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And Just Like That… Season 2 Review | Cringe Levels Are Down and The Sex Is Back

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Just wrapped up the first three episodes of the ‘Sex and the City’ reboot, “And Just Like That…” and I must say, one thing is clear—the SEX is back! After rewatching the first season and the initial episodes of the second season, it’s evident that the show has regained its essence.

The cast includes Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, Kristin Davis as Charlotte York-Goldenblatt, Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes, Sarita Choudhury as Seema, Nicole Ari Parker as Lissa Todd Wexley (LTW), Sara Ramirez as Che Diaz, Karen Pittman as Nya Wallace, and Mario Cantone as Anthony Marintino. In the first season, the absence of the fourth musketeer, Samantha Jones (played by Kim Cattrall), was addressed as she had taken a job in London after a fallout with Carrie. However, the major bombshell came in the first episode when Carrie’s long-time love, John James Preston (played by Chris Noth), known as ‘Mr. Big,’ died from a heart attack.

Miranda’s romance with the queer non-binary comedian Che Diaz was something that did not go down well with die-hard SATC fans as it was something that Miranda would not do, especially in the last season, she leaves her husband Steve (played by David Eigenberg). But as the first season progressed, the show did begin to get a life of its own which, to me, made me want the show to have a second season.

Charlotte, in the first two episodes, continues to be herself—the Charlotte we all love. In the first two episodes, there isn’t much in terms of character development—especially when you consider the season one finale—for this mom of two.

The chemistry between Franklin (played by Ivan Hernandez) and Carrie was something to die for. I was particularly excited for the fact that Carrie was trying to move on from Big and the first two episodes explored that—though not explicitly mentioning him, but the dilemma that she was in about whether she wanted a relationship or just a casual Thursday.

Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes. Photo Credit: AJLT/Twitter

However, come the third episode, you see Carrie narrating the book she wrote after Big’s passing. Narrating the words brought back memories of the night Big died and was unable to complete reading the chapter that detailed the specifics of that horrific night. This was relatable as it highlights the inability to move on from a loved one’s death.

For Miranda, all’s not well in sunny California as Miranda’s son Brady (played by Niall Cunningham) is experiencing suicidal thoughts after his breakup with Luisa. Cracks emerge between Miranda and Che. The two, who moved to LA, for Che’s Netflix show and Miranda were constantly worried about Brady. Che dismissed Miranda’s apprehensions about Brady and all Che could say was: “He’s just a kid”?  Miranda was in full Momma bear mode while speaking to Charlotte about Brady and returning to New York.

Meanwhile, Charlotte and LTW are excited about the fact that both made a list that has been circulating in their children’s school known as the “MILF list”. This is creepy on so many levels as the two are giddy about it—which is problematic as hell. Just when you thought the writers learnt from their mistakes in the previous season, they do this—meaning little to no growth on the writers’ part.

Nya’s story intrigues me the most. Her husband is on tour and both are having a rocky marriage as they battle the most common issue that every couple faces—wanting kids. While both initially wanted children and have been trying hard to have a baby (in Season 1), Nya felt the toll of wanting a baby emotionally. In the two episodes, I’d award the most cringeworthy moment to this scene was when Nya facetime Andre and finds him with another woman in his hotel room ‘writing songs’ and he says that he hasn’t cheated on Nya yet. But then it gets worse. Andre then suggests having a surrogate with the motel girl. Credit must be given to Nya for dumping him—and good for her.  In the third episode, you see her trying to move on from her husband and coming into her own. I am starting to like her.

Whereas Seema almost ditches going to the Met Ball to meet her boyfriend Zed’s son–an important step in her relationship with her beau. But there comes a twist—he still lives with his ex-wife which normally and quite rightly so is deemed a major red flag. But Seema’s hairstylist tells her that sometimes she simply looks for red flags where she ends up ditching her longtime stylist but then comes back to him after the new stylist messed her hair up.

I liked the third episode far more than the first two episodes as it was the one that resonated most with me. The third episode dealt with the theme of loss and the fear of losing someone. From Carrie not recovering completely from Big’s death to Seema almost losing her Birkin after being mugged while walking down the street. The Birkin meant something to her—it was not about the money. The two ladies—Carrie and Seema—hang out in a pub where they spot a group of attractive Australian men.

And here we go again with Che—the verdict is out: they’re a monster! From casually revealing that they’re still married to a man to dismissing Miranda’s fears when her son has suicidal thoughts, they hit peak narcissism and yell “You ruined the family scene!” which shows how petty and self-centred they are. Moreover, their comedy is so bad that I couldn’t even fake laugh at their ‘jokes’ not to mention—constantly gaslighting Miranda in the first season. While Che has been a lot more subdued this season, still does not make me like them. I wish Ramirez sang more—perhaps that would make Che a little less annoying. But the question must be asked? Have the writers given up on the idea of forcing us to like the Che-Miranda duo? If that’s the case, I am so for it. I would have preferred Nya to be Miranda’s love interest.

Another thought that crossed my mind: while it was nice to see that the fashion is back along with the brunches, I asked myself as I watched the three episodes: “Which NYC do these characters live in?” While the second season explores mature themes like grief, I couldn’t help but wonder why these characters’ glam bubble is not being busted when the real Big Apple is not as glamorous as AJLT portrays it to be. But in a world ravaged by war and a pandemic coupled with an out-of-control cost-of-living crisis, the second season of the ‘Sex and the City’ reboot is an escape from reality.

In TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) terms, the second season so far is a lot less cringe than the first.

And Just Like That… is streaming on Max in the U.S. and in the UK, it can be streamed on Sky Comedy and Now.

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Adventure

‘SEIZE THEM!’ Review | A Rollicking British Comedy Adventure

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This review was made possible by watching an early preview thanks to Escapes supported by the BFI and the National Lottery for organising free nationwide screenings designed to encourage everyone to rediscover the joys of independent cinema

Seize Them!” is a riotous British comedy that marries the best traits of Monty Python, Horrible Histories, Blackadder, and Carry On into a rollicking adventure with a valuable message at its core about finding your song. Director Curtis Vowell delivers a clever, fast-paced film that doesn’t hold back on sword fights, crude humour, and unexpected friendships. The Dark Ages provides us with a British comedy classic. 

The film is a comedy road movie set in the Dark Ages that follows the story of the clueless Queen Dagan (Aimee Lou Wood), an egotistical ruler who is unexpectedly overthrown and toppled from her throne by the charismatic and ruthless Humble Joan (Nicola Coughlan). As Queen Dagan embarks on a quest to reclaim her kingdom, she is joined by unlikely companions, including Shulmay, a former servant with a lot of secrets (Lolly Adefope), and Bobik, a shit-shoveler who ultimately wants more out of life (Nick Frost). Both companions add depth, warmth, and hilarity to her journey as Dagan begins her quest for justice and ultimately faces every conceivable hardship and danger as she embarks on this voyage to win back her throne. She also has to face up to the very worst parts of herself and ultimately answer if she can ever become queen again, can she become a better person while she does it? And what if she has to choose?

© Entertainment Film Distributors

At the heart of this adventure is Queen Dagan, a master of all she surveys, with an ego to match, played outstandingly with delightful arrogance by Aimee Lou Wood. who finds herself headfirst with the revolution-led Humble Joan, portrayed by the charming Nicola Coughlan. The Queen, however, becomes a fugitive in her kingdom, alongside a hefty bounty that’s been put on her head. The dynamic between these two leading ladies is electric, setting the stage for a quest filled with laughter, heart, and a surprising dose of self-discovery.

© Entertainment Film Distributors

The ensemble cast, including the hilarious Lolly Adefope and the ever-charismatic Nick Frost, adds depth and nuance to the story, creating a compelling tapestry of characters that you can’t help but root for. The chemistry between the actors is infectious, making their journey from foes to friends a joy. We also get appearances from some of the U.K. and Ireland’s best comic talent, such as Jessica Hynes as Leofwine, Paul Kaye and John MacMillan as Kings Ivarr and Guthrum, Jason Barnett as Thane Tostig, alongside James Acaster as Felix the Ironmonger. 

Visually, “Seize Them!” shines with its detailed production design and cinematography, which immersed me and the audience at my screening into the mediaeval world of the film. The practical effects and action sequences are seamlessly integrated, adding an extra layer of excitement to the already engaging plot. 

But what truly sets this film apart is its sharp, witty dialogue that harkens back to the comedic genius of its predecessors. Written by Andy Riley, the clever banter and quick wit keep the pace brisk and the laughs coming, making “Seize Them!” a thoroughly entertaining ride from start to finish. 

© Entertainment Film Distributors

Overall, “Seize Them!” is a delightful blend of humour, heart, and adventure that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Whether you’re a fan of British comedy or simply looking for a feel-good movie with a meaningful message, this film is sure to delight you. So, seize the opportunity to watch this comedic gem and prepare to be swept away on a whimsical and hilarious journey across the Dark Ages. I applaud and give this film a high fünf! just make sure to be in a circle of safety when Big Liam arrives.

Seize them! will be in UK Cinemas from April 5th.

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Bad Boys: Ride or Die | Official Trailer – Sony Pictures Entertainment

Miami’s finest end up on the run.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Comedy

Release Date:

2024

Director:

Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Cast:

Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens

Plot Summary:

Miami’s finest end up on the run

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Kung Fu Panda 4 Review: Po and Co are Back to Pack Hilarious Punches.

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I’ve seen too many great animation franchises deliver diminishing returns with more and more sequels. To name some recent examples one could include How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, Cars, etc. Kung Fu Panda is another franchise that unfortunately falls in this category. The threequel that released in 2016, was most people’s choice for the weakest entry in the beloved franchise. So that made me pretty skeptical whether the world was ready for this franchise to return and gave us good cause not to have expectations set too high, especially given the weak marketing campaign and smaller production budget. To make things worse, it was being reported that the furious five would not be a part of the story.

So I went in with my expectations in check but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s been 8 years since the last Kung Fu Panda movie, but the characters are somehow still fresh and fun. One of the best things that the makers are able to do is remind the viewers what makes Po such a darling and why we love him so much. Jack Black is such a natural fit for his voice and makes this character special with his wit and wisdom in this latest entry. 

This entry is notably structured in a very different way from the other 3 entries. This one focuses on Po’s search for a successor and his ascension to the Master of Peace. The main characters are split up pretty early in the movie and are sent on separate adventures in a sort of buddy-cop-style scenario. On one side we have Po and Awkwafina’s Zhen, and on the other, we have Bryan Cranston and James Hong as Po’s dads. These two duos are a lot of fun in their own ways.

(from left) Po (Jack Black) and Zhen (Awkwafina) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Po and Xen have more of a good boy-bad boy dynamic, while the dads have more of a light-hearted brotherhood between them. Both pairs of misfits deliver a string of humorously entertaining sequences that will have you laughing your heart out. The humor here works for most parts apart from one or two instances and the dialogue in particular is very smartly written. The story, on the other hand, is where the movie is at its weakest.

The structuring is pretty generic with a very cliche twist at the beginning of the second half and the script mostly fails to provide significantly fresh plot points. But credit to it for executing the successor plotline better than a lot of movies that have tried it, especially Cars 3. The writers make sure to put their entire focus on humor and entertainment value, but they do come up with a couple of charming moments and some subplots that come full circle.

The animation here is surprisingly really good, especially given the significantly lower budget. The trailers didn’t get too many people encouraged about the quality of animation, but I can tell you that even though it’s not DreamWorks’ best, it’s still really well done. The background score also hits the right spot where it’s able to compliment the scene and lift it at the same time. The voice work here is also pretty solid. Jack Black is amazing as always and Awkwafina Ke Huy Quan are welcome additions.

(Center) Chameleon (Viola Davis) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Apart from Po, the best part of the movie is Li and Ping. They are the heart of this movie. The two of them have incredible chemistry and Mike Mitchell finds a way to bring out the best from the both of them. They play off of each other in the most silly, but whimsical manner which is just a joy to watch. We could do with a spin-off of them. Ian McShane’s return as Tai Lung is another highlight here. He is nicely integrated and fits well into the story being told. On the other hand, Viola Davis’ Chameleon is somewhat of a disappointment. For a villain that has the powers of all the previous villains, she was a rather tame antagonist.

Overall, Kung Fu Panda 4 is a return to form for the beloved franchise. It has a lot of elements that made the franchise successful and is a much-needed reminder of how much we love these characters and in particular, Po. Jack Black knocks it out of the park with Bryan Cranston and James Hong emerging as surprise standouts. It lacks the emotional depth of the first two entries and has a disappointingly tame villain. But it is a major improvement from the last entry and unsurprisingly very very entertaining.

Kung Fu Panda 4 releases in cinemas on March 8.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_inKs4eeHiI&pp=ygUXa3VuZyBmdSBwYW5kYSA0IHRyYWlsZXI%3D

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