Spoiler Alert – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well, if ugly crying in the cinema surrounded by people ugly crying in a cinema is a recommendation for you, then here it is.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

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

A bubble being blown.

Spoiler Alert Review

I am someone who does not mind a good cry in the cinemas. It can be cathartic and shows that the filmmakers have connected with you on an emotional level. However, there is a difference between having a good cry and being so emotionally devastated that you are ugly crying in a room full of strangers. And when I say ugly cry, I mean ugly. Well, today, we are looking at a film that did just that.

So to set the scene, Michael Ausiello (Jim Parsons) focuses his life on his work, like ranking all the Gilmore Girls from Best to Rory [which like fair]. But one night, after being dragged out to a club, he spots a man across the dance floor that smiles at him, so he waves back. Actually, Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge) was smiling at his friend Nina (Nikki M. James) at the bar, but he took up the bait. It is the perfect meet-cute, bar the fact that, spoiler alert, we know from the start that this relationship is destined for tragedy.

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The Last of Us – Long Long Time – TV Review

TL;DR – A quiet contemplation of what love is in the face of loss.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this show.

Warning – Contains scenes that may cause distress.

Walking over a bridge.

The Last of Us Review

In our exploration through the world of The Last of Us so far, we have had a pretty point-by-point adaptation from the source material. A fact that many, including me, have deeply respected. However, sooner or later, they were going to make a big swerve from the game’s story, and the question is, how would that work? Well, we will find out a little sooner than I expected with today’s episode.

So to set the scene, in When You’re Lost in the Darkness, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) were charged with taking Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to the Fireflies in the old statehouse. Still, when they arrived in Infected, no one was left alive, and soon Tess had to sacrifice herself to let the others escape. On the road, Joel has few options, bar an old contact Bill (Nick Offerman), who lives in Lincoln, a town near Boston. But it has been a couple of years since he was last there, and Joel does not know if he is still welcome alone. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show.

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The Wandering Earth II (The Wandering Earth 2/流浪地球2) – Movie Review

TL;DR – While frustratingly slow to build, I must say that it captured me in the end.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

MOSS

The Wandering Earth II Review

Back in 2019, this fascinating film slipped onto the scene and fascinated me. The Wandering Earth was one of the most unique scenarios I have ever seen put to film, and a movie with some of the most frustrating characters put to screen. It was this juxtaposition that both delighted and annoyed me. However, we now have a second bite at the pie, and it is time to see if they have learned from the issues of the last film.

So to set the scene, tragedy is brewing on Earth as it is clear that the Sun has prematurely entered its final phase and will soon expand to engulf the planet in the next 100 years. The United Earth Government was formed to find a solution with some form of Digital Life and The Moving Mountain Project being proposed. Time is of the essence as the globe slowly descends into chaos. In Libreville, Gabon, a test engine and space elevator is the first step towards The Moving Mountain Project, but this means it is at a critical phase, and if you could disrupt it at the source, then the whole thing could come crumbling down.

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After Yang – Movie Review

TL;DR – There is a beautiful sadness to After Yang as you connect with the characters on the screen while also becoming introspective of your own life.   

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film.

Yang's memories.

After Yang Review

At the start of the year, one of my colleagues recommended that I should check out After Yang, and well as is clearly apparent, I have been quite tardy on that request. But a promise is a promise, and also, a soft-science fiction film exploring the nature of sentience in a shifting world should be 100% my jam, so it is silly that I missed it up until now.  

So to set the scene, we open with a family in a green field trying to take a photo together. While things look fine on the surface, with father Jake (Colin Farrell), mother Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith), and kids Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) and Yang (Justin H. Min) coming together to join in on a family dance-off contest. But Yang is an android built by the company Brothers and Sisters bought to help connect Mika with her Chinese culture. However, something has gone wrong with Yang’s central core, and he has shut down, and now Jake and Kyra have the difficult job of finding out what to do next.

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Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio – Movie Review

TL;DR – A work of art that hits on every emotional level from start to finish.    

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

Pinocchio but just a puppet.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio Review

Some names instantly intrigue you when you hear they are attached to a project. Which is entirely what happened when I heard that Guillermo del Toro was going to make a Pinocchio film. This alone was enough to interest me. Then you discover that it will be an animated film, not just that, a stop-motion animation film, and the masters of puppets, The Jim Henson Company, will produce it. Well, that is a combination that could not be missed, and I am fundamentally glad I watched it.   

 So to set the scene, master craftsman Geppetto (David Bradley) lost his only child Calro (Gregory Mann), during the Great War when he was only ten years old. A stray bomb destroyed the church that they were working in, and it is a loss that he has never recovered from. Sometime later, Sebastian J. Cricket (Ewan McGregor), a travelling cricket, came to live in the tree planted at Carlo’s grave and watched as a drunk Geppetto laments over his lost son. But as that is happening, some old spirits from the forest who typically ignore humanity hear the pleas of the grieving father and when he cuts down the pine tree that was planted at the grave to turn it into a puppet. So The Wood Sprite (Tilda Swinton) looks over the creation and then brings that puppet Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) to life.   

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a profoundly messy film, but at its heart, it is about grief, and what is grief, if not messy?    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

A funral procession

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review

When it comes to comic book films, even the most jaded person would have to admit that the first Black Panther movie was a cultural touchstone. It would have been difficult to live up to that first film at the best of times, but we can all agree that the passing of Chadwick Boseman is as far as you can get from the best of times. How do you even proceed after that? Well, this is the question we will be exploring today.

So to set the scene, we open in a lab in chaos. The King of Wakanda, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), is dying, and his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) is trying everything possible to try and save him. Still, all the technology in the world could not stop the inevitable. The whole kingdom grieves their lost king, but for Sovereign Queen Mother of Wakanda Ramonda (Angela Bassett), it is a wound that cuts deep. One year later, after a continuous meeting in the United Nations, America found what they think was the second source of Vibranium at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. A Navy Seal team is there to secure the site from potential attacks from other nations. However, instead of an attack from above, they should have prepared for what comes from the deep.

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Sweet As – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure, that brings a profoundly Australian feel to a coming-of-age story set in the simple stunning Pilbara.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There are photos during the start of the credits

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

The bus on the highway.

Sweet As Review

One of the best things about film festivals is finding gems you have not heard about. Today we see just such a film that I caught at the closing gala of The Brisbane International Film Festival. A film about finding yourself along the coast of Western Australia.

So to set the scene, Murra (Shantae Barnes-Cowan) lives with her mother, Grace (Ngaire Pigram), in a mining town on the Western Australian coastline. Murra has to mainly look after herself as her mum struggles with addiction relapses, which comes to a head when someone from one of Grace’s parties tries to break into Murra’s room one night. Calling in on her uncle Ian (Mark Coles Smith), he realises that there are very few options for her left. Using his connections as a cop, Ian gets Murra into a photography program for at-risk kids run by Mitch (Tasma Walton) and Fernando (Carlos Sanson Jr.). The program was designed as a way to help, maybe even a last chance, for Murra and the three other campers, Elvis (Pedrea Jackson), Kylie (Mikayla Levy), and Sean (Andrew Wallace) it could well be.

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Armageddon Time – Movie Review

TL;DR – A deeply personal and emotional film that gets messy in all the best and worst ways.   

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Warning – Contains scenes of abuse.

Disclosure – I was invited to a screening of this film at the Brisbane International Film Festival.

Ronald Regan.

Armageddon Time Review

I have long said that I am perfectly fine with crying in the cinema during a film. If the movie’s emotions move me, then fantastic. Indeed I even have a list of them. But there is a bit of a difference between a single stoic tear making its way down the side of your face and ugly crying for so bard you need to freshen up in the bathroom afterwards. Today, we are looking at a film that, even with all its flaws, falls in the latter category.

So to set the scene, it is 1980 in Queens, New York City, on the first day of school. Paul Graff (Banks Repeta) is starting in a new school, and just minutes into the day, he is already getting in trouble with the teacher Mr Turkeltaub (Andrew Polk). Not a great start, but he does get to meet his new friend Johnny (Jaylin Webb), who also ires Turkeltaub. Paul is trying to find his place in a world that feels like it is about to get snuffed out at any moment, with only his grandfather Aaron Rabinowitz (Anthony Hopkins) being able to reach him. Much to his parents, Esther’s (Anne Hathaway) and Irving’s (Jaylin Webb) frustration.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Udûn – TV Review

TL;DR – Could I see some of the plot points of this episode coming? Yes. Did that stop it from ripping my heart out? No, it did not.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

Adar looks over his armies.

The Rings of Power Review

When watching a show or movie, you never quite know when something will connect with you, like really connect with you. Will a story pierce your heart like a barbed arrow and break through even the most hardened layer of cynicism? After not gelling with last week’s Partings, I wondered if the series was running out of steam with me, but nothing prepared me for today.  

So to set the scene, the orcs had completely surrounded Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) and the remaining townsfolk in the watchtower of Ostirith. However, as Adar (Joseph Mawle) and the Orcs storm the watchtower, they find it empty. Well, almost empty. But while this delays the Orcs, the townsfolk know that soon the horde will be upon them and sure enough, in the distance, torches glow. 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 Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Great Wave – TV Review

TL;DR – This is an episode with joy and tears, warmth and horror, action and romance, and warnings for the future

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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

Queen regent Míriel walks towards the sounds of crushing water.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review

When they announced that Amazon would commission a new Lord of the Rings prequel series, many people [including myself] doubted if they could pull it off. Especially when it was revealed just what they could work with given the limited window their licence gave them. However, as I sit back from watching the fourth episode, it has become clear that those concerns were misplaced because few episodes of televisionthis year have moved me as much as this one did today.

So to set the scene, in Adar, we were introduced to the island kingdom of Númenor. A land was once given to man by the Elves, but a land that Elves are now unwelcome, something that Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) discovers first-hand when she is brought there by Elendil (Lloyd Owen). However, there is something behind Númenor’s reluctance, which haunts the dreams of the queen regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). However, things are going from bad to worse in the Southlands because the orcs have returned and are capturing people to dig their tunnels. Still, as Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) stands in chains, he looks in horror as the leader of the orcs is an elf called Adar (Joseph Mawle). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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