Review-John Wick:Chapter Two

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. 

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

Episode 150:Gwen Stephanie Awakens

In which two mates get drunk on rum and discuss Star Wars:The Force Awakens. They also touch upon the death of Lemmy (RIP) and the disapointing Doctor Who Christmas special.

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 – @Nerdthro_P

Email:info@badwilf.com

 

Episode 145:Snakes on a wizboard

In which Martyn and Pete discuss Doctor Who: The Magicians Apprentice/The witches familiar 

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

Twitter:

The show-@TheBWPodcast

Martyn – @BadWilf

Gerrod – @Nerdthro_P

Pete – @BeeblePete

Email:info@badwilf.com

Review-Big Finish: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 

Following their successful adaptations of genre classics such as Dorian Gray and Frankenstein, Big Finish have now produced an audio adventure based Frank Baum’s The World of Oz. 

After a tornado hits her home in Kansas, Dorothy and her dog Toto find themselves in the magical Land of Oz.

The house sets down in Munchkin land and accidentally kills the Wicked Witch of the East, by landing on her. 

Dorothy and Toto then embark on an epic journey to find the only person who can help them return home, the legendary Wizard of Oz.
They quickly make friends with a brainless Scarecrow, a heartless Tin Man and cowardly Lion. Realising they all want to see the Wizard, the group travel together. 

Sadly for Dorothy, The Wicked Witch of the West is seeking revenge for the death of her sister. 

Frank Baum’s original novel differs greatly from the 1939 MGM musical and, adaptations of either tend to go two ways, they’re either very faithful, or they try to be edgy and new. Marc Platt has opted to faithfully adapted L. Frank Baum’s original novel. 

The performances are all top-notch, Ally Doman shines as Dorothy, as do Stuart Milligan as Oz, Rachel Atkins as The Wicked Witch of the West, and Big Finish regular, Dan Starkey as the Monkey Captain.

Oz purists will love this. 

Review-The Troop by Noel Clarke

In The Troop a team with super powers rises from a nightmare parade of violence, with memorable action sequences and flashes of sexual activity along the way.

Author Noel Clarke was part of the the main cast of Doctor Who’s 2005 return to television. Since then he’s written an episode of Torchwood and a couple of independent films, all of which show his knack for dark material. He told the Hollywood Reporter that he wanted to push boundaries with this comic. Where he does that is in his depiction of real life abusive human behaviour, which exists in the backgrounds that these super-humans come from. The Troop are not so much a fearless team of super heroes as a damaged pile of kids united by a shady character who comes off as a bit of a creep.

We’re in an early period for digital comics as they differentiate themselves from the heavy lines and solid fills of the past. In this book, artist Joseph Cassara paints with loads of photographic colour and texture. In one panel he simulates shallow depth-of-field, where the background has those discs you get from expensive cameras when points of light in the background are blurred.

It can be a little noisy but structure does win out over chaos, particularly in the action sequences. Movement in illustration is tied to the way shapes strike across the page and Cassara works this well. In a rainy forest chase he does this by putting his virtual camera high in the trees and in another, he grabs a snapshot from a flying belt’s hang time before a dangerous dad brings it down.

Issue 1 of The Troop is a bit of a contest between abuse violence and revenge violence but Noel Clarke is setting up something that is intentionally not shiny. This is a tale where everything soft is burnt away – that can lend the truly poignant bits great impact later on. Now it’s up to Clarke and Cassara to deliver on the promise shown so far.

Listen to our interview with Noel Clarke here.

Artwork preview:


  

Issue #1 is out 9th December 2015

Review-Convenience 

Convenience tells the story of two life long friends A.Jay (Ray Panthaki) and Shaan (Adeel Akhtar), as they find themselves in deep with some Russian gangsters and a very limited time to settle the £8,000 debt that Shaan has racked up.
They decide the easiest way to get the money is to rob a near-by petrol garage. Unfortunately the safe has a time-lock and won’t open until 6am the following morning.


Their only option is to tie-up the manager and a customer in the back office, pose as employees and work a shift in the petrol garage.

If this ordeal wasn’t stressful enough, they soon learn there’s another employee in the stock room. Luckily for them, Levi (Vicky McClure) thinks they’re the two new trainees that have shown up a day early. They now face the challenge of keeping Levi out the office.

It’s lack of budget doesn’t show on screen. It’s beautifully shot and is held up by a great, yet simple premise. It also hosts some impressive cameos from Anthony Head (Buffy), Tony Way (Game of Thrones) and Verne Troyer (Austin Powers) they each play odd-ball characters that A.Jay and Shann encounter on their shift.
Overall, Convenience is a great example of low budget British comedies. The film manages to capture the tedium of retail work, yet is always watchable due to a great script and stellar performances from the cast.

Listen to our interviews from the press junket here

Episode 142: A couple of dicks

In which Martyn and Gerrod crack open the bourbon and attempt to record a podcast.

They discuss, Pressure, Straight outta compton, Mission Impossible:Rogue Nation, Ant-Man and Fant4Stic.

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

Twitter:

The show-@TheBWPodcast

Martyn – @BadWilf
Gerrod – @Nerdthro_P
Pete – @BeeblePete

Help Dewi

Film review-Chef

Director: John Favreau

Stars: John Favreau, John Leguizamo, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, Bobby Cannavale Oliver Platt, Emjay Anthony.

Eat before you see this film. Trust me, you need to eat before you see it.

Chef tells the tale of Carl Casper (Jon Faverau) a semi-celebrity chef, who receives a harsh review from a renowned food critic (Oliver Platt).
After videos of Carl verbally abusing the critic go viral Carl finds himself looking for work elsewhere.

On a trip to Miami with his ex-wife
(Sofia Vergara) and son (Emjay Anthony) Carl finally gives in and meets with his ex-wife’s ex-husband (Robert Downey Jr) who gives him a food truck.

What follows is a heartwarming journey across America with a father and son rekindling their bond.

Favreau’s passion for this project shines through. He went method with his preparation for the role and worked in a busy kitchen in Los Angeles, under the guidance of the person who launched the food-truck revelation, Roy Choi, whom is also co-producer on the movie.

Chef has a lot of heart, I would go as far as to say that it’s my favourite movie this year.
It stands tall amongst the summer blockbusters, with recycled plots and unfunny comedies.
It’s a shame that not a lot of people will see it.

Chef is out in the UK on Friday.