Big Trouble In Little China: Kurt Russell Takes On Asian Stereotypes

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Kurt Russell fights Chinese demons and some of the worst special effects of his career.

I know this film is a beloved classic to some, and I wanted to like it to, but I just didn’t really gel with it.

The satire becomes so try hardy and desperate as the film progresses that it almost feels like it is reaching out and tapping the audiences saying, ‘remember this trope from action movies, we are twisting it aren’t we clever’, constantly looking for validation. I didn’t find it particularly funny either.

The special effects are dicey at best, why Carpenter thought using so many of them especially when they look so bad was a good idea is beyond me. Moreover, a lot of the depictions of magical Chinese or Asian people in this film feels like it was out of date at the time, which is what I suppose the film is mocking, but still it feels troubling to watch.

In addition, I didn’t find Kurt Russell particularly likeable here, I understand what the filmmakers were going for with his character but more often than not he just comes across as kind of an arse and it makes him hard to root for. James Hong on the other hand is great here, he is clearly having a lot of fun and when the film lets him go fully wild he embraces it to the Nth degree.

Overall, a flawed Carpenter film that doesn’t live up to his other greats.

Pros.

Hong

It is unintentionally funny quite a lot

It is watchable

Cons.

Russell

The racial undertones

The special effects   

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Ava: A Movie We Have All Seen About 5 Times Before

1.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Jessica Chastain plays yet another cold emotionless spy, but this time she is a girl boss. Oh we have seen this before from Chastain and just like her ill-fated venture with Simon Kinberg this too is a mess.

The clear feminist girl power vibes here couldn’t be any more striking it they reached through the screen and physically hit you in the face, there is nothing wrong with that but I do wish that this film and Chastain’s other feminist themed action films at least had something interesting and new to say.

Moreover, though no one can doubt that Chastain has action hero prowess, her performance here and in her other action roles feels just a little bit too try hardy and as though she is trying to prove something. We all know her credentials so she needs to have more of that laidback self-assured confidence that a lot of other action hero actors bring to their roles.

The plot is fairly uninspired, you have seen it before and the twists and turns are incredibly obvious from the outset. Chastain does a little to elevate the incredibly trite material but even then it can’t be saved, which is a shame as a lot of talented actors had their times wasted making this.

Overall, flawed and not really salvageable.

Pros.

Chastain is trying

A few well done action sequences

Cons.

Chastain is trying too hard

It has nothing new to say from a feminist/ gender studies perspective

It is bored and played out from the beginning

The pacing is awful

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Princess: Disney This Is Not

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A princess, played by Joey King, must overcome vast waves of invaders in her families castle in order to save them from certain death and to drive out a man, played by Dominic Cooper, who has become obsessed with her and launched a takeover to try and force her to marry him.

I remember when I saw the trailer for this film I thought it looked pretty naff, the plot didn’t look like anything new and the feminist message looked very been there done that, a princess who likes fighting as is far removed from the Disney ideal is nothing new, and whilst both of these things are true the film still manages to be quite enjoyable.

No, the film isn’t going to win any awards for its writing and its message is incredibly on the nose, but the fight scenes are very well done, to the point of being impressively so, and Joey King manages to give a hell of a performance and these two things quite outweigh the bad writing.

Moreover, I like how the film does not waste time and instead opens straight away on the action. In wider terms of pacing I think this film is pretty tight, at no point whilst watching did I feel bored or like a scene was dragging on for too long and for the most part I solidly enjoyed my time with it.

Overall, the trailers for this film really don’t do it justice, though it is not going to set the world on fire it is a good time.

Pros.

It is a lot of fun’

King

The action

The ending

Cons.

It is very on the nose

It is incredibly predictable

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Boys: The Instant White-Hot Wild

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The big fight between Homelander, played by Anthony Starr, and Soldier Boy, played by Jensen Ackles, finally comes to fruition.

Before we get into all the things I like about this episode I want to talk about two things I didn’t so much, firstly the politics and the clear elusions to real world events feels incredibly on the nose which breaks from the more intelligent use of social commentary throughout the rest of the season, and secondly Ryan as a character is stalling the story and causing things to drag on. My issues with how they used Ryan here is that it deprived us of the big fight we wanted and instead lead to Butcher, played by Karl Urban, fighting Soldier Boy and Queen Maeve, played by Dominque McElligott, fight Homelander. Also I don’t really care about the Ryan/ Butcher relationship as it feels unnecessary to me.

In terms of things I did like, I enjoyed seeing Homelander rip apart, verbally, his remaining team members it was fun to see him fully tear each one of them down. I would have liked for Homelander to have gone a little bit more off the deep end by the end of the season, but no doubt that needle to the brain will cause him to lose it even more next season. Moreover, I like that they are transitioning the Victoria character, played by Claudia Doumit, into the shows own version of Vic the Veep, I am interested to see where that storyline will go next season and whether it will lead to Homelander and co trying to fully take over the USA.

I also thought the interpersonal moments where really strong here, with Mother’s Milk, played by Laz Alonso, and his daughter’s scene at the end being particularly touching. I think the best thing the show has done compared to the comics is really flesh out the personality and inter play between its cast of characters which means we get all these great moments.

Also just an aside, Starlight, played by Erin Moriarty, joining the Boys at the end of the episode was a deviation from the comics that works and feels rad. Very excited to see where things go from here and how the team dynamic works going forward.

Overall, a fairly strong end to the season.

Pros.

Queen Maeve’s retirement

Homelander fully laying into his remaining teammates

Starlight becoming one of the Boys

The ‘maniac’ dance/fight scene    

Cons.

Ryan

The finale Homelander scene feels a little too on the nose for me

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Thor Love And Thunder: Thor Gets Paternal

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, is forced out of semi-retirement when Gorr The God Butcher, played by Christian Bale, goes on a killing spree. Along the way he runs into his old flame Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, who is now the Mighty Thor.

I have to say a lot of the early responses to this film that I saw were quite negative and so I went in with pretty low expectations, thinking to myself surely it can’t be worse than Dark World, however, in the end I found myself really enjoying the film, and think though it has a few minor issues it is on the whole a strong Marvel outing.

Straight off the bat I think this film really does some great character work with Thor, having him get the chance to see Jane again, then losing her, then having to raise a kid on his own- he goes on a journey. Some out there on the more incely sides of the culture war will say that Thor is humiliated and ruined, however, their toxic masculinity is showing. I think it is possible for Thor to be both a badass action hero, which this film shows off on multiple occasions, as well as a sensitive guy who can be open and also poke fun at himself. At no point did I find he was being dominated or out done by the female characters and I think such takes usually arise from those we insecure masculinities themselves.

I thought the supporting cast all had their moments to shine especially Port, Thompson and Waititi, the latter especially had a lot of great lines. However, I will say that I would have liked Sif, played by Jamie Alexander, who makes a big return here, to have been given more to do. I think for me the stand out performance of the whole film was Russell Crowe as Zeus who instantly became my favourite character of the picture.

In terms of the humour, which has proven quite divisive, I think it is peak Waititi and if you enjoy his style of comedy, which I do, you will find it funny and if you don’t you won’t. Personally I found this film had me laughing more often than not. Moreover, again in rebuke to some of the criticism I have seen out there about the humour of this film, I found that it didn’t take away from the dramatic moments at all, and I think the film has a very strong emotional core. If you aren’t tearing up as Jane dies in Thor’s arms then I question whether you are even human.

Finally onto the few minor things I didn’t like about the film. The CGI in the post credits scene with Hercules, played by Brett Goldstein, was quite poor and possibly on a par with the Pip scene from Eternals. Moreover, the film’s pacing was quite noticeably off and the film as a whole felt very rushed with a lot of big things happening in a short space of time without much room for you to take them in. In addition, Christian Bale’s Gorr performance was all over the place, sometimes being quite frightening and sullen and other times being almost camp, this mismatch created quite a jarring viewing experience. Lastly the ‘Lady Thor’ line was horribly cringe and felt far too meta and on the nose, it really didn’t need to be included.

Overall, though it is not perfect there is a lot to like about this film.

Pros.

Thor’s journey

The ending

Zeus

The supporting cast all get their time to shine

Cons.

The pacing

The ‘Lady Thor’ line   

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Man From Toronto: Don’t Mistake This Film For A Better One

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A chap, played by Kevin Hart, out for a nice romantic getaway with his significant other, played by Jasmine Matthews, becomes wrapped up in a world of hitmen when he falls prey to a case of mistaken identity.

This movie is a turd, but make no mistake it is not Kevin Hart’s fault. If it were not for Hart this film would get a lot lower, and I mean a lot. Hart does provide the film with a number of laughs and makes getting through it slightly less excruciating and for that I thank him.

That aside, this is why Netflix is in hot water, yet another stupid pointless action film that does nothing new and thinks that by just throwing famous faces into whacky situations it makes a film good; it takes far more than that. The whole premise of this film is incredibly familiar, but it is not even as though Netflix is ripping off other better action films, no, it feels like Netflix are ripping off their own back catalogue. Moreover, the idea of the soft guy teaming up with the tough guy, here played by a very much phoning it in Woody Harrelson, is more than a little stale at this point. Really this film is peak generic, that is probably the best and most succinct way to describe it .  

Overall, yet more terrible Netflix fare slightly elevated by Kevin Hart

Pros.

Hart

It is watchable

Cons.

It is generic

It has been done better before

It is Netflix plagiarising themselves

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part VI

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Ewan McGregor, and Vader, played by Hayden Christensen and voiced by James Earl Jones, face off once again, and Reva, played by Moses Ingram, goes to hunt down the child of Anakin Skywalker.

For the most part a great final episode. There were a few things that I would nit-pick, such as the Grand Inquisitor, played by Rupert Friend, still looking naff, or the fact they undercut what should be a very impactful moment with a meme reference, but those aside this episode is firing on all cylinders.

The fight between Vader and Obi-Wan was well done and fairly cool, I wasn’t so keen that it was the memory of Leia , played by Vivian Lyra Blair, that returned his strength not his memories of Anakin or even of both the children, but that is just personal taste. I thought it was a bit of a forgone conclusion that Kenobi would beat Vader, but I enjoyed his defeat all the same Christensen gave a great performance.

The Reva sub-plot I thought tied things up nicely, it redeemed her to a degree and had her survive to go off and have her own adventures as possible a light side Jedi again. I really thought these last two episodes really brought Reva into her own, it was just a shame that she was written so one notedly beforehand.   

Finally, I just want to touch on the Qui-Gon Jinn, played by Liam Neeson, who does a make a return here and boy oh boy what a return it is. Seeing Neeson back really made my day, a great way to end it.

Do I think we need a second season? No not really, I say leave it here and maybe have the comics fill in the rest, Star Wars as a brand really needs some new characters and new stories, the past as they say should die.

Overall, a strong season finale.

Pros.

The Vader fight

Redeeming Reva

Qui-Gon’s return

The emotion

It really brought the series together

Cons.

A few nit-picky concerns and issues  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Boys: Herogasm

5/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Spoilers

What an episode, The Boys and Soldier Boy, played by Jensen Ackles, take the fight to Homelander, played by Anthony Star and we get to see Herogasm in all its glory.

I will get my one little nit-pick out of the way now. I would have liked Herogasm to be a bigger deal and more of an event, like it was in the comics, than what we got. I am not saying what we got wasn’t hedonism in the extreme, but I would just have liked it to be grander, I suppose maybe Amazon stepped in and said, ‘steady on’.

That aside this was a great episode. The fight between Butcher, played by Karl Urban, Soldier Boy, Hughie, played by Jack Quaid, and Homelander was great. Like I accurately predicted in my previous reviews Homelander loses, and it will be this and his public shaming at the end that will lead to him going full on monstrous and no doubt declaring war on America like he does in the comics.

I also liked seeing the character growth of both M.M, played by Laz Alonso, and A-Train, played by Jessie T. Usher, part of me wanted to see A-Train get killed by Hughie for comics accuracy but I actually thought the scene wherein A-Train gets emotional and apologizes was incredibly well done and touching. I do wonder if this is it for A-Train as when he uses his powers again he seems to have a heart attack, if it is the end I think he went out on a hell of a high. With M.M I thought seeing him go to town trying to hurt Butcher felt very therapeutic and much deserved, I also thought him being the hero rather than getting his revenge really does show the best of him and why he is the heart and soul of the team.

Finally, the b story with Frenchie, played by Tomer Capone, and Kimiko, played by Karen Fukuhara, was very sweet and continued to extent out their character dynamic. I look forward to seeing them as a couple even if I do think it will be short lived.

Overall, a spectacular episode of TV.

Pros.

The Homelander fight

Jensen Ackles continues to shine

The ending

Seeing a TV version of Herogasm

The character work

Cons.

Herogasm could have been a little more outrageous

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Boys: The Last Time To Look On This World Of Lies

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Soldier Boy, played by Jensen Ackles, returns to the States to settle some old scores and the Boys smell a team-up.

I thought this was one of the best episodes of this season so far. It was massively depressing for a number of reasons, but that didn’t bother me much as I have read the comics series and feel like I know where a number of these storylines are going, and am excited.

I thought the prospect of the Boys teaming up with Soldier Boy to fight Homelander, played by Anthony Starr, is really interesting. I think it is likely going to be this and Homelander possibly losing his powers during the battle that will likely lead to him going fully off the deep end. In that vein I thought Homelander appointing himself head of Vought and trying to get his fellow Seven members to take over different departments was incredibly in character and darkly hilarious.

The two things I wasn’t keen on and that keep it from being a 5 in my opinion is the continued relationship drama between Hughie, played by Jack Quaid, and Annie, played by Erin Moriarty, that feels very cliched and needless. I understand in the comics there relationship is often on the rocks but I think this season has really turned up the drama higher than it needs to be. The other thing I didn’t like was the Seth Rogen cameo, it wasn’t funny and just felt tired.

Overall, a near perfect episode, who would have thought The Boys could pull off a musical number.

Pros.

Ackles

Getting to meet the Legend

The musical number

It got political and I thought handled it really well

Cons.

The needless relationship drama

The Seth Rogen cameo

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Lift Us Where Suffering Can’t Reach

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Enterprise gets tangled up in an ethical quagmire after saving a ship in distress.

I thought this was yet another good episode of Star Trek. I particularly enjoyed the moral dilemma between should the crew interfere with how this other civilisation operates or should they let them kill a child and not get in the way and cause a conflict, it felt like older series of the show. I also like how dark they were prepared to go with it having the kid being effectively tortured by the machine, before he is inevitably saved, it was surprisingly twisted and mature.

I liked that Pike, played by Anson Mount, got centre stage here he really made the most out of every scene he got. Mount continues to be fantastic in the role and prove what a skilled and capable actor he is, hopefully we have some more Pike centric episodes coming up in the rest of the season.  

My main issue with the episode was that the new character, at least to me as I don’t watch the other modern Star Trek shows, with whom Pike had a history was really written as being incredibly one dimensional. She was a generic love interest and then she turned out to be the villain in the end, with almost an air of the psycho girlfriend cliché to her that felt more than a little sexist.

Overall, I think that this current Star Trek show is really starting to hit its prime and come into its own.

Pros.

The ethical conundrum

How dark it gets

Mount is fantastic as Pike

There is no needless filler

Cons.

The villain ends up feeling like a sexist cliché

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer