easter eggs hidden here and there and then a post credits scene with Nick Fury. Simple.

Perhaps more importantly though is the overall tone and general pacing of the movie that’s wrong here. Now I think we can all admit that the previous iteration of The Mummy starring Brendan Fraser was by no means perfect, in fact it was a bit rubbish, but what you can say is that the general tone of the films was entertaining. Simple and fun action fantasy adventure flicks. This time around everything has to be real, modernised and gritty. Dark tones and jump scares galore. That might float some people’s boats but it’s not really what I wanted to be honest.

Then you get to the pacing. In places they fly through scenes, such as when they find the burial chamber at the start but then the film lingers in the middle and really slows down to a crawl. There is a scene in which Tom Cruise fights something, it’s almost completely irrelevant to the main plot and serves nothing more than as a distraction. I guess the writers thought they needed an action scene to spice things up a little.

One of the main problems that this film has though is that Tom Cruise’s character is just a bit of a dick. It’s the classic cocky scoundrel who eventually ends up doing the right thing and saving the day routine. For whatever reason I just couldn’t connect with it. Then you get to his best friend, who is as dumb as Cruise was unlikable, and their comedy bickering and general relationship are at complete odds with the rest of the films darker vibes.

It’s not all bad though, for example; the set pieces, in particular the plane crash that you get a glimpse of in the trailer is fantastic and as usual with Tom Cruise films you do appreciate the fact that he does his own stunts.

The most interesting thing about this film is, somewhat ironically for all of my complaining, Russel Crowe’s character(s), Dr Henry Jekyll and Mr Edward Hyde. He’s in this movie simply to be the connecting arm throughout the new cinematic universe and while sort of necessary for the plot, very much shoehorned in at the same time. However, I actually left the cinema thinking how much more interesting a movie revolving around those characters at the helm of a monster hunting organisation would be. I guess we’ll get glimpses of that throughout all of the films.

This version of The Mummy’s main crime though isn’t that it’s trying too hard to set up an entire new cinematic universe or that its darker tone is rather hit and miss. Instead it’s actually that the film is just pretty boring.

Verdict: Thumbs Down

How Not To Adventure (Episode 1): Trouble In Durgon’s Rest

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’.