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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TV Review – Cannon Busters: Season 1

TL;DR – This is a well-made animation, with an interesting story, world and characters. Full of interesting juxtapositions like magic and technology. 

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Cannon Busters. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I was thinking the other day of my joy at the old Monkey Magic stories. It had me wonder that it has been a long time since I have seen a good travel story where a group of disparate people are brought together through fate and then discover all their flaws and joys in the face of shared adversity. Well as fate would have it just a couple of days later a little surprise dropped on Netflix which was everything I didn’t know I wanted.  

So to set the scene, we open in on a desert wasteland on an alien (maybe) planet with a disintegrating moon floating in orbit. Our first clue that this is an interesting place is the image of a giant bull trampling across the plains in search of a toilet. We cut to a town on the frontier full of dust, wood, and a casual disregard for life. There are humans and other creatures, and all sorts of robots, mechs, and mechanical augmentations. In the streets walks Sam (A Special Associate Model) (Kamali Minter) from the faraway kingdom of Botica. She does not seem to fit the tone of the local area, making friends in a land of gunfights and wanton murder. But she is on a mission to find a lost prince and the one person who can help her do that Philly the Kid (Kenn Michael). One issue is that he does not really want to help, also he is cursed and can’t die, also he had a large bounty on him that everyone is trying to collect. So Sam, Philly, and Casey (Kamali Minter) a maintenance droid head off on the mission in their pink coin-operated Mustang that can transform into a bull. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne and Season Eight

TL;DR – While there has been patchy moments this season, I do think they stuck the ending.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne. Image Credit: HBO.

Review


Well, here we are, the final ever episode of Game of Thrones (if you don’t count the multiple prequels in preproduction at the moment). I can still remember that day when I first watched the very first episode as a group of men from The Watch go north past The Wall and discover there was something worse than wildlings waiting for them. A lost queen forced to marry into a barbarian horde to secure her ungrateful brother an army to retake their throne. A drunkard ruling a kingdom though all he wants to do is hunt and joust and fornicate with people who are not his wife. A family of noble people trying to do what is right, especially when it is hard, and being woefully unprepared for the mess they were walking into. Also, the things we do for love. All of those years of story have been building to this final episode, and I wonder can they stick the landing?

So to set the scene, during last week’s The Bells a lot of things happen and a lot of people died. After the death of Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) in The Last of the Starks, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) had become inconsolable, and Missandei’s final word Dracarys sat in her mind so that even when she heard the bells of surrender Dany decided to burn Kings Landing to the ground, not really caring who or what got in her way. The complete slaughter of the capital is something she has threatened since she arrived and finally showed what damage even one dragon can do, insert the nuclear weapons analogies. The capital is in ruins, Jon (Kit Harington) tried to do the right thing and failed, Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) had their whole worlds crash down on them, oh and Euron (Pilou Asbæk) is finally gone. We open with the aftermath as ash and snow still fall in the ruins of Kings Landing and the dead and dying lay among the wreckage. Here Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Jon (Kit Harington), and Davos (Liam Cunningham) walk and see the damage their actions have wrought and the potential hell that they have unleashed. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Game of Thrones: The Bells

TL;DR – The rushed final season is starting to show its issues … badly.

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Game of Thrones: The Bells. Image Credit: HBO.

Review

I have honestly been really happy where the final season has been going so far. I liked how Winterfell and A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms were these slow-burn episodes giving us some much-needed character development and interaction. I found The Long Night to be a really emotional experience as the dead came and slaughtered. I was ever really jiving with The Last of the Starks up until that last 15 minutes. It was like a speed boat suddenly threw out its anchor grinding everything to a halt. This means for the first time, I am coming into an episode of this 8th season, and the penultimate episode at that, with a lot of hesitation and I don’t know how to feel about that. 

So to set the scene, last week everyone was celebrating their win over the dead and the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) but there was still one big threat on the horizon. Cersei (Lena Headey) still controls King’s Landing, and with it the legitimacy of the throne. Just one problem Cersei captured Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and beheaded her in front of Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and well that did not go down well. So we begin today with everyone getting ready for the final push but some people have reservations and one of them is Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) who is finally caught out. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. This week we are going to do something a little different and focus our review on different character relationships because it is through these relationships we see the very highs of this episode and the real lows.  

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