REVIEW: The Last of Us – “Long Long Time”

Nick Offerman as Bill and Murray Bartlett as Frank in HBO’s THE LAST OF US — PHOTO: HBO / Liane Hentscher.

The following is a recap and review of the third episode of HBO’s The Last of Us. Expect story spoilers.

In the third episode of the first season of the HBO adaptation of the masterful video game franchise known as The Last of Us — titled Long Long Time — Joel (played by Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey) make their way toward the home of two of Joel and Tess’ allies. As they make their way and Joel tells Ellie about the pre-and post-outbreak world, we get to know Bill (played by Nick Offerman) and Frank (played by Murray Bartlett) in an expanded flashback that takes us all the way to ‘the present day.’ Long Long Time was directed by Peter Hoar (Daredevil; It’s A Sin) and written by Craig Mazin (Chernobyl).

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REVIEW: The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

Brendon Gleeson and Colin Farrell’s characters at the pub in Martin McDonagh’s latest hit THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN — PHOTO: Searchlight Pictures.

Directed by Martin McDonagh — Screenplay by Martin McDonagh.

By now, Martin McDonagh, a long-time celebrated British-Irish playwright, has established himself as a brilliant writer-director with a home in the dark comedy genre. His Oscar-winning short Six Shooter, as well as his equally excellent first two features In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, set up his name as one to keep an eye on as a filmmaker. With Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, McDonagh had a genuine awards frontrunner, and that extra spotlight, or magnifying glass, revealed a far more divisive and controversial film than the 7 Oscar nominations (and excellent Rotten Tomatoes score) may have made general audiences suspect. I’ve enjoyed all of McDonagh’s films, including Six Shooter, but Three Billboards didn’t land as well for me as In Bruges or Seven Psychopaths had. Therefore it makes me happy to say that The Banshees of Inisherin, his latest film, is a return to form and arguably as good as, if not better than, In Bruges

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REVIEW: Blonde (2022)

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in BLONDE — PHOTO: NETFLIX.

Directed by Andrew Dominik — Screenplay by Andrew Dominik.

One of the most controversial films of 2022, Andrew Dominik’s Blonde is based on the Joyce Carol Oates’ biographical fiction novel of the same name about the life of American actress and icon Norma Jeane, better known as Marilyn Monroe (played by Ana de Armas). Dominik’s film follows her from a troubled childhood to her suicide after years of stardom, mood disorders, and public relationships.

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REVIEW: You People (2023)

L-R: David Duchovny, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jonah Hill, Lauren London, Eddie Murphy, and Nia Long in YOU PEOPLE — PHOTO: NETFLIX / Parrish Lewis.

Directed by Kenya Barris — Screenplay by Kenya Barris and Jonah Hill.

In SAVE THE DATES, Netflix’s 2023 preview of select significant upcoming films to be released by the streamer this year, the first date and film that Netflix wants us to mark down is January 27th’s release of Kenya Barris’ You People starring Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and co-writer Jonah Hill. Released on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, You People from Kenya Barris (the co-writer of both 2021’s disappointing Coming to America-sequel and the dull modern remake of Cheaper By the Dozen from 2022) follows Ezra Cohen (played by Jonah Hill), a hip and modern podcaster of Jewish heritage, as he decides takes it upon himself to gain the acceptance of his girlfriend’s family before he asks her to marry him. His girlfriend, Amira (played by Lauren London), is a young Black costume designer who grew up in a Muslim household, and her father, Akbar (played by Eddie Murphy) is staunchly against her taking a white husband. While both Ezra and Amira struggle with each other’s families, the situation goes out of control when the families meet each other.

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REVIEW: The Last of Us – “Infected”

Bella Ramsey as ‘Ellie’ and Anna Torv as ‘Tess’ in HBO’s THE LAST OF US — PHOTO. HBO / Liane Hentscher.

The following is a recap and review of the second episode of HBO’s The Last of Us. Expect story spoilers.

In the second episode of the first season of the HBO adaptation of the masterful video game franchise known as The Last of Us — titled Infected — Joel (played by Pedro Pascal) begrudgingly agrees to escort Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey), alongside his longtime smuggling partner, Tess (played by Anna Torv), to the Old State House in Boston. On their way there, Ellie sees what longtime infection can turn someone into. Infected was directed by Neil Druckmann (television directorial debut) and written by Craig Mazin.

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95th Oscars – Nomination Predictions

It’s that time of the year again, folks. 2022 came to an end almost a full month ago, but there are still a couple of things that have to happen before we can all fully switch focus to 2023 in the world of cinema. One of these things is the upcoming 95th Academy Awards. The ceremony is on the 12th of March, but, first, we have the nominations to go through. In just a couple of days, on the 24th of January, AMPAS will announce its list of nominees, and so now is the time for me to reveal my list of predictions. There are many like them, but these are mine. Just like every year, the film that I’ve placed at the top of each category is the one that I feel the most confident about getting a nomination, and the film at the bottom of each category is the one that I am the most uncertain about. Finally, in most categories, I’ll also note a film that is ‘next in line,’ which means that these films are the ones that I think could sneak in on nomination morning instead of the ones that I’ve predicted. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

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REVIEW: Dog Gone (2023)

Johnny Berchtold’s ‘Fielding Marshall’ with ‘Gonker’ in DOG GONE — PHOTO: Netflix / Bob Mahoney.

Directed by Stephen Herek — Screenplay by Nick Santora.

Inspired by a book by Pauls Toutonghi and the true story that it was based on, Stephen Herek’s Dog Gone follows a father (John Marshall, played by Rob Lowe) and a son (Fielding Marshall, played by Johnny Berchtold) as they search desperately on the Appalachian Trail for the son’s missing dog named Gonker. It is a race against time, as Gonker has been diagnosed with Addison’s disease, which requires him to have a life-saving shot every month. As the family (including the mother, Ginny Marshall, played by Kimberly Williams-Paisley) tries to reach out to others for help, they are surprised to find out exactly how many people can relate to their situation and are desperate to help.

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REVIEW: RRR (2022)

N. T. Rama Rao, Jr. and Ram Charan showing off their dancing skills in RRR — PHOTO: DVV Entertainment /

Directed by S. S. Rajamouli — Screenplay by S. S. Rajamouli — Story by V. Vijayendra Prasad.

Excuse me as I begin my review with a bit of a story. For months, I’ve wanted to watch the widely successful RRR, the Indian epic that has taken Hollywood and the world by storm, but I have also been deeply frustrated by the fact that it isn’t really in theaters and it isn’t on streaming services. Or was it? You see, for a while now I’ve noted that Netflix allowed me to put the film on my watchlist but not actually watch it. JustWatch, the primary online streaming guide I use to track the arrival of new releases, even insisted that it was on Netflix in Denmark. I didn’t know what to believe. Well, this frustration went on for quite some time. That is, until last week, when I read a Danish review of the film, which specified that to watch the film in Denmark, you simply needed to change your language to English on Netflix. Et voilà. It actually was on the Danish Netflix this whole time, but for some reason, it was locked away behind simple language settings. Anyway, I digress. Let’s talk about the hottest movie of 2022, which I’m so glad that I finally saw, S. S. Rajamouli’s RRR

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REVIEW: De Forbandede År 2 (2022)

Jesper Christensen and Bodil Jørgensen in DE FORBANDEDE ÅR 2 — PHOTO: Scanbox Entertainment Danmark.

Directed by Anders Refn — Screenplay by Anders Refn and Flemming Quist Møller.

When I wrote up and released my brief thoughts on part one of Anders Refn’s De Forbandede År (int. title: Into the Darkness), a film about a family of Danes during the German occupation of Denmark, I was rather underwhelmed. World War II films tend to find an audience over here, and, as a bit of a history buff, I wanted this hugely ambitious project to land with more than just a thud. “Hopefully, its sequel will be better,” I wrote, though I must admit that I wasn’t optimistic. 

The first film was powerful in moments because of how it highlighted a family in conflict because of the occupation. Some decided to become resistance fighters and rebel, while others decided to cooperate with the occupiers in an attempt to keep food on the table and keep some sense of normalcy, I suppose. I noted that the historical drama about the first half of the German occupation of Denmark held my interest and was interesting and ambitious, but, ultimately, it was a disappointment, and it felt both incomplete and rushed. Anders Refn is still at the helm for the second part of the Skov story, and, frankly, the end result is mostly the same. Jesper Christensen is the highlight, but the film is messy and overlong. 

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REVIEW: The Last of Us – “When You’re Lost In The Darkness”

Nico Parker’s Sarah and Pedro Pascal’s Joel on outbreak day in THE LAST OF US — PHOTO: HBO / Shane Harvey.

The following is a recap and review of the first episode of HBO’s The Last of Us. Expect story spoilers.

The Last of Us is my favorite video game ever made. I hold it in the highest regard as one of my favorite stories. The game, and its sequel too, is a heart-wrenching, fully absorbing masterpiece that does a lot with the zombie genre. Now HBO has decided to have it adapted into a television series. The show is created by one of the game’s creative directors, Neil Druckmann, as well as the creator of HBO’s incredible Chernobyl series, Craig Mazin, and it features a stellar cast from top to bottom with actors such as Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian), Anna Torv (Fringe), Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones), and others. 

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