Movie Review – Waves

TL;DR – A challenging film to watch at times, but always beautifully shot and acted.     

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Warning – Several scenes may cause distress and a scene that features extensive flashing lights.

Waves. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

When you go in to see a film, many factors engage you. There is the sound, the visuals, or the story. However, there is one factor that can have in an impact that you might not expect is that feeling of being in a room with a bunch of people that you don’t know who are having the same emotional experience. Today I look at a film where I felt the oxygen get sucked out of the room, felt the shock, and heard the gasps of exclamation.

So to set the scene, we open in on the Williams family as we get to see snippets of their lives. Ronald (Sterling K. Brown) is the firm farther pushing everyone to be the greatest they can be, Catherine (Renée Elise Goldsberry) might be a step-mother to the children. Still, she cares for them as if they were her own, (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) the local wrestling champion and eldest of the family Emily, and then (Taylor Russell) their caring daughter and Tyler’s sister. Tyler has everything going for him, he works for his dad, he is a star on the team with college scouts coming to the games, and an amazing girlfriend in Alexis (Alexa Demie). However, this façade starts to crumble when a shoulder injury doesn’t go away.

I am going to start the central part of this review by saying that it might be best to go into this film with as little knowledge as possible, so when those moments hit, they hit hard. Indeed it is going to be hard to talk about the movie in any meaningful way without running into spoilers right away. So with this in mind, I will try to be as vague as possible about the story beats throughout the review, but I will talk a little of the structure in the penultimate chapters where there will be full spoilers.  

Continue reading

Video Game Review – Minecraft Nether Update

TL;DR – It brings life to a forgotten world, giving it a personality, a new direction. It also changes one of the games longest static features for the better.                  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Minecraft Nether Update. Image Credit: Mojang.

Article

Last year I took a look back at my time with Minecraft over the previous ten years. In many ways, whether I intended it or not, it was epitaph to my time with the game. Well, that may have been the intent, but reality had a way of changing that because COVID happened and I needed a way to connect with people in isolation and well what’s Realm between close friends. Since diving back into the game, we have our first significant update since the BEEESSSsss, so I wanted to explore as see how it changes the game for better or worse … it is the first one.    

For those who have not played it, Minecraft is a Survival-Sandbox game; there is no traditional narrative to pull you through the game, bar the one you make for yourself. You mine for resources, and then you craft new items that give you access to new resources to mine and thus the circle continues from wood to stone to diamond and now even further. In a regular unmodded game of survival, there are three levels to the game, the Overworld the main world you spawn in, The End with its dragons and its pastel aesthetic, pastels everywhere, and finally The Nether, which is what we are focusing on today.

Continue reading

Video Game Review – Civilization VI: Red Death Season Two

TL;DR – A good improvement to the game that fixes a lot of the issues I had with Season One.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Civilization VI: Red Death Season Two. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

Review –

Last year the good folks over at Firaxis Games did something I won’t ever have called, they released a Battle Royale mode for Civilization VI. At first, it sounded absurd because a turn-based strategy game is not the place you would expect to see this kind of mode. However, the more I thought about it, the more it did make sense because isn’t Civilization just one extended Battle Royale mode? Only instead of the growing wall of doom, you have Alexander and all his horses. You can find our review for Season One HERE, but with the announcement of Season Two, we thought it was time to jump back in and see the improvements first hand.               

For those who have managed to miss that Fortnite world domination over the last few years, a Battle Royale style game is when you start dropped on a map with very few resources. You need to arm yourself and expand your abilities and quickly because everyone else on the map is doing the same thing, and there are only so many loot drops to go around. However, this is not a mode you can turtle in because a wave of horror, in this case, fallout, is closing in making the map smaller and smaller and slowly forcing people to crash into each other and then it is last one standing. The thematic paint that Red Death puts on this is that nuclear weapons have destroyed the world and there is one spaceship taking you to safety. The only problem is that everyone wants a seat of the last ride out of town, but there is only room for one.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

TL;DR – It tries to aim for that Eurovision absurdity, but Fire Sage mostly missed the target.     

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I bloody love Eurovision, the songs, the silliness, the absurdity, you know that moment when you are looking and wondering what the heck you are watching. It is a sceptical from start to finish, but it has been made clear on multiple occasions that America just doesn’t get Eurovision, looking at you JT. So when I heard they were making a Eurovision move … I was concerned, to say the least, and now that I have seen it that was not an entirely unfounded position.    

So to set the scene, we open in Husavik, Iceland on April 6th, 1974, a boy is sitting down missing his mother, with nothing cutting through his sadness until he heard ABBA’s entry into Eurovision. It was a moment of revelation, and at that moment, he knew what he wanted to do with his life. In the present day, Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrid (Rachel McAdams) have not let go of that dream even if his father Erik (Pierce Brosnan) thinks Lars is an abject disappointment. Well, their dream comes true when their song is picked for the Icelandic song contest, the winner will represent Iceland in Eurovision. The only problem is they were chosen by random to pad out the twelve places because everyone assumes that Katiana (Demi Lovato) will win. I mean, it would take all the contestants dying in a fiery conflagration to change that.                              

Continue reading

Movie Review – Nobody Knows I’m Here (Nadie Sabe Que Estoy Aquí)

TL;DR – A haunting look at the damage that fame can do set in the beautiful world of the Chilean coast.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Nobody Knows I'm Here (Nadie Sabe Que Estoy Aquí). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Fame, it is a thing that many people want, and in the world of Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok it is almost more obtainable than in any other point in history. However, fame can come with a cost, fame can come with damage, and fame can have lasting effects. Today we look at a film that explores these issues and the legacy that can leave in their wake.

So to set the scene, a child musical prodigy Memo (Lukas Vergara) had a lot of hope at one point but now all grown up Memo (Jorge Garcia) spends time breaking into houses and not doing much else. The rest of his time is spent working on his uncle’s Mr Braulio’s (Luis Gnecco) sheep farm on a coastal island of Southern Chile. His past haunts Memo as the damage of his youth lives through every part of his life.  

Continue reading

Civilization VI Cartographic Educational Database

TL;DR – Links to every geographical feature mentioned in Civilization 6 so you can explore them if interested

Over the last several years we have been building our map of Civilization 6’s features, starting with our first attempt at mapping the base game back in 2017 to our latest work with the New Frontier Pass. During that time, I have waded through countless Wikipedia articles, websites, history textbooks, and Journal Articles to try and put together everything you see.

With all of this, I accumulated a lot of data on the various parts of the game, which was fun in its own way as I got to learn more about the world we live in. However, I have been trying to find a way to allow others that same joy of exploring this world. I have tried a version of this at the bottom of my maps in my past attempts. But in practice, they always felt clunky and limited.

Continue reading

TV Review – The Floor is Lava Season 1

TL;DR – While not as binge-able as some of its competitors, it is still a bunch of fun with a ridiculous premise.  

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Floor is Lava. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

As a young person, I think everyone has played ‘The Floor is Lava‘ much to the castigation of our parents as that one fragile item becomes a casualty of the chaos. So it is almost surprising that someone has not tried to turn it into a competition show before, well now we get to see if it can work or if it is something best left to the imagination.

So to set the scene, three teams enter into a room full of lava (red coloured water) with a set of themed obstacles between the entrance and exit. We have a basement (museum), a bedroom, a planetarium, a study and a kitchen. There are multiple routes through the room, some harder than others with objects throughout that can make things easier. But it would be best if you were careful because one slip and you’re in the water, I mean lava, and the longer you take, the more the steps slip into the red making everything harder.

Continue reading

TV Review – Last One Laughing Australia (LOL Australia)

TL;DR – This is a fascinating yet polarising show, that I don’t think will find a middle ground for most people and instead will hit one of the extremes.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Last One Laughing Australia (LOL Australia). Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Review

There are some concepts that you hear and immediately know that it was a good idea, and sticking a bunch of comedians in a room and make them force everyone to laugh while keeping yourself mute. This is one giant game of chicken with $100,000 on the line. Though I should say before diving in, I think you will know immediately if this show is for you with one phrase “dildo jacket”.

The format of the show is straightforward, you can’t laugh, you can’t even really smile, because if you do your out. This is complicated a little bit by everyone getting one yellow card warning and also getting a Joker Card that can be used only once to force everyone in the room to focus on you. That’s it, but then that is all you need if you have cast the show well, which is what they have done here.

Continue reading

Movie Review – The Windermere Children

TL;DR – A deeply emotional and confronting film that looks at the aftermath of trauma and how you can walk back from it.    

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The Windermere Children. Image Credit: Fremantle.

Review

There are those moments in life where we get to see the full depths of human cruelty and few moments have exemplified it more than the Holocaust. It was a moment where human depravity was industrialised and weaponised in the endeavour to exterminate an entire race. Today we explore a film that deals with the aftermath and trauma through the eyes of the children that survived it.     

So to set the scene, we open in on a bus full of children as they make their way through the British countryside at night. The bus is full of children refugees rescued from Holocaust camps. One thousand children brought from the camps to Brittan and 300 of them came to Calgarth Estate on the shores of Lake Windermere. As they arrive, there is a real fear that they have swapped one camp of despair for another. Their families are likely all dead, and all of them have suffered travesties that make every dog a threat and food something you hide when you can. They only have funding for four months to help them with their trauma, which is not enough time given everything they had gone through.

Continue reading

TV Review – Snowpiercer: Justice Never Boarded

TL;DR – All tease when it probably should be starting to deliver.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Snowpiercer: Justice Never Boarded, Image Credit: Netflix.

Review – Well, Snowpiercer the show started in an odd place, with a murder-mystery at the core of the narrative. I was not sure how it could all jell together, but as it has continued, those lines in the sand have become more evident as power shifts have come into the light. This brewing tension has led to an interesting premise, though it is still not clear if they can pull it off.

So to set the scene, the Snowpiercer has continued on its journey in the frozen appocalype of Earth, now steaming through the former Amazon. However, for Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs) the discovery that Lilah Jr (Annalise Basso) was the real murderer was not the end of his mission because he stumbled onto something else. For he found out the real power behind Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly) and ended up in the draws for his trouble. However, everything marches on, and there needs to be a trial because there have been murders, and people want justice. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

Continue reading