Mini-Reviews #19

2017-12-18

It’s been a long, long time — high time for some comments of mine about (no so) recently watched material…

Film

Wonder Woman
Yes, it has a woman in the lead — but other than that, it’s just another dull DC superhero movie.
Why Him?
Again, the trailer was selling it to me, and again: The final result was a crappy mess. Or I’m simply out of touch with the taste of mainstream US-Hollywood comedies.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Interesting take on the King Arthur saga, with nice visuals. It won’t get into any Hall of Fame, but it’s acceptable for a sunday evening view.
Alien: Covenant
So Sir Ridley got a backlash for Prometheus and retreats to warm-up the usual stuff again. Highly disappointing.
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
Another unneeded, badly executed remake.
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen the japanese anime GitS from 1995 and although time often prettyfies memories, I simply can’t imagine it being so bad as this US/live action outing.
Kong: Skull Island
Another ‘new take on a proven franchise’, but not bad, not bad at all — as a stand-alone action-adventure experience. (But if the rumors are true and they will mesh it with the recent Godzilla reboot in a sequel, I have my doubts.)
Hell or High Water
I know, it was reviewed as some great revelation and film art, but I found this film boring as hell, execept maybe for one or two scenes. Even the final shootout was a huge letdown.
The Mummy (2017)
What an uneven mix: Part action-adeventure, part horror, all soulless mainstream blockbuster. Skip it, not even Tom Cruise could save it.
Special Correspondents
Saw a trailer, liked it. Saw the film, despised it. C’est la vie.
Baywatch
Never liked or watched much of the orginal TV show, but that doesn’t matter: Execept for the title, this film has not much in common with the show it’s supposedly based on. Besides that, Dwayne Johnson is charming as usual, and the movie was not as horrible as expected (high praise indeed). But yes, of course you will forget about it as soon as the credits start rolling.
The Limehouse Golem
Don’t even know how I stumbled about this one. A small budget british film, thought it would be horror, but turned out more a crime/drama piece. Not really good, but not terrible either.
The Bad Batch
Speaking about being terrible: This one is prime example. Has some slight hints of those wacky science-fiction movies from the 1970s (which I like) — but this is just plain bad…
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
Hm, sadly a not so great finale of the reboot trilogy. And the title is totally misleading: I’ve watched the precursor and expected something completely different coming up next, not this kind of “war”.
The Thing [rewatch]
Tastes change, and in the 1980s this was probably a good horror movie, but it didn’t really age well, I think.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Luc Besson did some fine movies, way back in the past. And then he somehow forgot how to do it; which gives us this failure as a result.

TV

Castlevania — Season 1
Pretty short first season: Just when you thought it would get down to business…it’s already over. And besides that, it wasn’t nearly as moody or exciting as I hoped. The animation was rather mediocre and the plot not very gripping (despite the very short run). And even though I have fond memories of the video games, this simply didn’t do it for me.
The Expanse — Season 2
Yeah, still interesting. I’ll stick around for season 3.
Silicon Valley — Season 4
Same as above: Entertaining, waiting for the next season. (By the way: I wonder how this will age, being so close to the current Silicon Valley zeitgeits…)
House of Cards — Season 5
Definitely running out of steam. And since the next season will be (probably?) the last, be shorter and will be without Kevin Spacey, I don’t see how it could reclaim any former “glory”.
Fargo — Season 3
After a great first season, and a so-so second season, was this a terrible third season. Of course, certain scenes and aspects were fine, but as a whole, it was a major letdown. So it’s a good idea that they now paused/stopped the production of another season (for now?).
Better Call Saul — Season 3
Yay, still on track. And although it’s really a slow burn show, the 10 episodes passed like a breeze and left me wanting more.
The Magicians — Season 1
Alright. I often read that it would be like ‘Harry Potter for adults’. Oh well, never cared for Harry Potter, but this first season was interesting enough that I’ll watch the second one, too — in some time (it’s not that great).
Marvel’s The Defenders — Season 1
Watched and loved Daredevil, skipped Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron First (what I read about those show didn’t draw my interest in the slightest), so the combination of all these shows seemed to be… interesting… on paper. And turned out to be a disappointment! Boring story, boring villains/antagonist (and I like Sigourney Weaver) and, like in the Avengers, of course too many members in the main cast at once to delve into any interesting characterization.
Homeland — Season 6
This show has its ups and downs, from season to season; but this one was oddly mediocre. Not bad enough to give up on it, but also not good enough to hold my breath, waiting for the next season.
The Strain — Season 4
And it’s done, this was the final season. What started out as an interesting take on a vampire invasion, ended as a mostly campy and shlocky series. Not real trash, but you wouldn’t miss anything by not watching The Strain.
Billions — Season 1
Made it barely through season one. Why exactly should we, the viewer, root for the attorney? And what horrible thing did the billionaire exactly, except making money? Hey, I’m all for grey areas and moving parts, but at the start, we need a foundation what the show is about. And after 12 episodes, I still don’t know that.
Star Trek: Discovery — Season 1 (Winter Break/9 episodes)
I liked TOS (it was already old when I first saw it), I grew up and loooved TNG and DS9, but then only watched few seasons/episodes of VOY and ENT and despised the recent movies. That being said, I was doubtfully excited to see a new TV show in this universe after such a long time. That excitement got a setback when I learned that it would also be a prequel/set in the past again. And now, after the first nine episodes, my verdict is: As a generic, new science fiction franchise, this could become something good (it’s not yet, with all the plotholes and bland ensemble, etc.), but since it’s sold under the Star Trek banner, it has to be compared with what came before. And there it loses, a lot! I’ll give it some more time (first seasons of Star Trek shows were never that good, says the lore), but at the moment, I have no real hope for improvement, because I don’t think that the writers/showrunners are in tune with the “spirit” of Star Trek (at least some of the core values should stay intact!).
The Walking Dead — Season 7
Well, on the one hand, it’s somehow stuck in a loop (each season/story arc, they find new holdouts, some with more evil survivors than others) and a slow (downward) spirale of weirder and weirder settings (The Kingdom, the trash people). But on the other hand, you still get some interesting psychological developments, at least for some of the main cast (which also changes more often than in other shows, due to the premise). Still with it.
Marvel’s The Punisher — Season 1
The introduction of the Punisher in the second season of Daredevil was really great. But this one felt like a very long (too long) epilogue to it, with a generic take on corrupt military/government folks. I can live with less blood and action (although, without it, why is there a need for the Frank Castle character? He’s not charismatic or that interesting, even with this PTSD twist…). And unfortunately, the rest (story, cast or dialogues) didn’t make up for this neither.

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