TL;DR – A charmingly delightful film about murder filled with fantastic performances and a real heart.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
For reasons that are far above my pay grade, there are film genres that come in and out of fashion all the time. One of these is the murder-mystery. I honestly can’t remember how long it has since I have seen a good old-fashioned murder-mystery up on the big screen. A film where you don’t know who done it because everyone is lying about something and there are many motives to go around. Well fear no more because today I get to talk about a film that takes this genre and not only produces a great version of it, but it also elevates the genre in the process.
So to set the scene, one-night wealthy murder-novel writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is celebrating his 85th birthday with every member of his extended family in attendance. There is his daughter Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis) the real estate mogul and her husband Richard (Don Johnson), his son Walt (Michael Shannon) who runs his publishing agency, Joni (Toni Collette) the wife of his now-deceased son and her daughter Meg (Katherine Langford), and of course the black sheep of the family Hugh ‘Ransom’ Drysdale (Chris Evans). It is a fun evening of catching up and putting plans into place but the next morning as Fran (Edi Patterson) the housekeeper brings up his morning meal she discovers that Harlan has killed himself in the night. A week later everything has settled but then Marta (Ana de Armas), Harlan’s nurse, is called back to the house with the family by Detective Lieutenant Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) because famed private eye Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) has been hired to look into the matter. Why is he there? Well because someone does not think Harlon’s death was suicide… they think it was murder. Now because of the nature of the film, it is hard to discuss it without getting into spoilers, so keep that in mind if you have not seen the film.
TL;DR – This is a really interesting show in around its characters and setting, however, the overarching plot just does not quite seem to land yet.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
With a new Star Wars film only weeks away, you would think that it would be all everyone is talking about but no, for if you go on the internet the one thing that is dominating pop-culture at the moment is ‘Baby Yoda’. It is almost all-absorbing at the moment and it is telling that Star Wars still has that cultural reach. Well, when some friends asked if I wanted to watch the ‘Baby Yoda’ show, well how could I refuse and it was a fascinating dive.
So to set the scene, in the years following the destruction of the second Death Star in The Return of the Jedi, the Empire has mostly collapsed but the New Republic is yet to really take control. This leaves large parts of the galaxy outside of the core in a state of flux. In that confusion, there are some systems that still work and one of them are the bounty hunters guild because irrespective of who is in power people still ditch out on their bail. This is where we met the titular Mandalorian or Mando (Pedro Pascal) to his well not really friends but more workplace proximity associates. One day he is offered a special bounty by his main contact Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) to work off-books for A Client (Werner Herzog) to find something special, only to discover that the bounty is a child. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – Its music, story, animation, worldbuilding, and characters that you really care for even though they are all broken in some way
A while back I took a moment to write about Why I loved Star Trek DS9 and since it was a great time of writing I have been meaning to get back at it again. I had a couple of choices but with the announcement that Netflix is producing a ten-episode live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop, well I got instantly dragged back in time to my high school days when the show rippled through my life with every beat of those conga drums, and well I instantly knew what to do next. Why Cowboy Bebop? Well, there are a lot of reasons, the music, story, animation, characters, but more than anything, it was the way it shaped how I viewed television and animation as a medium and got me more and more interested with how it is all made. It is also one of the go-to shows, as well as Samurai Champloo (サムライチャンプル), that I recommend whenever someone want to start exploring animation. So with that in mind let us dive into the neo-noir space-western from Shinichirō Watanabe (渡辺 信一郎) all about trying to escape the past and then realising that you can’t, and then also Ed, hello Ed.
In the Cowboy Bebop world, the human race has expanded out into the Solar System when the first Astral Gate (a faster than light transport system) exploded next to The Moon raining down Luna debris on Earth. The world had one choice escape or die on Earth and so they expanded out terraforming the Moons of Jupiter, Venus, creating the crater cities of Mars, and also Asteroid outposts across the Solar System like Tijuana (TJ). By 2071, because the human race is spread out across such a large region of space it has meant that enforcing law and order has become a challenge, so the powers at be implemented a bounty system and so Cowboys spread out chasing bounties and bringing back criminals to face justice … for a fee of course. This is where we meet our crew of the Bebop the ship they travel around the Solar System catching criminals while trying not to have to spend all its bounty on repairs.
TL;DR – From the action to the story and the music. First Contact captures a real moment in Science Fiction history and is still probably my favourite Star Trek film.
As the march of time continues forth, I was reminded that it has been twenty-three years since Star Trek: First Contact came out in cinemas. Goodness, 1996, such a long time ago, a time when I was not even in high school. However, in all the time since and before I don’t think any Star Trek film has had the same impact on me (though Wrath of Khan and Beyond come pretty close). As the time is right, and we all know how important time is, let’s dive into the joy that is Star Trek: First Contact.
So to set the scene, in Generations the USS Enterprise-D was destroyed by assailants and so a new ship the Sovereign-class USS Enterprise-E was commissioned with all our familiar faces making the transition. However, just with the Enterprise is in the middle of its shakedown cruise the worst possible news happens. The Borg are back. A large cube ship is on a trajectory with Earth but the Enterprise cannot help as Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) was once assimilated by the Borg and Starfleet wants it away from the battle. But to hell with orders, which is good because this time the Borg is messing with the timeline and only the Enterprise can fix the damage before it is too late.