TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E1 – Second Contact ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS All Access
August 6, 2020

Episode 1 – “Second Contact”

First day on the Cerritos for medical assistant Ensign Tendl, given tour by Ensign Mariner, who shares a unique tie to the bridge and Ensign Bolmlier. They take a tour of the holodeck, where we learn that Bolmlier desires to be on the bridge and not one of the lower decks personnel. Mariner, however, rebels against authority.

Ransom meets with the aliens on a planet and, unbeknownst to him, brings back a highly contagious alien virus that turns the shipmates into zombie-like creatures.

Mariner and Bolmlier visit the planet. Bolmlier thinks he catches Mariner illegally showing Starfleet technology to the aliens. Turns out it’s farm equipment. A spider monster escapes, pursuing them. Mariner jumps on it and rides it all Starship Troopers style.

It captures Bolmlier and starts feeding on him…

Will Bolmlier escape? Will the virus turn all the crew on the Cerritos into Night of the Living Dead?

Summary

Watched this a couple times and debated whether or not to review it. Decided in favor of it based on potential. This has a better concept than Picard. I like the animation and sound and, although badly cliched, the story shows an attempt at a complete story in 25 minutes. Also, they introduce us to some crew tension and characterization along the way.

The biggest complaint I have is it doesn’t go far enough with the edginess. It’s like Rick and Morty lite meets Harley Quinn censored with a faint Star Trek backdrop. Don’t know which one of the dozen-odd producers to blame for putting on the brakes, but blame has to start at the top.

Seems like too many hands in the cookie jar. A bunch of producers are listed, including associate producers and even at least one assistant to the producer. Yikes, that much administrative oversight and input for a 25 minute creation is dubiously helpful. Oh, and profanity is bleeped out .. why? I guess so it can have a TV-14 rating?

“Coarse language” is the viewer warning. Coarse?

So, Picard can have people launching f-bombs at him, but Lower Decks can’t say “shit”? They are going to take s**t for this. Live action trek can have more edgy language and subject matter than an animated series?

Then there is the logic behind the story, which you need to throw completely out. If the virus is so contagious how did none of the First Contact crew get infected? How can a first officer (Ransom) be so utterly incompetent? The Captain can’t veto what crew members are assigned to her ship? Why isn’t an officer assigned to supervise the lower deck crewmates on an away mission? We have lower decks in charge of … lower decks?

If you can forgive all this and just enjoy the craziness that transpires, you’ll be OK.

This is a comedy, so will give the story a bit of break logic-wise. I smiled a few times, never actually laughed. They need to make us laugh if they are going for the absurd. They have so many opportunities here to exploit the absurd. Potential is there, again, or I wouldn’t bother watching.

They also spoiled the opening three minutes via the virtual Comic Con (see: SECOND LOOK: Star Trek: Lower Decks video clip from first episode courtesy Comic-Con@Home).

Now for the positives.

I like the concept that we’re seeing a side of a Star Trek crew we almost never have seen explored. Sure, we’ve seen them. These people are usually just background, crowd noise, the extras at Ten Forward, only here on this show they are the stars. They are the ones who save the day. They aren’t just red shirt cannon fodder. The underdogs are the ones we can count on.

I’m going to try and stay with this one. Yes, I have several concerns, but think there’s a worthy concept here to explore. Star Trek is all about exploration, so let’s hope they find some original stories in the galaxy going forward.

There are a lot of great stories that can be told withing this framework. Will they execute? I’m not sure after only one episode, but am compelled enough to stick around for a few more episodes to see how it develops. Will they rely on cliches and muted edginess or tell some really fresh, funny stories?

Put all of this together and the pilot is a recommendation with an asterisk or two. If what is described isn’t the type of Star Trek for you, it’s understandable. The first episode isn’t the train wreck that some predicted. I see a side of Star Trek here that Gene Roddenberry would like. He was all about the humanity and would have enjoyed a series exploring the unsung heroes in the lower decks. Whether or not we get that series here remains to be seen, but the potential exists.

Will be back reviewing episode two next Thursday, same place, about the same time.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Stargirl S1E12 – Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E Part One ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
DC Universe / CW
August 2, 2020 @ 9:00pm PT (GMT-8)

Episode 12 – Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E Part One

Every Sunday night on the west coast in the United States at 9pm PT, a new episode of Stargirl!

The Injustice Society is about to hatch a worldwide diabolical plan and a timer signals the countdown.

They dispatch a couple members to kill Pat/Stripesy, Courtney/Stargirl and everybody associated with them, including the other Justice Society members, Mike and Barbara. The first attack on Barbara and Courtney is warded off, as well as a secondary attack on Pat and Mike at his shop.

Mike learns about S.T.R.I.P.E and thinks it is “badass.”

Justin the Janitor drives up with KFC and encourages them to join him for a “feast.” The team Justice Society assembles at Justin’s place to formulate a plan of attack and/or defensive posture. Rick/Hourman must solve the riddle in his dad’s journal.

They learn that the Injustice Society has been building an amplifier and plan to go underground and destroy the device.

Will they be too late to stop the killing of innocent people with brains that can’t accept the input from Brainwave?

Summary

A couple good fighting scenes, the team pulling together, an insane plan hatching to control the human population and a timer countdown. Yes, this episode, the first of the final two-parts of the season delivers most of the goods. I would have liked to see the team suiting up sooner in the episode. I mean, they know they’re fighting evil, why are they still in their plain clothes? Suit up! Otherwise, a very good episode and sets up the season 1 finale.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E5 – Decoy For A Dognapper ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
October 11, 1969

Episode 5 – “Decoy For A Dognapper”

Scooby is walking around and encounters a woman walking her female dog. Shortly, thereafter someone attacks the woman and swipes her dog. Scooby returns to the gang who are partying on the beach and turns on a radio news report that has them all realize they have new mystery to solve.

They meet with Buck Masters, a dog owner who is offering a reward for the capture of the dognapper.

Buck Masters is offering a reward for the capture of the dognapper

They setup a trap to lure the dognapper by Shaggy taking Scoob on a walk. They put a transmitter on Scooby’s collar. Shag and Scoob run into a van that creates a huge cloud of smoke and during the commotion Scoob is dognapped.

The mystery gang follows the transmitter to solve the mystery and unmask the connection between the ghost of Geromino and the dognapper.

Summary

Good to see Scooby attracted to a female dog to start off this episode.

Had to rewatch this one to get the connection with the ghostly Indian. Dognapping and Indian ghosts, a bizarre connection, but yet it somehow works.

This is the strangest storyline so far, but it works because Scooby is seeking revenge for attacks against other dogs. The mystery, once resolved, is fairly well put together but, again, wish they would have released a few more potential suspects. More suspects could have been done with the 22 minutes of run time.

At the same time we get to see Velma losing her glasses — a staple of several episodes, since Velma is blind without them. We also get to see Shag and Scoob being spooked out by Gerimino’s ghost.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

I came across this interesting fact about how Scooby-Doo was created:

Silverman’s idea for the show changed somewhat while he was listening to music during a flight. He heard Frank Sinatra’s hit “Strangers in the Night.” Near the end of the song, Sinatra sings the nonsense phrase “dooby dooby doo.” Silverman misheard the phrase as “scooby dooby doo.” After that, he decided to name the show Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? and centered the show around its canine character.

How Frank Sinatra’s Comeback Hit Inspired ‘Scooby-Doo’

TV SERIES Review: Stargirl S1E11 – Shining Knight ⭐️⭐️

Season 1
DC Universe / CW
July 26, 2020 @ 9:00pm PT (GMT-8)

Episode 11 – Shining Knight

Every Sunday night on the west coast in the United States at 9pm PT, a new episode of Stargirl!

It’s Justin the janitor time. He is having trouble remembering who he is. He has a vision that Stripesy can help him remember his past, including the location of his prized “white steed.”

Meanwhile, a stranger arrives in town on the bus. He claims to be Courtney’s father. Barbara confirms, but Court doesn’t want to believe it’s true. This guy isn’t Starman. Barbara wonders where the guy went, he deserted them over 10 years ago.

Justin shows up at Pat’s garage wielding his knight’s sword. He is having conflicting visions of seeing Pat/Stripesy as Doctor Ito. Beth/Doctor Midnite and Hourman are at the garage, ready to go to battle if Justin goes off with the sword, but he calms down.

Brainwave, now even more empowered after his son is gone, has total recall and wants to kill Pat and Courtney, knowing their superhero identities. Jordan/Icicle tells him to back off, it will ruin their plan to take them out this soon.

Courtney goes to breakfast with her father, as he tries to get to know her. He wants to get to know her and tries making amends. What it seems he’s really after is the locket he gave her all those years ago. She gives it back to him.

Back to Justin the janitor who says he used to clean the stables in King Arthur’s time when he was given the sword Excalibur. He’s from the past and Pat believes him. Justin was brainwashed in the tunnels under the city by Doctor Ito.

That painting looks foreboding, but when will we see these guys waging war?

Will Justin/Shining Knight be joining the Justice Society? Will Courtney/Stargirl be able to power the staff now that she knows Starman is not her father? Will the team gang up go back underground and fight the Injustice Society: Dr. Ito, Icicle, Brainwave, Grundy and their minions?

Summary

Another origin episode, but attempted dramatic twist with the addition of Courtney’s father — another cast member seemingly to learn about (or forget about) — that is not Starman. Also, we finally learn at least some of the story behind Justin, albeit in an extremely boring storytelling way.

So many characters in this show. It’s like the first season is setting up more seasons now, instead of rolling out some epic conflict and making viewers all in here and now. That’s what it looked like might be happening based on the amazing episode 10, that the rest of season one would be more action-oriented and we’d stop doing all these slow origin episodes.

The Justin / Janitor memory flashback could have included an exciting battle scene with Excalibur in the past. Instead we get a scraggly bearded janitor firing off more exposition. That’s the real star of this show: exposition everywhere again. What’s missing is left to the viewer’s imagination.

Stargirl teases live action comic book battles to come … someday. Guess that’s why I keep tuning in because I’m excited by what could be here instead of what too often turns out not to be. The most interesting parts of each episode are often the very last couple minutes of each episode. Like the writers realized, hey we better do something cool in the last couple minutes so they tune in next week.

Earlier in the series I mentioned the 1970s show The Incredible Hulk starring Bill Bixby. That should have provided Geoff Johns and his team the basic episode structure that Stargirl could follow, instead we get each episode essentially introducing new characters and setting up potential conflicts … somewhere in the future. This one just finding interesting pictures to take for this post was challenging.

For pretty much the entire season the foreshadowing, origin and backstories have been rolled out for a huge conflict like we saw at the beginning of the first episode. We keep getting mostly teased in 40+ minute chunks. Not a fan of this episode or this tease-heavy storytelling overall, because again, most of this could have covered this in 15 minutes of run time earlier in the season when we met Justin the first time. As for Courtney finding out about the truth of her dad? Yeah, that adds another dimension to her character, but weren’t there other more interesting ways to blend him into the storyline? Perhaps he could have been found by the Injustice Society? Used as pawn to lure in Stargirl and her team underground?

This is more of a soap opera episode that doesn’t even move with soap opera cuts and pacing. Fine, if that’s the show others want to watch every week. Not what I’m tuning in for. A bummer letdown for me from episode 10, which was fantastic. Two more episodes. Hope it pays off. Finally.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E4 – Mine Your Own Business ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
October 4, 1969

Episode 4 – “Mine Your Own Business”

Shaggy reads a map upside down, forcing the gang down the wrong road. The end up at Gold City, a ghost town where they decide to stay.

They run into the mystery of the Miner 49er, who is scaring those away from the mines where his gold is hidden.

Shaggy and Scooby enter a bar and ask for Sasparillas, but instead are served cups of cobwebs.

Shaggy has a funny moment where he tries to light sticks of dynamite as torches.

The secret to the Miner 49er is found deep in the mines and it will take Scooby and the gang to travel down the mine shaft and learn the answers.

Summary

The Miner 49er is a great villain name.

Scooby runs into the Miner 49er. This is but one of several haunting meetings.

Scoob gets a chance to make us laugh with his trademark scares, when he needs Scooby snacks to travel down in the mineshaft elevator.

It’s always great to hear his doggy voice say, “Scooby-Scooby-Doo!” once he’s devoured those tasty Scooby Snacks.

This episode offers up a scary, if cliched these days, backdrop: the deserted ghost town. The Miner 49er has a clever back story but as is the case with many of these mysteries, there isn’t enough time to show us multiple characters that could be the true villain, making it easy for adults to figure out who the villain is before she or he is unmasked.

As a young child, though, I don’t ever remember that being a big deal. I tuned in for Scooby and Shaggy’s antics and the mystery was less important. A very strong episode. Recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

10+ I Still Believe Reviews – Faith, Tragedy, Love

I Still Believe ⭐️⭐️½

Just before the pandemic closed all the movie theaters, this faith-based movie was released and made some money. It was on our radar to see, but we literally ran out of time, making The Hunt the last movie we saw — the very last movie they had in the theater we were at in Las Vegas.

Next it was released on VOD and I was thinking about paying for it, but it was a $20 rental. I didn’t want to see it that bad, so waited. It’s been available for streaming on Hulu for awhile, so we resubscribed and it was one of the first movies watched.

This true faith based film is brought to us by the Erwin Brothers, Andrew and Jon, who also did the 2018 hit “I Can Only Imagine” about country music group Mercy Me. Some may say this is a romantic tragedy, but I say no. It is the story of an innocent first love that is bright and shinning with hope for the future. It is tested by adversity much too soon but by God’s grace, they face the trials together with help from those around them that share a strong faith and the belief in the power of prayer.  Jeremy tells Melissa she is like “a bright star in the sky.” But we know the brightest stars also burn out the fastest.

‘I Still Believe’ and other things to watch in quarantine | Arts And Entertainment | murrayledger.com

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

Props to KJ Alpa for pulling a Renee Zellweger: acting and singing

I do not like lip syncing and prefer actors to actually sing like Renee Zellweger did in Judy. Good news here as KJ Alpa sings the Jeremy Camp songs. No idea how faithful his voice is to Camp’s but I enjoyed his singing and guitar performances. And I don’t even like the music genre that much.

Camp’s music career is secondary to Melissa’s battle with ovarian cancer

Those hoping to learn more about Camp’s early music career will be disappointed. We don’t learn that much about that, only that he used his music to explore some of the things Melissa and him were going through.

Reviews by Others

What do others think of I Still Believe?

Recommended

  1. Aaron Conrad: “What I want to tell you is to go see this film. Take tissues. Period. That is the review.”
  2. Bella Boris: “I would recommend this movie to everyone. It is so good! I think I am going to watch it again next week.”
  3. Joanne Guidoccio: “I was most impressed by Apa’s performance. He did his own singing and playing of Jeremy Camp’s real-life compositions. My favorite: the title track, his tribute to Melissa.”
  4. Kari Dent: “It is well done. It is well acted. It is a good movie about a beautiful story. I just want you to be prepared to cry. (Take tissues!)”
  5. Pastor Unlikely: “It is a lot like I Can Only Imagine, the previous Erwin brothers movie in this way.  The music is part of the story but not the heart of it.  The real core of the film is about people and God.   It asks and answers the timely question, “Do you trust Jesus when everything in their lives goes wrong?””
  6. Sharon Wilharm: “The actual story itself, the love story between Jeremy and Melissa, though, is so beautiful, and the acting so superb, that you’re willing to overlook the flaws and focus on this young couple trusting God in the face of incomprehensible obstacles”
  7. Tall Writer: “This heartwarming narrative provides an incredible example of keeping faith in God no matter what it is happening in our lives.”
  8. Ten Stars Or Less (5/10): “I’ve seen some fantastic Christian movies and some somewhat questionable ones. I Still Believe will land somewhere in the middle based solely on Apa and Robinson’s performances. They had great chemistry together, and you could see it in their expressions.”

Not Recommended

  1. Jason / Jason’s Movie Blog: “To me, this movie was somewhere between okay and “meh”. It was definitely a Christian faith-based movie endeavor (from start to finish) and definitely had its moments, but it just failed to resonate with me; struggling to find a proper balance in its undertaking. Personally, despite the story, it could’ve been better. Thus, my recommendation for this movie is an “iffy choice” at best as some will like (nothing wrong with that), while others will not and dismiss it altogether.”
  2. rogerinorlando / Movie Nation: “As with the Erwins’ “I Can Only Imagine,” there’s something to be said for a faith-based film that is soft-hearted and apolitical. But “I Still Believe” the Erwin Brothers aren’t growing as filmmakers, and won’t until they learn how to generate conflict, which is what it takes to create good drama.”
  3. Society Reviews: “…cannot find the sweet mix of scripture and entertainment and unlike I Can Only Imagine, the film isn’t engaging or well acted to enough to create magic.”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Happy movie watching!

TV SERIES Review: Stargirl S1E10 – Brainwave Jr ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
DC Universe / CW
July 19, 2020 @ 9:00pm PT (GMT-8)

Episode 10 – Brainwave Jr

Every Sunday night on the west coast in the United States at 9pm PT, a new episode of Stargirl!

Flashback to Pat and Barbara first meeting at an ice cream shop. They both order banana splits but there’s only one banana left, so they choose to share together. Return to present with Barbara discovering the staff and Courtney trying to explain that she’s Stargirl and her dad was Starman. All Barbara is hearing is that she was deceived and asks Pat to leave. He stays the night at the garage. Mike asks to go with him.

Brainwave has awoken with a memory gap of 10 years. He realizes his son is now Brainwave Jr, having his powers. Junior is incensed anew with the memory that his mother, Mary, was killed. He heads home to watch more VHS tapes recorded by his father to learn what happened. Icicle pays Henry/Brainwave a visit in the hospital.

The staff tries to get Courtney to go out, but she resists. It heads to the garage, inscribes a message on a picture of Icicle and then heads to the hospital where Icicle easily puts it on ice.

Barbara tells Courtney to pack, she’s heading to work for an hour and then they are leaving town. Courtney goes to Pat at the garage and tells him what’s happening. He tells Courtney to pack and that he can live with her mom’s decision to leave as long “as he knows she’s safe.” He goes to Barbara.

Courtney gathers the team with a plan to retrieve her staff from the underground Injustice Society lair. They suit up along with Brainwave Jr. and head to the tunnels. Doctor Midnite and Hourman head away from the group underground and discover the locked up Solomon Grundy. Hourman realizes that Grundy killed his parents and wants to free the beast.

Down the other corridor, the other team runs into the henchmen which are dispatched by Dragon King to kill the team. They also discover that Brainwave has had his memory restored and Stargirl’s staff has been chained. A huge battle ensues.

Will Stargirl and her team defeat the Injustice Society’s henchmen and Dragon King? Will Stargirl be able to free her staff? Which side will Brainwave Jr choose? Good or evil?

Tune into find out the answers to these questions and more!

Summary

Easily the best episode of the season so far, this one has everything: conflict, intrigue, epic superhero vs. villain battles, revelations and a mission straight into the heart of the villain’s lair. I didn’t see the ending coming either, which was a nice twist. Wow, what an amazing episode!

Loved this one, what else can I say? When tuning into the series, this was the type and quality of episode I’d hoped to see. Total delivery. Not sure I can say it should have taken 9 episodes to get here, but hey, this one is a ton of fun and majorly entertaining. Must watch.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E3 – Hassle In The Castle ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
September 27, 1969

Episode 3 – “Hassle In The Castle”

The gang runs aground during a boating expedition and ends up, unfortunately on the abandoned Vasquez Island. They venture into the castle looking for help and encounter a mystery to be solved.

A ghost is floating around scaring all who enter the castle.

Scooby is tasked to go undercover as John Wayne, a funny little disguise that leads him into a run and catch routine with the ghost.

Summary

One of my favorite gag parts of this episode is Scooby going into magician mode. It’s little parts of these episodes in the writing that made Scoob so much fun to watch as a child.

This brought back fond memories.

The other humorous moment is when Scooby is asked to enter a room where the ghost might be waiting and, scared, he feigns illness.

The gang knows that Scooby will do almost anything … if enough Scooby Snacks are offered …

Ghosts were clearly the top choice at the start of this series. The mystery part of this episode is a little thin, but we get to see Scooby as John Wayne — the outfit that looks nothing like the famous Westerner, but hey.

The unmasking is ripe with exposition, which explains why the ghost is there, but not much chance to solve this kind of mystery. The episode is saved by Scooby’s antics, but the weakest of the three so far. Barely recommend this one.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

22+ Greyhound Reviews – Tense, Terse WWII Naval Combat, Tom Hanks Shines

Greyhound ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s a steal being able to watch Greyhound for $4.99 or a free week trial, if eligible, for AppleTV+.

Hanks adapted Greyhound from the 1955 C.S. Forester novel The Good Shepherd, which is set during the Battle of the Atlantic. The book tells a fictional story about a WWII captain, George Krause, who is leading his first war convoy later in his life. This leads him to have doubts about whether he’s fit for the job since those around him are younger but have more war experience.

What Is Real & Imagined In America’s Dad’s Latest WWII Movie Greyhound?

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

Simplistic WWII Tale similar in purpose to 1917

When the Oscar-winning 1917 starts, we follow behind the camera of two soldiers with a mission to deliver orders across enemy lines. In a very similar fashion, Greyhound starts with Hanks’ character Captain Krause eating breakfast and taking command of the protector ship for a convoy heading through a zone without any air cover. Along with his crew, they must execute at a fever pace, reacting to German U-boat sightings, with the concerns being ammunition level, avoiding torpedos and trying to ignore taunting from the Grey Wolf, a U-Boat with a commanding officer that tells them repeatedly they are going to die.

The emotion of 1917 is very similar in that I was fearful for the soldiers and in this case worried that the good ship Greyhound would become torpedoed and sunk. Would they make it to air cover before running out of ammunition?

There is no time for Captain Krause to even eat, as we are reminded multiple times. No time for sleep, no time for doing anything but focusing on protecting the fleet. Getting across and into friendly waters where air cover exists.

For those who are looking for more plot or story than that, there really isn’t any. There is characterization, but it’s not done with exposition, it’s done with facial expressions, character actions and all the ways good films and acting performances.

What Good Guy Character Can’t Tom Hanks Do?

After seeing Tom Hanks here, I’m beginning to think there is no good guy character Tom Hanks can’t play. It would be interesting to see him writing himself into a really bad, bad guy role. Could he pull that off? I think he might be typecast at a perennial good guy. Just Hanks showing up on screen and you feel for the guy. That makes films with him starring like this one stand out.

Reviews by Others

What do others think about Greyhound?

Recommended

  1. tensecondsfromnow / film-authority.com: “Chris Nolan’s Dunkirk aside, WWII has been something of a cinematic dead-end of late, with film-makers too keen to view the past through the prism of today’s issues. Focusing on deep blue heroics, Hanks earns his chops as a writer, but also reminds audiences worldwide that America once led the free world.”
  2. After Misery: “…it’s a dad movie. Last year we got something similar in ‘Midway’ and even if I usually avoid comparing movies within reviews, now there’s a good reason for it. Greyhound isn’t getting torpedoed by a lengthy runtime or messy editing like Midway, in fact the solid editing keeps the sea battles tense and interesting. Splashy visual effects are used here more carefully and cinematography is using a lot less to deliver more”
  3. Andy Meek / BGR: “For much of it, you experience the fog of war right alongside the commanding officer — with an additional obstacle being that we don’t always understand what the orders that have been barked out mean, since we’re not fluent in Navy-speak. But that only adds to the verisimilitude”
  4. badblokebob (4/5): “This isn’t some stately drama about men at sea who are occasionally forced to take potshots at an unseen enemy, but an action movie; only instead of men clashing with kung fu or guns, its boats and subs fighting with torpedos and, um, trigonometry. The result is tight, tense, and thrilling.”
  5. Cinema Trace: “It’s focus is the action and skill it took to avoid being hit, and one excruciating moment when the Greyhound is put as a target of two triangulated torpedoes, shows the inevitability of warfare and the near impossibility of maneuvering the floating tonnage of a war ship on the rough open waters of the Atlantic. Whether or not they are successful, you’ll have to see the film. It’s spectacular.”
  6. Darren / The M0vie Blog: “The movie runs a brisk ninety-one minutes, which makes it surprisingly lean as summer blockbusters go. That brevity helps to underscore the movie’s core strengths. It is a movie that relies on adrenaline and tension, and maintaining those sensations for longer than an hour-and-a-half is a big ask for even the most skilled filmmakers. Instead, Greyhound gets in, gets out and gets the job done.”
  7. Doc / EYG / Embrace Your Geekness: “If you are a fan of war movies, Greyhound is an effective story that is a quick and enjoyable watch.  Tom Hanks is great as always and the visuals are stunning.”
  8. Doug Jamieson / The Jam Report (3.5/5): “…it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel of war movies and there’s very little here we haven’t seen in countless other films. It’s a classic war film that showcases the anarchy of battle and the toll responsibility can take on those in charge. If the film stopped to take a breath and allow us to more intimately understand its key players, the end result may have been more compelling.”
  9. Keith / Keith & The Movies (4.5/5): “For a taut 90 minutes the film sticks to that focus, carrying its viewers across the enemy-infested North Atlantic and putting us into the heads of the men navigating it. It could have done more with its characters or built more of a backstory. But it’s the willingness to stick to its guns (no pun intended) that makes the movie such a thrilling war-time experience.”
  10. luisreviewer / World Of Entertainment: “Great film, really a tense film that I think keeps you interested and on the edge of your seat.”
  11. POPCORN ENTERTAINMENT REVIEWS: “The movie is fast-paced with no rest for the captain or the audience. This is not a character-driven movie or an in-depth analysis of the crew members. It’s non-stop torpedos, attempts to save ships being sunk, flying bullets, blasting battery cannons, and depth-charges blowing up U-boats. The seas are rough, the air is freezing cold, and the nights are dark and frightening.”
  12. Rob’s Movie Vault: “…a taut, exciting, no-nonsense war movie that weighs in, less the end credits, at one hour and twenty-three minutes. The film’s brevity is true to the virtues it respects: clear, coolheaded professionalism, all egos checked, a well-oiled machine of well-trained men getting the job done.”
  13. Sarah Cartland / Caution Spoilers: “…is a study in the on-the-spot mechanics of sea battle pretending to be an examination of character (it was interesting to watch it just after The Old Guard, a character study and love story pretending to be a fantasy about immortals).”
  14. The Interstellar Valley / jlambright: “Get it, watch it. Become part of this messed up experiment in keeping Hollywood afloat during these turbulent, fraught times.”
  15. tomburkhalter: “…don’t expect this story to tell you what is happening. It’s going to bloody well show you. My advice? Hang on and pay attention.”
  16. Vague Visages / Peter Bell: “The biggest factor that keeps Greyhound from being a genre standout is the predictable nature of Schneider’s direction and Shelly Johnson’s cinematography. The establishing shots are rather generic and better suited for a television series than a dramatic film.”

Not Recommended

  1. Cait Kennedy / But Why Tho? A Geek Community: “Overall, Greyhound is…fine. Its worst sin is being simply adequate. It neither impresses nor disappoints, but it certainly does not go beyond the bare minimum. As a streaming flick, it will blend seamlessly into the ranks of its kind but will likely be forgotten. Which really is a shame.”
  2. Darren Lucas / Movie Reviews 101: “Tom Hanks is strong enough in the leading role, but he never hits the full level of his abilities, with the supporting cast not putting a foot wrong, only they just don’t get to make an impact in anyway. This does end up feeling like one of the bigger disappointments in the year, being more average, rather than a spectacle it should have been.
  3. Den Of Geek / David Crow: “…has a listless quality that cannot seem to wrap its arms around the potential for white-knuckled dread. While there are a few standout moments, like the first time a U-Boat crosses beneath Krause’s ship, or when they hear the earliest taunts from U-Boat sadists over the radio seeking to psychologically torture their prey, in the main the film moves at a perfunctory pace that better resembles an unpleasant pleasure cruise.”
  4. Orca Flotta / Thar She Blows: “A procedural small scale production of a U-boat hunt without any character. Many cheaply made effects don’t necessarily have any effect on the audience. I guess Tom Hanks is lucky his film was snatched up by AppleTV+, it wouldn’t stand a chance in the theatre.”
  5. Rachel’s Reviews (6.5/10): “I realize some will want more character development and I can understand that. There are choices in Greyhound that pushed the simplistic approach even for me. For example, the radio dispatches from the wolfpack ships are as sniveling and sleazy as we’ve ever seen from an evil German in a movie. He sounds like he is practically a villain from an Indiana Jones movie for a second.”
  6. Simon / TV and City (Grade: C-): “The film isn’t without merit, including a good Tom Hanks performance and a decent supporting cast (though Elisabeth Shue is terribly underutilized), but they can’t elevate Greyhound from being painfully generic and insipid.”
  7. The Obsessive Viewer: “…like the dialogue, the action becomes too repetitive by the end to stand apart. There are only so many ways to depict attacking enemy submarines without getting stale. Regardless, I felt everything the film wanted me to feel: despair when something goes wrong, exhilaration when victory is achieved (the sweeping score by Blake Neely surely helped contribute).”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Happy movie watching!

TV SERIES Review: Stargirl S1E9 – Brainwave ⭐️½

Season 1
DC Universe / CW
July 12, 2020 @ 9:00pm PT (GMT-8)

Episode 9 – Brainwave

Every Sunday night on the west coast in the United States at 9pm PT, a new episode of Stargirl!

Opens with Brainwave origin flashback. Brainwave Jr. locates and watches a videotape from his father explaining how he experimented on his own cerebral cortex and developed powers.

Courtney wants to invite Henry (Brainwave Jr.) to help them identify those in the Injustice Society. Pat isn’t sure about the idea. He goes into more exposition about Injustice League members including Dr. Ito, AKA Dragon King.

Cut to the janitor mopping in school imagining his mop handle as Stargirl’s staff. Then to Beth (Dr. Midnite) seeing that Cindy/Shiv has transferred out of Blue Valley High to study overseas. Beth isn’t buying it. In reality, Shiv is being locked in a dungeon underground.

Do we actually see Stargirl in this episode of Stargirl? To tell you would be a spoiler …

Will Henry agree to help the Justice Society or stay aligned with the other side? Will Brainwave Jr. use his powers for good or evil? Can Brainwave Jr. speak to Brainwave in a coma? Are his powers strong enough? Will Brainwave ever wake up from a coma or will Brainwave Jr. need to take his place in the Injustice Society?

Tune into find out the answers to these questions.

Summary

Another origin episode that focuses almost entirely on backstory and setup. Again, this is good for fleshing out characters, but not as interesting for an action-oriented superhero film. We want to see fighting, battles and some sort of conflict between good and evil. In the shows like The Incredible Hulk, it’s the equivalent of never seeing David Banner turn into The Hulk. Every episode, we got to see that at least one time, usually twice. It was formulaic but done for a reason: to show us the Hulk in action — what we were waiting to see.

Stargirl doesn’t follow this convention in episode. Those who find this lack of delivering the on screen goods consistently every episode will like episodes like this one. Me? I find them to be teases without payoffs. I’m guessing in the next episode which is titled “Brainwave Jr.” we’ll see Henry/Brainwave Jr. use his powers against Stargirl and Justice League. Or .. maybe we won’t. Season 1 continues to be mostly about origin and backstory for all the characters, setting up a final battle to end the first season just like episode 1 started with an epic battle.

This is my least favorite episode of season 1 so far. It literally put me to sleep — twice — in the last 15 minutes, which in any film should be the best part!

In fairness, the last few minutes do finally deliver some plot twists and turns, but by then it’s pretty much too late to redeem the other very slow 35+ minutes watched. It’s almost like the writers realized, hey, we better do something and then jammed in a few “oohs and ahhs” to setup next week’s episode. I don’t appreciate that type of lazy and uninspired storytelling, but maybe others will.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️½