Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - Review

"Calm down, Doctor! Now's not the time for fear. That comes later."

I was a bit late coming to the Nolan Batman films. I didn't see Batman Begins until a few years after it came out and even then the only reason I did was The Dark Knight had a release date the following year.
I really didn't rate the film on a first viewing. Maybe it was because I was expecting Batman to be in it more and I didn't realise how much of an origin story it was going to be.
One thing that was clear though was Christian Bale was good in the duel role of Bruce Wayne/Batman and that director Christopher Nolan's take on one of DC's famous sons would be a much more real affair than it's predecessors.
Eventually on repeat viewings I came round to liking it and it set me up for The Dark Knight which much to my distaste was going to feature Heath Ledger as one of comics most iconic villains The Joker. We all know what an idiot I am when it came to that little gripe. Ledger was amazing as Joker and it's a shame he never saw the huge reaction and praise he was given for his part.
Overall I can't describe how much I've enjoyed The Dark Knight and always assumed a 3rd film was certain considering that film ended with Batman on the run.
I've been looking forward to the final movie The Dark Knight Rises for an absolute age. When I heard Tom Hardy had been cast as Bane I was absolutely ecstatic. Tom Hardy is a brilliant actor and the news he was going to be the main bad guy in the final film had me really excited.

The thing was though that when you mentioned Bane to people they would refer to Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin. This wasn't the best representation of the character. I started to get a bit annoyed and in the end gave up explaining to people that Nolan's version would be nothing like that.
I think Tom's portrayal is up there with Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight although he doesn't quite steal the show as Ledger's Joker did.

Where as Heath's Joker was absolutely terrifying to watch due to being crazy Tom's Bane is the complete opposite. He encourages fear in people just by his size and the sheer ease he uses violence to eliminate people he no longer has time for. I was very happy to see they kept Bane breaking Batman's back in the film. For a while I thought they were going to skip what was once such a pivotal plot point in the comics. That whole fight before hand was brilliant and fantastically brutal. I loved it.

I think it's fair that many people have complained about Bane's voice and at first I thought this was an issue myself. On reflection though it wasn't a problem for me really. Just a few lines I didn't understand but that was more down to the cinema sound system. His actual accent worked well and I like how most people expected Bane to just be a thug when in fact he's an intellectual. You may or may not know the mask Hardy had to wear was actually a prosthetic makeup attached to his face. I think as an actor he did well considering we only really saw his eyes all the way through the film.

"We both know that I have to kill you now. Well… You will just have to imagine the fire"

 I loved how despite Talia al Ghul telling Bane to keep Batman alive he waits until she is gone before going to hang him anyway. Bane's death was the only thing I found disappointing. Although I suppose it was a realistic way for him to bow out.

Christian Bale's is amazing and in this movie he makes his Bruce/Batman an even more tragic figure than in the previous films. I'm always a bit critical of Bale but I can't really fault him in this. He managed to get across perfectly the sadness, guilt and fear Bruce is feeling and the sense of responsibility he feels when it comes to protecting Gotham. The end of the film is a real emotional kick and I like how the citizens of Gotham come to accept what a hero Batman is by the end of the film by having a statue in his honor.
 Michael Caine as always does a fine job as Alfred and it's true what a friend said to me a few days back. "When Michael Caine cries on film he can make you blub like a baby". He wasn't in this film as much as I'd liked him to of been but his story arc in the trilogy is sewn up nicely and we are left with the feeling Alfred can now move on with his own life knowing that Bruce is happy.

Hathaway's Catwoman is a magnetic presence whenever she's on screen and she has great chemistry with Bale. Selina may be the good bad girl, the thief with a heart of gold, but Hathaway plays her with a wounded spirit and an edge that makes her feel genuine and sympathetic even when she's being naughty.

As expected Gary Oldman as Gordon did a splendid job and so did Morgan Freeman. I should probably say more regarding these two but does it really need to be done? Both brilliant actors that are good in near enough anything they are in.

Joseph Gordon Levitt gets a high rating from me as his contribution to this film cannot be ignored. If anything he has one of the most important story arcs in the whole film. Ever since his character was announced fans (myself included) were speculating what his role in the movie was. I thought it was awesome that "Robin" John Blake is passed the torch in an indirect way by Bruce at the end of the film and what really geeked me out was reading on line that the actual character of Blake (created by Christopher Nolan) was actually a mixture of the 3 different characters in the DC comic to of worked alongside Bruce as Robin. Looking back now you can see all the incidents that John tells us having gone on in his life have molded and shaped him a lot like it did the various Boy Wonders in the comics over the years. "Robin Begins" anyone?

Overall I think The Dark Knight Rises was a good end to what has been a fantastic trilogy of Batman films. There is already speculation that there may be a Catwoman spin-off. Something I don't want to see as I think it would spoil what has been created already. That also goes for what I just said about with a Robin spin-off. Let's just leave it now and wait for the expected Batman reboot that has already been announced for the next few years.

Batman in Christopher Nolan's films was the hero Gotham deserved. He was a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

A quote from Richard Donner talking about Christopher Reeve.

"I think about him a lot. There’s nobody that could have played that role the way he played it. I don’t think anyone will ever come along and play it like he played it — others will have to play it different — and on top of that, he was a really special individual. A great kid, a great person, loving and devoted, a great sense of humor and the personification of a good friend."

Wonderful quote I had to share with you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Miles Morales Come on Down! - Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol.1 Review

I'm a massive fan of the original run of Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man series (which ran from 2000-2009 and by Brian Michael Bendis) and spent many hours reading and re-reading the re-imagining of Marvel's long-running Spider-Man comic book franchise. There were 160 issues altogether and while the majority of it was amazing it started to lose it's way a bit near the end and unfortunately I must hold my hands up and admit I stopped reading altogether. 

That was until I happened to read on-line that Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe was to be killed off and would be replaced by a 13-year-old half-Black/half-Hispanic kid called  Miles Morales. Who as it happened was also bitten by a genetically-altered spider and gained similar powers to his predecessor.

Immediately I was excited about this news but  it would be many months before I had the chance to read this new take on the web-slinger as I have to wait about six months to buy a complete volume. The downfall of not having access to a local comic shop.

I was a bit slow on the uptake with this as it came out in February but yesterday I finally had a chance to check Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol.1 out and I wasn't disappointed. I only intended to read a few pages before bed last night but I got so hooked I ended up reading it all in one go.

Volume one collects issues 1-5 and it's brilliant. Bendis has made me want to venture back into the Ultimate universe again. The artwork by Sara Pichelli really is awesome.
Mile's is an interesting character. He just wants a normal life, is unhappy about having these abilities (which he gets in a way that isn't explained in this volume in great detail), and initially sickened at the idea of risking his life to engage in super heroics. However, after witnessing Spider-Man's death at the hands of the Green Goblin, the guilt-ridden Miles realises he could have helped. His best friend Ganke suggests he assume the mantle of Spider-Man, and he learns from Gwen Stacy why Peter did what he did. And with this Miles is inspired to try his hand at costumed crime fighting.
This leads to one of my favourite parts of the story when during his first foray into costumed super heroics, Miles is confronted not only by those members of the public who feel his use of the Spider-Man costume (a Halloween outfit) is in bad taste, but also by Spider-Woman (now a member of the Ultimates), over his use of the Spider-Man identity.
After he is taken to S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters and given "The Talk" by Nick Fury, Miles helps apprehend a classic Spidey villain. Proving to Fury he has potantial S.H.I.E.L.D  then release Miles and give him a modified black and red version of the Spider-Man costume. When Ganke finds out he feels this makes Miles "officially" the new Spider-Man.

And this is where the first volume ends. It's left me gagging for more. There are many interesting things left unexplained. Miles criminal Uncle who I'm guessing will have a bigger part to play. The discovery that Miles  has a few new abilitys that Peter never had including Invisibility and a Venom strike where he can stun people by touching them. We also have yet to see if he has the ability to produce webbing. And I just love the costume. There are already some pretty cool cosplay pics online of it.

When it comes to Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man there are so many great things to look forward to I'm getting that feeling again when you really can't wait to read more of a series. The best thing is volume 2 is already out but annoyingly I'm going to have to wait a few weeks to pick that up.

If you have not read any of the original Ultimate Spider-Man you shouldn't be put off of buying this as I really don't think you need to know what has happened in the past.

Check it out true believers.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Camden Film Fair 26th May - When I met Bobby Rhodes.

On the 26th of May I popped a long to the Camden Film Fair. One of the main reasons I wanted to go had to be because italian actor Bobby Rhodes made a guest appearance at the event.

I'm guessing most of you won't know who he is (and shame on you) but Bobby Rhodes was born in 1947 in Livorno, Italy. He first began acting in films in the late 1960s and was frequently cast as hard-as-nails two-fisted macho-guy types in various Italian war, action, and horror features made throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
I know Bobby Rhodes from his role as Tony the Pimp in Lamberto Bava's outrageously gruesome cult horror film Demons (1985) and as rugged gym instructor Hank in the equally enjoyable sequel Demons 2 (1986).

If you have ever seen the two films above you will know how good they are. I first watched them back in the 80's when my Dad used to rent videos from the local video shop. I still wonder to this day why a parent would let a kid under ten watch that but I don't hold it against him. To this day though they still scare the bejeesus out of me. Here is the link to the Italian trailer for Demons 2 - LINK . Watch it and you will get the point.

Anyway I was really chuffed to meet him. It was lovely to see lots of other people queueing to meet him and when I got my chance to say hello he was such a nice man and I went a bit fan boy.
I managed to mumble to him how cool I thought he was and I mentioned how at the age of 33 the films still scare me to death. He was rather amazed by this but like I said to him, now I've met him I was hoping to put some of these 'Demons' to rest. Which incidentally I haven't as I've watched one of them since and it still disturbs me.

For fear of rambling again I'm going to leave it now but I will end saying how much of a high meeting Bobby Rhodes left me on and while I'll probably never meet him again it's a memory that will remain with me for a long long time.

Thank you Bobby it was a pleasure to meet you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Daryl Dixon - Redneck Jedi and best thing about The Walking Dead

***This blog does contain minor and predicted spoilers for season 3 of The Walking Dead***

Cool Dude.
The Washington Post called him a "Redneck Jedi" and I have to agree with them. Daryl Dixon is without a doubt my favourite character in the TV adaption of The Walking Dead. For people that have never read the graphic novels it may or may not surprise you to know that the character never featured in them. He was created by original show producer Frank Darabont specifically for Norman Reedus after he auditioned for the role of Merle Dixon (which went to the great Michael Rooker). I think Norman Reedus does a great job as Daryl and the character has grown so much over the last 2 seasons I believe he will have an even bigger part to play come the return of the show in October 2012

Cool drawing of Daryl in comic book form.
We have seen Daryl go from an unpredictable outsider in season one to being Rick's right-hand man by the end of season 2. This made me wonder how exactly his character will grow in season 3. I've seen people say on line that with Shane's death, Daryl may fill the role as Rick's right-hand man similar to how Tyreese did in the comics. As I say above I think we already start to see this in the final episode of season 2.

So how will his character grow in season 3 I hear you ask?

Simple. His brother Merle has already been confirmed as returning. And we know the prison and the Woodbury township storyline will feature and David Morrissey has been cast as the evil Governor. With all this news I can't help but think Merle will no doubt be an ally of the man himself.
I also find myself wondering if there will come a time in season 3 when Daryl has to choose between  loyalty for his brother and his loyalty for Rick and the group. Remember in the season 2 finale Daryl told Carol how he thought Rick had honor and that he trusted him. I can see this being severely put to the test when his and Merle's paths cross again.

Should we be preparing to gear ourselves up for Daryl's sudden betrayal of the group? I'd like to think this won't happen but knowing how unpredictable the show is it wouldn't surprise me if it did.

What do you think?

Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm fine being an adoptive uncle...

I don't know what it is about me but my friends kids think I'm amazing. And the majority of them have adopted me as an unofficial uncle. You might think I'm blowing my own trumpet here but I've been told a number of times by  friends that their children love me.
While I can't help but think how awesome this is (and also wonder why) it also reminds me of the fact I'll probably not have any children of my own.

"WHY!?!!" I hear you all cry.

Well to be honest I wouldn't want any child of mine to go through all the same problems I had when I was a kid. Is that a bit selfish of me to think that? Am I overreacting even? Who knows.
As far as I am aware I'm the first in my family to have the condition so that doesn't really bode well for me really does it? Statistics show there is a chance a child of mine could be born with the condition.

This brings me back to what I started off talking about in the first place which was friends children. I love socialsing with my friends and their kids as not only is it cool to hang out I feel like I'm helping the next generation understand that not everyone is born the same. Of course you could argue that these children are far too young to notice anything anyway (and you are no doubt correct) but it's cool having a little kid that might only see you a couple of times a month tell you how much they like you and clearly want to cause you hassle.By either scaring the life out of you by doing something unpredictable or showing you their new Kung-Fu Panda moves by kicking you in the unmentionables.

Of course the other good thing about friends kids has to be that I can feed them all sorts of stuff, play with them, work them up into a sugar frenzy... and then go home and not have to deal with them when they are refusing to go to sleep for their mum and dad.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Avengers Assemble HULK SMASHES every other superhero film of recent years...


Wow! I mean WOW!
I've seen The Avengers and I can't stop smiling from ear to ear. Annoyingly in the UK it's been renamed Avengers Assemble because as British people we are easily confused and might mistake it for The Avengers that had John Steed & Emma Peel in. Really?
It's not often a film leaves you on such a high you end up smiling for hours and hours but my word Joss Wheadon's film has managed it. This truly is one of the best Superhero films I've ever seen. Some of you may think I'm overreacting. If you know me personally you will know I take my superhero love seriously so this isn't just a random statement from me. I've been waiting for this film ever since Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury turned up at the end of 2008's Iron Man (starring Robert Downey Jr.) to tell him about his 'Avengers Initiative'. Since then we have had a new Hulk film, a sequel to Iron Man, A Thor film and finally a Captain America film all leading up to this ultimate moment and I was so excited that it had finally arrived I'd been awake since about 4am waiting to see it the day I went.
 Make no mistake in thinking Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye)are overshadowed by Robert Downey Jr. as this just isn't the case. All of the team have their own little story going on and they all share equal screen time and a vital role to play within the film.

The actor who I'd been most curious about since this film went into production had to be the new fellow to play Hulk. To be honest I'd not heard of Mark Ruffalo before but I'm glad to say he's really great in this as Bruce Banner. You actually believe he is a genius who has his other persona under control until the moment he actually doesn't and becomes Hulk. The Hulk himself looks amazing and is a fantastic sight to look at.
 In my honest opinion it's the best depiction of the character on screen so far. I think it helped that Ruffalo himself did the motion capture work for Hulk as it made him even more realistic. It's also cool that Lou Ferrigno did the voice again like he did in The Incredible Hulk. When Thor and The Hulk stop smashing some Chitauri soldiers inside a building, and are standing side by side, The Hulk gives him a backhand, sending Thor across the room. Hilarious! I also enjoyed the smack down he gave Tom Hiddleston's Loki near the end of the film."Puny God!". It's funny how they got all the same actors back from the other films, and it's the new guy that walks away with the film.

This film also had an emotional kick to it. I always get choked up at Superhero films these days but Agent Coulson dying was heartbreaking for me. For a character that has only turned up in past films very briefly it was really a kick in the guts when Loki killed him. He was the last character I expected to die. I suppose that was the point really. Clark Gregg who played him created a memorable character. Strangely enough though I've read that he may be set to return in a possible Nick Fury film and even Iron Man 3. How true this is I don't know but for now I'll take it with a pinch of salt. I can't help but think this would cheapen the characters death.

Joss Wheadon's done a fantastic job as director. He's a huge fan of Marvel characters himself which as turns out makes this film even more awesome. I always find it a bit worrying when a writer, director or producer have a personal interest in the subject matter as they can be blinkered to what THEY want to see on screen and not what could be good for the story. I'm pleased to say this isn't the case. I've only ever watched his Buffy & Angel work but you can see his humour and style coming through in this. I hope he returns to direct the sequel.

And in case you were wondering  that was Thanos that appeared in the mid-credit scene of the film. His appearance according to Whedon is setting up the next block of films to star The Avenger cast. Exciting.

At the moment and in my opinion this is the second best comic book movie after Richard Donner's Superman. Note though how I say at the moment. We still have The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises to hit screens over the next few months. Add that to the fact I change my mind about such things on a daily basis I wouldn't take it as gospel. It's definitely up there though as one of my favourites.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ghost Rider Movie - A film more terrible than Spider-Man 3

The other day I watched the Nicolas Cage movie Ghost Rider.

I think my fellow geek friends let me down here. Why didn't any of you tell me director Mark Steven Johnson (of "Daredevil" and "Electra" movies fame) had something to do with this? If I'd known that first of all I'd not of bothered with it in the first place.
Bad acting, terrible story and OK special effects.
To top it all off, They didn't even have Rollins Band "Ghost Rider" in the movie. Iron Man had Ozzy's song it in!

The sad thing is I really liked the look of the sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

I'll probably buy it when it's dirt cheap though.

I didn't think it was possible a Marvel comic book movie could be worse than Spider-Man 3 but I'm glad to announce that Ghost Rider was indeed a load of shite.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Crazy pensioners with wheels!

Probably wasn't paying attention while driving on the M11

Before I start this rant I would like to point out that I have the up most respect for elderly people of this country. They should all be treated far better than they are. Apart frome when it comes to one thing.

When it comes to mobility scooters I honestly can't understand how some of these elderly folk are allowed to use them. I've had a few "run ins" in the past with such folk and to be honest I think it's about time there was some sort of check to make sure they can be used safely.

I remember a time when I was bashed in the leg by someone on a mobility scooter. The apology went as follows.

"Sorry love I'm blind in my left eye so I didn't see you".

Erm, if you are blind in one eye than why feck are you using one of these things in the first place? Let's be honest some of these scooters are built like a Sherman tank and you wouldn't be out of place thinking that some of the people that drive them have some sort of Dictator mentality going on. It's like they expect people to move out of their way in a matter of seconds as they have a group of people they need to get to and oppress.

An upcoming model of mobility scooter

Isn't it about time it was compulsory for some of these people to be trained how to drive a scooter? And medical checks should be a must? If you can't see out of one eye I'm pretty sure that it's dangerous to be on one of these.

And don't get me started on the ones that drive on the roads. I think the main speed limit these are meant to go are 8mph but I can tell you now I'm sure you should be going at that speed in a busy supermarket like ASDA which is full of people.

For now though if I get hit by one again I'm going to disconnect the battery and let the tyres down. See how they get home then. Infact if I've been really hurt that might be a bad idea as I could ask them for a lift to Casualty.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A bit of creative writing for you...

For some reason last week I felt the need to write some poetry. While it's not the best in the world I thought I'd share it with you.

'Dog Turds'
Big and small but always brown.
White are vintage.
Dog turds.

Women, like marmite.
Sometimes you love them.
Sometimes you hate them.
Both have yeast based issues. Women.

Ryan, Ryan Gosling.
You can't act.
But apparently you're a hunk.
Shallow, shallow women.

Like Nik Kershaw I won't let the sun go down on me.
But the woman who works in carphone warehouse can any time.

It's not exactly Keats but it will do.

Monday, March 12, 2012

THE WALKING DEAD: Evil has a name and his name is David Morrissey...

When it was announced a few weeks back that the character The Governor would be featuring in season 3 of the show and that english actor David Morrissey had been cast in the role of The Walking Dead's most notorious villain I was completely gobsmacked. Not because I thought it was a bad choice or anything but I wondered how on earth they were going to bring the story of Philip Blake (The Governor) to the tv show without toning it down.

I'll come back to that in a minute though.

Regarding David Morrissey I'm really excited about seeing him take on the role. I know a lot of people have only seen him star alongside David Tennant in "The Next Doctor", the 2008 Christmas special of Doctor Who, playing Jackson Lake. But he's also been in many other hit shows and in films such as Some Voices, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, before he played the critically acclaimed roles of Stephen Collins in State of Play. He was also in... erm... Basic Instinct 2.
I know some of our American brothers are not happy with his casting as they seem to think he doesn't look "evil" enough but if you know the character and how he starts out then you will understand he isn't meant to look evil.

If you have never read the comics I don't really want to spoil it for you but if you are interested then take a look HERE at The Walking Dead Wiki's page for the comic book character. Put it this way though. It's one of the most brutal storyline I've ever read in a comic and that's not because it involves zombies either. I can't help but wonder how gruesome they are going to get with the Governor storyline on the tv show?
Last week I read an American TV journalist and fan of the comic point out that although AMC are pretty relaxed with what they allow in their shows they are going to piss a lot of people of either way by adding too much brutality or cutting it out near enough completely which would annoy fans of the comic. Lucky enough though I came across this quote from comic creator and producer of the TV show Robert Kirkman regarding what is coming up in season 3.

Can the dark tone of the comic be matched on the TV series? Some of the stuff with the Governor was pretty intense; how far can you take that on TV?

Kirkman: There are certain boundaries for different mediums. I think that having the month long break between issue to issue or the 6 month break between volume to volume — you can push boundaries to a certain extent on a regular basis, more so than you can on a television show. So there might be instances where we go as dark as the comic in the show, but then we cut short and try to do something else and try to shift gears. People on a couch want to be entertained, they don’t want to be completely depressed. That said, we’re definitely going to go to those places.

There are some things coming up in the 3rd season that I can happily and proudly say exceed some of the darkest things that we’ve done in the comic. I think people are really going to be pretty shocked with a lot of stuff that’s coming. The show is gonna have teeth, the show is not going to be a watered down version of the Walking Dead [comic].

After reading that I must say Kirkman has put my mind at rest.
If you are only a fan of the TV show though I'd suggest before season 3 hits screens you get hold of the novel which came out last year called 'The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor'. It depicts The Governor's struggle to survive the zombie apocalypse with his brother, his niece and their friends before the events of the comic book and I'm guessing now the TV show as well.

Anyway, that's enough of my ramblings but I'd like to go on record now in saying I'd be very shocked if the real Merle didn't turn up again in season 3. Where the group are heading is exactly the sort of place the one handed racist hillbilly would be most at home. And surely he will be looking for a bit of revenge on Rick for making him have to cut his hand off? Heck, maybe he'll cut Rick's hand off as payback?

Just saying.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mahna Mahna! The Muppets are back

What's your favorite Muppets movie? The Muppets Takes Manhattan? The Muppets Christmas Carol? Muppets From Space? Well, I think this comeback movie beats all of them.
I've been a fan of The Muppets for as long as I can remember and I've been looking forward to seeing the new film. When I had to spend time in hospital as a little kid in the early 80's I have fond memories of watching The Muppet Show on television while in my sick bed.

This is the first theatrical Muppet film in 13 years (the last one being Muppets From Space) and despite the straight to dvd stories they have starred in a new movie has been a long time coming. I was also interested as the story was written by actor and life long Muppet fan Jason Segel, who also stars in the film.

The story revolves around an evil businessman named Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) who's plotting to tear down the Muppet theater and drill for oil beneath it. Three big Muppet fans named Gary (Jason Segel), Gary's girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) and Gary's puppet brother Walter (voiced by Peter Linz) discover this while touring the old abandoned theater. They learn that the only way to save the Muppet theater is to raise $10 million so they go searching for Kermit (voiced by legendary Muppet performer Steve Whitmire) to let him know. Kermit and his new friends then decide to go on a road trip to find the other Muppets (who have all split up) and devise a plan to put on a fundraiser show in order to raise the money to save the theater.

With this in mind I don't know if I was expecting a different plot but the "Saving the theater" scenario has already been done a number of times in The Muppet universe. Not that this bothered me though as this was a huge nostalgia trip. All the classic Muppets I loved when little were here and I liked even some of the more obscure ones were given centre stage to shine.
The cameos from lots of Hollywood celebrities were absolutely hilarious. My favourites of these were Jack Black and (although he's not even in it for more than five minutes) Dave Grohl. His cameo as The Moopets drummer Animool had me in stitches.
The songs in the film were great and were lovely, touching and in some cases side splitting funny. I won't tell you what my favourite song was but it was performed by the guys in the picture below.

Overall this was a wonderful film which adults and kids will enjoy for years to come. If you haven't seen this yet then you should go ASAP and take the kids with you as well. It's already one of my favourite films of the year. And because it's done so well at the box office I'm guessing (and hoping) a sequel is already in the works. My only gripe? Where was Rizo? Anyway...

In the film when it looks like The Muppets are no longer important Kermit has a line -

"I guess we have been forgotten." - Kermit.

No you were never forgotten Kermit. I'm glad to see you back. And judging from the popularity of the film, so are others.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe" Mini Review - I'm a bit late with this one.

I watched the xmas special "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe" the day after it aired over Christmas.

The synopis for the 2011 special by Steven Moffat was as follows.

During the Christmas season of 1938, the Doctor finds himself on a damaged alien spacecraft in Earth's orbit. He escapes the exploding ship and the fall to Earth by rapidly donning an impact space suit, though in his haste, the helmet is put on backwards. On crashing to Earth, he is found by Madge Arwell, wife of Reg and mother of two children, Lily and Cyril. She helps the Doctor, stuck and unable to see while in the impact suit, to his TARDIS, and the Doctor promises to repay her for her kindness.

To be honest I've fallen asleep during all the Narnia movies so I wasn't expecting this to bode well for the special just from knowing the title alone. Two minutes in I was already thinking it was like watching a CITV program from back in the 80's. There was a rather funny moment at the begining when he actually walked into that real police box thinking it was the TARDIS.

I couldn't help but wonder where you are meant to draw the line between Christmas Special and Christmas "Shoving it down your throats" Special? I swear that Murray Gold (composer) sampled the Aliens soundtrack in this as well.

Moffat is normally good at coming up with original ideas of his own but he seemed to struggle this time round. I managed to count story elements from Narnia, Lord of The Rings, The Never Ending Story, Bed Knobs & Broomsticks and any WWII film from the 40's in this. It didn't really make any sense whatsoever to me.

As for Bill Bailey he was seriously underused and didn't really need to be there.
Still it looked amazing and Matt Smith is an awesome doctor. It's the scripts that let him down. He's the Colin Baker of the new era of the show when it comes to the Christmas specials. This was a bit of a damp squib to end of considering we are not having any new episodes for a while now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

George Lucas retires - I guess this means the end of an era?

Last Thursday saw an announcement from the man himself that he won't be making another blockbuster.
"I'm retiring," he said. "I'm moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff."
Lucas said he would only work on a fifth Indiana Jones film before he calls it a day otherwise, Red Tails, an action adventure about a pioneering group of African-American pilots who fought in the Second World War, which he financed himself (and already getting pretty bad reviews), will be his last blockbuster. According to the New York Times Lucas will spend the rest of his life making small, experimental art-house films.
Now I've always tried to be constructive with my criticism of Lucas as there will never be any escaping that I am a massive Star Wars fan. From the original trilogy when I was a kid, through the nineties with the spin-off novels and graphic novels and ending with the prequel trilogy. I've spent enough money on Star Wars merchandise over the last twenty years to probably fund an episode of the CGI Clone Wars series alone. I stopped buying stuff years ago though as I lost interest in one of my first geek loves.

Everyone knows all the grief Lucas has been getting since 1997 for his Star Wars Trilogy Special editions (which to be honest I never had a problem with as it gave me the chance to see the original films on the big screen). But as the years went on he started contradicting the original trilogy with his each new prequel instalment. Then to make things worse in 2004 he decided to have a mess around with them again. The way I saw, it was OK, if he wanted to change a few more things to bring them in line with the prequels then fair enough. It would make sense for him to do that wouldn't it?

But with the Blu-Ray release he decided to change things again. A few are listed below.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

There are computer-generated rocks in front of R2-D2 while he’s hiding in the canyon; however, they’re “magically not there” after he comes out of hiding
Obi-Wan’s fake “Krayt Dragon” roar is once again altered and it sounds “hideous”; keep the mute button at the ready
Greedo shoots first – again – but this time with slightly fewer frames than the previous release
Luke’s lightsaber while training on the Millennium Falcon is back to being “white” and “blue” as it was originally – it is no longer pale green, per the 2004 DVD release

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Flames have been added to the probe droid crater
Most of the blue tint on Hoth is gone
The Wampa arm is “fixed” — whatever that means — but it’s still imperfect
R2-D2’s once black panels are now blue in space
A la the DVD release, Emperor Palpatine – via hologram – is still played by Ian McDiarmid in his Revenge of the Sith makeup

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

The static shot of C3PO and R2-D2 approaching Jabba’s palace has been replaced by a “wide pan with a huge door”; the door is now peppered with laser blast impacts
Han Solo’s “carbonite thaw” is now CGI
A computer-generated “Dug” from the prequels (Sebulba, the evil racer who podraced Anakin in The Phantom Menace, was a dug) is seen walking across the screen after Luke infiltrates Jabba’s palace; the dug looks “really fake, like it was [added at the] last minute”
Wicket the Ewok now has computer-generated, blinking eyes
Darth Vadar says “No” several times as he picks up Emperor Palpatine and tosses him into the Death Star reactor core; the “Nos” seem to be sampled from The Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith, respectively

As you can see, most of them were once again just correcting special effects faults but a few of the new bits change the tone of the films completely. I don't have a Blu-Ray player so I was never going to buy these anyway but I can understand why some people would be annoyed that he refuses to release the original untainted films in a better looking format than the 2006 limited release they were given.

I'm glad he is retiring now as I think he has pretty much had himself surrounded by "Yes Men" for the last twenty years that were too afraid to tell him some of his ideas where a bit rubbish (for proof of this watch any of the prequel documentaries where you can clearly see this in action). I do wonder though if out of spite George will decide to utterly murder Star Wars? As in no more novels, no more movies, no more video games. Period. Nah of course he won't but I suppose my hopes of a sequel to Willow now have been blown out of the water.

What do you think of the news?