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UFC on Fox: Shevchenko vs. Pena – Breakdown & Predictions

After one paltry event since the turn of the new year, Saturday’s UFC on Fox event in Denver, Colorado, kick-starts four consecutive weekends of UFC action. If you were expecting some big-name value you’re not going to find it here, but all the same this is a fun, well-matched card with some serious implications for multiple divisions going forward into the rest of 2017.

Without further ado…

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Yoel Romero: The Mutant Hero We Deserve

I’m pretty sure that Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero is not really an infantryman appointed by the Lord himself, but I can’t say I’d be all that surprised if it turned out he was. The Olympian wouldn’t look out of place on Olympus, leering over his mythical sires; he already looks as though he has been chiselled from marble.

Romero made his MMA debut on December 20, 2009, winning via first-round TKO, but it seems like most of his career has occurred over the last few months. Not that he had entirely evaded headlines before that, though. The #StoolGate controversy was a well-documented fiasco at UFC 178 that saw Romero, badly hurt at the end of the second round, take an extra 30 seconds on his stool. Many people (including the crowd, his opponent, Tim Kennedy, who Romero knocked out in the next round, and UFC President Dana White) considered this to be a dirty trick; a fighter cheating by snatching an additional half-minute of recovery time. And that could very well be true. But Romero was also smothered in Vaseline by the UFC’s officially-appointed cornerman, which referee “Big” John McCarthy instructed Romero’s corner team to remove – a slippery logistical error made slipperier by McCarthy’s instructions being delivered in English, to people who don’t speak or understand English. (As far as unintentionally funny officiating goes, that’s right up there with Steve Mazzagatti asking deaf light-heavyweight Matt Hamill if he was able to continue, and then waving the fight off when he didn’t answer.)

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This Week in Movies – Jul 7, 2017

And… we’re back.

Been a while. My apologies.

This time I’ve left it so long that if I were to write a regular update here that covered every movie review I’ve released since the last installment of this series, I’d have essentially written a novel. I don’t have the time to do that, you don’t have the time to read it, so let’s do something else instead.

We recently debuted a new review format at Ready, Steady, Cut! that takes the form of a hypothetical conversation. I’ve never seen any other publication do the same thing, so that’s good, and it increases my output by a significant margin, so that’s better. We’ll just cover the releases since that change. And I promise that I’ll keep up with this from now on.

First up, Resident Evil: Vendetta. It’s the third in the CG series of everyone’s favorite batshit-insane video game adaptations. I enjoyed it, and you might too, depending on your tolerance for Resident Evil‘s usual blend of utter insanity.

You also might have noticed that a new Transformers movie was released recently – the fifth, no less. And, fuck me, I kinda liked it. Obviously, these things are all judged on a bit of a curve, but for what’s it’s worth (and what it is) I thought it was one of the more enjoyable installments in the franchise. Is that the same thing as being “good”? You tell me.

I’ll tell you what certainly isn’t good, though – All Eyez On Me. Jesus fucking Christ. Terrible.

Slightly better, although hardly a masterpiece, is Rough Night, the new comedy starring Scarlett Johansson as an ostensibly normal person for once. I think I prefer her as a sex-mad extraterrestrial, but whatever. You can’t have everything.

You can have Cars 3, though. It’s the second sequel in easily Pixar’s least-involving animated world, and it’s still nakedly designed to sell merchandise, but they seem to be figuring these out to a certain extent. Look, it’s been a weird month.

Speaking of weird: The Circle is an utter filmmaking travesty. I know it technically came out in April, but Netflix picked it up recently and wheeled it out as some kind of “Original”, so it’s fair game. Don’t watch it.

Continuing the sheer insanity of this month is Captain Underpants, which, I swear to God, might have been my favorite movie of June. I promise I will never preemptively ridicule an animated kids’ movie ever again. Except for The Emoji Movie, obviously.

Finally, Despicable Me 3 is… kind of despicable, as it happens. Funny that.

There you go. Up-to-date. Sort of.

Next week. Trust me.

 

This Week in Movies – May 19, 2017

Yeah, I missed a week. But only one, so I suppose we’re getting better.

Small update, too, especially considering it covers a fortnight. The next one will be a big one, though, so don’t worry about that.

First up, a pair of Netflix Original movies. Sand Castle is a war drama loosely based on the real-life experiences of the screenwriter, Chris Roessner, who joined the Army Reserves to help pay for college – two months before 9/11. It’s okay, but nothing special. Small Crimes, likewise, is mostly okay, but its cynical attitude and murky sensibility ensure it’s a little less enjoyable than even an average movie like Sand Castle.

Next, Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, filmed entirely in a single location and revolving entirely around one, long gunfight, is really enjoyable for what it is. Not as weird or as memorable as Wheatley and Amy Jump’s other stuff, but I don’t think it suffers for that too much.

And, finally, Dead Awake, a horror movie about sleep paralysis that is so boring and derivative that it could very well put you to sleep. Irony!

Like I said, next week’s entry will be a substantial one. If I bother to write it, obviously.

This Week in Movies – May 05 2017

Yeah, I know. Been a while.

The irony, of course, is that I only started this weekly feature to give my poor, neglected personal site something resembling regular updates, and I’ve managed to fuck that up by missing the last two weeks. I resolve to do better, of course, but in the meantime, maybe subscribe to Ready, Steady, Cut!, where I publish these reviews. That way you won’t miss any when I inevitably forget to write next week’s entry.

Anyway. Big update, this, given it’s covering everything from the fourteenth of April, so let’s get on with it.

First up, Rings, which is shit.

Similar, but much, much better, is The Autopsy of Jane Doe, which is a small-scale, low-budget affair that you should definitely check out if you’re genre-savvy.

Speaking of genre, Sleepless is the latest entry in what I like to call “dad to the rescue” movies. It’s a so-so vehicle for Jamie Foxx, who’s aging gracefully, but nothing more than that.

Also so-so is Life, a flagrant Alien knock-off set aboard the International Space Station and starring Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and some other people. Wait for Alien: Covenant later this month.

While you’re waiting, watch Get Out. I know I came to this one a little bit late and I’m mostly preaching to the choir, but seriously – this is a modern genre classic, and will almost certainly feature in my top ten of the year.

Fate of the Furious is… mostly okay. It’s still perfectly enjoyable, but it’s certainly overlong, and something is lost without the presence of the late Paul Walker. Worth watching if you’re into the franchise, but I wouldn’t go out of your way.

It’s certainly a better time than Sandy Wexler, though. Adam Sandler’s latest Netflix-exclusive abomination is a slight step up from his previous two, which means it’s still terrible.

Surprisingly not-terrible is Dean Israelite’s Power Rangers. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and I think you might be, too.

Less surprising: The Boss Baby. I didn’t care for it.

Luckily, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 mostly lived up to my (admittedly high) expectations. It’s about as good as the first one, just in a slightly different way.

And, finally, Colossal. It’s fantastic.

In other news: I’ve transferred my series on the DC animated originals from here, where it originated, to Ready, Steady, Cut!, where it will continue. Here’s a link to the contents page.

See you next week. Maybe.

This Week In Movies: Apr 14 2017

So, you may or may not have heard about my new gig as the chief film critic over at Ready, Steady, Cut! – it isn’t as though I’ve been tweeting about it near-constantly, so it might have escaped your attention. (I’ve been tweeting about it near-constantly.)

From now on, you can find all of my new (and old) movie reviews over there; several each week, in fact. And with that in mind, every Friday, I’m going to be writing one of these posts that sums up what I’ve covered over there, and gives you some helpful links to click if you’d like to go and read them. (Please do.)

First up was the spectacularly mediocre Ghost in the Shell. Putting aside all the controversy about Hollywood “whitewashing” and suchlike, the movie was bang-average in almost every way besides the visuals. I’d have bumped up the score a little for that, but the tone-deaf third-act plot twist lost it a point. It’s incredibly average.

(We also recorded a podcast episode about Ghost in the Shell, which is mostly us struggling to find interesting things to say about something so uninteresting, but you can hear me rant about the “whitewashing” on there, and find out why, for once, I actually think there’s some validity to it.)

Kong: Skull Island, on the other hand, turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Admittedly I mostly expected to like it and ended up mostly liking it, but as far as creature-features go this is an extremely distinguished variety with a solid cast and some seriously fun set-pieces. Go and see this.

Don’t go and see A Cure for Wellness, though, unless for some reason you have a peculiar fondness for eels. Look, I know, I’m supposed to like this, and I kind of understand why some other people do (the technical filmmaking is exquisite, if nothing else.) But I really didn’t care for it at all: I found it rote, predictable, boring, overlong, and generally unpleasant.

As for Beauty and the Beastit was fine. Pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a live-action remake of Disney’s most beloved animated feature. It retains the same spirit, but a little something is lost in the translation.

That’s it for the this week. Please check out Ready, Steady, Cut! if you have the time (and if you subscribe to me – subscribe to them. It’s mostly just more of me.) This is a burgeoning project that we’re very fond of and excited by, and we’d like you to be a part of it.

See you next week.