Quick Pickle

Johnny Dangerously – Michael Keaton With An Adverb!

Johnny_Dangerously_movie_poster

 

Oscar season is upon us and it is a fantastic time to be a film fan. The other day I was sat with some friends discussing the nominated actors/pictures etc. when I brought up a little known gem tied to Michael Keaton. People sat, confused faces twisting when I mentioned it. Johnny Dangerously, the 1984 gangster parody film that almost kick started Michael Keaton’s career as a film actor. When I found out that no one I knew had seemed to even hear of this film my heart sank, It’s sad that when people think of Keaton they only think of Beatlejuice and Batman (And now Birdman) but never bring up this little beauty. So here I am giving it a little bit of attention and affection.

Johnny Dangerously Is a tale about a young immigrant trying to make money for his family and ends up joining a local gang. However this film is so much more than just a simple tale of rags to riches, the comedy in this film is not only incredibly funny but timed and executed perfectly by the like of Michael Keaton. It’s use of breaking the fourth wall is reminiscent of films like Blazing Saddles or Airplane. The characters are memorable and there are some rather good performances from the likes of Danny Devito, who makes a small appearance. With jokes ranging from sight gags, to slap stick to satire this film epitomises what parodying really is, and shows us just how dead it has become.

Filled with quotes and one liners, especially from Johnny’s rival Danny Vermin, this film will have you beside yourself laughing. Even over 30 years since its release the comedy and jokes are still easily accessible and funny due to the nature of the film. Honestly I can’t really say enough about this film without spoiling it but all I would say is that you haven’t seen it then go out and grab yourself a copy. It’s sad that such a funny and well put together film doesn’t ever seem to get the credit it deserves and with Keaton getting nominated for an Oscar it couldn’t be a better time to see where he started his career.

 

-Grand Pickle

88. Magnum, "It shoots through schools."

88. Magnum, “It shoots through schools.”

 

Danger Mouse Reboot: “OH CRUMBS DM!”

Does he have to be?

Does he have to be?

Although not born in the time of airing of Danger Mouse I was exposed to it as a child and have always had a strange fascination and love for the characters and series as a whole. Now I’ve never been one to get too sentimental when companies reboot old franchises, I have learned to accept that no one involved with the handling of media can ever have a new idea (I’m pretty sure it’s a prerequisite for the job) and that by “rebooting” old shows and cashing in on people’s nostalgia they feel better about their own existence and convince themselves that they aren’t heartless bastards shredding every last inch of other peoples childhood memories. Okay I lied maybe it does bother me a bit. What’s worse is when they pretend that they’re doing it for “the kids”. “Oh we just think that since we enjoyed this so much as children it would be unfair not to let this generation experience it too.” If you really cared that fucking much then maybe you’d put some goddamn effort in for once and, Oh I don’t know, come up with an original show for them! Also if that is why companies reboot things then why not just show re-runs of the original show? Oh because it seem dated and “kids” might not be able to relate to it, well gosh how rude of the original not to keep up with modern fads, I mean it’s not like it was written for a completely different generation of people or something. Sorry I need to take a minute.

You can guess my shock and horror when I then found out that Danger Mouse, yes the 80’s cartoon series was getting a reboot. My heart sank faster than the Costa Concordia. I started to look a little bit into the plans they had and yes some of the voice actors do look promising and I am happy that they are attempting to diversify the cast with more female characters but a turd covered in glitter still stinks of shit, it just shines a little better under a lamp. Even the news the Stephan Fry was to join the cast couldn’t make me any happier about the project. I mean let’s be honest Danger Mouse isn’t exactly a unique concept, A mouse that’s a spy and goes on adventures, They could have just easily come up with new characters and scenarios based on a similar ideas but then they may have actually had to done some work or you know maybe hired a writer and they aren’t about to let that happen! Also name me one child out there that is excited for this to be a thing? Were there petitions and riots because children just couldn’t take not having a modern Danger Mouse? No! Because none of the little fuckers even know who he is and probably don’t give a shit either. It would be like your mother pulling out an old dusty suit that your grandfather used to wear before he died, brushing it off and making you wear it for the sole reason because your grandad liked to wear it, Yeah grandad also liked to live in houses with lead based paint and asbestos in the ceiling but I don’t see you bringing back either of those any time soon!

I guess it just saddens me that the only gem in the crown of British cartoons has now been cut down and flogged for spare change.

 

-Grand Pickle

 

What show(s) do you hope they never make a reboot/remake for? Or on the flipside are there any shows that you really wish they would make more of? Let me know in the comments and be sure to subscribe for more articles.

If they change any catchphrases I am going to choke a bitch.

If they change any catchphrases I am going to choke a bitch.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder (or at least more accepting of abandonment)

Picklepants cuppa1Hello there! I know I bet you never thought you’d have another update from little old us! All the apologies in the world would not suffice for such a long absence but know that I am truly sorry that you have had such a drought of our amazingly witty, insightful and entertaining writing.

What’s that?

You didn’t even notice?

Wow.

I mean I appreciate the honesty but still.

Well fuck it! I can’t stay mad at you. I will work harder than ever so that things like this never happen again. Mark it in your calendars! 2015 is now THE YEAR OF THE PICKLE! (Don’t worry that’s just a working title.) Aaaaaanyway, this site may start to seem a bit different but please never fret we will still aim to bring you great reviews and discussions but now just in a more accessible way. You may even see more rants here and there. And I don’t mean little shy annoyances but fully fledged rampages!

So without further ado I welcome you to PicklePants. Come in, leave your shoes by the door and I’ll pop the kettle on.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – My thoughts.

Hello there! I wholeheartedly apologise for such a lack of content recently and I’m not going to bore you with excuses but I will say that this isn’t so much of a review rather than my thoughts and experiences with the game so let’s just get on with it.

sid-meier-civ-beyond-earth-0

If you own a computer or are in to strategy games and haven’t heard of the behemoth that is Sid Meier then where the fuck have you been? The strategy game giants have graced us with another instalment to their Civilization series this time however there is a twist. It’s set in the future! Instead of doing the usual business of building a famous empire from the ground up over thousands of years this time we take on the job of setting up a colony on a distant planet. Each Civ is funded by a sponsor so instead of having separate countries you have different corporations. Now for the interests of impartiality I will admit that I am quite the Civilization fan but for the sack of this article I have put aside my preconceptions and tried to play this game with an open mind.

First off I am going to address an issue that I have seen a lot of people have with this game and that is that there is a lack of personality from the A.I. leaders. I don’t really think this is as big a deal as what some are making it out to be. Yes their aren’t as many leaders(as of yet) as there have been in previous games so most playthroughs are similar but you can clearly see patterns in behaviour and individual characteristics of each one. I think the major difference in this game is that none of the names are recognisable as in previous Civ games so we have no previous ideas of what that person is like. I do agree that the level of personality isn’t as high as in previous games but it is undeniably still there. I found myself many times getting angry with how certain factions were acting and even being very spiteful in different playthroughs because of how a leader acted in a different game. Anyway rant over.

The game plays a lot like any other Civ game so if you aren’t a fan of the previous ones then this probably won’t float your boat however if you are a fan of the earlier games or the genre in general then this will be a happy edition to your collection. For most part the game is almost identical to Civ V as they run on the same engine however it is the new setting and tweaks that they have made that make the game feel drastically different. The most notable change is the tech web, previously being a tech tree, allowing for much greater variation in advancements and giving science an even greater level of strategy as it makes each technology you research that little bit more significant. It also separates the different countries/corporations quite drastically as there are now hundreds of different orders to unlocking things like buildings and new units. The next most significant feature is probably the Affinity system. By acting in certain ways or researching certain things you gain affinity points and increasing your chosen affinity will lead to stronger units, new perks and also affect how other Civs react to you. This is a welcome addition however can prove a bit distracting as sometimes you focus on growing your affinity rather than your own Civilization.

There are so many choices to make in this game that it borderlines on the ridiculous. One of the reasons there aren’t that many starting leaders(in this game they are called sponsors) is because after picking which one you want to be there are then three more choices for you to customize your Civ with such as starting bonuses etc. This can be really fun as it really feels like your Civ is your own however as all the A.I. also customize themselves can make it difficult to work out how the opponents will play. The game also runs a quest system helping you to feel like there is a progression to what you are doing and with certain quests you are given a decision to make which will change what certain buildings output or give different buffs again further customizing your Civ.

Level design is a bit lacklustre as most places feel very similar however knowing Firaxis, the company behind the game, they will be releasing a bunch of dlc maps as they normally do. This is cushioned as from day one this game came with steam workshop support so modders have already been hard at work making the game have even more content.

Civilization: Beyond Earth is another good instalment in the franchise and is well worth a play if you are a fan. There are a few things that I think don’t make this a less fun game but do impact replayabillity and so I doubt it will eat up as many hours as say Civ V will/has/is but given the history of these games once a few large expansions have been released I would not be surprised if this game could eat away around 60hours+. Let me know what you guys think and what things you would like to be included in the expansions or made as a mod, thanks for reading!

Civilization: Beyond Earth is out now for PC.

 

-Joe

‘Light Me Up’ album – a review

The_Pretty_Reckless_-_Light_Me_UpQuickpickle time!

Now, when I say ‘The Pretty Reckless’, I know most of you will automatically think of their hit song ‘Make Me Wanna Die’, which was released in May of 2010 and soared to the top of the charts. It was even used in the movie Kick-Ass, and the band were known far and wide thanks to this song. But, this isn’t the only great song to have come from this band, and I think people ought to know this. I actually stumbled across some of their other work by accident one night a few months ago, when I was perusing the internet and looking for some new music. A song popped up that I’d never heard, and recognising the band, I decided to give it a listen, and boy, am I glad that I did that! The song, which has the same name as the album, immediately got stuck in my head and I couldn’t stop listening to it. This then prompted me to listen to the rest of the album, which I devoured in one non-stop session of grungy guitar riffs and beautifully angsty lyrics.

Some of the songs are brilliant right off the bat – Just Tonight is particularly poignant, with a stunning instrumental performance by the band accompanying Taylor Momsen’s raw vocals. But there are some more toned-down songs which definitely should not be overlooked; ‘You’ is a personal favourite of mine, harnessing the loveliness of soothing acoustic guitar with Momsen’s gritty yet melodic voice.

Taylor Momsen, lead singer and rhythm guitarist

Taylor Momsen, lead singer and rhythm guitarist

The band itself also deserves some accolade – the instruments are all played and harnessed in such a fantastic way, so that each song has its own distinctive sound and feel to it. All in all, this album certainly needs more recognition than it has received over the years; it is a throwback to those angst-ridden teen years we all remember, and yet it still retains a feeling of relatability and credibility even now.

5/5 – A must-listen for anyone who wants something new to expand their musical horizons.

~Steph.

Quickpickle – Kick-Ass: The Score – a review

kick assEver since I watched Kick-Ass for the first time last year, it has stayed right at the top of my favourite movies list, definitely ranking in the top five. I enjoyed it so much and re-watched it so many times, and then I found out that there was an OST (official soundtrack) that had been featured in the movie and was available for purchase – it’s safe to say that I was a little ecstatic about this new information. So I raced off and bought it immediately, and it definitely did not disappoint.

From the moment you press Play on the first track, you are immediately transported to another world. With the first track featuring the epic line, “Is it a bird? Is it a plane?” as the score begins, it sets your heart racing while building to a crescendo, until the music bursts through. As the songs progress, you can feel the tone of the movie changing – from epic battle scenes to devastating scenes of death and destruction, each track evokes different emotions within the listener, and it almost feels as though I’m watching the movie all over again, for as I listen to this album, all I have to do is close my eyes and I can see the film playing out in my mind.

Composed by John Murphy, with killer tracks featuring The Prodigy, Henry Jackman, and Marius De Vries, this album is definitely one heck of a production. Seriously, just give it a listen sometime – you may not think much of it now, but after hearing it, I reckon you’ll all feel like superheroes ready to defeat the villain.

5/5 – One of the greatest musical scores I’ve ever come across.

~Steph.

Carson – a review

a3353601358_2Here’s a little quickpickle for you guys this week – and it’s another delve into the world of music! So recently my sister got a job, and one of her colleagues told her about his band, Carson. Intrigued by his description, she and I looked them up a few nights ago, and it’s safe to say that we were more than a little impressed. An up-and-coming British band, Carson have just released their EP, titled ‘Take Your Time’, and it’s a cracker. Armed with killer hooks, riveting choruses, and melodic vocals paired with raw emotion, this mini-album is not to be overlooked. The songs individually are all brilliant, with lyrics that are beautifully written and catchy as heck – and with sound similar to the likes of You Me At Six and Young Guns, their pop-rock vibe is infectious and it is impossible not to headbang along to it once you’ve pressed Play.

The album begins with Memories – it is composed brilliantly in terms of the instruments being used, and while it is lyrically quite simple, it remains catchy and enjoyable. The next song, Stuck In My Ways, has a wonderful 90’s feel to it, with the mellow start building up to a chorus worth belting out, which will be resonating around in your brain for days to come. Song number three, What She Said, is a definite crowd-pleaser, with a thumping beat and the almost-growls of the vocals making it a stellar track. And, last but definitely not least, is Changes – a great album closer, with a slightly lighter feel compared to the other songs, but this certainly does not take away from its excellence.

Overall, this album is a joy to experience, with each song adding to the foundations of a great band in the making. I’m expecting to see these guys grace a big stage sometime very soon, and I really hope they eventually get the widespread recognition that they deserve.

5/5 – All in all, it is one of the best EPs I’ve heard in a very long time, and I highly recommend that you all search Carson on Facebook and download it [it’s free!].

~Steph.

Quickpickle: The Hunger Games score – a review

[Sorry for the lack of review last week – I’ve been ridiculously busy lately, but I managed to write up this short one amongst all the madness. Also, I’m uploading this week’s instalment a couple of days early because I’m out all day on Thursday and there’s no way I’d be able to upload it then, so here it is, in advance!]

So, when most people hear the words ‘The Hunger Games’, they think action-packed movies, star-crossed lovers, wars between the rich and the poor, etc. But what a lot of fans seem to neglect is the music that accompanies the movie versions of the popular dystopian teen novels. Composed by James Newton Howard, the scores that accompany all of the poignant scenes and moments are not to be ignored – with delicate interludes, rising swells, and heart-stopping crescendos, the soundtracks for both The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire are both albums worthy of merit.

Something I’ve found is that these albums are fantastic no matter what mood the listener is in – if you’re feeling a little down, then the melancholic tones of Rue’s Farewell will really resonate within you, however, the gleeful melody of the Daffodil Waltz will perk you right up afterwards. And some of the tracks in particular [for example, Horn Of Plenty] are just plain beautiful – I dare you to listen to this song without getting chills all over.

Even if you aren’t a massive fan of classic composures or movie scores, I really recommend this selection of music; it’s perfect for having on in the background while you’re getting work done, or while relaxing in the bath, or just while you’re travelling in the car. I just think this is a stellar score for a movie, and the films would definitely lack that special spark if this collection of music was absent.

5/5 – Powerful, moving, and beautifully arranged.

~Steph.

Two Faces of January QUICKPICKLE

Oscar_Isaac_Viggo_Mortensen-Two-Faces-of-January-618x400

 

“A very stylish, very well played and enjoyable film, but not a lot in the way of depth.”

 

Two faces of January is Hossein Amini’s directional debut, which can be said to take a lot of inspiration from the Iconic “The Talented Mr. Ripley. “ This profoundly suave and handsome film is a more of a drama than a thriller. It focuses on a husband and wife who, after becoming embroiled in the murder of a private detective, make a fragile alliance with a local scamming tour guide, in a gambit to flee.

 

The film focuses on an affluent, elegant couple named Colette (Kirsten Dunst) and Chester (Viggo Mortensen) MacFarland. After spending the day holidaying in Athens, they retire back to the hotel for the evening only to be approached by a private Investigator. He claims to represent some clients of which invested some money with Chester and demands that the money be returned. After a brief altercation, in which Chester was held at gunpoint, he accidentally kills the PI. This sets in motion a dilemma, in which the couple enlist the help of a local tour guide and scam artist to escape Greece and return to America.

 

The style and setting of the film is done with great poise and sophistication, being a medley of suits, dresses, scotch, cigarettes and iconic landscapes filling the screen. The film does a great job in portraying the early 1940s and 50s very well.

 

Such style is accompanied too by solid acting performances throughout. Mortensen gives a stellar performance of a ruthless, calculating money swindler alongside his convincingly played innocent wife by Dunst. The Tour guide (Oscar Isaac) gives perhaps the most intriguing performance of them all, leaving you unsure as to why he is helping the MacFarland’s escape justice. Is it for financial gain? Is it out of fear? Or is it because he loves Colette?

 

Strangely enough however these solid performances are both the films best friend and worst enemy. Whist they give a convincing portrayal of each character, you can help but notice that the film really doesn’t delve deep into each of the characters enough. Little more than castaway lines are used to make what felt like a slap-dash approach to each of the characters pasts. As an audience, you never really feel like you’re allowed to delve deep into the mind of each of the protagonists, and thus cease to feel as part of the action.

 

Verdict

 

A very stylish, very well played and enjoyable film, but not a lot in the way of depth. Whilst this is determent to the story somewhat, it is by no means a very good first big budget attempt for newcomer director Hossein Amini.

 

3.5/5

Luke

Throwin’ Out a Quickie

Just a Quickpickle post from me today, sadly, as I’m only halfway through the book I want to review and am currently ass-deep in preparations for London MCM Expo this weekend, which is going to rock!

I’ll be posting next week, though it will be on Tuesday rather than my regular Monday, and it could be about Expo or about this lovely new book I’m buried in. Who knows? (Hint: It’s me. I know.)

For now, here’s the synposis of a great Urban Fantasy book to go get your hands on. It’s funny, clever, heralds both noir and Westerns with a healthy side of Hellions and angels, and is a fantastically gritty and dark opening to the series:

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadry

Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you’re James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles. 

Now Stark’s back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you’d expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future. 

Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse. 

Darkly twisted, irreverent, and completely hilarious, Sandman Slim is the breakthrough novel by an acclaimed author

 

– Meg