GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (2021)

There’s not a lot to say, really. It takes a leaf from Stranger Things (literally, if you factor Finn Wolfhard’s casting) by putting the focus on kids chasing a supernatural mystery.

It’s most interesting when it’s doing this, and kinda loses steam in the back half when it more or less becomes a beat-for-beat recreation of the original film, but with a few creative spins.

It’s weird to think of “how tasteful is the fan-service?” as common consideration in modern filmmaking, but here we are. And it’s fine. Lots of callbacks and cameos and references, nothing too egregious or eye-rolly.

Perfectly servicable legacy-quel, and not much more. Worth a watch, don’t think about it too much.

ATLANTA // s03

Another cracking season from one of the best shows on television.

It’s surreal, hilarious, meandering, thoughtful, unexpected, harsh and subtle, often all at once. Whenever you think you have a handle on things, it just zags around you in really wonderful and creative ways.

This season has the primary cast (Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, Lakieth Stanfield, Zazie Beetz) on tour in Europe — this time tackling new success and the same old bizarre tics of humanity. There seems to be even less of a focus on Glover’s Earn this time around, which only gives the rest of the cast more time to shine.

Every episode is its own self-contained story, every one of them is a strange little gem. There’s no real moral lessons: it’s just odd and messy and human.

Oh, and there are some fantastic unexpected cameos throughout.

Really, the worst part about this show is that there’s only one season left.

Highly, highly recommended.

CHIP ‘N’ DALE: RESCUE RANGERS (2022)

Well this was a fun surprise.

Basically, it’s modern-day Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, all the way from blended animation/live action through to the Noir mystery detective story.

Cameos are an absolutely hilarious mix of unexpected cuts, absurd jokes and examples of just how deep Disney’s bench of IPs actually is these days.

Mulaney and Samberg are perfect casting, the animation is great, the concept and execution are excellent.

Solid comedy, well recommended.

RUSSIAN DOLL // s02

Unfocused but nonetheless enjoyable followup to a stellar first season.

Natasha Lyonne puts in an absolutely killer effort to a strange, meandering season of an overall great show. She’s a treasure.

The emotional through-line resolves itself much later and less clearly than the first season, choosing instead to reach for a broader scope and losing some of it’s razor edge as a result.

Still, it’s quick and punchy and all the performances are excellent at holding up a messy time-travel concept.

Loved it, even if it didn’t have the same kick of the first season. Third season welcome.

Recommended.

OUR FLAG MEANS DEATH // s01

OR: Rhys Darby & Taika Waititi’s Gay Pirate Show

It’s great. Takes a few episodes to properly reveal the true premise as a warm, ensemble comedy with strong queer undertones that turn to overtones of self-acceptance.

Once it gets going it’s a very sweet sort of romance set against a backdrop of classic pirate hijinks, but one of the captains is foppishly terrible at their job.

The whole cast is excellent, even if they’re slightly overshadowed by the charisma and chemistry of Waititi and Darby.

Highly recommended.

Hope this gets a second season, it’s a breath of fresh sea air. Kinda feels like an inevitability with all the (well deserved) positive buzz, so fingers crossed.

EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, ALL AT ONCE (2022)

Just… wow.

There is so much going on here — a hurricane of full-sprint, gleeful weirdness. It’s incredible. It might be your new favourite movie.

It’s like The Matrix, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich and Rick & Morty conspired to make something that even all that hyperbole can’t accurately describe. It 100% lives up to it’s title, and twists your expectations at every turn.

I think we’re done with multiverse movies after this. The upcoming Doctor Strange promises a lot, but you truly have to see what this film achieves with a fraction of that budget. Even on a purely practical and technical level it’s playing eight-dimensional chess.

Complete joy, wonder, raw emotion and hysterical laughter. What an absolute masterwork of cinematic lunacy.

Highly, highly recommended.

TURNING RED (2022)

It’s great!

An absolute celebration of women, mothers, sisters and friendship — all wrapped in kinetic, vibrant style.

The animation is fun, the story’s emotionally resonant, the soundtrack is a brilliantly pastiche of early 00’s boy bands by Finneas/Billie Eilish.

Bursting with personality, passion, and charm. Well worth your time.

Pixar have been killing it lately. Highly recommended.

PEACEMAKER // s01 (2021)

James Gunn has an inimitable talent for elevating rejects and burnouts into some of the most compelling, complex characters in modern pulp fiction.

Even indicental characters get more development than half the leads of modern blockbusters, in a mix of deep pathos and hilarious irreverence.

Peacemaker is no different — an anti-hero at his heart, John Cena brings a gravitas to this sad asshole that makes him much more fun than your standard comic fare.

Ultra-violent, frequently disturbing, and leaning into Gunn’s penchant for visceral body horror spliced with dark humour, it’s a wild ride and a tonne of fun.

If you liked the recent (and also excellent) The Suicide Squad, you’ll like this.

Recommended.

THE WHITE LOTUS (2021)

Social satire at luxury resort in Hawaii, where we know that by the end of the week one of the cast will be dead.

You’ve got bratty rich, workaholic rich, insecure rich, newly married rich, naive rich… and all the staff stuck keeping their vacations as pleasant as possible.

Naturally, that goes off the rails.

There’s enough red herrings and misdirects to keep you on your toes working out who the cadaver will be right til the very end, and the cast all put in solidly charismatic and likeable performances.

Gorgeously shot, regularly hilarious and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Oh, and the soundtrack is great.

Recommended.

DON’T LOOK UP (2021)

Your standard Adam McKay biting satire that’s so uncomfortably close to reality as to hardly qualify as satire.

This time around, it’s a comet headed for Earth with a 100% guarantee of a planet-wide extinction event, and the absolute trainwreck of a circus that ensues from the media parade of misinformation, disinformation, corporate interest and general political fuckery.

It’s frequently infuriating in its accuracy, playing for comedy what could be modern headlines with only a few small tweaks.

If the pandemic hasn’t yet completely soured your appetite for laughing at this sort of thing, then it’s a solid comedy with a stacked cast and a black heart.

Recommended.