Recent movies and TV

Harley Quinn: Based on only the first couple episodes, this looks to be the best DC cartoon since Batman The Animated Series. I had no idea that the one simple thing that was missing was for the characters to swear like sailors, but yes, that is the thing that was missing.

Reprisal: It's a revenge-noir set in some indeterminate pseudo-60s time period with cell phones, and idealized "biker gangs" that resemble actual biker gangs in precisely the way that strip clubs in movies resemble actual strip clubs. It's not bad, but the amount of smoking in it is actually making my clothing stink through the TV. The smoking is so distracting that in one episode I started counting any time someone was not smoking and I never got higher than 45 seconds. Even though I haven't noticed explicit product placements, I feel pretty sure that there has to be some tobacco industry payola making this happen.

Treadstone: To my great surprise, this is a quite solid spy show! I enjoyed the first Bourne movie and don't remember anything about any of the sequels, so I didn't really have high expectations for this, but it's really fun. The writing is twisty, the spycraft is good. They end nearly every episode with a surprising cliffhanger that feels more "damn, that was a strong ending" than "what a cheat".

Nancy Drew: It started out as: it's Veronica Mars but she's a more-fucked-up depressive underachiever, has two Cordelias, and they're Scoobying ghosts. And I was there for that. But then the ghosts turned out to be real ghosts rather than a Trumpian real estate con-man in a rubber mask, and that's when they lost me. (I mean, I'm still watching it but now it pisses me off.)

Terminator: Dark Fate: This is the third-best Terminator movie, fourth if you count Sarah Connor Chronicles. It hits all the Terminator notes -- so much so that it kind of emphasizes how similar the structure of the first and second were -- but it works, and unlike almost all of the other sequels, it doesn't demean the earlier movies. This must be the 10th timeline in, what, 6 movies? SCC had at least 3 timelines alone. I do like that they take advantage of that freedom, to just pick a point in time and branch off from there.

Tigers Are Not Afraid: Creepy and cool. Ghost stories don't often take that "magical realism" turn.

Blood and Chocolate: Just another Werewolf Romance, but it's not bad. Here's the thing though, wouldn't werewolves be allergic to both silver and chocolate? I have trouble with the concept of werewolf chocolatiers. Not to be confused with Blood and Donuts.

Chernobyl: Well that was pretty fucked up right there.

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996): This might be my second favorite Christmas movie, after The Ref and before Batman Returns. Samuel L. Jackson goes on a road trip with a wisecracking amnesiac blonde who could break him in half, but it's Geena Davis instead of Brie Larson. I saw this at Alamo as part of what they called their "Queer Film Theory" series, which was certainly not what came to mind for me when I thought about this movie, but the host made a good case: whereas the actual text of the movie is ass-kicking and dick jokes, the subtext is pretty heavily about performative gender roles. But there's lots of ass kicking, let's not forget that.

The Expanse: Season 4 was uneven. It was mostly pretty good, but the planet-side parts were both too long, and marred by having the worst Big Bad of the entire series. This guy was such a moustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash of the East India Company that it was just annoying. Even Burke in Aliens was more sympathetic and believable than this guy. He brought into perspective how well written the "villains" had been in the previous seasons.

The Mandalorian: This show is so uneven and squandering its potential. The idea of High Plains Drifter set in the Star Wars universe sounds like a natural. And the sets look great! Look at all that glorious Ralph McQuarrie design! But then I look closer and realize that there's nothing, not a single thing, that is new here. All of these designs were in A New Hope. All of these species were in A New Hope. It starts off on a planet that isn't Tatooine but is totally Tatooine -- oh, and then they go to actual Tatooine, re-hashing the canonical sin of the Star Wars universe: this "galaxy" only has five planets in it.

The episode where Gina Carano kicks an AT-ST's ass was excellent, and the single good one so far.

Also, Baby Yoda is bullshit, and here's my prediction: Baby Yoda is actually Yoda. They're going to ratfuck the whole franchise by introducing time travel. You're welcome.


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14 Responses:

  1. Rodger says:

    The Long Kiss Goodnight is wonderful,.

    • Miguelito says:

      Jackson had so many hilarious lines in this movie. The one that is completely burned into my brain is, “No, I sock ‘me in the jaw and yell pop goes the weasel.”

  2. john says:

    I was really hoping that would link to a review of Blood and Donuts by you.

  3. //// says:

    I too suspect that "Baby Yoda is actually Yoda" but instead of time travel, I'm guessing it's going to be something like Yoda is the Dalai Lama of the Force, born and reborn to do his teach-the-Force thing over and over. (I will be disappointed, perhaps even pissed off, if I am correct about this.)

    • phuzz says:

      But referencing the Dalai Lama might piss-off the Chinese government, and Disney won't want to lose that cash.
      So, assuming the plot will follow the "make Disney more money" route, I predict more baby Yodas, in different colours and outfits, for them to sell toys of.

  4. Aracan says:

    I actually tried to see "Long Kiss Goodnight" the day before yesterday, because I remember it fondly. To my huge dismay and very little surprise I found it's not available on Prime OR Netflix.

    • Andrew Klossner says:

      It's on Prime, but you have to pay $3 to watch it.

      • Aracan says:

        Depends on the instance of Prime. (Spoiler: It's not on the one to which I have access, which is rich in "Amazon Originals" and about as well stocked with movies as your average public library branch.)

  5. They did a fantastic job with Chernobyl. But fuck it was dark.

  6. I have been enjoying Treadstone too, although with the latest cliffhanger I'm starting to wonder if everyone is a cicada.

  7. Kelsey Kennedy says:

    Can it be the case that you have not seen the Watchmen series? Gun shy or withholding judgement? Came for the depiction of the Tulsa race riot, stayed for the character development.

  8. time travel says:

    I hear that in the Rise of Skywalker or whatever it's called Kylo will impregnate Rey who travels back in time to birth Anakin.

    If only they spent less time using the Force and more time using contraception.

    Also, isn't the Mandalorian's hatred of and killing of droids both hatred of a slave caste and racism?