TV Shows

Godzilla Singular Point

I see Godzilla, I watch. I expected dumb and fun action, but what I got was a deeply philosophical rabbit hole into hard science fiction and naturally time travel. I did get to see my big lizard do what he does best, but he felt more like an afterthought. More like there was an interesting story here about monsters coming to our world, and a looming catastrophe and to get funding, reached out anywhere and Toho is like “Do what you want, just make sure the big guy doesn’t eat humans.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty great and does touch on many of those aspects that make Godzilla neat – humans turning to war and weaponry and Godzilla responds in kind. How nature is inevitably going to try and punish humanity for their transgressions against the planet. But then it touches on newer stuff, and while the episodes are short, they are crammed full with information. It takes a while to digest. I felt stumped, and even stupid that I didn’t understand it. Then came revelations later, both in episodes and my own mind.

The art style reminded me of older cartoons meant for adults from when I was a child. This helped me quickly catch on that this was unlike any other Godzilla story I’ve seen. All the characters are incredibly intelligent and while lost in the mystery, they still manage to make some sense of it. Meanwhile, the viewer, is wondering what the heck is happening. I need like an excel sheet to make sense of the science. Yet with time comes wisdom. And after having seen the whole season, now I understand what sort of madness was entertained within. Each character is strong in their roles, none but the old man owner feel like caricatures. Though the factory worker that designed the robot, he suffered from heavy plot armor.

Overall, it was a somewhat enjoyable ride. I did get bored due to the dialogue being too complicated or complex to make sense of in the moment. I would have to pause and take a break while mulling it over. The monsters were fun to see because of how the traditional foes and Godzilla are adapted to this writer’s vision. And the sense of tension throughout the story, kept you with bated breath, until it finally let you take a breath was well done. It’s an anime I’d recommend and I don’t watch many of those.

Movies

Megan Leavey

This is another war/drama movie with a fair bit of patriotic values that will resonate with American viewers that I found was a rather well told story. It is a biographical movie about a young Marine corps corporal who teamed up with a combat dog named Rex. She – the title of the movie – formed a bond with this dog, and after ending her tour tried to adopt him. Kata Mara plays the title character, and I really enjoyed taking this journey with her. She did a great job portraying the after effects of war, the trauma it leaves on a person, and how she coped with the loss of being Rex’s partner. The story itself did great at maintaining tension as you never quite knew where Rex might sniff out a bomb. The few scenes that were meant to serve as Iraq were tense and exciting and I wish they showed just a bit more of the types of missions that she and Rex went out on.

The supporting cast members that were her mom and dad, stepdad, Gunnery Sergeant, fellow dog handlers and soldiers were very good at creating the narrative and establishing the life of Megan Leavey. Common as the Gunnery Sergeant was a pleasant surprise, he’s always a joy to watch on screen. He’s got presence even if he’s just a minor character. Edie Falco as her mother did an excellent job at getting on your nerves because her character is a minor step away from being trailer trash. Bradley Whitford was a little bit of a wasted choice here, he didn’t really have much to work with. Tom Felton’s acting is always fun to watch, as one fondly remembers him from his Harry Potter movie days.

The thing that I enjoyed most about this movie, which also brought a tear to my eye, was the bond between Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) and Rex (Varco). That connection that a dog forms with their owner and partner is something truly special. Dogs form an attachment of love that is just so very touching and beautiful, and you can’t help but feel your heart be tugged when you see Rex light up at reuniting with Megan. Honestly, I watched it for the dog. And I was so very happy that the dog didn’t die during the movie. Although Rex, himself in real life, has now since passed away back in 2012.

Overall, I recommend watching this movie if you’re in the mood for a touching biographical look at this woman’s life and that of the dog. Besides the more patriotic moments that have no bearing on my viewing, the moments of tenderness between human and dog are a treat to enjoy.

TV Shows

Behind Her Eyes

This is one of those shows that if they didn’t lie to you off the start, you never would have watched it. By this, I mean that it is withholding a vital piece of information regarding genre. It says on Netflix that it is a mystery, thriller, and drama but it’s missing the most important piece(s). Those are that it is also a supernatural fantasy. Now it if was just a show about a cheater and his involvement with his secretary who happened to also befriend his wife, and kept it realistic, I’d have enjoyed it much more. As it stands, I can’t help but feel cheated. The ending is seen a mile off and you can’t help but think “please don’t have the ending be what I think it is.” Guess what? It’s exactly the nonsense you thought it would be.

Going into it, I knew I was to be worried seeing that the showrunner is one Steve Lightfoot. He made the spectacularly bad and utter misfire The Punisher for Netflix earlier. I just loathe what he did to that character, and given his terrible writing in that, I felt this would suffer the same. And I was right. Behind Her Eyes felt like somebody watched The Skeleton Key (2005) and decided the ending and villains would be better if they were white. Now technically, I haven’t spoiled anything, but if you’ve ever seen that movie then you’ll know exactly what I’m referring to. However, this could merely be a coincidence and the book that which the series was based on, could have had what show ended with as its plot. I never read the book, nor knew of it prior to watching this limited series. I’m just saying, it’s a little too uncanny with the similarities. Though in the Skeleton Key, they use hoodoo magic as the basis and here it’s astral projection.

Spoilers Ahead

Now if we do a deep dive into the ending of the series, and really consider what it means, there’s a lot to unpack here. An oversimplification of events would be that a gay man fell in love with a straight man, but knew that the straight guy would never go for him, so he changed his sex to a female to get with him. If we wanna get technical, it’s rape by deception. Sure, you’re having sex with your wife but inside your wife’s body, there’s a man’s spirit. But then your white husband gets bored of you or scared of you, and falls for a black woman. So now you become the black woman, and resume raping your victim. See what I wrote sounds way worse than what they showed in the series, but it’s what happened. Sounds much more horrible when you actually write it out and think about it. This ending is messed up.

A couple things I wondered were that a) a woman you just recently made acquaintances with, gives you a book that is very clearly someone’s personal journal that should in no way be with her, you just take without question and read it. B) A woman you called psychopathic, sociopathic or god knows what makes essentially a suicide note, and you come running to save her… Literally, all she had to do was not do that and it’d be all happy after. But no, you go to her house, and try and save her by… ASTRAL PROJECTION?! HUH? Honestly, being that dumb, she deserved her fate.

As for the actors themselves, they were pretty good. And pretty good looking, which I mean, they had to be for the erotic thriller aspect of it. Eve Hewson as Adele, the aforementioned psychopath, did really good as a person struggling with mental health issues and Tom Bateman as Dr. David Ferguson did really well at making you feel like he had something sinister going on. Simona Brown as Louise did great as the single mother looking for a connection, and did an excellent job at making me dislike her as a character. Robert Aramayo as Rob was entertaining to say the least, and very insidious. The direction was good, by Erik Richter Strand, but the writing felt off at times. The interactions between Adele and her husband, David, didn’t feel real. It never felt like this is how two people would ever communicate with one another. Like the writing has that specific feel that it was written for this scene and this camerawork. It wasn’t organic or natural. That’s right, Steve Lightfoot once again proving he has no business in TV shows yet somebody keeps giving him money.

Overall, just stay away from this show. It’s not worth the stream, nor is it worth having Netflix look at the viewing numbers and go “Wow, we should give more money to Steve Lightfoot! He sure knows what he’s doing. Boy, what a great showrunner and writer.” Please no, I don’t wanna see another show with his name on it because next time, I’m just gonna skip it. Like you should skip this show.

TV Shows

Vagabond (2019 TV Series)

Vagabond is a South Korean spy, crime, thriller, romance and action tv series starring Lee Seung-gi, Bae Suzy, with Shin Sung-rok and many others. The initial premise is when an airplane bound for Morocco goes down in mysterious circumstances, stuntman Cha Dal-gun (played by Lee Seung-gi) fights to unravel the truth surrounding the plane crash. He is forced to partner with a covert agent from the National Intelligence Service (NIS), Go Hae-ri (played by Bae Suzy), and together they struggle against forces beyond their reckoning – corruption to the highest level.

Mild Spoilers to follow

What I really enjoyed was that the show goes full circle in its execution. It starts off with a scene in the desert, and then jumps to the story at hand. As you watch the entirety of it, you keep wondering the significance of that desert scene. And near the end of the final episode, that scene plays again and you realize the entire story was a showcase as to how the main character ended up there. The other strong points were the twists that occurred, and how it managed to build up its villains. The person who you think is the main bad guy is actually merely a pawn in the grand scheme of things, then when it moves up to the next level at play, even those individuals are merely pawns of something larger.

Every episode was nail-bitingly good, and kept you at the edge of your seat because you so strongly root for Cha Dal-gun and you want him to succeed. So each time he gets set back, you feel a little bit of angst because there’s a very real possibility he might not get what he desires. The bad guys are very good at what they do, at corrupting people or setting them up to be used as unwitting or witting pawns. It was like watching a game of chess with an amateur against a grandmaster but the grandmaster loses because the amateur acts in way you don’t expect him to because it’s dumb. And it’s that dumb move which gets him the victory yet the grandmaster knew it and saw it coming, but didn’t react because they didn’t expect their opponent to have the gall to do it. The grandmaster is not without fault either, they made a small and but critical error that allowed their opponent to seize victory – they underestimated them.

The chemistry between the leads is entertaining and you root for them to have a future together. You smile at their antics and your heart grows fondly at them getting closer. Everyone did a great job, and I didn’t feel that any actor or actress was a weak link. They were all believable and at times ruthless in their character’s manners or appearance. You truly disliked the villains and that is the best kind of acting. You don’t see the person underneath, only the character they are portraying.

The faults I had with it were that the gun fights were underwhelming and lacking. Often times, they were quite unbelievable because with the sheer amount of firepower offered, the good guys should all be dead. Too much missing a shot, or cars that can withstand hundreds of bullets and still be fully drivable without any problems. A lot of scenes of guns fired indoors and nobody batting an eye at the sound. What was good to see was a proper sniper sequence with them sighting the shot/adjusting it before firing and actually not aiming directly at the target but slightly off to the side. The hand to hand combat was excellent and never did I feel that the characters were superhuman when they fought. They took appropriate damage and acted as one should following an injury. The driving was very well done and never had a case of “how did that lower powered car somehow catch up?”

Overall, I thoroughly loved the show. I enjoyed the story and its depiction of real events regarding corruption and power, on how the world operates. I loved the chemistry between the leads and I’d recommend watching the show even despite the open ending. Perhaps Netflix will be kind enough to allow a second season despite it not yet being confirmed as renewed.

Movies

Freaks: You’re One Of Us

Written by Marc O. Seng of the TV show Dark, comes a German movie about individuals with powers. These individuals are suppressed by the government via a psychiatrist prescribing little blue pills. These pills turn the individuals into meek and dull zombies of themselves. When a chance meeting with a homeless man occurs with our main character, a woman in her thirties with a husband and young son, she is thrust into a world of possibilities. At the man’s behest and insinuation of super powers, she decides to stop taking the pills. And as it turns out, she learns the truth, she does have powers.

Similarly, one of her co-workers, a young man with seemingly autism or of being on the spectrum, is also taking the same pills. He’s motherless and his father is shacking up with another woman who he mockingly calls “mom”. His fate is intertwined with our main character, and of that of the homeless man. Together they go on a journey of self discovery and uncover a far reaching conspiracy.

As the viewer, we are meant to sympathize with the main character due to her job as a waitress with a mean boss lady that doesn’t treat her well. Her customers don’t give her any respect either, and her husband can be said to be a bit of a boor. She comes off as lacking intellect, and the case could be made that she’s bipolar. In fact, the entire movie, if you take out the powers aspect, could be said as a metaphor for bipolar/schizophrenia. The movie even has a line saying that the pills suppress their true selves, who they really are.

The change in both the young man and our main character is almost immediate. They go from being dull and meek, to being manic and aggressive. Yet she follows the path of a typical hero while he follows the path of a misunderstood villain. His mom wasn’t there to raise him properly while his dad constantly berates him for who he is. So when he gets powers and realizes his own self worth, it doesn’t take a blind man to see the path he’d take.

The movie doesn’t offer anything new on the superhero genre, nor does it reinvent anything. The message it sends is dangerous to those that are bipolar and/or schizophrenic because having known such individuals, the medication they take is necessary for a normal life. To stop their medication would be catastrophic.

The only good that comes from this movie is the soundtrack. The electronic music and classics such as Listen to your heart provide a nice reprieve from what’s shown on screen. The special effects are often done off screen and then we get to bear witness to the results. There are a few instances where CGI is seen, and for a low budget movie, it’s pretty decent.

Overall, I don’t recommend this movie. It goes to show that as a writer, one can write a masterpiece only to turn around and write utter schlock. This movie should be avoided. Don’t give Netflix the data that lets them think these kinds of movies are okay to be made.