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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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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House of the Dragon: Second of His Name – TV Review

TL;DR – We continue our slow build but at a pace that is verging on snail-like, which is odd given it has been about 2-years in-universe since the pilot episode.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

King Viserys I Targaryen stares at a fire.

House of the Dragon Review

This history of the world, as well as literature, is littered with people doing stupid things that come back to stab them in the back. Indeed, Game of Thrones was famous for this throughout its run. Some chose honour over personal power, and that cost them their lives. Some overplayed their hands and were caught in the snare. Others still acted irrationally and rode themselves into an early grave. In House of the Dragon, we are starting to see some of these patterns rise again, which does not bode well for the little people about to get caught in the crossfire of dragons.   

So to set the scene, while King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) had declared that Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) was to be his new heir over Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), many in the court still wanted him to remarry quick. First, as a way of shoring up the kingdom with a marriage alliance. But also because, as the “Queen Who Never Was”, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) put it, the men would rather burn the kingdom to the ground than put a woman on the throne. While Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) maneuvered to pair the elderly king with his young daughter Laena Velaryon (Nova Foueillis-Mosé). The King stunned the small council and his own daughter when he announced that Rhaenyra’s lady-in-waiting, Lady Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey), would be his next bride. 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 Rogue Prince – TV Review

TL;DR – While still mainly just politics this week, the world has come into shape, and those intrigues have weight.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Death on the stepstones.

House of the Dragon Review

There is one genre that I do particularly like, and it is a political drama. It is part of why I still think Deep Space Nine is my favourite of all the Star Treks because it didn’t move, so it had to deal with the politics of where it was. However, last week was mostly just politics, but it felt flat for me. I was wondering if the show would click with me at all, but this week gave a better chance at that.

So to set the scene, in last week’s The Heirs of the Dragon, we discovered a dynasty at the point of fracture. King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) was named the king in a contested succession, and while he has tried to be a strong king, many see him as weak. But tragedy struck when his Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke) died in childbirth, and even a caesarean section could not save their child. With succession now being called into question again, the king finally cuts off his petulant brother Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and declares his daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) as heir. 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 Heirs of the Dragon – TV Review

TL;DR – You can feel them trying to get lightning to strike twice, but it never rose above being just fine, bar maybe the tournament scene.  

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

A dragon flies through the clouds.

House of the Dragon Review

There are many TV shows that come and go, but few have stamped a legacy as much as Game of Thrones. But that legacy is complicated and fraught with tension. It rose to be one of the most well know shows in TV history, a place where everyone had to know what was going on, and moments like the Red Wedding echo across the zeitgeist in a way maybe only the MASH finale and moments like that had. But then Seasons Eight happened, and it was like watching all that momentum crash against a solid object like one of those experiments in MythBusters. The entire marketing push disappeared overnight under the wave of discontent, and I wondered if this was the last we would see of this universe that someone had paid a lot of money to dabble in. there were talks of sequels and prequels. Still, none of them ever got anywhere, well, that is until today.

So to set the scene, in the dying days of King Jaehaerys Targaryen (Michael Carter), there was a succession question, so he held a Great Council in the ruins of Harrenhal. Where the lords combined supporting Prince Viserys (Paddy Considine) over Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best). Eleven years later, King Viserys’ wife, Queen Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), is pregnant again, and all hope is that it is a boy. But the vultures are starting to circle, and one of those with knives out might be the king’s own brother Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), Commander of the City Watch. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Morbius – Movie Review

TL;DR – A soulless husk of a film that is barely made watchable by the fact that at least Matt Smith is having fun  

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There are two mid-credit scenes

Disclosure – I was invited to a screening of this film

Morbius. Image Credit: Sony Pictures.

Morbius Review

There are moments when the credits roll, and you sit back in your chair and wonder, what did I just waste my time with? Then, of course, you immediately go, well, maybe I am having a bad day, perhaps the film is targeting a different audience, or did I just miss something. But then you look around and feel the audience’s tone and discover that you are not alone with your disbelief. Well, today, we have a film that, when the credits rolled, a whole room of people collectively shrugged at the very meh-ness that they just watched.

So to set the scene, 25-years ago in Greece, two boys who needed three blood transfusions a day to live met in a clinic. The head of the clinic, Emil Nikols (Jared Harris), discovers that young Michael (Charlie Shotwell) is a prodigy and gets him into a private school, and he promises his friend Milo (Joseph Esson) that he will find a cure. In the now, Michael (Jared Leto) takes a helicopter ride to a cave in Costa Rica to capture some bats that only feed on blood. He is hopeful that inserting bat DNA into a human might cure him and Milo (Matt Smith). It works … but at what cost? Well, a boat full of mercs, at least.

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Last Night in Soho – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well Last Night In Soho is a film that threatens to go off the rails at any moment yet somehow manages to hold on just by its fingertips   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene, but there are images during the credits

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

Warning – This film depicts scenes of abuse

Warning – This film features sequences with flashing lights

Last Night in Soho. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Last Night in Soho Review

Some directors out there have built up such a strong reputation that you know you will be checking out their next film no matter the genre/tone/story. For me, one of those directors is Edgar Wright, who has never once bored me with one of his films. Indeed, we have already gotten his take on a talking-heads documentary this year with The Sparks Brothers, and I was not going to turn down the chance to see two new films from him in the one year. I will say that this is a film that is best seen with as little information as possible, so if you are intrigued, you may want to stop reading here.

So to set the scene, Eloise “Ellie” Turner (Thomasin McKenzie) lives in rural Cornwell but has always dreamed of being a major fashion designer in London. She is obsessed with the style of the 1960s and capturing that time in her work. It was good news for Ellie when she got accepted into the London College of Fashion; thus, she made the long trip into the big city. After some interesting interactions with her roommate Jocasta (Synnøve Karlsen), Ellie moves into a bed/sit in Goodge Place being rented out by Ms Collins (Diana Rigg). This old lady had owned the property for decades. It is perfect for Ellie, but as she sleeps, she visits an apparition from the past, Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a singer and dancer in 1960s London. 

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Movie Review – Official Secrets

TL;DR – A powerful exploration of what happens when all the institutions that are meant to protect us from abuse of power fail   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Official Secrets. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

There are films that are perfectly timed in their release, sometimes it is the world shifting around you, sometimes you get lucky and just so happen to be shining a light on something that is about to come to the foreground, and sometimes it is always good to be reminded of speaking truth to power. Well, today we get a film that does all three of those as it explores the absolute mess that was the justifications for the Iraq War. A mess that America, UK, Australia, and others found themselves in through no one’s fault but their own.

So to set the scene, in 2003 the world was on the cusp of war as America in the wake of September 11 has set its sights on a new foe Iraq. Not happy to just sit and wait for the weapon inspectors to do their jobs, they were placing enormous pressure on the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution allowing the war. As this is happening, Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley) was working in the UK’s signal intelligence agency GCHQ as a translator, when she receives a memo from her superiors asking them to support NSA efforts to pressure UNSC diplomates to vote for the war. As this goes against her job and is quite possibly illegal, she takes a copy of the memo and gives it to a trusted friend to see if it is as bad as she thought it was, and well it was.

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Movie Review – Terminator Genisys

TL;DRA Bit of fun, and a good watch, if you don’t take it too seriously

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Terminator Genisys. Image Credit: Paramount.

Review

So the basic premise of all the Terminator films are in the deep dark future of 1994 a computer system called Skynet rose up and nuked the world and now it and the remaining humans are fighting for survival. Skynet feeling that it is losing does what all computers do, cheat and sends back through time a terminator to kill one of the Connors. Since the best film in the series Terminator 2: Judgement Day, we have had one ok but mostly forgettable sequel, one TV series that started strong, got messed with by executives and then finished strong but not strong enough to stave of cancellation and another movie sequel which was a train wreck from start of filming to the end. So how does this film hold up? Not bad, generally speaking.

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