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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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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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Films To Look Out For In 2017 Part 1

Howdy people of the internet, it’s a new year so you know what time it is, it’s time for my own personal preview of upcoming films that I believe deserve your attention entitled: Films to look out for in 2017! In PART 1 I’ll be covering films released from now until March, and there are more notable films during this period of time than any year before it.

Now before we begin I have two main things I need yo point out:

  1. Obviously a lot films come out, so if they’re not on my list it’s either because I don’t know about them or I don’t care…
  2. 2016 films getting their UK releases this year don’t count! So there. 😛

Okay then, let’s start 😀

The Bye Bye Man

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Release Date: January 13th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

Now I’m not a horror fan, people who follow this blog are well aware of that… However, I’m always curious about new horror films and a few always seem to make it on my yearly preview lists. From the look of the trailer it looks incredibly generic, predictable and to a degree quite funny with some of the crazy scenarios going on, but there are some interesting ideas in there. The reason this film is on here is because I’ve heard some mentions about it online so it has my interest.

XXX: Return of Xander Cage

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Release Date: January 19th (UK), January 20th (USA)

Trailer:

The funny thing is that I haven’t seen any of the previous XXX films due to lack of interest, however, with the release of this film I feel like I need to go back and get caught up. I don’t know much continuity this new film will have to the previous ones but I am curious. Plus, the trailer for this film looks frigging ridiculous, but in that over-the-top fun kind of way. I don’t think it’ll be as fun or as entertaining as the Fast and Furious films but hell I’ll give it a watch because of my boy Donnie Yen!

Split

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Release Date: January 20th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

There’s three reasons I’m interested in this film: 1) The premise about someone with multiple personalities sounds interesting. 2) James McAvoy is awesome so I’m always curious about his new projects. And 3) M. Night Shyamalan seems to be on an upswing since The Visit so I’m hoping he’ll continue to get better.

T2: Trainspotting

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Release Date: January 27th (UK), March 3rd (US)

Trailer:

I don’t have the massive attachment to Trainspotting like a lot of film fans do, and its not that I hate the film, far from it, I just saw it at a later time and I don’t know if it had the same kind of effect on me as it did for people who saw it closer to the film’s release. I saw it in my late teens and really appreciated it, plus some of the more disturbing material will stay in my memories for years to come, the toilet and the baby scenes messed up my mind for a good few weeks. I’m just curious to see if Trainspotting 2 will be good or just be another unnecessary sequel.

The Space Between Us

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Release Date: February 3rd (USA), February 10th (UK)

Trailer:

I hadn’t heard about this film until I looked it up and the trailer makes the film more intriguing to watch than the premise I read online. While I felt like I could predict how a good few of the story elements play out, I just like the unique story with a human born on Mars who trailers to Earth to experience life in a totally different way. The cast looks solid and I think there will be  lot of dramatic material to experience which should be fun.

The Lego Batman Movie

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Release Date: February 10th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

Batman was one of the standout part od the The Lego Movie, so when they announced The Lego Batman Movie it felt like a no brainer, though I thought it was a bad idea as you’d be getting too much of a good thing as a whole film. That being said, so far the marketing has been good and while I haven’t laughed out loud at any of the material, it does look pretty funny and Will Arnett seems to be on-point as Batman so I hope the film turns out well.

John Wick Chapter Two

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Release Date: February 10th (USA), February 17th (UK)

Trailer:

John Wick was a really fun film, while not as amazing as some people suggested online, it was better than I expected and I really liked the action and Keanu Reeves in the central role. Once I saw the first trailer for this sequel I was totally in, it looks so filthy and fun, and Lawrence Fishburne! Woo! Can’t wait for this film, I’m hoping it’ll just as good if not better.

A Cue For Wellness

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Release Date: February 17th (USA), February 24th (UK)

Trailer:

I heard about this film on Collider Movie Talk last year and after I saw the trailer I was intrigued. Psychological horror tends to make for the best viewing experiences and I like the cast especially with Dane DeHaan and Jason Isaacs. Plus the trailer has a disturbing atmosphere, creepy imagery and messed up experiences for all of the patients at this facility,

Fist Fight

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Release Date: February 17th (USA), March 3rd (UK)

Trailer:

This film on paper sounds like something I’d hate, it is a concept that sounds stupid and absurd, but it is at the same time the kind of foolishness that could make for some laughs especially with Ice Cube and Charlie Day at the center of it. The trailer looks absolutely silly and it has the stuff I like and dislike about comedies at the same time, I feel like this could just be an adventure set in the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia world and that’s what makes me want to watch the film.

Logan

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Release Date: March 3rd (USA & UK)

Trailer:

Logan was a film I was down to watch for a while now, but that trailer was what pushed this film into the “must watch” category. That trailer was the most unexpected and awesome piece of marketing that I think I saw last year, the tone, violence and choice of music presented a more mature, melancholy and brutal kind of comic book film than what we’ve seen in the X-Men film series so far. It could still be bad, but I’m hoping, Jame Mangold, the writers and Hugh Jackman have crafted something beautiful to send of this version of Wolverine in style!

Kong: Skull Island

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Release Date: March 10, 2017 (USA & UK)

Trailer:

I’ve been hyped for this film since its announcement and the cast only increased my hype and the first trailer really impressed me with the tone, visual style and atmosphere. It wasn’t until the second trailer when I started to feel hesitation, while it showed off more of the island, Kong himself and the other monsters, the humour was pretty hit and miss and the tone didn’t feel as intimidating as the last one. I just hope the film is action heavy but scary too.

The Wall

The Wall

Release Date: March 10th (USA), March 17th (UK)

Trailer:

I’m not too keen on war films but some of the more recent films in the genre have caught my interest and the fact that Doug Liman is directing this one already has my interest, but then you add the crazy/intriguing premise and an interest pairing of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena, and I think you could have a really good film to watch if it’s executed well.

Beauty and the Beast

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Release Date: March 17th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

The hype for this film is ridiculous, most friends that I know who are major Disney fans are stupid hyped for this film and apparently so is the rest of the internet if you look at all the views for the trailers online. I think I’m the only one who doesn’t love the original, probably because I saw it once and while it was good, it’s not in my top 10. Yeah I said it, suck it haters! But I am curious to see how this live-action version compares, it looks very pretty, but some of the redesigns to the characters look questionable, but hell if its even half as good as 2015’s Cinderella then I’ll be a happy lad.

The Belko Experiment

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Release Date: March 17th (USA)

Trailer:

I don’t know if this film is getting a UK release because according to IMDB its only coming to America in March but I hope that I’ll get to see it in the cinema because this looks like it’ll be some messy and interesting fun.

Life

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Release Date: March 24th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

So now we have the second Mars-related film on the list in the form of life with a premise that sounds interesting and a solid set of main actors in the form of Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds.

Power Rangers

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Release Date: March 24th (USA & UK)

Trailer:

As a fan of Power Rangers during the peak of its popularity I have a lot of nostalgic attachment to the franchise and this new reboot at this current point in time good be either really good or really bad. Now I know that in order to sell this film to new audiences that changes have to be made, and I didn’t expect them to be so dramatic with that first trailer, that being said it does look interesting with its mix of Chronicle and The Breakfast Club, I feel like there are familiar beats with the story and characters that I’ve seen before, but it does look like a unique interpretation of the show while still keep some of the original elements intact. I hope that it is good.

Ghost in the Shell

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Release Date: March 24th (USA) March 31st (UK)

Trailer:

This feel has been a long time coming, I was never really down with the idea of a live action version of Ghost in the Shell but with all the talk about it from Hollywood I never thought it’d ever get made. But here we are in 2017 just under 3 months away from its release in cinemas and so far the trailers look pretty cool with the visual imagery and ties to the animated film. I don’t have a huge attachments to the original anime so if this film is good then I’ll be happy, if it sucks then you know we can always wait for Akira right? Haha… But seriously I hope that never happens.

Alrighty then, that’s PART 1 done. Thanks a lot for reading. Are any of the films listed on your personal list of films to watch? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them below and I’ll see you for PART 2! Laters 😀

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Films, Media

 

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My Thoughts on the live action Power Rangers Reboot

Good day to all who may be reading this blog post. Today I’m just gonna be talking about a small little news story that broke in the world of film. The following information is from ComicBookMovie:

MMPR_Rangers

A big screen reboot of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has been announced. The property originally launched in 1993 as a tv series, but has since spawned one (terrible) big screen outing, as well as numerous comics,toys, apparel, costumes, video games, DVD’s, and plenty of other merchandise. Now Lionsgate are teaming with Haim Saban to re-envision the Power Rangers as “a group of high school kids who are infused with unique and cool super powers but must harness and use those powers as a team if they have any hope of saving the world.” Wasn’t that the original concept anyway? I’m a bit rusty! Lionsgate ad: “The Power Rangers stories and characters have been embraced by generations of audiences for more than 20 years, and today they are more powerful than ever.  We have the ideal partner and the perfect brand with which to create a motion picture event that will resonate with moviegoers around the world for years to come.”

All I can say about this is the following… I KNEW IT! I FRIGGING KNEW IT! Honestly I know eventually that the Power Rangers franchise would return to the big screen eventually. I could never tell you when and I did have doubts about it happening some time in the near future, but it seems like fate has decided to make that crazy thought a reality a lot sooner than expected.

So how do I feel about this? Pretty darn excited to be fair. I grew up with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, watched it nearly all the time back as a kid in the 90’s. I thought it was hella cool; teenagers who could turn into spandex-coloured superheroes and fight monsters  and then summon robot monsters to fight for them too. It was badass. Obviously now I know all about camp and cheese factor that comes with the show, but for what it was and how it was adapted it was pretty good. Sure most people who ever watched Power Rangers just call a piece of shit and literally take any opportunity they have to hate on the show, however there is a dedicated fan base that really love the franchise and go to conventions all the time in America.

Now having said that is there a need for another Power Rangers film? I’m not sure. With all the superhero films around it would be hard to try and make a dent on that turf unless you were a Marvel or DC property. But at the same time it is always good to have something different enter the fray from time to time. So then one has to wonder about the reboot as aspect of this film. How much of the Power Rangers elements will be rebooted. Will they take the original material (story, characters, tone, etc.) and modernize it or will they take the core elements but change everything else? See there is a balancing act that needs to be done here, the studios and filmmakers have to appease the older fans but also try to usher in a new audience who aren’t familiar with the property the way fans are. There is potential for Power Rangers to be as cool as the modern superhero film in my opinion if the right writers, director, costume designers and visual effects artists are on-board. But we’ll have to see.

I think the best way to look at this film is from the perspective of Andre aka Black Nerd. He’s a long-term Power Rangers fan and gives the best opinion about the pros and cons of the film and asks the right questions about the upcoming reboot. Just have a look at his video below:

So what are your thoughts on a new Power Rangers film? Please be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below and ‘ll see ya on the next blog post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Films, Media

 

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