TV Review – Hyperdrive: Season 1

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

Hyperdrive. Image Credit: Netlfix.

Review

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 wanted.

Continue reading

Movie Review – The Australian Dream

TL;DR The Australian Dream is a film that I think every Australian should watch because it holds up a mirror to Australian society and we need to be ready for what it shows.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

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

The Australian Dream. Image Credit: Madman.

Review

I thought when I sat down to see The Australian Dream that I was ready for what I was going to see. I was a fool. This might be the most important film I have seen all year because it shines the light on an episode that many in Australia feel more than content to sweep under the rug because to do otherwise would mean confronting our history, our way of life, and our commitment to all Australians.

At its core The Australian Dream tells the story of Adam Goodes former Australian of the Year and one of the best Australian Rules Footballers (AFL) to have ever played the game. It is the story of his life, the highs and the lows. However, it is something more than that, it is using the biography to focus in on a problem Australia has had for the last two-hundred odd years and that is how it has dealt with its Indigenous people and well there is a reason that Indigenous Australians call Australia Day, Invasion Day.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Pegasus (Fei Chi Ren Sheng, 飞驰人生)

TL;DR – An exploration of what it means to come back from nothing, good at times, but always held back a little bit from being great    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Pegasus (Fei Chi Ren Sheng, 飞驰人生). Image Credit: CMC Pictures.

Review

I am and always will be a sucker for a good redemption story, where someone comes back from nothing only to triumph. Today we get to explore this idea through the lens of professional racing. Which is always good because at the very least you will get some good car scenes throughout. However, while Pegasus is an interesting film, it is always holding itself back just that little bit more than it should have.

So to set the scene, Zhang Chi (Shen Teng) was one of if not the best rally car driver in all of China. However, one day he decided to take part in an illegal street race that was intercepted by the police. Five years later after serving a suspension, and having to sell everything to pay off his debts, he is a free man. He wants to get back behind the wheel and reclaim his championship for his son but in those five years the game has changed and there is a whole patch of new young drivers.  

Continue reading

Movie Review – We Are Legends (入鐵籠)

TL;DR – A charming story with interesting characters, let down a bit by some technical issues.     

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

We Are Legends (入鐵籠). Image Credit: Bravos Pictures.

Review

Over the last couple of years, I have discovered that I really enjoy a good sports film. There are the great highs, and deep lows, as great talent is on display. Today we are looking for a film out of Hong Kong about the world of MMA and the struggle to be the best, based on the life of Dixin Xiong.

So to set the scene, we open with Bunny (Yiu-Sing Lam) as he rushed from work to an underground fight ring. He is asked by his friend to throw the match, but that is not something he can do. Upsetting a bookie, Bunny has to lie low so he goes back home, where he left on not great terms. As he walks in his brother Jack (Edward Ma) is give a press conference as he is about to fight Jason Chan (Jason Li) whose arm Jack broke last time they fought. There is a lot of tension because even though their adoptive father Eric (Eric Kot) and his sister Simo (Qiu Yuen) are happy to see Bunny, Jason is not.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Creed II

TL;DR – While it may tread along a path that is a bit predictable, the commitment of the actors and the emotion make it a must-see film.    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Creed II. Image Credit: MGM/Warner Bros.

Review

Back in 2015, I didn’t really have any great desire to go see the first Creed film, a spin-off of a long-running boxing series that had felt like it was running out of steam didn’t seem like an enjoyable time in a world where remake after remake was getting greenlit. However, some people that I trust called me on my reluctance and really recommended it, so reluctantly I went and soon discovered how wrong I was. It was a beautiful film of struggle and triumph, fighting when no one believes in you, and how we battle both are internal and external demons. It was the film that immediately put Michael B.Jordan, Tessa Thompson, and Ryan Coogler on my radar of performers to watch out for and ended up on my Top 10 Films of 2015 list. So when I heard they were doing a sequel I was incredibly excited, when I heard Ryan was not directing or writing it, I got a little concerned, but now I have seen it once again I should have known better.   

Continue reading

Movie Review – I, Tonya

TL;DR – An interesting look at the concept of an unreliable narrator, wonderfully acted, but there were some facets of the film that didn’t work for me.

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

I, Tonya

Review

From many angles I, Tonya is a fascinating film, it is incredibly well acted, it is telling the story of one of the weirdest moments in sports history, and it using a really interesting framing method to tell its story. However, while there were a lot of really fascinating factors at play here, there were also some real issues that I feel the unreliable narrator aspect really devalued and muddied the waters in an area that really should not have been. So today we are going to take a dive into the world of figure skating and look at the life of one person that challenged every part of the system.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Battle of the Sexes

TL;DR – When it actually gets to the Battle it is a thrilling film, you just have to get through a lot of setup beforehand, a lot of setup, too much setup.

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Battle of the Sexes. Image Credit: Fox Searchlight.

Review

This is a really odd film, some aspects of it work amazingly, yet other parts fall flat, so it is both fascinating, yet also hard to recommend. Whatever the case, it was interesting to read up on this real-life event, this is because I was not born when it happened, and until this film came out I didn’t even know it existed. So today we are going to look at what did work and what didn’t of this both frustrating and yet also fascinating film.

Continue reading