Finding movies and TV shows to watch is a very different thing these days. Once upon a time, there’d be video rentals, borrowing some DVDs from a friend, or just looking in the newspaper to see what’s playing at your local cinema. Then *boom*, the Internet happened.
With so many streaming platforms out there, it’s a lot easier now to find something new to enjoy- even though all your favourites could be split across 7 different platforms (I’ve lost count to be honest). That said, if you’re looking for something new to watch, we’ve rounded up our favourites we’ve found from the last year of binge sessions to share with you!
This is also our first post in the “Movies” category, but stay tuned in 2019 for more movie and TV reviews! And as always, drop a comment and let us know what you’ve been watching this year!
Yeah, I’m predictable. I’ve been a fan of the Marvel movies since I saw Iron Man in the cinemas, and Infinity War is the beginning of the end for the very long, decade spanning series. Lots of original characters, plenty of new ones, and no Hawkeye or Ant Man. But aside from appealing to the superhero nerd in me, the movie itself had a unique structure, placing the villain Thanos in the ‘main character’ role. Juggling this many characters and still making something coherent is an accomplishment, but also there’s lots of action and superpowers and heck, it really just appealed to me on many levels. Bring on End Game!
Not many seasons of television can start with a glimpse into a men’s prison and end with one of the most beautiful on-screen weddings in TV history, while delivering non-stop laughs and complex themes throughout, but Brooklyn Nine Nine is no regular show. Its fifth (and almost final) season delivered a magnificent blend of humour, drama, and touching moments, in a way that only Brooklyn Nine Nine can. Highlights of the season include Detective Rosa Diaz coming out as bisexual (and the all-too-relatable fallout with her conservative parents that follows), the stunning bottle episode/acting showcase “The Box,” and of course, the wedding of Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago, a scene so heartfelt and beautiful that I was choking back tears as I laughed at its endless barrage of incredible one-liners.
Brooklyn Nine Nine’s latest season was successful in part because it didn’t shy away from difficult topics — things like gambling addiction, the nightmares of prison, and the struggles that women face in a male-dominated workforce. It’s these difficult topics that make Brooklyn Nine Nine more than just a network comedy show, it’s a reflection of the world that we live in, told through the lens of people trying to do their best to better it. Sure, not every episode lands quite as well as it could have, “DFW” for instance had a largely uninteresting storyline focused on Jake and his long-lost half-sister, but it’s easy to look past its lows when its highs are so damn spectacular. It’s hard to know what will become of the show’s move to NBC, but whatever happens, it will no doubt be worth a watch.
Spider-Man has been one of my favourite comic book heroes for a very long time, with so many years riding the roulette of very bad to amazing interpretations of everyone’s favourite webslinger. In the 2000s, Marvel released the Ultimate universe, reimagining some of their biggest heroes. Ultimate Spider-Man was a great opportunity to be free of decades of ever changing history and references that require knowledge of other series too. Peter Parker was back in school learning to balance his normal life with his costumed life. Major, and even minor villains, were reimagined or streamlined, and the Ultimate universe soon had no shortage within Spider-Man’s rogue gallery. Then deep into the comics run, Peter Parker is killed- absolutely devastating. In Peter’s place came Miles Morales, thrust into a world of super heroics, whether he wanted to or not. After a while, the Ultimate Universe comics ended and the Morales family were fortunate enough to be worthy of bringing into the main Marvel universe. And while movies have focused on Peter Parker and retelling the same origin story, it’s only been much more recently that the movies have done Peter justice. But characters like Miles often relegated to still living in Peter’s shadow.
That is until Spider-man: Enter the Spider-verse! Miles’ origin story is front and centre, with the process sped up by the introduction of several Spider-People (and Pig). While this is about Miles being unprepared to step up as a Spider-Man, Kingpin has opened up rifts into other universes which has pulled several Spider-Heroes into the one.
If you’ve seen the trailers you’ll know that the computer animation looks different from traditional CGI movies; this movie has style for days. It’s not just the animation- it’s the look, the music, everything. It’s funny in a way only Spider-Man can be, but it can also be as tragic, sad and exhilarating as the movies and comics have always been. But Miles gets his time to shine, with help from his Spider-friends (let’s not forget Spider-Gwen is also in this movie and we need more Spider-Gwen). I could go on about this movie and what it means to me, how it’s amazing that it got made, and why it’s big that Miles is finally getting the spotlight and went one step further by having even more diversity in the Spider-Cast. This movie is bonkers in the best way and is everything Spider-Man movies can be outside of the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ when given a chance. I truly look forward to seeing where they take this version of Miles (and hopefully Spider-Gwen) from here.
Deadpool (2016) was full of action, innuendo and general offensiveness, and Deadpool 2 delivers even more of this as Deadpool tries (with varying levels of success) to help a troubled teenage Fire Fist while protecting him from a time-travelling soldier who wants to kill Fire Fist to prevent him from killing his family in the future. It had lots of laugh out-loud moments, as well as some genuinely emotional scenes. Special shout-out for the opening credits song, Ashes. If someone asked me who would be a good artist to provide a soundtrack for the foul-mouthed mercenary’s second film adventure, Celine Dion would be pretty far from the top of my list, but the song was so powerful and fitting.
Land of the Lustrous is, in short, absolute eye candy. The character designs, fluidity of motion, themes, soundtrack, and settings all come together to create a lovingly crafted aesthetic.
Land of the Lustrous is unlike many anime for many reasons, and its use of 3D CG is a main factor. Although it still uses handrawn animation for certain shots, its use of 3D has been executed with great care and love for the medium – especially in the amazingly choreographed fight scenes. The story is also something quite unique and combined with the experimental medium it creates characters that are not only beautiful visually, but also multi-faceted (pun intended) characterisation-wise.
Please go watch Land of the Lustrous even if you’re not into anime, it’s an experience unlike any other.
It caused a lot of contention, but I’ve gotta say that having a female Doctor – Jodie Whittaker no less – really gave Doctor Who the breath of regenerative energy it needed to stay fresh. This season was, to me at least, incredible. Jodie was a fantastic choice for the lead role, with her take on the ancient alien being as nuanced and unique as any of her predecessors. The companions were wonderful – especially Bradley Walsh as Graham. The cinematography and locations and music were all stunning. I was left eager for more, and I can’t believe that, after New Year’s Day, we have to wait until 2020 to see any new exploits.
Growing up, there were very few children’s shows that painted femininity in a healthy, positive and enriching light. Girls and women were often shown in a stereotypically derogatory way – whether they were written to be lesser than boys, obsessed with vanity, or extremely catty in personality – it has always been extremely disappointing. Girls want to have adventures and slay monsters too!
In recent years, many of the women who had grown up disappointed in their representation in media as children are now the ones creating media for the young girls of today. She-Ra’s reboot happens to be one of my favourite examples of that so far.
She-Ra and the Princess of Power is a series that touched me deeply and made me feel really comfortable and proud of my femininity, something that I often rejected when I was young because I thought it wasn’t ‘cool’ to be ‘girly’. The central characters in the reboot display incredible layers of depth and personality that really brings grounded, relatable human elements to an otherwise fantastical setting.
Speaking of that fantastical setting, though! The world building and story that Noelle Stevenson and her team have weaved together is extremely thoughtful, energetic and clearly crafted with love and passion. I can easily picture children on the schoolyard pretending to be Adora, Catra or their own original characters and being inspired to create their own worlds and stories because of this show.
While She-Ra is a something that I, and I’m sure many others, wish we had when we were little – I’m so, so glad that it can exist today and now to inspire a new generation of people. Words cannot describe how grateful I am that this series exists and I can’t wait to see where the insanely talented production team takes the Princess Alliance next.