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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The Eight Hundred (The 800, Bābǎi, 八佰) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A look at the side of WW2 that does not get shown often, which is full of moments that overwhelm you but also full of awkwardness.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

The Eight Hundred (The 800, Bābǎi, 八佰). Image Credit: CMC.

Review

If there is one conflict that has been extensively explored on screen, it is World War Two. Indeed in 2017, we got three different films that explored Dunkirk. Even with all of this coverage, there are still aspects of WWII that have not received the same attention. One of those aspects is the Chinese front which is where our film is set. It started years before the main war and went on to the very end, but we don’t explore it nearly enough. Well, today we look at a film that is trying to change this, and a film backed by the juggernauts of Tencent and Alibaba.

So to set the scene, we open with the collapse of the front lines of the National Revolutionary Army during The Battle of Shanghai. With the Imperial Japanese Army taking the outskirt town of Dachang the city has been lost. However, there is still hope in the retreat. The Revolutionary Army decides to leave a small contingent of troops behind at Sihang Warehouse led by Colonel Xie Jinyuan (Du Chun). They aim to stall the Imperial Army long enough to allow for the retreat of the rest of the army. The second aim is to be an example to the Western powers that have not yet picked a side. This is because the Warehouse is situated right next to the International Settlement in Shanghai, so for one brief moment, the whole world is focused on them. Now because this is a film based on a real event, we will be discussing parts of the plot in a little more depth than we usually would, so please be careful as there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Movie Review – Babyteeth

TL;DR – This is a film that is both funny and deeply sad, immediately captivating yet also uncomfortable to watch, full complete yet broken characters    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Babyteeth. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

When I walked in to see Babyteeth, I had no idea I was walking into. Sure, from the wigs I assumed it had something to do with cancer, it also had Ben Mendelsohn, so at the very least I was going to be entertained by that. However, nothing could prepare me for the emotional roller coaster that I would be taken on from start to finish.

So to set the scene, Milla (Eliza Scanlen) is preparing for her last day at school for a while as soon she would be starting chemotherapy as her cancer had returned. While she is waiting to get on the train, someone crashes into her from behind. Moses (Toby Wallace) had just been kicked out of home due to his drug addiction. They run off to get her hair cut, and Milla brings him home to meet her parents Henry (Ben Mendelsohn) and Anna (Essie Davis). It goes about as well as you expect it would.

I do feel that I have to preface my review with the note that moments in this film are painful to watch. So difficult that you want to turn away from the screen because the pain is too raw to bear. I say this because I feel people are going to come away with very different feelings about this film, and I wanted to give a little forewarning before we dived into the review proper. 

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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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