The Wheel of Time: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a show that looks amazing but always feels like it is just about to click together but does not quite get there

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

The Wheel of Time. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

The Wheel of Time Review

I have been at a bit of a loss for a while now, leading to me spending nights just binge-watching Alone, which is not a good headspace when you live alone in the middle of a global pandemic. Realising that it was probably not good for me to continue down that road, I decided to focus those energies elsewhere and catch up on some of the Fantasy shows that I missed last year. The first of the three is Amazon Prime’s dive into the 14-book world of Rober Jordan.

So to set the scene, 3000 years before the start of the series, there was a battle to lock The Dark One (Fares Fares) away for good, only it backfired. The Dragon was tainted and, as legend stated, ‘broke the world’. This legacy is felt to this day as men still can’t channel the One Power without being driven insane eventually. However, prophecy has stated that the Dragon will be reborn again and will heal the world or break it apart again. This is the mission that Aes Sedai Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) and her ward al’Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) are on as they race to find the Dragon before others of her sect, or even the Dark One finds them. As fate would have it, five people fit the bill for the Dragon, Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins), the Wisdom of Emond’s Field, her apprentice Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden). Egwene’s love interest Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski), and his best friends Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) and Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris). However, before Moiraine could tell which of the five could be the Dragon, an army of Trollocs attacked the village. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.     

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The Green Knight – Movie Review

TL;DR – Visually visceral, narratively interesting, and almost entirely engaging. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime subscription that viewed this movie.

The Green Knight. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

The Green Knight Review

Everyone has a narrative style that they are just a sucker for, it could be road trip movies or WW2 war films, or like me, it is taking myths from the old and reinterpreting in a modern context. This can be the bombasticness of Greek Legend, the sharpness of Norse Legend, or, as we get today, the weirdness of Arthurian Mythology.

So to set the scene, we start the film with a bucket of water in the face as Gawain (Dev Patel) is woken up in a brothel by his lover Essel (Alicia Vikander). Gawain might be hungover, but it is Christmas morning, and Gawain has duties to attend to. While his Mother (Sarita Choudhury) stays at home, Gawain heads to the keep to the feast of King Arthur (Sean Harris) and Queen Guinevere (Kate Dickie). However, a stranger on horseback arrived during the feast, a man made of bark and leaves, the Green Knight (Ralph Ineson). Walking up to the King, he lays out a challenge, and Gawain is the only one to take up the charge.

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Minari – Movie Review

TL;DR – It captures a snapshot of a life so perfectly that it is almost difficult to watch sometimes because you feel like a voyeur eavesdropping on someone else’s life.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Stan subscription that viewed this movie.

Minari. Image Credit: Madman Films.

Minari Review

Some films you can tell are works of personal nature because of the breath intimacy at every turn. You feel it in the story, the world, and the characters. This makes it a more intimate film, but it also can be more challenging to watch. Today we look at a movie that might be the most personal film I have ever seen that wasn’t a direct autobiography.

So to set the scene, in the 1980s, the Yi family make the trek inland from California to Arkansas. Jacob (Steven Yeun) picked the house because of the land, but his wife Monica (Han Ye-ri) is less than impressed that Jacob bought a trailer and not a house. Jacob wants the land to be a farmer to grow Korean crops for the diaspora, while Monica is fearful that they are too far away from the cities as their son David (Alan Kim) has a heart problem. Things get better/worse when Monica’s mum Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung) arrives to watch David and his sister Anne (Noel Kate Cho) as Monica and Jacob spend their days sexing chickens in a local factory.  

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Pig – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film that has so many disparate parts that it threatens to come apart at every turn, but they hold it together into this heartfelt journey.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Pig. Image Credit: Madman Films.

Pig Review

There is this phrase that gets used today: that things can be a ‘mood’. It is one of those concepts that is difficult to define, but you instantly recognise it when you see it. Today, we have a film that is a mood from the moment it starts till the moment it ends.

So to set the scene, we open in a forest by a river where Robin “Rob” Feld (Nicolas Cage) lives with his pig Pig and spends his days rummaging for truffles. He trades his truffles for supplies once a week with Amir (Alex Wolff), who is concerned that he lives up here all alone without even a phone. But one night, Pig is upset. Rob thinks it is coyotes right up until someone kicks down the door and knocks him out, and steals Pig away.               

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Luca – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A film that is a pure delight from start to finish.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

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

Luca. Image Credit: Disney.

Luca Review

We have a longing for those moments in our childhood when everything seemed to come together. I think this is an almost universal drive in people, the place and location might be different, but that drive is still the same. Today we look at a film that captures this drive and crafts it into a narrative that will delight.

So to set the scene, once evening off the coast of the Italian Riviera, two fishermen decide to fish close to Isola del Mare even though the reputation that monsters surround it, which was sort of true because around the island live a village of sea people. Among the sea people/monsters is Luca Paguro (Jacob Tremblay), who lives with his family herding goatfish. However, one day in the fields, a human approached collecting the flotsam on the bottom of the ocean. Luca runs but soon finds that this is not a human but another sea person called Alberto Scorfano (Jack Dylan Grazer). Alberto lives on the surface in a tower because once a sea person leaves the water, they can turn into a human when they dry out. 

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The Expanse: Redoubt – TV Review

TL;DR – The power of relationships is on view here and why you need them before things start falling apart

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

The Expanse: Redoubt. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

The Expanse Review

As we race towards the end of this season and possibly the end of The Expanse there is this tight feeling in my chest. Each week is a joy to watch, but each week brings it one closer to the end.

So to set the scene, as the Rocinante made its way back to Ceres, it unknowingly came into range of Marco (Keon Alexander). It was a three-to-one battle, an easy win, which made things even worse when Bobbie (Frankie Adams) discovers a pattern and exploits it, crippling the Pella. On Laconica, Cara (Emma Ho) was finally understanding the Strange Dogs and what they can do, it is a moment of joy, but when she got home, she walked into tragedy as her brother Xan (Ian Ho) was killed. But Cara, knows what the Strange Dogs can do, which is when Admiral Duarte (Dylan Taylor) arrives at the funeral. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Star Trek: Lower Decks: Season 2 – TV Review

TL;DR – A joy to watch each week and one of the strongest full seasons of Star Trek we have gotten in a while.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Star Trek: Lower Decks: Season 2. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

Star Trek: Lower Decks Review

When Star Trek: Lower Decks was first announced, some understandable eyebrows were raised. The last animated show was quietly ditched from canon, and a new show animated in the style of Rick and Morty or Solar Opposites was an unknown quantity. Also, some sectors of the Star Trek fandom are not really known for embracing change (I mean, case and point that one shot of a Ferengi in the Star Trek Discovery trailer). But Season One showed that there was no need to be concerned, and Season Two showed that this might be some of the best Trek.  

So to set the scene, at the end of Season One, the USS Cerritos found itself on the unexpected end of a Pakled attack. While the help of Rutherford’s (Eugene Cordero) computer virus and Shaxs’ (Fred Tatasciore) sacrifice, they could defeat one ship, but not the other three that warped in afterwards. Looking certain doom in the face, all was lost until the USS Titan under the command of Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) warped in. Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and her mum, Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis), formed a truce in the aftermath. Tendi (Noël Wells) was sad to see that Rutherford had lost all his memories, and Boimler (Jack Quaid) took a promotion to the Titan. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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Star Trek: Discovery – …But To Connect – TV Review

TL;DR – We get an exploration of some fundamental philosophical questions, which is Star Trek at its best.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Star Trek: Discovery - ...But To Connect. Image Credit: Paramount+.

Star Trek: Discovery Review –

At its heart, Star Trek has always been about exploring ideas about politics, philosophy, hell, even religion, economics, sociology, and more. This week we get a show that tackles not one but two core dilemmas about society and in ways that leave no clear-cut answer. 

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s episode, the crew of the USS Discovery used the electrical impulses left by the Anomaly in Book’s (David Ajala) head to discover that the aliens who sent it sent it from outside the galaxy. This week, Zora (Annabelle Wallis), Stamets (Anthony Rapp), and Adira (Blu del Barrio) are all trying to outline where The Anomaly entered The Milky Way so that they can chart in back to the people that made it. With a way forward, Federation President Laira Rillak (Chelah Horsdal) calls a meeting of the Federation and other worlds to discuss how to go ahead from here, just one problem. At the same time, Zora knows the coordinates. However, they are keeping it to themselves. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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The Expanse: Strange Dogs – TV Review

TL;DR – If this is the last we get of The Expanse, well, it was a solid opener to go out on.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

The Expanse: Strange Dogs. image Credit: Amazon Studios.

The Expanse Review

Today we have a show that is filling me with joy and sadness. Joy, because The Expanse is one of my favourite adaptations and one of my favourite shows. Sadness, because this is the last season that we will get on all accounts. Well, today, we start our dive into the final season.  

So to set the scene, during Season 5, The Free Navy attacked Earth using asteroids covered in stealth composites. Since then, rock after rock has been flung at Earth, and while they are mostly shot down, debris still rains down on the planet, causing dirt to clog the atmosphere and the temperature to plummet. Meanwhile, on Laconia, Cara (Emma Ho) explores the new environment when she stumbles upon a strange dog that she has never seen before. All while orbiting above lies something … waiting in a web. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Shadow In The Cloud – Movie Review

TL;DR – Conceptionally, this is an interesting film, but I am not sure it makes the leap from concept to the final film.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

Shadow In The Cloud. Image Credit: Roadshow Films.

Shadow In The Cloud Review

Well, today, we look at a film that is clearly swinging for the fences in what it wants to do. It’s a wild ride, like anything experimental, but like some experiments, it doesn’t quite work in places.  

So to set the scene, we open in World War 2 with a short cartoon reminding everyone that there is no such thing as gremlins, and only airmen can stop disasters in the sky. At an Allied Airbase in Auckland, a B-17 bomber called The Fool’s Errand is waiting to take transistors to Apia, Samoa. However, just before they take off, Flying Officer Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) arrives with a broken arm, a mysterious package, and secrecy orders. The crew is quite miffed about the change of plans, but they relent, and the plane takes off, with Maude in the Sperry Ball turret on the bottom of the aircraft. Her goal is working until they see some Japanese planes and a creature crawling on the wing.  

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