Recent movies and TV

Unicorn Store is hilarious! It is literally about a Unicorn Store. I assume Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson made this on a weekend in the middle of Captain Marvel. That means, canonically, Nick Fury owns a unicorn store. Seriously, I choose to believe that this movie is set shortly after the events of Captain Marvel where a slightly memory-defective, concussed Carol goes back to live on her parents' couch for a while.

The OA: The first season was brilliantly bizarre. I had no idea where it was going and it was full of deeply weird twists. Season 2 is even crazier. It reminds me of the best parts of Legion and Legend of Hill House (but is better than either). I was not expecting an octopus and The Parliament of Trees!

The Dark: A smart zombie girl befriends a blind boy. Soon they learn that the real monster was in their hearts the whole time. Actually it was pretty good.

Love Death and Robots: Almost all of these were great! It's very nice that they are so short. It's an under appreciated form. This is the opposite of Into The Dark, that recent horror anthology where every story was just so, so padded.

Then Came You: Arya Stark, manic dream cancer pixie. Formulaic, but it had its moments.

Miss Bala: Jane the Virgin becomes a drug mule, kills mobsters. Simple and unsurprising but not bad.

Someone Great: Jane the Virgin does Sex and the City. Parts of it were cute, parts of it were as despicable as Sex and the City.

The Order: I never saw Teen Wolf but I assume that it was this. It's garbage and everyone is a fratboy douche. And a sociopath. I mean this is super extra "Crime World" -- literally every person in this series is a serial killer. A vacuous, slack-jawed serial killer.

Daddy Issues: Until about 30 minutes in, I thought this was going to be another movie on the theme of, "Instagram is terrible, and used only by monstrous narcissists and/or stalkers", (a la the far superior Ingrid Goes West) and it was that, but it took a better turn. All the characters were terrible, selfish people making terrible decisions, and it had one of the creepiest relationship triangles you could imagine, but somehow at least 2 of the 5 despicable people in this movie got some sympathy from me. I will say that the drug/hallucination sequences were well done. Those were front-loaded and I would have been happy with much more of that.

Man of Tai-Chi: I was worried that this would be some kind of "Tom Cruise playing a samurai" nonsense but it wasn't that at all. Keanu is the End Boss but it's actually a straightforward 70s style Street Fighter movie. It's a showcase for Tiger Chen's fighting. The master says meditate more! But Tiger wants to prove himself! And now he needs money to save the temple! So he must join an underground tournament! And there's a lady cop who knows what's going on but The Chief told her to drop it! So yeah, it hits all the plot markers, but the fighting is great.

John Wick 3: Oh. Chef fingers. This was everything that I hoped it would be. There is horse fu! Horse fu!

I've noticed that when talk turns to Bill and Ted, what with the new movie coming out soon, that nobody seems to remember Alex Winters' The Idiot Box. So I watched it again and uh.... it's not nearly as funny as I remembered. Also it's very short. Lockjaw the Cop still makes me laugh though.

Doom Patrol: I was pleasantly surprised by this in the first part of the season, but it has completely ratcheted up the insanity recently. Cyborg and The Chief are awful and boring as shit, but all the other characters are great. Anyway, by about halfway through the season it goes completely off the rails in a fantastic way. I cannot believe I am seeing Flex Mentallo on TV. This, like so many things, must be because of that weasel that fell into the Large Hadron Collider in early 2016.

American Gods: I nearly boycotted season 2 after they fired Bryan Fuller -- it was so his show, very much a continuation of Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me, far better than the book, and in every way in which it was better, it was in a Fuller-esque way. But even without Fuller, Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth, this season is... not bad. "Dead Wife and Leprechaun Road Trip" remains wholesome entertainment.

Blood & Treasure: This just started but it might fill the hole left by Leverage and Burn Notice. Money laundering! Nazi artifacts! That little graphic of a plane traveling across a map! And it takes place in "Crime World", where Miami blows up twice a week and Interpol is actually S.H.I.E.L.D.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: This show is cuter and funnier than it has any right to be, for a remake of a commercial for a series of action figures. It's like a chibi-eyed glittery Venture Bros, with mommy issues instead of daddy issues, but less cynical and super gay. There's a horse whose first desire after learning to talk is to smash the state. The landscapes have kind of a Mobius feel to them. And they literally... hack the planet:


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19 Responses:

  1. eerie quark doll says:

    i recommend BONDiNG on Netflix - 17 minutes a pop, good fun - push through the first episode as it gets better.

  2. Nick Lamb says:

    The strengths of Love, Death & Robots make more sense when you see the writer credits. For example "Sonnie's Edge" (which may or may not have appeared first in the episode list for you, Netflix ran an A/B trial on the episode ordering) is literally the first story from "A Second Chance at Eden" by Peter F. Hamilton. I think his Nights Dawn trilogy is long-winded garbage that uses one of the laziest possible deus ex machina get-outs - but his shorts are often very good and sure enough Sonnie's Edge delivers.

    The misjump story ("Beyond the Aquila Rift") is from Alastair Reynolds, likewise "Zima Blue". "Good Hunting" is Ken Liu, it's not just thematically what you'd expect from him (be who you really are) it's literally a short he wrote years ago. And there are a bunch more. These aren't just competent writers, they're competent short writers which means they get in, tell the story, and are gone before you're bored.

    I'm not a big fan of this "original content" era in which everybody and their dog wants to make a television show and then hive it off into a separate platform I need to buy to see it, but I'll take fifteen separate services each with a separate app which delivers things like "Black Mirror" or "Love, Death & Robots" over one universal service that can't offer me anything better than "Legends of Tomorrow" and "The Big Bang Theory".

  3. MattyJ says:

    I would like to repeat for emphasis: John Wick 3 has horse fu.

    The first 20 minutes (Escape from New York sequence) is the best contiguous 20 minute chunk of film in the entire franchise, in my estimation, and that was a high bar to get over.

  4. Rob says:

    Loved the OA season 2, the ending sparked some serious debate with my wife. I also loved John Wick 3 and Love, Sex and Robots. Looks like we have pretty similar tastes.

    Definitely going to check out the Unicorn store after I finish the train-wreck that is season 2 of Star Trek discovery.

  5. Eric says:

    Wonder how many people spotted The Latitude's logo in the second season of The OA?

  6. In contrast to another commenter, I un-recommend Bonding.

  7. James says:

    There is still good indy sci-fi on YouTube, but it's been consolidating.

  8. Zygo says:

    If you watched the Filmation animated version as a kid, it is impossible not to smile at the rainbow "Netflix" sting at the beginning of every She-Ra episode.
    It's awesomely fabulous and fabulously awesome.

    Full disclosure: I might have bounced on the "Play" and "Back" buttons over and over just to watch the first three seconds of one of the episodes, maybe, like, 20 or 30 times, whilst doubled over with girlish giggling.

    Also +1 Anarchorse and planet-hacking.

  9. Carlos says:

    If you like a lot of what jwz recommends, then let me refer you to one of my recent favourites - "Inside No. 9". It's a dark - sometimes very dark - comedy anthology series from the BBC. Most of the episodes are very good.


    • Clyde says:

      I would second Inside No. 9. Seems to have little to no distribution in the states (just like their previous series, Psychoville), so torrent away. Some episodes feed into the shaggy dog territory or concept horror, but all are worth watching, and several are stunningly great.

  10. George Dorn says:

    Doom Patrol trivia: evidently Cyborg runs on iOS. Or at least something NeXTSTEP-derived. You can see it in the screenshot of "code" when he hooks up a dumb terminal to do some debugging in S01E11.

    This explains why he's not in control, he never jailbroke himself.

  11. bq Mackintosh says:

    Because I know how much you enjoy unsolicited recommendations from incomplete strangers, most especially some seven days post your original writing on the matter: Under The Skin is quite likely up your metaphorical alley, so's my guess.

    Friendly warning to anyone who skips merrily off to watch this, and noting that I don't usually lightly trot out Trigger Warnings for stuff: if you're a trauma survivor or just feeling particularly empathetic towards humans today, be prepared for this to be a challenging viewing experience.