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Suicide Squad: A Review      

 

I did not like BvS. There were parts of it I liked, but as a whole, I found it disjointed and boring. So, it was with some concern that I went to watch Suicide Squad amidst bad reviews and stories of re-shoots by the execs. So, did they do a good job? Sort of.

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This review might contain a few spoilers, but nothing that hasn’t been seen in trailers or interviews, I hope. Certainly no huge story spoilers.

 

First things, first. Harley Quinn is the best thing in the film. Margot Robbie is brilliant, and every scene she’s in, she either steals from everyone else, or just goes to remind you how much more interesting she is than anyone else on screen. She’s funny (mostly), insane and liable to snap and kill everyone in a second. I’ve loved Harley since her creation for the Animated show many years ago, and this is a good version of that character.

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Other good things about the film include Will Smith, who does verge close to playing Will Smith on occasion, but is mostly excellent as Deadshot. He’s a favourite character of mine, so Will had a hard job of convincing me he was the person to play him.

 

Jared Leto is a good Joker. He’s not quite like any version of the character we’ve seen before; he’s a bit more physical for a start. But he is creepy as hell, and you really do get the impression that he would kill you for smiling the wrong way.

 

Many of you might have seen Batman in the trailer and Ben Afleck’s two minute cameo just reinforces how good Ben Afleck is at playing Batman.

 

Viola Davis is very good as Amanda Waller, a character I just can’t stand. She’s one of those people who does awful things and rarely gets her comeuppance, but she plays the character well.

 

Joel Kinnaman plays a good Rick Flag, a character that can best be described as bland. He’s just a bit meh, but Joel is perfectly okay in the role.

 

Killer Croc wasn’t all that interesting. He certainly didn’t come off at the sort of person that even Batman would be wary of. He had a few funny lines, but he was just there for the most part. Diablo is… well, he’s basically there to be latino. And a stereotypical latino too, he does very little for the majority of the film and he’s barely given any sort of character to work with. The idea of a violent man who wants nothing to do with violence is interesting when done right, and this wasn’t really done at all.

 

Unfortunately Katana, apart from looking cool, has nothing to do in this film. She cries once, and wants to kill a few people, but that’s it. There’s nothing there to make me care at all about her.

And then there’s the Enchantress. She might be the most boring character in the film, and not by a short margin either. Her constant jazz hands and shaky dance movements are weird and Cara’s delivery is best described as phoned in. She was the very definition of meh.

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And before I forget, Jai Courtney, the man who has never been remotely good in anything in a film (although he was okay in Jack Reacher), is good in this. If getting him to play a massive dick is what it takes to get the job done, then just have him play those roles forever. He’s actually very entertaining. Although the unicorn thing is unfortunate after Deadpool. Not sure if that was in there before or after Deadpool came out, but it’s not exactly a big character part or anything.

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The problem with the film isn’t the actors playing the parts, most of whom do a good to excellent job. The problem is a few things. Firstly the pacing. It’s just a mess. If this was meant to be an action-packed, summer blockbuster of a film, then why spend the first forty minutes introducing us to people, mostly in flashback form, for no reason.

 

We do not need to have flashbacks for every single character in the film. They take up too much time and they’re pointless. I don’t need to see Harley Quinn become Harley Quinn. That’s not a ten-minute scene that needs to happen. All it does is slow everything down so you can get a Joker scene.

 

Speaking of The Joker, he’s in it for 10 minutes. Now he’s very good in those 10 minutes but if you cut out all of the fluff, he’d have been in it for maybe 3. And at no point does he get a defining scene. There’s no pencil scene, or “wait till they get a load of me,” there’s just a constantly stream of creepiness and unease.

 

They should have made The Joker the main villain of the film. They could have had him go after Harley and all hell break loose while Harley realises that Joker is in fact an asshole. She tries to escape along with everyone else in the facility, and he goes after her. It would have been about a million times better than the actual villain, who seems to be an afterthought at best, and pointless at worst. And their plan makes no sense. Seriously, not one bit.

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So, the pacing is weird and the first 40 minutes constantly slow down so they can explain who the next person is, but then the last 40 minutes are weird too. The action in the final third of the film is best described as lackluster. It’s not awful, it’s entertaining, but at no point did I go, “wow, this is awesome.”

 

Also, it’s edited weirdly. There’s a scene where one of the squad is stabbed repeatedly. No explanation as to why, he just is. And the next scene he’s fine. It’s a problem throughout the film, as the editing is a bit all over the place.

 

So, it’s not great. It’s not dreadful either. Harley and Deadshot are brilliant when on screen, and it’s probably worth it for that, but it’s a weird film. It’s not got enough good action scenes to be a good action film, and it seems to want to be Deadpool quite badly, but is neither funny enough, nor has enough heart to pull it off.

 

It feels like a film where execs got involved and changed a bunch of stuff so that more things went bang, but then forgot to put the story in to make it all come together. In a year that gave us Civil War, this isn’t even close to being good enough. They can’t say it has too many characters, because Guaridan’s of the Galaxy managed to introduce a lot of characters and did it well.

 

I’d like to see a director’s cut, and I’d like the film to do well. There’s so much they could have done with these characters and it feels like maybe they weren’t allowed to. I’d say it’s a perfectly watchable, entertaining film, but it never goes above that, and for larger than life characters like the ones in Suicide Squad, that’s a real shame.

Star Trek Beyond Review

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I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Those were my Star Trek’s, much more so than the original Star Trek show. Saying that, Undiscovered Country is my favourite Star Trek film, with Wrath of Kahn and First Contact alongside it. I really liked the first re-boot film, I thought everyone in it was excellent and that it told a good story, while managing to be exciting. I was not such a big fan of Into Darkness, I found it used action instead of character, and the story was flimsy at best. Beyond corrects all of that and is probably one of the best Star Trek films.

First of all the story is simple and well done. I won’t go into spoilers, but the story works well, and moves along at an incredible pace. The 2 hr running time flies by.

The characters are all well-realised and work well together. Bones and Spock in particular are fantastic in this film, finally giving that relationship some much-needed time. Karl Urban has always been amazing as Bones, and this makes an even greater case for him being the perfect actor to play such an iconic part.

Chris Pine is a phenomenal Kirk. I’ve had no problems with his take on the character throughout the three films, and hope if there’s a fourth film that he continues to helm the ship. Zachary Quinto rounds out this trio, and this is his best film. There are some genuinely touching moments between him and those people he cares about, and there’s a wonderful tribute to Leonard Nimoy that really tugs at the heart-strings.

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The rest of the Federation cast is phenomenal too, although a special mention goes out to  Zoe Saldana, who I’ve always liked as Uhura, and John Cho who is just a badass Sulu. Lastly, there’s Anton Yelchin. It’s genuinely sad that he’ll never play Chekov again, as he does such a good job, and his passing will leave a huge hole in future movies.

Sofia Boutella is amazing as Jaylah. She’s a badass, smart warrior who gets some incredible action scenes, which as a whole as fantastic throughout the film. I hope she gets to come back for future films.

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I know the Enterprise gets destroyed a lot, but you’ll still be gob-smacked at what happens in the opening part of the film.

And that brings us to our villain. Most good Star Trek films have a good villain. When Krall is first introduced, played by Idris Elba, he comes off as a generic villain, albeit a good one, but throughout the film Elba is fantastic. And while I guessed the revelations about what was happening, they were no less shocking.

So, this is a well-acted, exciting, action-packed blockbuster of a movie. Are there any problems?

Well, Simon Pegg is still a bit hit and miss as Scotty, and the ending is a little far-fetched even for this franchise. Also, some of the background fx is too loud and you can’t hear what people are saying. It happened a lot when Scotty was in the engine room, and it was a bit weird. But other than that, it’s pretty much an all round excellent way to spend 2 hours of your time.

I know the trailers didn’t really inspire hope that it would be a good film, I know they left me cold, but the use of Beastie Boys Sabotage, is phenomenal in this film. Some might find it cheesy, and I guess it is a little, but I thought it worked brilliantly.

You like Star Trek, this is for you. You like big action-packed blockbusters, this is for you. You like your sci-fi with actual characters, this is for you. It’s the best Star Trek film since First Contact. I can’t wait to see it again.

 

Ghostbusters 2016 (Review)

 

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Okay, I’m going to start by saying that this isn’t as good as the original. It was never likely to be. The original Ghostbusters was such a lightning in a bottle kind of thing that it was unlikely to be matched. It’s also one of my favourite films of all time, so I was very apprehensive about this remake. And while it’s not as good as the original, it’s a hell of a lot better than Ghostbusters 2.

 

The main four women are all brilliant. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig are both on fine form, and Leslie Jones has a few brilliant lines, but Kate McKinnon steals the show. She’s phenomenally funny in this film.

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Speaking of show stealing, Chris Hemsworth is brilliant. He’s just fantastic every time he’s on screen as a bumbling, charming, complete and utter idiot.

 

The action scenes are well done, especially toward the end, and the film is genuinely funny in many places (including a bit where they read Youtube video comments). The cameo’s are all really fun, and the visual effects are pretty much spot on.

 

But it’s not perfect. It has one too many beats that are lifted from the original, which do nothing but remind you of how good the original is, and some of the jokes are just not very funny. But in a film where more hit and made me laugh than didn’t, I’ll call that a win.

 

Other problems include the mayor and his aide, who were just annoying, and the main villain, who didn’t seem all that dangerous at any point. Gozer was hardly given a great character, but the build up to her reveal was excellent. Here, it’s less interesting, and feels like they could have done with an extra 20 mins or so.

 

I assume many of you have read those hate-filled reviews and posts on IMBD or Facebook, or maybe even Twitter. Posts by usually angry white men who hate the fact that this film exists, that women are allowed to be the main focus of a Ghostbusters movie. Those people are idiots. And frankly, it’s their loss. This film isn’t anti-man, or militant feminist, or anything else people have said.

 

But they’re small complains in the scheme of things. If you like the Ghostbusters, you’ll like this, if you like action-packed, funny films, you’ll like this. And, one last thing; the cinema was full of young women and girls. And judging from the clapping and cheering, they loved it. This is their Ghostbusters, and it’s a fine film.

 

I hope they get a sequel, I hope they get that chance, because if they can come out from under the shadow of the original a bit, I think they could make a phenomenal film. As it stands, they made a really good one.

Films That Disappointed You

I watched Dracula Untold the other day. It was… not good. if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s meant to be a retelling of Dracula’s early days. There are a few good things.

1. Charles Dance

2. Luke Evans

If it was just those two, or even just a story about Charles Dance’s character, the film would have been 1000 times more interesting. But as it stands, the action, while interesting, was pointless, the characters all had the IQ of cheese and were basically there to stand around and die, and the pacing was all over the place. It was a huge disappointment.

This got me thinking about the films that have disappointed me the most over the years. And I came up with 3 that stuck in my mind.

3. Suckerpunch.

I'd never thought that a film about ninja badasses fighting giant Samurai's and Nazi zombies would be dull. Then Suckerpunch happened.

I’d never thought that a film about ninja badasses fighting giant Samurai’s and Nazi zombies would be dull. Then Suckerpunch happened.

2. The Blair Witch Project

It's not scary, it's full of stupid people doing stupid things. I don't think I've ever wanted characters in a horror movie to die quicker.

It’s not scary, it’s full of stupid people doing stupid things. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted characters in a horror movie to die quicker.

1. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Darth Maul was in it for 5 minutes. He was the best thing in the entire movie. By a very, very big margin.

Darth Maul was in it for 5 minutes. He was the best thing in the entire movie. By a very, very big margin.

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So, what films disappointed you the most?

TMNT a Public Service

So, I watched the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film yesterday. Ordinarily I’d just write it off as another crappy Bay-esque movie (he didn’t actually direct it, but he did produce it), and move on.

 

This time I can’t do that. I can’t let others go through the 1 hr 45 mins I went through. So, here’s my little review.

 

I grew up watching the TMNT cartoon in the 90s. It was brilliant to my rose-tinted eyes. The other day I watched the original 1990s move with my youngest daughter, and apart from having aged terribly (MC Hammer, anyone) it’s still good fun. The current TMNT cartoon on Nickelodeon is great. The new film was not.

 

It was an easier time. Mostly because I was about 11.

It was an easier time. Mostly because I was about 11.

 

It did get some things right. I’ll list them. There are spoilers here.

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The scene in the lift at the end was funny.

The part where they’re all off their minds on adrenaline was also pretty funny.

Some of the action was okay.

The score was great.

The voice work was not always dreadful.

 

And now the wrong.

Megan Fox is awful in everything she’s ever in. This is not an exception to that rule.

Will Arnett is less ‘being cute and trying to get Megan to like him,’ and more ‘sexual deviant.’

William Fichtner is far too good to be given the stupid that he had to work with.

Most of the action was too fast, the camera too close, so everything zips along, but is hard to keep track of.

There are parts where it’s too dark to see what’s happening clearly (especially with the above problem).

Michelangelo wasn’t funny, but was incredibly annoying.

The plot makes no sense. The badguy wants to get rich. He’s already rich. It’s also needlessly complicated.

The Shredder is awful. It doesn’t look like he can kick ass, he looks like the something the original Shredder would have looked at and said, ‘I’m not wearing that shit’,

This picture really doesn't do the stupid justice.

This picture really doesn’t do the stupid justice.

The cgi isn’t good enough.

The doctors all act shocked when the bad guy kills someone, but they’re working for the badguy making something bad to kill a lot of people. That makes no sense at all.

It was stupid to make the turtles April’s old pets.

It was stupid to have Splinter teach himself martial arts from a book he found until he became a master.

The film takes itself far too seriously, and then it doesn’t, and then it does again, and then… you get the idea.

 

There’s more, but my head hurts.

 

Also in the comic Splinter is an utter badass.

Also in the comic Splinter is an utter badass.

The TMNT comics currently out by IDW are wonderful. They’re dark and action-packed, but still full of fun. They have heartfelt, character driven parts where characters actually learn and grow. Go read them, seriously you won’t regret it.

I think my biggest problem with the TMNT film is that it could have been great, but it’s not. The excuse, ‘it’s made for kids’, is crap. This isn’t even a film my kids liked, they’d have preferred a 90 minute version of the cartoon. Hell, they preferred the CGI Turtles movie from around 2007.

The Nick cartoon is good fun.

The Nick cartoon is good fun.

As silly as the notion of Ninja Turtles might sound, the comics prove that the idea can be done well. It’s a shame that this film is no where near capable of doing that.

On the plus side, it’s not worse than Transformers 4… but then neither is being savaged by a badger.

Guardians of the Galaxy – my review

I’ve just gotten back from seeing Guardians of the Galaxy and thought I’d leave a quick review. I love the GotG comics, especially the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning version of the comic, so I’ve been looking forward to this for some time.

 

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So here’s my review of the film.

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IT.IS.AWESOME.

It’s not only one of the best films I’ve seen this year, it’s probably the best of all the Marvel comic book films. Seriously, go watch it.

 

Dracula: Unsure

I saw the trailer for Dracula: Untold yesterday. I’d seen people on Facebook making happy faces at it for a few weeks now, but shrugged it off as yet another depressingly dreadful vampire movie.

 

The trailer is actually pretty good. A nice mix of vampire and non vampire Dracula. The big draw here is Luke Evans.

 

If you’ve never seen No One Lives, it’s a fun horror film, where Luke plays… well, basically the nastiest, most horrific badass.

He’s an unrelenting villain who enjoys creating terror and fear. It’s not the greatest horror film of all time, but it’s an entertaining 90 minutes. But more importantly Luke steals the show. And that lends me hope that he’s the perfect fit for Dracula.

I hope the new Dracula film is good, I really do. I love vampires when they’re scary. And I’d rather see more like Angelus, or the Dracula of old, than those that sparkle when it gets sunny out.

Film Thoughts

As a sort of sequel to my blog post about trailers a few weeks ago, here’s one about actual movies I’ve seen!

To be fair it’s only 3, but that’s 3 more than I usually get to watch in a week, so here you go.

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The first CA film was merely okay. Chris Evans was pretty good in the role, but it took far too long to do anything and when the action started it wasn’t really that interesting. The sequel changed all of that by being action from beginning to end, with a much more interesting story. And it was fantastic for it. It helped that the characters in the film are all great, with Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L Jackson and Anthony Mackie all getting some decent screen time. Sebastian Stan is great as The Winter Soldier himself, and the interplay between him and Cap sets up things nicely for a third movie.

It’s certainly up there with the best Marvel movies done so far, probably just behind Avengers and Iron Man 1. A really great 2 hours. Go watch it.

 

Considering how important Falcon is to the whole movie, there’s not a single poster I could find with him on it. So, here’s Black Widow.

47 Ronin.

I wanted to love this film. I love period Japanese movies, I love samurai and I love magic. Put  the three together and it should be fantastic. It wasn’t.

To be fair, the actors did a mostly good job with what they had, but it was just so wishy-washy. If they wanted to do a full-blown fantasy epic, they failed, and if they wanted to do a violent samurai movie, they failed at that. For a film with so much sword fighting, there was barely any blood, which I found very odd.

The fantasy parts, while interesting to begin with, were never really embraced into the story and Keanu’s character, who I guess was meant to be the big hero, never really did anything interesting. Also, the bad guy never really came across as the big evil everyone said he is and the witch was… well, she was dull.

That said, it wasn’t terrible. I watched the whole 2 hours (although the love story was needlessly shoehorned into the story) and when the action started it usually looked pretty good. I just wish they’d picked one or the other and gone with it. A real shame and a waste of some excellent source material and interesting characters.

The whole time I was watching it, I just kept thinking, “I should put Ninja Scroll on again.”

 

Of these 3 characters, 1 is in it for all of 10 seconds. No idea why he’s even on the poster, except because he looks cool.

The Hobbit 2

A confession to make; I like the first Hobbit film. It’s a bit overly long, and the singing Goblin King is annoying, but Sir Ian McKellen was awesome as always and Richard Armitage was excellent as Thorin.

But despite my enjoying the first, the second film is better in every way. It’s paced better, it’s more exciting and Benedict Cumberbatch is awesome as Smaug. Luke Evans as Bard is a great addition and the whole films 2+ hours time flies by.

I don’t mind the addition of Legolas, and the barrel escape was wonderful to watch and a lot of fun too. The only problem I had was with the love story between Tauriel and Kili, which came across as pointless and forced (although I like both characters).

Looking forward to part 3.

 

The film looks great, as you’d expect. Except the spiders. They’re horrible.

So, 2 films I recommend as they’re great and 1 that probably had far too much interference from studios to be anything other than okay. That said, if you want to watch a great Keanu film, go see Man of Tai Chi, which is brilliant and Keanu places a pretty good bad-guy.

Until next time, have a good week.

Trailers

Had a bit of a new Trailer watch last night and I figured what else is a blog for if I can’t share my opinions!

TMNT: Megan Fox being awful and it looks like it’s either going to be good fun or a train wreck. Now I like early Bay films (The Rock and Bad Boys), but since then they’ve all been dreadful. Still, he’s not directing so there’s a glimmer of hope.

If the movie sucks at least the new cartoon is good fun. What, am I saying, ‘if’, of course it’s gonna suck.

Lucy: I’m happy to admit I do like Scarlet Johansson, and Luc Besson’s films are usually, at the very least, entertaining. But saying that, the whole using more than 10% of your brain has been played out a bit. Still it looked pretty good and something I’d probably enjoy.

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Joe: Nic Cage in acting shock! It reminds me a little of the sublime, A History of Violence, and when Nic is on, he’s very much on.

And if nothing else, that is a masterful beard.

 

Jinn: I have no idea what the hell happened in this trailer. Bright colours and noise. Looks dull.

Oh there was a car in it, and the car looked pretty good. There, that’s the end of what I remember.

Jupiter Ascending: Okay confession time, I like Channing Tatum. He seems like a nice guy and he’s been in a few films I’ve enjoyed, but nothing spectacular. I don’t see this changing that view. It looks like an okay science-fiction/action film with Sean Bean, who I’m sure will die at some point in heroic fashion.

I’m guessing he dies with fighting a hoard of aliens, cup of tea in one hand and broken bottle in the other. As a Yorkshire-man should.

 

Edge of Tomorrow: It’s a Tom Cruise film based on a Japanese novel. Interesting premise, where a soldier dies in battle and has to constantly relive the same battle over and over in an attempt to win and get better, but the trailer didn’t do it any favours.

Brick Mansions: Paul Walkers last completed film is a remake of the incredible French film, District 13. This looks identical to the original, with some of the same cast returning. Should be good fun.

Hercules: Not the shambolic movie that came out a few months ago, this one has Dwayne Johnson in it. I’ve always liked The Rock in action films, so I can see this being a great watch.

If nothing else, he damn well looks the part. That lion he’s wearing is probably the happiest it’s ever been. You know, if it weren’t dead.

The Raid 2: If you haven’t seen The Raid, stop whatever you’re doing and go watch it. It’s the best action film for the last… well, since Die Hard. After 20 minutes of set up, it’s then an incredible 90 minutes of brutal, unrelenting action that will have you glued to your seat. And the sequel looks like being even more insane. I can’t wait to see this.

In any Asian action film, when the above part happens, you just know the following fight is going to be amazing.

Moms’ Night Out: Yeah, I know, I was just curious. Trailer raised a chuckle until it got to the bit where the dads are left alone with their kids and they don’t cope. Because as we all know, dad’s are fucking useless. Total horseshit.

So, there you go all the trailers I watched. Some look good, some look bad. But what I can take from all of it is that The Raid 2 will be full of awesome, so I’m happy.

Update 3.3

There’s going to be a bit of a re-occurring theme going on with this and the previous posts, but I’m almost done with this draft of the book. Once that’s done I have a bunch of edits to do, so unfortunately I don’t have a release date for you just yet. But I do appreciate everyone being very patient.

I also know that I said there was going to be a competition to win something cool, and there will be, but I’m sort of waiting on a few things before I go ahead with it, so as soon as I get the okay, you will all know what you can win and how.

This has nothing to do with what you can win. Nope, not even slightly. I just really like the picture.

In the meantime, if you have any interest in winning something very cool, read Born of Hatred. The question I’m going to ask will come from that book.

I know it’s all very vague, but I promise all will become clear in the near future.

 

Other news:

 

I saw the new Star Trek last week and it’s fantastic. If you have any interest in Star Trek or the first movie in the re-boot, go see the new film, you won’t be disappointed. I was even impressed with the 3D, something I don’t normally care about even slightly.

 

 

These three men are so good in the film.

I took Mim (my eldest daughter) to go see The Croods at the weekend too. It was good fun, although incredibly formulaic; new younger person intrudes in the family, causing friction with dad who was in charge. Everyone in the family begins to love him, except dad, which leads to a clash between the two. They make up and work together. Despite that it was funny, and silly and made me laugh a few times, which is the important thing when it comes to kids movies.

And then next week it’s Superman. Which had better not suck, it’s been far too long since a good Superman film (a non animated one).

Please be more like Dark Knight  and not Dark Knight Rises.

Also, finally got round to watching Archer Season 4. I love Archer, which if you haven’t seen before, shame on you. It’s probably the funniest TV show on at the moment, although it is definitely not for kids.

Danger Zone!!!!!

Speaking of TV, Michael J Fox is back with a TV show, the trailer of which looks awesome. I’m glad to see him back on TV after so long, Spin City was one of my favourite comedy shows when it was on.

 

So, that’s it from me for another week. I hope you all gave a good weekend. I’m off to do some more writing.