When War for the Planet of the Apes ended, I was unable to move. Glued to my seat, I sat dumbfounded at the achievement I'd just witnessed: an exquisitely filmed, emotionally stunning film that challenges what a big-budget, summer blockbuster is supposed to be. And it's about a planet of apes.
Castlevania became a classic video game franchise on the strength of labyrinthine level design, endearingly stilted dialogue, and bombastic aesthetics. The Netflix series based on the Konami property doesn't use those elements in exactly the same way but finds its own path to being a great adaptation of the games' whip-cracking, demon-killing lore.
There have been eight episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return so far. With the show on holiday hiatus until July 9, now seems like the perfect time to reflect on the amazing, baffling, terrifying things we've seen so far, seemingly beamed directly from David Lynch's astonishingly highly-caffeinated brain.
If you've seen one of Bong Joon Ho's movies before — The Host or Snowpiercer, for example — then it shouldn't be surprising at all to you that Okja is a mix of dead seriousness and bursts of farcical humour. It's also a movie with a very complicated message, anchored by a tale about a beautiful girl and her monster. And once you see it, you won't be able to forget it.
Remember when 4Ks used to cost a damn fortune? Those days are quickly coming to an end, and if you need proof, look no further than Amazon's new line of (Westinghouse-manufactured) budget televisions. They come with all the smarts of Amazon's excellent Fire TV set-top box smarts as well as a price-to-quality ratio that makes them appealing to just about anyone who isn't willing to take out a mortgage to watch the game in higher quality.
Like the ocean it takes place on, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has had plenty of ups and downs. These metaphorical seas have been so rough, in fact, that some people don't even remember there was a fourth film in 2011, On Stranger Tides, even though it grossed a billion dollars worldwide. I'm happy to say the fifth film, Dead Men Tell No Tales, is probably the best film in the franchise since the very first movie... even though that's not a particularly high bar.
The Mummy is the first movie in the "Dark Universe," a planned series of films that will intertwine the ghoulish tales of the classic Universal Monsters. But it contains zero scares and is devoid of any sense of fun. What it does have is whole lot of Tom Cruise, and a Mummy whose motivation feels very, very problematic.
Every superhero origin story has the moment: The music swells, time slows, and the hero finally emerges on screen in their full costume, ready to kick arse. Of course Wonder Woman has this scene as well, but it might just be the best one we've ever seen — not only because it's so badass, but because it's been so, so overdue.
Last week's episode of American Gods introduced viewers to an Egyptian god who shepherds souls to the afterlife. This week's episode focuses on a mortal who's slipped the bonds of death, adding important depth to a character who's only been seen in flashbacks and dream sequences. The late Laura Moon is more alive on TV than she ever was in print.
Humans have a hard time coming to grips with death, prompting them to come up with deities and beliefs that revolve around being judged and leaving a legacy. The newest episode of American Gods offers up a poignant spin on the mythological afterlife and teases ominous consequences for those who refuse to pass over to the other side.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword isn't really about King Arthur. It's more the origin story of a boy named Arthur, one who will eventually become a king. So it's fitting that the best parts of the film have nothing to do with swords, kingdoms, knights, or anything like that. King Arthur is primarily a medieval gangster film, and that's when the movie is at its best.
So often, women get told that having a child growing inside their bodies is a sacred duty that will turn them into glowing demi-goddesses. That might be the case for some lucky people, but even if it is, becoming a mother changes everything about your life. Prevenge cuts right into the belly of those preconceptions to show how that change can be absolutely terrifying in a world where women have to struggle to be recognised as equal.
"I watch Sense8 for the sex" is a comment I've heard a lot lately. People have their favourite moments of the beautiful multicultural cast banging their connected brains out. (Perhaps I need to just hang out with fewer horndogs.) But sex, while definitely a major part of Sense8, is not all that the show or the characters can be. Thanks to sharp plotting and a great use of its characters, the second season — which premieres today on Netflix — feels less like softcore porn and more like the optimistic balm to our collective, conflicted consciousness that Lana Wachoswski no doubt originally intended the series to be.