Blu Ray Review-Justice League vs Teen titans 

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 

Review-Special Correspondents

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.

Review-Ninth Doctor #1

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. 

Review:Torchwood-Zone 10 

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.

Torchwood: Zone 10 can be purchased via Amazon.

Review-The last man on the moon

In December 1972, Captain Cernan became the last man to step foot on the moon. He did so with excitement and pride, but so few of us know his story. However, Captain Eugene Cernan has decided to share his epic and, deeply personal story with the world. The Last Man On The Moon tells his trials and tribulations, his love and loss and how he overcame all this, to walk on the surface of the moon.

This is documentary filmmaking at its finest, the film was five years in the making. Every single piece of information has been meticulously investigated, sourced and double-checked to corroborate the narrative being told.

This is a made with love and passion. Cernan knows how to tell a story, the nostalgia and pride in the astronaut’s face, whilst he reflects quickly draws you into the vacuum of space. At times, I felt like I was there with him.

That feeling of excitement has never left Cernan. He described the experience of seeing Earth, from the lunar surface as “sitting on God’s front porch.”

I felt ignorant going in to this, as I didn’t know much, if anything about Captain Cernan. After watching the documentary I would love to meet him, I have so many questions I would like to ask.

I highly recommend this film. In my eyes, Cernan stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Neil Armstrong.
The Last Man on the Moon is in cinemas from 8 April with a special Nationwide Live Q&A in cinemas with Captain Eugene Cernan only on 11 April hosted by Sir Jackie Stewart.

Click here for tickets.

For further information on THE LAST MAN ON THE MOON please visit:

http://thelastmanonthemoon.com/

www.facebook.com/TheLastManOnTheMoon  

www.twitter.com/LastManOnMoon

Running Time: 96mins Cert: PG

Episode 153:Talkin’ Daredevil

In which Martyn and Gerrod stay sober, yes, really. They bring you a mostly spoiler-free reaction to series 2 of Daredevil.

To Check out Gerrod’s Vlog click here.

Check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.

The podcast can be accessed via different places, including Audioboom, Tunein, Miro, Stiticher, Blubrry, Player fm and Itunes.

Twitter:

The show-@TheBWPodcast

Martyn – @BadWilf

Pete – @BeeblePete

Gerrod – @ingerrodsmind

Email:info@badwilf.com

We’re working on getting the three of us together again, I promise.

Episode 152:Raiders of the lost ark live

In which Martyn and Gerrod talk about Raiders of the lost ark live, at The Royal Albert Hall.

For more information on upcoming events at the Roayl Albert Hall click here.

To Check out Gerrod’s Vlog click here.

To listen to us review the Indiana Jones saga, click here.

The podcast can be accessed via different places, including Audioboom, Tunein, Miro, Stiticher, Blubrry, Player fm and Itunes.

Twitter:

The Royal Albert Hall-@Royalalberthall

The show-@TheBWPodcast

Martyn – @BadWilf

Pete – @BeeblePete

Gerrod – @ingerrodsmind

Email:info@badwilf.com

 

Review-Raiders of the Lost Ark live. 

I’ve been a long-time fan of the Indiana Jones franchise. I remember being transfixed, aged 8-when I saw my first instalment of the Saga (The Last Crusade). Steven Spielberg’s 1981 movie is still as exciting over thirty-years on.
  
This event was a world first, John Williams full score was performed by the 21st century Orchestra and conducted by their founder, Ludwig Wicki. 

I’ll admit, I was sceptical when I first heard about this film/orchestral mash up. Just how would it work? It turns out, tremendously well.
  
The film played on a suspended screen, above the musicians. The dialogue and effect sounds were intact, with the Orchestra performing the soundtrack live. It wasn’t always successful, the Orchestra did very occasionally drown out some of the dialogue, but to combat this the film played with subtitles. 
  
Not only are these amazing musicians a sight to behold on stage, but the evening provided a phenomenal audio experience too-that no Blu-Ray can possibly live up to. I’ve watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, a thousand times over but this felt like the first time.

  
My personal highlight of the evening, was by far the Orchestras performance of The Raiders of the Lost Ark theme, for which they received a four minute standing ovation. 

  
What I took away from this event, is just how beautiful and timeless John Williams’ score is. This is an experience I will cherish for a life time. 

I highly recommend attending one of these screenings. Click here to find out information about the next one. 

Listen to us discuss the event here.

Watch us discuss the event here.

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures

The natural impulse for genre fans granted new material, before they’ve even enjoyed it, is to put it on the shelf. Its ability to ‘fit in’ seems so important at first but why would we want exactly what we have? What we get with these Third Doctor Adventures isn’t a lonely replay of a dusty videocassette. It’s the fresh sound of a graduate Doctor.

From Peter Davison to David Tennant we’ve seen our favourite performers return in victory laps on audio that have become regular gigs. The actors don’t sound quite like they did on telly but before long the wonder of the experience takes over. Suddenly we’re not reliving the past; we’re experiencing a special sort of future.

The occasional sibilant ‘s’ of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, the easy confidence, that delightful vocal texture, they’re all there but so is Tim Treloar. The Welsh actor has certainly taken on the southeast England style of Jon Pertwee but most importantly, he’s gone beyond the skill of the impressionist to give us a character that fits right in with the remarkable animal that is this 21st century return to the Pertwee years.

Alongside are Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Richard Frankin as Mike Yates. Having been delighted with their performances as Iris Wildthyme and the retired Captain Yates, it was lovely to hear them cast their voices back a few decades into the characters that made them famous. Of course, we’re getting a graduate Classic Jo and a graduate Classic Yates but this should be no surprise (or worry) to regular listeners to Big Finish audio drama.

Before long, The Doctor is disturbing the room as he upbraids a bureaucrat, Jo is making battle armour out of her faith in him and Yates is, well, getting chances to be more heroic than ever. Big Finish is generous like that. And the gap in the shelf behind me is forgotten completely.

Having dropped five paragraphs on why things shouldn’t slavishly imitate our best loved Pertwee adventures, I must mention that the music is absolutely spot on. Prisoners of the Lake has the musical style of The Sea Devils but with a very welcome melodic quality and Havoc of Empires has a Dudley Simpson style with friendly tones evocative of the Third Doctor’s first serial on TV.

The only true oddity is the narration sprinkled throughout the stories which might have been Big Finish treading carefully, couching Treloar as both narrator and Doctor. They needn’t have bothered but certain action sequences play quite well narrated, whereas in dialogue the characters would have had to illustrate the action for us in odd sorts of ways.

Big Finish know well each era of classic Doctor Who and their output is forward-thinking, waxing creative and progressive in precisely the areas of the old series that we’d like expanded or redressed. The Third Doctor Adventures continue this trend. Roll on, Doctor Treloar!

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures at Big Finish

Doctor Who: The Churchill Years

Reprising his performances during Matt Smith’s era of Doctor Who, IanMc Niece is back as Winston Churchill. Big Finish’s new box set departs from their well-honed format of unmediated aural adventures, with McNiece narrating as well as performing in each episode. The narration does cover a few bits that I felt it shouldn’t, notably an action sequence in the first story and the introduction of a famous historical figure in the third. I mention this to balance what I think has been a refreshing experience and a success overall.

Churchill’s narration includes recounting the words and actions of the first three new series Doctors. This has the brilliant effect of bringing the Christopher Eccleston Doctor to Big Finish, complete with the Ninth Doctor signature tune. As The Doctor changes, the title music changes. Across the stories one can spot the different speech patterns of each Doctor, even as related (and occasionally imitated) by McNiece.

There’s still plenty of full-cast audio action aboard, moved along nicely by the ‘companions’ of Churchill. As his new secretary, Hetty Warner (Emily Atack) leads many scenes apart from Winston and works well with both her employer and The Doctor. Kazran Sardick (Danny Horn) returns from Dr Who’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ and provides good contrast to the 20th century way in which Churchill reacts to being dropped into Roman Britain. In the final piece, another supporting artist from a Matt Smith Christmas special returns, Holly Earl As Lily Arwell. She looks after Winston at a particularly action-packed point in his twilight years.

The first story is the most conventional, with an alien object dropped into wartime Britain. The second shatters that mould as we find Churchill’s Black Dog – his controversial mental issues – woven into the story. In the third, Winston lives amid the subjects of his own historical books and the statesman’s fascination for butterflies is rolled rather surprisingly into the fourth adventure. Additionally, there’s a nice bit of Nick Briggs’ Dalek voice work in this set.

Doctor Who: The Churchill Years brought a delightful, fictionalised Sir Winston into my home over a couple of winter evenings. So pleasant was it that I might just sit down with Churchill’s own writing for just a bit more time with this true-life legend from long ago.