Godzilla vs Kong

Monkey punch lizard punch monkey punch lizard. For two hours. What more do you need to know?

What’s The Movie? Godzilla vs Kong

What’s It All About, JG? If you can’t work it out from the title, I’m not sure what I can do to help, really. Monsters fighting monsters (but then also fighting a robot). Surprise, right? Anyway the technically-there plot is that Godzilla attacks a research base unexpectedly while Kong, who has been taught basic sign-language by a deaf girl, is transported from Skull Island to help get into the Hollow Earth. Midway there, there’s a big slap-fight between Godzilla and Kong, then Kong does indeed get inside the Hollow Earth where there’s a throne-room where his people once ruled from (I guess?) and big-ass axe made from a previous Godzilla’s dorsal fin. Some people – all the humans, from the little deaf girl to major characters are all just “some people”, really – have built Mechagodzilla and it’s down to our deaf friend to convince Kong to stop fighting Actual Godzilla and team up to defeat the robot one. Which, in a vastly destructive Hong Kong sequence, they do. The movie ends with the two Titans going their separate ways and Kong ruling once more beneath the Earth.

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Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Does the re-edited, re-shot and re-monkyed-around-with movie improve on the original? How could it possibly be any worse?

What’s The Movie? Zack Snyder’s Justice League

What’s It All About, JG? Following the death of Superman in Joan V Betty: Dawn Of Handbags the world is under threat from Steppenwolf, a hilariously be-spiked bad guy who has come to Earth in search of three Mother Boxes. They’re devices that can literally destroy the world and were left on Earth after a previous invasion failed. Racked with remorse, it says here, Bruce Wayne puts together a team to fight him off consisting of Wonder Woman (excellent), The Flash (fine), Cyborg (certainly in this), Aquaman (appealingly silly) and an eventually-resurrected Superman (poorly served), plus his own Batman (OK). It all ends – can you imagine the surprise? – in a big CGI slug-fest where Steppenwolf is defeated but it turns out he was only working for Darkseid, the real power behind (well, on top of) the throne. And there’s a stupid Epilogue about a wasted world and the Joker for no apparent reason, but that need not detain us.

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Wandavision

The MCU comes down to earth with its first Disney TV show.

What’s The Show? WandaVision

What’s It All About, JG? Following the events of Avengers: Endgame and the death of Vision, Wanda retreats into a world of comforting sitcoms, generated by her extraordinary power. This means that a “hex” has been placed over the town of Westview and its inhabitants become her puppets, while out in the real world agents of S.W.O.R.D. attempt to discover what’s going on with the weird red glowy thing that’s covering a town in New Jersey. Turns out Wanda is generating sitcom episodes every “week” in a different style, while Agnes – revealed as Agatha, replete with her own theme song – is trying to steal Wanda’s chaos magic, which means everything ends in different coloured fireballs being slung around.

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Tales From The Loop

Under-appreciated excellence from Amazon Studios.

What’s The Show? Tales From The Loop

What’s It All About, JG? Good question. It is, technically, a science-fiction series which is based on the artwork of Simon Stålenhag, a Swedish artist who specialises in painting largely bucolic, slightly old-fashioned landscapes into which technology intrudes. It’s straightforward retro-futurism, in other words, and if a series of paintings sounds like an unlikely basis for a sci-fi show it nevertheless finds a way to work. Across eight episodes we encounter the inhabitants of Mercer, Ohio who live near “The Loop”, a hazily-defined piece of technology that allows the impossible to happen. The series explores the characters of the town in separate but overlapping stories, sometimes connecting with other characters or plots, sometimes not. The series is utterly uninterested in building either traditional arc-based narratives or technobabble science-y explanations for the events that occur, instead investing in its characters and what they go through as a result of events or occurrences caused by The Loop. If that all sounds odd – it is.

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Tenet

What if Doctor Who but James Bond?

What’s The Movie? Tenet

What’s It All About, JG? It’s Doctor Who for people who don’t watch Doctor Who but who nevertheless quite like the idea of a two hour Doctor Who story but also James Bond. Basically – very basically – there’s a temporal Cold War going on, with the future attacking the past for comparatively nebulous but plot-necessary reasons. Our hero is The Protagonist, played with glowering intensity by John David Washington, who’s out to… erm, save the present I guess? Probably. Anyway, he finds out about Tenet, an organisation who are trying to stop the future and save humanity as it is now. He is aided in this quest by Neil (Robert Pattinson, continuing a long and surprising run of not sucking), someone who The Protagonist doesn’t know but who seems to know him. There’s also some Bond-type shenanigans with an Indian arms dealer who sometimes-helps-sometimes-not, and a Russian oligarch  (a fruitily entertaining Kenneth Branagh as Andrei Sator) who can contact the future, and his wife, a standard-issue wife-kept-prisoner-in-a-gilded-cage routine that should be familiar to anyone who’s seen Thunderball. Sator is behind all of this and suffering from terminal cancer so, um, has decided to take the world down with him at a time of his choosing. Like you do. It all culminates in lots of running about the place, some fairly obscure temporal physics and a big rush to the end in order to prevent the movie’s McGuffin causing a loosely defined catastrophe. 

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The K2

Spy shenanigans meets.. well just about every genre under the sun in this excellent Korean drama

What’s The Show? The K2

What’s It All About, JG? It’s a one-season long Korean drama which posits the question “What if 24, but Dynasty?” Which is not, frankly, a question that gets asked often enough. Our hero is Kim Je-ja – played with slightly boyish enthusiasm by Choi Seung-hun – who is framed for the murder of a civilian in Iraq. Returning to Korea as a fugitive he accidentally catches Jang Se-joon, a predistential candidate, in flagrante with a mistress which through a series of what can only be called shenanigans, leads to him to work for Choi Yoo-jin, his wife. She’s hiding his illegitimate daughter, Go An-na, from the public eye as a means to control Jang- Se-joon and ensure her own elevation to First Lady. Kim agrees to work with her (under the codename K2) to take revenge on another presidential candidate, Park Kwan-soo, the real perpetrator of the Iraq murder for which he has been framed, while he slowly – sometimes very slowly – falls for An-na. Meanwhile Choi Yoo-jin’s younger brother, Choi Sung-won, is manoeuvring to take over the family business and treats the life and death situations as little more than a game for his own amusement. It’s a strange mix of espionage, family drama (the whole Dallas-esque sub-plot involving the protracted fight for the family business), conspiracy theories, techno-thriller, adventure serial, high-kicking action and romance all wrapped up in one show. Whatever else you can say about The K2 it certainly doesn’t lack for content.

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Snowpiercer

Round and round and round they go, where they stop nobody… cares

What’s The Show? Snowpiercer

What’s It All About, JG? Based on the movie, based on the graphic novel, Snowpiercer tells the story of the last human survivors of an environmentally-devastated Earth who circle the globe in the titular Snowpiercer, a train of a thousand carriages. The train contains everything people need to survive but is riven with tensions, alliances, bigotry and shifting loyalties. It’s all a huge analogy for the class system, capitalism, systemic oppression and the way that human beings react when forced to come to terms with who they are. Sounds great, right? What a shame, then, that instead of that we get a bog-standard detective show where someone gets killed, someone has to investigate, turns out its some rich bitch who had a crush on her bodyguard or something and…. oh who cares.

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Doctor Who Series 12

An episode-by-episode review of the 12th series of the venerable sci-fi classic

So I’m going to do something I haven’t done before and review Season 12 of Doctor Who episode-by-episode as the are released. As usual, I shall be dispensing with the twin straightjackets of objectivity and fan consensus, and will add each new episode as they come.

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Knives Out

Can the Agatha Christie formula be reworked into something successful in the 21st century?

Today’s Recipe Knives Out

Ingredients Well, it’s a dish prepared as a twisty-turny whodunnit, perhaps less directly indebted to the style of those late 19th- and early 20th-century mystery suppliers like Agatha Christie, but reflecting more contemporary approaches, specifically of films like Clue. Of course second-hand influence is still influence, and the familiar ingredients are all here – the outrageously silly name (and accent!) of Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc recalls the many, many idiotic accents of Poirot across the years and gives a flavour of the original without the need for direct references. He’s been called in by a mysterious figure to investigate the death of author Harlan Thrombey (a suitably ripe Christopher Plummer), who apparently died by his own hand. As his family gather for the reading of the will there is suspicion of foul play, and of course everyone in the family ends up wanting their fingers in the pie – Harlan’s vast fortune – and of course everyone has a reason and motive to get it. Could it be the good-looking rake of a grandson played by cast-against-type Chris Evans, Hugh? (America’s Asshole!)

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The Good Liar

Two of the great thesps of the age in a single movie. Yes please!

What’s The Movie? The Good Liar

What’s It All About, JG? Roy (Ian McKellen) is an ageing con-man, who alongside his business partner Vincent bilks gullible/vulnerable investors out of money for reasons which on Roy’s behalf appear to be little more than “because he enjoys it”. He comes into the orbit of Betty (Helen Mirren) via an on-line dating site and he prepares to run the sting once more having discovered that Betty is both widowed and really rather well off. He gradually inveigles his way into her life and eventually her house, despite the clear disapproval of Betty’s grandson, Steven (Russell Tovey, turning up to do That Thing Russell Tovey Does).

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