Tag Archives: Netflix

Refresh: Hilarity and Horror

We live in the age of the reboot. Out of fresh ideas, Hollywood are hitting the big red refresh button on as many properties as they can. In this new segment, I want to focus on the reboot, and try to look further inside our latest culture trend. Are we obsessed with nostalgia, or do these familiar characters fit with the now? Do we really need it or, in fact, want it? And, most importantly – is it any good?

I’ll be kicking things off with two cult classic movies which have returned to our small screens as original television series: Wet Hot American Summer and Scream.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

Our return to Camp Firewood was relatively unexpected. The initial visit to Firewood where we witnessed the camp’s last day in Wet Hot American Summer (2001) was a critical and commercial flop, continuing on to become a cult comedy classic. Mocking the American Pies, Road Trips, and Dude, Where’s My Cars college-film craze of the late 90s and early 2000s, WHAS was a wacky, unabashed parody of the state of teen cinema, relying on being clever rather than crass.

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 I enjoyed WHAS, but a prequel certainly didn’t occur to me as something I desperately wanted. Although wildly entertaining, witnessing one day at Camp Firewood was quite enough – or so I thought.

Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is eight episodes long, covering a total of one day at camp – at 30 minutes each, that’s easily a committed evenings viewing. Focusing on the back stories of each of the characters, a whole new level is added to the movie – delightful easter eggs for fans of the original. Where did the talking vegetables come from? What’s happened to Gail? What is Lindsay’s deal? Why is scientist Henry Newman hanging about the camp? How did Gene become, well, Gene? These were questions I didn’t even realise I wanted answers to until I began lapping up Netflix’s latest offering. Add into that a mysterious cabin, a Government conspiracy, and Ronald Reagan, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for laughter.

Genuinely funny, First Day of Camp had me laughing the whole way through. The entire cast was triumphant: every wonderfully executed line from Rudd and Cera had me cackling; Cooper and Poehler’s awkward relationship had me gleefully cringing; even the new-comers to the season fit in perfectly, with Chris Pine being the biggest surprise. And there really is nothing funnier than seeing a group of 40-year-olds play a bunch of hormone driven teens, particularly when the cast themselves are aware of the joke.

For fans of the movie, or newcomers to the show, the weirdly wonderful and witty group at Camp Firewood will have you chuckling from beginning to end. Heartwarming and hilarious, Netflix have taken a classic and kept the fire burning

Scream: The TV Series

Potentially the most notorious slasher film of the 1990s, Scream is a soaring success. Ridiculous enough to keep you chuckling, but also tense enough to make you check each room twice before bed, it rightfully tops thriller/horror/home-invasion movie charts to this day. It wouldn’t be Halloween if you didn’t spot at least five ghostface masks skulking through the streets. And with the sequels continuing to gross relatively well, it’s unsurprising MTV have cashed in on making a TV series of the franchise.

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Building upon Scream 4’s success in hauling the franchise into the modern world, the series setting works quite well. Jumping straight into our self-obsessed culture centred round social media, where documenting and sharing our every move has become our most important concern – in Scream, it really is life or death. A commentary on our self-absorbed, increasingly fake society, the show tries to show you who your real friends are, weeding out the poison from a cluttered contacts list in a brutal game of unfriending.

Dragging the slasher genre out over ten episodes works well for the first couple of 40-minute shows. Then it becomes drastically over-indulgent – so meta that Community probably has a hard time keeping up. The time granted for a ten-part series also allows more time for classic horror stupidity and serious plot-holes to form. My list from just five episodes stands (Warning: Spoilers):

-Why is there no one in the police station at night when there’s a murderer at large?

– Why is it that Riley’s piercing screams, desperate yelling, and continuous knocking was too quiet for a man in a silent building to hear, but her cell phone ringing once was loud enough to hear through the roof of a building, busy with police officers?

– Why would you skulk around a dark, creepy area with a hood up, when there’s a masked HOODED killer on the loose?

– Why would you walk into – and proceed to meddle with – a potential crime scene?

– Why wouldn’t you just grab the laptop and run?

– Why would you talk loudly about keeping secrets from someone in a coffee shop where said person works – and not look around to see if they were nearby first?

– How dumb do you have to be to spill any gossip you have to the nosey podcast reporter?

– Did they hire any actors, or just planks of wood?

The characterisation began to bother me after a couple of episodes. The only likeable ones are the nerds and the bitch – probably because she’s just as fed up as the audience. The others are collateral damage. The lead is lazy. By playing the ‘I don’t care’ stone-cold card, I consequently couldn’t care that some deranged psychopath is stalking her every move, trying to out her family’s secret. Surely if a weirdo had your number and was tormenting you, you’d be a little shaken up? A solid female lead is also allowed to have a soul.

The characters are so turbulent, it’s like flying through a hurricane and landing in a tsunami. Our lead, Ems, continually jumps between taking things into her own hands and letting the police deal with it – then proceeds to criticise the police for doing terrible work when they do. And Will jumps on and off the mayor-conning bandwagon so often he could probably compete in professional athletics. When I start groaning at a TV series I go into knowing it’ll be cheesy – warning bells start ringing. Perhaps this itself is a commentary on our generation’s fleeting attention span, where we can no longer commit to anything for a long period of time? Or perhaps I’m hoping for something more than moody teens to keep the plot rolling.

Do we need a Scream TV reboot? No. The films are ample fun on their own – successfully doing everything the show has in just under two hours a piece. Do we want a Scream TV reboot? I, for one, could live without it. But considering it’s been signed for a second season already, it looks like a lot of others do! And I get it – thrillers are compelling. I know I’ll stick out the remaining five episodes. Not because I care about the characters, or am rooting for the lead to survive. But because I like the mystery: the whodunit.

So, do reboots work as television shows?

Yes and no. Wet Hot American Summer is a roaring success, adding to the original source material. Its short format means it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, but instead leaves you longing for Second Day of Camp. Scream, however, is an unnecessary piece of fun. It’s unoriginal, formulaic, and too self-aware. It would be much simpler to watch the original movies over and over again – but I guess there’s nothing like the thrill of the chase!

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My Week in Comics: Easter Catch-Up

Welcome back to Face It, Tiger. After a refreshing Easter break, there’s plenty to catch up on, so let’s dive right in!

#Duckface

You know what, I’m loving Howard the Duck. Okay, so we’re only two issues in. But the first one was a blast, and the second follows suit. We catch up with Howard immediately where issue 1 left off – with Howard, lost, in space! We’re on an all-animal team-up here as Howard joins forces with Rocket Raccoon (not a werewolf!) to steal, then escape, from the collector’s lair.

It makes sense to team Howard up with the Guardians – given his brief appearance in the Guardians movie – and he fits right in! A bonding moment between the duck and the raccoon gives a touching insight into working through the anger, frustration, and isolation of being considered a freak, or an outsider. Howard might be the only walking talking duck waddling around the streets of NYC, but his experiences of feeling out-of-touch and wanting a normal life sure aren’t unique!

Howard the Duck may not be an overly groundbreaking comic book series, but the joy of reading it makes it a worthwhile addition to your pull-list.

Wall Crawlers

There’s not a lot I haven’t said about the spider-women of marvel by now, but I’m still sticking with them – and that says something.

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We’re three issues in to Spider-Gwen, and it’s going from strength to strength. Sure, she’s still not defeated the Vulture (of all villains…), but it’s a compelling read, and a fantastic portrayal of women being heroes without it being punch-you-in-the-face preachy that “wow! Women can kick-butt too!”

I love the personal drama that we see alongside the Vulture-punching! We have a young girl growing up, in those awkward teenage years where you still need to listen to your parents, but you want to start making your own life choices. Gwen understands that her Dad’s right in worrying about her, but ultimately decides that now is the time to begin making those choices for herself. I believe the saying goes, “with great power, comes great responsibility” – or something like that!

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Jessica Drew took her new costume out for another round in Spider-Woman #6 as well! We’re following on directly from last issue, where J.Drew’s combining her spider powers with super-sleuth skills, clearly working towards something much bigger. It feels almost like a slick spy comic, rather than a supers book this issue – crazy costumes aside! And it’s clear, from all the encounters in this issue, that we’re building up to a bigger end-game. Let’s hope it’s worth playing along.

Who is Thor?

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We’re getting so close to finding out who our Mjolnir-wielding woman is in Thor!  A few suspects have been struck off the list in Thor #6, and the frustration felt by the original God of Thunder as to who now holds his hammer is paralleled in the reader the whole way through this issue! The urge to flip to the back of the book was overwhelming, and we’re still none the wiser! It’s a tantalising ride, but not one that’s frustrating or boring. If there’s one thing Jason Aaron does well, it’s write Thor stories, so I have total faith the answer will be amazing. I’m in hope that it’s an unknown – someone totally new. The idea that anybody could be worthy of the power of a Norse God is an exciting idea, and keeps that spark of hope that anyone can be a hero alive.

The Walking Dead #140

Gregory is an idiot. The Whisperer camp is amazing, if slightly insane. And Negan is out?!

Wytches

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I am loving Scott Snyder’s Wytches (from Image comics). It’s compelling, it’s scary, it’s original, it’s beautifully written, and stunning to look at. It’s ticking all the horror-comic boxes. And horror comics are a difficult thing to get right. Jock’s art style is absolutely wonderful, and, combined with Matt Hollingsworth’s colours, adds so much to the book. The patchy, blotted colours and blurred art mimics the notion of memory – how things are never totally clear or remembered exactly as it was. It also creates that blur between reality and imaginary. We’re not quite sure if what’s going on is real, and that distorted view is mirrored in every page. Portraying a grotesque sense of truth, Wytches has been a great series so far, and one I’d urge you to pick up. It concludes next issue in the grand finale, so catch up while you can!

Ms Marvel: Generation Why

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G.Willow Wilson’s incredibly popular run on Ms Marvel (aka Kamala Khan) continues in this second trade paperback collection! Having accepted her newfound heroism and crazy powers by the end of the first collection, we see Kamala becoming more involved in the superhero world in Generation Why. Although she’s determined, she’s not afraid to ask for help, or accept it when it’s thrust upon her. We see her being guided by Wolverine and Medusa, and even adopt mutant dog, Lockjaw. She’s brilliantly straddling the line between being a hero for the citizens of NJ and looking up to those she’s idolised for so long. It’s totally how I would be if I gained superpowers and found myself battling mutant crocodiles in a sewer with Wolverine! Pause for a selfie!

What I really really love about Ms Marvel – and why I think it’s so important – is just how much fun it is while portraying the idea that anyone, yes anyone, can be a hero. Sure, it helps if you have super limbs that can shrink and embiggen, and healing powers. But it’s the choice. Not to lay down and let life pass you by, but to take the skills you’ve learned, and grown with, or been given, and use them. Work together towards the greater good instead of laying down and giving up.

If you’ve not been reading Ms Marvel, now’s the perfect time to catch up – with two trades, and the third on the way in a few months time, you can be up to speed and in the know about the most popular new superlady in no time!

Captain Marvel: Stay Fly

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No one writes women quite like Kelly Sue Deconnick. And the second TPB of her most recent Captain Marvel run proves just that. Carol Danvers is a no-nonsense super lady. She’s amazing and she knows it. Not in an arrogant Tony Stark kind of way, but in that subtle self-confidence that allows her to save the world time and time again!

Space! Cats! Santa! It’s all in this second collection, which continues pulling on the thread that began to unravel in Higher, Further, Faster, More. There’s also tonnes of guest appearances! Captain Marvel will have her very own Wonder Women feature soon – so stay tuned for a more in depth analysis!

Daredevil

It’s finally here! On Thursday night, Netflix and Marvel launched their Daredevil series. 13 episodes, all online at once. Yes, I’ve watched them – a full review will be up in a few weeks (to give those of you who have a life plenty of time to catch up!). Summed up for those of you unsure whether or not to delve into Hell’s Kitchen: slick, stylish, brutal, and gritty – a perfect crime drama.

MCU Spider-Man: Confirmed!

It’s official! Spider-Man’s going to be, well, Spider-Man in his return to the MCU. Kevin Feige has confirmed that the big screen adaptation of the wall-crawler will still be Peter Parker, not Miles Morales as many speculated. Feige believes there’s still a lot of ground that hasn’t yet been covered in Parker’s high school years, so we can expect a 15-16 year old hero to continue the role! I guess that means no more Andrew Garfield, but it’ll be interesting to see who they cast in the role!

Wonder Woman Movie: Tagline – DC finally catches up!

Wonder Woman’s solo movie will reportedly begin shooting this autumn – and she’ll apparently have SIX different costumes! Not one, not two (in case one gets a bit muddy in battle), but SIX! Why? To confront petty female superhero costume complaints? To encourage jokes about women needing more than one outfit to do anything, including fight crime? Let’s hope it’s because she realises a tube top and hot pants aren’t overly practical in saving the universe. DC, we’ll be watching…

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My Week in Comics: Not Many Comics Were Read…

Admittedly, I’m a little behind on reading this week. Luckily, comics now cross all levels of media, and boy was there a ton of film & TV based news this week!

Jem and the Holograms #1

This week saw the return of 1980’s animated TV show pop-princess, Jerrica Benton, and her friends – better known as Jem and the Holograms. That’s right – ahead of the 2015 live-action movie release, IDW have unleashed the female four-piece on the comics world. As a youngster, Jem and the Holograms missed my radar completely – mainly because the final episode aired three years before I was born. And as far as I’m aware, it was the Hannah Montana of the 80s. But still, cartoons like Transformers and GI Joe have had huge commercial success in their silver-screen reboots, so it’s interesting to see where Jem will go. Plus, 80s teen-movie legend Molly Ringwald has recently joined the live-action cast. You have my attention.

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As for the comic, I kinda liked it. Knowing very little about the original story, I entered in relatively blind. What immediately struck me was the wild colour spectrum. But once you looked beyond the overload of cyan and magenta, the art is really something. This is a comic written and drawn by women, about women, primarily for women (although comics are always for everybody). Consequently, the girls actually look like real girls – they’re not super stick thin, but have body shape; they have good fashion; they have a good sense of self. But they also have insecurities – particularly Jerrica. And that’s exactly what this first issue is about. We see the band worry that they might be falling apart because of Jerrica’s stage fright – she knows she’s good in a room by herself, but put her in front of one or two strangers, and she’s helpless – never mind a packed concert hall!

I felt that writer, Kelly Thompson, established the characters very well for a first issue. Although Kimber was probably overly-pushy at the beginning, she recognised her fault and felt guilty. And the inner-conflict Jerrica was experiencing felt genuine. Some aspects of the plot felt a little forced, getting as much background information out there as quickly as possible before Synergy shows up and the main action can get started, but it didn’t detract from the overall story. Jem and the Holograms #1 was fun, and I enjoyed it.

My favourite aspect, however, was Kelly Thompson’s letter to the readers at the end – what she hoped to achieve with this new Jem series – and admittedly, this is what has held my interest and persuaded pick up #2 when it’s released. Thompson writes that she wanted the four protagonists to represent “the epitome of the modern woman. Smart, capable, ambitious, and fascinating fashion-forward career women.” And that’s exactly what these characters thus far appear to be. Thompson stresses that although Jem’s origins are in the 80s, it’s essential that she fits into the modern era: “Nostalgia is wonderful, but can hold us back.” I believe this statement to be very true; particularly in regards to women in comics – as I’m sure you’ve picked up from my previous posts by now! The industry is straddling a fine line between being out-of-date, and old, and boring, and uninclusive (I mean, just look at last week’s Larsengate nonsense.); and pushing forward to being one of the most progressive, diverse and interesting mediums available. Comics can do anything – the pages may be restricted by panels, but that’s it. Anything is possible in comics, so why stick to the same old routine? Let’s hope Thompson can use Jem to help pave the way forward.

The Walking Dead 139

Sun, sea, sand, and pirate Michonne…?

The Walking Dead

Speaking of The Walking Dead, the companion series to the hit TV show was announced this week. Are you ready for this stunningly creative title? FEAR THE WALKING DEAD.

Ummm, slightly anti-climactic. But still, it will be interesting to see what direction the show takes. It’s already been signed for two seasons, the first of which will air this summer before season six of the main series returns. Following different characters in the same universe, I am intrigued, particularly as there are no boundaries placed by existing comic arcs. However, I also feel it’s unnecessary. I love the Walking Dead. I think it’s the greatest show on air right now, so why do we need another? We don’t, and to be honest, I don’t really want it. It’s bad enough stressing about all the characters I love in one show – never mind two! While the tone works so well for TWD, it’s what sets it apart from a lot of other things on TV. I worry it will be a replica of what we already have.

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It’s also the Finale of Season Five of The Walking Dead tonight – and my blood pressure could not be higher! We know blood will be spilled, and not all of it walker blood (thanks to Gale Anne Hurd’s cryptic clues on The Talking Dead last week). Norman Reedus (aka. Daryl Dixon) has repeatedly said that tissues will be needed for this episode. And little hints and sneak peeks have only revealed the worst. My main concern is the arrival of Negan. The Walking Dead loves some foreshadowing, and Glenn has been around A LOT of baseball bats this season. Those of you who have read the comics will know why that is unsettling, and compared with this photo Reedus shared on Instagram earlier today [], my nerves are close to breaking point! I only know one character in TWD universe who has dark hair and a wears a leather jacket…

Issue 100 still haunts me. I still get so upset whenever I think about it. It’s perhaps the most shocking and devastating moment I’ve ever read in comics. I recall the moment I first turned the page, onto that scene. I had to just sit, staring blankly, for at least half an hour before I could continue reading. Let’s hope these hints have just been used to tease the comic readers and increase season finale anticipation. But it’s okay to take a sick day from work if your favourite character dies, right..?

One Month Countdown

We’re officially one month away from the beginning of the series of Marvel Netflix shows! And things kick off with Daredevil. Yes, that’s right, we can finally wash the Ben Affleck travesty from our minds and sit down with a whole new take on the character. Having only seen the trailer (to try and avoid any potential spoilers as far as possible), I have to say, it looks promising – with a gritty, noir feel. For those of you who haven’t seen the trailer yet, here it is:

The Merc with a Mouth

Ryan Reynolds has shared his first photo as Deadpool. And the internet nearly exploded.

“With great power comes great irresponsibility”, read Reynolds tweet. I honestly can’t think of a better Deadpool. Poor Reynolds has had a few swings-and-misses in his acting past (looking at you, Green Lantern) – but I really like him as an actor. I think Deadpool could be the perfect project for him, and I’m so excited to see what comes next!

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