Movie Review – Diecisiete (Seventeen)

TL;DR – A beautiful story about families and what you would do for them.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Diecisiete (Seventeen). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

What would you do for the people you love? Would you break the law? Would you fight? Would you run? Would you hand them in to the police to get them help? In many ways, this is one of those few things that break down the usual barriers that we put up, that define the clear right and wrong. Today we look at a film that explores that boundary and does not hold back.

So to set the scene, Héctor (Biel Montoro) has a flexible relationship with the law, in that he has a very regard system of right and wrong and if it means stealing a heater to help his Abuela Cuca (Lola Cordón) who’s heater has not been fixed in weeks then that is fine. Things probably would have been fine but his brother Ismael (Nacho Sánchez) let the authorities know. Sentenced to two years in juvenile detention Héctor constantly escapes to see how far he can get. Struggling to find a way forward the centre staff give him a dog to help train which he calls Sheep. All is fine and he is only a month before release when one day Sheep is gone, he has done such a good job that Sheep was adopted and that triggers a countrywide chase for closure.

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Movie Review – League of Legends Origins

TL;DR – An interesting look at the rise of one of the world’s most played video games, even if there are a few rough edges to the presentation.    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

League of Legends Origins. Image Credit: Riot Games.

Review

When you think about sporting spectacles, you think about Wimbledon, or Superbowl, or The Olympics. However, as time is going on, Esports is a growing phenomenon drawing in more people and more money than ever before. In this world of Esports, one of the biggest and fastest-growing games is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that goes by the name League of Legends. This documentary explores the history of Riot Games’ League of Legends, its growth and its potential future.

The fact that a game created in 2006 is still around today, is one of those quirks that rarely happens in the video games industry, the fact that it continues to be one of the most popular games in the world makes it more so. For that very reason alone, it makes this documentary interesting because it is really engaging watching a game go from being working out of a basement to having a grand final in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. This is coming from someone who does not actually play the game. I have tried to get into MOBAs like LOL and DOTA before and while I like watching them be played but I have no skill in playing them.

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Movie Review – Ghosts of Sugar Land

TL;DR – An interesting exploration of one of the big topics of our days that just doesn’t quite come together.      

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Ghosts of Sugar Land. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There is this moment when people find out someone has done truly awful, where those who know them have to reconcile the person you knew with the person they now are. This is a common reaction across the world but today for some people it has even more complication due to outside pressures. When people head off to ISIS, there is this clamour as to why nothing was done, why didn’t people know?

This short film explores the life of “Mark” and the reception to his apparent departure to Syria to fight for ISIS by his friends back in Sugar Land, Houston, Texas. Right from the start, this documentary captures your interest by yes the content but also from the presentation. Everyone in the document bar “Mark” has their face covered by vintage pop-culture masks like Thor and Spider-Man. This is such an odd choice but then it is a good juxtaposition to what they are talking about and everyone is wearing it for a good reason.

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TV Review – Help! My Kid Is A Gamer – Season 1

TL;DR – This is a really good resource for parents wanting to know more about video games to help understand and engage with their kids on the issue

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Help! My Kid Is A Gamer. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

Video games, they are the latest hotness in the world, but like a lot of new technologies, there is a lot about them that can be difficult for people to understand if they are not familiar. This is amplified when it is parents trying to understand the world that their kids are living in. Today we look at a series that is trying to de-mystify some of the real issues around gaming and to give parents the tools needed to understand and help kids develop.

Each episode of the show revolves around one aspect of the video games industry and how it applies to children and then talks to the experts to help parents understand the issue. For example loot boxes and microtransactions. This is all presented in a form that is easy to digest which is important when dealing with very complex issues where there are quite often no straight forward answers. I feel that this show is really important because it does not shy away from the problematic aspects of video games but it also does not lean into the sensationalist reporting that you get from most of the Australian media that does not know how to write stories unless it is about “insert game is the new addiction” like we saw just last week with untitled goose game. There are real problems and concerns with video games, but these are no different for any other types of media and as a parent it is important to be across these issues.

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Movie Review – Banlieusards (Street Flow)

TL;DR – A fascinating narrative of life on the outskirts of Paris and what it means for the people that live there.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Banlieusards (Street Flow). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Like many cities today Paris is a tale of two halves, the city and then the outer suburbs. There are times when they are almost two different worlds even though they are deeply interconnected. Within these worlds and the stories of those lives that are shaped by their worlds, their struggles, and the forces they can’t control.

 On the outskirts of Paris lives Soulaymaan (Jammeh Diangana), his brother Noumouké (Bakary Diombera), and their mother Khadijah (Kani Diarra). Soulaymaan is preparing for his final exam as part of his law degree, hoping to create a better life for him and his family. However, his younger brother is at a crossroads, he could follow in Soulaymaan’s path or that of his brother Demba (Kery James) who run drugs in the local area after spending some time in jail.

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TV Review – Total Control: Episode 1

TL;DR – This is one of the strongest opening hours of TV I have seen in years, with the first few minutes affecting me in ways I was not ready for.  

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Total Control: Episode 1. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

A pilot episode of television has a lot it has to do. It has to set the tone, explain the setting, introduce you to the main characters, and find the drive for the whole season. I have seen a lot of TV show pilots in my time and even shows that are fantastic can fumble parts of this very important introduction. Well, today I look at a show that nails every single element in its 50 minutes run time.

So to set the scene, we open in on a tragedy where Alex Irving (Deborah Mailman) is thrust into the national spotlight after a video goes viral. Alex shuns all media request for interviews but she has caught the eye of someone important. Soon there is a knock at the door and Jonathan (Harry Richardson) who works for the Federal Government arrives at Alex and her mother Jan’s (Trisha Morton-Thomas) house in Winton in country Queensland. He is there with an offer for Alex to take over the seat of a Senator that has just died. She declines, saying that if Prime Minister Rachel Anderson (Rachel Griffiths) wants her to be a senator then she can come and ask herself, which is exactly what she does. For here we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: The Trouble with Edward

TL;DR –  A silly and somewhat absurdist episode that was a real delight

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: The Trouble with Edward. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Review

Have you ever had a colleague that was so sure of themselves, even though they were maybe not quite as smart as they thought they were? Well as much as humanity has advanced in the future, it almost reassuring that this is one trait that we have not quite left behind.

So to set the scene, we open in on a day of celebration because Captain Pike (Anson Mount) gets to see an old crewman off to their new position. As science officer Lynne Lucero (Rosa Salazar) has just been made captain of the USS Cabot. Their first mission is to go to Pragine 63 on the edge of Klingon space to help clandestinely with a food crisis. Her crew all have several ideas, but Edward Larkin (H. Jon Benjamin) has the plan to mess with the DNA of a tribble and it all goes wrong from there.   

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