Friday, December 23, 2022

Andor: Season 1

Okay, holy shit we made it to the end and with one hell of a show!

I had a small thought and find it hilarious, the people who waaay back who were like why in the hell are we introducing politics into Star Wars are the same people now who actually really enjoy this series and it's more political, slow paced, and less actiony moments. Yes Andor, the one show I was not entirely here for from the announcement but in the words of my Papa I'll be dadgum, I really enjoyed this show! Set 5 years before the Battle of Yavin and ostensibly also 5 years before Rogue One, we meet up again with Cassian Andor who through a secret contact in the still forming infant Rebel Alliance is thrown into many situations and rough spots as he slowly is turned to joining the cause. That is pure bare bones story, there is quite a lot that occurs, believe it or not there isn't a whole lot of twists and turns at least not in the conventional sense. Now this is a highly important factor to bring up when trying to get people onto this show, there isn't a chase and pew-pew action every episode, it's more the exception rather than the rule. It holds a different kind of power, and I attribute that to the series writer Tony Gilroy who's bread and butter is spy thrillers, he isn't even that hardcore a Star Wars fan hence the lack of aliens and droids for the most part throughout the series. But the man knows his shit and delivers an intensely fascinating and tension building show in any situation. From essentialy the great bank heist of Aldhani, to galactic Prison Break, to everything in between it holds your attention. True the flashback sequences feel very slapdash in how they mixed it with the story, going to and fro from the past to now, but truthfully you only got to deal with it for a few episodes. If you give this show your undivided attention it delivers much in return, character wise, plot wise, and even easter egg wise. So let's go through characters, it is a big ensemble cast so we'll focus on major players seen throughout. Diego Luna I feel really gets to spread his wings in this show, even though he did mighty well in Rogue One you just get more time with him. His out for his own self attitude, his secrecy, his sometimes cold blooded persona, but underneath it all you see a great dedication to his friends and family and know when push comes to shove he will fight alongside people. Stellan Skarsgard as Luthen, you want to talk like best performances ever in Star Wars? I'm serious man, he brought award winning big gun acting chops to this show potraying what I feel to be the true originator of the Rebels at least in ethics and conviction to fight the Empire. He just gets these sections of lines, full monologues at times, and just goes for it! I seriously couldn't praise the man enough if I tried. Now, oh yes, my favorite character, Denise Gough as ISB Lieutanant Deedra Meero. Whoa. It took maybe 5 seconds for me to settle on her as my favorite, if a quarter of the Empire had her conviction, meticulous mind, and broad strokes thinking the fucking Rebellion would have been killed before it got out of it's cot. She is not in this game for ascension through the ranks, she is here to wipe out dissidents and be awesome. Now to go to my least favorite character! Far from anything I could say bad things about Kyle Soller as Syril Karn, like the performance is spot on and done well but this character....Jesus wept. Okay, I didn't hate him at first, I saw this young, idealistic, commited to his job and code of ethics man and I can respect that. It then turned out he was a actually a simpering, washed out, wannabe who has a huge vengeance hard on for Cassian and a probably more quite literal hard on for Deedra. And I just, oh my God, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. The fact they even tried to nudge this potential romance made me want to wrap my lips around a fucking T-21. No. I am telling you no, go in the corner and think about what you did! This will not stand man! Now you know my stance on rebels, they are traitors, murderers, terrorists, and thieves. They are not heroes, they are not martyrs, they are a disease. However! Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma, I can live with her. Not to sound shameless, though I am, Mon Mothma is the most beautiful woman in all of Star Wars. No horseshit Jack, better than Cara Dune, better than Rey, Rose, Padme, even our beloved Leia, it's her over everyone okay! She makes my heart glow every second she is on screen, her husband is fucking useless marry me instead, and her story segments are kinda heartbreaking at times so she just gets a 12/10 overall! Everyone else as supporting cast was just as commited and strong as our major players so props to all involved, special love to Adria Arjona as Bix, Anton Lesser as Major Partagaz, and a secret extra bonus character whose work I love immensely but some secrets are best kept. Just go watch it. Lightning round opinion time! I have to applaud Lucasfilm for just making practical sets and not working exclusively with the Volume, the props, set design, costumes, and effects are just as good as any of the films maybe even a bit more so because you get just so much of it since it is a series. The Arrestor Cruiser plucked straight out of proto-type Star Destroyer concept art, amazing, flawless, showstopping, where's my toy, I love it. I want a whole friggin' show based on the ISB, it's wonderful to finally see it on screen and an environement I want to revisit a lot. Episode 6, wow. Just wow. Breathtaking visuals!! Plus this show made TIE Fighters legit terrifying, and I am an Imperial at heart but even my teeth were set on edge hearing those screaming ion engines. Our little droid B2EMO, I'm still grappling with that absurd name yet I treasure him and his little stutter, but it does pose the question....can you be too emo? (Yes.) Soooo many easter eggs in Luthen's art gallery, those prop boys were having a real good time peppering in all kinds of items and artifacts, most of which I caught. After credits scene for the finale, sheer pornography, a happy ending if I ever saw one. Ooh my....but anywho! I swear on all I believe, that march in the last episode was without question or doubt the most suspenseful dare I say Hitchcockian scene in Star Wars history, cause it just builds and builds at a slow burn pace, akin to the series as a whole in that way, and you know something is up, some shit is about to go down when it stops but you have no idea what. That's stunning to see, never that I would say Star Wars is "formulaic", there's too much diversity in eras, characters, and stories with obvious reoccuring themes but this really breaks the mold as what people consider Star Wars could be. I'm in the camp that Star Wars can take on any genre, sub-genre, style, or situation and Andor proves it can be done. We have the technology. We have the writing. The sky is the limit as I have said before. It does truly trail blaze, it sets out on it's own story and does it's own thing, with all the shows we've gotten not that I'm saying this as a detriment but it is traditional wonderful fan pleasing Star Wars. I still say it's a toss up between Kenobi and Mando for my favorite of the shows so far, but Andor has a lot of my respect and admiration and could potentially top them all. If I said to 2016 Dude, that Andor show you have no interest in and not much hope for yeah my Dude it's actually groundbreaking and amazing, I would scarcely believe myself! But that's what happens, time marches on, opinions and viewpoints change, impermanence is life. So I'm walking away highly pleased and looking forward to season 2. 4 stars, 8.5/10, and this...hurts to say.

Okay everybody I have news. Not good news. I've been sitting on this egg of an idea for about half the year and I feel it is important and more importantly, time. Next year, after the 8th anniversary, I'm taking a step back. I'm not quitting, I'm not retiring, everything is perfectly fine in my personal life, but reviews are not going to be nearly as frequent as before. I have written over 1,000 reviews in less than a decade. Can you count to 1,000? Cause I sure did and I can't believe it even now! You think I planned all this to go as long as it did?? Heeeellllll naw! So we're just gonna do new releases, our traditional Halloween October goodness, maybe a birthday week, but that's really it until 2024. This has never felt like a job, but a passion project, I do not get paid for it and never have but I could care less! But I also couldn't tell you the last time I rewatched a movie just to rewatch it, to enjoy cinema without really having to write about it, to not worry about my constant schedule of reviews. Even when I take months off I'm still planning and writing for the future. But when The countdown began to #1000, I had to do some thinking. I love it too much to quit, but life must take precedent. But I'll be back before you know it come January and I want to say thank you very much for sticking around another year, sticking around forever, recently, somewhere in the middle, and I hope you've seen some good movies this year! Mind you, this Top 10 list...yikes, I don't have much credibility in the slightest but I might get yelled at for this. But until that time, be safe, stay warm, enjoy your holidays, and I shall return to a sunless space to share my dreams with ghosts, monsters, and ghouls, to bask in the light of a full moon I'll never see in reality, to hear the sound of falling leaves and howling winds, to traverse paths through ancient woods where there is no way of escape, to revel in the spooky and the macabre. I find that good.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Tales Of The Jedi

Season two, please and thank you.

I do actually hate how short it is, that's my only complaint. When I heard we were getting a 6 episode mini-series, I was hoping in vain that they would be like, okay guys brand new animated Star Wars show, 6 episodes, 30 to 45 minutes a piece, get in! Nope. Whole damn thing is barely more than 90 minutes with credits. But like I said it's just criminally short like with Visions, you want more because there is always more to tell. Make season two take place in The High Republic era, we got Old Republic/early Empire days with this focusing on brief stories around fallen Jedi Count Dooku and rising padawan Ahsoka Tano. What's interesting though is every episode time jumps ahead, we see little baby Ahsoka OH MY GOD I would steal that child hard f***ing core, we see a really expertly designed episode where we see her evolution from newly appointed padawan of Anakin's to competent warrior straight to the goddamn Venator crash, and then we literally pick up after series finale of Clone Wars and partially see her life after the war but before she started aiding rebel scum. But my favorite parts were the Dooku parts, I had to pick up Dooku Jedi Lost and read that as homework before this show came out and it helped a lot filling in a few more gaps, as we see how increasingly disillusioned he becomes of the Senate and his constant pushing to becoming Darth Tyranus. I would watch an entire series dedicated to a mostly still unknown Sith Lord that's been around for 20 years since Attack Of The Clones came out, there ain't much Dooku media and this could be the start of rectifying that situation. I'm not one for blue lightsabers but I'd take his! It still has that distinct Clone Wars animation style yet it looks more glossy and clean, almost like a perpetual soft focus is employed. Now I have a wee theory for that, since more than half the show takes place before the Jedi are even aware the Sith have returned, it's a period of peace and prosperity for the Republic so it has a unique style to the look of everything. There's no rough scarred detail to ships and armor, you see a lot of nature shots that are akin to paintings, even when conflict arises and lightsabers are drawn it seems more mythical like seeing knights with swords right wrongs to help people, until Dooku turns heel at least. So obviously it's a Dave Filoni show with Clone Wars animation so we get our regular voice cast back, and it's always grand to hear Ashley, and Corey, and Matt, but special love for Bryce Dallas Howard voicing Yaddle and Liam Neeson's son Michael Richardson voicing Qui-Gon Jinn, that was so rad man! Lucasfilm needs to stop giving me animation blue balls though, I mean really think about this. Clone Wars started back in 2008 and was cancelled in 2014, Rebels picked up the slack the same year, had 4 seasons and ended in 2018, two years later Clone Wars comes back has 12 episodes and ended in 2020, one year later Bad Batch comes out and actually gives us a proper season, then later in 2021 Visions comes out with 9 short ass episodes, and now one year later we're still in that same boat with Tales Of The Jedi. I know Bad Batch season 2 is coming soon so we're kinda getting back on track, and I know Lucasfilm is pushing for more TV instead of films for the moment in time, I love the live action stuff but the animated fans are kinda starving for a full fledged show here. But screw it, Star Wars is Star Wars and I'm happy. 4 stars, 8/10, and we got one more before the end of it all.

Monday, December 19, 2022

In Retrospect: Obi-Wan Kenobi

Yeahhhhh, now we're back!

Kenobi still holds firm and strong on repeat viewings, to finally be able to watch it all in one go as opposed to every week is a great ride. You really feel like it's an extended cut of a Star Wars film, like a mini epic, with tons given that wasn't even asked for but I appreciate greatly regardless. Obviously I spoke a very good deal about this series in the proper review and hold it highly, so I won't retread much ground but more focus on spoilery topics now that significant time has passed and tell you what minute changes I would make. No show is perfect, I understand that better than most but I really couldn't believe some of the bashing on this show. Bridges were burned, people were burned, I did what I must. So here we go for slight improvements. Believe it or not I would only change one major plot element, I'm very happy with how the story progresses from planet to planet, conflict to conflict in a broad sense. I enjoy Reva, I genuinely do, we rarely get to see such a consequences be damned loose cannon in the Inquisitorium, her story of revenge against Vader and how she goes about it is well done and consistent. However! I do almost wish she bit the quite literal dust on Tatooine, now that being said we have never encountered an Inquisitor that was redeemed. They all fucking die one way or another, so to see that alone is unique and interesting. I am down to see Moses Ingram reprise the role. But I genuinely felt first time watching the finale, she would die, that her anger and rage is what was keeping her alive Darth Maul style but once she spoke to Obi-Wan and got that peace and rised above what Vader is, that's when she would die. We love poetry in Star Wars so it would reflect Maul's death also on the sands of Tatooine in Obi-Wan's arms. Also speaking of parallels, apparently people called ripoff on the Vader mask slice? Even though....not every casual or hell even major Star Wars fan has watched Rebels so the fact we get that in live action, as well as the Inquisitor fortress from Jedi Fallen Order, I feel is nothing but a treat! The circle is now complete, we now have both Matt and James along with Hayden and James, that's cool as shit man! I just feel no one is ever gonna be happy, that I always have to keep fighting, keep defending, never obtaining victory in the Star Wars community. I mean is that what you wanna do with your life? Make a 40+ minute video deconstructing and defaming a series or film because it didn't do what you wanted it to do? That's senseless, but that's what happens man. I'm not here for it, I know I've hated a fair share in my time and it's good to vent but you gotta move on. Even with aspects of Star Wars that I see the fault of and could even recommend ways to fix it, in this show even it doesn't hurt the overall enjoyment and I can move along. Yes, the Leia chase scenes could have been changed very slightly to better work, have her hide in the forest, have her get a better head start on the rooftops. Yeah, Reva should have died from her wound but who knows her ultimate fate? They could have put Leia in a cargo box instead of a coat at the fortress. But for the most part, those are tiny details that don't warrant an overall....underwhelming? Aggravated? Negative? Hateful stance? When so much great stuff is given like Tala, Vader, Obi-Wan's journey, Leia, the duels, Master Qui-Gon! More additions to the lore like The Path with Quinlan Vos helping out, the weird ass amber crystal trophy room, new planets, things we get to see in live action, new droids, and a brand new story never told before. Hardly worthy of just a 7/10 on IMDB in my opinion. It's a mighty good mini-series that's engaging, well directed, well acted, and I stand by my rating of a 9/10! I got plenty from this, even though I was waaaaay off the mark with how this show would go, but an open mind and hunger for more Star Wars leads to positive experiences more often than not for me. I can't hate it and even if I did, give it about 5 years for Lucasfilm to retroactively improve it. That is literally the entire history to Star Wars, fuck your "they didn't even plan it out" horseshit. I could force snap some necks right now but I won't because we got more awesome shows to talk about, Dave Filoni take me home!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Porco Rosso

Damn you Studio Ghibli, I shake my fist at you!

Believe it or not, this friggin' movie man has been on my list for a long ass time, well before I even entertained the thought of writing my own reviews. This was my white whale to finally see, and I was not disappointed. Set in what looks like the late 1920s in the Mediterranean Sea, an ace pilot named Porco Rosso makes a living off protecting sea cruisers from air pirates as the governmental landscape shifts and the times they are a-changin'. Bounty hunting is a thing of the past and worse, Porco's plane gets wrecked forcing him to get it repaired and comes face to face with the new big shot pilot in town named Curtis who wants to take him down. Throw in a kickass mechanic named Fio, some air pirates possibly more hilarious than the pirates in Castle In The Sky, some spectacular sea scenery, and I think this is top 5 Studio Ghibli material for me. I'm serious man, if I wasn't a gleam in my mother's eye in 1992 you bet your ass I would see this day one! Granted the only selling point needed for me to even feverently search to watch this movie is two things, Studio Ghibli and Michael Keaton. I'm sold, take my money! Michael Keaton is so great in this, he's kind of a smartass but he's so cool you don't care, he can drink, smoke, womanize ever so slightly, and look like a literal pig and by God he can get away with it. I love how they don't really even explain how he turned into a pig, you never see anything, it's mentioned in passing it's a curse, we simply just do not know. I would call that bad writing elsewhere but it's never a quest to make him human again, people fully accept his appearance, so it's never really a problem. Kimberly Williams-Paisley as young engineer Fio just puts a smile on my face, she ain't taking no nonsense from Porco, she's super intelligent, very funny, hardheaded but extremely sweet, and there isn't really any kind of overt romance projected onto the film with either her or an old friend of Porco's who runs an establishment named Gina, played by Susan Egan who it took almost until the end of the movie for me to recognize her voice. You 90s Disney fans know, and while she is a smaller part of the story I really like her addition. Cary Elwes coming back again to voice Curtis, an egotistical even more womanizing gent from Texas no less (appreciate that representation, though we're not all like that I swear), but he's not an outright villain. Hell even the gangsters and air pirates are more comedic relief than actual threat but I adore that, it's just wonderful fun and I am not opposed to fun. The animation and backgrounds in this movie are stellar, you do feel that momentum and flying sensation even to a point where I tensed up for a brief instance. Some of these backgrounds are just unadulterated art worthy of any landscape painter. And this is just a super tiny sidebar, I can't even explain why, but seeing colored glints on the plane and the machine gun fire being this string of purple/pink orbs just really put a smile to my face, it's that very particular early 90s style of animation and I am here for it. I was so upset when it ended though because I was just having that great a time with it, I didn't want it to end! Usually I don't hate when a movie ends but this is one of those rare exceptions. I'm doing it, can't stop me. Full 4 stars, 10/10, this was so far up my alley and we only have one week left of reviews before the end of another year. You didn't think I would leave you high and dry without some Star Wars did you?

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

From Up On Poppy Hill

I can't think of a genre for this movie besides slice of life.

This is such a wonderful slice of life movie, I was severely questioning Studio Ghibli throughout this cause I was just wondering, "What is the magic ingredient and reason why Studio Ghibli films are as good as they are?". I mean really think about this, you have an animation studio who's only rival is Disney who themselves have distributed Studio Ghibli movies here in the States, their palette of stories is so broad it could be either pure fantasy or down to earth real life, and it effortlessly works it's way into your heart each and every single time to where you adore the movie when it barely has even begun. I was 12 minutes into this and I thought, what a sweet wonderful little film. Nothing has such power in this world except Studio Ghibli. When I explain the plot it sounds so dirt simple, almost like there's nothing to it but there truly is I swear. Alright, so the backdrop of this story is the 1964 Olympics held in Tokyo as we meet young schoolgirl Umi who meets and helps a fellow student named Shun keep his classmates center of operations for individual clubhouses from being demolished. That's pretty much the plot. There's no great drama, or adventure, there's not even a romance to it, it's just a simple yet strangely engaging story. Hence my previously stated remarks above. It's just a nice story with nice characters, there's no frills, bells, or whistles to keep you engaged. But it succeeds full heartedly in my opinion. There's still emotion and conflict, and something else that popped into my head is I don't actually consider Studio Ghibli movies for kids. It's silly to say, and not at all that children cannot understand the films but more on the basis that children couldn't appreciate the films like adults do. When I saw Spirited Away a very, very long time ago on Cartoon Network I didn't completely get it but I still very much liked the movie and there are moments when I could tell something was being presented that I didn't fully grasp emotionally or mentally. Watching it now I can see more and thus appreciate it more. From Up On Poppy Hill deals with the loss of a parent, a dedication to the past, how individuals deal with tragedy and try to move on. It's not super heavy or depressing even, but it is there. I wouldn't have grasped all of this at a young age, but I do now and I love the movie for that. It's difficult to explain but all too easy to feel. To see that time and place in the world is a great treat, even though you don't see major Tokyo landmarks in the mid 60s it's still cool. The animation is that same high quality, with pure art being showcased on the screen at times literally and figuratively, atmosphere has a great deal to play in these movies and I attribute that to Japan having a great deal of respect and admiration for nature. So to see a glimmering sea, sunsets amidst trees, even urban structures and cities, it just has this depth to it and we're not talking about perspective of the frame here. Something so simple but can speak great volumes, that's how I'd describe this movie. It's funny because I was picking what movies to review, upon reading the synopsis for this movie I was hesitant to add it because it just didn't sound like all that much, but there is a clear and distinct line from reading about a movie to experiencing a movie. 4 stars, I'm giving this an 8.5/10. A great movie no question, and tomorrow I've been waiting a very long time to finally see this movie so join me tomorrow as we take to the skies!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Cat Returns

Well...Jesus! Alright, let's go! Potential spoilers ahead all ye who enter here.

What in the nine circles of hell have I just witnessed? This movie is so goddamn weird man, it is bonkers!! Consider me flabbergasted, I can't speak right now. Like you would think, after alllll this time, with all the weird shit I have seen in my life, this movie would be next door to a normal day but I can scarcely find the words to describe it. So bear with me here as I attempt to recap this wacked out plot. Okay, so we meet a young girl named Haru who one day after school rescues a cat from being ran over in the street (my hero, rock on), said cat then starts talking and pretty soon Haru starts recieving gifts cause turns out the cat she saved is the prince of a cat kingdom. But that's not the strange part. She later is informed of a cat bureau where she meets a giant tubby white cat named Muta, a statue that turns into a crow named Toto, and a not cat but an actual figurine of a cat with top hat and tails and a cane named Baron Humbert von Gikkiken. But that's not the strange part. Haru is then kidnapped by a herd of cats who can GO THROUGH PORTALS, and is spirited away to the cat kingdom to be wed to the prince. But that's not the strange part! It's all the shit that happens after she gets to the castle. She starts turning into a cat herself, Muta seemingly dies from overeating, several cats are hurled out of the tower window, and then a rescue is underway with the Baron leading the charge to get Haru back to the human world. I swear to Christ, it's like if you took the plot of Labyrinth, injected so much mental ass imagination straight from Japan in it's arm, threw in a Hollywood studded cast, shoved it head first into a Ninja blender, flipped that puree switch and boom. You got yourself the most batshit Studio Ghibli movie I have ever seen in my life and already their resume is pretty out there! I cannot get over it, now do not get me wrong this is like high flying entertainment on crack, I can't bitch about one single thing, but I'm still trying to catch my breath along with my ballistically spread fired braincells, to try to review it but I'm not sure I can. It's great. But logic is not in the repertoire here for a split second, you just gotta roll with it, you can't question it. Don't question it, and you'll be fine. What's odder is I know this cast very well even, but for the life of me I couldn't recognize their voices. Anne Hathaway is Haru and she is hilarious with how almost deadpan and blunt her line deliveries are, she's wonderful in this role. Friggin' Cary Elwes as the Baron, do I need to say anything else? It's Cary Elwes, that charismatic handsome bastard could have me in a sentence. Peter Boyle as Muta, could not place the voice for the life of me but my God is he great in this, giving such bravado as this tough guy cat but just kills me throughout as comic relief. It took until like 3/4 of the way through the movie for me to recognize that was Tim Curry as the Cat King, I don't know how don't ask me how, yet with that man in any role it's guaranteed gold! I was laughing uproariously at parts, to the point where I had to stop the movie just to catch my breath, my mind couldn't handle the barrage assault of comedy given at points where it was just hit after hit. I'm probably gonna get noise complaints but screw it, they can suck on coxen, this was such a ride man. Apparently this is a semi-sequel to Whispers Of The Heart also by Studio Ghibli, I had no clue about that, and if I'm not horribly mistaken this movie came out after Spirited Away so we're still on that cutting edge new millenium animation style. I thought it looked fantastic with so much intricate layers of animation on the busy streets, with such crisp bright colors, it looks outstanding. You could lie straight to my face and be like oh yeah this movie came out 4 years ago, and I'd believe you! I'm speechless and floundering for words, so I'm sorry if this review is just all over the place, you just gotta see it my bros. You just have to. I can't fathom even a rating beyond 4 stars, so let's just say a solid 8/10! I'm gonna have to take some thorazine and have a nap so I can calm down. I'll see you tomorrow for a more recent exhibit from this studio.

Friday, December 9, 2022

The Sandman: Season 1

This might go on a bit.

Story time! What seems a long time ago I was made aware of an author by the name of Neil Gaiman through an episode of Doctor Who and all the big talk around that episode of such a prolific writer known noticeably by a work called The Sandman. Years passed and through bits and bobs of internet existence, more details of this world came to light, with the two biggest ones being an issue by the title of 24 Hours and the character previously discussed on this show. And one day I decided to do something. Still early years of writing reviews but I took 7 days out of my life, went to the local Barnes & Noble, sat in a comfy chair, and digested 10 volumes of The Sandman. It is not only the only true comic series I have read (not counting graphic novels and one shot adaptations), but also the only comic series I own. Hell, I even re-read the entire series I think either before or during the release of this show. You do not fuck me about with The Sandman. Let us begin. This show was really good. I won't become a counterbalance comparing source material with adaptation, but just know even though they make changes they are not bad changes. to briefly explain Sandman? Well! Seven anthropomorphized personifications known as The Endless govern each of their spheres according to title, in particular Dream who is torn from his reality and imprisoned by magic practicing humans for over a century. Once he finally achieves an escape, he goes on a quest to retrieve his items that were stolen leading him to face a demon hunter by the surname of Constantine, a mental patient that uses his powerful item to wreak havoc, and the quite literal hordes and lord of Hell. There's more to it, but why spoil everything presented? I scarcely know where to begin now. I shall note that the first season comprises 2 of the 10 volumes spanning eleven episodes, but I'll add an addendum and say the 11th episode is a bonus episode not the finale. And it moves at a very well done pace I thought. I honestly forgot at times I was watching a series because it does have a cinematic quality to the production! I feel the casting was super well done. With great love going to many including Tom Sturridge, who really encompasses the voice and was the big deciding factor on my enjoyment of this series but I'm happy to report he did wonderful, bringing a lot more humanizing and less apathetic qualities to Morpheus. Boyd Holbrook as the monstrous nightmare creature the Corinthian I'll admit didn't fully have me sold first I saw him, but by episode 7 he hit that stride and became such a great villain to boo and hiss at. Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, one of many examples of Rule 63 in the show, was a bright and welcome addition to the Dreaming and having such strong chemistry with Tom, she was grand. I know people maybe might have given Gwendoline Christie some grief as playing Lucifer Morningstar, but to be perfectly honest I can't fathom any text that specifically said Lucifer was a guy and angels don"t exactly have genitalia so screw it. I felt she has that perfect cherub face and slick fashion sense, and conveys the literal ruler of Hell incredibly well, she kinda is a bit unnerving to watch! I was so looking forward to the appearance of my dear sweet king Gilbert, like seriously this guy is my favorite male character of the series, and when I saw Stephen Fry I flipped man. Flawless casting! And last but never everrrrr least, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as my one and only, Her Majesty of the Sunless Lands, Death. I...guys. Here I go again! Have. To. Maintain. Composure. The fact we get her for one episode is criminal but she is a passing, more sporadic appearing character in the comics so I get it, but she did so well! Oh my God, her episode is hands down the best and real talk here, got me surprisingly emotional like a LOT, tears slipped down my cheeks! To see a story I adore so much come to life on the screen I've just never experienced that until this point in my life. She's pure 10/10 and I can't wait to see Kirby again in this show. Also shoutout to my guy Patton Oswalt, wonderful to see you as always and will continue to be until, if the gods are kind, the series finale. I think this is the most lavishly produced Netflix show I've ever seen but truth be honest, I don't watch Netflix like I used to and I certainly haven't seen an original show of theirs until Rilakkuma And Kaoru, but for such a visually rich and uberly imaginative series like The Sandman they did do a competent and well done job on crafting the worlds, the props, conveying the sense of a dream, costumes, all that stuff! I couldn't even imagine how much more colorful and wild it would be if this was an animated series, but the leap to live action is a brave one and apparently from what I've heard of past Netflix created live action counterparts to stuff [cough cough] umm...yeah. So I'm counting my lucky stars and giving thanks for this series to have even begun, let alone do well enough more is on the way. And boy, knowing the things I know that are coming up makes my imagination race figuring out how they're going to do it and what they might change up. Unlike others I welcome change and crafting of new elements for an adaptation, because I mean really, what do you get out of watching an adaptation where you know precisely what is going to happen every second? Keep me on my toes, shuffle stuff, drop stuff, recast people! I enjoy that engagement of, where is it going next? And I enjoy even more not having the answer. Volume 3 of the comics is an interesting collection of one shot stories, technically they've already done half of them in the bonus 11th episode, so what does that entail for season 2? Do we finish them off first episode, throw them in as another bonus episode, maybe drop it all together? No clue. But wait until you see what the Morningstar has cooked up for the Dream Lord, it is a trip! But before I go off on a tangent and spoil something, final scores on the boards. I give it 4 stars, 8.5/10! A super solid beginning to a world of dreams and nightmares. We'll be slipping back into exclusively movie reviews next week with examples from a much visited and beloved animation studio.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Death (2019)

Criminally short but great.

I was thoroughly shocked I wasn't aware of this little short, I am hardcore for The Sandman and even more hardcore for his older sister, and it surprised me even more to learn this only came out 3 years ago but then again life got thrown into a whirlpool quite quick so I'll cut me some slack. I was expecting before doing any real brief research a 30 something minute adaptation of one of Neil Gaiman's stories, but what I got was a 17 minute original story of an artist who is severely having a rough time before meeting a quite sweet girl who obliges to pose for him, before big bombshell here folks, friggin' cutie pie yumness over there, she's Death. I am trying really reallyyyy hard here not to just devolve into just obscene gushing over this woman, I am physically attempting to contain my immeasurable joy in seeing her and my neverending crush on this lovely lady. She has my heart in this world and the next, it is her above anyone else, and I am a shamelessly wholesome Dude stating facts. I gotta go now. Color me impressed with how much good stuff they put in this absurdly short film, you get a real solid grasp on our painter Vincent, his life, his passion for art, and how he manifests his inner demons. I really can see so many people just getting it, you know? They know what it's like, they have been there before, it's very easily relatable. The animation is very good as well, with how lighting and atmosphere changes so quick, the abandoned streets of Gotham (Represent!), the character designs I see bits of anime influence but this is very much the standard quality of DC animated projects, it sorta reminded me of a mix between Batman Year One and Throne Of Atlantis. And I gotta admit I've never been able to quantify the voice I hear in my head when I read The Sandman books and come across Death, but Jamie Chung pretty rock solid choice I very much liked her vocal performance here. Leonardo Nam gets that emotional drama through in a short period and while I saw that ending coming a substantial mile away it didn't detract at all from his last minutes of acting. Talking of which, wow that was so cool! Amazing how far we've come with animation. And can you believe, you can watch the whole thing on the YouTubes, no charge! Worth the time in my opinion. I give it 4 stars, 9/10! The only reason it isn't 10/10 is because it's just too damn short. Yet what a strangely accurate portrayal of life, short yet filled with so much, joy and sadness, the facing of death around you before your own time comes, the pursuit of things you love. Here one minute. Gone the next. But you get what everyone gets, you get a lifetime.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Constantine City Of Demons

At long last I'm finally watching The Sandman show this week, but why not look at some related movies too?

I will admit I'm not terribly familiar with John Constantine, but I get the basic idea. Middle aged down to earth bloke from England fights demons and monsters with magic, a concept as easy to grasp as gravity for me, and indeed the first time I encountered the character was in the infancy issues of Sandman. Plus I've been meaning to take a look at his two animated films for a wee while anyway. So John has been called in as a favor from an old friend who suspects foul play when his young daughter slips into a coma, and immediately shit hits the fan real hard leading John to travel to the City of Angels to rescue the daughter's soul from an enterprising demon. The first thing I gotta tell you is, this movie does not fuck about. At all. It is pure mature audiences only, there is more gore and horrific deaths in this than there was in that animated Mortal Kombat movie, so many cuss words, and even a semi(?) sex scene without any of the visual stimulus. That was a wake up call and a half let me tell you. But it was an interesting and engaging film, it goes for gruesomely out there and succeeds quite well. Since it deals with demons and magic there are plenty of cool animation details that make it visually great. Matt Ryan was really really good as Constantine, a pretty smug and yet average guy who's trying to do right but is far from your heroic boy scout archetype, the man smokes like a chimney and drinks more than Raymond Carver and has some attitude. A welcome change of pace in the wide world of comics. Damian O'Hare as John's best friend Chas brings more of that humanity and emotion to it, he fully knows John is a magic man which is an aspect I greatly liked, no need to keep secrets, and you by God want to see him get his daughter back but Jesus wept this movie takes like a foot long knife and just twists that shit but not at all in the way you think. Robin Atkin Downes as the villain Nergal (totally not tentacled dickhead from Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy) is an asssshooooole in this, obviously because the movie goes in such unadulterated dark shit he is just one evil sum'bitch you hate unconditionally, so hey big props to them for that. It's feature length so it takes it's time and while not everything is explained, it's magic you don't have to, and you do kinda have to just roll with it I feel it still works if this is your first exposure to the character. There be no origins stories here, everything is established and ready to be enjoyed if you can stomach the just jaw dropping amounts of gore. I can't recall the last animated project that was this blood soaked but shittin' hell man I've done over 1,000 of these things, it's a miracle I remember what I did yesterday. So all in all it was a good film, very happy I saw it but could only recommend to certain people instead of everybody. I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10, and tomorrow's example is even more deeprooted in the mythos of the Endless.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Violent Night

I would like to issue a statement rescinding all hatred towards Christmas, and that David Harbour might be the best Santa. This is not issued under duress or fear of being brutally murdered. I clearly have always held Christmas highly and wish nothing but joy to the world. Uhhh....HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

But in all seriousness for a movie I had next door to average expectations, shitting hell it was actually pretty great! I saw legit effort and commitment to this idea and no slapdash treatment for an admittedly silly movie idea. I could compare certain elements of the plot to films like Die Hard or Home Alone but I really don't want to sell this movie short, for a movie about a home invasion disrupted by Santa Claus I genuinely was greatly entertained, horrified by the violence, and did feel that Christmas heart full of joy. I'm as dumbfounded as the rest of you but...I kinda love this movie! David Harbour pretty damn solid, I mean I'll admit he won me over quick being bitter as hell about the holiday and these shit ass kids (no I haven't seen Bad Santa so this is new to me), so that was great but you can see this devotion and care he has for his role he just so happens to crack skulls open like a nutcracker too. Glorious! Good ol' Luigi Mario, John Leguizamo what a hateful but great fun villain, he was that actionsploitation villain but with the right kind of performance and dialogue to make it interesting. This little girl.....if she was in danger I would go Doom Slayer on whoever stood in my way, Leah Brady is that perfect level of pwecious and rad in this role and bless her forever. Those are the main players but the supporting cast from parents to goons are also done well! I really hope this becomes a blood soaked Christmas cult classic, and I'm gonna lay this out here. If you think Die Hard isn't a Christmas movie, then here is your Christmas action movie no questions asked. I was a bit disappointed by the CG blood but that was remedied with fairly decent practical effects and many, many blood packs. This is a goddamn brutal movie, like it did elicit vocalizations of shock and disgust from me. Well directed as well, they go for some interesting angles and a long take action scene. It almost is nothing like I imagined it would be, it's better. Like I said I hope people see the effort to make this actually a very good movie, because I respect the living shit out of the writers and directors for handling this the way they did. Objectively it's like a 7/10 maybe but this is how nice of a Dude that I am, I'm giving it 4 stars, 8/10! There's your Christmas present, don't ever say I don't do nice things even in the face of this most annoying of seasons. And that good folk is the last new movie review of 2022, now to compile the list and start forming a top 10 of the year. But there's a few more things to scratch off the list, discuss, and appreciate. I'll see you behind the wall of sleep.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Can you believe I was gonna originally post this on Monday? My senile ass is losing it.

It was a friggin' treat watching this series. I mean obviously from the offset it had my attention, a Wednesday Addams show by Tim Burton, very much in my wheelhouse. And what I got was thankfully far and away from my reservations and fears, cause when that trailer hit I was like, okay're on the knife's edge of being a CW show please be careful. It played it's cards just right. So our story involves young Wednesday Addams having to transfer to a new school where fairly immediately a mystery pops up that she's hell bent on solving, taking us over the course of eight 45 minute episodes of humor, twists, intrigue, and more than plenty morbid dialogue. And I truly must admit, during that first episode I was teetering on the fence, I saw a lot that won me over but some stuff was holding me back, but then I took a good few paces back and looked at it. The Addams Family just simply has not had a show like this, it's digging into new grounds and therefore has the right to make it's own adaptation. It's own world, characters, dilemmas, and choices. Once I remembered that, at the 20 minute mark I was all in. I am saying it. I am not taking it back. Jenna Ortega, best Wednesday. Because she takes the core baseline of Christina Ricci's Wednesday and expounds upon it immensely, hilariously grim, highly inquisitive, more blunt than a dull knife, and endlessly entertaining. I cannot express this enough, she is flawless. I thought her bubbly roomate Enid was gonna grind my gears, nope! Cute as a button, bless her heart, she's great fun and that lovely cheery balance to a child filled with woe. Pretty great to see Gwendoline Christie again, Christ she is difficult in this show though but I understand that's the point, this hardheaded principal who holds much annoyance with Wednesday and is a hurdle for her to get across. The semi-love triangle thing I could have lived without, but Hunter Doohan and Percy Hynes White did do very well and were nice characters for Wednesday to bounce off of. When I heard Catherine Zeta Jones was Morticia I could picture that incredibly well and I will admit there is one scene with her and like duuude, her acting sent a blade of ice straight through my heart. Like a chill ran through me for just the briefest of instances so color me impressed. I very foolishly held reservations with Luis Guzman as Gomez and it took exactly 3 seconds of him serenading Morticia with a Buddy Holly song and I was sold. Needed more Lurch though. Bastards. And of course, we actually get Christina Ricci in this show, and she is sooo not a cute little cameo, and then bye we never see her again. She is in every episode! Thank you for that showrunners I loved seeing her. Obviously no spoilers of even a miniscule kind, but it will be super interesting to rewatch this season I mean that's how great mysteries stand the test of time, on repeat viewings do you still get something out of it? I felt it was a very competent and interestingly woven mystery of murders and monsters, I had some theories which were wrong but I pulled a Hail Mary theory throw and it by God stuck and it was the big secret reveal. Totally didn't have any back up evidence, I just got lucky as shit. Major props to the writers though for this dialogue, it really was everything I expected and more, completely what I loved, I was laughing consistently and strongly throughout. Also brownie points for totally just pulling the rug out at certain tropes, good ol' subverting expectations! Ooh there's this secret society in the school, found out about it early on and quickly moved on. Oh there's this rivalry between Wednesday and a more popular girl Bianca, they sort it out halfway through the show and work together. But there's this weird guy who was trying to off Wednesday and fortells of her doom, he gets sliced stone dead nowhere near the end of the show. I friggin' love that man! Anything but predictable. This is the way. Teeny tiny little note, the music choices though incredibly rare throughout, there is some good stuff right there buddy boy. Seeing Wednesday craned over her cello, belting out Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones, I genuinely believe I saw musical genius for the first time in my life. Hearing this downbeat, orchestral, almost dirge like rendition of Nothing Else Matters by Metallica is easily the best damn song in the show. Holy batshit that was fuggin' goooood! Even just the regular score music is mighty good, enriching and contributing to the gothic architecture, the bleak atmosphere, the cool dark colors, yet is still photographed exceptionally well. It never is too dark, or murky, or flat they knew what the hell they were doing. I'm serious man, I didn't hold high expectations by a country mile but I was incredibly entertained and fully recommend this series to anyone with even the most passing of interests in The Addams Family. Rightfully different from other adaptations, so damn funny, engaging to watch, and gold stars for our main cast. I was kinda hoping this would be a mini-series but it appears season two is at least alluded to, but hey I like this environment and Jenna in this role so screw it, I'm there. 4 stars, 8/10, and now comes the part where we shift from mysterious and spooky, to merry and bright. The cold touch of death beckons, sweet oblivion open your arms!!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Rilakkuma's Theme Park Adventure

I flipped when I saw there was a second show.

Rilakkuma And Kaoru was one of the most pleasant, wonderful, and enjoyable shows I've ever seen so I stepped into this show with love and happiness and I don't think it was in vain. Spread over a short but sweet duration of 8 episodes, each about 15 minutes long, we follow the misadventures of Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, Kiiroitori, Kaoru, and young Tokio as they venture to a soon to be closing down amusement park and plans go awry. It's short, sweet, and cute. I really do not need much more than that. In terms of production, animation, and style I feel this didn't have as much of a budget as the first series but the vast majority of it is done very well. The colors pop, the animation is fluid, they throw in some traditional 2D animation for flashbacks, and the character designs are still great. It maybe didn't make me laugh as much as the first series, but whenever I did it was hard hyena-esque laughter, when something hit it just tickled my funny bone to the extreme. And you're not really gonna buy what I'm about to say here but it's true I swear. These episode cliffhangers got me more emotionally fuelled and loud than any television show I've seen in the past 5 years. Every single one. Like I was practically shaking my fist and wanting the next episode to start immediately. Probably just me but I don't care. Rilakkuma, still me hardcore. And I just have something to say here real quick man. I have never felt so personally and viciously attacked in my life, this show called me out, and the attempt on my life has left me scarred and deformed. Seeing Rilakkuma be too tall or just too big for rides, no desire or initiative to do stuff unless food is involved and always in the mood for food, literally used as a bouncy castle to sit on, that's getting a bit personal to be perfectly honest. He's fragile, very fragile. Our returning cast are still brilliant, I fully took up just calling Korilakkuma "Baby" because...she is Baby and I would guard her forever. Poor Kaoru couldn't catch a break at all, in fact a lot goes wrong for everyone throughout this show. Not in a mean spirited or even depressing way of course, just things don't go as planned. Our characters get sidetracked, lost, spend the whole day trying to find each other, they try to help this nice young lady which flat out leads to a car chase where it sounds like Misirlou is kicking in, there's a conflict for each episode. Which is incredibly intentional because the new characters we meet who work at this amusement park have tribulations of their own but are reminded a few times that you can still have fun even if things don't happen the way you planned it. That's something I am really and truly taking away from this in my heart, I mean that's a fairly good life lesson. Quick sidebar, I was a bit surprised how much kinda spooky scary stuff was in this, I mean yes there was an episode devoted to scary stories in the last show, but even I was a little weirded out with some of the stuff presented. Of course it's more from a childlike perspective of something scary, rather than actual horrifying terror so that was interesting to say the least. I know it's not for everybody, it's pure innocent fluff, but God dang it I was a very happy, entertained, charmed bear, I mean boy watching this. What a splendid way to enjoy a chilly autumn day, get you some good food, comfy clothes, a place to lounge, and tune in. I give it 3.5 stars, 7.5/10!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Pink Floyd The Wall

This was really good.

I was aware of the spectacular animated sequences used in this film, so I decided to throw it in this week. What I got beyond that though really grabbed my attention. So the film is more or less a visual representation of the eponymous concept album made by Pink Floyd, which was kind of a rough period for the band. You really can't discuss the film without discussing the album or more importantly the events that shaped the album. The band was having severe money troubles and their keyboardist Richard Wright was let go, compound that with a lot of emotional baggage the lead singer Roger Waters wanted to get off his chest from feeling incredibly isolated and not in a good mindset and steadily they formed one hell of an album. The film concerns the life events and deteriorating mentality of a character named Pink, and that's really all the plot that can be given. Because the movie utilizes so much music from the album and it is to personify emotions and events, there isn't really a story but a well constructed sequence of events. And I gotta say it flows pretty dang smoothly for the most part considering it is almost a visual guide I supppse you could say to The Wall. It didn't take all that long until we be jammin' to many great tunes, but even beyond that the film has great power in visuals and storytelling! It kinda takes on an anti-war piece for a good chunk of the film, dealing with Pink losing his father in the second World War and how he never had a true father figure in his life. I mean I could go through every section of the film and explain it but that really defies the purpose. It is an experience to watch this movie and I did find it emotionally stirring. Granted there is more allegory and SYMBOLISM than you can shake a stick at, but music is pretty much that anyway. The animation parts are absurdly well done, I mean I have never witnessed such flawless transitioning and morphing of objects and imagery in my entire life. When I told my mom I was gonna review this she asked if I had some LSD and magic mushrooms for the trip, and yeah it's trippy and the movie does require thought but it isn't nonstop psychedelia. Needless to say Gerald Scarfe and all the animators were geniuses able to pull all this off as well as they did. If they ever re-release this in theaters, get your ass in there! It's directed really well, there isn't much dialogue but it holds intrigue, the journey of Pink to break the wall and rise above is something I feel more people can connect with today than in 1982 which is funny because the album came out 3 years prior, and if nothing else you just get to hear Pink Floyd. That's not a bad experience. I know I'd love to dig through all their studio albums and after this I feel I can appreciate The Wall that little bit more, I know everyone raves about Dark Side Of The Moon, rightfully so it is a very great album, but there's more to explore. Hell, my favorite Pink Floyd song isn't even on any of the big famous albums, it's from The Division Bell their second to last album with Lost For Words. Absolutely beautiful and beyond real. But before I keep rattling on, I recommemd it, I very much enjoyed it. I give it 4 stars, 8/10! And oh sweet Jesus, is it that time...again?? I'm not doing it. You get one holiday movie and then I'm going off in my own world reviewing what I want. I'll see you in the frozen depths of hell you cheery, tree massacring, joyfully singing, lap riding, present giving, Saturnalia celebrating, happiness mongers! I really don't like them, no I don't.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Strange World

Good for you Disney, doing something different.

Needless to say the trailer for this pretty much sold me, a fantastical world with many strange, strange creatures. Let's go. So what did I think? It certainly deserves better than a 5/10 on IMDB, but I do have slight issues with it. So our story takes place on the town/continent/planet(?) of Avalonia where a group of farmers are recruited to travel to the center of the earth to seek out the quite literal root of their problem as their energy sources are depleting. Not super radical in terms of story but for Disney it is new ground. I like our main leads, you do feel the family dynamic and I'll admit the relationship between Searcher and Meridian was really dang sweet. Hell props to them for giving a quite cute blooming romance between two guys, if only for a brief moment. However! I have never seen a script so embroiled in a tug of war in my life. Because the plot focuses as much on generation gaps as much as this wonderful world, and at certain points I'm like, oh wow movie you're not going for some tropey cliches of bickering family members and them totally not opening up their emotions. We get some solid open hearted conversations that I feel are good discussions.....and then they ruin it. It's like every step the characters take forward which happens fairly often, every single time is pulled right the hell away and they regress ten steps back. So why should I believe anything they say and get invested when they turn their backs almost immediately on what they just said! It's so aggravating man. Now the character designs are fine, the environments are nothing short of fascinating and amazing to see, the creatures are so imaginative, and yeah the movie throws a curveball that I never suspected even though I was calling out elements of it early on unknowingly. So the visuals once again are the strongest point of the film, which is not good because they were soooo close to getting this dialogue and characterization down but just fumble it bad. And you spend the entire film with these people and their emotional problems to fix, so it hurts the score. Visuals, excellent crossing over into art at points. Story, basic but interesting. Characters, infuriating but have their good moments. Do I recommend it? Ah, it depends on the individual. This isn't new heights for Disney but it's decent and has a good message about environments and how planets themselves are lifeforms. So....I give it 2.5 stars, 7/10, and tomorrow we really diveboard into the bizarre and you'll be surprised what it is. Keeping you guessing for almost 8 years, I'm proud of that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Fantastic Planet

Well I wanted weird animation in prep for Strange World and boy did I get it.

I think this is my first review of a french film, I've seen a few bits of french cinema but never reviewed any so huzzah for adding another country to the list! This was so damn bizzare man, I barely know where to start. So okay, it is an adaptation of a novel where humans known as Oms are viewed as an inferior unintelligent race by an alien humanoid race known as Draags, and the plot is kinda Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes except with humans. A young Om named Terr is taken in by a Draag and learns their language and culture before meeting other Oms and spreads their knowledge about until it seems a war is brewing, which is unfortunate for the Oms because they are about the size of a paperclip to the Draags who are our natural human size. It's not really a film centered heavily on plot, the reason why people are aware of it is this weird ass animation style and designs. When I first saw it it heavily reminded me of the Monty Python cut out style of animation, but it is hand drawn with heavy use of shading and simple movement. The movement is fluid but the style is far from clean. The best and oddest way I can ever explain it is, you can almost feel the paper the animation was drawn on. And the designs are the greatest part! The Draags I feel were perhaps an unconcious inspiration for the Chiss race in Star Wars, blue skinned, with red eyes, but sans the small facial fins. The humans still look like humans but are dressed in rags. And okay guys, it's french're gonna see nudity. It's not portrayed in any kind of sexual way but you do see breasts, and pubic hair, and genitalia. And you actually get a good sense of this environment you are thrown in, it's assuredly alien but you can piece together what something is for the most part. The environments and other creatures you see along the way are impossible to describe but I can tell a show like Rick And Morty took severe inspiration for the batshit weird designs of alien worlds and lifeforms. The soundtrack is funky weird man, 70s if I've ever friggin' heard it, and I would say it reminds me of Pink Floyd but even though Pink Floyd was experimental as shit this is just it's own style. It's a short film too clocking in at 1 hour and 15 minutes with credits so it's a quick sit. Not sure if you should be on any major substance abuse while watching it, but it's interesting to look at. It's not that I don't recommend it but I urge people more to look at pictures of the film more than watch the film itself. It's decent, but that is the main drawing point. I give it 2.5 stars, 6.5/10, and get ready for more acid fueled animation from our friends at Disney!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Doctor Who: 2018 - 2022 Retrospective

I'm making this short and plain.

Jodie's era was fine. It was good. I harbor no hatred or disappointment at all for it. Jodie was a good Doctor, able to be eccentric and fun but never pulls her punches when she has to act serious or dramatic. Bradley Walsh is a damn king and I want you to acknowledge him! Mandip Gill I feel she needed more characterization but ultimately a decent companion. Tosin real idea why he was hired, he really can't act worth shit, I hate to be mean but honesty can be mean. John Bishop, really funny and a wonderful average bloke to be thrown in the mayhem. Sacha Dhawan, marry me, I will call you Master and [CENSORED], you are absolutely magnificent in this role and I want you back already! Now onto the series. I still feel Series 11 is actually a really good series, only one episode is a bit dull but the rest I like just fine, they did so much new stuff and I appreciate that! Doctor Who has neeeverrrr looked as good as Series 11, even with future series it doesn't have that crisp cinematic quality to it, the cameras they used need to be the standard. Series 12, best series of the Thirteenth Doctor, bring on the Master, the new Cybermen (please keep that design for a good 5 years), and the Timeless Child. Oh yeah. I still stand by that one. And to all of you naysayers that claim, "Well now we know everything about the Doctor! There's no more mystery to the character!" to which I reply, okay smartass literally tell me everything about the Doctor from before the young abandoned child standing by a portal all the way to William Hartnell. Oh wait, what's that? You can't?? Mein Gott! It's almost as if the mystery if anything has deepened even more than originally conceived. What sorcery is this?!? In other words, shut the FUCK up Donny! Very solid series, picks up the pace, gives us new and old in a well formed package. Onwards! Series 13, horribly crippled by real world events unfortunately but not too bad, great new villain introductions, gave if nothing else variety each episode, and each repeat viewing helps the understanding of the juggled plot and characters. The specials, mixed bag but ends on a high note and I'm happy about that! Chibbers, I've seen your previous Doctor Who writing, you ain't the best but you're not the worst either. I'm willing to dive into your other shows to get better acquainted with your writing style. You gave us some cool shit, some of it was very slap dash in planning and execution, but you kept the show going and gave us a fun Doctor. Every show has it's ups and downs, Doctor Who is no fucking exception, but even the more rocky eras had it's fans and was shown love whether currently or in retrospect. I love all the Seventh Doctor stories, yes even Time And The Rani. I treasure Colin Baker and watch his stories happily even if they aren't all great. Paul McGann deserved more than a TV movie and a mini-sode, despite the more cheesy elements of the movie, he's really damn good if you listen to his audio dramas! Peter Capaldi is the best Doctor Who for my money, but I sure as shit didn't worship all his stories now did I? And who knows, maybe David coming back to give another whole spin of an entirely different Doctor, both to his previous incarnation and his first run, will win me over and it'll always be lovely to see him again, but I'm thinking in broad strokes towards the future. Not one series or two years into the future, but decades down the road. Tomorrow is another day and life is just a constant sequence of 5 minutes (until it's not), but you have to look beyond at the impact of it all. I don't think people are posing the question "What will (blank) be like in 20 years?" anymore and they really really should. This isn't the end for Doctor Who, just a lower point than most other series and eras since 2005, nothing more nothing less. It's good, at times it's amazing, and people will wise up to that fact. It's just a matter of time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Doctor Who: The Whittaker Specials

Physician heal thyself.

So let's do this properly, Eve Of The Daleks the third and final New Year's special, how is it? I think it's a solid special, if I had to pick favorites I think Resolution is the best but this comes second. Set in a very budget friendly storage space the Doctor and crew have arrived in the midst of a time loop, and you think oh a Groundhog's Day style story with the Doctor constantly being assaulted by Daleks not a half bad premise, but I actually appreciate it's a slowly dwindling time loop so if someone dies it could be final. It's a fun little story with humor, plenty of exterminations, and easily the oddest Dalek story yet. I'll admit it took me forever to realize who Aisling Bea was because I've watched many a time The Big Fat Quiz show and she was a welcome treat, and Adjani Salmon I hear a lot of creep admonishing but I personally saw him as a shy well to do guy trying to get a relationship started so I took no major offence. It's a decent story and the whole Thirteen and Yasmin or Thasmin for shorthand thing, knowing that and watching allll the episodes beforehand I don't genuinely feel it was terribly tacked on. It can be seen as a more subtle under the surface romantic relationship rather than the petulant, please give me your dick, anvil drop that was series 2 Rose, and if anything it just further proves that no matter the gender Doctor Who is in for the vulva. Moving swiftly on! Now unfortunately we come to what I consider the absolute weakest episode of Jodie's tenure. I know, The Tsuranga Conundrum, Orphan 55, Praxeus, not very highly regarded episodes but Legend Of The Sea Devils is just so underwhelming and just....there. Like come on people, the Sea Devils are finally back and they look glorious, and you give this no stakes, plodding, nary a drop of interest story, I don't even think I can comprehensively recap said story. The Doctor, Yaz, and Dan meet famed pirate queen Madame Ching, who's unleashed the Sea Devils unwittingly who are really fucking with their shit, and there's sea serpents and ghost ships, and all this wild stuff, and....I...I got absolutely nothing. Very good effects, worst sword fight ever I said what I meant and meant what I said, bit more Thasmin scenes for you shippers out there, but ultimately useless and futile. Next! Ah The Power Of The Doctor, a whopping 90 minute goodbye for the Thirteenth Doctor, absolute fan wank overload and emphasis on the load (it's all over the walls boy!), fun, wild, loose, even a bit emotional for me, it seems so much closer to a 60th anniversary special. Again, not too sure I could fully recap the plot I mean so much happens and I feel if you try to break it down the whole story crumbles. All you need to know is Daleks, Cyberlords, and the Master are after the Doctor who in turn after losing Dan, which by the by what the hell I'm gonna miss him, reconnects with two past companions, Tegan and Ace as they try to thwart their plans. I haven't seen The Five Doctors but from more experienced fans it seems this is the modern series equivalent. Just a grand, fun, crazy celebration of Doctor Who and I really loved it. Seeing Jodie's regeneration was a big deal and not for the reason you might which dear God I have notes on that, so you know what? Screw it. We're gonna spoil it. Seeing previous Doctors was a monumental moment, the First, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and well technically 14th Doctors was completely unexpected and I screamed just a tiny bit. Cause I've been delving deeper into Big Finish, so seeing David one more time as the First was a treat, Peter was great, seeing Colin made me scream like a fangirl, Sylvester made me shed a single tear when he talks to Ace because they are my favorite classic Doctor and favorite companion ever, and friggin' Paul being a rebel and looking dashing as ever made me grin like a fool. It may not be the most tightly written Doctor Who story but it sure as hell didn't disappoint or bore. So let's hash out this regeneration. Goddamn beautiful. Best looking regeneration ever, with the sunset, the colors, the rich flames, I was in awe! Jodie's goodbye, not super long or speechy, no flash or heavy emotion, just a simple embrace of the moment even though she wants to see what happens next. Lovely. And then David Tennant shows up.

Fucking.....really??! No, just no, no I am not happy. You've literally made Thirteen nothing. It's an admittance that, yeah the Chibnall era was just shit, and Jodie's tenure is pretty much gonna be swept under the rug. You will soon know tomorrow how I feel about it. I'm already seeing ****s on the internet dismissing this period of history for Doctor Who, when she was The Doctor. Whether you like it or not. It's part of the history, there is no goddamn retconning, there is no fucking revisionist history, it happened! I was already feeling uneasy when Russell was announced as the next showrunner, something unprecedented in Doctor Who, but I was like well we're getting a brand new Doctor so it's nothing, don't worry about it. So you are telling me, the Doctor can reclaim a previous life, a once before seen incarnation. Well where in the high holy hell is my 6th Doctor revisit??? Are you shitting me up the asshole! Even Ncuti Gatwa seemed friggin' pissed in that brief trailer, and I'm right there with you man. It just seems like a titanic middle finger to this era, because Doctor Who is shit now guys so we're bringing back the 2006 era babaaaaaay!! Fuck's sake. Sort it or abort it! No I'm not quitting Doctor Who! I'm too damn commited to it, do you know how many classic Doctor Who boxsets I have?? Like a MILLION! But I damn well expect these specials coming next year to be a farcry from the Tennant era. I'm not playing around. That was good to vent, I feel a bit calmer, not so irate, so let's wrap this up. The specials are a bit mixed, I never do individual episode ratings but if I did Eve gets a 6.5/10, Legend gets a 3/10, and Power gets a 8/10, so overall the specials get 3 stars, 7.5/10. That's it for Doctor Who! Unless I'm gonna do Classic Who, and if I do it won't be in order, the boxsets are kinda all over the place so it would be pure chaos jumping backwards and forwards in time. So if you want it we'll do it, at least one season per Doctor whenever a Second Doctor boxset gets released and my God that might take a minute, poor Pat's lost so many episodes. And on that bombshell, it is time to end. One final retrospect to go.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

In Retrospect: Doctor Who Series 13

I know, one week early. We got other stuff coming up next week.

Very unprecedented this week of reviews, the time has finally passed where Jodie and Chibby step down from the show and an era has ended. It's quite a big deal, for me anyway, cause okay yes Peter was the Doctor when I started all this but I didn't start reviewing Doctor Who until Jodie had started her tenure so it feels appropriate we look back on Flux, review the Whittaker specials, and do a retrospect on her era. So season 13, how was it on rewatch? I wouldn't say it improved but it didn't drop in quality either. The pacing got more understandable and I wasn't running at warp speed to keep up so big plus there. If you've only watched Flux once all the way through, watch it again you'll have an easier time. It's just such a tremendous shame that this only got 6 episodes and is part of that big what if category of Doctor Who. What if Colin Baker continued on for a bit more, what if Doctor Who never got cancelled and the wilderness years were no more, what if Paul McGann got proper visual adventures, and what if 2020 wasn't quite literally the worst year any living person has endured? I think series 13 would have been really good if the shooting schedule didn't get slashed and burned so much, 10 to 13 episodes instead of a meager 6 could have made a universe of difference. And I should know because I'm still salty as fuck about Gotham's last season. Bastards!! But now that the dust has settled I do still like this series. The villains are still cool, the wide range of cast isn't as difficult to keep up with, Jodie I think does very well and is waaay more serious and even angry at points so I must commemd her. Special effects are still damn impressive, it's not cinema quality but considering they are on a BBC budget, very fine work indeed! Best episode for my money is Village Of The Angels, it just works so well with that horror atmosphere and doesn't try to juggle too much. Plus that ending is like for real for real, one of the best cliffhangers I have seen in modern or classic Doctor Who. Weakest episode, though frankly I don't hate any of them, I'd say Survivors Of The Flux though it does still obviously give a lot of interesting and unique ideas, it being a comparitively Doctor-lite episode makes it a bit of a sit. But welcome additions are found in every episode from new lore concerning the Angels, to the introduction of Bel (who is so damn pretty oh my lord) and Vinder plus the reintroduction of my love Kate. Don't even get me started, Captain Jack would be proud of the thoughts in my head so let's move on. This is a brief PSA, watch the Spoilerific Reviews of VoteSaxon07, he is goddamn amazing and he's done all of Jodie's episodes so internet, do your work. Now this is incredibly unfair but yes, series 13 is the weakest season of the modern era. Can you really blame it though due to the production? It's not a full series, it wants to tell a grand scale epic story but doesn't have the time to tell it, and there are some parts I wish they didn't rush (Division) but at the same time every showrunner wraps their stuff up before the next comes. Though Chibmunk sure gifted Russell and future writers a present bomb in the face with that watch. I don't hate the concept or implications, but it will be a fascinating story detail to keep an eye on. It's a decent additional 6 episodes of adventures in time and space, and not a half bad way to kill an afternoon, but I just hope people don't judge it super harshly in the future. Television is some hard shit to make let alone a programme over 50 years old. So join me next time, for a much needed expansion on the last New Year's special and the subsequent two specials capping off with a regeneration.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Black Panther Wakanda Forever

God I wish I could say I was in higher spirits.

Not only is this a sobering film to watch, today is also the day Kevin Conroy has passed away so I'm in a severe grieving state for the Batman and the Black Panther. And this was really the last movie I wanted to have nits to pick at, not at all that it's bad far from it. As a tribute, as a goodbye to Chadwick, it's done damn near perfect. I mean....fucking chilling, impactful, could hear a pin drop in that theater effect. Oh my God! And as a continuation of the MCU and seeing Shuri step up to the mantle, it's good! I have notes but I couldn't bash this movie, I feel it almost gets a pass from critics because of the tragic real world events that capsized whatever the original Black Panther 2 was going to be and it is a stirring good piece of drama when it deals with that. I just hate that it tries to be business as usual after some grieving, yeah I'm going there again and I feel I have even more of a case this time. I know it couldn't have been this mourning, drama filled, character piece for Shuri for the whole almost 3 hour runtime. And indeed there were moments when there were lines that brought levity, a smile, a chuckle, but I just wish Marvel would have just said screw it. No jokes for jokes sake, we're gonna tell an emotional gripping story about the death of a king and a kingdom trying to pick up the pieces with more an emotional debate on if Shuri will be the next guardian of Wakanda. They just can't man, I feel it's almost compulsive unconcious behavior, if you put a gun to their head and said write a movie with next to zero humor they would end up with a slug in their grey matter. I just really wish they pushed this to uncharted territory, cause the rest of the movie isn't half bad with this....okay, James Cameron could have a very possible case for theft of intellectual property cause, it really goddamn is the water dwelling cat people from the upcoming Avatar film clashing swords with Wakanda. They have neat elements to them with a very cool Mayan background, but that's what they are! Their leader does fall into that average Marvel villain trope, there be no Thanos or Vulture fascinating personalities to be found here. However, the acting from everybody down to the extras is rock solid. Super well done and able to convey what they need and sometimes even more. And I love how our leads are all the women we got to know from the last film! Angela Basset, that woman has my heart and my allegiance forever! I was so happy to see more of her this time around and she is glorious to behold in every aspect! Letitia Wright damn near carries the film by herself, I mean I don't think she had to do all that much acting and to see her journey to when she puts that suit on is great. Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong'o while more secondary characters had nothing but my attention and passionate want for them to succeed. Tenoch Huerta does admirable work and I do understand his reasons for why he does what he does but I feel there was just something missing from the writing. Also, major props to everyone who learned to speak these dialects and alright movie you get points for having substantial subtitles throughout. The visuals I must say are outsanding, from the cinematography, to the environments, to the flawless costume design and color palette, it's a feast to the eyes! The score, holy shit balls both the actual score and the soundtrack, wow man! I dig it. Unfortunately the above mentioned notes I have slip into spoilers so I can't divulge much, I can tell you however this movie upset me. Like, almost rage levels upset me. Not on any aspect of production, or they bullshit about with the source material, I was just out for the villain's blood. Thank Christ they didn't try some Romeo And Juliet horseshit with Shuri and Namor, I would have been far more aggravated. It's good, I do like the first movie more and feel it juggled serious and funny better, but the emotional crux is hard to brush off because they handle it so well and I do hope it won't be the last we see of Wakanda. I give it a solid 3 stars, 8/10, and I need a long lie down after today so until next time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

She-Hulk Attorney At Law

Alright Marvel, you got me! I liked it.

It's hilarious how with the whole Phase 4 thing still going on it does seem like people are finally getting a bit tired of Marvel and are saying man they're starting to get in a rut, and I'm just over here like this isn't complete horseshit I quite like this! Sooner or later all things pass into my domain, when they're outdated and nobody likes it anymore. Real talk, when I heard we were getting a She-Hulk series I was on board hard fucking core, you don't need to tell me anything else, if I get more Hulk stuff I'm happy. So week after week I tuned in and watched and I have to say I thought it was a solid series, not perfect, but better than I think most of the internet (twats) give it credit for. Spread over a short span of 9 episode each roughly 35 minutes a piece, we follow the life of Jennifer Walters who after suffering a car crash with her cousin Bruce Banner, is infected by his blood and takes on a familiar shape. We see her get some Hulk training, how she's trying to juggle both identities and is incredibly reluctant to show her powers, some superhuman court cases, and a finale that made my brain melt a bit. First of all Tatiana Maslany is wonderful as Jen, terrific comedic timing, gets the emotion through, is a fun and interesting lead to follow, and a quite lovely lady woman. I think the reason why this show worked so well for me is just because it's so un-Marvel, it really feels like uncharted territory for them instead of what even fans of the MCU would deem formulaic, it's a comedy show first and is just a bit of entertainment fluff to enjoy. The effect of She-Hulk didn't at all bug me and I felt it was handled quite well, I know we haven't reached that point where we've left the uncanny valley but they did good with transformations and the look of her throughout. Being a character inherent of 4th wall breaking (sit and spin Deadpool you hack) also helps differentiate this show a great deal and it was a major highlight for me. All our supporting cast whether originally from this show or not must be applauded too, Ginger Gonzaga was awesome and you can effortlessly feel that friendship between Jen and Nikki, plus it lools like she's having a wild time in this role so rock on. Also thank you Marvel for legitimizing the only Hulk movie under your belt (rectify that shit by the by) with bringing Emil Blonsky back, Tim Roth really was one note in that movie and to see him bring a very enlightened aspect of this character into the forefront was very cool. And my guy, my home slice, my sweet cheese, my good-time boi Wong how I have missed you! He seems more grumpy in this show but that only makes me love him more, and I am saying this now and standing by it forever! Wong and Madisynn, best MCU couple, wind in the sails ship it, so let it be written so let it be done. I need a whole show of them, writers do your work, Wong has a girlfriend now and let's see more of his pad and his TV habits. And I know everybody was just pulling their dicks out for Daredevil in this show, but I never watched his show, he's not Ben Afflec so I don't know him. I may need to now! Charlie Cox really kinda swept me off my feet here, his energy, his performance, his chemistry with Jen, I was surprised how much I liked seeing him here so who knows I might buckle down and do the not-Netflix Marvel show sometime in the future. And slightly speaking of which, I'm proud of you Jen, you were getting some hey hey in this show and I for one fully believe in a level playing field so get you some, do a bit of female gazing, find a sexy man who you can also appreciate all aspects of and he can do the same for you. I do find it quite fascinating how this show takes a psychological view into a Hulk but not in an overt artsy way somewhat akin to the Ang Lee movie, Jen is trying to make peace with both her halves and finds it hard to see people rave about She-Hulk but care so little for herself and that sucks man, so fair props to the show for wanting to go there and make it much more personable. I mean yeah sure on the surface level it's just a person who can turn into this green rage beast, but there's a ton more to look at under the surface and I appreciate that in any variety. Talk about relationships, mental health, how women think and feel in this modern world, how Jen herself is handling everything. And people can bitch and moan all they want about, "Well I don't want this in my escapist fiction, oh it's just man hating feminism gone mad, blah...blah...blaaahhhh!", and I got news for you sunshine. Real people, real individuals, living in this real world make these stories. There is no stark bold line, there is no fourth wall, experiences and mindsets go into every single creation in media whether conscious or not, and Marvel has always had the identity of giving superheroes real world problems to make them seem closer to us the audience. And for the man hating thing, I give unto thee the examples of Wong the Sorcerer Supreme and keeper of my heart, Pug who may be an idiot but he's a nice idiot and gets along well with Nikki, Emil who quite literally has opened a help group dealing with emotions and working through negativity, Bruce who while has some conflict with Jen cares about her immensely and the brief talks they have about this beast inside them was extremely well done, and Matt who is a charming, nice, partner in crime solving friend with Jen, all quite human but ultimately nice. Is the season very cohesive? Mostly. Is the finale a bit out there? Absolutely, yet in my super brief research She-Hulk's comics often shatter the fourth wall into rubble very much like that episode. Will it stand the test of time decades from now in terms of social media, current mindsets, and it's particular storytelling? Well impermanence is the name of the game of life my friends, so I just don't know. But I can tell you this, in a sea of opinions I am just a grain of salt amongst countless others. I felt it was a light, fun, enjoyable series, I would not mind at all seeing a second season, and you bet your ass Imma' gonna be saving up for a She-Hulk omnibus. 3 stars, 7.5/10, and next time we must pay respects to our king.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Werewolf By Night

Halloween only ends if you let it.

I know it probably surprised people that Marvel has had pure horror devoted comics, but even in my ever so slight knowledge of their history I was familiar with the comics with connections to classic monsters, Werewolf By Night, Tomb Of Dracula, and The Living Mummy, but it was still a bit of a shock seeing them adapt it. And for a special not even an hour long it does a fair bit and tells a one shot comic story where a group of monster hunters convene to obtain a powerful mystical jewel and find there is more to this hunt than they thought. It's short, it's sweet, shot in glorious pristine black and white film grain and all, I had a great time with it. Obviously the cinematography gets a lot of love from me, to see good old black and white horror look so crisp and hi-def was genuinely something I'd never thought I'd see, with lighting that's taken from german expressionist horror, sets that would make Universal proud, and creature effects that only use computers when necessary. The characters for the majority are just kinda there, not poorly acted but a body count has to rise somehow. John and Jovan had great personality to them, and while Elsa was just kinda one note bitchy for the beginning I can fully see why she grew up that way with her **** of a step mom and she did start moving towards likable near the end. Tiniest of tangents here but John flat out was giving me slight Papa Emeritus from the band Ghost vibes, maybe it was the clothes, maybe it was his physicality, but all he was missing was a Vincent Price moustache and shazam, the singer for Ghost! He doesn't even need to hunt monsters, he can just charm them by singing Cirice! And I love our monster friend who looks like a mix between Cthulu sans wings, and Swamp Thing, and his name is Ted. I would give Ted a titanic tight tackle of a hug. Hands down, bloodiest Marvel film I've ever seen. I mean damn they aren't afraid to show some grisly ass shit man! I had no idea blood could be considered art but you see these arcing flows of arterial spray and splatter and it looks impressive I gotta say. I am fully 100% expecting a Tomb Of Dracula special next year and they have to go Hammer visuals, we got our Universal Monsters look here so we gotta jump forward to the bleak gothic atmosphere and rich vibrant blood color of the 50s and 60s. I'm not sure if there has ever been a collection or omnibus of the Marvel horror comics but I'd love to get my hands on one and read all the issues. But as for this special I give it 4 stars, 8/10! Next time, my most anticipated Marvel project since Multiverse Of Madness.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Rings Of Power

I've finished it, and there's still a few pages left to fill in.

Seven and a half years have passed since this journey began, and welcome to the 1,000th review. I've never quite had an experience like with this show. When I heard tale of Amazon making a Lord Of The Rings series I was really taken aback and wondering why would they make a series when we have 3 films for it? Yet as time passed and stories and conversation of the show died down I forgot because I must and moved on with life. Then a change occured, the series was approaching fast and while my knowledge on it was limited I discovered it was taking place over 3000 years before The War Of The Ring, set in the second age of Middle-Earth, then it had my attention. Trailers started coming out, intrigue and excitement grew, I delved HARD into Tolkien from days gone by. Re-read all the books, the anticipation of this show made me read and take notes on The Silmarillion. Twice. All the live action films in a marathon fashion. I strayed out of thought and time, revisiting old favorite video games from Peter Jackson's trilogy. I'm such a dork I procured a ring of power myself, the ring of a Necromancer from the fortress of Dol Guldur. I was all in for this show, but what can a reviewer do against such reckless hate? Naysayers, turn away now. There is no vindication or victory for you here, my contempt for such individuals who banished even the thought of perhaps an entertaining return to this good earth before the series began is unfathomable. I would cast every single vehement, closed minded, and rage stained creature into the Cracks of Doom itself a thousand times over and a thousand times again. The game has changed and this is the beginning of a new era for my show. Get off my fucking planet. Never once has there been a disclaimer in any visual medium that said "This is a complete and accurate transition from page to screen", I've been to the movies hundreds of times and seen my fair share of shows and that's never occured. It's an adaptation, deal with it. With that being said, shall we begin? We start off with a quite strong intro, Silmarillion fans rejoice, with some backstory of course told by Galadriel regarding her last living brother Finrod, who after the Two Trees of Valinor are destroyed and the original great evil Morgoth waged war for countless years, is killed by Morgoth's most trusted servant Gorthaur who took on a new name that of Sauron. Centuries have passed but Galadriel still hunts the evil, with more inner demons to face than external ones as she travels to previously unexplored lands and gains unexpected allies. That's the main story but we follow a myriad of characters, including proto-Hobbits known as Harfoots and a visitor who fell from the stars, an elf named Arondir who watches over the Southlands which is the target for a new enemy, and soon to be elf lord Elrond reuniting with an old dwarven friend Durin as matters grow dark for elven kind. Now I have heard criticism for basically the juggling of these 4 stories but I don't have any wisdom to share with how I would have done it, I found it to be good yet obviously a bit scatter brained so I'm not too sure on how best to improve that. There was no single story I wasn't invested in and while it took awhile to learn these new characters names, I felt the acting all around was very good even though I knew precisely one actor in this entire damned season yet at the same time I am impressed with how much unknown talent was presented here and you may find each main character has a secondary mate. Morfydd Clark as Galadriel is such a strong presence and I fail to see any reason as to shun her performance. This is a character who is clearly flawed and has an arc and a journey to her. She is headstrong, she is quick to anger and battle, she has a tunnel vision goal to eradicate evil, and the two big conversations we have with Elrond and Halbrand were major highlights of the show in terms of writing, because they ask why do you always fight and hold such anger, and the brilliant part is Galadriel doesn't fully have the words to convey it and is trying her best to do so, bringing up traumatic and sad memories to justify herself. I've heard great dismay over gladiator Galadriel but those conversations put that firmly to bed. Plus....she kinda scares the shit clean out of me when she just stares right down the barrel of the camera, like I am genuinely unsettled staring into her eyes. Excellent work good lady. Charlie Vickers as Halbrand does start off as a semi-Aragorn wannabe but how his character progresses quickly breaks that mold and he presents that enigmatic quality quite well I find. Robert Aramayo, by episode two I was like that's Elrond. No question or doubt, no hesitation, no exaggeration, he is goddamn perfection as Elrond 120%! Owain Arthur alongisde him is the heart and soul of this series, even hateful bastards cannot say bad things about Durin and Elrond, their friendship is so powerful and ridiculously believable I teared up a fair bit with them on screen. Markella Kavenagh as our wandering brave hearted Harfoot Nori very quickly had my heart, combine that with Megan Richards as her BFF Poppy and I'm over the moon. Guard them, cherish them, keep them safe, they are the reason why the Harfoot story never feels like filler. Ismael Cruz Cordova fits that stoic yet vulnerable elf role very nicely and yeah I was just waiting for him and Nazanin Boniadi (who I swear just looked exactly like late 80s Winona Ryder) to hook up, as elves and humans oft do in this world and the threat to the Southlands is the big central conflict of the season. So of course let's talk about our commanding villain Adar, shock of all shocks I know but he was hands down my favorite character, played in a very quiet yet strong menace by Joseph Mawle. Man oh man did he knock it out of the park, because he clearly backs the evil side here but he is still an elf and that's a great dynamic conflict, how he treats Uruks with respect and compassion, how he honors elven traditions and still treasures light and life, just oh my God what a character! Screw that cliffhanger with him though, I was not amused by that. Also, titanic sized shoutout to all the actors in the orc makeup, those guys are fantabulous in every instance they are on screen, no friggin' wonder Adar staunchly vaunts for them. I know it may be pointless to praise a show's visuals and aesthetics when they have a surplus of one billion dollars (cue Dr. Evil finger), but it's true. The show looks stunning in all it's aspects. You want gorgeous landscape shots? Check! You want sprawling works of art for cities and architecture? Deal! You want creatures, costumes, and props made with subtle but excruciating detail? Say no more. So yeah, let's move on. There's just so damn much to cover in an epic series like this and I may have to submit to a lightning round of opinions and observations, context be damned, just to put everything on the record so here we go. Creepy ass cult looking bastards dressed in white, awesome. The origin story of mithril, holy shitballs! I thought the actor for Celebrimbor was in either Star Trek Next Gen. or Deep Space Nine but I was mistaken. The actor for Gil-Galad looked like McGee from NCIS, have fun getting that image out of your head! The second to last episode seemed oh so much like an end to the first season with every party gearing up for the next step in the adventure, even more so with the Balrog awakening and then cut to black but hey the last episode knocked my socks off and honestly unearthed feelings I have never experienced before. I want so many props, the not Morgul blade, Adar's gauntlet well pretty much his whole costume, the mithril shard, soooo many articles of clothing, come on internet do your work. Oh my God how could I forget, Disa. Whoa man! I need a woman like that in my life hard fucking core, that is a queen good buddy! I'm happy that sniveling little shithead kid got murdered even if it was offscreen, kill the twats, kill em' all! I really wanted our magic man to not be who we all thought it was, it was far too obvious, they could have just dropped one of the two blue wizards on us for bonus points but oh well. Pretty brutal at times I gotta admit, I mean shitting hell this show gets bloody and I'm for it but at least once it just dug under my skin and made my jaw drop man, ho mah gawd and da baby jeezuz! Those asses did it to me again, you pulled that Lost In Translation shit on me even here! In the last bloody episode! I hate you, you don't split the party, every player worth his salt in Dungeons & Dragons knows this! Sum' bitch. Apparently the soundtrack was done by the guy who did God Of War, that's pretty sick and he did amazing work with particular favorites of mine being the dwarven music and that freaky ass cult whisper music, hell to the yeah. By the by, did anyone buy that Bronwyn and Theo were mother and son because they sure as hell looked more like siblings to me. Can we also just discuss the rampant racism against the elves in this show, cause everyone and their mother just has this grudge against pointy eared people which is interesting, because the elves in the films are the ones a bit on the racist side. Also, I don't fully believe this series is indeed a precursor to the Lord Of The Rings movies and by extention The Hobbit movies as well, it takes elements from it but I also saw me some elements from the Bakshi animated film too so take it with a pinch of salt. That Evil Dead shot was pretty sweet. Oh seeing Valinor open, that was kind of some scary haunting shit, you want to talk about cults I was half expecting the elves to start passing around the magic Kool-Aid! And the thing with Celeborn, I don't buy that for a second, he's fine, he'll be in Lothlorien in...a few hundred years give or take. I did have but one simple request for my wishlist, and I didn't get it and certainly not in the fashion I was expecting, I'm not upset but my dreams of Annatar the Lord of Gifts have been dashed. The people who read this who haven't even touched the books must have so many confused looks and questions but, knowledge is present everywhere, use my knowledge I beg you, springboard into the lore it's groovy stuff even if you just Google a name or location. Do not however become these book thumping, entitled, mightier than thou, I'm the smartest person in these matters, high horse riding shitskids on the face of reality. I will dropkick you off your horse. Don't you fucking dare. Now in the case of Amazon halting all viewer reviews my stance is this, if they froze everything both good and bad reviews fine, however if they stopped the negative and kept recieving the positive reviews, then don't do that. That's bad. Even if humans are massive whiners and were bombing this show even before it finished. It is a good show, it doesn't make a theatrical mockery of Tolkien's works, the writing is solid, the acting is solid, the effects are solid, it's no high standing masterpiece for the ages and neither is it a travesty that would make the pope weep. Out of all the things to be angry about in this day and age, Rings Of Power isn't even on the bottom of that list. Entertained or not, a show is just a show. 4 stars, 8.5/10, and I now need to make a massive decision before the year is done.