Pointless Nonsense

Posted in tv by Bill on May 10, 2021
jupiterslegacyJupiter’s Legacy is Netflix’s new adult superhero show based on the not-that-good Mark Millar/Frank Quitely comic starring Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb and their gray wigs, and in lesser parts, an actress I thought as notably cute in the third season of Mr. Mercedes, and apparently eventually one who was cute in Corporate, though I didn’t make it that far, but google image search (pictured) reveals she looks pretty good in this but I miss her glasses. But that’s about all that I can say about it that’s positive. Despite the superpowers and costumes and everything, it’s a more serious drama about a dysfunctional family, and I would not cast Josh Duhamel in any kind of serious drama. Which was basically the same problem I had with the comics, Mark Millar is a writer better suited to shock value and controversial stuff than getting all serious.

Posted in tv by Bill on May 7, 2021

badbatchThe Bad Batch is Disney+’s new Star Wars series spinning out of The Clone Wars, and it’s more of the same. Which is generally a good thing, although the clones all being voiced by the same guy wasn’t a big deal when they were side characters, but when the main characters are all him, he can’t help but making one sound like the voice he does for Klaus on American Dad.

Posted in movies by Bill on May 2, 2021

tenetTenet is Christopher Nolan’s scifi espionage movie that’s finally on the HBO Max, and… it’s pretty disappointing. It wasn’t a waste of time, just because of the high production values, a few moments that worked, and the kind of scifi that gets my imagination working, but the mechanics of what they were doing felt like obstacles to storytelling. 

Like Inception, huge portions of the movie are dedicated just to explaining the concept and making sure we understand it. But unlike Inception, the there’s not that much of a payoff for the understanding. The audience gets a few “eureka” moments getting to piece together events we didn’t understand initially, but even the fancy visuals are just things going backwards, and that’s nothing new.

I’d heard the sound mix wasn’t great, and that was definitely the case. I needed subtitles. Supposedly Nolan mixes the sound with top-of-the-line theater sound systems in mind, which I think is the same argument the Game of Thrones people made with why that one episode wasn’t too dark. If people can’t see shit on the TVs they have, and if people can’t hear shit on the audio systems they have, then you have made a TV show that looks like shit and a movie that sounds like shit.

Posted in movies by Bill on May 1, 2021

mitchels-vs-machinesThe Mitchells vs. The Machines is Netflix’s new computer animated family adventure comedy sci-fi action road trip movie about a girl’s awkward relationship with her father and about robots turning evil and taking over the world. I think it would have been better if it was a touch shorter. The animation style is pretty hyper and starts to get old after a while. But it was still pretty good. It’s from some Gravity Falls writers, so… about what you’d expect from that.

Posted in movies by Bill on May 1, 2021

withoutremorseWithout Remorse is Amazon’s original movie based on a Tom Clancy book starring Michael B. Jordan. It’s no surprise that it’s violent, but since it takes serious interest in people’s motivations and the idea of right and wrong, it surprised me that it seemed to make a hero out of its protagonist who came off reckless to me. Supposedly there was a sequel movie planned from the start, but after this I don’t know if I’ll be watching it.

Michael B. Jordan is good in it, but there are some odd casting choices. A couple of not-insignificant actors just immediately die, and they hired an oddball comedy actor to play a villain.

Posted in movies by Bill on April 26, 2021

stowawayStowaway is Netflix’s movie about a mission to Mars with an unexpected extra passenger, and the challenges they run into as a result. Toni Collette, Daniel Dae Kim, Anna Kendrick, and a Canadian guy who’s been on a ton of sci fi shows but didn’t make enough of an impression for me to remember.

It might have been better suited as like an anthology episode. I’m not sure the story merits just shy of two hours, but it’s pretty decent.

It reminded me a bit of Away, the Hillary Swank series that got axed after a season, but without the back home aspect. I am kind of a sucker for the ship environment as a setting for drama. Extremely competent people trapped in a claustrophobic space where small problems can easily turn catastrophic? Good stuff.

Posted in tv by Bill on April 24, 2021

shadowandboneShadow and Bone is a new Netflix adaptation of a YA book series that is essentially a mix of The Hunger Games and Avatar: The Last Airbender, with a veneer of late 1800s Russia. Kids get tested when they’re young to see if they have magic powers, magic powers come in different types (fire, wind, healing, and gadgetry or something, plus a couple rare special ones), there’s a war going on, and there’s a big black void called The Fold in the middle of their continent put there by a magical fuckup a long time ago. 

I was drawn in by the Russian theme (it gives everything a different flavor than typical fantasy, and even separates it from The Irregulars and The Nevers which are set in a similar time period/technology level), a good score, and some actresses who are easy on the eyes. I found it decent, but it didn’t really improve much as it went, so I think if you’re not hooked early on it’s not worth sticking it out to see if it grabs you later. 

Despite the Russianness everyone has all kinds of British accents, and that combined with an often mumbly sound mix made it unwatchable for me without subtitles. 

It’s a YA story with a female lead, and though I haven’t seen a ton of those movies/shows, I am amused at the familiar story beats. Being taken away from familiar surroundings and the handsome dude who represents home, arriving at a fancy place and getting a makeover, hair and makeup and clothes and making a good impression at fancy parties are somehow important even though there’s life and death shit going on, and everyone being divided up into cliques and the protagonist getting bullied for not fitting in. 

Posted in tv by Bill on April 23, 2021

Rutherford Falls is a new Peacock comedy co-created by Michael Schur, which at this point means I automatically check it out. Ed Helms is the descendant of the town founder who runs a local history museum, and his friend runs the comparably dinky American Indian tribe’s cultural center. As far as jokes go, it’s not that great, making me think Schur pitched in on the pilot and bailed, but it’s funny enough to get me invested in the plot, which is actually pretty good.

The rest of the cast has a lot of Indian actors, but with one exception (the dad who runs the diner in Resident Alien), it’s not the same familiar faces. Ted from Schitt’s Creek plays a supporting character, and a comedian I always thought was hot plays the girl who is into Ed Helms and we’re supposed to find her unappealing in her unbalanced desperation but I still find her hot.

Posted in movies by Bill on April 18, 2021

Nobody applies the John Wick formula to Bob Odenkirk as a seemingly dull suburban husband and father, resulting in a perfectly entertaining movie that nonetheless fails to capture the magic of John Wick. It doesn’t feel unfair to make the comparison, since it’s written by John Wick‘s writer and has such a similar concept. 

Odenkirk is joined by Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, RZA, and an old-looking Michael Ironside that makes for a pretty good cast. The soundtrack is a nice selection of familiar but not too familiar (more chase scenes should have Pat Benatar songs). 

I liked the movie, but it lacked the mythology that left me wanting to know more about the world of John Wick. I’m not particularly interested in a Nobody 2

Posted in tv by Bill on April 11, 2021

The Nevers is the show Joss Whedon created and exited just before his reputation went to shit. It is basically exactly Victorian steampunk female X-Men. The first episode is kinda disappointing. There’s plenty of potential, but it was fairly humorless, introduced so many characters that none of them had time to make much of an impression.

It’s high production values superpowers with talented writers (Whedon only appears to have written the pilot, with Jane Espenson and the guy who did Netflix Daredevil and The Defenders taking over from there), so I’ll be watching, but I was hoping for more.