Review: Father Figures

I tried to think of a snappy first line for this review, but much like the movie I seem to have lost my funny bone.

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Let’s get it out of the way at the start, this movie is fine. Meh. Mediocre. The epitome of average. But it’s wholly uninspiring.

A strange cast, ranging from the outstanding J.K.Simmons (Roland Hunt) to the always funny Ving Rhames (Rod Hamilton). But not a single person feels like they’re putting their all into this film. The phrase “Phoning it in” gets thrown around a lot in Hollywood these days, but I think it’s perfectly applied here. No one is bad in their role, and whilst I have never really been a fan of Ed Helms (Peter Reynolds), I feel pretty safe in saying that this is the closest I’ve come to having a connection to any of his characters. But there is nothing in this movie from the actors that hits anything other than average, the standard for what you would expect from high profile actors in a wide-release theatrical movie.

The story is pretty basic, but unfortunately due to the road-trip nature of the film there are a lot of characters who come and go in the space of 10-20 minutes, never receiving any development and never being seen again. This also led to the film feeling very repetitive – Search for man, talk to man, find out he’s not father, search for next man. There were some nice moments though, particularly between the family dynamics of the Owen Wilson (Kyle Reynolds), Ed Helms (Peter Reynolds) and Glenn Close (Helen). Their family connections were really the only thing keeping the movie from dipping below average.

It’s unfortunate to say that for a comedy movie, the majority of the jokes fell very flat during my screening. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few moments that earned a few laughs from the crowd, but rarely did anything reach levels above a quiet chuckle. Maybe that’s partly down to this being a very “american” film, if that makes sense at all, and the humour just not transferring over to British audiences.

Overall, if you get the chance to see this movie for a reduced price, or even for free if you’re a Cineworld card holder, then it’s worth the time spent on it if you have nothing else to do. But don’t go rushing to the theatre this weekend to pay full price and watch it, there are better things to watch, especially as the Oscar contenders finally make their way over to the UK.

Final Score:

5/10 Porgs

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WWE: Elimination Chamber Predictions

WWE are travelling down the Road to Wrestlemania and the Raw brand only has one stop left, the Elimination Chamber…

As of the time of writing this there are currently only 5 matches announced for the PPV; the two elimination chamber matches and Nia Jax vs. Asuka. So I’m going to take the liberty of assuming that a Cruiserweight Championship Tournament match and The Club vs. The Revival are added to the pre-show.

So, on with the predictions!

Pre-Show

Match 1: Cruiserweight Championship Tournament
Cruiserweight No. 1 vs. Cruiserweight No. 2
Winner = Take your pick

Match 2: Tag Team Match
The Club vs. The Revival
The two teams have been trading wins back and forth since Raw 25, so it only makes sense that they’re relegated to pre-show fodder in order to fill out the card a bit. The two teams are capable of putting on a great match, show expect this to be a pretty solid pre-show match.
Winners= The Revival

Main Card

Match 3: Raw Women’s Championship – Elimination Chamber Match
Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Sonya Deville vs. Mandy Rose vs. Mickie James
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Whilst the women’s Royal Rumble match headlined the January PPV, I fully expect the men’s Elimination Chamber match to have the honour this time around. This isn’t to say the women couldn’t do it, because they certainly can at this point, but I think the story and star power in the men’s match is far superior. With pacing in mind it’s therefore probably best for the women to open the show.

I expect a good match. It will be interesting to see how the women make use of the Elimination Chamber that makes their match feel different from the many that have come before it, but there is more than enough talent in there to pull it off.
Order of entry = 1. Sonya Deville 2. Bayley 3. Mickie James 4. Mandy Rose 5. Alexa Bliss 6. Sasha Banks
Order of elimination = 1. Bayley 2.  Mandy Rose 3. Mickie James 4. Sonya Deville 5. Sasha Banks
Winner = Alexa Bliss

Match 4: Singles Match
“Woken” Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt
EC 5
I want to care about this match, I want to care about Woken Matt Hardy, but I really don’t. This watered down version of what we saw outside of the WWE is a really poor portrayal of what made Broken Matt Hardy different and interesting. Hopefully there is some kind of trickery involved in the ending of this match that sets up a compelling Wrestlemania storyline for Matt… doubt it though.
Winner = “Woken” Matt Hardy

Match 5: Raw Tag Team Championships
The Bar (C) vs. Titus Worldwide
To be quite honest this match might end up on the pre-show instead of The Club vs The Revival. But for now I’m going to roll with the idea that it’s bound for the main card. These two teams have good chemistry together, and it’s hard for The Bar to have a bad match at the minute, so expect a fun outing from the 4 men.
Winners = The Bar

Ronda Rousey Contract Signing
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Probably the most unpredictable part of the night. You can certainly expect Ronda’s Wrestlemania match to be set up here, but who that will be against I really have no idea. There are of course the reports that she will be teaming with a currently mysterious tag partner to take on HHH and Stephanie McMahon, but that just seems like a waste of her drawing power. Then there was the long rumoured match with Charlotte, or even a potential match with Asuka. The bottom line is that I simply can’t predict what will happen during this segment, but it will certainly be one to watch out for.

Match 6: If Nia wins she is added to the Raw Women’s Title match at Wrestlemania
Nia Jax vs. Asuka
EC 3
You can’t have Asuka lose here. It would be one of the worst booking decisions that the WWE have ever made if they were to throw away Asuka’s streak the PPV before Wrestlemania. But with that being said they did it with Charlotte’s PPV winning streak, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if Nia does take the win. With all this being said, Nia shouldn’t really be losing either. It’s about time that Nia had a title run, and the obvious match of Alexa vs. Nia Jax at Mania should be where they head towards. So the WWE have really dug themselves into a hole.
Winner = Asuka (With Nia to do something deadly in the coming weeks to earn a match against Alexa at Mania and with Asuka going on to face the SD Women’s Champ)

Main Event: The winner faces Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania – Elimination Chamber Match
Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. John Cena vs. Elias vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Braun Strowman
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What a match we could have on our hands here. If we learned anything on this past week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, it’s that these seven men can tell an outstanding story when they are given the capacity to do so. Whilst the result may seem pretty damn predictable, I think Seth Rollins did enough on Raw to warrant placing a seed of doubt in everyone’s minds that he just might be given the victory here. Because let’s face it, the concept of Roman vs Seth vs Brock 2 sounds far more enticing than Roman vs Brock 2.
This isn’t to say I don’t think Roman deserves it. In fact, whilst I may be in the minority, I think that he has performed so well this year that maybe for the first time since joining the main roster, he has actually earned the right to main event Wrestlemania. He’s been that good. But there are 5 other guys in the match, so let’s see where I think they’ll end up.
Order of entry = 1. The Miz 2. Finn Balor 3. Seth Rollins 4. John Cena 5. Roman Reigns 6. Braun Strowman 7. Elias
Order of elimination = 1. The Miz 2. Finn Balor 3. Braun Strowman 4. John Cena 5. Elias 6. Seth Rollins
Winner = Roman Reigns

I think this show could be a sleeper hit. The main event has the potential to be phenomenal, and with the potential breaking news factor of the Ronda Rousey segment as well as the first ever women’s elimination chamber match this could be a show well worth the cost of the WWE network to watch.

“Star Wars: The Last Shot” synopsis revealed

Last week LucasFilm revealed a whole host of Solo: A Star Wars Story tie-in material, now today we have the synopsis for Star Wars: The Last Shot

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Taking place in a time-frame that begins before the upcoming Solo movie and finishes post-Return of the Jedi “Last Shot” will be written by Daniel Jose Older and the official synopsis reads:

Even the fastest ship in the galaxy can’t outrun the past. . . .
 
 THEN:

It’s one of the galaxy’s most dangerous secrets: a mysterious transmitter with unknown power and a reward for its discovery that most could only dream of claiming. But those who fly the Millennium Falcon throughout its infamous history aren’t your average scoundrels. Not once, but twice, the crew of the Falcon tries to claim the elusive prize—first, Lando Calrissian and the droid L3-37 at the dawn of an ambitious career, and later, a young and hungry Han Solo with the help of his copilot, Chewbacca. But the device’s creator, the volatile criminal Fyzen Gor, isn’t interested in sharing. And Gor knows how to hold a grudge. . . .
 NOW:

It’s been ten years since the rebel hero Han Solo last encountered Fyzen Gor. After mounting a successful rebellion against the Empire and starting a family with an Alderaanian princess, Han hasn’t given much thought to the mad inventor. But when Lando turns up at Han’s doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s Fyzen’s assassins that he’s running from. And without Han’s help, Lando—and all life on Cloud City—will be annihilated.

With the assistance of a young hotshot pilot, an Ewok slicer prodigy, the woman who might be the love of Lando’s life, and Han’s best and furriest friend, the two most notorious scoundrels in the New Republic are working together once more. They’ll have to journey across the stars—and into the past—before Gor uses the device’s power to reshape the galaxy.”

The novel is due for release on April 17th.

Review: Black Panther

Avengers: Infinity War is right around the corner, but the MCU had one final stop to make first…

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As someone who has openly admitted that over the past few years I’ve become saturated by Superhero movies, I went into the latest installment of the MCU with tepid expectations. I can report, however, that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie.

Black Panther’s biggest strength comes from the fact that it doesn’t feel like all the other Marvel superhero movies. This would be important enough if it was just a run of the mill entry into the MCU, but because of the political importance behind this movie and its placement in the timeline (Being the final entry before the big mashup of Infinity War) it was critical that Black Panther felt fresh and reinvigorated any fans who might be waning on the franchise.

As previously mentioned, Black Panther holds a strong political message about race and equality. The whole film is built around this concept and I am far from qualified enough to talk about the connotations and emotion behind it all in detail. All you should know is that the message is organic for the story Marvel are trying to tell, but most of all it is impactful and well delivered.

The cast of Black Panther is phenomenal. Whilst I thought Chadwick Boseman’s King  T’Challa  was a weak character for the most part, his portrayal is still well delivered and the supporting cast is probably the strongest of any Marvel movie. With Letitia Wright’s Shuri and Danai Gurira’s  Okoye being particular standouts. The highlight of the movie however came in the form of Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger. Killmonger is without doubt the best Marvel villain since Loki, and I would even go as far to say that he may be better, purely down the level of character development he is given and the realistic motivation behind his goals. Loki of course benefits from being featured as the main villain in multiple movies, but it will be interesting to see where the general audience start to rank the two when compared to each other. One thing is for sure is that Tom Hiddlestone has his work cut out for him if he wants to match the emotional weight that Michael B. Jordan delivers in his role.

The film isn’t perfect though. As previously mentioned, King  T’Challa is somewhat of a weak character until the latter stages of the film where he develops his own moral standing. There is also some moments of dodgy CGI, which are a shocking inclusion given the budget and hype behind Marvel movies nowadays. Furthermore, whilst Wakanda is solidly established ahead of its seemingly large role to play in Infinity War, I could have done with perhaps 5 to 10 more minutes developing what the actual city was like, rather than just the one or two remote locations we get to explore. Although this time would have had to have been knocked off from elsewhere as the film already stretches its run-time to the levels of just about being acceptable.

With that being said, Black Panther is certainly one of the strongest Marvel films. A strong cast, good direction, a good story and a well developed villain have all combined to create the kind of impactful film that the Marvel series has needed for a number of years now.

Consider me back on the bandwagon and bring on Infinity War.

Final Score: 8/10 Porgs.

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