Grosse Point Geek’s Wrap Up Of 2019 (and 2020 preview)

Grosse Point Geek’s Wrap Up Of 2019 (and 2020 preview)

2019: In Review A Blog Year In Review

As we approach the end of 2019 I have to say that on the whole it’s been a fairly good year for films. Stars Wars had a great send off with JJ Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker, the Infinity Stones story arc which had been the backbone of the MCU since 2008 ended spectacularly with the outstanding Avengers Endgame, DC finally got their house in order and delivered an absolute humdinger with Joker  – which is now the first and only R rated movie to pass the $1 Billion mark at the worldwide box office.

 

There was utter lunacy to be enjoyed in Hobbs and Shaw which was really great fun, John Wick Chapter 3 delivered some top notch action and proved to be the best entry in the franchise so far, a very funny and rather endearing love story played out  in Long Shot and good old Sylvester Stallone returned for the fifth time as Rambo in a film so violent it may well have offended just about every single critic on the planet– not that he cared, it did big bucks at the box office and we film geeks lapped up every brilliant blood drenched minute of it – (the sound of Mexican drug gangs running for the hills in terror can still be heard).

 

We also witnessed the continued rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime  -it has to be said though that with the notable exception of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, these still haven’t quite mastered their film output but series wise they can’t be touched – The likes of the Expanse, The Man In The High Castle, The Crown and Jack Ryan were all excellent.

 

Finally there were some top notch performances from the likes of Adam Driver (Marriage Story and Star Wars) Daniel Craig (Knives Out) Mahershala Ali (Green Book) Brad Pitt (Once Upon a time in Hollywood) Matt Damon (Le Mans 66) and of course Joaquin Phoenix who was astounding in Joker

 

Naturally and as per bloody usual there were also some serious let-downs and downright dogs,  – Alita Battle Angel was staggeringly awful, Godzilla King Of The Monsters was beyond crap, X-Men Dark Phoenix proved to be even worse than we feared, Blinded By The Light was so appallingly bad and badly acted that I almost walked out of the screening, The Lion King remake didn’t work at all  and was nothing more than a shot for shot remake of the original , then there was Dumbo which failed to recreate any of the magic that made Disney’s original such a classic, Neil Marshall’s pointless Hellboy reboot showed promise in its design work and story but ultimately turned out to be an utter turd of a film, and whilst it had its good points, the highly anticipated Terminator Dark Fate proved to be nothing more than a complete re-tread of everything we had already seen before in this franchise.

 

Anyway, enough ranting  – here are my 2019 top ten best, top ten worst, top 15 honouree mentions, top 15 best performances and finally the films I’m most excited to see in 2020.

 

Top Ten Best films:

  1. Avengers: Endgame
  2. Green Book
  3. The Irishman
  4. Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker
  5. Joker
  6. John Wick Chapter 3
  7. Le Mans 66
  8. Knives Out
  9. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
  10. Rambo: The Last Blood (yes I know  – I’m on my way to hell for including this one!)

 

Top Ten Worst films

  1. Alita Battle Angel (pointless, boring, dull, piss poor)
  2. Hellboy (awful)
  3. Godzilla King Of The Monsters (definitely left a Michael Bay-alike stench in the nostrils – total crap and badly acted to boot)
  4. Blinded By The Light (the mere thought of this film makes me angry)
  5. The Lion King (cynical audience rip off)
  6. X-Men Dark Phoenix (damp squib – how did they screw this one up?)
  7. The Silence (terrible copy of a Quiet Place)
  8. Shazam (despite everyone really liking this one I absolutely HATED IT!)
  9. The Prodigy (forgettable rubbish)
  10. Glass (garbage sequel to Unbreakable and Split – I’m now beginning to seriously dislike M. Night Shyalaman)

 

 

Top fifteen Honouree Mentions:

  1. Long Shot
  2. Hobbs and Shaw
  3. Ad Astra
  4. Hustlers
  5. Angel Has Fallen
  6. The Mule
  7. It Chapter 2
  8. The Man who killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
  9. Zombieland 2
  10. Last Christmas
  11. Captain Marvel
  12. Bumblebee
  13. Fighting with My Family
  14. Rocketman
  15. Marriage Story

 

 

Top 15 best performances:

  1. Joaquin Phoenix  – Joker
  2. Adam Driver – Marriage Story and Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker
  3. Scarlett Johansson  – Marriage Story
  4. Joe Pesci  – The Irishman
  5. Jennifer Lopez  – Hustlers
  6. Seth Rogen – Long Shot
  7. Mahershala Ali – Green Book
  8. Viggo Mortensen – Green Book
  9. Robert Downey Jr – Avengers Endgame
  10. Matt Damon – Le Mans 66
  11. Brad Pitt – Once Upon a time in Hollywood
  12. Daisy Ridley  – Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker
  13. Sam Elliott – The Man Who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot
  14. Daniel Craig – Knives Out
  15. Clint Eastwood  -The Mule

 

 

Most Anticipated Films of 2020:

  1. Tenet
  2. 1917
  3. Top Gun: Maverick
  4. Fast and Furious 9
  5. Black Widow
  6. The Eternals
  7. Bill and Ted Face The Music
  8. Ghostbusters : Afterlife
  9. Army Of The Dead
  10. No Time To Die
  11. Wonder Woman 1984
  12. JoJo Rabbit
  13. Dune
  14. The Gentlemen
  15. Bloodshot

 

Finally will someone at Warner Bros. please please please please release the Snyder cut of Justice League! You know it exists, we know it exists, Snyder has given us proof it exists, Momoa, Affleck and Gal Gadot have seen it and said its great, you and sodding Joss Whedon short changed us with whatever the hell that version was you released last year – we are pissed off, motivated, and we demand to see it NOW!

 

Right that’s it for another year, many thanks to all the fans of Phil’s Quick Capsule Reviews for sticking with us (whoever you are) , also a big shout out to my dear friend Phil Hobden, without whom I would have no one to win arguments with about films and who does such a sterling job of keeping this great website going all year round.

 

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year

 

My name is Will Strong and I’ve Been Grosse Pointe Geek – may the Force be with you all.

 


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Star Wars: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

Star Wars: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

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Plot in a nutshell

Sometime after the events of The Last Jedi, the Resistance are still battling the First Order and Rey (Daisy Ridley) is training to be a Jedi under the watchful eye of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher),  meanwhile a terrifying message is detected coming out of the depths of space  – the evil Emperor Palpatine is alive and threatening to destroy all who oppose him  – its now a race against time to find his whereabouts before he can unleash a vast armada of planet killing ships and bring about the return of the Sith.

 

What worked?

In my view – a lot.

To begin with the story is superb, a rollicking good old fashioned space adventure, spanning lots of different locations, throwing in various McGuffins with some really interesting twists and unexpected turns.

As always with Star Wars, the action scenes deliver in spades, light sabre duels, blaster fights, space battles and endless escapism which had me whooping for joy.

Once again, the acting is also excellent  –  Adam Driver as Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is extremely good and has now become one of the film industry’s most talented actors working today.

I also have to say that Daisy Ridley was brilliant as Rey, effortlessly showing how she has come on leaps and bounds from her rather wide eyed performance in The Force Awakens, the girl absolutely gives it her all here and along with Adam Driver totally anchors the whole film. The ever charismatic Oscar Isaac is great as Poe Dameron, even managing to channel his inner Han Solo with some cheeky one liners and knowing smirks. Finally there is the return of the magnificent Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine  -the stuff of nightmares, seriously evil, and completely beyond redemption  – the guy owns this role so completely that when he’s on screen you just cant take your eyes off him – to say he is incredible in this role would be the understatement of the millennium.

 

What could have been better?

Despite how good the plot was I have to say that it was at times a bit too densely packed and there were some ‘Basil Exposition’ moments that caused me to roll my eyes on several occasions.

The whole thing also seemed somewhat too focussed on Poe, Rey and Kylo which meant that some characters remained underdeveloped or didn’t get enough screen time – for example Billy Dee Williams comes back as Lando Calrissian but isn’t nearly in the film enough, then there is the excellent Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico who finds herself side-lined here in an almost afterthought of an appearance – a decision which seemed to be paying lip service to the hammering she had off the idiotic troll fanboys for The Last Jedi. Lastly, even though he’s on screen for most of the film, John Boyega as Finn isn’t really allowed to shine much at all and is very overshadowed by Ridley, Driver and Isaac – which is a shame as he is a great actor and was very central to the plots of the last two films.

 

Review summary

Very well directed by JJ Abrams, winning performances from Ridley, Driver, Isaac and McDiarmid , cracking action, lots of throwbacks to the original trilogy and an interesting plot with lots of unexpected twists and reveals -Rise Of Skywalker is a fantastic thrill ride that had me completely fixated for its nearly 140 minute running time, yes there are flaws, but to be honest I was so caught up in the whole thing that it really didn’t matter. Wonderful stuff, I loved it.

 

 


Review epilogue

As the Skywalker story comes to a close I thought id share with you some of my thoughts on this incredible film franchise. As most who know me (long suffering girlfriend, long suffering family, the eternally exasperated Phil Hobden etc) will be aware that I have been a dedicated Star Wars fan for nigh on 42 years. For me its always been about the films themselves, I’ve never cared for the expanded universe, the books, the games etc plus I really don’t take any notice of the highbrow critics or rabidly moronic fanboys who still cant see what Star Wars is all about.

For me Star Wars is simply a wonderful fairy story  -one based on all the classic tales our parents read us when we were little –   theres a castle, a hero, a princess, a wise old wizard and a man dressed in black –and  that’s all a fairy story needs to be.

Star Wars represents everything incredible in this world and in life itself-  the ability to rise above your standing, that mastering a skill isn’t ever easy and takes lots of hard work, that failure is the best lesson of all because it teaches us to always try harder,  that those who are older and wiser are in fact pretty much right about everything (even if they are 900 years old) that heroes can be flawed, villains can be redeemed and most important of all –  good will always triumph over evil.

Thankyou George Lucas and may the force be with you – always.


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Terminator Dark Fate (2019):  Review by Grosse Point Geek

Terminator Dark Fate (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

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Plot In a Nutshell: Forget everything you already have seen in the previous three sequels (Rise of The Machines, Salvation and Genysys), Dark Fate is a direct sequel to Terminator 2 Judgement Day and thus completely reboots the franchise. Linda Hamilton is back as Sarah Connor, as is Arnie in another reincarnation of the T800, plus James Cameron returns in a principal producer capacity and contributes heavily to the story.

As we saw in T2 Skynet is no more however in the near future its been replaced by another AI program gone mad called Legion, which attacks humanity by setting off a nuclear war, the surviving  humans fight back, Legion then sends an advanced terminator (known as a Rev 9) back in time to kill the leader of the resistance (Natalia Reyes), who in turn send back a heroic warrior (Mackenzie Davis) to serve as said future leader’s protector.

What worked? The action is excellent  – in fact its the best its been since T2 – an opening freeway battle is expertly handled by director Tim Miller (Deadpool) as is a breathtaking  aerial set piece featuring two huge planes and alot of firepower.

Linda Hamilton is once again brilliant as Sarah Connor,  Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes are superb plus Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a very good and pleasingly understated performance as a T800 who has become almost human after spending years in the present timeline. Finally the effects are pretty impressive too  – particularly those used to create the Rev 9 terminator who is even more unstoppable than Robert Patrick’s T1000 from T2.

 

What could have been better? In a word – The Plot. With the notable exception of the fourth film (Salvation – flawed but still pretty good) the Terminator series at its base level has always just been about two characters coming back in time from a nuclear ravaged future to kill/protect a person of extreme significance to the survival of the human race – with a few twists here and there.

This same story has now been done FIVE times over and its wearing pretty bloody thin. As a good friend of mine is known to say “same shit – rehashed” – and rehashed Terminator Dark Fate most certainly is. Yes there is a couple of twists (one fairly shocking) but so what?- At its heart the film is nothing more than everything we have seen before and the result is that it doesn’t move the Terminator story on one inch more. Yes i agree its a helluva lot better than the godawful Genysys – which was absolutely piss poor, but on reflection i found that it was marginally better than Rise Of The Machines and overall only managed to be on about a level par with Salvation.   

 

So what next for this franchise?  – well I for one want to see the future war actually happen, i want to know what is in store for Sarah, i want to see how Natalia Reyes character becomes the leader of the resistance, how the human race fights back, how they get their weapons, what battles they fight etc etc  -what i DON’T want is the same old sodding time travel plot  told over and over again  as it has been done to death! I also certainly don’t want to have my intelligence insulted any more by the likes of James (slowest film maker in the universe) Cameron braying on about how he is going to bring something fresh to the table when all he and director Tim Miller have done is serve up the SAME DAMN STORY AGAIN! 

Finally can someone please have a word with dear old Arnold Schwarzenegger? The man is an absolute legend, we all love him to death but theres no denying that the Austrian Oak is looking seriously past his prime and now needs to hang up the shotgun and let this franchise move on without him  –  just saying.

 

Review Summary: Certainly not at all the worst of the franchise – not by a long long way – in fact i have to admit that on the whole it IS a pretty good film, the action is superb, its well acted and its never ever less than enjoyable, indeed if there is another sequel i will of course go and see it. However  – its glaringly not even close to the brilliance of the first and second films plus the plot is nothing more than a complete and utter redo/rehash/total copy of everything we have already seen before  – and if anyone says otherwise (i.e James Cameron) then they are lying their heads off.

 

See at The Cinema? – Yes

Buy On Blu Ray? Yes

Pray the next sequel has a different plot? Get on your knees now

Author: Grosse Point Geek 

 

 


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Rambo: Last Blood (2019): Review by Grosse Pointe Geek

Rambo: Last Blood (2019): Review by Grosse Pointe Geek

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Plot In a Nutshell: 10 years after returning home from Burma, Ex Green Beret John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone)  looks to have finally  found peace running his deceased fathers horse ranch in Arizona and looking after his teenage niece. However things take a turn for the worse when said niece goes looking for her long lost father in Mexico and ends up being kidnapped by a notorious sex trafficking cartel – naturally Rambo heads off to save her  – cue explosions, guns, knives, arrows, claw hammers, buckets of blood and a very large number of dead Mexican gangsters who frankly should have stayed at home – or at least wished they had.

 

What worked: The action is brilliant  – particularly the final 20 minutes which simply has to be seen to be believed.  Its also one of the most violent blood drenched films i have ever watched in my life….and thank God for it  – Stallone promised us a hard R action fest and has delivered in spades  – speaking of which the big man is awesome once again as Rambo, chewing the scenery with gusto and proving that at 73 he can still kick ass with the best of them.

 

What could have been better: It could have done with being 10 minutes longer and maybe had one more action scene plus the script is a bit clunky. Its also not a film for the faint of heart (pardon the pun), nor what what one would call a date movie  plus it has mostly been made to appeal to certain niche fans who grew up happily watching these types of films  – i.e 40 – 50 year old adolescents (people like me).

 

Review Summary: A proper old school action packed slice of mayhem and ultra violence  –  Stallone is a legend, obviously knows his audience well, has happily stuck two fingers up to the critics and the politically correct brigade and made a film for all us proper Rambo fans who have loved this character since he blasted into our consciousness 37 years ago in First Blood.

 

What a film  – see it now.

 

Author: Grosse Pointe Geek 

 


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Angel Has Fallen (2019): Review by Grosse Point geek

Angel Has Fallen (2019): Review by Grosse Point geek

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Plot In A Nutshell: When the President of The United States (Morgan Freeman) is attacked and his security detail wiped out, legendary secret service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler)  finds himself framed and forced to go on the run to clear his name and find out who the real villains are.

 

What worked: Butler is solid as ever, Freeman is wonderful as POTUS and the great Nick Nolte steals every scene he’s in as Banning’s estranged war vet father.

 

Most importantly the action is really great  – lots of explosions, gun fights, fisticuffs, death, destruction and a cracking last 20 minutes when all hell breaks loose in a bullet riddled fight to the death between Banning and the baddies.

 

What could have been better: To say the least its somewhat predictable  – you can guess who the villains are from a mile off, the dialogue is at times a bit ‘Basil Exposition’ and on the whole it isnt as good as the last two films in the ‘Has Fallen’ franchise.

 

Review Summary: Lacks the kinetic lunacy and heart in the mouth cheer for the good guys spirit of Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen but Butler, Freeman and particularly Nolte are fantastic, the action delivers in spades and the whole thing is hugely enjoyable from beginning to end. Ok it isnt exactly Oscar friendly but who cares when a film is this much fun?

 

 

See it at the cinema? Yes

 

Buy It On DVD/Blu Ray ? Yes

 

Author: Grosse Point Geek  

 

 


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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

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Plot in a nutshell: Special Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and former SAS Operative Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) are reluctantly forced to team up with Shaw’s sister (Vanessa Kirby) who also happens to be a rogue MI6 agent and go after a genetically and technologically enhanced terrorist (Idris Elba) who is hell bent on releasing a virus that will wipe out most of humanity.

 

 

What worked: Being honest  – pretty much all of it. Johnson and Statham make a great double act and bounce off each other very well, both delivering some great one liners and trading  alot of extremely funny insults. However its Vanessa Kirby who really shines , displaying bucket loads of charisma, out acting both her hulking male co stars, and  more than holding her own in all the action scenes. In addition, despite being too good for a film like this Idris Elba is excellent as the principle baddie.

 

 

Speaking of action this film doesnt disappoint – and its virtually non stop from the get go – theres a great car/motorbike chase early on, a preposterous but extremely well handled set piece in Russia which involves enormous explosions, masses of gunfire and more than just a bit of bone crushing fisticuffs. However the best is left to last when Johnson, Kirby and Statham enlist the help of Hobbs hard as nails Samoan family for a bonkers final 20 minutes that really has to be seen to be believed.

 

 

What could have been better: Its very hard to criticize a film as mad as this – admittedly its a bit long, some of the one liners dont always land, and a theres a gratuitous Kevin Hart cameo about an hour in that didnt really work at all.

 

 

Review Summary: A great big utterly mental popcorn blockbuster, jam packed with action, pickled with funny one liners and featuring some great chemistry from its three central leads.

 

 

I loved it – Great fun

 

Author: Will Strong aka Grosse Point Geek 

 


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The Lion King (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

The Lion King (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

A Blog Grosse Point Geek The Blogs

After his father King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) is murdered by evil Uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), young Prince Simba is banished from the Pridelands and is presumed dead by the rest of his family. Years later, a chance encounter with an old friend forces the now adult Simba (Donald Glover) to make a choice  – stay in exile or face his destiny and challenge Scar for the throne.


What worked: 

The photo realistic animation used to bring the animals and the varying African landscapes to life  is frankly astounding  – so good in fact that you will actually think what you are watching is totally real and not animated. The voice cast are also very good and the songs are still as wonderful as the 1994 original.


What didnt work:

 As amazing as the animation is it has two major problems – and that is as we all know in real life animals dont express a vast range of facial emotions  – and this is what happens here – meaning that you are left a bit cold as the characters faces dont express the same levels of emotions as the ones in the original version also and very tellingly it just didn’t look or feel right when they talked – see it for yourself and you will know what i mean. In addition it isnt nearly as downright hilarious as the 1994 version, yes Timon and Pumbaa (voiced by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen) still steal the show but simply can’t match the utter lunacy that Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella brought to the characters in the original film. 

 

Finally one has to say that its all very well having brilliant photo realistic effects but unlike The Jungle Book remake and to a certain extent this years Tim Burton directed Dumbo update, when you break it down the Lion King 2019 brings absolutely nothing new to the party and at its heart is little more than a shot for shot, line for line recycled copy of what was and remains to be one of the greatest animated films of all time. Therefore if you look it it that way this means that one must view this film very cynically  – as all its purpose seems to be is to show off some fancy SFX, and make lots of money for Disney. 


Review summary: Never less than enjoyable and the animation is the best you will ever see  – but there is not one scrap of originality on show here.

 

Author: Will Strong aka Grosse Point Geek 

 

 

 


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John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

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Plot In a nutshell:After killing a member of the all powerful High Table on the sanctified grounds of the Continental Hotel, John Wick (Keanu Reeves plus dog) is on the run with a $14 million dollar bounty on his head and every assassin on the planet after him for the reward. Its now a race against time for John to get out of New York and somehow make good with the High Table before his deadly pursuers catch up with him.

What worked:To be honest  – just about all of it, and as long you dont take it too seriously you’re in for one hell of a ride. To say the least this film is bonkers   – which is mostly due to the utterly insane action sequences which get madder by the minute  – you name it this film has it – fisticuffs by the bucketload, bullet riddled  gun fights, knife smackdowns, sword fights, motorbike chases and in one very wince inducing scene what will now be forever known as “Horse Fu”  – no honestly you will have to see it to believe it.
Its also well acted  – Keanu is very good as Wick and deserves alot of kudos for how he throws himself into all the action scenes. Halle Berry is also impressive as an old acquaintance who is forced to help him after he cashes in a blood oath, plus Ian McShane, Lance Reddick and Lawrence Fishburne all return to their respective roles and lend the film some smooth gravitas and high quality acting chops.

 

Finally director Chad Stahelski proves once again he is one of the most accomplished action directors working today -coming up with some truly death defying camera shots and some very inventive set pieces.
What could have been better: Its at least 15 minutes too long, Halle Berry isnt in it for long enough and towards the end one does feel a bit of sensory overload with just how much endless scrapping is going on.
Best Scene:An almighty blazing gun fight that takes place in an empty Casablanca market involving Berry, Reeves, a whole swathe of bad guys plus two extremely vicious and  very well trained attack dogs.
Review Summary:A bit long but so enjoyably nuts that you wont really care – this refreshingly quirky action franchise just keeps going from strength to strength – roll on Chapter 4.

See It At the Cinema?– Definitely

Buy On DVD/Blu Ray?  –Of Course

 

 


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Grosse Point Geek – Top Ten Favorite Game Of Thrones Characters

Grosse Point Geek – Top Ten Favorite Game Of Thrones Characters

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For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years – Game Of Thrones is THE most popular show on the box  – and deservedly so. Now on its seventh season, audiences the world over have been captivated by its inter weaving story of dragons, white walkers, huge battles, ice covered wastes, and the eternal struggle  to rule over the fictional land of Westeros.

To say any more would be fruitless but if you like Lord Of The Rings, Excalibur, Conan The Barbarian plus  more than a small smattering of Star Wars all topped off with a serious amount of blood letting, decapitations, disemboweling and copious swearing then Game of Thrones is for you. Those with a more sensitive disposition need not bother.

Most of what makes Thrones so good though are its characters, the majority of which start out as utterly despicable or completely lovable and for the most part stay that way  – so just for a bit of fun ive complied my top ten favorites  – see below

 

(FYI Spoilers ahead!)

 

1.Tyrion Lannister (AKA The Imp). 

Played by: Peter Dinklage.

Hampered by his somewhat diminutive stature, affection for the demon drink, prostitutes and being loathed by his all powerful and admittedly horrible family, Tyrion is constantly forced to rely on his wits and cunning. You just cant help but love him – brilliantly played by Peter Dinklage, he gets all the best lines and manages to be in just about every episode so far.

Favorite scenes: Delivering a rousing speech just before the Battle of The Blackwater in Season 2 then killing his hideously smug father (Charles Dance – whilst on the toilet) with a crossbow in season 4.

Status: Still alive.

 

 

2. Bron Of The Blackwater

Played by: Jerome Flynn (yes him off Robson and Jerome and Soldier Soldier)

A whoring, wine swilling,  oik who’s also a dab hand with a sword. Started out as a small supporting character but now a firm fan favorite – mostly due to some very funny if unrepeatable one liners.

Favorite Scene: The loot train battle in S7 – brings down and almost kills Drogon the dragon with a giant crossbow then in the nick of time saves Jamie Lannister from being roasted alive by said beast.

Status: Still alive

 

 

3. Tormund Giantsbane

Played by: Kristofer Hivju

One of the so called Wildings from north of the wall. Initially a baddie but after being set free and pardoned by Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) he’s now properly on the side of right. Completely bonkers character, also a bit of a pervert –  all flaming hair, huge beard and mad eyes – making him completely brilliant – if a tad insane.

Favorite Scene: The look on his face when he first claps eyes on a very unimpressed Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie)  and falls madly in love with her, then the utterly hilarious smile he gives her in a later episode that is so funny it has to be seen to be believed

Status: Still alive

 

4. Ramsay Bolton

Played by: Iwan Rheon

Quite simply – one of the greatest villains in TV history. A psychopath and a sadist of staggering proportions – the list of his evil deeds is legend – skinning enemies alive, stabbing his father to death, castrating Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), feeding his stepmother and her newborn son to the hounds, torturing Sansa Stark, plus numerous others that dont bear thinking about. Brilliantly played by Iwan Rheon – we will simply never see a baddie like this again and God help us all if we do!

Favorite Scene   – all of them  – but especially when he gets his comeuppance in s6

Status: Dead  – deservedly gets eaten alive by his own dogs but not before being given an utter shoeing by Jon Snow at The Battle of The Bastards.

5. Ser Jorah Mormont

Played by: Iain Glen

Disgraced knight of the realm, initially paid to spy on Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) but then falls in love with her from afar and becomes her most trusted and loyal adviser. A very sympathetic, heroic and rather lovely character, who you just cant help rooting for  – played with gusto by the very fruity voiced Iain Glen.

Best scene: S5  – The Dance Of Dragons  – fights tooth and nail in a massive gladiatorial battle then saves Daenerys from certain death with a well placed spear.

Status: Dead

6. The Dragons (Rhaegal, Drogon and Viserion)

Played by: CGI creations

I always considered that the best screen dragon of all time was Vermithrax Perjorative in Dragonslayer (if you havent seen it do so asap) that was until i saw these three. Giant fire breathing beasts – last of their kind  – the so called “children” of Daenerys Targaryen – all are a wonder of visual effects genius, look completely real and elevate GOT to unlimited heights of brilliance whenever they are on the screen – damn terrifying too.

Best Scene: Hard to pick but for me it was Drogon’s nick of time appearance in S5 Dance of Dragons, then the Loot train battle and the huge fight with the white walker army  in s7.

Status: 1 Alive, 2 Dead

7. Sandor Clegane (AKA The Hound)

Played by: Rory Mcgann

Horribly disfigured, foul mouthed and very bad tempered former kings body guard. Clegane goes from being initially a really horrible person who kills without mercy to becoming almost likable and extremely sympathetic. Another interesting, well drawn character, superbly played by Rory Mcgann,  with subtle, hidden depths that have been slowly drawn out over the course of 7 seasons.

Best Scene: The massive and very bloody tavern scrap in S3

Status: Dead

8. Joffrey Baratheon

Played by: Jack Gleeson

Teenage king of Westeros and a lying, spoilt, sadistic, cowardly bully. The kind of person that deserved a right kicking from every person he ever wronged. Horrible character in fact – but so brilliantly realized by the very talented Jack Gleeson that one simply cant leave him out of this top ten.

Best Scene: Hard to say  – for me it was the wedding feast after he weds Margaery Tyrell – behaves appallingly, humiliating his uncle Tyrion but not before suffering  death by poisoning – and God did he deserve it!

Status – Very dead

9. Jamie Lannister

Played by: Nicolai Coster Waldau

A very complex character, who starts out as a total swine, who is having an affair with his sister plus mercilessly cripples young Bran Stark by pushing him out of a window. Then in a stroke of very clever plotting becomes a guy you just cant help rooting for – despite the fact that he’s on the side of the villains.

Best Scene: Saving Brienne of Tarth from the bear pit.

Status: Dead

10. Jon Snow

Played by Kit Harrington

The main GOT character and clearly modeled on Luke Skywalker. Yes i know at times hes a bit bland – but he’s completely fearless, hard as a coffin nail, great in a fight and a total classic hero.

Best Scene: For me its in my two favorite GOT episodes – The Watchers on The Wall (S4) and The Battle of The Bastards (s6). He’s in every scene and kicks so much arse with that sword of his that its a joy to watch.

Status: Still alive

There you go then  – my top ten favorite Game of Thrones characters. If you havent watched GOT yet then i implore you to do so -admittedly it took Phil Hobden a great deal of effort to get me to stick at it, but im so glad he did as its now become my favorite TV show ever and i cantrecommend it highly enough.

Valar Morgulis!

 


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HellBoy (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

HellBoy (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

A Blog

Plot In a Nutshell: After Guillermo Del Toro and Ron Perlman’s two adaptations of the Dark Horse/ Mike Migola demon superhero comic  we now have this reboot of the Hellboy film franchise  – this time Big Red is played by David Harbour (Stranger Things) and the director is Neil Marshall (The Descent). The plot involves the resurrection of the evil Blood Queen (Milla Jojovich) who threatens to unleash a deadly plague on the Earth  – that is unless Hellboy, his adopted father (Ian McShane) and the B.P.R.D can stop her first.

The Good: Its fairly watchable, Harbour does well as Hellboy,  McShane is his usual charismatic self, one or two of the set pieces are ok plus the design work and make up effects are very imaginative.

The Bad: Dear God where to start?  – With the exception of McShane, most of the supporting cast are terrible – the worst offenders being Daniel Dae Kim as a BPRD agent with an iffy Dick Van Dyke British accent and Milla Jojovich gurning for all her worth as the Blood Queen.

Its gets worse – the script seems to have been written by a 12 year old – all F bombs and juvenile humour  – with hardly one quip or funny line managing to raise more than a titter, the special effects are extremely poor and look cheap, its badly edited, overly loud,  a potentially interesting plot involving King Arthur is wasted and most of the action scenes are boring and generic.

Best Scene: The last 2 mins which to be fair is a well handled one take shoot out that sets things up for a sequel

Summary: A pointless reboot and a staggering disappointment which pales in comparison to Del Toro’s films  – made even worse by the fact that its directed by Neil Marshall – a superb film maker who gave us The Descent and Dog Soldiers and directed two of the best ever Game Of Thrones episodes (Black Water and The Watchers on The Wall). Yes ill admit David Harbour is good as HB but his performance doesn’t really distinguish itself in any way from Ron Perlman’s previous take on the character. Over all i have no idea why the studio decided to reboot this franchise as both Del Toro and Perlman have both said for years that they were happy to return for a third film and considering that Hellboy 1 and Helloy 2 did pretty well at the box office it beggars belief that no one took them up on their offer.

Crap

 

 


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