Movie Review – Sol Levante

TL;DR – An interesting vignette, but more focusing on the style than the substance      
Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Sol Levante. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I mentioned earlier this week with Familiar Strangers, that it was the shortest film that I had ever reviewed for the sight, well not three days later we are going to beat that record with Sol Levante. An animated short made in 4K HD that I don’t think anyone in the world is going to see at 4K at least not for the foreseeable future.

This is an interesting film to review because there is not a whole lot to it, but then it also feels like there is a bit more to it than first appears. There is not a story, bar a young woman fighting I want to say demons across a shifting landscape. There are quite a few of these set-piece moments that the fit into the three minutes run time that hint at things. It is a film that fits into the sort of nexus of fantasy, science fiction, and spiritual genres and is steeped in symbolism if nothing else.  

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TV Review – The Witcher: Season 1

TL;DR – Fun, brooding, entertaining

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Witcher. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review


As someone who generally enjoys fantasy, it is surprising that it took me this long to really get into The Witcher franchise. I had tried in the past with the video games, but by the time I was helping a miss-carried baby to get back into the grave it all got a bit too weird without the context, to add to this, the books seemed this large mountain of work that I didn’t know where to start with. Well with the new series starting I thought now was as good as time as any to dive into the world of the brooding Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill).  

So to set the scene, in a world of magic and monsters lives many feuding kingdoms and power structures in the land known as The Continent. We open in the kingdom of Cintra, ruled by its Queen Calanthe (Jodhi May). All is well until the day that the evil Nilfgaard set their sights on them burning their capital to the ground and killing all they find. Calanthe in her last act sends her granddaughter Cirilla “Ciri”(Freya Allan) away with one mission, to survive and find Geralt. Geralt himself is off in another kingdom stuck in a war between a powerful mage Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) and a bandit/princess Renfri (Emma Appleton). Meanwhile, a girl with a deformed back works caring for the pigs of her father. But Yennefer of Vengerberg’s (Anya Chalotra) life is forever changed when the powerful sorceress Tissaia de Vries (MyAnna Buring) arrives and buys her for a couple of coins. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Exploring the Past – Stardust (2007)

TL;DR – A pure fun ride from start to finish, the kind that leaves a smile on your face for a time after you finish watching it.   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Stardust. Image Credit: Paramount.

Review

There are some films out that that you can only watch once and then there are those that you can watch any time someone suggests it. Today we are looking at the latter, a film that is full of joy from start to finish.

So to set the scene, in the 1800s in Great Brittan there was a little town called Wall. It was a mostly unremarkable little hamlet bar for one odd feature an old wall that runs along its boundary that has an old man (David Kelly) guarding the only opening. Well, one day a young man from the village call Dunstan Thorn (Ben Barnes) decided to go see what was on the other side of the wall. Here he found a marketplace full of bizarre creatures for sale and also servant girl (Kate Magowan) enslaved to an evil witch Ditchwater Sal (Melanie Hill). It was almost a fever dream until nine months later when a baby arrived at Dunstan’s door. Eighteen years later and the young boy Tristan (Charlie Cox) is now grown up and trying to court Victoria (Sienna Miller) when he makes a suggestion that he chases down a falling star and brings it back as proof of his affections. The only problem is that the Star fell across the wall in Stormhold, the star is not an it but a she in Yvaine (Claire Danes), and also Stormhold’s king (Peter O’Toole) has just died and the remaining heirs are trying to track down the necklace that brought Yvaine crashing to the ground, and also also, there is a witch Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) who is very interested that a new star has fallen because she would very much like to cut out its heart and eat it.

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Movie Review – NiNoKuni (Ni no Kuni/二ノ国)

TL;DR – A really good film up until the point it gets bogged down in its own worldbuilding   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

NiNoKuni (Ni no Kuni/二ノ国). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

It has been a long road trying to adapt video games to the big screen and so far there have not been many (if any) that have actually pulled it off. Some have got close and today we take a look at one that also is very close, even if it just does not quite get there.  

So to set the scene, in Japan, there are three good friends Kotona (Abby Trott), Haru (Alejandro Saab), and Yu (Max Mittelman). Kotona and Haru are a couple and Yu is the third wheel, but not really, though he is confined to a wheelchair after a childhood accident that killed his parents. Life is great, school is good, however, all is ripped apart when one-day Kotona realises that she is being stalked by a creep. Yu and Haru rush to help her but they are too late when they arrive a masked figure stabs Kotana with a weird blade. They rush to try and get her to a hospital when in the middle of the street they are ripped into another world and now Kotona is missing, their phones are compasses, and everything is different.

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Movie Review – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Round Two)

TL;DR – This is a film that feels both incredibly safe but yet also incredibly weird and that dissidence is really odd and is enhanced on a second viewing.     

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Image Credit: Disney.

Review

I have been thinking a lot about Star Wars in the weeks since I first watched The Rise of Skywalker. Was I too harsh with it? Did I let one story beat distract me from the rest of the film? Do I want to see a buddy cop film starring John Boyega and Oscar Isaac? Okay, that last one was an easy answer, of course, I do. However, for the first two, I was truly left wondering, well that is until yesterday when I went with some friends as saw the same film twice in cinemas (not something I have done in quite a while). Which means it is time to explore if a second viewing of Star Wars helps or hurts it and what I found is that it focuses you into the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

So to set the scene, at the end of The Last Jedi everything is in flux. The Resistance has survived annihilation but has been stretched to almost breaking point as The First Order storms across The New Republic. However, all is not dandy for The First Order as well, as their leader was assassinated by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and their main battle cruiser was destroyed. However, just at the cusp of this, a dark voice from the past pierces into the vale. For it appears that Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) has come back from the dead and is gunning for Rey (Daisy Ridley). Now in this review, we will be going FULL SPOILER discussing some really important plot points. If you want to read our spoiler-free review you can find it here.  

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TV Review – The Witcher: The End’s Beginning

TL;DR – This is a great introduction to the show by setting up the lore and giving us a taste of everything to come

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Witcher: The End’s Beginning. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Today we look at a show that is really interesting for me. The Witcher has been this series, first books, then video games, that has permeated pop-culture for quite a while after coming out of its native Poland. However, for me, I have tried a number of times to get into it but I keep bouncing out of it. Well given that at the very least Netflix does not shy away from production and Henry Cavill has been ecstatic about being cast, I thought now was the best time to give it one last shot.

So to set the scene, in the swamps near the town of Blaviken a witcher called Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) is hunting monsters. As a witcher, he makes money by killing monsters that towns have put bounties on. However, when he arrives in Blaviken he discovers that there may be more going on behind the scenes that he first thought. Meanwhile, in the kingdom of Cintra, all is well, Queen Calanthe (Jodhi May) is even throwing a ball much to the annoyance of her granddaughter Ciri (Freya Allan). However, all of that comes to a halt when word reaches them that the evil Nilfgaard has set their sights on the city. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – The Good Place: A Girl from Arizona Part 1

TL;DR – A great start to propel the season forward.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Review

Well, it is time for all good thing to come to an end, in this case today we are looking at the beginning of the end as we explore the first episode of The Good Place’s fourth and final season. As much as there is sadness, there is also a certain joy that at least the show will get to go out on their own terms. Indeed, from what everyone has said it was a creative decision to end the show at this point and I will always respect that. Well let’s dive into the weird and quirky world of the ever after. 

So to set the scene, in the Season Three finale Pandemonium, The Judge (Maya Rudolph) gave everyone a chance to show that the point system is broken by creating a new neighbourhood to test it out with new people. However, The Bad Place, devious as ever, did not pick the worst people in the world, just the worst people for the team, including Chidi’s (William Jackson Harper) ex Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). Knowing that he could not remain impartial Chidi has his mind wiped of everything including his love for Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Now they have one chance to show that everything is wrong and it is not going to be easy. Just a reminder that we will be looking at the episode at the whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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