Pine Gap Series Review

Platform: Netflix

Starring: Parker Sawyers, Jacqueline McKenzie, Tess Haubrich, Steve Toussaint

So I had been on the fence about watching this programme after having witnessed its rather lacklustre trailer. However, I hopped down from the fence earlier this week when I was looking for something to watch. Was it the best show I had ever watched? Here’s my review:

I confess, no it was not the best program that I’ve ever watched. However, I can’t lie, the programme had me hooked! Once the show got going, I found myself unable to turn away. Pine Gap gave me an engaging and tension-filled look into the lives of those who work in the Intelligence community. Though, I don’t doubt for one second that it was highly dramatised and as a consequence, some of the things that took place would definitely not have in real life.

Furthermore, all the acting in the show was good, but there is one person who requires a special mention and that is Jacqueline McKenzie who played Kath Sinclair. She was by far the most interesting character in the show. Her delivery meant that I truly empathised with the character when she she had her emotional moments. Moreover, when she was making all the hard decisions and joint leading the base, I was supportive of her balanced and thought out approach. If I was under her command, I would definitely be comfortable following her instructions lol.

Now onto the negatives of which there are a few.

Firstly, while the show was very engaging, it didn’t start off that way. The first half of the first episode was quite boring. It is only at the end of that episode that the began to get good. Honestly, I found this quite surprising in a show that features spies, treason and a missile launch.

Secondly, I really didn’t care much for the romance between Jasmina and Gus. This had nothing to do with the actors who I felt put in a good performance. However, call me a cynic, but I had no faith that their romance was going to run smoothly in their line of work. Therefore, I really didn’t care to watch any of their inevitable bust ups.

Thirdly, it did feel like some of the other analyst characters disappeared for a bit while they were no longer necessary only to re-emerge when the plot required it. As a result, whenever these characters had any sort of emotional quandary or plot line that didn’t relate to their job, I didn’t actually care. I know there were only six episodes, so they’d have to condense the time taken to provide their backstories to the audience. But clearly, one episode wasn’t enough and more time should have been devoted to it.

To conclude, Pine Gap was a really good show once it got started. The plot was filled with drama and intrigue both personal and political. Hopefully, there’ll be a season 2 because that ending was good!

Rating: 8/10

But what did you think? Tell me in the comments

Featured Image taken from an article on the Guardian Website

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YOU Netflix Series Review (Spoilers)

I was always going to watch this show, however, it got moved to the top of my list when a friend of mine recommended that I watch it sooner rather than later. As I value her opinion, I put it on and settled down for a nice binge watch sesh. Did my friend oversell the programme’s quality? Here’s my review:

To answer that question: no she did not. The show had me hooked from the beginning largely due to the voiceovers provided by the charismatic and charming Penn Badgely as Joe. I loved the voiceovers because they managed to add both humour and up the tension when it was most required. Furthermore, they even managed to make Joe seem somewhat relatable at times which is slightly worrying as Joe was a legitimate creeper who really shouldn’t be empathised with. I mean being cheated on is no excuse for murder and yet, I did find myself not hating him as much as I should have done. In my mind, this is a sign of great writing and acting, so bravo guys!

Additionally, this was another example of a show that was entirely unpredictable. You always knew that something was going to happen/did happen yet it was never quite what you expected. The best example of this is the final scene when Candace rocks up demanding that her and Joe need to have a sit down. When this happened, I was sat on my bed, my mouth wide open in surprise because I, like most others I suspect, believed Candace to be Joe’s first victim. Her being alive is a welcome surprise because it leaves the door open for a second series where we explore what exactly happened to Candace.

The only negative that I got took from the show was some incredulity that Peaches was the only one to have doubts about Joe. Admittedly, Joe was pretty good at covering his tracks and making use of that book dungeon but I have a hard time believing that no one else was suspicious of him especially Ethan, his colleague from the bookstore. He must have found it suspicious that Candace disappeared like that. Or he should have found it suspect that there were a bunch of times that Joe would just leave at a moments notice without explanation or that he would often make that room downstairs off limits for weeks on end without good reason. Honestly, I feel like there were so many red flags that at least one other person should have been the least bit suspicious but I can accept the possibility that Joe was just that good stalking people.

To conclude, YOU was an excellent Netflix drama derived from the most intriguing concept ever. Penn Badgely deserves several applauses for bringing to life such a deliciously complicated character.

Rating: 9/10

Were you a fan? Tell me why in the comments?

Featured Image taken from an article from vox.com

Luther Series 5 Review (Spoilers)

DCI Luther is back! I have waited a long time to say (type?) those four words. What’s more, he’s brought Alice Morgan along with him for the ride. I never believed that Alice was dead after the last season and I am happy to have been proven right. It’s always fun to see this particular dynamic duo together, will this time be an exception? Here’s my review:

Firstly, this series was no exception. Watching Alice and Luther together was as amazing as ever before. In fact, there was an extra layer of tension and even more banter due to the whole ‘we were totally gonna run away together but you faked your death’ thing that went on. The last series of Luther was good but definitely missing something. However, the return of Alice and consequently, the relationship between Alice and John really brought the series back to its best.

Secondly, this series of Luther was definitely the scariest/creepiest of them all. Luther has always featured weird villains who do disturbing things but this season manages to top them all by having the weirdest to date. It also featured one of the creepiest scenes ever shown on TV aka the bus scene. As a Londoner, it has made me extremely hesitant about sitting on the top desk of the bus alone at night. In fact, all four episodes had me on the edge of my seat, biting my barely there nails. In this regard, Luther series 4 was a triumph.

In terms of things that I didn’t like about this series, there wasn’t much. However, there was one thing that I didn’t like (look away now if you don’t wish to be spoiled) : the death of Halliday. At the beginning of the series, I joked that the character was going to die… and then she did. To me, this suggests that there was something predictable and obvious about this writing choice that was unnecessary. If there is another series, I would hope that the writer(s) would work on this.

In conclusion, Luther series 5 was a welcome return to a fabulous gritty London and fantastically flawed protagonists. I would welcome another series or film to see what would happen after such a shocking ending.

Rating: 9/10

What did you think of the show? Leave a comment and let me know!

Featured Image taken from an article on Den of Geek

Dumplin’ Netflix Film Review

My friend recommended this film to me on the premise that it moved her to tears. As I do love a good tearjerker, I decided that it was definitely going on my list as one to watch when I got the time. Was I moved by the film? Here’s my review:

Short answer: yes, I found myself crying or on the verge of tears several times throughout the film. The film was extremely layered and filled with important messages yet it never (or very rarely) felt preachy or heavy handed. For me, the aspect of the film that I loved the most was the fact it didn’t solely focus on the toxic nature of pageants and pageantry which it could have easily done. Through Willowdean’s journey, we see that the harshest restrictions can be the ones that we put on ourselves through low self esteem and own prejudices. I liked how Willowdean came to recognise that her own thoughts on pageantry were flawed, filled with misconceptions. Furthermore, the real moral of the story was that self belief is the best thing a person can possess. This was best shown through the character of Millie, who let the abuse bounce off her like Teflon because she liked who she was.

Another thing I liked about the film was the performances of the main cast notably Jennifer Anniston and Danielle MacDonald. Jennifer Anniston did a magnificent job in with was a complex and difficult role. It would have been easy to hate Rosie Dickson as a mother who was constantly putting her daughter down over her size. Yet, Anniston’s performance was a lot more nuanced than that as the audience saw her constant comments came from a place of love (thought that doesn’t necessarily negate their effect nor justify it). Additionally, when she realised that the nickname were negatively effecting her daughter, she makes a conscious effort to stop. Danielle MacDonald was everything that you’d want a teenage lead to be: funny, relatable yet flawed, so much so, that I have no negatives about her performance in the role.

Although I have stated that I liked performances in the film, there is one that did irk me from time to time: Hannah Perez. For me, this type of character that wears black, is “weird on purpose” and rails against the patriarchy is a bit stale and needs to be adjusted. That being said, the character did have a few funny moments, so I didn’t entirely dislike her.

In conclusion, Dumplin was a really good heartwarming Netflix film, up there with the likes of To All The Boys I loved Before and series liked Switched.

Rating: 8/10

Have you seen it? What do you think?

Let me know !

Feautured Image taken from Wikipedia

The Marvellous Mrs Maisel Series 2 Review (spoilers)

I’d had been waiting so long for the second series of this show that I forgot about it. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when the Amazon banner declaring the release of the second series came up on my screen. The first series was absolutely amazing and I had little doubt that the second season would be any different. Was I correct? Here’s my review:

Firstly, I was correct! Series 2 was every bit as good as series 1 with some absolutely standout performances from Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein as Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel and Susie Myerson respectively. Without these two and their charismatic performances, I don’t think the show would be as successful as it is. The interaction between the two characters is so fun to watch due to their differing reactions to obstacles as a result of their completely opposing upbringings. Furthermore, the ‘us against the world/patriarchy’ vibe that they have got going for them in the series really works to bring the audience along with them on this journey from housewife and broke bar owner to comedienne and talent manager. By the end of the series, the audience are so caught up in Midge’s journey that the audience are ecstatic when she receives the offer to tour from Shy Baldwin. For me, this level of engagement on behalf of the audience means that the series is successful no matter the ratings.

Secondly, I liked how the second series explored how Midge’s situation effected all those around her in particular her parents. While we got to spend time with the parents in the first series, we never really got to know them much beyond the stereotypical Jewish parental unit of the times. However, series two begins with Midge’s mum moving to Paris in attempt to regain her sense of self that she felt that she had lost due to all the secrets that were kept from her regards Midge’s life. Moreover, Abe’s blissful and wilful ignorance to anything and everything that doesn’t fall into his routine meant that he came to the realisation that he truly has no idea of who his children and what they are doing. This added even more depth to the show that already had it in spades.

However, if there was one aspect of the show that I wasn’t 100% behind, that was the ending. I am not sure how I feel about Midge going back to Joel in the end, even if it was just for one night. On one hand, I understand how the character might want to postpone her supposed impending loneliness for one night with someone who is familiar to her. That is a understandable feeling especially after she has made such a big decision that will essentially upend her life. On the other hand, I feel like Joel was the worst person she could go to for comfort especially given that she has a new man that is a lot more understanding and supportive of her chosen comedic career. Joel has developed a lot as a character throughout the show. He has come to terms with his actions and is sorry for them, he accepts Midge’s chosen career path and he’s decided to step up and take control of his life. But he’s still quite a jealous and fickle man who, at times, still showed that he felt entitled to Midge’s forgiveness. Personally, I would preferred for her to have not spent her last moments of companionship with someone who asked nothing of her, who wholly accepted her for what she has decided to become. Susie perhaps.

To conclue, the second season of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel was a brilliant and hilarious follow up to the amazing first season. Furthermore, there were some great scenes that were executed by amazing actors who consistently delivered some award-worthy performances. I cannot wait to see what’ll happen in the third series which is definitely going to happen if the quality of the second series (and the series as a whole) is concerned.

Rating: 9/10

Featured Image taken from a Cosmopolitan article

A Christmas Prince Netflix Film Review

With Christmas fast approaching, I realised that there was no better time to begin manifesting that Christmas spirit by watching a nice, wholesome Christmas film. And what better film to choose than a Christmas Prince when the sequel is being released this Friday on Netflix. It helps that I’m a big fan of Rose McIver’s work on iZombie. So did this film make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside? Here’s my review :

Firstly, as with all films in this genre, the locations are remarkable. From the snow capped forests to the grandeur of the royal palace, I declare that the location scouts for this film have earned their wage. Aldovia looked like a magnificently beautiful country, the perfect place for a magical and heartwarming Christmas romance to take place.

Furthermore, these films live or die by the likability and relatability of their casts and characters. In this regard, the film was a major success with special mention going to Rose McIver as the kind and down to earth female lead and Honor Kneafsey as Princess Emily. Rose McIver is an incredibly charismatic, likeable and talented actress who always does well in whatever she’s cast in and A Christmas Prince was no exception. Moreover, the relationship between Amber and Princess Emily was responsible for a lot of the heart and soul in the film and the two actress gave great performances that managed to really bring the ‘feels’.

In terms of criticism, the film was every bit as predictable as I expected it to be. At no point, did I ever doubt whether Amber and the Prince would end up together, nor did I doubt that the Prince would step up and become King. I even guessed parts of the script at points! However, this film was never marketed as a game changer for Christmas films. On the contrary, this film was billed as a magical romance between the young, kind yet under appreciated reporter and the mysterious, misunderstood yet secretly kind Prince and that’s exactly what we got. No one can be upset about that now can they?

Another thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of was the characters that were supposed to be Amber’s colleagues and friends. It was clear to me that they were included in the film to have no other purpose than to be part of what little diversity present in the film. After having watched the whole film, I could not tell you anything significant about their characters, not even their names. All I knew is that one of them was gay and the other was black. I know that directors and writers are under pressure to be more representative but tokenism isn’t diversity and it helps no one.

To conclude, A Christmas Prince was exactly what you expect of a Christmas film: fun, cheesy, heart warming yet oh so predictable. This doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a pleasant film to watch and Im looking forward to the sequel out on Friday.

Rating: 7/10

Do you like Christmas films? What did you think of this one? Let me know!

Featured Image taken from an article on the Hollywood Reporter website

Fantastic Beast: The Crimes of Grindelwald Spolier Review

After a month long hiatus, I am back! And my first review will be on a film that I have waited ages for, based on a world that I absolutely adore- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Although, this film was receiving mixed reviews from critics and movie goers alike, I was still extremely excited to see it. This is probably down to my love for world that JK Rowling had created but I resolved to go into the cinema and judge it on the films own merits and limitations. So, without further ado, here’s my review:

Overall, I quite liked the film and the direction it went in, however, it was definitely a filler film for a series where there are three films still to come.

One of the things I really enjoyed was the magic and the way it was depicted especially in the epic first and last scenes. In those two scenes, I was absolutely captivated by the magic that we saw on the screen. It was definitely a step up from the spell casting that we saw in the Harry Potter series that essentially consisted of two people waving sticks at each other deflecting the bright lights that came out of them. This time around the magic was much bigger, brighter and bolder and consequently, it became more threatening and exciting. My favourite out of the two scenes had to be the final scene where the gang get together to stop the blue fire snake/dragon that Grindelwald had conjured which threatened to decimate Paris. I quite liked how the wizards involved had to spread out into a circle in and cast the spell to stop it because it made it seem like more of a challenge as they had to come up with a strategy to defeat it. Usually, it is just one man standing in front of something and shouting some words which can be quite anti-climatic. But not this time!!

Also, I really liked Jude Law as young Dumbledore. At first, when I heard the casting for young Dumbledore, I was a bit confused because I wouldn’t naturally think of Dumbledore being played by Jude Law. However, I absolutely loved how smooth and sauve he made the character. Law managed to portray Dumbledore as the wise and kindly professor we all knew and loved from Harry Potters, whilst also adding something fresh and fun to the character. He practically stole the scenes that he was in and as a result, I am looking forward to seeing more of him in future films, in addition, further exploring his relationship with Grindelwald.

Although, I have plenty of good things to say about the film, it was by no means perfect. A criticism I have of the film is that I couldn’t quite buy Queenie joining Grindelwald’s team of obvious evil. Over the course of the two films we see her in, we learn see that she is a character who’s ability to read people’s minds makes her an extremely empathic and kind hearted character. Therefore, I cannot grasp how she would throw her lot in with the slimy and clearly evil Grindelwald. Could the she not see he didn’t mean a word about not hating humans? How could she invite the muggle Jacob to come with her and join this man who, five minutes earlier, had openly expressed his indifference to humanity and his desire to rule over them?

Furthermore, I feel like there were quite a few characters that we didn’t get to spend enough time with notably Nagini and Tina. These characters are definitely interesting ones, however, because there were simply too many central characters, there wasn’t enough time to spend with each of them to develop their own stories. As a consequence, they became plot points or devices for their male love interests in the film. However, I am confident that in the later films, we will get more time with them and they will have some much needed character development.

In conclusion, The Crimes of Grindelwald was a good film but far from perfect. There was a lot more action and intrigue this time around and it is clear that this is a trend that is going to continue in the later instalments. Yet, the film did suffer from there being too many characters and thus, certain characters and their character development took a hit.

Rating: 7/10

What did you think of the film? What rating would you give it ? Let me know

Featured Image taken from an article on Wikipedia

Elite Series 1 Review

Like many others in this world, I have a fascination with the lives of the young rich elite. This could explain why I was so intrigued by the premise of Elite. What would happen when the two worlds, rich and poor, meet. In this case, it was a murder. The victim being Marina, the young rebellious teen who rejects the fakery and hypocrisy that comes with being a member of the uber elite. The trailer really gripped me, who killed Marina and why? So I decided to watch and find out, here’s my review:

Firstly, I quite liked the way the narrative played out. The episode would start with an interrogation in the present where the detective would ask questions to the different suspects in order to ascertain what happened. They would respond, usually with a lie, and the story would jump back into the past depicting the events that normally contradicted their answer. I liked watching how exactly the characters got to that point. For me, it heightens the tension and drama by injecting some mystery and intrigue into the plot.

Secondly, a good teen series requires two things: complex yet relatable characters and lots of shocking twists. Elite was full of the latter! By the end of every episode, a part of my jaw was touching the floor. There was always being revealed that changed the game from the revelation that Marina had HIV to the reveal that Omar was gay. It kept me on my toes, hooked to the screen, ready and willing to binge yet another episode.

However, there is one area where I feel that the series could have been better: the characters. Now don’t get me wrong, there were quite a few characters who I actually quite liked; Nadia, Guzman and Christian to name a few. However, there were a few characters that I found a little bit too one dimensional and predictable. The best example for this is Lu. There were honestly times throughout the series that I believed the characters only purpose in the programme was to be racist to Nadia and antagonistic to everyone else. I understand that the character was meant to be the one that most represented the rich elite teen stereotype. But it was overplayed and became quite cartoony. Although, it must be said that the character did evolve l towards the end, which was welcome.

To conclude, Elite was fun teen mystery show that held my attention with its many plot twists.

Rating: 8/10

Featured Image taken from Teen Vogue

“The Woman Who Fell to Earth” Doctor Who Episode Review (Mild Spoilers)

The new series of Doctor Who has arrived and shocker : The Doctor is a woman!!! 😮

Strangely, though not unsurprisingly, the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the iconic character caused a lot of controversy amongst a whole range of Whovians who blamed PC culture for the demise of the show they claimed to love so much.

So when it was time for the episode to begin, I ran upstairs to watch it with a cup of tea and biscuits in tow. I wanted to see whether the show centred around the UK’s most famous alien visitor had somehow lost its magic due to the gender change of said character. Was that true? Here’s my review:

Firstly, to answer said question: no. The fact that the Doctor now has a vagina has no bearing on the enjoyability of the show. Truthfully, I never understood why people were so upset by the decision as nothing that the character previously did was dependent upon or linked to the character’s gender. A fact that was driven home brilliantly by Jodie Whittaker in her first outing as the doctor. As soon as she fell into the scene (quite literally) there was no question or doubts as to who she was. She was the Doctor. Period. She was fun, smart, kind, caring and somewhat maniac, all the things I and many others had come to love about the previous doctors. Therefore, I can, hand on heart, say that I am looking forward to the newest episodes of the show fronted by the brilliant Jodie Whittaker.

Additionally, I’ve read some articles that there will be no Cybermen or Daleks this series, in favour of new villains for the Doctor to combat. Now if this episode was anything to go by, I’m quite liking this decision because I quite liked the villain in this episode. He had a striking and menacing look whilst having a pretty odd yet undeniably evil motive. Furthermore, the Daleks and the Cybermen have been overused as main villains over the past few series, so it will be quite nice to have some fresh faced villains.

However, there was one thing that I didn’t like about the new episode was the fact that it was slightly predictable. From the outset, I knew when the Doctor was going to turn up, I knew that the grandma was going to die and I also knew that they were all going in the end up going with the Doctor. Therefore, in the future I hope that the episodes become a little less predictable and corny.

To conclude, this was a really good episode of Doctor Who that successfully introduced the audience to the New Doctor and her new companions. It looks like it will a fun couple of months !

What did you think of the thirteenth? What did you think of the episode? Let me know!

Featured Image taken from an article on the bbc

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