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Joker (2019)
5/10
Not that special
11 October 2019
I thought Joaquin Phoenix was very good, but the film itself is ponderous and boring, as well as preachy. As far as entertainment goes it fails really. I've read lots of reviewers saying it was brilliant but they couldn't watch it again. I won't watch it again either because it was so slow. It's just a film about a man with mental health problems who's let down by society. They've dressed him up as a clown and set it in Gotham with Thomas Wayne as a supporting character, but this could easily have been a script that's been knocking around Hollywood for years that's been dusted off and called Joker so that it will make some money. There's very little action and the gory violence I'd heard about was actually quite tame in my opinion. Not worthy of the hype.
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5/10
Visually stunning, but very dull
6 August 2019
This movie looks wonderful and I liked the characters Alita and Hugo, however this film has no suspense or tension. It's well shot and each scene on its own is okay, but I just didn't care about what happened.

The script has just borrowed ideas and scenes from lots of other sci fi films like The Matrix and I Robot, but where those films had elements of mystery and a story that unfolded gradually giving the viewer pieces of information gradually, this one just meanders along, switching between so-so CGI action scenes and boring exposition scenes. The script is just bad. In order to get from one action scene to the next, characters just phone Alita up and say stuff like, "Hey Alita something bad is about to happen a few miles away, can you get there?" And then the film cuts to the scene in question, Alita shows up and the action happens.

There are lots of bad guys but their motives are virtually non existent. It's just "Kill Alita, or Hugo" Why? "Because, the boss says so" And who is the boss? Dunno.

A series of action scenes involving Alita beating up the same characters again and again doesn't make for an entertaining film. And a villain who doesn't show his face or reveal his motives isn't interesting either. Total waste of some decent performances from the lead actors.

Disappointed.
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8/10
Decent sequel
16 July 2019
I remember liking this film as a kid, particularly the ending. I also remember really liking the lead actor. Having recently revisited this film I still like both of these things. The first half of the film is excellent in my opinion. It's tense, the gorillas are still scary (to me anyway because I saw it as a kid) and Nova is wonderfully played by Linda Harrison despite her lack of dialogue. It's very easy to like her and root for her because she's terrified most of the time but can't verbalise her fears. Brent is a good character too, and what surprised me when revisiting the first two films of this series is that his performance outshines Charlton Heston's. I never imagined I would say that because Heston is a renowned actor and I've always liked him but he's prone to moments of really hammy acting in these films. It's probably very much "of its time" but I found the actor playing Brent to be much more understated and believable. The second half of the film is unfortunately a bit naff. The ideas are solid, but the telepathic humans kill the pace and mood of the film. Their motives are muddled too, to say the least. On the plus side the SFX are excellent for their time and I enjoyed the final showdown as much as ever. I love the ending too and it was good to see Taylor and Brent team up to take on the apes. As a side note, there's a scene when Zira and Cornelius are talking to Brent and it looks like an extra shot has been added in where they mention that Taylor arrived with two friends. It's almost as if the filmmakers forgot to mention them and had to add the scene in during post-production. It's quickly skated over and then never mentioned again. Overall this film is worth a watch.
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Fleabag (2016–2019)
10/10
Totally unique
16 July 2019
This was recommended to me by a female friend who has pretty good taste in comedy. However, I was expecting not to like it but I thought I'd watch the first episode, fully expecting to turn it off after about ten minutes. The opening scene had me hooked. The writing is fresh, original, very funny and also very dark. It's some of the best storytelling I've seen in ages. Definitely the funniest British comedy since The Office. Phoebe Waller-Bridge has a very likeable quality, so her regular sideways glances at the camera, complete with off-the-cuff quips and smirks work brilliantly. I normally hate it when people talk to the camera, but it's done so well that it draws you as a viewer into the story and you feel like you're sharing the jokes with her because you know what she's thinking with every knowing look. On top of that the other characters are all so well drawn. I particularly liked Fleabag's sister and the relationship between the two of them. They get on each other's nerves a lot, and both of them are selfish at times, but that's what makes this show so real, the rounded characters and their relationships. Fleabag is without doubt the most realistic female character I've seen in a TV show or film in years. I know lots of women like this, and even though I'm a man I can relate to many of the problems she has. It's such a relatable character thanks to the excellent writing and acting. The comic timing is on the money and even a tired old gag like someone farting in a lift is done so well it had me in stitches. Thos show cheered me up no end.

The ending is brilliant too. And even though I loved this show, I hope it ends there.
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Battlestar Galactica: The Hand of God (1979)
Season 1, Episode 21
8/10
Good final episode
15 July 2019
I liked this episode a lot. Like any good ending it's action packed and leaves you feeling sad that it's all over just when it felt like it was getting really good. I missed these characters a lot when the show was over. It was nice to have an ending where Starbuck and Apollo were doing a mission together, supported by the likes of Boomer and Sheba, with Adama fretting about it all from afar. It's a an episode that encapsulates all that was good about this series.
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Juliet, Naked (2018)
6/10
Likeable but goes nowhere
15 July 2019
I thought this film started out well. It definitely felt like a Nick Hornby adaptation. The positives it has going for it, like with all Hornby material is that it's never entirely predictable. You can't ever be 100% sure who's destined to end up with who, and there's the usual pop culture references and musical stuff. I also really liked Rose Byrne who is always good in everything. Ethan Hawke is always interesting too. All the characters are likeable, but on the downside I felt this film got bogged down a bit when the two leads were emailing each other, so for a chunk of the film you're just listening to their monologues. That's great in a book, but in a film it gets dull quickly (for me anyway). And ultimately in the end the film sort of petered out. The ending was typical Hornby but I was left with a bit of an empty feeling and wondering what was the point of it all? It's a nice film but overall quite forgettable.
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Battlestar Galactica: Take the Celestra (1979)
Season 1, Episode 20
6/10
Not aged well
9 May 2019
I remember liking this episode when I watched it as a kid and again when I was older. However, having just revisited it, it is somewhat of a filler episode. It has potential. Starbuck sees an old flame, there's conflict because she has a new man. There's also some good political intrigue, but the episode stalls and feels out of place because it's mostly based around some characters that were never in the show before and will never be seen again after this episode. On paper it's a good episode and it has its moments, but it definite filler.
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Game of Thrones: The Last of the Starks (2019)
Season 8, Episode 4
4/10
A shockingly bad episode
6 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This show has been steadily going downhill ever since they went past the books, but this episode was an all time low. The inexplicable nonsense and plotholes were insane in this episode. Why would Danaerys take a small number of soldiers and a dragon to meet Cersei? After the first dragon got wiped out by a fleet of ships that were hiding behind a rock? Seriously? Why take the other dragon along to a meeting where there are a bunch of the same weapons that killed the first dragon? All logic has gone out of the window with this show now. By logic I obviously mean the rules of logic set up by the show previously, ie dragons were almost unkillable, now just a handful of spears can kill one in about ten seconds. What? But a hundred of the same spears can't hit the other dragon when it's flying right at them? And why would Cersei not just destroy Danaerys and her army when they were right in front of her? I cannot understand why the writers would spend 50 minutes showing characters declaring their undying love for each other etc, then cram a sea battle, a journey across the sea to Kings Landing and a meeting with Cersei (which achieved nothing) all in the space of 20 minutes! That would normally have taken half a series. Plus the whole kidnapping Misandre as a plot device and then killing her because, you know "dramatic" instead of killing everyone at once. Total nonsense. Who commissioned this? Who wrote it? What the Hell?
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Game of Thrones: The Long Night (2019)
Season 8, Episode 3
7/10
Big let down
29 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
From a technical point of view this was a well made episode. You can't fault much about the way the battle was filmed and put together. However, one major problem (for me anyway) is that after 8 years of building up the arrival of the Night King and his dead army, they were defeated in about 45 minutes. Not just 45 minutes of an episode, but 45 minutes in real time. Think about that for a minute. A 45 minute real-time battle is all it took to defeat the baddest army in the universe. It's become Disney storytelling, or superhero storytelling where you sit there watching it, knowing exactly who is and isn't going to die. GOT has been going this way for a while now, ever since they went past the books it's been non-stop fan service. Do the writers not realise The Red Wedding is the most talked about episode because it was so shocking to see the good guys get killed. It's why Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie. Sometimes you've got to let the bad guys win and have bad things happen to the good guys. Not in this show. Not anymore. Technically a good episode with good acting and direction. But not from a storytelling aspect.
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10/10
Seasons 1 to 3
12 April 2019
As others have stated, seasons 1 to 3 are a work of absolute genius, but when Netflix took over at season 4 they completely forgot to make it funny. I still watch it because I love the characters and hope that it might get good again, but I know it won't.

Those first three seasons are possibly the funniest TV show I've ever seen. I only discovered this show in 2019, so the fact that the first 3 seasons were so funny is a sign of how well it's aged, and also of how shockingly awful most sitcoms are now. This is the first sitcom I've enjoyed since Friends, Seinfeld and Frasier ended.

Give it a go. It took me about 3 episodes to start to "get" the humour and after that every episode got funnier. Until season 4....
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5/10
Some laughs but an unfunny plot
1 April 2019
On paper this must have looked like a good comedy. It sounded okay when I read about it, but overall it doesn't work very well. It's a shame because Jessica Alba in particular shows great comedic skill. Many of the highlights of this film involve Alba smashing her face into lampposts or metal signs. Her physical comedy is probably the best thing in this, and provided most of the laughs. Dane Cook is lumbered with the daft plot, which others have gone into in depth. Unfortunately, because Cook is in impeccable physical shape he's kind of wrong for the part. It would have been better in the hands of someone like Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler, but then, it would also be less believable if either of them hooked up with Jessica Alba. Cook's buddy sidekick gets to make a few good jokes, but Cook himself doesn't really get many funny lines. He's relying entirely on his likeability (which depends on whether you like him or not). But it's hard to believe that he would pass up the chance to sleep with Jessica Alba because he's worried about a curse that would make her marry someone else.

Overall, the film starts off okay with a few good laughs and a very funny wedding reception. But after about half an hour the jokes dry up almost entirely. The obly laughs in the last hour come from the occasional moments of physical comedy from Alba, but she's not in it enough unfortunately.
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Battlestar Galactica: Experiment in Terra (1979)
Season 1, Episode 19
4/10
Messy
1 April 2019
This is one of the episodes that hasn't aged well. In fact, it's aged horribly. There's a welcome return of the ship of lights, but that's about all. Apollo ends up guided by the actor who played Devon in Knight Rider. The plan is to negotiate for peace with the Eastern Alliance, who were never very good villains anyway (think Space Nazis). The costumes and sci-fi elements of this episode (such as some weird cyborg people) look cheap and if this was the first episode of Galactica you ever saw you'd probably dismiss it as camp nonsense. Skip this one if you can.
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Battlestar Galactica: Baltar's Escape (1979)
Season 1, Episode 18
8/10
Action packed
1 April 2019
This is a fun episode in which Baltar plots an escape, aided by the Eastern Alliance and the Borillian Nomen. It's well plotted and filled with twists and turns, and most importantly the outcome is never predictable. They don't make 'em like this anymore. Baltar as always was a fun, dastardly villiain, and as ever it's up to Starbuck and Apollo to try and stop him.
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5/10
Far too long
23 March 2019
In places (a total of about an hour) this film is brilliant. The bad guys for example, add energy every time they show up. There's also some moments of great dialogue and action sequences. But for reasons that make no sense (other than over-indulgence from the director) you have to sit through another 90 minutes (yes 90) of uncomfortable silences and mind-numbingly dull dialogue. It makes no sense to inflict this on the audience, and it destroys any desire to ever watch the film again. There's nothing wrong with the acting or the action sequences, but the character development (if that's what the extra 90 minutes is supposed to be) doesn't really add any character to anyone. It's a real shame because I'd rather watch movies like this than the never ending supply of superhero nonsense.
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After Life (2019– )
7/10
Pretty good
12 March 2019
This show was fairly easy to watch. At times it's tiresome because it's basically Ricky Gervais using this show to moan about the same things he moans about in everything else he does. It's kind of like watching his character Andy Millman from Extras if he lost his wife. He moans about everyone else, but every now and again realises he's moaning a lot and does something kind for someone else to remind you that he's actually wonderful.

On the plus side, when he's being rude to people (something Gervais does well) it's very funny and I enjoyed the excessive use of the C-word. His character Tony uses his grieving as an excuse to tell people what he really thinks of them, so if you found Jack Nicholson amusing in As Good As It Gets then this should be right up your street.

On the downside, the one hangdog expression that Gervais does all the time to convey his depression has absolutely no subtlety to it. In fact subtlety is seriously lacking here and that's the only thing that stops this from being brilliant. Instead of showing the viewer how he comes through his depression, you are constantly told word for word what is happening. Characters launch into long monologues explaining what depression is all about and how to cope with it, which is a fairly lazy and amateurish way to do it. And every time one of these monologues takes place there's the sad music and the characters have tears welling up in their eyes. It's a classic example of telling the audience what's going on and how to feel instead of showing it, which is a more powerful way to do it.

Overall though, I did like this show. It was easy to watch, and even though the characters were stereotypes, they were all likeable, although if you weren't sure, Gervais does make a point of announcing that each person is wonderful, because, you know, no subtlety.

I like the village that it's set in too, and the message of the show is sound, without getting all political (apart from Gervais's usual rants about social media etc). Either way, I agree with most of his rants about people, and the show is at its best when he's calling people out for being disingenuous. It's also made well enough to hide its limited budget. Each episode sees Gervais in the same settings, - with a woman on a park bench, in a therapist's office, visiting his father in a care home and in his workplace. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these sections were filmed in less than a day. For example, the six scenes on the park bench could all be filmed in one day. Gervais is usually wearing the same clothes in each episode too.

I suspect most people will quite like this show, although it depends on whether you like Ricky Gervais or not. I find him funny when he's abusing people, but I wish he'd find some new things to moan about.
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Battlestar Galactica: Greetings from Earth (1979)
Season 1, Episode 17
6/10
Weaker episode
14 February 2019
After a run of fun adventure episodes we end up with Greetings From Earth. The set up is good, a spaceship containing a family in sleep hibernation is picked up by the Galactica. Unfortunately what follows is pretty dull, and we are introduced to new villains, the Eastern Alliance, which I suppose is meant to be a subtle nod at the Nazis or the Russians. Thing is, after the Cylons, a group of blokes dressed like Nazis just doesn't really cut it. Their equipment and technology isn't as advanced as the Galactica's or the Cylons so these guys are a real step down (kind of like when Superman went from fighting General Zod, to fighting that daft Meteor Man). The Eastern Alliance subplot lasted a few episodes, none of which were any good in my opinion. This one is worth skipping.
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10/10
Murder mystery
25 January 2019
Battlestar Galactica was in a real run of form at this point. This episode is a really good murder mystery with a few nice twists and turns. Starbuck has a falling out with another player in the odd, somewhat camp sports game he and Apollo participate in from time to time. The guy he falls out with ends up dead and Starbuck is the number one suspect. Naturally, instead of hiring a proper lawyer to defend him, he gets Apollo to do it, with Boomer as his investigator.

What follows is a classic Columbo style investigation with a very satisfying finale. One of the best episodes in the series, in my opinion.
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7/10
Better than I expected
24 January 2019
This was another one of those films that showed up on Sky Movies Premiere and I recorded it expecting to delete it after about 20 minutes, which is what usually happens if it's a film I've not heard of before. But A Crooked Somebody was one of the 5% that I managed to watch all the way through.

What this film has going for it is its unpredictability. It frequently surprised me, often not going the way I expected, taking a left turn instead of a right. It's rare to find a film like that these days because everything seems to be dumbed down for people who can't handle anything that doesn't stick to a formula.

The lead actor was someone I hadn't seen before and at first I was a little put off, thinking he wouldn't be able to carry the film, but he does. In fact he really grew on me as the film went on. All of the performances in this film are good, and there's even an appearance from Daniel Larusso's mom and the girl from Sex Drive (who I've never seen in anything else, but she's good in this too).

The plot in a nutshell sees a dodgy psychic, Michael Vaughn get caught up in an absurd Ben Stiller style comedy, although there's no slapstick humour here, it's a dark thriller, but Vaughn repeatedly makes bad decisions and tells lies that lead to more lies. His female sidekick acts as his conscience, which helps to make it believable when he discusses his plans with her, listens to her advice and then usually ignores it, leaving you shaking your head. The whole thing escalates quite magniificently without ever taking a mis-step that leaves you rolling your eyes. The script is solid and I found myself really rooting for Vaughn even though he's a weasel.

The only negatives I can come up with are that on a couple of occasions the film dragged for a few minutes, but fortunately it always recovered. And although I couldn't predict how it was going to end, I found the ending a little disappointing. It tied everything up perfectly, but because of how the film had gone up to that point I was hoping for something a little more original. But those minor gripes aside, this film is a breath of fresh air and worth your time, in my opinion.
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Battlestar Galactica: The Man with Nine Lives (1979)
Season 1, Episode 15
10/10
Action and mystery
22 January 2019
This is one of my favourite episodes of BG. Starbuck meets Fred Astaire, aka Chameleon, a con man who's managed to get on the wrong side of a group of three nutcases called the Borrillian Nomen (not sure I'm spelling that correctly). What follows is a mystery where Chameleon might just be Starbuck's father, or just an old conman using him to get away from the 3 weirdoes. Pretty soon the Nomen are after Starbuck too. A really great fun episode with a few twists.
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Battlestar Galactica: War of the Gods: Part 2 (1979)
Season 1, Episode 14
10/10
Excellent 2nd part
28 September 2018
The concluding part of War of the Gods is every bit as good as part 1. An excellent piece of sic fi writing, this episode has everything - mystery, action, suspense, religion, you name it.

The big secret about Count Iblis is revealed with impeccable timing, and it's a great twist. The first time I saw this two parter I was blown away by it. It's the kind of mystery that modern day superhero films should take a look at. Nothing is spooned to the audience, it's cleverly paced with a twist at the end. As a viewer you become involved in the mystery the same way you would with an episode of Alfred Hitchcock presents. This really is magnificent television.
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Battlestar Galactica: War of the Gods: Part 1 (1979)
Season 1, Episode 13
10/10
Brilliant sci fi
23 September 2018
This two parter is possibly the best thing Battlestar Galactica ever did. As far as Sci fi goes it has a bit of everything. Compared to some of the earlier episodes this is on a totally different level.

The first part of War of The Gods has action, intrigue and some cool SFX (for it's time). First up, some mysterious lights flying through space, followed by a giant spacecraft lead to the disappearance of some of the Viper pilots who are out on patrol. Then, when Starbuck, Apollo and Sheba investigate a crash site on a nearby planet they come across a mysterious stranger, Count Iblis (wonderfully played by Patric McNee, who also does the voiceover in the opening credits of every episode). Iblis convinces the three warriors not to inspect the crash because of radiation issues. He then comes aboard the Galactica and some strange things happen. It's a perfect set up for the second episode. Well written stuff and well acted.
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Battlestar Galactica: Fire in Space (1978)
Season 1, Episode 12
5/10
One of the weaker episodes
14 September 2018
Fire In Space was originally part of the Mission Galactica: Cylon Attack movie which later became the two part TV episode The Living Legend. I saw MGCA at the cinema as a kid and it included parts of this episode in it. Dragging this sequence out to a whole episode is a bit much though. Basically a cylon ship damages the Galactica and a fire breaks out on the ship.

It's an episode where Boomer gets to do more than usual and it has some interesting stunts performed in and around the fire, but it adds nothing to the series as a whole. You could easily skip this episode and it wouldn't make any difference.
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The Predator (2018)
7/10
2nd best Predator movie
12 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I thought this movie started off really well. The predator is involved in some great action sequences too and before long you're watching a relentless action movie with some great one liners. A few of the gags miss the mark but it was a refreshing change to have some more adult humour for a change.

The gang of "Loonies" who initially seemed quite annoying start to grow on the viewer after a while and by the half hour mark you find that you care about all of the characters.

The problems start when a second predator arrives with his predator dogs. I can see why this decision was made. It adds something new to the franchise but that's about it. At around the same time in the movie, one of the "evil" human characters shows up with a bunch of henchmen. What follows is a chaotic sequence of events involving far too many characters. The film is edited at such a frantic pace that I lost track of what was going on a few times. There's a few minor plot holes too, which I won't spoil.

Overall for me this was really good for about an hour but then it gradually went downhill and although the pace never let up there were so many sudden deaths that I didn't have time to care about the loss of some of the likeable characters. But, gripes aside, this is easily the second best Predator movie after the first one. It's worth watching, but the ending is quite underwhelming, which is a shame.
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8/10
Living Legend Part 2
11 August 2018
Part 2 of The Living Legend (known when released as a two parter at the cinema as Mission Galactica: Cylon Attack) is full of action. Having said that it's slightly weaker than the first part in my opinion, simply because it hasn't aged all that well. By which I mean, the sequence when Starbuck, Apollo, Boomer, Cassie and Sheba parachute down to the cylon base looks really cheap. And you could play a drinking game revolving around the number of times someone says "Let's Go!"

This episode is definitely all action and therefore despite some great stuff with loads of cylons, there's also the obligatory stock footage of Vipers destroying cylon ships, which you will have seen before..... a lot.

Overall though this is an exciting conclusion to the two-parter and the ending leaves you with some unanswered questions which is pretty cool.
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9/10
Lloyd Bridges!
2 August 2018
I saw this two parter at the cinema as a kid. It's one of the more ambitious and cinematic episodes. The Galactica comes across Cain and the Battlestar Pegasus. This introduces a few more characters to the series, notably Sheba, Cain's daughter who becomes a main player. What makes this episode interesting is Lloyd Bridges and his conflict with Adama. The two of them disagree on every strategy despite the fact they both want the same end goal. There are some nice subplots like Cassiopia being Cain's ex, which doesn't go down well with Starbuck. Overall there is a good mix of action and conflict, and on top of that, if you've seen Lloyd Bridges in Hot Shots, it's very hard not to laugh because he's playing a very similar character here, only it's not meant to be funny on this occasion.
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