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The Witcher (2019)
Gave it four episodes and it is laughably bad
Whilst I am aware of the books and the games, I have never read or played them and hence was interested to give this new series a go. I do have a fear when entering fantasy series that there will be so much 'Anglar of Thornberry marrying Ujo of Bardor' that you'll lose track of what is going on. This is one of the reasons why I resisted watching GOT for so long when it came out. But that had decent, well written and memorable characters and hence it wasn't a struggle. The Witcher does not.
Whilst it tries to offer episodic content and an overarching storyline, it gets trapped in this endless barrage of kings and queens with similar tongue twisting names.
So although the initial episode wasn't great, I persevered in the hope that it would get better. It didn't but serious and consistent flaws began to reveal themselves. Geralt is made out to be a badass but yet it seems he is always getting his arse handed to him, especially if the people/monsters he is fighting are female.
Likewise, the writers have this habit of just making things happen because it will look cool. An example would be the cripple who goes to magic school. We don't actually see her practising magic in an offensive or defensive capacity. Yes, there is lightening catching but it feels more like a debutante finishing school where she is educated on how to behave. She then goes through a physical change and looks all pretty.
Then in the next episode she is suddenly fighting with another mage and bouncing through different portals. There was no indication that she would be this magical fighter, no training showing this combative side and the inference was that she would just be offering sage like advice.
The last straw came in episode 4 when Geralt is at a hideous wedding complete with embarrassing singing, drunken behaviour and toxic masculinity manifesting in shouting and fighting. But then a hedgehog man turns up and we have this hilarious scene right out of the Princess and the Frog where they declare undying love for each other. Then the Princess is suddenly an all-powerful mage (because the writers just thought of it) and then they marry. From being a raucous drunken group of men, they are now all suddenly cucked and are holding candles in a circle like a church choir.
As if that wasn't enough, Geralt is forced to ask for something in return, the Princess who just got married is suddenly sick and would you believe it she is pregnant and Geralt will have to claim it. I couldn't stop laughing at how utterly banal it was. Was this written by a teenage girl?
"So there's this powerful guy who is great with a sword, and then like this Princess is going to have marry someone and then this Hedgehog guy turns up and they love each other and stuff and then they marry. And oh yeah, the Princess is this powerful mage and er she's like pregnant and wouldn't it be cool if the powerful guy had to be its daddy and then..."
I'm sorry but this show is nonsensical trash. Okay it might be well made and Cavill needs a break but this is pants. He's this feared fighter but he gets owned in literally almost every fight (apart from when fighting random males), the story throws in literally every single fairy tale cliché that it can bastardise and the woke virtue signalling and agenda promotion builds and builds until it becomes nauseating.
Yes, there is blood and action but it feels tempered as if they were pushing for the 12A rating rather than the 18 rated blood and sex label. Ultimately, this looks expensive but sounds and plays like a school pantomime replete with wooden characters, cheesy dialogue and lame world building.
Dans la brume (2018)
Fresh and original concept which is executed well
I really enjoyed this little gem when I stumbled onto it.
It was a fresh concept that got straight into the action, it showcased characters through their exploits rather than having some clumsy method of character building but most refreshing was that the two main protagonists were clever and quick thinking. There wasn't the usual 'why in god's name would they do that' stupidity or similar frustrations. Just decent robust characters trying to figure stuff out.
Okay, the set up did telegraph the ending a little but I found the film thoroughly entertaining and if you like well made 'survival' films then this is defo worh checking out
Den of Thieves (2018)
Old fashioned bank robbery film that delivers the goods
I think this is a really good film on so many levels.
The men in it are proper men. They smoke, they drink, they've got big hands and they fight.
Gerard Butler is excellent in this. With a character name of Big Nick, he fills that role and acts like a womanising, hard drinking, selfish Alpha. His enemy in the film, Merrimen, acts the same and it makes for a refreshingly male centric film. The characters feel real and they feel dangerous.
The gun fights and soldiering in this is really good. The sound of the guns is incredibly loud which adds a real frisson of tension and reality when they happen. The film feels like a proper 'jungle' as these two big cats circle each other waiting for the other to make their play.
Great acting by those involved, a clever and intricate heist and some really great tension building music by Cliff Martinez. The use of the UFC fighters is a little distracting but I really hope to see more from this writer/director soon.
Tiresome virtue signalling and politics in almost every frame
I thought Clarkson and the crew had left the PC finger wagging BBC but oh no. Settling down to some Christmas Day entertainment and I'm greeted with some tedious rambling nonsense about climate change and how a river has dried up.
Aren't we all so bad for using electricity to watch this stuff and kill the planet but then right at the end of the sentence, Clarkson drops that in fact the Chinese dammed the river upstream, which virtually cut off the river.
Oh okay, so after lecturing us Thumberg style on the dangers of drought, we find out that it's actually down to someone cutting the water off. But as they want to sell the show in China, Clarkson will be sure to temper his criticism in case they lose the Chinese market.
We then proceed to get endless shots of the EU flag on the back of Clarkson's boat, which although would be passed off as just a thing are a clear sign of his politics.
After 30 minutes of enduring this drip drip of BBC like agenda promoting, I became tired of the 'education' and switched it off. The last straw was Clarkson reminding us how dreadful Europeans were in wanting to barter.
Now, I'm sure IMDB will conveniently prohibit this review for bringing in politics but this is exactly what is wrong with the show.
Just give me some entertainment without pushing your political narrative. Can't I just watch a programme without being subjected to the presenters campaign points?
Considering that Clarkson is famous for being so un PC, it's so frustrating to now witness this guy inserting his political views into everything.
Can people not make programmes now without feeling the need to belittle their audience and try to push a clear and transparent motive?
It's amazing that the makers wouldn't see the irony in ridiculing the former leader of Cambodia for his hysterical ideology and then try ro ram theirs down our throat at every opportunity.
What a disappointment and is there anything out there now that isn't being corrupted by tiresome and lecturing virtue posturing?
Entertaining and violent action
Sometimes, when you are flicking through Netflix deciding what to watch, it can be hard to find something that gives you what you want but offers a little sweet surprise. This film gave me that.
I knew it would be rough and tough but the story held me, the acting didn't lose me and the set up with the fighting enthralled me. It wasn't flashy but it had a proper rawness to it, which was entertaining to behold.
For those times when you can't be arsed to commit to a big blockbuster or be educated by a film stuffed full of social commentary, thank god that there are still films like this that give you solid, adult, action fare.
Laughably bad and ridiculously pretentious
I knew before seeing this that the reviews had said that this was wild and trippy and a bit out there and hence I expected a bit of madness but this was next level.
It's one thing being crazy but a director should be trying to tell a story rather than engaging in a series of arty, heavily filtered, static shots that tell you nothing other than the director and DP were dropping serious acid when trying to make a film.
After half an hour of meandering dialogue and tedious inactivity, I really couldn't take it anymore and had to switch off this self absorbed and self important piece of trash.
Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)
There is some clever invention but then the politics becomes so heavy handed
When the film starts, it's great to see the old characters, hear the iconic music and revisit this clever world. And when the characters go into the internet, it's truly magical to see the nods to the websites that we all know and the imaginative ways that the makers have envisaged the internet.
And then the politics start and they are far from subtle. First you begin to notice that all the cool characters are female and all the boring or evil ones are male. Then whenever Ralph and Venelope enter a scene it's always Ralph that is ridiculed and made to look a doofus and Ven that is hip and cool. How about some equal ribbing of both characters?
This then continues as you realise that Ralph is the object of toxic masculinity that has to be quashed. He's the virus, the patriarchy is the cancer. He's strong and big and wants to protect Ven but there's no good in that. That isn't something to be celebrated. Oh god no, let's smash that, let's portray him as a selfish man child (like all men) and let the women make things better.
None of this is more painfully revealed in the multitude of Princesses whining about how they are always rescued by strong men and they are tired of it. I have to laugh at their inability to recognise that they are the 'stars' of all of their films. If you had a room containing the male leads of their films, you wouldn't recognise anyone but no, even though these female characters have whole films about them, they're the under appreciated and overlooked ones crushed under the boot of the evil patriarchy.
Now some might say I'm bitter and being divisive but when this agenda is pushed into every film and no longer even attempted in a subtle manner, is it any surprise that one begins to notice and question this continued identity politics?
You shouldn't need to promote women by denigrating men and this is ultimately what Ralph breaks the internet was doing.
So it has great visuals and invention but the identity politics is slapped on with a brush so heavy, you feel yourself choking.
You Are Alone (2005)
Interesting and captivating
So I saw this on Amazon Prime and the synopsis looked interesting. Having a couple of hours spare, I thought I'd give it a go.
When it started it did suffer from the trait of super low budget films where the camera was just too close to the actors faces and I considered cutting it short. However, there was something interesting in the characters and whilst I initially railed against Buddy's puritanical interrogation of Daphne, I found myself wanting to know more about both of them and actually see them get it on.
Whilst Daphne's body is lovely to look at, it wasn't the titillation of seeing sex but rather watching two clearly lonely individuals experience a meaningful physical connection.
The film raised questions about prostitution, about appreciating the female form and what power/control that brings and about the crippling feeling of loneliness. It recognised the fantasy fulfillment and sexual needs that it satisfies but it also broached how it can be a way of making a physical connection with another human for a brief period of time.
Richard Brundage does well but I have to commend Jessica Bohl's acting. Whilst she is pleasing to the eye, it's the self assured confidence that she has, or rather portrays in her role, that is so arresting. She comes across as both level headed, capable and responsible but also approachable and vulnerable. I've not researched the careers of anyone connected with the film but I certainly hope that she, and the director, have used their talent to go further in this field.
Overall, a surprising low budget gem that has left an impression on this old and sometimes melancholic guy.
Trouble with the Curve (2012)
Cliched, tedious and boring
What a snooze fest this is. It has so many tiresomely predictable cliches that it holds no surprises.
Clint is gruff and Amy is 'misunderstood'. She has to contend with a partner convincing her of the need to go exclusive but doesn't know that she likes baseball (not much of a relationship there), a male rival who naturally has to be shown to be a fool.
The negative male stereotypes continue when this headstrong woman hustles a guy at the pool table and naturally he tries to force himself on her because that's how all men respond to confident women.
By this point, we've gone through all of the tired ABC's of hard working misunderstood woman and you realise that Clint, Amy and Justin are so cardboard cutout in nature that you don't need to see any more to work out where they will end up and that you don't like them or care about what happens.
A lazy, boring waste of 60 minutes that I spent watching this.
Victoria & Abdul (2017)
Britain is bad and every other culture is great.
I guess I kind of expected how this would go but thought I should give it the benefit of the doubt. I should have trusted my instincts. I made it through just under an hour before the constant Brit bashing and virtue signalling of every other culture just became too much to swallow.
It is no surprise that it is made by the BBC as they really do hate everything about the first initial of their name. For the hour that I saw, it plays out exactly as you would expect it to. The British are terrible, intolerant, stuffy and arrogant. Our culture and heritage and traditions are there to be mocked and laughed at whilst all other cultures are pure and virtuous and perfect with all of their regressive idiosyncrasies conveniently overlooked.
Never mind that the world was different back then. Never mind that the Empire did many good and positive things to shape the world into what it is today. Never mind that it was a woman who held such a high position in what is portrayed as such a disgusting patriarchal society. Never mind that no other empire still maintains such good relations with its former colonies.
No, no, let's sweep all that away and ensure that the studio's Diversity & Inclusion officer has gone through the script with a marker pen to ensure that at every opportunity Britain, sorry England, is ridiculed, denigrated and besmirched with a heavy coating of bigotry, nastiness and intolerance.
I wonder if Bollywood produces film that are so ready to, at best poke fun and at worst, pour acidic scorn on the very culture that made it. I highly doubt it.
Give it a go because to it's credit, it's a little bit different.
If you can overlook how when it begins it feels like a cheap Project X, stick with it because it does have the balls to be a little different and that is pretty rare nowadays.
Okay, it's not the greatest written or acted film but it did feel original and intrigued me to wonder where it was going, which is something not many films do nowadays.
Project X meets The Langoliers.
For once, the critics and the positive reviews were correct
I'd been intrigued by this film and my interest encouraged by all of the positive reviews and word of mouth but I've disappointed a lot recently (Endgame being the biggest disappointment) and I feared that this would go the same way.
I guess I was sceptical of the glowing reviews that maybe it was because it was a newer, more diverse Spiderman and hence, like Capt Marvel, people weren't saying that it was good because it was well made but rather that you had to like the film because of the agenda behind it.
And so, with some trepidation and expectation of disappointment, I bought the Blu ray. What a relief for my fears to be unfounded. It's a brilliant animated Spiderman film.
The animation is out of this world impressive. It's new, it's inventive and it feels fresh. Miles is a genuinely likeable character and hence that is all you see rather than some kind of 'tap you on the head' agenda promotion. His interactions with his family are deep and well written and I certainly was made to care about them.
The invention also extends to the other characters and whilst there is plenty of humour from them, you don't feel the makers are trying to deliberately ridicule them to state a message.
Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience to watch and I am certainly looking forward to watching it again and checking out the special features.
Solid, gritty western
I'd read the reviews for this film and considered purchasing it for some time.
Some of the reviews had commented that it was quite slow and that is a fair comment but it felt necessary for you to feel what the characters were going through. Bale is a great actor who conveys a lot through his look and his eyes and hence you don't always need him to be talking to understand what he is feeling.
The music is good, the action violent and overall it was a good film. I did start to watch the making of documentary but then the director started rambling on about how this was a metaphor for the way African Americans are treated in the US and my pretensious virtue signalling radar kicked in and I switched it off.
Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)
I had hesitations about going to see this film. I was disappointed with Marvel after how poor Endgame was but I have to confess that I really liked Spiderman: Homecoming and the Marvel staple still gets me excited.
But Far from Home was just so meh. The jokes felt flat and forced or were telegraphed a mile off. The action scenes had little or no tension, especially when the line is being blurred between reality and fake imagery, and the ultimate fight was Spidey fighting drones - yawn.
Yes, I like Holland's portrayal of Peter Parker but the magic of Homecoming has gone and been replaced with something that has lost its wonder. MJ isn't likeable, okay she's quirky, but she's hard to like and unlike Peter's affection for Liz in the first film, in this one, I just didn't care.
And the endless eulogising of Stark is just too much. To some extent, I liked the fact that Mysterio and his crew were disgruntled employees but I would have understood more if they just disliked Stark for what he was in the final film - an arrogant tool.
Tony went on a journey through the MCU and by the time of Civil War he was a bit more humble and likeable but in Endgame, the writers got lazy, capitulated to Downey's ego and he went back to him being the self-absorbed guy he was in the first films and hence when everyone is going on about him, you're reminded that he wasn't that great or likeable.
By the end of the film, when Peter is doing the same old swinging through NY with MJ clinging on to his neck and the crowds don't seem to care, you feel that the over saturation of Marvel and Spidey has arrived. I mean we've got shape shifters, talk of alternate universes, empty pointless destruction, bluffs, misdirection and it is descending into this ridiculous melting pot like that which other franchises have descended where keeping it all together has been thrown out to make another big buck.
I don't know what is going on with Marvel; well actually I think I do. They've become so big, so greedy and so confident of the money that they will continue to make, that they've got lazy. 2019 has been an awful year for the quality of their products. I'm sure they're delighted with the box office receipts but they've lost creativity, continuity and integrity and are now happy to put out films that are just weak and mediocre with the sole purpose of making as much money as possible.
Far from home is the cap on a trio of Marvel films that tell you all you need to know about the brand moving forward. They're obsessed with being PC, they have no more goals to achieve and hence won't take risks and they've clearly told their writers that they don't need to 'fine tune' anything or 'dig deep' on their efforts because the audience will blindly accept anything that you give them.
Breaking Bad (2008)
Interesting concept before the need to drag it out dragged it down into soap opera tedium
I lasted until the third season with this. It started off initially good and had an intriguing concept but by season three it began to run out of steam, all the characters were unsympathetic and when it started laying the foundations of his wife having an affair, I realised that the initial concept was being replaced by a tedious daytime family soap opera.
Wasted opportunity and I can't help but think it gets such good press because believe that saying they liked it makes them look cool rather than it actually being something special.
I tried to get into it but it was too slow and the anti nuclear agenda too overpowering.
After really enjoying The Expanse, which I only discovered by hearing the music and then reading reviews on here, I decided to take the input of all the reviews on IMDB and give this a go.
I went with the original German audio and English subtitles. I gave it three episodes but it just dragged on for too long and was becoming tediously preachy about how 'bad' nuclear power is.
It might be about time travel but I felt like I'd travelled back to the 80s with the barrels of toxic nuclear waste and the ever present agenda that Nuclear is bad. I was almost expecting Troma's Toxic Avenger to come staggering out of the cave at any moment.
Case in point is how we are meant to be shocked by the sudden death of so many birds. Well if you are going to portray Nuclear as bad because they might be killing birds, how about the amount that are chopped up by wind farms?
I tried to focus on the tense story but just couldn't shake this finger wagging of nuclear power is bad and ultimately I want to be entertained not lectured to.
The Expanse (2015)
"Pinch your tits and pucker up, we're peeling the paint"
With so many TV series out there, it can be hard to decide what to invest your time in. Add to this the recent disappointment with the final season of GoT and there is an unwillingness to make a commitment to a show if it then peters out. And let's be honest, if a show becomes too popular it gets hijacked by the SJW brigade and you feel it being drawn out to maximise the return but lessen the drama.
Hence sometimes it can take the merest hint of a nudge to push you towards or away from a show. I was listening to Streaming Soundtracks one day and some cool music came on. I paused to listen and then investigated what it was from. Ah The Expanse, I've heard of that but hadn't actually watched it.
So I read the reviews on here and they were pretty great and hence with some time off from work, decided to give it a go.
I'm so very glad that I did because it really is something special. Everything from the world building, the music, the writing, the attention to detail, the 'reality' of the setting is top notch.
Other reviews had compared it to Babylon 5 and I would have to agree. It had the quality writing and character development but also the cool epic feel of Mass Effect 1. It had the grandeur and wonder that Mass Effect had before it got corrupted by EA and turned into a space COD clone in 2 and 3. Holden feels like Commander Shepherd and the Rocinate feels like the Normandy and the Serenity rolled into one. It's got cool tech but it is also a lived in working ship.
The design of the tech is really special and you can see that a lot of detail and planning has gone into getting it just right. The characters are great. We have strong male and female roles but not with the latest craze where you only have strong female characters because the males are so weak. Everyone has flaws, everyone has plusses and minuses.
I've just finished watching the third series and I have loved every minute, watching episodes late into the night and contemplating if I could get in just one more before hitting the sack.
With such a dearth of shows to choose from (and I confess that I haven't seen loads) this to me has been truly special. Everything about it has been made with love, care and attention to create a fascinating and wonderful universe to experience.
If you appreciated the writing and world building of Babylon 5, liked the 'reality' of Firefly and enjoyed the spectacle and cool stuff from both Mass Effect and Halo, then I really can't recommend it enough. I am thankful for hearing the music and then reading the reviews which pointed me towards this stellar production. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the next series can sustain this quality and not pull a GoT on me.
ps The quote in my review title is from a spectacular sequence at the end of episode 1 of season 3. It was a belter which I had to rewatch a couple of times for being so damn good.
Astonishingly bad on so many levels
Wow, I don't even know where to start on this film.
I kinda liked the first film was and thought the whole using the nuclear testing as cover for the discovery was really clever. Likewise for this film, the trailers used some decent classical music which I thought might indicate a certain classiness. Not so.
There was just so much that was annoying and silly in this film. It contained like every single stereotypical cliche that you could think of, unlikeable idiotic characters, zero consequences of any action (large stealth motherships being able to apparently land on the sea), no respect for any form of physics, tiresome family histrionics, the world apparently getting demolished but endless empty Ospreys available for character's tedious errands, inane environmental preaching and a script that felt like a string of woeful fortune cookies.
How this stuff gets greenlit or gets through a test audience is beyond me. After 20 minutes I recognised that it was incredibly lame and got some entertainment from laughing at how utterly ridiculous it was.
This is on a par with the last couple of Transformer films for being so stupid and banal. A real stinker.
The Snow Walker (2003)
A touching and heart warming tale
Saw this whilst perusing Amazon Prime and after reading the positive reviews, decided to give it a go.
I'm so glad that I did as it was a simple but extremely well made film about survival, redemption and companionship.
Barry Pepper's character is good and is the one that grows and develops but the female lead is wonderful.
With all this PC guff about a lack of strong female roles and the need to promote Captain Marvel and the like, people only need to look at a film made 15 years ago to see a film containing a strong female character.
She doesn't need to lose her femininity, she doesn't need to act like a man, she can still be admirably tough and resourceful without the need for expensive CGI or shoehorned victimisation.
A good solid film and a gem to find.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
The writers got carried away, the directors over reached and the studio sacrificed the integrity of their product.
I've just come from watching Endgame and I must say that I am disappointed.
I loved Civil War and I loved Infinity War. When I came out of those films, I knew immediately that they were great and that I wanted to see them again. With Endgame, I'm not sure.
I respect how they were prepared to show the consequences of what Thanos had done but by killing him off so quickly and then them having to do their own stone quest (hadn't we already seen Thanos doing this in IW) it felt slow and lazy. Worse still was that it felt very self-indulgent and attempting to be clever for clever sake.
Like how Back to the Future II considered itself clever for showing the events of the first film but with Marty flitting around behind the scenes to ensure that it all still happened. I know it's meant to be fan pleasing but it really felt like a gimmick and lacking in confidence. Almost like it was saying 'Hey guys, this will make you smile'. If you want to make me smile, concentrate on maintaining the quality of your product rather than directly trying to make me like you.
But the trouble with messing around with timelines and bouncing around is that it makes the audience start asking questions during the film. The linearity that we'd seen in IW and the imminent fast approaching threat is replaced in Endgame with a lack of direction and characters that are earlier versions of who the audience have seen.
In IW we were shown Thanos. He was written to be sympathetic or at least a character that we the audience could understand. He believed in what he was doing and this made him more rounded. But in Endgame, that version is dispatched quickly and we are supplied with a 2014 (?) Thanos who isn't the character we know but is just a token bad guy.
This Thanos hasn't made the sacrifice at Vormire, he isn't the guy that would empathise with Scarlet Witch for what she did to Vision. He has suddenly become a token cut out evil bad guy that needs to be defeated. Hell, the writers even manage to forget their own time loop by saying that this Thanos has learnt that he doesn't want to wipe out 50% anymore because they are too ungrateful. How does he know this when the 2014 Thanos has only just literally arrived in the post wipeout Universe? How has he had time to form the opinion that his previous quest for a 50% cull isn't worthy?
Is this a case of the writers being terrified that they had created a bad guy that people related to or was it a fear that they'd written themselves into a hole? Why go to the effort of creating that character in IW to suddenly kill him off at the beginning of Endgame just for a dramatic punch?
For me, the time travelling and stone gathering wasted time to create unimportant scenes that fundamentally undermine the films that came before. In my opinion it would have been better if they had shown the remaining Avengers preparing to do some Avenging and maintained the single minded linearity of IW of battling towards and reaching a post click Thanos and somehow reversing his work.
The more I think of the film, the more plot holes and frustrations manifest themselves. Thor's drinking and man child antics might have been initially funny but one begins to realise that they are deliberately doing this to clip his wings. Likewise with Hulk, his primordial desire to smash and destroy has been removed to think it out and he has become an embarrassing shadow of his former self.
The thing that is meant to be amazing about the MCU is the world building but inconsistencies have been appearing and there are so many in Endgame that it makes you question whether these two films are written by the same people.
In IW, Thanos is a dangerous and credible threat because he has the infinity stones. He takes on half of the Avengers, Strange and some of the Guardians on Titan and smashes them and then takes on the other half on Wakanda and smashes them. Yet it is Stormbreaker (whose creation we have seen been hard earned by a motivated Thor) that has the power to take down Thanos even when he has a full complement of Infinity Stones.
Yet we roll forward to Endgame and we have literally all the good guys together in one place, Cap with his shield, Tony fully powered up, Scarlet Witch p*ssed and vengeful, Capt Marvel who can seemingly do anything and Thor wielding both Mjolnir AND Stormbreaker and Thanos NOT in possession of the gauntlet, yet they can't defeat him.
It's like the fights in IW were so amazing because the good guys were taking on an unbeatable foe yet here he is now seemingly defeatable by the 'rules' that the writers established . A good example of this would be in IW when Cap is the last man standing before Scarlet Witch and he grabs the gauntlet. You see the look of admiration/respect on Thanos' face that Cap is holding open the gauntlet before he punches him to the ground yet now that scene seems pointless.
The writers for Endgame seem to have been driven to undo everything they did in IW. All the tension, all the sacrifice, all the development of Thanos discarded for well, I don't know what. It makes no sense.
IW had two incredible scenes that used to choke me up. When Cap appears in the train station, the Avengers theme kicks in and Falcon and Widow take down the henchman in a wonderfully choreographed scene. In just that one scene it shows them coming to the rescue, it shows how intuitively they work together and it showcases their heroism.
Likewise when Thor creates Stormbreaker and makes his entrance on Wakanda, I felt it for the journey that Thor has been on. He's had to contend with loss and defeat and humiliation and this is his redemption. Here is a character that has earned his game changing weapon and when he arrives and demands to face a character that everyone else is running away from, I want to punch the air.
But in Endgame, that feels like it has to be corrupted. We can't have Thor being dominant, let's break him and make him a fool. We can't have Thanos being complicated and relatable, let's make him a cut out bad guy. We can't have Hulk being rage fuelled and smashing stuff up, let's make him more sensitive and talking stuff out. We can't have Cap being stoic and heroic, let's have him ridiculing one of his own iconic lines in a silly gimmicky fight with himself and commenting on his butt. We can't have a powerful female character that we're invested in look sexy AND be able to take down Thanos, let's give Scarlet Witch a small part but focus our attention on a female character that hasn't earnt our admiration or desire for revenge.
To be honest, the 'rules of engagement' had been set so well in IW that when in Endgame Thanos massed his ranks against the Avengers and then ALL of the good guys showed up, I was almost expecting the camera to pull away and not show the fight given that it was so obviously going to be an easy win for the good guys.
And as for the big fight scene, it did reek of what DC always manage to do which is just throw everything into an end battle and bludgeon you with CGI and pyrotechnics so that you aren't really sure what is going on.
In the many fights in IW, you knew what was going on, you recognised the combatants, you understood the stakes and you identified the geography of the scene. In Endgame we got one big massive fight where everything was thrown in the pot and it was just assumed by the directors that we would be happy with all the flashing lights. And I have to say that considering that Steve and Tony fell out so hard, and that Tony's criticism of Steve was so unfair, that I really had hoped for more than just a handshake, a muttering of 'no worries' and 'here's your shield'. These guys wrote and directed Civil War, they created the line 'we fell out hard' and hence I had hoped for something deeper and more touching than a handshake.
Steve wrote Tony a letter telling him that when he needed him he'd be there but once again the Iron Man bias had to creep in and once again Tony was the victim and the ultimate hero.
But I think my biggest problem is how the convenient time travelling undermines everything. When a franchise starts retrofitting stuff (like Fury's eye being from a space cat), it's then hard to consider the previous stories.
Having 2014 Gamorra means that all the evolution that we saw her go through in GOTG 1 and 2 is wasted. Having Cap marry Peggy means the pain of his sacrifice, him seeing her in Winter Soldier when she is suffering from Alzheimer's, hell even his blossoming relationship with Sharon Carter is kinda irrelevant. Having seen Thor at last step away from his two weaker origin films into the entertainment of Ragnarok and the redemption in IW leaves us now with a bumbling buffoon.
We know that what makes Captain America what he is, is the serum that makes him a super soldier. That he was transformed from a weakling to a superhuman. Sam Wilson is not a super soldier and he didn't take the serum. He is Falcon. Now maybe in the comics he becomes Cap but Bucky is a super soldier. Is the new Cap going to foil an evil plot and be defeated with a tazer or a knife to the chest? Consider the beatings that Steve has taken and the physical strength that he has shown we can recognise that Sam Wilson does not have that.
I'm sorry to say but the Russo's have dropped the ball. Themselves and their writers have succumbed to their success and their desire to be engineers of political correctness and social change. I thought Endgame would be the high soaring end to this 10 year run of impressive movie entertainment but in the end the writers got carried away, the directors over reached and the studio sacrificed the integrity of their product for a chance to 'educate' us all. A real shame and a wasted opportunity.
Infinity War is clearly the highlight of the last 10 years but even now I fear that repeated viewings will render it pointless considering how the makers decided to fundamentally damage it.
Captain Marvel (2019)
An embarrassing, cheesy, cliché ridden mess
Well what do you know, even though I've been on IMDB for 17 years and posted the first of 90 reviews back in 2002, it seems that IMDB declined to post my first review of Captain Marvel.
How strange, I wonder if it was because I mentioned that the lead actor had made a job of using identity politics to promote this movie and hence I had to address it to indemnify myself from accusations of being a sexist? Let's see if they deem this review worthy or pull it because their masters don't want to see negative reviews of such a 'right on' film.
There is nothing subtle or good natured in Captain Marvel. The messaging is in your face and slapped on with a heavy wet mop. The script is a mess where you could see that the multiple writers were struggling to write anything funny but just couldn't. The agenda was constantly there with laughable attempts to put down guys, with them either offering douche lines like 'it's called a cockpit', demoralising 'you can't do it' advice from Carol's father (because of course all fathers want to limit their daughters ambition!) or flat out sexism like when Fury is scanned and the response is 'Human male - no threat at all'. It was laugh out loud for its blatant motive.
The action scenes were a lot of noise and insanely quick cuts, primarily to mask that Brie can't actually do many, if any, of the stunts. She even struggles to run with any form of class or elan. Take a look at Civil War and Infinity War and you can clearly see the action. You know what is going on, you can grasp the geography of the scene and you can see the actor in frame pulling off most of the action. That is why people make a big deal about Tom Cruise doing a lot of his action scenes. The more you can see your star in the scene, the more you connect with a scene.
Not so with Brie, although saying this, it is very hard to actually connect to Brie, when her facial moves are so limited and her character is so weakly written. I mean consider Star Lord, who has a similar 'taken from Earth' story. How rich of a character is he compared to Carol?
But of course, this is the difference. Starlord is just a man and nothing special and hence his character has to be well written to get you to like and connect with him. With the agenda being driven so hard in this film, you HAVE TO like Carol's character, simply because she is a woman and hence no elements of originality or engagement need to be added to her character. Like her or be branded a sexist.
So the lead portrayal is bland and boring and the script, written by a minimum of six credited writers, is confusing, lacking in direction and crammed full of tiresome social justice commentary. The action scenes are a mess and the perceived bad guy has a bewildering choice of accent that sounds shockingly bad. There is no real mention of Carol's parents or family because I guess they are irrelevant. Instead we concentrate on her girl power friendship, which again makes no mention of the daughter's father, but instead has a cookie cutter child that seemingly used to wear Carol's old flying jacket even though it would have completely dwarfed her.
By the final action scenes Carol is revealed to be so powerful that there is literally no tension in her poorly constructed fight scenes. Why is she engaging in hand to hand combat when she can shoot blasts from her fists? Her powers are so all-consuming and so encompassing that they can either be used to fly through a spaceship, kick-start a smashed and downed craft (how does an energy blast do that) or mean that she doesn't even have to worry about the triviality of breathing in space. She has become such an all-powerful being that Ronan, upon seeing the ease with which she destroys his weapons, identifies her as a woman (surely he would have just called her a human rather than being able to identify her gender from afar) rather than a weapon.
And as for the cat, good lord, how utterly ridiculous. As if it's not bad enough that it renders hard-nosed Nick Fury into a weak arsed 'coochie coochie' fool, it also conveniently turns into a space Octopus monster that swallows the Tesseract and tears out his eyeball for no apparent reason. The utter stupidity of the film manifesting itself in a scene where Nick has permanently lost the vision in one eye but is still happy to continue washing the dishes while having a banal heart to heart with Danvers.
If you need more evidence of just how lame this is compared to other Marvel films, just compare the differences in acting and drama in the mid credits scene where Mar-vel makes an appearance. There is more going on in that one scene than this entire film.
This film really is poor. Thor: The Dark World was tedious, GOTG 2 just too much CGI and a third act that dragged on for too long and Ultron collapsed under its own weight and expectations (I mention this to help give the reader a flavour of what I do and don't like in the MCU). But this, this is a grade A stinker. Writers that can't write, directors that can't direct and actors that can't act. An unholy triumvirate that delivers the worst Marvel film, yet one that was deliberately shoehorned in front of Endgame to cash in on the cliff hanger of Infinity War.
Now this could all be a simple wrong move from Marvel but I fear this could be the start of a rocky descent into SJW pleasing but real fan frustrating movies. Fingers crossed that I am wrong.
I must add one final comment to counter that it is such a 'popular' film. I went and saw this on Thursday 14th March at a large local multiplex cinema. I saw a 10.00pm performance, literally one week after the film came out and there were 12 people in the auditorium. Now I'd seen some pics of empty theatres but thought that maybe they were taken 30 minutes before curtain up but this was amazing. A week after it had come out, with the media reporting it was a blockbuster smash doing great business and there were no more than 12 people in a 10:00pm performance. It's almost like there is some kind of co-ordinated campaign to misinform, like I don't know, pulling reviews that don't sing the company line...
First Man (2018)
Flat out tedious with no need to ever see again
How can you take the life of one of the most well known men on the planet and the most exciting missions that mankind has ever made and make it so utterly boring?
This really was an incredibly tedious snooze fest. Okay Neil might have been a quiet man but did we have to see him be so robotic and boring? What is the film trying to do? Was there ever a desire to, you know, want to entertain the audience?
Ths film is about the man and the incredible mission yet we are treated to a flurry of such pretensious chin rubbing shakey cam and 'up the nose' close ups. There are endless silences, long looks into the distances and noisy shakey scenes that have no excitement or emotional weight behind them.
Indeed the director is more concerned with reminding you that he and the DP are making this art rather than crafting a story that takes these buffoons out of the picture and showcases the man and the achievements.
This grandiose self important train wreck sucked the life and excitement from this whole endeavour. What a terrible and tedious way to honour this planets first ambassador.
Watch the documentary - In the shadow of the moon - if you really want to be awed and enthralled by what the Apollo missions achieved. That documentary leaves you feeling elated and amazed whilst this just left me feeling bored and cheated out of the money we paid for ths Blu Ray.
The Descent: Part 2 (2009)
This really is a poor follow up to The Descent. You couldn't help feel the push of a feminist agenda when all of the guys are either morons, cowards or hapless fools.
The reluctance of some of the people to fight back is just annoying, the attitude and actions of the characters just make you loudly proclaim 'oh come on, give me a break' and the ending is just utterly ridiculous.
What possible reason would the old hick in the cap have to be feeding the cave dwellers? What was he getting in return? How utterly stupid.
Started okay and then got silly
So the film started well. The writers made you care about Garner's family and hence when they are killed and the system lets her down, you feel her anger and frustration.
But then what could have been a really meaty episode of her turning herself from a cookie baking mum into a John Wick style character was completely ignored and she then returns 5 years later kicking untold ass.
But the thing is, her transition to Joanne Wick hadn't been earned. As the audience, you didn't see her training, funding her way through different methods of learning and fighting all driven by an unshakeable anger. The writers could have shown us some of that or the fear/trepidation as her first kill but we got none of that.
Hence when the action does start it feels a little silly before descending into full stupidity. I mean come on, Garner is like a size 8 or 10 and she's punching out the lead bad guy with no fist support or anything.
It started well but completely wasted an emotional set up with cheesy action, overladen sentiment that she was some kind of modern day Robin Hood and just flat out cliched nonsense. Pretty poor.
Cobra Kai (2018)
Was on the way to being something special
This was a thoroughly enjoyable show that felt like it's own entity yet still rewarded the fans of the trilogy with many wonderful little nods.
I really enjoyed how it came at the story from the angle of Johnny and allowed us to see his and Miguel's characters grow and bond. The relationship between Sam and Miguel was also really nicely handled and then bang! the last couple of episodes and they decide to make Miguel out to be a douche bag, the Cobra Kai's to be bad and Robby the saviour of the day.
They have Miguel acting out of character and self absorbed Sam not giving Miguel a second chance when he was clearly suffering from his first experience of alcohol and jealousy so that she can make all dooey eyes at Robby who was suddenly the hero of the hour.
What were the writers thinking? They spend all that time crafting Miguel and his fellow Cobra Kai 'losers' and then just throw them under the bus for the pretty boy Robby and to allow Sam to be a strong independent woman who won't take any nonsense from toxic masculinity.
Sam asks for a second chance from her former female friend and gets it but won't offer the same to Miguel who is left being the bad guy?
From being a show that was a welcome snub in the face of the PC virtue signalling, lecturing disease that is affecting so much material we have to end with this dose of Sam is the victim, Robby is the wounded hero and Miguel is the bad guy.
From such a wonderful entertaining high, this show ended on a dismal woefully written flat that left a really bad taste in the mouth and makes me not want to see the next series if I'm going to have to endure such out of character writing just to create a cut out bad guy.Loved this right up until the end when it then dropped the ball spectacularly