Recent movies

The Lure: This is the greatest carnivorous mermaid musical that I've ever seen. It falls down a bit in the third act, but before that it's just fantastic. Highly recommended.

What Happened to Monday? In answer to your query, "I don't give a shit". It's a terrible knock-off of Orphan Black starring a vastly lesser actor. Seven identical twins are all pretending to be one person and each putting on a wig and leaving the house and going to work one day a week for 38 years. The unaddressed questions that will occur to you in the first two minutes are: How does she/they have an accent that is different from every other character in the movie? And, given that their only downtime contact is with each other and their father, why do they bother dying their hair different colors? I'd think that after let's say year 19 you'd get pretty tired of dealing with that shit and just all have the same haircut.

War For The Planet Of The Apes: I remember watching this and thinking it wasn't as terrible as I expected, but I now couldn't tell you a thing that happened in it. Oh, I do remember thinking, "How many species of ape are there, anyway? Are they just making shit up now?"

The Vault: Worthless heist movie. Nothing of merit happened here.

Baby Driver: Worthless heist movie. Nothing of merit happened here. This is by-the-numbers crap, and I can't understand why so many people talked it up so much. Yeah, it's shot like a video, but most heist movies are shot like videos. The lead is a dimwitted man-child whose whose sunglasses pass for depth, I guess? Why. Why does this exist.

The Osiris Child: It felt like I just watched 5 seasons of an anime and didn't give a shit about any of it. Like most anime, it left me thinking, that's a detailed generic background and there seems to be some backstory here but who are these people and why should I care?

The Hitman's Bodyguard: I assume this was made entirely of Deadpool 2 outtakes, but as such, it's a surprisingly fun buddy road-trip movie. Samuel L. Jackson does his Samuel L. Jackson impression and that's just fine.

Singularity: Well, I covered this turd in my Valerian review.

It Comes at Night: An unsatisfying movie that never reveals its Big Bad and whose premise is, "People's mistrust of each other gets them all killed". When The Twilight Zone did this theme over and over again at least they gave you someone to vaguely care about.

Ingrid Goes West: It's a movie about a creepy Instagram stalker, and much less of a comedy than the trailer indicates. It's Single White Female where everyone is just a little more dimwitted, venal and terrible. I enjoyed it a lot. I wonder if Instagram paid for this product placement. I wonder if they understood it.

Batman and Harley Quinn: This is excellent, and very funny. It's nice to see the real Harley again. I'm glad that DC is apparently segmented enough that they are still able to make competent animated movies without their live-action shitshow spilling over into the one thing that they did well.

A Dark Song: A slow movie about a pair of people conducting a multi-month magical ritual. It's creepy, unpleasant, abusive, and I'm not sure I'd say I actually enjoyed it, but it's certainly something I haven't really seen before.

Darling: This is a good looking movie, but the plot is paper thin. It was just kind of gross and cruel.

Thor Ragnarok: This was just perfect for what it was. It makes you interested in Thor. How did they even do that?

TV:

The Orville: I barely made it through the first episode, and it filled me with rage. Someone gave this shithead a budget to cosplay Star Trek with the premise, "You know what would have made Trek better? If Kirk was a racist drunk who hates his ex wife." Fuck that show. This review nailed it.

Extiinct: I saw this extremely Canadian-looking Riverworld kind off thing pop up on one of the torrent sites and gave it a shot, and then in the opening credits I realized my terrible mistake when I saw "A BYU-TV Production" and "Orson Scott Card". Oh nooooooo.... I hate-watched it for about ten minutes and it was even worse than you can possibly imagine. But! This is an apocalyptic sci-fi piece-of-shit literally paid for by a church and I'm not talking about Battlefield Earth. So it's good to see that the Mormons and the Scientologists are still playing "hold my beer".

Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams: This kind of thing is the kind of thing that I like, but I couldn't make it all the way through any of the first three episodes. This is just remarkably awful.

Channel Zero: No-End House: This is pretty decent and creepy, and much better than the (unrelated, plot-wise) first season. It's only six episodes long, and it probably should have been four, but it's worth a look.

The Inhumans: I think I've adequately covered this already, but just as an epilogue, I was 100% sure they were going to magically grow Medusa's hair back for a boss battle at the end of the series finale, but no, they didn't even squirrel away the $50 they needed for the effects to do that. She was bald and powerless for the entire series. (She did not fight a giant spider.)

The Gifted: Even though this shares a lot of paint-by-numbers plot with (the utterly deplorable) Heroes -- "anti-mutant dad realizes kids are mutants and the family goes on the run, because family family it's all about family" -- it's not bad. Much about it is full-bore cliché, but so far they comport themselves well. Ok, that's faint praise. It's no Legion, I guess I'm saying.

People of Earth: A bunch of people are in a support group for alien abductees. The aliens are complete boneheads who are bad at their jobs. Everyone involved in the production of this show clearly spends a lot of time stoned. But it's pretty funny.

Preacher: Season 2 was not nearly as good as season 1. They were charming assholes in the first season, but now they're just kind of regular assholes.

The Tick: It's exactly what you need from a Tick series. I give it 7 out of a possible 10 Ticks.

Travelers: Time travelers from the future trying to something-something-something MacGuffin, but the kink is that they can only show up here by overwriting someone else's brain, which they try to do in the last minutes of that person's life. (George from Dead Like Me is not involved.) The big failure of this show is that we know nothing about these characters' actual backstory, so all we have is their cover identity, which makes their personalities weird and wooden. The first season was a so-so caper-of-the-week kind of deal, but the second season is going a bit better. I have hopes for their Big Bad.

Mr. Robot: I'm still enjoying it, but I'm worried that they're running out of steam. Also, this season they've been hinting at... a thing... and I'm sitting here thinking, "No. No. Please god no. Don't do the thing." I'm experiencing a "Matrix Revolutions" level of dread that they might do the thing.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Season 1 was kind of... whatever, but I am really loving season 2. It's completely bonkers.

The Punisher: Hey wow, it's another show starring Gun Guy. It's great that the world's more boring superhero Gun Guy is getting some more screen time.

Ok, first of all, this show is boring. Didn't he already get revenge on his wife's killers like three separate times already? They keep pulling the, "Oh, just kidding, really it was these other guys" switch. I don't care.

Second, given the extremely suboptimal timeline we're living in, and how beloved Gun Guy is by nazis, cops and other racists, how does someone think that making a show about their hero is... a good plan? "But he's not a hero, he's an anti-hero that bad people are all misinterpreting!" people will say. No, I'm sorry, that's false. Gun Guy is the hero of this story. He only mass-murders bad people, while having exactly the same contempt for the rule of law as Daredevil, Batman and every other vigilante. The "anti-hero" claim does not hold up at all, not in the story they told here.

And in case there was any doubt that the entire story is a dick-swinging contest, there are two separate scenes where two different guys make first-person jokes about the size of their dicks. That's 2/3rds of the male leads in this show literally talking to the camera about their dicks. The other 1/3rd has a wall full of machine guns.

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23 Responses:

  1. Doctor Memory says:

    I'm glad I wasn't the only person who had this reaction to Baby Driver. The more time goes by since having seen that the less happy I am about the experience: I mean sure, we all know that Edgar Wright can direct the hell out of an action sequence, but a 2 hour slavish Tarantino pastiche seems somehow beneath him, talent-wise. I'm worried that this is going to retroactively taint my opinion of Hot Fuzz, and am convinced that he should no longer be allowed to make movies without Nick Frost's involvement.

    • Doctor Memory says:

      Postscript:

      It makes you interested in Thor. How did they even do that?

      I think the answer here is: "...you've seen What We Do in the Shadows, right?"

      (Google reveals: you did! Anyway, yeah, same guy. Sometimes good things happen to good people.)

      • MattyJ says:

        Enjoyed Thor for no reason, too. One of my favorite things about it is that the line "He's a friend from work!" was suggested by a Make-A-Wish kid that was visiting the set.

    • k3ninho says:

      There's some novelty in the shooting being choreographed to the music, but that was done already with more fun in the pub scene of Shaun of the Dead. I think that Baby Driver was actually meant to be a musical with singing as well, so I guess we dodged a bullet and people can talk Wright out of bad ideas.

      K3n.

      • Doctor Memory says:

        He even re-did the trick in "The World's End" and it almost mostly still worked in that! But as a justification/schtick for an entire movie? No. Just no.

        If Baby Driver had been an actual musical, it would have at least been an interesting failure; a Cop Rock for the modern era.

        • MattyJ says:

          Baby Driver might have worked if they switched the roles of the two Jon's and eliminated all traces of Elgort.

          Then maybe replace Kevin Spacey with Idina Menzel to hit those high notes.

    • margaret says:

      My family liked Baby Driver. I don't know why but it's too late for a divorce regardless. Just this week we parked in a multi-story parking structure and I went off: "See these steel cables? See this concrete barrier? You really think a car sitting here spinning its tires would penetrate any or all of these? That's ridiculous! And parts of the car that are not even reinforced!? Give me a break!" That entire movie was an insult to the entire audience's intelligence and for some reason it STILL has me riled up.

  2. Logan Bowers says:

    Have you watched The Good Place? Starts a little slow, but I think it might be the best thing to come out of network television this decade. My guess is that you'l like it, but if you don't, you will probably hate it enough the review will be entertaining for the rest of us.

  3. CTD says:

    "What Happened To Monday?" reminds me of Philip Jose Farmer's "Dayworld" books, only there the criminal is the guy who's assuming other identities in order to get to live in seven days instead of one.

  4. Rodger says:

    The Lure was amazing. Mermaids visiting a Communist Polish shopping mall and it bursts into a 50s style song and dance number? The heavy metal band? It was an awesome film and I think I completely failed to make anyone I know understand why they had to see it. So I'm glad at least one other person enjoyed it.

  5. Thomas Lord says:

    I hope you will give Orville another try. The first episode - maybe the first couple - are not typical, it seems. I think the Vox review is looking at it the wrong way. Here is my take. I have to explain this in terms of the original series:

    There are three great revisionist tragedies that have ruined Star Trek. These are three ways in which the original series is retrospectively misinterpreted.

    Original Star Trek myth #1: the Star Trek universe is supposed to have a canon, specifically a long-term story arc to the whole Star Trek universe.

    On the contrary, the original Star Trek is purely situational. It is not an arc. It is a loose and expandable pantheon of characters and races which, each episode, are arranged in a novel situation - 1 tv hour of space drama ensues.

    I think the canon myth is largely the fault of the inheritors of the franchise, starting with TNG.

    Original Star Trek myth #2: Star Trek was, at heart, a heartfelt political statement about multiculturalism (or some shit).

    I think this is bullshit that mostly arose after Kirk and Uhura kissed and that Roddenberry spent decades encouraging this myth. The original series made vague use of cold war tropes, was frequently over-the-top racist, was notoriously sexist, and had no higher social mission than to try to attract a large audience of young adult baby boomers.

    Original Star Trek myth #3: Other than a few one-liners in the script, the original Star Trek was funny only by accident, or by the subversive readings of certain cast members.

    Ridiculous. The original Star Trek was aiming for high camp. Sometimes it hit. Sometimes it missed. But that was always the aim. Greek gods bossing around a midget using their magic psychic apples? Huge planet-destroying joint? Returning to 20th century earth to spoof pop spy dramas? Lecherous captain and flirty yeoman? Scottsman drinking Klingons under the table? You have to think really poorly of the self awareness of people like the actor who played Denny Craig or the other actor who became George Takai to not put the original Star Trek in a category right next door to the Adam West Batman.

    -------------

    I submit that Orville is the unauthorized return of the original series and is more faithful to the original than anything that bears the Star Trek name.

    A few data points:

    Once again, there no sign (so far, knock on wood) of a long-term dramatic arc here. This is (so far, knock on wood) a character-driven situational show.

    Like the original Star Trek, the situational format is used as a Twilight Zone-style vehicle. Some "Ewww...that deap" concept underpins each episode. We mostly see it coming, of course, and the contest for the show's makers is to keep it interesting anyway. The most recent episode about the security officer's crisis of self-confidence could have ended with Rod Serling stepping out in front of the set.

    Like the original Star Trek, there are a lot of gags and jokes, all poker-faced.

    Like the original Star Trek -- but for a different reason -- the characters openly display all the casual racism and sexism typical of audience's society (updated for 2017). In the original Trek, I think this was an unintended quality that is in some episodes and scenes painfully apparent in retrospect. In Orville, I think it is the central problematic and source of tension.

    p.s.: Orville not only rocks the set design but, lately, it gets the lighting and cinematography right too. MacFarlane has clearly been studying a lot of classic films to prepare for this show. He shamelessly steals from some of the very best.

    • commentcasually says:

      I had the same rage feelings watching the first episodes, but the more I kept watching, the more I was able to ignore the dick/fart/prostate/blue-ejaculate jokes and concentrate on the stories, which I agree are not exceptional but are absolutely Trek, apart from the stupid jokes this is probably the first true trek series since voyager.

    • Jeremy Wilson says:

      Yeah, the first three episodes are cringe bad, like almost as unwatchable as the first season of TNG. It's like they couldn't figure out if they wanted to be slapstick or serious and failed at both.

      After that, they seem to find their tonal groove. It's completely TOS with modern humour. I've liked it enough to keep watching.

      Just try to ignore Seth's constant sighing.

    • SK says:

      Excellent analysis!

      I would add that Orville is a modern parody of TOS, which by itself is not that serious. So it’s nice and enjoyable without pretending to be something it’s not.

  6. Waider says:

    Enjoyed Preacher S2, especially Starr, but I’m beginning to feel like it’s lacking in forward motion more than anything else. S2 felt like ten episodes advanced the plot precisely fuck-all, in retrospect.

    • Nick Lamb says:

      I read all of Preacher just this year (and I enjoyed it, don't let any of the below fool you), and I think that's true on paper too. After about a dozen issues we've established Jesse's back story, that God exists and is an asshole, and set up our major characters, all of which are also assholes. After setting that up the comic extemporises, very entertainingly, for most of its run, and then more or less what you'd expect happens, fin.

      For example Cassidy is a vampire. Oh wait, he's also a vampire. I fact, did we mention that Cassidy is a blood sucking human parasite, and he's a vampire? He drains people - did we point that out? Let's do another storyline which rams that home just in case you thought it was a metaphor. These stories are all fun to read, but I don't buy the theory that they're growing the Cassidy character at all. I think if you trimmed them all out you'd have the same understanding. Likewise for the immortal Saint of Killers who sure enough can't die no matter how often we're shown people trying to kill him for some reason.

      A problem the comics run into is that Starr's "character" is he's an asshole, but all the characters are assholes, at least all the major ones, so there's a struggle to make him stand out and in the attempt he's made cartoonishly evil. By the last third all appearances by Starr are basically played as pure comedy, what else is there to do with him?

      It is ironic that Ennis professes a distaste for supers because he thinks (and he's right) most supers comics are just going through the motions, Hulk smashing things, Superman being impervious to things, and so on. Preacher is easily his most famous work (I haven't read everything he's done so I can't say "best") and it's basically just playing the same four chords for dozens of issues like a supers book would.

      • Doctor Memory says:

        Minority opinion: Preacher is by far Ennis' best work, and his subsequent output involves hitting those same four chords harder and harder, to ever-diminishing effect.

  7. YHVH says:

    The End of the F***ing World Trailer Season 1 (2017)
    https://youtu.be/yBGChaL7t7k

  8. Chris says:

    Have you watched The Leftovers at all? I'm not sure I fully know how I feel about it yet. The first season is really good. The second and third are different from the first (maybe departure from the source material?) but still decent.

    • Elusis says:

      The Leftovers S1, anyway, is a season-long meditation on depression - you might as well be dead already, nothing matters, give up now. It... was not easy to finish. I feel like I need a long, long cleanser before watching any more.

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