Only Murders In The Building: Persons Of Interest

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After being hauled in for murder the trio try and prove their innocence and begin to find themselves staring down another mystery.

I find this show to be good comfort viewing, you aren’t really watching it to see something you have never seen before or to be challenged you are just watching it to be casually entertained. In that view I enjoyed this first episode well enough it was very easy to watch and the central trio all had great chemistry, as they did last season.

My question for this season which the first episode made very more crystal clear, is why did it need a second season, where is there to go from here? Honestly, I feel like the mystery this time around feels a little forced, but who knows maybe they will go somewhere interesting with it and justify why the show needed to come back for a second season.

I liked that the Charles, played by Steve Martin, storyline had him return to his former role as Brazzo’s, and in doing so pointed out and made fun of the idea of legacy sequels wherein the previous main character is only kept around for nostalgias sake and the show or film usually tries to reinvent itself to mixed results.

I won’t spend long talking about the Amy Schumer cameo as a lot of you will know my thoughts on Schumer, though I will say here scene sucked all of the life out of the sequence and certainly was a low point of the episode. The fact some of the characters are in awe of seeing Amy Schumer in a lift is laughably up her arse, also if it was true to life she would be angry for being recognised.

Overall, an enjoyable first episode but not one that justifies why this show needed to come back for season two.

Pros.

It is watchable

The leads all still have great chemistry

I like the meta commentary on legacy sequels

Cons.

Schumer

It doesn’t justify its existence  

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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

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Good Luck To You, Leo Grande: A Sexual Prime Is Never Over

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After the death of her husband a woman, played by Emma Thompson, grapples with rediscovering her sexuality.

I think this film is a marvel. Not least for what it does in terms of pushing age boundaries in Hollywood and reconstructing the idea of a nude scene, but also because it is so earnest and tender.

For the most part the film is a series of conversations in a room between Thompson and a male prostitute, played by Daryl McCormack, who she hires. This could easily have become very boring and drawn out however, the film does a great job of exploring these characters and allowing us to see further and further past their carefully crafted masks as the film progress.

Furthermore, I thought the conversations between the two often became very heartfelt and insightful, not only reflecting the struggles of life but also the very notion of British repression. I thought the two actors had great chemistry together and the screen really came alive when they were interacting.

Overall, I thought it was a wonderfully thoughtful film.

Pros.

Thompson

McCormack

The writing and the insight

The feel good nature of the film

It made me smile frequently

Cons.

It certainly won’t be for everyone  

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Jerry And Marge Go Large: Bryan Cranston Is The Ultimate Dad

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After retiring from this job Jerry Selbee, played by Bryan Cranston, and his wife Marge, played by Annette Bening, decide to take advantage of a mathematical flaw in their local lottery and win money to help the town to stay afloat.

This film is deeply forgettable. Clearly this film wants to be the feel good film to cheer us all up in these dark times, and that is admirable, however really it is just incredibly generic. I think the acting weight of Cranston and Bening really do help to pull it up, without them giving deeply earnest performances I would have scored this film lower, much lower.

I understand it is based on a true story so there is only so much they can do with creative license, but this film feels like about a hundred other all American films, where the nice humble small town Americans get rewarded. In many ways without even watching this film you can accurately predict where the plot is going and how things will end up.

Moreover, I have looked into the true story this film is based on and can’t see any mention to the entitled college kids who become the villains to these simple down to earth folks. The whole narrative is so cliched and laughably bad, I don’t know why the film needed to include it in the first place.

Overall, fine. Cranston and Bening do a hell of a lot of good work, without them this film would just be forgettable schlock.

Pros.

Bening

Cranston

It is watchable

Cons.

The evil college kids

It is incredibly cliched and generic   

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Gods Favourite Idiot: Possibly The Antichrist

0/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Clark, played by Ben Falcone, is hit by angelic lighting and later told that he is to be God’s messenger tasked with stopping the apocalypse.

This is hot garbage don’t watch it.

In the not too distant past Netflix made a statement which basically boiled down to they were going to focus on making quality programs rather than lots of trash, did this show miss that memo?

If you thought the films made by Ben Falcone and his wife Melissa McCarthy were bad then boy howdy you haven’t seen anything yet. With one of their films you at least get the reprieve that it is only on for two hours tops, however, this is on for a lot longer and wants you to feel every horrible minute of it.

There are so many ways in which this show sucks, such as having the comedy be lazy, bland and dry. Think about a Melissa McCarthy film from the last ten years, think about the kind of jokes you would expect and then turn it up to the max. Not only does this show stretch its jokes so thin that it kills them but it is also trying so hard to be funny and to appeal to younger audiences that It just comes off as desperate.

Worst yet neither of the two central characters are in any way likeable, Falcone’s Clark is incredibly bland and feels like a cliché of the timid man in almost every sense, whereas McCarthy is driving around a modified rascal shouting at people and demanding special treatment from those around her… Need I say more?

Overall, awful, just awful.

Pros.

None

Cons.

McCarthy

Falcone

It isn’t funny

The characters are deeply unlikeable

It is terribly paced

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It’s A Wonderful Afterlife: Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past Got Real

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A mother, played by Shabana Azmi, becomes so obsessed with who her daughter, played by Goldy Notay, is going to marry that she starts killing people who she views as getting in the way or to have slighted her daughter. Sadly for her these people later come back as ghosts that haunt her every waking moment.

I thought this film had a lot of charm, is it the best film ever? No. However, there is more than enough to enjoy here. I liked the spin this film put on the idea of the traditional mother worried about daughter being single storyline and thought the added horror comedy elements really helped to bring it all together in a strong way.

I thought a lot of the jokes landed and I found myself laughing a fair bit throughout, I thought Sally Hawkins’ best friend character had all the best lines, though maybe some would say these days there was an element of cultural appropriation within her character.

My main issue with this film is as it so often is the pace of the film. I thought the film was overly long and had too many needless asides and sub-plots, it could have been a lot better if it had been half an hour shorter is what I would say.

Overall, above average though not quite up to the level of Gurinder Chadha’s later work Blinded By The Light though few films are.

Pros.

It is a lot of fun

The performances are good

Sally Hawkins

Cons.

It is too long

A few of the jokes don’t age well

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iCarly: iThrow A Flawless Murder Mystery Party

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, takes over party planning for Freddie’s birthday after everything Pearl, played by Mia Serafino, has planned goes wrong. This leads to issues within Freddie, played by Nathan Kress, and Pearl’s relationship.

Since the first season it has been obvious that the show was setting Freddie and Carly up and I for the most part have been onboard with it. I don’t like the fact they have dragged it out this long, with the characters only really talking about it in the final moments of this season finale, with the will they won’t they decision happening in the first episode of the next season if it gets renewed. I would have preferred to see them get together in the final frame of this season and then have next season be primarily focused on them as a couple, but no they just had to end with a cliff-hanger.

I thought the emotional stakes of the episode felt right, the scenes wherein Pearl is realising that her and Freddie aren’t a good fit are tough to watch and do feel sad. Though the show wants you to care about the possible Carly Freddie relationship, it also wants to give Freddie and Pearl and earnest send off.

The side plot about Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, and Harper, played by Laci Mosely, both trying to leave the party to meet their blind dates, with it actually turning out they were going to meet each other, was fun if very obvious.

Perhaps this show is gearing up to do a Friends and have most of its main characters in relationships with one another.

Overall, a good end to the season that leaves us wanting more.

Pros.

Will they won’t they Freddie and Carly

The drama

The jokes

Spencer and Harper’s B plot does provide some much needed comedic relief at times

Cons.

The cliff-hanger

It was very obvious Spencer and Harper were each other’s dates

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Bob’s Burgers The Movie: A Cinema Worthy Event?

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Belcher family gets wrapped up in a murder investigation.

I am a big Bob’s Burgers fan and have watched the series all the way through many times over, as such when I heard about the show getting the movie treatment I was excited and thought it would be a significant event like The Simpsons Movie was. However, upon seeing it I am left feeling mixed.

My major issue with this film is that it didn’t feel like anything special to me. Unlike the previously mentioned Simpsons Movie it didn’t up the scale or do something that couldn’t be done on the small screen. The premise for this film could have worked well as a two or three part episode maybe, but for the series first film I just felt it was underwhelming.

On a more positive note, something I did enjoy about this film was how it gave us a deeper look into the series lore and we were given more information about some of the series big mysteries, such as how Louise, voiced by Kristen Schaal, came by her bunny ears. I also thought it was a nice touch to finally pay off the Tina, voiced by Dan Mintz, Jimmy Jr, voiced by H. Jon Benjamin romance that has run the course of the series. I hope these both play into the series going forward and aren’t just ignore for the sake of maintaining the shows status quo.

Overall, a fun time but maybe lower your expectations going in.  

Pros.

It is fun

It develops the series lore

It pays off one of the shows central romances

Cons.

It doesn’t feel special or like anything that couldn’t have been done on TV

The humour feels weaker

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iCarly: iHit Something

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After getting pranked Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, joins influencer fight club.

I thought for the most part this episode was incredibly by the numbers. The premise of Carly joining a fight club feels like it was just shouted out when the writers were listing various different whacky situations they could put her in, furthermore this is reflected in the episode by the fact it is barely developed in anyway. Moreover, the justification for why Carly is angry, she was pranked, makes her look petty and the events of the episode feel like an overreaction.

The B plot about Millicent, played by Jaidyn Triplett, having a crush on a boy and then Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, and Freddie, played by Nathan Kress, worrying that he is just using her for school work feels very been there done that and for the most part there is nothing new added to this incredibly formulaic idea here. The best part of this side plot is a joke made right at the end of the episode that actually made me laugh out loud which was nice respite from the tedium that was the rest of the episode.

Overall, fairly meh.

Pros.

One funny joke

It is watchable

The fight club is an interesting idea sadly though they do nothing with it

Cons.

It is too safe

It is very been there done that

It isn’t funny for the most part

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Scottish Mussel: A Vanity Project That Backfires

1.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Ritchie, played by Martin Compston, is a Glaswegian criminal who decides to become a pearl thief, the film follows him in that pursuit.

This film is a vanity project plain and simple. Tallulah Riley writes, produces, directs and stars in this film in which she tries to convey an anti-poaching message that she believes to be important, sounds admirable right? Well… there are also copious scenes wherein Riley strips down into a small bikini to go and dive into Scottish streams, a task which would in real life be damn near suicidal, these scenes feel very drawn out and would under a male director feel almost pervy, whereas with Riley the question has to be why did she frame herself in this way? Was she trying to show off? Advance her modelling career? Provide a cheap thrill? Whichever, the scenes feel uncomfortable to watch.

Worse still this film is the opposite of an advert for Riley as an actor with her remaining stiff as a board throughout, only seemingly being capable of maybe one facial expression during the whole runtime of the film. Money well spent.

The only reason this film doesn’t get lower is that it is very aggressively average and by the numbers but isn’t necessarily bad. The uncomfortable scenes to one side I found the film to at least be watchable and mindless.

Overall, Riley burns money in a vanity project that doesn’t actually make her look good.

Pros.

It is mindless

It is watchable

Cons.

It highlights Riley’s ego

Riley doesn’t give a convincing lead performance

The film as a whole is trite and entirely predictable  

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