You’ve arrived at the blog of Emrys of the House Moungabio, first of his name, watcher of films, reader of comics and ordained Dudeist Reverend (also – someone who just recently got into Game of Thrones).
ie. this guy —>
Here, you’ll find all my thoughts on the films that fascinate me (for good or ill), the TV series’ I’ve binged or the games I’ve played. It’s also become the new home of my comic book site, New to Comics. So if you like Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Game of Thrones and all that other geeky goodness, you’ve come to the right place.
As with everything in life, the blog is still a work in progress, but stick around for the journey! If you’re interested in all the things I am, leave a comment, a like, or follow me on Twitter @EmrysM94 to let me know.
“People keep asking if I’m back and I haven’t really had an answer, but yeah, I’m thinking I’m back.”
RELEASED: October 24th 2014 DIRECTED BY: Chad Stahelski WRITTEN BY: Derek Kolstad PRODUCED BY: Basil Iwanyk & Erica Lee MUSIC BY: Tyler Bates & Joel J. Richard STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick, Ruby Rose, Common, Claudia Gerini, Laurence Fishburne, Peter Serafinowicz, Peter Stormare & Franco Nero
Unlike John Wick: Chapter 1, Chapter 2 seems to be just as good as I remember it being. While I will admit that some action sequences are better in the first movie, as a whole, the quality of the second film remains consistently high across all fronts.
For one, the action sequences are more bountiful and varied – you have car action, hand-to-hand action, gunfights, pencil fights, knife fights; the whole shebang. All of it is excellently choreographed, and while there are some action sequences that feel slightly repetitive; I suppose it makes sense that a dedicated assassin would have his go-to movies.
Chapter 2 opens with John Wick finally tracking down his car from the first movie, and finishing off the rest of his Russian rival’s forces. However, after inflicting so much carnage, John gets a visit from an Italian crimelord whom he owes a favour, and who has come to collect now that John is seemingly back in the game. Forced to take on a job he doesn’t want to do – one that will have dire consequences – John must once more take a whole lot of lives so that he can return to retirement.
The main problem with the first film was perhaps the script. Fortunately, the script for Chapter 2 seems to have improved greatly, despite being written by the same man, John Wick creator Derek Kolstad. Here, the dialogue is less awkward and more flowing, and John gets to develop his personality a bit more. The world he inhabits is further fleshed out, and the result is a fascinating and different action film to those that have come before. Whereas Chapter 1 had hints of this, it mostly centred in on the tired ‘practised killer, out for revenge after the death of a loved one’ trope, and while, of course, that can be done right, Chapter 1 just hit the same beats and relied heavily on its action spectacle.
Chapter 2 manages to create its own world that’s worth exploring, with interesting characters and an interesting plot and then heaping Stahelski’s excellent action back on top.
There are some great performances here; Common, I think, being the highlight for me, and Ian McShane’s Winston once again standing above the rest. Reeve’s Wick is less hammy this time around and feels more genuinely burdened as a result.
I’m not sure what exactly has changed here, seeing as Chapter 1 co-director David Leitch wasn’t credited on the first film and didn’t contribute to directorial duties at all on the second film, but his disappearance seems to make all the difference. Furthermore, if you look to his projects post-Wick (Deadpool 2), one can’t help but wonder if he was dragging the project down slightly.
RELEASED: October 24th 2014 DIRECTED BY: Chad Stahelski & David Leitch WRITTEN BY: Derek Kolstad PRODUCED BY: Basil Iwanyk, David Leitch, Michael Witherill & Eva Longoria MUSIC BY: Tyler Bates & Joel J. Richard STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick & Willem Dafoe
John Wick: Chapter 1 is the explosive debut of the John Wick franchise; the third entry of which is in cinemas now. The film follows the titular retired hit-man after some punks steal his car and kill the dog his deceased wife left for him, and he is forced to get back in the game and get his revenge – racking up a sizeable body count in the process.
When I first watched John Wick, I went in with no expectations after randomly picking it up for £3 one morning after work. My positive opinion of it has remained with me ever since and prompted me to go see the second film, which I also enjoyed. With John Wick: Chapter 3 now in cinemas, I sat down to watch the film again for the first time in three years, this time with my action-cynical girlfriend in tow, to see if she would join me at the cinema. The end result, whether that be due to me seeing it through her eyes, or me just taking more of it in, is that this film is perhaps not as good as I’ve been thinking it was for the past few years.
The strength of John Wick comes from the trio of star Keanu Reeves, and the two directors, Chad Stahelski and (the uncredited) David Leitch. When it comes to action, Reeves immerses himself in a role, doing his best to do as many of the stunts as he can, and making sure he’s an expert in whatever action style he’s portraying. Similarly, Stahelski and Leitch are former stuntmen, who have experience working on action films with excellent choreography such as Captain America: Civil War. Here, as they make their directorial debut, you can see them bringing all that excellent stunt knowledge and style to the director’s chair(s), and the result is some beautiful action sequences.
The choreography is immense, and watching Reeves’ John Wick mow through his attackers with his ‘gun fu’ fighting style is gripping and visceral. The locales these fights take place in often make what you’re watching vibrant and alive, and so scenes like ‘the club’ section of the movie really shine and stick with you.
But outside of that, this film is a bit lacking. The story is simple (but admittedly poignant), and the script is not so great. While there are some funny lines, the dialogue is mostly quite weak, with awkward lines and a lot of (as Rachel pointed out) people just saying each other’s names. It’s meant to show that Wick is well known amongst this assassin’s community, and it works, but it also makes you feel like the action is wholly the focus (which it is, pretty much) at the expense of the dialogue. Of course, how well this dialogue comes off is also affected by the actor delivering it. Keanu, in true Keanu style, straddles the line between the amusing, detached assassin, and a hammy mess of a man. Ian McShane, conversely, brings a lot of gravitas to his lines, as he hints at potential set-up for the sequel, while other characters, like Palicki’s Ms Perkins or Nyqvist’s Tarasov, unfortunately, can’t make the weird lines they have to sprout feel genuine. Not necessarily their fault though.
Ultimately, John Wick is a great action spectacle in the first half, full of colourful shots and excellent action, but falls down as soon as you start to look too closely. The excitement also starts to drop off in the third act, as the rather short runtime still somehow seems to drag on.
RELEASED: November 16th 2018 DEVELOPED BY: Game Freak PUBLISHED BY: The Pokémon Company & Nintendo
Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu / Eevee! are remakes of the first generation of Pokémon games, specifically the special edition Pokémon: Yellow, where, instead of getting to choose from a Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle as your starter Pokémon at the beginning of your journey, you are instead given a Pikachu (or Eevee, depending on the version you buy). Similarly, rather than being a straight-up remake, Let’s Go! meshes in some of the gameplay mechanics of the popular Pokémon GO! mobile game, to create a new-user friendly variant of the classic Pokémon games that hoped to capitalise on GO!‘s huge success.
RELEASED: May 10th 2019 DIRECTED BY: Rob Letterman WRITTEN BY: Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Derek Connolly, Nicole Perlman & Rob Letterman PRODUCED BY: Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Hidenaga Katakami & Don McGowan MUSIC BY: Henry Jackman STARRING: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Omar Chaparro, Chris Geere, Rita Ora, Diplo, Ken Watanabe & Bill Nighy
Twenty-three years after the release of Pokémon Red and Green (/Blue, to western audiences), Pokémon has finally hit our screens as a live-action movie. And unlike the majority of video-game adaptations, it’s pretty darn good!
The film follows former aspiring Pokémon trainer Tim Goodman (Smith), as he is forced to venture into Rime City after his father, an ace detective, dies on a case. There, he meets his father’s amnesiac Pokémon partner, Pikachu (Reynolds), who for some unknown reason, Tim can understand. Pikachu is adamant that Tim’s father is actually alive, and so the pair set off the solve the cases of Pikachu’s amnesia and Tim’s dad’s disappearance, both of which are somehow connected to the mysterious genetically engineered Pokémon Mewtwo.
When it comes to making a live-action Pokémon movie, there’s one thing that the creators had to get right – the Pokémon. Which, fortunately, they do. Rime City is rife with Pocket Monsters ranging from those we first met in Red and Blue back in the late nineties, all the way up to appearances from newer creatures who debuted in the Sun and Moon entries just a few years ago.
Fan favourites like Charizard and Greninja get their time in the spotlight, while a wealth of other Pokémon such as Treecko, Pidgeotto and Rattata proliferate the background. The world truly feels alive, and you can totally buy into the harmonious relationship between humans and Pokémon, and how that all works.
Set in the new region of Alola, Ultra Sun sees a young kid from Kanto move to the Hawaii-esque paradise, where they are given their first Pokémon and sent to test him or herself in the island trials. As the player treks across the four magical islands, meeting various friends, rivals and Pokémon along the way, a sinister beast tries to plunge the world into darkness, while a new species of Pokémon known as ‘Ultra Beasts’ make their presence known from other dimensions.
There is a lot of new stuff going on this game, and as someone who’s now played through six out of the seven (soon to be eight) Pokémon regions, I can say the set-up of Alola is a welcome refresher. Gone are the Pokémon gyms and linear paths, gone are the cumbersome HMs, gone are the various previous generations starter Pokémon’s exclusivity.
Instead, Alola treats you to a whole new area to explore in any way you want, with a horde of different Pokémon from across the seven generations, all presented yet again in fabulous 3D format.
RELEASED: March 31sts 2017 DIRECTED BY: Rupert Sanders WRITTEN BY: Jamie Moss, William Wheeler & Ehren Kruger PRODUCED BY: Avi Arad, Steven Paul & Michael Costigan MUSIC BY: Clint Mansell & Lorne Balfe STARRING: Scarlett Johannson, Pilou Asbæk, Michael Carmen Pitt, Chin Han, Juliette Binoche & Takeshi Kitano
Ghost in the Shell follows Scarlett Johansson as ‘Major’ Mira Killian; a young Japanese woman resurrected in an artificial body after an untimely death and put to work as a new breed of police operative. However, after coming into conflict with a dangerous hacker, Killian begins to suspect that not everything she’s been told about her lost past is completely true.
I’ve been a bit quiet over the past week, and while I will return to my readthrough of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers series, at the moment, I’m feeling a bit of an Avengers burnout, due to the fact the cinema I work at has been crazy hectic with all the people turning out to watch Endgame.
So, as a bit of a change of pace, and due to the upcoming release of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, I’m turning my attention back to video-games – as my busy week drove me to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while…
I bought a Nintendo Switch.
I’ve been wanting to try out the Switch for some time. I’ve played a couple of rounds of Mario Kart on my step-nephew’s console at a family get-together, but that was the extent of my experience with it. However, after being paid, I traded in a few things and picked up a second-hand console for a very reasonable price. Very very reasonable, in fact, as it looks like it’s basically brand new – apart from the fact that the box looked like it had been mauled by a feral child.
So, with the Switch now in-hand, I figured it’s time to return to that age-old debate of which company’s putting out the best console? Once again, I’ll be looking at it from a ‘layman’s perspective’, as someone (as I said in part I) who “doesn’t know all the technical mumbo-jumbo or gamer-speak”.