Movie Review – Jojo Rabbit

TL;DR – A very ambitious film and while it does not quite reach the lofty goals it sets for itself, I give it credit for trying when so many others don’t bother.     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Jojo Rabbit. Image Credit: Searchlight Pictures.

Review

I have seen films that have embraced absurdism before, I have seen films that have explored World War Two before, I have never seen an absurdist film about World War Two before, well that is until today. This is a film that honestly I would have loved to be in the pitch meeting for because I have no idea how the hell it got greenlit even though I am glad that it did.

So to set the scene, in the midst of WW2 and living in Nazi Germany we find a young boy called Johannes “Jojo” Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis). In the aftermath of his sister dying and his father being away “fighting on the Italian front”, he spends his days at a Deutsches Jungvolk Hitler Youth training camp with his friend Yorki (Archie Yates) run by a very nonplussed Wehrmacht Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell). When recovering from an accident involving a grenade Jojo discovers that his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding a Jewish girl called Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic, which brings Jojo into a moral quandary not helped by the suggestions from his good friend Hitler (Taika Waititi).   

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TV Review – The Witcher: The End’s Beginning

TL;DR – This is a great introduction to the show by setting up the lore and giving us a taste of everything to come

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Witcher: The End’s Beginning. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Today we look at a show that is really interesting for me. The Witcher has been this series, first books, then video games, that has permeated pop-culture for quite a while after coming out of its native Poland. However, for me, I have tried a number of times to get into it but I keep bouncing out of it. Well given that at the very least Netflix does not shy away from production and Henry Cavill has been ecstatic about being cast, I thought now was the best time to give it one last shot.

So to set the scene, in the swamps near the town of Blaviken a witcher called Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) is hunting monsters. As a witcher, he makes money by killing monsters that towns have put bounties on. However, when he arrives in Blaviken he discovers that there may be more going on behind the scenes that he first thought. Meanwhile, in the kingdom of Cintra, all is well, Queen Calanthe (Jodhi May) is even throwing a ball much to the annoyance of her granddaughter Ciri (Freya Allan). However, all of that comes to a halt when word reaches them that the evil Nilfgaard has set their sights on the city. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Movie Review – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

TL;DR – This is a film that feels both incredibly safe but yet also incredibly weird and that dissidence is really odd.     

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Image Credit: Disney/LucasArts.

Review

Well, it is an interesting time for a new Star Wars film, for maybe the first time in a long time. The last film Solo had a lacklustre reception and had issues in production as did Rogue One, and indeed as did Rise. To add to this, the discourse in and around Star Wars films has just been wholly unpleasant for quite a while. So for the first time in a very long time, I walked into a Star Wars film with a lot of trepidation. Now while thankfully a lot of that trepidation was unneeded, unfortunately, some of it was.     

So to set the scene, at the end of The Last Jedi everything is in flux. The Resistance has survived annihilation but has been stretched to almost breaking point as The First Order storms across The New Republic. However, all is not dandy for The First Order as well, as their leader was assassinated by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and their main battle cruiser was destroyed. The game is set for the final* battle between the light side and the dark with the whole galaxy’s future is at stake. However, just at the cusp of this, a dark voice from the past pierces into the vale. For it appears that Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) has come back from the dead and is gunning for Rey (Daisy Ridley). Now with this review, we will try to be as general and non-spoilery as possible but there will be a section towards the end that will explore three big story points that will have spoilers but we will clearly label it for you (also if you don’t want spoilers maybe avoid the cast list at the bottom).

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Movie Review – 1917

TL;DR – This is a film that captures you in the first frame and does not let you go until the ending credits start scrawling     

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

1917. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

Sometimes you go into to see a film and you have no idea that what you are about to watch has been almost tailored just for you. In this case, we have a war film, about just two characters, presented as if it was all filmed in one take. If I was explaining to you what would be the perfect film for me this would not be far off. I bring this up to put some context down before we dive into the world of explosions, gun shots, and every trench under the sun.

So to set the scene, we are in the heights of World War One on the front lines in France, with Germany and their allies on one side and Brittan and their allies on the other. This is trench warfare and every centimetre of territory has been won through a considerable loss of life. It is here where one day Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) is roused from his sleep and asked to go on a mission with Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) by General Erinmore (Colin Firth). For you see, overnight the German forces have retreated and many commanders believe that they have them on the run. However, it is actually a ruse, the Germans have just retreated to a more fortified line and they are leading those chasing them into a trap. The boy’s mission is to cross into no-man’s land, travel through enemy controlled territory so they can make it to Colonel Mackenzie (Benedict Cumberbatch) in time to call off the attack and save 1600 lives. Now due to the nature of the film and that it has a staggered release date across the world, I am going to be a bit more cautious with my examples so as to not spoil anything.

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TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: Ephraim and Dot

TL;DR –  A love letter to the past and a beautiful story in its own right  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: Ephraim and Dot. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Review

It has been a long time since Star Trek ventured into the realm of animation, indeed, The Animated Series to this day fits awkwardly into the Star Trek universe thanks to the question marks as to its canonicity. But today Star Trek takes some steps back unto this uncharted frontier with a Short Trek full of joy and beauty. 

So to set the scene, we open in on a documentary called The Tardigrade in Space as it explores the life of a humble tardigrade Ephraim flying through space looking for a place to lay her eggs. A place that is warm and safe, which is what she found right up until the moment the USS Enterprise appears out of warp and trashes the asteroid she had picked. But then a starship with a nice warm warp reactor would be the perfect place to lay her eggs, unfortunately, a DOT-7 maintenance droid called Dot has different ideas.

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TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: Ask Not

TL;DR –  A look at a bad day that only gets worse once a mask is revealed  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: Ask Not. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Review

We continue our look at the Short Treks with this interesting small almost bottle episode. However, like all good bottle episodes, while it does not venture out of one location for most of its run time, it takes that opportunity to pack an emotional punch.  

So to set the scene, Cadet Thira Sidhu (Amrit Kaur) is working in inventory at Starbase 28 when all hell breaks loose. Just as she is trying to work out what happened a security officer (Steve Boyle) arrives with a prisoner hidden behind a mask. The battle has led them cut off from the brig and she has to watch the prisoner until they can return. This is a difficult situation, made all the worse when the mask is taken off and it is revealed that prisoner charged with mutiny is Captain Pike (Anson Mount).

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Movie Review – 6 Underground

TL;DR – An incredibly stylish and well-produced film that just didn’t quite nail the substance portion.     

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

6 Underground. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Sometimes in life, you want to shut your brain off for a bit, sit down, and watch some explosions flare to life on your screen. The action flick is the king of this, especially if you pivot it in the direction of an action/comedy. However, today we are looking at a film that should be all this and more, but I walked away feeling that something was missing.   

So to set the scene, we open in on a special ops team, which is having a very bad day, because everything is going very wrong, very, very, wrong. This is not your usual black ops team because while black ops teams are sometimes called ghosts, this team is for all intents and purposes are actually ghosts because the world thinks they are all dead.  We have One (Ryan Reynolds) The Billionaire, Two (Mélanie Laurent) The CIA Spook, Three (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) The Hit Man, Four (Ben Hardy) The Skywalker, Five (Adria Arjona) The Doctor, and Six (Dave Franco) The Driver. Their aim was to find information out about Rovach Alimov (Lior Raz) a dictator with the predilection for using chemical weapons against civilians.   

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Movie Review – The 9th Precinct (局分九第)

TL;DR – An interesting look at the barrier between life and death but takes some short cuts to get there    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

The 9th Precinct (局分九第). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Generally, the time we get films about what goes bump in the night it is around Halloween and not Christmas. So, it was a nice change of pace to get a film that explores the darker side of the world and what happens after death. With this in mind, today we explore a film that looks at that bridge between the living and the dead and what happens when you start playing with that fixed barrier.

So to set the scene, Chen Chia-Hao (Roy Chiu) works as a police officer for the Houli Police Agency. However, he has always led a special life because he can see the undead. This has led to him only rising to the rank of traffic cop even though he shows exemplary skill. One day while on patrol he finds a killer but during the arrest, his partner is shot and killed. He would have been killed too but a ghost stepped in and saved him. He refuses to change his report about a ghost and is fired but on his way out he is grabbed by the mysterious Mr Chang (Chia-Chia Peng) and given an offer to continue working for the police as a member of the secretive 9th Precinct, the ghost crimes bureau.

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Movie Review – Knives Out

TL;DR – A charmingly delightful film about murder filled with fantastic performances and a real heart.    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Knives Out. Image Credit: StudioCanal.

Review

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.

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TV Review – The Mandalorian: Season 1 (Part 1)

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

The Mandalorian. Image Credit: Disney+.

Review

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.

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