I don't think it'd be an understatement to say I set my bar of expectations very low for Venom. The 2018 superhero film is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, but is from a production company that is still very much estranged from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has thus far built a reputation for entertaining, well-produced superhero adventures. They aren't all classics, with some very so-so films on their resume, but, for the most part, I'd say I've enjoyed what the MCU has brought to the table, accomplishing the unprecedented feat of creating story-arches that have unfolded across around twenty films now. I think it's appropriate to say Sony might not be learning the best lesson from all of this in-terms of what will make the best films, however.
The Out of Frame Podcast: Ep. 3: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Crash Team Racing, Crash Twinsanity
Nostalgia is very powerful in the entertainment-industry, as film companies try to appeal to the youth, they simultaneously try to appeal to adults in-search of that child-like wonder they felt in their youth. In 2015, a big-screen feature-film for the Goosebumps was released, and I was on-board. I enjoyed the R. L. Stine novels when I was a kid. A lot of them were derivative and hastily rushed onto book shelves, but, I did have an appreciation and respect for the way R.L. Stine brought old-school monster stories and made them relevant and engaging to a younger audience. It was for that reason a Goosebumps film made a lot sense to me, like the television series that also adapted Stine’s work. I wrote a review of the film on Out of Frame when it was released, and I more-or-less said it was everything it needed to be and would be fun for its core audience, eventually rating it a score of “Decent” or a “5 out of 10”. I was hopeful they would create a sequel, but I didn’t know the likelihood of that. The first film made 150 million worldwide with a production budget estimated of around 60 to 80 million dollars, and when you factor in the amount of the profit that’s divvied up to the theater-chains, then, calculate the amount also invested into marketing the film, there’s no way Goosebumps could’ve broken even on theater sales alone. That said, it seems the film must’ve found a second-life on the home-market and through streaming services, as, the new film Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween did get greenlit and released, this time with a production budget of about half its first film. Does the film flounder the potential of a Goosebumps franchise or does it rise to the occasion to deliver something that can be fun for a new era of fans?
The Purge first arrived in 2013, bolstering the brilliant premise of an event in time where all crime would be considered as legal. In-general, I think we can all admit that a lot of horror franchises tend to milk themselves for all their worth or overstay their welcome, but every now and again, a concept like The Purge arrives that makes sense for the long-haul. The possibilities and angles you could take The Purge are virtually limitless. It could implement elements of a home-invasion horror, which is something we saw in the original film, or incorporate traits of a slasher flick, something seen on some level in the fourth film. It has a lot of ways you could tackle it, but one way, from what we’ve seen so far, it can’t be tackled, is very well. When the first film arrived, it squandered the potential its concept had, and, as I wrote in my review on Mishmashers at the time of its release, it amounted to a Below-Average film. In 2014, I believe they righted their wrongs on a lot of levels. Although The Purge: Anarchy opted for a more action-oriented approach, it at least was able to capture a liveliness and did attempt to realize its concept. My favorite scene from that film involved a swinging pendulum that nearly kills the main-character, and when it doesn’t, it’s met with disappointed reactions from the perpetrators. The reason I liked it is because that’s what I wanted from Purge as a series, a depraved world that doesn’t understand the extent of its misdeeds and allows for a day of uncontrolled chaos. Not only that, but I believed the aesthetic and the amount of people involved would have made fodder for some intense and inspired horror. Imagine a scene where the main-protagonist is being chased around by a madman, and the camera pans out far enough to show several people are experiencing the same thing at the same time. Or escaping one madman only to find another.
Over the years, I’ve found my childhood is filled with foggy representations of the video-games I might have played or the movies I might have watched. My earliest memories of Crash Bandicoot were most certainly on the original PlayStation, particularly by Crash 2, Crash Team Racing, and Crash Bash. Later, the PlayStation 2 platform arguably wasn’t as kind to the orange bandicoot, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the PlayStation 2 platform wasn’t fruitful for the franchise. Crash Twinsanity and Crash Tag Team Racing were what I remembered most. Back then, maybe it was because the popularity of the series itself had waned so considerably, I was lucky enough to find Crash Nitro Kart, Crash Tag Team Racing, and Crash Twinsanity all boxed together, priced at a very reasonable twenty-dollars, and it’s from that box-set I review the titles today. The reason I bring up my foggy nostalgic lenses is that even though I remembered Crash Twinsanity fondly, I don’t believe I ever got very far into it. This is because, in my opinion, Crash Twinsanity or Crash 5: The Ambition of Crash and Cortex is the most difficult of the series that I’ve played. When everyone was clamoring about how difficult the new N. Sane Trilogy was, I concurred that the first Crash video-game was a considerably challenging experience, but I thought that it was reasonable, and I think that Crash 2 and Crash 3 had more casual and accessible experiences. It was like night-and-day comparing the original game to its successors, like apples and oranges, or apples to wumpa fruit, I suppose. It has sharp fangs, but does Crash Twinsanity stand out as an experience worth highlighting?
The Conjuring series arrived unexpectedly in 2013, although, in-retrospect, it seemed like we should have anticipated it. James Wan had already flourished and found success with the SAW franchise, the Insidious series, and had more than a handful of horror productions on his resume, it was only a matter-of-time before he had such a financially and critically lucrative break-through. In the 2000s, very few horror films have managed to cross the 300 million thresholds. Even less if you omit series’ that only share strands of the genre’s DNA like The Meg or World War Z. It only leaves The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, the more-recent adaptation of Stephen Kings’ IT, Annabelle: Creation, and now, The Nun. A film series managing to outdo itself in the horror genre so many times is unheard-of, and while the series may have peaked with the original film from a critical standpoint, although, my favorite of the series remains The Conjuring 2, The Conjuring Universe really is the first time we’ve ever seen an established horror world since the loose-threads that connected the Universal Monster films of yesteryear.
The Out of Frame Podcast - Ep. 2: Incredibles 2, Antman & the Wasp, The Strangers: Prey at Night, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, and Tomb Raider
Back when I was a kid, I used to think Crash Bandicoot was the bee’s knees, his arms and his legs, and, I think the series was the pinnacle of my early years playing video-games, outmatching Spyro and other PlayStation Classics. Although I think the consensus from the gaming public now sees the series as a worthwhile, solid plat-forming series, back during its release, prior to when the N. Sane Trilogy remastered collection brought it back in the limelight, I could remember a lot of criticisms thrown at the series. A lot of comparisons were made to Donkey Kong Country, with some critics saying the series lacked innovation and uniqueness, regardless of the innovation it brought as far as polygonal graphic design. I can understand the sentiment on some level and I retain a lot of criticisms about the first installment in the Crash Bandicoot series, even if the remastered version fixed a lot of lingering issues I had with it. Even if I might be in the minority, I still stand as one of the proud defenders of the series as bringing in a fun, vibrant few of mascot plat-forming experiences, allowed to succeed through their outlandish characters and colorful levels. A video-game in the Crash Bandicoot series that’s unlikely to buck off that stigma or resentment is Crash Team Racing, a kart-racing experience that most certainly takes a lot of inspiration from Konami Krazy Racers, a Game Boy Advance video-game that revolutionized the kart-racing genre. Joking aside, Crash Team Racing simply borrows too much to avoid comparisons and criticism for its similarities and heavy inspiration taken from Mario Kart.
The Out of Frame Podcast - Ep. 1: Upcoming Convention for "The Canes Files", PaRappa the Rapper & Gex Video-Game Reviews, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich Movie Review
What is Mishmashers (dot) com?
Started in late-2017, Mishmashers.com is a website by brothers Scott Moore and McConnaughay as a way to share their opinion on an array of different topics, as well as shine a light on their written works. Both brothers are passionate about their work and have dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to their respected works.
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