Monday, 18 August 2014

OJ's Top 5 TV Series That Lasted 1 Season

You know the story, a new television show starts, it looks pretty good. You start watching and half-way through you're really getting into it, and then just a few days later it's announced that it has been cancelled, usually due to low ratings. Well, to celebrate the two year anniversary of The OJ Reviews, here is my list of the top 5 TV series I enjoyed watching until getting brutally cancelled after just one season.

5. Alacatraz

2012's Alcatraz starred Sam Neill (from Jurassic Park) and some other people; the basic premise was that in the 60s all the prisoners in Alcatraz just disappeared, now in the 21st century they've started reappearing and committing crimes. A detective woman and some author start to solve the mystery. From what I remember it wasn't that bad, the actors were your basic television acting but the story, the start off with, was compelling; it was very episodic with your inmate-of-the-week style pattern but with a loose story-arc or two I watched week after week. Now in the end it got cancelled which unfortunately made for a rushed ending and bit of a lame finale. If they had carried on it could have gotten better as it had potential. 

4. Terra Nova

Famous for being the"most expensive television show ever made" Terra Nova came to us in 2011 and was about a colony of humans from the far future who had travelled back in time to the age of the dinosaurs due to there being nowhere to live. I really liked Terra Nova, the concept was cool, the world was interesting, the overall story-arc was a little weak but the individual stories weren't to shabby and the visual effects were for the most part pretty good, I remember watching a huge Spinosaurus and thinking that it was some good CGI. If you wanted some hard sci-fi complete with future tech and dinosaurs then this was the thing to watch. In the end, production costs were too high for view ratings so low and thus it was ended.

3. Almost Human

This year came a new police crime investigating series starring non-other than Karl Urban, a face already known to sci-fi fans. Unlike other series of this genre though, Almost Human is actually set in the future of 2048 which makes for some interesting stories because it isn't just modern crimes with the future as a backdrop, the crimes committed fully embrace the futuristic technology. The characters as well are entertaining; the banter makes you laugh, the script is pretty solid and apart from a very weak series arc due to it's cancellation, I would have definitely watched season 2.

2. Firefly

I know, many people would put this at number 1 on a list like this and I don't blame them; Firefly was a Joss Whedon creation and was about a crew of criminals zooming about space looking for jobs. It had great humour, the stories were solid, characters you took to and just a really unique television series. Unfortunately the Fox channel messed some things up and it never got renewed; there was film to wrap things up but it wasn't as good and a lot of potential had to go to waste.

1. No Ordinary Family

In 2010 No Ordinary Family was brought to our screens; the cast included a few familiar faces and it was all about superpowers. It was good family sci-fi drama, it was fun, enjoyable and the special effects for the powers were good. I liked the relatable tone and the comedy blended well with the serious story-arc. All together it had 20 episodes and I really wish it hadn't have been cancelled. I think it if it was on TV now it would do better as the superhero genre is very big at the minute but No Ordinary Family, along with Firefly, I'd really like to see return.

Well, that's my list. Do you agree with me? What shows do you want to return? You can comment below if you want or give this post a +1 if you enjoyed and share it if you think someone else will too. Thanks for reading; bye!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

OJ's Movie Review - Guardians of the Galaxy

I am Groot.

Guardians of the Galaxy. For me, one of the most anticipated movies of the year; it's set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but features characters that the majority of us have never even heard of. I was very excited going in to this so lets review. The basic premise is that a group of criminals, of various degrees, join together to stop a villain from destroying a world, I know, it sounds like a lot of sci-fi films, but that's it! This movie has so many science fiction elements but no where does it ever feel like a rip-off, it is most definitely it's own thing. I'll start with the story, as I just said it covers some familiar ground but it does it so uniquely it is extremely entertaining, from not just a plot view but also nostalgia from the great sci-fi epics you love; you do get a Star Wars feel, and then you start getting a Star Trek vibe and even Indiana Jones for some of it; but because James Gunn does a fantastic job writing and directing it is comprised of brilliantly unique twists and scenes and characters that any comedy/sci-fi fan will love. Chris Pratt as Peter Quill was entertaining, Zoe Saldana was both interesting and fun as an alien assassin; of course the voice work to both Rocket and Groot were top notch with Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel respectively. Even the wrestler-turned-actor was really good in his role as the very literal Drax bent on revenge for his family and delivered some awesome lines. Talking of lines, the dialogue in this movie is the best; the comedy, the tone, the banter it all works, definitely a few laugh out loud moments. Obviously it's a Marvel movie so the special effects are some of the best you're going to see, with mixing huge real sets with visually stunning CGI of space, and worlds and the colours are very pleasing to the eye. The only bad things I've heard about this movie was that it had a weak villain but for me Ronan had a very powerful presence, I feel that a lot of villains in the MCU have been quite weak (with the exception of Loki and possibly Red Skull) but this guy I enjoyed, he felt like a threat. My personal gripe with the movie was only very minor, first off, the beginning had a very dramatic scene and then literally seconds after it went full comedic which I thought was an awkward transition and secondly was Thanos, he was OK in the plot but Josh Brolin's american accent I felt was very obvious for an alien titan and took me out of the movie slightly. Apart from that Guardians of the Galaxy was, and always will be, AWESOMENESS.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

OJ's Movie Review - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

This movie is actually the definition of intense.

I've been looking forward to this film for while, back when I watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes I thought that it was such a well made movie and looked forward to where it was going. Now I finally get to see what has become of Ceaser and his tribe, and boy did I.  Dawn starts off showing us an average day in this society the apes have built up in the last 10 years; and that just to start off was fascinating, the shots you see, the feel of it all is just unlike anything you've ever seen. Soon after you start getting the plot, the humans need to get to a big dam to restore power but the forest of the apes blocks their way. Now through the various interactions between apes and humans you are holding your breath just hoping for both their sakes every single meeting between them goes well, you can feel the power of such a sight of these apes and how scary they must be; even within the ape tribe itself you see trust issues start with one of the apes - the incredibly freaky-looking Koba. You can also see from the humans apocalyptic camp how they're getting so desperate you know that the climax isn't going to be nice. Now with this story you may start predicting certain events but after jut a few more scenes you realise the plot is going a completely different way, there were most definitely a few surprises in there for me, so as whole, the storyline was fantastic. The actors themselves, well, who can fault Andy Serkis, the king of motion-capture does an excellent job, I love how realistic this apes moved and look, just great; the humans although weren't bad actors I just wasn't as involved in their lives as I was the apes, I had been with Ceaser longer so these new people we had to like just were OK, not bad but nothing special.  Of course I have to touch on the special effects, the CGI in this movie was out of this world, some of the things you see I probably couldn't distinguish between physical prosthetics. The feel and tone of this film is so unique you come out the cinema thinking 'wow'. The only critique I have is probably that there are one or two cliché events or lines of dialogue but in the end Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was AWESOMENESS.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

OJ's Movie Review - Transformers: Age of Extinction

I think I may be watching this franchise just out of habit now.

So after the first three Transformer films we were told that was it, end of a trilogy but nope, here is yet another Transformers. Now I really didn't like the last one, Dark of the Moon I thought was just a bad movie in general and didn't really want to see any more, but then like many others I hear of the cast change and I like Mark Wahlberg so I decided to give this a try. First off, this movie goes to some very different places than what we've seen, not only does it feel different because of the cast but the concepts and ideas that they touch on or imply change this franchise drastically; although I still think the first movie is the best out of them all this movie has elements that seem to be headed on the right track, there aren't really any generic giant robots that are used as cannon fodder, this movie, like the first, gives you defined recognisable characters, both heroes and villains. The new Autobots had their own personalities and the main villain had an interesting character; then there's the humans, Wahlberg was great in his role and his family were an enjoyable group to watch, Stanley Tucci was awesome and even Kelsey Grammer was a good government baddie. The comedy has improved too, like the first movie I genuinely laughed at some of the jokes, I mean you still get some Michael Bay unrealistic humour which is a bit awkward but what do you expect. Now that brings me to some negative points, it is after all a Michael Bay Transformers movie, the explosions are over-the-top I mean to the point where you think every battle is the climax, way to much. And then there's that thing that the third movie started doing and that was giving the robots saliva and blood. I mean so it's supposed to be oil or alien liquid but what robots vomit or spit? It's a problem I find annoying anyway. By the way there are two plots in this film, the main one about this alien bounty hunter/pirate, I didn't mind, the second one about some secret science project I wasn't a fan of, it seemed a bit unnecessary and then they did a twist near the end which I was not a fan of so yeah, Transformers: Age of Extinction is still very much like the others and even 20 minutes of Dinobots didn't help; the first act was brilliant and then it started to go downhill but in the end it left open some intriguing plot points and IT WAS OK-.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

OJ Movie Reviews - Transformers 1, 2, & 3

Well Michael Bay's fourth installment of his robotic franchise comes out this month so I've decided to review the previous three.

To start off we'll go straight to 2007's Transformers, I went to see this at the cinema with my dad and a few others and basically we loved it. The dialogue was funny, the action was awesome to watch, the story was nice and solid, characters seemed real, it was just a really fun movie, I enjoyed everything about it from start to end; so there are a few mistakes, but what movie doesn't? I bought it straight on DVD when it came out and I still have it now. Two years later and I watch a trailer to it's sequel...
  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen arrived in 2009 and I once again saw it at the cinema and came away feeling slightly disappointed, although it was not as good as the first it was still an enjoyable watch; the humor varied to weather it was funny or not, the villain was evilly cool looking but was weak character-wise, and the action was more exaggerated which took away from the movie somewhat - so apart from some annoying side-characters (I'm looking at you Skids and Mudflap) the movie wasn't as terrible as some critics make it out to be. The third movie however...
  Finally in 2011 we got Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It was supposed to be the epic finale of it all, ending a trilogy so of course you had to up the stakes and they did that by basically getting hundreds more Decepticons and tech, trying to destroy Earth and giving Shia LaBeouf a new girlfriend. This film was really a mess, the first half was bit rocky, didn't quite know what it was doing with mixing some dark Apollo 11 plot and awkward, bland jokes that just didn't work, the second half of the film you struggled to keep an eye on what was going on, so much destruction, special effects, death, explosions, it was mess, and although it does have an Avengers/Dark Knight Rises kind of vibe and visuals it's nothing compared to those. And for some reason getting Leonard Nemoy to voice one of the baddies means you have to stick as many Star Trek references and quotes as you can into it.  Poor, poor film-making.
  In the end it went from good to average, to dire. I hope Transformers: Age of Extinction will be better with the new cast as the trailers make it look quite new and interesting.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

OJ's Game Review - Pause Ahead

So like my last game review this is another indie PC game you can play online. It does come with a warning though: "This game may be quite difficult. Play at your own risk!"

  Pause Ahead is a very clever game designed by Tadakuni Amano which uses clever concepts to complete the game. It's a platform game and has many levels including some secret ones you have to find. It also has a story too it, as the description says: 'You’ve woken up in a strange place with the eerie feeling that you’ve been here before. Conquer the treacherous traps by running, jumping and using your power of pausing to get ahead. Just remember: once you pause, there is nothing you can do to change your path. Let the chips fall where they may. Hopefully not directly onto a spike.' The tone of the game is quite creepy and very well done. The graphics are 8bit so you get an old style visual as well. And as for the gameplay, well sometimes it can be surprisingly easy and other times it can frustrate you to death. Along the way you can unlock up to 20 achievements and find some cool stuff. It's been likened to the game Portal a lot and people have even said they'd buy it if it was on Steam. In the end I thought this little game was a 8/10 - I'D PLAY IT AGAIN.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

OJ's Movie Review - X-Men: Days of Future Past

Do you realize that since the release of the first X-Men film both Spider-Man and Superman have been rebooted, twice?

First it was a trilogy, then there was a prequel, and then a separate prequel, and then a spin-off from the trilogy and now we have... a reboot? X-Men: Days of Future Past is the 7th movie in the X-Men franchise, a franchise that's been on our screens for fourteen years; it's had some ups, it's had some downs, but it has certainly been a unique series. This year we get to see not only the original cast but also the refreshed younger cast. Of course the film involves time travel but this time it's quite different from mainstream sci-fi time travel, the movie doesn't dwell on it too much, if at all; the main focus is definitely the characters, I noticed two or three times that it showed more character interactions and dialogue than previous X-Men films, I mean of course there are the fight sequences and the big special effect scenes but the story definitely drove it a lot. Talking of the story I heard going in that this movie fixed every continuity error of the past films and was like a huge refresh; now after seeing it I was a bit taken back by how they did it; they do in a sense fix all the problems but in quite a big way, that's all I'll say not going into spoilers. One thing that did fascinate me with the movie was the look and feel, the parts set in the future, although not many, were for me the highlight, they were the most action-packed and the most emotional; the past has those things too but not as strong I don't think, although I did enjoy when they made it look like scenes were filmed on an old 70's camera. Obviously it was great seeing all the cast again and each one did a fantastic role, Hugh Jackman will always own Wolverine and although he took a bit more of a backseat in this one he still is entertaining to watch. In the end, I don't think it is the best X-Men film ever but I'D SEE IT AGAIN.