Patrick Stewart – Logan (93%)

“Logan” is a 2017 superhero film that features Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier (the 7th time he’s played that character), the leader of the mutant group called the X-Men. Set in the near future, “Logan” is a genre defying story that features a sick and dying Professor X, a sick and dying Wolverine, and a young and healthy Mexican clone of Wolverine! Clay and I break down the best rated film in Patrick Stewart’s career, and also talk for a while about the X-Men film franchise as a whole.

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Reel Ripe & Reel Rotten: Introduction

This podcast takes a look at the highs and lows of your favorite Hollywood artists! Each month, Wes and Clay will use Rotten Tomatoes to determine the best and worst film in one individuals filmography. Then you can listen along as they try to figure out what went right and what went wrong!

In this episode, Wes introduces the podcast, explains the gimmick, and reveals who the first month will cover (hint: he’s the best Star Trek captain).

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Castlevania: A Review of the Netflix Series

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This is a review of the first season of the Netflix Castlevania series, and will container small spoilers.

I’m not a fan of the Castlevania video game series. I’ve tried to play Symphony of the Night a few times, but it seems I’m not mentally capable of playing Metroidvania games. Something about the backtracking. I’ve flirted with a few of the other games in the series, but I’m not immersed in the lore or storyline beyond knowing that that, in this universe, Dracula exists and the Belmonts are a family of vampire hunters who are trying to destroy him.

I mostly started watching the Netflix Castlevania series as a reaction to not wanting to start watching a full, 13 episode run of a new show. The first season of Castlevania consists of only four half hour episodes, so it’s a brisk watch. And I think that might be the best thing about it.

Castlevania is an animated series that details how, after his wife is burned at the stake for being a witch, Dracula seeks vengeance against those responsible. Unleashing demonic monsters upon the country of Wallachia, Dracula seeks to make every citizen pay with their lives. Trevor Belmont, a vampire hunter from a disgraced family of the nobility, works to find a way to defeat Dracula while also restoring his own sense of honor.

It’s a decent set up, one ripped right from the storyline of the games. For positives, I found the animation to be interesting, particularly when scenes became gory and blood filled. The lighting is particularly well done, with a lot of scenes beautifully lit: golden sunlight or red hellfire conveying the mood and atmosphere quite well.

That’s about it for positives, in my opinion.

On the negative side, the pacing is problematic. Going into the series, I had expected the 2 hours of total run time to come across like a movie. I went in expecting, if not complete resolution, a story that would feel complete and satisfying by the end of the season. Unfortunately, the 4 episodes seem to only cover the first act of a much larger story, and they end with a turn of events that changes the direction of the story and implies a much longer adventure. In terms of storytelling, this makes the overall pace of the series feel like it drags, because you spend a lot of time only getting to a point that should happen in the first 20 minutes of a feature length film. This is likely a very personal problem, and if the show has grabbed a hold of you it might not matter as much, but I found it to be very frustrating.

On a character level, Dracula is the clichéd avatar of evil, but he’s hardly in the series at all. The main focus is on Trevor Belmont, who comes across like the dramatic anti-hero of recent TV series, except that he doesn’t have the depth to support his shitty attitude. In internet terms, Trevor could be described as an “edgelord”: he’s moody, difficult to deal with, and mopes about for much of the series, blaming the fall of his family on the people he’s trying to save. He’s also an alcoholic, because why not?

There’s also not much theme, if any at all. The standard plot line of restoring a family’s honor is paid lip service as Trevor realizes his calling in life and gives up the bottle to fight monsters. The church, which runs the country like the mob, is unoriginal and evil to the point of being silly. The Speakers, a movement of magic users, act as foils to the church and provide motivation for Trevor to change his ways.

After the four episodes finish up, a final fight scene (which is quite good) reveals the secret identity of another mysterious character, and our heroes join forces to go after Dracula.

All in all, Castlevania didn’t really deliver what I expected, which was a mature take on an old video game series. It might be the best adaptation of a video game ever produced, but that isn’t saying much about its competition. It’s a by the numbers vampire story that relies on gory animation to make its impact.

Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Lucas sold his franchise to Disney, and Disney brought into renowned franchise caretaker J.J. Abrams to fix things. Largely ignoring the prequels, Abrams created a whole new cast and rebooted the aging franchise. So, what do we think?

In this episode, we discuss the pros and cons of the new characters, movie franchises that act like TV shows, and the upside of making the Death Star a planet.

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Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

The final prequel movie features a lot of bad times for the Jedi, and a lot of good times for the viewers who don’t need to watch anymore of these movies!

In this episode we discuss Obi-Wan drawing first, fighting in a volcano, and the benefits of standing above someone.

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Episode II: Attack of the Clones

The middle part of the prequel trilogy is widely regarded as the weakest of those three movies? Is it?

Let’s talk about the downside of sand, the characterization of Dooku, and losing an arm!

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Episode I: The Phantom Menace

So, how did we come to the events of the original trilogy? By watching the prequels!

In Episode I: The Phantom Menace, we meet a young Anakin Skywalker, a Gungan named Jar Jar, and we learn a whole lot of information about trade in galaxies far, far away.

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Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

The original trilogy comes to an end with Return of the Jedi! What do we think of Jabba’s Palace, the Emperor, and the Ewoks?

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Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

In Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the series takes a darker turn as our heroes are defeated(?) and things are not looking good for the Rebellion!

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Episode IV: A New Hope

 

Join Wes, Clay, Jim and Dave as they begin their retrospective review of the Star Wars franchise!

We begin with Episode IV: A New Hope, which introduces us to Luke Skywalker, the Force, and Darth Vader. Does the film hold up to modern standards? The guys discuss lightsaber fights, interminable flight sequences, and  how it all started!

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