Mini-Reviews #12

2016-01-10

Again, the yield of good material was higher on the small screen than on the silver screen.

Film

Marvel’s The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron
So this it then, the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally transformed into just another episodic movie franchise (yeah, yeah, it’s been that from the start, but still…). Plotwise it was a big letdown; and the rest? Bigger explosions, more action, some quips, but *yawn* just more of the same.
John Wick
Overhyped by several movie blogs. Generic action B-Movie.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Now that was an unexpected reboot. And while I wouldn’t call it Film of the Year, because it’s essentially just a two-hour car chase, it was an entertaining experience. Please more!
Spy
An american spy comedy. With Melissa McCarthy — what else is there to say. Few funny scenes; skippable (or at least wait for the inevitable run on television).
The Gunman
Sean Penn as a poor imitation of Liam Neeson; *ugh*.
Vacation
Yet another contemporary american comedy with lots of gross gags. *Sigh* I miss the classics.
The Machine
Wasn’t on my radar, just catched it by incident on TV and don’t regret it. A very low budget sci-fi movie that borrows most of its themes from other genre movies of the past. But the whole 1980s ambience and style had a certain charme, this certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
One of the big three spy movies of 2015. Quite watchable, although it could have helped to be trimmed more in some places.

TV

Better Call Saul — Season 1
When this ‘prequel/spin off’ to “Breaking Bad” with a focus on the comic relief character Saul was announced, I was more than a bit worried that this would somehow taint the legacy of the original show. But luckily, this seems to turn out pretty good: Yes, it has a slightly lighter tone; on the other hand, it also has often a melancholic atmosphere to it. This first season takes its time (well, “Breaking Bad” wasn’t a hight octane show either), but at the end you will be thirsty for more.
Homeland — Season 4
Not perfect on all levels, but the readjustment was neccessary after the events in season 3 and in general it turned out to be a good season.
Silicon Valley — Season 1
So this is how a comedy show looks like that is set in the current app-development-start-up-scene… well, it could have been worse. I’ll stick around for a while, but this is not going to be on my Must-Watch list.
Dark Matter — Season 1
A sci-fi show from ‘SyFy’, again. So proceed with caution: Could be canceled very soon. But ignoring that, it’s alright so far. Nothing earth-shattering new here and the low budget is visible, but alas, there’s so little space sci-fi on the air at the moment, I’ll take what I can get (for now).
Hell on Wheels — Season 1
I knew from reviews in the past that this show wouldn’t rival Deadwood — well, that’s true (but then again: what could?), but it’s not bad.
Walking Dead — Season 5
This show is an acquired taste for me. And although I don’t get the hype for it, it has become a rather good character study. What’s annoying: It’s still very slooow at times and the general backstory keeps on reapeating (group discovers a new location that looks fine/peaceful at first, but things are not what they seem here…).

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