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An embarrassing woke filled mess
Having to post this again because it seems IMDB doesn't like negative reviews for this series. Sounds a lot like RT deleting bad reviews doesn't it?
It's hard to collect together how astonishingly bad this is. I could only make it through two episodes and that was all I needed to see how utterly lame it was.
The script and writing is so bad, it's like it is written in crayon by a committee of PC executives. They could have saved the money from the empty and tension free opening action scene and actually invested it in the script.
All of the lines are so exposition heavy and so blatantly telegraphed that it is written in a way that people don't actually talk. And the wokeism, it is never ending and delivered with the subtlety of a Mjolnir hammer strike.
Right off the bat, Sam is giving a speech where he has to say '"in honour of the women and men". That isn't how you say it, just as you wouldn't say "good evening Gentlemen and Ladies". It's so obvious what they are trying to do and it jars because it's reminding you that literally every single line of dialogue has been passed through the PC filter.
The wokeness continues when Sam and Buck visit a predominantly black neighbourhood but then the cops turn up and Sam is hassled for ID and asked whether he is bothering Bucky. It is literally so transparent what they are trying to say and comment on, that they might as well be holding up massive que cards.
So they've wheeled out some handy new super serum and given it to a bunch of Portland Antifa who wants to break down authority and be given free stuff.
If you remember, the serum is meant to magnify what is inside the person making someone strong even stronger or evil even more evil. But of course, it apparently also has the ability to make the weediest girl way stronger than anyone else. Because, you know, woman and all that.
The action scenes have no consequences. People get hurt or die depending on whether the writer wants them to rather than the 'rules' of the world they have created. A super soldier stamps on a guy's face that would pop anyone's head and seemingly he's fine. Are non-serum people now equally robust or only when the tiresomely woke writer decides.
But the contradictions and hypocrisy pervade the whole show. I mean, apparently Chris Evans was upset at Johnny killing someone. Seemingly Chris' Cap had no problems kicking those Hydra guys out of the plane in The First Avenger. Are those deaths okay?
But what am I saying. The world has moved on now. White guys are bad and need to be detoxified. Oh and guys are bad and they need to be detoxified as well. Hence Bucky seemingly becomes the butt of literally every single joke.
In the end you just feel that Marvel are single handily trying to destroy what they spent so long crafting. I mean everyone that they killed off in Infinity War to shock the audience into the seriousness of the situation is coming back thanks to, you know, the multiverse and stuff.
So if you try to watch Infinity War again, you realise it's pointless because everything that happens in it is negated, overlooked, ignored or turned into idiots in Endgame. To that extent, Endgame made Infinity War unwatchable.
But at least it couldn't affect the superb Winter Soldier and Civil War. At least they couldn't be corrupted could they? Of course they can. Just like how the moronic last Star Wars trilogy managed to reach back to corrupt and negate Vader's sacrifice in ROTJ, so this idiotic series manages to tarnish those two films as you see what cretinous, virtuous and banal characters they have turned those characters into.
Marvel's ability to destroy itself really is a sight to behold. In Endgame they had to mock one of Caps famous lines by poking fun at something delivered with genuine sincerity at the end of Civil War. At the time, I questioned how people who really love Cap could treat his character with such contempt.
This show perfectly highlights the attitude that is eating away at Marvel. Like a model who succumbs to a 'little bit' of plastic surgery, they just can't stop tinkering, trying to make it better, trying to make it more relevant, more woke. And what they end up with is this hideous bloated embarrassment of a show that is a million miles away from the simple wholesomeness that they started with.
I said after Endgame, and the other two incredibly lame releases of that year, that the death knell was out for the MCU. This proves how quickly that death spiral is gaining momentum.
Love and Monsters (2020)
Fun and enjoyable. 7.5
What a wonderfully entertaining and fun film this is. Great writing, likeable characters, solid world building and no agenda apart from that of hope and a spirit of adventure.
How refreshing to come across a well crafted gem like this. Reminds me a lot of How to Train Your Dragon in the mannerisms of the lead and the overall messaging.
Light hearted and very enjoyable.
An enjoyable little gem.
Are you always looking for a nice little film to accidentally stumble on?
You know the type. Something that wasn't hugely pushed, that doesn't contain big names or had a huge budget but has some interesting ideas. Something that isn't so large a film that it has to follow a formula but isn't so small that it is filmed in just one building? Then this is for you.
It's filmed through Smart Glasses, which gets over the found footage reason and means we don't have to contend with the endless 'will you just switch the camera off' lines. It sets up some relatable characters and gives you a chance to understand them and their location before flipping that upside down.
I myself really liked it. If you enjoy Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity: Marked ones or other found footage, I think you might as well. It does well in generating a feeling of dread and I like the cleverness of it being set in a holy city with a sense of a long history. I appreciate the makers ambition in having it be a much grander 'event' and for finding the cash to give you that genuine feeling of it encompassing a far bigger situation.
You'd expect a film with this rating to be a shoestring production, where the camera shots are way too closely filmed, the characters can't act and the script is written in crayon. This is not that film and I thoroughly recommend it for a being a little different, being well made and for keeping me entertained. I rate it a 6.2.
Train to Busan 2 (2020)
I'd rate this film a 6.7 but it doesn't give me that option but it certainly isn't a 6.
Okay, I'll agree that it isn't in the same league as the original film but it has an interesting concept (that of the Korean Peninsula just being left alone), some interesting ideas, some applaudable character actions and a bevy of exciting set pieces and hence it really doesn't deserve to be lumped together with those cheap awful horrors that you'd find that you'd find at this kind of rating.
Yes, I agree that some of the driving scenes aren't the best looking CGI but the characters are likeable, you can see what is happening and it's very entertaining.
Does it have a flavour of Mad Max: Fury Road - yes it does and while that film had amazing sequences and music, it also had a ridiculous story and a tiresomely woke agenda rammed down your throat.
Does it have a flavour of Fast n Furious - yes it does because it has cars driven as weapons but those films had cars parachuted onto roads, driven between three skyscrapers (yes that was three) and a huge safe dragged through a Brazilian city. Ridiculous maybe but certainly entertaining.
So whilst, it doesn't have the depth of Train to Busan and doesn't come close to the perfection of Kingdom, it is certainly just as entertaining, if not more so, than the empty fluff that is World War Z.
If you like a zombie film, want to be entertained, appreciate a little creative thought and can overlook that it hasn't had millions thrown at it to swap out the CGI for live action, then jump onboard and try to ignore the pretensious chin rubbers who can't move beyond this being a different film than it's namesake.
Solid enjoyable entertainment
I've got a lot of time for South Korean cinema and TV. The series Kingdom is still one of the very best series I've ever seen, so I read the reviews and jumped on board.
It's a little confusing at the beginning and almost a little zany but it is trying to cram in the characters and establish a fully realised world setting.
The characters are good, the young girl is impossibly cute without descending into nauseating territory and there are some nice themes about family etc.
Whilst it is set in a devasted future, there isn't too much 'humans are bad for destroying the planet' although there is a character echoing someone from today who is seemingly happy to play god under the guise of 'saving us from ourselves'.
I really enjoyed this, the music, the special effects and the story. Yes, it has a flavour of GOTG but what space piratey/motley crew doesn't?
I only feel bad that this didn't get a chance to smash it at the Korean box office as it certainly deserved to.
The Expanse: Nemesis Games (2021)
One can't review Season 5 in one go, so it will have to go here.
So disappointing, what happened to the show? It's like it was written and produced by two separate groups of people.
For the first half we had the grand, solar system spanning schemes and plots that had consequences on everyone. Marco pulls off a dramatic attack and forms some impressive alliances to put the Belters firmly in charge. All epic so far and then the show just ground to a halt.
Amos' story is quite interesting initially but then perplexing. Why the sudden rush for everyone to leave Earth and get to Lunar. Yes, the Earth has been hit with some asteroids but it wasn't an ELE. The Earth still has things going for it.
His character becomes unlikeable like when they break into the survivalist's home and as the audience we are just meant to think 'oh that guy was arse, he deserved to die'. Then they go to the big house and they are happy to treat the servants still as servants expecting to cook and feed for them.
And then, oh my god, the final supposedly exciting race for the lunar shuttle. It was completely devoid of tension. Some random bad guys that had been plucked from nowhere, no fear that characters would die, Amos firing a shotgun at distant foes. You knew Amos wasn't going to die and you knew Peaches wasn't, so it was just complete empty filler.
But the award for filler really goes to the decision to focus the entire second half on the season on Naomi. Oh my god, could they have dragged that out for any longer? Yes, okay she deserves an Emmy but the crying and the wailing and the crying and the wailing and the falling over - we get it.
Here we are meant to be enjoying these huge world changing events and we have 4/5 episodes focused on rescuing one character from one ship.
This in turn led to what has to be the most insipid and devoid of tension 'space battle' ever. The makers have spent the last 4 episodes on Naomi, was anyone really expecting her to die - of course not. We've all seen Drummer and where her allegiance is, was anyone expecting her to go through with killing Naomi and the Roci - of course not.
How did this represent entertainment to anyone who has been watching the show for all of this time? It was telegraphed to everyone what would happen. Naomi would be saved and the Roci would be saved. It was meaningless bangs and pops on screen with no feeling that anyone was in danger because we all knew what would happen.
And as for the death of Alex, Jesus that was laughably bad. It doesn't matter what happens off screen with the ACTOR that plays the character, you don't just dismiss a character at the click of a finger because of off screen behaviour. He's playing a character people and it's the character that is integral to the show.
To literally show him having a nose bleed and then an embarrassingly rushed 'these things can happen in a hard G turn' is so utterly, utterly lame.
So we had Marco's brilliant schemes reduced to a tedious inter family squabble, we had Amos aimlessly pulling in Alex's replacement and we have Avarasalla returned to exactly where she was at the beginning. Anyone feel like the whole season was just filler.
I mean everyone is back together on the Roci, apart from the banished Alex, and the whole 'red aliens that wiped out the builders' story is suddenly picked back up again in the very last minute of the show.
What have Amazon done to this show. Okay they pumped some money in but goddam if they haven't turned into another tedious soap opera with some flashy effects. Season 4 felt like a filler but I was prepared to hang with the show as I believed Amazon were finding their feet and there was some really interesting developments with Bobby and the cultural changes within Mars.
But Season 5 has revealed Amazon's hand and maybe the nature of what money can do to a show. When it is limited, the creators are conscious to use every penny and keep things tight to convey the story. But when Amazon comes along with its big dollars, they take the foot off the gas, let the money roll in and intentionally drag out something over four episodes that previously they could have done in one episode.
One of the things that used to be great about the series was how grounded it was in reality and created compelling tension. These elements have simply evaporated from the show. Naomi can now fly through space without a suit, Amos can fire a close quarter weapon at a ranged opponent, everyone is in a rush to leave planet Earth to go to new planets which have absolutely no infrastructure at all.
I mean the one armed gang boss is confident of making money in the New Worlds, he does realise that when he gets there, he'll need to scratch a living out of the dirt. There won't be any running water or electricity or governance.
It kinda says a lot that when I see the elites leaving Earth like some kind of used condom and racing to the Apple store base on Lunar, that I'm with Marco and his plans to reclaim space for the Belters.
So very disappointing and yet I guess so very predictable. It's hard for shows to keep impressing you and I guess the injection of money and the slow creep in of wokeness will lead to the drop off in quality.
The Expanse has now moved from the pinnacle of sci-fi entertainment into the realm of 'yeah, it's okay'. At least I won't have to be counting the days now until season 7.
The Expanse: Hard Vacuum (2021)
Getting a little tedious
Yes, okay, we get it. The Expanse is the Naomi show.
After the solar system changing events of Episode 4, this and the previous episode slow down to a crawl as we focus on the trials of Saint Naomi.
Maybe I'm wrong for understanding the motives of Marko, as drastic as they are, but to see them reduced to a tiresome family squabble with Naomi wailing that Philip shouldn't be taken from her mother (seemingly okay to take from his father?) is getting a little tiresome.
I don't have a problem with female characters, just the ones where the writers are making it crystal clear that everything has to resolve around that character. Still what do I know, express dislike for one particular character and I must be a misogynist.
In the last few episodes, the show has lost it's way from the big picture to a character who gets way too much airtime and far too much exposure on the posters.
Wonderful, epic, wow!
I have really enjoyed this series both in the writing, the character development, the music and the special effects.
I watched the final episode this evening and really enjoyed the episode. I liked how it gave me satisfying action and a solid story so that I wasn't waiting for some big thing at the end.
I appreciated how tough and likeable the female characters were. They weren't great because they were women and I had to like them because they were women. I liked them because they were fleshed out likeable characters.
However, I can't really discuss without talking about the last 10 minutes.
What a great exercise in set up this was because when the X Wing rolled up, I just thought this must be the new republic turning up given that we had seen them in some other episodes.
But then I saw the hooded figure and remembered the calling to the Jedi, I felt my heartbeat begin to quicken.
It couldn't be surely? After the way the KK trilogy denigrated and dismissed him, surely they wouldn't give his character the redemption that so many of us wanted.
As my hand begin to creep up over my face, my voice started to croak 'oh my god, is that Luke?'
I saw the figure despatch the first wave of troopers, I saw the green lightsabre and then I saw the gloved hand.
I was surprised at how emotional I suddenly became. I wasn't crying but my eyes felt like they were filling up as the childhood heroic Luke that I remembered, not the bitter one that KK wanted me to accept, strode back proudly onto the screen.
The feeling that a character so wronged by a board of disinterested and disrespectful woke executives could be given a moment to shine like the star he so clearly was to so many, was genuinely moving.
It reminded me of the 30 seconds of pure proper scary Vader that we got at the end of Rogue One.
It's hard to create genuine wow moments and I guess they have to be rare otherwise they wouldn't have the power.
Infnity War had them when Cap stepped out of the shadow and Thor arrived in Wakanda but Endgame couldn't recreate them (well not for me).
This truly was an epic moment up there with the Razorback scene at the end of The Expanse Season 3 Episode 1 or the death scene in the snow in Kingdom Season 2 Episode 3.
However this managed to add the further emotional weight of reaching back over 35 years to a beloved hero who had been so poorly treated by a new breed of detached film makers.
What a moment, what a feeling, what a redemption.
Thank you to Jon F And Dave F for working up to this moment of pure joy and sincere correction for a character so horribly mistreated.
Of Mice and Men (1992)
Just a really poor film
For many years, there was something about this film that I wasn't sure about. I don't know if it was a trailer or a review but I'd always steered clear of it but after a solid recommendation, I gave it a go.
I should have trusted my gut, for it is an uncomfortable and unlikeable film. I've seen and enjoyed many films about people with mental health problems - Rain Man, Forrest Gump, Peanut Butter Falcon etc - but these all have something endearing and likeable about the characters. Yes, they've been dealt an unfair hand but they usually have some humanity within them that as an audience member you can relate to. That was not present in this film.
None of the characters are likeable. Lenny is unhinged, weird and dangerous. It's patently obvious from the beginning that he isn't a 'gentle giant' or a benign character. You don't feel compassion for him or his fate, you just feel fear and unease because you can sense what he is capable of.
And this isn't me being uncharitable as it is clearly a choice by the actor and director that whenever he sees a woman, Lenny start looking sheepish and grabbing his crotch area, exhibiting the kind of mannerisms that makes it patently obvious that there is an underlying sexual angle to his behaviour.
For this reason, the lack of compassion also extends to George. I'm sorry but knowing what Lenny is capable of means that George is responsible and culpable for Lenny's actions. Lenny is clearly a ticking time bomb and hence you have to charge a duty of care to the guy who knowingly leaves a time bomb unattended.
In Rain Man, Raymond slightly changes but it is Charlie that completely changes. There is character growth and Charlie grows because he learns to protect and love his brother. Although Raymond can be draining, his idiosyncrasies are endearing and Charlie gets something back from his developing relationship with Raymond.
Likewise in Peanut Butter Falcon, Shia's character doesn't know it but he is looking for someone to look after to replace how his brother looked after him. There is shared affection and each character gets something back from the other and in turn develops because of their connection to each other.
This doesn't exist in Of Mice and Men. George doesn't change, Lenny doesn't change and neither brings joy to the other person. Lenny isn't an anchor that despite the extra hardship still makes George happy, he is simply a dangerous volatile individual.
Likewise George isn't a protector. When Lenny is getting beaten up by the Ranch owner's son, George doesn't step in to break up the fight or start fighting himself, he actually eggs on Lenny. He knows that Lenny cannot control his emotions, his temper or his strength yet he grandstands over a situation that everyone can see is going to end badly.
And then finally with the frustrated wife, it seems that there is almost some kind of victim blaming going on. Yes, she was lonely and frustrated and would be all manner of bad news to any guy in that situation but come on, she didn't deserve to die. She goes from potentially flirting with Lenny to getting her neck snapped in another situation whose outcome was clear to see.
And once Curly's wife has been killed, what are the audience meant to feel? I don't feel sorry for Lenny because it wasn't an accident. She struggled to escape, he could feel her panic, we saw the anger on his face and whether overtly intentional or not, he crushed her. He knew what he was doing during the tussle and he knew what he had done when he ran off. It wasn't an accident, he didn't swing round a ladder and knock her off a fence - he killed her with his own hands.
Likewise I don't feel sorry for George. He effectively left a loaded shotgun in a nursery full of children and walked away to play hoops. Given Lenny's possible diminished responsibility, George's hands have the blood of the woman on them.
And hence by the time they get to the river bed, I don't feel sympathy for Lenny or for George. Lenny gets an escape via the bullet to the head but what about George's penance for the death of an innocent woman?
I have to say that this really belongs in that category of films that everyone tells you is great and a real classic and it truly isn't. Is it the fault of Gary Sinise or is the book just like this, either way it isn't special or a classic and if anything is a really, clumsily told and unsympathetically written tale. Lenny isn't the Gentle Giant that the write up would have you believe but a dangerous man-child that would generate nightmares rather than sympathy in most normal people. I have to say that Frank Darabont/Stephen King did far better with what is obviously an homage to Of Mice & Men with The Green Mile, than Steinbeck ever did. Very poor and wildly over-rated.
Nothing But the Truth (2008)
Bland, unlikeable and a truly idiotic ending
This has some impressive reviews and a stellar cast, so I jumped right on in for what is described as an 'edge of the seat' political thriller. Really, it wasn't.
It's hard in this current political climate to not look at anyone in the Govt, Media or Law professions with anything but suspicion and cynicism and so while watching you are trying to assess who the film makers are routing for.
The main characters are really unlikeable. Everyone is jostling to be seen to be tough and independent and David Schwimmer is along to play the cucked simp that he so easily plays.
But the ending, oh my lord, is so completely ridiculous that it is laugh out loudable. We are meant to believe that Kate's character is so principled, so filled with integrity that she would go to jail to protect her source.
She sacrifices her family, her son and indirectly leads to the killing of Vera's character. At the same time, you can understand the Govt's desire to find out the source given that this mole could be compromising other spies and national security. I mean, isn't finding this type of mole or list the stuff of Bond or Mission Impossible films?
And the person she is defending is Vera's pre-teen daughter. How utterly and completely idiotic. It's clear that the mole is unwitting in what they did, it's obvious that the leak is contained and doesn't represent a security threat beyond the irresponsibility of a mother talking work infront of her child, yet this is why Kate has gone to prison.
What a complete tool. I'm not surprised that they couldn't show the moment when Kate's character revealed the source as everyone would just start laughing. Really, you went to prison for a source that the Feds could have dismissed as non-dangerous in less than 5 minutes?
I cannot fathom how so many actors of such calibre didn't read the script and say 'hey guys, this ending is beyond stupid' but seemingly they must be cut from the same moron cloth that the people who would vote this silly film a 6 or above are.
Wildly over-rated and utterly stupid.
Superb documentary offering concise summation of Democrat corruption
This is a very well produced documentary featuring interviews from all the major players in the disgustingly corrupt attempt to oust the duly elected President of the United States.
It goes through the whole episode in a linear, easy to follow narrative that lays out, time after time, how deceitful the Dems were and how complicit the Media was in pushing this steaming pile of BS.
Well worth checking out.
The Mandalorian (2019)
Thank god, there is still gold to be mined in the Star Wars universe
I confess that I'd been very sceptical of watching this series. Whilst I had faith in Jon Favreau and have appreciated his talent since his breakout Swingers, I did not have faith in the direction that Lucasfilm was going.
The Force Awakens had plenty of nostalgia but it wasn't delivered with any heart. The writing was flat, the action had no weight and everyone moved through the story like marionettes on strings. If that was empty, then The Last Jedi was just a train wreck of a film. Jumbled, incoherent and utterly disrespectful of the source material. Rogue One had a few highlights but there was a creative rot at the core of Lucasfilm.
Throw any old crap on the screen, drop a few evocative tunes and an emotional trailer and Lucasfilm could hoodwink another gaggle of fans happy to part with their cash for a plethora of disappointment.
Into this sea of banality and profit motivated extortion, strode The Mandalorian and what a breath of fresh air it truly was. Solid writing, fascinating characters, throwbacks to the Star Wars canon but without the blatant 'winking at the audience' exhibitionism. It feels like it is set in an organic post ROTJ world replete with dirty looking Stormtroopers and salvaged weapons and systems from the much loved trilogy.
Unlike Rian Johnson's desecration of Luke's character, here were writers that actually respected the world that had been built and weren't seeking to change it but live within it.
The set design and action scenes were top notch. The music with Mando's wood chime (?) tune was excellent and you really felt for the characters. Yes, baby Yoda (or whatever he is) is impossibly cute but the show itself didn't descend into idiocy or identity politics and it still packed a physical punch and an emotional connection.
It was a real pleasure to watch and enjoy the first season and I just hope that Kathleen Kennedy's spite at this being so critically successful doesn't lead to her injecting her line of woke bs into the series that will corrupt it from the core and ruin the much anticipated new series.
The Debt Collector 2 (2020)
I caught the first film a few months back and after enjoying Avengement found it another entertaining romp.
It had some good fighting, some witty lines and a really solid chemistry between the two leads. French and Sue just gelled and I loved how they got on.
Cue up the second film and although you thought they had died in the first film, it doesn't matter that they didn't because their chemistry is just as sharp.
Granted some of the other actors are woefully bad and I wish the final fight had been a hand to hand fight rather than the cheesey gun battle but ultimately I didn't mind because I really like the two characters.
I really Sue and his slower delivery but it's refreshing to see Scott playing a Brit who is a genuine tough guy. I particularly liked his line when defending our actions in the US war of independence and how we were the underdogs.
I'm sure our American brothers might not take too kindly but damn if it wasn't refreshing to hear a Brit sticking up for Britain.
Great entertainment and I'm already looking forward to the third film.
Yip Man 4 (2019)
Wow, what a trainwreck of a film this was.
Loved the first film and really enjoyed the second and third but if you think the Nasty British contempt for Chinese culture was bad in Ip Man 2, get ready for it to be slapped on with a firetruck in this film.
America and Americans are portrayed as nothing more than one dimensional racist bigoted a**holes who seemingly hate all foreigners (though the main guys use Japanese karate).
Ip Man clenches his fists for the fights but they really should be raised above his head as the Americans are endlessly vilified for their whiteness and words like supremacy and privilige are thrown around.
Seemingly the Chinese built America out of the goodness of their hearts with no personal gain and even though they don't want to integrate with the white devils, it's the White Americans who are repeatedly shown as being evil and intolerant.
From showcasing an enjoyable martial art, this has become a whine fest for how nastily everyone treats the Chinese when they are such a fair, free and open people.
The fighting and music are good but the writing, acting and script are terrible with the agenda written so large it might as well have been in neon.
Shockingly bad and desperately woke.
Time Trap (2017)
A cracking little film
So, if like me you are always looking for those little gems of films that didn't have a big release, don't have any major stars or huge budgets but offer a nugget of cleverness or thought provoking concept, then this is one of those.
Yes, the budget is limited but at least it doesn't look like it was filmed on a camcorder with the camera way too close to the actors faces, which so many ultra budget films do (why do they do that?)
This has in it a concept that even now, months later, still intrigues me and makes me mull over what a good film it was for visualising this fascinating tale.
Try to forgive it's lack of mega budget (it's on a par with the production values of an episode of The Outer Limits) but appreciate that it's heart is in the right place and embrace the imagination stirring idea that is at the very centre of it. This film really is a welcome reminder that a clever idea can transcend a modest budget into something with real resonance.
Knives Out (2019)
Just the kind of pretentious guff you'd expect from this bunch of people.
I made an hour into this before the nauseating preaching, posturing and virtue signalling of this ensemble cast of self entitled sanctimonious fools became too much.
It starts okay and there are some big names but the politics is slapped on so hard and the 'right on' moralising and blatant agenda that the idiotic writer is promoting, is so present that it begins to stick in your throat.
The poor, butter wouldn't melt, hard working, undocumented (yeah that means illegal) immigrant must be saved at all costs from this gaggle of horrible and evil white individuals.
Johnson really is a talentless hack and this film is as jarring and as awful as the horrific accent that Daniel Craig woefully attempts throughout the film. It's like someone has asked him to create something that is a cross between Tom Hank's Forrest Gump and Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday.
When people talk about Hollywood looking down at unenlightened riff raff and feeling that they need to educate us all, this is the kind of vehicle that they use. You can just imagine them congratulating themselves at how clever and virtuous they are at the wrap parties.
Self absorbed trash that thinks itself really insightful but is nothing more than a clenched fist in the air. How this fool of a writer/director continues to make films is beyond me.
Tiresome, preachy and predictable
I like my fair share of South Korean films. Brotherhood, War of Arrow, Kingdom (series) and hence thought we'd give this a go.
I gotta say that it waa boring and most of the characters pretty unlikeable. The worst thing was this ever present bias that Nuclear is bad.
When we are having the tirsome cliche of inept workers and a devious lazy management that are ignoring the one honest employee, I just found myself saying 'oh give me a break'.
So we've unlikeable characters, an obvious agenda and cardboard characters deliberately set up to act badly to both drive the story and political agenda.
This really is an undiscovered gem
The path to finding really great pieces of entertainment can be a strange one.
I was once looking round Quora and had my interest piqued by a question about how a modern military would cope against a Zombie horde. The answers were entertaining but in one answer, someone mentioned that if you wanted to see how armies (albeit those from a good few centuries ago) against zombies might look, to check out the South Korean series called Kingdom. So I tracked it down on Netflix, hit play and sat down.
Hands down, this is one of the best shows that I have seen on TV for some years. I don't mind watching Korean films and particularly like Brotherhood, War of the Arrows etc and this was on a par with these, if not better.
The writing of the characters was really top notch. Their motivations, their power plays, their slow development was a real joy to behold and none more so than the Crown Prince who grew to be an absolute legend. He was likable, relatable and brave and was supported by a host of equally rich and absorbing characters. You felt that you grew with them, you came to understand them and you learnt to predict how they would react because you had grown to admire them.
The show had just the right amount of balance between political intrigue, grand master plans and flat out swords and arrows against zombies which was exhilarating. One of the things that I really liked though was how the main characters and even random ones all seem to act sensibly. There were no occasions when you were shouting at the screen to close the door that had swung open or look out for the guy creeping up behind you.
Indeed, some of the tactical and strategical planning involved to combat the zombies was breath-taking and insanely clever.
So the writing is on point, the costume work is just amazing as the colours and outfits worn are really quite epic and some of the music is just wonderful. There is a death scene in the show which is one of the most poignant and moving that I've seen in a TV show due to the characters, acting, music and visuals.
I really can't say enough about this production. Its constant quality equals that of the very best episode of GoT (which would be Hardhome for me) and is up there with the likes of The Expanse, Angel and Firefly as the very cream of TV entertainment.
It's probably the best piece of entertainment I've seen in 2020 and whilst eternally grateful to the guy from Quora who suggested it, I cannot recommend this enough. If you are looking for that undiscovered gem of a production that hasn't yet gained mainstream blanket approval then this really is for you.
La casa de papel (2017)
Clever but ultimately childishly idiotic
I tuned into this hoping for a decent and clever bank heist tale. In some parts I got this.
It feels like they first of all gave the script to some intelligent writers who conceived of these brilliant schemes to get into the bank, deal with the police and plan their escape. The kinds of antics that make the audience think 'wow, these guys are pretty smart'. The stakes are big, the planning is meticulous and the huge rewards worthy of the effort.
When that was done, they then gave the script to a bunch of horny, adolescent teenagers who must have previously written 80's Australian soap operas. It is terrible. From establishing the actual job, it descends into a series of foolish characters who literally cannot keep their hands off each other and cannot keep their head in the game. They're shagging in vaults and toilets and offices. They're shagging when they are casing the joint, when they are doing the job and even with the lead investigator.
From a job offering untold riches and the commitment of 5 weeks and the time for the heist, nobody can stay focused on what they are doing. They utter these silly speeches about how committed they are to the job and will kill anyone stopping it from happening but then in the next scene are willing to sacrifice it all for their sexual urges or the chance to be nice to hostages.
So at the beginning, you are on the side of the criminals because their plan is so audacious but as it progresses you become more disinterested in their overly dramatic histrionics and complete lack of professionalism. There was one laughable scene where they were having another internal dispute and literally no one was supervising the hostages.
Now, I'm sure people will say that you need to develop characters and yes you do but when those characters are acting so immaturely, so petulantly and so lacking in thought or consideration of the bigger picture, you just kinda get bored with them. You start looking for the most stupid and heist wrecking thing that they could do and laughing when they do it. I didn't tune in for a romantic drama but a bank heist and when the characters are behaving like silly teenagers, the tethers to your interest just withers away.
You just want someone to shake these people and say 'we're talking about millions of Euro's each here. Is it possible you could remain on target for literally just the time of the heist (2/3 days) and then play out your love chasing routines when the job is done?' But even the guy at the very top is distracted by skirt so they all descend into silly unengaging children playing robbers.
So overall, it was a fascinating concept that was ruined, and I do mean ruined, by characters acting so idiotically that they become laughable and unlikeable. They go from the no nonsense crew in Heat to a bunch of sexed up moronic clowns.
Feels like children playing bang bang in a playground
I like Chris Hemsworth and enjoyed the John Wick series and so sat down to watch this with excited anticipation.
The story started off interesting enough before descending into a series of never ending stunts and action that although impressive slowly starts to actually numb you to what you are seeing.
There is a small attempt at building some character but it came off as pretty shallow before we bounced right back into another chunk of action where characters are taking an inordinate amount of punishment and limping/staggering onto the next scene.
Despite all the crashing and banging on screen it actually started to get boring and caused my mind to wander off into thoughts about whether too much action is a bad thing.
Ultimately it was an okay impersonation of John Wick but was lacking in heart and soul. I think the Russo brothers are trading on their work for Marvel and have probably let the success of Endgame go to their heads in making them believe that they can only pick 'winners' from here on out.
Overall, the film has some good action but I was disappointed with it and it does feel like children running around a playground shouting 'you're dead' and 'you didn't take your shots'.
Lost Girls (2020)
Interesting for what it doesn't say
This film was interesting though it was hard to care about many of the players when so many are so unsympathetic.
Amy Ryan plays an older version of the same character that she played in Gone Baby Gone and you can't help but think that if Casey Affleck's character from that film wanted to know how Amanda's life would turn out, this is how it would.
This film although showing Ryan's character as having some warts seems happy to lay a lot of the blame at the feet of the inept and corrupt police force. Indeed you really feel that there is an agenda at play here.
However, if you do some research into the actual people from the film the main woman has someone serious flaws in her character and judgement.
Does this mean her daughter needed to die, of course not. Does this mean police mistakes or errors should not be detailed - of course not. But there does seem to be an attempt to gloss over some rather pertinent details in the case that whilst making the film more dramatic do signify a desire to promote a message rather than tell the truth.
Performances were good all round and Amy Ryan seems to have nailed down (in two films now) the archetypal mother that you would never ever want for any child.
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?