The Boys: The Only Man In The Sky

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Homelander, played by Anthony Starr, splits further off the rails and the Boys continue their investigation into the fallen supe Soldier Boy, played by Jensen Ackles.

This was an improvement on the first episode in a couple of ways. I enjoyed that the series didn’t mess around with the will he wont he question around Butcher, played by Karl Urban, giving himself powers and just went straight for it. I am excited to see where this plotline will go.

Moreover, I enjoyed where the Soldier Boy storyline went I am looking forward to seeing more of Laurie Holden’s Crimson Countess and think she will be a welcome addition to the rouges gallery of the show. In that vein I also like that the show is continuing to push Homelander into becoming an outright villain in the public’s eyes and thought that killing off Stormfront, played by Aya Cash, was a bold step in doing that.

Again much like the first episode the thing that I am the least happy about is the separate Hughie, played by Jack Quaid, plotline as I feel that it continues to feel like filler and for the most part I just want him to get back involved with the rest of the Boys. The relationship drama that I complained about in my previous review is still here to a degree though thankfully it is down on the last episode.

Overall, the series is getting into its flow and looks to be heading in an interesting direction.

Pros.

Butcher getting his powers

Holden’s Crimson Countess

The further descent of Homelander

The continued mystery of Soldier Boy

Cons.

The Hughie/Annie relationship drama and other slow side plots

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The Boys: Payback

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

One year after Stormfront, played by Aya Cash, is outed for being a Nazi the world has a whole new view on superheroes.

I thought that this was a slow first episode for the most part. I understand why the show has chosen to start in this way, to show the changes in the characters and the world but I just thought that compared to other season openers this one was a little light on action, though the sequence with the shrinking superhero was a fun little bit of gore.

I like where this season is heading, with the Boys themselves having superpowers in order to fight the supes, like they did in the comics, and with them investigating an obscure old superhero group; there is a lot of promise for where it could all go. Likewise, I am enjoying seeing the series push Homelander, played by Anthony Starr, to the edge I think it is quite clear that before the season is out he will snap and become outwardly villainous in a very public way.

I am less than keen on the Hughie, played by Jack Quaid, and Annie, played by Erin Moriarty, relationship drama and feel like it is being used to pad out the season, maybe because they don’t have as much footage as they would have liked because of covid. I hope that in the coming episodes we can move away from the relationship drama because honestly it is boring and a little trite.

Overall, a good first episode if a little underwhelming.

Pros.

The tease of the Boys getting powers

The looming mysteries

The ending

The shrinking superhero sequence

Cons.

It is slow

The Hughie/Annie relationship drama

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On The Count Of Three: It Is Never A Good Day To Die

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Two friends, played by Christopher Abbot and Jarred Carmichael, with suicidal thoughts decide that they are going to end their lives together.

My, my this one was bleak and hard to get through. I suppose the ending, whereby one of the two men finds a reason to keep living is nice, and does offer some hope but for the most part this is hard going. It is presented to us as a dark comedy and at times this can be seen, it made me laugh with the Papa Roach joke, however, more often than not the comedy missed the mark for me.

I appreciated that this film handled a lot of topics that are often not covered or at least not looked at head on. Whether it is suicide, suicidal thoughts or abuse this film is very up front about the troubles people have and their struggles to carry on and in many ways I respect that and think more films should follow this film’s lead and talk about these issues. They should be destigmatised so those suffering don’t feel so alone.

Though I think the film has its hard in the right place there are one or two moments were what the characters are saying just doesn’t seem right, doesn’t fit the scene and supposed character motivations, and I understand it is not a hard hitting drama film trying to send a message, but it is in these moments wherein I think the film lets itself down. The idea is very strong and very original the writing just needed to be tighter.

Overall.

A very dark film that is worth watching, though not one without its flaws.

Pros.

Carmichael

Abbot

A few darkly comedic lines that land really well

Cons.

It is oppressively bleak at times

Sometimes the writing doesn’t quite work

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Dual: To Go To War With One’s Self

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

In the future a terminally ill woman, played by Karen Gillan, must face off against a clone of herself that she wants to decommission after making a miraculous recovery.

This one will not be to many people’s tastes. It is very oddly specific. If you perceive Stearns as an auteur director then you would say it is a very him film, his sensibilities are all over it. As I was watching this film I found myself thinking that it reminded me a lot of The Art Of Self Defence a criminally underrated Jessie Eisenberg film, and lo and behold it was made by the same director.

I found this film to be quite funny, I enjoyed both the tragic satire as well as the wider commentary on life and cycles of being. I wouldn’t say this film is a laugh out loud sort of film, it is more the occasional dry chuckle here and there kind of film, but I appreciated that about it.

Likewise, I thought Karen Gillan was great in the lead she really captured the spirit of the film, and made for a good straight man against the blatant absurdity of the futuristic scenario. Additionally, I also thought Aaron Paul was great in the few scenes that featured him and I really bought him as the trainer with the taste for domestic low budget horror movies.

My one issue with the film is that I would have liked to have seen the duel actually take place, as it happens Gillan’s character and her clone bond, only then for the clone to quickly kill her off with poison. A subversion of expectations. At first I didn’t like this and felt disappointed but then when the film’s finale had the clone ending up right back where the original character was, back in the same cycle, I thought the subversion totally worked and it all tied together nicely.

Overall, a film I greatly enjoyed though I am not sure if many others will.

Pros.

Gillan        

Paul

The ending

The satire

Cons.

I would have liked to see the duel actually happen

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France: A Highbrow Satire That Won’t Leave Many Laughing

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A well respected French journalist, played by Léa Seydoux, decides to quit her job and seek new horizons after she has a road traffic accident that leads to someone else getting hurt.

In many ways I think the humour of this film just didn’t register with me, there were a few lines that made me laugh and I think the film did manage to formulate some competent satire of the modern media landscape at times, but for the most part the jokes left me cold. This could be humour lost in translation that if I was French I would understand and appreciate or it could just be my subjective comedic tastes not aligning with this film.

I think the biggest issues I had with this film is that the tone seemed so all over the place, at times coming across as a drama and other times as a dark comedy. The issue with trying for both is that often neither comes off well, this was certainly the case here as both the dramatic elements and the comedic elements felt underdeveloped.

The performances were good and I can’t fault Seydoux she did all she could to keep this film together, a valiant effort, however, it wasn’t enough.

The worst crime of this film is that it can be labelled as boring.

Overall, Seydoux tries her best but this film just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be and comes across as boring.  

Pros.

A few funny lines

Seydoux

Cons.

A lot of the humour doesn’t land

The split focus

It is boring

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Fresh: There Is Something Worse Than Finding Out Your Partner Is Already Married

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A young woman, played by Daisy Edgar Jones, finally thinks she has met a nice normal guy, played by Sebastian Stan, who she can fall in love with, this all changes when he starts selling her meat to cannibals online.

This film is both unsettling and wonderfully twisted in equal measure. There are scenes that make your skin crawl and that make you feel physically sick, and then there are scene so far out there, like Stan’s character dancing around his kitchen chopping up parts of people to send out, that they become darkly comedic. You might think these two aspects would clash with one another but they actually work really well together.

Stan really revels in the gory spectacle here and plays manic very well, he is both charming and menacing at the same time. Jones is likewise as good and becomes a strong character that you can’t help but root for, I was getting some scream queen/ final girl vibes from her and I think this could be the start of something special if Jones returns to the horror genre again.

The commentary on relationships, dating and what life is like for young women seem to be accurate, I can only speak to parts of that obviously, but as I was watching the film my girlfriend voiced her agreement with a number of the points raised so I am going to assume the commentary is fairly spot on.

The only thing that for me stopped this film from getting higher marks was that some of the elements felt repetitive, which lessened my interest in those sections.

Overall, a fun and well done horror film.

Pros.

Jones

Stan

The commentary

The originality

Cons.

A bit repetitive in places.

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It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Season 15: The Gang Explore Their Roots.

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A season of two halves, one which resembles the classic structure and one that moves more towards serialisation.

I did find it odd how the first few episodes of this season were very much reminiscent of older seasons in that each episode had a standalone quality but then the latter episodes moved towards serialisation and a focus on one storyline. That is not to say it didn’t work, however I do wish the season had decided to go one way or the other with it, as it is it works but it does feel a little jarring.

With regard to continuity I liked that the series progressed the running plot lines of the show and answered a number of questions fans have been asking for a while such as who is Charlie’s, played by Charlie Day, dad, it was a shame it wasn’t Frank, played by Danny DeVito, but I thought what the series ended up doing was actually better than having that be the case.

I thought for the most part the series still maintains its quality, being able to mock things like diversity casting and covid without fear of offending people on twitter. I found myself laughing a good number of times each episode of this season with only The Gang Buys A Roller Rink falling down for me.

Overall, another good season though maybe they should have shot it all in Ireland.

Pros.

It is still funny

It still keeps an edge

The reveal of Charlie’s dad

The emotion

Cons.

The roller rink episode

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Evil Dead 2: Beware The Evil Hand At Work

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Ash, played by Bruce Campbell, once again runs afoul of the Book of the Dead.

For the most part I thought this was more of the same, in a good way. However, I didn’t like that this film went even further with the jarring and out of place claymation. It felt to me like Raimi was going a little wild on his first proper big budget, as a lot of the time these claymation elements added little to the film overall.

Furthermore, I also thought the narrative of the film suffered some issues as it makes no sense that Ash would bring a date back to the Cabin wherein he had lost all of his friends, or that he would hit play once again on the tape which releases the demonic spirits. I had to look up what was going on as I was honestly baffled by it and still don’t really understand why it went that way.

That said however, I thought the film was still a lot of fun. It managed to balance its horror and its humour well and deliver on each in equal measure, I would say the first film was slightly more funny but that is just my specific taste.

Additionally, Campbell is still a lot of fun to watch on-screen. If anything he takes the wackiness up a notch in his performance and executes a wonderful sense of mania.

Overall, in many ways more of the good stuff, but a few issues are becoming apparent.

Pros.

The wackiness

Campbell

The gore

The humour and the scares

Cons.

Too much claymation

Plot issues  

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The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window: You’ll Need A Lot Of Wine To Get Through This

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A parody that forgets to parody and becomes what it sets out to mock.

What is this show?

It isn’t quite a comedy, it isn’t quite a thriller, what does it want to be and why do we have to witness it’s journey of self-discovery?

The only reason this gets half marks is because through it all Kirsten Bell is trying her hardest. Through every bad joke, through every dumb twist that the show thinks proves it is better than what it is mocking, and even through the incredibly predictable finale, Bell holds it all together and makes it bearable.

I understand that book based thriller films like The Woman In The Window are bad, but that doesn’t mean the parody of them will be good. No, for the most part this series devolves into simply copying these thrillers and thinking that for some reason it is above them and won’t fall into the same trap, this is obviously not the case and never was going to be.

Moreover, this series doesn’t seem to understand what parody is, admittedly maybe I am comparing it to the Movie films which in my mind are far better stand-ups of what they were trying to spoof than this. The knowing jokes in this show mostly fall flat and feel like the most baseline observational jokes you could write, they could have played up the camp, the strangeness, hell anything to make this better than it is.

Overall, it is watchable and watched as a binge it even has its moments, but it is average at best and if you stop watching it you are unlikely to return.

Pros.

Bell

Riley

Some of the sillier elements

Cons.

It becomes what it is parodying

It is not funny

It is deeply played out   

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Freddy Got Fingered: Proof That You Don’t Need Talent To Make It In Hollywood

0.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Proof that any old trash can become a film.

How did this get made? Who thought that this film was going to ever make money? I don’t care how popular the Tom Green Show was, this was always going to be a disaster and in many ways it seems it was sent out to die maybe as a tax write off.

Where to begin with why this film is a turd. I think probably it is best to start with the elephant in the room, the film’s name is a reference to a fake claim of male sexual abuse which serves as a catalyst for the film. This film uses this fake abuse as a joke, it is laughed at, when thought true and then later untrue, it downplays and downright ignores men’s suffering and uses it as a punchline. The fact that the lead, played by Tom Green, fakes claims of male sexual abuse to use to his advantage is all kinds of messed up and sends home a bad message to everyone that sees it.

Sadly, the bad taste doesn’t end there and the film goes out of its way to be as coarse, vulgar and needlessly offensive as it can be, as though by being provocative people will be tricked into thinking the film is something more than the desperate mess that it is.

Overall, a nasty film that shouldn’t have been made.

Pros.

If you close your eyes and listen to a podcast it really isn’t that bad

Cons.

It isn’t funny

It sends out bad messages on male sexual abuse

It also uses abuse as a joke

It is edgy for the sake of it

Green has no talent or business being an actor

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