Wine Country

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What a shocking and unexpected waste of talent, both in front of the camera and behind. Wine Country is well intentioned, but it feels like they shot a first draft and planned to put all the jokes in another version. It doesn’t make any sense how you get arguably the best female comedy talent out there (save Melissa McCarthy, Christina Applegate and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and whiff it with such a lackluster, uninteresting tale of female friendship in adulthood.

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Under the Silver Lake

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Picture a Hollywood noir film, that is an homage to Hitchcock through the mind of David Lynch, and that’s kind of what you get with Under the Silver Lake. Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, who rose to prominence with his indie horror flick It Follows, Silver Lake follows Andrew Garfield’s Sam, an out-of-work douchebag who is intrigued by Sarah (Riley Keough), a neighbor in his apartment complex who goes missing the day after he meets her. Oh, there’s also a serial dog killer, a naked Owl Lady, a piano man responsible for every song in the history of pop music, and even that is still barely scratching the surface.

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Game of Thrones – Episode 8.4 “The Last of the Starks”

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Synopsis: After the devastation of the last episode, we begin this one saying goodbye to the fallen. The good guys prepare a funeral for the men and women that died in the battle against the night king, dozens of pyre’s are set up, with Daenerys getting a final moment with Jorah, and Sansa pinning a Stark pin on Theon. Jon offers a eulogy, as the survivors look on, then they set fire to the bodies. In the great hall, there’s a quiet celebration until Daenerys spots Gendry and loudly proclaims him a true Baratheon and offers him Storm’s End. Everyone offers their cheers and the dinner grows more celebratory. Tyrion notes to Daenerys that making him Lord ensures his support. Sansa seems to have also put that together herself. Jaime toasts with Brienne. Davos and Tyrion talk of Melisandre. Tyrion sidles over to Bran, calling him the Lord of Winterfell, but Bran notes that he doesn’t want the position. He doesn’t want anything. Jaime, Brienne, Tyrion, and Podrick play a drinking game. Tyrion surmises that Brienne is a virgin, but she excuses herself. Tormund tries to get close to Brienne, but Jaime blocks him and follows her out. As Tormund celebrates Jon, Dany notes how much respect Jon claims in the North. Varys catches on. Sansa and the Hound reconnect. Clegane notes how much she’s grown since their time together in King’s Landing. Clegane suggests things might have been different if she left with him, but she says what’s happened made her who she is. The revels continue as Gendry searches for Arya. When he finds her practicing her archery, he tells her that he’s been legitimized and proposes to her. She kisses him, but lets him down gently. Being a lady is not her. Jaime finds Brienne in her chambers, and they consummate their relationship.

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Game of Thrones – Episode 8.3 “The Long Night”

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Synopsis: We start off without any “previously on” as pretty much the entire series has been leading up to this. Post credits, we start with Samwell preparing for battle. As he trudges through Winterfell, Lyanna, Tyrion and others prepare their stations, as Theon takes Bran to the Godswood. Arya and Sansa watch from the castle walls as the Dothraki and Unsullied lineup. Grey Worm, Tollett, Jorah, the Hound, Jaime, Gendry, Brienne, Podrick, Beric, and Tormund all take their places. Jon and Daenerys stand by with their dragons on a nearby hill. Soon, a mysterious figure arrives on horseback. It’s Melisandre. She sees Jorah first and tells him to tell the Dothraki to lift their weapons. He does, they do, and with some hocus pocus the Dothraki arakhs ignite across the army. The Red Woman moves inside the gates where she comes across Davos. He grips his sword, but she assures him there’s no need to kill her, she’ll be dead by morning. The Dothraki with their flaming weapons charge forward towards their enemy as the others look on from afar they see the flames, along with the Dothraki, snuffed out. A few horses, Jorah and a handful of Dothraki retreat back. Behind them, a swarm of dead follow and the chaos and fighting begins. Daenerys jumps on Drogon and into the fray, lighting up the undead. Jon follows on Rhaegal. He sees the White Walkers holding back.

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Avengers: Endgame

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It’s nearly impossible to review a film like this, where it is the culmination of over ten years of story, through nearly twenty-one films prior (a lot of the previous films have an important role to play in this one, in ways they never had before). At a certain point, everything about the film is a spoiler, and I won’t be a party to that, but I’ll do a quick spoiler-free commentary and will follow up in a couple weeks with more specific thoughts.

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Shazam!

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There are really three different movies at work in Shazam!, the latest effort in the DC film universe. It’s part family drama, part horror flick, and part superhero fluff, and really only the superhero part of that works to some degree. Thankfully, eschewing the broody nature of the Zack Snyder era of films, and echoing the lighter approach of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, the film is cute and fun, but also convoluted and forced, elevated by two main performances, and hindered by nearly everything else.

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Game of Thrones – Episode 8.2 “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

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Synopsis: Jaime is brought in front of Daenerys, Jon and Sansa who are operating as some sort of triumvirate of leadership for the North. Daenerys recounts the stories she heard growing up about the man who killed her father. Jaime tells them that Cersei lied about helping them but he still rode to offer his services as promised. Tyrion defends Jaime but Dany isn’t having it. Sansa agrees, Jaime fought her father as well. Bran throws in a little shade reminding Jaime he shoved him out a window once. Brienne stands up and defends Jaime’s honor, reminding Sansa about Jaime’s oath to Catelyn. Jon shrugs and says they need every man they can get and Daenerys concedes. Jon bitches out before Daenerys can talk to him directly and Bran creepy stares at Jaime some more. After, Dany chides Tyrion for his screwup with Cersei. Gendry continues to make weapons as Arya visits, questioning if he’s made the one she wanted yet. Arya asks about the dead and what it was like to fight them, while also showing off her targeting skills. Jaime visits Bran at the Godswood and apologizes for what he did. Jaime says he’s not that person anymore and wonders why Bran didn’t tell anyone. Bran says he would be no help in the fight if he let Jaime get murdered. Later, Tyrion and Jaime reconnect, laughing about their circumstances since the last time they were in Winterfell. They talk of Cersei and Daenerys, with Tyrion taking comfort in knowing if he dies in the battle he will at least deny Cersei her vengeance. Jaime finds Brienne and asks to serve under her command. Jorah pushes Dany to forgive Tyrion for his mistakes. After, Daenerys visits Sansa. The two have a downright cordial meeting, with Sansa realizing Daenerys truly cares for Jon, but when she questions Dany’s plan for the North, Stormborn turns cold. They are interrupted with the return of Theon. He updates them on Yara and offers his support in the battle. Sansa is happy to see him.

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Game of Thrones – Episode 8.01 “Winterfell”

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Synopsis: A young boy runs through the streets aiming to get a better view of the coming march to Winterfell of Jon Snow, Daenerys, and their entourage. Arya is nearby and gets a look at the Hound. Tyrion rides with Varys in a carriage. Missandei and Grey Worm get looks from the crowd. The North doesn’t trust outsiders, as Jon notes to Dany, but her dragons flying overhead awe everyone, including Sansa, waiting with Bran at the castle to receive them. Jon embraces his siblingcousins, and introduces Daenerys to Sansa, who is chilly. Bran tells everyone that the Night King has the dragon, the wall has fallen, and they ride. The Lords of the North meet with all the leaders. Young Lord Umber, whose home, the Last Hearth, is the nearest homestead to the dead army, asks for help evacuating the rest of his men. Lyanna Mormont calls out Jon for supporting Daenerys. Sansa questions supplies as she was not intending they would have to feed two new armies and dragons. Later, Sansa and Tyrion reunite. Sansa thinks Tyrion is foolish to believe Cersei would help. Arya and Jon reconnect at the godswood tree. In King’s Landing, Qyburn tells Cersei that the dead have broken through the wall. “Good,” Cersei replies. Euron taunts his prisoner, Yara, who is tied up on his ship. In the throne room, Cersei meets with Euron and Captain Strickland, the leader of the Gold Company army she just hired. She is disappointed that he hasn’t brought elephants. Euron suggests he and Cersei might seal the deal, but she tells him after the war. As she walks away, she rethinks her position and invites him back to her chambers.

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Game of Thrones – Episode 7.7 “The Dragon and the Wolf”

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Synopsis: The Unsullied and Dothraki armies arrive at the gates of King’s Landing. Bronn and Jaime ready their men. On a ship, Tyrion, Jon and Davos pass Euron’s fleet. The Hound checks the box with his dead prisoner. Still kicking. Cersei tells the Mountain to ready himself should things go south. Tyrion, Missandei, Davos, Jorah, Varys, The Hound, and their Dothraki honor guard march to the Dragon Pit. On their way, they run into Bronn and the Lannister support staff with Brienne and Podrick in tow. Tyrion reunites with Podrick, Brienne with the Hound. The group arrives and awaits the arrival of the queens. Podrick and Bronn take their leave. Cersei arrives with Qyburn, Euron, Jaime and the Mountain and we have a shitton of main characters reuniting or seeing each other for the first time. The Hound threatens the Mountain. Cersei questions where Daenerys is, but she soon arrives on dragonback. Tyrion begins with the presentation, but Euron interrupts, telling Theon he’s got Yara and making fun of Tyrion. Cersei orders Euron to sit. Tyrion lays out the history, and Job explains the army of the dead. You have to wonder if they rehearsed this power point on the ride over. Cersei says she doesn’t believe the stories and she will not agree to a truce. The Hound enters with his crate and kicks out the wight, who charges toward Cersei (no one, it should be noted, jumps up to protect her). The wight is held back by chains, and the Hound chops him in half, but he keeps coming. Qyburn examines a severed hand, still moving. Jon sets it on fire, demonstrating the ways to kill them, finishing the wight off with dragonglass. Daenerys says she didn’t believe it herself until she saw them, and says there were a hundred thousand at least in their army. Euron nopes on out of there, saying he’s taking his fleet back to his island. Cersei says she will agree to the truce if Jon Snow agrees that the North will remain neutral. Jon says he can’t do that, he’s already sworn allegiance to Daenerys. Everyone winces because Snow couldn’t trouble himself to lie just a little bit. Cersei says no deal and storms out. Brienne asks Jaime to talk to Cersei.

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Game of Thrones – Episode 7.6 “Beyond the Wall”

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Synopsis: Jon and his crew travel beyond the wall (natch), in search of dead things. Gendry is excited to see snow for the first time (the white stuff, not Jon). Jon updates Tormund on Daenerys. Gendry whinges about Thoros selling him to Melisandre, which the Hound calls him on. Jorah and Jon bond over Jeor Mormont, and Jon tries to give Longclaw, the Mormont sword, back to Jorah, but he refuses. Some redshirts flank the crew. In Winterfell, Arya and Sansa talk fondly about their father, until Arya accuses Sansa of betrayal and shows her the note she found. Sansa says she was forced to write it, but Arya doesn’t believe her. She thinks she wants the power of her temporary station, and threatens to share the note with the Lords of the North. Tormund tells the Hound he’s crushing on Brienne. Jon and Beric bond over dying and coming back. They approach a mountain and the Hound says it was the one he saw when he looked in the flames. Tyrion and Daenerys talk about Jon, with Tyrion suggesting Jon is crushing on her. They discuss Cersei and the plan for their meeting. Tyrion recommends caution and reminds Dany that she wanted to break the wheel, not become a part of it. The once again argue over her killing the Tarlys. Tyrion wants to know about a plan for succession, but Daenerys tables any discussion until she’s taken the throne.

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