Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Herself: DVD Review

Herself: DVD Review

Opening with a shocking moment that turns on a knife and closing with a similar gut punch, it's hard to believe that Herself is an inspirational film.
Herself: Film Review

But it is - and it's one that's definitely worth diving into, despite the potentially troubling material within.

A mesmerising yet grounded Clare Dunne is Sandra in this cinematic parable of resilience about escaping the vicious hold of domestic violence. When she's viciously beaten by husband Gary (an insidious performance from Anderson), she flees the relationship with her two daughters. 

Running between cleaning jobs and trying to make ends meet, Sandra is gifted land on a family client's home, and decides to build a home and a new life for herself and her children. But the closer her dream becomes to reality, the more the trauma of what's occurred builds up around her...

Herself is trying to be an inspirational film, and a non-preachy affair about the perils of domestic violence.

However, in doing so, it never once loses sight that it's the small things that collectively build to a crescendo of self-belief and empowerment that's been built on fragile foundations.
Herself: Film Review

Dunne is superb throughout, giving her struggle a face that's to be admired, never pitied and a protagonist whose journey you believe in from the very beginning. Mixed in with the passionate power of some galvanising speeches, such as one extremely strong one about why abused women are always asked why they stay and the men are never asked why they don't stop, Herself had the potential to tip into the treacle and fall into the mire.

Not once does it, despite its almost Ken Loachian I'm Daniel Blake overtones - and as a result, it's a powerful compelling piece of human drama that restores faith in what people can do, for good and for bad.

There's a huge heart in Herself, that helps fight off the blackness and ugliness within. It's a journey worth taking, and don't be surprised if the light you see at the end of the tunnel follows you out of the cinema as well.

Monday, 29 November 2021

What's on Neon in December 2021

What's on Neon in December 2021

Brand new Sex and City, a new comedy from Aisling Bea, and a Dan Brown mystery evolves on Neon in December 2021.

And Just Like That (December 10)
And Just Like That (December 10)

The Sex and the City revival will follow the beloved characters Carrie Bradshaw (Parker), Miranda Hobbs (Nixon), and Charlotte York (Davis), now in their 50s, as they explore the complicated reality of life and friendship. 

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce), Cynthia Nixon (The Big C), Kristin Davis (Bad Teacher), Sara Ramirez (Grey's Anatomy), Nicole Ari Parker (Empire), Chris Noth (The Good Wife), Karen Pittman (The Morning Show). 

Station Eleven (December 17)

A post-apocalyptic saga spanning multiple timelines. This limited drama series tells the stories of survivors of a devastating flu as they attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what's been lost. 

Starring: Mackenzie Davis (Tully), Himesh Patel (Yesterday), Danielle Deadwyler (Watchmen). Joe Pingue (Godless). 

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol (December 6)

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol follows the early adventures of young Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who must solve a series of deadly puzzles to save his kidnapped mentor and thwart a chilling global conspiracy. 

Starring: Ashley Zukerman (Succession), Eddie Izzard (Hannibal), Valorie Curry (The Following). 

This Way Up (December 20)
This Way Up, starring Aisling Bea

This achingly funny and deeply moving comedy series follows the quick-witted Aine as she tries to get her life back in order and regain some semblance of happiness after suffering a nervous breakdown. Fresh off a stint at a rehab facility, Aine struggles to keep it together for the sake of her anxious older sister Shona, who remains acutely concerned about her younger sister's well being even as she grapples with a messy personal life of her own. 
Created by and starring award-winning comedian Aisling Bea and starring Sharon Horgan. 

The Sex Lives Of College Girls (December 15)

Created by Emmy®-nominated writer/producer Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble, The Sex Lives Of College Girls follows four college roommates as they arrive at New England's prestigious Essex College. A bundle of contradictions and hormones, these girls are equal parts lovable and infuriating as they live out their new, free lives on campus. 

Louis Theroux Altered States:Take My Baby (December 8)

With nearly half of all US marriages ending in divorce, is the traditional model still fit for purpose? Louis Theroux travels to Portland, Oregon, to learn about a movement seeking to rewrite the rulebook on how we conduct intimate relationships and experience family life. 

Louis Theroux: Altered States : Love Without Limits (December 8)

California is the U.S. adoption capital, with 85% of newborn adoptions carried out privately, rather than arranged by the state. Louis Theroux talks to women choosing to hand over their babies at birth to adoptive families paying tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege. 

Louis Theroux: Altered States: Take My Baby (December 8)

Louis Theroux heads to the west coast of America to explore the ramifications of 2016's Aid in Dying legislation. The law allows terminally ill people the option of ending their lives with a prescribed cocktail of drugs. But even for those who want that option, being given complete autonomy over your own death can raise complex questions, making it impossible to choose the right time. 

Young Rock: A Christmas Peril (December 18)

On Christmas Eve, 1982: An unexpected guest shows Dewey that this is the first in a long line of terrible Christmases. In 1987, Rocky and Dwayne take jobs as a mall Santa and elf. In 1993, Dwayne reluctantly spends a disastrous Christmas with Coach O. 

The Goldbergs Season 8 (December 30)

The Goldbergs return! Everyone's favourite '80s family is back and radder than ever. After turning a Goldberg family vacation in Florida into a homage to the movie Airplane!, Adam starts his senior year being courted by the school's cool kids - much to his long-time friends dismay. 

Law & Order: Organised Crime (December 2)

After a devastating personal loss, Detective Elliot Stabler returns to the NYPD to battle organised crime, as part of a new elite task force taking apart the city's most powerful criminal syndicates one by one. 
Starring: Christopher Meloni (Happy!), Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story), Tamara Taylor (Bones). 

Wolfe (December 27)

Wolfe Kinte is a celebrated Forensic Pathologist Professor and North England's finest crime scene, expert. He's a doting dad and a family man but his unpredictable approach complicates his personal life. Propped up by an eclectic team whose lives are as complicated as their mentor's, each week Wolfe is propelled onto a new case to piece together the parts - in some cases literally. 

Starring: Babou Ceesay (We Hunt Together), Amanda Abbington (Sherlock), Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones), Adam Long (Bancroft), Naomi Yang (Chimerica), 

All That Glitters (December 26)

A glittering new series hosted by comedian and actor Katherine Ryan, where eight insanely talented jewellers compete to demonstrate that they have what it takes to shine in the dazzling world of jewellery design. 

First Dates (December 9)

Set in a restaurant, every episode follows a variety of real first dates over one night, with hidden cameras capturing the action as it unfolds - from flirty smiles and sparks of passion to looks of disappointment. Viewers can judge the chemistry for themselves and then find out if love really is in the air when the couple reveals their thoughts in the First Dates booth at the end of the show. 

Sunday, 28 November 2021

The Justice of Bunny King: DVD Review

The Justice of Bunny King: DVD Review

The wonderfully-helmed The Justice of Bunny King is a film that handles its humanity with great aplomb.

Essie Davis is Bunny King,  a single mother who's desperate to see her two children, who are currently in the care of the state. Separated from them, and with no permanent home to call her own, Bunny makes a living washing windows at car intersections, staying at her sister's place on a couch and trying desperately to get some kind of stability ahead of a state visit.
The Justice of Bunny King: Film Review

However, as is the wont of social dramas, things take a turn for the worse when self-proclaimed "homeless squeegee bandit…but sexy" Bunny witnesses something in her sister's home that forces her and her niece Tonyah (Thomasin McKenzie, in a relatively muted part) on the run...

If The Justice of Bunny King is anything, it is Davis' film.

From the very first frame, Bunny is the heart and soul of this movie, and Davis owns every second, giving her the sense of hope and gritty authenticity you'd expect from a film like this. One that has echoes of Ken Loach and sets out to damn the housing crisis of New Zealand, as well as the Family services throughout - the film knows deep down what it wants to do and does it well, in a movie that's blessed with beautiful and bountiful cinematography.

But it's here the conflict of the film begins - in every single decision (more or less) that Bunny King makes, she's inherently in the wrong, providing an ideological conflict that's hard to shake at times. And this is not the crusade of an anti-hero by any means, more a flawed human being floundering in the face of levels of just being human.

Perhaps, it's also the fact the film humanises everyone - bar one person - throughout, meaning there is no inherent bad guy or girl - there's a system that is failing all those within it.
The Justice of Bunny King: Film Review

Whereas Ken Loach tends to build the tension and stir the pot, Gaysorn Thavat's film hinges on a narrative construction in its final third that feels tonally deaf, and leaves the viewer with extreme whiplash. 

And it's here that perhaps the film faces its greatest hurdle - whether an audience will go along with it, or whether this undermining of the drama and its subsequent credibility issues will alienate those who were already on a knife's edge watching someone flawed continue to make bad life choices that push her to the edge.

What rises above in The Justice of Bunny King is also a sense of family and whanau, the bonds created and the bonds tested by behaviours. It's here that Thavat's film truly soars, rendering some scenes with real poignancy and depth.

Ultimately, with a damning of the New Zealand housing system clearly targeted, and a lead whose presence transcends some of the weaker material and moments, The Justice of Bunny King shows promise for its first time director - and continues to cement Davis as an actor to keep watch on - even if its final act feels too fantastical and too out there to cling to.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

The Comeback Trail: Blu Ray Review

The Comeback Trail: Blu Ray Review

Trapped in between growing debt and failing movies, it looks like his number is up with Morgan Freeman's Reggie Fontaine wanting to collect a $350K debt.

But, along with his nephew Walter, Max decides to film a western with grizzled veteran Duke Montana - only the catch is, he'll try to bump off the star during filming to cash in on a generous insurance policy and pay off everything in one go....

The Comeback Trail: Film Review

What would be better suited to a screwball farce, The Comeback Trail's drama with moments of the cast overplaying their roles becomes somewhat of an endurance in parts.

With DeNiro mugging a little and Braff overplaying some of his reaction shots, the film is clearly gunning for laughs without providing too many of them.

Despite being splendidly shot and evocatively recalling some of the great panoramas of the Western genre, Gallo's film teeters when it should roar.

Thankfully, it finds its saving grace with Lee Jones' Duke Montana. His veteran cowboy actor feels lived in, real and worn down by years of near misses and by one single regret eating gradually away at his soul. Lee Jones wisely underplays the performance and consequently delivers a character that feels real among the Hollywood falsities that are on the screen.

It may be The Comeback Trail doesn't quite hit the highs it should, but it is watchable enough to leave you frustrated that it couldn't have done more with its premise and line-up.

Friday, 26 November 2021

What's on Amazon Prime Video December 2021

What's on Amazon Prime Video December 2021

What's on Amazon Prime Video December 2021



Lucille Ball (Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Bardem) are threatened by shocking personal accusations, a political smear and cultural taboos in Academy Award®-winning writer and director Aaron Sorkin’s behind-the-scenes drama Being the Ricardos. A revealing glimpse of the couple’s complex romantic and professional relationship, the film takes audiences into the writers’ room, onto the soundstage and behind closed doors with Ball and Arnaz during one critical production week of their ground-breaking sitcom “I Love Lucy.” Written and Directed by Aaron Sorkin.

Being The Ricardos stars Nicole Kidman, Javier Barden, Jake Lacy, J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, and Alia Shawkat.

What's on Amazon Prime Video December 2021


Rescued as a child by the legendary assassin Moody (Samuel L. Jackson) and trained in the family business, Anna (Maggie Q) is the world’s most skilled contract killer. But when Moody – the man who was like a father to her and taught her everything she needs to know about trust and survival – is brutally killed, Anna vows revenge. As she becomes entangled with an enigmatic killer (Academy Award®-nominated actor Michael Keaton) whose attraction to her goes way beyond cat and mouse, their confrontation turns deadly and the loose ends of a life spent killing will weave themselves even tighter.
The Protégé stars Michael Keaton, Maggie Q, and Samuel L. Jackson, with Robert Patrick.



In this second lockdown special, the trio dive into the bizarre world of French car culture. On an epic road trip starting in the Welsh hills, they dish up a hair-raising mountain climb, bomb defusals, propeller powered cars, helicopter stunts and the most thrilling race of their lives before reaching the English Channel for a jaw dropping medieval climax. And a soupcon of French art house cinema.



Created, written, and executive produced by Oliver, Harlem is a new comedy following a group of stylish and ambitious best girlfriends in Harlem, New York City, the mecca of Black culture in America. Camille is a popular young anthropology professor at Columbia who has an extensive knowledge of the dating norms of many cultures, but has a hard time navigating her own love life; Tye is a successful, queer dating-app creator who prefers keeping vulnerability—and romantic partners—at arm’s length; Quinn is a hopeless romantic and trust-fund fashion designer who is trying to give back to the world while running a struggling business; Angie is a confident, vibrant, and filter-free singer and actress who also lives rent-free and fabulously with Quinn. Together, they level up from their 20s into the next phase of their careers, relationships, and big city dreams.

Harlem stars Meagan Good, Grace Byers, Shoniqua Shandai, Jerrie Johnson and Tyler Lepley. Additional recurring guest stars include Whoopi Goldberg, Jasmine Guy, and Andrea Martin



Desperate to save his two young sons, Jay and Bobby, from a mysterious threat, decorated Marine Malik Khan (Riz Ahmed) packs them in a car and sets off on a perilous journey across the western U.S. But while racing toward a secret military base in Nevada that may hold the key to safety, the trio encounters danger at every turn. Staying one step ahead of a group of government agents, Malik and the boys find themselves bonding in unexpected ways. As their relentless pursuers close in, and with time quickly running out, each of them must confront hard truths about the world, forcing Jay and Bobby to leave their childhoods behind. A gripping story of a father’s mission to keep his children safe at all costs, Encounter is at once a riveting thriller and a powerful drama about a family dealing with a seemingly unstoppable enemy.

Encounter stars Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Rory Cochrane, Janina Gavankar, Lucian-River Chauhan and Aditya Geddada. 


The Expanse S6, set in a colonized solar system, begins with the governments of Earth, Mars and the Asteroid Belt locked in a long-standing conflict.  The crew of the Rocinante – an illegally salvaged warship – stumbles on a vast conspiracy and a mysterious alien technology that threatens to upend the balance of power and the fate of humanity. The Expanse is a high-action, realistic sci-fi adventure that broadens the vision of humanity’s path in the future as well as a deeply-felt examination of the most critical, raw, and pressing issues of today.This season of The Expanse picks up with the solar system at war, as Marco Inaros and his Free Navy continue to launch devastating asteroid attacks on Earth and Mars. As the tensions of war and shared loss threaten to pull the crew of the Rocinante apart, Chrisjen Avasarala makes a bold move and sends former Martian Marine Bobbie Draper on a secret mission that could turn the tide. Meanwhile in the Belt, Drummer and what’s left of her family are on the run and hunted for betraying Marco. And on a distant planet beyond the Rings, a new power begins to rise.

The Expanse stars Steven Strait, Frankie Adams, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Cara Gee, Keon Alexander, Nadine Nicole, and Jasai Chase Owens. 


Amazon Original Series With Love is a one-hour romantic comedy, written and created by Gloria Calderón Kellett that follows the Diaz siblings, Lily and Jorge, who are both on a mission to find love and purpose. Each of the five episodes, set during a different holiday throughout the year, follows Lily, Jorge and the Diaz family over the course of 12 months as they experience the highs and lows of life during some of the most heightened days of the year.

With Love stars Emeraude Toubia, Mark Indelicato , Rome Flynn, Desmond Chiam, Vincent Rodriguez, Isis King, Todd Grinnell, Constance Marie, Benito Martinez.


MAGIC MIKE (MOV) 1/12/21
HARLEM (TV) 3/12/21
VOYAGERS (MOV) 4/12/21
ENCOUNTER (MOV) 10/12/21
THE EXPANSE (TV) 10/12/21
SAFE HOUSE (MOV)15/12/21
THE UNHOLY (MOV) 16/12/21
JOHN WICK (MOV) 16/12/21
SANTA INC. (TV) 17/12/21
WITH LOVE (TV) 17/12/21
FATALE (MOV) 18/12/21
THE COURIER (MOV) 18/12/21
12 STRONG (MOV) 23/12/21
CARRIE (MOV) 23/12/21
FRENCH EXIT (MOV) 28/12/21
WARRIOR (MOV) 30/12/21
DAY ZERO (TV) 30/12/21

Thursday, 25 November 2021

What's on Netflix in December 2021

What's on Netflix in December 2021

A raft of new movies, a final outing for Lost in Space and the return of Cobra Kai all make up Netflix in December 2021.

Here's what's on Netflix in December 2021.


Lost in Space: Season 3 (01/12/2021)

What's on Netflix in December 2021

In an epic final season, the Robinsons' survival instincts kick into hyperdrive as they race to reunite and protect Alpha Centauri from a robot invasion.

Coyotes (02/12/2021)

A close group of summer campers finds diamonds in the woods, setting off a wild ordeal that tests their friendship — and puts their lives in danger.

La Casa de Papel: Part 5 Vol 2 (03/12/2021)

The stakes couldn't be higher for the embattled Professor as he races to get the gold — and more importantly, his team — out of the bank.

Coming Out Colton (03/12/2021)

Former professional football player and star of THE BACHELOR Colton Underwood embarks on a journey of self-discovery coming out as a gay man, including addressing his past and embracing his place in the LGBTQ community.

Titans: Season 3 (08/12/2021)

As they strive to stay united, the Titans are tormented by Red Hood, a mysterious new threat who wants to destroy Gotham City once and for all.

Bonus Family: Season 4 (09/12/2021)

A kitchen fire, a classroom showdown and a call from the hospital set in motion a flurry of family reckonings and relationship crises.

Aranyak (10/12/2021)

Political ploys, personal agendas and a beastly myth all surface as two mismatched hill station cops navigate a web of suspects after a puzzling murder.

Saturday Morning All Star Hits! (10/12/2021)

How To Ruin Christmas: The Funeral (10/12/2021)

A year after last year's Christmas disaster, Tumi finds herself in the centre of another holiday family mess when a relative suddenly passes away.

Twentysomethings: Austin (10/12/2021)

In this coming-of-age reality series set in Austin, Texas, 20-somethings navigate love and friendship and start a new adventure: life.

The Hungry and the Hairy (11/12/2021)

On the motorbike road trip of their dreams, buddies Rain and Ro Hong-chul relax and unwind as they delight in tasty eats and scenic locales around Korea.

What's on Netflix in December 2021
The Power of the Dog

The Future Diary (14/12/2021)

In this reality series, complete strangers meet and receive a diary holding the script to their very own love story. Will true romance follow?

Selling Tampa (15/12/2021)

The agents at the all-female, Black-owned Allure Realty mix business with fun as they rule the waterfront of a hot Tampa luxury real estate market.

Elite Short Stories: Phillipe Caye Felipe (15/12/2021)

Just as Cayetana is trying to get over her ex--boyfriend, with the help of her new friend Felipe, the prince reappears in her life.

The Witcher: Season 2 (17/12/2021)

The epic series of monsters, magic and fate returns for a second season.

Bulgasal: Immortal Souls (18/12/2021)

Cursed since birth and exempt from death, a revenge-driven immortal sets out on a quest to reclaim his soul and end a 600-year-old vendetta.

What Happened in Oslo (19/12/2021)

After her daughter is kidnapped by terrorists, a woman seeks out old friends she met decades ago during the Oslo Accords and asks for their help.

Elite Short Stories: Samuel Omar (20/12/2021)

When Samuel is threatened with eviction from his childhood home, Omar proposes an alluring idea to raise money.

Emily in Paris: Season 2 (22/12/2021)

What's on Netflix in December 2021

More fun. More fashion. More faux pas. As Emily finds her footing in Paris, the fallout from a night of passion could send her stumbling into trouble.

Elite Short Stories: Patrick (23/12/2021)

Patrick's trip to a cabin in the woods during Christmastime results in an unexpected but significant outcome.

Our Beloved Summer (24/12/2021)

Years after filming a viral documentary in high school, two bickering ex-lovers get pulled back in front of the camera — and into each other's lives.

The Silent Sea (24/12/2021)

During a perilous 24-hour mission on the moon, space explorers try to retrieve samples from an abandoned research facility steeped in classified secrets.

Single’s Inferno (25/12/2021)

Stranded and ready to mingle, flirty singles search for love on a deserted island they can only escape as couples for romantic date nights in paradise.

Anxious People  (29/12/2021)

Anxious People is a drama comedy about a bank robber failing miserably by robbing a cashless bank and ends up taking eight persons hostage during an open house. After giving up, the apartment is stormed by the two dysfunctional police officers Jack and Jim, who also happen to be father and son. There is just one problem: The apartment is... empty. In a series of contradictory testimonies afterwards, the hostages tell their version of what really happened whereupon a classic - but hilarious - puzzle mystery develops. All while the hostages share a common secret that is creating a unique and almost unbreakable bond between them.

Kitz (30/12/2021)

Seeking revenge on the girl she blames for her brother's death, a 19-year-old waitress infiltrates the glitzy world of a group of wealthy teens.

Queer Eye: Season 6 (31/12/2021)

The Emmy® Award-winning Queer Eye returns in a search for a whole new roster of heroes in need of a little TLC. Get ready, y’all! This season, Queer Eye’s fearless ambassadors head to the Lone Star state with a homebase in Austin, TX. Watch as they work their life-changing magic yet again and transform the lives of deserving Texans.

Stay Close (31/12/2021)

A new Harlan Coben mystery with the signature blend of twisty intrigue, soapy drama, and unraveling secrets.

Cobra Kai: Season 4 (31/12/2021)

COBRA KAI takes place over 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament with the continuation of the inescapable conflict between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Season 4 finds the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang dojos joining forces to take down Cobra Kai at the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament... and whoever loses must hang up their gi. As Samantha and Miguel try to maintain the dojo alliance and Robby goes all in at Cobra Kai, the fate of the Valley has never been more precarious. What tricks does Kreese have up his sleeve? Can Daniel and Johnny bury their decades-long hatchet to defeat Kreese? Or will Cobra Kai become the face of karate in the valley?

Decoupled (Coming soon)

A misanthropic writer and his startup-founder wife juggle their impending divorce with the absurdities and annoyances of life in their affluent world.


The Power of the Dog (01/12/2021)

Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.

The Whole Truth (02/12/2021)

When two siblings stumble on a strange hole in the wall of their grandparents’ house, horrifying incidents reveal sinister secrets about their family.

Single All The Way (02/12/2021)

Peter asks his best friend to pose as his boyfriend on a Christmas visit home, but their plan — and feelings — change when his family plays matchmaker.

Cobalt Blue (03/12/2021)

When an aspiring author and his free-spirited sister both fall for the enigmatic paying guest at their home, ensuing events rock their traditional family.

Mixtape (03/12/2021)

In 1999, 12-year-old Beverly discovers a broken mixtape made by her late parents. She sets out to find the songs — and learn more about her mum and dad.

David and the Elves (06/12/2021)

A jaded, overworked elf runs off to the real world where he tries to experience the magic of Christmas with the help of a newly befriended young boy.

Asakusa Kid (09/12/2021)

Before he hit it big, Takeshi Kitano got his start apprenticing with comedy legend Fukami of Asakusa. But as his star rises, his mentor's declines.

Two (10/12/2021)

Two strangers awaken to discover their abdomens have been sewn together, and are further shocked when they learn who's behind their horrifying ordeal.

Anonymously Yours (10/12/2021)

After an accidental text message turns into a digital friendship, Vale and Alex start crushing on each other without realising they've met in real life.

Still Out of My League (10/12/2021)

After breaking up with her dreamboat, Marta finds love with an artist. But life throws a few twists into the mix for the ailing woman and her friends.

Back to the Outback (10/12/2021)

They might look dangerous, but these wildly misunderstood creatures have hearts of gold — and they’re breaking out of captivity on a quest to find home.

The Unforgivable (10/12/2021)

Released from prison into a society that won't forgive her, a woman convicted of murder searches for the little sister she was forced to leave behind.

The Hand of God (15/12/2021)

In 1980s Naples, young Fabietto pursues his love for football as family tragedy strikes, shaping his uncertain but promising future as a filmmaker.

A Naija Christmas (16/12/2021)

A mother's Christmas wish — and the grand prize that comes with it — sets off a fierce competition between her sons.

A California Christmas: City Lights (16/12/2021)

A year after their romance took root, Callie and Joseph are leaving the ranch for family business in San Francisco — with wedding bells on the horizon.

Grumpy Christmas (21/12/2021)

A family trip to the beach turns crazy when Servando and Alicia, Alma's willful aunt, start an over-the-top competition to control Christmas.

Vicky and Her Mystery (24/12/2021)

After her mum's death, a heartbroken girl and her dad settle in wild, beautiful Cantal. Can a special creature help her heal? Inspired by a true story.

1000 Miles from Christmas (24/12/2021)

A Christmas tale, a romantic comedy and the story of a man in his 30s who learns — reluctantly — to get carried away by the Christmas spirit.

Don't Look Up (24/12/2021)

Two astronomers go on a media tour to warn humankind of a planet-killing comet hurtling toward Earth. The response from a distracted world: Meh.

STAND BY ME Doraemon 2 (24/12/2021)

Nobita travels to the future to show his beloved grandma his bride, but adult Nobita has fled his own wedding. Can he ever be a good husband to Shizuka?

Minnal Murali (24/12/2021)

A tailor gains special powers after being struck by lightning, but must take down an unexpected foe if he is to become the superhero his hometown needs.

Lulli (26/12/2021)

After getting electrocuted by an MRI machine, an ambitious young medical student begins to hear the thoughts of others. Starring Larissa Manoela.

Hilda and the Mountain King (30/12/2021)

When Hilda wakes up in the body of a troll, she must use her wits and courage to get back home, become human again — and save the city of Trolberg.

The Lost Daughter (31/12/2021)

What's on Netflix in December 2021

A woman's quiet seaside vacation takes an unsettling turn when her fixation on a young mother staying at a nearby villa awakens memories from her past.

Seal Team (31/12/2021)

Fearless seal Quinn assembles a squad of misfit recruits to stand up to ruthless sharks with razor-sharp teeth and reclaim the open sea.


Nicole Byer: BBW (Big Beautiful Weirdo) (07/12/2021)

A new special from Nicole Byer.

Carolin Kebekus: The Last Christmas Special (08/12/2021)

Carolin Kebekus unpacks the many headaches of the Christmas season, from intense hangovers to the agony of Advent calendars to a big gift-giving gap.

Russell Howard: Lubricant (14/12/2021)

This two-part special features comic Russell Howard's delayed-yet-delighted return to the stage and a look at his life during an unexpected lockdown.

Jim Gaffigan: Comedy Monster (21/12/2021)

Comedy icon Jim Gaffigan offers some thoughts on the hot mess that was 2021, as well as his takes on marching bands, billionaires in space and more.

Jimmy Carr: His Dark Material (25/12/2021)

Jimmy Carr finds humour in the darkest of places in this stand-up special that features his dry, sardonic wit — and some jokes he calls "career enders."


Money Heist: From Tokyo to Berlin: Volume 2 (03/12/2021)

It's the end of an era for the showrunners and actors behind "Money Heist," who share secrets about filming while saying goodbye to the beloved series.

Voir (06/12/2021)

Film lovers examine the cinematic moments that thrilled, perplexed, challenged and forever changed them in this collection of visual essays.

The Family That Sings Together: The Camargos (09/12/2021)

Surrounded by family and friends, Zezé Di Camargo and daughter Wanessa spend time together and collaborate creatively in this exclusive reality series.

Puff: Wonders of the Reef (16/12/2021)

A baby pufferfish travels through a wondrous, microscopic world full of fantastical creatures as he searches for a home in the Great Barrier Reef.

Stories of a Generation - with Pope Francis (25/12/2021)

Pope Francis and other men and women all over the world aged 70+ — both famous and everyday people — share their life stories with young filmmakers.

Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer (29/12/2021)

The second installment of an ongoing documentary series about how certain locations became accomplices to crimes that took place there. Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer will examine how the danger and depravity of New York’s Times Square in the late 1970s and early 1980s made it possible for one man to commit — and nearly get away with — unthinkable acts in a nearly lawless area rife with drugs and sex work. These three episodes will delve into the social and systemic forces that allowed horrific crimes to go unnoticed for too long.


Kayko and Kokosh (01/12/2021)

Two Slavic warriors do everything in their power to defend the village of Mirmiłowo from the evil order of Knaveknights.

Kayko and Kokosh: Season 2 (01/12/2021)

From an all-inclusive vacation to an extravagant Sweet 16 party, Kayko and Kokosh continue to stumble into different misadventures.

Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous: Season 4 (03/12/2021)

The campers leave Isla Nublar behind, only to wash ashore on strange new terrain that's crawling with threats — and closely guarded secrets.

Centaurworld: Season 2 (07/12/2021)

Horse embarks on a mission to build an army and defeat the Nowhere King. It won't be easy, but she's got the herd by her side — and Rider back home.

Go Dog Go: Season 2 (07/12/2021)

Adventurous pups Tag and Scooch are going everywhere this season, from exciting places all around Pawston to the bright lights of Chew York City!

StarBeam: Beaming in the New Year (14/12/2021)

Summersette's biggest baddies join forces on New Year’s Eve to battle Zoey and the Beam Team. But cool cousin Zara powers up to help save the day!

Fast & Furious Spy Racers: Season 6: Homecoming (17/12/2021)

The final season takes the Spy Racers around the world — from the Alps to the Arctic and back home to LA — as they battle their toughest enemy ever!

Word Party Presents: Math! (28/12/2021)


JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: STONE OCEAN (01/12/2021)

The legacy of the Joestar family continues with Jolyne as she and her companions take on new Stand users behind the bars of Green Dolphin Street Prison.

Aggretsuko: Season 4 (16/12/2021)

Retsuko turns up the volume to stop Haida from making the biggest mistake ever when a sly new company president takes the office to a new extreme.


Gossip Girl: Season 1 - 6 (31/12/2021)

When two once-close friends become rivals, their battle for power is publicised to their entire prep school thanks to Gossip Girl's dirt-dishing blog.

Secretary (01/01/2022)

A young woman who cuts herself gets a job working as a secretary for an attorney, and the two forge a unique relationship charged with sadomasochism.

Young Sheldon: Season 4 (01/01/2022)

With high school in the rearview, Sheldon mentally prepares for college as an 11-year-old while the Cooper family deals with issues of their own.

What's on Disney+ in December 2021

What's on Disney+ in December 2021

There's a brand new Star Wars spinoff hitting Disney+ at the end of December, and a raft of docos and films, as well as the continuing exploits of Hawkeye.

Here's everything coming to Disney+ in December.

What's on Disney+ in December 2021

December 1

Disney Insider

Hawkeye – Episode 103

December 3

Christmas… Again?!

Disney Holiday Magic Quest

Edward Scissorhands

Ice Age

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Mickey & Minnie Wish Upon A Christmas

Million Dollar Arm

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Premiere

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a computer-animated comedy movie based on Jeff Kinney’s book of the same name, and the fifth installment in the movie series that shares the same name. 

What's on Disney+ in December 2021

December 5

The First Wave 
With exclusive access inside one of New York’s hardest hit hospital systems during the terrifying first four months of the pandemic, Oscar®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning director Matthew Heineman’s THE FIRST WAVE spotlights the everyday heroes at the epicenter of COVID-19 as they come together to fight one of the greatest threats the world has ever encountered

December 8

The Last Duel 
Jodie Comer is spellbinding in this tale of betrayal and vengeance set in 14th century France from visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott. Based on actual events, the film stars Matt Damon and Adam Driver as friends Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two knights who must fight to the death after de Carrouges’s wife (Comer) accuses Le Gris of assault.

 Big Sky - Season 2 Premiere
When private detectives Cassie Dewell and Jenny Hoyt reunite to investigate a car wreck outside of Helena, Montana, they soon discover that the case may not be as straightforward as it seems. As they unravel the mystery of the accident, their worlds will collide with a band of unsuspecting teens, a flirtatious face from Jenny’s past, and a vicious outsider hellbent on finding answers.

The Chicken Squad (season 1, 4 episodes)

Gabby Duran & The Unsittables (season 2, 11 episodes)

Life Below Zero: Northern Territories (season 1)

Muppet Babies (season 3, 4 episodes)

Spidey And His Amazing Friends (season 1, 4 episodes)

Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks (season 8, 10 episodes)

Welcome to Earth – All Episodes Streaming

The Disney+ original series from National Geographic follows Will Smith on an extraordinary adventure around the world to explore Earth’s greatest wonders and reveal its most hidden secrets. Throughout the six-part limited series produced by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, Protozoa Pictures, Jane Root’s Nutopia and Westbrook Studios, Will is guided by elite explorers on an awe-inspiring journey.

Disney Insider – “Star Wars Action Figures, A Beauty and the Beast Anniversary, Disney On Ice”

Hawkeye – Episode 104

December 10

Tron: Legacy

December 15

Disney’s Magic Bake-Off (season 1, 4 episodes)

Gigantosaurus (season 3)

Life Below Zero (season 17)

Science Of Stupid (season 8)

Foodtastic – All Episodes Streaming

Hawkeye – Episode 105

What's on Disney+ in December 2021

December 17

Home Alone 4

Home Alone: The Holiday Heist

Arendelle Castle Yule Log: Cut Paper Edition

December 22

Minnie’s Bow-Toons: Party Palace Pals (season 1, 5 episodes)

Hawkeye – Season Finale

 The Con - Season 1 Premiere
Explore the troubling tales of people taken in by claims and promises that proved too good to be true, from identity fraud and misleading romance to the high-profile college admission scandal and Fyre Festival. 

December 24


Directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush, Encanto follows the Madrigals, a family who live in an enchanted town in the mountains of Colombia. 

King Tut In Color

Lost Tombs Of The Pyramids

December 29

T.O.T.S. (season 3)

The Book of Boba Fett – Premiere

“The Book of Boba Fett,” a thrilling Star Wars adventure teased in a surprise end-credit sequence following the Season 2 finale of “The Mandalorian,” finds legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand navigating the galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime syndicate. “The Book of Boba Fett” stars Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen. Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Robert Rodriguez, Kathleen Kennedy and Colin Wilson are the executive producers. Karen Gilchrist and Carrie Beck serve as co-executive producers, with John Bartnicki producing and John Hampian as co-producer.

December 31

The Rescue – Premiere

Documentary film directed and produced by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, following the Tham Luang cave rescue, a 2018 mission that saved a junior association football team from an underwater cave.

80s Top Ten (season 1)

Petit Maman: Film Review

Petit Maman: Film Review

Cast: Joséphine Sanz, Nina Meurisse and Stéphane Varupenne
Director: Céline Sciamma

Girlhood and Portrait of a Woman on Fire's director Céline Sciamma returns to the big screen with a shorter film than previous outings - but one that still packs a quiet power.

Petit Maman: Film Review

It's the story of 8 year old Nelly, who's just lost her beloved grandmother and who's saying goodbye to the rest home residents where she lived as the film begins. Taken with her parents to clean out the childhood home, Nelly meets a girl her age as she builds a tree house in the woods.

They form an instant connection - but there's something deeper and more mysterious going on with Nelly's new friend soon needing hospital treatment and time for their friendship running out.

There's a smaller scale to this story, but Petit Maman has an astoundingly good lead in its child actors, who convey more than enough of a range of emotions from joy to trying to understand loss.

Petit Maman is a film of simple silences, natural sounds, and great poise from Sciamma; it carefully weaves a story that some may find wanting in parts, and others will be gripped by, as it examines grief and our relationships with the past.

Petit Maman: Film Review

But more specifically, Petit Maman is about the conversations with our closest family members, or ourselves - it spends time building a world that doesn't appear to cheat itself out of with easy answers, nor does it tie itself up in superstitions and hokum.

By keeping the film intimate, and quietly reflective, Sciamma's made a universal story of grief that everyone can engage with - and it's all the more enticing for it.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Hawkeye: Disney+ Review

Hawkeye: Disney+ Review

Another Disney+ live action series featuring a Marvel character arrives - this time, it's Clint Barton's Hawkeye - and this latest feels like a smaller scale affair.

With 6 days to go before Christmas, a wearied Barton (a forlorn Renner throughout) is trying to do his best for his family. Taking them to Rogers The Musical (based on the Avengers' battle, and with the catchy refrain of "I Can Do this all day"), planning pizza and movie nights and generally catching up with the kids, Barton finds his world shattered when his past comes back to haunt him.
Hawkeye: Disney+ Review

Elsewhere across town, Haille Steinfeld's Kate Bishop, Hawkeye's No 1 fan after one of his stray arrows saved her during the Chitauri invasion, is struggling to find her place in the world. In trouble after destroying a campus bell tower after a bet on her archery prowess, Bishop inadvertently sets herself on a collision course with her idol after finding Hawkeye's old Ronin outfit and dealing to some criminals.

With New York thinking the Ronin avenger has returned and the criminal underworld out to get the mysterious figure that caused them so much grief, Barton steps in - and into a world of trouble.

Hawkeye feels lighter in tone, largely thanks to a relationship between Barton and Bishop that finds its mark in episode two - but it's also fair to say that this latest Disney+ series doesn't seem to set its stall out early on. Is it comedy buddy movie, is it master passing the mantle onto the rookie, is it drama, is it odd couple film, is it a revenge tale - its relative lack of a definitive purpose in the early episodes means it feels less accessible to anyone not familiar with the Avengers' oeuvre.

Certainly Renner excels in selling the post blip world and the more moping edges of the Barton character. From donning a hearing aid to feeling out of place in a New York that lauds the heroes and their fight, this is as close to an exploration of PTSD as the Avengers has really come, and Renner does magnificent work rolling in the doldrums. 
Hawkeye: Disney+ Review

But it's also fair to say he hardly comes alive in the comedic edges of the script either, with most of it feeling like cynical repartee than anything more life like.

If Renner is the dour downbeat heart of the duo, Steinfeld's perky Bishop is the boundless energy puppy that's trying to keep the story upbeat. From her privileged background to her admiration at Barton's more human hero, Steinfeld sells the start of Kate's arc with ease.

However, it's a story that seems to rely a lot on fan knowledge, and certainly the ending of episode 2 leaves the casual viewer more than nonplussed about its weight and importance. While fans are likely to be nodding heads in recognition, the rest will be lost as to exactly what's going on and why it matters.

If Hawkeye excels at anything, it's producing clear and concise action sequences along with producing a heady mix of mistaken identity, mayhem and mythology that some will find intoxicating.

The more intimate level of Hawkeye takes a bit of time to get used to, and while there are only six episodes in this run, it does feel like there's little to no urgency to lay out a overall plot or idea of where it's going.

Whether that's enough to produce a bullseye for Disney+'s Avengers' fraternity is probably not in doubt - but for others, it may be a case that Hawkeye is a cautious step some will be unwilling to take.

Disney+'s Hawkeye begins streaming on Wednesday November 24 with 2 episodes released.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Grand Theft Auto: Definitive Edition patch release details

Grand Theft Auto: Definitive Edition patch release details

A full list of the changes included in Title Update 1.02 below;

Grand Theft Auto: Definitive Edition patch release details

General – All Platforms

Fixed multiple localization issues

Fixed multiple instances of missing or misaligned collision

Fixed multiple instances of holes in the map

Fixed multiple instances of incorrect or misplaced textures

Fixed multiple instances of the camera clipping through objects

Fixed multiple instances of incorrect subtitles being displayed

Fixed multiple instances of incorrect help text being displayed

Fixed multiple instances of misplaced objects

Fixed multiple instances of issues with character models in cutscenes

Fixed multiple instances of audio lines being skipped, delayed, or repeated

Grand Theft Auto III – The Definitive Edition

Fixed issues with blurry camera cuts and transitions during Grand Theft Aero cutscene

Fixed an issue where Pay ‘N’ Spray doors were closed preventing the player from being able to enter

Fixed an issue where game stalls and props pop into the Gone Fishing cutscene

Fixed an issue where the player would fail the mission The Thieves with a message “A thief’s dead” after the cutscene plays

Fixed an issue with failing the mission Last Requests due to Asuka falling out of the boat

Fixed an issue with a missing GPS route when driving Curly Bob in a Taxi during the mission Cutting The Grass

Fixed an issue where the damage meter is not displaying correctly in the mission Escort Service

Fixed an issue with a hole in the map that allowed players to access Staunton Island early

Fixed an issue with Claude floating in the cutscene for the mission Big ‘n’ Veiny

Fixed an issue where character models were not animating during the cutscene for the mission Luigi’s Girls

Fixed an issue where character models were not animation during the cutscene for the mission Give me Liberty

Fixed an issue where the player can boost their running speed by quickly swapping through weapons

Fixed an issue where the game would crash when entering a vehicle after completing Triad War (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One)

Fixed an issue where the achievement “Disposing of the Evidence” does not unlock after completing the Dead Skunk in the Trunk Mission (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One)

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – The Definitive Edition

Fixed an issue where players were unable to rotate the camera up or down while driving at high speeds

Fixed an issue with Firetruck lights flashing inconsistent colors

Fixed an issue with GPS route display during the mission Autocide

Fixed an issue where Pay ‘N’ Spray doors were closed preventing the player from being able to enter

Fixed an issue with multiple GPS routes appearing during the missions Gun Runner and Psycho Killer

Fixed an issue with the Hit Rate UI not displaying correctly during the mission Gun Runner

Fixed an issue with peds incorrectly appearing in the cutscene for the mission The Chase

Fixed an issue with Tommy Vercetti’s character model going into a T-Pose during the cutscene for In the Beginning

Fixed an issue with changes to language settings not being retained after a reboot (Nintendo Switch)

Fixed an issue where the game would crash when switching from TV mode to table mode during the loading screen

Fixed an issue where the prompt “Error: Out of video memory trying to allocate a texture! Make sure your video card has the minimum required memory, try lowering the resolution” appears while exploring the North Point Mall (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One)

Fixed an issue with the camera popping during the cutscene for the mission All Hands on Deck (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One)

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – The Definitive Edtion

Fixed an issue with rain visual effects

Fixed an issue with the camera spinning around quickly when finishing or failing Blood Bowl

Fixed an issue where the camera is incorrectly positioned when returning to gameplay after finding Sweet in the mission Reuniting the Families

Fixed an issue where a bridge in Flint County is invisible

Fixed an issue where players can equip weapons while swimming which can cause issues with the weapons clipping through the character’s body

Fixed an issue where incorrect help text was displayed for swimming

Fixed an issue where the results screen was appearing at the start of Bike School – Jump and Stoppie

Fixed an issue with grey pedestrians appearing around the Willowfield and Playa del Seville area

Fixed an issue with a pedestrian looking partially translucent in the Just Business cutscene

Fixed an issue with the legal text not being displayed correctly

Fixed an issue with Enforcer lights not flashing

Fixed an issue with players not being able to kill Paul and Maccer before triggering the cutscene for the mission Don Peyote

Fixed an issue where the mid-mission cutscene would start then fade to black before restarting again during the mission Sayonara Salvatore

Fixed an issue where the game would restart from the beginning when selecting to retry from the last checkpoint on the Mission High Stakes, Low Rider

Fixed an issue with an invincible enemy during the mission Los Desperados

Fixed an issue with incorrect inverted controls when swimming underwater when setting them to either on or off

Fixed an issue with the aiming sensitivity for the Pistol Ammu-Nation Challenge

Fixed an issue where progress is blocked due to Sweet being killed prematurely during the mission The Green Sabre

Fixed an issue where the help text does not disappear which ends up blocking the muscle stat from showing it increasing at any Gym

Fixed an issue with the incorrect time being displayed when collecting rings during the BMX or NRG-500 Challenges

Fixed an issue with the camera warping during the In the Beginning cutscene

Fixed an issue where some character models were not animating during some cutscenes

Fixed an issue with the player getting stuck behind the Cluckin’ Bell counter (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One)

Fixed an issue where Police Officers can be seen floating before a police car spawns during the Reuniting the Families cutscene (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One)

Fixed an issue with pedestrian weapon accuracy (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One)

Grand Theft Auto Trilogy: The Definitive Edition: PS5 Review

Grand Theft Auto Trilogy: The Definitive Edition: PS5 Review

Developed by Grove Street
Published by Rockstar Games
Platform: PS5

It's hard to explain how defining the Grand Theft Auto series originally was.
Grand Theft Auto Trilogy: The Definitive Edition: PS5 Review

As a third person perspective game with an open world ethos, and an option for absolute and utter chaos, Rockstar Games really did change the PS2 game with this franchise.

GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas were iconic, defining titles which revolutionised the gaming world - but it's fair to say that the release of the Definitive Edition of these titles is something short of a letdown in parts.

GTA: San Andreas is the worst offender in these, with graphics that are almost hysterically underfinished, and which border on an almost niggling feeling that the developers decided enough was enough and the budget was done, and it should just be released in the state it's in and to hell with everyone else.
Grand Theft Auto Trilogy: The Definitive Edition: PS5 Review

At their core, though, while stripped of the complications of the more recent GTA V and its execution, these games remain playable enough - even if the mission structure of GTAIII feels somewhat simplistic. 

But that's not to say they're not enjoyable enough. Certainly Liberty City and GTA III retain their charm and obnoxious edges once you adjust your mindset to the attitude that these are games which have been ported over, not games which have been rebuilt from the ground up in remasters like Mafia and Ratchet and Clank.

There's still the basics in III and Vice City you remember from before - even if some of the iconic music is missing. The crazy physics, the insane way you can die without a hint of a warning and the way missions can abruptly end in abject failure. 

However, the port of GTA: San Andreas is almost impossible to appreciate - thanks to its graphics which seem utterly laughable in the game's context. It also retains some of the flaws that stopped GTA San Andreas being perfect - having to maintain a character and build up their strength and stamina is just time-consuming and sapping. 
Grand Theft Auto Trilogy: The Definitive Edition: PS5 Review

While the souls of the games are intact, it's the art of them that feels a bit chunkier than in the past - it may be some games are not meant to be played on a modern machine, but while Grand Theft Auto Trilogy: The Definitive Edition is playable enough as a nostalgia addled late night blast, its criminal underpolishing from Rockstar Games is nothing short of a disappointment.

* Rockstar Games has promised patches for all three titles to be released soon.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Shadow in the Cloud: Neon NZ Film Review

Shadow in the Cloud: Neon NZ Film Review

Pulpy and preposterous, New Zealand director Roseanne Liang's foray into genre cinema benefits greatly from its desire to lean into its premise and absurdities when necessary, embracing them and experimenting with ease within their confines.
Shadow in the Cloud: Film Review

While owing a spiritual debt to the 1963 Twilight Zone episode Nightmare at 20,000 Feet which starred William Shatner, the taut Shadow In the Cloud joyfully embraces the elements of the horror genre when necessary.

Moretz is Maude Garrett, a female flight officer who's determined to catch a plane from Auckland's Allied Air Base on a stormy night in August 1943. With her arm in a sling, and the other resolutely gripping a box tightly, Garrett climbs aboard the Fool's Errand plane, much to the all-male crew's chagrin.

Destined for Samoa to drop off some transponders, the crew's already on edge with fears Japanese planes have invaded their airspace. Confined to the ship's underbelly in the glass turret Speer, Garrett endures a barrage of sexist conversation and general gaslighting, before she claims to have seen a furry creature on the exterior of the craft.

Just moments after the discovery, things start to go wrong for The Fool's Errand....

It's about 50 minutes in when you know if you're fully on board with Shadow In The Cloud's trappings - after a twist is unveiled and the film switches gears from a chamber piece to something much more genre-led and outrageously audacious, and B-movie crowd-pleasing.

Moretz is committed throughout, and while her initial appearances may be a bit shaky in tone, the film goes a long way to explaining why - and the gamut of her transformation feels earned and lived in.

Liang masterfully uses claustrophobic close ups (a wrench for Moretz who genuinely suffers from the condition) for her heroine's time in the turret and some more artful ways of introducing characters to save switching locations and derailing some of the suspicion and tensions that simmer throughout.
Shadow in the Cloud: Film Review

While the film goes all out in the end to nail its genre - and its OTT edges - the quieter implications of the overt misogyny of the all-male B-52 bomber crew early on are quite sickening, and at times, a bit too much, leading most of the men in the film to feel like one note writethroughs.

But then given this is Maude Garrett's film, that can be forgiven. Just.

WETA Digital's work comes to the fore with the creation of a Gremlin character in keeping with the animated army public announcement that starts the film - if anything, the tone of the film is nailed from the start, even with a pulsating electronic soundtrack subverting the usual wartime genre OSTs of sweeping strings and pianos.

It's here that Liang shows her desire to experiment with the form, and which helps it pay off during its short 82 minute run time.

Shadow in the Cloud is an unabashed, unashamed and outright popcorn film that plays with conventions while nailing the basics down - it's purely entertainment and shows Liang has more than what it takes to play within the confines of the Hollywood walls - as well as showcasing her ability to break them down and break through.


Sunday, 21 November 2021

Gunpowder Milkshake: Blu Ray Review

Gunpowder Milkshake: Blu Ray Review

With its Pulp Fiction-style soundtrack, its penchant for diners, and its stylish yet potentially ultimately hollow execution, Gunpowder Milkshake veers dangerously close to Tarantino-lite fare.
Gunpowder Milkshake: Film Review

But with a pure shot of adrenaline, and a neon-soaked visual palette, as well as some extremely tautly choreographed action sequences, Gunpowder Milkshake is a film that revels in its influences, and just manages to outgrow its Jane Wick edges, to provide a stylish bubblegum action movie that's as enjoyable as it is stylish.

Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Who star Gillen is Sam, a seemingly orphaned assassin, whose world is turned upside down when she accidentally crosses the Firm she's working for to try and save a kidnapped child.

With a series of assassins on her tail after she kills the wrong person, Sam has to turn to her past for help...

Gunpowder Milkshake revels in its neon-soaked vistas, its almost kitsch-like execution and its truly thrilling action sequences. There's a thrill seeing Gillan beating up the competition (even if the MeToo elements are over-egged in some of the weaker dialogue early on) as she punches and kicks balletically during showdowns.
Gunpowder Milkshake: Film Review

Papushado's eye is more for the action throughout the movie, and Gunpowder Milkshake more than accomplishes its inventive use of locations, its lighting and its desire to thrill.

Which is a good thing, because throughout, there's a crushing feeling of lifeless dialogue which appears to have been overwritten in an attempt to seem cool and timelessly quotable, and a feeling throughout of some stop/start mentality to the plot.

It's here the sugar rush and gun fu of Gunpowder Milkshake falls foul; outside of its hyper-stylised edges, the film lacks the timeless zing of the likes of Tarantino's finest - even if it does provide great companionship and secure its place in the action movie pantheon recently visited by Bob Odenkirk's Nobody earlier this year.

While its villains lack a charisma to carry them through, and make them rise beyond their required body count goon narrative edges, the leading ladies more than make up for their male counterparts' flaccid outings.
Gunpowder Milkshake: Film Review

Gillan in particular goes from sullen and sulky to violent contract killer in seconds, but never loses sight of some of the emotion the script's denied her overall. Equally, Headey's comedic edges and smirking sensibilities come to the fore as Sam's mum, who disappeared 15 years previously.

Sure, there's a superficiality to Gunpowder Milkshake's characters and dialogue, but there's a real thrill in seeing the action executed, and the film's pure rush ethos, and the gleeful execution that goes with it ensures that this is one milkshake that will bring all the boys to the yard.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Snake Eyes: DVD Review

Snake Eyes: DVD Review

Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins is not the kind of film that really commits to anything.

Bloodless despite katana being wielded and plenty of people being sliced or shot in the head, the film's inherent desire to neither be fish nor fowl means it does a huge disservice to both its scowling lead Henry Golding and the toyline it clearly exists to promote.
Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins: Film Review

The story begins with the younger version of Golding's Snake Eyes witnessing the death of his father at the hands of an unknown killer. Vowing vengeance for the murder, Snake finds himself mixed up in the world of the Yakuza years later, working to get scraps of information where his father's killer could be.

But caught in the clash of warring Japanese clans, Snake finds a new family with Andrew Koji's Tommy who takes him under his wing after he saves him. However, Snake Eyes finds himself questioning loyalty and family on his journey to vengeance.

Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins is so stultifyingly dull throughout that it makes it hard to care about any of the proceedings.

Golding scowls and growls his way through some choppily-edited action sequences and what little cliched  dialogue there is in the first place. He may have charisma a-plenty in Crazy Rich Asians, but RIPD director Schwentke knows that it isn't what's needed here and suppresses any of that throughout.

Murky action sequences and dour atmospherics do little to enhance the Snake Eyes experience, and while the film finally feels like it comes alive in the last 20 minutes, you're left wondering why you should even bother to invest this late in the day. Throw in the arrival of GI Joe's Scarlett (played with gusto by Samara Weaving), a COBRA conspiracy and hints of the groundwork being laid for a sequel, and it's clear the film could have done with a harder edge and a tighter script to steer things through its 2 hour run time.
Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins: Film Review

It's not aided by some utterly laughable CGI anacondas that even Jon Voight would have trouble mustering the energy to sneer at - there's just no panache to be had in anything happening here. And any film that utterly squanders the skills of Iko Uwais' martial arts prowess, as is done here, is utterly disgraceful.

It's hard to believe GI Joe fans will be wowed by this origins tale given how Snake Eyes spends the entire film with his face visible and his voice audible - the chances of a sequel feel slim as fans and non-fans will feel massively short-changed by it all.

A severe waste of two hours of your life, Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins may be an attempt to reboot the GI Joe franchise, but this turgid, lifeless attempt at an "action movie" fails utterly, totally and miserably.

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