Your opinion on John Wick: Chapter 2, will depend entirely on what you enjoyed about the original.
If you loved the simplistic nature of the storyline, then you may be a little disappointed with this outing. However, if you loved the world building that took place in the first movie. I think you’ll love this.
The first film can be explained in a lift, one week after his wife dies of cancer, a retired hit man is randomly targeted by the son of Russian gangster-which results in the death of John Wick’s dog and the theft of his vintage mustang. Grief-stricken and angry, he seeks revenge.
John Wick: Chapter 2, is a little harder to summarise, it’s essentially a film of four parts.
Part one picks up a few days after the events of John Wick. Wick is clearing up his unfinished business with the Russian mob. He wants his beloved 1969 Mustang returned to him. He faces off against Peter Stormare, as the brother of Viggo (the mob boss from the first film).
Part two: The next morning Wick is visited by Italian mobster, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), who presents him with a “marker” from a previous debt. His mission is to assassinate D’Antonio’s sister.
Part three: The sister is protected by probably the only man who could be considered John Wick’s equal, Cassian (Common).
Part four: After completing his mission, Wick is double-crossed by D’Antonio; who puts out a contract on him, worth $7 million. He’s now targeted by Cassian and every other assassin in New York.
Winston (Ian McShane) has a bigger role, as the operator of “The Continental” a luxury hotel that is a safe haven for people who would otherwise be killing.
Reeves and Common both have a burning commitment to their roles. The martial arts choreography is a sight to behold. They also share a number of incredibly humorous scenes, one of which involves both men discreetly trying to shoot each other, with silencers across a busy New York subway station.
Everyone involved in the film gets how absurd it is. But they fully commit and take it seriously. Many of the people involved in this project, also worked on The Matrix and that visual style and chorography shows. The audience is encouraged to laugh at its excesses.
It does what any decent sequel should, it justifies its reason for being and, expands on the established mythology.
It plays to Reeves’ strengths. He may be an actor of limited range, but when you need a moody good-looking action hero, there’s few better.
Forget Neo, forget Ted. Keanu Reeves will forever and always be John Wick.
John Wick:Chapter Two is out in the UK 17th February 2017.
In 1999, The Blair Witch Project shook Hollywood to its very core, two young filmmakers managed to break new ground and breathe life into the found footage sub-genre. As well as breaking box office records, it was the first movie to realise the true potential of Internet marketing.
Like with most franchises that have a dud sequel, Blair Witch pretends Book of Shadows never happened and serves as a direct sequel to the original.
The new film focuses on James (James Allen McCune) who happens to be the younger brother of, Heather, who disappeared in the first film. James and his film student girlfriend Lisa (Callie Hernandez) find a video on the internet, which convinces James that even after twenty years, Heather may still be alive.
James decides that no matter how remote a chance, he has to take it. So he and Lisa, along with their friends Peter (Brandon Scott) and Ashley (Corbin Reid) head into the woods in Burkittsville, Maryland (formerly Blair), where they meet local odd-couple Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry), who posted the video online.
From there on in, the film is pretty much a rehash of all the things that made The Blair Witch Project so original. We get stick figures, piles of rocks, handprints and steady-cam POV footage of actors running through the woods, whilst screaming.
Back in ’99 this all felt fresh original, but now it’s been done to death. Apart from slightly expanding the mythology surrounding the stick figures, there’s nothing innovative here.
This feels less like a sequel and more like a modern day remake, the slow-burn of the original, along with rawness of the grainy footage has been replaced by quick glossy digital cuts. Nothing about this film feels found, it’s sleek and well-crafted, to maximise the profits from the YouTube generation.
The fact that James is Heather’s brother is entirely tangential and unnecessary.
I suppose in many ways, this film is poetic. The Blair Witch Project kick started the found footage sub-genre, it’s only fitting that Blair Witch is the final nail in its coffin.
Martyn and I attended the screening of Gladiator at The Royal Albert Hall. The event was electric, we had such a great time. Thanks to The Royal Albert Hall for the invite. Please check out the Vlog below,
For the past year Big Finish has released a number of audios connected to the modern series of Doctor Who, with the likes of Torchwood, The Churchill years , The War Doctor and The diaries of River Song. However, this is probably the most highly anticipated audio of 2016. Not only does it see the return of the extremely popular David Tennant, as the Tenth Doctor. It sees the return of fan favourite Catherine Tate, as Donna Noble. It also marks the first time Big Finish have been allowed to use a Doctor from ‘Nu-Who’.
Technophobia by Matt Fitton
It’s 2010 and The Doctor and Donna are in London to visit the Technology Museum. Things don’t go to plan and the TARDIS duo quickly find themselves in the thick of it.
Exhibits are attacking visitors, and people across London are running scared of technology. The most brilliant mind in the UK, can no longer work a pencil. Below the streets of London, the Koggnossenti are plotting and waiting, poised to attack.
Long-time Big Finish writer, Matt Fitton has done it again. This is another outstanding audio from him. It must have been a daunting prospect, to pen the first new story for Tennant and Tate, and he bought his A-game.
Of the three, this is the most remiescent of the Russell T Davies era. Technophobia has the essence, wit, style and emotional substance of Series 4. But rather than try to sound like an episode from that era, Big Finish have found a way to take everything that worked in 2008 and craft it into their own vision.
Fitton also manages to subvert the “technology going wrong” genre. You think the story is going one way, when it goes an unexpected route. This has engaging supporting characters, witty dialogue and a captivating story. Fitton perfectly manages to capture the relationship between the Doctor and Donna.
For the past ten years Warner Bros and DC Comics have been doing a series of straight-to-DVD animated movies. With mixed results. A lot of the output has been outstanding, but some have fallen a little flat. The Batman, Superman, and Justice League titles have all sold well.
But, DC have never really had much confidence with Teen Titans. Their range of films were put on hold, then quickly cancelled.
The film is titled ‘Justice League vs Teen Titans’ but don’t let that fool you, it’s actually Teen Titans featuring a couple of possessed members of the Justice League.
It’s set in the same continuity as Justice League: War and Son of Batman. And picks up right where the latter left off, introducing Damian Wayne (Sturat Allen), the young son that Bruce Wayne (Jason O’Mara) never knew he had.
The film also cherry picks Teen Titans greatest hits. There’s elements from the comics history, thrown in with moments from the two animated TV shows, which ran from 2003-2006.
The Robin in this adventure is Damian Wayne. Whilst assisting his dad and the justice league, he disobeys a direct order and almost ruins the entire mission.
Batman decides to ship Damian off to train with the Teen Titans. Reluctantly, Damian agrees and Nightwing takes him to Titans Tower. Where he meets his new team mates; Starfire, Beast Boy, Blue beetle, and Raven.
It turns out that Raven (Taissa Farmiga) is the daughter of a huge Satanic-like creature named Trigon (Jon Bernthal), whom is not only intent on reclaiming her, but on also enslaving mankind. He omits an ooze, which renders the Justice League under his control. This is where the ‘vs’ comes in, Damian has to put aside his problems with the other Titans and work together to take down Trigon and, the possessed League.
The film is directed by Sam Liu and written by Bryan Q. Miller and Alan Burnett. It manages to balance humour, whilst keeping the threat ever present. Which is something the other vs movie has been critiqued for not doing. It isn’t all perfect, there’s a pointless musical montage that goes on for far too long, whilst the Titans are “bonding”. It also managed to balance some adult themes, that kids won’t get. Dick Grayson very clearly expects to have Skype-sex with Starfire.
The fights are incredibly well-done and entertaining, but much like the other ‘vs’ movie, there’s a lot of style over substance. But I eagerly await the next Titan adventure.
Justice league vs Teen titans is out on Blu-Ray on the 30th of May
Ricky Gervais’ first foray, into Netflix filmmaking is a remake of the 2009 French film ‘Envoyés Très Spéciaux’.
Radio anchorman, Frank Bonneville (Eric Bana) is tasked with reporting on a rebel uprising in Quito, alongside radio technician Ian Finch (Ricky Gervais). On the way to the airport, the pair lose their passports and end up stuck in New York. They have two options. Own up and lose their jobs, or fake it. So, from the Spanish resturant opposite the radio station, they use Ian’s audio expertise to falsify the report. Unbeknownst to Ian, Frank slept with his wife. The day before she dumped him. As the lies grow bigger, the duo actually find themselves in Ecuador.
The film is meant to be a satire about mass media manipulation, but Gervais’ wimps out about half-way through. However, the biggest problem with special correspondents is the characters. None of them come across as real humans.
Gervais acts as writer/director, as well as co-star. But, he is woefully miscast as Ian. What we get is a clitche ridden caricature of a geek. He speaks about video games and comics. Given that it’s well-known that Gervais despises geek culture, it’s hard to take him seriously. Ben Whishaw or Rafe Spall would have been outsanding in this role.
Bana’s character is just bland. I think we’re meant to hate the guy, but also be impressed by him in a ‘loveable bastard’ type way. But he doesn’t do anything appalling enough to be hated or nice enough to endear him.
America Ferrera and Raúl Castillo play a nice couple, who give Ian and Frank shelter. But the pair are unrealistically stupid, they could never run a successful business in the real world.
As bad as the other characters are, nobody has it worse than Vera Farmiga, as Ian’s wife, Eleanor. She’s a one-dimensional-fame hungry harpy, who takes to the talk show circuit to sell her “charity single”. She doesn’t have a single redeeming quality.
This is Gervais’ first feature without a co-director. With the invention of lying, he had Matthew Robinson. With Cemetery Junction, he had former creative partner, Stephen Merchant. Special Correspodents proves that Gervais isn’t a natural filmmaker, the film relies too heavily on musical montages, clitches and leaps in time to tell the story.
Following last year’s successful five-part mini-series. Titan Comics and writer Cavan Scott have brought back the ninth Doctor for an ongoing series.
Eccleston’s Doctor is easily the most tragic incarnation in Doctor Who’s history. War-torn and holding the belief that he wiped out his entire species, he finds comfort and solace in the friendship with an Earth-woman, Rose Tyler and, another mysterious time traveller named Captain Jack Harkness. I’ve always felt there’s a romantic aspect to Eccleston’s portrayal, as he was “one and done”.
The story takes place some time after Jack joined the team.
After escaping a giant worm, the TARDIS trio soon pick up a transmission from a past version of Capatain Jack-sent before he had his memories erased. They then land on a planet where the Doctor is hailed as a celebrity, on this planet he is the star of a show called ‘Doctor Who’ (No, really) as soon as the trio step out the TARDIS, the Doctor is mobbed by people wanting selfies-much like Eccleston would have been at a Doctor Who convention in 2005.
“Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor” #1 could easily fit in the 2005 series. The story is fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled and filled with humour. It’s as if Cavan Scott spent an entire week watching and re-watching series 1. He gets the characterisation of 9, Rose, and Jack down so well. You’ll wish even more, that Eccleston had done another series.
This is essential reading for fans of the ninth Doctor.
Ninth Doctor #1 is out tomorrow, from Titan comics.
One of the many things Big Finish excel at, is exploring characters that were some what underserved on the original show. In my mind, Toshiko Sato was one such character. She was my favourite, but I always felt there was more to tell. Luckily, Big Finish have given her a solo adventure with ‘Zone 10’. She’s free from the Hub and more importantly, the rest of the team.
Toshiko has been investigating a strange phenomenon, known as “The Pulse”. The pulse is a radio signal that has stumped scientists for over four decades. The Russians blame the Americans, the Americans blame the Russians. But up until now, nobody has been able to decipher it.
The pulse leads Tosh to Russia, where she teams up with Maxim Ivanov (Krystian Godlewski) of the KVI, Russia’s version of Torchwood. Together they enter the restricted region ‘Zone 10’.
This is an excellently written drama, David Llewyn has managed to further explore Toshiko, without undermining the way she was portrayed on TV. It’s a bleak, but powerful and gripping drama. Full of gut-wrenching emotional moments.
The performances and direction and strong, the soundscape is amazing. Naoko Mori is clearly having a blast being back in Toshiko’s shoes, it’s like she has never been away.