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Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)
Stranger Things light
Ugh! Kidcentric version of what should be a wry and well written series. I liked the three previous GBs. The sardonic humor, puns and snarkiness made me entertained. This film repeats the same old trite kids move to new town and are maladjusted themes. Kids pal up and get accepted. Parts of the film are boosted from the Tremors series. The only thing that saved this film was Paul Rudd who exudes snark. Get rid of most of this film and write a sequel around him....throw in Akwafina and you might have a good movie. If you have kids you want to get rid of for the afternoon so you can watch something better give them this. If you're older than fourteen don't bother.
The basic story would be great if the writers had bothered to do some world building. Instead we get a lazy. Exposition filled series of episodes with a plot that has more holes than Swiss cheese. Kyle remembers nothing from eight years ago. Somehow he has a wife and a kid. The kid has to be ten. No indication she is adopted. There are a bunch of action scenes with little real development to actually make them drive the story. These writers must have stayed home from the class that discussed character development. There is none unless you count cardboard personas as interesting. The villains are just snarky. I will probably get through the first season by fast forwarding.
The Night Agent (2023)
Had its moments
The first four episodes were entertaining enough. The subsequent episodes became cluttered with a plot full of holes, multiple minor characters, and too many twists. Ten episodes was way too long to carry the story. The major characters were developed unevenly. Can we get a series where modern people don't have family/daddy issues? Is America headed in the wrong direction because of bad parenting? I like the two evil villains and wish they could have their own Killing Eve type show. Psycho hit lady was actually the best character. Her boyfriend was a close second.
I made it through all ten long episodes in spite of the overly complicated plot and awful music. Back to watching reruns of Dr Who til spring returns.
Buy My House (2022)
A bunch of rich real estate moguls selling ugly houses. No one in this show seems aware that there is a housing crisis in this country. The problem isn't just finding homes for the unhorsed. It's also about affordable homes for folks with moderate incomes. The cost of building apartments and single family homes has gone up because these insensitive real estate moguls have one goal in mind. Maximizing profit. Throw in rising interest rates and the short supply of costly building materials and you have the mess we see in this country. Shame on Netflix for this utter trash. How about getting these people to come up with solutions that would help America. And that's not maximizing profit on a place with a water sucking pool.
Perry Mason (2020)
Jake Not Perry
As others have pointed out this isn't the Perry Mason of the old series or the books. It's gritty noir LA in the thirties. Police corruption, a character like Amy Semple McPherson and Hollywood high jinx are part of the story line. The deep dirt is contrasted with scenes of palm trees and snappy Mission style home shown in vintage post card colors. Perry Mason is really Jake from China Town. He is a lost soul suffering from PTSD, alcoholism and cynicism. Yet there is still some quality of mercy in him. He turns from cheap gum shoe to finding a new life as a lawyer Other characters from the Gardner works are fully developed into real people. Della Street is given her due. She's smart, ambitious and a stand out in a culture that does not value talented women. I was happy to see the recreation of Angels Flight. This was a trolly that ran the hill near Old Town LA. It was torn down when certain big corporations decided that selling busses and oil was more important than cheap clean transportation. It took me a couple episodes to warm to the chane from the old Mason to the new dark Perry. It was worth sticking to the series to get there.
Tom Cruise plays Tom Cruise. He shoots stuff, rides a motor cycle and blows up stuff. This movie is less Sci Fi and more about Cruise doing the same thing he does in every move. If you love Cruise this is your movie. There are too many plots holes in Oblivion. The world looks good but we have a sketchy idea of how it works. It's rare that I want more exposition. It would have helped. Too many threads that go nowhere. Are the pilots clones? Why is there a watery oasis with a secret cabin in the apocalyptic world? There are a number of good ideas in this movie that could have been better developed. A book series would have been a better place for the story.
Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022)
Does Justice to Byatt
A S Byatt is one of my most favored modern authors. She writes beautiful fiction that often uses framing to tell the stories of her characters. She moves her narrative through time giving the reader insight into the humanness of the folks in her tales. This isn't easy to carry into film. The movie version of Possession was an atrocity. Miller has done an amazing job of taking Byatt's Djinn story and arranging it in 3000 Years of Longing. I think this is my year's choice for best movie. It isn't for everyone. Best to avoid if you want a super hero experience. And I'd watch Tilda Swinton play. Ben Franklin if that show ever got made.
Limitless: Fasting (2022)
Not well researched
Yes. Fasting is a thing and there is some good science that indicates that it has benefits. The NYT has done some articles on this. The fast is normally for 24hours in those stories. It does not hurt to skip a meal. That isn't my objection to this episode. A tribe of hunters is portrayed going after food. It is stated that they have not eaten for several days. That the tribe will starve if they don't slap a dead animal onto a fire for their people. The role of women gathering plant based nutrition is ignored. To the point ; a woman is pictured at a grind stone processing seeds. That is food. This has been a constant theme in the study of Hunter/Gather societies. Emphasis is on the male role in these groups. Women probably provide the basic diet. Protein is important but it's not the only source of nutrition. In some societies protein distribution may be selective. Males get first dibs on the meat. Men hunt but they don't carry babies or lactate. In Children of Ash and Elm Neil Price points to evidence of malnutrition in females in Migration Age Scandinavian. A condition not present in males. First dibs to males in a society rich in seafood and farmed meat. They got my Anthropologist goat in this episode. And yes I have killed and eaten my own food. And gathered. I can even make the tools. That would be the real challenge.
Where We Call Home (2022)
The first season is better than the second season. The homes in season one seem to be more personal and comfortable. I could see myself living in a couple of the structures. The second season does nothing for me. Structure after structure looks the same. Huge spaces with impersonal industrial design owned by people with far more financial resources than most viewers could scrape together. I'm happy that old buildings are being preserved. However in a time when homelessness is rampant someone living in a 50,000. Sq foot McMansions seems unreal. If you have the money to have a huge garage for your car collection perhaps you should look at your perspective on life.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022)
Fresh, funny and a new twist
I'm glad I gave this show a chance. It got better with every episode. It's fresh and gives a new twit to the genre. I wasn't impressed by the first episode but by the end...hope we see a season 2 soon. The finale in Season 6 gives me hope that Marvel will produce shows that step out of the formulaic super hero product that we've seen over the years. Marvel has upgraded their comic story lines to include more than just steroidally inspired men with daddy issues. With She Hulk we are starting to see a broader approach to an oeuvre that can include comedy and even social issues. Many of the bad reviews here come from manstratng boys who give a one review to anyone who doesn't fit into the narrow view of what Marvel should be. Not content with degrading the review process they also give a thumbs down to any review that gives a good rating to a work. So ignore the fan boys, watch this show and judge for yourself. And thank K. E. V. I. N. For giving us something.
Last Seen Alive (2022)
Unfocused plot that seems to be two movies crammed into one. Plot 1: Man searches for possibly kidnapped wife. And a nice police detective who helps him. Plot2: same man finds information on the suspected kidnapper, doesn't contact the nice cop, and then wanders into a meth lab where he goes for reasons too complicated to explain here. Man then goes crazy Eddie and single-handedly takes down several people with guns he finds lying around then sets stuff on fire. Nice cop shows up. Phew. Add to that Butler's hair changes color for no explained reason at the end of the movie going from dark to red. I like Butler and always hope he'll be in a good film but nope. Jaime Alexander is just sort of there. This movie is just dumb.
House of the Dragon: The Princess and the Queen (2022)
Can't see what's going on
Another episode where the director has decided everything needs to be shot by candle light. I have no idea what's going on in this show in half the episodes because I it's too dark for an iPad. And I don't need to see a teenager spanking the monkey out a window. We get the Aegon is a jerk without this scene. In order to publish this review I need to type 600 characters so here goes. The last three episodes are obscured by low lighting. Do these folks not watch heir own productions? Nutflakes has a scrubber bar where you can adjust brightness. So get with it HBO and catch a clue that not everyone has a TV.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (2022)
Beautiful and Entertaining References the whole Tolkien oeuvre
Cinematography is wonderful. The characters are intriguing. Given that the writers had limited access to the full Tolkien works I think they've done a marvelous job presenting the story. Lots of mysteries and things to speculate on in the show. We get to visit the places from the second age that are merely mentioned in LOTR. The panoramic view of Numenor is stunning. We see the fabled ships of the city as well as the great mountain. The hall of the Dwarves is amazing. Khazad-Dun before it's fall and in full might. The hall is in its full might with theDurins ruling. The Orcs are horrible. The Elves noble and men are men.
I find the one star reviews of the show odd. This is a wonderful show for kids and folk new to the story. Claiming to find the show deviates from Tolkien's works is a good indication that the reviewer hasn't bothered to read very many of them. There is inspiration from the Lost Tales as well as the History of Middle Earth as well as the Simirillion. The show can't directly access this material but it can use it for inspiration.
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)
Betting the bad reviews are from the mansplaining crowd. The film is violent but it's full of gymnastics, dance moves and old fashioned Wu Xie action. Bet a lot of women go out and buy baseball bats after seeing this. Loved the snark and the chaos. Had fun watching this.
For All Mankind (2019)
Too much soap not enough science
I tried. The plot depends heavily on alternative history and soap opera characters. I need a bigger dose of astrophysics and engineering to bring me joy. Some of The most exciting times in my life have been from NASA. Yah, the moon. But Hubble, James West and so many beautiful space lab moments have happened in the past sixty years. I'm gonna go set up my telescope and get some real drama.
The dog was cool
Could not get into this film. I have Predator burn out. I also live in the conjunction of three national forests so not overly excited by the woodsy stuff. There are so many interesting Native American legends about monsters. Why not develop those instead of retreading an elderly franchise. Hope this cast goes on to bigger and better things. It's not their fault we got a day old bread of a movie.
The Anarchists (2022)
Binge and cringe
A look at a movement that espouses "anarchy" and creates a community in Mexico. In creating this community the group seems to build an alt capitalist group. Their philosophy is based on the promise of bit coin, let's not pay taxes, and I make the rules I claim don't exist. There is nothing in this documentary that advocates for Anarchy so I am puzzles about why so many reviewers are stating that falsehood. The further you watch this film the more you realize that these new Randites are part of a cult detached from reality. This behavior is nothing new. I was around in the 60s when a similar mentality existed. I participated in it for a while til my adult critical thinking skills kicked in. Definitely we need change but it's not reinventing the old system with new versions of the old. The Anarchist is an excellent reminder of how not to build a better mouse trap.
Light & Magic (2022)
So we'll done
I have to agree with the superlatives in the other reviews. We sit through long credits in titles to see hints for our next film in a series. We do not really pay attention to the crafts folk who give us this magic. The starring column allows us to access the filmography for these innovators. So many entertaining films credited to these artists. Hope there is a season 2.
Farmhouse Facelift (2021)
Some good ideas
There are some good remodel ideas on the show. However, because there is only one designer on the show by episode six all the redos look alike. I'm not sure where the construction takes place. The quoted price for the project is around $150,000. That seems considerably lower than it would be in many parts of the country. I have to admit after the first five episodes I watched the intro and fast forwarded to the final results.
The Gray Man (2022)
Been there done that
Was Jason Stratham not available because this is the same movie he's made several times? Same elements. Agent gone rogue. Fights baddies. Kidnap victim which isn't a spoiler. If you've seen any of these bullet fests you know it's pretty standard. Problem with this film is the Gosling is acting with a frozen face and forced humor. It's an okay film if you do something at the same time. Like reading Facebook or clipping your nails. Beer might help.
The Princess (2022)
A lot of fun to watch. In the tradition of early Chinese films where women warriors kicked butt. Well choreographed action. I find it confusing that people don't think there is a plot. It's just that the plot is so obvious it would weigh the movie down with useless exposition if we had to hear dialogue about what we can figure out on our own. We get it. Dad king doesn't have boy but doesn't think his daughters are capable of ruling. Feisty daughter learns fighting from battle master woman. Evil dude tries to take over kingdom. Etc etc etc. We all know the plot so just get to the good stuff. Which is the non stop and entertaining bashing of bad guys.
I don't mind modern adaptations of Austin. There are some good ones including a Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice. Persuasion isn't one of them. Points off for scenes where lens flare was ignored. Only Jj Abrams can get away with that.
Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons (2022)
A very long documentary that is in need of editing. Episode One is especially drawn out. The story is lost in endless clips of underwear models flogging scanty panties. The Victoria angels over shadow the narrative of the rise of Wexner, Epstein and the mall culture that dominated the 80s and 90s. Episode Two has more content. Episode Three ends with fifteen minutes of deep dive theories about the behavior of Wexner and Epstein which should have had more development. The theme of wealth and capital is touched upon but that too is underdeveloped. Did certain prominent politicians and billionaires escape the fact finding? I did not get enough of that even though this was a long series.
The 355 (2022)
Standards spy movie that works if you just want to watch a free Amazon streamer. Would have given it a six but the sound track was horrible. A generic frenetic spy movie track. Highly annoying. I also have to admit that I find Jessica Chastain annoying in any thing that does not involve Tammy Fay Baker. My own prejudice but her presence in a film makes me grit my teeth.
Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
Back to Marvel's Roots
At last a Marvel film that's comic book centric. Loved that few scenes took place on Earth. New Asgard was off the hook just like the comic version that was set in Oklahoma. The best part of Marvel for me was always the creative settings, creatures, and crazy story lines. I want more alien planets and civilizations. Love and Thunder captures decades of Thor and auxiliary Thor stories. The battle in the shadow world flipped between B&W to pure old time comic colors. Also found the Thor/Jane story line satisfying with an excellent resolution. I had a great time with the film. If you are looking for deep meaning in a film this isn't going to be your thing. It's July. It's hot. Think of this film as a beach read.