TL;DR – There is an interesting concept here, but the film goes out of its way to make its characters come off as bland and one-note
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
It has been an interesting couple of years for the Alien Invasion
genre after being almost abandoned in the years since September 11. Long gone
were the triumphant speeches and bold proclamations and in were gritty scenes
of dirt and muck. However, then there was a resurgence with different countries
taking a look with Attack the Block in
the UK and Occupation
in Australia to name just two. Well, today we get to see China’s take on the
global destruction masterpiece. But will it soar or will fall, only time will
So to set the scene, in the not too distant future the first manned Chinese
space ship brought back a new energy source Xianteng that revolutionised the
world. Everything was great but the energy source was like a beacon drawing the
aliens to Earth. Starting with Rio de Janeiro the mothership moved across the
planet, destroying city after city. In a last-ditch effort, the United Nations
and what was left of the world’s government set up base in the last major
centre Shanghai. Here they hope to make a last stand and maybe just maybe fight
back and take back the planet before more cities like Los Angeles and New Delhi
are turned to ash.
TL;DR – This is really a slow
burn but then it grabs you as all the different parts start to merge together
and you discover what is behind The Island and the number 39.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
One of my great joys is watching the TV Show Survivor where they throw a bunch of random people on an island and
subject them to the elements and every puzzle under the Sun. It is such an
interesting scenario, that I am surprised that we don’t see more people take
advantage of it narratively. Well, today we get to look at a show that does
just that, exploring a world where you can trust nothing and no one, not even
what you can see with your own two eyes.
So to set the scene, one morning you wake up, but you are not at home in your
bed, you are on a beach lying in the sand with waves crashing into you. To add
to this you cannot remember how you got there, or even who you are. As Chase (Natalie
Martinez) tries to get her bearings she stumbles across KC (Kate Bosworth) and
discovers that she is not alone. There are ten of them and no one can remember
anything bar waking up on the beach. As they try to find something of their
past lives, the reality of their situation dawns and soon the power politics
show their heads and worse. Now from here, we will be looking at the season
as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – A biopic that had a real chance of being something interesting that unfortunately could never quite stick the landing.
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
For a while now in the evening before going to sleep I have been taking to
watching a couple of episodes of Penn and
Teller: Fool Us. Penn and Teller are American magicians and one of the many
things they are known for is debunking a number of things including the techniques
behind spiritualism and mentalism. It has been interesting getting little hints
as to how some of these tricks are done, so when a biography of one of the key
spiritualists in France dropped on Netflix I was really interested to see how
it would go.
So to set the scene, it is the 1850s in Paris, France and Rivail (Leonardo
Medeiros) is a professor and teacher. He is a man of reason of logic and takes
deep offence when a priest bursts into his classroom to give the catechisms. The
influence of Catholicism in the classroom is a deal-breaker for the teacher and
he retires. Struggling to find work, he agrees to do some translating work and
it is here that is he is drawn into the new fad exploding among the fringes and
not so fringes of French society.
As time marches on there are three things that remain inevitable, death, taxes,
and Netflix will drop another adorable romantic comedy on you when you least
expect it. Now while we hope your day is not filled with the first two, the
question that we will try to answer is if it should be filled with the third.
So to set the scene, Gabriela (Christina Milian) works in an investment firm in
San Francisco and is getting ready for her first big pitch only to get stuffed
over by her dude-frat-bro colleagues. Well, time to regroup, but then the company
she works just collapsed and then she finally realised that her wanker of a boyfriend
has severe commitment issues. Well time to smother your sorrows in ice cream
and then sign up to what is clearly a scam to win an inn in New Zealand. Well
surprise she won the inn, but like all things the profile pictures on the
internet can be misleading.
TL;DR – This was such a surreal
experience even if it might have been the most uncritical political interview I
have seen in a while.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
It has been a long time since I have been able to catch an episode of Man Vs.
Wild. Back in the day it was this weird yet deeply compelling story of Bear
Grylls dropping himself into the wild (or apparently wild) locations and trying
to survive by consuming some of his own urine. Well if anything is going to get
me back into a show it is Bear Grylls going on a trip with the Indian Prime
I was wondering how if at all the show had changed over the years and in the
first five minutes of the show Bear picks up and examines some elephant dung.
So the more things change the more they stay the same. Over the years, there
have been some contentions as to how staged the show is if at all. Well here
when you have a world leader in a place that he could get killed by a tiger so
there is no chance they would be allowed to walk around by themselves and I
liked that they acknowledged that the Secret Service is around.
TL;DR – This is part Fast and the Furious, part Ninja Warrior, part tyre-screech aficionado
love letter. What a fantastic idea, however, to make an idea work you need execution
and here is where it falls down.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Rarely in my life have I heard an idea that clicked as much as I did today “Ninja Warrior but with cars?” I mean
just think of that and your mind is racing through all the possibilities.
Indeed, watching that first episode it all started to click and then as that
episode went on I started to notice things not quite coming together and as the
rest of the season went on it was only compounded by one odd moment after
another. So today we are going to have a look at a show where there is this
interesting divide between ambition and execution.
Hyperdrive is a show all about
putting the cars and the experts that drive them to the extremes. The drivers
come from America, Brazil, Japan, and Europe and are absolute experts in their fields.
Now before we move on I do want to say none of the critiques I have are for the
drivers who are clearly doing an amazing job with what they have been given and
are clearly skilled technicians and experts in their fields. Each round they go
through a set of challenges like doing a reverse 360° turn in-between tight
penalty pylons or drifting your car back and forth along the sides chicane
trying to hit targets with the back end of your vehicle. All while wanting to
be the fastest because if you are too slow you are eliminated. As far as a
concept goes you have a winner here and there are a lot of touches that help add
to this, like putting the commentary booth over the top of the finish line, or
having the targets full of balls that fly out when they are hit, or the
industrial setting that really gels with the aesthetic of the race. However,
while there are these small touches and some interesting challenges it is soon
clear that there are some things that just have not translated as well as they
TL;DR – A fun little film about small towns and that chaos they can cause for themselves.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is an end-credit scene
Ah, small-town life. If there was ever a concept
that can transcend language and culture it is the chaos that a small town can
find itself in if properly motivated. Today we get to look at a film that has
one of the more interesting setups that I have seen and uses it to tell a
delightful story about what happens when many competing visions clash together.
So to set the scene, we open in on the town of Tellería which is located in the
Castile-León Automatous Community of Spain but they feel they should be in
Basque given the vast majority of the town identifies that way. For years the
town has campaigned for this and just when it looked like it would finally
happen, politics above their heads means that they are stuck as part of a compromise.
Well all is not completely lost, because on that same day as the great embarrassment,
local son Gorka (Jon Plazaola), heritage specialist Yolanda (Maggie Civantos),
and priest Don Anselmo (Secun de la Rosa) stumble across a secret tomb in the
local church in it is the grave of the son of William Tell the famous Swiss
hero and reveals that it is a lost Swiss Canton. Now, the town has an option
because all of a sudden that is more Swiss than Spanish even though they are