Thursday, May 23, 2024

Seen in April 

Still from The Creator.

In the entire month of April, we didn't go out to the movies once. That, in my opinion, is a shame and a bit of a travesty for me. While I completely understand the desire to shelter in place on the couch, and while I'm no fan of other people, I still like seeing movies, undisturbed in a large, dark room with others. In March, we went three times, twice in one day. As the weather improves it may be even less likely we'll want to spend time in a theatre, but I'm counting on that very same weather to make it easier to go. Here's what I saw this month.

The Completely Made-up Adventures of Dick Turpin
Apple TV+
Like Our Flag Means Death, they found a real life bandit and made a silly comedy out of it by applying our current pop psychology and trends to an 18th century rogue. A little lighter on the comedy than expected.

The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down
Who knew Seth Rogen was such an accomplished potter… as in making pottery, not smoking it. I’m still waiting for the crossover show with the Great Canadian Baking Show.

Son of a Critch S03
Another trip down memory lane in the funnest possible way.

Girls5Eva S03
This season didn’t disappoint with the same hard to keep up with cadence of jokes and a great call back to New York Lonely Boys.

The Creator
Like many sci-fi films this has a slightly convoluted plot. Set in the future when the US (and presumably “the West”) has banned advanced AI after a bombing of LA is blamed on a rogue AI. In Asia however, AI as well as very sophisticated androids have thrived. The US is busy waging a war with the creators of said AI and androids and have employed a deep undercover spy to find the primary scientist. Our protagonist, Joshua (John David Washington) is such an operative who has fallen in love with the presumed daughter of that scientist. It’s also suggested he has “gone native” and switched sides. He hasn’t but of course, he will, thus leading to the film’s conflict. It’s an entertaining film wrapped around the discourse of whether or not we should embrace the AI we have created or reject it or find a third way of living with it.

Time travel is impossible, but it sure is a lot of fun.

Loki S02
A surprisingly worthy extension and perhaps, conclusion, to the story of Loki, God of Mischief or whatever that is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Reluctant Traveller S02
Apple TV+
There were a couple of moments when I thought, "Eugene Levy, that's too much eyebrow." but then, like always, I returned to loving too much eyebrow.

Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga in Shōgun.

I never watched the first adaptation of this James Clavell historical novel, mostly because it struck me as an unlikely and silly love story set in 17th century Japan between an English sailor, John Blackthorne and a Japanese noble woman, Mariko. That series starred the handsome and very unhistorical looking Richard Chamberlain, which was probably why I had no interest in it. I do recall it being a big hit.

Four decades later someone decided that this is a great story of political intrigue and war strategies set at a critical time before Japan’s Edo period. They were right and I love the reproduction of 17th century Osaka along with the customs, practices, costumes and politics of that time. The primary story isn’t the romance but of the civil war machinations and maneuvers of Lord Yoshii Toranaga who uses cunning and the motivations of others to set his own plans in motion. Hiro Sanada is fantastic as Toranaga and Anna Sawai is a marvel as the multilingual Mariko who is the bridge between Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) and the Japanese court. There is only one misstep in the entire 10 episode series that was a confusing sequence that seemed to be a future setting but was in fact, a dream. If you plan on watching this you’ll find the accompanying podcast informative and satisfying.

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