Media Consumed June 2021 Edition

Things I've watched of late. Well, in June. This is what happens when things sit in your drafts for weeks.

Lost In Space. I vaguely remember watching the original 1960s show on re-runs when I was a kid. Actually the only thing I really do remember is the robot saying "danger Will Robinson". Anyway, this is the 2018 re-imagining of that. And it's an utterly fantastic bit of sci-fi. Two seasons with a third and final to come. Great stuff.

Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles. What happened was, I watched Terminator: Dark Fate and enjoyed it. Enough that I wanted to consume more & remembered the TV show from 2008. A younger Lena Headey as Sarah. Unfortunately cancelled after two seasons, it's some of the best Terminator out there. Plus Summer Glau so…

The Road. Post apocalyptic survival movie. I'm a total sucker for all things post apocalypse and this movie delivered. You never find out what happened to the world and why it got so bad. Just a father/son journey to the coast. Because things will be better there. Viggo Mortensen is just so good in this. Quite possibly one of the most depressing movies I've watched. But I couldn't look away as it's so well done. You'll want to do something a little more cheerful after watching this.

Ted Lasso. Now, I know I already mentioned it last year but the second season STARTS THIS WEEK. So what better way to get prepared than watching season one all over again. If you've never watched this, you really should, it's that good. We're Richmond till we die.

Army Of The Dead. So a group of mercenaries led by Dave Bautista have to go into a walled off Las Vegas full of Zombies. It's both utter crap and completely enjoyable all at once. You have to suspend your disbelief and there are plot holes wide enough to fall through. But I kinda liked it.

Previously.

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Media Consumed May 2021 Edition

Things I've watched of late. Mostly good. Mostly.

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. The most recent Marvel TV series on Disney+. As a whole I enjoyed it if viewed as one long Captain America movie. In weekly installments I'm not sure it worked as well. Anthony Mackie and Wyatt Russell were great. But the flag smashers were terrible villains, and I don't think the series really stuck the landing.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Speaking of Anthony Mackie, he's in this too. And this was a fun movie. What if Abraham Lincoln was a bad ass Vampire killer? Bonus points for Rufus Sewell, and who doesn't love them some Rufus Sewell?

Star Wars Biomes. If you own an Apple TV, you know how utterly fantastic the aerial drone screensavers are. So this is like that, but set in Star Wars locales. Hoth is just fantastic.

For All Mankind. Season two just came to a close. And it was one of the best seasons of TV I've watched in a long time. Actually this has got to be one of the best TV shows I've had the pleasure of watching. If you've not seen it, and have an Apple TV+ subscription, watch it immediately.

Fear The Walking Dead. There is no amount of apocalyptic end of the world media that I find too much. Possibly my favorite genre. A spin off of its big sibling show The Walking Dead, it started out well, faltered for a couple seasons, but is back to being good in season six.

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One Word Movie Review Thor: Ragnarok

Excellent.

I realize I'm the last person on Earth to watch this. But this was just so very very good. The humor really made it. Chris Hemsworth is quite simply sublime casting in that regard. Right at the start when he's hanging talking to Surtur and the chain twists and he's "oh, hang on, I'll be round again in a bit". And I, for one, would have loved to see much much more of Korg "Piss off, Ghost".

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Star Wars Movies Ranked

Everyone has their own list of best to worst Star Wars movies. This one is mine. Likely you won't agree, and that's totally ok.

A New Hope
Return Of The Jedi
Empire Strikes Back
Rogue One
The Force Awakens
Solo
Revenge Of The Sith
The Phantom Menace
Attack Of The Clones
The Last Jedi

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One Word Movie Review: Solo

Excellent.

Oh, ok, more than one word then. Spoiler free. If you ignore the "why did we even need this movie?" naysayers, what you'll find is an extremely fun caper movie. I was smiling throughout. Alden Ehrenreich did a fine job of portraying Han. He didn't do an impression of Harrison Ford playing the part which was a relief. Woody Harrelson also very very good I thought.

We're now in the age where we're going to get a Star Wars movie every year until we all die. And if they're as fun as this movie was, that's going to be a-ok with me. They don't all need to be save the galaxy from all the things type movies, they just need to make them enjoyable and have the punters leave the theater happy.

Which I totally did.

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Solo

By now you've probably seen the new Solo trailer. The internet sums it up best as this movie is probably going to be terrible but DONALD GLOVER AMAZEBALLS. To which I'll have to take their word on it as I don't know who Donald Glover is.

I like the fact there are going to be non-Skywalker movies set in the Star Wars universe. Rogue One was very very good indeed and proved you could tell a good story with new characters. So I'm hopeful this Han Solo origins movie will follow suit. Alden Ehrenreich has some big shoes to fill mind.

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Let's Talk About The Last Jedi

When you read a post that begins with a "let me just say that I'm a lifelong Star Wars fan…" it usually means that what comes next isn't necessarily complimentary. So I'll get that out of the way now. Let me just say I'm a lifelong Star Wars fan, I have toys in my office, t-shirts, books, you name it.

What J. J. Abrams did with The Force Awakens proved a good Star Wars movie could be made this century. I was so worried it was going to be a let down but came out of the theater grinning from ear to ear. I literally wanted to shake his hand for making a movie that tickled my Star Wars brain. When Rogue One came out I was blown away by the possibilities for movies with new characters set in the Star Wars universe. It was like a Star Wars renaissance.

In the years since The Force Awakens I had unknowingly set myself up for disappointment. I started making episode 8 in my own head. Abrams had setup a lot in TFA and I just couldn't help myself play those things out in my mind. I don't think its wrong to have done that. But where I went astray is how I went into the movie.

Expectations, they're a thing.

So, right off the bat, let me just say that I thought some of the decisions Rian Johnson made were bold and admirable. I didn't mind the throwing away of a light side and dark side of the force. Burn down the Jedi. Ok, I dig it, let's do that. Anyone can be force sensitive. Sure, I'm in. I didn't mind that angle at all. I just don't think Johnson ticks my boxes for making a Star Wars film like Abrams did. And here's where my conflict begins.

Because there were beautiful moments. Some of the individual scenes were utterly amazing. I could watch the Snoke throne room scene 100 times a day. Lovely stuff. And seeing Luke and Yoda on screen together once again, my inner 10 year old was squealing. But a rambling plot with clumsy writing made the whole thing feel disjointed to me. It's like Johnson had a glimpse of a vision of where he wanted it to go, but wasn't very successful in getting it there.

There was an awful lot going on in this movie. With a lot of characters. It's unreasonable to think that we could have enough time with all of them. And yet I did. I expected much more Luke/Rey time than we got. I expected more Snoke time. More Phasma time. Honestly why even introduce them at all if you're going to do nothing with them? In the case of Phasma, what an opportunity to have a female baddie play a big part. But no, a couple lines and she's out.

The casino sub plot interspersed with the space chase really took me out of the moment. There's so many of the Finn/Rose scenes that should have ended on the cutting room floor. Why spend time on that plot when other character arcs got so little time? The sole redeeming thing about the space chase was the lightspeed kamikaze run. But the back and forth between casino & fleet scenes just didn't sit well with me. Oh and awkwardly shot Mary Poppins flying Leia scene was a thing.

I didn't like how Johnson handled Luke either. Not the jaded cynicism, I get that. But muddled writing. He came to the island to die. But totally made a map for others to find him? And the guy who crossed the galaxy to find good in the evil Darth Vader wanted to murder Ben Solo? After Abrams' epic shot of Rey handing the lightsaber to him at the end of TFA, Johnson decides on a sitcom toss over the shoulder. But Hamill was excellent and gave Luke a decent send off. Raising the X-Wing and flying to the base to actually fight might have been more interesting than remotely using the force to death?

Friends have suggested I watch the movie again without expectations. It's telling that I almost don't want to. What Abrams now does with episode 9 will be interesting. Two bookends either side of an awkward middle perhaps?