House of the Dragon: The Rogue Prince – TV Review

TL;DR – While still mainly just politics this week, the world has come into shape, and those intrigues have weight.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Death on the stepstones.

House of the Dragon Review

There is one genre that I do particularly like, and it is a political drama. It is part of why I still think Deep Space Nine is my favourite of all the Star Treks because it didn’t move, so it had to deal with the politics of where it was. However, last week was mostly just politics, but it felt flat for me. I was wondering if the show would click with me at all, but this week gave a better chance at that.

So to set the scene, in last week’s The Heirs of the Dragon, we discovered a dynasty at the point of fracture. King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) was named the king in a contested succession, and while he has tried to be a strong king, many see him as weak. But tragedy struck when his Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke) died in childbirth, and even a caesarean section could not save their child. With succession now being called into question again, the king finally cuts off his petulant brother Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and declares his daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) as heir. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

House of the Dragon: The Heirs of the Dragon – TV Review

TL;DR – You can feel them trying to get lightning to strike twice, but it never rose above being just fine, bar maybe the tournament scene.  

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

A dragon flies through the clouds.

House of the Dragon Review

There are many TV shows that come and go, but few have stamped a legacy as much as Game of Thrones. But that legacy is complicated and fraught with tension. It rose to be one of the most well know shows in TV history, a place where everyone had to know what was going on, and moments like the Red Wedding echo across the zeitgeist in a way maybe only the MASH finale and moments like that had. But then Seasons Eight happened, and it was like watching all that momentum crash against a solid object like one of those experiments in MythBusters. The entire marketing push disappeared overnight under the wave of discontent, and I wondered if this was the last we would see of this universe that someone had paid a lot of money to dabble in. there were talks of sequels and prequels. Still, none of them ever got anywhere, well, that is until today.

So to set the scene, in the dying days of King Jaehaerys Targaryen (Michael Carter), there was a succession question, so he held a Great Council in the ruins of Harrenhal. Where the lords combined supporting Prince Viserys (Paddy Considine) over Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best). Eleven years later, King Viserys’ wife, Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), is pregnant again, and all hope is that it is a boy. But the vultures are starting to circle, and one of those with knives out might be the king’s own brother Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), Commander of the City Watch. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

She-Hulk Attorney at Law: Superhuman Law – TV Review

TL;DR – She-Hulk continues to be a delightful and fun romp

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

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

Courtroom sketches of last week's episode.

She-Hulk Attorney at Law Review

One of the significant issues that the MCU has had when making the jump to Disney+ has been finding the right tone and setting. Shows have struggled to land their feet or find a reason to exist over so many episodes. So far, She-Hulk has avoided those fates because it knows exactly what it wants to be and shines while doing it.  

So to set the scene, last week in A Normal Amount of Rage, we got to find out how Jennifer ‘Jen’ Walters (Tatiana Maslany) became She-Hulk. It just took a crash and her trying to save her cousin Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and some accidental blood contamination, and now she can go Green. Hoping to keep that secret was dashed when Titania (Jameela Jamil) crashed into the courtroom, and Jen had to Hulk up to stop the jury from being killed. You would think saving people’s lives would be rewarded? But instead, Jen is fired from the DA’s office. Things are looking down when she is offered a job by Holden Holliway (Steve Coulter) at the law firm GLK&H. The only catch is that she has to represent Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) or, as he is more commonly called, Abomination. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

Beast – Movie Review

TL;DR – It starts strong and has genuinely terrifying moments, but it does not have the legs to make it to the end.   

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

A truck drives through the South African bush.

Beast Review

A long tradition of films can be summed up as ‘an unknowable antagonist hunts down our plucky protagonists’. If we slip into horror, this can be a slasher hunted down kids at a summer camp, dinosaurs running amok in Jurassic Park, or you could flip it, and the unstoppable force is the protagonist as in John Wick. However, one of the more popular scenarios in this realm is animals, and while sharks may have been king for a while, today’s film looks to unseat them with the big cats that roam the savannah.

So to set the scene, it is late a night as a group of poachers stalk through the bush to a trap they have set up. Letting loose a barrage of gunfire, they kill all the lions there, bar one that gets away. The next day, Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) and his daughters Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Sava Jeffries) arrive at Mopani Game Reserve in South Africa to spend time with Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley), an old friend of Nate and his late wife. Nate is a ranger at Mopani, and in the morning, he gives the group a tour around the preserve, even in the areas the public doesn’t usually see. But when they see a man running out onto the road covered in blood and go to help, they soon realise that there is something out there in the grass coming for them.

Continue reading

The Bridge Australia: Season One – TV Review

TL;DR – This has an intriguing premise and a clear visual style but struggles in areas like how it represents some of the conflicts.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this series.

Day 3 - 306 metres to go

The Bridge Australia Review

Regarding competition television shows, they can capture my heart like Survivor and make me watch season after season. Or I bounce off quicker than that time they tried to do Survivor but on a pirate ship. However, I am always looking for something new in this area which is where I found gems like Lego Masters. Today, I am looking at the first three episodes of The Bridge Australia to see which side of the coin it will land. Will it suck me in, or will it end up on the bottom of a Tasmanian river?   

So to set the scene, there is a river deep in the wilderness of Tasmania, and in that river is a $250,000 prize sitting on an island beckoning them to claim it. All the twelve participants must do is work together and build the titular 330-meter bridge from the materials around them. They have 17 days to work together to get across the island while a guardian blinks with its red light and tempts those making the trip.

Continue reading

The Orville: New Horizons (Season 3) – TV Review

TL;DR – The terrain constantly shifts out from underneath the crew of the USS Orville, as enemies become friends and friends become enemies.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I streamed this on SBS OnDemand

Ed and Kelly look out over Earth.

The Orville Review

A few years ago, it was announced that Seth MacFarlane, most well known for Family Guy, would do his take on a Space Opera, a show like Star Trek but with more jokes. It was a premise that had me both intrigued and concerned. That is because I was sure you could make that balance work, just that it would be hard, and Season One was rough at times. But by the time Season Two drew to a close, it had wholly found its feet and was soaring forward. Now it is time to dive into the much delayed and possibly final season, titled New Horizons, and if it is the end, at least it went out on a bang.

So to set the scene, in The Road Not Taken, the threat that the Kaylons pose is shown when we see a universe where the crew of the USS Orville never came together, and the galaxy is in ruin. But there is hope, and the team come together for some last-ditch time travel shenanigans to set the timeline right. It worked. But now, everyone on the ship has to work to get it ready for the next attack, and while the refit takes place, there is a lot of resentment brewing on board, with most of it landing square on the lap of the ship’s lone Kalon crewmember Isaac (Mark Jackson). While captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) and first officer Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) work to keep the ship together, there are crew members like new navigator Charly Burke (Anne Winters), who lost people in the war and have legitimate reasons not to trust. But they will need to find that trust because the galaxy is on the precipice of collapse. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.     

Continue reading

Bosch & Rockit – Movie Review

TL;DR – A delightful meditative film that explores two damaged lives trying to find their way, and it shines when the film focuses on that.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Walking into the surf with the sun setting in the background.

Bosch & Rockit Review –

I am not sure why Coming-of-Age films capture you as well as they do. Every part of a person’s life should be as interesting as any other, yet there is something about these stories that always captures your attention. This is probably why we see many of these films throughout the year, but some connect better than others, and today we get to look at just such a film.

So to set the scene, we open in on the New South Wales coastline as a young boy Rockit (Rasmus King), is surfing barrels in the waves. While he is struggling with school and wanting to spend time surfing, his father Bosch (Luke Hemsworth) makes money selling weed farmed from his property in the hills. Things are going well until Bosch’s partner and local copper, Keith (Michael Sheasby), brings in a new boss Derek (Martin Sacks), who wants them to sell coke as well. This is bad, but before Bosch can work a way out of this mess, a bush fire crashes down the hill and leads the cops right to Bosch’s farm. Knowing he is rumbled by the police, both legitimate and dirty, Bosch grabs Rocket and goes on the run, or as he calls it, ‘a holiday’.

Continue reading

She-Hulk Attorney at Law: A Normal Amount of Rage – TV Review

TL;DR – This week could be titled ‘backstory the episode’, but I think it worked because it got all of this out of the way while also letting Tatiana Maslany shine.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

Bruce about to wake Jennifer up with a horn.

She-Hulk Attorney at Law Review

When the new slate of Disney+ MCU shows was announced, a lot piqued my interest, but I have to be honest, She-Hulk was not one of them. The idea did not click with me, and I didn’t have the joy of the comics to carry me through. But. When I heard that Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black fame was being cast in the lead. Well, I can be honest and say that one casting choice made this a much watch, and now that I have seen the first episode, I can say this was a good choice.

So to set the scene, we open in on Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), who is preparing a significant closing argument for a case she is working on. But before we go there, she talks to the audience and tells them she will explain her backstory first. Several months earlier, she was on a trip with her cousin Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) when a Sakaaran ship dropped out of the sky and caused their car to crash. As Jennifer tries to help Bruce out of the crashed car, some of his blood falls into a cut on Jennifer’s arm, infecting her with the same gamma radiation that turned Bruce into the Hulk. When Jennifer wakes up, she is in Bruce’s lab in Mexico because it is time for her to learn what it means to be the She-Hulk. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

Secret Headquarters – Movie Review

TL;DR – It surpasses its generic premise with some absolute joy until it hits a point where it can’t decide on the tone it wants to go for.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this film

Owen Wilson looks into a glowing orb.

Secret Headquarters Review

If there is one genre that is king at the time of writing, it is the superhero movie. But in a world dominated by one genre, you rarely see films that are not coming from the big two titans of Marvel and DC. Today, we look at a movie that breaks that duopoly, as long as you don’t look too closely at the Iron Man-ish details.   

So to set the scene, one night in the backwoods of America, Jack (Owen Wilson) and his wife Lilly (Jesse Williams) were enjoying a fire by their campsite when there was an explosion in the sky. Soon a jet fighter and something else fall out of the sky. Given how remote they are, Jack races to help when he finds a stranded Captain Irons (Jesse Williams) and a crashed UFO. An orb comes out of the ship, scans the two, and picks only Jack to be its guardian before self-destructing. 10-years-later Jack and Lilly are divorced because Jack spends too much time “at work,” almost always ignoring his son Charlie (Walker Scobell). On Charlie’s birthday, Jack flakes out again but unknowingly leaves Charlie alone in his house. When Charlie invites his friends Berger (Keith L. Williams), Maya (Momona Tamada), and Lizzie (Abby James Witherspoon) over, they accidentally stumble on his secret lair because Jack is not just a delinquent father working at an IT company but The Guard, a superhero saving the world from calamities.   

Continue reading

Westworld: Que Sera, Sera & Full Season 4 – TV Review

TL;DR – While I am not sure it landed its final episode, this season was a successful course correction, and I hope they make that one last test.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

The Man In Black appears from the smoke.

Westworld Review

Ever since the second season of Westworld failed to capture the dramatic highs of that first season, people felt that it could never live up to the hype it built. However, I still found Season Two to be engaging, and even more, it is still the high watermark for the show for me with Kiksuya. I also enjoyed Season Three’s more streamlined narrative. However, there was a feeling that maybe the show didn’t have much more to explore. Well, if nothing else, Season Four showed the latter assertion plainly wrong. With our review today, we are first going to look at the season [or possible series] finale before taking a broader exploration of the season as a whole.

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s Metanoia, the host copy of The Man In Black (Ed Harris) went on a killing spree, first killing the original Man In Black (Ed Harris) before taking out Maeve (Thandiwe Newton), Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Before that can even sink in, he causes the control tones from the tower to infect every human being left on the planet to send them into a murderous rage. As Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) with Teddy (James Marsden) tries to stop the carnage, and Caleb (Aaron Paul), his daughter C (Aurora Perrineau), and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) try to escape it. One thing is clear: this might end sentient life on Earth. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

Continue reading