Movie Review – Sol Levante

TL;DR – An interesting vignette, but more focusing on the style than the substance      
Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Sol Levante. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I mentioned earlier this week with Familiar Strangers, that it was the shortest film that I had ever reviewed for the sight, well not three days later we are going to beat that record with Sol Levante. An animated short made in 4K HD that I don’t think anyone in the world is going to see at 4K at least not for the foreseeable future.

This is an interesting film to review because there is not a whole lot to it, but then it also feels like there is a bit more to it than first appears. There is not a story, bar a young woman fighting I want to say demons across a shifting landscape. There are quite a few of these set-piece moments that the fit into the three minutes run time that hint at things. It is a film that fits into the sort of nexus of fantasy, science fiction, and spiritual genres and is steeped in symbolism if nothing else.  

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Movie Review – The 9th Precinct (局分九第)

TL;DR – An interesting look at the barrier between life and death but takes some short cuts to get there    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

The 9th Precinct (局分九第). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Generally, the time we get films about what goes bump in the night it is around Halloween and not Christmas. So, it was a nice change of pace to get a film that explores the darker side of the world and what happens after death. With this in mind, today we explore a film that looks at that bridge between the living and the dead and what happens when you start playing with that fixed barrier.

So to set the scene, Chen Chia-Hao (Roy Chiu) works as a police officer for the Houli Police Agency. However, he has always led a special life because he can see the undead. This has led to him only rising to the rank of traffic cop even though he shows exemplary skill. One day while on patrol he finds a killer but during the arrest, his partner is shot and killed. He would have been killed too but a ghost stepped in and saved him. He refuses to change his report about a ghost and is fired but on his way out he is grabbed by the mysterious Mr Chang (Chia-Chia Peng) and given an offer to continue working for the police as a member of the secretive 9th Precinct, the ghost crimes bureau.

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Movie Review – Fragmentary

TL;DR – A look at the effects of death and trauma, that then gets weird.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Fragmentary. Image Credit: We're The Weirdos Productions.

Review

One of the things I think people have a hard time comprehending is the lasting impact of trauma and what it does to a person. The impacts that reaching into the past, present, and future. Today we look at a film that explores that reality and the effect it can have and how people can be real asses about it.

So to set the scene, Ben (Jace Pickard) and Allison (Debbie Neilson) are living their lives, exploring the potential names for their coming baby, when there is a crash of glass outside. Ben goes outside to see what caused it when Allison noticed the fridge door has been left open, but no one has been in the fridge. When they get back inside the power goes out and when they flip the fuse back on the attack happens. Two years later, Ben has finally started a new relationship when he is meeting the parents and drinks wine for the first time in two years and blacks out, but where did he go when he blacked out?    

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TV Review – Cannon Busters: Season 1

TL;DR – This is a well-made animation, with an interesting story, world and characters. Full of interesting juxtapositions like magic and technology. 

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Cannon Busters. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I was thinking the other day of my joy at the old Monkey Magic stories. It had me wonder that it has been a long time since I have seen a good travel story where a group of disparate people are brought together through fate and then discover all their flaws and joys in the face of shared adversity. Well as fate would have it just a couple of days later a little surprise dropped on Netflix which was everything I didn’t know I wanted.  

So to set the scene, we open in on a desert wasteland on an alien (maybe) planet with a disintegrating moon floating in orbit. Our first clue that this is an interesting place is the image of a giant bull trampling across the plains in search of a toilet. We cut to a town on the frontier full of dust, wood, and a casual disregard for life. There are humans and other creatures, and all sorts of robots, mechs, and mechanical augmentations. In the streets walks Sam (A Special Associate Model) (Kamali Minter) from the faraway kingdom of Botica. She does not seem to fit the tone of the local area, making friends in a land of gunfights and wanton murder. But she is on a mission to find a lost prince and the one person who can help her do that Philly the Kid (Kenn Michael). One issue is that he does not really want to help, also he is cursed and can’t die, also he had a large bounty on him that everyone is trying to collect. So Sam, Philly, and Casey (Kamali Minter) a maintenance droid head off on the mission in their pink coin-operated Mustang that can transform into a bull. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Jinn Season 1

TL;DR – It has an interesting premise that sucks you in, great cast, great locations, but the story was a bit hit and miss at times.   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Jinn. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

In a world full of stories you can use to draw inspiration from, it is surprising that more shows don’t make use of the mythology and stories from the Arabian Peninsula. It feels like it starts and stops with Aladdin at times, at least in shows that make it to the west. But there are such a variety of narratives that you could draw from to tell interesting stories. Today we are looking at a TV series that is taking that opportunity with Jinn.

So to set the scene, we open in on Amman, Jorden as a school group gets ready for a bus ride to Petra. You have the usual clicks appearing, you have Tarek (Abd Alrazzaq Jarkas), Omar (Mohammad Hindieh), and Nasser (Mohammad Nizar) who are part of the popular crowd and who are happy to torment Yassin (Sultan Alkhail) who they think is telling on them to the teacher Ms Ola (Hana Chamoun). You have the power couple in Mira (Salma Malhas) and Fahed (Yasser Al Hadi), the mythology nerd Hassan (Zaid Zoubi) that just won’t shut up about Jinn. When they get to Petra they start messing around and Tarek takes pleasure in tormenting Yassin, but later that night after a few drinks tragedy strikes when Tarek falls down a canyon wall. However, the question remains, did he fall, or was he pushed, and if he was, what or who pushed him? Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – The OA Part 1 and 2

TL;DR – This is a show that entrances you and then just when you think you have everything worked out it shifts the game completely and you are left in awe with what just happened.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The OA Part 1 and 2. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I have tried to keep up with all the new sci-fi shows dropping on Netflix, but occasionally one of them slips through the cracks, and this week we are looking at one of those with the brilliantly odd The OA. When a friend highly suggested that I give it a watch I thought I would get it an episode or two to see how it was and then at some point during Part 2 I looked up to see that it was 3 am and I truly wondered if I should watch the two last episodes then and there, so that should give you an indication as to how good the show is.

So to set the scene, we open with a rainy day as people drive over a bridge when someone records a woman in white running across to the edge of the bridge and then falling off into the water below. She survives, but won’t tell anybody her name or where she is from. Meanwhile in a small town, in a housing estate that was never finished, Nancy (Alice Krige) and Able (Scott Wilson) are going about their day when someone sends them a link to something online and they watch at their long lost daughter Prairie (Brit Marling) jump off a bridge. They race to her hospital, retelling the story of how their daughter went missing one day seven years ago, they race into her hospital bed where the woman in front of them goes by The OA not Prairie and does not recognise who just walked in, that is until she touches Nancy’s face. For you see when Prairie was taken she was blind but now she can see. Now, from this point onwards, we will be looking at Part 1 and Part 2 as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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TV Review – Tidelands: Season One

TL;DR – This opener immediately drags you into a world of multiple factions that are all untrustworthy and makes you wonder who will you back?

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Tidelands. Image Credit: Netflix

Review

There is this surreal moment that, I assume if you lived in Vancouver or cities like that you would be used to, when you see someone drive down a street in a film and then instantly realise that you have driven there before. You know those cane fields, the factories, you know that bridge, that university hall. It has happened before with places I have visited overseas, but never here in Australia, and never with Brisbane playing Brisbane.However as a critic, this is potentially dangerous territory, do I like the show because it is good or because I have a natural drive to see the local film industry do well. However, with Netflix’s new show Tidelands, I don’t think this is the case, and as I review all of the first season I think you will see immediately if this is a show that you should dive into or not.     

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TV Review – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season One

TL;DR – Sabrina is a show that blends the occult with whimsy in a way I have not seen in a long while. It is a show where cannibalism and finding your one true love go hand in hand, and that is either going to interest you or put you right off.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

 

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Image Credit: Netflix

 

Review

I do not envy the task of anyone who is given the job of rebooting something that has not one but two beloved incarnations. Whether it was the original comic or the 1990s TV series, a lot of people have grown up with Sabrina being a touchstone in pop culture. So, will bringing Sabrina to a new generation create that same moment, well only time will tell, but today we take a look at how the first season came together.

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TV Review – Picnic at Hanging Rock

TL;DR – A surreal experience that plays on the power structures of the time, an important retelling of an Australian classic that everyone should watch.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Picnic at Hanging Rock banner

Review

What happened to the girls at the Hanging Rock?” It is one of the most famous questions in Australian mythology. Was there foul play, did they run away, was it something out of this world? The book by Joan Lindsay and the fictional yet presented as the real account is one of the most important works of literature to out of this fair country, and it was turned into a very successful film in 1975. Well, that was over forty years ago and today we have a new take at adapting the classic book into a mini-series format. Today we take a look at the world at the turn of the twentieth century, a world of pomp and ceremony, and a world of oppression and conformity.

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TV Review – The Good Place: Season 2

TL;DR – Season Two took the series in a fascinating direction, that left you wondering where the series would go next. It puts the human in humanities.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Good Place

Review

I have to be honest that I was a latecomer to The Good Place, I had heard about it in passing of course, but Season One just wasn’t really accessible for me, and when Season Two started and was on Netflix I was snowed under with other projects. Then one day I had a couple of hours free so I watched the first couple of episodes to see what all the fuss was about, and in true Netflix binge style I has soon watched all of Season One and what was available of Season Two and couldn’t believe I had to wait a week for the next episode. So now that Season Two is over, we are going to take a look back at Michael Schur’s sophomore’s outing. Now because we are looking at the season as a whole, there will be [SPOILERS] for all of Season Two and of course Season One, so if you have not watched either season can I recommend that you go binge watch everything and then come back.

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