- Jolt (2021): Kate Beckinsale has poor impulse control and kills a whole lot of people. Shit, that's all you had to say.
- Blood Red Sky (2021): This is fantastic. Nobody actually says "I have had it with these motherfucking vampires on this motherfucking plane" but it is completely implied.
- Hacks (2021): I didn't expect a story about a couple of washed up stand-up comics hating each other to be this funny, but it's pretty good.
- The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (2021): Dumb foul-mouthed fun. I have already forgotten everything about it.
- The Empty Man (2020): A guy tries to figure out what a cult is up to and why they seem to have a weird interest in him. It takes a Lovecraftian turn, but without any tentacles at all.
- Suicide Squad (2021): This was pretty funny. Not as good as the Harley Quinn movie, but worlds better than the first Suicide Squad.
- Chompy and The Girls (2021): Trying to explain this would be fruitless, just go watch it.
- Nightbooks (2021): Or, "Don't Trust the Baba Yaga In Apartment 23". A witch kidnaps a kid and makes him write scary stories. It's fun and the costumes are great.
- Candyman (2021): I loved this. The way it re-frames the story of the first movie is great. The technical work on every scene that has a mirror in it is amazing -- they do some really subtle scares with those.
- Black As Night (2021): Teens kill some damn vampires. It's very Buffy, in the best way.
- Implanted (2021): What if Siri but evil. (Oh wait.) It's kind of the same story as Upgrade but I liked it more. Also kind of a rebuttal to Her.
- The Night House (2021): A woman discovers that her dead husband was a creep, and is maybe haunting her. Pretty well done.
- Val (2021): (Not the Val Kilmer movie.) A crook on the run breaks into a call girl's house, except oops, maybe she's the devil. It's pretty funny.
- Leverage Redemption (2021): I was a fan of the original run of Leverage, and they did a great job of getting the band back together for this one.
- Foundation (2021): Isaac Asimov was a piece of shit and a terrible writer, and Foundation was an incredibly boring rant about how math is better than sociology or something. Less "unfilmable" than "should not be filmed". But this show is ok, and as others have noted, that's mostly because it ignores just about everything from the books except for the one-sentence summary of the plot, and a bunch of character names.
- Star Trek Lower Decks (2020): When this show began, I had some unkind words to say about it -- it seemed to me like it was just The Orville, "What if Star Trek, but cynical, barely-competent dimwits". But it got much better, and I kind of love it now. They mostly stopped with those sorts of jokes and showed that these people really are Starfleet. Also, there are some really deep cuts into Trek lore throughout.
- What If...? (2021): These ranged from amazing to merely excellent. I am really impressed. The old What If comics always had a "kid burning ants with a magnifying glass" feel about them, but mostly these episodes were not so pessimistic, or so enamored with the idea that the mainline MCU is the best of all possible worlds. I did think the finale episode was weak, though. There was no need to try and tie everything together, and I think it would have been better without it.
- Y The Last Man (2021): This (already-cancelled) show is absolutely terrible, but not for the reasons you'd probably expect. You'd expect them to have really put their foot in it over gender and trans issues, but mostly they seem to have not made a mess of that. No, it's awful because nothing ever happens and all of the characters are just shitty, boring people and I couldn't care less whether any of them survive. It's basically The Walking Dead but even more nonsensical. People go from point A to point B because... the plot demands it. Some major cities are "evacuated" and others are not because... the plot demands it.
- La Brea (2021): This is literally Lost. In the first episode, a character jokes, "Maybe we're in an episode of Lost". It wasn't funny. Just like Lost, the only way these writers know how to advance a plot is for characters to keep secrets from each other. "We can't tell anyone what we found in the spooky cave, they might panic!" Fuck you all.
- Star Wars Visions (2021): Watch the first episode, the samurai one, it's amazing. You can skip all the rest.
- Midnight Mass (2021): There is really a lot of Catholic all over this, which can be kind of off-putting, but the acting is great, the writing is great, and the restraint they showed in not revealing the [REDACTED] until like episode 4 was impressive.
- Brand New Cherry Flavor (2021): A filmmaker hires a witch to put a curse on the producer who done her wrong; antics ensue. This is fantastic and unpredictable. It takes a few nicely Cronenbergian detours, as well.
- Chucky (2021): The new Chucky series is everything that I hoped it would be.
- Malignant (2021): A woman's childhood invisible friend may have come back to do some light murdering. This is incredible and kept me guessing. Also the fight scenes involve some amazing contortion, and I really want to know now much was practical.
- In Fabric (2021): An evil dress does evil things, kinda? But this is freaky and amazing. The cinematography is incredible. This is a new Suspiria.
- Dashcam (2021): This is a forensic mystery in the vein of Blow Up or The Conversation, and because of that it worked even though it's kind of a COVID "zoom movie". It's mostly one guy in his apartment going "enhance!" but it is compelling and believable.
- No One Gets Out Alive (2021): A story about a haunted-ish boarding house and an undocumented woman trying to GTFO. Very moody.
- Dune (2021): It is very pretty, but it is basically the first two episodes of an 8 episode miniseries. It just kind of... stops. It did make me appreciate how much exposition Lynch managed to pack into his version, though. This one is like, "Mentats? Uh yeah we're just not going to explain what the deal is with those guys at all." I watched it with someone who didn't know the story, and I had to do a lot of explaining for them to be able to follow it.
Something that neither movie nor the book explained, though: space flight is impossible without spice. So how the hell did they get there in the first place? And why isn't the Spacing Guild like, "Yeah, this is our planet, we will not be taking any questions."
I re-read the book recently, for the first time since I was a kid. There are some interesting ideas in it, but it's not really very good. It has a real Ender's Game feel, where Paul goes from "fish out of water little boy" to "omniscient psychopathic god" over the course of like, one page. "How will the immortal psychic get out of this next pickle!" is maybe not the greatest device for plotting.
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