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Reviews

Musings about media. Mostly movies.
I’m @joaobfreire on Letterboxd.

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  1. Stowaway

    Watched 19 August 2021

    I learned that Toni Collette is australian in real life. Next: do solar storms actually look like that? This movie is great at making me want to check Wikipedia.

  2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

    Played 20 March 2020 – 27 April 2021 on Nintendo Switch

    Just… so many good feelings from this game. I’ll cherish it forever.

  3. For All Mankind, Season 2

    Watched 22–24 April 2021

    Once again this show attempts to strike a good balance between People Drama and Society Drama, but this season’s timeskip tilted the scales and made it clear that the long game is always going to be about the societal outcomes first. Character moments are less emotionally effective as a result, but boy is the spectacle of the alternate timeline geopolitics worth the tradeoff. Season 1 got me invested. But now I’m excited.

  4. For All Mankind, Season 1

    Watched 19–22 April 2021

    I’m super into this space trauma and societal progress nerdfest.

    It may sometimes feel predictable and clichéd but I just want to engross myself in this alternate history, and the level of realism is more than good enough to support that by my standards.

  5. Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    Rewatched 8 April 2021

    The uncanny valley between the ponderous Godzilla 2014 and the bombastically campy Godzilla vs. Kong. I’m sorry but if you want to make a serious movie you have to stick to the serious monsters, you can’t put on the three-headed electric dragon and big moth. Pokémon aren’t scary.

  6. The Expanse, Season 5

    Watched 16 December 2020 – 3 February 2021

    This series has built so much, and gone so far. The transition from “Game of Thrones in space” to one of the most poignant human dramas in science fiction has been a true joy to witness.

  7. The X Files

    Rewatched 14 January 2021

    More exciting than I remembered, but still disappointing and, at best, inessential. It tries too hard, and also not hard enough. Like most TV-to-film adaptations, the texture feels wrong. Character-wise, the plot isn’t much more than condensed retreading of old ground. And worst of all, it shows too much! It’s certainly a big-screen adventure, but the desire for one-upmanship has the side effect of making the world, the conspiracies, and even the aliens seem small and shallow.

  8. Drill Dozer

    Played 4 September – 19 October 2020 on Game Boy Advance

    There’s some interesting ideas and clever mechanics here, but I could never get past the clunky, sluggish controls. Movement expressiveness is limited to such a degree that neither platforming nor combat feel good.

  9. Good Sudoku

    Played 23 July – 27 September 2020 on iPhone

    In just a few short weeks, this game took me from sudoku dilettante to completing Sunday “Pro 💀” puzzles in 20 minutes without hints (if I’m feeling patient enough). Good Sudoku has taught me more about sudoku than I ever thought I’d want to learn.

    Jan Willem Nijman said it best:

    This game is incredibly cyberpunk, like you just slam a new ai deck into your neocortex to kick ass at sudoku.

  10. Tenet

    Watched 26 August 2020

    A very cool sensorial experience, but emotionally shallow. It tries, but there’s too much time bullshit for character motivations and plot structure to survive. A movie made for endless YouTube explainers.

  11. Rick and Morty, Season 4

    Watched 11 November 2019 – 2 June 2020

    My diagnosis: Rick and Morty has gone too meta. I want to laugh because the show is funny, not because the writers are clever.

  12. Underwater

    Watched 11 May 2020

    Solid genre entertainment. Not much more than what I expected, but it’s well done, straightforward, looked cool. 90 minutes club!

    Kirsten Stewart has the best shaky hands I’ve ever seen on film. This movie is worth watching for her performance alone. The rest of the cast was… okay.

    In the end I was left with some questions: Was this at some point meant to be a Cloverfield sequel? Why does it look like it was edited for commercial breaks? Were the voice-overs really necessary? Was the girlboss-beat-drop end credits song picked by a focus group?