Tag Archives: review

‘Evil Genius’ – Netflix’s Newest Must-Watch Crime Series

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Brian Wells moments before his untimely death – Netflix

The True Crime genre love that has been drawing in viewers for some time now from Making a Murderer to The Keepers and The Staircase among others, has a new must-watch show featuring one of the most bizarre cases ever documented.  Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist recently dropped on Netflix and the four part documentary has enough of all the right genre ingredients for it to be binged in a single sit and leave us wanting more.

At the very base of this case is the town of Eerie, Pennsylvania and a pizza delivery driver named Brian Wells who robs a bank with a working walking cane gun (it’s literally something out of James Bond), a note demanding $250,000 – and a collar bomb around his neck.

After obtaining less than $9000, Wells leaves the bank, is apprehended and while waiting for the bomb squad to arrive, dies when said collar bomb explodes in one very graphic and horrific scene that has traumatized me since viewing. Moments after Well’s shocking death, it’s discovered he was on a scavenger hunt, following a map and instructions in order to defuse the Saw like collar bomb.

The web of this case begins to expand when one of Well’s co-workers mysteriously dies only days later and two people – Bill Rothstein and Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong – enter the fray with a third dead body sitting frozen in Rothstien’s chest freezer.

This fascinating case features master mind criminals, red herrings, crazy theories and law enforcement bungles – just as others in the genre have – but unlike those, the focus on the judicial system is just a haze as the unusual circumstances within this case are just too outlandish to not be put front and centre.

Of the two criminals in this case, Diehl-Armstrong is the only one still alive and the only one to actively communicate with director Trey Borzillieri about Well’s case and the ever expanding landscape that surrounds it.

Check out the trailer below:

Evil Genius is streaming now on Netflix Australia/New Zealand.

p.s – for fans of the genre’, the compelling The Staircase is coming to Netflix along with three all-new episodes starting on June 8th!

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Review : The Assassination of Gianni Versace

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Ray Mickshaw/FX

Taking the what-if around this murder as gospel, the follow up to The People Vs OJ Simpson is more flash than facts but is still a good watch.

I’m putting it out there front and center – the actual murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace is only a fraction of what is featured within the world of Ryan Murphy’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace so much so, the show would have been better titled The Delusional Life of Andrew Cunanan as Assassination delves into the world of Versace’s killer (played by Glee’s Darren Criss) more than Versace’s terrible fate as the title would suggest.

Opening with soaring operatic music and a flowing visual tour of Versace’s gaudy Miami mansion, Versace is dead even before the title credits.  However, the aim for Murphy wasn’t for us to follow those trying to solve this murder (hence the title) but in fact send us back in time and follow Cunanan and how he ended up with a gun in his hands aimed at the famed fashion designer.  Yes, Versace’s untimely death at the hands of Cunanan plays as the pilot episode’s main premise but that’s more to do with Versace’s celebrity status over Cunanan’s four other victims, who also get a look in during the shows eight other episodes in the form of time jumps.

Based off the book Vulgar Favors: The Hunt for Andrew Cunanan, the Man Who Killed Gianni Versace by author Maureen Orth, Assassination is spread among three different lines – Cunanan and his victims, Versace’s loved ones (including Ricky Martin as Versace’s long-time partner Antonio D’Amico) dealing with the fashion empire pre and post murder and the bumbling FBI who can’t seem to get to grips with the ‘gay’ aspect surrounding the murders (it was the 90’s).

The source material also happens to blur the lines between truth and made-up and Assassination quickly becomes a show that will have you asking “did that really happen?” while trying to decide what is fact and what is fiction considering to this day, there is still no actual proof that Versace and Cunanan had even met prior to the murder.

Gianni’s sister Donatella (played with startling verbal similarity by Penelope Cruz) has claimed the series as “a work of fiction” while the programme itself carries the disclaimer: “Some events are combined or imagined for dramatic and interpretative purposes. Dialogue is imagined to be consistent with these events” and that’s because the main players within this world are….well, dead.

Cunanan’s prior interactions (or lack thereof) with his victims – Versace (Édgar Ramírez), Jeffrey Trail (Finn Wittrock), David Madson (Cody Fern), Lee Miglin (Mike Farrell) and William Reece (Gregg Lawrence) – is somewhat pure speculation so while the work is based off fact, it is done so with much “let’s assume this is what happened“.

That aside, the character study of Andrew Cunanan is a rather intriguing one and is explored heavily within the series.  Cunanan’s ability to seamlessly morph into any given situation or social standing and flee when his lies have all been revealed is quite remarkable though giving so much focus on his life, his lies and his troubled youth feels like we’re being forced into empathizing with Cunanan in light of the fact he is/was a notorious serial killer.

Part of this comes down to how star Darren Criss brings the killer to life, playing Cunanan as mysterious yet suave with an air of charm, a believer in his own lies and the false world around him that he has created while trying to decide just how much of his true self he needs to reveal.  One could only presume by the middle of this series, much more freedom for Criss was enabled with Cunanan as this is where most of the fact/fiction lines become very blurred.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Assassination is the glaring fact that unlike season one’s OJ Simpson story, there is no real hero to root for.  While we all knew the end result, Sarah Paulson’s Marcia Clark still had us backing her to go and get hers in a male dominated environment yet in Assassination, that task is less male dominated environment and more gay acceptance.

That job is pretty much left vacant even though it may feel like we’re being forced into believing it should be Cunanan who, while never ashamed of his sexuality, understands how being gay can be perceived by those less educated on the topic.

The missing hero however is through no fault of anyone’s as there just was never one in this story to begin with.  It could never have been Cunanan (regardless of his childhood), the FBI, as it’s shown, were a bunch of bumbling bigots who couldn’t have cared any less about Cunanan’s victims and others such as Versace or even Lee Miglin’s wife Marilyn (played wonderfully by Judith Light) were so far removed from the central story line it would have meant stretching the truth even further to find that hero.

On the whole, this tale of Andrew Cunanan is a worthy watch and while lacking in the suspense and law and order that drove American Crime Story’s first season of The People Vs OJ Simpson there is still enough substance to dig in and make your own mind up about how much truth is actually found within this series.

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace begins Thursday May 24th at 8:30pm AEST, on Foxtel’s showcase.

 

Review: Olivia Newton John: Hopelessly Devoted to You – Part One

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Image credit: Channel Seven

At some point during the two hours of this part one Olivia Newton John bio, A young Olivia Newton John (played by Morgan Griffin) finds a review about her album with the now infamous quote “If white bread could sing, it would sound like this.”….

Needless to say, that white bread is what we’re being delivered up in the first part of this ONJ biopic that literally speed-balls through two decades of her career within the blink of an eye, bypassing the darker, meatier topics that could have added a bit of wholegrain to the loaf.

Hopeless Devoted to You opens with one of ONJ’s most iconic film moments, the transformation of Sandy in Grease with her ink black leggings, figure hugging corset and hair tizzed within an inch of it’s life singing ‘You’re the one that I want’.  She’s riding a wave of praise with the world at her feet at the movie’s premiere wondering “how did I get here?” before we’re thrown all the way back to Melbourne 1965 with 16 year old ONJ  (Morgan Griffin) about to get her first break with boyfriend TV presenter Ian Turpie (Will Ewing) by her side.

A move to London, a failed attempt with her first single and movie plus a new boyfriend in Bruce Welch (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) from the band ‘The Shadows’ and suddenly ONJ is 22 years old and she’s beginning to make a name for herself with thanks to her boyfriend and manager Welch.  There’s a slight hint within this first part that attempts to look at Welch’s jealousy of ONJ has her career begins to soar (he left his band to manager her) but because that might delve a bit to deep into the dark side it’s quickly brushed aside and ONJ moves on.

White bread.

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Image: Channel Seven

It’s a full 45-odd minutes before the Delta Goodrem version of ONJ re-appears just as she’s about to sing her first mega hit “I Honestly Love You” with new boyfriend by her side, Englishman Lee Kramer (Todd Lasance) who, also happens to be her new manager.  And very much like before with lover/manager Welch, ONJ finds herself struggling with the jealousy of Kramer as her lover/manager as her career continues to keep going higher and once again, she lets him go before we get into the meatier parts of their relationship.

White bread.

The nitty gritty of this part one is that there is none.  It’s simply white bread and in all honesty there is really nothing wrong with it as it makes for a nice and pleasant viewing filled with some hit songs and a couple of broken hearts.

As a young ONJ, Morgan Griffin shines, giving us the doe eyed soft spoken Aussie girl about to take on the world with her music though as this is the Delta Goodrem show, she’s brought in to play ONJ in her early 20’s and that may not have been the best move as Goodrem is too present, too self aware, too…well…Delta Goodrem.

Sure Delta and ONJ both embody the ‘good girl next door’ image but the similarities between the two end there and I had to remind myself constantly that this wasn’t a Delta singing singing ONJ’s greatest hits special and that’s through no fault of her own.  Delta is just too big a name, face and brand to easily morph into someone else – someone just as well known in the form of Olivia Newton John.

When you compare this to 2014’s Michael Hutchence/INXS biopic, Luke Arnold, while known, did not have the same status as Goodrem which allowed the actor to become Hutchence to a point the two were eerily alike but then again, there was more substance and darker, personal material being explored in that movie.

Part two, which airs the following week, delves into the more recent(ish) and more tabloid ONJ era with crazed stalkers, the Xanadu years, battle with cancer and a lover missing at sea.

Don’t expect too much depth from this part one, if we’re talking white bread it’s a cucumber sandwich made to look like a cheese sandwich but we still can clearly see it’s a cucumber sandwich.  Enjoyable but sadly not satisfying that hunger.

Olivia Newton John: Hopelessly Devoted to You – Part one airs Sunday, May 13th at 8:30pm on the Seven Network.

Review: Roseanne Revival Coming soon to Network Ten

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Adam Rose / ABC

We’re strong into the era of the ‘reboot’ where the feelings of days gone by nostalgia is breathing new life into shows long forgotten.  Sometimes it works a treat and sometimes it leaves us with a nasty sour taste in our mouths.  Will & Grace came back with a force, molding itself into modern era culture and The X-Files continues it’s bumpy sci-fi ride traipsing through aliens and government conspiracies.  2009’s Melrose Place reboot lost viewers the moment anything relating to the original series was thrown out the window while Gilmore Girls Netflix revival seemed to have lost it’s quip and heart.

So where does Roseanne sit on the reboot/revival scale?  

Well, the ‘working class’ family comedy that debuted 30 years ago was biting in its humorous take on the less than glamorous, shining a light on everyday family problems from teenagers to low income, unemployment and health care though its final season embraced ‘jumping the shark’ culture with the Connor family winning millions in the state lottery and killing off Roseanne’s husband Dan (John Goodman) with a heart attack.

This Roseanne revisit needed to fix the wrongs of the past and does so using familiar techniques as seen very recently with Will & Grace, using one line quick quips to glaze over what we knew and wipe the slate clean for those old enough to remember how things left off.

This cleanse leaves us with a Connor family at war within itself in 2018, some of which being the result of the diabolical political state America is currently enveloped in.  Jackie (Laurie Metcalfe) has been pushed aside after a voting clash with Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), Darlene (Sara Gilbert) has moved back home as a recently divorced mother of two, DJ (Michael Fishman) has returned home after a stint in the army over in Syria and brings with him his young daughter and Becky (Lecy Goranson) is a struggling single who can’t seem to keep away from her childhood home.

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Familiar and new faces in the Roseanne revival

In general, almost everything looks the same about Roseanne from when we last saw them (albeit older and including a sweet nod to ‘other Becky’ Sarah Chalke, who guests in the first few episodes) though there are some minor ‘token’ attempts to pull the show into current times with DJ’s bi-racial daughter and Darlene’s gender fluid son Mark, who takes center stage in the revivals’ second episode that features some semi-touching moments pinched between some grimacing looks from Dan early on in the piece.

In a move similar to that of the Will & Grace revival, Roseanne’s first episode back is a very politically charged episode, commenting on the current landscape with Trump in charge but unlike Will & Grace, Roseanne proudly voted for Trump and plays as the reason why she and Jackie have had a falling out.  Thankfully though, politics seem to take a back seat for the next few episodes and putting that topic in the hip pocket allows the show finds that magical stride, balancing brutal cutting humor with heart warming touching moments the show was known for.

So again, where does the Roseanne reboot sit on the scale?

After a heated first episode that feels unfamiliar and a questionable second episode, Roseanne settles in nicely to produce one of the more welcome returns to television after being revived from the crypt.

The Roseanne revival begins with a double episode starting Sunday April 30th on Channel 10.

 

Pinterest Fails Come to Life in Netflix’s “Nailed It”

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When good cakes happen to bad bakers.  Image: Netflix

In the era of modern technology and instant ‘moment sharing’, cooking failures in the kitchen are no longer restricted to shamefully tossing out the food abomination one has created.  Pinterest Fails and #NailedIt hash tags allow us to poke a little fun at our kitchen disappointments and now, Netflix have gone one step further with a new fun filled baking show filled with ‘bakers’ just as inept at baking as most of us are.

Nailed it’, hosted by Nicole Byer, salutes all the wrongs we do in the kitchen by pitting three willing home chefs against each other in a two round bake-off where the aim is to re-create decadent and over-the-top baked goods (in what I feel is a very restricted amount of time), all for the chance to win $10,000 and the Nailed It trophy cup.

From kit kats in the microwave (when the recipe requires melted chocolate) to unflattering self portrait cookies to a President Donald Trump cake that looks like it has come directly out of your nightmares, Nailed It celebrates the fun in failing.

While the format is nothing really new and the contestant introductions feel like they’re on a daytime infomercial spruiking the latest in kitchen utensils, it is Nailed It’s judges that inject the life and festivity to the show.  Host Byers along with renowned chef Jacques Torres and an episodic special guest judge play along with the frivolity of the show and aren’t afraid to laugh at the baking results so much so, I believe the title of the show should actually be “I don’t mean to laugh but – “

While there is laughter at our bakers and their skills, there is no nastiness whatsoever.  Byers, Torres and the guest judge are encouraging and are even able to be called up to offer advice if one of the bakers press their allocated ‘panic’ button.

In the end, our bakers know they’re crap in the kitchen.  There’s no egos, no arguments and no casting of the villain role (hello MKR).  These bakers are here to have a good time, get some baking pointers and have a crack at possibly fluking a challenge to win the $10,000 prize.

Nailed It is currently streaming on Netflix Australia.

 

Netflix’s “Mortified Guide” is the Affirmation that we were all weird in High School.

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Netflix: Mortified Guide

We’re all freaks, we’re all fragile, and we all survived.  This tagline for Netflix’s docuseries ‘Mortified Guide’  rings true for all us 30-something year old’s who can remember the awkward, angst ridden life we all lived ‘back in the day’ of our teen years and the dairy entries that accommodated those life defining moments.

The six episode series takes heed from a generalized topic such as “The Mortified Guide to Fitting In” and “The Mortified Guide to Pop Culture” among others and puts willing participants on stage, in front of a live audience, to read aloud actual diary entries written in the moments of rage, love, happiness and oblivion.

Think of it as a live action, modern day version of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.

The beauty behind Mortified Guide is just how affirming it is to know that what we experienced and felt and believed all those years ago, mimics that of pretty much everyone else and that is in thanks to how Mortified Guide is presented.

This is about the celebration of our awkward years, the celebration about how inept we all really were about love and sex and family and well….pretty much life in general and the celebration of how we all saw this and interpreted it into written form.

Each of the six episodes offer plenty of standout diary moments including a re-telling of a very erotic story written about an encounter with Jon Bon Jovi in the high school corridors, a star trek obsessed lad who wrote his diary entries in the form of ‘captains logs’, one girls attempt to get popular with online fanfic readers with her clueless homo-erotic Harry Potter fan fiction and my personal favorite – episode one’s closing of two life long friends re-enacting their old MSN chats where being friend-zoned is painfully hilarious.

There’s so much warmth to this awkward humor, so much so that you’ll be encouraged to pull out your own teenage journal from the back of wardrobe and cringe a little less than the last time you read it.

And so rings true it does, the shows tagline “We’re all freaks, we’re all fragile, and we all survived.”

Mortified Guide To is now streaming on Netflix Australia

 

The Great, The Good and The Bad of Call of Duty’s WWII MP Beta

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Call of Duty®: WWII Private Beta

After a spate of jet boosted, wall running, chain movement and space themed outings, Call of Duty is headed back into long gone territory, world war II style with the brand new boots on the ground Call of Duty: WWII.  A move that many CoD fans have been begging for since the series began to sway into more modern themes.

This past weekend saw PS4 users get exclusive early access to the Call of Duty: World War II Multiplayer beta allowing players to get a (restricted) hands on feel of the new game before it releases in early November.  Upon first impressions, the ground based warfare is a major welcome return to form for the first person shooter series that has been dangling a little too long in outer space though there are a few restrictions that may see those used to more freedom in customization struggle with the new game.

As of writing this, I am a little shy of hitting the 7 hour game play mark where 3 maps, a handful of game modes and heavily limited customization options are open within the beta.

Now it’s time to look at the great, the good and the bad of this Call of Duty WWII beta.

The Great:

War Mode.  It’s one of only a handful of games available to play in the beta and brings with it a familiar feel to those who played the recent Star Wars Battlefront which sees your team of 12 attack or defend multiple points in a chain, working together to either claim or hold back the enemy from progressing further.

As described by Activision:  Fight for control of a war-torn French village west of St. Lo, an important operation in the Allied push onward and out of the beachhead at Normandy. Allied and Axis forces clash for control of a strategic manor to secure a forward operating position. Bridge construction, ammo depot demolition and tank escorts are key strategic tasks in this do or die mission to dominate the enemy. Choose your equipment wisely – every decision can mean the difference between victory and defeat in this narrative-driven, objective-based multiplayer experience – a first for Call of Duty.”  

This beta only has one map open but it’s a great game mode and new addition to the series.

Play of the Game Highlight.  As featured in Overwatch, Call of Duty is doing away with ‘final kill cam’ which saw a sometimes boring or standard final kill be highlighted after the match has finished, and in its place, a play-of-the-game sort of sequence which showcases a worthy highlight from the match.  While it’s not as personal as Overwatch with it’s character highlight intro, the change finally gives players who pull off incredible plays their dues.

Game Play.  We were promised boots on the ground and deliver it Activision/Sledgehammer games have.  Cod WWII offers a very nice balance between the uber-boots on ground style seen in Modern Warfare Remastered and the ease of movement seen in something like Black Ops 3.  The knee slide had been replaced with a lunge, the sprint is limited but not in a incapacitating type of way while mounting ladders and climbing through windows and over things is very smooth, quick and not lumber-some.

Audio:  It feels as if a lot of work has been put into the sound aspect of the game with everything sounding hard and present and realistic.  From the gun shots to planes firing overhead to the sounds of the soldiers taking fire (or being set alight) it’s all pretty spiffy – the best bit though, the sounds of the hand grenades going off, pending how close you are to them can be terrifying!

The Good:

Maps.  Three maps are open for play in the beta and they are Pointe Du Hoc, Ardennes, and Gibraltar.  Pointe Du Hoc is a medium sized map that sees most game play occur within a maze of trenches surrounded by destroyed outposts and offers up a great mix of space for snipers and fast close combat for run-and-gunners.  Gibraltar is a multi level, medium sized map with three lanes of play that may allow those apt with quick sniping to take advantage of the height variance in the map depending on your spawn point while Ardennes is a snow covered map, once again medium in sized with interconnecting lanes that can favor both long shooters and those taking advantage of the connecting lanes in close combat.

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Pre-Game Lobby.  Call of Duty®: WWII Private Beta

The Pre-Game Lobby.  Looking like an old war photo, the entire play list of both teams are now featured in the pre-game lobby.  Here you get the opportunity to quickly go through each player, check their load out and get a close up view of their playable character.  It’s a nice new touch that Sledgehammer have brought in for players to showcase their customized character.

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Top Players Highlight in Call of Duty®: WWII Private Beta

Top Players Highlight.  Becoming a regular feature, the top players in the winning team are given their dues post match where, like past outings, actions can be performed such as ‘salute’, clap in ‘good job’ and wave in ‘Hey!’.  I’m assuming there’ll be more to unlock in the full game.

The Bad:

Customization.  Note, this section is severely restricted in the Beta and the customization options of your character are very limited.  From what’s on offer, we’re given a glimpse of a basic collection of pre-designed heads (in the beta, two are literally a re-color of each other) which are available for choosing (5 in the beta including three male and two female) and that is pretty much it.  I did stumble across a uniform section but it seems to have been locked for beta and now going back, cannot be found anymore.

Funnily enough, Sledgehammer have been quite open about their knowledge of how players react and engage to their own customized character but from what has been seen, i’m a little worried about the final product.  Here’s hoping, when the game drops, there’s more to be found in this section such as removable helmets, alternate uniforms and additional character building cosmetics.

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Character/Skin Selection in Call of Duty®: WWII Private Beta

Weapons and load outs.  My biggest gripe with Modern Warfare Remastered was the lack of load out options and weapon customization and it appears, Sledgehammer have taken no notice of the foul cries and have semi-replicated the load out system.  Perks are limited to a “Basic Training” feature that allows you one bonus load out option but they are muted and vary from “take a second primary weapon” or “collect ammo from fallen soldiers” effect.

Weapon attachments are of course in the game but the ability to run around with a powered automatic adorned with a scope, silencer, extra ammo and laser sight is a no no.  Pending on the division you choose to enlist in and the weapon picked, most weapons only offer two to three attachment options.

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Load outs in Call of Duty®: WWII Private Beta

Limited suppressors.  Just putting it out there but I have a very specific style of game play when it comes to the Call of Duty series and it seems Cod WWII may just force me to get out of old habits.  My CoD load outs have always consist of silent movement, no radar ping and a silencer attached on a weapon – it’s what works for me as a player but it seems within WWII, only one division is offering up the ability to add a suppressor AND from the looks of it, will only be attachable to an SMG……………eeek.

Overall, there are some welcome return to forms for this up-coming Call of Duty outing along with some concerns about where Sledgehammer are going to take the series.  To note, the beta currently has locked until launch

  • Headquarters – We’re testing the match-making of this all-new social experience, but access to this space will not be active during the Multiplayer Beta.
  • Supply Drops, and Loot – These customization features that add depth and personality to your soldier will not be included in the Multiplayer Beta.
  • Esports – Ranked Play, Game Battles, and our suite of competitive features will be accessible when we release in November.
  • Additional content not in the Private Multiplayer Beta includes: full progression, remaining maps and modes, additional War Mode maps, and the full armory of weapons, scorestreaks, Basic Training, and equipment.

Also, there have been some players having issues with timing out and forcing an app close during this beta, but I can say I have had no issues to date.  There has been no delay in finding a match or being kicked out of one.  There may be an issue with bullet recognition but that may be a lag/beta issue.

The beta re-opens agains on September 1 to Monday, September 4 for both PS4 and XBox users with Call of Duty: WWII launching on Nov. 3, 2017.

 

 

Channel 7’s Yummy Mummies Will Leave you Utterly Sour

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Picture Credit: Channel 7

In an aimless attempt to tap into the “Real Housewives of…” market, Channel 7 has incredulously decided to drag viewing audiences to their network with their own unscripted version titled “Yummy Mummies” premiering Sunday night at 9pm.

Yummy Mummies assaults viewers with their bland and tedious lives of four soon-to-be-mums who live their days through their “MelbourneYumMums” Instagram page, drinking mocktails at lunch and doing a lot of shopping for designer maternity wear while contemplating how “everyday pregnant women let themselves go during pregnancy”.

At first glimpse, there’s not much substance to the three Melbourne based nearly mums. While they seem like a lot of fun, there’s no talk of maternity leave or any sign these women have some form of a career outside of going to lunch and when it comes to finances, there’s no shame shown when talking about how the hubby will happily pay for a $99,000 “push present” aka a rare diamond ring.

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Yummy Mummy number one is Lorinska, an AFL WAG, married to former Carlton player Andrew Merrington and is a behemoth of a woman who towers above the other two nearly mums.  At 33 weeks pregnant, Lorinska has a very valid fear of breastfeeding her soon to be off-spring after a humiliating and traumatic cow-teet-to-the-face moment in her childhood.  Lorinska is also the only “yummy mummy” not afraid to look a little more casual during some of her cut screen commentaries.

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Yummy Mummy number two is Rachel, a…..well not much is offered on Rachel except she’s a) heavily pregnant, b) gives great Carrie Bradshaw face, c) is the only “yummy mummy” who doesn’t look like a chupa chup who swallowed it’s chupa chup and d) likes to scare breast feeding phobic nearly mums with tales of alien-esque post birth scenarios.

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Yummy Mummy number three is Jane, a model who’s married to South Yarra hairdresser Joey Scandizzo and is the only “yummy mummy” to actually be on her second pregnancy.  It’s hard to hate on Jane because she’s very pretty, rocks a posh yet bogan twang and reminds me way to much of Karen Smith from Mean Girls.

While we are being introduced to the Melbourne gang, we are also invited to meet “Yummy Mummy” Maria from Adelaide along with her mum Patsy Stone Margherita (this show’s true and not-so-secret secret star) and her younger sister Bianca who seems like Kendall Jenner before Kendall Jenner became Kendall Jenner.

YMum_2 Maria is many months pregnant (I can’t for the life of me remember how far along she is or if it’s even mentioned – actually I don’t really care) and has already mapped out her unborn daughters life up-to the age where she’ll be resented for the rest of her life. From Burberry to Versace, as long as it’s branded and cost more than my annual wage, then Maria has bought it for her unborn child.

Maria is all about style over substance, she’s branded her partner with her name in ink and believes breast feeding in public is or should be illegal and is not a fan of counter-fake (yes, her words) handbags.

Maria is also the reason why the Melbourne based “Yummy Mummies” end up in Radeliade – to attend her uber tacky and garishly over the top Burberry-come-Versace themed baby shower as Maria, it seems has no friends and needs to invite three total strangers to this event in an attempt to show off and feel good about her vapid life.

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Maria, it seems, does not have it all….

Bridezilla’s are a thing of the past with Mumzilla Maria throwing tantrum after tantrum in regards to planning her most glamorous ever baby shower.  From the size of the event room to ordering a big enough balloon arch, the theme of the baby shower to present table size, nothing is off limits in tantrum town.

There is one saving grace in this abhorrent show however – event planner Jess –

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Patience of a saint – Channel 7

Jess is literally the ‘everyday person’s hero’ as she keeps composure through the stream of outrageous demands Maria vomits up in a single meeting.  There’s not a single raised eyebrow and no glaringly forced smile as Jess has a reasonable solution for every demand.

Yummy Mummies really is truly terrible television.  There’s no beating around the bush – it’s shit – but, it’s shit television that makes for twitter and social commentary gold and the fact that we still don’t make it to an actual baby shower by the end of this first episode will keep many shocked eyes on the following episode.

Yummy Mummies begins, Sunday night on Channel 7 at 9pm right after the House Rules finale…..

 

Modern Warfare Remastered Shows Just How Far the Franchise Has Come

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Female soldier skins are a new addition to MW Remastered

As someone who stood steadfast in avoiding the most recent outing of Call of Duty due to it’s overtly futuristic spacey feel, the lure of an addition of the series fourth installment, Modern Warfare remastered, finally drew me in to nab the game (5 months after it’s release mind you). This updated flashback to one of Call of Duty’s more finer releases showcases just how far the series has come since its early days and just how dated this version really is when compared to where the series has gone.

While major improvements have been made to graphics and even the inclusion of semi-customizable soldiers – with female skins available too, Modern Warfare Remastered brings players back to a cumbersome grounding, taking away the speed and finesse that plays in more modern outings for the series.

Playing my first team death match game on the ‘Bog’ map, simple and instilled tasks of sliding, wall running and reloading while sprinting that we have all become accustomed to, do not exist.  Blasting yourself sky high and popping off a sniper shot or speeding yourself across the map to dodge a hail of bullets does not happen.  Instead, your’e left hurriedly scurrying to a safe spot, trying to scope out the enemy, hoping to make a mercy dash to your next location or out of the way of falling bombs.

Basically, MW Remastered neuters players who are neck deep in the futuristic COD game play style and brings them back to a place of beginner level and a lot of this can be attributed to two reasons – the maps with the game and the restricted load outs.

Unlike recent releases, the maps in MW Remastered were not designed for vertical run and gun play but instead, grounded gritty and strategic warfare.  In maps especially like Bog and Shipment (which are no bigger in size than say Nuketown), cover is very hard to come.  Strategy team death match play goes out the window and a battle for survival and attempts to build kill streaks take its place.  These maps force players to completely change their usual play style to that they would use in other COD games.

I for instance haven’t heavily used a sniper rifle since Call of Duty: Ghosts thanks to the introduction of boosts, wall running and the large amount of ‘Swiss cheese’ styled maps that just don’t allow for the comfortable use of those kinds of weapons.  Those fast paced games of modern COD games have crafted me into a run and gun player so falling back into long range paced play was a welcome but clumsy change.

The restricted load outs are also big change from the norm we’ve come to expect with players forced to use weapons with a single attachment, one tactical item and three perks.  A far cry from the 10 point load out system where a single weapon can yield 4 attachments that we’ve come to know.  It becomes frustrating deciding to chose between adding the silencer or ACOG scope to your weapon, both which drastically effect how you play the game.

All in all, releasing a much loved classic on the back of one of the least anticipated Call of Duty releases to date was a smart move by Activision but the stripped back classic game will provide a mixed bag of opinions, divide fans and more than likely push those invested in the more modern and accommodating releases back to what they know and love.  I however have begun to relish the old-school style of game-play, even with its major playing restrictions.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered is available now as part of the Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition release.

Amy Schumer’s Leather Special Keeps with the Schumer we Know All Too Well.

AmySNetflix1When it comes to comedian Amy Schumer and her stand-up comedy shows, we pretty much know what we’re going to get.  Themes of self depreciation, sex, fat jokes and offering her own take on the vagina monologues are constant in Schumers work, so much so, when bursting onto the scene, she was applauded for delving into those ‘no-go’ topics.

Now a best selling author and big screen actress (Trainwreck and the upcoming Snatched with Goldie Hawn), the jokes and topics that found Amy stardom continue to pull her along the dark and vulgar path she’s traveled down many a time before.  In her most recent outing for Netflix titled Amy Schumer: The Leather Special, jokes about her feminine hygiene, copious amounts of alcohol and oral sex are once again present and feel somewhat ‘old-school’ Amy Schumer and by old-school, I mean the Amy we first met back in 2014 when Inside Amy Schumer began to gain traction for being a very on point and wickedly blunt comedic sketch show.

Schumer, as witnessed in The Leather Special, rarely strays away from topics that seem to hit with audiences and while topics such as double standard within Hollywood, female sexuality and empowerment and body insecurities are tackled, there’s an uneasy feeling of ‘heard this once before’ as these topics feel rehashed but with added vagina.

But all is not lost for Amy as among all the smut and vomit jokes, she manages to set aside her vagina for a moment and approach the hot topic of gun control, a subject close to Schumer after a gunman (in 2015) opened fire in a cinema showing her film Trainwreck in which two people were killed and nine other injured.

It’s a sidestep into the real world that will undoubtedly get people talking and divide audiences (the special briefly cuts to a small number of audience members walking out when gun control is mocked) but also one that she should visit a bit more often as sadly, this ‘raunch comedy’ that has become so synonymous with Schumer has me fearing that she may never get out of this sexual gag cycle.

Amy Schumer: The Leather Special is currently streaming on Netflix.