Black Mirror: «Bandersnatch» or why I broke up with Netflix

For a few days I was very hesitant to watch this latest episode of «Black Mirror» where one can choose how the story goes. I don’t want to work for my TV entertainment, I have video-games for that, I reckoned.

But, oh man, did «Black Mirror» prove me wrong! «Bandersnatch» showed once again that «Black Mirror» remains one of the most entertaining, innovative and original series out there, this time turning it all up to 11 and the whole «pick your own adventure» concept on its head.

But «Bandersnatch» did it in such an ingenious and jaw-dropping way that it makes most of the latest Netflix exclusives sorely stay out as the lazy, uninspired, cheap crap that they probably are (IMHO).

So after having finished all available episodes of the great «The Good Place» and «Rick and Morty» (both not Netflix exclusives, mind you) and the admittedly pretty good «The Kominsky Method», the sensible thing to do after being extremely bored out by «Bird Box», «Next Gen», Russel Brand’s latest special, the publicity stunt that was «The Cloverfield Paradox» and, sad to say, even Alex Garland’s «Annihilation», seems to be just leaving Netflix for a while.

(And the cancellation of the Marvel series and the rather disappointing «Star Trek: Discovery» didn’t help either).

That’ll teach them…

Aquaman

The only good thing I can write about «Aquaman» is that it ends. (Which is true in more than one way; the final 10 minutes of the movie where almost enjoyable).

But since this appalling piece of crab (yes, I just wrote that) presented itself as such an offending incoherent mess, I really don’t feel like making an effort here, either. So let’s just open the floodgates, shall we:

  • Can we let the DC Extended Universe die now, please? At this point it’s just intolerable cruelty.
  • This movie has the pacing and elegance of a very bad «Family Guy» episode.
  • «Uncanny Valley – The Movie»
  • You know you’re in trouble when Patrick Wilson steals the movie. (Not that he’s bad or anything, but you know, he’s Patrick Wilson).
  • On the bright side, «The Shape of Water» is no longer my most hated water-related film of late.
  • Poor Jason Momoa wasn’t given anything to work with whatsoever.
  • You know you’re in trouble when I think Jason Momoa was underused. (Not that he’s bad or anything, but you know, he’s Jason Momoa).
  • This movie feels longer than Willem Dafoe’s dong. And it’s almost as painful to watch as its scene in Lars von Trier’s «Antichrist».
  • Like watching eight awful movies in parallel – while sitting on a trident, and not the comfortable way.
  • You had to cram «Black Manta» into this, did you? BTW, have you even seen «Black Panther»?
  • You know you’re in trouble when Dolph Lundgren’s hair becomes the most fascinating thing in the scene.
  • Sicily, reaally? You don’t say?!
  • Harry Gregson-Williams has a brother?!
  • Directed by James Wan does this garbage end?
  • Amber please stop, it Heards!
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by children in the winter. It’s called «Snowman».
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by dogs in the winter. It’s called «yellow snow».
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by my anus in the winter. It’s called «shit».
  • Aw, just Faqu,man!

Mad Men

Better late than never, I finally got to the end of this beautiful show yesterday and I’m still flabbergasted about just how masterfully the last season was crafted and the series’ top-notch quality overall.

Though «Mad Men» sometimes tended to be on the earnest, almost (almost!) dry and depressing side of things,  I’ve always loved the series thanks to its social relevance, the rich characters and its on-point art direction, cinematography and music.

Where other shows fail, «Mad Men’s» seventh and last season feels fresh, positive and satisfying as hell and, above all, cathartic and extremely enjoyable. For a program that serious and ambitious, that means a lot!

So, for all the fans of inspiring storytelling,  compelling drama, fine humour and perfect characters who have been living under a rock since 2007, check it out and proof me wrong.

Don’t buy them BeatsX earphones!

They are C R A P !

It’s almost sad to say, but the sound quality of the BeatsX by Dre earphones would be very decent, and imho they are way cooler than the standard AirPods.  And since the brand belongs to Apple they pair nicely with the iPhone and Apple Watch without always having to go through the bluetooth-settings  – AS LONG AS THE DAMN THINGS WORK!!!

But in the last SIX MONTHS I’ve gone through two pairs now until they just broke again. A blinking red LED error code all over again. No firmware update nor a reset would help. When I replaced the first pair the nice man at the Apple store told me this was not an unusual problem.

So, Dre, you might be a Doctor (which I doubt), but your BeatsX earphones suck balls! And Apple, f*ck you, too!

Bohemian Rhapsody

DUDE! Wasn’t that the kid from «Jurassic Park»?

WHAT!? Are you high?!

What do you think?! Pass me that bong and please stop browsing through these YouTube videos! I’m sick enough as it is…. WAIT! GO BACK! Wasn’t that QUEEN?!

Yeah. Their concert at Wembley Stadium. Won’t get out of my YouTube bubble. Must have watched it a thousand times by now, never gets old.

Cool!

Yeah, pretty dope!

Shame the the video’s kinda blurry. Someone should make a movie out of that.

Wattayamean?

You know,… just reenact the concert and film the whole thing with the original songs, but in HD.

That’s no movie!

I know, would be cool, though…

Yeah,… always wanted to make a movie.

But who would wanna watch this?

Wattayamean?

Who would pay for a ticket to see something they can get for free online?

Just millions of Queen fans, for example?!

You’re stoned! You don’t even know how to make a movie!

We’ll find a guy to direct. Maybe even two.

Still stupid!

I got it!!!

What?

AIDS!

WHAT?! No! Really? How? Why? I’m so sorry!

NO! I mean I have an Idea! Didn’t Mercury die from AIDS?

I guess. Scared me for a moment there, you asshole!

I mean Mercury was a phenomenal artist dying young. We’ll just pretend the movie was a drama. A biopic!

Ok?! But won’t the audience notice it’s just a pretense?

Of course they will. But by the time we finally get to «Don’t stop me now», they’ll be too mesmerized to even care a bit.

DUDE! That might even work! The only audience we’d have to deal with will be Queen fans and if we put all their greatest hits in the pic, they’ll be happy. No one else will care. And the fans wouldn’t want to say anything negative about the film when all it basically is is the music of their beloved band.

Exactly my point! If we don’t dig too deep, we won’t offend anyone and the music will do all the work for us. We won’t even have to care about realistic CGI, we’ll be able to shoot almost everything on stage or in front of a greenscreen! No one will give a shit about shaky crowd simulation when there’s «Bohemian Rhapsody» playing over it.

Dude! We might be really onto something here. And you know what? I just thought of the perfect meta-joke to put in the movie. I know that really good blogger that will be the only one in the theatre getting the joke… We’ll just have to get Mike Myers and disguise him so nobody will recognize him.

Wattareyatalkingabout? You really are stoned! But talking about actors: Who could play Freddie, anyway?

Don’t worry, I know just the guy. Perfect casting, a superb actor. So good even the critics will have to say: «Not really a movie, but he nailed it!»

You mean that guy from «Borat»?

No, stupid! Have you seen «Grimsby»? Terrible, terrible idea! I’m thinking of someone much better that will surely get along nicely with the director…

Ok. If you say so. But don’t forget the music! It’s all about the music…

Whatever. I’m hungry, let’s order some pizza and watch that Wembley Video again…

Marvel’s Daredevil Season 3

While «Iron Fist» and «Luke Cage» got cancelled some days ago I’d almost forgotten that there still was a very enjoyable Marvel show to premiere that very same week:

«Marvel’s Daredevil» might have been the first attempt of bringing one of the less spectacular superheroes in a smaller scale to Netflix, but with season three the man without fear still remains the best and most solid installation of all the Marvel superhero series on the streaming service by far thanks to struggling and evolving characters and some risk-takingly spectacular cinematic moments of storytelling and montage.

But characters is what «Marvel’s Daredevil» really is all about: The show proves that Superhero stories CAN work on a smaller scale, as an action-infused drama, when done correctly (I’m looking at you «Gotham»).

The core of season three is all about family, legacy and relationships – old and new characters all get their chance to explore different angles of this underlying theme. And it’s a bliss:

Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page gets her own superb isolated episode which sheds light on her past, Wilson Bethel as Benjamin Poindexter («Bullseye») reminded me that a great character doesn’t have to be likeable and Charlie Cox as «Daredevil» proofs once again how satisfying and cathartic a tragic (super-) hero can be. But the real show-stealer (even more so than Jon Bernthal as «The Punisher» in season two) is, of course, Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk.

D’Onofrio’s wonderful, tragic, scary, phenomenal, uncanny performance as the «Kingpin« left me in awe. But even the secondary characters get a chance to shine: Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), Father Lanthom (Peter McRobbie), Joanne Whalley as Sister Maggie and Jay Ali in the Role of Special Agent Ray Nadeem all get their chance to shine or at least support the impact of the main characters’ arcs.

After having stated my doubts about the quality of Netflix’ latest series in general, the fact that I usually don’t take the time to list the whole cast of an ensemble by name might show that there’s still hope, considering how well this season of «Marvel’s Daredevil» was written, performed and crafted… chapeau! I’ll take some more of that, please.

 

Venom

«Venom» surely isn’t a good movie but I still kinda liked it. It’s not so bad that it’s good but it’s a clumsy, somewhat lovable construction of uninspired storytelling, average visual effects (but pretty production design) and questionable characters saved by only one thing: Tom Hardy in the title roles as Eddie Brock and his alter ego Venom, bromancing the hell out of almost every scene they’re in.

If the rumours are true, a rushed production schedule and a late decision to not make «Venom» rated R might explain this uneven mess of a movie. The end result makes it look as if the creatives decided that if they’re not allowed to do a proper bloody version, let’s make it silly,… like a Buddy Cop movie with a hint of Screwball-Rom-Com sprinkled on top and some superfluous CGI action added for the studio and the uninitiated crowd.

And somehow, that worked for me. Like the «Tom Hardy Show» that was «Bronson» sans a good movie which would only distract and might take the focus off his performance.

I doubt that Sony really knew where they were going with this. But good for them they didn’t try (and fail again) to copy Marvel Studios’ approach and took a different way* – a strange, meandering route without any direction, purpose or destination, but still…

This silly mixed bag helps Tom Hardy’s performance to stand out even more (and somehow makes it even more enjoyable) and presents «Venom» as a strange but funny, rather forgettable, but entertaining stumble of a movie.


*) «Venom’s» mildly amusing second after credit scene – some minutes taken directly from their upcoming animated feature «Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse» – seems to confirm how truly lost they are with their remaining rights to use «Spider-Man», not knowing what the hell to do with them**.

**) At this point,  I’ve given up trying to understand which studio has the right to which characters under which circumstances, but I doubt that cramming all the iterations of all the Spider-Men into one movie is the sensible way to go.


Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 2

After having joined the jolly bandwagon of critics stating that TV-entertainment is the new cinema thanks to longer runtime giving writers much more opportunities to develop their characters, arcs and storylines, I lately keep being disappointed by Netflix’s (and similar) productions.
I find most of the current series either lazy, unfinished, blown-up or, even worse, boring and not worthy of my time.

Over at Amazon Prime Video the situation doesn’t seem to be much better: The series I tried to commit to («Hand of God» and «Startup») where just too earnest, unfunny and bland to keep them in my queue. (I’m even going back to finally finish «Mad Men» just because it’s the lighter, funnier, much better way to spend my hours commuting to work).

Looking back now, I even wonder whether the more recent Golden Age of TV Drama has come and gone much faster than I thought (and hoped) it would. The quality just seems to have gotten lost somewhere between Kevin Spacey’s infamous exit and Joel Kinnaman’s gratouitus abs.

Having said that I must admit that the second season of «Iron Fist» is much more entertaining than the godawful first season. The characters are much more likeable and it’s not as easy as it used to be to fall asleep during an episode (though I managed).

Shame though they threw Davos (Sacha Dhawan) under the bus by turning the best thing of season one into an arrogant, delusional prick without the tragedy or depth he deserved.
And many of the most interesting ideas in this season seem to be either an afterthought without much impact or pure build-up for season 3 .

Sad.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

So let’s tick off that box in this year’s comic book movies list – or better: ANT🐜 off this part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ANThology🐜.

I didn’t ANTicipate🐜 much and «Ant-Man and the Wasp» wouldn’t disappoint. It made me laugh (not as much as the first one though) and left me fully satisfied. All in all it’s pure and solid Marvel Studios ANTertainment🐜 as good as it can be for one of their «smaller» side-projects while still hinting at some bigger role for Scott Lang to play in the grand MCU scheme of things.

I won’t even address the elephANT🐜 in the room that «Ant-Man and the Wasp» is…, it’s…  I got nothing there, just wANTed🐜 to put one more «ANT🐜» in there. It’s too hot to be clever today, I cAN’T🐜 even bother to give too much ANTtention🐜 to spelling in this climANTe🐜.

All I have is: Go see it, watch the two mid- and after credit scenes and let’s leave it at that ANTiclimactic🐜 review, ok?

Fine. Thank you. ANT🐜 have a nice day…


🐜) Warning: This review may contain some bad insect-related puns.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

DAMMIT! I’M SUCH A FOOL! I just realized: I WAS THE ONLY ONE AT THE SCREENING  AND DIDN’T MAKE ANY «SOLO» JOKE at the concession stand! That might have been a better starter to a conversation in which I learnt that an almost empty theatre didn’t really matter nowadays (in some aspect) because movies are delivered digitally now and don’t wear with every projection.

Which wouldn’t make much of a difference because «Solo» isn’t any good to begin with.

Even beforehand, I had pretty much made up my mind about Alden Ehrenreich’s Han-thankful job and his more than Han-likely success in taking over Harrison Ford’s iconic role. Ehrenreich surely didn’t help but after seeing «Solo», he cannot be made solely responsible for this disappointment of a movie. I doubt even Mr. Ford (or Harrison, as I like to call him, though he’d rather I wouldn’t) himself could have made this Han-inspired, Han-funny wannabe Star Wars «adventure» work.

It’s too generic even for a franchise as formulaic as the Star Wars universe. I haven’t seen such an empty, self-serving and Han-motivated mess of jumbled together bits and pieces of canon and fan service in a long, long time. (Not unlike this very review you’re reading right now).

There were some nice ideas in there that I might have liked but they were presented in such a Han-connected way I couldn’t have bothered less.

#notMyStarWars

And now a personal message to my co-worker Cello: Don’t go see that movie! I can’t tell you why because of spoilers. Just don’t!