Westworld: Que Sera, Sera & Full Season 4 – TV Review

TL;DR – While I am not sure it landed its final episode, this season was a successful course correction, and I hope they make that one last test.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

The Man In Black appears from the smoke.

Westworld Review

Ever since the second season of Westworld failed to capture the dramatic highs of that first season, people felt that it could never live up to the hype it built. However, I still found Season Two to be engaging, and even more, it is still the high watermark for the show for me with Kiksuya. I also enjoyed Season Three’s more streamlined narrative. However, there was a feeling that maybe the show didn’t have much more to explore. Well, if nothing else, Season Four showed the latter assertion plainly wrong. With our review today, we are first going to look at the season [or possible series] finale before taking a broader exploration of the season as a whole.

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s Metanoia, the host copy of The Man In Black (Ed Harris) went on a killing spree, first killing the original Man In Black (Ed Harris) before taking out Maeve (Thandiwe Newton), Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Before that can even sink in, he causes the control tones from the tower to infect every human being left on the planet to send them into a murderous rage. As Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) with Teddy (James Marsden) tries to stop the carnage, and Caleb (Aaron Paul), his daughter C (Aurora Perrineau), and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) try to escape it. One thing is clear: this might end sentient life on Earth. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

Continue reading

Westworld: Zhuangzi – TV Review

TL;DR – There is a new God, and they are bored with the human race.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Christina discovers the control she has.

Westworld Review

There are some aspects of Westworld that hide in the subtext, and there are others that blare at you like a foghorn. Today’s title is Zhuangzi, which takes its name from one of the core works of Taoism. Its view of a central authority starkly contrasts with other core philosophical schools of China. That tension has been playing out across Westworld’s many seasons and, as we will see, the episode today.

So to set the scene, as we have been going through the season, Caleb (Aaron Paul) and Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) have been on a mission to stop Hale/Delores (Tessa Thompson) and her mission to take over the world through the use of parasites. We didn’t know until the closing moments of Generation Loss is that Hale had already won that war a whole generation ago. She has such control over the human race, using audible sounds from the tower, that she can stop and the entire city in its tracks like it was one large Westworld park, and everyone was a host. But in the deep desert, the long-buried remains of Maeve were unearthed by the prophetic Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), and a rebellion is on the move. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

Westworld: Generation Loss – TV Review

TL;DR – All things become clear, but in a Westworld way that asks far more questions than it answers    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Maeve drags Caleb to the evac point.

Westworld Review

There are many strengths to a show like Westworld. They get to play around in an interesting setting, actors take on these grand roles that let them chew all the scenery, and you get to mess with people’s expectations all the time. In Season Four, we have been getting all those things, and a plot that is moving like a cheater is chasing it in the Serengeti. The question is, can it run out of steam? Well, it hasn’t today.

So to set the scene, at the end of Annees Folles, Caleb (Aaron Paul) and Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) know they we walking into a trap, but not a trap with Caleb’s daughter (Celeste Clark) as bait, and the infestation of mind-controlling parasites as the goal. We open with Caleb screaming as the parasites take control, but Maeve is not ready to get taken out by The Man in Black (Ed Harris) just yet. Meanwhile, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) have been rounded up by the rebels and C (Aurora Perrineau) and her boss (Daniel Wu), who are trying to work out if they are useful or if they should just have them killed. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

Continue reading

Westworld: Annees Folles – TV Review

TL;DR – We race forward at the speed of light, but I just hope the narrative does not run out of steam before the end.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Bernard's Eye

Westworld Review

This season so far, we have gotten to see what Charlotte/Dolores (Tessa Thompson) is up to with her possession and host Man in Black (Ed Harris). We’ve gotten to check in with Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) and Caleb (Aaron Paul) as they escape hit squads. Indeed, we even have gotten to see but not really understand what is going on with Christina (Evan Rachel Wood) and Teddy (James Marsden). But there has been one piece of the puzzle that has so far alluded the show. Well, that is till today.  

So to set the scene, at the end of Season 3, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) discovered that the hidden codes to enter The Sublime were not found in the Supercomputer AI or Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) but hidden inside of him all along. With that revelation and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) bleeding out in the bath, he decided to visit The Sublime to see if he could find a better path for the world. When Bernard arrives, he meets an old friend Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon), who lets him see all the possible futures they have modelled. The only problem is that Bernard dies in all the futures he returns to the real. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

Continue reading

Westworld: The Auguries – TV Review

TL;DR – This first episode is almost a soft re-boot or realignment of the show, and while it does not reveal much, it intrigues me.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

The Hoover Dam

Westworld Review

I have always been intrigued by Westworld because even when it is not landing its hits, it is still swinging with all its might, and I always respect someone reaching for the stars, even if they don’t quite get there. Season 1 was this wild ride of betrayal and discord, where the very world shifted under your feet. Season 2 was this crazy roller coaster that inverted itself halfway through, and while it was a bit of a mess at times, it did have Kiksuya, the best episode the show has done to date. Season 3 jumped us out of the island and into the world proper for all its strengths and weaknesses. Can Season 4 capture what made Season 1 so good? Well, as long as it tells an interesting story, I will be there for the ride.

So to set the scene, we open seven years after the riots that marked the end of Season 3 and the AI controlling the destinies of humans in the background. Many people have tried to formulate new lives in the meantime, but something has stirred and has started to make their move. In the renovated Hoover Dam, a cartel kingpin (Arturo del Puerto) meets with a man in black (Ed Harris) about buying their data operation in the Dam. It is a ridiculous question because this is the cartel’s crown jewel, not for sale. But the Man in Black posits that they can sell for this price today or give it away for free tomorrow, and the cartel chooses door number two for their own demise. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead. 

Continue reading

Spiderhead – Movie Review

TL;DR – A bunch of ideas that never coalesced into a whole     

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix account that viewed this film

Miles Teller rides on a boat blindfolded while two goons sit on either side.

Spiderhead Review

Finding the tone is one of the most challenging parts of making a film, from the script to the filming to the edit. It is said a movie is made three times, and in that creation, a feeling can be discovered or a story lost. This week we look at a film that is trying to do many things, but in the mix, it never finds itself.

So to set the scene, in a remote location, accessible only but seaplane is the Spiderhead Penitentiary and Research Centre. Inside, the man in charge of the facility, Steve Abnesti (Chris Hemsworth), runs experiments on the inmates [with their sort of consent], and if they commit, they will get time off their sentences. One of the inmates, Jeff (Miles Teller), gets to go on field trips to test the compounds but coming off the high can impact his speech and cognition, impacting his attempts to flirt with Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett). But you can’t help but ask: the question in the background: Is everything what it seems?

Continue reading

Reminiscence – Movie Review

TL;DR – It creates a fascinating world and engaging plot, but unfortunately, the story gets lost in places.   

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

Reminiscence. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Reminiscence Review

Tonight is one of those rare occasions where I got to walk into a film with a minimal idea of just what I was going to see. All I had to go on was the poster, which told me who was staring, that the people behind Westworld created it, and that it gave me big Sci-fi vibes. Now that I have watched it, well, that was pretty spot on.  

So to set the scene, the ice caps have melted in the not too distant future, causing the sea to rise, inundating cities like London, New Orleans, and Miami. In some places, they have built giant levees to hold off the water. In others, people live on the ruins of the old world. In the chaos of the rise, wars were fought, and it is here where the technology for extracting memories first was found. Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) and his technician Watts (Thandiwe Newton) were veterans of that conflict. They now run the reminiscence technology to help people find what was lost or remember the better times. While it is not going swimmingly, it is enough to stop them from starving, but then one day, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) walks in looking for her lost keys, and Nick’s world changed in an instant.

Continue reading

Tribes of Europa: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a fascinating world that I think that we have only just scratched the surface of.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Warning – Depicts scenes of abuse

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

Tribes of Europa: Season 1. Image Credit: Netflix.

Tribes of Europa Review

When you think of post-apocalyptic shows or movies, you think of drab banner expanses of nothing where only the best like Mad Max Fury Road can make shine. But that is one of the many different pallets of the world could take. In Tribes of Europa, we get a very different type of post-apocalypse, even if there are some familiar elements.

So to set the scene, in 2029, a worldwide blackout called Black December destroyed civilization as we know it on the planet. The Nation-State as we know it today crashed a burned with thousands of micro-states emerging in their wake. In 2074, those micro-states have started to war over the former lands of Europe or, as it is now called, Europa. It is here where Liv (Henriette Confurius) and her family Kiano (Emilio Sakraya) and Elja (David Ali Rashed) see a plane crash while out hunting an event that would shift the balance of the continent. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.     

Continue reading

Space Sweepers (Victory, Seungriho, 승리호) – Movie Review

TL;DR – An odd film that I loved from start to finish   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Nominated: Most Fun & Fascinating Worldbuilding

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

Space Sweepers. Image Credit: Netflix.

Space Sweepers Review

I have seen a lot of excellent Science Fiction in the last little while. However, I have been looking forward to something different, something odd, something that does not fit the mould. Well, today we get just such a film out of Korea that blends the farcical with the serious all while screaming around Earth’s orbit.  

So to set the scene, in 2092 the biosphere started to break down on Earth, soon deserts spanned the globe as the plants died off. But all was not lost, led by UTS and its company director James Sullivan (Richard Armitage) people were able to escape into space. Well, the rich anyway got to flee to orbital biospheres in orbit while 95% of people are left on Earth or work on ships clearing up space debris hoping to earn enough money to buy UTS citizenship and escape. One such crew is of the ship Victory, including Captain Jang (Kim Tae-ri), pilot Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki), engineer Tiger Park (Jin Seon-kyu), and android Bubs (Yoo Hae-jin). All is going, well not well, when they open up a ship they salvaged and found Dorothy/Kot-nim (Park Ye-Rin) an android girl that everyone in the system is after.

Continue reading

Cyberpunk 2077 – Video Game Review

TL;DR – A buggy experience that even when you power through it, you find a mostly surface-level game failing to delve into the world they had created

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Warning – Contains scenes that have been reported to induce seizures

Cyberpunk 2077. Image Credit: CD PROJEKT RED.

Cyberpunk 2077 Review –

To be honest, I was wondering if I was actually going to write this review. The discourse around this game has been unpleasant, to say the least, and what difference would be one more voice howling into the void make. I mean, I even found myself cleaning the house to put this off. But in the end, I paid full price for this game, a game that was clearly not ready for release, and also this is my profession, so I kind of owe myself and the working hours I put into this game to contextualise that into words.    

So to set the scene, in a boardroom, on the streets of Night City, or in my case on the northern outskirts of the city, we meet V (Gavin Drea/ Cherami Leigh) as his car is being put together. He is a nomad but without a clan or family anymore and is just trying to get ahead. One uppity sheriff later and he is on the way to meet his contact Jackie Welles (Jason Hightower). All V has to do is smuggle this little crate into the city, and he will have enough money to set himself up. There is just one border crossing between him and freedom … what could go wrong. When he thinks he has survived that skirmish, he is offered a chance to put together the heist of a lifetime involving the mysterious Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves).  From this point forward we will be looking at the game as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading