“Let’s Watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre…”
Yes, we probably should have watched the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original, not the remake, and a film which reminds me how thrilling and dramatic high quality cinema can become, something of which The Boss, directed by Ben Falcone and starring Melissa McCarthy, is most certainly not. However, in a week in which the human race has been subjugated to the horror show of Gods of Egypt, The Boss most certainly is a slight step up, however not the laugh-filled spectacular many would have thought when seeing McCarthy on the cast list, a comedic actress in which I can wholeheartedly state I am not the biggest fan of, with her latest cinematic venture being a reminder of what happens when comedy goes wrong, with The Boss being strapped full of face-palming plot points, dead-end jokes and one-liners that verge on the edge of profanity. At least one thing can be said for Gods of Egypt, it’s funnier than The Boss, regardless of how unintentional that may be.
Focusing on the exploits of the greed-inflicted Michelle Darnell, who after being incarcerated and losing her entire income and empire sets to rebuild her wealth by exploiting the work of minors by selling brownies, The Boss expects you to empathise with a woman who not only becomes a white-collar criminal within the first five minutes of the movie, but a woman who believes using children as pawns in her tactic to regain her strength in the economic world is indeed the most important thing to do now she is free in the outside world. Feel empathetic yet? No, me neither, and this alone is a fundamental flaw in the films’ genetic make-up. Add into the mix jokes that full flat on their face and a script so wayward it seems to have be written as a blind bet, The Boss is a comedic mess from beginning to end, a comedic mess which features the second awful Game of Thrones cameo in the space of a week with Peter Dinklage now having a pop at degrading his reputation. Oh well, at least Game of Thrones is on tomorrow.
Overall Score: 3/10
“I Choose Violence…”
Who’d thunk it? After nearly two seasons of Arya’s story-line going up. down, back around and coming full circle again right into the path of ambiguity, the House of Black and White is no longer a place of lodging for little Arya Stark, the baby-faced assassin who, after everything, decided it was best to continue her legacy as a Stark rather than a Faceless Man, a decision that ultimately brought to an end not only the life of the Waife, but to all those brilliantly barmy fan theories which suggested a bit more was behind the actions of one of the last remaining Stark’s in Westeros. What now for Arya? A return to either the North or King’s Landing is not exactly out of the question but her own wish to visit lands yet explored seems a more pressing concern for our beloved Arya, yet the real question remains, after all the dedication to the Faceless Men previously, was it the right decision to end it so quickly? From a writing point of view, probably not, with Arya’s story in particular needing a particular level of dedication in hope of a epic payoff. Was this the right way to go therefore? Was the time spent in Braavos really worth it for such a conclusion? I’m not too sure.
Away from Stark’s and creepy assassins, King’s Landing held ground for some meaty head yanking action, with the High Sparrow’s minions getting a pretty clear taste of what happens when you mess with Cersei Lannister and her deranged Frankenstein of a bodyguard. A.K.A,the zombified Mountain. On the other side of Westeros, the Hound provided light black comedy in his quest for vengeance, with quips about being awful at dying being followed by acts of sheer brutality. I mean come one, that head being chopped off was pure B-Movie brilliance. Weak point of this week’s episode came when the beloved Blackfish was seemingly killed off off-screen without the chance to witness his famous ability of swordsmanship. I mean come on HBO, there can’t be a budget issue! In fact, yes there might have been, with Meereen holding siege against the bloodthirsty masters just in time for Dany to return and witness what happens when she flies off gets captured. “No One” proved to be somewhat the weakest of Season Six so far, providing a questionable end to Arya’s story-line and killing off a certain character without to no satisfactory end. But hey, who cares when we have the aptly titled “The Battle of the Bastards” next week.
Overall Score: 7/10
“You’ve Lost, Cersei. It’s The Only Joy I Can Find In All This Misery…”
Oh, hello Mr. McShane. And goodbye. Carrying on the surprise list of guests appearing within the realms of Westeros this week was Lovejoy himself, acting as a rather efficient and likeable conduit for the welcome return of Sandor Clegane AKA The Hound, and although one up on screen-time in comparison to Richard E. Grant, Ian McShane was swiftly hung out to dry, resulting in the return of the unparalleled quest for violence our beloved Hound infamously thrives on. Speaking of violence, poor old Arya once again. Whipped, smacked around the face, and now stabbed. What more does the young girl deserve? Not everything is what it seems within the House of Black and White and Arya’s future is still yet to be determined, with next week’s aptly titled episode “No One” perhaps finally setting in stone the course in which our beloved Stark is yet to embark on. Maybe a reunion with the Hound? We shall see.
Sassy Northerner of the week belongs to Lady Mormont of Bear Island, with her no-nonsense attitude on the situations at hand gave credence to a notion that if she was Queen, Game of Thrones would have been sorted out by now and whilst she only allowed 82 of her soldiers to join Jon Snow in his quest to take back Winterfell, it was a fleeting success in comparison to other houses who completely disregarded any chance of support for taking down Westeros’ number one psycho in Ramsey Bolton. As for events elsewhere, the Blackfish and Jamie Lannister had the stand-off of the season, with it hard to point out who out of the two viewers are really rooting for. Sure, the Blackfish is bad-ass and was screwed over by the Lannister’s but you just can’t beat the banter of the bromance between Jamie and Bronn. Remember when we all hated Jamie? Seems so long ago now. Another strong, solid episode this week, but not one of major significance, “The Broken Man” continued the success of Season Six by the introduction of new characters whilst reconnecting with those thought lost. Three episodes left people. THREE…
Overall Score: 8/10
“Are You With Me, Now And Always?”
With the death of Hodor well and truly lodged into the feels of our minds, this week’s episode of Game of Thrones continued the radical decision of the show-runners to actually start moving forward within the realm of Westeros, with certain plot strands taking major leaps after weeks, and in some cases, seasons of sluggish stopping and starting. Take Arya for example; weeks of endless beatings and Westerosian playwrights finally took a toll on the poor lass after deciding maybe it wasn’t best to end the fading career of her acting target via poison and instead regain her Stark ways, leaving behind the disappointed yet murderous Faceless Men behind in her wake. The return of Needle surely brings about the return of her vengeance list, much to the delight of fans across the globe and whose to say that her vicious young trainer The Waif won’t be swiftly added to that list after weeks of utter bitchness. Oh, and Richard E. Grant got some awesome screen time this week. Big up the Doctor Who connections! Big up too the most obvious return of a long-lost character since well, someone with Benjen Stark being heart and centre in the rescue of Bran whilst Westeros’ most evil OAP graced our screens once again with Red Wedding orchestrator Walder Fray showing the world he is still alive.
On the other side of the continent, Daenerys was reunited with her beast-mode dragon Drogon which did nothing but to emphasise the effects budget available to the show whilst the Westerosian equivalent of Dorset laid bare to the return of Sam to his homeland, much to the respite of his bad and bitter father who went completely ape shit after learning his beloved son had returned with a Wildling for a wife. Quite rightly, Sam decided the best option was to leave ASAP, yet not empty handed, with the Tarly heirloom in the form of a Valyrian steeled sword being swiftly stolen. Finally, within the soap-opera fantasia of King’s Landing, Jamie and Lord Tyrell both attempted to put a permanent end to the teachings of the High Sparrow but instead were greeted to the rather bonkers realisation that not only had Margery fully embraced the ways of the Sparrow but King Tommen too. If ever there were a picture to sum up a situation, Jamie’s face was it. A bold move or one too immature? We shall see won’t we. Once again, Game of Thrones chose to take a bold step forward in its’ storytelling and made the set-up for the last remaining episodes a real treat to look forward to.
Overall Score: 8/10
“Hold The Door…”
Oh my. If previous events on Game of Thrones had the power and the gusto to make the hardest of people break down and cry, then this week’s episode more than deserves its’ place in the Game of Thrones hall of fame for a final scene which ranks up with the most heartbreaking scenes in the entire history of the show so far. The Red Wedding? Intense and shocking. The fall of the Viper? Left me shaking for days on end. The revelation of Hodor? Genuinely sob-inducing, a scene which brought all the ambiguity regarding the origin of Hodor to a close whilst letting go one of the shows’ most beloved characters in the most heroic way possible; holding off a wave of white walkers in order to protect Bran who finally realised his part in a Doctor Who-esque bootstrap paradox which was to blame for Hodor’s minimalistic range of speech. Powerful to say the least, “The Door” proved to be the best episode of Season Six so far, with its’ final scene ranking up there with the best of them over the course of the shows’ run whilst continuing to highlight why we just can’t stop watching. Hodor is gone, yet the force and origin of the White Walkers was both reminded and explained this week, with the most patient army in existence still warning the audience that they are there to stay. And oh yeah, another direwolf is gone too. Damn.
Elsewhere, Braavos proved their own evening entertainment was the best place to go to for a quick recap of events which occurred in Season One, much to the despair of Arya whose newest assassination target was at the centre of the acting circle responsible which also included a rather strange cameo from Richard E. Grant, a cameo immediately recognised after hearing his distinct and overly British, lavish voice. Awkward scene of the week was seen within the North when the reunion between Sansa and Littlefinger was greeted with a less than warm response, whilst the Iron Islands gave way to a new King, one with blood lust for both remaining direct Greyjoy siblings. In Meereen, Tyrion was greeted by the areas’s own version of Melisandre, one who obviously shops in the same aisle as her Northern familiar, and one who decided it was best to remind Varys of his early experience of becoming a eunuch. Nice. Finally, Dany was at last grateful for the heroic attempts of Ser Jorah, who in return produced the ever-growing rate to which the greyscale is taking over, something of which a tearful Dany orders him to fix before it finally takes over and becomes too late. “The Door” proved to be a excellent episode of Game of Thrones, one that most definitely proves to be the high watermark for the season so far and ultimately one that concluded with perhaps the saddest event in Game of Thrones thus far. So long Hodor, it’s been emotional.
Overall Score: 10/10
“Winterfell Is Mine, Bastard, Come And See…”
Oh Ramsey, you salty dog you. Hands up for worst creature in Westeros since the events of the Purple Wedding? That’s right, with a letter and a whole lot of curse words, war is set to embrace the North with the battle of the bastards set to wet the appetites of almost every single Game of Thrones fan who, unless completely mental, will be backing Lord Snow to finally end the torment of Ramsey Bolton, the vicious loony tune that he is. Amongst all the talk of eye spooning and rape however, the long-awaited embrace between long lost siblings Jon and Sansa inevitably had the entire world in tears. It’s been a long time coming, so long in fact that Jon must have not believed his eyes regarding the ways in which Sansa has transformed from the helpless squib to the mighty force of strength that she is today. Talking of strength, CGI moment of the week came during the closing scene in which Dany decided it was best to burn each of the Dothraki leaders to death rather than be continuously raped by them and their horses. Good decision I believe. With perhaps the forces of the Dothraki army now under her command, who is to stop her against the forces of the masters back in Meereen?
Fist pump moment of the week no doubt came within the Vale with the return of my favourite Game of Thrones character. Oh Littlefinger, it has been way too long. With his suave sophistication and faultless dress sense, it didn’t take too long before his influence over the kooky Lord of the Vale became rather apparent. Remember guys, without Littlefinger, there would be no Game of Thrones. Whilst Tyrion attempted to make peace with the slave masters, much to the anger of literally everyone around him, the rulers of King’s Landing finally decided to man up and start talking to each other, ending in a final decision to mark the High Sparrow for dead with the possible result of civil war within the city being something of a afterthought. Hey, at least they might be safe right? With Littlefinger back and a war in the North looking rather inevitable, Game of Thrones continued to pick up a notch this week with some interesting plot developments throughout Westeros all continuing the return to form Season Six has finally embraced. War, what is it good for?
Overall Score: 9/10
“My Watch Has Ended…”
Whereas I thought the resurrection of one Jon Snow might ultimately not actually occur within the show, after realising I was completely and utterly wrong regarding such, I soon began to believe the process of Jon’s return to form may indeed be a long-winded and drawn out process, much like Arya’s plot-line regarding her ridiculously violent and tortuous training regime. How wrong I was once again, with Lord Snow regaining not only his life, but a new sense of plain-faced coldness, one that may have indeed stopped the hanging of young Ollie once before in the past, but now, only reinstates one idea that this reincarnated Snow may indeed be the bad-ass he needs to become in order to truly take control in the land of Westeros. Adding to my sense of sheer face-palm was the fact that within the episode this week, Arya’s story did actually begin to go somewhere with cheers heard across the globe when she was finally granted her eyesight back. Phew, no more of those vicious training schedules I hope. Snow and Arya; the two saviours of Westeros perhaps. Who’d thunk it?
Alongside updates across the region, Bran continued to dissect the legacy of his upbringing, resulting in a long staring contest during the battle between his neatly shaven and younger version of father Ned Stark and the notorious Arthur Dayne, ending in a classic fairy-tale notion that not all stories from your father may indeed actually be true. Father Christmas, take note. Kudos to Max von Sydow for not laughing when proclaiming he was just and old man in a tree, whilst one can also mourn the butchery of another dire wolf after Rickon was captured and brought to Winterfell. Although last week’s episode was indeed the flashiest and fist-punching episode of the season so far, “Oathbreaker” only continued the strong course of the story after a less-than perfect start almost two weeks ago. With plot-lines unravelling to a more pessimistic extent, Westeros may indeed see a shift in not only tone, but one in leadership and stature over the next seven weeks. I’ll be with you all the way.
Overall Score: 9/10
“Every One Of Us Is Poor and Powerless. And Yet Together, We Can Overthrow An Empire…”
Okay guys, I’m sorry. After disbanding all hope of resurrection in my review of last week’s Season Six premiere, it was only just that this week Game of Thrones succeeded in pulling off one of the least-shocking shocks in the history of the show. That’s right guys, Lord Snow is back, and hopefully, with a full-blooded vengeance, one that has the chance to change the course of the show’s branch into nothingness by sieging a full-on war against the roots of evil across Westeros with the magically restored bastard of Winterfell helming the charge. After months of fans hibernating into the reclusive nature of a depressive with the loss of their curly haired beefcake, surely now is the beginning of redemption, a reincarnation of hope that after six seasons, Westeros can finally change for the better. Speaking of evil, what on earth is wrong with the Westerosian psycho that is Ramsey Bolton? I mean it’s bad enough stabbing your own father in the heart, but letting the dogs lose on your mother-in-law and newly born brother? Another level dude, another level. Now I know that Roose Bolton was not exactly Mother Theresa, but to be killed off like that? Some would say karma, I say butchery.
Adding to the violence count this week was our first real glimpse of the newly zombified Mountain, dead-bodyguard to the illustrious Cersei, who took offence at the ramblings of a drunkard and swiftly bashed his head in rather too easily for any living being. Be scared. Being cut from the payroll too this week was Balon Greyjoy whose long lost brother tempted him to strike out and in return become fish food after falling off the least stable connecting bridge I’ve seen since Harrison Ford tried to escape the child capturers in Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom. I mean seriously guys, where did brother Greyjoy come from? Another example of a character popping up without prior warning and then doing something in order to look bad-ass. Strange. Elsewhere, Tyrion this week found out that sometimes childhood ambitions aren’t always the safest things to live out, with his confrontation with Dany’s dragons seemingly scaring the life out him, resulting in the episode’s funniest quip. Obviously Jon Snow’s resurrection will take the headlines with his return resulting in a superb episode, one that hopefully will shake the foundation of the show to its’ core.
Overall Score: 9/10
“Weak Men Will Never Rule Dorne Again…”
Ah Game of Thrones my old friend, how nice it is to finally see you after all this time. It’s been way too long indeed, and throughout the vast black hole of nothing since we witnessed the death of Lord Commander Jon Snow, there have been laughs-a-plenty at the ways in which people have created nonsensical and completely ludicrous solutions to keeping our beloved Jon alive. Face it people, he’s most certainly dead and we don’t need the latest Daily Mail shot of Kit Harrington’s hair-do to tell us differently. Maybe he just likes it greasy and curly? Completely disregarding and albeit ending any belief for fans of the show, the show-runners thought best to show how dead Lord Snow really was throughout the entirety of “The Red Woman”, the most lackadaisical Game of Thrones premiere I can remember without much really happening at all. Sure, some port got set on fire in Meereen and Daenerys was forced to live out her days as a hermit in some godforsaken Dothraki hole but on the whole, the juicy stuff was left with the dead in the Nights Watch. It’s okay Jon Snow, it could be much worse.
Speaking of worse, kudos to Maisie Williams for pulling off best-blindness of the year so far on TV, beating Matt Murdock in Netflix’s Daredevil to the punch, with her life continuously going downhill ranging from blind begging on a road to getting the crap knocked out of her by that girl from 2014’s Doctor Who Christmas Special. Poor Arya, hopefully things will get better, and the same goes for some of the story-lines, I mean come on, who cares about Dorne really? Aside from some decent bloodshed and a spike through the face, that particular storyline is to be fair, rather meh. Adding the fantasy element was both the sheer wonder of Sansa being saved by Brienne in the middle of nowhere as well as the show going full on The Shining, with the Red Woman looking deep into the Dorian Gray-esque mirror and revealing her true self. If that scene alone doesn’t give you the creeps, then nothing will. Game of Thrones is back people and that itself is something to applaud. Filler and no killer makes the first episode of the latest venture into Westeros something of a solid, rather than a spectacle, but the return of our favourite psychopathic killers is enough to keep the appetite wet.
Overall Score: 8/10
Within the space of the past two weeks or so, the gods of cinema declared it within out interest to allow Adam Sandler to release not one, but two films in which he takes leading roles. If you saw my review of the awfully dull The Cobbler last week, you would have seen that Sandler’s first attempt at some sort of cinematic redemption flopped entirely yet the much more publicised release of this weeks’ Pixels seemed always to be the one in which Sandler was set to be at least slightly praised for. What can be said about the Christoper Columbus directed Pixels then? Is it any good? Not really. Is it terrible? Not at all. Does it feature Adam Sandler as a burned out low-life with no sense of future or accomplishment who somehow ends up with the gorgeous supporting actress through a wacky turn of events? Of course. Sandler territory here we are.
Years after a space probe featuring classic arcade games from the early 1980’s is sent into space, weaponised versions of such games declare war on Earth, much to the horror of President Cooper (Kevin James) who enlists the help of childhood friend Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler), Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage) and Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad) to use their expert knowledge on arcade games to defeat the evil presence that has engulfed their planet. Sound cool right? And to be fair to Pixels, its’ well designed CGI and willingness to go full retro does play the cool card every time said arcade games are brought to life on-screen, but is ultimately let down by a farcical and cliched script, cringe-worthy acting, particularly, and strangely, from Dinklage of all people, and an adolescent desire to retire to age-old jokes about women and sex. Typical Sandler territory then. Although it may not be as mind-numbingly boring as The Cobbler, Pixels ultimately fails at bringing a rather cool premise to fruition and instead only accomplishes in being another cog on the wheel of Sandler’s embarrassing filmography.