The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 54 – Up In My Grill

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

This week we chat about the Doctor Strange images we’ve seen, the new Black Panther director, Tom Clancy’s The Division and George Lucas’s comments about Disney, while Gary’s new kitten tries to destroy the entire podcast and Adam bitches about Fallout 4.

There was no main talking point or Gary in 60 Seconds this week due to our crappy organisation skills. They’ll both be back next time!

[audio http://welcometorapture.podbean.com/mf/play/wqkdfr/WR54.mp3]
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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!

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 53 – Biscuit Munchers (Holiday Special 2015)

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

This week was our holiday special, which meant that we recorded in the same room for once! We spent a lot of it drinking and eating biscuits, but found some time to talk about a couple of the trailers we missed due to technical issues a couple of weeks ago, namely the Independence Day: Resurgence  and Star Trek: Beyond trailers.

We had two main talking points. For the first, we went through our top 3 films, TV shows and games of the year, with Gary going for tabletop gaming and Adam video games. (I think this was what Gary was talking about?

Our second talking point was Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. We did go into full on SPOILER mode on this one, so if you haven’t seen the film yet please make sure you turn off before then! We put in a warning klaxon, but we start the discussion 42 minutes into the podcast, and it’s the last thing we talk about.

Gary in 60 seconds was ”A Very Murray Christmas’, with Adam attempting to figure out who this Netflix Christmas special was made for and why.

[audio http://welcometorapture.podbean.com/mf/play/g46c8a/WR53.mp3]
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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 (which we paid last week, and now Gary can’t afford to feed his new kitten) and we’d really appreciate it! Cheers!

Happy New Year!

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 51 – Burn it Down

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

This week we chatted about the Warcraft trailer, Force for Daniel and Alien:Covenant, while Adam hates pointless construction and Gary is made uncomfortable by the concept of sex.

Gary in 60 seconds was ”Troll Hunter’, with Adam attempting to summarise this Norwegian found-footage film in under a minute. Gary is up next time, so keep an eye on Twitter today for the poll to choose what he goes for!

Following on from another Twitter poll, for the main talking point this week we discussed sex scenes in films and whether they are ever necessary or if they should just be made obvious but not shown. We have differing opinions, especially on the use of the word necessary.

[audio http://welcometorapture.podbean.com/mf/play/hyasp5/WR51.mp3]

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What do you think about sex scenes in films? Let us know! 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 (which are coming up this month…) and we’d really appreciate it! Cheers!

Enjoy!

 

Comic Review – Star Wars: Shattered Empire (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. Marvel’s Star Wars comics so far have all been roundly excellent, but largely confined to further fleshing out the period between Episodes IV-VI. Shattered Empire is the first of this new batch of Star Wars comics to be set after Return of the Jedi, a four-part mini series part of the lead up to the hugely anticipated Episode VII in December. If that wasn’t enough to sign me up, the creative team of Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto (previous collaborators on the superb and upsettingly short-lived Punisher series back in 2011), rounded off with colours by Andres Mossa and letters from VC’s Joe Caramagna, certainly sealed this is a must-buy for me.

Shattered Empire, despite being part of the ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, actually picks up during the final act of that third film, during the Battle of Endor. Rather than directly focusing on the key familiar faces, our lead characters (at least at this point) appear to be two other members of the Rebel Alliance, the married pair of Shara and Kes, as they play supporting roles during the fight against the second Death Star. Shara is an A-Wing pilot in Green group, desperately trying to defend the lead ships from TIE fighters immediately following Admiral Ackbar’s immortal line and before the Death Star’s defence shields drop. Meanwhile Kes is down on the moon of Endor, part of Han Solo’s strike team as they and a group of cuddly Ewoks try to shut down the shield generator. Following the destruction of the Death Star and the retreat of the Galactic Empire forces, Shara hasn’t heard any word of her husband down on the moon, so she heads down to join in the celebrations and to find him. After a brief reunion, Kes’s squad is called into action by Solo, and Shara volunteers her services as mission pilot. It seems like the Empire hasn’t just given up after the destruction of the Death Star and the demise of the Emperor, and the rebels will have their work cut out for them if they want to solidify their victory.

I think it was a really good call to have this issue focus on new characters during the iconic events of the last canonical film. We’re all very familiar with Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie and what they were doing, and it was nice to have characters that were working on the sidelines and in Shara’s case explaining the seemingly insane amount of luck involved in Luke’s escape from the Death Star, while still fitting in organically. The story is given plenty of room to breathe, and to allow for a real human core to develop alongside the action. We may not have seen as much of Kes, but I really warmed to Shara immediately as a brilliant pilot and a character with a deep emotional resonance. As for the plot, rather than picking up cold after the celebrations at the end of Jedi, starting the issue during the space battle side of the Battle of Endor was a great way to ease the familiar reader into the new story, and the direction seems to track to what we’ve seen of an existing Empire in some form (or The First Order) 30 years after our heroes triumphed. It stands to reason that the complex machinery of the Galactic Empire wouldn’t fall apart just because the second overblown boondoggle and the insane leader who created it have both perished in an impressive explosion, so where to go next makes for a compelling starting point for the series.

As for Checchetto’s art, I’d say that the opening pages were the main reason for the spine tingling excitement that I felt reading the rest of the issue. The space battle is stunning, showing the rebel fleet fight off squadrons of TIE fighters and Shara helping to guide the Millennium Falcon to the Death Star itself, before saving Skywalker from being scattered into debris. The facial work is brilliant too, at worst the only crime here is that everyone is a little bit too beautiful, but that isn’t a real complaint. Similarly the assault on the Imperial base on the other side of Endor looks chaotic and visceral without being gratuitous, and the familiar technology and vehicles is rendered perfectly. Mossa has to contend with several totally different environments and situations here, and the colours are exactly in step with the art all the way, resulting in a gorgeous looking comic.

Admittedly I’m already very much on board for new Star Wars content as I count the days down to Episode VII, and Shattered Empire would have had to have been pretty bad for me to be disappointed in any way. But Marvel has been turning out excellent stories with all of the Star Wars books, largely because they are trusting some of the very best creators to work on them. Rucka and Checchetto have absolutely continued this trend, and have produced a truly exciting Star Wars book. Buy this.

Score: 9.5 A-Wings out of 10

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 45 – Stickets Still Available

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

This week we chat about the Deadpool trailer (finally), Fear the Walking Dead, the continuing pointless saga of Ghost’s changing voice actor in Destiny, and the cool stuff that came out of D23, like the Rogue One cast and 14 god damn acres of Star Wars lands coming to Disney parks! Meanwhile Gary has a terrible confession about Gotham, and Adam thinks love is bullshit and can’t transcend time and space.

For this week’s main talking point we talked about the worrying trend of how much studios and websites are sharing from upcoming films. With all the set photos, plot details and multiple trailers, how much is too much when it comes to showing off a film?

We’ve also brought back Gary in 60 Seconds! This week Adam took a look at Interstellar. There are spoilers, and as this is a relatively recent film if you haven’t seen it then skip about 25:00-28:10.

[audio http://welcometorapture.podbean.com/mf/web/2xw3mr/wr45.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!

Rogue One

D23

D23 3

D23 2

 

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.