Netflix Review – The Girl with All the Gifts: A Semi-Original Take on Zombies

Children are the future, whether we want them or not.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Zombies! Well, technically, people infected by a special strain of the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus which causes them to mindlessly try to infect any living tissue called “hungries,” but they’re zombies, people. The only hope for humanity is in the half-breed second generation hungries that have kept their ability to think, but still crave flesh mindlessly if it’s around. They can be pacified by a blocker gel that masks human scent, and then behave normally. 

GWATG - 1Students
They seem to like school more than normal kids, though.

In England, Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn “Give her a f*cking Oscar, please” Close) runs a facility that is trying to study the second generation children and develop a vaccine to the fungus that caused the zombies. The facility is supervised by Sergeant Parks (Paddy Considine) and the children are taught by Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton). The top student is Melanie (Sennia Nanua), a girl who appears to possess more creativity and intelligence than the other second-gen children. When the facility is breached, the group tries to make their way to a new base through a horde of zombies, with Melanie being humanity’s last hope.

END SUMMARY

So, some of you probably noticed from the description that this film sounds fairly similar to the video game The Last of Us, particularly the fact that the zombies were caused by the Ophiocordyceps fungus spreading to humans and that a young infected girl is our only hope. I won’t deny that there are a lot of similarities… to the point that we see a number of overgrown buildings in one shot that make me feel a lot like the setting of the game and that sneaking is how most of the characters avoid the zombies. However, it’s a completely different type of narrative playing out and let’s not pretend that most zombie films don’t steal settings or rules from other stories. 

GWATG - 2Blood
Ellie didn’t usually have to wear a mask for safety.

A big part of why The Girl With All The Gifts works is that the story is solid. It’s not just using zombies as a metaphor (although they are used that way, as most good zombie films do), it’s also telling a story of a child growing up in a world that seems to be without hope. Melanie is constantly looked down upon by almost everyone around her due to the fact that she is part zombie (and she can’t control her urges very well if they kick in), but she still tries to do her best to please those she cares about. There is a running debate in the film as to whether she is actually human or just a fungus that presents as human, and it clearly weighs on many of the characters. It adds an interesting question on the nature of humanity that is answered differently than you might expect. 

GWATG - 3Helen
Would you protect a child that also might eat you?

The performances are also top-notch around the board. Glenn Close may not be in the kind of film that she usually thrives in, but she’s still a superb actress. I’ll acknowledge that I get a large amount of satisfaction from watching a seven-time Oscar nominee kill a zombie, as well. Paddy Considine’s performance is amazingly nuanced, despite the fact that he originally presents as a stock character. Gemma Arterton manages to similarly play a person who is managing, despite everything she witnesses, to treat Melanie like a human being. You can feel that she really loves the girl, but also that she knows the weight of the situation. Sennia Nanua is amazing in this, despite her young age. She manages to portray a bright, inquisitive, but also feral and ruthless child, depending on the scene. Just terrific acting all around.

GWATG - 4LAstOfUs
… Yes, this definitely is not The Last of Us. Definitely not.

Overall, if you’re a fan of Zombie movies, you probably need to watch this. I really thought it was well done.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Steven Universe Future (Episodes 10-20): The Destruction of the Hero Myth

Steven Universe decides to spend its final episodes essentially destroying the traditional hero narrative. 

SUMMARY (SPOILERS!!)

Steven Universe (Zach Callison) has succeeded in dismantling the Great Diamond Authority and has created Little Homeschool, a place where Gems can learn to adjust and integrate into humanity. He’s assisted by all of the Crystal Gems: Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl, Peridot, Lapis Lazuli, and Bismuth (Estelle, Michaela Dietz, Deedee Magno Hall, Shelby Rabara, Jennifer Paz, Uzo Aduba). During the first ten episodes, we see him realize that there are a few enemies who will just hate him forever, that some gems resist the dismantling of the empire, and that his mother, prior to knowing our Pearl, had actually been physically abusive towards her former Pearl. After the class of Little Homeschool graduates, we also get hints that Steven is having trouble finding his place in the world now that he doesn’t have to defend against the Diamonds.

StevenUniverseFuture - 1Cast
I have two ships in this picture and I will never see them come in. 

In the last ten episodes, we find out how true that is. Steven doesn’t really have a clue what to do with his life now, and the lack of purpose is weighing on him. He thinks that his relationships will all fall to the wayside if they don’t have a shared goal, leading him to try and fill the void by proposing to his longtime girlfriend Connie (Grace Rolek). After she tells him that they’re too young (she handles it super well), he starts to find his powers growing out of control. He finds out that, even though his powers have given him superhuman regeneration and durability, his battle-filled childhood has created a lot of trauma. In response to finding this out, Steven starts to lose control of his powers even further which causes him to do increasingly worse things. Eventually, Steven is forced to accept that this time, he is the one that needs help.

END SUMMARY

I’ll do a Steven Universe retrospective soon about how this show went from a thing I absolutely couldn’t stand to one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, but today is mostly just going to be about Future. Steven Universe was always focused, as you would expect, on Steven, a boy hero who was trying to live up to the legacy that everyone said his mom left behind. Then, as the show went on, it was slowly revealed that his mother was not the perfect heroine that everyone thought, meaning that Steven was stuck trying to live up to an unrealistic ideal. While Rose Quartz/Pink Diamond had managed to become more heroic over time, she never made any of her numerous bad acts public, nor did she apologize for most of them (she left one person who loved her stranded in a garden for MILLENNIA). Instead, she pretended they didn’t happen, even if they caused suffering. Despite that, he held fast to his principles and ended up being a hero mostly through empathy and understanding rather than violence. 

StevenUniverseFuture - 2Volleyball
His mother’s temper gives her original Pearl flashbacks.

We’ve often seen the story of the child hero, but this is one of the few shows that ever actually addressed the realistic consequences of that. Steven was raised as the only human on a team of alien superheroes and constantly had insecurities about the nature of his powers. Additionally, he regularly fought monsters, evil gems, even the Diamonds themselves, often getting injured or watching his surrogate family hurt or even “poofed,” which is when a gem loses physical form. In this series, we see that there are two major impacts on his emotional development: First, he now responds to any pain as a threat to his life, a common trait of people who have been through traumatic experiences (as a cancer survivor, this is real and can be crippling at times). Second, he has a messiah complex… except that he already did the messiah part. He actually WAS the person who was destined to become the savior of the universe, but now he can’t find anything to do that fulfills him. It’s a much more accurate take on the aftermath of the hero’s journey than “they all lived happily ever after.” 

StevenUniverseFuture - 3Crying
I mean, a hero usually doesn’t ugly cry while cradling his lion.

I also like that the show doesn’t just say “this is going to suck” or “this will all work out.” Instead, at the end of the series, Steven is in therapy, he’s working on figuring out his own place in the new world, and the road may be bumpy. The only thing we know for sure is that Steven will always have his family and his friends with him, and that they’ll help him along when he needs it. That’s the best thing about this show, that it always ends up showing us that the real value is in trust and empathy, because that leads to creating friends out of enemies and friends are what we need most. 

StevenUniverseFuture - 4Cast
Most of the people in this photo tried to kill Steven at one point or another. Now, they save him.

This was a bold way to end a series, by basically undercutting the very trope that they had been playing into, but it’s exactly what I would expect from a franchise like Steven Universe. I cannot applaud it enough.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Netflix Review – Love Is Blind: I Hate That I Liked This

This show is trash, but it is absolutely the best kind of trash.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

30 men and women who state they’re ready to get married were selected for this reality show “experiment.” The premise is that the men and women would each go into “pods” opposite from each other. They would then speed-date with each other while not being able to see the other person. They would then pick the people they like, and if two people match, they continue to date in the “pods” until the men (yeah, it’s implied only the guys can make the decision) decide to propose. Of the 30 people, 16 got engaged. Of the 16, 12 got covered on the show. Those couples then have 40 days to move in with each other, introduce their new fiancé to their family, and then get married. It’s a built-in “will they, won’t they” narrative!

LoveIsBlind - 1Lacheys
Also, it’s hosted by Vanessa and Nick Lachey. 

END SUMMARY

If you recall my review of 90 Day Fiancé, I’m not the biggest fan of this kind of reality show. In fact, I think it leads to a ton of people entering into relationships that are based on lies or shallow feelings and then makes it more complicated for them to get out of those relationships. This show… well, has some of that, but it also fortunately didn’t include the mass competitive pressure of The Bachelor/ette or the literal threat of deportation of 90 Day Fiancé. This show has apparently been compared to another show called Married at First Sight (which I just found out is on its tenth season and I’m dying inside), but those couples are based on essentially arranged marriages, as opposed to this show where the couples make the choices on who they want. So, I feel less guilty for liking this one.

LoveIsBlind - 2Pods
The pods have couches and booze, which makes this whole thing much nicer.

The show frequently emphasizes that their premise is basically just normal speed-dating but without the element of seeing people, so that age, looks, and race are secondary to the personality of the other person. Since all of the contestants stated that they were looking to get married, the repeated speed dating and conversations are more direct and pointed than they might have otherwise been. The one thing that I do wish they’d do is show more of the failed dates. Due to the sheer amount of people involved and the fact that so many of them ended up engaged (6 more couples than expected, 3 more couples than they even budgeted for on the outside), almost all of the footage is of couples that end up getting engaged. I’m not saying that I want to see a bunch more guys getting shot down for terrible lines or shitty personalities, but I absolutely do. 

LoveIsBlind - 3Mark
Come on, who else was interested in Mark? TELL US!!!!

The thing that the show has been, and should be, criticized for is that all of the people on the show are pretty much great looking. The ugliest people on it are still “TV Ugly,” which is real life above-average. Since the premise of the show is that looks don’t matter, it rings a little more hollow when almost everyone is attractive. Still, it’s not like that’ll take you out of it.

LoveIsBlind - 4Cast
Seriously, the cast was all 7 or above out of 10.

Like most reality shows, you might feel a little dirty while watching this. You’re watching people during their relationships, you’re hearing them forced to comment on uncomfortable issues, and you’re aware the entire time that you can’t tell which things are legitimate issues and which are scripted or cleverly edited so that it’s more exciting. Several of the couples seem to repeatedly have spontaneous disagreements or issues that almost certainly were more gradual than they appear. However, pretty much all of the history of Western theater is a testament to one of the saddest facts about humanity: We love watching other people’s drama and we love it more when it’s the stuff we wouldn’t normally see. Quite a few of the lines and quips in this show are definitely things we would never find out about our friends or family members, which makes us feel like we’re witnessing something taboo and that’s exciting. 

LoveIsBlind - 5Amber
I mean, public displays of affection are usually frowned upon.

In counter to all of that, it’s also interesting to see the couples, or sometimes only half of the couples, so quickly develop what appear to be genuine feelings for each other in such a short time and that kind of gives you a feeling that there is something inherently beautiful in watching the birth of a love between two people. 

Given that everyone is stuck at home right now, I’m going to encourage you to embrace your inner love of trashy shows and watch this show over the next week. I’m going to do a breakdown of each of the six couples that got engaged in spoiler-heavy reviews over the next 3 weeks (2 couples/week).

THE FACELESS OLD WOMAN WHO LIVES ON MY SOFA

I don’t watch a lot of reality shows, but this show is definitely entertaining to watch, and discuss with friends which couples you’re rooting for and which are definitely not going to make it to the altar. The first part of the show in the pods is the most novel part, and does some exploration into the possibility of falling in love with someone you’ve never seen but have long, intense discussions. (Spoiler: it’s very possible.) My main problem with the premise of the show is the “is love blind” question gets somewhat derailed by the very short timeline of the show. You can argue the fact that all these people taking time off from their jobs and lives to shoot the show counts as more time than the real world would allow, but even so, 40 days is fast. Reality shows are all about doing it on a budget, so I presume it wasn’t affordable for the show to shoot for months or years, which would be a more appropriate timeline of a courtship that leads to a marriage. However, as a result the post-vacation part of the show is not so much asking “is love blind?” as “can you marry someone you’ve only known for the month?” It provides for some fun drama but isn’t quite as interesting. (The answer is: you all know at least one couple that this sort of abbreviated timeline worked for. But only one.)

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Futurama Fridays – S6E5 “The Duh-Vinci Code”

Professor Farnsworth finds out that one of his heroes isn’t quite what he expected.    

SUMMARY

Fry (Billy West) goes on a gameshow called “Who Dares to be a Millionaire” and misses the first question, which affirms his stupidity to the crew. The Professor (West) explains that he particularly dislikes Fry’s stupidity because great minds have inspired him, including his hero Leonardo da Vinci. When Fry plays with da Vinci’s beard, he finds a scroll with da Vinci’s lost invention on it. Fy offers to help the Professor decode it, but is knocked out by a hoverbus when walking across the street. When he gets home two weeks later, the Professor has been working non-stop on the invention. Bender (John DiMaggio) arrives with “The Last Supper,” which the Professor analyzes, only to determine that St. James was a robot. The crew then heads to Rome to find the remains of the Saint. 

S6E5 - 1Supper
Also, Zoidberg knows what Pentimento is.

In the catacombs under the Vatican, the crew finds a clockwork robot in St. James’ grave. The robot reveals that he is Animatronio (David Herman), who was built by da Vinci to be an artist’s model. Animatronio says that he was guarding da Vinci’s biggest secret for the Shadow Society of Intellectuals. Realizing that the Professor was not a member of the Society, the robot chooses to die rather than say more. The Professor deduces where the next clue is and the crew heads to the Trevi Fountain, where Bender finds a giant coin with the Vitruvian Man on it. They end up in the Pantheon where they find a hidden laboratory. Animatronio attacks the crew, having faked his death, but is knocked out by Bender after he reveals that all of the devices in the lab fit together. The Professor and Fry end up getting caught up by the mechanism which is revealed to be a spaceship that launches with them inside.

S6E5 - 2Animatronio
HI ANIMATRONIO!!!!

The pair land on Planet Vinci, where they are greeted by Leonardo da Vinci (Maurice LaMarche). It turns out he was an alien from a planet of hyper-intelligent humans, who look down on him because he is the stupidest person in the world. Leonardo explains that he quit inventing and left Earth when he lost the plans for his masterpiece, the Machina Magnifica. Fry shows him the sketch he found in the beard, which turns out to be the Machine. Fry and Leonardo build it together while the Professor tries to learn from the people of Vinci, who ridicule him as an idiot. Finally, Fry and Leonardo unveil the Machina Magnifica, which is revealed to be a doomsday device. The Professor supports Leonardo killing the population, but Fry ends up stopping the machine, which kills Leonardo. The Professor bonds with Fry over having been perceived as a moron.

END SUMMARY

To me, this episode is bottom-tier Futurama. It’s not a particularly fun or clever parody of the source material, it doesn’t have much emotional appeal, and I don’t find most of the jokes funny. The concept of Leonardo da Vinci being an alien isn’t bad, and the concept of a planet of people so smart they give the Professor a complex should be funny, but mixing them together just made the whole thing feel jumbled and rushed, like they only had two half-ideas rather than a whole one. It doesn’t help that for this episode Fry’s intelligence seems even a level or two below his normal stupidity. While Fry is usually lampooned for being an idiot, the fact that he twice mistakes a hammer for a nail in this episode is below even Homer Simpson level dumb. 

S6E5 - 3Fry
How is it everyone can get on a game show but me?

I do admit to liking the character of Animatronio a lot, mostly because Fry keeps greeting him with “Hi Animatronio,” but it still falls flat eventually. I also wish that the show would explain how the hell Fry and the Professor survived a month flying in a small, sealed capsule when they could just have said the trip was instantaneous. Overall, just not a great episode.

FAVORITE JOKE

Pretty much all of the actual clues of the The Da Vinci Code parody. The first one is the revelation that St. James the Lesser was originally painted as a robot based on a series of completely ridiculous statements based on the painting of the Last Supper. The second is when they find the Roman Numerals in the catacombs that indicate the paces to St. James’ tomb. It’s 2^11 – (23×89)… which is just 1. The last is when the Professor is trying to identify the fountain containing the secret laboratory. He sees a statue of Neptune and says that Neptune has a trident, which has three, or trey, points and a V in place of the U in Neptune. He puts together Trey and V and arrives at the Trevi Fountain. Even the crew questions this logic until the Professor just shouts it down, but it turns out he’s right. These are all great shots at the weird deductive reasoning found in the source material, which I appreciate. 

S6E5 - 4Math
Math! It’s FUN-damental.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Amazon Video On Demand – The Invisible Man: You Should See It

We finally get a good reboot of a Universal horror monster and that should be celebrated.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Cecilia “Cee” Kass (Elisabeth “Dear God I’m Talented” Moss) is in an abusive relationship with optics engineer Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and finally manages to leave him by sneaking out of his compound with the help of her sister Emily (Harriet Dyer). She hides out afterwards with her cop friend James (Aldis “Straight Outta” Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). She soon learns that Adrian has committed suicide. Adrian’s brother Tom (Michael Dorman) informs her that Adrian has left her $5 million dollars which is hers as long as she is found to be of sound mind and commits no crimes. Soon, however, she finds a number of strange things happening around her. She starts to believe that Adrian had figured out how to make himself invisible and is now torturing her for leaving him. 

null
At least this isn’t Hollow Man

END SUMMARY

Does everyone remember when Universal had planned their “Dark Universe” series and they announced that Johnny Depp was cast as the Invisible Man? Yeah, me neither, but it did happen and thanks to the colossal screw-up that was The Mummy with Tom Cruise, that idea died harder than the sequel to that one Bruce Willis movie… The Whole Ten Yards. Apparently they decided to try again using the Blumhouse method of cheap production and focusing on interesting storytelling over special effects. Surprisingly, it worked! 

InvisibleMan - 2DarkUniverse
It’s almost like you should focus on doing a movie well rather than trying to just churn out five.

In some ways this is one of the more faithful adaptations of the source material. H.G. Wells’s original story of The Invisible Man depicted a greedy, ambitious, and cruel scientific student who figures out the secret of invisibility solely for money and then eventually keeps escalating his bad acts until he decides to go on a “reign of terror.” In most of the prior adaptations, including the 1933 The Invisible Man with Claude Rains and the various sequels, the character is generally depicted as benign or sympathetic until the invisibility drives them insane (usually the serum itself causes madness). In this, Adrian Griffin (the same last name as the character from the original novel) is already a monster before he supposedly becomes invisible. He was already controlling and gaslighting Cee when he was just a rich jerk, and that’s actually thematically appropriate for this film.

InvisibleMan - 3Bed
Get it? The walls are glass because he works in optics.

One of the inspirations for the original The Invisible Man was the story from Plato’s Republic called “The Ring of Gyges.” In the story, a man finds a ring that makes him invisible (yeah, Tolkien didn’t come up with that) and slowly commits more and more atrocious acts because he realizes he cannot be held accountable. In this film, it’s implied that Adrian’s cruelty is partially derived from his good looks, wealth, and privilege. It’s what allowed him to keep Cee in the abusive relationship to begin with, including having multiple people doubt Cee’s assertions just because Adrian seems so amazing. Eventually, when he gains the ability to become invisible, that just enables him to finally enact the last few acts of cruelty that he hadn’t been able to do so far. Essentially, he shows that it was only the small amount of accountability that he had as a wealthy person that had been holding him back. 

InvisibleMan - 4Punch
Not that it stopped him from stalking and attacking her with a witness. 

The story is also updated a bit by adding a significant aspect of gaslighting and emotionally abusing a significant other. The entire premise of the film is based around Adrian trying to find a way to control Cee after she finally left him, which gives the horror elements a more sinister and grounded aspect. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I automatically give bonus points to films that use horror as a way to address real-life issues.

Babadook - 4Possessed
Reminder: The Babadook was amazing.

Elisabeth Moss’s performance carries most of the film and is even more impressive when you realize that she’s typically acting against nothing. She really conveys an abused woman who is unable to trust her reality because she’s been so manipulated by Adrian. Also, unlike most protagonists who refuse to believe what’s happening is real, she almost immediately guesses that Adrian has gone invisible, something that everyone else doubts (the way they doubted her abuse). 

InvisibleMan - 5Moss
Such great work with her eyes.

The cinematography is the other key to this film. The camera often drifts to empty corners and open doors where nothing appears to be happening, which sets the tone of the film so effectively. Similarly, the sound editing and soundtrack are both excellent at giving the feeling of having another presence in the room and of that presence being malicious. Also, I appreciate that they updated how he became invisible to make it more scientifically accurate. 

InvisibleMan - 6Rains
We don’t get the famous image, though. 

Overall, solid movie. Sad that the Covid-19 may have hurt people seeing it, but if you can afford it, this is actually a movie worth renting on demand. If not… wait a few months for Redbox.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Amazon Prime Review – Killer Sofa: Yes, This is Real 

I’m not kidding, there’s a movie called Killer Sofa.

SUMMARY

Welcome to New Zealand, where anything can happen. Francesca (Piimio Mei) is a young woman with a history of bad boyfriends. One day she is gifted a reclining chair after her former stalker, Frederico (Harley Neville) is found murdered. It turns out the chair is, in actuality, a dybbuk, which is a malicious dead soul that possesses an object in Jewish mythology. The only person who notices the chair’s true evil nature is Rabbi Jack (Jim Baltaxe), the grandfather of Francesca’s friend Maxi (Nathalie Morris). Soon, the chair goes on a killing spree bourne out of a horrible obsession with Francesca. Once again, this is a La-Z-Boy going on a killing spree.

KillerSofa - 1Tea
It also makes you tea and biscuits (That’s cookies to you Yanks).

END SUMMARY

So, I feel at this point I must remind you that this is not my first furniture-based horror film. Yes, I’ve already reviewed the infamous Bed of the Dead, a movie which I described as “way more complicated than a movie about a killer bed should be.” This film actually has a similar problem, in that this movie decided to add a much more complicated third-act twist than was merited by a movie which features a killer La-Z-Boy. Still, it won’t take you out of it. Also, it annoyed me a little that there was no sofa in this film. The definition of sofa requires that it be a long seat capable of sitting two or more. This is a reclining chair. Moreover, it means that they chose Killer Sofa over the more appropriate “Slay-Z-Boy.” 

KillerSofa - 2Truck
The sofa didn’t fit on the trailer.

The best thing about this movie is the chair, though. Despite the fact that it is, you know, a reclining chair, it doesn’t sit there and wait for victims like you would think. No, this chair stalks its prey. It follows people, sometimes for miles, sometimes up stairs or through entryways that you would think would be impossible for a freaking chair to maneuver. At one point it leans through a doorway to spy on someone and it’s handled like it’s just a regular horror monster, rather than a sofa. It adds a level of inherent comedy to the film that only gets funnier the more serious the film tries to take itself. I have to believe it’s intentional because the movie is called Killer Sofa and I would hope no human would actually think that could be a serious film. 

KillerSofa - 3Sofa
Yes, the couch is on the street stalking someone upstairs.

The performances aren’t bad for a B-movie and the puppeteering on the sofa is usually pretty solid. The kills aren’t super gory, despite the poster, and that keeps it much lighter and easier for most of the film. Honestly, if you’ve got a love of low-budget horror movies, this is one to get hammered and watch. Then send writer/director Bernardo Rao a message telling him that he should have called it “Slay-Z-Boy.”

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Cartoon Network Review – Infinity Train (Book 2): Something to Reflect On

One of the best short series of last year returns with a different lead and a different goal.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

After being separated from Season 1 protagonist Tulip (Ashley Johnson), Mirror Tulip or “MT” (also Johnson) is on the run from the Reflection Police or “Flecs” for leaving her mirror world. Pursued throughout the Infinity Train by Agents Mace and Sieve (Ben Mendelsohn and Bradley Whitford), she encounters a young man named Jesse (Robbie Daymond) and a magical deer named Alan Dracula. Together, the three make their way through the train to lower Jesse’s number so he can get out and hopefully so that MT can find her freedom.

InfinityTrain2 - 1Cast
Yes, she’s made of chrome. 

END SUMMARY

So, the last season of Infinity Train contained the revelation that the purpose of the train was to help people work through their issues until they’ve resolved their personal problems, represented by the number that appears on their hands. For example, Tulip, the protagonist of the first season, had to work through her issues involving her parents’ divorce. At the end of the season, having realized that she was not at fault for their problems and that she had been suppressing their fights for years, she finally came to terms with it. The show also revealed that the numbers don’t only go down. If someone, like the first season antagonist Amelia (Lena Headey), fights repeatedly against moving forward on their issues, then their number can grow, to the point that Amelia’s number was literally wrapped all over her body. 

InfinityTrain2 - 2Amelia
She literally tried to break reality rather than face her husband’s death.

In this season, we see that not everyone necessarily believes that getting off of the train is a good thing. We witness people deliberately fighting against self-improvement with a borderline religious fervor, claiming that the train is meant to serve them. It’s basically a perfect picture of one of the fundamental problems with humanity: We will rewrite what is considered right and wrong more often than we will change our behavior to be right. It’s a powerful message that is conveyed really well within the series. It’s not even the focal point, but it’s such an important thing to tell people that I have to applaud the show for it.

InfinityTrain2 - 3Graph
You can see two people here who have fought it strongly. 

I don’t want to spoil the actual primary messages, because in a show like this they’re inherently tied to character development, but let me say that they’re great choices for a show aimed at teens. The creativity of the train from the first season continues, but I have to give them extra props for Alan Dracula, the magical deer. He seems to be a representation of the train itself. He’s unpredictable, he’s hilarious, he’s helpful, but he also is slightly indifferent to the people around him. 

InfinityTrain2 - 4AlanDracula
Also, he looks great in heels.

Overall, I love this show and I want them to keep it going as long as they can. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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