comedy

Johnny Dangerously – Michael Keaton With An Adverb!

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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.”

 

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The Book Of Mormon – Bit of a change from Frozen!

Hello everyone! I apologise from the deepest recesses of my being to all of you for not uploading in an absurd amount of time. I’m not going to make excuses because I doubt you care so in the immortal words of the pythons lets “GET ON WITH IT!”.

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Recently I had the displeasure of growing another year older. I’m sure you’ve all been there. And like most years I received presents. This year though I got a present that was indeed rather special, you see for those of you who don’t know I am a massive South Park fan. Actually probably more like a massive Matt Stone and Trey Parker fan and ever since I heard about their spectacular new musical titled “The Book Of Mormon” I have been wanting to see it more than anything else. The dilemma I faced though was at first it was only in America and then once it moved to the U.K. It was a bit out my price range, mainly because it is only shown in a single theatre in London. Now for some reason the greater powers have seen fit to bestow me with an incredibly generous girlfriend that knew this. So yeah, if you haven’t guessed it yet, we went to see The Book Of Mormon. I mean seriously if you had trouble seeing that one coming you should probably get help. We’re worried for you.

Now just to say that I was going into this thing with high expectations would be an understatement. I purposely distanced myself from anything that might give the game away or tell me just that little bit too much about what happens in the show so that when I got to finally see it I would have no anticipation of what was to come and could really experience it all for the first time. One thing that really took me by surprise though was the level of showmanship and presentation. It’s well known that Trey and Matt are perfectionists and are always totally hands on with their work but I honestly didn’t think that would be so clear on the stage. And talking of the stage boy do they use it! This isn’t the type of show that would translate to the screen or really any other art form for that matter and that just is a testament to the care that went into crafting it. I mean why make a stage show if you’re not going to the use the stage to its full advantage?

The music and songs are catchy and cleaver and like with most of their humour sometimes outrageous. They have this skill of taking something really witty and blending it with the most childish things to really help deliver the jokes. It’s very pythonesque in that respect. The songs themselves are expertly written by Trey and Robert “Bobby” Lopez, The writer and director of the other comedy musical Avenue Q and who more recently had critical acclaim when him and his wife wrote the music for Disney’s very own Frozen. Yep that’s right, Frozen. What’s more is that they manage to catch you off guard with a lot of the show and I don’t just mean the humour. The characters are all really well portrayed and excellently crafted and you genuinely feel an emotional attachment to them.  There is a level of emotion that you really don’t expect when going into the show. Everyone feels believable and real which then in turn makes the funnier parts even more so. Anyone here that has seen the South Park Movie though will already be aware of the skill with song lyrics and music of Trey and Matt but are thinking what about dance numbers? Well have no fear, some of the dance numbers in this show are some of the best I have seen and again they work the dancing into the joke or scene. Every movement is done for a reason, which it is evident, and like with the use of the stage they use the dancing to great effect.

In terms of Story I will give you a brief synopsis as I really don’t want to give anything away. It’s about two Mormon teenagers that get sent to Uganda for their Mission. Chaos ensues. The main characters Elder Price and Elder Cunningham are phenomenal. A.J. Holmes really shone as Elder Cunningham and was quite honestly a revelation and I am shocked that I had never heard of him before this musical. Just to clarify as well that I am of course referring to the British version of the cast  as that is the one that I watched. All of the actors in the show were very good at personifying their respective characters but one other that really stood out was the character of Elder McKinley played expertly by Stephen Ashfield. Again Stephen just brought a certain presence to the character whenever he was on stage and although wasn’t in the show a massive amount still managed to make his parts really memorable.

If you are a fan of comedy, musicals or even just Mormons then this is the show for you! what’s even better is that because of the theatre that the show resides in I can say to you that there aren’t really any bad seats. You are able to see the entire stage comfortably from wherever you are so don’t worry if you can’t necessarily afford the most expensive seats .

A.J. Holmes as Elder Cunnigham

A.J. Holmes as Elder Cunnigham

Tickets start from £39.75 and are on sale online and from ticket offices, The show is preformed at The Prince Of Wales Theatre in London.

 

10/10 Must watch!

-Joe

 

Broforce: Testosterone Fueled Carnage!

 

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Previously I have spoken about early-access games and one in particular I highlighted was Broforce. Finally I got my hands on the game and after playing for even just a few minutes I was hooked and just had to share my thoughts with other people. This game is some sort of potion of awesome with dashes of humour and charm but with a whole heap of napalm and adrenalin!

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The game itself plays out like your conventional platformer, going from left to right (mostly) and has incredibly tight controls which a game like this so desperately needs so that when you die you have no one to blame but yourself. The action element is where the gameplay shines with each bro playing differently which adds a sense of strategy into the run and gun shoot-em-up, Enemies are varied and progressively change as the campaign (which isn’t complete at the time of this article) moves forward. Boss fights are fun and help give you that feeling of accomplishment at the end of stages as well as force you to really use your experience with all the different bros to beat them as some can only be killed in certain ways.

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I love this art style! I have always been a fan of pixel art and games that do it well just make me melt inside. This game evaporates me. The characters are distinct and easy to recognise which is a feat in itself but coupled with the different environments and enemies it just makes it seem that much more cared for. Oh and speaking of environments, they are fully destructible! At first it seems funny but again its these little details that add depth to the game. It allows you to create your own path through the levels but on the flipside it can also become your downfall if you abuse it too much to the point where there is no floor left to stand on. The stages themselves get harder as the game moves forward so their isn’t some massive jump in difficulty nor is this game a cake-walk it finds a nice balance and if you can’t beat a level it doesn’t dumb it down or take it easy it just sits back and lets you keep repeating till you get it. Same with multiplayer and single player. Playing with friends while much more fun and enjoyable also can make the game easier as each level has the same amount of enemies as if you played single player. Not to say single player isn’t fun, far from it, it’s a great way to get to know the game and really progress and see what the game has to offer. I would say multiplayer = funnier not anymore fun.

Now for the part that makes this game what it is. The bros. The care and detail that has gone into every single sprite and character move set really blows your mind, especially when they are always updating the game with new bros, heck even while preparing this article an update came out adding another two more! Each character feels different and unique and really impact how you play the game. Each character is balanced well almost right off the bat which is excellent for when the game is updated because the new characters just slot right in there with the others you’ve collected. The addition of female bros will be seen by some as funny and as others by pleasing a demographic but I really don’t think that the case. Each bro has been designed specifically from the ground up, they will have been chosen not just for how recognisable a character they are but for their strengths and weaknesses and how they can add something new to the game.

This game is currently on a weekend sale on steam for £7.99 but if you go to humblebundle.com you can get it on sale for £5.99 and help charitable organizations at the same time and even when not on sale is cheaper than on steam normally. I can’t stress enough how much love I have for this game and could go on for hours ranting about it but instead I will just say go and get it and you will understand.

Im not going to give the game a rating as It isn’t actually finished but even if it were even in its current state It would get at least a 7/10. My prediction for when it finally releases will be more like 9/10.

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Thank you for reading!

-Joe

Fading Gigolo- Review

Directed by John Turturro

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“Never has sex for cash been so classy, if somewhat fabricated.”

 

Written, starred and directed by John Turturro, Fading Gigolo tells the story of Fioravante (John Turturro) who decided to take up the oldest known profession in history. Prostitution. Pressured by financial difficulties, Fioravante discovers that this new line of work moonlighting as a man whore appears to be a promising commercial venture. With the help of his life long friend Murray (Woody Allen) acting as his agent/pimp, the duo begin to make decent money. On one end Murray meets lonely woman or bored housewives in need of a quick fix, and arranges the meet for Fioravante who will go to the client’s apartment and flog his wooing wares. Issues arise however when Murray arranges for Fioravante to meet a recently widowed Jewish mother-of -six named Avigal. Her arrival at the newly appointed gigolo’s apartment for a simple massage doesn’t go as smoothly as planned. Matters become more complicated when a local neighbourhood watch officer named Dovi (Liev Schreiber), who has a soft spot for Avigal, becomes involved and set in motion a crosscurrent between love and money.

 

This film is set in New York, and it is apparent that a lot of inspiration has been taken from previous Woody Allen films when taking in the style and cinematography on screen. Whilst Woody Allen had nothing to do with the directing or writing of the film, I wouldn’t be surprised of Turturro sought after his advice on the execution of certain scenes. Everything from the expanded shots of New York accompanied with soft Jazz, and the stylistic filming of the cast conversing in the streets is decidedly Allen inflected. Here, it serves the movie justice and is done very well. It adds an old styled charm to it and gives a joyful reminiscent to classics like “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan Murder Mystery.”

 

Performances throughout were convincing. Turturro’s character as the modest, calm and slightly aloof middle aged hooker, was dovish enough to be likeable and sensitive enough to provide depth. Woody Allen’s character was also done in the typical Allen fashion, mumbling quips and making comical jibes. However, this film is not what I was expecting. This isn’t a side splitting comedy, and if this is what you are after you’ll have to look elsewhere. Yes, the occasional sarcastic quip and funny anecdote are present, but the majority of the film is that of a drama. It deals with the clashes between money and love; it covers loss and loneliness, jealousy, unhappy marriages, and religion. Fading Gigolo startled me in places, as it had some really rather unexpected touching and sad moments, which are not at all, put across in the blasé attitude fuelled trailers you can see on the Internet. These moments I found were when the film was at its best because you really took an interest into the stories behind each of the characters.

 

The films biggest downfall lies with the gigolo aspect to the plot. You will indeed struggle to suspend your disbelief as you witness some of the most gorgeous woman you’ve ever seen, pay up to $2000 to pay to sleep with Fioravante (well played Turturro well played…) At this point you sit back in your seat, as a Colombian temptress in boutique lingerie pays Turturro a wad of cash and leaps on a bed, and think “Yeah right.” This fallacy becomes most apparent during a ménage a trios scene with Sophia Vergara, a woman who could make a man’s genitals explode into a nuclear mushroom cloud by simply walking past him on a street.

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In what world would Sofia have to pay for bedroom antics???

 

 

Verdict

 

By no means a hilarious comedy, but with its charming style and awesome soundtrack, never has sex for cash been so classy, if somewhat fabricated.

 

Luke

 

Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

Damned

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Written by Chuck Palahniuk

 

“Fans of otherworldly demons, Hell and I, Lucifer should definitely have a look at the debauched, dirty world that is Palahniuk’s Damned.”

 

I’ve read some “imaginative” material in my time, but Chuck Palahniuk’s “Damned” is definitely one of those books you have to tell someone about, even if they aren’t into books. This read is definitely unique in its setting, style and downright filth. So much so in fact, that I read it cover to cover in one uninterrupted sitting (excluding the wincing that occurred on page 76.)

 

Damned tells the tale of a 13-year-old whip tongued girl named Madison, who is the daughter to billionaire parents and has an “ample” frame. Whilst her parents leave her behind to gallivant around adopting orphans left right and centre, Madison dies of what she suspects to be a marijuana overdose, and awakens to find herself in hell. Of course you read this and think “Marijuana overdose? Boll*ocks!” I know I did. Not to sound like “a bad ass gangsta” but I have in the past smoked the old Marley Magic in the past. Good stuff too, not that dodgy sort from the inner cities that just makes you feel hungry and leaves you with a due sense of exhaustion and dread. And despite all the hot boxing, hollowed out cider bottles with biro casings sticking out of them, and woman wearing little more than a pair of bunny ears on their heads (it was a chuffing interesting party I assure you,) I never once felt as if the dope was going to make me croak. But before I bound on and rip into what seems to be a major plot hole, I am pleased to say that actually there is more to Madison’s death than meets the eye, and the actual cause of death unfolds as the book transpires.

 

Upon waking up in the sinister domain of hell, Madison finds herself incarcerated in a prison cell with countless others in a mass prison. In the cell next to her she meets the first of her motley crew of young sinners, a vain aloof girl named “Babette” who-even in the fiery pits of hell- talks with Madison about eyeliner. After a quick look around the prison’s other inhabitants, Madison soon meets a nerdy young boy named Leonard who has since had an obsession with the beasts and demons in hell. According to Madison he also has “Dreamy brown eyes.” A punk named Archer who brandishes a big Mohawk, and Patterson who appears to be an American football player.

 

Together the group break out of their cells, and Madison decides that she wants to traverse the infernal landscape of hell in search for Satan. It is here where Palahniuk’s unique style really becomes apparent. When most people think of hell they think of torture, blood, screaming and blazing fire. Chuck however decides to take a different approach. In Palahniuk’s hell, there lies candy on grubby floors, lakes of vomit, mountains made entirely from toenail clipping and (probably the most disgusting of them all) the sea of lost wasted sperm. Archer remarks that since the invention of Internet pornography on mortal Earth, the sea of spunk has been rising at record rates and has become Hell’s very own version of global warming. Along their way in search of the infamous devil, the crews have run-ins with various beasts and dangers. It is here where the book takes an “exotic” turn to say for the least.

 

Fans of otherworldly demons, Hell and I, Lucifer should definitely have a look at the debauched, dirty world that is Palahniuk’s Damned. For in it you witness Madison respond to an attack from a giant female demon, by climbing up her leg and (how do I put this) “pleasure” the demonic being with a living, talking severed head. You also see Madison discover that there are only two methods of employment in Hell. The first is to do live webcam sex shows, and the second is to cold call people on earth and ask them to fill out meaningless surveys, and this is just to start.

 

From the strange happenings in Hell, to the dramas on Earth involving one of Madison’s sinister adopted siblings, the bizarre adventures that occur on Madison’s quest to find the devil are at the very least memorable. It also treats you to a serious twist as the story draws to a close that is sure to leave your jaw by your ankles. It could almost be Keyser Sozeesque in its delivery.

 

However, this book isn’t without fault. One or two of the characters within the book I felt were unnecessary, and didn’t really add anything to the story. The most obvious example is the American footballer “Patterson”, who says very little or virtually nothing for the most part; to the extent you could almost forget he was ever there at all. Another issue is at times Madison’s voice comes across as too eloquent for a sinning 13 year old and can detract that much needed teenage element within a few of the pages.

 

 

Verdict

 

Regardless of a few hiccups with character and voice, if you like the idea of something a little unusual (such as a thirteen year old girl beating up Hitler and nicking his moustache,) or are a fan of dark comedy and the supernatural, then this is a book worth taking a look at.

 

4/5

 

Luke Hall

QUICKPICKLE Trailer Park Boys

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Firstly my heartiest apologies for readers, and the dear team of Picklepants for my absurdly late review. I realise that my lateness both last week and this week, has made appear to be about as reliable as a suspension bridge made entirely of pizza crusts. The reason has of course been the treacherous scourge known as assignments, as well as the fact that last Wednesday, I was out at sea. Regardless, it is now business as usual!

 

“It’s similar to Derek, only with guns, trailers, and alcoholics in positions of questionable authority.”

 

As many will know, Ricky Gervais’ superb comedy “Derek” graced our screens yesterday with its series 3 debut. So to keep up the mockumentary style comedy for this week, I decided to see what America had to offer in such a field. It was here I discovered “Trailer Park Boys.”

 

At the moment I haven’t finished watching all seven seasons, so for now I can only really do a Quickpickle review of the first two seasons. TPB is a Canadian documentary comedy very similar in style to “Derek.” It focuses on the misadventures of a group of trailer park residents, some of whom are ex-convicts, living in the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The episodes centre on protagonists Ricky, Julius and Bubbles, as they try to make money through various petty crimes. The crimes predominantly end in a complete cock-up (including one scenario during an armed robbery when they end up shooting each other instead of robbing the clerk.) Nevertheless, one quick look in their swag bag shows that they haven’t run off with money, but a bumper pack of crisps. Along with the bunch of misfits lies a vindictive trailer park supervisor named Jim Lahey, and his topless sidekick Randy (who refuses to wear a shirt.) Together the duo try by any means possible to throw a spanner into the works for Ricky and his gang.

 

As far as any mockumentary goes, this is definitely worth a watch. Episodes are varied and almost impossible to predict, with each episode loaded with memorable moments as the gang stop at nothing to make ends meet. As you watch your way through Tralier Park Boys, you’ll witness the team trying to make a homemade porno, change road names to divert cops from stealing their weed den, and high-speed pursuits ending in disaster due to a kitten. Whilst it may not focus so much on the emotional side of society as Gervais does, it safe to say It’s similar to Derek, only with guns, trailers, and alcoholics in positions of questionable authority.

 

Verdict

 

Whilst it’s early doors to say whether or not it gives Derek a run for its money, it most certainly shares a similar style (with more swearing and fights.) Trailer Parks Boys so far I have found to be a hilarious, unhinged, unpredictable comedy which I am eager to see much more of, and I can only recommend you check out.

 

4.5/5

 

Suits, more Rant less Review

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This week I fancied a change from the usual game review so have decided to have a little rant about one of my favourite television shows which recently finished its third season. If you haven’t guessed it by the title I am talking about the show Suits. Suits Is one of those shows that most people haven’t heard of or seen but those that have can’t sing its praises enough. Just to give you a brief synopsis Its about a guy named Mike who, while running from the police, stumbles into a job interview for one of the biggest law firms in New York. To hide from the police Mike pretends to be one of the candidates and sits in the interview where he really impresses Harvey Spectre by showing of his eidetic memory (Photographic memory) and gets hired, despite not attending law school the show follows the cases and life of Mike and Harvey as they try to not only make a shit ton of cash but also cover up Mike’s lie and avoid other complications in their firm.

Louis Litt at his most profound

Louis Litt at his most profound

The story lines of the show are brilliant and frequently have a sherlockesqueness (Yeah I just made up a word, what of it?) about them in the way that they get resolved, or sometimes don’t. Like all shows even though most episodes have their own plot there are also larger more complex sub -plots that eventually culminate in a few episodes in a row. Now some of the acting in the show isn’t exactly Oscar worthy, especially near the beginning, but it does pick up significantly as the show goes on with much more dynamic plots and also much more back story to a lot of characters.

The dialogue however is where I think this show really shines with nostalgic references and witty banter the show perfectly straddles drama and comedy which makes the pacing of the show near perfect in my opinion. It never feels that something is dragging on or maybe getting a bit too serious by seamlessly switching between tones. Mike and Harvey’s relationship epitomizes what the show is about and is such a joy to watch and will frequently have you both smiling and on the edge of your seat.

The characters themselves are something to behold each with their own quirks and traits that make them individuals. The relationships of the characters is fantastic and their interactions feel real and genuine and a lot of the time you will forget that the people you are watching are actors rather than the people they are playing. Harvey is conveyed mostly as an egotistical pig who hates to lose but he also has an unshakable moral grounding which makes for a really interesting character to watch especially when he needs reminding of himself from his secretary Donna (who by the way is my joint favourite character up alongside Harvey’s rival/best friend/I don’t know what they are anymore Louis Litt) who is acts mostly as Harvey’s conscious and guardian angel.

Donna telling it like it is.

Donna telling it like it is.

Im trying not to spoil anything for anyone that hasn’t watched it So I will try to be as vague as possible but there is something that the fans of the show will all be thinking about and that is the ending of series three. Despite being a huge bombshell moment it gives a nod to the first episode by directly referencing one of the first conversations between Harvey and Mike which I think was a genius move as it shows fans that they do know what they’re doing and that things won’t change as much as we worry they might. I actually like the new direction that they are going to try and after reading through interviews with the show’s creator Aaron Korsh my mind has been put at ease on some of the worries that I did have and I think it will allow for the show to have a longer life span  on our televisions than had they not done it.

Anyway that’s all from me and my opinions on the show, leave a comment with your opinion on the series and please like and share the page with all your friends! Thanks for reading.

 

You're damn right Harvey!

You’re damn right Harvey!

 

 

-Joe

Loadout QUICKPICKLE!

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Hey everyone! So this week I’ve been having a little play around with a free to play game that goes by the name of Loadout. Safe to say this game ain’t your normal shooter. It’s a 3rd person over the shoulder run and gun style of game but it’s the added features and art style that really set this game a part.

Hank would of got Walt way sooner with these guns!

Hank would of got Walt way sooner with these guns!

Its cartoony and silly, similar to TF2 in a sense, but with a bit more gore and adult themes which do help separate its style from games of a similar ilk. The character customization is quite extensive too though you will need in game coins to buy the majority of the items available. I would say this is one of the weaker areas of the game though as there are only 3 character bases to choose from which kind of limits your customization but it’s not really noticeable when you’re actually playing so really it’s just more of a shame rather than a bad point.

 

The other amazingly fun and interesting feature they have is that of weapon crafting! You get to pick what type of gun you have then modify it to hell then even chose what kinds of ammo you fire and how the ammo acts, there are thousands of different combinations to choose from meaning that no 2 players are ever the same. You can even name your gun so when you die and you drop your weapon other people can see how funny and clever you are! all jokes aside though it does add a really good dynamic to the game and almost adds a layer of strategy and depth to the game.

Electric laser guided triple rocket launcher? Why not!

Electric laser guided triple rocket launcher? Why not!

The other thing I’ll mention before finishing is the game modes are really fun and players will inevitably find the games that they prefer and are better at, my personal favourite is Blitz where your kills/assists only are registered if you’re able to pick up an in game item from the dead enemy you killed. I just like it because it’s a little different and again it makes you try and add a layer of strategy to how you play it.

The game is still being added to with a custom game option on the way but I thoroughly think that this game is worth your time and did I mention that its free!  and unlike most free to play games where you can pay real-life money to unlock better equipment etc. the only thing real money will buy you is outfits and customization for your character, the only way to unlock new gun parts and equipment is by actually playing the game! Which I think is great and something game companies need to do more of so you don’t keep getting beaten by players that are worse than you but that just have deeper pockets. Anyway that’s my thoughts on Loadout! thanks for reading and make sure to like our facebook, follow our twitter and share the hell out of our blog. Cheers!

 

JJ

The Grand Budapest Hotel Review

The Grand Budapest Hotel

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4.5/5

“A charming, funny, and profoundly eccentric film”

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a comedy drama written and directed by Wes Anderson and inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig. The film recounts the adventures of an eloquent and charismatic concierge named Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) who runs the legendary “Grand Budapest Hotel” amidst two great wars. To accompany Gustave on his adventures is his dutiful lobby boy Zero Mustafa (Tony Revolori), who soon becomes Gustave’s most loyal friend. The story centres on Gustave’s inheritance of a priceless work of art by one of the guests who, shortly after becoming infatuated with him, dies and leaving the painting in his possession. The rest of the family take hum bridge to this decision and try by any means necessary to get the painting back. Aware of this tricky situation, Gustave decides that the best course of action is to steal his own painting and thus set sail a series of events, which sees Gustave end up in prison over the suspected murder of the recently deceased guest.

The Grand Budapest hotel is a film brimming with innovative and clever Ideas, which help this film to stand out from the rest. The plot for example starts in the present, moves into the past, then even further back in history to where it all started. In the opening of the film, a teenage girl approaches a monument to a writer in a cemetery. In her hand she is carrying a memoir written by the author regarding a trip to that he once made to “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Here the film then cuts to the hotel which has clearly fallen on hard times due to the war, with the place being under furnished and the guests few. From here the film follows the author as he explores the hotel and meets with an elderly man who happens to be the owner. From here the elderly man then begins to recount the story of the Legendary Gustave H. (a former concierge of the Grand Budapest.) From here the film then cut to where a majority of the story takes place, during the life of Gustave. Essentially it’s a story within a story within a story. Storyception.

This unique narrative approach also has a profound effect on the way in which the film is made. Clever work with the cinematography of the film has given the landscape a two-dimensional look about it, to give the impression that the setting is an illustration in a book. This charming feature pays homage to the fact that the entire film is in essence a story coming to life.  It is all done beautifully well.

The acting throughout the film is solid. From Fiennes giving a convincing performance of a concierge serving the upper classes, to Defoes rather creepy portrayal of a “family hitman,” there were no characters within the story I felt were stilted or uninteresting.  Many of the characters within also had strange or otherwise amusing mannerisms that served to further bring alive the story as it transpires.

However, this film isn’t without its pitfalls. At times the rather libertine structure of film caused some parts of the plot to not fit together comfortably, and consequently making it seem as if events and dilemmas are being pulled out of thin air. This is at it’s most notable point towards the end of the film, when the story of Gustave seems to just come to a very abrupt halt as the story claws its way back up to the present. Regardless, it is still a charming, funny, and profoundly eccentric film that has been done so brilliantly, that these pitfalls wont detract from this otherwise terrific film.

Verdict

 

A creative and innovative piece of filmmaking, backed by a solid cast and colourful plot- It is almost reminiscent of a Monty Python film

4.5/5

South Park: The Stick Of Truth: A big fat ass review!

Sorry for the late upload of the full review I’m not going to make excuses all I can say is that I was just having way too much fun playing the game to actually think about reviewing it yet but the show must go on!

First off I just have to say that this game is brilliant! If you’re a fan of the show then you will be amazed at how many references they have been able to fit into this game and if you’re a new comer and this is your first experience of the franchise then you’ll be pleased at how accessible it is. You can really ell that this game was made by Matt Stone and Trey Parker as it has their touch of perfection to it from the big things like story and dialogue to even the smaller things such as menus and inventory selection, everything just feels right.

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A small barbarian wielding a smelly dildo – Just another day in South Park.

Visually It emulates the show to a tee! The seamlessness between game and cut scenes are only noticeable when they use it to make a joke (Such as any cut scene involving Jimmy you actually have to skip otherwise he just stutters forever) and it gets to the point where it doesn’t actually feel like you’re playing a game but more like an interactive episode. Actually an episode wouldn’t be doing it justice this is more like an interactive season! The story line feels like a true South Park story line where there are twists and turns that take you all over the place but then at the end it all reels back to the original thing you set out for. Not to give away any spoilers but the story line itself is bloody hilarious!

The controls for this game are solid and the navigation of menus and inventory are also very well done. It seems like an old school RPG game where you can really micromanage your character from appearance to gear which you can even customize further with dyes and boost patches(Known locally as strap-ons). It makes for a much more interesting game and gives you a greater feeling of control over your character.

Combat is really fun and progresses with your player so it always keeps you guessing. Even though you can press buttons to block you only receive some reduced damage instead of no damage which as it was one of the things that worried me when I saw the combat system in a game demo as it made it look like as long as you knew the times to block you would be invincible but this isn’t the case. At the beginning of the game you choose which class you are which doesn’t really impact the game all that much just on what abilities you can use in battle, Each of the classes are balanced as well so you can choose which class you prefer rather than the one that will make the game easier or harder. The four classes are Warrior, Mage, Thief or Jew which could only happen in a South Park game.

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Who ever said South Park was a quite mountain town?

Right now I’ve had a chance to profess my love for this game there are a few things that bug me. The biggest thing is the play-time. I completed the game doing every side-mission bar one (which I missed) and the game clocked in at 12 hours. And this isn’t like I’m a super fast gamer this tends to be the norm for most players. Now there is some replay value by playing as a different class and choosing a different side of the “War” to fight in but even that doesn’t impact you game that much. The main reason to play again for most people will be so that they can re-do their favourite levels or hear their favourite jokes. DLC has been announced to be released for the game which hopefully will extend the game by a few hours though. The other thing is that once you have completed the story-line you can explore the town and finish any side-quests (apart from event enabled quests) but if you’re like me and completed them all before the actual story then all you can really do is wander around as there are no new missions or enemies to fight, I would of like even some new-side quests that were only accessible once the main game was done just so you had something to do at least other than making yourself look like David Hasslehoff (I’m not kidding, Its hilarious!).

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Hasselhoff in a crab suit holding a flaming katana. Your argument just became invalid.

With a £39.99 price tag though we do expect a little more content from our games and granted at some points it does seem a little unjustified but on the whole I would say that for a Fan like I am Its well worth it but non-fans who are looking at this to be their way into the show then maybe wait off till prices go down.

The other thing that’s rather annoying is how easy the game is. Other than the odd boss fight (Mainly Al Gore) no enemies pose much of a threat so you’re going to want to turn the difficulty up to hard as soon as you boot up the game pretty much. Especially when you add in the fact that there are location/area based things you can do to take out certain enemies before actually fighting them which isn’t dependant on level or skill or anything and it gives you the same experience as if you had fought.

My final annoyance is that you get capped at level 15 which I think is a little bit too low but I can see why they did as it makes you choose which abilities to upgrade but even then it still seems quite low. Again maybe this is something they will change when DLC is released like we see in so many games but until then this is what were stuck with.

Final thoughts: This game is everything you could possibly want from a South Park RPG, It blends the humour of the show with the game style many of us probably grew up with and honestly I think I will be playing this game again and again just like I re-watch my favourite episodes. However I’ve not mentioned something that I feel I should. If you are easily offended then do not buy this game as you will hate it. For everyone else though, Get this game now!

Now my final verdict on this game comes in 3 parts this week, Normally I say how good the game is then value for money but I didn’t think this was fair as the rating of this game I think will be quite different for fans of the show over people who aren’t.

Fans: 9.5/10                        Non-Fans:8/10                                                  Value: 7/10

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