Reviews for May 2023
Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves
Exactly what you'd expect. Fairly funny mostly good spirited quest adventure that is over-reliant on one gizmo that makes this more like Portal: The Movie.
It was clearly the weekend for AI children. After The Artifice Girl I decided I needed to watch M3gan, a horror take on the same sort of topic. The Artifice Girl is thoughtful and quietly disturbing, M3gan has a traditional horror vibe and explores the topic of turning childcare over to technology a little bit before just jumping to killing people. The robot is very very creepy which is good but also you wonder why anyone would trust the thing in the first place.
Polite Society is a pleasantly bonkers tale of a girl trying to save her sister from a semi-arranged marriage in a British Pakistani community.
The Artifice Girl
The Artifice Girl looks like a three act play turned into a movie. It follows the evolution of an AI girl who was accidentally developed to ensnare online predators. The first act is hugely compelling and the second two can't quite hit the same level, but it's definitely worth watching.
Where's My Love
I wonder how much of the rise in depression can be chalked up to this one painful but beautiful SYML track? It's melancholy just listening but the video provides maximum bleakness.
I'm Not a Monster Series 1
I listened to this the wrong way round, starting with the second series on Shamima Begum. The first is the story of Sam Sally and probably due to having listened to the second series so recently it failed to grab my attention in the same way. It's not exactly the same story, but just how many women ran off to join Islamic State only to discover it wasn't a super empowering society?
The Coldest Case in Laramie
There really should be some naming convention for investigative podcasts that indicates if the case was cracked or not. This is one of the many disappointments that leaves you none the wiser. The highlight is some real insight into just how manipulative the police can be when forcing a confession. Regardless of the crime or level of guilt you really want a lawyer in the room with you.
The Political Party
For UK politics The Political Party has got the goods. Matt Forde interviews anyone who is anybody and quite a few fascinating people who aren't. Even though his politics are not subtle he draws great stories and insights from across the political spectrum. The live shows usually start with some stand-up as well. One of my favorite shows each week.
In Mrs. Davis a nun tries to kill a powerful Artificial Intelligence. This involves finding the Holy Grail and at one point the Grail is in a sperm whale. I really wanted to like it, and while it started off well it got somehow worse with each episode and the whimsy outweighed anything else that might have been going on. Not worth the time.
Perry Mason Season 2
I never watched the original, but Perry Mason on HBO is a fun trip to an alternative reality LA in the 30's.
Star Trek Picard Season 3
For Season 3 Picard stops showing us retirement projects and reunites the crew of Star Trek Next Generation to fight the Borg and some Shapeshifters in a cunning plan to overthrow The Federation that somehow only affects The Youth. I'm all for it. This was the Star Trek cast that probably had the best chemistry and it's amazing to see them together again. The plot just takes a very long time to get going and the final battle involves thousands of starfleet ships that can't quite overpower one aged space dock. Worth it for some quality Worf and Data lines though.
The Bay Season 4
The Bay, from ITV via Britbox in the US is a police procedural set in Morecambe Bay. Although it centers around the family liaison officer it's still a very standard but entertaining whodunit.
The Night Agent
I wasn't expecting too much from The Night Agent. It presents as a formulaic network FBI drama, but its sense of humour is far darker and it has a real edge to it. Based on a book so I'm going to go out on a limb and say any future seasons will be trash.
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