Magic Mike’s Last Dance – Movie Review

TL;DR – Third time is the charm, as the latest entry finds the right balance between fun and drama    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

Warning – There is scenes with flashing lights

The Rattigan.

Magic Mike’s Last Dance Review

A press screening invite rarely comes with homework, but when I sent the invitation to see Magic Mike’s Last Dance, I realised that I had never watched the previous films Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL. I had heard of them and seen moments like the petrol station dance. However, in all that time, I had not actually watched them. Well, this weekend, I fixed that oversite, and well, they were fine, but not exceptional, but can the third time be the charm?

So to set the scene, it has been years since Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) gave up the world of stripping, even longer since he made the fateful final ride with his friends from the Kings of Tampa. These days Mike is working as a bartender in Miami when he runs into Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault) and lets her get a taste of his talents. Seeing his skill first-hand, she asks him to come to London to The Rattigan to help put together a performance that will stay with people for years to come. 

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The Last of Us: Please Hold to My Hand – TV Review

TL;DR – This is the first almost filler episode, where it exists to set up next week’s episode, but it is still an engaging 45 minutes of tv.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this show.

A collapsed train bridge.

The Last of Us Review

After last week’s Long Long Time, very emotionally heavy episode, it is good that we can take a step back from that this week. But this is the week where we get more of the vibes of where the show will go and some of the challenges that will be in the way.

So to set the scene, after leaving the relative safety of Bill’s town, Ellie (Pedro Pascal) and Joel (Bella Ramsey) slowly make their way across America, filling up the car every hour or so because the gasoline is not as good as it used to be. But when the way past Kansas City is blocked at a tunnel, Joel risks cutting through the city to get back on the highway, which is where they get ambushed. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show.

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True Spirit – Movie Review

TL;DR – An impressively acted story that is let down by forced conflict and unnecessary padding.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

The Pink Lady leaves Sydney Harbour.

True Spirit Review

There are these moments that you remember because they touched all of society when they happened. Usually, these are moments of tragedy that cut through the world, but for Queensland and Australia, we had the moment built on triumph. Today’s film is based on that long journey by Jessica Watson across the planet.

So to set the scene, Jessica Watson (Teagan Croft) grew up on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, where water was always on your doorstep. She learned how to sail on the open ocean, catching the wind and riding the waves here thanks to her coach Ben Bryant (Cliff Curtis). Jessica had one dream: to sail around the world by herself, which took a bit of a beating when her boat was severely damaged by a cargo ship in the 2009 trail run. But with everything going against her, Jessica is determined to make the trip before the government legislates that she can’t go.

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Knock at the Cabin – Movie Review

TL;DR – An intense, claustrophobic look at the potential end of the world    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is an audio queue at the end but not something you need to stay for.

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Warning – This film contains scenes that may cause distress.

The Cabin.

Knock at the Cabin Review

If you look across the media landscape, the post-apocalypse is all the rage at the moment, but what about an excellent old-fashioned apocalypse? A film about struggle against all odds, looking doom in the face, and maybe not getting out alive in the end. Today we look at just such a film that both embraces and is a bit sly about it simultaneously.

So to set the scene, Eric (Jonathan Groff), Andrew (Ben Aldridge), and Wen (Kristen Cui) have gotten away from the world and are spending some time relaxing in a cabin in the middle of the countryside. A perfect escape from the world, so remote there is no cell service among all the trees and picturesque lake you can swim in. It is a delight until one moment, Leonard (Dave Bautista) walks up to Wen when she is collecting grasshoppers. He tells her not to be afraid, but he and his friends need to get into the cabin her fathers are in, and they need the whole family for something special to stop the end of the world.

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Spoiler Alert – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well, if ugly crying in the cinema surrounded by people ugly crying in a cinema is a recommendation for you, then here it is.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

A bubble being blown.

Spoiler Alert Review

I am someone who does not mind a good cry in the cinemas. It can be cathartic and shows that the filmmakers have connected with you on an emotional level. However, there is a difference between having a good cry and being so emotionally devastated that you are ugly crying in a room full of strangers. And when I say ugly cry, I mean ugly. Well, today, we are looking at a film that did just that.

So to set the scene, Michael Ausiello (Jim Parsons) focuses his life on his work, like ranking all the Gilmore Girls from Best to Rory [which like fair]. But one night, after being dragged out to a club, he spots a man across the dance floor that smiles at him, so he waves back. Actually, Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge) was smiling at his friend Nina (Nikki M. James) at the bar, but he took up the bait. It is the perfect meet-cute, bar the fact that, spoiler alert, we know from the start that this relationship is destined for tragedy.

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The Last of Us – Long Long Time – TV Review

TL;DR – A quiet contemplation of what love is in the face of loss.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this show.

Warning – Contains scenes that may cause distress.

Walking over a bridge.

The Last of Us Review

In our exploration through the world of The Last of Us so far, we have had a pretty point-by-point adaptation from the source material. A fact that many, including me, have deeply respected. However, sooner or later, they were going to make a big swerve from the game’s story, and the question is, how would that work? Well, we will find out a little sooner than I expected with today’s episode.

So to set the scene, in When You’re Lost in the Darkness, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) were charged with taking Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to the Fireflies in the old statehouse. Still, when they arrived in Infected, no one was left alive, and soon Tess had to sacrifice herself to let the others escape. On the road, Joel has few options, bar an old contact Bill (Nick Offerman), who lives in Lincoln, a town near Boston. But it has been a couple of years since he was last there, and Joel does not know if he is still welcome alone. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show.

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The Wandering Earth II (The Wandering Earth 2/流浪地球2) – Movie Review

TL;DR – While frustratingly slow to build, I must say that it captured me in the end.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

MOSS

The Wandering Earth II Review

Back in 2019, this fascinating film slipped onto the scene and fascinated me. The Wandering Earth was one of the most unique scenarios I have ever seen put to film, and a movie with some of the most frustrating characters put to screen. It was this juxtaposition that both delighted and annoyed me. However, we now have a second bite at the pie, and it is time to see if they have learned from the issues of the last film.

So to set the scene, tragedy is brewing on Earth as it is clear that the Sun has prematurely entered its final phase and will soon expand to engulf the planet in the next 100 years. The United Earth Government was formed to find a solution with some form of Digital Life and The Moving Mountain Project being proposed. Time is of the essence as the globe slowly descends into chaos. In Libreville, Gabon, a test engine and space elevator is the first step towards The Moving Mountain Project, but this means it is at a critical phase, and if you could disrupt it at the source, then the whole thing could come crumbling down.

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The Last of Us – Infected – TV Review

TL;DR – A more intimate episode of the series that focuses on the realities and hardships of their upcoming journey.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this show.

The gang looking out over Boston.

The Last of Us Title Review

In last week’s When You’re Lost in the Darkness, we got one of the best video game adaptations. It was not just faithful to the overall vibe of the video game. It was also faithful down some of the blow-by-blow action moments of the show. My question back then was would a direct adaptation lack the emotional impact, and we have little to fear there if this episode is anything to go by.  

So to set the scene, it is Jakarta, Indonesia, on the 24th of September 2003 when Ibu Ratna (Christine Hakim), Professor of Mycology, is taken from her lunch by military police. She is whisked away to a lab and asked to look at a specimen. She discovers the impossible, that cordyceps has made the jump to humans. Her recommendation, burn Jakarta to the ground before it is too late because there is no vaccine. In the future, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) are still reeling from the revelation that Ellie (Bella Ramsey) is infected. The question is, do you kill the girl now, or when she enviably turns? Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show.

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The Post-Truth World (罪後真相/Zui Hou Zhen Xiang) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A compelling tale of murder and coverup, where there are many potential suspects, and in the end, the truth might be the biggest casualty.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

The computer monitor.

The Post-Truth World Review

One of the most essential topics in modern times is the notion of truth and whether we can find it in our news anymore. Can you trust what you see in the news, read in the papers, or skim from the internet? With people yelling fake news at everything, how can you find the real in all the noise? Does the media care about the truth or just a narrative that can sell papers or subscriptions? It is within these questions we find our film today.  

So to set the scene, it is 2012, and all the bases are loaded, as a stadium dresses in yellow to support their team. As the game plays out below, different people’s lives start intersecting and collapsing. It is here where Zhang Zheng-yi (Edward Chen) walks out covered in blood, the blood of his now-dead girlfriend Wang Shi-yun (Tzu Hsuan Chan) and is promptly arrested and incarcerated for life. In 2019, Chang escaped jail by luring Liu Li-min (Joseph Chang), a journalist who ran the popular Dissecting the Society program back in 2012 and was at the stadium at the time of the murder. Today Li-min is trying to get a new title, True Standpoint, off the ground, and the biggest story of the year just kidnapped him. As the city begins a manhunt for Li-min, it is a moment of reflection on whether the truth matters.        

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Transfusion – Movie Review

TL;DR – It is a film trying to explore some essential issues. However, it felt like we only got a surface-level analysis.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Stan service that viewed this film.

Blood in the sink.

Transfusion Review

It is one of modern society’s great tragedies, actually no, not a tragedy, embarrassments, that we send people off to war and wars with dubious pretensions, and then we ignore them when they return home. We give lip service to trying to do something about it, but the damage remains. Today’s film shines a light on that trauma and how it can have generational effects.     

So to set the scene, an Australian special forces team in The Middle East infiltrates a secured compound at night. The mission was a success until a surprise combatant sneaks up on the team, and Ryan Logan (Sam Worthington) is shot protecting his team. Back home, Ryan must adjust back to life with his wife Justine (Phoebe Tonkin) and son Billy (Gilbert Bradman), but where the trauma of the past still lingers. But when tragedy strikes, the bond between a father and a son is stretched to breaking point.     

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