TL;DR – This was a delightful romp across America where we solved a murder each week in almost the same way, and I was captivated for the whole run.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Disclosure – I paid for the Stan service that viewed this series.
Poker Face Review –
At times, the modern TV landscape is perpetually stuck in a state of cognitive dissonance. People tend to use the word ‘old-fashioned’ in a pejorative sense as if it has nothing of value to give us. We do this while living in perpetual nostalgia cycles that are morphing into nostalgia spirals. But if there is ever an artist that lives in the overlap between those two extremes, it is Rian Johnson, and I was fascinated to see where this show would go every week.
So to set the scene, we open in a casino as the maids try to get the rooms ready for the next occupants, or at least clean for the day, when a maid sees something horrifying on a laptop. Something that needs to be reported. So Natalie (Dascha Polanco) tells her boss (Benjamin Bratt), who tells the head of the casino, Frost (Adrien Brody). But instead of protecting her, they did the unthinkable. The only problem is that working in the Casino, Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne) has the impeccable talent of always knowing when someone is lying. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
A while ago when I was writing my Top 10 Films of All Time, I mentioned that one of the contenders for the list was 10 Things I Hate About You. To this day, I keep going back and forth on that list and how that would probably be one of the changes I would make. With this in mind, and because I was feeling a bit glum, today I cracked open the TV put out a cheese platter and dived back into this seminal film from my youth, and boy does it still hold up.
So to set the scene, we open in on Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a new student at Padua High School as he is shown around all the groups and hierarchies by Michael Eckman (David Krumholtz). It is here where he spies the enchanting Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik) and is immediately entranced. The one small catch (other she has no idea who he is) is that it is widely known that the Stratford sisters can’t date. Well, all that changes when Walter Stratford (Larry Miller), Bianca’s dad changes the rule, Bianca can date when her sister Kat (Julia Stiles) dates. This sets off a chain reaction that involves bad boy Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), local cashed-up rich boy Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan) and a school formal that goes disastrously wrong.
TL;DR – Today we countdown my Top 10 films of all time; from towns where there are a lot of ‘accidents’, to all forms of Sci-Fi, to do you know the man with six fingers on his right hand, and everything in between.
Recently I watched the CineFix crew countdown their Top 10 films, and it had me thinking what are mine? Now it was at this point where I of course naturally spiralled as how can you reduce thousands of films that you have seen into only a Top 10. Just before I threw my hands up in resignation and chucked in the towel I happened to catch an episode of Movies with Mikey on how he determined the best sequel. With this in mind I wondered if there was a set of criteria that I could use to categorise the films into a list that I would be happy with, and after some work, I came up with the following criteria that work for me.
Films that are beautifully constructed
Films that mean something to me
Films that are always re-watchable
Films that have added to my love of the craft of cinema
With this criterion in mind I went through all the likely candidates and with a bit of a struggle I think I have been able to come to a final list, well at least until I change my mind next week, which is always a chance.
TL;DR – It’s not a bad film, but it is more boring that it should be given the exciting subject material.
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
Edward Snowden is one of those people that invokes a very polarising response from the general public, he’s either a hero or a villain, a patriot or a traitor with very little grey room floating around. Now when I first heard they were doing a movie about Snowden, I was really quite interested because as part of my day job I have actually taught about these issues like intelligence gathering, Five Eyes, Media etc. Also, the original documentary Citizenfour by Laura Poitras is an amazingly well-constructed documentary, informative while being thoroughly engaging, and truly worthy of the Oscar it received last year. So I was able to go see Snowden and how was the final product? … well um … unfortunately, it’s just a bit boring.
TL;DR – This movie is trying to be a lot of things, but never really succeeds at any of them
Score – 2 out of 5 stars
So we have hit December and that means that Christmas movies are upon us, and the first cab off the rank this year is The Night Before, so how is it, well, meh. To try and explain this film, imagine taking the comedic sensibilities of a usual Seth Rogan production (see Bad Neighbours, This is the End & The Interview) and smash it together with the iconography and themes of traditional Christmas movie. This is an interesting concept, but in practice, we get a slapdash amalgamation of the two rather than an interesting hybrid.