Monday, 19 March 2018

ANNIHILATION / TOMB RAIDER - Double Bill podcast review out tomorrow

DVD roundup: "Double the dads, but half the laughter" edition

The sequel to a film that really didn't justify a sequel, Daddy's Home 2 sees Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell return as the reconciled co-father, only for everything to go tits up again when their own fathers, played by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow, arrive for Christmas. I'll be honest, I really didn't want to watch this film. Looked boring, unfunny, and I really wasn't a fan of the first film. Listen to our review of the first film here.

Rex, or as its called in America, Megan Leavey, tells the true story of a new trainer in the K-9 unit who forms a close bond with an aggressive German Shepard. Obviously, there are going to be sad and upsetting moments in a movie about war, especially animals, but Rex chooses to focus itself on the trainer-dog relationship, rather then the politics of war.

This biographical film stars Annette Bening as Gloria Grahame, who finds love with a younger man, played by the much underrated Jamie Bell, and then is diagnosed with breast caner. Like Rex, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool is guaranteed to be weepy romance, but considering its cast, which also includes Julie Walters and Vanessa Redgrave, you know its going to be a good watch in terms of characterisation.

If you don't know about the creation of Wonder Woman, then you're in for a treat with Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Dr. William Moulton Marston was an accomplished man, but he had a lot of help from the two women in his life: his wife Elizabeth and their lover Olive Bryne. Mixing in feminism, domination and submission, and polyamory, this looks to be a fascinating backstory to one of comics biggest heroes.

Sunday, 18 March 2018


63. “She never lied to us.”


I had not expected myself, having finished watching “Cat People,” to be comparing it to “Get Out,” but both films, in their time, challenged expectations of what a horror film can be, and Jordan Peele caused as much surprise with his debut feature film as Val Lewton had done with his.

The horror in “Cat People” is implied, and psychological in nature. Like the other films Lewton made as a producer at RKO Radio Pictures, the story didn’t necessarily need to be told as a horror film – it is grounded in our reality, and the characters are relatable, even being shown at work. In fact, the horror comes when it is needed, not just because the audience needs to be jolted in their seats.

The story concerns someone who, like Lewton, was born in Eastern Europe – Irena, a fashion designer, who is haunted by the stories of devil worship and witchcraft from her ancestors’ village, which turned them into cat people. She believes she will turn into a panther if she gives in to passion and becomes aroused. All of this is foreshadowed in the opening scene, based in a zoo, where Irena discards sketches she made, but didn’t like, of a panther, which attracts a man, Oliver, who begins to talk to her - one sketch has a sword put through the panther.

The psychology and reason of the “new world” is played against the myth and tradition of the world, as Oliver, who goes on to marry Irena, his co-worker Alice, and a psychiatrist, all believe Irena is letting these stories control herself, but the reactions she gets from pets brought by Oliver for her, and being called “my sister” by a woman in a restaurant, remarked upon for looking like a cat, only convinces Irena further. As the others begin to suspect what they are seeing and hearing themselves, the threat of what they dismissed becomes more and more real.

“Cat People” begins and ends with quotes that allude to good and evil existing in the same place, and with a main character that embodies a kind of inevitability in their turning to darkness – a kind that even marriage cannot solve – you find that what was meant to have been a straightforward horror film actually contains very mature themes for the time. The shadows and fog of “Cat People” coincided with the birth of film noir, with RKO’s 1940 film “Stranger on the Third Floor” seen as the first of the genre, continuing into 1947’s “Out of the Past,” a masterwork by “Cat People’s” director, Jacques Tourneur. All three films have the same cinematographer, Nicholas Musuraca, whose use of light defined the genre.

“Cat People” is the definitive Val Lewton film. Lewton began as a journalist and pulp novelist, before becoming a script editor for producer David O Selznick, apparently telling him that “Gone with the Wind” was unfilmable. However, Selznick’s MGM production of “Anna Karenina” was influenced by Lewton’s grasp on detail as an amateur historian. When RKO approached him to head up a unit making cheap horror films to compete against Universal’s monsters, it was Selznick that negotiated his contract there, seeing the chance he should be given. Despite the terms - make films using titles suggested by the studio, lasting 75 minutes or less for under $150,000 (now only over $2 million with inflation), Lewton could make his films however he liked – to that end, despite using the staircase from Orson Welles’ “The Magnificent Ambersons” more than once, all the psychological intrigue, and even the way the shadows fall on his characters, were written into the script. “Cat People” made $4 million at the US box office over the next two years for RKO, twice what “Citizen Kane” and “Ambersons” had made put together at the time, saving the studio.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Jessica Jones season 2 - Richee Netflix Review

I've been looking forward to the second series of Jessica Jones since the first season blew me away. Wondering how they were gonna top the intrigue and brutality of the first season, I dived into season two hoping for more of the same. The first episode just dumps everything that is going on after the Defenders on you. Jess is back following cheating spouses, Trish wants Jess to dig up her past, Jess has a new superintendent, the Whizzer, another super powered human created like Jess, is being hunted, Jeri has ALS, another private investigator wants to buy out Alias, and Jess seeks out what happened to her after the Whizzer is killed. That's all in the first episode.

The huge info-dump could of taken place over multiple episodes, as the next few episodes are really boring. I discovered something about the second season of Jessica Jones and that is I hate every one of the side characters. They're all assholes, especially Trish, who in my opinion is the villain of this series, as every one of her actions is to benefit her. She is manipulative and selfish, and why Jess would want to protect her or keep her in her life is beyond me. We find out half way through the series that Jess' mother survived the car crash that killed her family thanks to the same procedure that happened to her, but it had some negative side effects.

Everything with Jeri I just didn't care about. She gets lumbered with a side character named Inez who is a nasty character, but which turns into a relationship, because everyone has to get it on in this series. That is another thing that did my head in, every single character is just overly horny and just use sex to manipulate or deceive. All the plot points just seem so convenient as well. If the new superintendent wasn't a expert forger, life would have been so much harder for Jess in this series. The one highlight to this series was episode 11 where Kilgrave comes back as a figment of Jess' imagination. After she does something bad, she is also exhausted having not slept for a while and Kilgrave is there to twist the knife, trying to get her to be the murderer he knows she can be.

This episode highlighted how badly this season needed a good villain. With it lacking that and great side characters like Luke Cage this series was just boring. This season really disappointed me, expecting the worst from the first series to have it be my favourite of the Netflix shows to expecting too much from season 2 and getting let down. Final rating is a 5/10: it's distinctly average. Krysten Ritter is excellent as Jessica Jones and Janet McTeer is good as her mother, considering the complexity of their relationship, but the rest of the side stories took away from the series as a whole. Richee

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Top 5 Fastlane Moments 2018

The last show on the road to WrestleMania is Fastlane, a Smackdown exclusive show, that was far better then Raw's Elimination Chamber show which occurred last month. Here's my choices for the best moments of Fastlane.

5. Bobby Roode vs Randy Orton for the United States Championship - A very solid match between two of the top faces on Smackdown, I was expecting Jindah Mihal to interfere in this one rather then having a clean finish, but he didn't which was a relief. They've been going to that well far too much lately. So good match in the end with Randy winning but Bobby looking strong in defeat.

4. Rusev vs Shinsuke Nakamura - From the brilliant introduction from Aiden English, to the devastation thrust kick by Rusev, this match was enjoyable with some good spots. Hopefully this will lead to Rusev getting more of a push after WrestleMania, because he is being wasted in the mid card at the moment.

3. Charlotte Flair vs Ruby Riot for the Women's Champonship - I really enjoyed this match. I never really rated Ruby Riot in NXT and, was shocked when she got called up with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan, but this match was really good especially for Ruby using a great straight jacket hold (I think that's what it's called?), which she keeps locked in switching to different positions multiple times. Plus, there was some good spots throughout where both women took some nasty bumps. After Charlotte picked up the win Asuka came out to let Charlotte know she will be her opponent for WrestleMania in what could be a show stealer.
2. Six pack challenge for the WWE Championship - This match started hot with Cena hitting his finisher on all challengers apart from AJ, then both men traded some pretty weak looking punches. The rest of the wrestlers recovering from Cena's round of finishers all beat up on him. Most wrestlers went their own way with Corbin throwing Ziggler through a barrier. Zayn and Owens wound up getting in Shane McMahon's face, who was there for no reason other then to be a jerk. Shane ended up costing both Owens and Zayn the match, pulling the ref out the ring when Owens' had Ziggler pinned and pulling Zayn out when he had Owens pinned. AJ managed to retain his title pinning Owens after the phenomenal forearm. This was a great main event with all involved, apart from Shane, he sucks.

1. The Usos vs The New Day for the Tag Team Championships - The match was really enjoyable with both teams switching move sets. Both teams hit the opposite teams finishers for close pin falls and the match ended with both teams on the outside of the ring after the Usos hit splashes to the outside. Then the Bludgeon Brothers showed up to just destroy both teams in what seemed like forever. Rowan even tried to squash Jays head with his hammer at one point, luckily he moved. The beat down ended with a brutal power bomb on Xavier on to the ring steps. This was a brutal beat down which I hope leads to a TLC match at WrestleMania between these three teams.

Well that's my top 5 moments, did I miss any of your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments below. Richee

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

GRINGO - podcast review out now

Directed by Nash Edgerton, Gringo sees David Oyelowo play a naive business man whose life falls apart on a work trip to Mexico, and who decides that the best way to start a new life is to fake is own kidnapping. Mix in that a drug cartel and a young couple who are drug mules, then you have a film that... well, we've all kind of seen before. Co-starring Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, and Sharlto Copley, Gringo is a watchable comedy that's light on the laughs, but how much can you truly enjoy a movie that preaches the upside of being an arsehole?

You can download this episode directly here.

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