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Guns Akimbo (2019)
Tragically unfunny......
29 February 2020
Its really a quest these days to find anything worth watching. Trashy, cyber punk, anime mash up mess "Guns Akimbo", underlines this point.

It tries far, far too hard. Its characterisations are encrusted with unfunny cliches, as is its all too predictable story line. The inclination to lecture whilst offering a scraps of entertainment is ever present too. This time its the evils of the internet, which seems to be populated by hordes of trolls, perverts and pyscho killers. "Yawn".

Seriously uninspiring. 3/10.
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The not so invisible misogynist.....
28 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This is The Handmaids Tale with an invisible misogynist who terrorises his poor wife who, asserting her feminist virtues, turns survivalist tough lady.

That's essentially what you get here. Much as I think Elizabeth Moss is terrific and enjoyed The Handmaids Tale, its hard for me not to perceive this as yet more politically correct posturing, from a rather jaded Hollywood.

On the upside Moss's performance is predictably excellent and there are some decent scares but for me, this still feels like PC lecturing as much as it is entertainment.

A dismayed 5/10.
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Altered Carbon (2018– )
Derails a great first season.....
28 February 2020
I loved season one of Altered Carbon but season two is awful. My chief compliant is they replaced the original lead for no apparent reason but its hardly my only grumble.

You can get away with replacing lesser characters, sometimes, but up ending a quality lead is never, ever, in my view, a smart idea. Especially Joel Kinnaman who did an excellent job firmly establishing himself in the role of Takeshi Kovacs.

The colourful and lively story from season one feels, for want of a better word, "sanitised" and bland this time around too.

Watched part of the first episode and wont be back.

I'm amazed something once so polished and slick could be reduced to this.

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Entertaining crime thriller....
24 February 2020
Lincoln Rhyme, a series loosely based on the novel by Jeffery Deaver is not exceptional. What it is, however, is entertaining.

Its well paced with episodic "catch a serial killer" crimes and an overriding long running back story, that's tied together sensibly. Pacing is good too and there's variety in each episode that keeps things fresh and engaging.

Its worth noting this is not a "follow along who dunnit" where you can solve the mysteries presented yourself. Its more pure drama with superficially complex crimes, requiring a Sherlock Holmes style lead, played convincingly by Russel Hornsby. An actor who I remember fondly from "Grimm".

Indeed, the cast in general hand in solid performances and there is decent chemistry between the key players, which helps makes this inherently watchable series, even better.

7/10 from me.
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The Pale Horse (2020– )
An uninspiring retelling of a classic tale....
21 February 2020
There seems to be a need these days to take classic works by the likes of Bram Stoker and in this instance, Agatha Christie and re-write them. Or to put it another way, in my opinion, "stuff them up".

For me, the maxim "if it ain't broke don't fix it" applies and The Pale Horse is no exception. To start with you have a male hero, who can't be a hero, without first being a villain. The original hero of the piece is re-written as a scoundrel and a womaniser. Why this is the case I can only guess at but its a lame ploy.

The rest of the story fares little better, skewing the tale away from an intriguing murder mystery, towards a rather jaded tale of sexual infidelity and secrets.

On the plus side the acting is decent and the visuals are creepily eerie. That said, once again, the price of tinkering with something that works just fine is an off balance tale, that fails to resonate.

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20 February 2020
The Dustwalker is a basic budget alien thriller from down under. Its limited funding shows from the get go but its not a bad little film.

It has the benefit of a rather unique setting that's suitably isolated, a small Australian outback town that fits in well with the back story. Having actors who actually know how to act helps this film too.

The action such as it is, is a bit mixed. Its a little too slow for my liking and its budgetary restraints stop it from doing anything novel that would have lifted it.

I think with decent money this could have been a winner but as it stands its only "ok".

5/10 from me.
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The Sinner (2017– )
16 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Whilst I wanted to like the third season of The Sinner (I have not watched previous seasons) its overstatement leave's me Luke warm.

Everything is over emphasised from the key characters guilty trauma, his wife's incessant worrying over him and her fastidious attitude to her birth, not to mention his inexplicably fraught work wife. Once again populated by people who make a lot of fuss over often very little.

The dialled down detective character is a welcome relief, with his Colombo-esque personality and his strange but likeable awkwardness. Bill Pullman hands in a great performance in this role.

That said, so much else is over-wrought it, it tends to reduce the other players to caricatures of a sort, that are less than convincing.

A nice idea but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. 6/10.
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The Hollywood misandry wagon rolls on......
16 February 2020
Yes Hollywood's misandry wagon rolls on. More man bashing tripe that no one asked for and if I'm anything to go by, less people want to watch.

This thing had managed to alienate me within five minutes of starting. Quite the accomplishment. After fifteen I'd simply had enough and walked away. And guess what if another of these is made, whose money do you think you wont be getting?

Suffice to say I come to a film to be entertained not judged and insulted. 1/10 for a nice setting and visuals but little else.
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Insipid horror with a dash of misandry.....?
14 February 2020
Fancy a dash of misandry with your horror? No? Nor do I. Cliched college girlie slasher flick gets a seudo feminist make over.

A nasty bunch of spoilt little creeps who think its fun to get a professor fired, because the classics course he teaches has lots of male writers. Which historically most writers were but lets not let facts get in the way of pure spitefulness.

Walked away pretty quickly after this and wont be back.

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Baghdad Central (2020– )
Conveniently sidesteps inconvenient truths....
14 February 2020
Baghdad Central conveniently sidesteps inconvenient truths. The deaths of over 1 million people since the 2003 invasion, the massive destruction of the nations infrastructure, the fact (in spite of words placed in characters mouths) that the US and its friends were not asked to invade. Or based on the fierce resistance they encountered, wanted when they got there. Or the fact the dictator who ran Iraq most likely would not have risen to power in the first place, without the assistance of the West.

Instead, what you get is heavily revised and scripted. Iraqi's who want "democracy" whatever that actually means, when a system of government is imposed by military force. Who want to work with the new coalition and believe the changes wrought are necessary. In spite of the on going waste and instability, of the government born out of the invasion. Not to mention the fact the latest government have asked the US to leave, which speaks volumes in itself.

Acting wise this series is solid. the core idea interesting and the setting convincing. Regrettably, so much else is misconstrued its hard to take this series seriously.

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Prey you don't see it...
12 February 2020
Is it my imagination or does this film, like so many others these days, seem to have a dislike of men?

In my opinion Birds of Prey is yet another delivery mechanism for a man bashing ethos, that seems to be the norm in "Dysfunctional-wood" these days. I appreciate there are a lot of creepy men out there in the world, with it seems to me, a disproportionate number in the entertainment industry but that does not mean we are all bad. It does not mean there are not plenty of "no good women" either but that's hardly a statement on women in general, nor should it be.

As far as being entertainment this could have been quite watchable if the PC rant was left on the cutting room floor, where I believe it belongs. The action flows well and it has a decent cast.

Would be nice if we could return to a time when entertainment was an end in itself. A disillusioned 4/10 from me.
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21 Bridges (2019)
Entertaining by the numbers action crime drama...
11 February 2020
21 Bridges is an entertaining action crime drama that's reminiscent of a lot of flicks from the late 70's through to 1990's.

Cop films starring Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis, come to mind. Its a simple crime and punishment formula. A morally upright maverick hero,who always does the right thing, even when the odds are heavily stacked against him.

The acting is solid, with a really decent cast. The lead has quite an engaging presence and the action is well paced, throughout the film.

Perhaps the only noticeable downside, is the morally upright thing comes across as overcooked at times. The lead is not just a moral beacon he's downright uptight at times.

That being said, this is still a watchable action film that doesn't overthink things and is, in a sense, much better for it.

6/10 from me.
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Doctor Who (2005– )
11 February 2020
Hideous politically correct garbage. I'm sorry but that's the kindest thing I can say about the new show.

Its simply awful, I find it shrill, lecturing and petty, with predictably uninteresting stories and in my opinion, bland acting. The special effects are good but that can't save the new series, when so much else, is very very wrong.

Given what this series once was, this is, in my opinion, the destruction of a once great sci fi cultural icon.

1/10 for special effects and the hope the nose dive this series has taken can be corrected.
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If Homer Simpson was an assassin......
11 February 2020
Imagine what it would be like if Homer Simpson was an assassin. Well that's pretty much what you get with The Rhythm.

This is La Femme Nikita with a bag lady style character, who's a complete screw up. What's really idiotic and unbelievable about all this too, is her ad hoc handler actually decides to place her in the role to start with.

What also did not work for me is this film takes over half its length to get off the ground. It hits the ground shambling, like its lead character, wandering around aimlessly for far, far too long.

On the upside the cast do hand in decent performances and the action when it finally arrives is reasonable, if unremarkable.

5/10 from me.
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Midway (2019)
A more mature remake of a classic....
9 February 2020
I remember as a young boy being accompanied by my father to see the original Midway. It was a polished film but even back then, the suffering and death, shocked me on a certain level.

The new film does a decent job of recapturing the original but also balances the historical books, by acknowledging the suffering and courage on the part of combatants, on both sides and the price paid by Chinese who helped US servicemen downed in Japanese occupied China.

It shows a maturity of story telling, rarely seen in my experience of Hollywood these days. It;s refreshingly free of politically correct posturing or revisionist history, which was nice to see too. Its a simple, tragic story, of young lives lost defending their homelands and their respective ideals.

The combat scenes are well shot if a little hard to take seriously on occasion. Still it IS Hollywood, so some dramatic license is to be expected. Acting is surprisingly polished with some casting choices I would not have picked, that worked remarkably well.

7/10 from me.
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Coroner (2019– )
Drips with simpering political correctness....
7 February 2020
If you want a show chocked full of simpering political correctness then look no further than Coroner.

This Canadian production is downright drippy in an "inclusive, diverse, feminist, culturally aware, enlightened" way. If that all sounds too much that's because it is.

I look to entertainment to entertain not lecture at every turn and this show simply doesn't get that or I suspect want to. Its a shame too, because if they dropped the drivel there is a lot to like. Regrettably its buried under thick layers of PC nonsense.

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8 Days (2019– )
What will you become?
3 February 2020
8 Days is an insight into what happens to people when everything is stripped from them and their focus becomes either survival or acceptance.

This is a remarkably honest, disarming series, that's at one moment sentimental and sad, the next savage and unrelenting. It offers an interesting insight into how different people react to the same essential set of circumstances.

Wonderful acting rounds out a generally strong mini series, that's a hard watch at times but also deeply engrossing.

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Wu Assassins (2019– )
Moderately watchable martial arts mash up.....
31 January 2020
Moderately watchable. That's my take on Wu Assassins.

On the upside, is technically adept, martial arts action. The fight scenes are well choreographed and demonstrate a decent degree of creativity. Indeed, martial arts is the engine that drives this series. There's a little Eastern mythology thrown into the mix too, to liven things up.

Its a decent combination but it does tend to limit the scope of this series. The acting is alright but don't expect anything stand out. This is a series that runs, unashamedly, on exposition.

A couple of gripes, as a mixed martial artist with 30+ years experience, including actual combat, is first and foremost, the nonsense of skinny women taking on and defeating large groups of aggressive, motivated men. Not only is this implausible for a woman but just as implausible, for most men.

Adversaries seem to "wait in line" to attack too, as if they are buying admittance to a beating, one at a time, even when in a group. It would be nice to see a little reality infused into this kind of series with more convincing "one on one" action.

That said, this series is what it is and its mostly a passable, if largely unrealistic, watch.

6/10 from me.
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A heartfelt and honest indictment of war.....
30 January 2020
There's a real sense of tragedy and loss inherent in Korean made war films. Like their Russian counterparts, they don't glorify war but show it for what it is, the senseless and wasteful loss of mostly, young life.

Battle of Jangsari is no exception. Its genuinely hard watching bright, young, hopeful lives, wiped away by the efficient industrialised ugliness, of modern warfare. What is also to this films credit is its treatment of soldiers on both sides of the conflict, as human beings. Ordinary people, afraid to die, who only want to return home to their parents and loved ones.

The acting is, in short, mostly excellent, the cinematography outstanding and the approach to telling the story of these young people heartfelt, honest and reverential.

10/10 from me.
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Just disturbing.....
28 January 2020
What's really disturbing about this C grade affair is it somehow has a quality actor like Guy Pearce in the lead.

Indeed, had it not been for Pearce I would not have given this flick a second look. That said, after taking a look I was quick to toss this one back into the "bargain bin of doom", where it belongs.

In short, this is truly horrible. Aside from Pearce the only trivial point of interest being the presence of one of the actors from the original Magnum PI. See if you can spot who I'm talking about (assuming you can endure more than five minutes of this thing).

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Wisting (2019– )
Pure quality......
27 January 2020
Wisting, like so much else that comes out of Scandinavia by way of crime drama, is pure quality,

Its stories actually manage a decent degree of originality with an international twist that's instantly engaging and intriguing.

That said, I'm personally, no fan of politics and courtroom antics in policing stories, so I enjoyed the first five pure crime drama focused episodes, much more than the latter ones.

Acting is excellent, with an clever family dynamic, that creates degrees of tension but also moments of empathy and caring, between the veteran police officer Wisting and his journalist daughter.

Suffice to say this Norwegian gem is a must watch for fans of crime drama. 8/10.
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Star Trek: Picard (2020– )
Good actors shame about the story line....
26 January 2020
There's a certain irony, not to mention circularity, when the only way to "hopefully" produce a decent Star Trek series, is by revisiting actors from an older, successful series, from the 1990's.

Star Trek: Next Generation like most of the spin off's that followed, in that period, were pure gold. They inspired hope, using the possibilities presented in a science based future that "might be". A future ruled by reason, kindness, inclusiveness and learning, to progress humanity, in spite of many challenges.

Small wonder utilising the actors from this series, such as Patrick Stewart, is a smart or perhaps desperate move in itself? That said, it shows up what an abject failure the new series, Discovery, has been to date. A failure I believe because it embraces a warlike capitalist ethos, with a reedy, lecturing, politically correct hypocrisy, that is at odds with the Trek universes philosophy, of cooperation and sharing.

So what to make of the new series? Having watched two episodes, I'm done. Patrick Stewart is a fine actor but what I personally view as questionable scripting is, in my opinion, sending this series down a similar path to Discovery. Lots of PC posturing. Thus far its the tired old stick of diversity, pseudo feminism and multi-cultural-ism being waved about. As to the story itself, frankly I for one find it antithetical to the concept the Star Trek universe is based upon with Picard turning against the Federation. What's left is weak, condescending and uninspiring.

4/10 and only out of respect for the 90's actors. They are wonderful but the writing here, in my opinion, is anything but.
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Vera (2011– )
Emmerdale with handcuffs.....
21 January 2020
Series like Vera may soften the public's perception of policing in the UK but little else. The reality is the arrest of investigative journalists, like Julian Assange and prisons so horrible, some countries refuse to deport wanted criminals to the UK.

Vera is, in short, a lovely dream of warm heartfelt policing, that never really existed. She would, I feel, be more at home on a farmstead like "Emmerdale" serving well brewed tea and scones, whilst calling everyone "pet" and "love".

That said, if you can suspend utter disbelief, this is still a moderate watch that wears the same soft shoes of a Miss Marple, with more of a rural feel. The episodes follow the standard UK crime formula and the chemistry between cast members is well crafted.

All in all watchable but bears no relationship to the unfortunate truth of UK policing.

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The Outsider (2020– )
16 January 2020
The Outsider suffers from the same malady as a lot of entertainment these days. It uses sensationalism to try to carry it, in place of sophistication.

For me this is basic fare. Its not terribly original in its premise but its ugly enough, in a messy car accident, kind of way, to attract the usual bug eyed oglers. What it does show up and then attempts, to ineptly justify, is the utter incompetence and injustice, of the legal system in the USA.

The key law enforcement character, essentially plays judge, jury and executioner. This is all thinly explained away, using a personal tragedy, that somewhat mirrors the crime he is tasked with investigating.

Acting wise this series is alright but really, there's no well constructed platform for outstanding performances on offer here.

I found the soundtrack a bit depressing but then this is a depressing subject. Cinematography is outstanding but its the only place, for me, where this production really shines.

A 4/10 from me.
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Messiah (2020– )
Now its Irans turn....
16 January 2020
There have been no end of US series where Russians are the bad guys. Well, now its Iran's turn.

We have a bunch of gullible religious types and a sinister leader who, happens to be Iranian. He's unknown, scary, leading poor US citizens down a troubled path. Need I say more.

I'll let you decide if this is worth your time. I know what I think.

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