All Good Things…..


I started this blog over two years ago, and i’ve had a blast working on it. However, it’s now time for me to move on. I’ve now got a PS4 and am going to start trying to do more reviews for games that are more current, and thus I can no longer take on the moniker of “poor mans geek”. By the time you read this i’ll have started my new pages, “Ludophile Lab” and “What William’s Watching”. I’ll still be doing reviews, trailer impressions and editorials, but i’ll no longer be doing them on this site.

If I’m following you, then I enjoy your content and for the first few hours, days or however long it takes, i’ll go about re-following everyone I follow now so that I may keep up with your content, and I hope that, if you follow me now, you’ll follow me on my new pages as well.

Justice League vs Teen Titans Review


By William Shelton

Director: Sam Liu

Screenplay By: Bryan Q. Miller, Alan Burnett

Release Date: March 29, 2016 (digitally)

Run Time: 79 minuets

Rating: PG-13

Score: 3.5/5

The first review I ever did on this blog was the DC Animated film “Justice League: War”, an animated retelling of the New 52 origin story for DC’s flagship title. I didn’t care for it. So much so that I haven’t watched any other DC animated films after that. However, with this coming out at almost the exact time I’m planing on starting a new blog and wanting my last review here to be a special one some how, I thought I’d return to where this all started and take a look at the new DC Animated film: Justice League vs Teen Titans.

The film opens with the Justice League engaged in a fight with a few supervillains. Everyone goes down rather easily but one villain, Weather Wizard, tried to run for it. While running he steps in what looks to be a shadow that ends up possessing him. When the Flash catches him, the now possessed Wizard announces “Azarath calls, the child must answer”. Superman goes to attack, but even he is no match for the demon. The Justice League figure they are going to have a much harder fight on their hands than the one they Just got done with, so Batman calls Robin (this being his son, Damian) and tells him to keep the civilians safe.

This doesn’t go over well with Damian, who’s trained all his life to be an assassin and now feels he’s being forced to the side lines. So instead of doing what he was told, Damian hijacks the…batplane…batjet….not sure what that should be called…..and fly’s it directly into Wizards chest, forcing the demon out of him. This has the side effect of forcing the last of Batman’s patience out of him. Batman sends Damian over to the Teen Titans to learn how to be a better team member. And as always, this doesn’t please Damian.

The young Robin is instantly stand-offish towards his fellow titans Beast Boy, Raven and Blue Beetle. This climaxes in a fight between Robin and Blue Beetle, where Beetle loses control of the alien tech connected to him and he nearly kills Damian. Raven uses her magic to heal him, but in doing so the two of them get a look into each others minds. Raven is terrorized of Damian and asks for him to leave her alone while Damian finds himself more intrigued than scared.

Starfire, now the groups leader and mentor rather than an acting member, takes the group to the fair hoping that some some, non-training related activities would help the group bond a little, and as it turns out she was right. Everyone has a great time…until a group of demos come for Raven, saying that her father, Azarath is coming for her. The team fight off the demons and return to the tower to come up with their next move, but when they get there they learn that the Justice League has also learned that Raven is who Azarath is looking for and try to take her. The titans resist, saying that this is their team mate thus their problem to deal with. But as the two groups are arguing Azarath possesses the Justice League and use their powers to take down the teen age super heroes. In order to save her friends Raven agrees to go to her father. Now it’s up to a weakened group of teens to save their friend, the Justice League and the world.

One of the complaints i’ve heard about the movie was that Damian came off as “whiny”. I understand this complaint, but I don’t agree with it. I personal see Damian as being incredibly depressed and just not knowing how to deal with it. He was raised as an assassin and is very good at killing, but upon becoming Robin feels he’s constantly being held back by Batman’s rules and ideals. I saw a lot of my younger self in Damian, so seeing that character learn to get over these same kind of feels I had at his age endeared me to the character more than it might have otherwise. But also like me at that age, Damian was a little prick and I totally understand why some would be put off by him.

My main issue with the film is that it felt rushed. At under 80 minuets it would have been hard not to have been, but I feel like a lot of the scenes could have used some expanding, rather than constantly moving from one plot point to the next. The creative team did pretty well with what they had, but if a 90 minuet “directors cut” ever came out I think it would help the over all film immensely. I would have liked to see more bonding and more fighting as a team rather than separately. Another thing I didn’t like: the stupid T tower. Yeah, I remember this from what little of the show I watched, and I didn’t like it then either. Sorry, it just looks dumb. But that’s nit picky.

However, in a year when we’re getting two big budget movies from both the major comic book companies where their hero’s are fighting each other, I’m kind of surprised how well this handled that same topic. I went into this thinking it would be another edgelord made grimdark film about hero’s fighting, but what I got was actually a pretty sweet film about a group of teens learning to get along andd trying to help their friends. Even when the team has to take on Superman it’s never even considered to try and hurt him too much, just do whats needed to push the demon out of him. There is once scene where superman hurts someone a little more than necessary to force out the demon in them, but it’s a minor slip up in my opinion.

And unlike in “Justice League: War”, I didn’t end up hating the characters this time. I’ve never been a fan of the Superman/Wonder Woman paring, and I still wasn’t here, but the relation ship felt real, like two people who actually care about each other. And the characterizations in War that I hated so much are no where to be seen. Wonder Woman isn’t a war hungery idiot; she even gives a feminist critique of a film she a Clark watch together, which is just so much more fitting for her character than “i’m bored waiting to meet with a world leader, lets go kill some stuff”. And Superman isn’t this snobbish ass whole who knows he can win any fight and desperate to prove that fact. While the Justice League weren’t the main focus of the film, it was nice to see the characters behaving like themselves instead of the abominations they were turned into. And as for the Teen Titans themselves go, they were all portrayed rather well. While most of the screen time was reserved for Robin and Raven, the other Titans all had their moments and came off as a likable group of teenage hero’s. They got on each others nerves, they weren’t always sure hat too do, they were quike to lose their temper and act rashly: they were kids with powers they weren’t quite ready for and the film sold me on that idea.

I’d be willing to watch more Teen Titans movies from these creators and am really considering tracking down the old cartoon. This was so much better that I thought it would be, and I am so happy to be able to say that. I’m glad that I can actually say I liked a DC project again, because it’s been a lot time since I’ve been able too.

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Final Fantasy 15 Brotherhood Episode 1 and Review


It has taken 10 years for Square Enix to give fans a release date for “Final Fantasy 15”(September 30th according to one source), but now just a few months before launch they give us a prequel anime AND Movie? I’d almost dare to say Square have some issues with priorities. It’s hard to be too up set though, because this was pretty good. While this doesn’t make up for the over long wait and whatever clusterfuck that forced them to changed the game from “Final Fantasy Verses 13” to “Final Fantasy 15”, but in all honesty I’m okay with anything that helps us move past and forget FF13.

As I am including the episode here and it’s only 11 minuets long, I’m going to skip over the plot synopsis and you can watch it for yourself. Instead, I’m just going to jump into the things I liked. First of which is the art. Not being the worlds biggest anime fan I’m not quite sure how to describe the art style, but I found it to be simple stunning to look at. Kind of like the game…..they one that was announced 10 years ago……yeah if you cant tell I’m still kind of sore about that. Anyways, good visuals.

I also liked how they incorporated game powers into the fight scene. With the exception of any magic, this fight included all of the combat abilities i’ve seen be used in game play used here: the teleporting attacks, the switching weapons, even helping out party members….i’ve seen all of that in game play. I’m sure it would have been easier for everyone involved if they just picked one main combat option and focused on that, but I’m glad they made such an obvious effort to go beyond the superficial in making this a “FF15 anime”.

That fight scene also might have answered a question i’ve had for a while: what’s the game’s rating going to be? With the demo being attached to “Final Fantasy Type 0”, the first M rated eatery to the franchise, I started looking at the combat and recently began wondering if Square were planing on this being the first Main-line entry to receive the “Mature” rating. But once I saw that most of the enemies you’ll be fighting are going to be robots, that may be a sign that they are still planing on going the T rout by showing us that we’re not going to be carving up real people. I’d be fine with this going either way, but it’s funny that this comes out right around the same time the question popped into my head.

All in all, I enjoyed this and am looking forward to the next episode. How a bout you? Leave a comment below and let me know what you thought.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Trailer and Impressions


So, this is pretty much just Tim Burtons take on the X-Men, isn’t it? i mean come on, it’s about a group of children with special (or should i say “Peculiar”) powers they get from birth who are rejected from society so they stick together in a school just for them…. Yeah, this is just Tim Burton trying to make a X-men movie in his trade mark style. Personally, i can deal with that. While i easily tire of Burton’s style i still think he’s one of the most interesting film makers working today. Plus he also had the good sense to give the  “Charles Xavier” to Eva Green, which means i’m going to see this eventually because I’ll watch just about anything she’s in becuase i’ll take whatever excuse i can to look at this woman…i mean watch her amazing talent as an actress (in all honesty, she really is just as talented as she is pretty and it’s a shame she’s not in as many films as she should be).

As far as the movie it’s self goes, it looks pretty ok. It’s clearly aiming at a younger audience, which may dapen my enjoyment of the film, but it looks better than most of the “young adult” garbage that’s being pumped out. So yeah, i’ll probibly end up giving this a look but can’t see it making it past the “good, but not for me” camp.

Captain America: Civil War Trailer 2 and Impressions


I have two complaints with this trailer: 1) i wished they had cut just after Cap’s shield gets taken away an the end and left the Spiderman reveal for the movie itself and 2) i think they gave just a little too much away. I’m pretty sure nothing here is “shocking” for the fans that have been keeping up to date with the MCU, but even then this trailer comes off as a plot-line highlight reel. I’m sure the film will still be worth the price of addition, but i almost wish i could go in knowing less.

Ghostbusters 2016 Trailer and Impression


This looks bad. Really bad. This doesn’t even come off as being a movie, it feels more like sitcom. From the 90’s. Right from the start things look bad. Not only is the trailers first joke a puke joke, but the puke effects and the ghost effects don’t even look like they belong in the same movie. Then when  Melissa McCarthy starts talking after that she sounds like she’s acting in a kids show on the Disney channel. Both the “let’s go” and “is it the wing or the hat” jokes both go on to long. And neither one is even that long. I will say that i rather like the looks of the ghost. They remind me of a more family focused version of what Del Toro did in “Crimson Peak” which i absolutely loved.

I wanted this to be good. I really did. I wanted this too be a huge win for women in film, but if this is representative of the overall quality of the film, that’s not going to happen. In fact, this trailer makes me think this will be the biggest disappointment of the year. Not the worst movie, just the one that wastes the most potential. Maybe with the next trailer we’ll see something better, but i have to ask: if there is something better, why lead with this?

 

Deadpool Review


By William Shelton

Director: Tim Miller
Screenplay By: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Release Date: February 12, 2016
Run Time: 108 minuets
Rating: R
Score: 3.5/5

There is a lot to like about Deadpool: it’s funny, action packed and a rather nice change of pace from the more family oriented superhero films we’ve been getting the last few years. The biggest issue is that most of what there is too like has been in the trailers. Most of the best jokes and action stunts were featured in at lest one of the trailers, which made watching the actual film not as entertaining as it could have or should have been. It also doesn’t help that the movie just isn’t as funny as I was expecting. Yeah, I said it.
There were chuckles throughout the film, don’t get me wrong, but the films best joke comes right at the beginning with the opening title crawl, and nothing afterwards hits that same high mark. This could be due to overexposure from watching the trailers as much as I did, but even then it’s hard to excuse the movie as the film makers should have known better. Even Deadpool’s trade mark 4th-wall breaking was done in such a traditional manner that I have to ask how uninspired the creative team had to have been to not do more with it. Sure, lines about Fox’s X-men time line being a mess and a jab about the low budget of the film were funny enough, but more could have been done. A lot more.
At it’s core Deadpool is really only two extended action scenes with bits of back story to break up the action and to make sure Deadpool’s comedy shtick doesn’t begin to grate, and I found this format to be rather effective. At the heart of the whole thing is a rather touching love story. While the film tries to toe the “Guardians of the Galaxy” line where they undermine any scene that comes close to “sweet” or “sentimental”, I found the chemistry between Reynolds and Baccarin’s to be so good that this sincerity undermined the films attempt at undermining itself. It’s even pretty progressive in the area as (mild spoiler warning) Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa enters the film as a sex worker. It could have been easy for the film to make jokes about the relationship between her and Wade (the tired kind that assumes that strippers and prostitutes don’t feel any kind of real emotions ever), the film never goes there. It does make 3 or 4 rape jokes that I could have done without tho.
While the central romance is all well and good, it’s the action that keeps this movie firmly in the realm of entertaining to me. Again most of the big stunts were shown in the trailers but unlike with the jokes, what wasn’t already shown was just as good. Even just a few little things that got cut from scenes in the trailer made those bits better than I was expecting.
Everyone in the cast does a great job with Reynolds obviously being the best thing in the movie. As far as I’m concerned this more that makes up for “X-Men Origins” and “Green Lantern” (both of which the film lampoons). However, special mention must be given too Brianna Hildebrand as “Negasonic Teenage Warhead”. Not only does she do a phenomenal job in the role, but having the character there in the first place was a pretty bold move. Her entire presents is just about having a teen age character (what I’m sure will end up being the core audiences of the film) who “gets” Deadpool and just does not give a shit about him. Her entire job is to lampoon the film itself when it starts getting too pleased with itself. My favorite example of this is when Deadpool refers to her as “Ripley from Aliens 3” and her respond is simply “f**k you’re old”. Her presence forces Deadpool, both as a character and as a movie, to up his game and not rely on overly worn call-backs and pop-culture references. While I still stand by what I said about the movie just not being as funny as I wanted it to be, I can only imagine how much worse it would have been had the creative team not thought in advance to have this character.
I can’t lie, I wanted more out of Deadpool than what I got, but I still enjoyed myself. I don’t think anyone other than the underage kids sneaking into the theater will think of this as a classic superhero movie in time, but it’s well worth seeing. It’s an enjoyable film, just not a great one. And for a movie coming out in February, i’ll take “just enjoyable” over what we normally get this time of year.

Batman v Superman Final Trailer and Impressions


Every decision Warner Bros has made with this film has been, in my opinion, the wrong move. Continuing on from “Man of Steel”? Bad idea. Taking inspiration from Frank Millers “The Dark Knight”? Even worse. Not establishing Batman in this universe before pitting him against Superman? Probably their worse idea yet. Naming the film “Dawn of Justice”? Yup, that annoys me too. But i will give credit where credit is due: this trailer at lest makes the film look fun, if not good.

That opening fight scene was pretty cool and probibly the best hand to hand fighting Batman has done in live action (something EVERY other batman film has failed to deliver on). And that bit where wonder woman is jumping at an unseen foe, yea, that looked good too. It looks like a Zack Snyder movie, but i never had an issue with him, just his take on main-line DC heroes (I’ll defend Watchmen till my death). I still can’t say i’m happy this is the direction DC has chosen to go in trying to compete with Marvel, but at lest it seems like they are putting in an effort.

However, i’m really hoping they don’t make Batman a killer in this version. In an interview with “Birth, Movies, Death” one of the….producers, i believe it was, said that this Batman was “Judge, jury and executioner” which has lead some to speculate that this Batman is going to be killing people, something i’m not okay with. And in that first fight it’s easy to see how some of those hits could end up killing people. Then at the 1:44 he looks to be shooting at the rest of the henchmen with sparks flying out of the shots. This could just be one o his gadgets, but with the above context, it worries me a bit.

In the end, i don’t know how this will turn out, but i’m not to thrilled. I’ll see it eventually and i’m sure i’ll enjoy it when i do, but i can’t see myself getting hyped for more DC films the way i get for Marvel movies. I don’t see myself considering buying the $100+ collectors additions with uses movie trinkets the way i do with Marvel movies. I’m just hoping this will kill 2 hours with out making me want to kill the film makers. If Batman v Superman can handle that, then i’ll be okay.

 

The Purge: Election Year Trailer and Impressions


“The Purge: Anarchy” was a great B Action movie that got held down by people expecting it to be a sub par horror film like the 2013 original. Leaving behind any pretense of being a horror film allowed for some fun action in a while variety of scenarios that helped the film reinforce it’s core theme of wealth and class disparity. “Election Year” seems to be aiming to do more of the same, and i’m totally on bored. While the franchises satire has never been subtle (they did name the woman running for president who is going to make things better “sanders” after all) it’s a message i’m on board with and i like my message movies to be stuffed with as much blood, guts and explosions as they can fit in. So yeah, i’m looking forward to this one, big time.