Tuesday, 19 June 2018

HEREDITARY - Podcast review out now


Ari Aster's debut feature length film Hereditary may be pulling in all the comparisons, from The Babadook and The Witch to even The Exorcist, but how does it really fare on its own merit? Starring Toni Colette as a mother grieving the death of her own mother, we see ghostly apparitions and disturbing utterances haunt her and her family, until an awful tragedy rips the families secrets wide open. Co-starring Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne and Ann Dowd, Hereditary is a masterclass of tension, but what about that notorious ending (no spoilers).

You can download this episode directly here.

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Find our review of The Babadook here, and our review of The Witch here.



Monday, 18 June 2018

HEREDITARY - podcast review out tomorrow


DVD Roundup: A Collection of Four Different Romance Films edition


Let's all breath a sigh of relief that this cinematic franchise if now over - phew! That is, unless, they start making the movies from Christian's point of view. Let's really hope they don't. You either like these movies or you don't, so there's no way my opinion is going to change that. So watch it or don't watch it, let's just hope that the market for female-centric erotica takes a more sophisticated turn in the next bunch of movies to jump on the bandwagon. Come on, whose ready for that Story of the Eye adaptation?

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a dress designer who falls in love with a woman, and she becomes his muse and lover. While this kind of story irritates me slightly, with the whole "woman running his life while he's allowed to be a creative genius" bollocks, the fact it stars Day-Lewis and Anderson are great at their craft means this may be a more nuanced story then first implied.





Directed by Claire Denis, and based on Roland Barthes "A Lover's Discourse: Fragments", Let the Sunshine In stars Juliette Binoche as an artist looking for love and sleeping with a bunch of losers, judging by the trailer anyway. While the plot may sound like fluff, Binoche is guaranteed to give us a much more nuanced performance, letting us delve into this character without judging her.





A romance drama that deals with the trepidation of discovering your identity, The Wound follows a Xhosa teenager going through with a coming of age initiation into the mountains, and "sexual hypocrisy" starts to unravel the community taking part in this ritual. Receving some excellent reviews for it's questioning, austere and shocking nature, The Wound looks like an interesting film to look out for.





Sunday, 17 June 2018

THE LEIGH SPENCE MOMENT: NIGHT OF THE COMET


73. “It’s Saturday morning, where are the goddamn kids?!”



17/06/2018




Halley’s Comet will next appear in 2061, when I will be approaching eighty years of age, so until then, I have randomly chosen what appears to be a more modern (well, modern for 1984) version of one of those teenage drive-in sci-fi films.

Having spent the first ten or so minutes setting up the characters and situation, the main event, the flash of a comet in the night sky (but not Halley’s – that wasn’t until 1986) seemingly turns all the spectators to a red dust, apart from Catherine Mary Stewart’s character Reggie, her boyfriend, and a zombie, who appeared behind a door that had a poster for the film “Red Dust” attached to it.

The film itself is a testament to what can be done by applying to cordon off a few areas of a city, and adding a red filter top the top half of the camera lens: instant desolation. Having established what pervades the sky throughout the entire film, the characters that survive – Reggie, her sister Sam, another man, Hector, and two children – behave very matter-of-factly, with the kind of stiff upper lip more often found in a British war film. You have moments when they realise who they have left behind, but they have no option but to move on, making the shifts from gun target practice to trying out clothes in a shopping centre almost necessary.


The science in this film is also just about right for a drive-in-type plot – those that survived were in structures that contained steel, which repelled the cosmic effects of the comet. That’s pretty much it – because the location is Los Angeles, you imagine the skyscrapers would still be teeming with people, but because it was Christmas, and outside of business hours, everyone would have been outside watching the comet.

A scientific institute, based underground, has also been affected by the cosmic dust they breathed in via the air-conditioning system, making them as much of a threat to the survivors as the more obvious zombies above ground – they heard the survivors on the radio, after they turned up to find out why it was still playing music (a back-up tape was still running). One of the scientists, White, played by Mary Woronov, is almost grandstanding in her display of how fed-up she is by the reasoning given by her colleagues to a completely irrational situation, for she is the one who sacrifices herself when she sees no help for herself, after killing a colleague that could threaten a survivor.

I was surprised to find this was a rather thoughtful film, with no evidence of the shlock I would have expected to find. The writer/director of “Night of the Comet,” Thom Eberhardt, had surveyed teenagers about what they would do in a post-apocalyptic situation, and once it was clear that the sticking point would begin with dating, the matter-of-fact tone must have made itself clear. The film also was inspirational in the creation of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” another situation where hero has no option but to get on with it.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Top 10 Games I Want From E3


Well E3 has come and gone again with some great trailers for upcoming games. I've gone through most of the trailers/gameplay footage that was shown and picked my top 10 from the show. Just to let those wondering why there's no Xbox exclusives on the list it's because I'm a Sony boy all the way. Those wondering why there's no Nintendo games is because I thought their presentation was disappointing: Pokemon Let's Go left me wanting more, as did the new Mario Party.

10. Resident Evil 2 Remake - I loved this game so much on the PS2, so to see it getting re-released with sexy new graphics, new gameplay controls and changes to the story has me intrigued. I don't think the character designs for Leon or Claire are that great, but they stated there's still some work to do.



9. Ghosts of Tsushima - One I wasn't too interested in originally until I watched the trailer, then it really grabbed my attention. With it's beautiful graphics and fluid looking gameplay, taking control of a samurai to fight his way through the Mongol hordes never looked so good. With a promising story and different character skills to learn means this is one exclusive to keep an eye on.



8. Overkill's Walking Dead - Let's not beat about the bush here, it's Left for Dead with a Walking Dead skin. This both intrigues me, as I love the Left for Dead games, but as they're Xbox exclusive I can't play them, so it's good I can play something similar now, but I was expecting more from this game, considering the beautiful trailers they put out introducing the four main characters. Still, having grown bored with the comics and the TV show, I've got to get my fix from somewhere.

7. Beyond Good and Evil 2 - Another cinematic trailer was shown this year looking, again, amazing. One things for sure, and that's the graphics were on point this year. Having never played the first game, I'm not sure what to expect from this sequel, but a fun adventure with a monkey and his jetpack sounds good to me. The trailer introduced a new character I imagine is probably well known to fans of the series, but to me I was blown away by the graphics.

6. Dying Light 2 - I watched this confused that there wasn't any more Dead Island clips. I ignored the first Dying Light, thinking it a Dead Island clone with parkour, but this game looks more of the same, but introducing difficult decisions that change the way people around you act and behave. The ultra violence on show had me smiling and the idea of having choices that make a difference always gets my attention.

5. Anthem - I hate EA, and I usually refuse to buy their games, because they're scum bags. Looking at Anthem though, I might have to break that pattern. Made by Bioware with little interference from EA (because people have finally got fed up with their shit), this game again looks amazing. It looks like a good Destiny, and the gameplay looks at the different classes and the benefits of working together with different attacks. I hate to say it, but EA have a winner by the looks of it.

4. Death Stranding - So you're a postman I think, traversing this weird world to deliver things from babies, people and whatever else you can fit on a Norman Reedus. This game not only looks amazing but also different, it's something we've never really seen before which isn't surprising, considering the fact Guillermo Del Toro and Hideo Kojima have made it. Introducing new charcater's and creatures, this game showed a lot, but still leaves a lot to answer.

3. Cyberpunk 2077 - I love CD Project Red: they're the anti-EA and I'll buy what ever game they release. This helps when all their games are brilliant. Again, we only got a cinematic trailer, but what a trailer. The trailer showed the world in all it's brutal glory. I've recently seen some concerns over the fact it may be a first person shooter, but I have confidence the creators know what they're doing. 

2. Last of Us Part 2 - The fourth zombie game on my list, and the sequel to one of the best games of our generation. Joel is nowhere to be seen and the trailer follows Ellie from a country dance to some brutal gameplay fight with some bandits, which looked awesome: Ellie is not only running and gunning, but grabbing items on the move and using them in the process. A distinct lack of zombies has me wondering how far along the human race has got, but I imagine we'll get to see them soon enough.

1. Fallout 76 - What else could it be? It's what I've been waiting for for so long. I want to explore the wasteland with my friends, dammit! No other people are in the world, just monsters, robots and the members of ault 76, which seems weird that they'd kill each other, but I imagine being locked away in a vault for twenty five years could probably send you a bit kill-crazy. As much as I dislike PVP, being a passive little Richee, I'm really excited for this. I watched another interview with Pete Hines where he said grieving would not be an option, so I imagine if you kill someone in the wastes you then won't be able to kill them again unless they initiate a revenge attack. But this game has me super excited, I've already pre-ordered my copy. They also stated that the game lobbies will only be a dozen people, so pretty sure we could get a peaceful group on one server.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM - podcast review out now


Spoilers kick in at 14:28

What's more exciting then an exploding volcano? A black market auction, right? And what could possibly top the Indominus Rex from the first film? A goddamn Indoraptor, right? Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom comes back bigger and dumber with Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt trying the dinosaurs from the environment and dastardly bad guys. Also starring Jeff Goldblum, Ted Levine and Rafe Spall, we ponder all the rather convenient moments the film conjures up, plus we wonder what possible sequels Fallen Kingdom could bring up. (Gothic Dracula dino's, anyone?)

You can download this episode directly here.

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Monday, 11 June 2018

THE LEIGH SPENCE MOMENT: TOO MANY COOKS


72. “A scoop of kids to add the spice / A dash of love to make it nice”



10/06/2018



I first saw “Too Many Cooks” about three years ago, and it turns out I had not enough knowledge to get all I should have from it. I thought it was a straightforward parody of the endless parade of smiling faces that make up the opening title sequences of American sitcoms, bleeding into police procedurals, Saturday morning cartoons, and prime-time soap operas. However, I didn’t know why the sitcom elements were as psychotic as they were portrayed.

In the 1990s, British TV’s main night for comedy was Friday, but because family sitcoms were becoming less of a thing, outside of shows like “Last of the Summer Wine,” “Keeping Up Appearances,” and the obviously named “2 point 4 children,” Fridays were for showing more adult, leftfield fare like “Shooting Stars,” “Father Ted,” or “Have I Got News for You,” or for big American imports like “Friends” or “Frasier.”

I had heard of “TGIF,” the name given to the American ABC network’s parade of family sitcoms about large families: “Full House,” “Family Matters,” “Growing Pains,” “Step by Step” and so on. From these, only some of “Step by Step” was ever shown on mainstream British TV, but mainly because one of its stars, Patrick Duffy, was known from “Dallas.” British sitcoms were usually never bigger than “2 point 4 children” in size, and never engaged the same cloying, sentimental tone of “Full House,” or the insane plots of Steve Urkel in “Family Matters” (which yielded a funny “Key & Peele” sketch where the show’s star, Reginald VelJohnson, is portrayed as lamenting how his show was ruined by the Urkel character).

Having seen how the “TGIF” sitcoms open, you feel there must have been a set of guidelines – views of the city in which the show is set, shots of the family acting like a family is already known to act, and characters interrupting what they are doing to look directly into the character, in an impression of sincerity, with their name appearing in yellow text. The yellow text is apparently crucial: “Family Matters” apparently used it first, with others following, but “Full House” used white text in their opening titles for five years before changing it to yellow, at the same time asking their actors not to look slightly off in the distance.

In terms of the killer featured through the film, and the disease that gives everyone their on-screen titles, I have since this realised this is included for more than just providing a plot. The sitcom parody is executed so well, you need something to remind you, especially as it was originally being played out at 4am: Adult Swim has an “Infomercials” block that is given over to, well, parodies of infomercials, while also occasionally satirising other types of TV programmes – infomercials are already parodies of “proper” shows anyway, in order to keep its audience watching. The latest “Infomercial,” titled “A Message from the Future,” is based around an election campaign for a post-apocalyptic world leader, including one who is “pro-choice” on eating pets – only the setting is different, but the psychosis remains.