Saturday, 3 December 2022

New Tales from the Borderlands: PS5 Review

New Tales from the Borderlands: PS5 Review

Developed by Gearbox
Published by 2K Games
Platform: PS5

New Tales from the Borderlands follows the relative success of Telltale's Tales from the Borderlands, an episodic release from 2014 and 2015.
New Tales from the Borderlands: PS5 Review


With its episodic framework and its need to get you to pick your own path of adventure, the Telltale ethos worked well for a change of pace from Gearbox's shooter Borderlands.

The sequel, New Tales from the Borderlands, is less successful but still playable enough if you're already versed in the Borderlands universe.

Taking the parts of Anu, a scientist, Fran, a frozen yogurt seller and hipster Octavio, it's back to the usual medley of mayhem as you fight back against weapons manufacturer Tediore who has begun invading the planet Promethea.

There's not much that's massively new in New Tales from the Borderlands as the game plods through its somewhat dated gameplay and its formulaic take on the world. While it's admirable that 2K have looked at what worked from the original, trying to emulate it here hasn't quite worked in the way it could have done.
New Tales from the Borderlands: PS5 Review


Borderlands' desire to try new stuff is commendable - its Tiny Tina game showed mixing the two elements worked well, but perhaps for New Tales from the Borderlands the winning Borderlands formula is less about stripping the franchise away and just going back to basics to enjoy what worked and doubling down on it.

The adventure's not quite as thrilling as it could be, but if you're a Borderlands nut, then it will be worth diving back into the universe and watching it ever so slightly expand.

Friday, 2 December 2022

The Road Dance: Movie Review

The Road Dance: Movie Review


Cast: Hermione Corfield, Mark Gatiss, Will Fletcher
Director: Richie Adams

Based on John Mackay's book, and steeped in as much tragedy as sweeping shots of the Outer Hebrides' rugged coastline, The Road Dance is an old-school film that feels like the kind that don't get made anymore.

Set in the Isle Of Lewis in the days before World War I and inspired by true events, it's the story of Kirsty (Corfield), a girl who dreams of more than just a life planting potatoes and looking wistfully at ships heading to America off the coast.
The Road Dance: Movie Review


When she falls for Fletcher's Murdo, she starts to come alive - but that life is brutally snatched from her when her sweetheart is called up for war, and she's raped by an unknown assailant the night before he leaves.

What follows in The Road Dance is the kind of earnest period drama that was once a staple of Sunday night TV shows or relegated to film festivals.

There are moments which feel stiff in their execution, even if the film's heartfelt approach and solid acting from Corfield anchors in it in the dramatic rather than the melodramatic.

There's compassion in the story's execution  as a difficult subject is explored, but how much attachment you'll feel to what transpires languishes largely on how much you're willing to forgive the film its occasional predictabilities.

Maybe a little overlong at its near 2 hour run time, The Road Dance remains an example of how solid dramas can do solid work and provide an impactful experience when it's least expected.

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Poker Face: Movie Review

Poker Face: Movie Review

Cast: Russell Crowe, RZA, Liam Hemsworth, Brooke Satchwell, Elsa Pataky
Director: Russell Crowe

Poker Face has massive potential - even if its premise is all too familiar.

The idea of a group of friends coming together one more time has been mined by the cinema for time immemorial.

Poker Face: Movie Review

Whether it's Peter's Friends or The Big Chill, it's a genre that's proffered up plenty.

Add into this mix a touch of Panic Room from Gladiator's Russell Crowe and it feels like it could be something genuinely tantalising.

But Poker Face is saddled with a lack of decent dialogue, a mournful tone that's stifling and a resolution that's all too quickly dispatched.

Crowe is Jake, the head of a group of five friends who one night calls them all back for a game of poker and a get together for mysterious reasons unknown.

Lavishing his mates with millions of dollars' worth of chips, and then poisoning them, the stakes are indeed high, and the mystery deliciously tempting.

However, things spiral when Jake's getaway is broken in to by a man looking for money and revenge...

Poker Face spends an inordinate amount of time setting things up.

The end result is that nothing really gets going until around the 1hour mark of the film - and it's only 85 minutes long.

Poker Face: Movie Review

While Crowe does reflective and elegaic well, his supporting group of friends are reduced to once-over-lightly characters that get more background in a sun-tinged flashback that feels like it's from Stand By Me.

Lumpen dialogue mixed with some clanging moments don't help proceedings either and pretty soon you feel like Poker Face has squandered its potential.

It may be a reasonable choice for a background streaming service, but in truth, the greatest bluff of Poker Face is that it's masquerading as a high-concept thriller.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Willow: Review

Willow: Review

Fantasy series based on beloved movies are always a risk.

Either you brilliantly build on the world previously created and create something deep and wondrous, or you risk alienating your fandom with a series that feels padded out, and saddled with stories that weren't necessary.

It's a massive relief to say that Willow falls into the first category - a wonderful family fantasy series that catapults the hero of the 1988 movie into the next chapter of his life.

Willow: Review

Warwick Davis once again plays Willow Ufgood, the Nelwyn dwarf sorcerer. This time, Willow is charged with leading a ragtag group of seemingly out of their depth heroes on a quest to rescue a kidnapped prince.

But on the journey, each of them faces their own inner demons...

With its comedic edges and its pure heart, Willow is a real treat of a series.

Taking its time to develop its characters and give them all reasonable arcs as well as time to shine, the show builds depth to an already beloved film with ease.

But it doesn't shy away from the fantasy edges either.

Willow: Review

With enemies that are both sinister and terrifying enough for a younger audience, plus the spooky atmosphere throughout, this series proves to be the perfect mix of ingredients for anyone wanting a viewing escape.

Anchoring it all is Davis, whose mix of the comedy and the growth of his own character, proves to be the dramatic tonic the show needs. As Willow stumbles trying to find his footing once again, Davis seizes on every opportunity to maximum effect.

It's a combination of the right time, right place for Willow - the TV Series.

With enemies that are well realised, a quest that works episodically rather than just in a longer arc and a depth of backstories evolving for each character, as well as some surprises throughout, Willow is more than just a fantasy romp.

Willow: Review

It's heartfelt, earnest and above all, highly enjoyable.

The world of the Nelwyn is ripe for the picking again - and while there are hints the first season will wrap it all up nicely with hints of callbacks from the film, the idea of spending a second season with Willow and his fellow characters is a highly and utterly appealing one.

Willow begins streaming on Disney+ from Wednesday November 30. Episodes 1-7 of the 8 episode series were screened for the purposes of this review

What's on Neon in December

What's on Neon in December

Here's everything coming to Neon in December

What's on Neon in December

His Dark Materials (December 6)

Based on The Amber Spyglass, the final novel in Philip Pullman's award-winning trilogy, in the final chapter of this epic fantasy series, Lyra (Dafne Keen), the prophesied child, and Will (Amir Wilson), the bearer of The Subtle Knife, must journey to a dark place from which no one has ever returned. As her father's great war against the Authority edges closer, they will learn that saving the world comes at a terrible price. Also starring James McAvoy (Split), and Ruth Wilson (Luther). 

Gossip Girl (December 2)

Gossip Girl is back, and she's leaving no stone unturned in her efforts to control the scandalous lives and spin the scandalous lies of Manhattan's elite. This semester, there can only be one queen, and by the end of the school year, everyone will know where the bodies are buried and just who was holding the shovel. Starring Jordan Alexander, Whitney Peak, Eli Brown, Emily Alyn Lind, Thomas Doherty, Evan Mock, Savannah Lee Smith and Zion Moreno. 

Chucky S2 (December 9)

Chucky is hellbent on exacting revenge against all those who thwarted his last murderous plot. While Jake and Devon encounter trouble as a couple at their new Catholic school, Chucky embarks on another killing spree, crossing paths with familiar franchise faces along the way. Starring Zackary Arthur, Jennifer Tilly, Devon Sawa and Teo Briones. 

The Cleaning Lady (December 9)

Luca has been kidnapped by his father, Marco. With nowhere else to turn, Thony enlists the help of FBI Agent Garrett Miller. An incident involving Chris forces Fiona to shield her son by any means necessary. Starring Oliver Hudson (Nashville), Adan Canto and Martha Millan. 

Shaq (December 18)

The story of basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, whose larger-than-life personality transcended the sport and transformed him into a cultural icon. This docuseries chronicles Shaq's ascent to superstardom as a dominant force who won four NBA championships, and encompasses his life off the court, from his upbringing in a military family to his successful broadcasting and business.

Topp Class (December 14)

The cream of Aotearoa's musical and comedy talent pay tribute to the Topp Twins in a live concert at Auckland's Civic Theatre for their 40th anniversary. Featuring acts from Troy Kingi, Tami Neilson, Te Radar, Anika Moa, Michelle A-Court, Tom Sainsbury, Chris Parker, and many more. Made with support from New Zealand On Air.

Rosie Molly Gives Up Everything (December 16)

Rosie Molloy is addicted to everything. After an embarrassing incident at her brother Joey's wedding Rosie wakes up in hospital and decides to change her life by giving up everything. Starring Sheridan Smith, Richard Lumsden, Ardal O’Hanlon, Pauline McLynn.

I Hate Suzie (December 21)

Having lost most of the people who matter to her, Suzie returns to her first love - the public. Suzie must try to keep life stable for her young son Frank, all whilst staying on a new reality TV competition long enough to finance her new role as single mum and ex-wife. Will she restore her reputation and win back the hearts of the British public? Starring Billie Piper.

Branson (December 26)

Acclaimed filmmaker Chris Smith explores billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson's incredible life. With access to family members, business associates, and Branson himself, this docuseries reveals the ups and downs of a man driven by risk and adventure. 

Movies

The Batman (December 1)

Batman ventures into Gotham City's underworld when a sadistic killer leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator's plans become clear, he must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the metropolis. Starring Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Trilogy) and Zoë Kravitz (High Fidelity, Big Little Lies). 


Morbius (December 29)

Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts а desperate gamble. While at first it seems to be a radical success, a darkness inside him is unleashed. Starring Jared Leto (House of Gucci, Suicide Squad), Matt Smith (Doctor Who) and Adria Arjona (Father of the Bride). 

The Northman (December 3)

Prince Amleth is on the verge of becoming a man when his father is brutally murdered by his uncle, who kidnaps the boy's mother. Two decades later, Amleth is now a Viking who raids Slavic villages. He soon meets a seeress who reminds him of his vow - save his mother, kill his uncle, avenge his father. Starring Alexander Skarsgard (Big Little Lies, Succession) and Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies). 

Dog (December 17)

With a dog named Lulu by his side, Army Ranger Briggs races down the Pacific Coast to make it to a soldier's funeral on time. Along the way, Briggs and Lulu drive each other completely crazy, break a handful of laws, narrowly evade death, and learn to let down their guards to have a fighting chance of finding 

Starring Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, The Lost City) and Jane Adams (Hung). 

Eraser Reborn (December 11)

U.S. Marshal Mason Pollard specializes in "erasing" people faking the deaths of high-risk witnesses. When he is given the task of protecting a women who has agreed to turn in evidence against her crime boss husband, the two must work together to save themselves and stop an even larger criminal plot from unfolding. Stars: Dominic Sherwood, Jacky Lai

Fortress: Sniper's Eye (December 15)

Retired CIA agent Robert Carter Michaels and his son Paul have committed themselves to 

rebuilding their relationship. When Paul's fiancé is taken hostage, Paul is forced to do some high-stakes finance hacking in hopes of saving her. Starring Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Red), Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives) and Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill). 

The Justice of Bunny King (December 3)

Bunny King is a diamond in the rough who just wants to be with her kids. While battling the system to reunite her family, she takes her niece Tonyah under her wing in a journey that will take them both to the edge against tremendous odds. Starring Essie Davis (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries) and Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit). 


Tuesday, 29 November 2022

What's on DocPlay in December

What's on DocPlay in December

Here's everything that's streaming on DocPlay in December.
What's on DocPlay in December


1 December
Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful
One of the great masters of photography, Helmut Newton made a name for himself exploring the female form, and his cult status continues long after his tragic death in a Los Angeles car crash in 2004. Newton's unique and striking way of depicting women has always posed the question: did he empower his subjects or treat them as sexual objects? Through candid interviews this documentary captures his legacy and seeks to answer questions about the themes at the core of his life's work - creating provocative and subversive images of women. The film also features Newton's own home movies, archival footage and a pointed exchange with Susan Sontag.

5 December
Midwives
Two midwives provide medical services to the Rohingya of Rakhine State. Over five years we witness their struggles, hopes and dreams amidst an environment of ever-increasing chaos and violence. Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing’s remarkable feature debut was filmed over five turbulent years in a country that has long been exoticized and misunderstood. The filmmaker’s gentle, impartial gaze grants unique access to these courageous women who unite to bring forth life. Filled with love, empathy, and hope, Midwives offers a rare insight into the complex reality of Myanmar and its people.


12 December
Calendar Girls
CALENDAR GIRLS IS a coming-of-golden-age film about the second teenage phase: the retirement phase. Following senior volunteer dancers in Southwest Florida, who are determined to prove that age is just a number, The Calendar Girls give it all they’ve got. And they have a lot to give — impressive makeup; handmade costumes; elaborate dance routines; and, most notably, their unparalleled enthusiasm and sparkling personalities. With laughter and tears, relationships and identities change as new dreams are discovered. Directors Maria Loohufvud and Love Martinsen craft a life-affirming, feel-good documentary that shakes up the outdated image of what it means to be an “old lady”.

19 December
Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel
The legendary Chelsea Hotel, an icon of 1960s counterculture - former residents and regulars have included Patti Smith, Jim Morrison, Robert Mapplethorpe and the superstars of Warhol's factory - an artists’ refuge for over a century, will soon reopen as a luxury hotel.  Against this chaotic backdrop, the film explores the utopian origins that contributed to the Chelsea’s mythical stature and questions the challenges it confronts in the future, as its residents, sold to capitalism, and walls themselves face a turning point in their common history.

28 December
A-HA: The Movie
a-ha is Norway’s biggest pop success ever and their hit Take On Me is still one of the most played song of the last millennium. Everybody remembers the iconic video and the band is still selling out arenas around the world. a-ha The Movie follows the band on tour, telling the full story of how three young men followed their impossible dream of becoming Norwegian pop stars. When Take On Me reached number 1 on Billboard in the US in 1985 the dream came true. Or did it? This is a story of big ambitions, great music, broken friendship – and maybe forgiveness.

What's on Netflix in December

What's on Netflix in December

The festive season is fast approaching and this December a jolly red figure will be giving us the gift of entertainment…no, not that one but Netflix! We’ve been saving some of the best of our content for last with highly anticipated titles hitting screens this month to round off 2022 with a bang. With Netflix’s upcoming lineup, December is truly the most wonderful time of the year. 

 
What's on Netflix in December


Irreverent (December 4)

Starting off the month strong is some true blue Aussie content, Irreverent - this latest TV series was filmed locally at Mission Beach in Queensland. In a series of unlikely events, Paulo, a criminal from Chicago, finds himself in remote Queensland assuming the identity of the reverend who robbed him. Irreverent is a fish out of water story with a big twist. The series is a redemption story that ultimately celebrates the power of community in a world that needs more of it. Another great local show to add to your ‘watchlist’!

 

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (December 9)

One of our all time favourite childhood stories has been reinvented by the one and only Oscar winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, as well as award winning, stop-motion legend Mark Gustafson. If a wooden boy puppet with a long nose who wishes upon a star isn’t a big enough clue, then you don’t know what you have been missing! Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio will be landing on our screens which reimagines the classical musical tale of the fabled wooden boy with a whimsical tour de force that takes him on an enchanted adventure.

 

Emily in Paris: Season 3 (December 21)

Get your suitcases ready to travel once again to the most romantic city in the world! That’s right, the long awaited rom-com Emily in Paris: Season 3 is finally here with a brand new season of fun. A year after moving to Paris for her dream job, Emily arrives at a career and romantic crossroads that will force her to decide where her future lies. So grab your beret and pop the Champere as you reunite with our gal Emily.

 

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (December 23)

Missed out on living your best European summer dream this year? Never fear as we take you to our own private Greek Island in the hotly anticipated follow up to Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Detective Benoit Blanc is back and as curious as ever as he attempts to solve a murder mystery in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery but this time involving a new cast of colourful suspects who each harbor their own secrets, lies and motivations. Returning to the franchise he began, filmmaker Rian Johnson writes and directs the film that includes a killer cast with a return of Daniel Craig alongside Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline with Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista.

 

Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical (December 25)

For all the musical theatre fans out there, have we got the film for you! This film adaption of one of the most talked musicals of the decade is finally here - Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical. Inspired by the beloved book by the incomparable Roald Dahl, Australia’s Tim Michin’s Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical is an inspirational musical tale of an extraordinary girl who discovers her superpower and summons the remarkable courage, against all odds, to help others change their stories, whilst also taking charge of her own destiny. This brand new take on the Tony and Olivier award-winning musical will keep those ‘revolting children’ occupied all summer!
ORIGINAL SERIES

Dead End (01/12/2022)
A group of people sharing a ride accidentally switches cars with a bank robber, who then pursues them to retrieve the stolen money he left in the trunk.

Firefly Lane: Season 2 Part 1 (2/12/2022)
For Kate and Tully, no obstacle is too big when it comes to their lifelong friendship. But is there one mistake that could tear them apart forever?

Hot Skull (02/12/2022)
In a dystopian world, as an epidemic spreads through verbal communication, a tyrannical institution pursues a linguist immune to the disease.

My Unorthodox Life: Season 2 (02/12/2022)
My Unorthodox Life takes you on a journey through Julia Haart’s untamed, unpredictable and unorthodox life. After fleeing her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Julia Haart inspired millions around the world with her story of liberation, instantly becoming a spearhead for the modern women’s movement. In this season, Julia is forced to navigate yet another avalanche of personal and professional challenges. When she and her husband surprise the world with a blindsiding removal as CEO – followed by filing for a divorce – Julia is left to battle for control of her business empire, which quickly turns contentious. Will she lose everything or gain more than she could ever imagine? Within her family, Julia must find a way to reconnect with her daughter Batsheva, guide her daughter Miriam in her first committed relationship with a woman, and dissuade her son Aron who is determined to drop out of secular school to attend Orthodox yeshiva full-time.

Irreverent (04/12/2022)
In a series of unlikely events, Paulo, a criminal from Chicago, finds himself in remote Queensland assuming the identity of the reverend who robbed him.

The Most Beautiful Flower (07/12/2022)
Curvy, curly, confident Mich knows she's a star in the making; she just has to convince everyone else at her Xochimilco high school to believe it.

Smiley (07/12/2022)
Two men and their friends in Barcelona navigate hesitations, hangups and missed connections as they search for the true love they've been missing.

I Hate Christmas (07/12/2022)
After lying to her family about having a boyfriend, a single nurse begins a desperate search to find a partner by Christmas — which is in 24 days.

Too Hot to Handle: Season 4 (Rolling episodes from 07/12/2022)
Episodes 401-405 (07/12/2022)
Episodes 406-410 (14/12/2022) 
Another set of singles arrives for a retreat at an irresistible new villa, where they'll have to say no to their natural urges in order to win big.

How to Ruin Christmas: The Baby Shower (09/12/2022)
After two chaotic Christmases, will the Sello and Twala families be able to put their differences aside to welcome Beauty and Sbu's first baby?

Dream Home Makeover: Season 4 (09/12/2022)
Dream on! From a playroom with a climbing wall to a luxurious Airstream rebuild, Shea and Syd continue to deliver on fantasy spaces for real families.

CAT (09/12/2022)
Living under an alias, a former police informant is summoned to infiltrate a major drug empire but uncovers a dangerous connection to his dark past.

Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area Part 2 (09/12/2022)
Thieves overtake the mint of a unified Korea. With hostages trapped inside, the police must stop them — as well as the shadowy mastermind behind it all.

Alchemy of Souls: Season 1 Part 2 (10/12/2022)
Uk becomes a hunter of the soul-swapped, when a young woman, a prisoner in her own home, seeks his help to reclaim her freedom.

Single’s Inferno: Season 2 (13/12/2022)
A new cast of singles comes together on a remote island seeking love. Who will find that special someone and make their escape to a luxurious getaway?

Glitter (14/12/2022)
In 1976 Sopot, Poland, three determined women navigate social and political changes as they strive to find independence, financial freedom and love.

The Recruit (16/12/2022)
A rookie lawyer at the CIA stumbles headlong into the dangerous world of international espionage when a former asset threatens to expose agency secrets.

Paradise PD: Part 4 (16/12/2022)
Without a functioning police force, the town faces threats from scheming billionaires, vindictive artists, backstabbing AI and more.

A Storm for Christmas (16/12/2022)
Destinies collide when extreme weather traps travelers and workers at an airport, forcing them to spend the final hours leading up to Christmas together.

Far From Home (16/12/2022)
A scholarship to a top school transports Ishaya to the luxurious world of Nigeria’s 1%, but a looming secret threatens to take it all away ... and more.

Cook at all Costs (16/12/2022)
In this kitchen contest, home cooks bid on ingredients to create dishes that will impress celebrity guest judges — and win the cash left in their bank.

Summer Job (16/12/2022)
Ten Gen Z contestants go on their dream vacation. But for a shot at staying in a luxury villa — and to win €100,000 — they have to work real jobs.

Dance Monsters (16/12/2022)
In this feel-good competition, amateur dancers disguised as CGI avatars bring their best moves, hoping to win $250,000 — and a second shot at their dreams.

Trolley (19/12/2022)
A sudden tragedy brings the wife of a congressman out of her private life and forces her to confront family secrets and her own troubling past.

Emily in Paris: Season 3 (21/12/2022)
A year after moving to Paris for her dream job, Emily arrives at a career and romantic crossroads that will force her to decide where her future lies.

Alice in Borderland: Season 2 (22/12/2022)
The games are deadlier, this world more wild and cruel; but will Arisu ever make it back to the real world — and will it be worth everything he's lost?

Piñata Masters! (23/12/2022)
Which of seven competing teams will be the Piñata Heroes? Their piñatas must be colorful and creative, and impress the picky judges: a group of kids!

Time Hustler (25/12/2022)
After being hit in the head, a man wakes up in 1927 to discover that he’s the spitting image of a famous bandit — and decides to make the most of it.

The Witcher: Blood Origin (25/12/2022)
More than a thousand years before the world of The Witcher, seven outcasts in the elven world unite in a blood quest against an unstoppable power.

Daughter From Another Mother: Season 3 (25/12/2022)
Ana and Mariana deal with a lawsuit and new business while maintaining the facade of their relationship. But chaos arises when true feelings blossom.

Treason (26/12/2022)
An MI6 agent's bright future takes a sharp turn after a reunion with a Russian spy forces him to question his entire life.

The Circle: Season 5 (28/12/2022)
Episodes 1-4
Eight new players set up single profiles to sniff out catfish, form friendships and make the most of second chances in this fifth trip around The Circle.

Rise of Empires: Ottoman: Season 2 (29/12/2022)
Years after conquering Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed II consolidates power, but a merciless ruler in Wallachia threatens to bring down his empire.

Chicago Party Aunt: Part 2 (30/12/2022)
Chicago Party Aunt Diane is an idolized troublemaker with a talent for avoiding adulthood — and a soft spot for her soul-searching nephew.

Alpha Males (30/12/2022)
Pedro, Luis, Raúl and Santi are four friends who feel a bit lost in the new world of empowered women, each trying to adjust in their own haphazard way.

La Reina del Sur: Season 3 (30/12/2022)
After four years in prison, Teresa escapes — thanks to Epifanio, who needs her for a mission to Bolivia. But Sofía, now a teen in love, needs her too.

My Next Guest with David Letterman and Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Coming Soon)
David Letterman travels to Kyiv, Ukraine, for an in-depth conversation with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The Glory (Coming Soon)
After a childhood marked by pain and violence, a woman puts a carefully planned revenge scheme in motion. Starring Song Hye-kyo and Lee Do-hyun.

The Interest of Love (Coming Soon)
Four men and women working at the same bank get entangled in a complicated romance as they discover how far they’re willing to go for love.

NETFLIX FILM

Troll (01/12/2022)
When an explosion in the Norwegian mountains awakens an ancient troll, officials appoint a fearless paleontologist to stop it from wreaking deadly havoc.

Qala (01/12/2022)
Haunted by her past, a talented singer with a rising career copes with the pressure of success, a mother's disdain and the voices of doubt within her.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (02/12/2022)
On a cold Christmas Eve, selfish miser Ebenezer Scrooge has one night left to face his past — and change the future — before time runs out.

Lady Chatterley's Lover (02/12/2022)
Unhappily married aristocrat Lady Chatterley begins a torrid affair — and falls deeply in love — with the gamekeeper on her husband's country estate.

Warriors of Future (02/12/2022)
When a meteor carrying a destructive plant strikes the world, a suicide squad is given hours to save their post-apocalyptic city from total collapse.

Delivery by Christmas (06/12/2022)
When a spiteful coworker sabotages her deliveries, a courier and a helpful customer must race to return Christmas presents to their intended recipients.

The Marriage App (07/12/2022)
Tangled in a troubled marriage, a frustrated couple finds hope in a watch-based app that rewards good deeds — until unhealthy obsessiveness takes over.

Burning Patience (07/12/2022)
A young man becomes Pablo Neruda's mail carrier and gets involved in a world of words that fuels his desire to be a poet to woo the woman of his dreams.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (09/12/2022)
Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro reinvents the classic story of a wooden puppet brought to life in this stunning stop-motion musical tale.
I Believe in Santa (14/12/2022)
After five happy months dating Tom, Lisa's horrified to learn he's obsessed with her least favorite holiday. Is it time to give Christmas another chance?

The Big 4 (15/12/2022)
Acclaimed Indonesian director Timo Tjahjanto will be back with this new action comedy film.

BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (16/12/2022)
An acclaimed journalist and documentarian goes on a dreamlike introspective journey to reconcile with the past, the present and his Mexican identity.

Private Lesson (16/12/2022)
Posing as a private tutor, Azra secretly coaches students on achieving their goals in life and love — but not without a few bumps in the road.

A Not So Merry Christmas (20/12/2022)
Cursed by a fairy, grinchy Chuy wakes up to discover he's lived a full year, but is doomed to remember only Christmas Day. Every year. From now on.

Disconnect: The Wedding Planner (21/12/2022)
After falling victim to a scam, a desperate man races the clock as he attempts to plan a luxurious destination wedding for an important investor.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (23/12/2022)
In the follow up to Rian Johnson's Knives Out, Detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece to peel back the layers of a mystery involving a new cast of colorful suspects.

Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical (25/12/2022)
An extraordinary girl with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination takes a daring stand to change her story — with miraculous results. Meet Matilda.

A Night at the Kindergarten (28/12/2022)
A young man crashes a school play rehearsal to prevent a group of teachers and eccentric parents from expelling his girlfriend's son.

Stuck with You (28/12/2022)
En route to a party, two strangers get stuck in an elevator on New Year's Eve — and find themselves connecting in unexpected ways.

7 Women and a Murder (28/12/2022)
When their family patriarch is stabbed, seven women, each with ulterior motives, become trapped together in a mansion to solve the puzzle of his murder.

White Noise (30/12/2022)
At once hilarious and horrifying, lyrical and absurd, ordinary and apocalyptic, "White Noise" dramatizes a contemporary American family’s attempts to deal with the mundane conflicts of everyday life while grappling with the universal mysteries of love, death, and the possibility of happiness in an uncertain world. Based on the book by Don DeLillo, written for the screen and directed by Noah Baumbach.

God's Crooked Lines (Coming Soon)
A private detective who claims to be suffering from paranoia checks into a psychiatric hospital to investigate another patient's mysterious death.

NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIALS

Sebastian Maniscalco: Is It Me? (06/12/2022)
In a lively stand-up set, Sebastian acts out life’s little agonies, from school drop-offs to off-leash dogs to date nights with his wife.

Tom Papa: What A Day! (13/12/2022)
Tom doles out truths about post-marriage intimacy, his problematic pet pug and why men are to blame for most of life's inconveniences.

Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery (15/12/2022)
Senior Detective Terry Seattle (Will Arnett) is back and this time, the case is critical. Along with his two celebrity guest stars, Jason Bateman and Maya Rudolph, he is on a mission to figure out...who killed Santa? But here’s the catch: Jason Bateman and Maya Rudolph aren't being given the script. They have no idea what’s about to happen to them. Together, with Terry Seattle (and many surprises), they will have to improvise their way through the case... but it will be up to both of them to name the killer. Based off the BAFTA award winning BBC3 series Murder in Successville by Tiger Aspect Productions and Shiny Button Productions.

Mathieu Dufour at Bell Centre (22/12/2022)
Acclaimed comedian Mathieu Dufour shares stories about paintball mishaps, McDonalds misdeeds and more in this freewheeling stand-up special.

Vir Das: Landing (25/12/2022)
Vir Das dives deep into his childhood in India, the perils of outrage and finding his feet in the world for his fourth Netflix stand-up special.

Chelsea Handler: Revolution (27/12/2022)
Chelsea Handler is back with her new Netflix stand-up special, REVOLUTION. The celebrated, award-winning comedian lets loose on her life – including her choice to remain childless and alone (with the exception of her dogs), dating during the pandemic while her family invades her home, and her vision for a future where men don’t wear flip flops.
NETFLIX DOCUMENTARIES 

The Masked Scammer (01/12/2022)
Featuring interviews with his accomplices and victims alike, this deep dive explores how a master con man scammed French elites out of millions of euros.

"Sr." (02/12/2022)
Robert Downey Jr. pays tribute to his late father in this documentary chronicling the life and eclectic career of pioneering filmmaker Robert Downey Sr.

In Broad Daylight: The Narvarte Case (08/12/2022)
This documentary unveils evidence of corruption in the investigation into the murder of five people in the Narvarte neighborhood of Mexico City in 2015.

The Elephant Whisperers (08/12/2022)
Bomman and Bellie, a couple in south India, devote their lives to caring for an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu, forging a family like no other.

Last Chance U: Basketball: Season 2 (13/12/2022)
The critically-acclaimed, Emmy-nominated series returns to East Los Angeles College (ELAC) to give viewers another honest, gritty look inside the world of community college basketball. Directed by Greg Whiteley, Adam Leibowitz, and Daniel George McDonald, the series picks up a year after COVID caused an abrupt and emotional end to ELAC’s championship run in 2020. Head coach John Mosley is eager to get back on the court with an almost entirely new roster of Huskies, including talented but troubled D1 level athletes looking for a last opportunity to make it. Off the court, players get vulnerable sharing their personal struggles of family instability, mental health, homelessness, and more. Over 8 episodes, viewers will follow the team’s journey as players work to overcome personal demons and fight for their spot on the court.

Kangaroo Valley (14/12/2022)
In the Outback, a kangaroo joey named Mala faces famine, frosts and a pack of hungry dingoes as she endeavors to survive her incredible first year.

Don't Pick Up The Phone (14/12/2022)
This docuseries follows the investigation into a hoax caller who talked managers into strip-searching employees at fast food businesses across the US.

The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari (16/12/2022)
Survivors' and rescuers' accounts and minute-by-minute footage fuel this gripping documentary about the deadly 2019 volcanic eruption in New Zealand.

I AM A KILLER: Season 4 (21/12/2022)
Premeditated deeds, tragic accidents or acts of self-defense? Murderers recount the harrowing crimes that landed them in prison with life sentences.

NETFLIX KIDS & FAMILY

Mighty Express: Mighty Trains Race (05/12/2022)
Trouble on the tracks! Freight Nate gets tricked into participating in a high-speed race — with all the Mighty Express cargo cars at stake!

The Boss Baby: Christmas Bonus (06/12/2022)
Christmas Eve takes a twisty turn when the Boss Baby accidentally swaps places with one of Santa's elves and gets stranded at the North Pole.

Sonic Prime (15/12/2022)
When an explosive battle with Dr. Eggman shatters the universe, Sonic races through parallel dimensions to reconnect with his friends and save the world.

Brown and Friends (29/12/2022)
In a cozy little neighborhood coffee shop, a group of fun-loving friends get together — and get up to all kinds of adventures.

Secrets of Summer: Season 2 (30/12/2022)
Steffi, Luz and their family and friends fight for Cielo Grande's future after new owners take over the resort in a power play.

NETFLIX  ANIME

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure STONE OCEAN Episodes 25-38 The Final Episodes (01/12/2022)
Jolyne’s troubles have only multiplied, but her mission is clear; do everything she can to stop Father Pucchi’s plan from succeeding.

Lookism (08/12/2022)
In a society that favors good looks, a high school outcast leads a double life switching between his two bodies that are polar opposites in appearance.

Dragon Age: Absolution (09/12/2022)
With great power at stake, a group of rebel mages and thieves goes head-to-head against a sinister force possessing a dangerous artifact.

Gudetama: An Eggcellent Adventure (13/12/2022)
Gudetama, the lazy egg, reluctantly embarks on an adventure of a lifetime with Shakipiyo, a newly hatched chick, who is determined to find their mother.

Violet Evergarden: Recollections (15/12/2022)
An emotionally scarred former child soldier becomes a letter writer in this condensed recap of the moving, gorgeously animated award-winning series.

The Seven Deadly Sins: Grudge of Edinburgh Part 1 (20/12/2022)
When sinister forces threaten the peace of Brittania, a young prince embarks on a perilous journey to save his loved ones and discover his true powers.

NETFLIX GAMES

Too Hot To Handle: Love is a Game (Coming Soon)
Mix and mingle with sexy singles competing for your affection in this game based on the hit series. Will you go for love or give into temptation?

Solitaire (Coming Soon)
Drag cards to arrange them in descending order with alternating colors. Sort all the suits from ace to king — it's the timeless game you know and love.

Scriptic: Crime Stories (Coming Soon)
Find clues. Catch a killer. You're the lead detective in this crime drama, and the victim's cell phone — ripe with evidence — is hot in your hands.

Puzzle Gods (Coming Soon)
Match and switch elements to level up, defeat Little Hades and rescue the gods in this mythic puzzler. The Land of Olympus needs you!

LICENSED HIGHLIGHTS

Crazy Rich Asians (01/12/2022)
When she joins her boyfriend on a trip to his native Singapore, Rachel Chu discovers his family's luxurious wealth and faces his disapproving mother.

Bad Santa 2 (01/12/2022)
Sad-sack Santa Willie Soke isn't known for doing the right thing. Now, with help from his mom, he's about to take his act to a whole new level of bad.

Fred Claus (01/12/2022)
The holiday season is ruined for Santa Claus when his cranky older brother -- a repo man with a sizable rap sheet -- visits him at the North Pole.

The Batman (01/12/2022)
The Batman's hunt for a killer leads him into Gotham City's grimy underworld, which may be more entwined with its ruling elite than he ever imagined.

Rick and Morty: Season 6 (05/12/2022) Episode 9
Worse for wear and down on their luck, Rick and Morty attempt to bounce back for more intriguing adventures, possibly involving a bunch of dinosaurs.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (09/12/2022)
Offbeat inventor Flint Lockwood must avert a mouthwatering disaster of gigantic proportions after he creates a machine that makes food fall from the sky.

Monday, 28 November 2022

What's on Disney+ in December

What's on Disney+ in December

Here’s everything coming to Disney+ in December 2022.

What's on Disney+ in December


7 December

Amsterdam

From 20th Century Studios, New Regency, and acclaimed filmmaker David O. Russell comes “Amsterdam,” an original crime epic about three close friends who find themselves at the center of one of the most shocking secret plots in American history. Based on facts that meet fiction, the film stars Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Alessandro Nivola, Andrea Riseborough, Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Rock, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Shannon, Mike Myers, Taylor Swift, Zoe Saldaña, with Rami Malek and Robert De Niro.

2 December

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Disney+ Original

Premiere

In “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules,” based on the second book in Jeff Kinney’s wildly popular book series, the riotous antics of angst-ridden, disaster prone, middle school student Greg Heffley continue, focusing this time around on his complicated relationship with older brother Rodrick. Now, Greg takes on one of his biggest challenges yet - surviving a weekend alone with Rodrick and abiding by his growing list of rules.

14 December

National Treasure: Edge of History: Season 1

Disney+ Original

2 Episode Premiere


Jess Valenzuela’s life is turned upside down when an enigmatic stranger gives her a clue to a centuries-old treasure that might be connected to her long-dead father.Jess has a knack for solving puzzles. She and her friends must follow a series of clues hidden in American artifacts and landmarks. But can Jess outsmart a black-market antiquities dealer in a race to find history’s greatest lost treasure and unbury the truth about her family’s past?


Also in December…

2 December

Special

I Want a Baby

Maui Shark Mystery

Jaws vs. Boats

Pentatonix: Around the World for the Holidays


7 December

Series

Edge of the Unknown with Jimmy Chin: Season 1

The Incredible Dr. Pol: Season 20

Car SOS: Season 10

Evil Genius: Season 1


8 December

Disney+ Original

International

Just Love and a Thousand Songs

9 December

STAR Original

The American Rescue Dog Show

It's a Wonderful Binge

Disney+ Original

Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again


International

Weekend Family Christmas Special


14 December


STAR Original

International

Between the World and Us: Season 1


16 December


Disney+ Original

International

The Pupil


Movies

Muppets Most Wanted (Sing-Along Version)


The Thing About Harry


Special

Zombies Halloween Cast Party


Queen Elizabeth: A Royal Life - A special Edition of 20/20


21 December


Series

Boston Legal: Season 1 & 2


28 December


Disney+ Original

Encanto at The Hollywood Bowl


30 December


Movies

True Lies



New Episodes


Welcome to Chippendales New episodes weekly on Tuesdays

Willow New episodes weekly on Wednesdays

Abbott Elementary: Season 2 New episodes weekly on Wednesdays

Atom's Last Shot New episodes weekly on Wednesdays, finale 21 December

Big Sky Season 3 Finale 7 December

Fleishman Is In Trouble New episodes weekly on Thursdays

Mysterious Benedict Society Season 2 New episodes weekly on Wednesdays, finale 7 December

National Treasure: Edge of History New episodes weekly on Wednesdays

The D'Amelio Show Season 2 New episodes weekly on Wednesdays, finale 21 December

The First Responders New episodes weekly on Saturdays

Men on a Mission Season 1 New episodes weekly on Wednesdays

Bob's Burgers Season 13 New episodes weekly on Wednesdays

Pink Lie S1 New episodes weekly on Wednesdays, finale 14 December

Revenge of Others New episodes weekly on Wednesdays, finale 14 December

The Santa Clauses New episodes weekly on Wednesdays, finale 14 December

The Simpsons S34 New episodes 7 and 14 December

Spidey and His Amazing Friends Season 2 New episode on 14 and 28 December

Sumo Do, Sumo Don't Season 1 New episodes weekly on Wednesdays, finale 21 December

Yakuza Lover New episodes weekly on Wednesdays, finale 28 December

The Choice New episodes weekly on Wednesday

Bleach New episodes

Criminal Minds Season 16 New episodes weekly on Fridays

Eureka Season 1 New episodes 7 December

Gigantosaurus Season 3 New episodes 7 December

The Villains of Valley View Season 1 New episodes 7 December

The Montaners New episodes 28 December

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Puss In Boots: The Last Wish: Movie Review

Puss In Boots: The Last Wish: Movie Review

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek Pinault, Harvey Guillen, Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, John Mulaney
Director: Joel Crawford

Antonio Banderas' silky voice returns to the cocky, self-centred egotist Puss in Boots in the feline's first cinematic outing in 10 years.

Having realised he's facing his own mortality with only one of his nine lives left, Puss finds himself spooked when death starts stalking him and against his better wishes, decides to retire from the wild world of questing and living it up.

Puss In Boots: The Last Wish: Movie Review

Taking residence at Mama Luna's Cat Rescue, Puss resigns himself to retirement and imminent death - but befriended by Harvey Guillen's dog-masquerading-as-a-cat Perrito, he finds his twilight years rudely interrupted by Goldilocks and the Three Bears, a Guy Ritchie-styled crime family who want to recruit him for one last heist.

The job? Stealing the map to find the famed mythical Wishing Star which can grant any desire. But Goldi, Puss and the Bears are not the only ones that want the prize. From Kitty Softpaws to Little Jack Horner, there are more than a few trying to find success at the end of this quest....

There's a darkness that surrounds this family-friendly film, that has visual echoes of the storyboarded and hand-drawn look of the recent smash The Bad Guys. 

Opening with a Marvel-style showdown that chucks every bit of animated bravura it can find at proceedings, DreamWorks Animation is clearly interested in reviving the Shrek Cinematic Universe and expanding it.

Including nods to some prior characters in flashbacks, plus a mid-tease that suggests Far Far Away isn't in fact so far away in terms of cinema releases, the film almost feels like it's too top heavy with its ragtag list of characters.

But Crawford's eye for the scrappy throwaway humour and one-liners helps keep this Puss feline fine throughout. Coupled with the gravelly almost OTT intonations of Banderas' liquid honey vocal work, Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is a blast of fun, that occasionally suffers from some lulls in proceedings.

There are some sinister moments that pierce the fairytale silliness (and will scare the younger elements of the audience). and while its message of living the life you have is easily disseminated during the freewheeling onscreen antics that occasionally verge on the shallow but entertaining, Puss In Boots: The Last Wish remains a fun blast of frantic cinema to keep the family amused in the post holiday period.

Puss In Boots: The Last Wish releases in NZ cinemas on December 26

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Alfred Hitchcock- Vertigo: PS5 Review

Alfred Hitchcock- Vertigo: PS5 Review

Developed by Pendulo Studios
Published by Microids
Platform: PS5

More inspired by the vibe of Alfred Hitchcock than a replay of one of his greatest films, Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo is the story of Ed Miller, a writer who escaped from a car crash in  California. 

Alfred Hitchcock- Vertigo: PS5 Review

Miller claims his wife and daughter were riding with him - but no one was found inside the car's wreckage.... has Ed lost it, or is there something deeper and darker happening?

Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo is a tale of obsession, memory, manipulation, and madness but it never quite finds its own footing as you get to look at the story from different perspectives.

But gameplay's marred by many QTE Events, and some wooden vocal performances that detract from what's on screen. It feels like it should be an interactive movie, but what emerges is more a kind of disjointed game that's based more on sequences than on a through line throughout.

Alfred Hitchcock- Vertigo: PS5 Review

The vocal peformances aren't strong enough to push the story along, and while the game definitely doubles down on the Hitchcockian vibe, it's more a passing nod to the man than an inspiring homage.

Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo isn't the head spinner it wants to be - and it may not appeal to those who want something decent out of what was promised to be a Memento-style game.

Friday, 25 November 2022

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II: PS5 Review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II: PS5 Review

Developed by Infinity Ward
Published by Activision
Platform: PS5

A sequel to the 2019 reboot, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is exactly what you'd expect from the first person shooter franchise that's had somewhat of a bumpy ride the past few years.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II: PS5 Review

Following the escapades of newly formed Task Force 141, a British special forces, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II's campaign follows them as they try and track down an Iranian terrorist who has nuclear capabilities.

It's not exactly if Call of Duty sets out to revolutionise the format - and on that front, its campaign is relatively perfunctory. But it is blessed with several standalone sequences that add a thrilling edge to a game franchise that often teeters dangerously close to both stereotype and cliche.

There are questionable moments as ever - from glorifying gun violence to threatening civilians, the game isn't edgy as much as it is icky. But if you're already in the franchise's thrall in general, moments like this won't matter.

Graphically the game manages to soar, with scenes wonderfully rendered and with bullets zipping by. There's a danger that renders bullets terrifying and grants the game an urgency. Tactics as ever matter, and skills of the usual FPS world will help throughout.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II: PS5 Review

With 12 modes and 15 maps, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II's multiplayer is strong, and playable enough, even if once again it doesn't really reinvent the wheel. Capture the flag, conquest style games are all very familiar and while they're solidly executed, there's a feeling multiplayer may need a revamp in future instalments.

Overall, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is a solid iteration of the franchise, but it may help to rest the series a little now until some kind of new concept and less cliched stories can be told.

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Emily: Movie Review

Emily: Movie Review

Cast: Emma Mackey, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Fionn Whitehead, Adrian Dunbar

Director: Frances O'Connor

Sex Education's Emma Mackey burns brightly in this take on the Emily Bronte story, that's dulled only by its duration and fuelled by its speculation of her life.

Emily: Movie Review

As the film opens, Emily's about to pass on, asked by her sister "How did you write Wuthering Heights?" Despite a quip-led "I put pen to paper", the film then flashes back to take viewers through the life of the so-called "strange one" of the family.

When her stern father (Line of Duty's Dunbar) urges her to take up French lessons with the new curate Weightman (Jackson-Cohen), Emily's soon smitten with his ways and begins an ill-advised affair.

Emily has moments when it truly shines, but in truth, they're all led by Sex Education's Mackey.

A scene where she leads a seance behind a mask and seemingly conjures up her mother's spirit is utterly impressive, and Mackey's turn is what grounds it in its riveting atmosphere.

Equally, the scenes she shares with her brother Branwell show a character at ease and also at conflict with her place in the world. Again, it's Mackey's commanding turn that makes it so watchable.

But stretched out over a 2hr10 minute run time, the film starts to feel bloated and at times spineless, no matter how well shot the moorlands and their desolate vistas are.

One sequence sees her shouting "Freedom in thought" but the more Emily goes on, the more stilted and stifled it becomes. While O'Connor blurs the lines between the known and unknown, the end result is somewhat muddied - and would be written off as conjecture and stuffy period drama - were it not for the utterly compelling Mackey who dazzles more than her material does.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Resident Evil: Village: Gold Edition: PS5 Review

Resident Evil: Village: Gold Edition: PS5 Review 

Released by Capcom
Platform: PS5

If you strip away the internet fervour that devoured Lady Dimitriscu, and the Resident Evil edges, Resident Evil: Village offers the same kind of vicarious horror thrills that you'd come to expect from genre.

Resident Evil: Village: PS5 Review


Picking up after the end of Biohazard, the game that seized on VR and the first person horror experience with verve and tenacity, Village plops you back in the fray.

You're back as Ethan Winters, fresh from surviving the Baker house of horrors, and now living with your wife and baby daughter somewhere in Europe. However, within moments of an idyllic scene playing out, your wife is seemingly slaughtered in a spray of bullets and your child is abducted. To make matters worse, you're kidnapped by Chris Redfield, who apparently helped save you at the end of the last game - and then things take a further turn, when after a crash, you stumble into a village that's deserted and full of potential supernatural threats.

Resident Evil: Village: PS5 Review


With more of a balance on scares as well as action, Resident Evil: Village is a solidly packed tautly woven horror outing that entertains as much as it enthralls.

On PS5, it's largely helped by the fact the game looks stunning.

Every decaying area of the Village and the surrounds looks pristine, adding to a sense of both the European and the Gothic. Creatures, demons and whatever's hunting you are delivered in a polished fashion, their fangs glistening as they're bared, ready to bite.

The game delivers smoothly too, with not one moment struggling to load or play, thanks to the power of the PS5. (Which is as expected.)

But it's this next-gen sheen that really does make Resident Evil Village the experience it is - much like Until Dawn's Rush of Blood VR Efforts, the game knows that providing a strong mix of survival skills with jump-out-of-your-seat moments is what the RE fans - and even non-fans want.

Resident Evil: Village: PS5 Review


It does however lead to a feeling of a carnival funhouse at times, and is more invested in jump scares and chases than a serious horror would, but Village never claims to be massively deep in its plot and its machinations.

While combat is chunky, defence is relatively pointless as even blocking will still see you attacked. Crafting is easily done, but as ever resources in Village are scarce, so the pain of collection has to be measured against the levels of potential success.

At the end of the day, Resident Evil: Village more than delivers on its eerie promise to fans and non-fans alike. Sure, there's a bit of chopping and changing between action, horror and puzzle solving, but when you're caught up in the middle of it all, this is one Village you'll have trouble leaving.

Added in to this release are Re: Verse an online fighter brawler that's more a novelty than a necessity and a third person version of Village.

The third person element is a nice touch for the game, as it gives more of a perspective on incoming enemies but it does rob the atmosphere of some of its peril as the game progresses. 

If you're after frights, then it's still first person that works best for this franchise, but for those looking to lessen their imminent demise, it's a solid touch.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Strange World: Movie Review

Strange World: Movie Review


Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union, Dennis Quad, Lucy Liu, Jaboukie Young-White
Director: Don Hall

Reminiscent of The Land Before Time, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Fantastic Voyage, Jules Verne and any number of moments from any Irwin Allen TV series, Disney's Strange World is yet another take on a father-son relationship.
Strange World: Movie Review


Gyllenhaal voices Searcher Clade, the son of legendary explorer Jaeger Clade, who loses his dad after he chooses a life of exploration rather than staying home to bring him up in the land of Avalonia.

25 years later, Searcher has his own family and has made his name from out under his father's shadow, and farms a power source that's changed Avalonia. But when he's told the power source is potentially dying, he must embrace his explorer past to try and save the day. 

However, things get more complicated when his family get involved in the rescue mission, and he runs into his father again...

Strange World had potential to be something different and inspiring for the Disney stable.

Drawing on pulp magazines of the past, sci-fi yarns and from derring-do adventures archives, there's much in this story that feels familiar and yet ripe for a makeover.
Strange World: Movie Review

Yet, despite the sound and bluster of the smart opening, Strange World settles too much into the feeling of the familiar and the homage somewhat falters as the story goes on. 

With a world that's wondrously realised via starkly different palettes and creatures made of gelatinous form-free blobs, there's stuff to like about Strange World - but not quite enough to make it into the pantheon of timeless classics. It has heart, and earnestness, but there's not a high bar that the film reaches for or achieves here, sadly.

In some ways, it feels like a thin story stretched a little too far in parts and a separation of characters that in truth feels arbitrary rather than narratively enticing and enriching. It is also disappointing to see that the LGBTQ elements of the story, so strongly introduced early on, are reduced to the sidelines and become perfunctory rather than leading parts of the narrative, as the age-old daddy issues come to the fore.

Gyllenhaal and Quaid though make for good foils for each other, with Quaid's roughness rubbing up nicely against Gyllenhaal's more optimistic tone. The more comedic elements will appeal solely to the young and the young-at-heart, but there aren't enough standout moments in the movie to render it a classic.

It won't surprise anyone to note there's an eco-message in this film, but it's handled in a somewhat muddled fashion and not entirely surprising at all. There are elements that gel in Strange World, but it feels clunky, and like the creative vision wasn't quite coherent enough to compel its transition from the page to the big screen.

What's on Prime Video in December

What's on Prime Video in December

This December, Prime Video New Zealand has the highly anticipated next instalment of the Yellowstone origin story, Taylor Sheridan’s 1923, which will premiere exclusively on December 19. 1923 introduces a new generation of Duttons, led by Academy Award® Nominee Harrison Ford and Academy Award Winner Helen Mirren. 

The third season of action/thriller Jack Ryan, sees Jack (played by John Krasinski) race against the clock to stop the cascade of destabilising conflicts from leading to global catastrophe.
What's on Prime Video in December


Alfred Molina stars as Chief Inspector Armand Gamache in Three Pines. Based on the best-selling book series, Gamache investigates cases that happen beneath the idyllic surface of the Quebec village of Three Pines, finding long-buried secrets and facing a few of his own ghosts.

And ‘tis the season’ for some Christmas romance as Prime Video celebrates the holidays…rom-com About Fate, stars Emma Roberts and Thomas Mann as the perfect couple who’ve never met. Something From Tiffany’s follows a woman whose life is upended when she finds an engagement ring that is meant for someone else - starring Kendrick Smith Sampson and Zoey Deutch. And in Your Christmas or Mine? young couple Hayley (Cora Kirk) and James (Asa Butterfield) say goodbye for Christmas at a London train station and then both make the mad split-second decision to swap trains and surprise each other, unaware they have just swapped Christmases. 

Other titles this month are psychological horror Nanny; British drama Riches; Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge and Oscar-contending Amazon Original documentary Wildcat. 

1923
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM MONDAY 19 DECEMBER 

From Academy Award® nominee Taylor Sheridan, 1923 is the next installment of the Yellowstone origin story and introduces a new generation of Duttons. Led by Academy Award® nominee Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton and Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren as Cara Dutton, the series will explore the early 20th century when pandemics, historic drought, the end of Prohibition and the Great Depression all plague the mountain west and the Duttons who call it home. 

1923 stars Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, Brandon Sklenar, Darren Mann, Michelle Randolph, James Badge Dale, Marley Shelton, Brian Geraghty, Aminah Nieves, Julia Schlaepfer and Jerome Flynn. 

1923 will be available to stream here and you can view the teaser trailer here.

TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN
SEASON THREE AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM WEDNESDAY 21 DECEMBER

In the third season of the action-thriller series, Jack Ryan is working as a CIA case officer in Rome, when he is tipped off that the Sokol Project, a secret plan to restore the Soviet Empire, is being resurrected more than 50 years after it was thought to have been shut down. Jack embarks on a mission to confirm the intelligence, but things quickly go awry, and he is wrongly implicated in a larger conspiracy. Accused of treason, with a Red Notice out for his arrest, Jack is forced to run from his own government, if he has any hope of uncovering the rogue faction before it’s too late. Crisscrossing Europe as he is hunted by former allies and new enemies alike, Jack races against the clock to stop the cascade of destabilising conflicts from leading to global catastrophe.

Jack Ryan stars John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce, Michael Kelly, Nina Hoss and Betty Gabriel.


THREE PINES
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER 

Adapted from Louise Penny’s New York Times best-selling Chief Inspector Gamache series, Three Pines follows Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he investigates cases that happen beneath the idyllic surface of the Quebec village of Three Pines, finding long-buried secrets, and facing a few of his own ghosts. The empathetic and astute Chief Inspector Gamache is tasked with solving a number of mysterious and perplexing murders in the strange-but-beguiling village of Three Pines. Assisted by his trusted team - the combative and troubled Sergeant Jean-Guy Beauvoir, the intelligent Indigenous working mother Sergeant Isabelle Lacoste, and the accident-prone rookie Agent Yvette Nichol - Gamache and his group are initially treated suspiciously by the village’s residents. Yet despite the cool welcome, Gamache can’t help but find himself oddly drawn to this unusual place and its eccentric residents, including the owners of the bistro, Gabri and Olivier, artists Peter and Clara, bookshop-owner-come-psychologist Myrna, gallery owner Bea, and the irascible poet Ruth. The deeper Gamache delves into the secret lives of these people who have found sanctuary from the outside world in Three Pines, the more it affects him.

Three Pines stars Alfred Molina, Rossif Sutherland, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Sarah Booth, Pierre Simpson, Frédéric-Antoine Guimond, Julian Bailey, Anna Tierney, Tamara Brown, Tantoo Cardinal, Clare Coulter


ABOUT FATE 
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM FRIDAY 16 DECEMBER 

Things are about to get complicated for Margot Hayes (Emma Roberts) and Griffin Reed (Thomas Mann) who may well be the perfect couple…the only trouble is they’ve never met. With Christmas in her taillights, Margot is convinced her drop-dead-gorgeous (and narcissist supreme) boyfriend of 3 months is about to pop the question. She’s ready to say “YES, YES, YES” but as fate would have it, at the same restaurant, Griffin Reed is planning to propose to the woman of his dreams, the drop-dead-gorgeous nightmare, Clementine, online influencer and local model, that very same night. Of course, things go anything but according to plan that evening. And with their respective dubious relationships going awry, it’s ultimately down to Margot and Griffin, two perfect strangers - and two perfect soulmates thrown together by fate - to see what’s staring them in the face...namely, each other. 

About Fate stars Emma Roberts, Thomas Mann, Lewis Tan and Madelaine Petsch. 


SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY’S
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM FRIDAY 9 DECEMBER 

Nothing compares to the magic and excitement of the holidays in New York City, where the streets blaze with lights, windows dazzle and a special box from Tiffany could change the course of a person’s life. Or several lives. Rachel and Gary (Zoey Deutch, Ray Nicholson) are happy enough but not quite ready for that big commitment. Ethan and Vanessa (Kendrick Smith Sampson, Shay Mitchell), the perfect picture, are just about to make it official. When a simple mix-up of gifts causes all of their paths to cross, it sets off a series of twists and unexpected discoveries that lead them where they’re truly meant to be. Because love – like life – is full of surprises, in the holiday romance Something from Tiffany’s.

Something From Tiffany’s stars Zoey Deutch, Kendrick Smith Sampson, Ray Nicholson, Shay Mitchell, Leah Jeffries and Jojo T. Gibbs.


YOUR CHRISTMAS OR MINE? 
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER 

Students Hayley and James are young and in love. After saying goodbye for Christmas at a London train station, they both make the same mad split-second decision to swap trains and surprise each other. Passing each other in the station, they are completely unaware that they have just swapped Christmases. Hayley arrives at a vast mansion in a small village in the Gloucester countryside to find a place where Christmas does not exist, whilst James heads north to a small semi-detached in Macclesfield and steps into the warm and chaotic pandemonium that only a large family Christmas can bring. When the entire country is blanketed in the biggest snowfall on record, our star-crossed lovers are trapped at the most manic time of the year. Christmas traditions are turned on their head, secrets are revealed, and family truths are told with hilarious consequences. The couple realise that there is an awful lot they don’t know about each other. Will they be able to swap back in time for Christmas Day? And will Hayley and James’ fledgling relationship make it through to the New Year?

Your Christmas or Mine? stars Asa Butterfield, Cora Kirk, Jim O’Hanlon, Alex Jennings, Harriet Walter, Daniel Mays, David Bradley, Angela Griffin, Natalie Gumede, Lucien Laviscount and Ram John Holder.


NANNY
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM FRIDAY 16 DECEMBER 

In this psychological horror fable of displacement, Aisha (Anna Diop), a woman who recently emigrated from Senegal, is hired to care for the daughter of an affluent couple (Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector) living in New York City. Haunted by the absence of the young son she left behind, Aisha hopes her new job will afford her the chance to bring him to the U.S., but becomes increasingly unsettled by the family’s volatile home life. As his arrival approaches, a violent presence begins to invade both her dreams and her reality, threatening the American dream she is painstakingly piecing together.

Nanny stars Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan, Sinqua Walls, Morgan Spector, Rose Decker, Leslie Uggams and Zephani Idoko


RICHES
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER 

Riches follows the exploits of the stylish, privileged, super-successful Richards family. When Stephen Richards (Hugh Quarshie) passes suddenly, the family’s world comes crashing down. As his business hangs in the balance, his different sets of children are about to collide as they vie for control.

Riches stars Deborah Ayorinde, Hugh Quarshie, Sarah Niles, Adeyinka Akinrinade, Ola Orebiyi, Nneka Okoye and Emmanuel Imani. 


DR. SEUSS BAKING CHALLENGE
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY FROM FRIDAY 13 DECEMBER

Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge invites America’s best bakers to step into the world of Dr. Seuss. From The Grinch to The Cat in the Hat, these bakers will use their limitless imaginations to craft jaw-dropping creations inspired by beloved Dr. Seuss characters. Hosted by actress, producer and Emmy-award winner Tamera Mowry-Housley, in each episode bakers will be given a challenge based around Seuss characters and stories, and their towering creations will be judged by critically acclaimed pastry chef, Clarice Lam and accomplished cake designer and pastry chef, Joshua John Russell based on taste, creativity, and storytelling. Oh, the Places You’ll Go…With Dessert!


WILDCAT

Wildcat follows the emotional and inspiring story of a young veteran on his journey into the Amazon. Once there, he meets a young woman running a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center, and his life finds new meaning as he is entrusted with the life of an orphaned baby ocelot. What was meant to be an attempt to escape from life, turns out to be an unexpected journey of love, discovery, and healing. 

Wildcat features Harry Turner and Samantha Zwicker.


DECEMBER 2022 HIGHLIGHTS:

Your Christmas Or Mine 2/12/22

Three Pines S1 2/12/22

Riches S1 2/12/22

Firestarter (2022) 3/12/22

The Northman 3/12/22

Ghostbusters (2016) 7/12/22

Something From Tiffany's 9/12/22

Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge S1 13/12/22

Dog 15/12/22

Nanny 16/12/22

About Fate 16/12/22

1923 19/12/22

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season Three 21/12/22

Morbius 29/12/22

Island S1 30/12/22

Wildcat 30/12/22

Lee Kernaghan: Boy From The Bush 31/12/22


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