The Green Knight
This movie has also made it only my list of favorites. Let me confess I’m not a fan of Arthurian legends or films based on them, but I’ve watched a few and I know more than a little bit about these characters because we had to dissect the stories in high school. I don’t remember a whole lot about the story of the Green Knight, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t really enjoy this film. I remembered enough.
The basic story is Gawain is the youngest knight of Arthur’s roundtable and he and his men are telling stories of their knightly deeds at some kind of holiday feast, but Gawain feels some type of way because he doesn’t have a story. The Green Knight rides into the great hall and challenges any of the men there to strike him with his weapon, and in a year’s time he will return the blow at his chapel. Gawain volunteers, and cuts off his head. The Green Knight picks up his head, says he’ll see him next year, and leaves.
A year later Gawain is on his way to keep his end of the bargain and the movie is mostly about his adventures involving what I think might be a ghost, a little fox, and a King and Queen who get him involved in their household shenanigans, where he has to exchange a kiss anytime he finds or receives some object in their home. I won’t tell you the ending but if you’ve read the original story you have some idea what happens. This is really more of a coming-of-age story about a young man who is seeking his manhood once he gets out from under the watchful eyes of his mother and the Court. There’s not a whole lot of magic on display, yet everything in it is magical. It’s shot in such a way that that’s all you can think about. The visuals are moody and gorgeous and the acting is superb. This movie was on my to-be-watched list last year and I’ve only now just gotten around to seeing it, but it was worth the wait.
This is the newest series from Disney as part of the MCU, about a geeky young Pakistani American teenager (Kamala Khan) who worships Captain Marvel and later she gains superpowers. It is largely a series for teens and that’s okay, I liked the first episode alright. I don’t normally like to watch shows aimed at teens but I really like the comic book character, and the actress makes Kamala really cute, charming, and engaging.
As is usual in these types of shows, her high school life is embarrassing, but I like the relationship with her parents, who are strict, but never meanspirited, and the little glimpses I get into Pakistani culture since it’s not a world I know much about. Kamala is a dreamer, who isn’t thinking too much about her future, preferring to daydream about the fun, nerdy, geeky stuff she enjoys getting into, like a nearby superhero convention her parents won’t allow her to go to. The plot is typical teenage shenanigans but the acting and the change in the cultural background don’t make it feel stale. It’s fun, lighthearted viewing, and I look forward to the next episode.
Strange New Worlds Season One
Let me bet this part out of the wat first:
LATINAAAAS INNNN SPAAAAAAACE!!!!!
So I have started watching this series and I really like it. I hate to say this because I consider Discovery to be an excellent Trek series, but Strange New Worlds is exactly the type of show I need right now, and it’s becoming a favorite. It’s giving me the kind of stuff about the characters that I’m not getting in Discovery, so if that series is your barometer, then Strange New Worlds is probably not going to be to your taste. I like the serial nature of the episodes, most of the plots are interesting, and I have three favorite characters.
Erica Ortegas: Ortegas is one of the few Latinas I’ve encountered in SciFi and she’s a lot of fun. She’s the ship’s navigator (like Sulu), she’s very professional, and is excellent at her job, but I do love her little side quips and the mischievous twinkle in her eye. I’m looking forward to an entire episode dedicated to her. I thought that Una (Number One) the First Officer was going to be my favorite, and Rebecca Romjin is holding it down, but Ortegas sort of took her spot.
Dr. M’benga: I do remember this character from a couple of cameos in the original series where he was played by Booker Bradshaw with a very Shakespearean voice. I kept racking my brain trying to remember where I’d seen this new actor and I finally got it. He was Jamis (of the Fremen) in the new Dune movie. I really like his calm, professional, competent demeanor. Like a lot of characters in Trek shows he has a tragic backstory, some of which has followed him onto the ship. He’s just a really nice character and a great foil to his somewhat zany and irrepressible nurse, Christine Chapel.
Christopher Pike: I really thought this new version of Spock (Ethan Peck) would capture my heart again in the same way Zachary Quinto’s version did, but it’s actually Pike this time. When I was a kid I had a tremendous crush on the original actor, Jeffrey Hunter, and that has probably had some influence on me here. I just like this actor (who is really handsome) and he’s just very laid back, funny, and also very Trek-ian.
Love Death And Robots Season 3
Out of nine episodes here are my top five for this season:
Of all the episodes Jibaro comes in at number one and is the one that most haunts me. First off, the CGI is gorgeous and almost indistinguishable from live-action, it’s that good. I’ve spent decades being able to tell the difference between live-action and computer-generated images and I really just kept forgetting what I was looking at. It’s not just the style of animation that caught me up but the visuals, like the flowers, jewelry, and water are all stunning, frenetic, and occasionally difficult to parse because everything moves so fast.
This one is my second favorite because not only is it written by one of my favorite Horror-Scifi authors, Neal Asher, but it also stars one of his terrifying Prador aliens from his Polity novels. I believe this is set in the same nightmarish universe because Chanter, the name of one of the characters in the episode, is also the name of one of his characters from the book series. If you like this episode and want something like it then check out his short stories in The Gabble, or a more long-form one in The Voyage of the Sable Keech.
Night of the Mini Dead
Whooo wrote this?! And why was I subjected to the sheer levels of ridiculousness in this episode? Can I find whoever this was and give them a mini-pinch? This almost made it to number one but in the end, I loved Jibaro a just little bit more.
This is very possibly one of the most hilarious zombie apocalypses I’ve ever seen and it’s chock full of some great Easter eggs from all my favorite zombie movies, from the opening scene set in a tiny cemetery, to the tiny pope mobile with machine guns, an attack on a hospital and in the suburbs ala Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, to watching some teeny tiny Shaolin monks attacking a zombie horde, which reminded me of the book World War Z, every moment of this just tickled the hell outta me.
This is another short story from Neal Asher. I don’t think this is set in the Polity universe like the first one but it’s still pretty good, and unusual for Asher, pretty funny about a farmer who gets involved in an increasing level of warfare with the rats who have taken over his grain barn until finally both he and the rats have had enough. I didn’t get it at first, but just like the farmer, by the end, I was rooting for the rats.
In Vaulted Halls Entombed
This episode was genuinely frightening but missed out on an earlier spot in this list because the characters were mildly annoying. It’s also pretty gruesome. This series has no problem showing lots of animated gore, so if that’s an issue for you, be warned. This is one of those futuristic Lovecraftian-type stories, and I’m still not quite sure what to believe about its ending, but it’s still with me, so that means it wasn’t too bad an episode.