Ted Lasso: Season 2 – TV Review

TL;DR – Builds upon everything that made the first season great by focussing on the character development of every kind  

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this episode

Ted Lasso: Season 2. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Ted Lasso Review

When I came into the first season of Ted Lasso, there was so much praise and hype around the show that there was no way it could ever live up to those expectations. But not only did the show live up to them, but it also exceeded them. However, surely now with its sophomore season, it can’t strike lightning twice? Well, can I just say, in the echoes of T2: Judgement Day or Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the second helping is even better than the first.

So to set the scene, at the end of Season One, things were not looking great for the English Premier League team, AFC Richmond. After a gruelling season under new coach Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), the team was moments away from saving themselves from relegation when a play from ex-teammate Jamie Tartt (Jeremy Swift) sealed their fate. Relegated, the team tries to fight back to the Premier League only to start their season with seven tied matches. But just when it looks like they will turn a corner, the win is stolen from them when the penalty Dani (Cristo Fernández) kicked accidentally kills the team mascot. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Ted Lasso: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – Heart-warming and sincere without ever being saccharine.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

The Media Conference in Ted Lasso. Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Ted Lasso Review

When I first got Apple TV+ for Foundation, I knew that I would probably take the chance to check out what else was there because nothing had called me before. Well, if I was going to start somewhere, I thought I might as well go with the series that just obliterated the Emmys. However, I went in with a thought that it could never live up to all the hype … I was wrong, it could, and it did.

So to set the scene, Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) is working as an NFL coach in America. He led the Wichita State Shockers to a Division II NCAA championship, an impressive feat. While that win put him on the radar of several NFL clubs in America, an offer right out of left field caught his attention. Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham) was the new owner of AFC Richmond, an English Premier League Football club, and she offered him the job of team manager. Ted jumps at the chance and brings along his coaching partner, Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), all the way over to London only to get thrown in the deep end and demolished by the press like Trent Crimm for The Independent (James Lance). However, he soon finds his feet. Unfortunately for Ted, Rebecca got the team from her ex-husband Rupert (Anthony Head) in the divorce, but she has no intention of letting it thrive. She wanted the one thing her husband truly cared about to go down in flames. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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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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Chopsticks Or Fork?: Season One – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a delightful documentary exploring a world that hits a deep nostalgic note for me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I watched this on ABC IView

Chopsticks Or Fork? Image Credit: ABC TV.

Chopsticks Or Fork? Review

Tonight I was looking for something to watch as I ate my dinner, and in a world of streaming where you have so much choice, it is almost paralysing at times just to pick one thing. But as I sat there with all those windows open, there was this moment when a documentary series about rural Chinese restaurants in Australia appeared, and it intrigued me. Now that I have watched every episode, I can tell you that this was the right choice.

So to set the scene, the premise of this show is that presenter Jennifer Wong and the crew, including director Lin Jie Kong, travel to rural towns in Australia to look at the Chinese Restaurants that take up a focal point in these communities. Here we get a show that is a part travel show, part food exploration, and part look at the intersections of culture these restaurants make. We get these stories and more as we meet six different families from restaurants across Australia from The New Bo Wa in Moree, Raymond’s at Malua Bay, Oriental Palace in Hervey Bay, Pagoda Chinese Restaurant in Atherton, Gawler Palace & Happy Garden in Darwin.  

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Stowaway – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that understands the weight of the question it asks and the damage that would do to people.     

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this movie

Stowaway. Image Credit: Netflix.

Stowaway Review

It should come as no surprise to long or short term readers that I love Science Fiction. While the fantastical location of space is an excellent place to set your film, and I enjoy them no matter how they come. What can make a film special is when they use that setting to ponder important questions about the human condition. Today we have a look at a film that delves into crucial Kobayashi Maru territory.   

So to set the scene, we open in as the Hyperion mission on MTS42 is about to launch. Mission commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette) is setting the ship on a course for a two-year mission out to Mars and back. Along for the mission is Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick), a medical researcher and David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim), the ship’s biologist. You feel the rumble of engines, the shake that makes you think the very ship will through itself apart, but then you break free into the void. Once connected with the main module, they begin the long trip to Mars. However, this is a mission with supplies for three people, but as the title implies, someone else made the journey into orbit.

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Land – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film where profound sadness and haunting beauty intersects on the mountains of rural Wyoming.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of the film.

Land. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Land Review

There is a genre of cinema that is sometimes derogatory referred to as a vanity project. This when a star gets enough clout to be able to direct their first film and then casts themselves in the lead role. These are usually overly dramatic works hoping to buy into that Oscar love. However, every now and again, you get a film that cuts through that noise and shows a real talent both behind and in front of the camera. With Land, we get just such a film and a phenomenal directorial debut from Robin Wright.  

So to set the scene, we open in Chicago with Edee (Robin Wright) in a therapy session, trying to talk about why she is alone with her pain and why she refuses to share it with anyone. She is there out of her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) insistence, who is scared that her sister might self-harm. Edee instead decides to sell everything she owns, rents a car and drives all the way to rural Quincy, Wyoming. Here she buys a cabin off the beaten track that was already off another beaten path to be alone from everyone. But living with no running water, electricity, or phone has more challenges than first encounters, especially when winter starts.

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Penguin Bloom – Movie Review

TL;DR – A beautifully charming film that will make you feel a lot of emotions    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Penguin Bloom. Image Credit: Roadshow Films.

Penguin Bloom Review

You may have many fears, some might be more obvious like spiders or heights, but others are deeper down like what if you were in a crash and became paralysed. This fear is at the heart of the film we are looking at today as we see the aftereffects of this profound change.

So to set the scene, we open with Noah Bloom (Griffin Murray-Johnston) giving a rundown of his life. It is full of living on the beach, going for a surf, and making honey as a family. However, on a fateful trip to Thailand, Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts), her husband Cameron (Andrew Lincoln), and their three kids Noah, Rueben (Felix Cameron), and Oli (Abe Clifford-Barr) were climbing up to the top of a building to get a look of the view. However, when Sam leans on a fence, some rotten wood gives way, and she falls over the edge to the concrete below. Back at home, Sam is trying to adjust to her life in a wheelchair, but as Noah is down the beach, he finds a magpie chick that had fallen out of a nest who they take home and call Penguin.

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Awards – The Films of 2020 That Emotionally Wrecked Us

As I have gotten older, I am not afraid of having a good old fashioned ugly cry in the cinemas when the time calls for it, and hell I probably got emotional just writing this list (Spoiler: I did). Sometimes they are tears of grief, sometimes they are tears of joy, and even still sometimes they are tears of anger. 

Emotion is a core part of the cinema experience. If you can’t get us to respond to your characters and/or the situation emotionally, well then I am sorry you have failed in making a good film.

So without further ado, these are the films of 2020 that emotionally wrecked us. Be warned that there will be some big spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, you can click on the banners to go to the full review.

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TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Forget Me Not

TL;DR – A beautiful episode about coming together through the pain of the past

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Star Trek Discovery: Forget Me Not. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Forget Me Not Review –

Throughout Star Trek, there has been a long history of letting events happen, but to not really explore the aftermath. However, The Next Generation’s Family as well as, Deep Space Nine’s It’s Only a Paper Moon, both show that this can be some of the best the show can make. This week’s episode also knew this lesson and was the better for it.    

So to set the scene, so far this season, Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) got trapped in the future alone for a year, the USS Discovery crash-landed on a planet with ice that eats you, and last week we found out that Earth had become an isolationist power and the Federation had left 100 years ago. All of this is leaving a toll on the crew because there has been no time to process what has happened to them appropriately. Things are starting to fray, which is understandable given the circumstances, but who will be the first to break. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Chef’s Table: BBQ – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a beautiful look at the many factors that make up the world of BBQ.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Chef’s Table: BBQ. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There are few series on Netflix that have captured my attention more than Chef’s Table. The exploration of food and the journey of those who make it always captures me and brings me into this world. Today we are looking at the next sort of spin-off of the series since Chef’s Table France with a look at the joy that is Barbeque.

One of the exciting things about BBQ is that it means very different things depending on what country you are in. So for this series, their interpretation of BBQ is food cooked under, above, around a fire. As will be mentioned in the series as an Australian, I grew up cooking food over an open flame, and I still try to when I get the chance. This means a series about food cooked on fire is an instant sell for me.

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