Jan 1st: (Doctor Who) Eve of the Daleks is an interesting premise with a less than interesting delivery. The Doctor and friends find themselves trapped in a time loop with Daleks in yet another poorly written episode. Aisling Bea is a tonne of fun though, possibly the best guest since Alan Cummings.
Yaz being queer is a choice that emotionally exhausts me. She isn’t fleshed out enough to justify it and it doesn’t feel like we’ve been building to this. Mandip and John handle the scene respectfully but companions being in love with The Doctor is overdone.
Jan 5th: Book of Boba Fett Ep2 is surprisingly heartwarming and respectful. A lengthy flashback shows more of Bobas time with the Tusken Raiders who seem to have inherited some Maori tradition. It really humanises them whilst remaining respectful of actual tradition which is super neat.
Jan 8th: BBC Protest: The BBC has made some undeniably great content but that does not distract from their discrimination.
They pulled out of Stonewall and platform transphobes on a regular basis, without letting us speak up.
It’s abhorrent and we deserve better.
Jan 12th: Book of Boba Fett Ep 3 feels more relaxed than the previous 2. As Boba struggles to keep peace in his present and his past, we meet cool new characters and experience excellent action scenes. You can tell Robert Rodriguez directed this one, in a good way, but it lacks oomph.
Jan 12th: The Power Of The Dog is excellent. The story of a troubled family in 1925 Montana tackles what it is to be manly, which remains a prevalent topic in today’s society. It also dabbles with familial feuds, discrimination, and status in a plot that burns slowly with terrific performances.
Jan 14th: The Matrix Resurrections has a lot to say. The continued story of Neo’s struggle against machines explores multiple ideas, occasionally halting for an action scene, in a film that requires more than one viewing. Currently good, if not a little muddled, but only time will truly tell…
Jan 19th: The Book of Boba Fett Ep 4 is THE episode. A lengthy flashback to the beginning of Boba and Fennec’s relationship, this feels like when the first few eps should have been set before having the last few set in the “present”. Probably the best episode so far.
Jan 21st: The King’s Man doesn’t hold its punches. The prequel to Kingsmen about the founding of the secret service is heartfelt and action-packed, although a little less impactful than the original. Some top-tier casting too with excellent (yet few) uses of classical music.
Jan 23rd: Line Goes Up-The Problem With NFT’s “It’s rotten all the way down” is an astounding summary of this 2 hour dissection of NFTs, Crypto and all in between. Dan Olsen once again picks a target and meticulously explores every aspect until you yourself feel like an expert, with a subject that only gets worse.
Jan 25th: The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is really rather sad. Based on the true story of a cat-centric artist, the film achieves whimsy through fantastical cinematography and a haunting score. Solid performances all round, especially Cumberbatch but a Fun Cat Video this is not.
Jan 26th: The Book of Boba Fett Ep 5 might be one of my fave episodes of a different show. The exposition can be a little clunky and I miss Boba but I’d be lying if I said I didnt get a kick out the comedy or seeing That Ship. This one’s for the fans so no spoilers here. Go and enjoy.
Jan 27th: There are names in British comedy so large and so well renowned that you never need to have seen any of their work to recognise their name.
Barry Cryer was one of those names. And it’s a heck of a legacy he leaves behind.
Jan 27th: [Animéducation 6/many]
Cowboy Bebop is somehow manic and relaxed at the same time. The show, following the increasingly turbulent life of Space Bounty Hunters, looks and sounds gorgeous. The joy of being mostly episodic means that this is perfect for dipping in and out of.
Feb 2nd: The Book of Boba Fett Ep 5 is the most infuriating episode yet. Just when the plot progresses, another aspect of the wider universe is shoe-horned in. This is starting to feel more like the MCU than Star Wars. It feels like there wasn’t enough material for a full season.
And yes, that Bounty Hunter cameo is the most excited I’ve been in quite some time, but it feels like set-up for something larger. There’s one episode left and it feels like hardly any time has been spent with the shows protagonists.
Feb 2nd: Finally caught up on Bob’s Burgers and it’s one of the most delightful shows currently on television. The animated adult comedy about a family and their burger joint is continuously entertaining with lovable characters and a surprising amount of musical numbers.
Feb 4th: Licorice Pizza gives nostalgia for an era I never lived through. The story of a turbulent relationship in 1973 California feels like several stories stitched together which made it difficult to settle, but each story is a delight. Aesthetically pleasing with an equally airy score.
Feb 4th: Scream (2022) is an enigma. The latest installment in the slasher franchise is still full of relevant parody but takes itself a little more seriously than it needs to. There’s more blood and less laughs but the characters are still likable and the commentary important.
Feb 9th: The Book of Boba Fett Finale is pure Star Wars. The excitment, the emotion, the explosions, the resisting. As Boba aims to defend his city from the Pyke Syndicate, friends new and old join the fight in a high octane final episode that allows this middling series to go out with a bang.
Feb 9th: Save The Cinema is what humanity needs right now. Based on the true story of a small-town cinema saved by Spielberg and a stubborn mum, it’s full of sincerity and kindness. Fairly predictable but that doesn’t make it any less tear-jerking or important.
Feb 12th: Nightmare Alley is bleak but beautiful. The tale of a man on the run who begins dating a Carny and becomes a renowned magician is a harrowing story about fame. How do you get it and what do you do with it and how does it affect you? Made me sad but in an artistic way.
Feb 12th: Sing 2 is as cute as the first but lacks the heart. Buster and his friends try to put on a big show in the big city whilst trying to hire a recluse in a sequel that serves its purpose well. Plenty of music to capitalise on but less in-universe usage. Also lacks Seth Macfarlane.
Feb 14th: [On the passing of Harold Ramis] Nothing could have prepared me for this news. I hope he was proud of the work he left behind and the many lives he affected, including mine.
My heart goes out to his family and friends.
Feb 25th: Death on the Nile is a theatrical delight. Sir Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic is a visual masterpiece. Full of melodrama, suspense, and (mostly) superb acting with an often noticeable green screen and lack of subtlety. Just a fun time.
Mar 2nd: Jackass Forever proves that there is still a place in the world for laughing at people doing dumb things. As the classic crew, and some new friends, subject each other to dangerous stunts and pranks, the laughter came barreling out. Tamer, but no less Jackass.
Mar 6th: Moonfall is classic Emmerich. A disgraced ex-astronaut, his former partner, and a conspiracy theorist attempt to place the moon back into orbit in a progressively ridiculous and explosive story. Takes a little bit to get going but, once it does, the thrills and twists don’t stop.
Mar 13th: Uncharted feels exceptionally derivative. Based loosely on the videogame series, it follows Nate as he meets Sully and they search for hidden treasure, with “loosely” being the key word. It’s kept afloat by the charm of its 2 leads but is let down by cliches and a bland script.
Mar 13th: Turning Red is adorable. Young MeiMei becomes a red panda whenever her emotions get the better of her in the heartfelt, laugh-a-minute new tale from PIXAR. The representation is a huge positive, but there’s plenty of relatability too as well as some of the most vibrant and exciting animation the company has ever produced. PIXAR deserves to be shown on a big screen and movies like Turning Red prove it.
Mar 16th: Benediction is perfectly somber. Detailing the life and loves of famed author Siegfried Sassoon, it captures both his heart and his pain. It’s also about the futility of war and the scars it leaves, which is shot beautifully and scored to perfection. Heartbreaking. [BFI Flare]
Mar 16th: Boulevard! A Hollywood Story is a charming and educational documentary. Telling the story of the Sunset Boulevard musical that nearly was, it’s a tale of romance and regret between its 3 creatives. A marvelous story that begged to be told. [BFI Flare]
Mar 17th: Borekas is really sweet. A short film centered on a father and son bonding whilst their car is broken down, it seeks to have a meaningful conversation about how closed off men can be from each other and how a gay person can interact differently with their parents. [BFI Flare]
Mar 17th: The Tumbler is utterly charming. The short film sees a pair of GenZ hackers seeking to exploit a couple of millennials but getting more than they bargained for in a piece about assumptions and secrecy. [BFI Flare]
Mar 17th: Birthday Boy hits close to home. The short film about a trans man seeking to celebrate his 18th birthday as himself perfectly encapsulates the feeling of despair and suffocation that is having your family refuse to acknowledge you. [BFIFlare]
Mar 19th: The Duke is utterly delightful. Based on the true story of a pensioner who “stole” a painting, it’s slow in places but never loses that unique British charm. Heartwarming performances and a quirky soundtrack make for a very pleasant experience.
Mar 21st: Long Live My Happy Head is a real emotional rollercoaster. Comic artist Gordon battles a brain tumor, the pandemic, and a long-distance relationship in this honest and uplifting documentary which tugs at the heartstrings and is filled with love. [BFI Flare]
Mar 22nd: Cheaper By The Dozen (2022) is fairly paint by numbers. The story of the Baker family and dad Paul’s attempts at a sauce franchise has some delightful young talent and some heart but is filled with modern Disney-isms that will date it poorly. Nice to see Zach Braff again though.
Mar 22nd: Fresh puts the thrill in thriller. A newfound romance takes a drastic turn in a film that features outstanding performances and made me constantly uncomfortable (in a good way). Felt like it cut off the story too soon but MAN what a story.
Mar 26th: The Eyes of Tammy Faye is marvelous. Based on the true story of televangelist Jim Bakker through the eyes of his wife, it features outstanding performances and an honest depiction of all the best and worst of faith. Partially uplifting and constantly engaging.
Mar 26th: Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild lacks any of the IPs charm. Possums Crash and Eddie reunite with the titular weasel to take down an evil dino in this bland spinoff. Lacking in OG cast, animation budget, and humour, this is Disney direct-to-streaming all the way through.
Mar 30th: Moon Knight Ep 1 is full of promise. The tale of a man whose body is a vessel for an ancient mercenary, it has an intriguing premise and the illusion of Netflix-Marvel violence. What remains to be seen is if it will follow through on the latter and fully develop the former.
Apr 2nd: The Bubble is wild. A group of self-obsessed actors shoot a film during lockdown in this joyous dumpster-fire of a movie. The script is often unfunny and full of cringe but seeing high-caliber actors delivering that script is An Experience. Cameos you won’t believe!
Apr 4th: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is worth the wait. The sheer scale of this thing is astounding, as is the resolution. It’s an absolutely beautiful game to walk through and easy to get lost in. That’s before adding that cute lego humour and the wonderful Clone Wars voice cast.
Seriously. I’m maybe 3 hours in and, starting with The Phantom Menace, I’ve just defeated Darth Maul.
Apr 6th: Moon Knight Ep 2 delivers on the intrigue but falters on the action. Things heat up for Steven as Marc vies for control in an episode that’s beautifully shot except for the choppy action sequence. Khonshu provides suitable menace while the score provides the tension.
Apr 14th: The Bad Guys is delightful. A group of criminals faking going good takes a turn in this action-packed heist flick. The music is great, the moral simple and the design feels straight out of the book it was based on.
Apr 14th: Moon Knight Ep3 is a great character study. As Marc and Layla close in on Arthur, they realise Steven may be of some use in an ep that looks gorgeous. One of the best mid-series finales yet from the MCU, although there is a noticeable lack of Moon Knight.
Apr 15th: Morbius embodies uncertainty. The tale of ailing Dr. Morbius and his vampiric cure should be cool but is mostly bland. Torn between horror and comedy, it is suitable at both with Matt Smiths Milo stealing the show. It also features the most rushed, poorly dubbed, awfully written mid-credits scene I’ve ever witnessed.
Apr 17th: [Doctor Who] Legend of The Sea Devils is a chore. The Doctor and co face off against 19th century Sea Devils on an exposition-driven, choppily edited, husk of an episode. The production design is good and the 2 featured pirates feel genuine but those don’t save it. One left. Thank goodness.
Apr 20th: Moon Knight Ep4 is delightful. Layla and Steven finally reach Ammits Tomb in an episode that ups the archeology and then ups the weird. The relationship between Steven and Marc remains adorable whilst there are plenty of tense elements throughout. More like this, please!
Apr 22nd: Sonic Movie 2 is good fun. Sonic and his new friend Tails face off against Robotnik and his new friend Knuckles in a slightly slower movie than the first. It’s filled to the brim with references to the source material and current-day references, giving it peak Sonic cheese.
Apr 28th: Moon Knight Ep5 is the best so far. Steven and Marc process past trauma in an episode that really demonstrates Oscar Issacs acting abilities as well as the exploration of darker themes allowed by a 15 rating. The Jewish element seemed glossed over though, which kinda sucks.
May 6th: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a mixed bag. As Dr. Strange attempts to keep multiverse-hopping America Chavez out of the hands of Wanda Maximoff, there’s plenty to enjoy. Sam Raimi’s horror elements provide a new MCU experience but Wanda gets done real dirty.
Sure to split audiences.
I feel like if Sam Raimi had been allowed full creative control and a 15 rating, this could have been better.
May 20th: Chip N Dale: Rescue Rangers is entertainingly bad. The animation doesn’t gel, many of the jokes don’t land in the intended way and the relentless/odd cameos are a lot to take in. It’s a heck of an experience though, there’s nothing else like it. Best enjoyed with friends.
May 27th: Obi Wan Kenobi Ep 1 is a perfect re-introduction to the characters we know and love with a story we don’t. Nobody has lost a beat in the last 20 years, the Score is classic Star Wars and the cinematography is gorgeous. Director Deborah Chow is on to a winner here.
May 27th: Obi Wan Kenobi Ep 2 is the perfect follow-up to Ep1 whilst also acting as a great hook for the rest of the series. It can be funny and dramatic but within the final few minutes may leave fans emotional. These first 2 eps have felt like one film. And it’s great.
Jun 1st: Obi Wan Kenobi Ep 3 builds the tension and keeps it up. With Obi trying to sneak across the galaxy, the looming presence of The Empire has never felt stronger. Vader is as terrifying as he’s ever been here and the magnificent score is certainly helping. Love this show.
Jun 2nd: Stranger Things S4Ep1 is an entertaining re-introduction to the town and people of Hawkins. It’s a fun time with some interesting new dynamics and enticing new characters with a cliffhanger that reminds you this is still a horror show.
June 3rd: Stranger Things S4Ep2 is a good mixture of stories. It progresses the main plot whilst also filling in some pre-S4 gaps. With 3 seperate locations, it never feels like one is taking away from the others, there’s a good balance. Horror intensifies.
Jun 3rd: Stranger Things S4Ep3 ups the tension and the intrigue without ever getting too carried away. Feels like a mid-series finale but with a little less intensity. Also, we ship Nancy and Robin now.
Jun 3rd: Stranger Things S4Ep4 is an interesting one. It’s focused on the characters and the mystery rather than the supernatural. As a result, it feels a little slower but it still feels like a neccessary piece of breathing room.
Jun 4th: Top Gun Maverick is a high octane delight. As Mav returns to teach the next gen of Top Gun pilots, he is reunited with former wingman Goose’s son in a story that has a strong emotional core. The 80s soundtrack remains too, making this an instant classic. Film of the year so far.
Jun 5th: Stranger Things S4Ep5 is entertaining enough. It switches between the emotional story of 11 and the Scooby Doo story of the others, although the 11 side of things is a little more interesting. Definitely the least well paced of these episodes so far.
Jun 5th: Stranger Things S4Ep6 brings back the intensity thats been lacking the last couple of episodes. More is revealed, some great character interactions are had and there’s a cliffhanger that, had it been the end of this firt episode batch, would have left people screaming.
Jun 6th: Stranger Things S4Ep7 is full of cliches and resolutions that can be figured out but DAMN it’s good storytelling. Perfectly sets up the finale to come and resolves the first batch of episodes brilliantly. Its been a delight watching these actors come into their own.
Jun 8th: Obi Wan Kenobi Ep4 takes the action to the next level. Feels like a Clone Wars episode with all the emotional weight of one. A stark reminder that nobody is safe from the Empire and that Obi Wan is a top tier Jedi.
Jun 8th: Ms. Marvel feels like a Disney show in terms of tone, direction and score. Which is to say that it’s fine. It’s got a nice, grounded, family feel to it but it doesn’t feel like anything special. Also Captain Marvel is an odd character to idolise in-universe.
Jun 10th: The Bob’s Burgers Movie is burger flipping great. It feels like an extended episode instead of a bombastic blockbuster, meaning it keeps the tone, humour and characterisation perfectly. Wonderful to see a 2D movie on the big screen again.
Jun 15th: Obi Wan Kenobi Ep 5 is an emotional gut punch. As Vader closes in on Obi Wan, secrets and motivations are revealed in an episode that knows exactly how to affect the audience. Pure Star Wars.
Jun 15th: Ms. Marvel Ep 2 is more interesting than the first. The characters are endearing, even if the romance is a bit corny. Feel like the lore is going to end up being the most interesting part whilst Kamala becomes one of the best characters in the MCU.
Jun 17th: Lightyear is a loving send-up to the sci-fi genre and PIXARs first feature film. Buzz and a team of not-quite-recruits take on Zurg in a story full of heart, action, and laughs. Exactly the kind of movie it needs to be and a beautiful return to the big screen for the company. ALSO A HEADS UP: There are 3 credit scenes!
Jun 22nd: The Obi Wan Kenobi finale is probably perfect. As the story closes out there are confrontations, laughs, tears, and a couple of cameos that are sure to delight fans. This has been the best of these shows, and it’s hard to imagine something topping it. Just AAAAAAAAAAA
June 23rd: Ms. Marvel Ep3 is the closest the show has come to being good so far. There’s a decent amount of lore and the dancing is well choreographed but it’s only just starting to feel like it fits the MCU. However it is wonderful to see a Muslim wedding taking pride of place.
June 23rd: The Umbrella Academy S3Ep1 picks up the story perfectly. As the famous 6 meet the Sparrow Academy for the first time there’s plenty of butt-kicking and set-up for the tale to come. It’s good to be back in this world.
June 23rd: The Umbrella Academy S3Ep2 is wonderful. A major revelation hits the group and Luther spends some time with the enemy in a show that keeps being great. This is the Viktor transition episode btw and it’s handled beautifully with the respect that all Trans people deserve.
June 23rd: The Umbrella Academy S3Ep3 starts bringing the intensity whilst keeping the heart and humour. With the gang reunited they must figure out their next step in an episode that features some of the finest character work yet. Reginald Hargreaves is especially wonderful…yes really.
Jun 24th: The Umbrella Academy S3Ep4 is a turning point in the show that keeps turning. It builds perfectly on the last episode’s cliffhanger whilst introducing some new elements of its own. A whole episode of “WHAT?” moments.
Jun 24th: The Umbrella Academy S3Ep5 is wild. As the family is once again reunited, they must face reality and themselves in an episode that dives deep into how everyone is coping. There’s also a brilliant revelation about Klaus.
Jun 24th: The Umbrella Academy S3Ep6 ups the intrigue and the danger. As the apocalypse nears once again, the family begins to fracture in an episode that’s gripping from start to finish.
Jun 24th: The Umbrella Academy S3Ep7 sends chills down the spine. Both families put their differences aside and Klaus faces a challenge of his own in what feels like the calm before the storm in the best possible way.
Jun 24th: The Umbrella Academy S3Ep8 is beautiful. It’s the “emotional closure” episode and it’s sure to hit fans like several buses. Of course, the joy can’t last but it’s amazing while it does.
Jun 24th: The Umbrella Academy S3Ep9. All good art makes you feel something. With film and television, it’s to be traumatised when a dire outcome for your beloved characters becomes a reality. Consider me traumatised.
Jun 24th: The Umbrella Academy S3 finale deserves a coherent review. It’s visually stunning, emotionally devastating, and brings up some really interesting dimensional theory. But all I can think is AAAAAAAAAA
Jun 26th: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is wonderful. Nic Cage portrays an exaggerated version of himself befriending a mafia boss in this shockingly heartwarming tale. Plenty of laughs, plenty of action, and plenty of Cage who is CLEARLY aware of his reputation and his having fun with it.
Jun 26th: Everything Everywhere All At Once is close to brilliant. An unsuspecting laundry owner is thrust into a multiversal battle in this absurdly creative spectacle. It’s grounded by a lovable family and is funnier than expected but sometimes it leans too heavily into the silliness.
Jun28th: Jurassic World Dominion is serviceable. The new gang must save the clone child with help from the old gang in an installment that feels like it should have come first. It has good moments, and some fun interactions but is ultimately too caught up in nostalgia-baiting to be good.
Jun 30th: Ms. Marvel Ep4 is really charming. Despite an action-packed final act, much of the story is focused on Kamala, her mum, her Nani, and her heritage. Talking about Partition/ the effect it had is probably the closest the MCU has come to “being political” in a while and it’s welcome.
Jul 1st: Stranger Things S4Vol2 is a brilliant finale that falls short in the final half-hour. It’s almost totally conclusive, except for having to set up that looming series 5. Great character work, soundtrack, and aesthetic but lacking in finality.
Jul 6th: Ms. Marvel Ep 5 feels rushed. There’s not enough time spent in the past or the present with the final 10 minutes feeling like 2 separate scenes that have been jammed together. It ends super abruptly too. Just…not very good.
Jul 8th: Minions: The Rise of Gru is surprisingly entertaining. Gru’s attempt to get into a villainous group is more Gru-centric than the trailers implied and there are a few genuinely funny moments. Also nice to see Alan Arkin still getting work.
Jul 16th: Elvis is stellar. Austin Butler’s performance as The King of Rock and Roll is intense, passionate, and filled with tragedy. Director Baz Luhrmann handles the story with respect but allows the film to ooze style and Tom Hanks gives a fascinating turn as Colonel Parker.
Jul 16th: The Ms. Marvel finale is one of the best episodes of the series. The story reaches its conclusion in the fun Home-Alone-esque plot that’s at its best when focusing on Kamala’s relationship with those around her. Just wish the whole show had been this good.
Jul 23rd: Thor: Love and Thunder is a cringe-fest. Thor and Jane reunite to take on a God Butcher in a plot that feels rushed with jokes that will presumably amuse children. The final act is decent and there are a couple of laughs but all of these characters were wasted. More Gorr, please.
Jul 28th: Bernard Cribbins has affected the lives of several generations. From The Railway Children to Jackanory to Doctor Who to Old Jacks Boat, there can’t be many in the UK who don’t recognise him. He was an extraordinary talent and a beacon of warmth. Love to those who knew him.
Jul 31st: A hell of a lot of the diversity in sci-fi, we owe to Nichelle Nichols. She paved the way forward even when the world thought it wasn’t ready. Her loss leaves a galaxy-sized hole in many hearts.
Jul 31st: One of the cons of loving older film/TV is that a lot of our idols are passing away while we’re relatively young. And it’s not something I think I’ll ever get used to. Nichelle Nichols is one of many great losses but she’ll remain remembered and loved. Just like the rest of them.
Aug 3rd: Gasper Noe’s Vortex is impossible to take your eyes away from. The story, about a French couple dealing with dementia and their troubled son, is slow but totally worthwhile. Unique use of the frame and gentle score but it’s all in the gripping performances.
Aug 6th: DC League of Super-Pets is an excellent time for DC fans new and old. Krypto and his newly superpowered friends rescue the Justice League in one of the year’s funniest, DC-referential, heartwarming, beautifully animated movies of the year. Merton is my fave, btw.
Aug 7th: Prey is brilliant. A female Comanche warrior takes on the iconic Predator in a story that truly understands what made the original work so well. It’s slow, but tense, with dialogue only when it’s needed, and is dripping with gorgeous visuals. One of the best of the year.
Aug 9th: Carlo Bonomi, beloved Pingu voice actor, has passed away. The man wasn’t just an unbelievable talent, he also provided years of joy to children around the world. As an adult looking back, it’s impossible not to crack a smile. Thanks, Carlo
Aug 11th: Brian and Charles is so charming. This mockumentary about a lonely man who builds himself a friend features both the highs and lows of friendship as well as the monotony of small village life. Not for everyone, but certainly a really comfortable flick.
Aug 17th: I Am Groot is an acceptable little boost of serotonin. The youngling embarks on a few solo ventures in a well-paced, excellently animated collection of shorts. Although it’s a little bothersome not having them as a collective season. Would take many more.
Aug 18th: She Hulk Ep1 is a surprising delight. Tatiana Maslany is engaging, grounded, and has great comedic timing whilst the story finally fills in some gaps in Banner’s story (As well as Cap’s). If all episodes are like this, it may be the best, most TV-esque MCU show
Aug 25th: She Hulk Ep2 is pretty good. Jen finally meets Blonsky in a plot that does some neat world-building and provides plenty of reasons to smile. No proper laughs but it maintains engagement. The little title flip was a good gag.
Aug 25th: The Sandman is close to brilliant. Neil Gaiman’s source material is expertly crafted and it carries across well. It’s never unclear what’s going on and the lore is never too much. The characters are instantly likable, although a couple of casting choices are uninspired.
Sept 1st: She Hulk Episode 3 fully embraces the cringe. As Jen defends Blonsky, her associate defends an old colleague in a plot that makes me wish we’d seen more of Blonsky in the last decade. The humour won’t be for everyone but I don’t hate it yet…
Sept 2nd: Middle Earth is as full of lore and as grand in scale as it has always been. The first 2 eps of Rings of Power introduce excellent characters, high stakes and a score that’s just as beautiful as Howard Shores. Little quicker than the films, but not by much, it’s a good time.
Sept 7th: Fisherman’s Friends: One and All won’t win awards but it will win the hearts of audiences. The group struggles with the loss of a founding member in a story that has many of the same beats and jokes from the original but no less charm. Just very lovely.
Sept 8th: Pinocchio (2022) is proof that more backstory does not mean more interesting. The retelling of the Disney classic removes any bite or morals in favour of a tame tale that would rather reference its own parent company. No integrity but at least it can be a little creative.
Sept 12th: Nope is a conflicting experience. The tale of a UFO terrorising a small town builds slowly before a stellar 3rd act that falters at the finale. The concepts are interesting but they never feel fully realised, unlike the characters who are delightful. Eerie score too.
Sept 13th: She Hulk Ep4 is ridiculous. Jen tries dating whilst juggling a case against a sleazy magician, featuring Wong. The constantly drunk Madisynn adds a bubbly air to the entire thing. It’s the kind of episode that means the smile never leaves my face. Lovely.
Sept 13th: Rings of Power Ep3 is interesting. Switching between Galadriel, Nori and Arondir, it sets up some interesting plot points and has some lovely character moments. However, it feels like it is simultaneously fast and slow which is the joy of multiple episodes I suppose.
Sept 15th: She Hulk ep 5 has a surprising amount to say about influencers. As Jen and Titania face off in court, there’s an interesting look at how skincare brands operate and how loopholes can be used in the legal system. Fair amount of humour too, but the Shrek reference was a bit much.
Sept 16th: The Rings of Power ep4 ups the ante. Tensions rise in Numenour and Khazad-Dum as The Southlands evacuate. There’s something interesting going on in every story and one feels that they’ll culminate eventually but it’s the Khazad-Dum one that piques the most interest.
Sept 18th: I think Star Wars has always been easier to get into than Star Trek, unless you were there from the beginning of course. It’s not a matter of quality, rather it’s one of quantity. Star Wars was primarily a film series so there’s always been less of it but what FASCINATES me is that they’re so close to being similar now. Star Wars may never catch up in terms of hours but it’s now probably more than a general audience member is willing to sit through. You’re a fan regardless of how little you’ve watched btw.
Sept 18th: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Directors Cut) is a stunning achievement. The Enterprise crew reunite to intercept a powerful ship rapidly approaching Earth in a plot that exists to display how magnificent the Star Trek visuals can look on a large screen. It’s about spectacle and it remains one.
Sept 18th: Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn (Directors Cut) is astounding. The Enterprise crew find themselves at the mercy of an old adversary looking for a planet altering device in a film that remains iconic for a reason. Fully engrossing with masterfully updated visuals, it’s a sight to behold.
Sept 21st: Eps1-3 of Andor have the grime and story of Star Wars but isn’t yet as gripping as those other tales. Cassian Andor finds himself on the run from The Empire in a tale that’s most interesting when focusing on bureaucracy but shows great promise. B2EMO is perfect, no notes.
Sept 22nd: She Hulk ep6 is a delight. Jen attends a wedding, in an episode that gives a painful look at her personal life and provides the basis for a fairly obvious villain going forward. Some good Titania closure too, although I doubt she’s gone forever. A breath of fresh air for the MCU.
Sept 23rd: The Rings of Power ep 5 is equally tense and charming. As Mankind prepares for war, elsewhere friendships are tested in a story that continues to feel like Lord of the Rings. Poppys Wandering Song is an embodiment of that spirit, as is the kinship between Durin and Elrond. Great stuff.
Sept 28th: Andor Ep 4 continues to up the intrigue but never quite passes the threshold. Cassian becomes embroiled in planning a heist whilst Mon Mothma is reintroduced in an episode that is at its best when delving into politics. This series feels like it’s dragging.
Sept 29th: She Hulk ep 7 is very wholesome. Jen finds herself stuck on Blonsky’s ranch and takes the time to love herself in an episode that introduces some minor comic characters in an entertaining way. This version of Blonsky is also a delight and I hope he sticks around.
Sept 30th: The Rings of Power ep 6 is superb. The Southlands finally go to war in an episode with Big Finale energy in the best way. It’s broken up with some light humour but the climax is one of the best pieces of TV I’ve ever seen. Epic in scale and lore repercussions.
Oct 1st: ET: The Extra Terrestrial remains as whimsical as ever. The chance meeting of a young boy and an alien pulls at the heartstrings with amazing visuals ESPECIALLY this remaster on the big screen. It allows the atmosphere to soak in and the gorgeous score to fill the soul.
Oct 1st: Jaws is as stunning now as it’s ever been. The mission to hunt down a killer shark builds slow and maintains tension with a few laughs for good measure but it’s STELLAR in 3D. Depth of field like this in a movie is rare, making it feel like a once in a lifetime experience.
Oct 3rd: Bodies Bodies Bodies seems like a riot. An upper-class teen party goes wrong in a plot that consistently entertains, even if you can figure out the ending before it occurs. Worth seeing, ESPECIALLY with a group of friends and some alcohol.
Oct 5th: Andor ep 5 is a little tense. As the group continues to organise their heist, there’s a decent amount of friction in a character-driven episode. Feels like a turning point in the series, like action is only a week away. Slow burn but decent.
Oct 5th: Do Revenge is a delight. A school newbie and dethroned popular girl team up to enact each other’s revenges in a perfect send-up to 90s teen movies. Includes a poignant message about social media, the futility of school popularity, a stellar 3rd act twist and plenty of laughs.
Oct 6th: She Hulk ep 8 is a delight. Jen encounters the mischievous leapfrog and makes a new friend in lawyer Matt Murdock. The two leads have excellent chemistry and the fight scenes, while not perfect, are mostly about the relationships of those involved. Tense ending too.
Oct 7th: The Rings of Power ep 7 is a heck of a penultimate episode. Everyone deals with the literal and metaphorical fallout from the Battle of the Southlands in an emotional tale that perfectly sets up the finale to come. Features one of the most excellent last-minute reveals I’ve ever seen.
Oct 7th: Werewolf by Night is the best MCU entry since No Way Home. A group of hunters must survive fighting a beast in this tale from multi-talented composer Michael Giacchino. Great aesthetic, amazing score and no tying itself down to the larger universe…it’s refreshing.
Oct 12th: Andor ep 6 is where the fun begins. Having built up tension and relationships, The Big Heist finally takes place in one of the most beautifully shots eps yet. Slow build with a heck of an explosion and hopefully it isn’t a slow afterburn.
Oct 13th: The She Hulk finale is both an astounding feat of TV unlike anything I’ve ever seen and mildly frustrating the more thought is given to it. The metatextual narrative reaches its peak as Jen finally confronts Intelligencia in an episode that proves the MCU knows better.
Oct 14th: The Rings of Power finale is astounding. Identities are revealed and personal battles are fought in an emotional rollercoaster of a plot. Difficult to think of another show on TV with the scope of this one, now comes the tantilising wait for S2. Wow.
Oct 17th: Don’t Worry Darling is interesting enough. The story of a picturesque town that isn’t all it seems has stunning performances from Pugh and Pine with an amazing soundtrack. The ending feels hectic, and Styles’ acting isn’t brilliant, but 2/3rds of a good time is still pretty good.
Oct 19th: Andor Ep7 is gripping. In the aftermath of last episodes major heist, its clear that the characters and story have been given enough time to really breathe. Emotions will presumably run high as the conclusion approaches.
Oct 22nd: Lyle Lyle Crocodile is delightful. A boy discovers a singing crocodile in his new home with a story full of cliches and heart. Some fun characters and an annoyingly catchy soundtrack, its one the whole family should be able to enjoy.
Oct 23rd: (Doctor Who) The Power of The Doctor is wild. 90 minutes of classic Chibnall issues bolstered by ridiculous stakes and unexpected cameos with maybe the most gorgeous regeneration ever. With an ending that shocks and delights, it’s not perfect but its damn good fun.
Oct 25th: The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show is fascinating. Documenting the week in 1986 where Harry interviewed some of the most notable people of the era, it’s a reminder of how far we have and have not come in combatting racism. Tragic but hopeful, its a must watch.
Oct 26th: Andor Ep8 is excellent. The tension continues to rise as The Empire finally begins catching up to our heroes in a story thats willing to show just how little The Empire cares. This show makes it easy to root for individual Imperial characters but never their cause.
Oct 31st: Hocus Pocus 2 is delightful. The Sanderson Sisters return to face a new generation of teenager in this sequel that has as much charm and humour as the original. Has a distinct 2020s cringe to it but not too much and Sarah remains The Moment.
Nov 2nd: Andor ep 9 is tense. As Cassian prepares to escape prison and Dedra closes in it feels like theres an explosion of consequence right around the corner. Stunning performances all around but Serkis is particularly nailing it.
Nov 4th: Black Adam is highly derivative of every superhero film from the last 20 years. The Rock as a darker hearted superman should be interesting but between the characters, CGI and score, it brings nothing new to the plate. Dr Fate is neat though.
Nov 9th: Andor ep 10 is some of the most gripping TV I’v3 ever witnessed. Tensions in the prison finally reach breaking point in a plot that will have you rooting for the prisoners and heartbroken at the ending. Powerhouse performance from Stellan Skarsgard too.
Nov 9th: Tales of the Jedi is a fascinating concept. Providing further backstory for Dooku and Ashoka, the former gets the more interesting episodes. They show just how jedi can reach a breaking point, whilst Ashokas episodes show her determination and pure heart. More like this please!
Nov 9th: The House of the Dragon is oddly engaging. Set 175 years before Game of Thrones, it’s an ideal jumping off point for those who aren’t yet fans of the IP with brilliantly bitchy politics, standout performances and enough lore to sink several sets of teeth into. Lighting can sometimes be off though.
Nov 10th: The Woman King is close to excellent. Based on the true story of a group of female African warriors, there’s less focus on the titular character than expected. A couple of tired cliches too but it makes up for it with cracking action and stellar character work.
Nov 11th: To millions of people, Kevin Conroy WAS Batman. But to this queer adult who has felt shunned, like their sexuality will hold them back, he was a hero. My hero. That’s his legacy for me. This hope that he gave. Kevin shouldn’t have had to suffer but in the end he was free. I can be too.
Nov 13th: The Lost King is relentlessly charming. Based on the true story of the woman who found King Richard the Third’s remains, it’s a classic British film through and through. Its witty, heartfelt and features a grand performance from Sally Hawkins as usual. Comfortable viewing.
Nov 15th: Halloween Ends is simply uncomfortable to sit through. Excellent acting and a marvellous score but theres more romance than tension and it seems to revel in its violence. The final kill was particularly difficult to sit through and will be triggering for some. No more please.
Nov 16th: Andor ep11 is full of melancholy. After the highs of last week, with Cassian on the run, everybody else seems to be suffering. Mon Mothmas characterisation has been marvellous but it simply shines here whilst Luthen provides a little spark of hope. Perfect set up for the finale.
Nov 17th: Doctor Who Am I warms the soul. TV Movie writer Matt Jacobs dives back into the Whoniverse after 25 years in a joyous journey of self-discovery. A gorgeous exploration of people and fandom that never pokes too much fun at them and that feels sadly neccessary right now.
Nov 18th: Amsterdam lacks any soul. Based on the true plot to overthrow Roosevelt, its a tale that tries to be funny but lacks the charm to do so. It feels rushed and the acting feels like a bunch of first takes, which is a shame because the final act has a lot of promise.
Nov 21st: The Banshees of Inisherin is outstanding. The tale of a sudden rivalry between friends and the consequences it brings is equal parts hilarious and moving. Powerful performances from Farrell and Gleeson with a soundtrack that can be eerie and whimsical. Just brilliant.
Nov 23rd: The Andor finale is quite a gutpunch. SW has never been subtle with its messaging but as Ferrix finally hits boiling point, theessaging is clear. Rarely has The Empire seemed so evil and devoid of empathy. Setting it to the backdrop of a funeral only adds to the emotion.
Nov 25th: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is part typical Marvel faire and part heartfelt tribute, but it’s definitely better at the latter. The nation of Wakanda faces a new threat from the sea as they deal with a great loss in a sequel that is overly long but adequately entertaining.
Nov 27th: The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is pure festive cheer. Drax and Mantis kidnap Kevin Bacon to save Pete’s Christmas spirit in a plot full of laughs and heart. Standout performance from Pom Klenteiff as Mantis and a killer soundtrack, this one’s an instant classic.
Dec 7th: Bros is remarkably gay. Billy Eichner’s rom-com about two men with commitment issues is exceptionally entertaing if loud gay humour is your thing. In between are some very harsh truths about the way th community is treated so it can feel disjointed at times. But its so gay.
Dec 12th: Wednesday is an odd delight. Ms Addams uncovers a mystery in a small town from her new school in a show that features the same school/crime drama you’d find on the CW but with much more entertaining characters. It’s The Addams Family, just kookily modern.
Dec 12th: Matilda: The Musical is marvelously magical. It’s a more rambunctious telling of the beloved tale that’s packed with stellar choreography, entertaining songs and endearing characters. There’s a perfect blend of stage and screen in this visual feast for the eyes and ears.
Dec 13th: Violent Night is the spiritual successor to Die Hard. More action-packed, yuletide violence please.
Dec 14th: Violent Night won’t just make you believe in santa, it’ll make you fear for those on the Naughty List. Santa gets caught in the middle of a hostage situation in this bloody, beautiful, and oddly heartfelt tale. Simply dripping with festivity and blood.
Dec 16th: Avatar: The Way of Water is a technical masterpiece. From the otherwordly visuals to the ethereal score, it’s unlike any other blockbuster. The plotlines could have been reeled in a little bit but, with worldbuilding like this, you can’t afford to miss it.
Dec 26th: Glass Onion is exsquisite. Director Rian Johnson uses the building blocks of Knives Out to construct a different story that is equally compelling, satisfying and gorgeous to look at. This murder mystery party reinvigorates at every twist and it hinges on some stellar performances. Bravo.
Dec 28th: GDT’s Pinocchio is beautiful. A unique, anti-fascist telling of the tale with marvellous visuals, stop-motion animation and a few brilliant musical numbers. It can be bleak but with enough whimsy and optimism that it never feels hopeless. Best Pinocchio of the year by far.
Dec 28th: Disney’s Strange World is pretty good. It’s like if Journey to the Centre of the Earth had Avatar-level visuals but both those films are fairly average so it makes sense this would be too. It’s the realistic family dynamics, and the Wonderfully Gay Teen Son that make it work .