Slumberland – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that might have some of the most out-there performances I have seen but was missing a bit of substance in places.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

Flip and Nemo dance in the streets of a glass city.

Slumberland Review

Grief is always a complex emotion for a film to land. Sure, you can phone it to get some emotional engagement from your audience, but if you want to tap into something more profound, that is a lot of work. Add to this the nuance needed when building a film directed towards a younger demographic, and you get the film we are looking at today.

So to set the scene, we open on a lighthouse on an island where Nemo (Marlow Barkley) lives with her father, Peter (Kyle Chandler). Nemo knows everything about the lighthouse, and every night Peter tells her stories of Flip (Jason Momoa) and the adventures they had when he was a kid. But when Peter is lost at sea during a rescue, Nemo must leave the lighthouse and live with her uncle, whom she never met and who lives in the city. No one is happy with this move. However, when Nemo goes to sleep, she is surprised when her soft toy pig comes alive, and even more so when her bed wakes up and smashes out of her window, taking her back to the lighthouse, but not quite as she remembers it, and someone from her father’s past is waiting for her.     

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House of the Dragon: The Black Queen and Full Season – TV Review

TL;DR – A frustrating mess at times, it all came together in the end, but I am not sure the ride to get there was genuinely worth it at times.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Warning – this season contained season that could cause distress.

Illuminated map of Westeros.

House of the Dragon Review

Well, we have reached the end of the latest season of the Game of Thrones universe. As I think back to the prequel, I have to wonder if the show nailed its place in the landscape. Did it work as a prequel when we know the outcomes? Can it work to shore up some of the lost drive towards the universe after Season 8? For some of these, I think the answer was a strong maybe.  

So to set the scene, on his deathbed, the late King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) tried to tell his wife about the prophecy that Aegon the Conqueror. But Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) misheard him and thought he was talking about her son Prince Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney). So when Viserys is found dead the following day, Alicent declares her son as the next king, not Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy). Back on Dragonstone, the Princess and Prince Consort Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) are warned about this betrayal from Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best). Now they must work out what forces they can muster and who will stay loyal when dragons come flying. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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The School for Good and Evil – Movie Review

TL;DR – There were hints of something fabulous here, but it just felt like it was always held back from reaching its true potential.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

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

The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil Review

Many genres land for me on a personal level; one of them is taking traditional narratives and bringing a new twist to them. You can see it clearly when someone takes a swing at an old fairy tale and brings new life into it. Today we are looking at just such a film in a land far from our own, full of good and evil.

So to set the scene, in the long past of the fairy tale world, two brothers, Rhian (Kit Young) and Rafal (Kit Young) created a school to bring balance between good and evil, a balance that is now broken between them and the world after the use of forbidden blood magic. A long time later, in the small town of Gavaldon, two outcast girls, Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie), are complete opposites but also best friends. One day while in town, they stop into Deauville’s Storybook Shop, they learn about the legend of The School of Good of Evil, and Sophie puts all her hope into the wishing tree that it is real. Well, one night, under a red sky, they find out the answer the hard way. Even worse, they might have made a mix-up as they stare down Lady Leonora Lesso, the Dean of the School for Evil (Charlize Theron) and Prof. Clarissa Dovey, the Dean of the School for Good (Kerry Washington).  

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House of the Dragon: Driftmark – TV Review

TL;DR – The bookends of this episode are full of intrigue. It just falls out during the middle

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Dragons fly over Driftmark.

House of the Dragon Review

I have been wondering why I have been having a bit of a disconnect with the show. The production is just as good as Game of Thrones, the narrative has all the elements that usually capture me, and the cast is giving their all in their performances. After some thought, I can tie it down to the show’s narrative structure being like quicksand underneath, with you never being able to grab a foothold. An issue we see in part today, but maybe for the last time.       

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s The Princess and the Queen, Laena Targaryen (Nanna Blondell) begged her dragon Vhagar to incinerate her after her labour went wrong. At the start of this episode, all of the Targaryens and Velaryons have gathered in Driftmark for Laena’s funeral. However, the growing divides continue to spew forth after Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) took her family from court to Dragonstone, and the accusations of her children’s parentage still linger. 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: 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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House of the Dragon: The Princess and the Queen – TV Review

TL;DR – A time jump that feels like we are missing important details is not the best thing to do in the middle of the season.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

A dragon flies on top of the water.

House of the Dragon Review

If there was one thing that was forwarded back in the first episode The Heirs of the Dragon, it was that we would be getting a massive time jump at some point in the season. Indeed, we have jumped forward a good 10-ish years from last week’s We Light the Way, and in today’s review, we will look at whether this was a wise narrative choice.  

So to set the scene, in the years since Ser Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) married in less than ideal circumstances, the realm has seen relative peace. However, as Rhaenys gives birth to her third child and the whole realm but her father, King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine), can see that they are probably Ser Harwin Strong’s (Ryan Corr). This all gives Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) more ammunition because as Viserys slowly deteriorates, she hopes that her eldest Aegon Targaryen (Ty Tennant) will take the crown. 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: Partings – TV Review

TL;DR – As much as the title describes, this is an episode of crossroads, not all of them good.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Harfoots migrate.

The Rings of Power Review

I always knew that The Great Wave would be a hard act to follow. Indeed it would be a hard act to get close to that again. However, I was not expecting this week’s episode to give me pause. Not a significant problem per se. More like when you are walking through a forest, and you stop because you have seen something odd in the corner of your eye, pause. Let us now dive into this week’s episode to explore what I mean.

So to set the scene, we open in on the Harfoots as they begin their long migration north, over mountains, through grasslands, and even some marshes where the dead will lie one day. Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) and her family would have been left behind leagues ago because of their father’s (Dylan Smith) foot and being put in the back of the caravan. However, thanks to the help of The Stranger (Daniel Weyman), who fell from the sky, and much to the annoyance of the rest of the caravan, they have kept up. But in this wood, something stirs, and when there is no food, a couple of Harfoots look like a tasty morsel. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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House of the Dragon: We Light the Way – TV Review

TL;DR – The more we try and break out of King’s Landing, the more the story feels small.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Danger in The Vale

House of the Dragon Review

Few phrases carry more weight in the world of Game of Thrones than that of a wedding. Whether it is the Red Wedding or the Purple Wedding, no good has ever come from walking down the aisle in Westeros. The bells are ringing today, so the danger must be near.

So to set the scene, tired of the endless stream of poor suiters, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) took the invitation of her uncle Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) for a night on the town in King’s Landing. This led to calamity when Daemon was publicly seen leading her into a house of ill repute. Now Rhaenyra has no choice over who she marries as  King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) makes his way to Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen’s (Eve Best) home on Driftmark to petition them to allow Rhaenyra to marry their son Ser Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan). But over in The Vale, Prince Daemon has returned to great his lady wife, Rhea Joyce (Rachel Redford), and we see a side of him we knew was there all along. 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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House of the Dragon: King of the Narrow Sea – TV Review

TL;DR – This is the episode of ‘rise and fall’, and several characters get caught in the wake.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Rhaenyra looks in frustration.

House of the Dragon Review

Even though House of the Dragon is a prequel to Game of Thrones, with the theme song blaring at the start of every episode, there was the question of how it would work tonally compared with its predecessor. But if there were any questions as to if both shows would be walking down different roads, that was answered today.  

So to set the scene, due to pirates raiding ships in the Stepstones and also a need to prove themselves in the eyes of the people Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) took their dragons and their armies to route out the threat. It was an abysmal failure. However, after receiving word that King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) was going to send his Navy to help save them, Daemon implements a dangerous plan devised by Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan) to draw the pirates out of their caves using himself as bait, and it worked. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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