The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 118 – Actively Fighting Against Someone

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, our fortnightly pop culture news and reviews podcast!

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Big News

This week we chat about the return of Picard, the new Venom trailer, the Maniac trailer, Ruby Rose being cast as Batwoman for The CW, Twitter allowing bigots and the new Red Dead Redemption II gameplay trailer.

Screentime – Ant-Man and The Wasp

This week we review the latest Marvel film, finally out in the UK after the delayed release! We don’t go heavily into spoilers.

Now Playing – Reading/Watching/Playing

Adam The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley/Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger on Amazon/Gravity Rush Remastered on PS4
Ian – The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu/Tomb Raider and Mission Impossible: Fallout/Thumper on PS4

Check out any of those through those Amazon links and we get a kick back! Or you can go through here.

You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.Fancy supporting our site? Head on over to our Paypal donation page! It’s completely optional, set your own price! Even £1 helps us with hosting costs and we’d really appreciate it! Cheers!

Adam’s Top 5 Films of 2015

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be sharing our top 5s of 2015, from everyone who writes here at The Lost Lighthouse. This time Adam will go through his favourite 5 films of the year.

I’m taking a quick break from the depths of writing my PhD thesis to write about some of the things I actually cared about this year. This time it’s my favourite films released in 2015. I mostly saw blockbuster films this year, some multiple times. I also have a joint top 2, which is essentially cheating but I really couldn’t pick between the two films.

5. Ant-Man

Antman

First up was the second film from Marvel this year, Ant-Man directed by Peyton Reed. Starring the eminently likable and eternally young Paul Rudd, along with Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll and Michael Peña, the film was long in development due to various behind the scenes director changes. One of the things I like about the MCU is the shifting tones and styles between the individual films that maintain a core ethos, largely being making a superhero where everyone takes everything at face value but not too seriously. Superheroes exist in the world, but so does a healthy dose of levity. For Ant-Man, the humour aspect is dialed up (probably because to the average movie-goer ‘Ant-Man’ is a bit of a weird one, but we’re in a post-GotG world now and people will watch whatever as long as it is good) to take full advantage of Rudd, but it’s Peña who steals the show with the funniest scenes and lines.

The film is structured as a heist movie, even down to the musical score, and does this very well, leading to a very fun flick. At it’s core the movie has a lot of heart. This mostly comes from Scott Lang’s relationship with his daughter. As an ex-con, he’s desperately trying to get straight so he can provide for her and be the man she sees him as. This drives him to become a hero, to help save the world and prove to everyone that he can be a good man. The rest of this heart comes from Hank Pym and his daughter Hope, estranged since his wife Janet went missing presumed dead on a mission as the original team of Ant-Man and The Wasp. Everyone plays their parts with genuine emotion, and with the sequel title announced as ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’, with Hope receiving the Wasp suit during a credit cookie, we’re finally seeing an expansion of the MCU with more heroes and importantly, more female heroes.

 

4. John Wick

John Wick

I think John Wick was technically released in 2014 in America, but we didn’t get it in cinemas over here in the UK until early this year. I’ve not really shown a lot of interest in any recent Keanu Reeves films, I think the last I probably picked up and watched was ‘A Scanner Darkly’ and that was nine years ago. Despite that, I’m a big fan of The Matrix and Bill & Ted, and to be honest I think he was great in Constantine even if the film barely resembles the Hellblazer comics. I heard about John Wick on the Assemble After Dark podcast, and I respect those guys’ opinions so I thought I’d check it out.

John Wick is a brilliantly choreographed, brutal revenge film. directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. A Russian crime lord’s bratty kid steals John Wick’s car and murders his dog (not a spoiler, it’s the first five minutes and the impetus for the rest of the film. It’s more of a warning to be emotionally prepared. The dog is very cute). His father’s response when he hears whose dog it was?

“Oh”

John Wick wasn’t just the Boogeyman, he was ‘the man you sent to kill the Boogeyman’. A highly trained assassin, he had left that life behind. Until now. What follows is John violently wading through all the bodies that mobster Michael Nyqvist sends at him in an attempt to save his son’s life. Operating out of the mysterious Continental hotel, John returns to a stylish underground criminal world that is hinted at but never suffers from too much exposition or explanation. It just is. And it’s populated by a great cast, including Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki, John Leguizamo and Ian McShane. The action is the real star of this film though, with some magnificent sequences of hand to hand combat and gun play.

 

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

Fury Road

The first of my joint top two is Fury Road. We’ve talked a lot about our love of this film here, and for good reason. Until the first trailer hit, the new George Miller directed action film wasn’t even on my radar. That’s really what a good trailer needs to do. I didn’t know anything more about the film other than the simple fact that I now had to go and see it. Starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron as Max and Furiosa, Fury Road follows a group that eventually combines their efforts to escape the Immortem Joe and his War Boys, and deliver his ‘wives’ to the safety of ‘The Green Place’. It’s basically a road trip movie with explosions, as they drive their stolen war rig across the wasteland and fight off various attackers hell bent on retrieving their ‘breeders’.

Fury Road is a non-stop, high octane adrenaline ride that barely gives the viewer a moment to breathe. You’ll be exhausted after watching it, but you also won’t care. The fact that a large amount of the film is done through real effects, with real cars and explosions, makes it all the more impressive. There are so many amazing scenes, but to arbitrarily pick two the sequence where the war rig first goes up to and into the sand storm is stunning to look at, and and the music swells it makes for an excellent cataclysmic moment. The other is the first time Max and Furiosa start working together, after they go through the pass and are fighting off the raiders on bikes. It’s an incredibly kinetic scene that is brilliantly shot, as the camera swoops around the rig cabin with the pair offing raiders and reloading just in time to take out the next guy. The story itself is spartan, largely there from context clues and basic character interactions, which makes for a more rewarding and far less patronising cinematic experience that doesn’t hold your hand through poorly scripted exposition scenes. It’s a tight, simple plot with a lot of weight behind it if you want it and care, and if you don’t then you still get a great action film.

 

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Age of ultron

My other joint second favourite film this year is the second Avengers film, for totally different reasons to Fury Road. That film hit me from nowhere, and was a surprise thrill. We knew a great deal more about the Joss Whedon directed Age of Ultron, to the extent where I was trying to avoid more details about it as the film came closer to release. But despite all that, it was exactly what I wanted it to be – a great superhero film. The most comic booky comic book film we’ve seen so far. Seeing the team fully formed and working together was a lot of fun even from that first assault on Von Struker’s Hydra base as the film opened. As the Stark and Banner created AI Ultron starts to develop, the team starts to fracture which leads to a few contrived ally Vs ally fights like the Hulkbuster scene, but mostly we see great team up fights against hoards of nazis and robots. The times when this is most enjoyable tend to be any double team attack from Cap and Thor, but the moment when the shield is thrown to Black Widow so she can smash in a few robot skulls with it is great too.

Incidentally, while I think everyone inhabits their roles in the MCU brilliantly at this point, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers is my stand out favourite in every one of these films now. He just plays is so straight an earnestly that even corny lines like when Tony asks what happens if they fail “then we’ll do that together too” are just totally believable. David Spader is also incredible in this, as the menacing yet crazy Ultron. He just voices the robot with such a gravitas and presence, that disarms when he jokes around a little (courtesy of one of his two fathers) yet chills when he starts to threaten and make good on those threats. As always with the MCU and Whedon, the humour is threaded throughout the film (some say a bit too much, I disagree), my favourite scene of which was unfortunately spoiled by the trailer – when everyone is trying to prove their worthiness by lifting Mjolnir, the way Thor’s face drops when Cap mananges to shift it just a touch is superb, and how he recovers when it doesn’t move again and no one seemed to notice. The action is great superhero fare, even if it is largely CGI in this particular film we’re at the point that it holds up.

There has been a lot of commentary about it online, ranging from how sexist it was that Black Widow ever wanted kids (the internet forcing Joss Whedon off of twitter is why we can’t have nice things) or how there isn’t a good representation of Marvel’s female characters in merchandise (which is fair and true. Not enough Gamora or Widow. I saw a toy of the motorbike and truck scene that replaced Natasha with War Machine on the bike, which is so stupid it’s almost like they are actively trying to piss people off) to the deus ex machina of the ending or the very comic-book style plan of raising an entire city. The thing is, it was a comic book film. Not only is raising a city like that the sort of thing a crazy Marvel villain would do, dei ex machina also don’t bother me if it means we actually get to see our heroes save people. That is the entire point of heroes. We want to look around at the end after they beat the bad guy and see that they at least succeeded in saving most of the people they were trying to (also it was less out of nowhere if you watched Agents of SHIELD). Also, while I agree with the toy complaint, the accusation that Whedon is sexist is absurd and I disagree that Widow is at any point reduced in the film. I thought she was great, and I think we may be reaching a point in our commentary culture where people are just looking for things to complain about, and then those complaints snowball through the medium of the internet.

 

1. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

I wrote this list before I went to go and see the new Star Wars film, hoping that there would be a place in the top 5 for it but not knowing where. Of course it could have been a trainwreck. I don’t think I ever really believed it would be. At worst I thought the J.J. Abrams directed film would be OK. Which may have actually been worse than if it had been Phantom Menace level terrible. After two showings, I’m certain it is my film of the year. The excitement of getting a new Star Wars film when just a couple of years ago we didn’t think we ever would again, along with the insane amount of hype that both the marketing and the public generated, meant that ultimately The Force Awakens could never live up to what was expected of it. Because it wasn’t the best film of all time. But it was a great film, and more importantly it was a great Star Wars film.

I don’t really want to go into much detail about The Force Awakens, not just because I don’t want to feed into the hype machine but also I think that anyone that hasn’t already seen it really needs to go and experience it for themselves in the cinema. From the first notes of the John Williams score and the opening crawl, I was hooked. The moments where I could feel my heart pounding in my chest were just as impactful on the second viewing as the first, the original trilogy cast were a joy to see again and more importantly I cared a great deal about the fates of the new characters by the end of the film. I left immensely satisfied and excited that for me at least, Star Wars is back. Even if Disney will be making new films long after my death so I’ll never know how it all ends.

Comic Review – Astonishing Ant-Man #1 (Marvel Comics)

Kit is taking over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.

“I get to see the Ant die…”

“Well, you certainly would—If this weren’t merely a trial demonstration.” – The Power Broker

Warning: minor spoilers.

It’s me again! Carrying on the cover of the Weekly Comic Book reviews whilst Adam continues to procrastinate get LOADS of work done on his thesis. Fortunately I still have it pretty easy pickings, with the continuation of the ‘All New All Different’ Marvel. I’ll be covering another first issue this week, The Astonishing Ant Man #1. Why this? Well it’s brand new and with the recent film – which I loved – it will likely have a fair few interested new readers. Don’t worry DC fans, I’ll pick up a new DC issue soon. After Squirrel Girl #1 (again?) next week.

So, on with the review! The Astonishing Ant Man, written by Nick Spencer and drawn by Ramon Rosanas, like the film follows the Scott Lang incarnation of the hero. We’re introduced to him in a single panel, with a very similar history to the film version of the hero. He’s an ex con, he’s now a hero, he has an ex-wife and a daughter. However in this world his daughter is a teen as opposed to a child. This is what I want in a first issue comic, especially one with a huge amount of back story and history kicking around.

Ant Man 1The story begins fleshing out the Ant Man of this world, and his companions, someone in a bear suit and a talking computer program, with a taste in topless men! The team are down on their luck, trying to make it as a security firm. It seems an ex-hero called Miss Patriot bankrolled them early on, and wants the money the team owe her!

Scott goes to ‘visit’ his daughter, who’s a basket-balling teenager in this comic. We learn that she once had the Pym Particles in her, and has had the powers of Ant Man before. We also learn that Scott is more stalking, than meeting his daughter, spying on her as opposed to talking to her. It turns out he blames himself for a past ‘sickness’ she had, where her heart was apparently stolen by a mad businessman? Yeah. Whereas I felt Spider-Gwen was a little too heavy handed in the flash backs, Ant Man could maybe have done with a little more.

We then get to meet said mad businessman. Mr Cross, who owns Cross Technologies, and now has the Pym Particles inside him, although he doesn’t have entire control over them it seems. We also get to meet Power Broker, a grey man who wants Mr Cross’s business. It seems Mr Cross needs better henchmen, and you know what, there’s an app for that!

A seemingly obscure (at least I’d never heard of) villain is contracted to bring down Ant Man. And the battle begins, just when Scott is off trying to impress a new client! We get to see two battles play out, the one physical one with Ant Man and the henchman and the business ‘battle’ between the Power Broker and Mr Cross.

The comic of course looks great, Ramon Rosanas packs a lot of detail and expression into his panels.

Final Verdict

This is a well written start to a new series. It refers to A LOT of past adventures and heroic escapades compared to Spider-Gwen and Dr Strange. Which would be my main criticism of it. These first issues are supposed to be the jumping on point for new readers, new readers who are often put off by the massive amount of back story out there for each hero. The first page did a great job in setting up the premise of this Ant Man though. If you want to see more antics like the film, and a slightly satirical look at modern super heroes, this is a great series to begin on!

Final Score – 8 Pym Particles out of 10!

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 46 – Nothing Can Possiblay Go Wrong

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chat about Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige leaving the control of Marvel Entertainment, Ubisoft’s theme park plans and WB wanting more Batman in Batman Vs. Superman, while Gary struggles with his own awful handwriting, and Adam gets confused by Force Friday.

For this week’s main talking point we talked about this years crop of summer blockbuster films, going into our personal favourite flick and the listeners’ favourites too!

Gary took the reins in Gary in 60 Seconds, attempting to summarise Oblivion in less than a minute! Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it, but I’d guess it is largely just more of Tom Cruise running a lot.

*Also because we were trying out our new mixer this week and recording through Skype, Adam did not realise he needed to change the input mic on the program. So his side of the recording sounds awful to start off with, but clears up about 6 mins in after the first news story.*

[audio http://welcometorapture.podbean.com/mf/web/jzuhdq/WR46.mp3]
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If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

Fancy supporting our site? Head on over to our Paypal donation page! It’s completely optional, set your own price! Even £1 helps us with hosting costs, getting better equipment, and shock therapy for Gary now that he mistakenly likes Gotham! Cheers!

Enjoy!

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 44 – I Want to Be Fummus

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chat about Hugh Jackman suiting up as Wolverine one last time, Apocalypse looking like Ivan Ooze, The Killing Joke and Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusivity again, while Gary gets a listener’s name wrong and Adam chastises him for it even though he got it wrong first and was the one reading out the feedback. Sorry Mike!

This week’s main talking point was Marvel’s Ant-Man. We go in to what we liked about the film (with spoilers so beware!) and some listener feedback too!

[audio http://welcometorapture.podbean.com/mf/web/6qw2eb/WR44.mp3]
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If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 37 – The Pre-Disappointment

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse. This week we about the new trailers for Star Wars VII, Ant-Man and Fantastic Four, and the first Batman Vs. Superman trailer. We also talk about creative differences shifting around the Wonder Woman director and the new Star Wars Battlefront game, while Gary battles computers and the heat in some sort of horrible dystopia of his own making, and Adam realises he uses the same faux-stupidity voice to mock other people’s opinions.

Our main talking point this week was the Daredevil TV show from Netflix and Marvel Studios. We discuss our reactions to the series, the cast and the action. Don’t worry, it’s pretty light on spoilers. We also read out some of your opinions about it too!


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If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions on anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 30 – Moving Swiftly On

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chat about the PSN and Xbox Live hacks over the holidays, the Ant Man trailer, the weird Call of Duty Online trailer and the Netflix Daredevil show, while Gary finds his favourite film ever and Adam rambles about some of the movies he caught up on over Xmas.

Gary in 60 Seconds looked at the Jatham Statham-led ‘In The Name of The King’. How did Gary do?

The main talking point this week was 2015, and everything coming up that we are looking forward to. Along with a nice haul of listener choices too, we chat about the films, games and other nerdy stuff we are most excited about for this year.

[audio http://welcometorapture.podbean.com/mf/web/mwej9k/TLLEP30.mp3]

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If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions on anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.