The Lego Batman Movie

LEGO Batman is not only a great movie, it is a great Batman movie. If you’re a fan of Batman in any way, small or big you’re going to have enjoyment from this. The more you know about the character, his history and villains the more references of enjoyment you’ll get out of it.

I enjoyed the heck out of it. I think as an adult I got more from it than I would have as a kid but that’s not to say it isn’t a kids film, it’s a fantastic balance between both and never lets either side down. I personally liked it more than ‘The LEGO Movie’. I like LEGO (more now than ever) but I like Batman more. What I also love is all the other none Batman characters that show up in this which I was a little surprised about but also delighted with. We have Sauron and Voldmort in the same movie along with Daleks and a whole host of other popular villains.

The one thing I am slightly disappointed about which I blame on myself if that I read a rumor months ago that each actor who had played Batman in the movies would be lending their voices to their own versions of Batman in this film. Can you imagine the fun of Bale Batman interacting with Keaton’s Batman or West’s Batman?

The message of the movie is about Family and what it says about Family and what family is almost brought a tear to my eye. In the days of other animated (kids) movies telling us we have to be loved to be truly happy the Lego Batman film brings some genuine non commercial happiness to the minds of the little younglings growing up on this stuff.

Favorite Quote: “I hate you.” – Batman

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Doctor Strange

doctor-strange-teaser-poster.jpg

Was having a bit of a bad day when I went to see this so I feel like I would have enjoyed this more if I had been a bit chilled out. Regardless it’s a really good film, not fantastic but dare I express these words once again…A good start to the Doctor Strange film series. Benedict Cumberbatch is must see in anything. Having him in a marvel movie is pretty much the cherry on the cake and I don’t know how much more I can love the guy unless he threw a Star Wars movie at us. Personally I want him back in Star Trek.

As if  Cumberbatch wasn’t enough this time we also have Mads Mikkelsen as the Villain. Think of that for a second. Sherlock Holmes Vs Hannibal Lector! Mind palace vs mind palace! Thanks Marvel. The only problem though is that their time on screen together is limited and it’s not exactly scene chewing stuff. What is great are the action scenes between to two. If you loved the corridor fight in ‘Inception‘ then get ready for a whole lot more of that.

Unlike other Marvel movies ‘Doctor Strange’ feels refreshingly different. I can see criticisms that early on in the film it’s like Tony Stark at the beginning Iron Man again but really, the rest of the film is different to that. Yes, the heroes journey is fairly well walked at this stage but how they got there felt a little less by the numbers and a bit more interesting. If anything this is more of a ‘Doctor House‘ becoming a super hero kind of thing.

Questions to keep in mind for future sequels. Was there more to Strange’s car crash than what we saw? To me it looked like his car suddenly smashed into another car without Strange himself swerving at the wheel.

Favorite Quote: ” Mister Doctor? “– Kaecilius

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Ability

Best known as ‘Lost Voice Guy’, award winning comedian Lee Ridley first came to my attention back in 2015 with a mention of him on the Greg Proops Proopcast.
I checked out a few videos of him on Youtube which had me in stitches from the opening of his act with “When I realised I’d never be able to talk again, I was speechless”. It’s not only Ridley’s sharp one liners that are funny, it’s the recounts of his personal experiences too.

Lee has found another platform for his comedy with a new radio Sitcom called ‘Ability’ which you can listen to here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b087p7m6

‘Ability’ feature’s Lee’s alter ego Matt dealing with the world and the idiots that surround him in his own humorous way. You’ll never look at people who use hand cream in the same way again…

So far it seems to be a pilot but hopefully there will be more episodes to come in future.

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Sherlock Series 4

sherlock-season-4-ending-picThe Six Thatchers

It’s a mixed bag of an episode although that is not to say I didn’t enjoy it.
Despite it brushing aside the mystery aspect early on in the episode I was still glued to the drama unfolding, John with his infidelities and Sherlock’s moments with Mary as her life started to spiral out of control once again. Why this episode doesn’t entirely work for me is due to a problem I had with it way back in season 3 and that is with the character of Mary herself. I still don’t buy, nor am I interested in her story as a once undercover operative/assassin. Perhaps the producers of the show realized this too as they decide to tie up the loose ends of her story and move back to the John/Sherlock dynamic (but who’s holding the baby?). John and Sherlock will never be the same, not due to the events of this episode but because John is now a father with increased responsibilities. At this point things will never be the same again no matter what happens after these events.

The Lying detective

This is a fantastic episode that has Sherlock dealing with a proper mystery and a decent villain this time round while at the same time flying completely off the rails as he delves into his drug habit full time, yet even at his lowest he is still a high functioning sociopath and parts of the episode take the time out to explain his methods in a little more detail rather than just waving a magic wand. It’s the best episode of series 4 and rightly ups the game at the end by introducing us to Holmes’ long lost sibling.

The Final Problem

I’m not entirely in love with this. The good points are that it’s filled with edge of your seats moment, beautifully shot, it blows open the mystery behind “red beard” and the third Holmes sibling, but on the other hand it’s taken Sherlock and made him larger than life. This was a criticism I mentioned back in my series 3 review where I worried that he was becoming Bond like in some ways. Even the Six Thatchers had him fighting off a highly trained Assassin. Of course, Sherlock is a well trained fighter but the appeal of this series has always been the mind and personality of the man.

Here, rather than just solving crimes he heads to a super prison to take on a super villain that is also his sister which he had completely forgotten about (see what I mean about larger than life?). A basic plot element such as a third Holmes brother has been strung out into a vastly complex string of mysteries and plans within plans. After all these edge of the seat moments and twists the ending of the episode falls flat on it’s face with Sherlock hugging his estranged sister and telling her it will be alright and… that’s it? We had to go through all that just to get a scene where he pats her on the back and all is resolved. Really? Really?!

Somehow after all of this we are led to believe that this episode might be used as a possible ending to the series with Sherlock finally being the Sherlock we all know and love from the books, with emotion and cool intellect working together now that he is free from his emotional blockage of youth. But I thought the Sherlock we had already was the Sherlock from the books.

As if to wrap everything up quickly and put a neat bow on this Greg appears at the end of the episode to say that Holmes is a good man. What reason has led to him saying this is not shown since he doesn’t pop up in other parts of the episode. Again, everything feels rushed, Sherlock doesn’t actually save John or find him, Mycroft disappears near the end only to appear unscathed and unharmed, mentioning something about being locked up in a simple cell which seems rather tame after all the psychological torment he has been put through with his brother. Molly Hooper looks almost suicidal in this episode yet there’s no follow up to that? Also, annoyingly Steven Moffat decides to link all images of water in Sherlock (totaling two) as some sort of inner psychological key to the man, except we didn’t even see water when he was shot at the end of season 3 by Mary. Moffat has done similar things in Doctor Who, linking up unrelated events or scenes as some sort of Master plan he had all along…

And what about “the woman” Irene Adler? Or John’s Alcoholic sister? What of them?

Ok, most things were wrapped up and there are no big plot strings left hanging. When and if a season 5 might happen is anyone’s guess. But I expect this is not the last of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes. At least, I hope not.

Favorite Quote: “It is what it is.” – Sherlock

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Sadako Vs Kayako

Driving around a neighborhood the other day my friend was telling me that a ghost was spotted in this area. The ghost was wearing a white Kimono. In Japan a white kimono (kyokatabira) would be worn by someone who has left this world and will be traveling to the next. We discussed why the ghost would be hanging around the area and my friend suggested that if the person died unexpectedly they might not be ready to leave the world, it might also be why some ghosts are found wearing white clothes, nightwear etc. I wondered about this. If the ghost represents the last image of a person before passing from this life, clothes and all, then why don’t we see any ghosts in shorts and T-shirt? Why always white dresses? What if someone went to a fancy dress party dressed as Batman and died unexpectedly, would they forever be ghost Batman?

In ‘Juon/The Grudge’ movies this is basically what happens as the main ghost Kayako can often be seen dressed in white and sometimes wrapped in a plastic bag. Sadako from the ‘Ring‘ is also dressed in white. Sometimes a little muddied from the Well she lives in.  It’s not all that original. The ghost world needs some color.

Anyway, in ‘Sadako Vs Kayako’ (can’t believe I’m writing that), the two finally get together in uninspired, cheap film making, terrible actors and a script that eerily resembles some fan fiction I read years ago. The two curse fixers/removers, that’s what i’m calling them, the little girl and the dude that has stepped right out of some anime show, those two, are total fan wank. Why we need two curse removers to bring Sadako and Kayako together is beyond me. why not let two separate story lines flow naturally into each other? The only part of the film I found to be in any way clever was that they would bring S & K together by having the cursed victims watch Sadako’s cursed video in Kayako’s cursed house. Not a bad idea even for fan fiction.

After the utterly detestable Sadako movies (Sadako 3D & Sadako 3D 2) that have come out of Japan in recent years Sadako’s depiction here is far closer to the Sads we all used to love and know. However, it’s very uninspired. Gone is the bone chilling movements of Rie Inoui from the first ‘Ring‘ film, now replaced with an actress that just hunches with her arms in front of her body all the time.  Also, now the cursed video will kill you in 2 days instead of 7 days which I guess suits today’s generation and their short attention span. I bet most of you you didn’t even read this far… Finally, to cap all this blandness, Sadako now has super CGI hair killing powers which has already been exploited in every other horror movie featuring long haired ghosts of the past 15 years.

The ending of the film rips off the end of ‘Alien Vs Predator’. Is this really the best idea they can come up with? Is that really a film they’d want to rip off? Seems so. ‘Sadako Vs Kayako’ is not the movie of your wet dreams but it is mildly entertaining in ways that the recent Juon and Sadako movies have not been.

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Rogue One

rogue-one-darth-vaderI’m probably not adding anything new here yet i’d to add my voice to others talking about this movie. Spoilers Obviously.

I have seen all Gareth Edwards’ movies. All 3 of them.
I’m always a little surprised when they hand of big franchises to directors who don’t have experiences with big franchises. Before this he did ‘Godzilla‘ 2014 which I was extremely underwhelmed by so I wasn’t overly enthusiastic for ‘Rogue One’ coupled with the fact that this isn’t the movie I was interested in seeing after coming out of Episode 7 and because there’s the whole “does this story really need to be told?” thing. There’s a lot that went on during the making of this movie, along with re-hoots and changes in the story. There is obviously a lot riding on the first Star Wars spin off movie.

Between the reviews of “This is one of the best Star Wars movies ever” and “This is a film for fanboys” I fall somewhere in between. I did geek out in parts, keeping it to a smile and a giggle and I think the last part of the movie is so well made (and reshot?). It does make you want to have ‘A New Hope’ keyed up and ready to go when you get home.

There are tons of original Trilogy characters in this. Some with just cameos, some with meatier roles. My favorites were those “You better watch yourself!” assholes, Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader. Specifically Vader’s castle and his on screen entrance. Not only do we get to see  the expanded Universe Bast castle onscreen for the first time but we see it’s on a Lava planet and it’s been confirmed this is Mustafar. Eat your heart out Sauron. This is a heavenly dark and epic scene where we see Vader out of his suit at home. I loved this scene to bits. I really did.

People say it’s brave that Disney made this kind of movie. I’m somewhat it agreement yet I feel it’s not something that should be praised because it was allowed. At the same time, killing off all your main characters doesn’t make this a movie accessible for all generations. I know I wouldn’t show this to my Nephew. I’d probably show ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ before showing him this. This is something for when he is a little older, to get him ready for ‘The Dirty Dozen’, ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ and ‘The Great Escape’. In that regard this is a Star Wars movie following the tradition of being a great War movie that takes inspiration from these films in the way ‘A New Hope’ took inspiration from ‘The Dam Busters’.
Unfortunately the biggest problem is that non-fans, non-regular movie goers who just want to see a Star Wars movie or are expecting something along the lines of episode 17 are going to be confused. The person I went to see it with had seen the previous Star Wars movies but was a little confused about where this movie actually fits it. Now this isn’t a problem for me or anyone else who finds popcorn in their underwear when they get home but I think the little winks and all the things that I and others liked about it are going to fly right over the heads of a lot of people.

There’s a ton more I could write about this. At the end of the day it is worth watching but it will be far more satisfying to watch if you have a little bit more than a faded memory of ‘A New Hope’ and the original Trilogy in general. As for taking kids that’s up to your own discretion but me I might wait until they are a bit older because it’s not the type of fun we can all enjoy. That movie will probably be next year’s episode 8 and the forthcoming ‘Han Solo’ movie the year after.

Favorite Quote: “Be Careful Not To Choke On Your Convictions.” – Mutha Fukin Vada!!!!!!!!

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Batman: Year Two

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As my Batman reading only equates to graphic novels my preference for Batman stories are ones a little bit grounded in reality, particularly for Batman’s early years I don’t want to see anything of a supernatural, fantastical nature. I don’t even want to get a hit of Superman yet. So I love Batman Begins, Batman Year One etc.

Years back when ‘Batman Begins’ was being made there was a rumor going around that the main villain that Liam Neeson would be playing was to be ‘The Reaper’. ‘The Reaper’ is a character who first appeared in ‘Batman Year Two’. Written by Mike W Barr and illustrated by Alan Davis, Paul Neary, Alfredo Alcala, Mark Farmer and Todd McFarlane. While this rumor proved to be untrue I was fascinated by the idea that before Batman showed up there was already another Vigilante who had worked the streets, one who not only dressed as an intimidating figure but whom killed criminals. Year Two is the story in which Batman comes face to face with Gotham’s previous vigilante.

When Batman does meet The Reaper he gets he ass owned and I mean owned.
From the first encounter I’m already seeing connections between this character and the depiction of Bane and Ra’s Al Ghul from Nolan’s films.

Let’s take a look. In Batman’s first fight with The Reaper he is unable to intimidate him, he is unable to even hurt him, in fact the Reaper gives Batman a few free shots to see what Batman is made of before taking him on. As Batman starts to realize he is sorely outmatched he resorts to throwing smoke bombs to escape. Unfortunately this doesn’t work and the Reaper reminds him that he has been working in the dark a lot longer than Batman has. This is very similar to the first fight between Batman and Bane in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.

The motivations of the Reaper are also very similar to those of Ra’s Al Ghul. His wife was killed and he was unable to save her which creates a mindset of retribution similar to Batman’s yet very different in execution.

The first issue sets up things nicely, we are introduced to Gotham’s previous Vigilante, Batman gets pwned so hard that he resorts to using the gun that killed his parents to symbolically fight fire with fire, but by issue two things are already starting to come apart when Joe Chill, the man who Murdered Bruce Wayne’s parents shows up at the end and Batman reluctantly decides to join him to take down The Reaper. You’d think Batman would be a little bit more, I don’t know, extremely pissed at this but the anger within him isn’t really shown and what we get instead is Batman’s plan to kill Chill once he helps him take down the Reaper. Frankly, there was already too much going on in this story to begin with without the need to introduce Chill. Chill could have been replaced by any random hitman to accommodate the story. The way year two wraps up these various plot points is fairly simplified and rushed. Batman’s greatest enemy in this story is himself and his own faults that lead to this messy ending.

Year Two was an interesting set up with a very interesting Villain that would go on to inspire the animated Batman movie ‘Mask of Phantasm’. It’s a pity then that the issues that follow it let it down.

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