Thursday, 17 August 2017

Vice Principals - Richee Review

Well I've been lacking in the blogs as of late (sorry about that), but with Now TV in tow because hell no am I missing Game Of Thrones, but The Layla has all ready hijacked that goldmine worth of blogs so I've searched what else I could watch and found the show Vice Principals, starring Danny McBride and Walton Goggins. With two great talents like that fronting the series, I wasn't sure how I hadn't heard of it, so I dived in feet first, kinda expecting a shit show.

So the show opens with the Principle, played by Bill Murray, retiring to look after his sick wife, leaving one hot headed Vice Principle and one suck up Vice Principle, hoping to land the job of Principle. When the day comes to announce the new Principle both men are less then pleased to be passed over as the job is given to Dr Belinda Brown, a successful Principle from Philadelphia. Both men decide to put there dislike of one another to one side and take down this new enemy.
The show took me a while to get behind because it's a case of you got these two jerk leads trying to force this woman out of her job for no other reason then they want it. They don't care how good she is at the job, or what kind of person she is, it's just out of their own greed. So it's hard to kind root for them, but as the show goes on, it fleshes out the characters really well, showing you the struggles both men go through in life, and also Dr Brown, who has a tragic back story, which lead me to kinda root for all three. 

Danny McBride plays Neal Gamby, the hot headed authority figure of the school, dealing with his daughter growing up with his ex-wife and her new step dad Ray. Walton Goggins plays Lee Russell, the overly camp suck up who's friends with everyone, but only for his own means, but is struggling with his wife's mother moving in to his house showing him no respect. Kimberly Hebert Gregory plays Dr Belinda Brown, the new Principal, who is a no nonsense strong willed woman trying to raise her two sons after a messy break up, leaving Philadelphia for this new job.
It's really nice to see the comradery between the two leads blossom into a proper friendship. They're both scum bags, but it's good to see them find a friend in each other, seeing their devious plans fall apart and the lengths they're willing to go to to get their way, while they scheme behind Dr Browns back. Mr Gamby chasing his affections for teacher Miss Snodgrass, played by Georgia King, who thinks he's a bit of an arsehole, but as the two work together she sees maybe he isn't such a bad guy.

I think the latter half of the show is better then the beginning, and I think it really picks up with the last three episodes, leaving on a cliff hanger ending for season two, which I'm really looking forward too now. Final rating 8/10: this was a really good show. Its offensive and violent but so much fun, and these extremely flawed characters do grow on you, as you hope for the best out come in their personal lives, while hoping they will give up on their misgivings of getting rid of Dr Brown. What do you think? Did you enjoy the show? Let us know in the comments below. Layla doesn't feed me unless I get comments, so please, I'm so hungry. Richee 



Wednesday, 16 August 2017

GAME OF THRONES - Season 7 Episode 5 review


SPOILERS!

Eastwatch
  
First off, how could you even doubt that it was Bronn that saved Jaime from almost certain death? He's been promised a castle by the Lannister's, and he's determined to get it. While that has been his mission for a while now, it seems that Bronn has come to his senses and realises that no one is going to win in a war against dragons, so lets put a pin in that high-living dream for the moment.

Daenerys once again lives up to her own contradictory standards. She understands that violence is going to be a necessary evil in this war, although that doesn't quite explain her lust for brutal punishments. I guess immolation is a sure fire way to not have to deal with the haters. Although Tyrion favours using The Wall or a dank cell as punishment, Daenerys gives you only two choices; bend the knee, or die. Randyll Tarly and his stupid son Dickon only believe in native born rulers, no matter how crazy they are, and agree to die for Cersei. Tyrion and Varys later talk on Dragonstone about how to get Daenerys to listen, as she seems to be getting more out of control. For all her talk of "breaking the wheel", of which Cersei has apparently utilised, Daenerys is more than happy to use old wheel techniques to get what she wants. Wouldn't it be ironic if she was to die via a breaking wheel?


Meanwhile, back at Winterfell, Sansa is getting shit from the northerners for Jon not being there, and according to Arya, she's wants the power for herself. Suspicious Arya gets even more suspicious as she follows Little Finger around the castle. What's he up to, eh? Well, it looks like he's tying to play the sisters against one another, as he allows Arya to break into his chambers and find a note he had hidden, which was sent back when Sansa was a hostage of the Lannister's, detailing Ned's death and telling Robb to bend the knee to Joffrey. Although this obviously annoys Arya, she can't be dense enough to think that Sansa truly meant it? I sense that a certain Lord Baelish may not be long for this world.

Bran warg's a bunch of crows north of the wall and witnesses the army of the dead slowly, ever so slowly, descending south. The Night King stares a crow dead in the eye which shocks Bran, leading him to send ravens out across the country warning everyone. One ends up in the Citadel, and all those Archmaester's have a good laugh at the fantastical story of crippled boy and the ice zombies. Sam gets noticeably pissed, as they refuse to believe Bran, let alone Sam himself, suggesting that its a ploy from the Dragon Queen. Sam leaves the room, and we are left with more fuel to flame the maester conspiracy, as they seem to seriously discuss the matter once Sam leaves. And those bastards still haven't told him that his father and brother are dead. Everyone takes the Citadel's words as gospel, and they seem to be abusing that fact.


Gilly's reading is getting on very well. While Sam is visibly bored at the idea of copying down these rotting scrolls, she's having a whale of a time recounting the bowel movements of High Septon Maynard. But, holy shit, what's this? A certain Prince "Raggar" annulled his marriage and married another on the same day in Dorne, all initiated by Maynard? So... Jon is the legitimate son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, and so he's the legitimate heir to the throne? And he fancies his aunt? What a fucking bombshell people, but this info is just privy to the audience. So far in the show only Bran is aware of Jon's true heritage, and all this means nothing to a frustrated Sam, although I'm sure he'll remember this information for an appropriate time. "Tired of reading about the achievements of better men", Sam steals a bunch of books and sneaks of the Citadel with Gilly and Sam Jr. and heads for the north (I presume he still doesn't know about his family).

At Dragonstone, Jon gets his first up close moment which a dragon, and he decides to stick his hand by its mouth. Luckily, Drogon decides to not bite it off and instead enjoys a nice little stroke, much to Dany's surprise.That's probably because he's a Targaryan, right? Jorah got the bullet train from the Citadel and arrives just as Dany does, and of course they're happy to see each other, and Jorah re-pledges his allegiance to her. In the war room Jon receives a note (which Varys earlier dismissed as being uninteresting), detailing that Arya and Bran are home. Unfortunately for the audience, his reaction to the news is a bit lacklustre, and he instead decides to talk about Bran's spying on the White Walkers. Everyone agrees that Cersei is the one they need to persuade, but first they need to get Tyrion to talk to Jaime, who they believe can influence Cersei and let them have an audience with her.


Speaking of Cersei, she's only gone and got herself pregnant by her brother. This is definitely going to give her more impetuous to not be flexible. Davos the Smuggler smuggles Tyrion into King's Landing, so that he can talk to Jaime, but Davos is there on ulterior motives. Heading to Flea Bottom he finds Gendry, the bastard son of the late Robert Baratheon, whose been hiding in plan sight, and whose ready to fight. And, lol everyone, Davos quotes that Gendry meme back at us. That's good writing that is. Who else out there noticed Kevin Eldon too as a Goldcloak, that made me happy. He did however get his head smashed in my Gendry's war-hammer... oh well. We now have our rag-tag group ready to catch a White Walker, which includes Jon, Davos, Jorah and Gendry, who sail away to Eastwatch.

When they get there, Tormund lets them know that they already have a bunch of captives they caught traversing north of the wall, and who should they be except but the Brotherhood Without Banners and the Hound. Yeah, this lot all hate each other, so we can expect some arguing in the next episode, but they all travel together for a common cause. This is the living against the dead, people, it doesn't matter what god you believe in or what monarchy you plead fealty to.


While not reaching the emotional heights of last weeks episode, we were treated to a lot of new information, especially that of Cersei's pregnancy, which she seems to view more as leverage over Jaime then any kind of happy moment. You can guarantee that this pregnancy will end in tragedy. Everything is moving so fast, as I seem to be saying a lot, but I still worry that we don't have enough time to properly tell everyone's story. Little Finger especially, the Machiavellian monster who has been orchestrating everything from the start, I fear will die before we get a chance to truly understand his reasoning. Gendry's reason for returning seems flimsy as well. I understand that he is a fan favourite, especially when shipped with Arya, but it felt like Davos just picked him up for "reasons". Everyone seems to fancy Dany too, and I'm not sure how I'll feel if the show resorts to Jon, Jorah and Tyrion having a little hissy fit over her. When people complain that the show now watches like a fan fiction, its episodes like this that perpetrate it.

While the pacing of this series is an issue, I'm hoping next weeks episode, which will focus on the gangs expedition to catch a White, will slow down a bit and let us indulge a bit more. As per the shows usual method, the penultimate episode is usually the most action packed, and seen as we've had Euron destroying a fleet of ships and Daenerys setting fire to everything, next weeks episode is going to have to deliver something quite special.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

ATOMIC BLOND - podcast review out now


In this slightly spoiler filled podcast (nothing that gives away the ending) we look at David Leitch's Atomic Blond. Based on the comic The Coldest City by Anthony Johnston and Sam Hart, we are taken to 1989 Berlin. The wall hasn't yet come down, but the world's secret service agencies are on high alert after a list containing the names of every agent goes missing. Enter Charlize Theron as Lorraine, MI6's best agent, a striking individual with plenty of fighting skills. Also starring James McAvoy and Sofia Boutella, we break apart this flimsy excuse for an 80s mix-tape and look at how its lack of emotion and gratuitous scenes has unfortunately made one of the most loathsome films of the summer.

We mention a couple of other films in this podcast. Find our reviews of them by clicking on the films title: Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

You can download this episode directly here.

Make sure you subscribe to us on itunes here and leave us a review, as well as following us on twitter and facebook.



Monday, 14 August 2017

ATOMIC BLOND - podcast review out tomorrow


DVD Roundup: Long Pig edition


If you listened to last weeks podcast review of Julia Ducournau's cannibal horror Raw and thought it was worth a watch, well your in luck. Raw is finally out on DVD, so you can watch all that (literal) finger licking goodness at your own comfort. Yeah, it may be a little aloof and pretentious with its stand off-ish tone, but it brings an interesting new take to the cannibal genre, and provides and interesting horror alternative to all the predictable jump scares you get in most contemporary scary movies. Check out our podcast review in the player below.



Starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, Going In Style tells the daring story of how these geriatric men took revenge on the bank that stole their pension fund. Well, maybe its not daring, but its a light piece of fluff that's not going to make you think too much. Still, the cast is pretty good, and you can be guaranteed that what ever script these guys are given, they're going to wring out the best from it.





I don't know what it is about The Smurfs, but I've never been a fan of them. Put them up there with Trolls and Barbies for lamentable childhood memories. Amazingly, this is the third big Smurfs movie in 6 years, and this is in fact a reboot from the 2011 live action/animated version. Why? Sony Animation have been pumping out a lot of shit lately, especially with The Emoji Movie bombing spectacularly. I guess if you like The Smurfs you'll enjoy this, but don't hold your breath.




The Transfiguration is an interesting take on vampire lore, focusing on a troubled lad's vampire fascination which bleeds into his real life. Not so much a horror in as much as a drama about economic and social issues, this looks to question the metaphor of vampirism that permeates our actual lives, but it seems to wear its influences more blazingly then it should.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

THE LEIGH SPENCE MOMENT: GET OUTTA MY DREAMS, GET INTO MY CAR


40. “Touch my bumper, hey, let’s make a deal…”



13/08/2017




While vaporwave, the simultaneous internet meme and musical genre, takes 1980s music and aesthetics to the nth degree, in an attempt to make a satirical statement about materialism and consumerist culture, it can never compare to the sheer Eighties-ness of some 1980s songs and music videos, blissfully unaware of the layers of irony, camp and kitsch that will be layered on it when viewed in decades to come.

Therefore, for a music video to be, in effect, the most Eighties thing to have ever Eighties-ed, it needs to be impervious to the aesthetics of vaporwave, defying the cut-and-paste techniques it employs. I am delighted to announce that the quintessential Eighties song made itself known by a suggestion on YouTube, under another song that runs close, Go West’s “We Close Our Eyes.”


Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car,” was released in January 1988, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 3 in the UK. The song capped four straight years of success in the US, the peak of which was arguably “When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Gets Going,” as used in the film “Romancing the Stone.” (“Get Outta My Dreams…” was used in “License to Drive,” a vehicle for Corey Haim and Corey Feldman).

The production of the song is pure 1980s synthesised cheese, the mainstream shift to electronic musical instruments from 1983 already becoming mired in synth chords and Roland drum machine-powered disco samples – almost the only non-electrical instrument here, apart from Ocean’s voice, is another 1980s staple, the saxophone break, played here by Vernon Jeffrey Smith.


The video, on the other hand, tries to fit the Eighties into every frame. A search online did not turn up the names of who, or which company, made the video, so it may be on a need-to-know basis, but the editing, including slow motion, and jump cuts during continuous motion, are things you don’t find in later music videos to the same extent. Ocean’s trip through the car wash is treated with the loud choice of colours that were initially found on furniture from the Memphis Group, which, along with the patterns and angles also found on them, found their way into general use. For seemingly no reason at all, Ocean’s car also alternates, while he is sat in it, from the Porsche 911 convertible seen in the rest of the video, to a Jeep, a Volvo740, and Renault 5, before returning to a Porsche. Relics of the Fifties also feature, such as old-style gas pumps, a drive-in theatre, and the clothing worn by many people in the video, all of which will be childhood nostalgia for thirtysomething people in the Eighties.


Then, there is the animation – “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” would be released five months after this video, and the use of a fish and duck here appear to serve no other point to say, yes, we made a video that mixes live action with animation, but with all the CGI to come, this was almost the last time this could be done as a pure novelty, not least when using all the crazy colours.

“Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” is a bewildering video and a very Eighties song, but it stands by itself – not much can be compared with it, which is an achievement in itself.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

GAME OF THRONES - Season 7 Episode 4 review


SPOILERS!

The Spoils of War

The shortest episode of the season packs a punch, and steps it up to include what we've all been waiting for: motherfucking dragons on the battlefield. More of that in a bit though. First off, lets talk about Cersei and the Iron Bank's Tycho, who appeared in a short scene. Tycho is more than happy with the progression of the loan being paid off, and feeds Cersei's ego when it comes to her being smarter than her father. Crucially, the Iron Bank are more than willing to fund any future expansions to the Lannister army, but only when the debt is paid... I don't think Tycho is going to go back to Braavos a happy man.

Everyone's favourite little murderer Arya finally makes it back to Winterfell, and you can see just how melancholic that makes her feel. This feeling is quickly dissapated when she realises that her home is guarded by morons. Sansa finds her in the tombs, and its the second time we see the statue of Ned. If only he could see his children now; Sansa and Arya have both become what they always wanted to be, a Lady and a fighter, but not through paths they would of wished for. Although Sansa laughs off Arya's notorious list of people she intends to murder, she is rightly perturbed by Bran's confirmation of that list. Crikey, everyone seems to be levelling up to be almost superhuman except for Sansa. That's gotta make you feel a bit put out.


Earlier, Bran received a morbid gift from Littlefinger when he was given the very Valyrian steel blade used to try and murder him right at the beginning of the story. Littlefinger comments that Bran has "seen things men wouldn't believe". Is Baelish familiar with the Three Eyed Raven? Or is he going to try and use Bran's visions against him? Either way, Bran calmly quotes the infamous "chaos is a ladder" line back at him. I really am just waiting for that massive exposition dump from Bran now that's really going to blow all the characters minds. Or they'll burn him as a witch. And what about poor Meera? All that she has done for Bran and he doesn't seem to care that she's leaving, although he does comment that he doesn't think he's Bran any more. Let's just hope that Meera doesn't whimper off though before the show is done.

Bran gave Arya the Valyrian steel blade, 'cos who needs weapons when you can literally change the past. We then get a wonderful scene that perfectly displays all of Arya's teachings, from the Hound to the Faceless Men to Syrio's beautiful Braavosi water dance philosophy. Disrupting Brienne's lesson to Podrick, Arya and Brienne spar in the yard to the audience of Sansa and Littlefinger. Brienne is left in awe, and Sansa a little troubled at just how good her sister is. Littlefinger looks smug. What's that bastard planning? I just wonder, is Arya's going to get a bit bored just hanging around Winterfell and not murdering anyone?


Back at Dragonstone, Jon continues trying to persuade Daenerys that the White Walkers are real, and he seems to succeed. He shows off the vast deposit of Dragonglass, and then we get a great little scene involving cave art created by the the Children of the Forest. Ohh, those circles and spirals! Its been said about in some theories that the use of phi and the golden spiral hints at the need for greater harmony in the seven kingdoms, and this cave suggests that this is something the Children of the Forest was well aware of. Also, we see a pretty sophisticated drawing of the the Andel's and Children of the Forest, seemingly enemies, joining together to fight the White Walkers, and it's just the kind of evidence Jon needs to persuade Dany to help him. She believes it all, but still finds time to be a bitch. She pretty much blackmails Jon, saying she'll help him, only if he bends the knee. "There survival is more important than your pride." Hey, what about your pride?

Daenerys soon becomes angry again when she learns that three of her major allies have been wiped out and the Unsullied are stuck at Casterly Rock. She's growing tired of Tyrion's failed plans, commeting that he's maybe more concerned for his family than he lets on. Dany has had enough. She has the dragons, she has the Dothraki, she's going to use them.


Jaime and Bronn are riding down the Roseroad, a caravan of gold in tow, but Jaime is still not happy. He heard disturbing news from Olenna in the last episode, and he's really not going to feel safe until he's back at King's Landing. Bronn is being a bit smarmy, still wanting more after receiving two big bags of gold coin. Dickon Tarly confesses that he didn't think war would be so smelly. Well, its about to get a lot more pungent. Bronn hears the distant thunder of an army approaching, and I'll confess that my arms came out in goosebumps at that sound of cheering Dothraki. The Lannister army start the prepare, "spears and shields!", but you can see them visibly quake at the sight of their enemy. And then the sound of Drogon's gutteral roar comes out over the horizon.

I really thought Jaime did his best in this scene, but I wouldn't of blamed him if he just ran away like Theon. This is a man tortured by the memory of the Mad King Aerys wanting to "burn them all", and the subsequent slur of "Kingslayer" he's had to endure for years afterwards, despite the fact he was the real hero. Here he sees the Mad King's daughter, blazing in on a dragon, shouting "dracarys", and setting his army on fire. Men are turned to ash and literally blown away in the wind. A fantastically shot scene, but truly terrifying. No wonder Tyrion was so against her using her dragons, and it seems like he's going to struggle to reign her in from her "Mad Queen" mode now.


Bronn, in a choice between saving his money and saving the army, betrays his sell-sword ways and opens up The Scorpion. He hits Drogon's shoulder, meaning he's going to have to land. Daenerys leaves herself vulnerable as she tries to pull out this arrow, and Jaime seizes his chance to become a Queenslayer. Of course, Drogon loves his mother, and he shoots a blast of fire straight towards him, only for Bronn to jump in the way and dive him and Jaime into nearby river, just making out with their lives. In the trailer for episode 5 we see Daenerys persuading members of the Lannister army to bend the knee or die, and I wonder if she's in a position to do that because she's got Jaime and Bronn hostage.

With the common folk apparent apathy towards Cersei's destruction of the Sept, I'm not quite sure what people will think of Daenerys and her field of fire. Everyone has been telling her that she will not fare well because of it, but it is possible that she will use that fear to her advantage, maybe seeing more eye-to-eye with Cersei than we expected. And of course, what is Jaime to do next? He's stuck in the middle between two crazy Queen's. I worry also that Dany will not care to help Theon any more when it comes to saving Yara. Will these siblings become useless to everyone now? Or will Theon receive one last chance to prove his worth?


An exciting episode for sure. And lets not forget that it seems Davos himself is shipping Jon and Daenerys now. Imagine the look on their faces when they learn that Dany is Jon's aunt, ha! Also, Davos continues his questioning of Missandei some more. I'm not sure if he suspects she'll betray Dany, or just planting the seed that she doesn't need her. With only three episodes left, things are only going to escalate even faster, and I can honestly say I'm not prepared for it. One of the things I love about the books is just how luxuriously they are written, and the show feels like the abridged version. I cannot wait to read the book version of this season.