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Archive | July 2017

Castlevania review

By:Justin Hopkins 

 Thirty one years ago, a video game came out that stamped its mark in history.  Creating an entire genre and set the bar to come. That of course being Castlevania. Decades later, and multiple follow up games later, set its sight on new ground, on Netflix, and what a fantastic way to make a start.

 The show starts off with Lisa, entering Dracula’s Castle. Seeking him out to learn Medicine. Her love for humanity and bravery before him, won him over.  Agreeing to teach her,  while also learning himself.  Jumping ahead, now married,  the Church had arrest her for witchcraft, and sentenced to burn at the stake,  and Dracula return to late to save her. In a rage,  he gave them one year before he would return, to build his army, and when he did, found them celebrating her demise. Which he released his monsters upon all of the villages of Willachia. Starting with the fall of Tagoviste. Going from there you meet the protagonist, the last surviving Son of Belmont Family, Trevor Belmont. Who has choosen to ignore the evil, due to his family being excommunicated and disgraced by the Church. Until he saved the life of the Elder Speaker of the Codrii Speakers, in Gretsit.

 From there his adventure begins. Finding his path through saving Sypha, threats from the Church, and heartfelt Speakers. Learning the importance of choices, and the responsibility of being a Belmont. Concluding in an action pact conclusion and discovery of the Sleeping Solider.

 The writing and animation/artist style was stellar. Writers building up the tension and turmoil in everyone involved.  Creating paranoia and sense on danger. Believing an altercation was just a blink away. While Trevor’s dark humor lightened the mood when needed.  Feeling the pain and rage of Dracula, and rooting on Trevor throughout. 

 The artistry and animation went all out. Lighting was dim and gloomy. Creating a beautiful ancient, Gothic World that suited Castlevania.  Spending enough time and attention on Dracula’s; armies,  Cyclops, and various facial images to make them scary and intimidating. Loading it with blood and gore to spare. Fights all felt different and unique depending on the combatants.  Which each of them fun and exciting in their own way. 

 Voice cast was spot on.  Likes of Richard Armiyage playing Trevor, Graham McTovish as Dracula, Alejandra Reynoso Sypha, and Tony Amendola as The Elder speaker. All came off with emotional depth and giving their characters their own personality to connect with the viewers.  Their speeches were intense and sucked you right in. Didn’t see much of Lisa Tepes, but the conviction and love she displayed made her death that much more depressing, and Matt Frewer made you despise and long to see the Bishops comeuppance.

 By the time the fourth and final episode of the season ends. Which was the saddest part, being that the entire season is over in 94 minutes, and really just starting to roll, leaves you longing for me, and so excited to see that Season 2 has already been green lit,  because Castlevania has alot to offer, and  alot of promise going forward.  

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First half of 2017 MLB Season

By: Justin Hopkins 

 The second half of Major League Baseball is underway. All-star Voting set to wind up tomorrow night, and the always exciting Trade Deadline is right around the bend, and the first half has been pretty exciting and surprising as it is. Balls leaving the part at record pace, teams they were sure bets are withering, and shockers are running away with divisions.  No better place to begin then the American League, and the biggest surprise team, the Houston Astros.

 They are sitting at 57-27, 16 games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels. Beating teams in every way imaginable, and no matter how much they fall behind.  Have shown immense resilience and continually come back.  If they stay hot can make a run at the wins record,  and even if they cool off, going to be hard to see them not play in the playoffs. The East and Central Divisions are a little tighter. Red Sox leading the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, and Minnesota Twins breathing down each others necks. The thing to watch though, is the Wild Card, as every team is still alive.  Separated by 7.5 Games.  One team makes all the right calls during the trade deadline, hot at the right time, or luck can get them a coveted spot, or come down to a one game match.

 Of course,  can’t leave the American League without talking New York Yankees’ Rookie, slugger; Aaron Judge. Blasting out his 29th Homerun, just today.  Tying the Yankee rookie record set by Joe DiMaggio. It’s not so much if he’ll break the league’s Rookie record at the point,  but how high is he going to set the bar.

 On the flip side,  the National League’s Wild Card may not be as close,  but the division sort of our. Mainly when it comes to the Central.  Washington is building on their lead over Atlanta, and the Dodgers are maintaining a lead over the Diamondbacks. The  defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs are struggling at five hundred.  After several leader changes.  The Milwaukee Brewers are seizing the opening and are holding on to first. Thanks to most of the rooster getting in on the hitting, and Eric Thames big bat.

 Before I go into closing, should mention the hometown team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Miserable record thanks to bad fielding, woeful bullpin, and lack of run support.  One silver line,  is the red hot Center Fielder; Andrew McCutchen. Batting over four hudred, leading the team in batting average, RBIs, and Homeruns.  All eyes are going to be on him,  as he may very well be a prize during Trade Deadline.

 The first half is in the books, with so much going forward.  A tight Wild Card Race involving the American League, Homerun Records on the verge of falling, and teams no-one saw coming, shining bright.  Making the second half a very exciting time. 

When it’s truly time

By Paul Anthony

When does one retire from a film role? This year we had Hugh Jackman star in the last film as Wolverine when Logan was released back in March. He made the role iconic and play that character for 17 years and several films, but as one actor retired from a Marvel character we must wonder when will the next one retire from his role. That actor is none other than Robert Downey Jr. Who was cast as Iron Man back into 2008 and quickly became the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but we all know the time is coming to hang up the suit.

Downey was recently asked this question and he’s answered was a cryptic, his responds was when it becomes embarrassing. Now this answer doesn’t say much but it does say that he wants to go out on top. Something Jackman also did. However, we do know things will be different after the fourth avengers because Marvel will be starting with a clean slate for their next phase, so this should give us an idea that Tony Stark won’t be around after that. In so many words it looks like 2020 is when Downey going to retired from playing the character.

Iron Man 4 won’t be his swan song. I know many fans keep wanting a fourth film, but Marvel has yet to do a part four in a solo film series meaning don’t hold your breath waiting, he’s swan song will most likely will be Avengers 4. Now if 2020 is the year he retires from Iron Man than he will have played the character for 12 years which would put in second to only Jackman with playing one character.

Can it be sooner? Honestly no and here is why, they are already filming their scenes for Avengers 3 and that film isn’t set to be released 2018. I doubt they will kill the face of the franchise early in what will be an epic war, so yes, I see him in the fourth film with a big role.

I know the MCU will look different without him in it. NO doubt he truly became the face of the franchise and carried it on his back, they gave him a chance to redeem his career and he kept loyal to them and agreed to extend his contract film after film. Disney loved this loyalty and they rewarded him big time. He currently makes around 75 million for each film he is in and that’s no cameos.

More Stronger Females Please

By Paul Anthony

Drama, Drama even with the film nearing its home release, this film seemed to have increasingly drama around it and that film is Fast 8 or also known as The Fate of the Furious. We had the Rock calling out a certain Male star during the production and now we have Michelle Rodriguez telling the franchise well the fans of the franchise that if females don’t have a bigger role in the films, she will leave the series, does she have a good point? Let’s be honest the films in this series the females don’t do much for the plots for the films besides the character Letty which Rodriguez plays the females are truly forgotten.

Now many people thought she was taking a shot at Vin Diesel, who serves as an executive producer, but she then cleared it up that is wasn’t a shot at Vin and even said how he is a supporter of strong women. Now I don’t dispute that he made support the strong woman movement but I don’t think he truly wants in this franchise. Make no mistake about it, this Vin franchise and in the end, he gets the last word. Throughout the series there been plenty of directors and writers and so forth but the main consistent part both on and off camera has been Vin Diesel.

The series has had female characters however up until this film they been basically one and done or barely pushed the plot but Rodriguez comments come after the film had its biggest villain who just happened to be a female.

Now I am not saying she is wrong but her timing is wrong. Or maybe she knows something about the franchise that we and this might be the time in her eyes base off the information she has because the film in the franchise is just around the corner and production is just months away from starting.

I think the film did good with having a strong female as the villain but I agree with Rodriguez that these female’s roles must stay consistent and strong and have push more plots but there are currently only two more films in the series to do that.

Will the drama ever ends though? Since Paul died it seems like this franchise faces more issues among each other. I would like to see more of a stronger presence from the females besides the eye candy roles or simply the love interest roles. Fast 8 was a good start but do you agree with Rodriguez comments?

The Last Knight disappointment

By Paul Anthony

 

When does a movie franchise runs its course? When do you the fans say you done? Or when is too much exactly that? Too much. Transformers: the last knight opened last week and like the rest of the films in the series, it received poor reviews, which is nothing new because the money was always there, most of the time the films in this series made its budget within opening weekend. However, this wasn’t the case and now we have to wonder, are the fans giving up on the Transformers film series. In this blog, I am going to discuss why this movie isn’t living up to the rest of the films.

Same old, same old, seems like there isn’t much to say about theses film in sense of storytelling. Transformers came to earth in the past, good guys fight the bad guys because bad guys want to bring their planet to earth. We are five films deep in this franchise and plots are seemed to sound like this, and that’s the problem, we are tired of it. Bay seems to know very little about storytelling, he’s known for he’s action sequences, hands down he is the best in the business, but he is five films deep in this series and his style is getting old, lucky he is supposed to be his last film, which we will talk about that in a moment.

Sure, they add a few little twists here in there in these plots but the problem is they give it away in the trailers, here’s a spoiler Prime turns on he’s Autobots but we know that because the trailers showed this, had they kept this hushed, this would be a good kept secret and could have drawn more people in.

Finally, maybe people are listening to the critic because this film was the lowest scored film of the five films, the keep humor and the eye candy roles and no real writing finally caught up to the fans. I will say there is hope for this franchise.

For starters, Bay is leaving or at least he says he is which could be good news for the franchise. His films make money, no one can deny that but the problem, he’s not that good as a director overall, he focuses on the action but nothing else. With him leaving, this could be a fresh for a new director to correct his mistakes and get rid of the potty humor, the eye candy roles and the week storytelling. Please focus on other Transformer’s storyline, there plenty of other stories besides Prime vs Megatron.

I do believe in the end that this franchise can be saved, if they decide to make a part six. Yes the rumors are out there that they have a story arc planned out to go through 7 films but nothing has been actually confirmed as of right now, they may wait until they see the final numbers for The last Knight, But do you think they have any hope of saving this franchise?

Movie trailers

By: Justin Hopkins

This past week had two trailers debut; for Cult Of Chucky and Jumanji 2 Welcome to the Jungle. While these two movie couldn’t be further apart from one another, they each give something to be excited over.  So lets get started with the sixth installment of Child’s Play.

While Chucky took a bad hit with the did that was Seed of Chucky. It was great to see it rebound nicely with the straight to DVD Curse of Chucky.  Taking him back to his roots and making him scary and dark again.  So much so, that I’m surprised to see it going that route again with this one. Especially when they have Curse star, Fiona Dourif, the voice of Chucky Brad Dourif, and returning as a main character for the first time since Child’s Play 2 Alex Vincent, playing Andy. It was a great trailer that gave allot to be excited over.

Jumanji 2 comes to the table with a fair amount of controversy. Sequel to Robin Williams beloved movie. Starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Karen Gillain, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black. This movie has alot to offer, trailer made it look pretty entertaining, and loved the update from Board Game to Video Game. Issue is it may not be good enough. Needing to show more to win over people upset over the sequel being  made and the stiff competition it’ll face when it comes out in the form of Star Wars.

In my opinion, Cult of Chucky has me way more exciting.  The returning cast and crew. Momentum it received from Curse of Chucky. Has me pumped for it’s October 3rds release. Check out the trailers on our Facebook page https://Facebook.com/SmashWritingBlog1112/ and let us know your opinion.