Radio: You don’t care about your listeners

I see this write up not going down to well with you already.  

But give me a chance to extend on the title of this blog post, and hopefully come to see the highlights of asking ourselves this important question:  does your radio station care about me?

“Care” about you.  This a free public service that has one job.  To keep you happy. For the 20 or so minutes you might have to yourself in the morning, before your day goes full throttle. Maybe it’s as your daily passive companion while you kill time at the gym or while you’re in public transport. Perhaps it’s your provider of information and insight on current affairs and diverse conversations around thoughts and opinions, that is your day’s private indulgence?

That sounds wonderful, right? The perfect fit for the perfect medium.

But.  This means you ACTUALLY work for them.  The listener. You should be working for them.  An obvious statement. But do you?

Are stations around the world keeping the listener in mind?  All the time? That’s actually very difficult for any station to answer.  Even for the best of the best, of the best.

I watched the conference that hosted Coleman Insights last year in Hollywood, where they highlighted  “Outside Thinking: Flip The Script On How You Think About Your Radio Station”.  The insight of their presentation was around how much we overestimate the loyalty we get from listeners.  Just because we are here doing great radio, we assume we have an actively involved audience that is ready to do quite a lot for their radio station.  This isn’t true though.

We are, however in fact, still important.  To the listeners lifestyle, that is.  Coleman Insights stand by the statement that radio stations are forgetting about modern age technological living and mass diverse changes in people’s lives.  And even still. How we manage, construct, create and converse radio today – is still very important. So what do we do?

Let me repeat.  To their lifestyle.  Not to their lives. We have to adjust to their incredibly dynamic lifestyles.

It’s a big deal.  With massive duty.

We are in a very “trial, test, doom, and unknown” phase in radio.  We are starting to only get a real grasp on what fits where, how much it is of what needs to be out there and where it should be, where the onslaught of social media has REALLY robbed us of a market’s attention, and of course, the constantly changing ways we have to accommodate listeners lives in a consistently changing lifestyle landscape.

I know stations out there are trying their best.  In South Africa, some have opened “off air” channels that supply you with a 12-24 hour music service, some podcasts and even some prerecorded presenter links to personalise the experience.  It’s cool in theory. But I can’t expect that this is a reason why your numbers will be going up. It sounds like a costly, and ineffective way to remain relevant. Here in South Africa, we are definitely not close to that type of devotion yet.  Does it mean we don’t have to start somewhere? Absolutely not. We need to, however, not risk losing focus on what needs to happen right now, and stop chasing ten different goals like chickens without heads.

We had 702 currently release digital transmission with the Amazon Alexa.  This is again, very impressive and pretty bad-ass – but no one cares.  They really don’t. There are stations that are jumping several guns here, while the rest of the industry is struggling to stay on air, period.

Then there are some stations that are doing great things by keeping their focus on core fundamentals, and expanding opportunities to strengthen listener loyalty.

East Coast Radio did well with their 24-hour user playlist promotion, giving the listeners free reign over their music choice for a full day.  Simple. But the listeners are there and they love it. Reaching the “Top 10 most listened to” stations in South Africa comes with giving your listener what they need, which conveniently turns into what they want.

Kaya FM’s remodelled approach to how they objectively offer current affairs and diversity in their listeners lives has definitely grown their listenership loyalty.  And their YouTube views and podcast plays are proof of that. Being a necessary choice to what their listener wants to be a part of in a lifestyle decision.

iKwekwezi FM’s Pastor Maria Jacobs chose to visit inmates in Witbank for a revival ceremony recently (which you might be rolling your eyes over) – but they are a PBS station that is committing to servicing their public on a “touch, feel and see” basis.  Which station can say that their listeners are tuned in for an average of 3 and a half hours? iKwekwezi can.

So what are you doing wrong when all the TSL you can hone in for is an average of 15 – 25 min?

We are quick to judge the simpler approaches to regaining and regrowing a listenership in basic and “nonintellectual” ways.  But it works. Give people what they need, and it will be what they want.

Talk Radio Vitals

Ah, the exciting world of talk radio.  How exciting?  Well, in a world dominated by fake news and social media, it should get anyone’s goose going by knowing that you can tune into a show where factual information reigns supreme.  As much as music radio is the “end-goal” of fame and popularity to most radio presenters – talk radio has longevity.  Longevity when it comes to the everyday lifestyle of your listener.   This doesn’t take away any importance to what music radio offers their listeners.  It would be a cardinal sin to compare the two, so let’s not.

Back to talk radio.

We want to listen to talk shows and a host that is deeply infatuated by conversation.   Conversation that is relevant, informative, provocative and dynamic.  Current affairs will always be the first in your content choice, but make sure you don’t lose touch with what is happening around your listener’s street corner.  What are they worried about or aspiring for today?  Where are they spending their spare time and what are they doing?  What is happening in their world that the platform of radio can do to let them be heard?  Look at everything, from their personal lives to their shopping carts – and always develop content and shows that elevate what is, and what they want their lives to concede to.

Find out what is making their world tick and keep it going.

Here are some closing thoughts.

      • Being well-prepared.  In fact, borderline a case of being over-prepared.  Talk show hosts have to be ready for a number of things to go wrong – and rarely have no music break to save them.
      • Be sure that you have all your guests confirmed. Have a backup guest list just in case.
      • Be a conversation starter.  Let your links help the listener think on the topic at hand.  Give them a lot to think about. This can come from facts or opinions, what is trending or what might be unusual, but new thoughts on a subject matter.
      • Be inviting.  Listeners need to know that this is a welcomed platform for them to take part in, message and chat about with the show host and guests.
      • You can still be confident without being condescending.  Don’t alienate guests and listeners with an attitude that is poor.
      • Be respectful.  Yes. People will have different opinions than yours. Welcome them, and immerse the conversation further.

A Star is Born – Next Entertainment Review

THE LOWDOWN

Everyone who is anyone has watched “A Star is Born”.  Being a “cultured in training” humanoid, I of course, didn’t know that this was a remake, until the media around the film started to get bigger.  Now this didn’t make me go watch the original starring Janet Gaynor and Frederich March, but it definitely is now on my bucket list.  Also.  Lady Gaga, is all I have to say.

But for sake of giving you a proper review.  I suppose I will do more.  So here is the lowdown.

Seasoned musician Jackson Maine discovers – and falls in love with, struggling artist Ally.  She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer until Jackson coaxes her into the spotlight.  But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jackson fights an ongoing battle with internal demos (IMDB, 2019).

Sidebar. The Oscar buzz around this film is huge, with both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga both getting some Oscar nods for best actor and actress – and of course, the best song nomination going to the hauntingly beautiful “Shallow”.  My prediction: Best Original Song is a definite, but both Cooper and Gaga have their work cut out for them this year with absolutely impeccable performances by Christian Bale (Vice), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Glenn Close (The Wife) and Olivia Colman (The Favourite) – to name a few.

 

THE GOOD

What’s there to say about such brilliant film?  The performances are great.  The storyline is solid.  And the 2 hours film duration go by without you even gazing at the time (for me that’s a big deal, especially in a drama).  I must say firstly, that I was confused.  Do I like Lady Gaga? Do I like Lady Gaga without the extreme makeup and harmonic hairstyles?  Or is Gaga, actually known as Stefani Joanna Angelina Germanotta – the real deal when it comes to this kickass performance?  Most will come at me with pitchforks for bringing this, but isn’t this just a newer, cooler version of Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard? I had to say it.  Everyone was thinking it.

But, great news is, that it works.  Add the fact that Gaga does indeed perform incredibly well in this musical performance, Bradley Cooper is in top-form (and sings like a pro too!), and a special shout out to Sam Elliot – who just gives this film a bit more class and performance dignity that it already has way too much off.

 

THE BAD

What do you want me to say! It’s too difficult to marginally hair pick anything wrong with this film. So, I’ll let others do the dirty work for me.

  • A journalist from Independent UK called the film an “Unnecessary remake, with not much added by the performances”
  • Vice online said that the film is “two hours of anxiety punctuated by the brief ecstasy of Lady Gaga’s singing performance”
  • com had one problem: “Bradley Cooper is too handsome to play a coke-snorting has-been”
  • And Screenrant had a problem with the ending of the film, saying that this problem originated with 1937 version

 

A Star is Born is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD from Next Entertainment.

Mission Impossible: Fallout – Next Entertainment Review

 

THE LOWDOWN

Ethan Hunt and the IMF team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent a disaster of epic proportions. Arms dealer John Lark and a group of terrorists known as the Apostles plan to use three plutonium cores for a simultaneous nuclear attack on the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca, Saudi Arabia. When the weapons go missing, Ethan and his crew find themselves in a desperate race against time to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

 

THE GOOD

You know there are some celebrities that people always have some “go-to” statements when they hear their name?  Well Tom Cruise, for some reason, is part of that list.  Yes, he did eat his baby’s placenta.  Yes, he is (or was, or who really knows anymore) a promoter and frontman for Scientology.  And for some reason, more than that he is not taken seriously by the majority of the movie going public anymore.

There was, however, a time when we loved Tom Cruise.  I believe in my heart that we STILL love Tom Cruise.  He does no wrong on the big screen.  Granted.  Eyes Wide Shut was a bit much for pockets of people.  But.  I maintain. He does no wrong.  On screen and behind the scenes.

With all the Mission Impossible films including Fallout, he does his own stunts.  And yes, it is a credit to his age, and his commitment to his craft.  But also, they make for some really great action sequences. It is indeed, these sequences, that show us that this film pulls out all the stops.

In a time where big budget superhero films are dominating the box office – action films are a close second to put your money on.  But only the really, really good ones.  Like this one.  Mission Impossible: Fallout, is what some are calling, the best action film of 2018.

What I like about Fallout, is that yes, there are 4, maybe 5 or 6 Mission Impossible films out so far, and you can watch the latest in the franchise and still feel like you are not the spare wheel in-between a private joke.

Also.

Rebecca Ferguson and Vanessa Kirby add class and integrity to the film.  Their performances are subtle and superb at the very same time.

What more do you want?

Action (done right) – Check

Tom Cruise at his best – Check

Scenes that will win you over one act at a time – Check.

Fallout has got all the check boxes ticked.

 

THE BAD

Here’s the deal.  I really enjoyed this film.  So, I didn’t have much to complain about.  But.  I did do some scratching and got a feel for what others had a different opinion on when watching Fallout.

  • Some felt that the villains were not up to standard. Henry Cavill was a bit stock standard with little context to whom his character was and even less more around why he hates Ethan Hunt so much.  I have never really been a fan of Henry Cavill’s performances, so I wasn’t expecting more than 2-dimensional acting on his part.
  • On that note, should we ask ourselves “Has Alec Baldwin had his time on the big screen?” I mean, he has more than proven himself to be a great comedic talent on television – but it almost seems like reusing an old hat for an improper fit here.
  • Some have felt that the plot was rather thin – but in the film’s defence, you should watch all of the films to enjoy the franchise and what it has to offer.

 

RANDOM PERSONAL SIDEBAR

When I was around 5 or 6 years old, I watched Cocktail with my sisters and found Tom Cruise to be my personal hero.  For years, I demanded to have a haircut just like the one Tom Cruise would don and would endlessly comb it in his 80’s lady-killer style – thinking it would bring me closer to being Tom.  That. And we also have the exact prominent nose shape.  It was like it was meant to be.  A Tom Cruise doppelganger every time I looked into the mirror.  Ah. Memories.

 

You can get your copy of Mission Impossible: Fallout now on DVD and Blu-Ray from Next Entertainment

The Meg – Next Entertainment DVD Review

 

THE LOWDOWN

The Meg is a 2018 science fiction thriller film directed by Jon Turteltaub with a screenplay by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoeber, loosely based on the 1997 book Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten. The film stars Jason Statham, Li BingbingRainn Wilson, Ruby RoseWinston Chao, and Cliff Curtis. The film follows a group of scientists who encounter a 75-foot-long (23 m) megalodon shark while on a rescue mission at the floor of the Pacific Ocean.  And of course, many things go south from there on.

 

THE GOOD

I loved this film.  One, the teasers for this film were released around a year and half before it’s actual release date.  So, I had been waiting a really long time to grab my popcorn and watch The Meg.  I am a big monster film fan – so this was right up my alley.  On a quick point, that also made me super-sensitive to whether the film would be done right?  And The Meg delivered on all my expectations.  Jason Statham is great.  Watching him in all his films as an action-hero, and now as an action-adventurer, he always gives an audience what they want.  Men want to be him, and women (and men) just plain, want him.  The cast had a cool dynamic. The action scenes are positively terrifying (in a good way).  You will cheer when the massive Megalodon takes a bite out of, well, anything and everything, that it can.  And there are some great mass casted scenes that will put Jaws back on the shelf and to shame.

 

THE BAD

When a film is released on circuit I always read, listen and watch the public’s reaction to watching it via a lot of social media platforms and forums that I belong to on the net.  It gives me a better idea as to being able to provide a more accurate review of a film, and not have it be a one-sided view, as most critics do.  Even though I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film over and over again, a couple of things did come up.

The first is that those of you that didn’t watch The Meg or won’t watch it – have no interest in a monster film.  It’s definitely a preference.  My sister is one of those people.  Most of the time I can convince her to watch a film – but she has done nothing but flat out refuse to watch this film.  It has nothing to do with a fear or phobia, it’s just not her type of thing.

Another is that those that did watch the film, felt like it was a basic idea with no real innovation to movie making.  But again, I say this quite often with action adventure films.  Are any of them vying for best picture at the Oscars? No.  They are here for pure entertainment.  There are, of course, many, many films in this genre that perpetuate a terrible script – but this film isn’t one of them.  It’s fun. It IS ,indeed basic. But The Meg is free from “cringe worthy” moments.  And that’s a big plus in my opinion.

 

THE CHERRY ON TOP

The DVD release of The Meg includes a great bonus feature called “Chomp on This:  The Making of The Meg”.

Director John Turtletaub takes you behind the scenes in the making of the movie; why he chose to take on a monster film (something he has never done before); and what makes watching people on screen in absolute terror, so enthralling to an audience.

The feature also highlights how everyone, from the director to the stunt director – have nothing but great things to say about working with Jason Statham.   A credit to his name.  If it wasn’t true, I assume it would be just as easy to find a number of other things to put in the special features section.  It’s an honest running theme that he is a great guy!

And that does kind of justify a little as to why it is that we enjoy watching Statham in this, and all his other films.

Barrie M. Osborne, the films executive producer takes you on a play by play as to how the film was shot in the “middle” of the ocean with a skeleton crew and equipment.  This Is great to watch knowing we got some amazing scenes that Statham and the crew had to work well together to sell the believability of a giant prehistoric shark on the hunt for anything it can sink its teeth into it.  We also get to see how “water-acting” was accomplished and a glimpse into the swimming safety lessons that the cast had to take before getting into the water.

What is quite special to watch is child actor Sophia Cie with her experiences on the set and how she got along with the entire cast and crew.

 

The Meg is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray from Next Entertainment.

 

Matwetwe (Wizard) – An Interview with Kagiso Legadi (Director), Sibusiso Khwinana (lead) and Tebatso Mashishi (lead)

For immediate release:

Matwetwe is a coming of age adventure following Lefa and Papi, best friends and recent high school graduates, on the hustle of their young lives.  Over the course of an action packed New Year’s Eve in the iconic township of Atteridgeville, the boys try to score a huge deal, dodge a kingpin and his violent minions, get the girl and ultimately save their lives in this hilarious escapade.  (more at Nu Metro)

MY TWO CENTS

Without giving away any spoilers about the film – I will say that it does leave you thinking “I have not seen a film like this in a really long time, and I’m glad I did.” Interviewing the guys from Matwetwe was refreshing, and answers to how Black Coffee joined the project, it’s international success and how the leads were picked out of a crowd – are all answered in the podcast below.  Head out and watch Matwetwe releasing nationwide on the 25th January 2019.

I have carte blanche on what I put out compared to local television or radio stations, so I decided to give you the full, uncut and uncensored interview with all the guys.  Enjoy.

 

Black, White and Everything In Between – A South African Comic Podcast Series

A while ago I decided to test out recording my first podcast series.  Knowing that producing a passion project is the easiest when you have an actual passion for the subject material – I chose looking into different facets and people within the South African comic book industry.

Rules for podcasting is something we can definitely talk about in future posts, but I wanted to put out a spot of my first journey into series podcasting.  If I had to advise you on one thing, it would be to keep it simple and safe for your first go –  kinda like this 5 part series.  I sourced different people in the industry that would allow me some really interesting conversations around what fanboys and girls would love to hear.

As you advance, you should implement the core principles of storytelling, and take your time in a mass load of pre and post production.  But again.  This will be a conversation for a soon-to-be-published later date.

I just want to encourage everyone out there to tell their story.  Your life is important and interesting, and it should be shared with the world.  Find the pearls and make almanacs of your journey, in whatever you want to delve into.

This series has five parts.  And my guests were really cool.  An artist, and influencer, a comic store owner, a horror fiction author – and myself as a panelist at the 2018 ICON Comic and Games Convention.

Please feel free to ask ANY questions about podcasting in the comments section and I will be glad to help out.

But in the meantime.  Enjoy.

 

Black, White And Everything In Between –  A South African Comic – Jason Masters (Marvel/DC)

 

Go find out more about Jason Masters here

 

Black, White and Everything In Between – A South African Comic – Zaid Motola (Influencer and all out Awesome Fanboy)

 

Go watch Zaid’s YouTube Channel here

 

Black, White and Everything In Between – A South African Comic – The Rise of Central City Comics

 

Black, White and Everything In Between – A South African Comic – Jason Hes (Our Immaculate)

 

You can get your copy of “Our Immaculate” from Amazon here

 

Black, White and Everything In Between – A South African Comic – Chris Jordan (The Art of Conversation, ICON CGC 2018)

The 5 Most Bankable Broadcasters in South Africa 2018

Every year I reflect on the year we’ve had in radio. I listen to some of the best pieces put together that were thought provoking and are creative or well informed with insight. Pieces and radio that are moving the industry.  People and shows that are restoring or maintaining integrity to doing what we do 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  This isn’t to say that these broadcasters on this particular list are the best, but they are the 5 we can put our money on.  They are the 5 that if we have a message both in public service or within a commercially financial capacity – these 5 get the message across, and the people of South Africa listen.

This year, I added a poll on my social mediums to allow the public to weigh in to the conversation.  Who was their voice? Their person? Their show they felt a part of? And station they make a choice to listen to as part of their daily life and style?

So that was great.  Many people within respective communities who came through on pushing their local heroes and many others that definitely contributed to this year’s Top 5 list.

  1. Fresh

 

Fresh is a local powerhouse.  He is also synonymous with South African radio.  He has been making South African audiences feel right at home for decades.  But does this mean he deserves the nod?  Well, just ask the public.  For Metro FM audiences core market of 25 – 34, the Fresh breakfast keeps audiences captivated with a variety of relevant topics and guests.
If there was any reason that I would beg to differ, is that he doesn’t take enough risks.  Fresh keeps his content quite safe, but more so, stretches his features out for months on end with no real intuition for what a listening public might want to hear.  Nevertheless, Fresh is in demand, and here to stay.  At least for the foreseeable future.

 

  1. Joanne Joseph

The owner of Joanne Joseph Productions and Promotions, we know Joanne best from her almost 10 years as a news Anchor at eNews (eTV, ENCA).  But Joanne holds the coveted role of drive presenter at Talk Radio 702.  And as far as talk radio goes, she is radio gold.  Conducting herself with a decorum and poise that make an audience feel informed and at home, Joanne has stolen the hearts of the public.  Joanne has been in broadcasting for over 20 years and lends a large amount of integrity to the medium.  She is a perfect role model for all budding broadcasters that want to get into talk and actuality, and we salute her.

 

  1. Thando Thabete

5FM’s extremely popular host has been carving her own footing well enough over the past year to make people stand up and take notice.  She is also a television host, actress, brand ambassador and motivational speaker.  She sells Thabooty’s Underwear and Shapewear.  According to her site “Thando has mastered the art of conveying the desired message to consumers using various social and digital media platforms, by not just representing a brand but truly embodying the essence of what her clients stand for.”

And no one is arguing that fact.  Young girls across South Africa are hanging off her every word, and Thando is showing no signs of not giving the public what they want.

 

  1. Anele Mdoda

When will Anele slow down?  Never seems to be the answer.  So much backlash against the radio superstar has plagued here career from the get go, but Anele doesn’t stop.  And this is proof that the backlash is in the minority.  Anele has managed to make her breakfast show on 947 one of the most lucrative (if not THE most lucrative) show in the industry, continued to be a marvel of a mom, AND secured the solo spot of the successful SA version of The Voice.  No. Anele isn’t slowing down, and again, to phrase a cliché – you either hate her or you love her, but at the end of the day, Anele is on everyone’s radar.

 

  1. DJ AnkleTap

People want an explanation for number 1.  And here it is.  I work with and communicate with hundreds of the youth in this country yearly, and the name that shone most brightly in their eyes and praises was DJ AnkleTap from YFM.  Never mind putting YFM back on the map after a harrow some 2 – 3 year period at the station, which presented them with opportunities for new business models and reclaiming their OG fans plus a little more – AnkleTap is the voice of the youth.  And like it or not, the youth (as it always has) has been the road to success, influence, change and progress.  When AnkleTap speaks, the youth listen, and he deserves this year’s number 1 Most Bankable Broadcaster in South Africa.

Fan Film Favourites for 2018

With only two weeks left to the start of a polished and promising new year, it’s only fitting to have a quick look in the rear-view mirror of your 2018.   Once again, the blockbuster, big budget films reign supreme at the box office.  Props need to go to these films as they as the reason fans still pay an arm and a leg and a toe, to buy tickets to watch.  Big names, big stories, big on fun, just plain big.

So even though we had top notch films in offer from Hollywood – like I, Tonya; The Darkest Hour; Alpha, and The King – I want to look at the films that need a mention, because the fans say so.  And that’s what I asked them to do, say anything they wanted about the films they most enjoyed, and we’ve included them below.

You still have a couple more days to catch up on those you missed out on!  These films are the gospel for 2018, according to you.

 

Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom

 

The second in a 3-part sequel series for the original Jurassic Franchise, had Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reunited to, not get chased around an island by dinosaurs anymore, but rather around a mansion in rich American suburbia.  Fun, fun, and more fun as this film sets up what the original story possibly promised us all along?  A world where it will become man against terrible lizard?  We’ll have to wait for the 3 and final instalment.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a fun ride full of adventure – and scares – that builds on the mythology of Jurassic Park in very interesting ways.”

 Molly Freeman (Screen Rant)

“Everything you loved about the classic brought up to date with everything you love about modern action blockbusters.  Chris Pratt is a treasure!”

 @DarthZadyBun (insta)

 

Justice League

DC has stepped up to the plate to take the spotlight of years hogged by Marvel.  To be fair, DC had to establish a following and awareness for individual character franchises before taking on an ensemble story.   So far, we have decades of two major players in the DCU – Batman and Superman. So, the crossover prequel to JL was a no-brainer in Batman VS Superman.  The huge success of Wonder Woman allowed the producers to start their plot for Hollywood territory acquisition.  Now with the ground work laid this year, we are flocking to watch Jason Mamoa in Aquaman, and will be returning to cinemas soon for WW84.

JL was a fan favourite, with Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, and a resurrected Superman who all take on one of their most powerful foes, SteppenWolf as he arrives on the scene hell bent on guess what, global domination.

 

“The movie you have been waiting your entire life for! The greatest Superheroes in creation united on the big screen at last!”

 @DarthZadyBun (insta)

 

Mamma Mia – Here We Go Again

When the world heard that Cher and ABBA were going to come together and make beautiful music, things just felt right.  Like peanut butter and jelly, like bum and panty, like a shooting star and a wish, like Trump and delusion – this was a perfect marriage.

Having said that.  The tie in to Mamma Mia – Here We Go Again had us asking for nothing more.  Of course, they did a number on us with only a cameo by Cher, and Meryl Streep nothing more than a distant memory (quite literally).

So how did everyone feel watching this film?  Well.  Let’s just say, with ABBA, you can’t go wrong.  This time.  The “we” in “Here we go again” still brings back everyone from the first film, plus a couple more characters (Yes, it can be done).  Put on your sequence bell bottoms.  This one is a revival.

“It was fun. Enjoyed it for what it was. Recycled too many songs from the first one and ABBA has a massive library they could have chosen from, but it was still watchable. Missed Meryl Streep though.”

@LegendstoLife (Insta)

 

Black Panther

What does one say with one of the biggest films of all time?  Well, that it was, big.  And forking great.  I can’t even tell you what set Black Panther apart from the rest, but it just did.  A perfect blend of heart, talent, roaming eye-popping cinematography – and the spirit of “Wakanda Forever”.  It will make you wish you a had little vibranium in your life.

 

“Never felt so at home with a superhero movie. It was as if I could encounter this world by leaving my front door. It felt both fantastical and grounded.”

@LegendstoLife (Insta)

 

“The diversity that Black Panther brings to the MCU is refreshing. The female characters were effortlessly integrated into the narrative, without forcing the usual female character archetypes. Of course, I loved that the ruler of Wakanda had an all-female bodyguard team.”

@cassricorn (Insta, Twitter)

 

Ready Player One

One of the “not to be missed” films of this year.  Steven Spielberg knows how to make a fan happy.  In fact, he made millions of fans out there very happy with his revival of the 80’s and 90’s gaming nostalgia and culture that play in a wonderful and big world of the not so distant future.  Grab an avatar, popcorn and large coke and let the games (quite literally) begin.

“A wild nostalgia ride from start to finish with enough easter eggs to keep you occupied for days. Made me feel like a kid again.”

@LegendstoLife (Insta)

“One of the best feel good movies of the year that tugs on the heart strings of nostalgia and pop culture references.”

@cassricorn (Insta, Twitter)

 

The Greatest Showman

It’s actually hard to believe we already have been gifted with this gift to movies for a year already.  The Greatest Showman – where have you been all our lives?  With an anthem in “This is me”, restored faith in the musical genre, and one fun ride, this film will have going to watch it over and over again, while you listen to the soundtrack, over and over again.

“A lovely heart-warming movie. The soundtrack is absolutely spectacular and having big names like Hugh Jackman alongside Zac Efron working with emerging stars such as Zendaya is a great way to boost this amazing movie.”

@ThePhantomPuff (Insta)

 

“The Greatest Showman is a non-stop musical thrill-fest that becomes more enjoyable the more you watch it. Hugh Jackman not only mesmerized us with how magical theatre can be but hidden in the movie is a story about having heart, passion and the desire to never give up. As a bonus offering, the soundtrack entertains long after the end credits.  (Not sure if this works, but I really enjoyed The Greatest Showman, I don’t normally watch musicals)”

@awalicomics (Insta)

 

Deadpool 2

Ryan Reynolds pulls out all the stops, and a whole lot more in this much loved cinematic sequel to the, quite frankly, rather slow first film.  With a bunch of great cameos and humour that makes you uncomfortable in a good way, Deadpool 2 doesn’t take itself seriously and still manages to breech the tie in with the X-Men franchise and superhero extravaganza Hollywood has blown us up with over the past decade or so.   Domino will make your “Favourite Things Ever” list.  All I can say is my 3 favourite things about this movie are “Brad Pitt, Juggernaut, and the phrase ‘Prison Wallet”.

 

“Twice as funny, twice as epic twice as badass to the bone.  A rare triumph among sequels.”

 @DarthZadyBun (insta)

 

“A superhero or rather antihero movie that you don’t have to take too seriously. It’s funny, crude and clever in its execution.”

@cassricorn (Insta, Twitter)

 

“Ryan Reynolds, the gift that keeps on giving… See a doctor afterwards for a few tests just in case you caught something.”

@LegendstoLife (Insta)

 

Special Mentions:

And lastly, but certainly not least – are my two personal holy grails of the year.  Yes, I am a massive fanboy for comics and comic culture, but, Avengers – Infinity War and Venom will be forever euphoric moments in my personal film history.

Brining cinemas to their knees, 2018 will forever be remembered as the year Thanos came to deliver his vision for the universe.  Were you one to survive?  And have you already calendered May 2019 for Avengers End Game? Watching all our favourites come together in one film will never get old.

And then there is Venom.  A surprise hit that killed numbers at the box office and is still doing the rounds as fans across the globe flock to cinemas to watch it over and over again.  Can we hope for a Venom/Spidey team up in the future?  We certainly can hope.

 

That’s it!  Here is to Hollywood and all the stand out moments you gave us in 2018!

 

Creed II – Interview with Michael B. Jordan, Florian Munteanu and Director Steven Caple Jr.

Creed 2 sees the return of Adonis Creed taking on Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago.  Ivan killed Adonis’ father, Apollo Creed, 30 years ago. And in a showdown of epic proportions, we see Adonis and Ivan face off .

The film also sees the return of Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren reprising their original roles as Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago.
I had a chance to sit down and chat to the stars of the film, Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) and newcomer Florian Munteanu about what they learnt on set.

I was also joined by the film’s director, Steven Caple Jr. who tells us all about the this chapter in Rocky saga, and what he dreaded most about making this film.

Next Entertainment Review – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

THE LOWDOWN

This is the fifth instalment (but not likely last – they are planning a 3rd and final in the Jurassic World trilogy) in the American science fiction adventure film franchise Jurassic Park.  Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall are back at the producer’s helm, and it is directed by J.A. Bayona.  Set on the fictional and now iconic island of Isla Nublar, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing set out to rescue remaining dinosaurs before a volcanic eruption destroys it.  But what is a Jurassic Park film, if not for its plot twisted by the greed of human beings.  DNA collected by the remains of the Indominus Rex, leads to the genetically engineered and ferocious Indoraptor – which forms part of a line-up of captured dinos that are being auctioned off to the highest bidders.  We also see the return of our favourite Velociraptor, Blue, who teams up with our heroes to take on the bad guys and liberate this world from the Jurassic Era.

THE GOOD

We love Chris Pratt.  He is just a really, really likeable casted character in pretty much any film, and the franchise did well by securing him in this and the last film, Jurassic World.  So big plus on that front getting to watch Pratt in action again.  We also absolutely love that Jeff Goldblum cameos again as the voice of reason (or doom and gloom, whichever you prefer).  Say what you want about the Jurassic Park franchise – but it is enjoyable.  And I can be objective.  I hated Jurassic Park 2 – The Lost World.  Well, the part that had the T-Rex running through the streets of American suburbia like some cheap Japanese monster film rip off.

Look, I have been a fan since the 1990’s.  This is just another chapter in historic film making.  Watching the T-Rex in action (again) is homage to the original.  Sure.  I would have loved to see the amazing Laura Dern somewhere in the Jurassic World’s, but we can’t get everything we want.  On the dino front, the Indoraptor is positively perfect.  The hint to an emo-horror film is a big-time theme in the film, as it skulks around open bedrooms and chases little girls around mansion halls. And it’s fantastic.  I personally will be in the front row for Jurassic World III.  I am just hoping there will be mass havoc (as hinted to at the end of the film) across the 50 states of the Trump administration in the next film.

THE BAD

As a massive fan of the Jurassic Park franchise, to find out that most of the film takes place off the island was a bit of a let-down.  Having said that.  I can respect that the filmmakers did give us something slightly different to the original plot.  People go to an island.  People meet dinosaurs.  People get eaten by dinosaurs.  People get off said island.  End scene with T-Rex.

Don’t get me wrong.  People get eaten. If this isn’t your vibe, stay away from this film.  Also.  Just replace “island” with mansion in the rich burbs of America, and you have Fallen Kingdom.  It won’t win any Oscars, or much favour with critics, but then again, Fallen Kingdom doesn’t set out to promise audiences riveting unique movie going.  It’s supposed to just be fun.

THE CHERRY ON TOP

The DVD release has a ton of great extras you can enjoy.  Let’s have a look at some of my favs:

  • You get to see Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard on set behind the scenes. They have some amazing chemistry.  I love watching actors having fun and doing their thing, as you get to know them a little more personally.
  • The Kingdom Evolves: Steven Spielberg chats about his love for the franchise and why he kept the Jurassic faith.  Again, we also get confirmation that there will be a 3rd in the Jurassic World
  • Birth of the Indoraptor: One of my favourite dinos in the Jurassic Park films.  Genetically engineered danger wrapped in a beautifully homicidal package.  We get to see the concept art and creation of this majestic monster.
  • Death by Dino: How do you die by dino?  Find out in this segment as we see the actors get bloodied and beaten.
  • Malcolm’s Return: Jeff Goldblum is a highlight in our lives, and of course, in the film.  Ian Malcolm embodies the spirit of Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton.  We get a closer look at his involvement in this movie.

And a whole lot more.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray from Next Entertainment.

 

 

 

3 Things I learnt from Stan Lee

On the 12th of November 2018 we lost a legend in Stanley Martin Lieber (1922 – 2018), at the age of 95.  His first big break was found in authoring a two-page Captain America Issue 5, published in 1941, where before he started his career in 1939 as a 17-year-old errand boy at Timely Comics.

Known for his amazing work in the comic book industry, Stan Lee inspired millions of people around the world with his storytelling.  As a fan, and a person, it is hard to lose a goliath in the media industry – but I did learn a couple of things from the man, the legend, Stan Lee.

  1. Go against the grain

When Stan contributed to the creation of some of our most popular comic book characters, they were all pretty much based on doing something that other people weren’t.  An example is Spider-Man, an idea about a superhero teen with a ton of personal problems from being an orphan to the weight of being a superhero while trying to balance being a goof at love and not bringing harm to those closest to him.  An idea, which by the way, his boss hated. And said would never work.  An idea much like The Incredible Hulk, whom Stan felt was close to the story of Quasimodo, in that people wanted to cheer for the monster.  Something as simple as creating the Human Torch, Johnny Blaze, but giving him a sister in Susan (the Invisible Woman).  (Another odd fact is Stan created the ‘Thought Bubble’ to show that superheroes had inner feelings!)

Simple ideas maybe, but all against the grain of what was already working, and others said should stay the way they were, so that they could keep on working.

To quote Shuri from Black Panther “Just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved on”.

  1. Be an advocate for every part of your passion

You could say that when you look up Marvel in the dictionary, a picture of Stan Lee’s face will pop up.  But even though all things Marvel are associated with Stan, you will find Stan loved everything about his passion – the comic book and fiction industry.  As a sidebar fact, Stan’s boss told him to throw his Superman comics away, as they would be worth nothing one day.  Stan pushed everything, and that included his ‘competitors’.  From Superman to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s refreshing to see someone put their ego aside and support everything about the industry they contribute to and love so much.

  1. Live like you’re going to die young

Stan said that his mother believing in him, gave him all the confidence in the world.  (In fact, another random fact, she believed he would be president one day, and he felt that he was a bit of a disappointment working in the comic book industry).  But that changed quickly.  Living a full 95 years, Stan, married the girl of his dreams Joan Clayton Boocock (of which he did so only after a couple of dates in), served in the army and amongst many awards, won the National Medal of Arts, was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame, has his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was the winner of the Vanguard Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Visual Effects Society, and was named a Disney Legend.  He said ‘yes’ to following his dream, and he made it all happen, all the time.  He took every opportunity to live his life for the better.

Stan, you will be missed. Excelsior!