The Northman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features
Directed by Robert Eggers
So not only did The Daniels make one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, we got a movie from Robert Eggers just a few weeks after! Either someone out there likes me or I’m being set up for a huge downfall, which admittedly is thematically consistent with Eggers’ other work. Both The Witch and The Lighthouse were two of the best movies in their respective years and it looks like Hollywood is taking notice as they’ve given him a blank check to make his unique form of creeping dread and otherworldly terror as big and bombastic as any summer blockbuster! Do the bigger budget and expansive production give Eggers the room he needs to make the best movie of his career, or is he better suited for something on a much smaller scale? Let’s find out!!
Back in the time of The Vikings, there was a king named Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke) who was unjustly slain by his own brother (Claes Bang) in front of the young prince Amleth (Oscar Novak) in a power grab for his kingdom and his queen (Nicole Kidman). The prince manages to escape and swears vengeance on his uncle which he nurtures into a finely distilled ball of pure rage and spends the next twenty years bulking up and kicking butt until he is ready to take back his kingdom. Now a grown man (Alexander Skarsgård), Amleth pillages the countryside with a group of like-minded and similarly buff Viking dudes until he gets word that his uncle has been deposed and is living with the queen and their two sons on some farm in Iceland. He heads over there on a slave ship to try and get close to him while meeting the fair maiden Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) who may or may not be a witch, and is similarly interesting in killing the man who will be enslaving them both. Amleth manages to stay unrecognized as he becomes one of his uncle’s slaves and plots his revenge which includes sewing chaos during the night and stabbing dudes with a magic sword he finds. Still, this proves to not be as simple a task as Amleth believed it to be for all those years, and now he’s faced with the true consequences of his actions which forces him to weigh the cost of his vengeance against the balance he hopes to restore with that blood. Will Amleth be able to avenge his father, save his mother, and be the hero that would make Odin proud? Will his uncle catch wise to this hulking blonde brute being the instrument of his torment, and even if he does realize his identity, is there anything he can do to stop his nephew from carrying out his quest? Is it just me or does a blood feud really do wonders for your physique? I mean jeez, they didn’t even have EMS back!
[THENORTHMANCD1 – I guess when you can’t get whey protein in a jar you just have to get it the old-fashioned way by drinking the blood of your enemies!]
AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with another week of Rampage action, though this one finds itself in a bit of an odd spot. The next Dynamite is the big Winter is Coming show, and they wrapped up all the major storylines on the Wednesday show, so this is kind of just filling the gap between the two shows. Sure, Rampage works best when it gets to do its own thing separate from Dynamite, but sandwiched between the Dynamite show and Winter is Coming, can it manage to find enough fun action and compelling narratives to keep from feeling entirely disposable? Let’s find out!!
The Lucha Bros Vs. FTR – AEW Tag Title Match
The Lucha Bros are accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes while FTR are accompanied by Tully Blanchard
You’d think this would be a match to save for the big show on Wednesday instead of throwing out on the B-Show; especially since these two teams had a match at Triple-Mania less than a week ago. Why not let them rest until the Wednesday show and try to put on a barn burner instead of filling a slot that could literally go to anyone else? Rampage is a good place for random matchups, and it’d be nice if we got some highlights from Triple-Mania or even just a promo to set up this title match! Well, we’ve got the match that we’ve got, and I guess it was their way of making this Rampage not seem insignificant; so let’s see how it plays out. It starts off well with the Lucha Bros getting a solid lead on FTR, but the No Flips All Fist guys are hard to keep down no matter what you throw at them! Penta decides to go for psychological warfare and theatrically takes off his glove which he tosses to Cash who dutifully catches… and then IMMEDIATELY eats a kick to the face! Rey then tags in and jumps really high in the air for a Cross Body on Cash, but after landing he’s grabbed by Dax and is dropped spine first onto the apron; giving FTR some heat as we head into the commercial. Rey eventually makes his way to the corner to tag in Penta who hits Sling Blades on both guys before landing the Backstabber on Dax. Things go back and forth for a bit between Penta and Cash with some very cool reversals thrown in, and soon enough Rey tags back into the match. He punches Tully Blanchard in the face who thought it was a good idea to get up on the apron and taunt him, and starts to face off both members of FTR just like Penta did because I guess the Heels are allowed to do whatever they want; isn’t that right Ref? In any case, Dax catches Rey in a Springboard move and drops him with a Slingshot Liger bomb for a two count, and Dax tosses him into the ropes where Cash is waiting to bash him with the belt much like he did in their first meet up. Rey manages to stop himself and avoid the belt shot just as the ref sees what’s going on, and the two of them yank the belt out of Cash’s hands… which then goes right into Dax’s face! Oh well! Guess Rey’s gonna hit him with the Frog Splash and win! NO WAIT! Dax is still holding the belt and just lifts it up as Rey comes down; conking him in the face and going for the pin. Despite seeing little flying birds circle his head after that shot, Rey manages to kick out at two and things just go into overdrive from there! Rey tries to fight off FTR and goes up top for some sort of move, but he gets caught by both of them and they smash him to the mat with a Big Rig. They go for the pin but it’s broken up by Penta who comes flying in from the top turnbuckle; wiping everyone out taking a little breather on the floor while the crowd is going wild! It’s down to a battle of chops as both teams are in the ring and trading blows back and forth until Fenix lands a Cutter on Dax, only to eat a Gory Bomb from Cash. Penta is back in the ring and Cash does his best to fight him off, but in the end he winds up eating a Fear Factor and the Lucha Bros get the pin to win the match. I’m still a bit baffled that they gave away a title match (especially one this good) on Rampage, but if you are gonna give it away then why not make it fantastic? If nothing else, it was WAY better than the one on the PPV!
Escape the Undertaker and all the images you see in this review are owned by Netflix and WWE
Directed by Ben Simms
WWE has fallen PRETTY far in the last few years which can be attributed to a lot of things, but the most obvious of them is the arrival of AEW who have been killing it in the ratings recently to the consternation of Vince and crew. That said, if there’s ONE area where they are still the undisputed rulers of in this business, making fun things only tangentially related to wrestling! AEW doesn’t have a movie studio, and while they may have one reality show, half of WWE’s programming these days seems to have zeroed in on that market with pretty significant success! Being the established brand CLEARLY has its benefits, and while we probably won’t be getting another season of the Big Show Show, their relationship with Netflix has given us THIS little gem just in time for the Halloween season! Does this interactive movie pack enough chills and thrills to delight even the most jaded horror fan, or does this fall even flatter than Seth Rollins’ Monday Night Messiah gimmick? Let’s find out!!
You may have always wondered what a guy like The Undertaker did on his days off, and apparently the answer is to live in a dilapidated mansion with security cameras all over the place much like the terrifying hotel in The Collection! All of this seems to be to protect his precious urn that gives him his dark powers and glows bright purple when you get close to it, but on this fateful Halloween night, he is greeted by some unexpected guests! The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods) want to “borrow” the urn to see if they mix its dark magic with the Power of Positivity (it’s a wrestling thing; don’t worry about it) and so they start knock-knock-knocking on his front door asking to see it. Now The Undertaker, under normal circumstances, would have just given them all Tomb Stone Piledrivers, but the urn seems to be reacting to their presence so perhaps he can use their souls to add to the urn’s already impressive power! He unlocks the door from his secret security room and the New Day enter to find spooky fog, mysterious voices, and a morgue in the basement, all in their quest to find the urn and use its powers for good! Can you guide the New Day through whatever perilous traps and soul crushing trials the Undertaker has in store for them? What happens if you make mistakes that drain our heroes of their positive attitudes? Do you think this is what The Undertaker does every Halloween; just stare at his computer all day and hope that someone will try to mess with him?
AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with another week of concentrated AEW goodness as they are still running shows on Friday and Saturday instead of the usual Wednesday and Friday. DARN YOU HOCKEY FOR MAKING MY WEEK SLIGHTLY MORE INCONVENIENT! In any case, does AEW still put on a great show even if it’s now leading with Rampage instead of Dynamite? Let’s find out!!
Orange Cassidy Vs. Powerhouse Hobbs – AEW World Title Tournament Match
Cassidy is accompanied to the ring by Chuck Taylor while Hobbs is accompanied by Hook
As great as Hobbs is, you’d expect this match to handily end in Cassidy’s favor, but there are two things that make this interesting. First, Cassidy is having issues with his ribs due to the Leg Drop that Matt Hardy gave him through a table during the ladder match, so Hobbs has something to target. Second, Hobbs is proving himself to be a VERY smart wrestler who can definitely rely on his size most of the time but can out strategize his opponent when the need arises, and arise it does because Hobbs is reading Cassidy like a book and anticipating all of his signature moves. Cassidy starts the match going for an Orange Punch, but Hobbs scouts it, dodges it, and lands one of his HELLACIOUS Spine Busters to get things going and he gets the heat for quite a while on Cassidy; including one spot where Cassidy is thrown into the rope and tries to land a Swinging DDT, but Hobbs catches him and lays him out with a giant clothesline. Cassidy finally starts to fight back when he gets a few shots in while on the apron before going for the Cross Body off the top rope, but once again Hobbs’ power comes into play as he catches him and puts him in the Torture Rack. It seems hopeless for Orange Cassidy who can’t get a move in edgewise, whether it’s another attempt at a Swinging DDT or another shot at the Orange Punch that Hobbs dodges once again drives him into the turnbuckle. It’s all great stuff from Hobbs even if it’s a bit TOO one-sided for my taste, but here’s where things start to get odd. Hobbs is continually pressing him in the corner and Ref Remsberg has to remind him over and over to break the hold before the five count. This is SO irritating to Hobbs that he ACTUALLY picks up Remsberg so they can talk in the other corner. Hook gets on the apron to calm Hobbs down which ends up working as Hobbs takes a deep breath and is ready to continue the match properly. These shenanigans however have given Cassidy enough time to get back up and roll him up in the Mouse Trap to get the pin and win the match. Hobbs is out of the tournament which is a shame because this was a REALLY good match that did a lot to show how great of a wrestler he is! I don’t always like it when Cassidy spends most of the match eating offense, but Hobbs knowing Cassidy’s moves and countering them at every turn was a fantastic strategy for him to use in this match. Ultimately though it seems to have been SUCH a good strategy that they wrote themselves into a corner and had to settle for ref shenanigans to get themselves out of it which is disappointing, but this once again affirms that Powerhouse Hobbs is an indispensable talent at AEW and as always I can’t wait to see even more of him!
AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
So the last Dynamite was a pretty rough slog to get through which means I’m in JUST the right mood for what AEW themselves are calling THE FASTEST HOUR OF WRESTLING and at least until last week that was usually the case. Does Rampage get us back on track with a light and fun episode of wrestling action, or will it be bogged down as much as the last Dynamite and even the last Rampage? Let’s find out!!
Bryan Danielson Vs. Nick Jackson
Nick Jackson is accompanied to the ring by Matt Jackson and Brandon Cutler
So now that Danielson and Omega got their first big match out of the way, we can start going through some of the other dream matches while building up towards the rematch; a win-win situation if you ask me even if the crowd didn’t like their first match ending in a draw. Nick Jackson is also a good opponent to put him up against in his quest to face off with the ENTIRE Elite as people are still talking about his singles match with Rey Fenix, and it should come as no surprise that these two have a great match! Danielson may not have Nick Jackson’s high flying abilities, but he’s good at keeping him grounded and has a pretty sizable advantage throughout the match. Jackson’s case isn’t helped by the fact that he isn’t taking this seriously at first opting to show off and play around with cold spray rather than face Danielson directly, and he pays for this several times with Yes Kicks, brutal submissions, and a Dragon Sleeper that he only manages to escape by thumbing Danielson in the eye. The only reason he gets the heat during the commercial break is that he throws Danielson outside and starts distracting the ref while Matt Jackson tackles and hammers him on the floor. Still, he can’t help himself and starts to play around by giving Danielson his “unique” variation on the Yes Kick that only serves to tick Danielson off; so much so that he’s starting to FEED off the force of those kicks until he’s finally standing tall! He spits in Nick Jackson’s face and just goes WILD on the guy! STRIKE! KICK! STRIKE! KICK! A nonstop barrage of offense from Danielson as he makes Nick Jackson PAY for giving him such puny kicks! Nah, he’s gonna show him what REAL kicks look like and gives him a bunch of Yes Kicks for a two count! It’s time for Nick Jackson to put up or shut up, so after taking a few Running Knees from Danielson, he stops him in his tracks with not one but TWO Super Kicks that net him a two count. Nick Jackson then goes for the 450 Senton, but Danielson gets the knees up and he instantly transitions into the LeBell Lock. Jackson rolls to the apron and Danielson follows with even more Yes Kicks, but Jackson ducks after the first few and Danielson hits his shin on the ring post. Jackson follows up with a German Suplex on the apron and an Escalera to the floor before he tosses Danielson into the ring to put him in a Sharpshooter where he just barely gets to the bottom rope to break the hold. It’s starting to look bad for Danielson who rolls out of the ring, but luckily for him, Nick calls his shots and shouts SEE YA before charging at him with a kick and he’s able to duck it only for Brandon Cutler to eat he move instead. In the confusion, Danielson lands a German Suplex on the floor and rolls Nick Jackson in which could spell the end of this match, so Matt Jackson gets on the apron to distract the ref. Danielson gives him a forearm that sends him to the floor so naturally Nick Jackson gives him a surprise roll-up, and even if it only got a two count, it at least leveled the playing field between them as we head into the finish. Jackson lands a Superkick and goes for a Roundhouse to follow, but Danielson dodges and lands a Tiger Suplex into a bridge for a two count. Still holding Nick Jackson he starts HAMMERING on the dude’s chest to the delight of the crowd, and once he’s done he locks him in the Cattle Mutilation. Nick Jackson taps out which gives Danielson the victory to the consternation of The Elite who come out to look after Nick Jackson while Jurassic Express come out to look after Danielson. A brief brawl breaks up as it naturally should, and Jurassic Express gets the upper hand in anticipation of an upcoming Eight Man Tag Match between the two factions.