31/10/2014

GOTHAMIZED: CHRISTOPHER LAMBERT'S LAUGH - PODCAST


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



In this ninth episode, we discuss the fourth and fifth episode of Gotham, Batman Forever, girl Robin, Viper juice and Christopher Lambert's laugh.

(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) and send us emails with your Bat-questions, Six Degrees challenges and riddles here: gothamized@gmail.com

(for the pilot episode CLICK HERE)

27/10/2014

DRACULA UNTOLD - REVIEW


Upon hearing that we'd be getting a new Dracula movie this Halloween and that it would star the usually reliable Luke Evans in the title role, I was definitely looking forward to it. It had been a while since the last Dracula movie and an epic period piece sounded like a good idea.

Then the trailer happened.

Then the movie happened.

And then I started missing Dracula 2000.

As it turns out, this Dracula story was "untold" for a reason: it's mostly rubbish.

The film is kind of a prequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula in that you see a fuller version of how Vlad The Impaler became a vampire but, of course, minus the style and poetic approach of Francis Ford Coppola's film (or Bram Stoker's novel for that matter). What we're left with is a by-numbers epic movie with some unlikely vampire theme thrown in. Dracula Untold, much like Man Of Steel, is a reboot for the sake of being a reboot: it serves a functional purpose, nothing more. Essentially, all the film does is add a couple of things to what we already knew about Dracula's past in order to make the movie not 20 minutes long.

Dracula, we learn, became a vampire in order to defeat the Turkish armies determined to humiliate and take over Transylvania. He joined the undead by meeting with some old, cursed vampire dude who happened to live in a cave in the nearby mountains. Cave Guy (played by Charles Dance), as I've decided to call him seeing as he's barely a legitimate character in this, could have been an opportunity to merge Max Schreck's Nosferatu into the story somehow thereby creating an interesting homage to the movie that started it all but all this Cave Guy does is introduce a new plot hole. The idea was always that Dracula sold his soul to the Devil but now it's this guy who appears to have done that so Dracula's just an unlucky desperate dude with an awesome power that happens to have unfortunate side effects. As for Cave Guy, the movie remains unsure about what to do with him once he turns our main character.

Unfortunately, Evans is given a bland script to work with and he ends up being completely forgettable in the film so the tragic aspect of his character doesn't come through and neither does his intensity. You don't buy for one second that this guy is Vlad The Impaler and in a film where that's kind of the key thing, it's a fatal issue. Some new stuff is attempted in regards to what Dracula can do as a vampire but, alas, all it is is he can turn into swarms of bats or use swarms of bats to fight enemies. Expect many swarms of bats is what I'm saying. There's a cool, if very badly shot, scene in which Dracula basically fights off an army by himself and an entertaining end battle with other vampires but, other than that, this is about as tame as it gets in terms of breathing new life into a franchise. The lack of blood and gore is also pretty shocking, by the way.

All in all, Dracula Untold is, sadly, the wasted opportunity the dire trailer promised: it's shallow, brainless, not necessary and unimaginative. The film's ending is particularly laughable and it really should not be this confident about getting a sequel because this is a rather weak effort, even by Dracula movie standards.

Here's hoping "Frankenstein Untold" remains just that.

26/10/2014

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014) - REVIEW


Megan Fox sucks.

Now the elephant in the room's finally out of the way and I've clarified that for ya right off the bat: let's take a look at the new Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or, as it is also called, Ninja Turtles.

This looked set to be a disaster from the get-go with Bay attached, the casting of Fox and major changes to the Turtles' story all announced at the same time. Then came the very dumb trailer which didn't look all that amazing and actually turned off a lot of people who thought the turtles looked too freaky. Because we all know what a teenage mutant ninja LIVE ACTION turtle should look like, don't we? And what we're all picturing right now isn't weird at all, right?

Come on, mutated turtles that can talk, fight and eat pizza were always going to look bizarre not in a cartoon or a comic book.

The biggest surprise the film had to offer wasn't the new "roided-out" look of its titular characters or William Fichtner not being The Shredder at all but that some elements of the film actually sort of worked! Like it or not, when this new TMNT actually genuinely attempts to stay true to its source material and it does it well, it's pretty cool to see those turtles again doing what they do best. Oh sure, there's A LOT of stupid stuff in there you could have cut entirely, the insufferable boomboxing elevator scene for one, but the animated intro is pleasant 3D eye-candy, the action scenes are definitely entertaining, you get to see The Shredder fight Master Splinter properly, the turtle van looks cool and most of the scenes in the sewers where the turtles interact are likeable.

Sadly, a lot of these plus points are dragged down by some questionable decisions.

I mean, I've mentioned that Megan Fox sucks, I know I did, but I think a reminder is needed. She really is terrible in this and not since John Leguizamo took on the role of Luigi in Super Mario Bros. sans moustache have we seen such a blatant miscast. Surely lifeless eyes, a lifeless face and a failure to convincingly display any sort of emotion or speak properly should not land you the role of April O'Neil or any role in a big budget movie for that matter (unless you're Keanu Reeves, of course). Don't expect a yellow jumpsuit, a sense of humour, a feisty nature, don't even expect her to own a proper camera, this is the poorest excuse for an April O'Neil they could have possibly put together and it's certainly a tough error to look past. When the live-action turtles in your movie feel more real than your leading actress, you might look into recasting.

On the other hand, Will Arnett, while playing a mostly useless character you could have easily written off, totally needed to be in this movie. Whatever joke Fox can't pull off, Arnett jumps in to save the day with a well-articulated quip. He may just be some dude driving a news van but he's also kind of driving this movie so, whether he's useful or not to the plot, we needed him and I'm glad he was there to at least try to entertain us. He's basically our Casey Jones, minus that badass hockey mask. Fichtner's character is also a bit of a question mark in that even the movie forgets completely about him come the third act. This reeks of a re-write following complaints that the actor was not right for the role of Shredder or something of the sort. Luckily, the latter is appropriately intimidating and although *spoilers* he does get his ass royally kicked by the end of the flick, I do look forward to more Shredder and hopefully some Krang in the future.

Now Krang in a live-action movie would look messed-up.

I'd wanna see that!

This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, if I'm honest, isn't terrible. It's bad in some ways but no more than the usual Michael Bay-produced (or directed) fare. It's also, shockingly, almost good at times: it's admittedly fun and harmless enough, the plot is blindingly simple so kids and adults won't have trouble following it, it's mindless, it's silly yet weirdly endearing, whenever Fox isn't on screen, that is. It could have been a whole lot worse and I, for one, enjoyed parts of it even if, on the whole, this is a messy movie with its share of flaws.

More turtles, less Foxes.


For my April Fool's joke review of the film from earlier this year, click here!

14/10/2014

GOTHAMIZED: FURNITURE MAN - PODCAST


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



In this eighth episode, we discuss the third episode of Gotham, eggs, The Balloonman, Sean Penn, Pyg Balloons, The Flash and we end with a riddle.

(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) and send us emails with your Bat-questions, Six Degrees challenges and riddles here: gothamized@gmail.com

(for the pilot episode CLICK HERE)

13/10/2014

GONE GIRL - REVIEW


Director David Fincher is back with a new, reliably strange thriller and, mercifully, it's not another "Girl With The...", not yet anyway. Based on Gillian Flynn's novel, Gone Girl sees Ben Affleck play a husband who finds out that his wife has gone missing all of a sudden.

If there is one movie that's nearly impossible to review without spoiling anything it's this one, but I'll give it a go.

The trailer for the film, which was pretty clever, turns out to be way more clever than we thought as nothing, we soon realise, is as it seems. The movie's plot sort of reinvents itself as the story develops so whatever you're expecting, it's very likely it's not that. There's a good bunch of effective twists and turns throughout the film and seeing as it is by Fincher, the M. Night Shyamalan of dark "realistic" thrillers, they're handled brilliantly and should keep you hooked from start to finish. And Gone Girl isn't a short flick so that's saying something. You know how Zodiac was gripping pretty much non-stop and still left you wanting more somehow? This one's sort of like that. It, however, works slightly less than Zodiac as a film in that you can sort of pick at a couple of plot-holes here and there if you think about the twists a bit too much but otherwise, it's definitely right up there.

Ben Affleck does a great job at playing a morally grey character you're never quite sure how to feel about while Rosamund Pike gives an impressive, career-best, possibly even Oscar-worthy performance. Neil Patrick Harris also shows up at one point as Pike's creepy ex-boyfriend and it's certainly refreshing to see him play a completely different role than we're used to. It's a very good cast and David Fincher uses everyone's abilities perfectly, constantly keeping the audience three steps behind by throwing big Hitchcokian moves at us when you least expect it. Ultimately, the film ends in a somewhat anti-climactic way but, although it could have kept going pretty much forever, it had to end somehow and the way it does end definitely works.

That's all I can say about it, really, without ruining the experience for you but to put it simply: I absolutely recommend this movie. I can't guarantee you'll love it or even like it, I could see this one dividing audiences on a number of points, but I personally had a great time watching it.

Whatever you think of it, this is one movie which should stay with you for a while.

Another oddball Fincher hit.

12/10/2014

MANBORG - REVIEW


There are movies.

And then there is Manborg.

When nazi vampires from Hell take over the Earth, a soldier is killed by Count Draculon (Adam Brooks) after witnessing his brother's death. Somehow, the soldier is soon reborn as a half-man, half-cyborg entity known only as Manborg. His goal? To learn to master his powers (before he accidentally kills someone he shouldn't), get revenge for what Draculon did to him and take down those Hellish forces before all hope is lost.

Basically, RoboCop meets Hellraiser meets Toxic Avenger meets... I guess the 80's in general.

Along the way, Manborg meets some resistance fighters including martial arts expert #1 Man (voice-dubbed by Kyle Hebert), Australian Billy Idol-esque gunfighter Justice (Conor Sweeney) and his sister Mina (Meredith Sweeney) whose fighting style is very much steeped in anime. Together, they escape the dastardly (and in-love) Baron (Jeremy Gillespie) and, in an odd Star Wars-esque turn of events, start training with the help of Manborg's maker Dr Scorpius (Brooks again) who appears to them as an Obi Wan-style hologram and a Little Guy who is nowhere near as useful as Yoda but worthy of mention nonetheless.

The whole film is a trashy, no-budget retro treat packed full of stop-motion monsters, ambitious but effective practical gore effects and cheesy CGI/green screening not to mention obvious dubbing. It's an endearing, loving send-off of a whole bunch of cult horror and sci-fi movies from back in the day with a tongue-in-cheek approach. It's a valiant effort by director Steven Kostanski to bring back some good old-fashioned dated corniness and put his own spin on it while making a film look cheap yet kinda cool thanks to some nifty hand-made effects. Some great scenes include some very silly montages, The Baron's bizarre crush on Mina, Manborg's elaborate "birth" and the latter's random one-word responses.

If you enjoyed stuff like Hobo With A Shotgun or anything by Troma then you should have a ball with Manborg: it's goofy, trashy as hell but it's a fun, short-and-sweet ride with some good laughs splattered throughout.

Plus the trailer for fake movie Bio-Cop at the end of Manborg is genius.

You can catch more Manborg-style madness is the gang's latest film The Editor, a homage/spoof of classic Giallo flicks.

10/10/2014

THE BIG REWIND: EPISODE 43 - PODCAST


In this 43rd episode, Adam (aka The RetroCritic) and fellow film buff Jamie discuss movie news, review Gone Girl 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 iTunes where you can subscribe to the podcast and download every episode thusfar!

@TheRetroCritic
#TheBigRewind
retrocriticblog.blogspot.com

07/10/2014

GOTHAMIZED: CATJUICE - PODCAST


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



In this seventh episode, we discuss the second episode of Gotham, cats, The Dollmaker, Jenna Haze, AOL, James Franco and we end with a riddle.

(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) 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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