Marvel’s Avengers Assemble – Review (Film)

 

*This review is entirely spoiler free, for anyone who hasn’t seen the film yet (what are you waiting for? Go now!)*

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Where to start?

The great acting?

The brilliant special effects?

The amazing script?

Ok, ok. Let’s back this up a bit before I fall into an abyss of gushing.

Joss Whedon is probably my favourite person in the audiovisual world – Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly/Serenity, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog… the man can do no wrong. He even wrote the screenplay for Toy Story for heaven’s sake!

BUT there is always that flicker of doubt. ‘Joss Whedon to helm Avengers movie’ was the headline. Joy was the initial reaction (although I didn’t have any idea what the Avengers were beyond being a team of superheroes) but as time went on I did think – can he deliver with this? It’s a HUGE movie and look at the people involved.

I needn’t have worried at all – Marvel’s Avengers Assemble (to give the film it’s full title) is an absolutely fantastic movie.

Getting all of these actors – the majority of whom have their own films as these characters already – to team up and share the screen shows some serious management ability.

And they all deliver – I’m not really a fan of Scarlett Johannson but she was great as Black Widow. Mark Ruffalo was the big doubt for me but he is the best Hulk I’ve seen on the big screen. The rest of the cast are all on form – Robert Downey Jr continues to impress me, I used to really dislike him but in the last 4 or 5 years he has won me over.

Speaking with others who’ve seen the film the big hook for everyone appears to be the comedy and wit that flows through the script – it’s classic Whedon for those of us who know his work. The balance of seriousness and comedy is so well done you can’t help but get swept up in the sheer enthusiasm the film has.

I have no intention of discussing the plot or anything that might spoil the film. It’s a nice bit of background to have seen the accompanying films (Iron Man/Captain America/Thor) but by no means essential. This is a self contained film that tells you everything you need to know about what is going on.

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble is the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen. To actually get that many characters & actors together, have them feel genuinely like a team and for the movie not to totally suck is great. Go see it!

Rating: 10/10

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GregHorrorShow TV Awards 2009

Continuing the awards season, we arrive at the TV section.

While I think TV has tailed off over the last few years, and been replaced in a lot of quarters by gaming, there are still great shows out there.

So here’s what I thought was worthy of a look in 2009…

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BEST COMEDY SHOW

WINNER: Flight Of The Conchords (BBC2)

Flight Of The Conchords is such a great show, jam packed with quality songs that it just can’t overlooked. The story of Brett and Jermaine, along with manager Murray, as they try to make it big as a band in New York. Brilliant.

RUNNERS UP:

Gavin And Stacey (BBC1)

Mock The Week (BBC2)

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BEST FACTUAL SHOW

WINNER: Hairy Bikers Tour Of Britain (Cookery – BBC2)

As I’ve said before, I love the Hairy Bikers and this show was a wonderfully informative look at the various counties around the UK. Showing a traditional dish from each region and having a ‘cook off’ against a local chef really gave you a flavour of each part of the country.

RUNNERS UP:

Queens Of British Pop (Music – BBC4)

Match Of The Day 2 (Sport – BBC2)

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BEST SOUNDTRACK

WINNER: Flight Of The Conchords (BBC2)

As I said above this show had such great songs that I couldn’t not give it the gong here. “Hurt Feelings” was a particular highlight for me 😆

RUNNERS UP:

Ashes To Ashes (BBC1)

Hairy Bikers Tour Of Britain (BBC2)

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WORST TV SHOW

WINNER: Demons (ITV)

I was pysched for Demons, as I thought it could be a UK version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer – instead we got a half assed show which started badly and faded from there. Avoid. 😦

RUNNERS UP:

Merlin (BBC)

The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Perrin (BBC)

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BEST NEW SHOW

WINNER: Dollhouse (SciFi)

Already being a fan of Joss Whedon I was predisposed to like Dollhouse from the start and while the first few epiosdes were a bit shaky the show soon hit it’s stride and never looked back. Telling the story of an undercover operation that takes volunteers, wipes their memories and then implants new memories to cater for whatever engagement they are assigned to. Fantastic. 😎

RUNNERS UP:

True Blood (Fox)

Warehouse 13 (SciFi)

Flash Forward (Five)

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ACTOR OF THE YEAR (TV)

WINNER: Philip Glenister (DCI Gene Hunt – Ashes To Ashes)

Ashes To Ashes was really enjoyable and the highlight was the tension between Hunt and leading lady Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes). Glenister is probably always gonna be known as Hunt and for good reason. His performances are brilliant and some of the one liners/terminology the writers give him are awesome.

RUNNERS UP:

Fran Kranz (Topher Brink – Dollhouse)

Jack Coleman (Noah Bennett – Heroes)

Eddie McClintock (Pete Latimer – Warehouse 13)

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ACTRESS OF THE YEAR (TV)

WINNER: Summer Glau (Cameron – Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles)

I was so disappointed that this show got cancelled as it seemed to be really finding it’s feet. Summer Glau’s performance as Cameron, the female Terminator was especially convincing and I thought she caught the innocence of the role extremely well. Her banter with John Connor seemed fairly natural as well.

RUNNERS UP:

Dichen Lachman (Sierra – Dollhouse)

Jennifer Love Hewitt (Melinda Gordon – Ghost Whisperer)

Joanne Kelly (Myka Bering – Warehouse 13)

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TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Dollhouse (SciFi)

The premise of Dollhouse (see above) sounds as crazy as it is but the show really came together for the latter part of the first series and the second series has also started strongly (despite poor ratings and a cancellation). I literally could not wait for this show every week. And that is the sign of a brilliant TV show.

RUNNERS UP:

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (SciFi)

Heroes (BBC2)

Warehouse 13 (SciFi)

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And there we have it. Any stuff I missed that I should check out? (Except The Wire, which I’m working on) Give me a shout.

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Top 20 Kick Ass Female Characters: Part 1

Echo (Dollhouse)

Having just pre-ordered the game ‘Wet’, which stars Eliza Dushku as Rubi Malone – a female assassin – I started thinking about other strong female characters.

In honour of the harder side of the fairer sex I’ve put together twenty of the toughest female characters out there.

No superpowers, I’m talking about hand to hand, gunplay and ninja type skills. 😎

It was supposed to be a Top 10 but the list just grew and grew. So I’ve had to do it in two parts.

Here’s part one.

And no, before we start, Lara Croft is not on this list. Every woman on this list could take her down 😎

 

20) Lian Xing (Syphon Filter)

Lian Xing

A former member of the Chinese Secret Service, Xing teamed up with Gabriel Logan in Soviet occupied Afganistan.

She is a skilled marksman, known for her sniper work. Lian Xing is always on hand to help Gabe out of trouble – whether that’s by his side or over the radio.

 

19) Faith Connors (Mirror’s Edge)

 Faith Connors

Faith is a parkour expert with some pretty nifty footwork. She lives in a city where the oppressive government keeps tabs on everybody – spying electronically on them. Faith delivers packages or messages by hand, the only way to safely converse.

She can handle herself with a firearm but it’s her awesome hand to hand combat skills that get her onto this list.

Check out the video below for evidence!

 

 

18) Anne Lewis (Robocop)

Anne Lewis

Ever since I first saw Robocop I’ve always thought his female partner Anne Lewis was underappreciated.

Officer Lewis is shown having a fist fight with a male suspect moments before meeting Murphy/Robocop for the first time – always a good introduction.

Her gun skills are good and she even helps Robocop reallign his targeting system with her accurate aiming.

She is willing to go to extreme lengths to assist her partner, helping him recover when he is seriously injured and then backing him up, with almost fatal consequences, in the last stand against Boddicker’s gang at the steel mill.

A real tough nut with a big heart, Anne Lewis is exactly the kind of partner you’d want if you were a cop, especially in Old Detroit 🙂

 

17) Sonya Blade (Mortal Kombat)

Sonya Blade

Lieutenant Sonya Blade is a member of the Outer World Investigation Agency, a top United States Special Forces unit.

She is also the first female entrant into the Mortal Kombat tournament. One of her moves includes doing a handstand, grabbing her enemy between her legs and smashing them into the ground. 😮

Using her army training to her advantage Sonya is as tough as any of her male counterparts – she doesn’t even have to actually touch her opponent to finish them off… she simply blows them a deadly kiss (see below)

 

16) Echo (Dollhouse)

Echo - Gun

Echo is an ‘active’, someone that has signed a period of their life away in exchange for cash. During this period she has her memory wiped and is regularly imprinted with other people’s memories to carry out various jobs.

We’re talking some serious skills – safe cracking, martial arts, street fighting… the list goes on and on.

And she certainly isn’t afraid to use her skills – the Chinese kitchen/alleyway fight scene was particularly gruelling and incredibly fun to watch. 😎

 

15) Tyris Flare (Golden Axe)

Tyris Flare

An Amazonian who is deadly with a sword, Tyris Flare cuts an impressive figure.

Orphaned by Death Adder, the game’s main bad guy, she is out for revenge and doesn’t care who gets hurt on the way.

As well as being adapt with a sword Tyris commands the power of fire magic – but she makes the list based on her swordplay and general toughness.

 

14) Rubi Malone (Wet)

Rubi Malone

I haven’t even played the full game yet but having seen the demo in action I have no hesitation in including Rubi on this list.

An acrobatic assassin skilled in dual wielding pistols and deadly with a sword, Rubi always gets the job done – despite increasing numbers of enemies 🙂

Having said that her temper may cloud her judgement at times – she often leaves a trail of dead bodies in her wake trying to get to her target, which might not be the kind of hush hush hit you’ve asked for.

 

13) Trinity (The Matrix)

Trinity

I know Trinity kind of has superpowers but really she’s just a normal human who has learnt the ability to bend the Matrix. So she’s in the list.

I remember seeing The Matrix in the cinema and being blown away by it. That opening scene where Trinity deals with the group of cops… amazing.

With a mix of martial arts and general Matrix bending merriment Trinity takes care of the bad guys in the best possible way – hard and fast.

 

12) Nariko (Heavenly Sword)

Nariko

Nariko’s clan were awaiting a male to fulfill the prophecy of the powerful weapon Heavenly Sword – turns out it was always gonna be a girl who got the best out of the weapon.

When all else around her seems to be falling apart it’s Nariko that steps up to the plate and takes on the bad guys.

With some serious sword combos and plenty of attitude, she is not one to be messed with, as King Bohan and his cohorts found out in Heavenly Sword.

 

11) Blaze Fielding (Streets Of Rage)

Blaze Fielding

One of three members of a special police task force set up to deal with unrest in the city, Blaze is a Judo expert.

She uses a mixture of her martial arts, slams and throws to clean up the streets.

Hard as nails and willing to risk it all to protect the public, Blaze’s German Suplex move finished off many a bad guy in Streets Of Rage.

 

So there we have it the frist half of the count down with the Top 10 coming up soon!

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TV: Cancellations And Catching Up

sarahconnor

TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES

Wow. Just can’t believe this show has been cancelled. I know it’s down to bad viewing figures but I suspect it’s Friday night slot didn’t help matters.

Apart from one episode (the “Spiritual” one, seriously what were they thinking?) Sarah Connor Chronicles has been bang on the money every week.

The (slightly creepy) relationship between Cameron and John Connor really delevoped and. Summer Glau was brilliant as Cameron. Some of her delivery was the highlight of the show for me, it was like having a kickass version of Will Ferrell’s Buddy The Elf. 🙂

I really enjoyed this show and still have a flicker of hope it might be picked up by another network.

If not I’ll be waiting for some sort of Blu-Ray boxset of all the seasons so I can relive it all again!

 

primeval

PRIMEVAL

Season 3 of Primeval is scooting along at a great pace and the episode involving Abby’s brother visiting the future was probably the best one I’ve ever seen.

On the whole despite losing a main character or two the show is developing nicely and should be the source of some good old fashioned family fun going onwards.

The special effects deserve a mention as well as they are a vast improvement on previous series and hopefully this standard will be kept as the series continues.

I think there is still plenty of mileage in the format – especially with regard to them being able to go through the anamolies as well.

 

pushingdaisies

PUSHING DAISIES

Ah Pushing Daisies.

Brilliant start to the first season, so-so end of first season but this season has been immense and while I agree the show’s arching storyline hasn’t fascinated me the individual storylines per episode have been great.

Very well written and the comedic timing of all the actors (especially Chi McBride who plays Emerson Cod) has been excellent.

I’m still not sure how this had declining viewers and got cancelled – this season has been really good.

Looking forward to seeing how they wrap the storyline up – this is one show I’m really hoping does have a happy ending.

 

earl

MY NAME IS EARL

Looks like I’ll be trying to find something to watch next year with all these shows being cancelled 😡

Again I thought this season was a return to form for My Name Is Earl and whilst I can understand that the list idea might be getting stale for some people the scope for where this can go – even at this stage of the show’s life is a positive thing for me.

Someone has started the traditional ‘save our show’ campaign but is it too little too late?

It will be a shame to see Earl leave our screens but it’s been a fun few seasons.

 

dollhouse

DOLLHOUSE

Well at least one of these bad boys has been renewed for another season! 😎

Eliza Dushku stars as Echo, one of several ‘dolls’ in the aforementioned house.

Basically people who, for one reason or another (yet to be revealed) are now human shells.

They are hired by high paying clients, who dictate who they want them to be abd how they want them to act.

A specific set of ‘skills’ are imprinted into the them and off they go. None the wiser, doing whatever they are supposed to before returning to the Dollhouse to have their imprints and memories wiped so they can start all over.

Coming from Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly, Dr Horrible) I was expected it to be good but it’s exceeded expectations and it’s nice to tuck into a new US show knowing it’ll get a second season.

 

ghostwhisperer

GHOST WHISPERER

Melinda (Jennifer Love-Hewitt) and Jim (David Conrad) return to our screens picking up where they left off.

Melinda is still helping people with their nearest and dearest who won’t move on to the other side.

Professor Payne (Jay Mohr) has left, which I feel may leave a void as Mohr’s comedy brings a nice light touch to proceedings usually.

One thing that confused me – the tears when he left from Melinda, worried about a friend or something more romantic?

I thought the former but a fair few others think the latter.

Have only seen one episode so far so can’t judge the season just yet but it’s nice to have it back on the Sky+ planner 😎

 

flight

FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS

New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk parody act return with a second series that sees the band managerless but getting into the usual scrapes – before Murray returns to… well get them into more scrapes to be honest. 😆

The songs are still just as strong and the episode where Jermaine becomes a gigolo was wickedly funny.

I heard this will be the final season as they don’t want the songs to weaken which I can understand but it’ll be a sad day when Brett, Jermaine and Murray hold their last band meeting.

If you’ve never seen Flight Of The Conchords before check out the video below from season one to see what you’re missing.