REVIEW: Barry – Season Three (2022)

Bill Hader is the titular character in HBO’s dark comedy BARRY — PHOTO: Merrick Morton / HBO..

I’ve long been a fan of HBO’s Barry. When it first came out, I reviewed the first handful of episodes and I was blown away. Although I haven’t always had the time to write about the show due to life getting in the way, it has remained one of my favorite shows on television over the last several years. However, it feels like so long ago that season two of Barry ended. When the third season of Barry was finally released on HBO and HBO Max, it had been more than three years since the second season ended. Admittedly, I wondered if the show could still hook me in and if what it was aiming for would still work. And I was happy to find out that HBO’s Barry, led by Bill Hader, is still knocking it out of the park.

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REVIEW: Stranger Things – Season Four, Vols. 1 & 2 (2022)

(Left-to-Right) Joe Keery, Gaten Matarazzo, Maya Hawke, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, and Caleb McLaughlin’s characters must confront a new mysterious and murderous monster in the latest season of ‘Stranger Things’ — Photo: NETFLIX.

This is a review of both halves — Vols. I & II– of Stranger Things: Season Four.

Like The Crown and BoJack Horseman, Stranger Things has long been one of Netflix’s most consistently good shows. The nostalgia-based supernatural coming-of-age horror-thriller show that was created by the Duffer brothers has managed to stay really good and really entertaining for four seasons now — including this latest season, which was split into two parts (with the season finale having a runtime of almost two-and-a-half hours) — and, even though the show still wears its inspirations on its sleeves, the show is getting better in many ways. In fact, I would say that this fourth season, which is probably the goriest and most horror-like of the bunch, is the best season of the show since the very rewatchable debut season, even though this latest season included two season-long subplots that were never as engaging as the main story was.

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RETRO REVIEW: Oslo, 31. August (2011)

‘Anders’ (played by Anders Danielsen Lie) eavesdrops on conversations in a cafe in Oslo, Norway — PHOTO: Nordisk Film.

Directed by Joachim Trier — Screenplay by Joachim Trier & Eskil Vogt.

Five years after having released his first film as a director, Reprise, the Danish-born Norwegian Director, Joachim Trier, his second film came out. It, Oslo, 31. August, is the second film in his critically acclaimed Oslo film trilogy. If you read my retro review of his feature-length debut, then you know how impressed I was by Trier’s Reprise. I’m here to tell you that somehow he outdid himself here. Oslo, 31. August hit me like a ton of bricks.

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REVIEWS: MCU Series on Disney+ – Year One (2021): ‘WandaVision,’ ‘Loki,’ ‘Hawkeye,’ and More

Paul Bettany as Vision in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+. — Photo: Disney+ / Marvel Studios.

Disney’s Marvel Studios — the masterminds and architects of the global cinematic sensation, the Marvel Cinematic Universe — now also spends a lot of time on TV/Streaming shows due to the arrival of the streaming service Disney+, which Disney knows can thrive on several shows aimed at the Marvel and Star Wars fandoms. In the first year with MCU content straight-to-Disney+, Disney and Marvel Studios gave us four live-action series and one premier animated show. In this article, I’ll take a look at each of the ‘first-year’ shows in bite-sized reviews.

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RETRO REVIEW: Reprise (2006)

Phillip and Erik get ready to submit the manuscripts for their debut novels in Joachim Trier’s REPRISE — PHOTO: Nordisk Film.

Directed by Joachim Trier — Screenplay by Joachim Trier & Eskil Vogt.

The Danish-born Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier has quickly made a name for himself over the years with films such as his three Oslo films, the first of which I’m reviewing in this article, and right now he is one of the hottest directors in all of Scandinavia next to Ruben Östlund (The Square), the Swedish auteur, and Thomas Vinterberg (Jagten), the Danish co-creator of the Dogme-movement. Already with his first film, Joachim Trier — not to be confused with the Danish auteur (and other co-creator of the aforementioned Dogme-movement), Lars Von Trier, even though they are supposedly distant relatives — shows signs that suggest the Norwegian director is something special. So much raw talent is already there to be seen and admired.

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REVIEW: Elvis (2022)

Austin Butler is the King of Rock n’ Roll in Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS — Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Directed by Baz Luhrmann — Screenplay by Baz Luhrmann, Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce, and Jeremy Doner..

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always known who Elvis Presley was. I grew up in a loving home where Elvis Presley’s songs were often played over and over again. Both of my parents are Elvis super-fans. My father was nicknamed “Elvis,” when he was young. My mom likes to tell me that, at times, he really looked like him when they were both young. In school, one time I even did a presentation on the life and career of Elvis Presley at a final exam. It, then, goes without saying that the release of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley music biopic was something the family was very much looking forward to. Some of us were also quite nervous about whether it could work. Having now seen it, I can say that, in some ways, it is an excellent biopic that the Presley family should be incredibly happy with, but that it also is just as formulaic as the other music biopics that have been released these last few years. It pleases me to say that because of Luhrmann’s direction and Austin Butler’s performance it is more than just a run-of-the-mill biopic, though.

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REVIEW: Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)

Ewan McGregor is back as the titular Jedi in Lucasfilm’s OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

All Six Episodes of the Limited Series Were Directed by Deborah Chow.

Set a decade, or so, after the events of George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi follows the character of the same name (played by Ewan McGregor, now returning to the role), as he has gone into hiding on Tatooine, where he is watching over young Luke Skywalker from afar. Sith Inquisitors are still hunting for Jedi throughout the galaxy, including Kenobi who Reva (played by Moses Ingram), the Third Sister, is especially interested in. However, Obi-Wan Kenobi is forced out of hiding after young Princess Leia Organa (played by Vivien Lyra Blair) is kidnapped by criminals. Kenobi is Leia’s only hope, and that is exactly what Reva, who orchestrated the kidnapping, had expected and hoped for. As Kenobi leaves Tatooine, he has to reconnect to the Force, but this also means that he risks being confronted by the Inquisitors or even Darth Vader.

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REVIEW: Spiderhead (2022)

Chris Hemsworth as the charismatic antagonist, Steve Abnesti, in Joseph Kosinski’s SPIDERHEAD — Photo: Netflix.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski — Screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick.

No, my fellow cineastes, your eyes are not deceiving you. This adaptation of the George Saunders short story Escape from Spiderhead was indeed directed by Joseph Kosinski whose film Top Gun: Maverick — a charming, thrilling, and crowd-pleasing legacy sequel — invigorated the film and movie theater industries by being a huge hit just this very month, and its screenplay was indeed written by the writers of Zombieland, Deadpool, and Life — Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. When you add the fact that Spiderhead is spearheaded by acting talents like Marvel Studios’ God of Thunder, Chris Hemsworth, and Whiplash lead, Miles Teller (who also starred in Top Gun: Maverick), then it starts to sound like the kind of film that ought to have been released in theaters or, at the very least, been given a larger marketing push than it has gotten thus far. You’d be right in thinking that. Even though it has some issues, it deserves far better than falling into obscurity as one of the many overlooked entries in Netflix’s vast content library.

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REVIEW: Outer Range – Season One (2022)

Josh Brolin finds a mysterious black void on his land in the neo-western sci-fi series ‘Outer Range,’ — Photo: Prime Video.

All eight episodes of ‘Outer Range: Season One’ are available on Amazon Prime Video right now.

I don’t think I watch enough Amazon Prime Video shows. Sure, I watch their biggest series and select lesser shows, but I still feel like I often overlook some of their lesser-known output. Brian Watkins’ Outer Range seemed destined to end up as a show I had heard about but which hadn’t caught my eye for whatever reason. But after watching a Late Show with Stephen Colbert interview with the show’s lead actor Josh Brolin, who I am a big fan of, my interest was piqued. Their description of the show had sold it to me, and I’m glad I watched it, even though it’s a difficult show to communicate to others without spoiling too much.

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REVIEW: Borgen – Power & Glory (2022)

Sidse Babett Knudsen as Birgitte Nyborg in ‘Borgen – Power and Glory’ — Photo: Mike Kollöffel.

Borgen – Power and Glory,’ the fourth season of ‘Borgen’ is available on DR in Denmark and on Netflix internationally. It consists of eight episodes.

A Danish political drama and international hit, Adam Price’s Borgen is a critically acclaimed television show that takes its viewers into the Danish political system by focusing both on politicians, their families, their spin doctors, and the media. It originally ran for three seasons from 2010 to 2013, but has now been revived by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) and Netflix for a new season titled Borgen – Power and Glory (Borgen – Riget, Magten og Æren in Danish).

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