Friday, December 18, 2020

The Mandalorian: Season 2

That certainly was a season. So....yeah. Season 2! Easily a better season than the last, I would say! I actually have to admit I like that the chapters are continuous and rightfully so since we follow up immediately with Mando and the Child as they search for not only other mandalorians but also Jedi to train the young baby, leading to quite an enormous series of events. Needless to say we meet with several familiar faces, and I'm arguing whether or not to divulge here so we might as well give the best of both worlds. Spoiler free, this series is excellent. The production values somehow look even better and the story goes in a satisfying and incredible direction. I love we get a bit more of the bond between the baby and his poppa, I think the adventures are paced incredibly well, the inclusions of further previously Legends material has nothing but love from me, this is a grand season. this really a review? When it comes to something this immensely popular, am I changing anybody's mind when I say go watch it? Possibly, but most people who got hooked on the first season are of course gonna stick around for the second, and really when we talk about Star Wars here it's more of a discussion than a review. I don't have to tell you to go watch it because chances are you were there from the start, and great job on that! Usually I detest having to wait week after week for a show, and really only this and Gotham have made me watch a show weekly but yeah. So let's get into spoilers now. Loved the first episode, I thought the Krayt Dragon was more Tremors than actual reptile but I digged it, I liked the Jaws style climax, I kinda flipped when I saw the pearl, and Timothy Oliphant proves he can be a gunslinger in any genre. Second episode was good, but boy howdy was the baby a handful in this one, on a lighter note it was cool seeing those weird spiders from Rebels and it was a decent adventure. Episode three kicks off this season truly, seeing Bo Katan in live action was a great treat, and I always enjoy any episode with Imperial elements. Episode 4 was a great adventure, and as far as my knowledge goes this is the first thing I've seen directed by Carl Weathers and he did an outstanding job, giving that well shot action with my forever Star Wars beloved Cara Dune. Brilliant. Episode 5 was a bit dull, nothing seemed to happen except the fact that Ahsoka Tano was in live action and they name dropped motherf***ing Grand Admiral Thrawn, and I think I screamed like a ten year old girl at that little moment! Episode 6, what an appropriate episode title, glorious but a shocking end. Boba Fett and Darktroopers what more do you need or want, and directed by Robert Rodriguez?? Yes please, I'll take it all! You my have triggered me something fierce at the start of epsiode 7, but you gave me some triumphant and wholesome Imperial moments and for that you have my love forever. Final I mean yikes. Will however say, because there never can be too much positivity in the world, I am willing to hedge my bets season three's viewership is gonna drop a bit. It's bullshit but you took away half if not 75% of the reason people watch the show, so it is possible to happen. I don't hate it in the slightest but others will. But then again, they have proved their salt at this point and can take big risks like that not just for the story but the experience of watching the show. And before I go I would like to go on the record once more, by laughing in the faces of the dipshits who said Star Wars was dead and I would further like to give them this holiday greeting, may the yuletide log slip from your fire and burn your house down. 4 stars, 9.5/10! There's so much more goodness to come out of Star Wars before I'm dead and buried, and I am here. I am waiting. See you next year everybody!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special

Aw this was fun!

I very very much enjoyed this special, it's a fun and even a bit sweet Life Day special but honestly it screamed Christmas more than anything hence why I waited a month to review it. Well our story takes place after episode 9 with Rey training Finn but is having some difficulties leading her to a unusual item that takes her on a journey through time and space, no police box required! I have been a massive fan of Lego Star Wars since the original game came out and I try to play every single Lego game I can, so I knew the humor they were going for and it worked incredibly well for me. This special has no reservations and pokes fun at Star Wars which I know is heresy unto every Star Wars fan in existence, and I could rant about that all damn day but you know my stance and relationship with Star Wars, so everything worked for me. The animation is simple but done well, the voice cast does really well and a few familiar voices pop up which is of course a big treat, the story was a bit predictable but it still gave me some cool stuff and good laughs so I can't hate it too much, it was just something small but fun that any fan young or old can enjoy. I may not watch it every year around the holidays like I do with Tokyo Godfathers or A Very Murray Christmas, but I don't regret watching it at all and totally would see it again. 4 stars, 8/10! And well if you've been keeping up on your Star Wars, Friday is a big day so I'll see you then. May the Force be with you.

Monday, December 14, 2020

On The Rocks

Sofia! God dang it Sofia!

Did you really think for a fraction of a second I wasn't gonna review this movie before the end of the year? F*** off. I loved it! God flippin' jumping hell on a trampoline, I adored every second of it. This is the most serendipitous film I've reviewed, cause it is such an obvious bridge between Lost In Translation and A Very Murray Christmas, making a sublime continuation. The heart and emotion of Lost In Translation has taken the next logical step with several nice and cute nods to the Christmas special here and there, and I cannot get over it. I'm going to quote this to you if I may, because it is very amazing to me and it's something to think about while you're watching this movie, "It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids....your life as you know it, is gone, never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk, and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life." and that line from Lost In Translation makes so much more sense now. Because the plot revolves around a young wife and mother Laura who's stuck in a bit of a rut and suspects her husband is having an affair, leading to her dad Felix to try to get to the bottom of it while they get a lot off their chest and delve into their relationship. It's a very real, very human story with very human characters, no one is perfect but that's not a bad thing and I appreciate that kind of writing. Humans are complicated, I've lived among them for a long time and they are out there man. The performances between Rashida Jones and Bill Murray is wonderful to say the very least, their chemistry is undeniably good and they have such good conversations. I knew exactly what this movie was going for when I walked into it and it didn't disappoint me for a single second. The writing is excellent without trying to say something, the acting feels genuine and real, the cinematography is gorgeous at times, the musical score is everything that I love, I just really can't say anything bad about this movie. It's clear Sofia wanted to take the next step that we brought up from Lost In Translation and do it right, with that same passion and effortless introspection and she nails it. I'm beyond happy I got to see this, I'm going to buy it, I'm even gonna try to hunt down the soundtrack, yes it may not objectively be a grand or great movie but I'll be damned if I don't praise it because I thought it was grand. The user scores can rot in hell for all I care across the interwebs, I got everything I wanted and I love everybody who made it get finished. I know I don't have enough material for a top 10 of this year but screw it, I can do a top 5 and this is a major consideration. For all I care this movie was made for me, you don't have to love it, because I love it and your personal enjoyment for any film is what matters at the end of the day. For the last week of reviews for 2020, what an exquisite way to start. 4 stars, 9/10! I don't even care anymore, this really and truly was the film I needed right here and right now. Ugh, Sofia! You keep doing this to me and I never want you to stop! I have to go, I appreciate you all, see you next time for a bit of fluff from my favorite movies.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Blackadder Goes Forth

Well this really is the end. You know how I said I hated depressing endings to comedy shows? This is the crown jewel of the lot. But I'm happy the writers did take it more seriously, this is The Great War, it was an unbelievable event and took more lives than I dare to say so of course it would be a bit more serious in instances despite it still being well written and very funny. We join our usual gang of Edmund, Baldrick, and George as they are on the edge of no man's land and Edmund tries every trick to not go over the top. I firmly believe that the writers and creators of this series knew this would be the last one, not only were there few historical periods to play off of but how do you pick up after one of the strongest and most impactful endings in television? The first time I sat to watch this, I was floored, absolutely stunned silent by the last 4 minutes of the last episode, and I heard tale that the producers were incredibly nervous about it thinking it wouldn't respect the british soldiers who really did put their lives on the line but were relieved to hear surviving members of the war praise it and said it did do justice by them. I can't name another television show with that sort of approval. But how's the rest? Very well done I would say. Cast gives a sterling final bow, Rowan might be giving the best performance of the whole show here, Hugh is such a joy to watch and I'm happy they brought him back, Tony still in my opinion shined brightest during series 3 but still has his moments, thank the lord Stephen Fry was given a much larger and regular part I don't know what it is but he slays me in this series, and most interesting of all is Tim who went from an absolute prat to a very cold and very biting persona who is really the antagonist to Edmund this time around. Plus I would really love to give a noted credit to Geoffrey Palmer who had a surprising cameo in this series, the man is nothing less than a treasure in my eyes and I swear on my future grave I will review all of As Time Goes By one day to fully pay my respects and admiration to him. The set design and costumes are incredibly well done too, though the sets are the smallest we've gotten they capture the environment of such a situation and the costumes look completely legitimate. I adore the writing in it's criticism of war and good situations with fun characters, this is a damn fine series. Though it may not be my favorite I feel because of the creator's intentions and the story that it told, yes I would say objectively this is the best. 4 stars, 9/10, this has been quite a journey. One more week to go before the horror. Good luck everybody.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Blackadder The Third

Excellent series if I do say so.

Jumping forward to the time of the Prince Regent, Blackadder is now a not so humble butler in the service of Prince George as he lives the life of luxury in the company of idiots, a cruel fate which I understand well. That's one aspect of this entire series that I enjoy, not only is each series 6 episodes meaning a short but sweet experience but the story itself is hardly ever complex and built more around a situation than overarching stories which means easy and fun viewing. I'm not as literate in british government and history as I would love to be, but it has never been a hurdle to cross while watching any of the series, sure I know these are all very real periods of history and know bits here and there but the fact that the show is crafted so well without having to have the audience be a wellspring of knowledge on the times just shows that the writers had their priorities straight. Comedy first, with the backdrop of history. I know Blackadder was a real treat in the second series but I think this is my favorite ever. The sarcastic and dry wit could never be better in no short part due to the supporting cast. Hugh Laurie makes this series for me, the man is brilliant and yet can play an utter prat with such ease and expert comedic timing, he is half the reason you should watch this! Tony Robinson has his moments too but I would say Baldrick from either the first or second series is my favorite but of course we have just one more after this so who knows. And as always we have our sterling cast crop up again in small parts, delightful as always. Something I noticed about the production design here is that while the sets are really quite small they don't skip out on the detail and the costuming is spot on so I must give expert props to the production team this time around! Plus I am thrilled there wasn't such a downer ending, I really hate being bummed out at the end of a comedy series but this one breaks from that and all for the better I say. But is this better than the last? Well my enjoyment factor was much more than last time and to be fair all the stories are so well done whereas even in the second series there were some I could say is worth skipping on repeated viewing, but here they are all on point and good fun to watch again. I may have to rate this a smidge higher. 4 stars, 8.5/10! Can the fourth and final series top this score? It is quite possible at this point, nothing surprises me anymore. See you next time when we go over the top.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Blackadder II

This is the one that will be the hardest to top.

Years back when I first sat down to watch the entire run of Blackadder, series 2 was my absolute favorite. The plot is somewhat similar to the first with Edmund Blackadder living under the rule of Queen Elizabeth The First, but instead of trying to usurp control of the throne, he's constantly battling the idiocy of the times. Where the first series was still trying to find it's footing, the second is on top form with an amazing cast and simple but fun concepts for episodes. Easily the best performances are from Rowan Atkinson and Miranda Richardson, they just crack me up with Rowan being deadpan and sarcastic to the Nth degree and Miranda for lack of a better word, being very simple. It's just so damn funny seeing Queen Elizabeth acting like a silly and spoiled child, and precisely nothing like any other sort of regal performancein media. It's an absolute joy. Tony Robinson and Tim McInnery return as Baldrick and Percy, this time playing the oafs to Blackadder which they handle perfectly. The writing for this series is where the most praise should go, you can tell they put effort into the scripts and it really does work and really the writing is why this series is so highly regarded in the comedy world. It's difficult to pick a favorite episode, it's a toss up between Potato and Beer. One has a fun cameo by Tom Baker, and the other is the perfect storm for poor Edmund to be in but it is outstanding. This is a definite improvement for the series and one thing I noticed is that they really don't shift the cast up, nearly every supporting cast member from series 1 makes an appearance here and thusly the supporting cast from this in some small way makes their way to series 3. So there's always this tight knit sense of community both on screen and off screen, which makes it even more enjoyable. 4 stars, 8/10! And next time we get to see Hugh Laurie shine before he became a big name doctor here in the States.

Monday, December 7, 2020

The Black Adder

Happy Christmas to me.

One more week of reviews after this and I refuse to be party to any merriment or all around joy to humanity, so join me as we visit cynical Britain once more as we see all iterations of the classic Blackadder series. It's very humble beginnings for the series as we enter the 15th century following the ascent of King Richard IV and not historically Henry Tudor, and we encounter the meek and backstabbing Edmund who tries every trick he can to take the throne. Not the most involved of plots but nevertheless a very entertaining and fun series, obviously with many a nod to Shakespeare. I will fully admit of all the subsequent entries in this show, the first season is definitely weakest in terms of comedy. But don't let that stop you from watching it, it's a good start and still has it's moments. Any scene with Brian Blessed is glorious, Rowan Atkinson has some genuinely funny moments, no doubt the more historically knowledgeable will get a kick out of the narration, but I think it's more satirical of the time period. To poke fun is not neccessarily always funny, but wit is always wonderful. And any chance I get to feel good about myself by recognizing Shakespeare dialogue without reading any of his works is awful nice. This is one of the more lavish BBC productions I've seen at that period in time, there was a lot of on location filming at a proper castle and it's subsequent grounds, with more than just leftover period costumes, the whole nine yards, and it does look good. One aspect that must be addressed, because this is the oldest BBC show I've reviewed though I've seen many from the 60s to the 2000s, is the fact that location shooting or really anything outside the studio is shot on film and not all film stock is the same so it does have a grainy look to it whereas the studio footage had those proper big three lensed cameras so it looks really good. It's actually really interesting to sort of chart the character progression between all the series, because a good chunk of this cast gets brought back each time even if they don't play the same characters. Queen Victoria from the christmas special is the Spanish Infanta in this series and is marvellous to say the least for example (Bit out of sync but hey welcome to the timey wimey show!), so we'll compare notes on each. I don't actually think any sort of future series was even spared a thought of at this point, and could have very easily been just a one shot but it flourished throughout and could arguably be said that each series is better than the last. But of course more on that, in time. I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10! And we'll time warp tomorrow to the age of Queen Elizabeth I for Blackadder II.

Thursday, December 3, 2020


Well bollocks, here we are again. Luckily I will be doing better things with my life, like throwing cold water on carolers so they get hypothermia and reviewing non X-Mas material. But here comes the interesting part, I've heard tale of several films debuting so close to the most dreaded day of the year so what should I do? Stick around and attempt to get them done or simply pick up next year with several new films? I suppose it entirely depends on the familial schedule, as since I'm the only logical member of the family. Regardless we have at least two weeks of reviews which I am happy to do, talking about an excellent piece of british comedy and touching on my favorite series once more before the end. And you know what the true kick in the groin is? I actually made a Christmas list, God help me I'm going native. I haven't had one in about a decade. But anyway, I'm quite curious to look at the list of upcoming movies because I forget what's literaly about to come out, what has already been out, and what do I have to wait for until next year. I know Wonder Woman 1984 is heading to streaming and possibly theaters, I haven't heard a damn thing about Soul, and no doubt there are sevral releases on the Redbox to look into. So much work to do, and no doubt next year will be easier for us all, but not yet. The trick now is trying to survive but as my favorite band once said, "The future's uncertain and the end is always near.".