My Engine Lab


// Content for entries

With an unprecedented valuation of two trillion US dollars, Apple has found a new way to lever more NZ pesos out of us with Apple TV+, and unfortunately we’re gladly obliging. Deviating from the Netflix formula of ‘piles-o-everything’, there is much less content, with fewer, but arguably ‘bigger’ shows.  

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Executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, who either makes the best film you’ve seen in ages, or unforgivable nonsense – with nothing in between, Servant is a slow burn psychological horror that kept us hooked. A common Horror trope is for the immoral, petty or cruel to receive their eventual comeuppance, and considering that everyone here seems to be a jerk, it’s anyone’s game.  Ron Weasley is especially interesting, here playing ‘Uncle Dirtbag’. Let’s just say that this time around the magic powder is less for improving his quidditch game, and more for snorting up his hooter. 
defending jacob
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Every parent has thought this: did my creepy looking son stab and kill that boy found dead in the park? Even despite the fact that Santa was watching? You’d hope not, and thus the intrinsic conundrum of the narrative is set. Captain America can’t work it out and he vacillates between believing his progeny is guilty, or innocent. Based on the eponymous novel, the story moves back in forth in time, tantalising us with new details, and building to a tense climax. Someone’s getting a detention…or maybe not. 
the morning show
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On discovering the first promotions for The Morning Show, our first thoughts were strictly “meh”. However, the novelty of Apple’s first big flagship show dragged us into the premiere, and there’s been no looking back. It’s perfectly executed glossy drama, with an A list cast at the height of their powers. 
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So what are the whales thinking about? Are they just bendy-bus sized krill obsessed tubes of feeding blubber? Do they have a laugh scattering seahorses with their massive built-in underwater air-horns? Actually, it appears they have a complex intelligence evidenced by their rich and varied communications. Their songs boom, click and whistle through the oceans, and show suggestions of language, dialect and individuality. This fascinating documentary, with a New Zealand connection, shows the dedicated scientist sea-nerds looking for the rosetta stone of whale chat. It’s a great family watch, with the caveat that the feature whale species has a PG-13 name: The Humpback.
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This is Apple TV+’s adaptation of the legendary Sci-Fi author Isaac Asimov’s series of books. An epic story across a galaxy, with production values out the wazoo, it feels like the first wave of a new Dune-on-tv category. For fans of science fiction there are lasers pew-pewing, and an update on hyperspace travel (WHUMP! It’s got a black hole onboard, innit?), but this might be closer to a PG rated Game of Thrones than Star Wars. Either way, they’ve definitely spent a fortune of imperial credits on the whole shebang. A great cast features Lee Pace as a mesmerising psychopathic Caligula-from-outer-space and we could watch him wax diabolical all day. Now, some of us have dropped off  as they felt it was a little, well, boring (in space, no-one can hear you yawn), but the feeling is that it’s a slow burn and four eps in, it’s certainly building. Beware, Foundation comes with a threat-level FOMO warning: some of us remember a certain GOT being a little humdrum for the first couple of eps, and at it’s peak, for those who were out of the ‘Thrones’ loop, it was like being on another planet. That situation cannot again be risked. Standby, you know nothing John Snyooo….