TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Light and Shadows

TL;DR –  The Search for Spock is over, long live The Search for Spock

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Discovery: Light and Shadows. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Review

We have reached the mid-point in the season, the point where the story should be coming into focus and propelling itself into the back half of the season, and today I think we got some of that, though maybe we got more questions than answers.

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s episode The Sounds of Thunder, we discovered that the Red Angel is actually a being using some very advanced, possibly future technology. This means that there is a time travel component to their travels, which is backed up with the traces of tachyon particles found at every location it has visited. This means that the Red Angel might be from the future and might be messing with the timeline, and that is possibly not very good at all. So they decide to attack this on two fronts, Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) goes back home to Vulcan to find Spock (Ethan Peck), and Pike (Anson Mount) decides to stay and explore the slight fracture in time around Kaminar which is when everything falls apart. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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TV Review – The Orville: Identity Part 2

TL;DR – We get what is not only the best episode of The Orville but one of the best episodes of Science Fiction I have seen.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

The Orville: Identity Part 2. Image Credit: Fox.

Review

Writing Science Fiction shows seems like it would be easy, I mean they are just westerns set in space, right? Alas, they are much more difficult than you think. You have to world build, but you can’t overwhelm the audience, every part of your universe has to have logical consistency, you need to fill that universe with interesting characters, and you need to always have in the back of your mind what future you want to present. Then, of course, you have to create stories that support every part of this. It is this alchemy that draws me to Science Fiction as a genre, and tonight we got to see an exemplar of a show doing it all.    

So to set the scene, in last week’s episode Identity Part 1, just about everything we knew about The Orville got turned on its head. This is because Isaac’s (Mark Jackson) mission on the USS Orville was not about seeing if the Planetary Union was good enough for Kaylon to join, but to see if biological lifeforms were worth preserving at all. Well after some consideration the Kaylon’s decided no it wasn’t and that they should make way in their need to expand. This led to them boarding the Orville, killing many of the crew and taking the rest hostage, as the ship runs vanguard in front of an extermination fleet headed for Earth. In today’s episode we find out how, if at all possible, they can stop them, and the repercussions of such a brutal betrayal. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Brooklyn Nine-Nine: He Said, She Said

TL;DR Brooklyn Nine-Nine delves into the Me Too era in an episode that shows that B99’s consistent strength in drama still shines.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: He Said, She Said. Image Credit: NBC.

Review

Over the last few years, we have seen an outpouring of discussion from a number of industries about the toxic workplaces that exist, especially for women. We have seen big-name Hollywood producers, politicians, comedians, and members of finance be called to account for their behaviour, and the Me Too movements has spread across the world and into every industry. This is such an important issue that when you first hear that a comedy show is going to tackle the issue you take pause because this is not an issue that you should be making light of. However, when you hear that show is Brooklyn Nine-Nine you give it a pass because B99 has shown in the past it is able and willing to tackle important issues like this.

So to set the scene, in the morning briefing the team find out that there has been an investment banker admitted to hospital with a broken penis, which leads to an array of amusing wonderings as to which drug-fuelled shenanigans lead to such an injury. Only for them to then find out that it was alleged that he tried to attack a colleague only for her to protect herself from assault with his golf club. Amy (Melissa Fumero) and Jake (Andy Samberg) are put on the case and so they interview both sides. Seth (Jonathan Chase) has no idea why she would do such a thing, maybe she’s just crazy. Well Kari (Briga Heelan) has a very good idea why it happened, but there is no evidence creating a ‘he said, she said’ situation. Meanwhile, Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) gets the news he has been dreading the Disco Stranger (Richard Finkelstein), his first big collar, has died and now he has to evaluate what that means for his life. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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Movie Review – Gully Boy

TL;DR – A story about finding your voice through rap in the slums of Mumbai hits just about every beat perfectly.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a scene over the first part of the credits

Gully Boy. Image Credit: Excel Entertainment.

Review

It has been a while since I have watched a movie about becoming a music superstar that had any kind of weight and substance behind it. Usually, they are content just to ride on the fact that people know the music very well, and as long as you drop those classic songs every now and again people will lap it up. Today we get to look at a film that doesn’t just rest on its laurels and call it a day, it instead focuses deeply on what it is to come from nothing and try to make it in a very competitive world.  

So to set the scene, we open in Mumbai, India, specifically the Dharavi slums on the outskirts of the city, and we start immediately in a moment of tension when Aftab (Vijay Raaz) brings home a second younger wife, much to the annoyance of both Murad (Ranveer Singh) and his mother Razia (Amruta Subhash). Murad is working hard at school, working hard on keeping his relationship with Safeena (Alia Bhatt) on the quiet, but he has a real passion for rap. In his quiet time, he watches videos on YouTube and works on his own lyrics. However, he doesn’t have the confidence to take it to the next level, which is when MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi) gives him the push he needs.

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Movie Review – The Wound (Inxeba) (2017)

TL;DR The Wound sits on the precipice of culture, tradition, and masculinity, and shows the damage on inflexibility.     

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

The Wound (Inxeba). Image Credit: Urucu Media.

Review

I have been spending the day brushing up on the many foreign films that I just haven’t been able to see, and the next stop on my trip around the world is South Africa. African cinema is one area where I need to explore more because this is the first film I have ever seen in Xhosa. With that in mind, let’s look at a film that explores the world of becoming a man in a very traditional society.

So to set the scene, throughout the year Xolani (Nakhane Touré) or X to his friends spends his time working and living alone in the city. However, once a year he comes back to the mountains to be a helper in the Ulwaluko ceremony. This is the Xhosa ceremony that marks the transition from boy to manhood. However, while he is there as a guide to help the initiates, X is also there for another reason, because it is the one time he gets to connect with Vija (Bongile Mantsai) a friend and secretly his romantic partner. This year X is being put in charge of Kwanda (Niza Jay Ncoyini) who is considered soft because he grew up in the city and does not care for tradition.

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Video Game Review – Civilization VI: Gathering Storm Expansion

TL;DR – While the big up-front features are interesting, for me it was a lot of the small quality of life changes that really stood out

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

Review –

Now, if you have read anything on our site before, you will likely know that I quite like the Civilization series. Well, I have had my hands on the new expansion Gathering Storm for a couple of weeks now and have been able to play a number of games with many of the new civilizations, so I think I have reached the point where I can give the game an informed review. With that in mind in today’s review, we will be looking at the civilizations, the main features, the improvements, and then the production to see what sort of expansion Gathering Storm is.   

So to set the scene, if you are not familiar with the game, Civilization VI is a turn-based strategy game of the 4X persuasion. This means that instead of moving all at once, each player takes their turn to build wonders, move troops, and explore the map or whatever they are trying to do. Your aim is to build the biggest empire through economic, military, scientific, cultural, or religious means (or all of the above). Thus you eXplore, eXpand, eXpolit, and eXterminate. Gathering Storm is the second expansion pack for Civilization VI after Rise and Fall, which has historically meant that this is the last expansion for the game, but we’ll see about that.

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TV Review – The Heights – Season One

TL;DR – This is a show that is filled with clever writing, full of compelling characters, interesting stories, and heart you rarely see.                      

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Heights - Season One. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

Authenticity, this is something that content creators across the world are desperate to achieve because it is what modern audiences crave, even if they don’t quite know what it is. Add to this it is easy for people to notice when something is out of place when it is something close to them, like the lives of tradies, or small shop owners, or people living in apartments. So it is a bold move to set a new drama series in a setting that is deeply familiar and even bolder when you pull it off with style.

So to set the scene, The Heights revolves around the people that live in and around a block of apartments called The Tower. While the area around is starting to rapidly gentrify, The Tower is made up of low socioeconomic residents just trying to make their lives a little better. One day as everyone was out enjoying the sunshine with a BBQ and a game of soccer the fire alarm of The Tower rings out. This causes all kinds of frustrations for the residents like Hazel (Fiona Press) who have to evacuate when everyone knows it is a false alarm. When all is sorted, everyone goes back to their lives when a soccer ball gets kicked into a garden but when Pav (Marcus Graham) goes to collect it he discovers a newborn baby among the veggies. Pav an ex-cop runs the baby straight to the local hospital (it was quicker than waiting for an ambulance) into the hands of Claudia (Roz Hammond) a doctor that is new to the hospital and area. Everyone begins wondering whose baby could it be, but there is a lot on everyone’s plate, like a wake and a closing of the local pub, starting a new school, finding a new job, and 100% not telling your mother than you are studying education and not business. Now, from this point onwards, we will be looking at the season as a whole, or at least the first 16 episodes, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.         

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