Content catch-up: What I’ve been watching recently – Part 3

December felt like a VERY busy month for new content, and before I release my end of year wrap up, I wanted to get caught up on reviewing a few more of the films and TV shows I saw in 2023.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

This movie was…OK. It had some entertaining moments and big action sequences. However, I don’t think I would ever choose to watch this over the first film, which – while flawed – had a certain sense of energy and fun that made it entertaining to watch. In the sequel, Jason Momoa just kinda seems like he’s goofing off through the movie rather than committing to a performance, and while Patrick Wilson is trying his darndest to actually act (he plays Aquaman’s brother, and their chemistry is the best part of the movie), he can’t save the end of the DC cinematic universe as we know it, which ends on a whimper rather than a bang.

Rebel Moon

I really, really wanted to love this movie. I was so excited for this Netflix film after seeing the trailer, because I’m always looking for original sci-fi/space opera storytelling on a grand scale. I know that Zack Snyder’s filmmaking style is somewhat polarizing, but I genuinely thought his cut of Justice League was a great film, and I hoped Rebel Moon would be the start of something special. Unfortunately, the plot never really gets off the ground, and the characters feel like flat cardboard cutouts. There’s hints of compelling world-building, but it doesn’t make me hyped for part 2.


There are things about this film that are great: I loved the use of black and white cinematography, and how the grandness of the film’s music helps tell the story. Carey Mulligan and Bradley Cooper turn in top-notch performances I’m sure will receive plenty of nods throughout the upcoming awards season. However, I felt that overall, this movie couldn’t quite make the leap from good to great. I read a comment from another reviewer that helped me sort through my thoughts on this film. They argued that this film often feels more like a vehicle to show off Bradley Cooper’s acting and directing chops than actually digging into who Leonard Bernstein was as a person and a creative artist. As talented as Cooper is, I feel there’s some truth in that critique, and I wish Maestro had felt more like Bernstein’s story. 

Doctor Who Christmas Day Special

While we’ve only just met Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor, I found him to be absolutely delightful, and I can’t wait for what’s to come. He brings a sense of energy, joy, enthusiasm, and hope to the TARDIS; I know that’s a lot of descriptors in a row there, but seeing Gatwa’s performance as the Doctor really did bring a smile to my face. I think we’re at the start of something truly special, and I have a feeling Gatwa is exactly the burst of optimism that we need in the world this year. 

The Boys in the Boat

Based on the true story of the rowing competition at the 1936 Olympics, The Boys in the Boat is an old-fashioned period drama that doesn’t offer any big surprises but was overall an enjoyable, comforting sort of watch. I’m a sucker for period dramas, and if you like those films as well, you’ll probably like this one.

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