28/08/2015

THE BIG REWIND: EPISODE 61 - PODCAST


In this 61st episode, Adam (aka The RetroCritic), fellow film buff Jamie and special guest Dale (@Silent_Consumer) discuss movie news, review Fantastic Four and talk retro stuff.


Email us here if you have any questions, requests or contributions: bigrewindpodcast@gmail.com

Or simply comment below :)

Oh and you can also find us on iTunesStitcher and Player FM where you can subscribe to the podcast and download every episode thusfar!

@TheRetroCritic
@Silent_Consumer
#TheBigRewind
retrocriticblog.blogspot.com

18/08/2015

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION - REVIEW


The Mission: Impossible franchise is back with yet another larger-than-life adventure in which Tom Cruise is running topless somewhere exotic, kicking all sorts of butt.

This time, the main threat being a secret organisation known only as The Syndicate, which is essentially a villainous version of the IMF. They've been causing chaos all around the world and Ethan Hunt (Cruise) has always been one step behind. After Alec Baldwin's government official pretty much closes down the IMF, it'll be up to Hunt and his crack team to take down The Syndicate while acting under the radar. The team in question being composed of computer wizard Benji (Simon Pegg), field agent William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and all-rounder Luther (Ving Rhames). They also get the help of Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a resourceful badass gal Ethan meets during several missions, though it's not always clear who she works for so trusting her is a gamble throughout.

The film opens with the much promoted plane scene in which Tom Cruise literally hangs off the door of a plane for real as it takes off, much to his team's horror. It's a very fast-paced, slick and effective opening which leads us to a cool, purposely retro opening credits sequence. Unfortunately, this beginning is so good, it is never matched after that. You do get more fun stuff in the film including some break-neck car chases, thrilling bike pursuits, suspenseful underwater exploits but, by the end, you'll be left thinking back to how the film started, which is a bit of a shame.

The film's anti-climactic third act and lack of crescendo being its biggest flaw, otherwise it's as well made as you'd expect a Mission: Impossible film to be. Packed with crazy gadgets (a gun flute?!), nail-biting action sequences and light-hearted in-team banter. Plus a creepy baddie played by Sean Harris. Somehow, however, with all that there doesn't seem to be a genuine threat in Rogue Nation, at no point in the film are you actually worried about its outcome. To be clear, there are some very worthy suspenseful moments including Ethan Hunt's aquatic struggle and Benji's kidnapping but seeing as no-one of note has died or even been truly hurt since the first movie, one was almost hoping Benji would kick the bucket by the end in an unexpected dramatic twist.

Ultimately, Rogue Nation is a solid film and you'll have a good time watching it but it lacks the big balanced thrills of Ghost Protocol, the danger of M:I III and the non-stop pacing of M:I 2. While the film is better than some in this franchise, it's probably also more forgettable than some, which is a pity because its plot was packed with potential.

All in all, I do recommend Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, it's definitely a good time. Just be aware that it doesn't so much crescendo as it does peak early then oscillate until the only so-so final act.

Mission: Watchable.

13/08/2015

THE BIG REWIND: EPISODE 60 - PODCAST


In this 60th episode, Adam (aka The RetroCritic) and fellow film buff Jamie discuss movie news, review Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and talk retro stuff.


Email us here if you have any questions, requests or contributions: bigrewindpodcast@gmail.com

Or simply comment below :)

Oh and you can also find us on iTunesStitcher and Player FM where you can subscribe to the podcast and download every episode thusfar!

@TheRetroCritic
#TheBigRewind
retrocriticblog.blogspot.com

10/08/2015

THE BIG REWIND: DISNEY - PODCAST


In some extra audio from episode 59 of The Big Rewind podcast, Jamie and I wonder about Disney's recent addiction to live-action cartoon adaptations.

SPYRO: ENTER THE DRAGONFLY - REVIEW A BAD GAME DAY


Review by Marcelo Espinoza

Spyro
 is a series I grew up with alongside Crash Bandicoot, Tekken, Rayman, and many others. Insomniac made the original Spyro trilogy, and they made those games well. 

However, when the Spyro franchise went through the same thing as the Crash franchise did, Check Six and Equinoxe got ahold of the series and made Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly. Being the first non-Insomniac Spyro title, I'm sure all fans of the purple dragon will say it CLEARLY shows. 

This game was rushed for the holiday season of 2002 and boy, is it obvious. 

Many things were cut, so instead of 25 levels being in the game as planned, we got 9 (counting the final boss), and while Spyro's number 1 antagonist Gnasty Gnorc was originally supposed to team up with Ripto, Ripto himself barely even has that much screen time in the final game, let alone Gnasty Gnorc, who was cut entirely. 


Apart from cut content, the presentation of "EtD" is abhorrent. The framerate likes to jump around a lot, which can get really distracting, and the loading times completely break the pacing of the game. Sure, the Gamecube version's load times are slightly faster, but the PS2 version's are downright unbearable. Some of the physics are wonky, like the gems sometimes spawning upside down (and constantly changing values) and some of the enemies sliding around weirdly after defeating them, and the game's so broken that on special occasions certain enemies will just freeze and not attack you! 

Speaking of which, this game is REALLY glitchy. 

It's not very hard to cause some of these glitches to happen, such as clipping through certain walls, swimming in the air, getting out of bounds, and the biggest one of all... using those three specifically to get to the final boss early; you don't even have to play the game to get to Ripto. 

WOW. 

The ironic thing is I used to like this game as a kid, and I'd justify it with "hey, it's a Spyro game! It's gotta be good!" but, as I came to learn, not every game is perfect and Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly? It just wasn't treated with respect; it could've had great potential, and now it's far, FAR from perfect. 

So my advice? 

Skip this game, whether you're a Spyro fan or not. I completed this game 100%, and it was utter hell doing so; it's NOT worth it.


Big thanks to Marcelo Espinoza for his review and for keeping Review A Bad Game Day alive! 

You can follow him on Twitter @DestinationMarc and subscribe to his Youtube channel.

Review A Bad Game Day was created by 1MoreCastle.com.

09/08/2015

FANTASTIC FOUR (2005) - REVIEW


Thinking about it, 2005 was a pivotal year for comic book movies.

The first Fantastic Four movie was released after the first wave of modern superhero films reached its peak with the likes of superior sequels Spider-Man 2 and X-Men 2, the same year that the gritty Batman Begins came out to reclaim the Dark Knight's validity and just before further dire sequels pretty much killed those franchises until Iron Man several years later.

It should have been no surprise, then, that the film was both very much a product of that first wave in spirit and yet also the start of the subgenre's decline quality-wise.

The Fantastic Four were always a lighter, more colourful bunch so making a live-action version of the comics would require some pretty high-end special effects to pull off the characters' unusual abilities and a script sharp enough to not let the film devolve into farce. With no Roger Corman in charge this time and an audience who accepted Spider-Man as a legitimate live-action hero, the film had every chance to succeed in what it was trying to do.

Shockingly, casting Jessica Alba did not help.

While the overall casting for the film was admittedly decent with a pre-Captain America Chris Evans having one heck of a good time as Johnny "Human Torch" Storm, Michael Chiklis a spot-on choice for Ben "The Thing" Grimm, Ioan Gruffudd selling the smarty pants/elastic thing rather well and Julian McMahon being appropriately unfriendly as Victor "Nip/Tuck" Von Doom, the casting of Alba as The Invisible Girl remains one of this franchise's biggest no-no's. There's a just a serious lack of emotion to her performance that's really distracting and her line reads are never convincing, bordering on funny-bad at times.

You could argue the film's plot spends too much time focusing on the Fantastic Four trying to get rid of their powers instead of being proper superheroes but that part actually works, somehow. The idea that they (minus Johnny Storm, of course, who is loving it) would see their powers as a disease before realising the positive aspects is interesting. Plus you still get a very entertaining action scene on a bridge and a big finish. Dr Doom, however, is left mostly walking around looking angry, killing the odd dude until he finally becomes the film's main villain in the last 10 minutes of the movie, which feels a bit rushed.

The special effects are probably as good as they could have been 10 years ago and although a few shots look dopey by today's standards, they're, for lack of a better word, OK. Having The Thing be a guy in a costume was a gamble and audiences either appreciated it following a fully CGI Hulk in the 2003 film or just dismissed it as a rubbery mess, it still remains debatable today. Really, the film's biggest shortcoming is its script: there are just too many corny in-jokes and cheesy lines, not to mention a misguided emphasis on the Sue Storm/Reed Richards/Victor Von Doom love triangle which belongs more in an episode of Sunset Beach than it does in a big-screen superhero flick.

Also Jessica Alba is terrible.

Not sure if I mentioned that.

Overall, with the new Fantastic Four doing very poorly at the box-office with a grittier mood and a younger cast, one wonders why that reboot decided to change what actually worked in this 2005 outing. Sure it was a bit silly, very flawed and didn't live up to the superhero films that preceded it (and the comics) but its colourful, upbeat vibe, the action, the characters and (most of) the casting did make this a fun, often charming popcorn movie and, in the end, isn't that what you want?

Uneven but likeable.

The Incredibles still did it better a year prior, though.

04/08/2015

THE BIG REWIND: EPISODE 59 - PODCAST


In this 59th episode, Adam (aka The RetroCritic) and fellow film buff Jamie discuss movie news, review Ant-Man and talk retro stuff.


Email us here if you have any questions, requests or contributions: bigrewindpodcast@gmail.com

Or simply comment below :)

Oh and you can also find us on iTunesStitcher and Player FM where you can subscribe to the podcast and download every episode thusfar!

@TheRetroCritic
#TheBigRewind
retrocriticblog.blogspot.com

27/07/2015

ANT-MAN - REVIEW


If the success of Guardians Of The Galaxy confirmed one thing it was that Marvel could, indeed, get away with making the most out-there, obscure comic book movie adaptations and turn them into gold.

The plan was certainly to do that with Ant-Man but the departure of director Edgar Wright last year seemed to suggest that this was a troubled production doomed to not make Avengers-style zillions.

The horror!

And so, while Ant-Man certainly didn't wow audiences and critics quite as much as some of the (literally) bigger superhero movies, it still did a good job and put ants (and wasps) on the map! Paul Rudd, known mostly for his reliably goofy work in Judd Apatow-led comedies, turns out to be a solid choice to be the Ant-Man despite the fact that one feels the man, who gives a restrained performance here, was holding back from cracking all sorts of inappropriate jokes on set during the course of the movie. It should make for some inspired bloopers on the Blu-Ray, for sure.

The film itself links Ant-Man and that suit's history (including Michael Douglas' Hank Pym) to the Marvel movie universe surprisingly well by having a nifty bunch of cameos and references to key events pop up here and there. One scene even sees Ant-Man fight an Avenger in one of this film's most entertaining moments. The real strength of the film is how well it balances celebrating its wackier concept while poking fun at it also, yet never turning into a disrespectful parody or getting too serious. Ant-Man also looks super slick, boasts some fascinatingly trippy scenes and the fact it's a heist movie makes it stand out more as something a bit different. Composer Christophe Beck's theme capturing what makes the character so likeable, fun and interesting perfectly.

The film's flaws are minor but certainly worthy of mention: Scott Lang's (Rudd) daughter subplot is thoroughly uninvolving and underwritten. As a motivation to get that character to do anything, it ends up feeling a tad weak. Michael Peña and two other dudes who play Scott's sidekicks/partners in crime could have probably been cut out of the film entirely despite them getting the odd amusing scene. Story-wise, the film seems to throw a lot of ideas into the air and, while most of them land safely, a few plot-holes remain throughout. The whole "I knew you'd do this, this and that so I let you do this only so I could do that!" thread is repeated one time too many so here's hoping future outings will mix things up a bit. That said, Corey Stoll makes a worthy one-time-only villain as The Yellowjacket pulling off the vanity, cunning intelligence and dangerous nature of the baddie really well.

All in all, Ant-Man is ludicrous but in a good way. It's consistently entertaining and, with all the comic book movies around, it still manages to feel pretty darn original, which is an achievement. Visually, it's a treat and the cast is well chosen. Sure the script is a tad slight in places and contains a handful of cheesy jokes we could have done without but, as a whole, it works.

A good time.

17/07/2015

GOTHAMIZED: REVENGE OF THE KNIGHT - PODCAST


Gothamized is a completely unofficial guide to new series Gotham and a debate arena for all things Batman.



In this 23rd episode, we discuss Gotham Season 2 news, the Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad trailers, The Joker, "seeing" and we take a quiz.

(for my written review of the Gotham Pilot, click here!)

Hope you enjoy it!

You can also find us on podcast The Big Rewind (available on iTunes, Stitcher and Player FM) and send us emails with your Bat-questions, Six Degrees challenges and riddles here: gothamized@gmail.com

(for the pilot episode CLICK HERE)

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