Da Couch Tomato

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What's On Netflix

This is the first DCT podcast, so bear with us. We hope to produce more, because it's really fun to make, but quite time-consuming to edit.

You know this isn't porn because he still has his shirt on.

Ah, Ready Player One. I loved the book a lot, so when I found out it was going to be a movie, I almost pissed my pants in excitement. I was even a little miffed that 2017's The Last Jedi pushed back RPO's release date to March 2018. But it doesn't matter. It's playing now in theatres, which is a good thing. And that's just one of the many good things about this film, such as...

1. It's Steven Spielberg at the helm.
I've mentioned it before. Spielberg is one of the best visual storytellers alive today. He has such a very deep understanding of cinema: from composition, to cinematography, to narrative pacing, to adaptation. He is a great director because he is effective. His camera movements are not for show; they have a purpose, which is to reveal information or to advance the story forward. He's been doing this a long time, so he's become quite good at it.

2. Ernest Cline co-wrote the screenplay.
This is one of the very few instances where an adapted screenplay is also penned by the same author of the source material. Cline's book was a perfect nerdgasm of 80s pop culture references, plus the world-building he did was so fantastic that apparently, the virtual reality (VR) company Oculus gave all its employees a copy of the Ready Player One book. However, some scenes in the book are either not cinematic enough or just downright unfilmable that another writer was needed to crack the adaptation problem. And that's where co-writer Zak Penn comes in. With Penn in the equation, the final screenplay is, well...

3. It's not like the book.
Around a quarter of the way into the film, I just gave up on any expectations that the movie would be faithful to the book. Well, the spirit and essence of the book was preserved, thanks to the close collaboration between Penn, Cline, and Spielberg. There's still the quest, the three challenges, and the David vs. Goliath theme (Parzival against the big corporation IOI). But the details have changed drastically, and the narrative took a different direction. The challenges have been altered: the first challenge, the race, was not in the book, while the second challenge was changed to The Shining instead of War Games. But it doesn't matter, actually, as this is a great story on the page and on the screen.

4. The actors aren't that well-known.
Spielberg made a good call with this film's casting, opting to go for mostly newcomers. With the exception of Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg, and Oscar winner and new Spielberg favourite Mark Rylance, the rest of the cast are relative unknowns. I think it's probably because the filmmakers want us to concentrate on the wonderful story, and having too many Hollywood A-listers might take the attention away from the narrative. That or the special effects took up a bulk of the budget.

5. References galore.
The book was a veritable nerdgasm of 1980s pop culture references. There's references to 1980s movies, music, and most of all, video games. In the book, though, it was explicitly stated that James Halliday was a huge fan of everything 80s, so all references came from that decade only. The movie didn't make that distinction, though, and opened up its references to other decades. There's Speed Racer from the 60s, Star Trek from the 70s, Jurassic Park's T-Rex from the 90s, Firefly's Serenity from the 00s, and Minecraft from the 10s. I guess including references from the more recent decades would please the younger fans instead of alienating them.

I've seen Jerry Seinfeld drive a DeLorean. Not that impressive.



Ready Player One. USA. 2018.



Rating: 8.7/10
Seriously, there's no need to name this "Gipsy" if it's not related to Gipsy Danger, anyway.

2013's Pacific Rim was a great movie. It was the Western visualisation of the great Eastern traditions of kaijus and mechas. It was (and still is) a great example of world-building. So you can just imagine how excited I was for its sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising, and how disappointed I was after watching. Mainly because...

1. It's not by Guillermo del Toro.
This alone should have restrained me from shelling out cash to watch it on IMAX. But I gave it the benefit of the doubt, that maybe del Toro's world-building was so solid that any sequel would be just as good. Sadly, that wasn't the case. Uprising was helmed by Steven S. DeKnight, and if he was as big a kaiju and mecha geek as del Toro, it doesn't show. With del Toro, his love of Japanese monsters and machines oozes out of him that you could almost tell he was bullied in school as a kid because he was clearly a geek.

2.  There are more jaegers, but they are less endearing.
The first film showed only four (4) jaegers in action: Cherno Alpha, Gipsy Danger, Crimson Typhoon, and Striker Eureka. Uprising has twice as many: Bracer Phoenix, Gipsy Avenger, Guardian Bravo, Saber Athena, Titan Redeemer, Obsidian Fury, November Ajax, and Valor Omega. Now let me state my qualms about the film's jaegers.

First, less is more. We grew to love the jaegers from the first film because there's only four of them, and we'd be drawn to one of them as a favourite, kind of like how we have our favourite Beatle, because they were all distinct and different from each other. Now, however, there's just too many. They all look the same. Sometimes I can't tell them apart.

Second, the jaeger names. I think the rule for naming jaegers is to have two random words, and both words must have a 99% chance of never being seen together in the vernacular. Like how likely will the word "eureka" follow the word "striker" in real life conversation? (Also, Gipsy seems to be a spelling typo, but it looks nice, so what the hell.) But in the sequel, it seems they were too lazy to name the jaegers that they just chose two words at random by flipping through a dictionary. Sometimes you get a hit, like Obsidian Fury, and sometimes you get a miss. Like November Ajax. What a lousy name.

3. John Boyega is definitely not Idris Elba
Yes, Jake Pentecost admits in the beginning of the film that it's hard to live under his father's shadow. He'll never be as badass as his father was. First, he has a lame name. "Jake". Ugh. Compare that to the awesome name "Stacker". Right? Second, he isn't as tall and heavily built, and he lacks that low, raspy voice. And third, his speech wasn't awesome enough to cancel the apocalypse. And fourth, he didn't die a martyr. I could go on, but you get the point.

4. It wasn't scored by Ramin Djawadi.
Admit it, the original Pacific Rim score by Ramin Djawadi was perfect. It was a fusion of classical and modern. It made you feel like a jaeger leaving the Shatterdome for battle. However, in this film, the score seems to have mellowed down that you'll be battling kaijus with little to no adrenaline in your blood stream. And when you hear the (reprised) Pacific Rim theme a little later in the film, you'll actually wonder where that music was all this time. I mean, I get it, first it was John Paesano composing the score, then they changed it to Lorne Balfe. Well, they could have changed the composers for all I care, but they could have at least retained the original theme. Because: Tom Morello.

5. The kaiju designs are meh.
Guillermo del Toro stuck to a strict philosophy in creating the kaijus for the first film. First, they should not look like any pre-existing monster. Second, they should look as if it could just be a rubber suit with a man inside it. And with those two simple rules, the legendary Wayne Barlow went on to design the kaijus of Pacific Rim, while Uprising's kaijus were designed by Stefan Dechant and Doug Lefter, who are undeniably talented, but are also in a different league from Barlow. The kaijus in this film are ugly. Big, ugly, and dangerous. But Barlow's kaijus looked way more menacing–the stuff that nightmares are made of.

6. Bigger is always better. 
Jaeger means huge. Gigantic. Humongous. Well, literally it means "hunter", but in this context, when we say jaeger, we mean very, very big fighting robots, so big that they can dwarf a major city's central business district. Which is why I really don't like Scrapper. Okay, he can turn into a ball. That's cute. But he's small, so no. Making him instrumental in stopping the super kaiju is just a consolation prize to justify Scrapper's existence.

Also, the world of Pacific Rim isn't a post-apocalyptic world with a dwindling population. There are many, much more qualified jaeger pilots on the planet, even just in the Pacific Rim nations. So why recruit a teenage girl (Cailee Spaeny)? Just because she built a mini-jaeger? Come on.

On a scale of 1 to Idris Elba, John Boyega is a 5.
On a scale of 1 to Clint Eastwood, Scott's a 9.



Pacific Rim: Uprising. USA/China/UK. 2018.



Original rating: 7/10
Mako Mori dying: -0.5
Jaeger cadets being too young: -0.1
Final rating: 6.4/10
No room in this shot for the famous Tom Cruise sprint.

•I just loved this film's production design and cinematography. It nailed the '80s feel quite perfectly, even better than Netflix's Narcos did. Sorry, but since this is a film about the Medellin Cartel, comparisons to Narcos will crop up every now and then.

•Tom Cruise runs again. It's a relatively short distance, though. But he still runs. Got to admire this man. He will always throw in a running scene in his films.

•Doug Liman is a versatile director. He's great with action movies, sure. He's done quite a number of those already. Didn't think he could pull off a biopic. Also, this film has a Tony Scott vibe. Like music video-style, freeze frames and such.

•I definitely need a new genre to watch. Too many money laundering films for this year. I've seen Ozark and Narcos, which are both from Netflix. Then this. Now I'm curious about the process of laundering money, and just how lucrative a career it really is.

•That's Jesse Plemons as Sheriff Downing. He's the guy who played Todd in Breaking Bad. But he's grown a bit bigger here.

•That's Lola Kirke as Sheriff Downing's wife. She's the girl from Mozart in the Jungle. Wish she had more scenes.

•Caleb Landry Jones really looks like white trash, doesn't he? He's too... white. And all those freckles. Also, he's too white. I said that already. Because he is. He's like an albino.

•Domhnall Gleeson looks a bit too young to play a CIA agent, doesn't he? Well, he's younger than I am. But I like him. I'm happy for his Hollywood career.

•Sorry, Mauricio Mejia. Wagner Moura has become the standard for any Pablo Escobar performance from this point forward. Blame it all on Netflix.

•Overall, this film is quite as interesting, but is actually not as factual as I would've hoped. I love biopics, it's one of my favourite film genres. But what I love about biopics is the truthfulness of it. For me, it kind of kills the magic when you realise, "Eh, that's not how it happened."

"There's really not that many roles for gingers in Hollywood, man."



American Made. USA. 2017.



Original rating: 7.2/10
Production design: +0.1
Not enough Lola Kirke: -0.1
Caleb Landry Jones's freckles: -0.1
Factual inconsistencies: -0.1
Final rating: 7.0/10
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"I'm tougher than you, Jaime. I still have both my hands."

•The show opens with a marching Lannister army, fresh from the sacking of Highgarden, and a visual testament to how expensive this show's budget is for extras. As the scene unfolds, some of you may start to wonder, "What the hell is Bronn still doing here? How in the name of the old gods is he still alive?" The answer to that is plain and simple, but some might find it difficult to accept: Bronn is the best player of the game of thrones. No, really. A lowborn, with no great House to protect him, yet always on the front lines of the action – how the hell is he still alive?

•I thought Bran Stark's powers include the ability to read the memories of an object. Like those people who can touch a coin and see where it has been, or those who can touch a key and see which lock it opens. But apparently not, because as soon as his fingers touched the Valyrian steel dagger, he should have known that Littlefinger lied about who he lost the dagger to (it wasn't Tyrion).

•Hooray for Arya's homecoming! Now the Stark siblings – at least those still alive – are back in Winterfell, and that's all that matters. After all, there must always be a Stark in Winterfell, and now there are three. Arya has become a formidable warrior, Sansa has become a cunning politician, and Bran has become the most powerful character in this series so far. If only the writers knew how to maximise his potential.

•I just love the sexual tension between the Mother of Dragons and the King in the North. Jon Snow should have made his move in the cave. The Dothraki guards have already been told to stay back, so I'm sure they could have done a quickie in there. Oh, but Jon Snow's fully armoured. Yeah, I forgot. Undressing would eat up precious time.

•Hello, Podrick. You've gotten fat. Maybe that's why you can't seem to win any sparring matches with Brienne? It's okay, though. You're a nice guy and a loyal squire, and I hope you don't die in this series.

•Hello, Arya. You show-off. Why don't you just take your Valyrian steel dagger and point it at Littlefinger's throat, the way he pointed a blade at Ned Stark's throat? In fact, while Littlefinger's in Winterfell, why don't you disguise yourself as Sansa and seduce him? Then when he has his guard down, rip your mask off and catch him off guard, then slash his throat? Either way, Littlefinger must die.

HBO
"Obi-Wan has taught you well."

•I really think Ser Davos has a thing for Missandei. Who wouldn't? Davos isn't married, as far as I know. Although Missandei has a boyfriend, but he's stuck in Casterly Rock. So there. Go, Ser Davos! Use the father figure thing you got going to your advantage!

•Come on, Ser Jaime. Cut Dickon Tarly some slack. His family switched allegiance just for you. Don't be a dick about it. If you're gonna piss on Dickon Tarly, it should be for stealing screen time from his brother Sam. That's because when Sam is onscreen, so will Archmaester Ebrose. But now I have to wait until next episode to find out if Jim Broadbent will make an appearance.

•Here come the Dothraki! Those horse-lords must really love Daenerys to have followed her across their continent of Essos, to fight in a war that doesn't concern them. But thanks to the Targaryen megalomania, we get to see the Dothraki fight on horseback, which is literally a sight to behold. I'm guessing this was how the Mongols rode into battle during the time of Genghis Khan.

•Yay Drogon! Fry those Lannister soldiers! Go and burn as much as you can! Set as many wagons on fire! Wreak as much havoc as possible! We only have a few more episodes left in this series, and honestly, we haven't had a lot of dragon action! It's time Messrs. Benioff and Weiss made up for all the previous seasons without dragons. Also, are we going to have a battle with all three dragons? Drogon is just one dragon. Where are the other two? Get to work on it, showrunners.

•Let us all applaud Ser Bronn of the Blackwater. Not only is he a pretty good shot with the scorpion, but he also saved Ser Jaime from ending up as some burned body. Although I'm not sure if this is a case of "out of the frying pan and into the fire", since the last shot we see is Jaime sinking into the depths in full battle armour. Who's gonna save him from that?

HBO
How many people does Jaime Lannister owe his life to?

HBO
"Just our weapons, right? Why are they taking our boat?"

•At last, the King in the North lands on Dragonstone. Here he is greeted by Queen Daenerys's welcoming party, consisting of the Hand of the Queen Tyrion Lannister and her most trusted adviser Missandei. (In modern terms, I wonder who among them would be Daenerys's chief of staff?) The reunion between the bastard and the dwarf is a bit touching, as you can literally feel that they go way back, all the way back to Season 1, in fact.

•Ser Davos, are you hitting on Missandei? She's taken. Although her man has no manhood, so I guess you can pleasure her with your fingers. See what I did there? No? Okay, never mind.

•Why don't Varys and Melisandre seem to get along? I think it's probably because Varys feels threatened that Melisandre might join the Queen's entourage. Since she's a powerful red priestess while Varys is only as useful as the reliability of his spies, if the Queen had to take someone off her entourage, it would probably be Varys.

•Daenerys currently has seven (7) titles. She is Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, 1) rightful heir to the Iron Throne, 2) rightful queen of the Andals and the First Men, 3) protector of the Seven Kingdoms, 4) the mother of dragons, 5) the Khaleesi of the great grass sea, 6) the Unburnt, 7) the Breaker of Chains. Stormborn is probably her middle name, like in her birth certificate, it says "Targaryen, Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen" (as she was a child of incest).

•One has to commend Jon Snow for how he handled Daenerys Targaryen. He acted like a king, yet he did not exalt himself the way Daenerys did. Compared to Daenerys, his only title is "King in the North". He has no claim to his position except his leadership skills, his fighting abilities, and his sense of honour and justice. He's a bastard, and he knows it, yet his social status never stopped him from acting like a king. He was born to rule, and he hates it; the mantle of leadership is a burden for him to carry. But despite the pressure exerted from the side with the huge army and three dragons, Jon Snow refused to bend a knee. The northerners would've been proud.

•I'm probably not the only one who wishes Daenerys and Jon Snow should totally bone. If Snow is indeed a Targaryen, then Dany would be his aunt. On the incest scale, that would be a bit more tolerable than sibling sex (Honestly, all guys have that one aunt they'd like to bang, although I don't know if the converse is true for girls and their uncles.) That sexual encounter would indeed be a meeting of ice and fire. Coincidentally, "Ice" and "Fire" are also varieties of sex lubricants from Bliss. You're welcome.

•Poor Theon Greyjoy. He was rescued from the sea by some ironborn sailors loyal to Yara, but as they hauled his sorry ass from the water, all they could see was a coward. A craven. A pathetic excuse for a man. But like I said in my review for the previous episode, Theon had his reasons for jumping. No one is in any position to judge him, unless they've been through the same things he has. Sadly, no one will ever understand this.

•Euron Greyjoy is my least favourite character in this series. And by that I mean I hate him the most, not that I find him the most uninteresting. I hate him now more than Cersei Lannister, and I think the effectiveness of his portrayal is a testament to Pilou Asbæk's acting skills. Plus, his capture of Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand seems to have turned the tide of this war.

•I think one of the yardsticks for measuring true evil is how one carries out a plan for revenge. Take Cersei Lannister, for example. At first I thought, "What's with the lipstick, Cersei?" And then it turns out it's actually poisoned lipstick, and she kisses Ellaria's daughter on the lips with it. If you recall, that was also how Cersei's daughter Myrcella was killed by Ellaria in Season 5, so there's a kind of poetic justice at play here. This suggests premeditation of the highest degree, and Cersei even goes one-up on Ellaria by dooming her to watch her daughter die and slowly decompose in front of her very eyes. True evil? You bet it is.

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The only one in this episode who bent a knee was Cersei.

•Twincest is back. Hooray. Or not. Wait, who's the maid in the pixie cut? Well, she's not a new character, according to Vanity Fair. She's been serving Cersei Lannister since Season 2.

•Hooray, Mark Gatiss! Another awesome cameo for this season. Gatiss is a good actor, because despite looking like Myrcroft Holmes from Sherlock, his acting here isn't like Myrcroft at all. His character here is very serious, very corporate, and very effective. You can practically feel your loan application getting approved or denied just by listening to the tone of his voice.

•Is it just me, or does it seem like the director forced in a lot of shots overlooking the cliffs of Dragonstone just to maximise the location? It's like, "Hey, get a load of this view! You don't get this everyday! Okay, we'll shoot Varys and Melisandre here, then one brooding scene between Tyrion and Jon Snow trying to out-brood each other, then another one with Daenerys and Jon Snow when she allows him to mine the dragonglass!" They most likely dubbed the dialogue in those scenes, as I imagine the wind from those cliffs was probably howling.

•Sansa seems to have the North all taken care of. She'd make a pretty good Lord of Winterfell, or whatever the female version of a lord is. (Lady of Winterfell? Doesn't have the same ring to it, though.) Oh, and Bran's back. And he has a lot of explaining to do, because apparently his sister still thinks he can be Lord of Winterfell. I wish the Stark siblings would just team up and get Littlefinger out of the picture. It'll be best for everyone.

•Look at Bran Stark. You think that's wooden acting by Isaac Hempstead Wright? On the contrary, he's portraying a character whose brain is fried from too much weirwood use. No, I don't mean as a drug. I mean he's tapped into weirwoods too much as part of his Three-Eyed Raven training that his brain has overloaded. What would you expect from someone who can see the past, the present, and the future all at once? Not even Sansa could handle the awkward weirdness.

•Ser Jorah's greyscale may be no more, but his scars are still a horrible sight to behold. Well, at least he's cured. And I mean totally cured, because Sam even has the courage to shake his hand after that. But enough about Jorah Mormont. Let's talk about Jim Broadbent. Ah, Jim Broadbent... my new favourite character in this series. I love him so much, I even signed up on Reddit just so I could rave about how good he is.

•The Unsullied take Casterly Rock, which is a good thing. But it seems a bit fishy, isn't it, how easily they took it? I would've wanted to see some Unsullied action. Sadly, we won't get that treat this episode, because Jaime Lannister has taken his army to march on Highgarden. Also, damn you, Randyll Tarly. I thought you were honourable.

•Goodbye, Lady Olenna. You're one of the good bitches in Westeros. I don't mean that in a bad way; all the powerful women on this show are bitches. But you're a good bitch. So basically, you'll be gone by next episode, and House Tyrell's coffers will be used to pay the Iron Bank. That doesn't seem like a nice way to go. But of course, you dropped the bomb regarding Joffrey's death, which is a great dick move. The only regret you'll have is you won't see Cersei's face when she finds out it was you who poisoned that cunt.

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Yeah, he's a cunt... but he's my cunt!

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Team Targaryen Pre-Invasion Working Lunch.

•Okay, Queen Daenerys, there's no need to threaten Varys. He may be a sly little bugger, with all his little birds and all, but his heart is in the right place. Even Ned Stark trusted him, despite his aversion to eunuchs. And Varys worked hard for you during your Essos campaign, unflinching under the hot desert sun. Haven't you noticed his tan?

•It's nice that the Red Priestess travelled all the way to Dragonstone to make the intro for Jon Snow. But who sent her? Did she travel there on her own accord? If she did, how could she have anticipated that Daenerys would already be there? Was she waiting all this time to pay a courtesy call to the Mother of Dragons? Those questions, I'm afraid, must remain unanswered, just like the question of how she can give birth to some black shadow baby. We'll never know.

•Among all the Stark children, Jon Snow is actually the one who takes after Ned Stark the most (although he may not be Ned's son, he still is a Stark, after all). Jon Snow is an honourable man, and a good man to the core. And we can all take a page from the bastard's book: it actually pays to be good. As long as you do good deeds, and treat others with kindness, people will never speak ill of you. And that is why, despite being King in the North, Daenerys doesn't see him as a threat. Melisandre and Tyrion Lannister vouched for him. His reputation preceded him, and it worked to his advantage.

•In King's Landing, Cersei proceeds to muster her army by calling on the bannermen of Olenna Tyrell, who as we all know is in open rebellion against the crown. But Cersei's bitchy approach isn't the most diplomatic way to win the people's support, which is why her twin brother Jaime Lannister has decided to utilise backchannels in order to convince the lesser Houses to join their cause. House Tarly seems to be an honourable lot, but everyone has their price, and I wonder how much it will take for Randyll Tarly to flip.

•Speaking of Tarlys, Samwell Tarly continues his work in the Citadel, this time focusing his efforts on the cure for greyscale. Archmaester Ebrose continues to school young Tarly in the fashion of law school professors instilling fear in freshmen law students. The knowledge to cure greyscale is known to the archmaester, but he also knows how dangerous the procedure is, and he's not one to attempt it readily. But Samwell Tarly is a man with a very strong will, and not even lack of knowledge and experience can stop him from achieving his dream of being the best greyscale surgeon in Westeros. Ser Jorah has no choice, truth be told. It's either Sam's scalpel or a slow death in a hard shell.

•Cersei Lannister is one strong woman, and Daenerys Targaryen and her army of Dothraki and Unsullied doesn't really do much to worry her. What she is really concerned about are the dragons, and Daenerys has three of them. It seems she's found something that can penetrate dragonhide, and hopefully this weapon can keep the dragons at bay, to at least even the odds for an exciting battle.

HBO
"What the hell is this, Maester Qyburn?"
"Uh... a... dragon nerf gun?"


•So the planning stages are well under way, it seems, as Team Targaryen discusses its battle plan with three potential allies: the matriarch Olenna Tyrell, the scheming Ellaria Sand, and the sexually fluid Yarra Greyjoy (all of them women, it should be noted). I can see a wonderful relationship being forged between Lady Olenna and Queen Daenerys, a has-been and a soon-to-be. After losing Queen Margaery when Cersei blew up the Sept of Baelor in the Season 6 finale, Lady Olenna has lost a reigning monarch who would listen to her precious words of wisdom. That's all she wants, really: a young queen she can shape and mold into the ruler she should have been.

•Okay, let's get to the highlight of this episode: the Grey Worm-Missandei sex scene. I thought at first that the Unsullied were regular eunuchs, meaning their testicles were castrated but their penises were left intact. But apparently most eunuchs in Westeros, including the Unsullied and Varys, are emasculated, meaning both their testicles and penises have been taken away from them. So what Grey Worm and Missandei have must be true love: Grey Worm accepting that he will never achieve orgasm with her, and Missandei accepting that she can never climax with him inside her. But Missandei doesn't seem to mind. At least, not yet.

•Hello, Hot Pie. You seem healthy and happy. Well, you're alive in Westeros, and considering the political climate, that's quite an achievement. Plus, you're baking pies, something you really love doing, and how many people in Westeros can claim to have a profession that doesn't feel like work? Am I right?

•So Jon Snow has accepted Daenerys's invitation to head to Dragonstone and bend a knee. Honestly, that doesn't sound like an invitation, anyway, but he's King in the North, so what the heck. Before he leaves, though, he needs to make sure the North is in good hands, so he leaves his sister Sansa in charge, because there must always be a Stark in Winterfell. And to make sure that Sansa gets to govern without any distractions, Jon Snow also leaves a friendly reminder for Petyr Baelish. You've got to admire Littlefinger, though. Men who are that determined to have something usually get what they want in the end.

•Is that Nymeria? It could be. But then again, maybe it's not her. But look at that thing. That's one gigantic dog, so it's obviously a direwolf. And how many direwolves are left on Westeros, really? Wasn't the Stark litter the last of their kind? So that has to be Nymeria. Or maybe not. Well, Arya says it's not her, but then again, she could just be consoling herself by sourgraping.

•I really hate Euron Greyjoy. That was already a clear set-up for some Yarra and Ellaria girl-on-girl action, but he had to ruin it with his stupid naval assault. And so what if Theon Greyjoy jumped? The man's been broken, and he's endured what no man deserves to endure, so cut him some slack. He's not a coward; on the contrary, he's actually a very smart man for doing what he did. He probably took one look at Euron, and after seeing the crazed look in his eyes, decided that his uncle might actually be crazier than Ramsay Bolton, and he's not going to stay and find out what's in store for him as a prisoner. Pretty fast decision-making right there, if you ask me.

HBO
See? Crazy eyes.
"If I was in World War II, they'd call me Spitfire." -The Prodigy

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

•If you're watching this, chances are this isn't your first Christopher Nolan film. So you'll probably be expecting another mind-blowing subject matter, the way Inception blew your mind with lucid dreaming, or the way Interstellar blew your mind with the fifth dimension. Dunkirk is a different kind of Nolan film, in the sense that its subject matter – the British evacuation of Dunkirk during the Second World War – isn't going to blow your mind.

Dunkirk tells three stories, with three different themes: 1) Land, with the stranded soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk; 2) Sea, with the civilian boatmen whose naval vessels are commandeered to rescue the stranded soldiers; and 3) Air, with the brave pilots who flew the Spitfires.

•Since it seems that Nolan is unable (or refuses) to do a straight linear narrative, he chooses to go for his famous non-linear storytelling style. Here he uses three different time signatures, which are stated in the text for each of the three stories. "The Mole", which is the beach narrative, takes place over a week. "The Sea", about the boats that come to the rescue, takes place over a day. "The Air", which features the brilliant dogfights, takes place over an hour. All three stories are intercut with one another, and they conclude simultaneously in the end.

Michael Caine is in this picture once again, this time appearing as the voice giving instructions to the RAF pilots in their Spitfires. But does Michael Caine really have to be in all of Nolan's films? The answer to that, apparently, is a yes. The director himself confirms it: "He has to be in all my films, after all."

•Cillian Murphy is listed in the end credits as "Shivering Soldier". This got me excited about a possibility in filmmaking: Is it possible to make a film where no character is named specifically? I would argue it is. In fact, Dunkirk should've been the perfect film to prove that theory, if only they didn't have to name some of the soldiers. But still, Cillian Murphy as "Shivering Soldier" is a step in the right direction, so I hope one daring filmmaker actually does it in the future.

Not sure if these guys were credited as "Running Soldiers".

•Hans Zimmer's musical score is bloody awesome. His use of a literal ticking clock to enhance the suspense of a ticking clock narrative is genius. Coupled with the awesome sound design, this film's audio really succeeds in driving home the urgency, bringing us as close as possible to the tension felt by the actual soldiers at Dunkirk.

•The A-list actors delivered great performances, as is to be expected in a Christopher Nolan film. Mark Rylance always nails the kind yet authoritative grandfather role. Tom Hardy, despite having his face mostly covered again, overcomes that hurdle by acting with his eyes. James D'Arcy assumes another second-in-command naval officer role like in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. And Kenneth Branagh was just excellent. As an authority figure who carries the burden of war on his shoulders while trying to appear strong in the face of his men, Branagh just knocks the ball out of the park. Well of course he does. He's Kenneth Branagh.

•Apart from the A-listers, it's this film's relatively unknown cast that provides a great complement to the acting department. Fionn Whitehead has that young and inexperienced rookie look about him, which is probably what most of the soldiers at Dunkirk looked like. Barry Keoghan was able to capture in his performance the spirit of a boy who awakens to the harsh realities of war (too bad he died, I liked his face). And Harry Styles...

•Harry Styles is quite good. I've heard a few One Direction songs, but I'm not aware who the individual members are, so of course I've never heard of Harry Styles. Which turned out to be a good thing, as I had no prejudice toward his acting ability, and was quite surprised that the kid had some chops. Also, he has some sort of Daniel Padilla-feel about him. And I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

•SM MOA's IMAX theatre didn't show this in 70 mm. Such a shame, really, when they showed Interstellar in 70 mm back in 2014. I don't know, maybe there aren't that many celluloid cinephiles in this country. So I had to resort to seeing this in IMAX. My only gripe here was why wasn't the image projected to cover the entire screen? Even in The Dark Knight, the scenes shot in IMAX covered the whole screen. What happened, IMAX MOA?

Nothing like seeing the majestic blue sea in full IMAX glory.



Dunkirk. USA/UK. 2017.



Original rating: 8.5/10
Harry Styles' Daniel Padilla-feel: -0.1
Nolan's use of different time signatures: +0.1
IMAX MOA not projecting to its full extent: -0.1
Sound design: +0.1
Musical score: +0.1
Finally seeing what a Spitfire looks like: +0.1
Final rating: 8.7/10
HBO
Red Wedding avenged: Check.

•Arya Stark is fast becoming the most fearsome character in this series. First, she's got skills with her sword. Yes, she got beat up last season, but she was blind then. And she was a student of Syrio Forel, so her training is of a higher level than the courtyard steel training of the Winterfell boys. Second, she's small, which makes her quicker and more slippery in close combat. She can probably defeat The Mountain, as long as she stays close. Third, she's a girl, which gives her the ability to slip in and out unnoticed, since Westeros, like the real world, values women less than men. Fourth, she can do face-changing now, although she needs to wear it Mission Impossible-style, unlike Jaqen H'ghar who can change faces in the blink of an eye. And finally, she also has a lot of rage and anger pent up inside her, and all this negative energy is basically her will to live.

•The White Walkers have at least three giants. Three. That's three times the number of giants Jon Snow had in the Battle of the Bastards. Plus, they're undead giants.

•Bran Stark has found sanctuary now at Castle Black, although due to some really bad timing, his sister and half-brother are at Winterfell. Tough luck. And also, Dolorous Edd can totally rock it as Lord Commander.

•Meanwhile, at Winterfell, Jon Snow, the King in the North, shows the Northern Houses his leadership skills, putting all doubts of a bastard ruling over them to rest. He and Sansa need to work on their teamwork, though, as the eldest legitimate heir of Ned Stark has a habit of undermining her bastard brother.

•Meanwhile, in King's Landing, the Kingslayer shatters his twin sister's delusions of grandeur by snapping her back to reality, reminding her that she is queen of three out of seven kingdoms, at best. Cersei, ever the sly bitch, reveals that she has a plan that could give the Lannisters dominion over the waters of Westeros: the Iron Fleet.

•Euron Greyjoy may have command of the biggest naval armada in Westeros, but his character is a douchebag. His mere presence onscreen makes me want to plunge a sword through his chest. I think he is the most despicable character on the series right now. The series needs at least one despicable character at any given time, and that vacancy was filled by Euron following the death of Ramsay Bolton.

HBO
"Come at me, bro."

•Samwell Tarly discovers that life in the Citadel isn't all knowledge and books. There's also chores involved, such as cleaning chamberpots, washing dishes, cleaning chamberpots, cooking, cleaning chamberpots, arranging books, and cleaning chamberpots. He also makes two amazing discoveries in this episode: 1) the fact that dragonglass is found under Dragonstone; and 2) the scaly-skinned Ser Jorah Mormont.

•Jim Broadbent is great as Archmaester Ebrose. He's like that brilliant professor of higher learning who always answers questions in a cocky manner, as if he's annoyed that you even have to ask the question in the first place, but deep inside he's glad that his student's curiosity isn't stifled in the least.

•Littlefinger's moves on Sansa Stark are becoming a bit predatorily creepy, and I'm afraid he might pull a stunt from out of nowhere in latter episodes that would compromise the war in the north. Please, Messrs. Benioff and Weiss. Please don't.

•That sounds like Ed Sheeran singing. It is Ed Sheeran. Oh, and there are actually nice Lannister soldiers? Who would've thought? Also, the guy who made the blackberry wine looks like a younger Stephen Fry.

•I thought they'd already be showing Beric Dondarrion in action, but I guess it's too early in the season for that. I think it's a good thing for the Hound to have joined his group, though. It seems to have activated the Hound's guilty conscience, as he finally makes amends to that farmer and his daughter that he murdered in a previous episode by giving them a proper burial. See, I've always known the Hound's a good guy underneath all that toughness.

•And finally, Queen Daenerys makes her homecoming. She finally lands on Dragonstone, and she looks about her ancestral castle as though it was in bad need of interior decorating. It made me wonder, though, how she had time to get her hair styled and her nails French-tipped while her ship was crossing the waters of the Narrow Sea. The answer: an extremely dedicated entourage.

HBO
Lord Varys obviously got a good tan.

"You had me at 'library'."

•This isn't a shot-for-shot remake of the original 1991 animated film by Disney. This is more or less a very similar retelling, updated for a modern audience, particularly those who weren't born yet when the original was released.

•There are more songs here than the original one, but the great thing is, it's by the same composer and lyricist, Alan Menken and Tim Rice. And I believe that's the reason the new songs are a great fit to the old. Like, to someone who hasn't seen the original, all the songs in this 2017 version would have a unified feel to it, and they probably wouldn't be able to tell which songs are more than 20 years old.

•Emma Watson can sing, yes, but just barely. Like you can tell musical theatre isn't her background. In fact, she is, in my opinion, this film's weakest link. But I can't seem to think of anyone else who could've played Belle in this live-action version.

•Ewan McGregor was awesome as Lumiere. We've heard him sing before, in Moulin Rouge, so no surprise there. And to think he'd never seen the original before he signed up for this project. But with the way he sang "Be Our Guest", you can't tell. You'd probably even think he's seen the original a thousand times on VHS.

•I'm not a fan of the boots, Emma Watson. I understand it was your call to wear them. What were you thinking? No. Just no.

"You're not wearing those hideous boots, are you?"

•Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou were awesome. Unlike Emma Watson, these two are great singers. Josh Gad has already shown us his vocal prowess in Pixels, so it's nothing new, really. But Luke Evans came as quite a surprise. And to think I used to refer to him as a "poor man's Orlando Bloom".

•Apparently, LeFou is the first openly-gay Disney character. I just found that out recently, because it wasn't really obvious in the animated version. But I think Josh Gad is really gay. Or at least he could pass for gay. Actually, he's a family man with two daughters, so I don't think he's gay.

•I understand it was a stylistic choice to put Mrs. Potts's face on the side of the teapot instead of having the spout as her nose. But the animation looked kind of tacky, of you ask me. Emma Thompson in lieu of Angela Lansbury is okay, but I just don't like how the animation looks, sorry.

•I didn't know Ian McKellen was Cogsworth. I can picture him in a superhero film franchise. But I thought voice acting would be beneath his status as a skilled thespian. Apparently everyone has a price. I wonder how much he got paid for this gig.

•Dan Stevens was perfect as the Beast. First, because he sings quite well. Second, because he kind of looked like the prince in the animated version. With all the effort he exerted in his performance, it's a shame director Bill Condon didn't opt for practical make-up over CGI, but it was still a good job nonetheless.

Why does Cogsworth look like a Transformer?



Beauty and the Beast. USA. 2016.



Original rating: 8.0/10
"Be Our Guest": +0.1
"The Mob Song": +0.1
Emma Watson's singing: -0.1
Underutilising Kevin Kline: -0.1
Underutilising Stanley Tucci: -0.1
Audra McDonald's singing: +0.1
French translations at the end titles: +0.1
Final rating: 8.0/10
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