True Spirit – Movie Review

TL;DR – An impressively acted story that is let down by forced conflict and unnecessary padding.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence

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

The Pink Lady leaves Sydney Harbour.

True Spirit Review

There are these moments that you remember because they touched all of society when they happened. Usually, these are moments of tragedy that cut through the world, but for Queensland and Australia, we had the moment built on triumph. Today’s film is based on that long journey by Jessica Watson across the planet.

So to set the scene, Jessica Watson (Teagan Croft) grew up on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, where water was always on your doorstep. She learned how to sail on the open ocean, catching the wind and riding the waves here thanks to her coach Ben Bryant (Cliff Curtis). Jessica had one dream: to sail around the world by herself, which took a bit of a beating when her boat was severely damaged by a cargo ship in the 2009 trail run. But with everything going against her, Jessica is determined to make the trip before the government legislates that she can’t go.

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Spoiler Alert – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well, if ugly crying in the cinema surrounded by people ugly crying in a cinema is a recommendation for you, then here it is.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

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

A bubble being blown.

Spoiler Alert Review

I am someone who does not mind a good cry in the cinemas. It can be cathartic and shows that the filmmakers have connected with you on an emotional level. However, there is a difference between having a good cry and being so emotionally devastated that you are ugly crying in a room full of strangers. And when I say ugly cry, I mean ugly. Well, today, we are looking at a film that did just that.

So to set the scene, Michael Ausiello (Jim Parsons) focuses his life on his work, like ranking all the Gilmore Girls from Best to Rory [which like fair]. But one night, after being dragged out to a club, he spots a man across the dance floor that smiles at him, so he waves back. Actually, Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge) was smiling at his friend Nina (Nikki M. James) at the bar, but he took up the bait. It is the perfect meet-cute, bar the fact that, spoiler alert, we know from the start that this relationship is destined for tragedy.

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Memory – Movie Review

TL;DR – An interesting concept let down by sloppy execution.     

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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

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

bullet smashes through a window.

Memory Review

As we gallop towards the end of the year, it is time to catch up with the films I had missed along the way. The first of these is Liam Neeson playing an assassin with early onset Alzheimer’s, and while that is a set-up that is at the very least intriguing.

So to set the scene, Alex Lewis (Liam Neeson) is a hitman for hire and has no compunction murdering a son while his mother sits in her hospital bed, unable to do anything but watch. The only issue is that he has early onset Alzheimer’s, a problem in his line of work where there is no such thing as retirement. This all comes to a head when Alex is tasked to take out Ellis Van Camp (Scot Williams) in El Paso, Texas. However, he didn’t know the next target was Beatriz Leon (Mia Sanchez), a young sex-trafficking victim, who should be off-limits. But you don’t say no to people like this.        

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The Peripheral: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – While it expertly builds tension and the world, it ends on a flat note of frustration  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Prime Video service that viewed this show.

End Credit Scene – The final episode, The Creation of a Thousand Forests, has an end credit scene.

Warning – Some scenes may cause distress.

Flynne connects to the VR Set

The Peripheral Review

It has been a while since I have sat down to a good sci-fi mystery. One that makes you scratch your head and wonder how all the different parts connect. I think the last one that truly captured me like this was Westworld. Which is good timing because you can see those influences in the show we are looking at today.

So to set the scene, we open in London in 2099 as Wolf (Gary Carr) sits on a park bench as holographic galleons recreate a battle on the pond in front of him. As he watches a young girl Aelita (Sophia Ally), approaches the bench without shoes. She wants to save a world, not the one they are in now, that is lost, but another world, one that can still be saved. In the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2032, Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) is helping her sick mother, Ella (Melinda Page Hamilton), when she notices that her medicine is being cut by her no-good brother Burton (Jack Reynor). Confronting him, she instead gets dragged into helping some guys beat a level in a WW2 VR Video Game, something she is very good at. At work, she is given a package for her brother, a new VR machine that she can beta test, and get money for her family. But the immersive VR set in a future London is more real than anyone expected. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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The Peripheral: Pilot – TV Review

TL;DR – It does what you need to in a show like this and builds the world and the mystery from the start.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Prime Video service that viewed this show.

Warning – Some scenes may cause distress.

A mod

The Peripheral Review

It has been a while since I have sat down to a good sci-fi mystery. One that makes you scratch your head and wonder how all the different parts connect. I think the last one that truly captured me like this was Westworld. Which is good timing because you can see those influences in the show we are looking at today.

So to set the scene, we open in London in 2099 as Wolf (Gary Carr) sits on a park bench as holographic galleons recreate a battle on the pond in front of him. As he watches a young girl Aelita (Sophia Ally), approaches the bench without shoes. She wants to save a world, not the one they are in now, that is lost, but another world, one that can still be saved. In the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2032, Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) is helping her sick mother, Ella (Melinda Page Hamilton), when she notices that her medicine is being cut by her no-good brother Burton (Jack Reynor). Confronting him, she instead gets dragged into helping some guys beat a level in a WW2 VR Video Game, something she is very good at. At work, she is given a package for her brother, a new VR machine that she can beta test, and get money for her family. But the immersive VR set in a future London is more real than anyone expected. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – Movie Review [Exploring the Past]

TL;DR – A perfectly pleasant presentation of Poirot’s perceived peculiarities as he pertains the proceeds of a pernicious passing.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ streaming service that viewed this film

The Orient Express on a mountainside.

Murder on the Orient Express Review

Every year, you intend to see one or two films, but they manage to slip out of your hands like the one fish they need to eat in Alone. In 2017, one of those films was Murder on the Orient Express, a modern adaptation of the classic book and film. Indeed, if nothing else, the cast list alone merits giving this one a watch. Today, given that I am about to watch the sequel, it felt like a better now than never prospect, so let’s dive in.  

So to set the scene, it is 1934, and we start in Jerusalem at The Wailing Wall, where hotel staff are making eggs for a painfully precise Poirot (Kenneth Branagh). A Rabbi, a Priest, and an Iman are accused of stealing a relic, and the city is about to explode into a riot. Well, one arrested police chief later, and a boat ride to Istanbul, Hercule Poirot and an assortment of colourful characters board the famous/infamous Orient Express, three days of peace and no crime, bar for a bit of murder discovered after an avalanche derails the train. A train full of people, one of them a killer, and the threat that more may die before the snow is cleared.

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Shadow and Bone: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a messy series at times, yet also oddly compelling, and had me watching through all the way.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this episode.

Shadow and Bone. Image Credit: Netflix.

Shadow and Bone Review

As I mentioned in my A Wheel of Time review, I have been struggling to avoid slipping into despair recently and aimlessly scrolling through things on streaming, trying to find something. However, instead of this spiralling behaviour, I decided to focus on something, which was catching up on the Fantasy TV shows I missed from 2021. The next cab off the rack is from another books series I have been meaning to look at but have not had the time.

So to set the scene, a long time ago, the nation of Ravka was a single whole. However, with the manifestations of a powerful Shadow Summoner, a great veil of evil called the Fold now splits the nation in two. One can cross it, but it is dangerous, and many get lost to the things that hide in the dark. In the current day, Ravka is at war and needs all the skilled warriors they can get, including childhood friends Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), who is an assistant cartographer, and Malyen “Mal” Oretsev (Archie Renaux), who works as a tracker. When Mal is chosen to accompany a group through the Fold, Alina manipulates the situation so she can come along too. However, when the convoy is attacked, Alina accidentally reveals that she is a Sun Summoner, the only Sun Summoner. Meanwhile, across the ocean in Ketterdam, there is a contract going for one million kruge, and The Crows, made up of Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter), Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman), and Jesper Fahey (Kit Young), are trying to outmanoeuvre the competition. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.     

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The Wheel of Time: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a show that looks amazing but always feels like it is just about to click together but does not quite get there

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

The Wheel of Time. Image Credit: Amazon Prime.

The Wheel of Time Review

I have been at a bit of a loss for a while now, leading to me spending nights just binge-watching Alone, which is not a good headspace when you live alone in the middle of a global pandemic. Realising that it was probably not good for me to continue down that road, I decided to focus those energies elsewhere and catch up on some of the Fantasy shows that I missed last year. The first of the three is Amazon Prime’s dive into the 14-book world of Rober Jordan.

So to set the scene, 3000 years before the start of the series, there was a battle to lock The Dark One (Fares Fares) away for good, only it backfired. The Dragon was tainted and, as legend stated, ‘broke the world’. This legacy is felt to this day as men still can’t channel the One Power without being driven insane eventually. However, prophecy has stated that the Dragon will be reborn again and will heal the world or break it apart again. This is the mission that Aes Sedai Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) and her ward al’Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) are on as they race to find the Dragon before others of her sect, or even the Dark One finds them. As fate would have it, five people fit the bill for the Dragon, Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins), the Wisdom of Emond’s Field, her apprentice Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden). Egwene’s love interest Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski), and his best friends Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) and Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris). However, before Moiraine could tell which of the five could be the Dragon, an army of Trollocs attacked the village. Now we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.     

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Reacher: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – What we get here is a solid action series that hits all the beats it needs to do, not revolutionary, but still solid.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime subscription that viewed this series.

Reacher. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Reacher Review

When I first heard there would be a new Reacher series, my first impressions were ‘meh’. I had watched the films starring Tom Cruise, and while Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was okay, it was never more than okay. But then that trailer dropped, and I went from ‘meh’ to ‘hmmm’, and now that I have seen it, I have gone from ‘hmmm’ to ‘nice’.

So to set the scene, one fine morning Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) or just Reacher got off the bus from Tampa at the small town of Margrave, Georgia. As he walks into town, his first stop is the local diner for coffee and a slice of peach pie. The only problem is before he can even touch his pie, multiple police cars pull up and take him into custardy. For you see, there was a murder in the town, and someone matching his description was seen at the crime scene. The only problem is that Reacher did not do it, and the person who did confess to the crime also clearly didn’t do it. So the question is ‘what is going on in Margrave, Georgia’? Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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Station Eleven – TV Review

TL;DR – This stunningly beautiful show is about the connections we make and how love can triumph even in the darkest of worlds.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Stan subscription that viewed this series.

Station Eleven. Image Credit: Stan.

Station Eleven Review

I came into Station Eleven not knowing anything really about what I was getting myself into. I had heard vague mentions that it was pretty good, and I knew it was post-apocalyptic, but not much more than that. So I was completely unaware that I would inhale this show in the space of a week and everything about it. It has been a long while since a show has affected me like this, and goodness, what a ride it was.

So to set the scene, one night in Chicago, Jeevan Chaudhary (Himesh Patel) is seeing to opening night of the play King Lear. However, halfway through, something odd happens on stage and star Arthur Leander (Gael García Bernal) collapses on stage. Jeevan rushes to help, but Arthur dies of a heart attack. As chaos erupts around him, Jeevan finds one of the child actors, Kirsten (Matilda Lawler), has been forgotten, so he offers to walk her home. But after finding no one home at Kirsten’s house, Jeevan got a call from his sister (Tiya Sircar), that works at the hospital. The flu spreading across Europe is not usual. The death rate was 999 in 1000, and a kid had arrived in Chicago from Moscow that day. The flu is here, and it will rip through the population in 24 hours. Jeevan has to get supplies and head to his brother Fred’s (Nabhaan Rizwan) apartment, don’t talk to anyone because society is about to collapse. Just one problem, what does he do with Kirsten? Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.     

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