Strange World – Movie Review

TL;DR – A visually stunning romp through an unknown world with danger at every turn    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film

The airship descends into the unknown.

Strange World Review

There is always a particular joy when you sit down to an adventure film and get to be taken into a majestic new world with wonders at every turn. It is where danger and joy can switch in a moment or be intertwined. It is easy to give lip service to this genre without exploring the depths necessary to bring it off. But today, we look at a film that plums those depths both literally and figuratively.  

So to set the scene, we open in Avalonia, a beautiful land cut off from the rest of the world due to a ring of impassable mountains. Many people have tried to find a route, but all have failed, and most of them gave their lives in the process. But one family, The Clades, decided to buck that trend as father Jager (Dennis Quaid) and son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) fight through every obstacle to find a way through the mountains. However, one day when finding the way through the mountains, Searcher finds a green plant brimming with energy that could be Avalonia’s future. The two fight, and Jaeger walks into the icy gloom alone. Twenty-five years later. Searcher has married Meridian (Gabrielle Union), and they have a son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) and make their lives farming and selling Pando. But when the Pando starts dying off, Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu), the president of Avalonia, arrives at the farm to go on an expedition to discover why, and Searcher, son of Jaeger, gets roped in, as does a stowaway or two.

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The Mummy (1999) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR –.While some parts of the film have not aged well, it is still a fun romp from start to finish.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

Camels in the desert crossing sand dunes.

The Mummy Review

There are those films from your childhood that should stay there because revisiting them can never come back to those heights. One of those films is The Mummy. I have fond memories of over everyone crowding around the VCR to watch it and then the unfortunate moment when someone decided to hand out tea and coffee. Every couple of years, I will think about watching it again but then wonder if too much time has passed. But then, when they keep remaking it both in name with The Mummy and in spirit with films like Jungle Cruise means that no matter what, there is a core here that is timeless.

So to set the scene, in Thebes, the capital of the Ancient Egyptian Empire in 1260 BC and home to Pharaoh Seti I (Aharon Ipalé) and his High Priest Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo). One fateful day, the Pharaoh’s mistress Anck-su-namun (Patricia Velásquez) and the priest were caught in their affair when Imhotep brushed the makeup from her shoulder, and they struck the Pharaoh down with his own blade. Soon they were all captured at Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, and cursed for their crimes. In 1923 AD, Hamunaptra is at most a ruin, but for many, just a legend. But the French Legion found it and was massacred, with only Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and Beni Gabor (Kevin J. O’Connor) surviving to tell others of the treasure and curse that may await you there. Three years later, one Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) might just take them up on that.

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Moon Knight: The Tomb & Asylum – TV Review

TL;DR – After a while, the show has finally hit its stride, and I am here for the ride.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Marc and Steven Scream

Moon Knight Review

After watching the first couple of episodes of Moon Knight, including The Goldfish Problem & Summon the Suit, I found it to be interesting, but nothing was hooking me into the narrative. I liked what Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke were doing, but I needed more. To the point that I kind of stopped watching it weekly, assuming I would catch up at some point. But I had some time one night, and I thought I’d watch the latest episodes back to back, and I am glad I did because the show has finally landed.

So to set the scene, in a last attempt to outmanoeuvre Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), Khonshu (Karin el Hakim/F. Murray Abraham) sacrificed himself by turning back the skies and letting Steven (Oscar Isaac) and Layla (May Calamawy) know where Ammit’s tomb is. They raced across the desert to find that Harrow’s men had already entered the tomb, but as they loaded up with supplies, they missed the sprays of blood that showed they were not alone in the tomb. Now from here, we will be looking at the episodes as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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Uncharted – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well, Tom Holland’s charisma can only go so far in fixing this dull mess   

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Uncharted. Image Credit: Sony.

Uncharted Review

Some memories stick with you as you grow up. For me, one of those memories is the family sitting around the tv watching my brother play Uncharted as we enjoyed the unfolding story and looked out for any hidden items. Given how successful and loved this video game franchise is, I am not alone with having attachments to this game, but I was also a little wary of disappointment walking into this film. The casting was a choice, and nothing around the marketing had imbued any confidence with the film, and I can now see why.

So to set the scene, we open with Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) getting kicked out of a cargo plane and then run over by a car. But fifteen years earlier, a young Nate (Tiernan Jones) and his brother Sam (Rudy Pankow) break into a museum to steal a map but are caught by guards. Sent back to the orphanage, Sam will be sent to jail, but he escapes leaving Nate behind. Currently, Nate is a bartender who pickpockets his clients when a strange man called Sully (Mark Wahlberg) walks into the bar and offers him a link to the past.  

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Jungle Cruise – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it has its moments and is quite watchable, it also can’t escape walking in the shadows of better films of the past.   

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

Jungle Cruise. Image Credit: Disney.

Jungle Cruise Review

When Disney gets an idea, they tend to go all-in, having many hits and misses. So when a film based on one of their rides worked, well, then everything was on the table. But for every Pirates of the Caribbean, there is The Haunted Mansion or even Tomorrowland, which means that there was a little trepidation going in even with a solid cast at the helm.

So to set the scene, history had been full of stories of the hidden wonders in the American continent. One such story told of a plant, ‘Tears of the Moon’, that could cure any illness, but no expedition to find it ever succeeded. In 1916 London, England, during World War One, Dr Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) is trying to access records from the Royal Society to help her locate it. But they refused to give information to a woman, even when she used her brother MacGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall) as a decoy. But a minor theft later, and they were on their way to Porto Velho on the Amazon River in Brazil, they just needed a captain to take them upriver, and tour boat operator Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) just found their next mark.  

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TV Review – Lost in Space: Season 2

TL;DR – A really great continuation of the first season showing the strengths of this new interpretation at every turn

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Lost in Space: Season 2. Image Credit: Netflix

Review

We are currently living through a second Golden Age for Science Fiction on TV and one of the first really cool examples of that was a new Lost in Space landing on our screens a couple of years ago. It was energetic, delightful, but also had some thematic weight behind it. Well, Season Two is upon us, so it’s time to see how well it did.    

So to set the scene, at the end of Season One, the family Robinson, that is Maureen (Molly Parker), John (Toby Stephens), Will (Maxwell Jenkins), Judy (Taylor Russell), and Penny (Mina Sundwall) along with Don West (Ignacio Serricchio) and Dr Smith (Parker Posey) got launched through a warp portal by Robot (Brian Steele) to protect them. This leads them to land on a planet that is habitable, bar all the methane in the atmosphere. The warp drained most of the Jupiter 2’s power meaning they can breathe and stay warm but not a whole lot else. All of this changes when Maureen notices that there is a patch of lightning in the distance that comes so regularly that you can schedule it, and maybe a lighting jolt is just what the Jupiter 2 needs. Now as we go on there will be some [SPOILERS] as we will be looking at the season as a whole, so just be warned if you have not seen it yet.     

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Movie Review – Abominable

TL;DR – A truly charming film from start to finish.     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There are some pictures during the credits that tell a story.

Abominable. Image Credit: Universal.

Review


Films targeted at children often have a perception that they are of lower quality than other forms of cinema. Indeed some of the trailers for upcoming films I watched before this backed that assessment up. But every now and again a film casts off those assertions and shows that if you focus on quality it should not matter whom your target audience is. Well, today we get just such a film, as we explore a monster on the run through China.

So to set the scene, we open in a laboratory in Shanghai scared and alone and not knowing where we are. After hearing Dr Zara’s (Sarah Paulson) intentions for us we flee captivity and that is when you discover the animal fleeing is a yeti. Everest (Joseph Izzo) flees into the city and tries to hide after being hit by a truck only to end up on the roof of Yi’s (Chloe Bennet) apartment complex. Yi is focusing all her life on doing odd jobs so she can earn enough money to go on a tour of China her dad always promised to take her on. But when she finds the injured Everest there is only one thing on her mind, getting him to his home.

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Movie Review – The Kid Who Would Be King

TL;DR – It has a good message, and I give it full props for trying something new even if it does not all completely come together

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

The Kid Who Would Be King. Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Review

Due to the vagaries of international copyright law, there are some stories that you will see over and over again because they have had the good grace to enter the public domain, which is becoming more and more difficult to do. This means that anyone can make a film based around the King Arthur mythology, and there have been a lot of them, including King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (see review) from a couple of years ago, which I really liked, but I think I was alone in that. Well, today we get a new film based around this mythology, which is trying to do something a little different, even if it doesn’t all quite come together.

So to set the scene, we open with a really well designed animated sequence that gives you in a couple of minutes a quick overview of this particular film’s take on the Arthurian mythology. With Arthur banishing Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) under the Earth, but in a last act of defiance, she cursed the world that one day when the country was leaderless she should return and take what is hers. Flash forward to 2019 and England is just as she predicted … looks at today’s news … yikes they really timed this film well. Well out in Britain there is still but a hope because one Alex Elliot (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) runs into a construction yard after being chased by some bullies and finds a rock with a sword in it … yes, that sword … and like all true and noble heroes, he is able to pull it from the rock. This puts in motion a series of events because in four days there will be a total solar eclipse and Morgana will rise.    

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Movie Review – Aquaman

TL;DR – Bombastic, silly, overly long, but still by far some of the best fun DC has made so far.    

 Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Aquaman. Image Credit: Warner Bothers.

Review

To say that the DC Expanded Universe has had a rough launch up to this point would be a bit of an understatement. Indeed, of all the past films, only Wonder Woman (see review) felt like a coherent film in any great sense. So, more than ever, the first film after Justice League had to hit the ground running, even more so after background conversations that the expanded universe was losing a lot of its big-name talent. Now while Aquaman is not a perfect film, it is a film with a lot of style, and more than most of the films that have come before it was just fun.

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Movie Review – Annihilation

TL;DR – Annihilation is a slow burn that then hits you like a freight train and then messes with your mind till it becomes putty, would recommend watching this, but maybe not at night.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Annihilation banner

Review

What is good sci-fi? As someone who loves this gene in all of its permutations, good sci-fi could be the grand space operas of Star Wars, Stargate or The Expanse, the more character driven works like Moon and The Martian. They can be thought-provoking works like Star Trek or Arrival, or thumping action set-pieces of Mad Max. Now sometimes they can be the weird contemplative works that dip into science, horror, supernatural, blending that hard and soft sci-fi into new and wonderful ways, and today’s Annihilation is the later. Now before we jump in I do have to say because the film begins in medias res, that is it opens on the ending, it is hard to talk about the film without getting into [SPOILERS] straight from the start, even with our setting the scene part of the review. If you have not seen Annihilation you may need to be a bit more careful going forward, as there will be major plot points discussed throughout.

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