Film and TV – Autumn/Winter 2022

“Well, I prefer diverting myself. Death against death, I would rather die of passion than of ennui!”
– Émile Zola, Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies’ Delight)

Hoo-boy… two months into the new year and I still need to finish up stuff from last year? Let’s make this quick.

Hellraiser (2022)

It was… okay? I love first two original films for being so wonderfully British and macabre, and suffered through the way-too-American third before dropping out of the series (save for watching some really cool retrospectives). This new one isn’t horrible, but it’s nothing special either. It is, however, very purrty.

Star Trek: Lower Decks

As the film series is stuck in state of limbo – thanks for that, Tarantino – the tv shows seem to be breathing new life into the franchise. Lower Decks is like an official Trek-licensed tv version of Galaxy Quest: self-aware enough to take a good long look at the franchise’s foibles (with actual past cast members returning to voice their characters) and secure enough in its own identity to make its new characters distinct (I love that the franchise is so gay now). I really dig it.

Thor: Love and Thunder

If Ragnarok was the Vice City of the franchise, Love and Thunder is San Andreas: bigger, but not better. Taika Waititi is like that shy kid who got his classmates laughing one time, so he tried to just tell the exact same joke again, not realizing the moment had passed. It’s cool that they got Natalie Portman back, but… nothing really happens in this damn thing. It’s just there. And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: fuck Christian Bale.

Chucky, Se. 2

Goddamn this show for being so good! Like with the latest Star Trek series, it’s self-aware enough to know what things in past entries wouldn’t fly today, but still has writing strong enough to where the new “woke” version fits in perfectly with what’s already been established. And, like in Lower Decks, the new characters are a blast to watch. I’m totally in for Year 3, and can’t think of anything funnier than Nica asking “Did it work?”

Atlanta, Se. 4 (final year)

I don’t give a damn what anyone says, Se.3 was brilliant. I don’t know what I was expecting from the fourth and final year? I’m not big on Earn and Val ultimately winding up together ‘cause I don’t think they belong together. Granted, they’re not as overtly toxic a couple as Lawrence and Issa from Insecure (fuck that show’s final year), but the two still have nothing in common beyond their child. Other than that, I love how they went all in with the surreal nature of the show, including a final moment lifted wholesale from Inception, but done by creators who aren’t hacks like Christopher Nolan.

Los Espookys, Se. 2 (final year)

Just when I thought the pandemic had killed this show for good, HBO brought it back only to take it away again. It’s part of the whole (racist, sexist) house-cleaning done at WB-Discovery, and this show was collateral damage. It was fun whilst it lasted.

She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law

I don’t compare this to the Ryan Reynolds Deadpool, I’m thinking of Donald Glover’s cancelled Deadpool series – which notoriously got the axe when a Taylor Swift joke rubbed the singer the wrong way. Neither this show (which isn’t bad) nor Reynolds’ movies are bad – in fact, both are really entertaining – but their meta takes don’t have enough bite to them. They need to be unrelenting, but they play both play it safe. Still, I may check out Se.2 of this when it arrives.

The Love Witch

After years of wanting to see this, I finally did. I get why folks I know love it so much. I’m now a fan.

Barbarian (2022)

Not perfect, but atmospheric as all hell and very well-paced. I’m likely to dig anything recent that isn’t edited as if someone spilled coffee on the console. Check it out.

The Best Man Holiday

I saw the original when it came out, but never this one. I had a lot of opportunities to do so, but they always seemed to be out-of-season and I have an aversion to Xmas shit before December (unless it’s something like Die Hard, Gremlins, or a few other things). When I heard there was a new tv series that would end the franchise, I decided to finally watch this one. Not bad. Bougie as all hell, but with some genuine emotion behind it. Maybe I’ll check out the show, though I’m always hesitant to support Terence Howard.


After the too-many-cooks-in-one-kitchen mess that was Rogue One, I wasn’t looking forward to this. Still, the buzz by folks I respect was too loud to ignore… and I see why! This is what the franchise needs! Like with The Last Jedi, it’s able to take a step back from the usual franchise staple and deliver something special. I love this unabashedly-leftist, pro-revolutionary take on the series. If Se.2 really is the last (supposedly, leading right into Rogue One), then I hope it’s book-ended well.


Between this and Prey, I love this new trend of Indigenous-based genre fare getting mainstream attention. This flick is like an Inuit version of a Spielberg-adjacent flick (think Explorers or The Goonies, the latter of which he produced) with an Attack the Block-style “defend our turf against aliens” plot. Some of the dialogue’s a bit clunky (that’s bound to happen when adults write kids), but I dug these characters and rooted for them. Plus, the unrated flick is pretty PG-13, so the little ones might dig it, too.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Even though James Gunn has been back with the MCU for over four years (after right-wing shitheads got him temporarily fired), both this and the trailer for the upcoming Guardians 3 – said to be the end of the story – have the feeling of “senioritis” about them. They both give the impression that he already has plans for after “graduation”; and I can see why, what with him already having a job locked down for DC.

Guardians 3 has yet to drop, but this definitely feels like going through the motions. Despite all the money at its disposal, it’s shot very “tv” – multiple takes from multiple angles that do less to elicit a vision so much as give the editor something to do. Some of the jokes are funny (Nebula dancing is comedy gold), but some (like the GameBoy gag) I saw comin’ a mile away. I hope he put in more effort for the film.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Not only does it actually acknowledge the pandemic, but… well… this magnificent tweet says it better than I could (or have):

Still… what was the point of Ethan Hawke’s character?

Black as Night

Not bad, but it tries a bit too hard in its portrayal of teens. Like with Slash/Back, adult writers are past the age to pick up all contemporary youth slang and it shows. This flick either had too many drafts or just needed or two more to find the right tone.

Host (2020)

This film is brilliant! Why did it take me so long to see it?! If you’ve read my reviews before, you’ll know that the first year of this still-ongoing pandemic had me screening a piece-of-shit COVIDsploitation flick at home. This film is the polar opposite of that one, having a fraction of its budget, but showing an insurmountable measure of talent. It’s both one of the better “computer screen” flicks I’ve seen (an off-shoot of found footage, for which I’ve seen entries that ranged from “okay” to “horrendous”) and it pulls off its supernatural elements damn well. If you haven’t seen it yet, do it now – it’s only an hour long.

Sick (2022)

Watched this back-to-back with Host. That one was superior, but this one isn’t bad, thanks to toning down a lot of the annoying Kevin Williamson-isms that annoyed me during his ‘90s heyday. It gets clichéd during the end, but it wasn’t a bad watch at all.

Dune: Part 1

Look… y’all know how I feel about Denis Villeneuve. This flick didn’t really change my mind, but it’s gorgeous to look at. In a way, it makes a lot of the same mistakes as the Lynch adaptation whilst making new ones. Some characters just aren’t fleshed out well, even as others (Duke Atreides) are given great new shades. Again, this flick isn’t at all terrible, but I still maintain Villeneuve is the French Chris Nolan… that is not a compliment.

One Cut of the Dead (Don’t Stop the Camera!)

This Japanese zombie film was a ridiculous amount of fun. I started to suspect the twist when I noticed certain things during the first half, but that’s because I’m the sorta film geek that would be on the look-out for those kinds of things. This film shows a love for not just the zombie film genre, but for film-making itself. The title refers to an (apparent) long take that makes up the film’s first half. I don’t know the nuances of Japanese society, so I may have missed some things, but it was still a blast to watch at face value.

And what do YOU think?

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