Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Mar. ’21: ‘The Empty Man’ and ‘Servant’

Tony Revolori and Toby Kebbell in “Servant,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I recommend an underseen horror film that I, however, have mixed feelings on, and then I tell you about my experience of watching the second season of Apple TV+’s Servant, which, I thought, didn’t advance the plot all that much.

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REVIEW: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (left) and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor (right) in Wonder Woman 1984 — Photo: DC Comics / Warner Bros.

Directed by Patty Jenkins — Screenplay by Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and Dave Callaham.

The highly anticipated sequel to Patty Jenkins’ 2017 film, Wonder Woman, has finally arrived in Denmark. The film was released in theaters around the world (and simultaneously on HBO Max exclusively in the United States) in December of 2020, but, a week, or so, prior to the theatrical release in Denmark, all Danish theaters were ordered to close due to the second wave of the Coronavirus global pandemic. At the time of writing, theaters are still closed. This also means that Wonder Woman 1984 eventually skipped Danish theaters entirely.

In the mean time, frustratingly, the film was not made available for premium-video-on-demand in Denmark, and it took the distributor this long to release the film on HBO Nordic. That’s right, almost exactly three months after it was released on a streaming service in the United States. But now, thankfully, that wait is over. I’ve finally had the chance to watch the sequel to the hit 2017 superhero film led by Gal Gadot. Unfortunately, while I appreciated the original film, this sequel just feels misguided.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)”

REVIEW: Palm Springs (2020)

Andy Samberg as Nyles (left) and Cristin Milioti as Sarah (right) in Palm Springs. — Photo: Hulu.

Directed by Max Barbakow — Screenplay by Andy Siara.

I am a sucker for time loop movies, and, like most people, I have been a huge fan of these films since I saw Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day as a kid and fell in love with the concept and the film. Although I had seen him in the original Ghostbusters film prior to my first viewing of Groundhog Day, his quintessential time loop classic from 1993 was actually the film that made me a true fan of Bill Murray.

Similarly, Edge of Tomorrow, another fantastic time loop film, boosted Emily Blunt’s career, and, though it may be too early to tell, the Happy Death Day-film series ought to do the same thing for Jessica Rothe. Every time loop film released after 1993 stands on the shoulders of Groundhog Day, and, even though Edge of Tomorrow and Happy Death Day are great films in the subgenre, there are many films that fail to build off of that formula in a satisfying way. Fortunately, Max Barbakow’s Palm Springs is a refreshing and timely (more on this later in the review) time loop film.

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REVIEW: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, and Jason Momoa (left to right) in Zack Snyder’s Justice League — Photo: HBO (Max / Nordic).

Directed by Zack Snyder — Screenplay by Chris Terrio — Story by Chris Terrio, Zack Snyder, and Will Beall.

In 2017, Warner Bros. released the film titled Justice League in theaters worldwide. This was a superhero team-up film that was supposed to be the third installment in a series of films set in Warner Bros.’ cinematic universe that has been dubbed the DC Extended Universe. The previous two installments — Man of Steel and Batman v Superman — were directed by Zack Snyder, who had essentially become the godfather, or the face, of the DC Extended Universe.

Snyder was also supposed to complete Justice League, but, due to a family tragedy, he decided to step away from the film and let Joss Whedon, the seasoned superhero filmmaker hired by Warner Bros. to replace him, finish the film. But Whedon and Snyder are very different filmmakers and they have different sensibilities, and, ultimately, the theatrical cut of Justice League was met with largely negative reviews. The final product lacked a uniform vision and tone, and it started to become clear that a lot of the essential material that Zack Snyder had planned for the film had been left on the cutting room floor.

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Reaction to the 93rd Academy Awards Nominations

The nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards were revealed a couple of days ago. As always, there were great surprises, disappointingly safe choices, and frustrating ‘snubs.’ I’ve now had some time to think about the decisions that the various branches of the Academy made, and I want to share with you a couple of thoughts that I have had over the course of the last two days or so. I’m going to talk about a couple of Oscar snubs, but, mostly, I want to talk about the Best Director-category. Or, rather, one of the nominees in that category. Continue reading “Reaction to the 93rd Academy Awards Nominations”

REVIEW: Billie Eilish – The World’s A Little Blurry (2021 – Documentary)

Billie Eilish and her father, Patrick O’Connell, in “Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry,” now streaming on Apple TV+. — Photo: Apple / Apple TV+.

Directed by R. J. Cutler — Distributed by Neon / Apple TV+.

Veteran filmmaker and documentarian R. J. Cutler’s The World’s A Little Blurry is a fantastic year-in-the-life documentary about the rise to stardom for Billie Eilish, the immensely popular teenage singer-songwriter, who, in early 2019, had her debut studio album — When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? — released to critical acclaim. Cutler’s film is — for the most part — a vérité documentary that allows you to experience several private moments, as well as critical moments in her — and her brother Finneas’ — creative process, as a fly-on-the-wall. It’s an eye-opening documentary epic (it even has an intermission) about the life of a somewhat anxious teenage superstar that cares deeply about her fans, precisely because she is still a fan at heart, and she knows what it’s like to need that kind of bond. Continue reading “REVIEW: Billie Eilish – The World’s A Little Blurry (2021 – Documentary)”

REVIEW: Emma. (2020)

Mia Goth as Harriet Smith (left) and Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma Woodhouse (right) in Autumn de Wilde’s ‘Emma.’ — Photo: Focus Features.

Directed by Autumn de Wilde — Screenplay by Eleanor Catton.

Autumn de Wilde’s feature film directorial debut, Emma., is a romantic-dramedy period piece based on the 1815 Jane Austin novel of the same name, which has been adapted numerous times. Autumn de Wilde’s film takes place in the early 19th Century and it follows its privileged titular character, Emma Woodhouse (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), as she interferes with her friend’s love life. Her friend, the sweet but impressionable Harriet Smith (played by Mia Goth), is attracted to a Mr. Robert Martin (played by Connor Swindells). But, instead, Emma thinks that Harriet should pursue a romantic relationship with the local vicar, Mr. Elton (played by Josh O’Connor), even though it’s clear to everyone except for Emma and Harriet that he is actually attracted to the title character. Continue reading “REVIEW: Emma. (2020)”

93rd Academy Awards: Final Oscar Nomination Predictions

Still Image Boseman Ma Rainey
Chadwick Boseman in ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ — Still Image — Photo: David Lee / Netflix.

It’s that time of the year again (though a little bit later than usual)! The Academy Awards nominations will be revealed in a couple of days on March 15th, 2021. As always, there will be surprises, there will be upsets, and there will probably be a snub or two. Only time will tell how wrong or right awards analysts and precursors will be. This year, the BAFTAs tried out a new method that has shaken up the awards precursor traditions and that means there are numerous categories that are up for grabs at the Oscars. Continue reading “93rd Academy Awards: Final Oscar Nomination Predictions”

REVIEW: Coming 2 America (2021)

Eddie Murphy stars in COMING 2 AMERICA. — Photo Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Directed by Craig Brewer (Dolemite Is My Name) — Screenplay by Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, and David Sheffield.

Craig Brewer’s Coming 2 America takes place 30 years after the events of the first film, and the sequel still follows Akeem (played by Eddie Murphy), who has now become king of Zamunda, as he tries to figure out who his heir to the throne will be. The neighboring nation conveniently called Nextdoria (you get the joke) has proposed that since Akeem has no male successor to the throne, his eldest daughter, Meeka (played by KiKi Layne), should be married to the eldest son of the leader of Nextdoria for the purpose of bringing the two nations closer together. But Akeem doesn’t like that idea, so he is looking for another way out of this problem. Continue reading “REVIEW: Coming 2 America (2021)”

REVIEW: Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) and her nemesis, Namaari (voiced by Gemma Chan), face off amid the snowy mountains of Spine. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Raya and the Last Dragon” in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on March 5, 2021. — Photo: Disney.

Directed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6) & Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting) — Screenplay by Qui Nguyen & Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians).

Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada’s Raya and the Last Dragon is an action-adventure film set in the fantasy land of Kumandra, which is inspired by Southeast Asian cultures, that has been divided into five tribes — Fang, Heart, Talon, Spine, and Tail — named after their placement on a giant river that flows through all of Kumandra. These tribes don’t see eye to eye, and they all covet a magical orb that was once created by dragons that have since been turned to stone by evil spirits known as the Druun. The Druun have disappeared because of the creation of the powerful orb, which is now protected by the Heart tribe, led by Chief Benja (voiced by Daniel Dae Kim) who still believes that the tribes can reunite and bring new life to the once glorious land of Kumandra. Continue reading “REVIEW: Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)”