Sorry for the week delay of this entry into the Suggestion Box, but last Thursday I was in the middle of a full blown allergic reaction to some antibiotics I’d been put on to clear up an infection. Talk about living my best life… Good news is it gave me plenty of time to find something to put on this list!
Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.!
Ben’s Movie Pick: Hardcore Henry – This Russian-American action flick may just be a one-trick pony (being a movie-fied first person shooter video game), but it’s a very, very cool trick. The plot is paper thin, only detracting from the violence to let Sharlto Copley explain just enough to get us – via Henry’s perspective – from battleground to battleground as quickly as possible. I don’t know if it was intentional, but the film’s structure even feels like you’re going through different levels in a video game. Unsurprisingly, Hardcore Henry‘s fights are fast-paced, brutal, and continuously build up the intensity. If you want to watch something with an engrossing story and layered characters, I’d skip Hardcore Henry, but if you’re looking for an extremely fun, check-your-brain-at-the-door action romp, than Henry’s your guy.
Ben’s Movie Pick: Tropic Thunder – I hadn’t seen Tropic Thunder in almost ten years, and I feel like an idiot for taking this long to go back to it. There are so many talented people involved – both in front of the camera and behind it – and all of them are at the top of their game here. Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, and Etan Cohen’s writing is marvelous, and every single cast member makes the most out of it. From the “trailers” that precede the real story, to the utter insanity that Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. create in the film’s climax, Tropic Thunder‘s stars had me crying from laughter during almost every scene. Plus, Tom Cruise delivers my all-time favorite performance of his as the hyper-aggressive studio exec, Les Grossman.
Ben’s Movie Pick: Your Name. – Your Name. is one of the best anime films out there; I’d say it’s even on par with some of Studio Ghibli’s greatest hits. The story is both a unique and moving one that centers on two lovable characters that begin switching bodies despite having never met and growing up in completely different environments, who must work together to keep their lives from falling apart in the confusion. The voice cast (in both the subbed and dubbed versions) is fantastic, the animation is stunning, and its all backed by a brilliant soundtrack. If you enjoyed the likes of Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away, odds are you’ll like Your Name. too.
Lauren’s TV Pick: Agent Carter – I don’t know why, but for whatever reason when Agent Carter aired a few years back I never watched it. Call me part of the problem, a position I fully regret now given low viewership is what pushed the show to the conclusion of its much-too-short 18 episode run. Stepping out from the confines of the supporting / love interest role in Captain America: The First Avenger, we get to see what Peggy Carter (and thus, Hayley Atwell) is fully capable of as an agent of the SSR, tasking herself with clearing Howard Stark’s name and recovering the arsenal of inventions and weapons stolen from his vault. Her coworkers might not believe she’s capable of more than fetching coffee, but it turns out that she’s 10 times as badass as originally expected. Too bad we didn’t get to see more from her brief team up with Cap, but I’ll gladly settle for this partnership with Jarvis. Yes, THAT Jarvis (played by James D’Arcy). The stories of espionage and what not are interesting enough, but this show would not be what it is without the playful dynamic between these two Brits, who are simply delightful together. Round it out with Enver Gjorkaj’s fellow SSR Agent (he may not be America’s Ass, but it’s impossible not to cheer for him), Bridget Regan’s enjoyably enthusiastic and slightly Peggy obsessed assassin, and the occasional drop in of Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark and we’ve got some wish-I’d-realized-what-I-was-missing-before-it-was-too-late must see TV.
Lauren’s TV Pick: Legend of the Seeker – After almost a decade of letting the Sword of Truth books collect dust on my shelf, I finally decided to go back and start fresh with book one and two before finally moving onto the third for the first time. Unfortunately the books were not as great as I remembered (Terry Goodkind’s writing is nothing if not repetitious. I’m not sure if he thought his characters or his readers were incredibly stupid, maybe both, but Jesus. The dialog… If I had a dollar for every time someone says the word “friend” in Wizard’s First Rule I’d have enough money to pay an editor to take them all out and reprint the book)… Good thing there’s a cheesy high fantasy TV show to make up for it! That’s right, I have not one, but two Bridget Regan shows cancelled far too soon after only 2 seasons in this Suggestion Box. It’s more akin to the fantasy shows of decades past than the more dramatic leaning Game of Thrones, but as much as I laugh at the slow mo face pulling and ridiculous jumps through the air, sword raised to come crashing down that this show is known for, as low budget as the CGI is, and as much as I groan at the romance because I’m a child who can’t help but say “gross” at any longing looks or words of affection, I still love it. It’s a guilty pleasure binge for sure.
Ben’s Video Game Pick: The Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo – I’ve been waiting almost five years for a chance to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, a rebuilt and updated version of the 1997 JRPG classic, and the Playstation 4 demo feels like both a reward for my faith in developer Square Enix and an indicator that the full game might honestly live up to the overwhelming hype I have for it. The demo shows off some of the fantastic combat – which has different styles of gameplay suited for either action game fans or those who prefer something more akin to the original FFVII‘s turn-based battles – stunning visuals, and a just a taste of the phenomenal remastered soundtrack. The boss battle at the end is surprisingly challenging, being the first in the game, but it’s an absolute blast that encourages you to use both of the characters in your roster and their different abilities to inflict maximum damage. If the rest of the game matches the quality of this demo, Final Fantasy VII Remake may take the throne from the original as my favorite game of all time.
So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past three weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!
And while you’re here, be sure to check some of the site’s other recent content: Ben’s written reviews of Sonic the Hedgehog, Superman: Red Son, and My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, as well as our podcast episodes on The Social Network, Snatch, The Gentlemen, and our 2019 Time Capsule.