Morbius (2022)

I don’t really know how this came about. I guess in some conversation somewhere the topic came up about the rather sub-par state of the comic book universe right now. We had so many highs in the Infinity Saga, and the Batman films are continuing strong…we have the Flash coming out later this year which will be absolutely average, and there are a couple of MCU’s that might prove cathartic. But really, theres been some controversially rubbish films of late. Quantumania was okay, marred by the truly awful Modok; Wakanda Forever was a wonderful tribute to the great Chadwick but other than Angela Barret’s tremendous performance was largely forgettable. The travesty of the DCU and poor Henry Cavill is still giving me sleepless nights.

Naturally, Morbius was cited; an absolute car crash of a movie, apparently. So rubbish it was nearly cancelled after it had already come out. Jared Leto’s worst hour and an abomination of cinema.

Surely not, I say. I mean, can it be THAT bad? The two Venom movies have hardly been classics, yet Tom Hardy is able to lift them from true mediocrity. Does Jared have the same clout?

Well. I’m known for my controversial film opinions. So I thought, I might give this a go. Whats the worst that could happen? Well, you could choke on the doctor pepper bottle and die a slow, agonising death. That’s what.

Doctor Michael Morbius has a blood condition that will eventually kill him and his best friend, played by Doctor Matt Smith. He discovers that vampire bats have potentially a dna-fragment that may fix the issues and save them from premature death. So what does he do? Of course, he injects himself with bat blood and turns into a vampire.

Sorry….what? Really? Its spider-man but with bats. And vampires…really? Is this not a little…cliche? I mean, yes, its based on a comic series from ages ago so we can’t really blame the film for this – but.. oh I don’t know. It just sounds a little unoriginal. We already have a Bat man… do we need a man-bat? (That said, if I found out Matt Reeves was going to bring Man-Bat into The Batman 3 then I’d be over the moon. Feck it, get Marc Singer to play him. There’s a ref few will get.)

Anyway. Obviously when Matt Smith finds out the serum works but turns you into Count Dracolytes he cares not, and takes it himself, thus becoming the films villain. The two clash, theres loads of silly fighting and shouting and too much talking, and then the film ends.

Now. I actually didn’t hate it. Its terrible, cliché, lacklustre and, as immortan joe might say, mediocre. But its better than Thor: Love and Thunder. Jared Leto is okay, I guess, but Matt Smith is an absolute legend. Okay so I’m biased; he was a tremendous Dr Who and equally tremendous Daemon Targaryen, and an equally tremendous Prince Phillip. In actual fact, I am happy to say he probably saved the movie from utter unwatchability.

The ending? I mean, yep, lets set things up for a potential sequel – all well and good – but Michael Keaton of all people? A team up against Spider-Man? Aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves? Don’t get me wrong, if Morbius was to turn up in a later movie alongside Vulture i’d be okay with that. But… is Morbius a villain? Surely the film we’ve just watched is trying to tell us otherwise. Why then, does he have beef with Peter Parker’s webslinging Avenger? Methinks this was not thought out: they just wanted to tag something on at the end to fit with the usual comic book film rules…

A funny story. The film tanked on release. Got that? So then following an internet sensation regarding the made-up phrase “It’s Morbing Time!” the film was released again, hoping to cash in on its new popularity. It didn’t work, and the film tanked again. Is this the first time a film has tanked twice on release? Interesting. Famous for its infamy.

Bottom line is, its not the worst use of two hours. Its just far from the best. I mean, the limescale in your shower is needing cleaned…?

Pondrings on: The Brendmeister!

Long ago, in a time far away, – twas the night of the Cineworld Halloween Party, held in the glorious upstairs of Walkabout, Glasgow. I was dressed as Rick O’Connel, as portrayed by Brendan Fraser in the Mummy movies. I wore a fashionable leather wristband (“The Bracelet of Anubis”), a dirty shirt, twin holsters for my .45s and I even grew my hair to emulate Rick’s floppy curtains fringe.

Heck I even lost out on pulling one of the most attractive blondes in the world because she addressed me of Indiana Jones (“Am I wearing a fedora? No. Do I have a whip? No. I’m Rick O’Connel!” and so I went home alone with my pride intact.

The point I’m making is I IDOLISED Mr. Fraser. He was the new Han Solo in my life. Obi Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace was awesome, yes, but Rick O’Connel was a dashing adventurer – my kind of hero. Dirk Pitt would come later, nearly 6 years later – and Lara Croft wouldn’t take the stage until Angelina Jolie in 2001….but well, I liked her for other reasons.

Brendan’s irreverent characters and adeptness for self-mockery – see “George of the Jungle” or “Looney Tunes: Back in Action” (the latter of which is an underrated classic full of some of the funniest stupidity since Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and features Timothy Dalton as Brendan’s Dad, and the only cinematic appearance of the best Batmobile ever after Batman Returns – until obviously The Flash (2023), later this year.) But he isn’t just a great laugh – see “The Quiet Man” with Michael Caine. Or “Crash”.

Now, fast forward to today. Or rather, last week, and he gets the Oscar for his performance in “The Whale”. I haven’t seen the film yet – I am afraid to say I was not able to make the cinema during its limited release – but I am 100% sure he’s brilliant in it. I have no doubt.

The trouble is… I was lambasted for liking him. Everyone loved Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves but I wasn’t allowed to like Nicolas Cage or Brendan Fraser – they weren’t cool enough to be termed role models. It’s a sad truth that everyone loves them (just like everyone loves Abba)– but won’t admit it. Except me. I didn’t care what other people thought of my film tastes –  I still don’t – so hence my choice of “cosplay”, and hero.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing Brendan Fraser to Nicolas Cage. One is conscientious, warm and humble, the other is Nicolas Fuckiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing Cage. But the point stands.

And now Brendan has won an Oscar and everyone is saying how awesome he is. I’ve always known that! I don’t need Hollywood to let me know it’s okay to think he’s great.

I was a fan of Brendan Fraser before it was cool.


Do you know what I hate most about my mental health? It’s not that it leaves me in a state of intellectual catalepsy or that it darkens even the brightest of days. It’s not that it is unpredictable as west coast weather or as deleterious as vindaloo. I struggle every day with it, (although most days I can cover it well), and even that – it’s temerity and gregariousness – isn’t it’s worst aspect.

It’s that I can’t talk about it.

Let me explain that a little. Because, yes, I do say I have it, and my friends understand. I don’t think everyone does; I think there’s still a hideous stigma about it, and there are still too many people out there that equate mental issues with “being at it”. I try to see their point of view – I mean, if you don’t suffer you don’t see – but it boils back to how I’m feeling, and I get caught up on how other people view me – and guilt, self-deprecation and paranoia sink their claws in.

I even spotted a section on the Bungie website (creators of my new obsession Destiny 2 on the PS5) about mental health and that’s great. We need to get it out in the open. We need to talk about it, both sufferers and lucky alike.

But my point : I CANT explain it to someone. I can’t tell them where it hurts or what’s making it hurt. It’s all, literally, in my mind.

The catalyst can be anything. Today it’s the Armageddon strain taking hold for the third time (covid btw). Most of the time it’s an aside made at work about how things are shit. Yes they are, but I’m trying to survive and I don’t need people reminding me there are better things out there when they won’t pursue them themselves. One person in particular, who doesnt thankfully read this. Yes- that person. Everyday chips more of my soul away. I’ve been on the edge for far too long. I don’t know what it’s like to be at peace.

Every waking moment I’m thinking about the other side. How people are happy, have wonderful partners, and to an extent are content – I’m envious. Not jealous; I love my friends too much I’m never jealous. But I’m definitely envious. Oh yes, I’m sure nothing is perfect with them either, I’d never assume such things because I’m very aware of everyone’s right to individuality and uniqueness. We’ve all got problems.

But how do I explain my issues to the people i love the most? I can’t. There are no words. Quagmire. Maelstrom. Kaleidoscope. Cerebromania. Miasma Infinitum.

All I ask of any of you…if you’re like me, stay positive. Fight it, do not go quietly into the night. If you’re fortunate, then stay supportive and keep your own mind open. Be patient. I need you to be tolerative when I’m trapped in my quagmire. You can’t help me out, but you can stop me from sinking.

The Last of Us (2023)

Its a massive sensation – i’ve heard its been rated as the best television show ever, or the best video game adaptation of all time. The public are crying for awards for its cast, and applauding how modern and ‘woke’ it is.

But…I’m terribly different to everyone else. The Dark Knight is not the best Batman movie, Jupiter Ascending is actually very entertaining, and Nicolas Cage is one of the best actors in cinema today. I have many other controversial opinions, each one driving a wedge between me and everyone else. Heck, the best Star Trek is Voyager. I am allowed to mix curry sauce with pasta and i will have mackerel on homemade pizzas.

So i watched episode one of this series because a friend’s fiancee believed it the best thing since bread layered with bischoff spread. It may even be better than the new Linda Hamilton Monster flavour… so here we go.

The game was released 10 years ago by Naughty Dog (them of the Uncharted franchise) and it won gaming awards aplenty. It completely passed me by, and so i attacked this show oblivious to the plot. I even believed it was a survival story about two people in a battlefield. I did not know it was Science Fiction.

After the pilot my hopes were dashed. Its a post apocalyptic story, in a world where Zombies are running rife. But no, sorry, they’re not Zombies, they’re blind ‘clickers’ which have arisen from a superevolved fungus. They bite people and they become singular-minded undead. But not Zombies.

BUT WAIT: there is a young girl, who is immune, and therefore her blood could save the world. And the grumpy main man (who lost his daughter) has to protect her as they travel across America searching for the “Fireflies” – a bunch of freedom fighters who are potentially Earth’s last hope.

I’m sorry, but its raining cliches, and i don’t have an umbrella. I wasn’t impressed.

Heres the plot twist. Its bloody amazing.

Pedro Pascal absolutely shines as the grizzled, damaged protagonist, and Bella Ramsey gives a wonderful performance as humanity’s last hope.

Do you know WHY its so good (despite the high quality of acting on show)? Its because it ISN’T about zombies / clickers / rage monsters. Its about people. It has shades of Walking Dead – but where the Walking dead fails (with x number of seasons and tens of filling episodes), the Last of Us creates a taught, tension boiler of a season, delivering necessary, emotional flashbacks as well as some rapid fire action, and even a little humour.

Its brutal, it’ll make you cry.

However; i have to say i don’t love it as much as i think i’m expected to. Its not the groundbreaker of television, but it is solid entertainment. Watched at night, in the dark. With a shotgun in hand.


For me, Christina Ricci’s Wednesday Addams, featuring in the two 90s Addams Family movies, was an iconic image. Her cold white face, her deliciously morbid mannerisms and her comic sense of savagery… bliss.

Finding out that there was to be a Netflix “reimagining” of the Addams Family with focus on the character of the outcast girl, i was a little trepidatious. But then i discovered that Tim Burton is taking the reigns…and i was less anxious.

I also found out that none other than the ORIGINAL Wednesday – Christina Ricci herself – was to have a cameo. As well as the casting of Catherine Zeta Jones and Luiz Guzman as the iconic Addams parents, and a role for Gwendoline Christie, who is obviously brilliant.

Let me get to it. Although the show opens with your expected Wednesday-causing-havoc-in-her-high-school-with-piranhas-in-a-swimming-pool, the direction shifts gears, throwing poor Wednesday into Nevermore School for Outcasts. So she is surrounded by equally weird kids – from Medusa boy to siren girl, via she-wolf to … well…somebody in the school can turn into a vicious animal thing. And said hideous beast is killing kids. So we need a certain intrepid young investigator on the case. Fortunately Wednesday has a taste for the macabre.

And thus begins a wonderful little detective show, peppered with talented young actors (and talented seasoned actors), swinging along with all manner of plot twists and devilishly batshit crazy antics.

Jenna Ortega – this generations Wednesday – is simply perfect. How she manages to convey so much emotion with those eyes…its a joy to watch. The girl is brimming with potential – this is the first of a very long list of successes. I’m calling it now – she’s got the Oscars / Emmys in her future, (and i don’t mean guest hosting like her hilarious spot with Aubrey Plaza), i mean on the recieving end.

The tiny little wonderful moments that shine throughout the production will make you smile, gasp and enjoy. It didn’t escape my notice that the entrance to the hidden chamber requires one to snap their fingers twice… snap snap. Oh and Thing – prepare for some scenes being stolen by a disembodied hand. I’m not going to talk about the dance. The dance is everywhere and if you fancy the best three minutes of your day search for it on YouTube. Or even better, watch the whole show and understand why its one of the best pieces of television ever.

What Wednesday absolutely excels at is its relevance. It has successfully modernised itself – the way Wednesday dresses and the use of popular music… its a touch of genius.

Its creepy and its kooky, quite clever and quite ooky, its a piece of deft perfection, in acting and direction. Jenna is amazing, sorry for the phrasing – its Netflix’s Wednesday, doodle a doo Snap Snap.

Dungeons and Dragons (2000)

With the new Dungeons and Dragons movie, “Honour Amongst Theives”, out at the end of the month, i thought it prudent to visit the first stab at the franchise. The game series is to tabletop role-playing games what Superman is to comics. The original, the thing that started it all.

Now, i need to make something very clear, before you all start lamblasting me. I like this movie. I may even say i love it; but, BUT I MUST MAKE IT CLEAR…. i completely understand that its absolutely rubbish. The CGI is appalling, the acting is very, very questionable, and the plot is about as derivative as it is possible to be.

Basically, the land of Ismir is divided into two castes – the elite Mages, and the lowly people, forced by poverty and theivery to survive. Now, this would provide an excellent canvas for social commentary but no such thing comes across. The writing simply isn’t intelligent enough for metaphors and themes. And of course, the elites and nobles are caught up in the usual nonsence politics. The new Queen – wielder of the golden rod that lets her control Dragons – wants to unite the kingdom, bringing poor and rich together. HOWEVER, evil mage Profion wants to take over the world, and hopes to control Red Dragons to perform his perfidious plans.

The details of the following plot are sketchy – there just seems to be a recycling set of scenes involving lots of silly banter, and all the staples of a standard quest plot. Theives somehow get involved in the search for the Rod of Sevril – which controls the aforementioned dragons – obviously we have some stereotypes. The cocky young Han Solo, the comedy sidekick, the love interest, the dwarf, the elf and the evil henchman trying to hunt them down.

As i said, its absolutely rubbish.

BUT. Something works. Justin Whalin (Jimmy from Lois and Clark) is having a ball, lured into thinking this is a big break for him as an actor. Marlon Wayans screeches his way through intensely annoying to warmly hilarious, and even poor wee Thora Birch – whose recent oscar nominated American Beauty has made her a catch – is trying her best. The dwarf is played by Lee Arenberg, who will find fame years later by one of the Pirates of the Carribean. Jeremy Irons devours the scenery but looks as if he hates every second of it. Bruce Payne tops this off by being utterly awful and yet his genius level ham is scene-stealing.

However, allow me the positives. The music is absolutely perfect – running themes and melodies like something by John Williams. The guest appearances by not only Richard o’Brian (!) but the legendary TOM BAKER raise the bar even more.

My conclusion? It was brimming with potential. Given the budget which the upcoming 2001 movies were running with, (i speak of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings) then there could have been something in this. But, alas, its just a silly film relegated to the bottom of the IMDB bargain box. Worth a watch for a laugh.

Next up: Dungeons an Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God. Oh….dear.

Pondrings on The Cursed Child

Now first a disclaimer, I have neither read the book or seen the play.

Ok now that’s done with here is the news: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is entering production as a film. Warner Bros announced this late last week.

There’s no confirmation that the young stars of the original HP will return: Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have found success on their own now- will they really want to return to the franchise? Of course there will be an immense amount of money on the table…

The play dealt with the young progeny of Harry and Draco (Albus and Scorpius, respectively) and that’s about all I know.

My brother – who HAS seen the play, has informed me it may not transfer well to the screen…and that much of it is fan service.

Is that a bad thing? Star Trek Picard is appealing to the fans by reuniting the next generation crew. The Flash movie is bringing back Michael Keatons Batman. Heck, we’ve got another Indiana Jones this year. So maybe fan service is the new awesome.

With the spiralling of the Fantastic Beasts franchise (the Secrets of Dumbledore performed poorly at the box office and we may not see another of the franchise), then it’s not surprising the studio are considering other avenues.

Pondrings on: Pondrings

Just what are Pondrings I hear you ask…well as you can probably guess they are a slight abbreviation on ponderings. Which isn’t a word at all; welcome to my mind.

You see, I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a while. I keep aboob of the news in the entertainment world and beyond by way of random news feeds, like-minded friends and my own fervent curiosity.

And I think I have a way with words that might make such info nuggets entertaining in their own right. My bias towards the melodramatic, the trivial and the geekery hopefully appeals to the other dingbats out there.

I can’t predict quite what I’ll be talking about. Off the top of my head the coming days might include Pondrings on The Cursed Child, or Toy Story 5, or How to Train Your Dragon, or …or… the travesty that is the DCU. You know, niche stuff .

This is your warning. Enjoy if you want but you don’t need to ☺️.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

Marvel’s first film of 2023 and the very first of Phase 5 of its masterplan, is this threequel in the popular Ant Man adventures. This is what you need to know.

After rescuing Janet Van Dyne from the Quantum Realm (a picoscopic universe far below our own), Scott Lang has decided to play it cool, spend more time with his daughter Cassie and his partner Hope Van Dyne, and her parents. Hope is frustrated because her mother won’t open up about her traumatic experience in the underworld, and Cassie is spreading her intellectual wings with the help of sneaky mischievous Hank Pym. Unfortunately, this involves building a portal to the Quantum Realm. Two seconds later they’re all sucked into the microvoid and the film begins.

And what a film. I mean, batshit crazy doesn’t cover it. Essentially its a CGI fest with very little model work or set design. Instead its a massive world of ridiculity, including cows with snails heads, a man with a spinning fire dynamo for a head, a glob of sentient pink goo who looks like a cross between Seth Rogen’s character from Monsters vs Aliens and Murf from Star Trek: Prodigy, various tribal females, a man that can read minds and Bill Murray. Theres even a man with broccoli for a head, which Hank Pym subtly points out with the script genius of “that man has broccoli for his head”.

The plot is devilishly simple considering the chaotic nature of the film. A stranger called Kang wants Janet to tell him where the time-core of his ruined spaceship is so he can escape to the real world.

However, we soon learn that this stranger cannot reach our universe, because he wants to utterly destroy it, much like he has done a million times before. He even informs us he has killed many Avengers before. EH?

Paul Rudd shines as Scott Lang, carrying the film on his shoulders with plenty of silly quips, Marvel-style, but with enough dramatic clout to ensure everyone is engaged. Similarly, despite being a little sidelined, Evangeline Lilly is fantastic as the Wasp. The older leads, Micheal Douglas and Michelle Pfieffer, spend the whole film having a ball, clearly not knowing what is going on and trusting their director.

Its hugely enjoyable even though your eyes are subjected to some of the silliest visuals you’ll ever see. This isn’t Dr Strange mental, this is another level. Think the clone wars mixed with some of the most outrageous anime you’ll ever see.

A particular highlight is when AntMan finds himself doubling / quadrupling exponentially, leading to an entire room full of AntMans. Antmen? Their pyramid building solution is genius…especially considering thats what REAL ants do…

Kang the Conqueror is (spoilers) the new Big Bad, introduced what seems like ages ago in Loki. I was always worried he wouldn’t stand up to the likes of the memorable Thanos…but i am proved wrong. He is menacing, ruthless and terrifying. The MCU is quivering before him.

Kevin Feige has already stated that this is the gear shift in the MCU. Phase 4 was distinctively soggy but now that the quantum-mania has begun, my pulse is skyrocketing.


And Away…

The Autobiography of Robert Renwick Mortimer

My earliest memories of Mr. Bob Mortimer were he and his strange accomplice battering each other with Frying Pans on stage. The program had a funny name – the Smell of Reeves and Mortimer – and i also recall a particularly hilarious sketch about Asparagus. Then came Shooting Stars – an outright bonkers panel show which involved taking the piss out of Ulrika Johnson (Ulrika-ka-ka-ka) and various random guest stars, most of which i didn’t know because my pop-culture knowledge didn’t extend beyond Star Trek and (cancelled) Dr Who.

I watched, avidly, Randall and Hopkirk: Deceased and my brother and I came to the conclusion that Bob was an awful actor. And i mean this in the nicest way, because his lack of acting talent was hilarious, and really added to my enjoyment of the show.

Anyway, despite his definite presence in my weekly Television consumption, i hadn’t considered him very much; i wasn’t really into my television celebrities if they weren’t in Star Wars or appearing in Noels House Party. He was a name and i would listen if he talked, but i hadn’t yet found my Mortimer awakening. That came only last year, whilst watching the masterpiece Tv show, Taskmaster. All of a sudden Bob was a source of great jocularity, and i was laughing out loud after each task. The man was so ridiculously funny it was painful.

So when i spotted this book on the shelf – without any fore-knowledge of its existence – it was a must buy.

He opens the book by describing his face as a pile of wet spaghetti and i was hooked. I love that kind of weird humour and descriptive nonsence.

But this is more than just a collection of funny stories and amusing anecdotes; this is a true story of a man’s journey through life, discovering friends, miracles and comedy in the most unlikeliest of places. Given what i knew about Bob i was blown away when he tells me he was an introvert, a lawyer and friendless; hopelessly loyal to his wee maw and struggling to survive in a cutthroat industry. Then of course he meets Jim Moir (Vic Reeves) and his life spirals into comedy national treasure status.

His little stories of his childhood and teenage years are heartwarming, and we are introduced to a wide plethora of distinctive characters. Its so…relatable.

One of the comedy comments on the book cover says “its starts when he’s young and finishes when he’s old”, reflecting the usual chronology of an autobiography – but Bob Mortimer here reveals another skill – his gift of storytelling. He crafts an excellent narrative, starting in the present with his sudden heart difficulties, before flashing back and delivering his origin story. He then weaves in time-jumps with clever segues and relevant explorations of his past.

I love the man even more now that i see his pathway through life. He began with the insecurity of a man in the shadow of a genius – but over the course of life has become a true celebrity in his own right. It isn’t the smell of Vic Reeves – its the Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. They are both of equal standing and rightfully so, because they are both comic legends.

I’m inspired to seek out Bob’s other prose, because i loved this book. The first autobiography i’ve become truly invested in, come to think of it. Thanks Bob.