TV Review – The Good Place: Whenever You’re Ready & Season 4

TL;DR – This was the perfect way to end such a special show

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Good Place: Whenever You’re Ready. Image Credit: NBC Studios.

Review

How do you end a show, does it go out in a whimper, in a mess, in a fleeting flame, or do you stand there as a wave of emotion pours over you. I have seen a lot of finales that have stumbled at the last hurdle, some so bad that they cast the rest of the series into question. However, today I get to take a look at one that gets it right as it says goodbye.

So to set the scene, throughout this season the philosophy gang Michael (Ted Danson), Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), Jason (Manny Jacinto), and Janet (D’Arcy Carden) have been fighting to save the afterlife. First from a system that just put everyone in The Bad Place, and then from The Judge (Maya Rudolph) who decided to wipe everything away and start again from scratch. However, finally, after everything the gang has made it to The Good Place and it is here that they get to have their best times. Now we will be looking at the episode as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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Movie Review – Little Women (2020)

TL;DR – I highly recommend this astounding film    

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

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

Little Women. Image Credit: Sony.

Review

It has been a long time since I have had a good cry in the cinemas, and I don’t mean a good one solitary tear gallantly making its way down the side of my face as the music soars around. No I mean some good old fashioned weeping, the kind that makes you wish you had brought a hankie or at least some tissues as you try to compose yourself after as you thank God that you were not wearing any mascara because there would be no coming back from that. Well, today we look at a film that is all that and more. 

So to set the scene, we open in New York City back in 1868 where Josephine “Jo” March (Saoirse Ronan) works as a teacher in a boarding house as she tries to be published as a writer. The publisher Mr Dashwood (Tracy Letts) is interested in her work, but it needed to be more salacious and the female characters must end the book either married or dead. In France, Jo’s sister Amy (Florence Pugh) is enjoying some time painting and finding a husband under the guidance of her Aunt (Meryl Streep) when she spies Theodore “Laurie” Laurence (Timothée Chalamet) a childhood friend of her and her sisters Meg (Emma Watson) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen), as well as the former suiter of Jo, in the gardens of Paris. It is a moment of joy, but there and across the Atlantic, there is a cloud on the horizon because the past is not going to stay in the past.

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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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Exploring the Past – Into the Wild (2007)

TL;DR –.A really frustrating film that nevertheless sucks you in and leaves you heartbroken. 

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Into the Wild. Image Credit: Paramount.

Review

Well, last night I noticed Into the Wild had come onto Netflix. I had heard some good things about it a couple of years ago and I thought it would be a nice relaxing film to put on before going to bed. Oh wow, did I ever get that wrong.

So to set the scene, Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) gets dropped off on an Alaskan trail and walks into the wilderness a lot less prepared than maybe he should have. Ignoring the concerns from the guy that dropped him off he begins the march into the wilds of the north until he finds an abandoned bus and uses that as a base of operation. When then jump two years into the past and see why it is Christopher set off on this journey.

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Movie Review – Weathering with You (Tenki no Ko, 天気の子)

TL;DR – There is a lot I could say about this film, but the most important thing is that there were times when I became overwhelmed with its beauty.    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Weathering with You (Tenki no Ko, 天気の子). Image Credit: Madman.

Review

Oh wow, just wow. I have seen a lot of films in my time, and a lot of animated films, but rarely do they have moments that just take my breath away. Today we get to take a look at a film that does just that by exploring a new world and mythology that might not be as familiar to people.

So to set the scene, we open in on Hina (Nana Mori) as she holds the hand of her mother in the hospital. Outside is nothing but rain, with the weather matching her life at that moment. But out of the corner of her eye, she sees one ray of sunshine and she runs to it. About a year later Hodaka (Kotaro Daigo) arrives by boat to Tokyo, he has run away from home and is looking for a new life in the big city. But life is tough and he ends up on the street where he relents and starts working for Keisuke Suga (Shun Oguri) who runs an occult magazine of dubious quality. However, while working he hears of a girl that can bring the sun, which given that it has already rained for a month is something that a lot of people are interested in.    

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Movie Review – The Australian Dream

TL;DR The Australian Dream is a film that I think every Australian should watch because it holds up a mirror to Australian society and we need to be ready for what it shows.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

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

The Australian Dream. Image Credit: Madman.

Review

I thought when I sat down to see The Australian Dream that I was ready for what I was going to see. I was a fool. This might be the most important film I have seen all year because it shines the light on an episode that many in Australia feel more than content to sweep under the rug because to do otherwise would mean confronting our history, our way of life, and our commitment to all Australians.

At its core The Australian Dream tells the story of Adam Goodes former Australian of the Year and one of the best Australian Rules Footballers (AFL) to have ever played the game. It is the story of his life, the highs and the lows. However, it is something more than that, it is using the biography to focus in on a problem Australia has had for the last two-hundred odd years and that is how it has dealt with its Indigenous people and well there is a reason that Indigenous Australians call Australia Day, Invasion Day.

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Movie Review – Toy Story 4

TL;DR – A fitting end to a series that I have loved   

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Toy Story 4. Image Credit: Disney/Pixar.

Review

I am not sure if I have ever walked into a cinema with as much trepidation as I did when seeing Toy Story 4. I have mentioned in the past how much I adored the conclusion to the trilogy in Toy Story 3, indeed it is one of my favourite animated films of all time. Given they had wrapped everything up so neatly in 3 I was wondering what was going to be the point? Was this just a cheap cash grab, was this going to be a victory lap or was this just an epilogue? Well, it ended up being a combination of the last two and thankfully not the first.

So to set the scene, it has been a little while since Toy Story 3 and Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang are getting settled in their new home with Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw). It has been a difficult transition for Woody because he is no longer the leader of the group of toys anymore. Well, Woody needs to be helping so he sneaks into Bonnie’s first day of school and to comfort her he sneaks her some crafting supplies. All good, Bonnie is happy and Woody was not caught, so no problems. Okay, so there is one small hitch because Bonnie created a new friend Forky (Tony Hale) and he just came alive and he is about to go AWOL during their family vacation.

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Movie Review – Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan

TL;DR – A powerful and deeply compelling film that explores a key moment in Australia’s military history and the cost it took.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan. Image Credit: Transmission Films.

Review

Australia has a long history of making truly excellent war films. From works such as the pivotal Gallipoli to Beneath Hill 60 to The Rats of Tobruk and many more. So walking in I knew that there was a level of quality that was going to be there no matter what. However, for me, I can either be drawn in fully to war film or I can bounce off it like Andy Dwyer off an ambulance, so there was still a little hesitation. But I should not have been concerned because this is some of the best of Australian cinema at the moment.  

So to set the scene, it is 1966 and it is the height of the Vietnam War, a Cold War proxy conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union played out in the context of a civil war between North and South Vietnam. The 1st Australian Task Force headed by Brigadier David Jackson (Richard Roxburgh) is set up in Nui Dat where they send patrols out into the local countryside. One night the camp is attacked by mortars and while the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery were able to target them, the 1st Field Regiment, need to follow up the next day to find the source. Alpha Company didn’t find much, so part in punishment Harry Smith’s (Travis Fimmel) Delta Company was sent out to chase them down while a musical performance was happening back at camp. All was going well until at the rubber plantation at Long Tan the 11th Platoon of D Company came under heavy fire and it is soon discovered that this is not just a raiding party but a full battalion of the North Vietnamese Army heading their way, 100 men against and advance of 2000 and a monsoon is just about to hit.

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TV Review – Game of Thrones: The Long Night

TL;DR – The storm is here, the storm is coming for you, the storm bites.  

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Game of Thrones: The Long Night. Image Credit: HBO.

Review

Have you ever watched a show where over seven seasons of story led to one moment, thinking back for me only maybe Deep Space Nine, or possibly Fringe funnelled everything into one moment. Well, today we have another example to add to the mix, with just about every single person left alive in Game of Thrones all in the same location waiting for the oncoming storm.

So to set the scene, during last week’s A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms we got a chance to sit back and revisit all the characters that we had gotten to know over the last few seasons, which would have been great if this didn’t have the feel of one last happy moment before the end. Jon (Kit Harington) told Danni (Emilia Clarke) about who he was which yep shocker did not go down well. Arya (Maisie Williams) made it with Gendry (Joe Dempsie), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) plan out their post-conflict lives and we get drunk by the fire. However, at every moment there is the threat of death that will be with them before the morning. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that time is here, and oh wow, just wow. 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 – Street Food: Season One

TL;DR – This is a fascinating series exploring the food and people that make up some of the most interesting cities in Asia.  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Street Food. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

If you have read my reviews in the past you could probably tell that I am a sucker for a good food documentary. A documentary that explores the origins of a dish, or the people that make it, or the cultural context it exists in. Well, today we get a show that does all three with Street Food. When you think of street food, what first comes to mind? Well for a long time for me it was that kebab shop that is open to late in the morning or that one chip store I found in Sydney that one time. However, as I have started to travel I have found it is much, much, much more than that, and this is what we will be exploring today.

So to set the scene, today we delve into the street food cultures of eight different cities across Asia. Some of these locations are quite well known like Bangkok, Osaka, Delhi, Seoul, and Singapore, as well as some less well-known places like Chiayi, Yogyakarta, and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). We see the foods that mark each of these cities and the people that make them. We discover the Fish-head Stew of Chiayi, the Crab Omelette of Bangkok, or the Putu Piring of Singapore. But more than this we explore the cities, their history, their relationship with food, and what it means for the people who make/eat it.   

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