TV & Movies

Inside Man

Inside Man is a four-part murder mystery miniseries available on Netflix, starring David Tennant, Stanley Tucci, Dolly Wells, Lydia West, and Lyndsey Marshal. It’s also written by Steven Moffat of Doctor Who and Sherlock fame.

We watched it over the weekend and it is… extremely Moffat-y. Whoo, boy. All Moffat’s tropes are here in spades.

It’s not bad. I mean, look at the cast up there. You could have those folks read your grocery list and it would be riveting. There are a couple of just stand-out supporting roles, like Atkins Estimond’s Dillon, who stole just about every scene he was in, and Kate Dickie’s Morag, who was also delightful. There’s a handful of clever twists. It’s pretty funny.

But the whole thing relies on a small handful of people being just farcically stupid. To be fair, the cast does a spectacular job trying to sell some of this stupidity, and the plot whizzes briskly past the idiocy, trying to cover it up with a lot of style and amusing one-liners.

It’s also a deeply cynical four hours. It’s a lot like Moffat read The Killing Joke one time and was like “Yeah, it really does only take one bad day to turn you into a nutball killer!” despite the fact that the whole point of that book was that the Joker was wrong. Then he went and wrote a four-hour miniseries based on that and the fact that no one will let him make anymore Sherlock episodes.

It wasn’t terrible – definitely not the worst four hours of TV I’ve ever watched. It was funny and a fair amount of fun, and David Tennant, Stanley Tucci, and Dolly Wells were amazing. If you’re willing to overlook the idiot-ball plot, you’ll enjoy it. And it looks like it’s being set up for further series, probably with Stanley Tucci’s “detective” character making a return, so that might be interesting.

TV & Movies

Wakanda Forever

We watched Wakanda Forever over the past weekend and I have to say, I was disappointed. There was just too much happening, too much trying to get crammed into the movie. You could see the bones of a really good movie in there, something about grief and the terrible decisions it can drive you to, maybe.

It seems like the studio must have got their fingers into the movie, though, jamming in extra plot threads as setup for future movies and TV shows. Except none of that was compelling or interesting. The CIA plotline and the Riri plotline just muddied up the film, obscuring whatever deeper message it might have offered.

I think about the best thing I can say for Wakanda Forever is that the next movie, if there is one, should be more interesting, since they seemed to have set it up for M’Baku to be king and possibly also Black Panther.

Little Notes & Short Posts · TV & Movies

CGI Smoochin’

Netflix made a romcom called You People, starring Jonah Hill and Lauren London, and rumor has it that the stars’ smooch at the end of the movie is CGI. They didn’t actually kiss.

The Guardian has this article about it, French miss: is the future of movie kissing in jeopardy?, wherein the author writes,

Screencap of article. Text reads, "If this is true, it’s hard to know what to make of it. On the one hand, of course you can make two characters fake kiss with CGI. You can do anything with CGI. CGI helped Thanos throw a moon at Iron Man, so it only stands to reason that it should make Jonah Hill kiss Lauren London. But on the other hand, it does feel a bit like cheating. You People is a romcom, after all, and people do kiss each other in romcoms. Depriving us (the viewers) of that moment (a climactic romantic gesture) in favour of something much worse (mashing two clumps of pixels together with a computer) robs the moment of intimacy."

And like. Y’all know this is fiction, right? If you can’t tell that the kiss is CGI, does it matter if it actually happened IRL? The whole thing you just watched is fake. The vast majority of modern action movies are basically photorealistic cartoons. All kinds of stuff is fake in movies. Stunts, special effects, whole entire actors. I can’t imagine caring if the kiss at the end of a romcom is real or not, especially if you can’t actually tell in the movie.

(I assume you can’t? I haven’t seen the movie and probably won’t – not my type of thing to watch.)

Even if the kiss is CGI, you weren’t “deprived” of anything. It’s a story. It’s fiction. It’s all fake to start with. Within the realm of this fictitious thing you watched, the kiss did happen. Mouths, pixelated or not, mashed together on screen where you could see it.

It’s super weird that someone would clutch their pearls over this. There’s a plague on, people. Doesn’t Jonah Hill take care of his elderly mother or something like that? Maybe he didn’t want to risk bringing COVID home to her? Maybe he just didn’t want to kiss Lauren London or she didn’t want to kiss him? It’s weird that you think people should be made to kiss for your entertainment in a time when they don’t have to, y’know?

Link Roundups & LinkDumps · TV & Movies

Spy balloons, COVID, Roman concrete, homeschooling Nazis, & The Last of Us

So, a few quick things…

🎈 China apparently sent a “spy balloon” our way, which caused an American diplomat to cancel a scheduled trip to China. China claims the spy balloon (an objectively hilarious phrase, btw) was actually a civilian weather balloon. The balloon is the size of three busses, according to the linked article, and was floating along over fairly important stuff – “sensitive sites” and whatnot.

🦠 Older news, but some scientists studied the waste water on a bunch of flights and found COVID in 95.7% of the flights. This is from back six months ago or so, but still, not great. Have you been flying without wearing a mask? Stop that.

🏗️ Hey, so, one of those history mysteries that you hear about every once in awhile is about how Roman concrete lasts forever and no one has been able to figure out why. Like for real, ancient Roman concrete, the stuff they built roads and buildings and aquifers and whatnot from, just lasts and lasts. Some of that stuff is still being used today. And no one knew why their concrete lasted so long. But they just figured it out! How cool is that?

🏫 Here’s a phrase that’ll make your sphincter slam shut: “US Neo-Nazi Homeschool Network With Thousands of Members.” Yeah, so, that’s a thing. Why the fuck do we still allow home schooling? Like, the percentage of times that actually works, is good for the students, and results in a decent education has got to be in the decimal points, right?

🍄 The Last Of Us‘ third episode was absolutely amazing. It told this sweet, funny, heartbreaking little love story about a gay couple. I could gush for an hour about how good this episode was. The acting. The writing. The directing. The set dressing. The filming. Everything. It was so good, you guys. So of course some bunch of dicks online are mad about it.

I think we’re all aware by this point that there’s that one demographic, this cohort of jerks who show up to be loudly angry every time there’s someone besides a straight white dude in some nerd movie, TV show, game, or comic. I’m genuinely surprised I haven’t heard more about these jackasses being mad that Pedro Pascal is playing the lead, Joel, who’s a white dude in the game the show is based on. These are the same yahoos who were mad about the Captain Marvel movie and mad about the Star Wars sequels and mad about The Last of Us 2 (first game’s sequel) and mad about some other game I can’t remember the name of because the lead woman in the game wasn’t hot enough and just… my gawd these dudes are exhausting.

And the thing about them is, I don’t think think it’s a genuine demographic. Like, I’m sure there are plenty of little assholes out there who are mad there’s a trans person in their comic book or whatever, but I don’t think there’s this many, or that they’re this organized. I think this is more bot-supported “culture war” bullshit.

Y’all remember how that whole “Snyder Cut” Justice League bullshit turned out to be mostly bot-generated? Yeah. I think that’s happening a whole lot more often than we think it is, and I think that’s the reason why we keep having to hear these same dumbass arguments every time there’s a new nerd movie/TV show/game/comic with a woman/gay person/trans person/non-white person in it.

Anyway, if you’re not watching The Last of Us on HBO, you probably should be. It’s been pretty frickin’ amazing so far.

TV & Movies

Movie Night(s)

I spent Thanksgiving week watching movies (and reading books). The book list – which is, so far, entirely mysteries – will be up in a couple of days, but here’s a look at some of the movies we caught.


Slumberland (a Netflix Original) features Jason Momoa and some other folks. It was fun and occasionally funny, which I was expecting, and both sweet and sad, which I was not. It was extremely a kids’ movie and it shows, so adult viewers might need to cut it a bit of slack, but over all, it was a decent enough movie. Also, Jason Momoa was clearly having an absolute ball.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

The GotG Holiday Special (Disney+) was 45 minutes of Christmasy fluff and gags and laugh-out-loud moments (“You can’t run from me, Bacon!”), with a sweet ending. It was also a bit of set-up for GotG 3, which I think comes out sometime next year? But not like, wildly necessary set-up, so don’t sweat it too much if you miss it. I’m sure the movie will catch you up on things. Overall, it was a hoot, and if you have access (or can get access, yarrr!), definitely give it a watch some night.

Black Adam

Black Adam (streaming and in theaters) was so disappointing. I mean, I didn’t go into it with high hopes, but I figured that even the Rock’s crappy movies are usually at least mildly entertaining because the Rock is in them. But man, even he couldn’t save this thing. Like, Dwayne Johnson’s whole thing is his charisma, which is such a palpable force that they just went ahead and made it into a super power in the Jumanji movies. And yet, somehow, Black Adam sucked all the life out of him and turned him into something about as compelling as wet toilet paper. Like, damn. That’s actually kind of impressive, now that I think about it. Pair that with a hot mess of a plot, absolutely painful dialogue, and the complete waste of both Peirce Brosnan and Aldis Hodge, and you’ve got a seriously tedious two hours on your hands.