Tuesday, 17 April 2018

RAMPAGE - podcast review out now


Giant monsters! Destruction! Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson! Everything you could want from a modern disaster movie, right? Directed by Brad Peyton, and based on the video game, Rampage is a simple story about a bunch of big animals that go berserk and the one sensitive but strangely indestructible man that can bring them down. Co-starring Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Joe Manganiello, we look at what this film does right and wrong, and why it could of done with camping it's self up a bit.

We also refer to Pacific Rim Uprising in this podcast, and you can listen to our review of that film here.

You can download this episode directly here.

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Sunday, 15 April 2018

THE LEIGH SPENCE MOMENT: THE DEATH OF STALIN

66. “Do not defy me, sit your arses down!”

15/04/2018
It is a bit of a complicated web, but films are often made this way: “The Death of Stalin” is a French-British-Belgian co-production, with a British director, based on a French graphic novel, with a script by four British writers, and starring a multi-national cast led by American and British actors – no wonder the Russians have banned it or, at least, refused to give it a certificate.

On the face of it, the film is a farce, starring Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin and Paul Whitehouse, about the political jostling and one-upmanship that followed the death of Stalin in 1953, and the "Great Terror" of death lists and torture that was used to control the population up to then. The names are familiar - Khrushchev, Molotov, Zhukov and so on – but the main thrust of the action is how these names are single-mindedly engaged in their own power struggle, with the collateral damage this inflicts on the Russian people being used as further ammunition for that power struggle. The acting is broad, as well as the accents – every actor keeps their own, with no attempt at a Russian one – perhaps as a way of maintaining levity, and probably because playing it too authentically would turn the film into a drama without changing the script.

No-one likes their history written by someone else, especially when their countries are on less than friendly terms, but when it is in the service of satire, highlighting a period of history that ought never to be forgotten, having the Russian Ministry of Culture saying the film is part of an anti-Russian information war must have played into Armando Iannucci’s hands. After nearly thirty years of producing and performing  satirical TV and radio shows, from “On the Hour” and “The Day Today” for the BBC – two shows that used both the format of news bulletins, and cut-up and disinformation techniques, to disrupt how we think about facts – to “The Thick of It” and “Veep,” to be able to rile the Russian establishment, by playing its history back to them, must have felt par for the course.

The easiest and most effective way to defy an ideology is to take the piss out of it, and “The Death of Stalin” has quite a job in balancing the absurd machinations of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union with the deadly consequences of those actions, much in the way that the sitcom “’Allo ‘Allo” is considered to trivialise the tragedy of the Second World War. Not to tell the story in any capacity would be treading a thin line into casual indifference but banning it – the film has also not been shown in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – displays an unintended ironic disregard for the story it tells.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Top 5 worst moments of Wrestlemania 34

Well, you had the good, now here's the bad. Wrestlemania is the biggest show of the year for WWE so expectations should be through the roof. I've seen a lot of people saying it wasn't too bad and the like, but that's not the case, it should be freaking awesome or it's a failure. I've hand picked five of the worst moments of Wrestlemania, in my opinion, and I had a lot to choose from.


5. Nia Jax winning the Womans Title - I understand Nia winning was defeating a damn dirty bully, but Alexa Bliss has been awesome as the heel champion. I just don't rate Nia as in the same league as Alexa. Hopefully Askua will come back to Raw to take the title off Nia as I don't think Nia elevates that title in any way.

4. Nakamura and Styles not being main event - I may be wrong here but I thought the winner of the Royal Rumble went on to headline Wrestlemania. Now this isn't the first time this has happened, but it still annoys me.


3. Match run times - I spoke about this a bit yesterday, as the majority of matches on the card were bloody short, from both secondary title matches not being that long to both tag team championship matches being laughably short. I'm pretty sure Braun finding a tag team partner took longer then his match.

2. Cruiserweights get fucked - Well, if you have no faith in this division, how the hell are we suppose to have faith in it. The cruiserweights on 205 Live have been having some excellent matches in the tournament to be crowned champion, so when I heard they were being stuck on the pre-show again I felt bad for the guys. I mean, you only pissed off the two biggest names in the division last time you did it, so why do it again? I thought, well at least they'll get more time on the pre-show, but that didn't seem to be the case either. The match was no where near as good as the last match the two had, and it was probably the worst match in the tournament as a whole.


1. The disrespect to multiple wrestlers - Now I've touched on this subject as well, with Cena running up the ramp during Charlotte's exit, then putting an advert for Ronda Rousey during the Cruiserweight championship, and another advert during the Women's Battle Royal again was frustrating. But the biggest dis goes to Braun Strowman picking a child to beat The Bar. How bad does that make not only The Bar, but also the whole Raw tag team division, look. This just rubbed me up the wrong way along with how bad Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn looked not being able to put Shane McMahon away in their match.

Feel like I have to mention the really shitty graphics that were used in some of the matches, whoever thought that was a good idea was very, very wrong. Well, that's it for me I've said my peace now, I can forget all about this event and focus on whats important: NXT. Let me know what your biggest disappointments of the night were. Richee


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Top 5 Moments of Wrestlemania 34 - 2018


Well, it happened. Wrestlemania wasn't even slightly close to being on the same level as NXT. I struggle to understand why there were no special match types on the show, every match was a vanilla standard match. I miss the days where the grandest stage of them all would have cage matches, tables, ladders and chair matches, hell I'd take a hardcore/street fight/ falls count anywhere match. This is why, in my opinion, NXT pissed all over Wrestlemania, starting with a six man ladder match and ending with an unsanctioned match, these stipulations really add to the grandeur. Anyway, I managed to find five things I liked (barely), so here they are.

5. Undertaker squashes John Cena - Well, Cena got his wish, a match with the Phenom on the grandest stage of them all, managing to hit one move in the less then three minute long match. I mean, 'Takers entrance was longer then three minutes, Cena's screen time in the audience was longer then three minutes. But to be fair, expecting anymore from the Dead Man is too much. Yes, he did look good, other then his face plant after his rolling clothesline, but 'Taker can't do what he used to do and we shouldn't expect him to. It was a nice little head nod to the Phenom but we don't need one more match, so stop asking. Plus, did Elias have to get involved in this segment? That was a waste of talent right there.

4. Daniel Bryan's Return - Not the match itself because I hate the fact Bryan kicked out of both the helluva kick and the pop up powerbomb, but just the fact that he is wrestling again. He is a tremendous talent and it was good to see him back. It's just a shame it was with this situation.

3. Bludgeon Brothers winning the titles - Luke Harper is freaking amazing, and since his return with Erick Rowan they've been on fine form, culminating in there destruction of both the Uso's and the New Day at Fastlane. That made this my must see match. I was hoping a stipulation would be thrown in, as these teams can do some amazing things. But no, and in the end all we got was a five minute match with a tiny hint of what these teams can do together. At least the Bludgeon Brothers won though.

2. Askua vs Charlotte - This was match of the night by a long way, with some excellent spots and some nice striking all round. The shock of Charlotte winning was a surprise but not an unwelcome one. Askua couldn't last forever with her undefeated streak, but maybe she could have put up a bit more of a fight at the end. Also, fuck Cena for running up the ramp after the match while Askua was still in the ring and Charlotte was making her exit. Could you not have done that at some other point? Seemed a bit disrespectful.

1. Nakamura turning heel - I'm all for this. Shinsuke is a bad ass and a great striker, but the whole artist angle is hot garbage, he is the god damn king of strong style. So when Nakamura low blowed Styles I was so happy. Smackdown have had two heels on their roster for too long in Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. I'm not including Jindah because I don't rate him as a top guy, but now with Daniel Bryan back we need an awesome heel to rival the two indie darlings.

Well there's my top five. I really should have put Ronda Rousey's debut on here, the match itself was entertaining and Ronda looked awesome, but the match went on too long in the end meaning most the other matches got cut back, effecting the whole card. What do you guys think was the top moment of Wrestlemania 34? If you think I'm being too harsh let me know in the comments below. Let's get a conversation going. Richee

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

GHOST STORIES - podcast review out now


Based on the stage play by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, Ghost Stories, also directed by Nyman and Dyson, follows a twisting narrative that contemplates the very nature of ghosts. Paranormal skeptic Professor Goodman (Nyman) is sent to solve three increasingly bizarre haunting's that send his own beliefs into doubt. Co-starring Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse and Alex Lawther, Ghost Stories delivers a mediation on why we choose to believe in ghosts, and the dangers of not acknowledging the ghosts in our past.

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.


You can read the Leigh Spence article we talk about at the end of the podcast here.