Archive for November, 2018

Netflix SLAYS Daredevil

Posted: November 30, 2018 in TV
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What a horror show to wake up to! I could hardly believe it this morning when I read online that Netflix had decided to cancel its best MCU series. Now here is where it gets a bit odd ’cause according to Netflix, this is what I read anyway, it’s down to viewership being low. That’s the same reason they gave for cancelling Luke Cage and Iron Fist.

I think that is a load of crap. I reckon what’s happening is that Marvel (I.E. Disney) are taking back their I.P.’s because they are getting ready to launch their own streaming service called Disney + next year.

If you read the statement from Netflix below they pretty much all but confirm the show could live on via Marvel.

“We are tremendously proud of the show’s last and final season and although it’s painful for the fans, we feel it best to close this chapter on a high note. We’re thankful to showrunner Erik Oleson, the show’s writers, stellar crew and incredible cast including Charlie Cox as Daredevil himself, and we’re greateful to the fans who have supported the show over the years…the Daredevil character will live on in future projects for Marvel.”

Now it remains to be seen if Netflix are simply stating the obvious in that EVENTUALLY Marvel will bring the character back or if they know Marvel/Disney has every intention of bringing the show back in some form for their own streaming service. So don’t be too surprised when you likely hear that both Jessica Jones and The Punisher have been given the axe from Netflix once their currently in production new seasons air.

I think this is a bloody shame this is. Daredevil is the best thing Marvel has put out. Yeah even better than the big films. I’ll be sorry to see the show, as it is on Netflix, go. You won’t be seeing the same amount of grit or violence should the show return on Disney +.

Daredevil seasons one through three are currently available to stream now on Netflix and according to the streaming service they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

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Big news broke yesterday. After months of rumours it has now been confirmed that a new Candyman movie is on the way.

Get Out writer/director Jordan Peele is co-producing the latest instalment in the series. Nia DaCosta is set to direct. I have no idea who she is but hopefully she delivers the goods. According to the IMDB her debut feature is titled Little Woods. So far that movie doesn’t appear to have a U.K. release date.

First of all YES to a new Candyman film. Hold your horses there too folks because according to Peele and the studio this is NOT a remake.

I repeat NOT a remake.

No this new entry is being called a spiritual sequel to the original. So in other words it’s a sequel I guess? Who cares. What’s most vital is the film is good. Peele is big fan of Candyman and states it had a big impact on him. That makes me feel like this project will be handled with care.

You’ve all seen the original Candyman surely? It’s a horror classic. Like a for real classic. Should you say his name into a mirror five times the Candyman, with his hook for a hand, will appear behind you and GUT you! It’s horrible! Such a scary film.

Just how close will the new movie stick to the ending of the original film? Can we expect to see returning cast/characters? Or will a new generation step up and tell their own tale? What is confirmed is the new movie will see a return to the setting of the original.

I love Candyman. Talk about a film you can re-watch again and again. It only gets better. I’ve never seen the sequels. There are two. Saw a bit of the second one but they just don’t compare to the first film.

Filming starts early next year and the film should be out sometime in 2020.

 

Pet Sematary II

Posted: November 26, 2018 in Movies
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Don’t count Pet Sematary II out. Sure, you might not have been aware of its existence but hear me out. This 1992 sequel to the late eighties movie has enough going on to warrant a place in the marvelous realm of horror.

The first film is famously based on the novel of the same name from horror lit king Stephen King. You burry your own. That is the motto of the world King created. The novel shines a light on how individuals handle death when it strikes closest to home. The Native American burial site of the book and the films offers those who seek it out the chance to burry their loved ones and then have them return. Problem is that in the case of the first film, very much the case in this sequel, dead is better and less fatal.

Mary Lambert, director of the first film, is back to helm this sequel. There’s a connective tissue tone wise between the two films due to that. The sequel goes one step further in the case of the gore and the crazy and has a good dose of dark humour that I can see fans of the first film being annoyed about. I didn’t mind that. When it comes to the main hook though the plot of the sequel is just like what came before. People (and pets) die – more than in the first film – and they come back evil and full of murder.

Young me loved this film. I rented it a lot. Probably due to the shock of just seeing it there on the shelf in the video store and seeing that Eddie Furlong was in it! I was obsessed with T2: Judgement Day and obviously Furlong is awesome in that film. I thought he was so cool. He’s great in Judgement Day and he’s good here too. His character, Jeff Matthews, losses his mother during the opening of the sequel. The fear of loosing a parent is legit terrifying and the film explores such a massive loss from Jeff’s point of view. That is a smart move because when the shit hits the fan and the dead start to rise you can understand a pair of teenage boys making stupid choices WAY more than a guy in his mid to late thirties. Running alongside the main plot is one which follows Jeff’s buddy Drew (Jason McGuire) and his pretty bad situation at home with his nasty stepdad Gus (a great Clancy Brown). Gus is a horror.  You get some shades of Stand By Me in the form of Jeff and Drew’s friendship and their interaction with the town bullies too.

Simply put – I am just going to say it  – I think there’s a lot more going on in Pet Sematary II than in the first film. Not to say I think it’s a better movie but it most certainly warrants a place beside the original. Cool touches throughout help this case.

For example the first flick had one hell of a cliffhanger ending. You get some clarity on what went down afterwards in this film. There’s a hammer horror feel here too. The characters are well written and brought to life by a good cast while the horror factor is brought up higher. Add to all of that some harsh gore and you got yourself a strong sequel.

Once the dead start to rise the effects are more in your face and aggressive. An un-dead dog is more of a threat than a cat right? The creature effects on both the animals and the humans are great. Don’t think the film pulls its punches either just ’cause it is more outlandish. The sequel is just as unforgiving in regards to who lives and who dies as the first flick. Once the film moves into the third act you can’t tell who is still on the side of good and who has lost their mind.

If you look this film up online you’ll see it has a less favourable reputation than its predecessor. That’s a shame ’cause I think folks may skip this based on that. If you like the first film or the book I think you’d have a decent time with Pet Sematary II. On a surface horror movie level there is enough in here to suggest at least an October night watch. I may like it more than some but I think opinions on Pet Sematary II are coming around to seeing it may be better than some initial reactions to the film had folk believe. I’d recommend the sequel to any horror fan.

 

 

 

The Lion King gets a teaser trailer!

Posted: November 23, 2018 in Movies
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What a nice surprise to wake up and find out Disney has released the first look at their – sort of live action – remake of The Lion King.

The film is directed by Jon Favreau who directed The Jungle Book remake a few years ago. I keep going to write “live action” but these aren’t live action films. Or they’re a combination of really impressive CGI and live action. I don’t know. I don’t care either really because just like The Jungle Book this film looks excellent.

Did you see The Jungle Book? I hope you did because it’s brilliant and I think it’s even better than the original animated classic. I don’t think Favreau’s The Lion King will be able to top the original for me but that’s down to the fact it’s one of my all time fave films.

Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and James Earl Jones all lend their vocal talents to the film, which opens in the UK next July.

 

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Recently I had the pleasure of watching Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Sit down. I had never seen this classic until a few weeks ago. To add insult to that travesty I had no idea it was directed by one of my fave writer/directors John Hughes. Can you believe it? The film hit U.K. screens in 1988 and obviously I was aware of it being a much loved comedy starring Steve Martin and John Candy but it just did not appeal to me. Part of me now thinks, now that I have seen it, I didn’t deserve to because of my “meh” ‘tude towards it over the years. I am sorry. This film is great.

Martin stars as Neal Page. He’s a wound up business man who is trying to get from New York to Chicago so he can spend Thanksgiving with him family. All he has to do is make sure he catches his flight in order to be back home by nine that evening. Giving him and his family plenty of time to get ready for the big holiday and relax. Everything that could go wrong does go wrong. Mostly down to a mix of Page’s crappy attitude and the arrival into his life of traveling salesman Del Griffith, played by the great John Candy. Griffith is in the same boat as Page. So together they set out to get back to their families whichever way they can.

So yeah for those of you who have seen this film you’ll know what I mean when I say I was not expecting that gut punch during the third act of the film. It takes the film from a fun and well made holiday comedy into a whole new level. That’s the magic of John Hughes and his writing. He is able to nail the emotional depths of characters while at the same time delivering really well done comedy flicks. There are a ton of laugh out loud moments in this movie. Not because what is happening is so over the top but because the situations the characters are in are relatable. As one issue with transport after another smacks our leads across the head we can see ourselves mirriored in Page’s frustration at these obstacles or on the flip in Griffith’s optimism. Steve Martin and John Candy both putting in excellent performences.

A lot of the comedy and the conflict in the film comes from how Page and Griffith are very different. Both have different outlooks on life and this contrast is the cause of some great scenes. We all know someone who is probably too laid back and also someone else who gets wound up to quickly over crap they have no control over. Putting two folks like that together and keeping them together makes for a great movie. Will they get home to their families? Will they become friends or will they end up driving one another crazy?

Planes, Trains & Automobiles is a brilliant holiday movie and is right up there with Home Alone and Gremlins are required autumn holiday viewing. The movie is one of John Hughes best too. I am just sad it took me so long to check it out.

 

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After the third film in the series took a creative detour the producers behind Halloween decided to bring back The Shape aka Michael Myers and return the franchise back to its slasher roots. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, bowing in 1988 to audiences, was a hit. A big reason for that was the producers of the film were able to get Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael’s nemesis and former doctor, to return to hunt down the serial killer once more. Choosing not to return were John Carpenter, Debra Hill and original final girl of the first two movies Jamie Lee Curtis.

First things first. It’s a shame neither Carpenter nor Hill, the original creatives behind Halloween, didn’t come back. They could have too. At one point during the pre-production stages of Halloween 4 Carpenter delivered a treatment, or at least worked on one, to the producers of the film. Creatively neither Carpenter nor the producers could come to an agreement on the direction of Halloween 4 and the later opted to go with a new writer and the film followed a more standard 80’s slasher route. I would love to see Carpenter’s original treatment. It’s not out there. I’ve looked. Rumours state it took a more supernatural approach to The Shape. Wouldn’t that have been somthing?

The Return of Michael Myers picks up ten years after the events of Halloween II. During that time we learn Laurie Strode has passed away but before she did she had a daughter! Jamie, her kid, is now living with a foster family and so the movie can exist she is now the target of Michael Myers. There’s really not much going on in the overall plot. Since the second film in the franchise it’s had this whole “He keeps going after his relatives angle” as the driving force behind the sequels. Like Myers main goal was to wipe out his bloodline and whoever happens to get in the way of him doing that. Thankfully this sequel works, for the most part, due to some decent characters, the return of Loomis and a strong final act.

Danielle Harris who plays Jamie Lloyd and Ellie Cornell who plays her foster sister Rachel make for two strong leads. Remember there was no Laurie Strode this time so it fell on these two new characters to connect with the fans and drive the franchise fowards. The two actors are really good and you know personally speaking I would have followed those two through several sequels. Early in the film it’s set up that Rachel is a bit resentful towards Jamie and the baggage she brings into her family but as the film goes along Rachel really steps up when she finally understands it is pretty much just herself standing in the way of Jamie and Michael Myers. It goes without saying that Donald Pleasence is brilliant and lets be honest he probably didn’t need to do this sequel but he came back and not only that he came back to work and it shows in his performence. Beau Starr as the town sheriff makes a good impact along with decent support from Sasha Jenson and Kathleen Kinmont.

Halloween 4 doesn’t have the same cinematic clout as Carpenter’s classic. There are times the film, the actual look of the film, shows its lower budget. In the way some of the scenes are shot it feels, well, it just doesn’t look as cool as the original. Not to say director Dwight H. Little doesn’t deliver a decent sequel. The opening titles are boss and really do a good job of setting the tone of the film. What’s weird about ’em is how they open the movie against these spooky looking farm land back drops and then none of those actual locations are used in the rest of the film. Missed opportunity if you ask me. The last act of Halloween 4, from the rooftop chase to the shocking final scene, is one of the best in the series. So by no means am I saying Halloween 4 is bad because I don’t think it is and I feel like Little brought in a decent sequel that could have been way worse. It defo falls on the stronger side of the sequel fence when it comes to this franchise.

I’ve seen some fans moaning about the new film and how it takes away the relavence of additions to the franchise like this one but that’s not the case. Halloween 4 isn’t going anywhere and hasn’t been erased or made pointless. To be quite blunt it’s own direct sequel did, arguably, more damgae than the 2018 movie. The same thing happend with Halloween: H20 and Halloween: Resurrection, the later undoing a lot of the good stuff H20 had accomplished. Sometimes this saga can be its own worse enemy. Halloween 4 is one of the good ones.

 

Toy Story 4 teaser trailer

Posted: November 14, 2018 in Movies
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Toy Story 4 is real and is happening in case you forgot. I kind of did.

It feels like this sequel has been coming for a long time, with a few stops and starts during it’s pre-production. I believe the original plot for this was actually thrown out and the whole film was re-worked. Hopefully for the better.

This teaser trailer, which was a nice surprise, gives away very little. We do get introduced to a new toy who will be joining the already much adored cast of characters. There’s another teaser trailer out there which introduces another two toys who are new to the series too. If you wanna go and check that out.

Do I not sound very enthusiastic about this film? I am. I love this series.

Here it is, I think Toy Story 3 was a perfect cap to the first three films and those characters, is a fourth film pushing it? You can bet there will be a Toy Story 5 if this makes big bucks. Which it will. I get it though. This is a mega franchise with a really passionate fan base. Millions and millions of fans all over the world will be delighted with this and I am too, sort of.

If the film is excellent then great. Keep ’em coming, just part of me feels like quit while you’re ahead know what I mean? I don’t think the plot sounds that good either. Something about a road trip I believe. Whatever. I hope it’s awesome.

We’ll find out next summer when Toy Story 4 hits cinemas and hopefully get a better idea about the sequel with a more telling trailer down the line.

Good news retro fans. DreamWorks and Netflix’s She-Ra reboot is set to debut tomorrow on the streaming service. That’s November 13th. You know the more I see from this new take on the 80’s classic animation the more I love the look of it. She-Ra was the companion show to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series. These shows stood out due to their mix of science fiction and fantasy which came together to create exciting new worlds. Both also had amaze theme songs.

He-Man and She-Ra ended up being massive hits in the eighties and would go on to impact fans beyond their childhood. He-Man has had a few reboots over the years but this will be the first time She-Ra has been given a new shot. I was a big fan of both shows. Had the toys. Loved ’em both. Hopefully this new series manages to carve a new and fresh take on a classic tale. I will be tuning in to find out.

Given Netflix and DreamWorks previous offering was Voltron and how good that ended up I think long time fans and new fans should get ready for a great new show. Check out one of the latest trailers above.

 

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The original Planet of the Apes was a big success that spawned several sequels and a televsion series. A case could be made that the material became over staturated and soon it went quiet on the Apes front. Until the 90’s. I remember reading about a Planet of the Apes film in development and due for release around 1996/7. Said film was to be produced by Oliver Stone and have Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role. At one point Jim Cameron was attached and it looked like that movie was going to happen.

Only it didn’t. It took until 2001 to get the Apes franchise back into theatres when Tim Burton got behind the camera to bring audiences his re-imagined vision of the Planet of the Apes. Not a sequel nor a remake but a alternate take on the world audiences were stunned by in the late 1960s.

Usually this sort of film would have got me into theatres when it was out originally but I guess I was busy. I had heard mixed opinions on it over the years but now that I have saw it I think it’s decent. For a start the film is required viewing for the outstanding visual effects and make up work from FX mastermind Rick Baker. The attention to detail on the film’s apes is the best in the entire franchise to date. It is amazing work. Baker and his team really went above and beyond the call of duty. You can recognize the actors underneath the make up and their performences are fluid. Beyond the ace work on the apes the entire look of the planet and the ape city and their culture is extremely detailed. Visually this film is fantastic.

The plot of the film is kind of similar to the original movie. A astronaut crash lands onto a planet where he soon finds out apes are the dominant species and humans are either hunted or used as slaves. There’s a similar focus put onto moral arguments too, like in the original film, such as class, slavery and rights to life but not with as much care beyond the surface level I felt. All of those issues, I think, were laid out far better in the original movie. Some plot beats are quite different though and in those instances I think the film works fine. For example the apes, led by the vicious Thade (Tim Roth), seem on the whole far more agressive. Especially Thade. This ape HATES humans and will stop at nothing to eradicate ’em even if it means killing his own to get the job done and make sure things go his way. There’s a big focus on time travel here too that the film plays around with which results in some interesting stuff.

Leading the cast is Mark Wahlberg. In the late 90’s the actor became legit after his role in Boogie Nights. This film was his first big summer blockbuster lead. History has shown Wahlberg is more of a great character actor with the right material and not the Arnie type. He’s okay in the movie but I think it is fair to say the likes of Tim Roth and Helena Bonham Carter make more of an impact with their impressive ape roles. Paul Giamatti and Michael Clarke Duncan co-star in strong supporting roles. The comedy is played up more in this film too, not too much but more than in the original film. Touches like that help to set it apart enough to not be just a flat out remake.

I think this a worthy addition to the Apes saga. Not a bad attempt at all at relaunching the franchise. The idea was this film would be the start of a trilogy and the film made enough money to warrant a sequel but it never came around. An interesting “What if?” so to a series that has gone on for decades. With what felt like the final film in the most recent of batch of Apes movies having come out last year (War for the Planet of the Apes) I wonder if another reboot is on the horizon in the years to come?

 

 

 

Ready Player One

Posted: November 7, 2018 in Movies
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This look at Ready Player One might comes across like I wrote it from the haters corner. I apologise for that and I must stress that is not the intention here. The book, written by Ernest Cline, was a smash hit. A wicked celebraion of popular culture – movies, video games, television and comics – from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The ultimate mash up of those things is found in the Oasis, a virtual world the characters from the book would frequent, where the only limits is a person’s imagination. Who better to bring a movie of the book to life than Steven Spielberg? The book is crammed full of homages to worlds he had a hand in creating so it makes perfect sense he came on board to direct.

The movie is good. It is better than the book in fact. The issue I had with the book was it was told in a first person style and it read like Cline was, arguably, living out his own dreams through his characters. There’s nothing wrong with that but I just didn’t care for it. The story was a boss idea but the execution was lacking and the book – if you’ve read many treatments or scripts you’ll know what I mean – felt like it was one big extended movie treatment more than a book. Basically it screamed “PLEASE MAKE ME INTO A MOVIE” and that’s what happened. Cline is rich so he’s won and good on him. Usually Ready Player One would be ideal for my taste but me and the source just never clicked. Everything felt way too on the nose. I didn’t like the lead character either. Like at all.

What makes the film better is – clearly – you got Spielberg directing. You are not trapped in the narrators head and having to listen to how awesome he thinks he is. Yea I really didn’t like the Parzival/Wade character in the book. In the movie he comes across way more likeable. Probably due to the fact he’s played by the talented Tye Sheridan. The other big draw of the movie is seeing what hits – movies, games, shows etc – get to cameo in the movie and its virtual playground. That stuff is fun and I don’t want to spoil any surprises. I will say I wish they’d gone further with some homages but when you are dealing with stuff like that there are tons of rights issues. So it’s understandable you can only work with what you have access to.

The other strong aspect of the film is the plot. With the book so clearly wanting to be a movie that story lent itself to a very film friendly template. What you have here is a good old tried and tested quest movie. The characters must become their virtual avatars and take part in a series of mysterious quests in order to gain keys which will allow them to control the virtual world of the Oasis. This is open to anyone who plays online, which is most of the world’s population, as the real world is so dire. Also after the keys is a big bad corperation who want to flood the Oasis with advertiseing and will stop at nothing, even murder, to see they get those keys first. Thankfully the tasks are well thought out, visually impressive and lead to some awesome action sequences. The fact the characters come across a lot better in the film than the book helps too. The movie had a good cast.

Ready Player One is a interesting ride. Beyond the plot and the cool visual stuff the technical side of the movie making process highlights how a clear plot, tight direction and likeable characters make for a good film regardless of how it is presented. With, I’d guess, half of the movie taking place inside of the Oasis the film is a blend of live action and (CGI) animation. I’m not sure if the actors actually under went motion capture or not for when they appear as their avatar counterparts but regardless the results are impressive. It goes without saying if you’re a old school film fan there is a lot to enjoy in this movie.

When I heard Spielberg was directing Ready Player One I got excited because despite being luke warm on the book I knew he would elevate the material and that is what has happened. I’d stop short of calling the film great. It’s fine as far as Spielberg blockbusters go. It’s certainly not up there with his best for me but it’s not a bad movie. Put it this way. I waited to see this via rental and although I liked it my intital reaction was I was glad I hadn’t paid over £10 to see it at the theatre. This is defo worth a watch, even on a technical level, it’s clear a lot of passion and work went into it.

Despite my feelings on the film and the book both have legions of fans so my voice is just one of many and should someone say they think it’s great I could see where they are coming from even if I couldn’t feel as passionate about it.