BuzzFeed Unsolved (Buzzfeed Blue, 2016-)

When thinking of some brilliant shows only available online, the usual go to programmes are Netflix Originals. However, some of the great web series can be on a YouTube production company’s second channel, you just go to know where to look. With such a funny and interesting show going largely undiscovered due to its platform, I thought it would be a good idea to review Buzzfeed Unsolved to give this little gem a bit more of a fighting chance.

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Plot: This horror documentary series follows Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej, as they investigate some of the unsolved crime cases and supernatural hauntings. Each season will alternate between Unsolved: True crime, discussing murder cases and theories, followed by Unsolved: Supernatural, discussing if a place is truly haunted.

Trailer for season 3: 

Review: Through the show being a short documentary web series, the struggle of informative storytelling means portraying a lot of information in a short period of time. Therefore, explanations must be fast, interesting and detailed. Histories are explained through heavy graphic timelines, with strongly researched voice overs. Showing information through graphics to this extent is usually frowned upon. However, this really works. This is only because of the hilarious voice overs and sarcastic comments from Shane and Ryan’s ‘I can’t deal with this guy’ attitude. Documentary is always amazing when comedy is chucked into the mix. I think more crime documentaries should have the creator laughing about serial killers. The show even has its own drinking game so don’t expect your typical ghost and crime investigation. The show does alternate the themes of supernatural to crime each series. This appeals to a larger group of people. However, if you aren’t’ a fan of the Supernatural, you got to wait for the next season. Perhaps, if they alternated between episodes, this would keep it fresh.

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Unsolved Supernatural, is by far the most unique of the two seasons. It does follow the technical methods of your usual episode of hunting for spirits, from walking around the location at night and communicating with spirits through a number of techniques but only one of them actually believes in the supernatural. Ryan takes everything seriously and will scream at any sound, in fear that the spirits of the dead are lurking around in the dark, whereas Shane will just laugh at Ryan and shout insults at the ‘demons’. The only thing Shane has found frightening in these horrid locations are the bugs, bats and the massive spiders. They have had to leave locations because of the number of arachnids crawling around. Despite the two having opposite views, they work so well. The will always have a joke around so you won’t find the show very scary, even if you are easily frightened. By the presenters having conflicting beliefs, a sense of authenticity is added, as they don’t take every little footstep as evidence. However, this does mean that they don’t usually find a lot of proof, disappointing the audience. Nevertheless, they do really try to capture a spirit on camera. They have professional equipment and seem to be high budget, considering the platform they broadcast on. It’s a high quality miniseries hiding away in the corners of the Buzzfeed channel.

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True Crime is not as funny as the supernatural because the series is based on fact, meaning the two have no doubt that the horrific events discussed actually happened. It would also be inappropriate to joke too much about murdered kids and women. These guys aren’t insane after all. This show is mainly based on discussing the timeline of the crime and moving into the theories. ‘That being said, let’s get into the theories’ will be a line to haunt your dreams.  As the series relies on discussing who did it and how, they provide us with an after show for the audience to put in their views. We can finally interact with those conducting investigation. Discussion and direct interaction with audiences always gets thumbs up from me. We fans like to know that our ikons actually care about what we have to say.

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Overall, the short horror episodes should appeal to any fan of the dark documentary genre. They add in their own twist and is really a show like no other. You will laugh and have shivers running up your spine all in a space of around a minute.

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The End of the F*****ing world (Channel 4/Netflix, 2017-)

People are going wild over the new addition to Netflix or the show that has been on Channel 4 for about a year. I don’t usually review older shows but since many people have only just been introduced to this brilliant programme due to its move over to Netflix, it is new for a lot of potential viewers. This great mini drama has created a lot of buzz from its interesting style and bold topics. I mean the title alone suggest its crazy nature so it would be a sin of me, if I didn’t talk about The End of the F*****ing  world.

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Plot:  James (Alex Lawther) the 17 year old potential psychopath and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) embark on a mad adventure to escape their crap lives and find Alyssa’s real dad. However, as excepted things go very wrong and they end up on the run from the police. This is not your usual road trip.

Trailer:

Review:  The world of television has recently been outdoing Hollywood, in terms of unique plot and brilliant entertainment. Channel 4’s and now Netflix’s brilliant show The End of the F*****ing  world, is no exception. The different and brave plot is fairly typical for the creativity of some of Channel 4’s productions. The show brings dark humour mixed with a narrative not seen in any other TV media. The story takes its time to build upon teen angst and a very strange relationship but develops into a full blown wild ride, a beautiful romance and shit hitting the fan. The opening seemed dark and taboo enough but if you wait 40 minutes, you would think that episodes 1-2 where a kids show. I say 40 minutes for the first 2 eps because each part is only around 20 minutes long. The short episodes means not enough screen time for this amazing plot but could also imply how much crap happens to these characters in a short period of time, plus makes the show easy to binge watch.  In addition to a plot that doesn’t stop, the style and filming/editing techniques are something not usually explored within many dramas. We are supplied with internal monologues with several characters, rather than just one, providing the audience with more insight and several points of views. Flashbacks, created through a range of mediums is also used to relay information and reinforce the tragic backstory of James and Alyssa. This gives us a break from the usual modes of storytelling within TV. Bravo!

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With a show this dark, it only makes sense that controversial and brave themes for television are covered, both through drama and comedy. Discourses around sexual assault, suicide and sexuality are explored. I believe that the best programmes should always at least brush up on these ideas, to give audiences a safe place to explore these issues and learn about what to do if this happens to themselves or people they know. Despite this, the show does push the boundaries with a lot of animals getting brutally killed so just watch out for that. A show always loses points when a dog dies. ALWAYS!

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After covering plot, style and ideologies, it is always important to discuss actors and characters. To start, James and Alyssa have been created and adapted to be two very difficult people to portray and get into the mid set of. I have yet to come across two characters so different and yet perfect for each other. They are crazy yet sane, horrid yet charming. I did start off hating the characters because of how unrealistic they are but I did grow to love both them and their relationship. Despite the challenge, Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden pull it off spectacularly. I expect awards for these two. As these actors are fairly unknown beforehand, it proves how hidden talent is sometimes the best. Hopefully their work in The End of the F*****ing  world will bag them some more acting jobs higher up in the industry.

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Overall, I did love the show after I got used to the style and the characterisation of James and Alysaa. The themes are beautifully portrayed and truly adds to the drama of the programme. However, the ending is rather unexpected and ended abruptly. I do pray that season 2 comes out soon.

 

 

The Good Place (NBC/Netflix 2017-present)

Netflix has brought us some fantastic original shows, I mean who hasn’t heard of Stranger Things (2016-) or Orange is the New Black(2013-). I often find myself writing reviews on many of the productions that Netflix release so today is no exception. One of the lesser known productions is Netflix’s/NBC comedy The Good Place. It is one of those hidden gems that once you discover, you can’t really imagine your TV schedule without it. The Good place is a funny take on the afterlife or ‘The Good place’ vs ‘The Bad place’. How many shows are about that egh?  The show is currently on its second season and is out every Friday. However, with the show being so binge worthy and only around 25 minutes, I am sure you can catch up soon enough. It only took me two days to get through 21 episodes but I do have a bit of a TV problem.

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Plot: When Eleanor (Kristen Bell) is hit by a car, trying to chase a bottle of cocktail mixture for one, she ends up in ‘The Good place’, the shows equivalent to the concept of heaven. Everyone is friendly, the parties are wild, you get to spend eternity with your soul mate, there is free frozen yogurt on every street and you can fly, it seems like well…heaven. However, when Eleanor discovers she is not meant to be there, she must attempt to remain undercover so she is not forced to the ’Bad Place’ or what we call Hell. A place with Scorpion nappies and screws for glasses. There’s no wonder she wants to stay hidden.

Trailer:

Review: Much like many of the other comedy shows I review, I have found another unique program. A show with a great range of characters, is genuinely funny and has a great plot. We are no longer centring shows on just a group of friends hanging out. Maybe this is proof that comedy is finally adapting and able to think of new ideas, to keep us interested in the genre and develop what we know as the ‘American Comedy’. However, again like many American comedies the show is manly created through what characters say rather than interesting filming techniques. A lot of the laughs are driven from Eleanor and how out of place and rude she is compared to the other characters. She is a bitch but she is our bitch and the show would not be the same without her. Again this indicates that the comedy is character driven, rather than giving us gags through how the show is filmed. Alas, we are only in early stages so perhaps we can let them off. Never the less, they do have great set design and colour schemes. Heaven has many bright and energetic colours, whereas earth is dull and grey….seems about right to be honest. It is not often where I compliment a show for its use of colours so bravo for that!

good place characters

Speaking of characters, again much like many of the new American comedies, we have a diverse and interesting set of characters, shown in programmes such as Brooklyn 99 (FOX, 2013-) and Ghosted (FOX,2017-). However, instead of FOX, NBC is giving us some variety. This gives a larger percentage of the audience characters to identify and connect with because we all know it’s not just straight white people who are watching Netflix. The relationships between these characters are also a love/hate relationship that builds over time. We get to see these from the beginning, rather than just see a fully formed friendship group, again like many of the older comedies. I feel that this gives ‘The Good Place’ its charm. However, I would argue that some of the characters are rather annoying and since they are a main character you can’t really avoid them but you could just say that this was how they were designed. Never the less, the show can be forgiven for how amazing Janet (D’Arcy Carden) is. Janet is The Good place’s version of Google but in human form. She can answer any question in the universe and bring you anything you could ever want. However, she can be programmed to speak in different ways, can often glitch and will scream at you and beg for her life if you try to turn her off. She really is my favourite character.

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Despite the comedy element of the show, we are provided some interesting ideologies and factors that can make you self-reflect. The new concept of the afterlife judges’ weather you are fit for the good or bad place, based on the way you were as a person. However, it is really hard to go to ‘The Good Place’ and way too easy to end up in ‘The Bad Place’. I mean you go to Hell if you have a personalised number plate and watch trashy TV, whereas you only end up in heaven if you spent your life working for charity.  That means that a good percentage of us are destined to hell. There is nothing like an existential crisis whilst watching TV. One other issue I have noticed about the show and maybe you have too, is that there are no old people.  Why are there so many young people? I’m guessing no one really dies of old age anymore in the shows universe? I need answers!

The Good Place - Season 1

Due to the unique plot, not usually shown in comedies, I would suggest this show to anyone who loves a good comedy but has grown bored of the usually tropes and conventions of the genre. The show is fun, interesting and hilarious with a great set of characters and famous actors. The show is only 20 minutes ling so if you don’t like it, you haven’t really wasted much time. However, I’m sure that you will end up watching all 22 episodes in about 3 days.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ( Jake Kasdan,2017).

A remake of a childhood classic is a tricky thing to pull off. The expectation is way higher than your usual film release. We all know that it could never match up to the original but they can try to get as close as possible. OR you could be really clever and make the film so different from the original but still make it clear that this is a part of the same universe that it is difficult for audiences to compare. This is what this year’s version of Jumanji: Welcome to the jungle decided to do.

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Plot: Instead of the infamous game of Jumanji coming into the real wold, the players are sucked into the game themselves. When Spencer (Dwayne Johnson/Alex Wolff), Fridge (Kevin Hart/Ser’Darius Blain), Beth (Jack Black/Madison Iseman) and Martha (Karen Gillan/Morgan Turner), are dragged into the video game version of Jumanji they must complete the game before they can return to the real world or face being stuck in the game forever. Welcome to the Jungle guys!

Trailer:

Review: I am going to jump straight into the review and attempt to answer if the 2017 version is any good compared to the original. All I can say is that the films are really too different from each other to try and compare. I simply can’t give a straight answer but what I can say, is that there are references to the original, including the infamous board game and characters from the 1995 film.  However, the modern version is a lot funnier and more up to date, which is expected from a 2017 version of a 90’s classic. Into the Jungle, relies a lot more on comedy, compared to action. It is a feel good film that would be great to put you in a good mood. It has lots of gags and a decent mixture of both verbal and visual comedy, causing Jumanji to defiantly fall into the comedy genre. I mean the film has dance battles so… what you do with that knowledge is up to you. The film does include the use of foul language and inappropriate adult jokes fit for us over 12’s. This does give grownups a good giggle but could result in the film being a lot loss child friendly. However, since I’m in my 20’s, I couldn’t really care less.

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The implication of the film being a comedy is the actors within the film. I was so excited to see Jack Black play a 17 year old girl and Karen Gillan play ….anyone. As the actors were playing avatars of such different characters, for example an overweight middle aged man playing a bitchy teenage girl, it was both hilarious and challenging. This premise defiantly highlighted the acting strengths of the stars. The actors seemed to play complete opposites, perhaps to show personality over looks of our characters. This allowed for excellent character development, as they were put into the shoes of others and in dangerous situations that requires teamwork and strength. Furthermore, with the idea of looks and personality being mashed up due to the avatars, complicated romances were allowed to blossom. This did make the film a bit cheesy at times, which is great if you love a bit of cheddar with your love stories. Now I did develop a few ships that didn’t sail so I was a tad disappointed with the ending but that’s because I get way too invested in fictional couples.

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As Jumanji is a game, there are rules conventional to the medium that are used throughout the film. This is a nice little nod for those who are big gamers. It also adds a bit of quirkiness to the film. In addition, by including a video game compared to a board game, it really brings the film into the 21st century. Being a game gave the creators a really good opportunity to make the film as cool as possible by making Jumanji an excellent and difficult game which the characters must attempt to beat. Unfortunately, the game itself didn’t seem very good. Jumanji seemed far too easy and short. It didn’t look like a fun one to play if it was just your standard video game. This seemed like such a shame in my opinion. Likewise, the villain didn’t seem too threatening to the main characters and only appeared to them once or twice. Whereas, in any other film the villain would be a lot more dominant within the characters story. It is hard to see the greatness of a hero, without the presence of a villain.

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Overall, I felt that the film was a great movie, putting that audience in a good mood and giving them a laugh at the same time. However, the characters far outweighed the plot. This should always be the case in any film but the game of Jumanji itself should have been more difficult or at least fun to play.

 

 

Top anticipated movie releases of January 2018

January 2018 edition

Wow 2018 is next month, hard to believe that the shit show that was 2017 has finally come to an end. Let’s just hope that 2018 won’t be as bad but to be honest the stakes are pretty low. Luckily we have a few movie releases to start off the New Year. We are provided with a few additions to movie franchises, as expected and a completely new addition to Hollywood. The cinema of 2018 will be providing us with some great crime dramas and action thrillers and hopefully another good horror. So without further ado, here are my top anticipated releases of January 2018!

3) Insidious: The last Key (Adam Robitel,2018)

Release date: 5th January 2018 UK.

Trailer:

The 4th edition to the Insidious franchise focuses on Elise Rainier investigating the haunting of her own home. Yep, the haunted universe created by James Wan in 2010 is going for a forth addition, bringing the world of the further into reality.  As a horror fan I can say that the first two movies were actually scary, they did their job as a decent horror. Brining us an interesting plot and horror not 100%created by jumps cares, which is usually the case for most fright fests. However, the horror series lost its way with the 3rd movie. Hollywood saw a successful movie so they did their usual trick and ringed the film until it’s dried out. Despite this, the industry has yet to learn its lesson and created a 4th. Now this could go one of two ways, 1. The Last key is just as bad as the 3rd or 2. The movie takes away a few tricks from the first two films and actually does a good job. This is a question that can only be answered by watching the movie. I always look forward to new horror films and many horrors will find a place on my anticipated list just because I want to see what the film industry has to offer in terms of the genre and lest be honest even if it is a terrible horror, it gives the film a little charm. Let’s just hope it doesn’t rely on jump scares to frighten the audience.

2) Molly’s Game.

Release date: 5th January 2018.

Trailer: 

Molly’s Game is a crime drama based on the true story of Molly Bloom. Molly was a professional skier/ runner of a poker empire for A list names who became under investigation by the FBI. The film follows this story the dramatic Hollywood way. This addition to the industry looks just as fantastic and corrupt as 2013’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (Martin Scorsese). However, the mastermind behind the crime is a boss ass female, once again showing that women can be just as bad ass as men. Judging from the trailer, Molly’s Game, is a fresh and exciting new action packed drama, with an incredible plot and great character development, causes audiences to love Molly, even though she is defiantly in the wrong. Any film that can cause viewers to ignore their moral compass has a spot in my good movie book. I just hope that the trailer isn’t doing its usual trick and putting the good stuff in the promotional material, rather than saving it for the actual film. Only a watch through will tell. Bring on January 5th, the release date for both Molly’s Game and Insidious: The Last Key.

1)Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Release Date: 26th January 2018

Trailer:

A month after Boxing Day, we are given a late Christmas present with the last film in the Maze Runner series. It is finally time for The Death Cure. Discover what finally happens to Thomas and his friends in a world ruined by the flare and ruled by Wiked, in a hunt to find a cure. Like any other final there are a lot of expectations to meet and questions to answer all while creating a fantastic grand ending with action packed scenes, dramatic turn of events and a nice little bow at the end. From the second film it is easy to see that the movie adaptions do stray from the original novels, making it difficult to determine the outcome. Therefore, the only real source we have is the marketing. From what is advertised we are defiantly in for a treat, let’s just hope we are given what us Maze Runner fans deserve! Bring on January, I am very excited to see how this ends.

What movies are you excited for? Let me know in the comments!

Oceans 8 (Gary Ross,2018) Trailer Drop

The Oceans franchise is back but this time there are going to be a few changes. Number one, they are robbing jewelry and clothes from a gala and number two, there is an all female cast and a bad ass cast at that. Yes women are back to remake some of the greats and probably piss off a few men. Us women are being blessed with another movie to show the world how we can do it just as good as men (if not better).  Despite this, I do hope we don’t get another rubbish remake like the Ghostbusters (Paul Feig, 2016). Lets just hope Gary Ross can do us proud but with names such as Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Anna Hathaway, i’m sure it won’t be too difficult. Check out the trailer below:

 

Rotten Apples

Over the past year the issues of Hollywood has come to light, illuminating some of the scum bags that have tainted the glam and gilts with sexual misconducts.  With the film and movie industry now being ruined by the taboo topic, the internet, being amazing as ever, has created a website to highlight the media products that have ‘rotten’ cast or crew. Rotten Apples allow you to type in a film or show to see if any of those behind the production have allegations of sexual misconduct against them.  Those that are clean will give us a ‘Fresh Apple’ rating. However, those with affiliations will show a ‘Rotten Apples’ label.  The site will then highlight who has the allegation and will provide links explaining what they are being charged with.

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Link to website:

https://therottenappl.es/

 

Whilst typing in a few of my favourite films and shows I was happy to discover that a lot of the things I watch are clean. This can include the Harry Potter franchise and all the Marvel movies I typed in.  It truly was good news to see. However, there are a few shows/films that do have the Rotten Apples label. This alone was enough to tell me that these rotten people often go unnoticed by everyday viewers. I would have never known that the head of Pixar/ Disney, John Lassester was a suspect. Now, if you type in any Pixar or Disney films you will get a ‘Rotten Apples’ rating, tainting the entire universe.

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I feel that the need for this website highlights how bad the situating in Hollywood has gotten. This internet addition can be used to both indicate how vast and serious this is and can give victims encouragement to speak up, due to the number of stories being shared. Rotten Apple may just seem like a satirical dig at Hollywood but is also an important and unique method of teaching us about the issues in the media industry.