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My reviews anything film, game, television related or anyhing I feel like reviewing.

ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Fire Twister

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a super quick review and while scanning Amazon Video I saw this film entitled Fire Twister, a you know with a title like that I had to check it out. And good gravy the film lived up to my expectations, it is so bad that it has to be seen to be believed. So Fire Twister is basically about a man-made fire tornado born out of an explosion which causes a lot of death and destruction, and so it comes down to a group of unlikely heroes lead by an ex-fire fighter to combat this threat. There’s mystery, intrigue, betrayal and lot of more. So firstly this film does not make a lot of sense, there are a lot of rules of that are just thrown out the window when it comes to physics and the logic of the characters. The way the story pans out features some of the most foolish, illogical and downright absurd material I’ve seen in film so far. The tries to be serious and dramatic with some of the backstory, conspiracy and certain character deaths that are supposed to carry weight, but it’s just dumb and meaningless and because of a poor script and bad acting it never becomes anything more than something you can laugh at or sigh at. And it doesn’t help that the characters are basic archetypes of people you’ve seen before, you have the generic hero, coward, smart guy, evil henchman and the bad guy operating from the background among others. There’s also these weird/crazy religious people included, an over-the-top tv reporter and terrible extras who have terrible reaction time. When it comes to the visual effects as usual with these times of films the visual effects are pretty cheap-looking, they don’t mesh well with the live-action footage and the continuity between scenes where there’s meant to be visual effects just isn’t there. But one of my favourite parts of this film is the kills, they are all memorable especially the first and last as they are so stupid and hilarious that they can’t be forgotten. Oh and how can I not talk about the fire twister itself, it was absurdly brilliant. The main question people will be asking is how can anyone not see this flaming inferno? It is a huge fiery tornado burning everything, it can’t be that hard to miss and yet several characters including the main cast seem to miss it until its right in their faces. The next thing you’ll question is the damage the twister can do, on occasions it can destroy whole areas of land, make houses explode and sucks people into their doom, and yet other times it can barely cook people, it can suck up cars and yet they don’t explode? And then you’ll wonder if this thing is sentient as the tornado seems to follow people randomly and can teleport from one spot to the next, I mean it’ll be right behind people one moment and then far away the next. In conclusion Fire Twister is terrible, but so, so funny, it is probably better to watch while drunk if you’re with friends but if you’re into cheesy/bad films that make you laugh check this one out. 😀

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: The Belko Experiment

Howdy ladies and gents and today I’m going to be reviewing The Belko Experiment, a film I’ve been looking forward to since I heard of its announcement with James Gunn writing and producing it. Now if you’ve seen the trailers for this film you’ve already decided if you’re going to watch it or not, for me the trailers were intriguing but I was mainly interested in the concept and Jame Gunn’s involvement and after seeing the film last night I’m ready to pass judgement.

The plot can be summed up as the following: “In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.” What I liked about this film was that there was a little more to the story beyond what was shown in the trailers, it gave a little more context as to why these characters are in this situation, why everyone in this company has chips implanted in their heads and has some interesting revelations that get revealed as towards the third act. I thought the film had a good mix of violence, humour, drama and a look into what humans are capable of when forced into life or death situations. The concept of having people being forced into killing each other isn’t new, anything from Battle Royale to the recent The Hunger Games films have depicted this in film and while this film had its unique elements, some of the story elements you could predict before they happened. Plus I feel like the film could have gone a little deeper with the mystery and surprises, also some of the humour felt misplaced in certain scenes. Other than those nitpicks I was entertained.

With the cast they all did fine, the film had its primary main cast of around 5 or so people and everyone else were secondary to background people with varying levels of significance. I just wish there was more ambiguity about who was the main character and had more screen time spread across some of the other characters to flesh them out too. With that in mind I’ll just touch upon a few people; John Gallagher Jr. as Mike Milch was  little annoying to watch because of his questionable moral and ethical choices, but by the end of the film I liked him more, Tony Goldwyn as Barry Norris was one of my favourite people, while not an entirely likeable character he had a certain point of view that made him interesting to watch. Adria Arjona as pretty good as Leandra Jerez and so was Melonie Diaz who had some notable scenes as Dany Wilkins, and John C. McGinley as Wendell Dukes, damn, he had one hell of a memorable performance and he played his role well. Also the appearances of Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn were solid, but I definitely enjoyed Gunn’s performance more. As for the action scenes were pretty good with some solid, creative and all round brutal deaths, and I gotta give a shout out to the special effects team for the make-up on the characters during some of those kills as it looked pretty realistic, oh and the film score by Tyler Bates was pretty good too. So to conclude The Belko Experiment was a strange, over-the-top and violent session with a few issues with the story and characters, but heck I had fun with this one and I reckon if you’re a fan of Gunn’s work you’ll enjoy it too.

So have you seen The Belko Experiment and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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The Fate of the Furious Review (Audio Edition)

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another film review and today we’ll be talking about another one of the big films of 2017; Fast & Furious 8 aka The Fate of the Furious… However this time it’ll be in audio form via my podcast, Film Focus!

Check it out below:

This episode went out last Saturday and I was meant to post about it on my blog last week, however I got a little too busy so I had to wait until now. I probably won’t do a written review so this will be the only review I do for this film, hopefully you find it informative and fun to listen to as it allows me to express my feelings on a film to the highest degree. Also if you have any feedback or suggestions I welcome them so be sure to holla at me in the comments section.

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK THOUGHTS: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser Trailer

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? So yesterday something of significance happened as we finally got to see the first trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII also known as Star Wars: The Last Jedi. So let’s waste no time and talk about that trailer!

Check out the trailer below:

So my initial impressions were this, “I am intrigued, wasn’t blown away, but so far so good.” Now I’ve seen from some people online that they’ve found the teaser disappointing or underwhelming and to a degree I can understand considering that 1) It’s the next Star Wars film we’re talking about, so people have high expectations and want to see something special. And 2) Some studios have become a little more open to revealing material for their teaser trailers with results varying from a decent amount to too much. With The Last Jedi trailer it did what a proper teaser should; it gave you a vague yet interesting idea of the story and tone, a look at the actors involved and had some cool visuals and music without giving away any spoilers. This trailer was very in line with the first teaser for The Force Awakens where you got glimpses into the film with various scenes of characters, scenery and action scenes, this teaser was pretty similar, but had a little more weight and drama to it considering that it is not only a sequel to The Force Awakens but also has our first story material for Luke Skywalker since Return of the Jedi.

What I liked about this teaser was the tone, it was very dark, very ominous and mysterious with the use of music and visuals. It feels in line with what’s come with the last film, but things feel a little more dire, aggressive and uncertain and I love it! This feels like the First Order are coming back in full force to mess up the New Republic with the space battles, the explosion of Poe’s ship inside that hanger area, the cool shot of Kylo Ren and the quick scene of Captain Phasma and her troops. What’s even more captivating is Rey and seeing her feel the force and being trained by Luke with saber combat and so on. It seems like her training will be extensive, physical and psychological. But I’m also hyped to hear Luke speak, just hearing him say lines like “Breathe.” and “What do you feel?” Was nice, but what was very curious was that final line about the Jedi needing to end. What does that mean? Does he mean he’s giving up being a Jedi himself or is he suggesting that the idea of the Jedi needs to be disbanded or reimagined? Or does it mean Luke’s going dark like some fans have feared? I doubt it’s the last one but its fun to speculate.

In the end I’m very intrigued and encouraged by the first footage of The Last Jedi, it looks like it will be a good time. December is too far away dammit and I need this film now!

So have you seen The Last Jedi trailer and if so what did you think of it? Are you hyped, curious or underwhelmed? Let me know in comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2017 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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ALBUM REVIEW: Jamiroquai – Automaton

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? Today I’m doing a music review, yes, one of those! Its been almost 2 years since I reviewed Jack White’s Lazaretto album in 2015, but I knew I had to come back and talk about this album in particular. For those not aware, Jamiroquai are my favourite band of all time, I’ve been listening to their music since childhood and the wait for their 8th album, Automaton, has been the longest and most painful wait of any album in recent memory (other than Red Hot Chili Peppers’ The Getaway). So after listening to the album 3 times and finally getting free to blog I’m ready to review it!

Like I mentioned above, I’ve been jamming to Jamiroquai since childhood, probably around 1996 with the sounds of “Virtual Insanity“, “Cosmic Girl” and “Space Cowboy (Classic Radio Mix)” being my video into their sound. After that I had all of their main singles until 2004 and 2005 when I got The Return of the Space Cowboy and Dynamite and that’s when I really dove deep into their song and became a fan for life. Back in 2010 I really liked Rock Dust Light Star, I will admit it did take a few listens to truly appreciate some of the songs, but on the whole I thought it was solid. But after a while of hearing little to no updates as to when the next album would drop, especially after 2015, I thought I’d be waiting forever for something new. But thankfully 2017 was the year when Jamiroquai reemerged and I couldn’t be happier.

Now before we continue I just want to say as I always do, I’m no music buff, I just like the sound of music and like many people in the world I have an opinion. So don’t kill me if I don’t use the right technical jargon when I’m describing the music okay? Good, let’s continue.

So to start things off, Automaton is a damn good album, there’s no two ways about it. Jamiroquai have come back with a sound that is familiar, yet fresh and it has one hell of a presence. The best way to describe the sound of this album would be if Jamiroquai took the funk, disco and electronic sounds they’ve done in the past and mixed it in with some Daft Punk and this album would be the end result. It is not like the band have completely abandoned their acid jazz flare completely as there are increments that can be found throughout the album, but this album feels more like a follow-up to A Funk Odyssey with elements taken from Rock Dust Light Star too. Automaton has an eclectic set of songs and yet they all work in cohesion with each to create a wonderful listening experience which is fun, upbeat, heartfelt and groovy as hell.

The album begins with “Shake It On“, and it is good way to open the album with an upbeat and groovy song with a lovely chorus and has a mixture of electronic, funk and disco sounds. And then we have “Automaton“, the first single released from this album and I don’t care what some fans say, I love this song. Upon first listen it was a little strange with the flow of the music, distorted sound effects and modulated vocals of Jay during the verses, but once that chorus kicked in, the song had me. And since then the songs only become more addictive with its futuristic electronic sound with a bit of that classic sound sprinkled in around 3:25. “Cloud 9” was the next single released from the album and good gravy is it a good one, unlike “Automaton” which rubbed some fans the wrong way, this song feels more in line with the sound that the band’s done before. It is a chilled out and very groovy kind of song that gets better with every listen, and part of the reason I like so much is it feels a little like a combination of Daft Punk and Justice. “Superfresh” is another nice track that has a marvelously crafted disco-like sound that opens well and has a lovely chorus too.

And there’s “Hot Property“, good gravy that song is awesome. The way the song starts up with that bass and main melody, it reminded me of “Supersonic“, from there you have a song with a catchy chorus, a lovely breakdown around 2.27  which switches perfectly back into the normal sound around 3.10, the song is great especially for dancing. Something About You” is an enchanting little song that’s chilled out and not as flashy as some of the other songs on the album, but it has a feel-good vibe, its relaxed and has the lovely Jay Kay vocals too. This was when I was really getting those Daft Punk vibes where I was reminded of songs like “Something About Us” and “Fragments in Time“, very different songs but sort of similar in feel. I also really enjoyed around 2.41 where the guitarist is definitely channelling that Nile Rodgers style of work, and the final minute or so of the song with whimsical music and wonderful vocals, its magical to me. Then there’s “Summer Girl“, on my first listen this became my favourite song on the album. It feels like a spiritual successor to the band’s free song “Smile” from 2011. It’s GORGEOUS, the way it flows, and perfectly captures not only the vibe of summer and that feeling of elation when you’re in a relationship, but also channels that perfect Jamiroquai song it is insane. This song  is pretty much perfection to my ears with the groovy music, incredible chorus and the blend of Jay Kay and the female backing vocalists works perfectly together. “Nights Out in the Jungle” is a song on my first listen I kind of liked, but on subsequent listens I’ve dug it more and more. I like the beat, the chorus is addictive and it has a subdued yet playful nature to it.

Dr Buzz” stood out a lot on my first listen just because it felt more story-driven, dramatic and atmospheric, and yet it is still incredible. There’s a melancholy and somber tone that I get from this song and yet there’s so much beauty to be found from the musical composition (shout outs to the saxophone and guitar work towards the end of the song), but there’s also the vocals which are amazing especially with the verses, and chorus. Then there’s “We Can Do It” which has a nice sound and vocals, but it is my least favourite song on the album just because it doesn’t really grab me like other tracks. “Vitamin” is a song that caught me off-guard with its crazy upbeat tempo, ferocity and intensely groovy sounds, and yet it got its hooks into me and I feel in love. It feels like a true transformation/transition of the Jamiroquai sound from the late 90’s to now with the new beats and classic instrumentation. And the album ends with “Carla“, a track that’s wonderful in its music composition, and has great vocals, but what makes the song so special is the fact that its tribute to Jay Kay’s daughter which can clearly be heard in the lyrics and its beautiful.

My favourite songs for this album is tough as the whole album is pretty much amazing, but if I had to narrow it down these would be my choices:

  • Automaton
  • Cloud 9
  • Superfresh
  • Hot Property (personal favourite)
  • Something About You (personal favourite)
  • Summer Girl (personal favourite)
  • Dr Buzz (personal favourite)
  • Vitamin (personal favourite)

In conclusion Jamiroquai’s Automaton is a fabulous album that gives you what you want as a fan of this band, but at the same time they deliver new sounds which you didn’t know you wanted until I hear them. The album is great to listen to if you want to dance or chill out, it’s just delightful and I’m SO happy that Jamiroquai are bringing the funk back. If you’re a fan you owe it to yourself to check this album out if you haven’t already, it is one delicious session! 😀

Rating: 9/10 (This is the sound you need in your system)

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2017 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 29 – Double Review: Power Rangers & Ghost in the Shell

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. The latest episode (which was out last week) features a double review for Power Rangers and Ghost in the Shell.

Anyway here’s the episode 29:

Now I’ve already done reviews for Power Rangers and Ghost in the Shell but I had to do a podcast episode to allow my thoughts to be fully formed, plus I also have a mini review on Get Out included in there too so I would recommend this episode highly because it was another really fun episode to record.

Here’s the time codes for the specific reviews:

  1. Mini Get Out discussion 01:34
  2. Power Rangers 03:30
  3. Ghost in the Shell 19:36

As I mentioned before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Howdy ladies and gents, I’m back for another film review and today I’ll be talking about the live-action version of Ghost in the Shell. Now I had been apprehensive about this film for a while now, and I’m sure a good number of people across the world have been too. This western adaptation of the original manga and anime film from 1995 is one of the most talked about and respected films in the eyes of a lot of critics and film fans, so remaking it was always going to be uphill battle. Now I know there’s been a lot of talk about the white-washing of the main character and I don’t want to get into that, the main reason I wasn’t keen on this film was because of the director, not only because I didn’t think he was the right man for the job, but also because of his foolish adulterous actions in the past. But yeah that shouldn’t come into play when we’re talking about this film. So how is Ghost in the Shell? Well read on and find out!

So the story can be summed up as the following:

“Cyborg counter-cyberterrorist field commander The Major (Scarlett Johansson) and her task force Section 9 thwart and humiliate criminals, hackers and terrorists. Now, they must face a new enemy who will stop at nothing to sabotage Hanka Robotics’ artificial intelligence technology.”

I thought the story had a lot of interesting ideas of about what is to be human, freewill, the future of technology, the pros and cons of being cybernetically enhanced and so on. If you’ve seen any sci-fi film involving robots and technology then a lot of the themes and concepts this film presents will feel familiar, and while this film does do a good job of presenting some of these elements, I don’t think it had the right writers or director necessary to make think and feel on that deeper, dramatic and more emotional level. It is surface level material that’s fine but you’ve seen it done better in other films. For the most part the film was pretty interesting, but it did have a few moments where it really slowed down and some of the information the characters were going on about just didn’t matter to me, it felt like pointless jargon that needed to end quickly. Oh and don’t expect me to do any comparisons to the 1995 film, I haven’t seen in around 9 years and I wasn’t too keen on it, I thought the sequel was much better, so I only noticed some visual similarities but I couldn’t confirm them for sure.

As for the cast I thought they were fine, though only a handful of them stood out. Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian was fine, she handled her material the best she could, at times I felt like she was getting into that Lucy territory where she couldn’t express any emotion because of the nature character, but for the most part she was fine. Takeshi Kitano as Chief Daisuke Aramaki was pretty cool, Kitano has a nice screen presence and I loved his tone of speaking and how imposing he was, but I feel like he was a little wasted in this film. Pilou Asbæk as Batou was nice, I enjoyed his performance and Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouélet had some good scenes and interesting scenes with Johansson. Michael Pitt as Hadley Cruz was pretty intriguing and had some of the most captivating material in the film, also seeing Chin Han around as Togusa was fun and he had some nice scenes too and finally Peter Ferdinando as Cutter was just generic and not as engaging as he should have been.

When it comes to the presentation it was easily the best part of the film. From a visual standpoint the film was great, the world that the special effects team created for this film was clearly inspired by not only the original film but also Blade Runner, it is colourful, large in scale, layered with all sorts of details from the design of the robotic humans, to the various holograms dotted all over the city. It was all very impressive and pretty to look at. The action scenes were fine, some stood out more so than others, but I feel like the creativity went the visual style of the film and wasn’t applied to fight scenes which felt a little bland and lacking in creativity, oh and some of those uses of slow motion were unnecessary too. The film score from Clint Mansell and Lorne Balfe had some interesting moments especially when there started tapping into the otherworldly nature of the original film’s music, but overall it was decent.

In the end Ghost in the Shell was alright, as someone who wasn’t expecting much it ended up being better than I anticipated. Now I’m not saying the film is great, but it wasn’t total rubbish either. I enjoyed some of the action, the visuals were pretty cool and some of the themes were intriguing, but in the end it didn’t have the depth and direction necessary to make it anything more than just an okay film.

So have you seen Ghost in the Shell and if so what did you think of it? And how do you feel it compares to the original? Please drop me your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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EPIC REVIEW: Power Rangers (2017)

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another new film review. Now I know I’ve been gone for a little while and I apologise for that, however, I had to rise from the depths of the earth to talk about Power Rangers, the grounded reboot of the Mighty Morhin’ era of the Power Rangers TV series from the 90’s. Power Rangers was a big deal for as a kid, I watched Mighty Morphin’, I had the toys and was obsessed way back when and while I’ve been interested in another go at a live-action film, this reboot gave me all sorts of concerns because of the trailers. But hey the film’s out and now I’m gonna pass judgement.

The story can be described as the following:

“Power Rangers tells the story of five high school students, all from different walks of life whose lives are changed forever when they stumble upon an old alien ship where they acquire superpowers. During this period an enemy known as Rita Repulsa surfaces and start causing chaos, so our heroes must band together and become the Power Rangers in order to the deal with the impending threat.”

So here’s the thing, I didn’t hate the film, but I wasn’t overly impressed with it either. This film essentially took a few of the core eleents of the original show and created its own new take on the story with the mythology of the Ranger abilities, the relationship between Zordon and Rita, the way in which the teenagers got their abilities and a few other things. And much of the film has this darker, grounded and more serious approach to the source material and while I appreciate the new mythology and some of the story points and themes, I don’t think it was totally successful. Sometimes the story fluctuated between being serious and humourous, and even though the film is based on a pretty crazy concept, there were some pretty illogical and strange scenes and plot points that took me out of the film.

When it comes to the cast I thought they were all solid actors and did well in their roles, however some had more screen time than others so not all of them felt developed. Dacre Montgomery was fine as Jason Scott/Red Ranger, he had a nice sense of screen presence as the leader of the team but I felt like he was a bit plain. The same can be said for Naomi Scott as Kimberly Hart/Pink Ranger, Scott was fine in the role and I liked some of Kimberly’s backstory, but as a character she was a bit plain. The next three characters have a little more meat to them. Firstly there’s Becky G as Trini Kwan/Yellow Ranger, I wasn’t too keen on her at first, she was a little too emo for my liking and while you get to know her and find out about her sexual orientation (which was surprising but not as much of big deal as some news outlets made it out to be), she didn’t feel as likable as some of the others. Ludi Lin was decent as Zack Taylor/Black Ranger, at first I found to be a little too zany, but once you found out about his backstory he really grew on me. But the real star is RJ Cyler as Billy Cranston/Blue Ranger. I knew I liked this dude for a reason in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and in this film he acted with such charisma, humour and charm. I loved all of his dialogue and interaction and how integral he was to the plot. What I liked about the cast was their interactions and the way they felt a little more realistic and fleshed out from the original show, and while not all of them had enough screen time together or in certain pairs, I did love the connection between Jason and Billy.

Also Bryan Cranston as Zordon was solid though I could have used more. As the mentor of the Power Rangers and with his backstory in the film it made him more substantial than I expected, though his character is a little mean and could have used just a few scenes with the team to explain a few things in order to make a little more likeable and allow the team to connect with him more. Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5, was a little weird but I got over it and ended up liking his performance a fair amount. And finally you have Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, and I’m gonna say it right now, I didn’t like her at all. While Rita in the original show was all sorts of weird and annoying on occasions, she was fun and crazy but in a good way. Banks’ Rita is just some generic, boring and zany character who has some interesting history with the Power Rangers and Zordon but it’s never fully delved into and if they had given this character more sinister and calculated focused around resentment and betrayal I would have loved it, but I thought she just didn’t fit in with the tone of the rest of the film.

As for the presentation, the film was fine but not amazing. Visually the film was shot well, and some of the action scenes were decent too. Though the CGI was decent, it didn’t feel as detailed as it should have been especially during the giant monster fight. The most disappointing part of this film was the lack of hand to hand combat in and out of the suits, it has been one of the key elements of not only the original series right until the current iteration of Power Rangers and sure there was some nice stuff here and there but it wasn’t included as much I would have liked. And the film score from Brian Tyler was fine, it had certain moments of interest and totally was tapping into Tron: Legacy territory on several occasions.

So in the end Power Rangers was alright, there were certainly elements I enjoyed, but there was also a lot of things I didn’t. This did some interesting things but also missed some opportunities to be more. How much you’ll enjoyed this will depend on if you’re a fan or not, and if you’re a fan whether you’ll be able to accept the new changes or not. Check it out if you’re interested.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 1 Review (NO SPOILERS)

Howdy ladies and gents, it is time for another one of those big reviews that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, I am talking about the final Netflix show before Defenders comes out later on this year, I am of course talking about Marvel’s Iron Fist season 1. Now this show’s had one hell of an interesting ride before and during its release with early episodes getting pretty negative press from critics and then having fans slamming critics for their opinions because they think the show’s great. Either way my hype for Iron Fist super high, but the early reviews did make me worry. However, I finished the show yesterday, I’ve had some time to think about it and I’m ready to share my thoughts.

So what’s the story for this show? It can be described as the following: “Danny Rand returns to New York City after being missing for years, trying to reconnect with his past and his family legacy. He fights against the criminal element corrupting his world around him with his incredible kung-fu mastery and ability to summon the awesome power of the fiery Iron Fist.”

Okay, so Iron Fist’s story. The words that immediately come to mind especially for the first half of the series would be dull, frustrating, repetitious, contrived and convenient. Those are words I never expected to associate with this show. Now none of the previous Marvel Netflix shows have been able to fully escape moments of bordem or tedious material, but show has them from the beginning. Unlike previous shows where I was on board within three episodes, this show took until episode six for me to start to get into it which was crazy. On paper this story sound like all sorts of fun and with Danny’s backstory and how it ties into what’s happening in New York with the criminals running around, it should be captivating, and yet we spend too much time on small/unimportant things, take too much time on plotlines that spread over several episodes instead of one or two or set or mention certain things that have no pay off (like the mysticism and backstory with K’un-Lun). I think it the script that does the most damage to this show with dialogue and scenarios that felt unoriginal, weird and silly. The show felt incredibly slow and it honestly felt like a chore to get through, sometimes I stopped completely paying attention to mess with my phone or play some video games. By the time the show ended I was curious as to why things unfolded in the way in which they did and if the writers had shortened, changed or simplified the story from what we had gotten, the show would have benefited from it immensely. That being said, there’s still some redeeming qualities in the story, mythology and characters especially from episode six onwards, while not consistently good there’s still elements to appreciate.

Episode highlights include:

  • Immortal Emerges from Cave
  • Felling Tree with Roots
  • Black Tiger Steals Heart
  • Dragon Plays with Fire

When it comes to the cast, I think they did their best considering the material they were given and some actors/actresses were good while other didn’t fare as well. Firstly there’s Finn Jones as Danny Rand/Iron Fist, here’s the thing, I like Jones as an actor and I thought he did the best that he could, that being said I didn’t like Danny Rand that much. He was a well-meaning guy with some cool martial arts talents and a sense of justice, but my god he was such an annoying, naive and frustrating person to follow. I understand the he’s endured a lot with the loss of his parents and the years he spent in K’un-Lun isolated away from the normal world, but he came across as a very childish, irrational and illogical individual. Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing fared a heck of a lot better, she had an interesting personality, code of conduct and her initial story and character moments felt far more engaging than Danny. Unfortunately because of the writing I felt like she ended up doing a few things that made her less engaging to watch but otherwise she was solid.

Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup as Ward and Joy Meachum really fluctuated in terms of how much I liked them. At first they were both incredibly dull, surface level characters with no interesting qualities and I wondered why they took up so much screen time besides the fact that they were tied to Danny’s childhood. It wasn’t until later when Ward’s story started to get interesting and I was curious to see where his character went and Joy, well I liked her, but she seemed to change her motivations and moral code a few too many times for me to like her on a long-term basis. David Wenham as Harold Meachum was a lot of fun at times, but then other times he was a little generic and plain, Wenham committed to his material hundred percent and I thought he did well in his role. Ramón Rodríguez was really effective as Bakuto, he had a very cool and intimidating presence, and seeing the return of Wai Ching Ho as Gao was great though not utilised to her fullest. Sacha Dhawan as Davos was awesome, he was a stern, aggressive and badass warrior who stole a lot of shine from Danny and was one of my favourite parts of the show. And finally Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, man I love this girl. While her integration in this show wasn’t as natural as the previous shows, she did have some of the best charisma, humour and logic of all of the characters, at this point she needs her own show or at least a more meaty role going ahead.

As for the presentation, well, it was significantly less impressive than I had hoped. Like the previous Marvel Netflix shows it is shot well for the most part and the style and presentation of New York is lovely. What was a little hit or miss was the action scenes, anyone who has read this blog knows that I LOVE me some well choreographed martial arts and considering who Iron Fist is and his comic book source material I was expecting something on another level. However, what we got at best was some interesting and fun fight sequences that borrowed from some classic and more recent films, but then were times when the fights looked okay to really dull lacking a sense of urgency, style, flair, impact and speed that was really required for characters so closely associated with martial arts. As for the soundtrack by Trevor Morris wasn’t all that impressive, unlike previous Marvel shows (especially Luke Cage) the score has no presence or does little to elevate what’s happening on-screen. The most memorable piece of music is the opening theme and that’s all because it reminds me of “The Game Has Changed” from Tron Legacy.

In conclusion season 1 of Marvel’s Iron Fist is a disappointment. The show is not complete garbage as a lot of critics have made it out to be and there is some fun to be had once you get into the latter half of the season, but as it stands, I feel like the bad outweigh the good with a lot of issues relating to the dialogue, pacing, characters and most importantly the martial arts. It isn’t fun, there’s no real sense of personality or flair and compared to the comics and the shows that preceded it, it should have been much better. If you love the show, more power to you, but I can only recommend this show if you’re curious or a completest of MCU material.

So have you seen season 1 of Marvel’s Iron Fist and is so what do you think of it? And how would you compare it to Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2017 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episodes 27 & 28: Logan & Kong: Skull Island

Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well. Since I never made a post about episode 27, I decided to release both episodes in the same post with the topics relating to reviews for Logan and Kong: Skull Island.

Anyway here’s the episode 27:

And here is episode 28:

I’ve already written about Logan and Kong: Skull Island, however if you’re not into reading then I believe you’ll find my audio commentary to be a little more comprehensive, entertaining and possibly funny. 🙂

As I mentioned before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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