Everything Sucks (Netflix, 2018-)

Netflix has made yet another show about a bunch of teenagers at  high school. They may only have one location for their shows but luckily what they lack in settings, they make up for in plot and character design. With the broadcasters latest release, this is no exception. Everything Sucks (2018-) brings us once more, a story about youngsters overcoming something dramatic. However, unlike programmes such as ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Riverdale’ they are confronting believable problems, compared to aliens and murderers.

eveeyhing sucks poster

Plot: In 90’s Boring, Oregon, the AV and the drama club are rivals but must band together for a bigger cause. Meanwhile, Kate Messner (Peyton Kennedy) and Luke O’Neil (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), struggle with their relationship as Kate begins to accept her sexuality.

Trailer:

Review: As previously suggested, with a show like this, plot is a massive part of the success of a show (obviously). It is essentially based on a love triangle between a black kid and two lesbians. I love some great diverse representation when watching any show and Everything Sucks really pulls it off. As well as diverse characters, we are also given an number of themes, such as young love and the idea of accepting your own and others sexuality. This is done in a way that both provides supports and celebrates coming out. They even chuck issues of bullying and parental issues into the mix. Perhaps, a few more themes could have been adopted but maybe they didn’t want to remove the power of the few they do show. This method of acceptance is done through the characters making a science fiction movie about love between a human and an Alien (I was wrong, they are putting Aliens into the show). The production did mean that the show often felt similar to ‘Me and Earl and The Dying Girl’ but it is enjoyable nonetheless. Likewise, the live broadcasting of the morning announcements and the behind the scenes of their film was a nice addition to those interested in film and television. As someone who works in the industry, it was exciting to see.

everything sucks movie

The character development, like a lot of great shows, was well carried out over the 10 episodes. Everyone moved on from how they were at the beginning of the series in a way that was unpredictable. One great thing about the show was that you just didn’t know how it was going to end. Characters you hated, you ended up loving and most had a decent amount of screen time, which allowed their story to be told.This can be down to both brilliant storytelling and acting.  Nevertheless, there are still some characters put into the background. They are only seen a few times and would make no difference to the plot. Everything Sucks, would be no different without them. However, from what you do see of them, you can tell that if given enough screen time, they could really shine. Maybe in season 2? It also doesn’t help that each episode is only 25 minutes long. This is great for binge watching but bad for story telling. I watched it in 2 days so now I have the ‘Now what?’ feeling. That’s the problem, you finish a show in a day then you need to wait a year for the next season. It doesn’t help that the series ended on a cliff hanger.

everything sucks love

Much like ‘Stranger Things’, this Netflix original gives its audience a sense of nostalgia. However, instead of the 80’s, we are given 1996 (the year I was born). Us Millennials are given a little blast from the past with this feel good show. Everything from music to movies, clothes and technology. Someone whips a tamagotchi out of their overalls!

everything sucks 90

Even though they have the creative side down, I felt they struggled with the technical side. By this I mean the camera shots. Some of the angles and framing was unusual for the genre and didn’t seem to fit with the tone of the show. It just felt odd. Some shots were well known to  documentary/mockumentary, copying the famous zoom from ‘The office’. Other shots were famously from the action genre with quick pans. Some were even from the horror genre, mainly the use of cameras lurking on their subject. It may have been a creative decision to incorporate a number of famous techniques but it just did not pay off. The average watcher may not have noticed but some hard core TV fans would have.

Overall, the show was great in terms of the genre. It is a feel good high school show with some great characters and ideologies. Does it make the show original? No, but it is a show to enjoy. I would suggest a watch to anyone who loves a bit of high school drama, just try to look past the filming techniques.

 

Advertisements

Black Panther (Ryan Coogler,2018)

We have been blessed this year with 4 Marvel movies being released. The first of the 4 is of course, Black Panther. This cinematic wonder had the pressure of kicking of 2018 with a bang by bringing Ta’challa (Chadwick Boseman) officially into the MCU. With an African king as the main hero, there is a lot of pressure to REPRESENT and they bring it! This film is really empowering and is truly badass

black panther poster

Plot: T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his home Wakanda, in order to take his rightful place as king.

 Trailer: 

Review: From a film so highly anticipated. There will be a lot of questions from fans.  It is difficult to know where to start so I will begin by answering ‘Is it any good?’ From an origin story point of view within the MCU, the film is incredible and could easily pass the league of, dare I say it, Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017). It’s not just the plot that is strong and entertaining throughout that make this film stand out but the amazing representations. One, the characters are fantastic at showing how you don’t need to be white American man to be a badass, a stereotype shown so much in Hollywood and past superhero movies. They do this so gracefully, whilst showing a lot of culture and tradition. The characters and the entire design of the film is empowering to everyone.  All the main characters are important to the plot and given their moment to shine. No one is chucked in the background to be a secondary character. This truly is a rare piece of cinema.

blackpanthercharacter1

Black Women are also given an opportunity to stand out through the characterisation of the general, the princess and the entire army. The tribe’s army is made up entirely of women. This may be a lot like Wonder Women but it is still awesome to see girls kicking ass and taking names. In addition, the princess is not the typical Disney royal but a technology nerd who can rock any outfit. Honestly, the film should break the box office on characters alone. The only drawback to having so many main characters is that The Black Panther himself is sometimes drawn out of the limelight. He is also occasionally seen as the weaker character, compared to the women (I mean, I’m not complaining). He is a superhero who gets his arse kicked! But this does show is flaws and human side, giving us mortals someone to connect with on screen.

BlackPanther-Women

The film design also has one hell of a wardrobe. By this, I mean the set design is incredible and colourful and the costumes of the characters slay. The clothes are traditional to Wakanda and beautiful to look at. If only an entire outfit could fit inside my necklace. Just to let you know, if anyone wants to cosplay as one of the characters of the film, they are going to have a lot of fun and maybe one hell of a bill. With a film that has a look this strong, there is a bit of pressure to keep the image flawless throughout. Therefore, it is noticeable when the CGI looks a bit weird. Marvel is known for incredible special effect so when it goes wrong, it goes wrong. Luckily, this only happens once or twice. The first time the CGI looks off, is when The Black Panther is jumping onto a wall. This isn’t as bad as CatWoman (Pitof, 2004) but it is noticeable. The second time is the animated rhino’s. Nevertheless, it is hard to animate animals so we can let this slide.

black-panther-movie-boseman3-ht-mem-171016_12x5_992

With a great hero, there must be a great villain. This seems pretty simple but you would be surprised at how often that doesn’t happen. They usually have a ridiculous plan to destroy the world without any reason why. This is not the case in the movie. The villain Erik killmonger (Michael B Jordan) has a well-developed back story, even more so than Ta’challa, and a strong reason for ‘improving’ the world. It is not often with superhero movies, that I can see the villain’s point of view. This can be seen as both a pro and con of the film.

black paqnther villian

From a film designed to break traditional superhero Hollywood, it is not just about culture and character design but the underlying themes. Based on the knowledge on what the Black Panther will represent, it safe to say that it would piss off a few angry far rights who have nothing better to do but complain on the internet about there not being enough white people in the film. Well the film is pretty self-aware in this way and does make a few comments on the world’s history. It is amazing! They are pretty much sticking their fingers up to these people, whilst remembering what their ancestors went through. Marvel knows what they are doing. Some of these ‘Fuck you’ moments are done through jokes. This just makes these ‘well said’ comments more light-hearted and can avoid pissing of the angry Trump supporters. My favourite joke is about Martin freeman being an oppressor. The film has a few Laugh out loud throughout to show that Marvel doesn’t take themselves too seriously, keeping with the tone of the rest of the Marvel Universe.

Overall, just watch it! It is a great adaption to the MCU and should be adored by all fans of the Superhero genre. It brings a lot of strong representations and is a truly badass film.

The Maze Runner: Death Cure (Wes Ball,2018)

After a good few years of waiting, the last film instalment of the Maze Runner is finally out. Time for another dystopian teen movie to have a dramatic climax, kill a few people off, have our OTP finally get together and live happily ever after in a nice field. Maze Runner does follow these tropes but surprisingly makes for a great movie. This is by far my favourite film out of the franchise.

death cure

Plot: The final part of the Maze Runner franchise. The shanks are finally safe…nearly. Mino is captured and brought to WIKED. Thomas and the others attempt to rescue him from the grips of the evil organisation.

Trailer:

Review: Out of the three movies, this is the most action packed. Its fight scene after fight scene, chase scene after chase scene. This may not be your cup of tea but it defiantly is mine. I like my films with explosions. Due to this dramatic change, the tone is different from the films before. It felt more like World War Z (Marc Forster, 2013), with all of the cranks running around and eating people, compared to a film about boys escaping a giant maze. Well at least they didn’t pull a Hunger Games and put them in the maze twice. The slight change of mood gives the film horror elements. There are a few jump scares, horrific zombies and a lot of gore. This is a huge change from the first film and a development from the second. This is all fun and game if you are a horror fan but to a 12 year old, it might be a tad scary. The 12U rating might just be a little low. Nevertheless, films aren’t technically rated on how scary they are just sex, gore and violence.  On the other hand, these zombie like characters are in the books. The following of the traditional text is a big thing in movies based on novels. The film does about half of the overall book but keeps in most of the major events (sorry). Luckily, I do think the ending in the film is better than the book so you have that to look forward to. Plus, gives fans of the book a little surprise.

death cure fighting

Despite the horror, the film is very good at emotional trauma. You will spend one minute screaming and the next sobbing. This is the end movie so you got to except it guys. Even if you do see it coming, you will still cry. The love triangles, the character deaths, the bromance, it all gets a bit too much. I would have liked the love triangles to develop a bit more, rather than one character just watching the other two and getting emotional (sounds like my Valentine’s Day). This just isn’t good character development. The level of good character development in this movie was very mixed. Some characters changed dramatically from bad to good and vice versa. Whereas, some of the main characters from the book were chucked in the back ground and ignored. Films need to stop ignoring the mains!

death cure characters

The film has an action packed plot, with some heart to create feels, so what about the techniques? Well, the film uses a lot of foreshadowing and omens. This is a creative way to give hints as to what will happen later on in the narrative. This should be a hint but the film seems to scream it in your face so it’s obvious how the plot will go. Once one character was saved by good timing from rescuers then it’s clear that this could happen again. This is usually only happens once or twice but for the Maze Runner, this happened again and again and again. Other techniques they try to use is slow motion. The film doesn’t slow things enough so the action just looks bizarre and gives the impression that the danger could have been easily avoided. Not cool guys! This just pisses off the movie fanatics.

Despite these flaws, the film is an entertaining and emotional watch. It sums the franchise up well and shouldn’t be missed by people who have watched the first two. Just bring tissues.

Anticipated movie release of February 2018

Marvels Black Panther (Ryan Cooger, 2018)

black panther poster

There is only one decent film that I am willing to celebrate in the month of love and no it isn’t the new Fifty Shades of Grey, it is of course Marvels Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018)!The superhero introduced to our screen in Captain America Civil war (Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, 2016) is getting his own movie and I couldn’t be more excited. The film will be set after the last Captain America, when T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his home Wakanda, in order to take his rightful place as king. From looking at the trailer, this action packed and visually stunning masterpiece looks fantastic. Despite these features, the cast is by far the best thing about the film. It’s good to see Marvel doesn’t whitewash films like the rest of Hollywood. Bravo Marvel!

The Greatest Showman (Michael Gracey, 2017)

Musicals can always guarantee to make a few bucks. Most of us girls do like a good sing along to a catchy feel good movie. However, since the release of productions such as La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2017), the game has been stepped up. Chazelle may have started something and raised the bar but Michael Gracey brought it to a whole new level. It’s hard to name a musical better than this one.

greatest showman

Plot: This musical feel good film follows the life of the real circus owner P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), who opens up a ‘freak show’.

Trailer:

Review: Let me just start by saying that this film deserves so much praise and way more than just one Oscar nomination for 2018. Gracey has been able to create a musical that is both incredible and highly emotional, with a strong mixture of fantastic visuals, plot and soundtrack. It is rare when a film can master just one of these things. The way the music is not just used as a ‘sing along’, shown in films such as the Pitch Perfect series but is used to carry the narrative and add a new level of emotion, already strongly present within the narrative. Basically, if you weren’t already crying at the plot, the songs will push you over the edge. It’s not just singing for the sake of a good performance. The songs are also a part of the show, so we get a nice mix of signing as a part of the ‘greatest show’ and singing to provoke emotion (I feel like I said ‘Singing’ way too many times in that sentence). There is no wonder that so many songs from the soundtrack made it into the charts. I have listened to the tracks on repeat.

GSOE_D16_010917_2622.cr2

The visuals are also a sight to behold and will give you a sense of wonder. The magic of the circus is created so we feel like we are really there. The colours are bright and typical for this type of performance. The choreography is well timed and powerful. The editing and the dancing of the characters fit in with the music perfectly. Timing can be tricky when editing and directing actor’s movements but they pulled off these changes and transactions to an Edgar Wright level. To sum up, the film is just as stunning in the way it was filmed, as the soundtrack and narrative. On the other hand, not all films are without a flaw. In terms of visuals, I find that the choreography within ‘Written in the stars’ is a tad too fast. Likewise, the CGI of the animals and some of the backgrounds is poor. This can occasionally be distracting. You would think that a film that put so much pride and effort into the visuals would spend a bit more time and money on a CGI elephants.

greatest

Focusing on a film about ‘freaks’ or oddities, the way you present these characters is very important. Ideology will be created within any film that points out the flaws on humanity and showcases these flaws. You can go one of two ways with freak shows. Create a horror or a feel happy comedy or drama. You can assume from the wonder and beauty of the film that the characters will be shown in the same way. I am going to steal a line within the film and call it ‘a celebration of humanity’, giving those who are different the confidence and opportunity to shine and accept who they are. Therefore, to make sure the audience feel this, the characters are lovable and beautifully presented. They start off feeling like freaks but with great character development, they end up loving who they are. There is nothing better than self-love. It is also nice to see how good of a singer Wolverine is. Other stars include Zac Efron. The guy who usually plays a dick head in comedies or Troy Bolton but you will be happy to know that even though this is a musical, you won’t see Efron and think you are watching High School Musical (Kenny Ortega, 2006).

showman characters

As this is a review, I feel like I need to point out at least one more flaw. So the characters never seem to age, even though the film is clearly set over a few years. The children are always 12 and the grandad is always 50. There, that’s about all I can think of. Never the less, this is more of a continuity issue, rather than a major flaw within the film.

fam

Overall, as you can probably tell, I think that this movie is fantastic. I can really tell why all my friends have seen it twice. Everything works together, from the visuals, plot, soundtrack, editing, set design, characterisation and choreography. All I can say is go watch it.  Considering this is Graceys’ first movie, he did a cracking job. Let’s hope he can keep up the good work.

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.

BuzzfeedUnsolvedLogo.jpg

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.

buzzfeed

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. They 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.

ya boys

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.

true crime

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.