- Creation Stories (2021): What if 24 Hour Party People but boring?
- Nobody (2021): Bob Odenkirk does John Wick and I am there for it.
- The Irregulars (2021): Victorian teen ghostbusters, except that for some reason there are minor characters with the names "Holmes" and "Watson" who bear no relation to the originals (and are kind of awful) and the show would have been a thousand times better if they simply did not have those names. Also this show follows the new trend of "Victorian England had lots of non-white people actually, but racism did not exist in any way, only classism" and I don't really know what to make of that.
- Thunder Force (2021): Melissa McCarthy gets the Super Soldier serum. It's forgettable but funny.
Godzilla vs. Kong (2021): I tried to watch this like 4 times and was probably awake for a total of 40 minutes of its (I'm guessing) 5 hour length, and I don't feel like I missed a thing. Now I'm not saying that any Godzilla movie has been good, but... this was not. Also I haven't seen CGI hair this bad since the 90s.
- Willy's Wonderland (2021): Another in the genre of "Nicholas Cage freaks out", this time in a haunted Chuck E. Cheese. Maybe this turns Mandy and Color Out of Space into a trilogy? Anyway, I enjoyed this more than either of those. It is exactly what you expect.
- The Nevers (2021): Somehow I hadn't realized that this was a Joss Whedon thing until I got to the end credits of the first episode, and then it made so much more sense. They took all of the Whedon stuff and threw it at a wall and hosed it down with steampunk. It's a mess. Knockoff Eva Green is trying to start Professor Xavier's School for Victorian Pixie Dream Girls. By the end of the first season, nothing happens, except for some extremely stupid mythology-reveals. Let's hope there's not a season two.
- Shadow and Bone (2021): Hits all of the Young Adult Paranormal Romance mandatory moves. I've already 100% forgotten it but it was fine I guess.
- Invincible (2021): This seems like the sort of thing I would like, but it really did not keep my interest at all.
- Jupiter's Legacy (2021): Boring. This was just... so basic for a superhero story today. Why even make this?
- The Power (2021): A decent haunted-hospital story, set in the 70s. Spooky-assed soundtrack by Gazelle Twin!
- M.O.D.O.K. (2021): It's a little funny, but I expected it to be way funnier. It does not live up to the MODOK from Gwenpool.
- Cruella (2021): The plot had some ho-hum moments, but I am shocked to report that absolutely loved everything else about this! The performances were fantastic, the costumes were amazing, they nailed the look of the various time periods, the transition through glam and promo-punk. Even the set decoration in the second-hand shop was perfect. There were some dumb moments -- "my mom was killed by Dalmatians" and doubling down on the whole Disney Dead Mom thing, "Yo dawg we heard you liked dead moms so we put a dead mom in your dead mom" -- but overall, even the contrived origin-story references were pretty well done.
Jim said: "Imagine going back 20 years and telling yourself that in 2021, Disney is going to release a Cruella origin story, about how she came of age between the swinging 60s and the punk rock 70s, and she was essentially a cross between Vivienne Westwood, Siouxsie and Banksy, and that the soundtrack is going to kick total ass, and oh, BTW, you are going to have your mind blown by the perfect recreation of the era, well... 2001 Jim would be very skeptical."
My skepticism was increased by the fact that I think that the original 101 Dalmatians is one of Disney's worst movies of all time. The story is dumb, the songs are bad, the animation is boring, and though the animated Cruella had a fantastic, iconic look, there's nothing else there. And even with all that, this live-action (!!) prequel (!!!) is inexplicably fantastic.
Finally: in my headcanon, Cruella also serves as Pennyworth S04. I will be taking no questions.
- Flashback (2021): Part Jacob's Ladder, part Starfish. It's not easy to follow, but I liked it.
- A Mermaid in Paris (2020): Or, "Manic Fishie Dream Girl". More on the "stylized fairytale" side than the "carnivorous succubus" side. The Lure remains the gold standard of "apex predator becomes lounge singer", but this one is cute. Relatedly, I still wish Siren had gotten to finish their "World War Mermaid" storyline.
- Loki (2021): It's basically Loki on a series of buddy-road-trips going nowhere, and that's good enough for me. It's also a fucking time travel story, and I fucking hate time travel stories, but I'm willing to let that slide for now.
- Werewolves Within (2021): Really funny small-town werewolf movie. (I'm glad this is a genre now.) But also part "screwball locked-room detective-mystery with scenery-chewing character actors".
- The Tomorrow War (2021): This was deeply, deeply stupid on every level. Just watch the Pitch Meeting of it instead.
- The Underground Railroad (2021): This show really didn't know what it wanted to be, and I was skimming and dozing heavily by episode 3. There was a little magical realism, a little fantasy, but mostly just a whole lot of torture porn, subcategory "plantation escape". Pass.
- Spare Parts (2021): Girls in punk band get kidnapped, have their arms amputated and replaced with chainsaws, and are forced to fight in a gladiator junkyard. It's exactly what you expect. There are no surprises of any kind. The acting and effects aren't bad, and the "Saw" shit is kept to a minimum.
- Kevin Can Fuck Himself (2021): It's a story about a woman who is about to murder her piece-of-shit husband, but the gimmick is that any time he's on screen, they shoot those scenes as an 80s/90s sitcom, laugh track and flat lighting and all, played as "fat man-child and his nagging wife". They get the look of that exactly right, but it just goes on way too long, like, someone writing this show was actually invested in the sitcom subplots, and I just cannot watch that shit. It's exhausting. (BTW, if any reviewer has compared this to either Wandavision or the Rodney Dangerfield bit from Natural Born Killers, they are mistaken. What's the first rule of cover songs? Don't remind me of a better band I could be listening to instead.)
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