Explore It – Gladstone

TL;DR – Today, I take a wander around Gladstone and its many surroundings.  

Disclosure – I was not paid to visit any of the locations shown here, and all Queensland Government COVID requirements were followed, including the use of masks.

Exploring Gladstone

In this Covid world, one of the hardest parts has been the isolation from friends and family, I know people have had it worse, but I have had to cancel family get-togethers five times because of surprise lockdowns. To the point that it has become a running joke with my friends every time there is a lockdown. Well, there was a moment of stability (not that there wasn’t a scare the week before that made me think it would all unravel again). So, when you have the chance, you take it, and with that came the exploration of the many faces of Gladstone.

From Brisbane, Gladstone is about a six to ten-hour drive depending on the time of day, whether you get stuck behind a caravan/boat that only gets up to speed in the overtaking lane, and how many stops you can make. For safety, you should be making stops to rest, and our first one was at the town of Tiaro. We stopped here because you can get a mean burger, but also because their butcher is known all up the highway for its bacon, which will become important later. It also has the oddness of having a pedestrian crossing over the main northern highway in Queensland, the Bruce.   

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TV Review – Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Last Day and Season 8

TL;DR – A wonderful way to end a beloved series

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I watched this on SBS On-Demand

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Last Day. Image Credit: NBC Studios.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Review

After eight beautiful seasons, all good things have to come to an end, an end that could have been much sooner had people not been as passionate as they were. So it is in that vein that today we are a little happy/sad, happy for all the fun we’ve had and sad because there is no more to come. Today, we will look at first the finale double-part episode, The Last Day, and then take some time to look at the season as a whole.

So to set the scene, we open in on Amy’s (Melissa Fumero) and Raymond’s (Andre Braugher) last day in the 99, but as the gang wake, they don’t find their loved ones there but instead a waiting Jake (Andy Samberg). Because today is the day of the Final Heist, to crown The Grand Champion of the 99. It is time for hijinks to ensue as everyone picks their teams. However, one betrayal has already happened because Amy and Jake are working together. For you see, it is also Jake’s final day in the 99 and the NYPD. Because we will be looking at the season as a whole, there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the whole season, so if you have not watched, please be aware before continuing.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Movie Review

TL;DR – The cast was terrific, the action was tight, and it was funny to boot.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Image Credit: Disney.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review

I walked into Shang-Chi with a little bit of trepidation. Marvel has not had a good track record when delving into this realm, with Iron Fist being the low point, but even Dr Strange didn’t get everything right. But this time, Marvel was not just dipping their toes into this genre. It was diving all the way in. Thankfully those trepidations were for nothing as they have nailed it.

So to set the scene, we open with the story of Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), who discovered a mystical set of ten rings. These rings gave him tremendous power and eternal life, and he used that to take control across the world, both actively and from the shadows. In 1996, he started his mission to claim the one realm he had not concurred, but his expedition to Ta Lo failed with him being the only one alive. At the gates to Ta Lo, he expected to find a guardian. He didn’t expect to find one that outclassed him in every way or that he would actually find love. He and Ying Li (Fala Chen) go home and start a family, but it ends in tragedy. In the modern-day, their son Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) goes by Shaun and works as a valet in San Francisco with his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). It is a quiet life, right up until they get attacked on a bus by a bunch of goons sent by his father.

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Rick and Morty: Season 5 – TV Review

TL;DR – A season of incredible highs and deep lows

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this season.

Rick and Morty. Image Credit: Netflix.

Rick and Morty Review

At the best of times, Rick and Morty are one of those shows that are hard to contextualise on a season level. Each episode tends to fly so wildly into different territories that it makes finding a through-line difficult. However, this season is a little different, as you can divide the season into three relatively neat chunks. However, this is easy because there is a vast difference between this season’s high and low marks.

So to set the scene, we open Season Five’s Mort Dinner Rick Andre with things in dire straits. Rick (Justin Roiland) has been gravely wounded, and the spaceship is badly damaged. As Morty (Justin Roiland) carries Rick to the ship, all around them are crystals showing potential Ricks and Mortys, including them as Blade Rick and Morty, which is quote “tight”. As the spaceship crashes towards Earth, uncontrollable and on fire, Morty spends his last few moments calling Jessica (Kari Wahlgren) lamenting over what could have been. She suggests they go on a day tonight. Buoyed by that opportunity, Morty manages to save the day and splash lands the spaceship into one of Earth’s oceans, which should have been good but for the fact that it summons Mr Nimbus (Dan Harmon). Because we will be looking at the season as a whole, there will be [SPOILERS] ahead, especially for the season finale, so if you have not watched, please be aware before continuing.         

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Free Guy – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that works through the sheer charisma of its cast but left me feeling hollow when I left.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Free Guy. Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Free Guy Review

I had wanted to catch Free Guy for a couple of weeks now, but schedules never lined up, well that was until today when I managed to slip in just in time for the start of the film. I was intrigued because I like Ryan Reynolds as an actor, and I enjoy the video game/streaming intersection that the game is delving into. However, as I walked away from the cinemas there felt like a lot of opportunities were not taken. 

So to set the scene, every day, Guy (Ryan Reynolds) wakes up, wishes his goldfish a good morning, gets a coffee, and goes to work at the bank, where he gets robbed multiple times a day. Because Guy is an NPC (non-player character) in the video game Free City. However, one day he notices one of the player characters in the game is humming a song that he loves, and it breaks him from his gameplay loop. It is here where he discovers a whole new world is just under his fingertips … or glasses.

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Candyman (2021) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that is haunting, captivating, terrifying, but also a bit frustrating.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene/sequence.

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

Candyman (2021). Image Credit: Universal Studios.

Candyman Review

When the first Candyman arrived on screens, I was a bit too young to watch horror films, with my introduction coming a little later with movies like Scream. But when I talk to people a bit older than me, they speak in almost hushed tones about the film. That it made them fear reflections, indeed one friend suggested that I pre-emptively leave a couple of lights on for when I got home after seeing it. I thought it was all a bit silly, but now I am kind of glad that I did.

So to set the scene, we open in the 1970s in the Cabrini Green neighbourhood of Chicago, Illinois. Billy (Rodney L Jones III) is taking his family’s washing to the laundry room in the basement while cops ask everyone if they have seen a man with a hook for a hand. Ignoring them, Billy goes down into the basement, where a piece of candy comes from nowhere and lands on the floor. Within moments a figure appears from a hole in the wall, candy in one hand, a hook in the other. The boy’s screams could be heard for miles around. In the present, the Cabrini Green neighbourhood has been gentrified, and Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), an artist, lives with his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris) in a new apartment. Anthony is trying to find inspiration for his next artwork when Brianna’s brother Troy (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) lets slip about the Candyman urban legend, and Anthony goes off to explore if it was true.

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Reminiscence – Movie Review

TL;DR – It creates a fascinating world and engaging plot, but unfortunately, the story gets lost in places.   

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.

Reminiscence. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Reminiscence Review

Tonight is one of those rare occasions where I got to walk into a film with a minimal idea of just what I was going to see. All I had to go on was the poster, which told me who was staring, that the people behind Westworld created it, and that it gave me big Sci-fi vibes. Now that I have watched it, well, that was pretty spot on.  

So to set the scene, the ice caps have melted in the not too distant future, causing the sea to rise, inundating cities like London, New Orleans, and Miami. In some places, they have built giant levees to hold off the water. In others, people live on the ruins of the old world. In the chaos of the rise, wars were fought, and it is here where the technology for extracting memories first was found. Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) and his technician Watts (Thandiwe Newton) were veterans of that conflict. They now run the reminiscence technology to help people find what was lost or remember the better times. While it is not going swimmingly, it is enough to stop them from starving, but then one day, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) walks in looking for her lost keys, and Nick’s world changed in an instant.

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Respect – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film anchored by a transcendent performance that captures you from the start and never lets you go.      

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I attended a Press Screening of this film

Respect. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Respect Review

It has been the era of the musical biopic, with Elton John, Freddie Mercury, and even the Sparks Brothers getting a film all about them. But if one person is missing from this list, it would be the seminal Aretha Franklin. Her voice is like no other, and you get taken to another world every time you hear it. Today, we get to look at a film that not only fixes that glaring gap but does so in a way that left tears in my eyes.

So to set the scene, we open in Detroit, 1952, in the house of Reverend C. L. Franklin (Forest Whitaker). He is hosting a party for several influential people in the African-American community. Making his way to the back of the house, he finds Aretha ‘Re’ Franklin (Skye Dakota Turner) asleep in her bed. He asks her if she wants to sing, and the answer is, of course, yes. Even at a young age, she leads the choir at her father’s church, but as Aretha (Jennifer Hudson) grows older, she wants to do more to help Martin Luther King Jr. (Gilbert Glenn Brown). But at a party, her father surprised her with a ticket to New York to meet with John Hammond (Tate Donovan), a famous music producer, who could make her into a star.

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Explore It – Lego, Masters, and Dumplings, oh my

TL;DR – Today, I explore the current exhibits at the GOMA and Science Museum  

Disclosure – I paid for entry into both Brickman® Wonders of the World and the European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York exhibits.

Image Credit: Brian MacNamara.

Article

Well, when I put in leave at my work to take some much needed time off, I thought I would plan a grand escape to the city, with all that would entail. That was indeed the plan, but then the Delta strand decided that it was time for another lockdown and that people really didn’t need that nice public holiday. This, of course, put all of my plans up in the air, but after the lockdown was lifted, I did get to spend one morning out and about, which we will see today.

Please Note: I was following all Queensland Government guidelines when out and about, including social distancing, signing in to every location, wearing a mask at all times, and regularly sanitising my hands.  

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TV Review – Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Lake House

TL;DR – A lighter follow up episode that has its moments

Disclosure – I watched this on SBS On-Demand

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Lake House. Image Credit: NBC Studios.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Review

In last week’s The Good Ones, we got a taste of the tone the show will be setting in its final season as we explore what it means to be police in this new era. This week we get a slight course shift back to the comedic as everyone comes together to help one of their own.

So to set the scene, last week Amy (Melissa Fumero) discovered that Raymond (Andre Braugher) and Kevin (Marc Evan Jackson) have separated, and while that was meant to be a secret, now everyone knows. The whole group decided to help Raymond out by going up to his “lake” house and supporting him in this trying time. But Jake (Andy Samberg) has other plans/schemes/stratagems. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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