Review-Mulan

With the exception of The Jungle Book, I haven’t enjoyed any of the Disney live-action remakes. It’s not that I’ve thought any of them were terrible, it’s just that none of them hit me the same way. However, I was genuinely interested in Mulan. It’s packed, with a cast full of martial artists experts and on paper is arguably, the only Disney film that could really work as live-action.

This version of Mulan vastly deviates from the 1998 source material. There are no musical numbers and the romantic subplot, is nowhere to be seen. It also replaces the wisecracking dragon, Mushu, with a soaring phoenix whose presence beats you over the head, with obvious metaphors.



With a cast consisting mostly of Chinese actors, with costumes and sets so impeccably designed. It seemed like a sure-fire hit. The film does look genuinely beautiful in places, the blend of New Zealand and China’s locations is seamless. However, the film doesn’t really have a lot going for it. There’s some really dodgy CGI and green screen work and, as great as her performance is, Liu Yifei never convinces as a man. She’s recognisably a woman throughout, it’s difficult to suspend your disbelief when the film isn’t even pulling off its central promise.

The film has many promising parts but fails to bring them together in a satisfying way. The action set pieces, that should be spectacular are either bad or mediocre, which is a shame considering the film boasts a cast that includes Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, and Gong Li. These are all actors renowned for their martial arts expertise. This could have been so good.

Mulan 2020 is just Mulan 1998, with the fun taken out. My advice would be to wait until it’s free to stream on Disney+.



Review: Ghosts series 2-The Grey Lady

In the first episode of the highly anticipated second series of Ghosts. Alison and Mike try to find new money-making ventures to fund the restoration of Button House.


When a photographer takes a photo of the property, for a potential wedding venue. He spots a blurry Lady Button (Martha Howe-Douglas) in the upstairs window. The photo of the house goes viral, with social media users dubbing her “the grey lady”. When paranormal fans from far and wide show up at the house, Mike spots a lucrative opportunity. He convinces Alison they should give people an authentic haunted house experience. Unfortunately, Julian (Simon Farnaby) has convinced the rest of the ghosts to go on strike.

Made by most of the creative minds behind Horrible History, Ghosts was a personal highlight of 2019. With so many comedies nowadays having a bleak edge, It’s refreshing to see a family-friendly comedy, that reminded me of the type of shows I watched with my parents as a kid.


An unspecified amount of time has passed since we were last with the residents of Button House. As soon as she wakes up in the morning, Alison checks the bathroom is clear of specters, so Mike can use it. She then attends to the Ghosts needs. She starts records, helps with crosswords, turns pages in books, opens laptops, and, times the Captain (Ben Willbond) running a lap, he feels he isn’t achieving his best. This was a great way to show the passage of time and just how comfortable the residents have gotten with each other. Mike even has a board, with photos and sketches of the ghosts. So he can picture who Alison is talking to.



Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe have such great natural chemistry and remain totally believable as a kind-hearted couple, who are completely out of their depth. They also deal with the disbelief young home-owners experience, when they tell visitors they own the house.
The rest of the cast are all equally outstanding, everyone involved with this is at the very top of their game. There’s even a great guest turn from Colin Hoult, who never disappoints. My personal highlight was Pat (Jim Howick) and Thomas (Mathew Baynton) pretending to be 80s disc jockeys.

2020 has been a dark year for us all, it’s great to finally see some light.

Ghosts returns tonight at 8:30 pm on BBC One. With all episodes on iPlayer after that.

Stars Charlotte Ritchie, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, and others.




Review-Bill & Ted Face the Music

Reunion films are tricky. They have to rekindle the magic that made them successful in the first place, be new and innovative enough to entice a new generation and, please life-long fans who’ve been writing the new installment in their heads for years.

Comedy films are doubly tricky, as society’s sensibilities change so much during a hiatus of a decade or longer. But, where the likes of Dumb and Dumber to and, Jay and Silent Bob reboot fell. Bill & Ted Face the Music soars.

It’s been 29 years since Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, but Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves instantly fall back into their titular roles. It’s like they’ve never been away.

Our heroes are still trying to write the song that will unite the world. They’re older now, but they remain just as kind-hearted, as when we last saw them.

After a hilarious session at couples therapy, Bill and Ted are visited by Kelly (Kristen Schaal), the daughter of their future-dwelling mentor Rufus (named after Carlin’s real-life daughter), who brings news of universe ending proportions.



What follows is a fun adventure, told mostly in real-time, written by the franchise creators Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon. The duo have delivered a most outstanding script. They’ve allowed Bill and Ted to grow and evolve, they’re still recognisably the characters we fell in love with in 1988. But they’ve changed, as we all do.

There are enough callbacks to the prior films, to please fans. But nothing that would put off a newcomer. William Sadler as Death remains a highlight, he’s so absurd and uncool, that he ends up being most triumphant.

The handling of the late great George Carlin’s Rufus is done with love, respect, and admiration. It even brought a tear to my eye.

Whilst Bill & Ted are off having adventures, we also follow their daughters Billie (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Thea (Samara Weaving), who are traveling through time, attempting to assemble the greatest band of all time to help their dads fulfill their destiny. Both are completely believable as the daughters of Bill & Ted, I would happily take a spin-off with these two at the helm.

If any criticism can be leveled at this, it’s in the handling of Bill & Ted’s wives Elizabeth and Joanna. We barely see them. However, with a runtime of only 91 minutes, some characters are always going to feel underserved. Hopefully, we’ll get a comic book, that shows us the princess’s adventure. 

The entire film is an utter delight from start to finish. Their careers may have taken them in vastly different directions over the years, but Reeves and Winter have remained very close. That trust, natural chemistry, and understanding absolutely shines through.

This film offers a message of love, hope, unity, friendship, and, an utter joy for music. 2020 has been a rough year for everyone, Bill & Ted Face the Music is a shining beacon of pure unadulterated pleasure. It might just save the universe.

Stay for the end credits.

Bill and Ted Face The Music will come to UK cinemas on September 16th.



Episode 232: New Mutants

Martyn and Gerrod discuss the 13th film in the X-Men franchise, they also discuss the latest Bond trailer and, John Boyega’s recent interview with GQ.

The New Mutants is a 2020 American teen-horror, based on the Marvel comics of the same name. It is the thirteenth and final installment in the X-Men franchise.

The film was directed by Josh Boone, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Knate Lee.

It stars Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, and Henry Zaga.

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as but not limited to;

Amazon Music, Podchaser, Player FM, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

If you’d like to support the show, then please shop via our Amazon link. A small percentage goes our way, at no extra cost to you.

Check out our Youtube.

Check out We Sound Familiar.

Check out Comedians talking football.

Twitter:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Gerrod –@InGerrodsMind

Pete – @BeeblePete

Sam-@Sammichaelcomic

Chris-@ChrisWalkerT



Episode 231:Big Finish-Doctor Who: Out of time

In which Martyn, Sam, and Chris discuss ‘Out of time’ the latest Doctor Who release from Big Finish.

Out of Time 1 stars David Tennant and Tom Baker. It was written by Matt Fitton and directed by Nicholas Briggs.

Read Martyn’s written review here.



The Big Finish Chris appears on can be bought here.

Check out Chris’ adaptation of Sleuth here.

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as but not limited to;

Podchaser, Player FM, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

If you’d like to support the show, then please shop via our Amazon link. A small percentage goes our way, at no extra cost to you.

Check out our Youtube.

Check out We Sound Familiar.

Check out Comedians talking football.

Twitter:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Gerrod –@InGerrodsMind

Pete – @BeeblePete

Sam-@Sammichaelcomic

Chris-@ChrisWalkerT

 Doctor Who: Out of Time 1 is now available from the Big Finish website.



Episode 230: Backwards Boys (Tenet)

In which a couple of backwards boys give a spoiler-free review, of a film about a couple of backwards boys (Tenet).

They also pay respect to the late great Chadwick Boseman and Norm Spencer.

They talk about Sylvester Stallone’s director’s cut of Rocky 4, as well as discuss the wrath of Bob McLeod, Christopher Eccleston joining Big Finish, Bernice Summerfield, series 2 of The Umbrella Academy, DC Fandome, Wonder Woman 1984, Black Adam, The Snyder Cut, and a quick spoiler-free review of Bill & Ted face the music.



The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as but not limited to;

Podchaser, Player FM, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

If you’d like to support the show, then please shop via our Amazon link. A small percentage goes our way, at no extra cost to you.

Check out our Youtube.

Check out We Sound Familiar.

Check out Comedians talking football.

Twitter:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Gerrod –@InGerrodsMind

Pete – @BeeblePete

Sam-@Sammichaelcomic

Chris-@ChrisWalkerT



Review-Doctor Who: Out of time

Covid 19 has been an utter horror, but it has given Doctor Who fans content we wouldn’t have gotten without it. Not only did we get a Sarah Jane Smith finale written by Russell T Davies, we also got the news that Christopher Eccleston has signed up to Big Finish.

It also enabled Big Finish to bring forward their release of Out of time 1. This was recorded entirely in lockdown and only happened because the events of this year cleared out David Tennant’s insane schedule.

Out of Time is the first, in a trilogy of original audio adventures that sees the Tenth Doctor pit himself against his most iconic foes, with a former Doctor by his side. In this story he’s joined by The Fourth Doctor, played by the legendary Tom Baker.

Multi-Doctor stories are nothing new, but this is the first time these two incarnations have met and it’s absolutely joyous. There’s the standard bickering we get when two Doctors meet, however there’s more love and mutual respect between these two.

Writer Matt Fitton perfectly manages to balance the tonal difference between two entirely different eras of the show. Ten and Four bounce of each other spectacularly well. Both lead actors absolutely soar in their respective roles.

Howard Carter’s music perfectly compliments the drama, punctuating the actors performances. The supporting cast are all on top form and Nicholas Briggs takes on a dual role as actor and director, he does both with absolute vigour. This is clearly a passion project for all involved, a love letter to Doctor Who and its fans.

Out of time may well be the best multi-Doctor story yet. I can’t wait for the second and third instalments.

Cast:

Listen to our podcast discussion about ‘Out of time’ here.

Doctor Who: Out of Time 1 is now available from the Big Finish website.

Review-Torchwood Soho Parasite

Since he was first introduced in 2016’s Ghost Mission, Norton Folgate (Samuel Barnett) has popped up in several Torchwood audios. His self-serving ways fast cemented him as a fan-favourite. So much so, it’s difficult to imagine the Torchwood cast without him.

In Torchwood Soho: Parasite, we catch up with Norton, as he investigates strange happenings in post-war London. There’re Nazi packages, a man who should be dead, a time-traveling pub and, Torchwood fan-favourite Sergeant Andy Davidson (Tom Price).

Writer James Goss blows me away, with each release. This is no exception. What’s interesting about this box set, is it’s comprised of six half-hour episodes. I loved this format and I hope it stays. It enables the story to be lean and flow at an incredible pace, there’s no filler here.

The story has a non-linear format, but thanks to Scott Handock’s smooth direction, you’re never lost. You know exactly where every character is and their motivations are always clear.



What can be said about Samuel Barnett and Tom Price at this point? They have such great natural chemistry, Norton and Andy are the perfect Big Finish odd-couple. It’s always a joy to hear them interact.

Rounding off the team are Torchwood new-comers, Dervla Kirwan and Joe Shire. Kirwan instantly shines as Lizabeth Hayhoe, she makes the role her own and establishes the character as a force to be reckoned with. Shire is equally charming as Gideon Lyme, a journalist, and love-interest of Norton. There’s also Belle Epoque (Franchi Webb), the immortal landlady of ‘The Stagnant Pond’ pub. All three characters are brilliant for Torchwood, I hope we see them again.

All-in-all, Torchwood Soho: Parasite is a strong release. Highly recommended.

Cast:



Big Finish review-Torchwood: Red Base

Mars is the next giant leap for mankind. Starr Base is the first small step. A practice Mars base has been set up in a quarry in Neath, just off the A474. Its aim is to see if humanity can survive on the red planet.

The problem is that the crew are dying. The survivors are terrified, paranoid, and wondering if something alien has got inside Starr Base. Sgt. Andy Davidson has come to find out what’s gone wrong.

Torchwood: Red Base, by the extraordinarily talented James Goss, is a murder mystery. So it’s difficult to review without spoiling.

It’s a whodunnit, loosely based on the channel 4 reality show, Eden. Which saw 23 participants living for a year in a remote part of Scotland, attempting to build a self-sufficient community. Filmed by the participants themselves, production began in March 2016. Unknown to the participants, broadcasting ceased after four episodes due to poor viewer ratings.

The Torchwood range has fast become my favourite. Releases like this just cement my view that Torchwood on Big Finish, is Torchwood at its absolute best.

Everyone involved is at the top of their game. Once more, James Goss gives us a solid mystery, paying homage to all the greats. Whilst also putting an original twist on the genre. Lisa Bowerman’s direction is as slick as always, she’s truly one of the best directors in the industry.

Blair Mowat’s music is perfectly accompanied and complimented by Joe Meiners sound design.

Tom Price is fantastic as Sgt. Andy Davidson, at this point he could play the role in his sleep. But he continually gives an outstanding performances full of humour, empathy and understanding. Everything that made Andy such a fan-favourite. It’s been a joy to hear the character evolve over the years.

Cast

  • Tom Price (Andy Davidson)
  • Kae Alexander (Mina)
  • Jeremy Ang Jones (Dave)
  • Rakie Ayola (Emma)
  • Ronak Patani (Faisal)

Torchwood: Red Base is now available to own as a collector’s edition CD at £10.99 or on download from the Big Finish website for £8.99.

Review-Mortal Kombat:Aftermath

A year after its initial release, Mortal Kombat 11 has been given a major update. Mortal Kombat: Aftermath gives players new characters, some new stages, a new story, and some very exciting surprises.

The story picks up right where Mortal Kombat 11 left off. Shang Tsung is attempting to convince the other heroes, that he should be sent back in time in order to retrieve Kronika’s crown and save the space-time continuum. This is more or less, what you’d expect from NetherRealm. The studio has set themselves up as the top-tier storytellers, in fighting games.
The three new characters are; Fujin, Sheeva, and, Robocop. Robocop’s inclusion makes no sense, but this is Mortal Kombat. Nothing makes sense and that’s where the joy lies.

And Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath contains a lot of joy, that will please new and old fans alike. There’re loads of obscure references and Easter Eggs, that will go over the head of new players. But please long-time aficionados.

Much like with Mortal Kombat 11, the graphics are incredible and gory. This is not a game for the faint heart. However, I feel I must mention the price. It’s pretty hefty, You can get the original game with Aftermath for £50 (or Aftermath plus the Kombat Pack for £40), which is a pretty decent deal, but at £40 for a couple of extra hours gameplay and a few extra characters, you’re essentially paying the price of a new game.
But, if the price doesn’t bother you and you’re itching to play as Robocop, then you’re in for a fun time.

Those who already own Mortal Kombat 11can purchase the Mortal Kombat: Aftermath expansion now digitally for £34.99 / €39.99 (SRP) or the Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath + Kombat Pack Bundle digitally for £39.99 / €49.99 (SRP).