Adam’s Most Anticipated of 2016

Here is what Adam is most looking forward to in 2016, in no particular order (I don’t know why I picked that featured photo either).

Captain America: Civil War

Civil War

I’ve not exactly made it a secret that I’m a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or that I think Chris Evans makes a great Steve Rogers. As more details and the cast has been revealed for third Captain America film, a lot of people have labelled it as ‘Avengers 2.5’ as it seems 80% of the MCU is going to be in it. But from the first trailer that hit, the film’s focus definitely still seems to be on Cap and how he is seeing events. Also Iron Man is there. I don’t find hero Vs hero to be the most interesting plotline, but things don’t look quite as simple as that. Oh, and Black Panther looks really cool.

 

Finishing my PhD

For better or worse, this year I’ll be free of this terrible curse. Horrible life decision.

 

Rogue One

Rogue One

Ah genuine excitement for new Star Wars. How I’ve missed you. I loved The Force Awakens, and while I’m not overly enthused by some of the ideas floating around for the upcoming anthology films, more Star Wars while we wait for the numbered films should be a good thing (and means those films won’t be rushed). The first film set to be released in December is ‘Rogue One’, centered on the group of rebels who stole the plans for the first Death Star. And it has an excellent cast.

 

New Thrice Album

CUgUKXHWUAAU7be

Thrice are one of my favourite bands, with their 2005 album ‘Vheissu’ being one of my desert island discs. Remembering picking it up at lunch time at school 10 years ago makes me feel incredibly old. From their emo punk roots Thrice developed into a brilliant progressive band that is full of intelligent and inventive musical ideas. They announced they were going on a hiatus back in 2012, but unlike many bands who make the same decision they always said they weren’t breaking up, and they were just “taking a break from being a full-time band”. In 2015 they held up that promise, playing a smattering of festivals internationally, one of which was Hevy Fest in the UK which I was lucky enough to catch. Near the end of November they announced that there would be a new album in 2016, and I can’t wait.

 

New Every Time I Die Album

ETID

I have two ETID tattoos. I’m a reasonably big fan of theirs. Something that always inexplicably surprises me is that especially with heavy bands, I expect that eventually the formula will get repetitive or stale, and I’m always delighted when it doesn’t. With every album Every Time I Die have managed to surprise with how interesting and genre pushing their music is, while still retaining their core sound that drew me to them in the first place. Their last album ‘From Parts Unknown’ was a fast, vicious affair that managed to outdo it’s predecessors in terms of raw heaviness. Their awesome riffs and punishing drums are only equaled for me in the bestial vocals from Keith Buckley and his insightful, intelligent lyrics. Look up what ‘Moor‘ is about. Intense.

Anyway, in a recent podcast guitarist Jordan Buckley said that they were going into the studio early on this year, and I can’t wait. They were halfway through a tour of the UK in November before having to postpone the London shows, and they’ve been rescheduled to May/June next year. I have tickets to 3 shows in a row. If I die, know I died doing what I loved – being bludgeoned to death by a large bald man with face tattoos.

 

Daredevil Season 2

Daredevil

Netflix’s Daredevil series was great. A lot of people seemed to agree, which is why we’re getting a second series, probably in the first half of 2016. Joining the cast from season one are Élodie Yung as Electra and Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle AKA The Punisher. I don’t know how they’ll both figure in to the series, but I’m sure it will be good.

 

Luke Cage

Luke cage

I really enjoyed Mike Colter as Luke Cage in 2015’s Jessica Jones (a show I made my favourite TV show of the year), so I’m not particularly worried about the quality of the Luke Cage solo series. Netflix are doing a great job with these shows, and I can’t see Cage being any different. I imagine it will all debut at a similar sort of time of year that Jessica Jones did this year.

 

Writing More

This year I started playing around with writing some fiction, mostly in the form of short stories. I don’t pretend to be good at it, but I find it extremely cathartic and it’s great to get swept up in. Unfortunately my current hectic and stressful work life has meant this has had to go on the back burner, largely relegated to jotting down plot details and story ideas when they come to me, so I don’t forget them when I finish my PhD and I can dedicate the time and energy I’d like to to them. I’ll probably figure some way of sharing this stuff in due time, so watch this space. Maybe.

 

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Last week we were treated to our first look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme from the upcoming film, due out in early November of 2016. I think he looks fantastic, continuing the grand tradition in the MCU of nailing a “real world” representation of a classic comic costume. Doctor Strange will be bringing the magical elements of the Marvel Universe more into focus as Phase 3 of the MCU continues (I know Scarlet Witch counts too, but they were fairly vague about her power set in Age of Ultron), making everything feel more full and complex. Little is known of the plot so far (good!) but with the always brilliant Cumberbatch being joined by Chiwetel Eijofor, Tilda Swindon, Mads Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams it’s sure to be pretty good!

 

Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4

I’m looking forward to generally having a lot more time for gaming in 2016, even if that point is still a few months away. One game that has been pretty highly anticipated is the Playstation exclusive Uncharted 4, due out in mid-March. Naughty Dog make beautiful, cinematic games and the last installment Uncharted 3 on the PS3 was no exception. Neither was The Last of Us. So with a new console generation to take advantage of, the new Uncharted, with the subtitle ‘A Thief’s End’, already looks stunning from what has been shown so far. It seems to be being billed as Nathan Drake’s last adventure. We’ll see if that actually happens, but Nolan North returning as Drake is a welcome one, even if the now older Drake will be less quippy and more world-weary. I just hope there are fewer ‘oh no! the ledge is crumbling, press X to grab the one below, phew!’ moments. I also couldn’t care less about the multiplayer mode.

 

What are you looking forward to in 2016? Let us know!

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.

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.*

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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.

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Enjoy!

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 32 – Matt Berry Fancast

2

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

This week we chat about the Fantastic Four and Game of Thrones Season 5 trailers, the new Ghostbusters cast and Chris Evans and Chris Pratt being generally nice chaps, while Gary makes awful puns and Adam talks about the Superbowl with all the clarity and understanding of someone that recently crawled out of a serious collision with a wall.

Short episode this week, because we forgot to set up any of our features! Weekly Argument, Gary in 60 Seconds and Main Talking Point will all be back next time!

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.


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