My Cultural Diet

Quick reviews of movies, TV shows, books, restaurants, etc., as I enjoy them. My own private Goodreads, Letterboxd, and Yelp all rolled into one (more info here). Ratings are 100% subjective and non-scientific. May contain affiliate links. 

I still think the first season was the best, but this was a solid improvement over season two. Ultra violent and gory, as to be expected. I’m a sucker for the Lovecraftian “In Vaulted Halls Entombed,” but I also enjoyed the “Mason’s Rats” and “Night of the Mini Dead.”
If I remember correctly, this was the start of the Mission: Impossible films where Tom Cruise did the big stunts himself. (I’m not sure the Shanghai scene in Mission: Impossible III counts.) Cruise’s climb up the Burj Khalifa still gives me heebie jeebies to this day.
My son’s going through a bit of a pirate phase, so this was an obvious choice. Still pretty entertaining after nearly 20(!) years. It’s impossible to imagine anyone else but Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow.
I watched the original Rescue Rangers quite a bit as a kid, so I suppose I was the target audience for this modern spin. Its barrage of post-modern pastiches, pop culture references, and self-referential humor were, by turns, amusing and annoying. But mostly amusing.
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Halo, Season One
I think Drew McWeeny said it best: “it looks both wildly expensive and oddly cheap.” There was no reason for this to be made, other than so someone could finally say that they made a Halo TV series. It adds nothing to the franchise. Did not finish.
This Expanse novel takes a break from the vast space opera/alien stuff to focus on individual stories for each of the Rocinante’s crew. Amos Burton is one of my favorite Expanse characters and I liked his story the best.
This 850-acre prairie grassland preserve is located just outside of Lincoln, and with its gorgeous scenery, is one of our favorite places for hiking and birding.
I mainly watched this because it’s from the director and star of Netflix’s Lupin, which we really enjoyed last year. As a buddy cop movie, The Takedown has its moments, but it really just made me want the third season of Lupin to get here even sooner.
Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham is a pretty strong combo, but this felt like it was trying to be a lot moodier and more intense than it actually was.
I knew this would be a disaster even before I started watching it, and yet I still stayed up way too late to finish it. I only have myself to blame. I’m giving it an extra half star because there are moments that hint at a much cooler, weirder movie. Still doesn’t change the fact that G.I. Joe titles should only ever be animated (e.g., G.I. Joe: Resolute).
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Moon Knight, Season One
Oscar Isaac is great as always, and I like the fact that Marvel isn’t afraid to get weird, but towards the end, Moon Knight felt like it was getting weird simply for its own sake.
Pretty much what I’ve come to expect from Scalzi: nothing earth-shattering, but light, clever, and very entertaining nevertheless. (I finished it in less than two days.) He likens the novel to a fun pop song, which is pretty accurate.
Aviation-themed anime from the early ’00s. Cool aerial sequences but a muddled plot about artificial intelligence, alien invasions, and PTSD (among other things). (Read my review)
I liked this better than Black Helicopters, but I still think Agents of Dreamland is the best of the trilogy.
It’s heart is in the right place, and I chuckled when I saw myself in the protagonists’ zeal for their favorite music, but a bit underwhelming overall. That said, I can see this becoming a cult classic in 10 – 15 years.
Does a good job of filling that Parks and Recreation-shaped hole in my life. While not every joke hits (the “power clashing” line kills me, though), I enjoy the characters and premise, and am looking forward to another season.
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Severance, Season One
We loved this delightfully bizarre series on Apple TV+. Filled with surreal humor, mysteries, and pointed jabs at American pop culture, and blessed with immaculate production design. Can’t wait for season two.
This movie didn’t need to be three hours long. Normally I’m all for slow pacing and atmosphere, but this should’ve been a lean, mean action film. That being said, I really liked Robert Pattinson’s super-emo Batman.
Completely bonkers Bollywood action film that makes the Mission: Impossible movies look like made-for-TV movies. Come for the crazy stunts and increasingly improbable twists, stay because you can’t resist Hrithik Roshan’s smoldering looks.
Funny, trippy, wildly creative, and over-the-top in every way possible, but also surprisingly emotional at times. (Read my review)