Monthly Archives: November 2021

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, 3.5 readers.

TV Review – Masters of the Universe: Revelation: Part 2

I have the power, 3.5 readers.

BTW…I also have THE SPOILERS! So don’t read on if you don’t want them.

BQB here with a review of Netflix’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation: Part 2.

Boy, there was so much internet backlash over Part 1. Remember that? Seems like forever ago now. If you forgot about it because you’re an adult with limited time to worry about cartoons, I don’t blame you. Basically, He-Man gets ganked in a fight where Skeletor also croaks in the first episode, and then the next few episodes are He-Man’s BFF Teela wandering about, trying to make sense of it all.

Critics called it a bait and switch. How can you call it a He-Man show without He-Man? Then again it wasn’t called He-Man, it was called MOTU, so that probably should have been a hint from the beginning.

Some even felt this was a product of woke-ism run amuck. Perhaps some Netflix exec decided it would be awful if a super straight, uber macho, musclebound, blonde white hetero male got to be the lead of a show so they put out a hit on America’s favorite 1980s cartoon barbarian.

While I get all the worries, they seem all for naught after watching part 2. The second part has a lot of Prince Adam, one episode of a feral He-Man, and one final episode where He-Man kicks ass and takes names, true He-Man style.

Kevin Smith explained in interviews he was trying to make a show that would appeal to kids and adults. A lot of today’s adults often think of their favorite 1980s cartoons through adult eyes, i.e. they think they were very sophisticated with their older brains, only to go back and watch reruns and realize this was nonsense created for mushbrained babies.

My only complaint is Smith almost accomplished his stated goal. It is something an adult could watch with their kids and neither would be bored…EXCEPT in one of the part 2 episodes, Evil-Lynn distracts Skeletor, offering to give up her evil booty as a means to swipe the power sword (which itself is discussed by way of a double entendre.) This part seems a bit much for a kids show and it could have been toned down to just, say, she gives our favorite baddy a smooch-a-roo whilst grabbing the power sword…yes, the power sword, not the….btw did we need to learn that Skeletor is anatomically correct from the neck down?

Speaking of Old Bonesy, it was cool to see He-Man and Skeletor team up against a larger threat. Meanwhile, Cersei Lannister aka Lena Headey really does steal the show as the voice of scary sorceress (with a gooey good center) Evil-Lynn. The whole show pretty much rests on her shoulders.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. The complaints about a He-Man bait and switch are much ado about nothing when the series is viewed in its entirety. People just need to be patient. Also, another season is teased at the end, so that looks fun. Even so, if Evil-Lynn isn’t a focal point…IDK. Overall, as an old geezer, I enjoyed the 1980s feel in a cartoon that isn’t totally for mushbrained babies and it attempts to do something other than sell toys (although toys are selling now at your fave toy store, get yours while supplies last!)

SIDENOTE: Other than TMI about Skeletor sex, my only other complaint is the SPOILER Teela is the Sorcereress’ daughter and becomes the new sorceress herself thing comes out of the blue. Unless I missed something, it was never teased or alluded to. This is a show about revelations, where all the characters lay their cards out on the table and divulge the secrets they hid during the original show so…a simple allusion to Teela wondering who her mother is in Part 1 might have alleviated this. Part 1 has her become angry and jaded over discovering that He-Man was Prince Adam all along and he never told her so…wouldn’t she also have questions about her mother’s identity? Just a thought.

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Larry David’s Younger Women

Pretty good, 3.5 readers. Pre-tay, pre-tay, pre-tay good.

BQB here to talk about Curb Your Enthusiam and specifically, how is Fictional LD able to pull so much fictional trim?

For the uninitiated, Curb Your Enthusiasm is an HBO show starring comedian Larry David, who plays a fictional, semi-autobiographical version of himself as he clowns his way through life. He’s the creator and producer of Seinfeld and Seinfeld fans who watch the show instantly realize this is basically Seinfeld with more swearing and not safe for network TV plots.

I remember even as a kid having a hard time suspending disbelief at Seinfeld. Each week, Jerry and George, both big time schmucks, at least on the show, would date gorgeous, charming, sophisticated women who for whatever reason, adored these dum-dums. Yet, each week, these fools would find some slight, miniscule flaw and the relationship would be over. It just seemed so unlikely to me, that these nudniks would actually give up so many attractive, wonderful women over irrelevant folderol, but thus was the ongoing joke of the show. It was a show about nothing about idiots who got caught up by nothing and like a comedy set in Dante’s Inferno, they were forever doomed to a life of meaningless nothing because they couldn’t get past their own problems long enough to develop something, literally anything.

Larry David basically summed his entire career up in an SNL monologue a few years back. LD said his entire life, he’s basically Quasimodo – unattractive and creature like, he should be happy if any female pays attention. When a friend says, “Hey Quasi, I’ve got the perfect woman for you,” he’ll schlump over and say, “Has she got big juggs?”

And therein lies the raw material that LD has been mining and refining into comedy gold for many decades now. He is inherently flawed in so many ways, physically and mentally and yet, he won’t stand for anything less than perfection in his women. Deep down, he knows this is wrong but he can’t help it and his inability to compromise even a little causes him a lifetime of loneliness, as it did for George and Jerry…sometimes even for Elaine and Kramer.

But the older LD gets, I have to admit, the gag gets less and less believable. Curb has put out 11 seasons over 20 years and even when LD was in his 50s, it was hard for me to believe that younger women were attracted to him.

I guess…on some level it’s somewhat believable. There’s an old saying that men are attracted to beauty and women are attracted to security. That’s why a man will leapfrog over a 50 year old self-made wealthy woman to get the phone number of an attractive 20 something waitress. That’s why an attractive late 20 or early 30 something year old woman might look at the hunky studs in her orbit who just sit around and play video games all day and decide that the silver and/or balding hair of an older man can be overlooked if he has his shit together enough that he can pick up a check and pay a bill once in awhile.

To be fair, the show does nothing but insult Larry to great comedic effect. Without fail, literally everyone LD meets inevitably ends up hating him to the point that they call him an “old bald fuck.” If Larry isn’t called an old bald fuck at least 10 times a season, then the season isn’t over. And it’s sort of implied that if Larry wasn’t a hundred millionaire from his Seinfeld days, no woman would ever give him a second or third look.

So in that respect, I suppose it’s believable that a younger woman might look at Larry, shrug her shoulders and be like, “Meh. OK I have to touch old gross man balls but I get to live in a big house and he’ll buy me whatever I want. Deal.”

Then again, I don’t know. The older Larry gets, the harder it is to suspend disbelief. I thought it was very unlikely when the show had him date Lucy Lawless when he was in his 60s. This season, they had him date Lucy Liu for an episode and I just felt bad for Lucy Liu – how a mere 20 years ago she was kicking ass and taking names as a Charlie’s Angels hottie. She still looks good as ever but she’s 50 now so the best Hollywood will offer her is an old weirdo’s date. Sure, the whole crux of the episode is that Larry accidentally does a feeble thing in front of her and she dumps him, the joke being that one moment of looking in front of a hot woman with options is all it takes for it to be over, but still. It’s Lucy Liu. I know Larry has money but there are other dudes in Hollywood with money…hotter, younger and with hair.

Meanwhile, Larry had a date with Julie Bowen of Modern Family and Happy Gilmore fame last week and I just…I don’t know. It’s just getting harder and harder to believe that Larry could even get one date with such uber babes even with all his dough.

To be fair, the universal running joke of the show is that Larry keeps finding himself in too good to be true situations with these women but he’s such a dope that he inevitably finds a way to screw it up to hilarious results. If he could just tell his stupid, foible finding inner voice to shut up for five minutes, he might be happy for once in his godforsaken life.

What gets even more unlikely is Larry’s BFF/agent on the show, Jeff (Jeff Garland) is a fat, ugly (the running joke last season was that he looks so much like Harvey Weinstein that everywhere he goes, women shout at him, slap him, throw drinks in his face, etc.) yet somehow he’s constantly getting younger women. There was a whole episode about how he constantly gets to bang a hot younger real estate agent, that it’s the “perfect crime” in that he can cheat on his wife under the pretense that he’s with this woman so he can buy his wife a house and then they’re going on a date to a place where they can get it on. This season, Jeff has a fling with a dental hygienist, gets her pregnant, pays for the abortion and other expenses but fears he’s being fleeced, thus sending Larry the spy in to find out if the paramour really needs the money or if she’s taking advantage and I just…I don’t know.

I can sort of suspend disbelief for Larry. This version of Larry is at least trying to find a wife. Sure, he’s old, decrepit, rude and gross but all these women he dates, his end goal is to find someone to have and to hold, love and cherish and protect and make happy, albeit with his limited emotional ability to do so. He inevitably screws it up due to his insecurities but his goal isn’t to use them and loose them. He’s trying to find a wife. And though old and ugly and bald, he’s rich and connected and people in Hollywood know him, so it’s not entirely impossible that a younger woman might be able to get over the old man vibes to have financial security.

Meanwhile, Jeff is married…unhappily. His wife Susie is a comedic genius who mostly serves the need for someone to tell Larry that he’s a stupid old bald fuck at least 5 times a season. She is a caricature of a domineering shrew, so while it is understandable as to why Jeff would want to cheat…I mean he’s rich and powerful, perhaps not as rich and powerful as Larry but he’s still got it going on…but he’s not offering these women anything other than his gross old penis and flabby belly flopping around on top of them. It just seems unlikely that a real estate agent babe or a dental hygienist babe, both hot and half his age, would just want to be with him for the joy of being with him.

I doubt Larry will ever read this fine blog but I wonder if maybe a season where the script is flipped might not be in order. Larry, hire me and I’ll write you a new, fresh season. Picture it. For some crazy reason, Larry loses all of his cash. With it, he loses all his power and fame and glory and he no longer gets invited to hang out with all the cool kids. Instead, he moves to a retirement community and has to live the life most old people his age live – i.e. he has to go to bingo games and watch Matlock and eat dinner at 4 at the early bird special. Even worse, he has to date an age appropriate woman. Larry struggles with the desire for a younger, attractive woman and winces as his 70 something date has to put on a wig and put in her false teeth in the morning. On the other hand, this old broad gets all his jokes and references and likes doing all the old person stuff Larry does so…is this the one? Will he finally act his age and give up the chase for young tail now that he has found someone who finally gets him? No, he’ll screw it up somehow.

Maybe Jeff could lose his money too. Susie kicks him out of the house and he can only find women who have a similar look. Jeff dates a chubby woman and has an internal debate about whether or not he should stick with a woman who understands his struggle and accepts him as is, or if he should try to get all his money back so he can bang hot real estate agents. Still, it’s never explained what the real estate agent is getting out of this. Are women that attracted to money and success that they’ll just bang a dude and ask for nothing in return? It feels like comedy gold isn’t being mined in that one of these babes that Jeff bangs doesn’t come around demanding money lest they tell on him to Susie.

Either way, Leon will still be Larry’s forever house guest. Leon is getting up there in years too now, but somehow, given his style, he’s the only one whose non-stop train of booty is believable.

I’ve noticed that the show doesn’t really try to hide the fact that Larry is old. He’s constantly watching movies that only old people would be into. He does impressions of actors from 50 years ago. Every episode, he’s at the golf course. Even so, he’s always chasing the young babes and I just wonder if one season where Larry wrestles with an attraction to an age appropriate woman wouldn’t be hilarious.

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TV Review – Cowboy Bebop (2021)

Time to eat some noodles, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of the Netflix series, Cowboy Bebop.

This is a live action reboot of a classic anime series. Anime has never been my cup of tea, though Netflix has rebooted other Japanese cartoons in live action format and Death Note was one of my favorites. I’ve only watched the first two episodes thus far but I am hooked.

The best description I can provide is that it’s as if Quentin Tarantino took all the elements of a Western and a space opera, put them in a blender, hit puree, then added his patented hipness and his unbridled fascination with the 1970s. Tarantino was not involved with the production but whoever was must have been a huge fan.

The plot? In the future, humanity has colonized a number of worlds, making them look just like Earth, but for some reason, Earth as it looked during the 1970s. Space ships, space ports, space guns and so on contribute to an eye dazzling special effects bonanza, yet cars look like something Steve McQueen would have driven and buildings/decor look like Nixon and Carter are still president.

Intergalactic crime is so rampant that police put contracts out on the worst scum, creating a booming bounty hunter (called cowboys) business. Partners Spike Spiegel and Jet Black (John Cho and Mustafa Shakir) travel about in their spaceship, Bebop, looking for bounties to cash in on. It’s all very sleek and stylish and while the music, banter and gunplay are all straight out of Tarantino’s playbook, sometimes there is a cool weapon or device, such as a black hole creating gun that casino robbers use in the first episode to suck everyone and everything not nailed down into the vast nether regions of space.

Spiegel and Black are a typical odd couple. Spiegel wears a flashy suit with a turned up collar, always listening to music on his headphones with a care free attitude. Black is serious, constantly worried about the little details. He bounty hunts so he can raise enough money to provide for his daughter.

So far, at least in my watching, we’ve met Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda), a cowboy (cowgirl?) who vies the dynamic duo for a prize only to team up with them. I understand that, at least if the original series is to be adhered to, there should be a plucky data hacker and an intelligent Corgi dog on the way.

Their main enemy? The Syndicate, an evil space mafia that has its vile tentacles in everything.

Space + campiness = Cowboy Bebop. It’s not quite as campy as 1960s Batman, but there’s definitely a fun campy vibe that no one else has brought to space before. You may have never thought too much about how there’s a lack of campiness in space before, but now that it’s here, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.

STATUS: So much of Netflix’s offerings are doody, IMO, but this one caught me. The special effects are great, yet the throwbacks to old Westerns and 1970s culture are fun. I haven’t watched the entire first season yet so I can’t guarantee that it holds up but I’m into it so far and feel like this is going to be a winner if Netflix gives it what it needs to thrive and grow. At times it can be a little confusing, and it might merit a rewatch, but then again, it’s good enough to deserve a second watch.

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Movie Review – Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Busting makes me feel good, 3.5 readers.

The reviews thus far aren’t great, but I liked this movie. If I have one complaint, it’s with the ending and while I found it to be an enjoyable ending, I understand why reviewers aren’t being kind.

SPOILER ALERT: I don’t think I can talk about it without giving major spoilers as well as giving the entire ending away, so look away if you don’t want literally the whole movie spoiled for you.

The movie begins with the revelation that an elderly Egon Spengler long ago abandoned his ghostbusting pals as well as his family and moved to the middle of nowhere to become a lonely, dirt farming hermit.

Thus begins the captivating mystery of the film – why on earth would Egon do such a thing?

After the nerdiest G-Buster’s untimely demise, his estranged daughter and grandchildren who he never met, financially down on their luck, move to the dilapidated farmhouse left to them and make it their new home. McKenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard’s bro/sis team Phoebe and Trevor (spitting images of Harold Ramis) team up with science teacher Mr. Grooberson to investigate the strange, supernatural doings in town, slowly but surely working their way through Egon’s left behind research and clues.

Ultimately they unravel (YOUR LAST CHANCE TO AVOID A SPOILER)…yeah, it’s just freaking Gozer and the devil dogs causing trouble again. Cue original Ghostbuster team cameo to rush to the kids’ aid and a…well I’m still debating if it’s a sweet loving tribute or blasphemous cashgrab of a cameo of a computerized Harold Ramis as a ghost. He doesn’t slime anyone or say anything really. He just finally gets to meet his grand kids and have a moment with his daughter where all is forgiven and they realize he never wanted to abandon them, he was just trying to save the world.

So…I’d say 2/3 of this movie managed to build something new, walking the fine line between fan service and going in a new direction, and then the last third is just plenty o’ fan service, callbacks, gag repeats and cameos. If they could have found, say, an entirely new threat that Egon was fighting, it might have saved the film from bad reviews but the franchise’s inability to score a modern day critical hit seems to lie with the fact that the writers can’t come with a villain other than Gozer.

It almost made it and even so, I found the ending fun just…yeah, I get why the critics have a problem with it. Still, McKenna Grace does a fun turn as a 12 year old female Spengler clone, putting her grandfather’s quirks and mannerisms on full display.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. SPOILER ALERT – A post credit scene shows us that Winston Zeddmore has become a multi-billionaire/financial genius. He proposes using his big bankroll to turn the Ghostbusting franchise into an international company so…perhaps the next film will give us Ghostbusters in Europe? Japan? Africa? Australia? Who knows? Just…well, look, I’m just a silly old fanboy from way back so if you give me the fanservice, I’ll lap it up like the dog that I am but if you want decent critic reviews, you’re going to have to come up with a villain, any villain than Gozer. Name him Schmozer or something. Make an attempt an originality.

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Movie Review – Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)

Keep the change, you filthy animals.

BQB here with a review of the latest Home Alone sequel.

Little Archie Yates stole the show as Jojo’s BFF slash fellow sufferer in the Hitler Youth Nazi Scout Corps in Jojo Rabbit, so it was only a matter of time before Disney put him in something. That something was a Home Alone knockoff, none of which have been as good as the original but if you’re looking for a fun diversion to watch with the kids, you could do worse than this movie.

Here, Yates plays Max Mercer, a little boy who, you guessed it, is accidentally left home alone when his large, hard to count family runs off to Tokyo without him. Cue the various overdone cliches and homages to the original Macauley Culkin film of old.

Naturally, bandits must invade the home, which the lad defends at all costs with a series of traps that cause cartoonish violence in the film (though in real life, they’d leave said intruders dead or vegetablized). Here though, the home invasion is all over a misunderstanding about a rare German doll worth $200,000. Parents Pam and Jeff McKenzie (Rob Delaney and Kimmy Schmidt’s Ellie Kemper) think Max swiped it and in so doing, robbed them of their chance to keep their home from being foreclosed on. Max says he would never swipe a doll that ugly, or anything for that matter. In the end, it will all somehow be sorted out.

I’ll give the film kudos for finding a way to make the home invading crooks more likeable/understandable. I’ll tell you, back when the original came out in 1991 – well, it didn’t matter if you were black or white, male or female, gay or straight, or a member of any of the various religions, literally everyone at the time was united in the belief that if crooks dared to cross the threshold of a home that wasn’t theirs with the intention of stealing, they deserved any form of hilarious comic punishment a little boy was able to dish out. Alas, today, people worry more about those crooks, their bad childhoods, how it was really society’s fault that they became criminals and do the McAllister’s really need such a big house and so much stuff? Why can’t they share?

There’s a cameo from the original film’s mean big brother Buzz (Devin Ratray.) Unfortunately, the cameo is kind of pointless as it sort of leads you to think Buzz is going to bumble his way through the entire film as a bumbling cop who fails to foil the break in plot, but then he sort of just disappears and goes nowhere. A little more Buzz would have gone a long way.

STATUS: Shelf worthy. IMO, it reminds me of a glorified Hallmark film. I do wonder why with all the money and talent in the world to draw from, why Hollywood can’t bang out more hits like the original Home Alone…i.e. a movie that is funny, unique and gives us an experience like we’re seeing something fun for the first time. Ah, but maybe therein lies the rub. It’s all been done before.

Stream on Disney Plus.

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Movie Review – The Eternals (2021)

Wow. Color me shocked, 3.5 readers. I think Marvel has its very first flop on its hands.

BQB here with a review of The Eternals.

At the outset, I think this movie suffers from the same problem as The Fantastic Four. Too many characters without enough time to explain who they are and what they are doing. At least with the Fab 4 there are only four but here there are like a dozen so throughout the movie you’re like, “Wait? Who is that again? Whoa! Who is that?”

The plot? A race of immortal beings was sent to Earth thousands of years ago, tasked with saving humanity from the deviants – i.e. giant space monsters who like to eat humans. They have been given strict instructions to keep a low profile and blend in and under no circumstances can they interfere with the affairs of man, thus explaining why they never helped the Avengers battle this villain or that one and so on. For some reason, they are allowed to help humans with technological advances but they have to take a powder when humans use that tech to slaughter each other because humans will never learn how to be good unless they first make the mistake of being bad.

So, alright. A movie about immortal beings who spend eternity in the shadows, doing illuminati stuff to advance the world. Sounds interesting but then, um…I don’t know. There’s um….some frigging giant space man in space that they talk to and they start fighting each other over whether they should save the humans from themselves and um I get confused but I think the giant space man who I guess is their boss intends to blow up the planet and harvest it for its energy or some such nonsense and the immortals have to decide if they should save the humans from their space man boss and OW! I think I had a brain aneurysm from thinking too much.

Seriously. Holy shit. Therein lies the rub. Comic book movies shouldn’t require anyone to think this much. I’m not saying there isn’t room for thinking, but when I need to bring a flowchart and a slide rule into the theater just to keep track of who everyone is and what they are doing, blech. Fahgeddaboudit.

It has its moments. Kumail Nanjiani brings needed levity as an immortal who is in love with himself, having spent the past 100 years as a Bollywood movie star.

But then again, it has its strange moments…like, for example, why is Angelina Jolie, the hottest woman in the world, relegated to a bit part? I guess because she’s playing the hottest immortal but still. Kinda feels like this movie might be beneath her.

STATUS: Wow, I can’t believe I’m doing this but this is the first Marvel film I’m going to rank as…NOT SHELF WORTHY! To quote The Critic, “It stinks.” It really does. There are moments toward the end where it teases a forthcoming sequel and this is the first time when I’m like, “Nah. That’s OK. Don’t bother.” It’s also the first Marvel film that I wouldn’t bother watching again when it hits streaming.

I mean, there’s a lot of visual beauty to it and it’s very epic as it takes us through thousands of years, showing us what the immortals did through various periods of human history but um…honestly the plot is so convoluted I’m still not sure what it’s about.

We’ve entered Marvel’s scraping the bottom of the barrel phase. No more Captain America, Iron Man, Thor or Hulk. Now it’s those characters that only the real hardcore deep diving nerds know about. Shang Chi kicked it off and was pretty decent but I’m not sure where Marvel goes from here because if the Eternals are part of the big ensemble that will eventually be recruited to fight off the next big bad…I mean, I’m not going to pay to sleep through another movie so…


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Movie Review – Red Notice (2021)

I don’t know how it’s possible for a movie starring The Rock, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot to be a boring stinkfest but darned if Netflix didn’t find a way to make it happen.

BQB here with a review.

I don’t know how Netflix tricked me again, seeing as how I’ve written about how Netflix has tricked me before. They put out promos for awesome looking movies with big stars and you can’t wait and then it drops and it stinks.

The way I see it: Apparently, Netflix can hire big stars or great writers, but it’s rare for the company to bring both together.

Ironically, the plot sounds as awesome at the stars. Rival art thieves (Gadot and Reynolds) go to war over Cleopatra’s (she of Ancient Egypt fame) prized golden eggs, with FBI agent The Rock caught in the middle. Double crosses, triple crosses, globe trotting, heists, explosions, and Nazi secrets abound and yet…YAWN.

Why? Heavy on the exposition dumps. I hate exposition dumps. You hate exposition dumps. Writing 101. Show us. Don’t tell us. We go to movies for entertainment, not to be given a bunch of facts up front that we have to commit to memory so we can understand the plot later.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m too hard on these movies because Netflix made them but I don’t think so. If one really strikes my fancy, I’ll give it its due, like I did recently with Army of Thieves, but I think when it’s billed as a film with three top stars, you go in expecting a lot of razzle dazzle and instead well…imagine if like, a sophomore English major banged out a movie script in an hour but for some reason, was rich enough to hire The Rock, Reynolds and Gadot to star in it…maybe its not THAT bad but still. I expected more. I expected these three would look at the script and be like, “Um…keep the money. I don’t want to be in sucky movies.”

To be fair, the film has its moments, as many do. Its a fun distraction to eat popcorn to but there’s zero character development and I get it. Most of these flicks don’t have any character development but at least there’s an attempt. The biggest question left on the floor is how did a musclebound FBI agent end up as an art expert? What convinced him to use his art knowledge to fight art crime?

I do have to give it some points in that it let Gadot be the villain, which is a big change for her. Even so, Reynolds rattles off his “Who, me?” one liners. The Rock kicks ass. Gadot is that rare person who is both beautiful and kind, such that even when she applies an electro shock device to The Rock’s nards, it’s hard to believe she isn’t secretly concerned for her adversary’s safety.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, but I’m wise to this scam. From now on, I won’t get excited by these streaming service blockbuster ads because I know deep down, they’ll spend big on the special effects and actors, but skimp on the writing, so I will never again watch a…OH MY GOD! DISNEY PLUS JUST RELEASED A NEW HOME ALONE MOVIE?! I GOTTA GO WATCH THIS THING! THAT SOUNDS AWESOME!

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TV Review – Dexter: Next Blood (2021) – Season 1, Episode 1

He’s baaaack.

BQB here with a review of the sequel series about America’s favorite serial killer with a code.

I’ve often said being a fan of a cable TV show is a lot like being the long suffering wife of a husband going through a bad mid-life crisis. There we stand at the doorway in our bathrobe and hair curlers, begging him to stay. We tell him we have so many more years together, we’ll be more loyal to him that that hot new young blonde will, but nothing we can do or say will stop him from driving off in his new impulse by Ferrari as he chases new projects, i.e. new movies and shows that literally no one will remember and thus we are left all alone, baffled at how we could have invested so many years in a show that was ground to a screeching, unsatisfying halt.

Those shitty husbands have been returning in droves lately, all with shitty store bought bouquets in the form of tangential prequels and sequels. The Sopranos wants us back. They’re sorry for giving us a do it yourself ending where Tony may or may not have been whacked and want to make it up to us with a prequel about Tony’s uncle in the 1960s. Saw it. Doesn’t make up for the lousy ending.

Game of Thrones is back too. They’re sorry they left us with a bizarre ending where the kind and just Khaleesi suddenly orders her dragon to turn King’s Landing into a barbecue, followed by the kid we were told for a decade could never be king becoming king with no explanation as to why the rule against him being king no longer applies. They want to make it up to us with a prequel show about Khaleesi’s ancestors from 10000 years ago. I’ll probably watch it because I have no respect for myself.

And finally, Dexter’s back. He’s sorry about that whole shitty finale where his tough cop sister Deb gets turned into a whimpering simpleton who inexplicably backs him rather than, I don’t know, vows to take him down in the bro vs sis showdown we were long promised…and then somehow Dex drives his boat to the only hospital that has a boat ramp, absconds with his dying sister in his arms (nary a single doctor, nurse or guard notices or cares) and drives his boat into a hurricane to end his murder spree once and for all and for a second we think this is a shitty ending but at least it is and ending, only for the final scene where we see Dexter has moved to the Pacific Northwest to become a lumberjack. WTF?

If I had any dignity, I’d tell all these returning franchises to go to hell. I’m seeing Squid Game now and I know in my heart that they’ll wrap up my new favorite show with a decent conclusion and won’t just give me a lame ending followed by a Squid Game prequel in ten years that no one will want (sigh they will probably do just that.)

But I am sans dignity so I watched the first episode. I’ll say at the outset, its far from what I wanted yet interesting enough that I’ll give it a try.

Here, we see Dexter ten years into his new life under an assumed identity. Posing as Jim, an employee of Fred’s Fish and Game Store, he has invented an entirely new life, yet fans will see old habits die hard. He brings cheesecake bars to work, not unlike how he used to bring donuts so everyone would like him.

He’s dating a cop, which we can assume will give him access to data on baddies who buck the system, and perhaps set up a showdown with his girlfriend (that the writers will no doubt botch).

Deb now serves as Harry, the voice that advises him on what to do.

Dexter has kept his need to kill at bay for ten years but it all comes out when a rich young douche who openly brags about all the people he’s hurt crosses his path.

Oh, and obviously it’s hella woke. Everyone is gay and his arch-nemesis will be a rich oil baron who is hurting the environment.

STATUS: So far, shelf-worthy, but it feels like I’ve lowered myself to take that long lost love back. I’ll trust it for now, but I know inevitably, it will do something stupid…or, will it learn from its mistakes and make it up to us? Time will tell.

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Movie Review – Army of Thieves (2021)

Safes! Cracking! Germans!

BQB here with a review of a prequel to a zombie movie that’s very light on zombies and high on…a safecracking German?

There are no words to describe how utterly awful Army of the Dead was. I get that the zombie genre is oversaturated, but even in a sea of overdone zombie flicks, directors manage to piece it all together with at least a semi-coherent tale. Snyder’s flick, on the other hand, was just full of loose strings, begging the viewer to pull and pull only to find more strings.

Hey, watch out for that pile of dried up zombies! When it rains, they’ll come back to life! Then you wait and wait and it never rains and the pile of dried zombies never gets a rain revival. The guy who touts his awesome hand-held saw but then never uses the saw. The robot zombies that are never explained. Low depth characters with a reason to join the expedition into a zombie filled Vegas who never fulfill their purpose. Awful. Just awful. Frankly, if Netflix had any integrity, they’d remove this film from the site and give subscribers a free month by way of an apology, because it really is that bad. I could poop on it forever.

Surprisingly though, the prequel, about what Dieter (Mathias Schweighofer) did before he became the plucky German safecracker who travels with a team of zombie fighters to pull of a heist, is fantastic.

Here, Dieter is Sebastian (the reason for the name change to be revealed), a depressed bank teller who just goes through his boring days, having caved in to a life of unfulfilled mediocrity. Ah, but thanks to a YouTube video he posts about his safecracking hobby, the lovely Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) comes into his life and whisks him away into a life of international thievery, bent on cracking their way through a series of seemingly impenetrable safes constructed by a master safe-smith. The thrill isn’t necessarily in the money (though plenty is involved) its in the challenge of cracking the uncrackable.

Mathias (I don’t feel like writing his hard to spell last name again) is a delight as an excitable, nervous stranger to the criminal underworld. Nathalie, who I have had a secret crush on since her Game of Thrones days is fabulous and finally steps out in a leading lady role. Bonus points for a fun running joke where she changes her hairstyle with almost literally every location change leaves audiences wondering how she has time to get to the salon while she’s heisting.

Double bonus points for another running joke where characters punch someone only to seethe with pain at the resulting hand injury. Movies really do make it look like punching someone is easy where in fact, punching any hard surface, be it a wall or a face, is painful. BTW shooting guns is also very loud, so loud it can cause ear damage and they also heat up and get too hot to hold after multiple fires but we’ll wait for another movie to do that running joke.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Very strange that such a shitty movie could spawn such a fun movie but stranger things have happened.

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