The One (2017)

Medium: Book (John Marrs)

Rating: 5/5 Are you ready to find your perfect match?

Reviewer: Odd

Reference(s): Amazon

"Romance" and "techno thriller" might seem like two genres that would never go together, but this story is pure chocolate and peanut butter. Set roughly five minutes into the future, the story follows five very different characters as they receive the results of a dating service that promises to use DNA testing to find the one person in all the world who will be the most compatible. It sounds simple, but if it really were, there wouldn't be any story worth telling.

Chapters rotate through the five different character POVs, and each one is short, snappy, and ends on some degree of cliff hanger that might tempt you to skip ahead past the other storylines to find out what happens next. The rise in perfectly matched pairs has led to lower divorce rates and almost eliminated homophobia, but even a perfect match doesn't guarantee smooth sailing, and the waves these characters face get very rocky, indeed.

There is intrigue, there is bloodshed, and yes, there are even some happy endings - but you won't see most of it coming, and you'll enjoy the book all the more because of it.

Outside the Wire (2021)

Medium: Movie (Netflix)

Rating: 1 / 5 Keep it outside your watch list

Reviewer: jericho

Reference(s): IMDB Listing || Netflix

I wanted to like this movie, I really did. But it just starts out absurd at so many levels. It feels like someone wrote the script, a second person made serious edits, a third, and so on. Until you get a cohesive plot, but missing logic throughout. An unsupervised AI in a sci-fi body, contrasted by robot "Gumps" that are idiots and can't shoot too well, a command structure that of course sends the new guy on a crazy mission, a drone operator that knows the streets of every city apparently, and that AI who is never wrong ... of course is wrong? This had potential but it was squandered.

The Sparks Brothers (2021)

Medium: Movie (Sundance)

Rating: 5/5 The mostly true story of your favorite band's favorite band

Reviewer: Odd

Reference(s): IMDB Listing

Back when I hosted a music and movie trivia night, I once wrote a trivia round dedicated to one of my favorite bands - the brotherly duo known to fans the world over as Sparks. Knowing most of my audience wouldn't be familiar with them, I made it a goal to write questions that would still be interesting and answerable by people with no prior knowledge. This tribute, by longtime fan Edgar Wright, takes a similar approach.

Rather than crafting a love letter full of inside jokes and references only fans would instantly understand, The Sparks Brothers instead serves as an introduction by way of other figures the audience is much more likely to recognize. Neil Gaiman, Bjork, Patton Oswalt, Flea, Beck, Thurston Moore, Fred Armisen, Jason Schwartzman, Weird Al Yankovic - all of whom are more than happy to sing the praises of the quirky pair who've spent decades just ahead of the curve and just shy of mainstream success.

Not many bands last fifty years in general, and even fewer do so while continuing to reinvent themselves without falling to self parody or diminished returns. The beauty about Sparks, and the attitude of many fans in general when faced with someone who's just discovered them, is that it's never too late to join the party. Between this documentary and the upcoming release of their musical film Annette, I think a lot of very lucky people will soon be unwrapping musical gifts almost fifty years in the making. What could be better than that?

FYI: Viewed as part of the Sundance Film Festival, release date TBA later this year.

Coyote [Season 1] (2021)

Medium: TV (CBS All Access)

Rating: 4/5 No moleste por favor

Reviewer: jericho

Reference(s): IMDB Listing || Amazon

If you are wondering what happened to Michael Chiklis, he's back! This time as a just-retired Border & Customs agent that finds himself on the other side of the border trying to do right by his former partner's family. This quickly leads him down a path where he finds himself involved in the cartel and that is just the first messy part of his new life. No car chases, no shoot-outs, just a good slow build drama worth the watch.

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