Halo: Season One – TV Review

TL;DR – While not a perfect season, the finale episode did leave me intrigued for more.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Master Chef about to jump out

Halo Review

When the first episode of Halo came out, it felt like it was a show of two halves. We got an exciting dynamic between Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) and the only survivor from a Covenant attack Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha). However, the show’s other half was some of the dullest paint-by-numbers military “intrigue” and “conspiracy”. I wondered which half of the show would dominate throughout the season because that would be a significant indicator of how the show would work. Well, now that I have seen the entire season, I have to say that we got some improvement, but not as much as it could have.

So to set the scene, at the end of Allegiance, everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. Halsey (Natascha McElhone) turned the Spartans Riz (Natasha Culzac) and Vannak (Bentley Kalu) against John/Master Chief and Kai (Kate Kennedy). Meanwhile, Makee (Charlie Murphy) had rebuffed Halsey and was trying to trust Master Chief only to get a stun stick to the back of her head when Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray) realises that she was the one that killed the crew, which was bad. But even worse, Makee touches the artifact and sets it off, destroying much of the base. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Top Gun (1986) – Movie Review [Exploring the Past]

TL;DR – Still a triumph, even if parts of it have not aged well in the years since.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

F-14A Tomcat

Top Gun Review

Top Gun is one of those films that, even though it came out when I was young, I did see it thanks to it being on a constant rotation on local TV. However, as the new film was about to come out, I had to think about what did I remember from the film, and the answer was not that much. Sure there was the “I Feel The Need… The Need For Speed!”, the charged volleyball scene, the copious amount of Danger Zone, and the somewhat infamous way the US Military shaped the narrative and used it for promotion. Well, there is no better time like the present to dive back in and relive a classic.

 So to set the scene, on March 3, 1969, the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Today it is called the Fighter Weapons School or TOPGUN. Over the seas, based off the USS Enterprise, pilot LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) and Radar LTJG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) flying an F-14A Tomcat ping an unknown target and got to intercept. They think it was just one target, but it is a pair of MiG-28s. After some ‘fun’, they get the planes to disengage. But their wingman LT Bill “Cougar” Cortell (John Stockwell) freezes and is only saved by Maverick talking him down to a landing. It was a stupid stunt given how much fuel they had left, but it saved the day and booked them a ticket to TOPGUN at Naval Air Station Miramar.    

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Death on the Nile – Movie Review

TL;DR – A sequel that boosts in individual performance while lacking in the ensemble.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

Poirot sitting in front of the Sphinx.

Death on the Nile Review

When COVID struck, nearly every major film was bumped from the schedule. For many, this gave them a moment to release in a time when people could see them safely. However, for others, the delay meant that it was released after a significant scandal decoupled one of its major stars. Alas, with this outing, we get a film that was the latter. But the question I had when going in was, could it overcome it?  

So to set the scene, we open in the trenches of WW1, where a well-moustachioed Captain is told that they need to take a bridge, a death note. However, a young Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) tells of a different way to attack the bridge that won’t leave them exposed. It worked, but a tripwire kills the captain. After the events of Murder on the Orient Express, Poirot finds himself in Egypt and the company of his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman) and Bouc’s mother Euphemia (Annette Bening) as they tour down the Nile. They are part of a wedding party, of a whirlwind marriage of Linnet “Linny” Ridgeway-Doyle (Gal Gadot) and Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer). But there is more danger on the Nile than the crocodiles lurking under the water.

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Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – Movie Review [Exploring the Past]

TL;DR – A perfectly pleasant presentation of Poirot’s perceived peculiarities as he pertains the proceeds of a pernicious passing.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

The Orient Express on a mountainside.

Murder on the Orient Express Review

Every year, you intend to see one or two films, but they manage to slip out of your hands like the one fish they need to eat in Alone. In 2017, one of those films was Murder on the Orient Express, a modern adaptation of the classic book and film. Indeed, if nothing else, the cast list alone merits giving this one a watch. Today, given that I am about to watch the sequel, it felt like a better now than never prospect, so let’s dive in.  

So to set the scene, it is 1934, and we start in Jerusalem at The Wailing Wall, where hotel staff are making eggs for a painfully precise Poirot (Kenneth Branagh). A Rabbi, a Priest, and an Iman are accused of stealing a relic, and the city is about to explode into a riot. Well, one arrested police chief later, and a boat ride to Istanbul, Hercule Poirot and an assortment of colourful characters board the famous/infamous Orient Express, three days of peace and no crime, bar for a bit of murder discovered after an avalanche derails the train. A train full of people, one of them a killer, and the threat that more may die before the snow is cleared.

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The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson – Movie Review

TL;DR – A heart-wrenching look at life in Australia on the cusp of the 1900s and at issues that are just as relevant today.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Warning – This film depicts scenes of abuse

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Sheep being headed across the plains

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson Review

There are many touchstones in Australian literature that you must look at in school, and one of the big ones from the 1800s is Henry Lawson. One of their more famous works is that of The Drover’s Wife, a story of life on the ‘frontier’ in 1983. It is an interesting tale of survival against the elements, but it also glosses over many realities of the time. Today we are looking at a film that takes that central premise and then reinterprets the story from a different perspective.

So to set the scene, it is 1893, and high up in the Snowy Mountains, a lone mother, Molly Johnson (Leah Purcell), is watching over her home and four children while her husband is away droving sheep on the high plains. Her husband is away for months at a time, so she has to be resourceful, like when she takes out a wandering bullock that was about to attack her kids. But as she is cooking the meat, the new town Sergeant Klintoff (Sam Reid) and his wife Louisa (Jessica De Gouw) arrive destitute after losing it all in the river. Molly helps them and sends them on their way because they can take her kids to town, so she can give birth uninterrupted.

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – Strange New Worlds – TV Review

TL;DR – An outstanding pilot episode that takes us back on board the USS Enterprise and into the universe.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

USS Enterprise breaking through the clouds of Kiley 279.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Review

It has been a long road getting from there to here as Star Trek takes a second chance to bring The Cage [1964] and Captain Pike (Anson Mount) to life. When we saw the USS Enterprise and its crew arrive in the second season of Star Trek Discovery, the potential was instantly there. The question is, could they actually pull it off? And if this episode is anything to go on, the answer is yes.   

So to set the scene, it has been a while since the events of Such Sweet Sorrow Part 2, and Pike has been hiding out in his cabin in Bear Creek, Montana. He has been dealing with the revelation that he will die badly ten years from now. To the point, he is very much considering leaving Starfleet. That is until Admiral Robert April (Adrian Holmes) takes a shuttle and unambiguously tells Pike that Number One (Rebecca Romijn) is missing and if he wants to leave, he can do it after this. Well, one, unfortunately, timed phone call to Vulcan to pick up Spock (Ethan Peck), and the Enterprise is on to Kiley 279 to find out what happened to the USS Archer. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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Star Trek: Picard – Farewell and Season 2 – TV Review

TL;DR – A season mixed with highs and lows, but at least started and ended on a high note.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Jupiter

Star Trek: Picard Review

We have reached the end of Star Trek Picard’s second season, and as I look back on what has come, I can see great heights and deep valleys. While there were some frustrations, when the season worked, it was some of Star Trek’s best. With that in mind, what we will do in this review is look at how the second season charted its way through and then how it landed with the finale episode, Farewell.

To set the scene, at the end of Hide and Seek, the crew of the La Sirena are no longer the crew of the La Sirena because Raffi (Michelle Hurd) did a deal with Queen Jurati (Alison Pill) where she traded the ship for Seven’s (Jeri Ryan) life. However, before Queen Jurati left, she gave the team a clue about how to save Renée (Penelope Mitchell) and their timeline. The only question is how many more sacrifices will Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the crew need to make to end this final game of Q (John de Lancie). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a perfectly okay film, it is not one of Marvel’s best, playing it safe, but solid visuals and cast bring it together.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film.

Wanda/Scarlet Witch floating over some candles

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review

Back all the way in 2016, pre-covid times, Marvel released this new film based on a wizard and full of magic. That first Doctor Strange film was full of beautiful visuals and a bunch of fun once Benedict Cumberbatch found his feet. Since that time, we have had 18 different entries into the MCU, and now it is time to jump back into the weird world.

So to set the scene, since the fallout from Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has tried to find some normalcy even though he is famous after the events of Endgame. However, he has to deal with the legacies of his actions or inactions,  including being a guest at Christine Palmer’s (Rachel McAdams) wedding and not a part of it. To say it was awkward, well, that is an understatement. Thankfully the wedding is interrupted by screams from the street as there is a disturbance in New York. Which turns out to be a giant one-eyed tentacle monster chasing after a girl. This is normal for an Avenger, and Wong (Benedict Wong) shows up for the team-up. The only difference is that Strange has seen this girl before, in his dreams, and she was there when he died.

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Moon Knight: Gods and Monsters and Full Series/Season – TV Review

TL;DR – After a while, the show has finally hit its stride, and while I wish it had happen sooner, it was good while it lasted.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this series.

End Credit – There is a mid-credit scene in Gods and Monsters.

Marc and Steven in the Duit

Moon Knight Review

We have come to the end of the complete series of Moon Knight, or indeed just its first season. At this point, it is hard to tell. However, as we have reached the end, it is time to look back at the final episode and how it wraps the series up, and how the season worked from start to finish, all as we explore the world of Egyptian Mythology, Mental Illness, and the underground artifact trade.

So to set the scene,  we follow up from The Tomb & Asylum with Marc (Oscar Isaac) and Steven (Oscar Isaac) being very much dead after being shot in the chest by Harrow (Ethan Hawke) in the tomb of Alexander the Great. There is a chance of getting out, but that fails when Marc gets lost in the Duat and turned into a statue, while Steven finds himself in the Field of Reeds. Meanwhile, back in Egypt, Layla (May Calamawy) has tagged along with Harrow’s entourage, looking for a moment to kill him, when the goddess Taweret (Antonia Salib) speaks to her from dead corpses telling her to free Khonshu (Karim El Hakim/F. Murray Abraham). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

Steven and Taweret in the Field of Reeds.
Oscar Isaac helps sell every moment of this some times absurd film. Image Credit: Disney+.
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Moon Knight: The Tomb & Asylum – TV Review

TL;DR – After a while, the show has finally hit its stride, and I am here for the ride.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this series.

Marc and Steven Scream

Moon Knight Review

After watching the first couple of episodes of Moon Knight, including The Goldfish Problem & Summon the Suit, I found it to be interesting, but nothing was hooking me into the narrative. I liked what Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke were doing, but I needed more. To the point that I kind of stopped watching it weekly, assuming I would catch up at some point. But I had some time one night, and I thought I’d watch the latest episodes back to back, and I am glad I did because the show has finally landed.

So to set the scene, in a last attempt to outmanoeuvre Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), Khonshu (Karin el Hakim/F. Murray Abraham) sacrificed himself by turning back the skies and letting Steven (Oscar Isaac) and Layla (May Calamawy) know where Ammit’s tomb is. They raced across the desert to find that Harrow’s men had already entered the tomb, but as they loaded up with supplies, they missed the sprays of blood that showed they were not alone in the tomb. Now from here, we will be looking at the episodes as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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