In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I discuss my thoughts on some of the hottest shows of the year, and then I tell you about some of the Netflix movies you may have missed recently. Is Squid Game as good as its word-of-mouth would have you believe? Is There’s Someone Inside of Your House a good modern update on Scream? Well, scroll down to find out what I think about all of that (and more) in yet another jam-packed edition of Additional Bite-Sized Reviews!
- What are Additional Bite-Sized Reviews?
– My monthly movie and television catch-up review series ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews‘ is an evolution of the Overview-article section previously titled ‘What I Didn’t Write About.’ I was originally inspired by film critic Peter Sobczynski’s article series ‘Films I Neglected to Review,’ wherein he writes short, or brief, reviews of films that he hasn’t had the time to write full reviews about. Therefore, in articles such as this one, I will provide my readers with my thoughts on select films, shows, and even classics that I feel like giving my thoughts on, even though I don’t have the time to dedicate thorough reviews to them.
- Why do the bite-sized reviews not include either a letter grade or a review score?
– In my full and thorough reviews, I like to score or grade what I watch. But since these reviews aren’t as detailed, I think it is fairer to the films and shows to simply just decide whether or not to recommend them. I guess you could say this is the only type of review that is basically ‘scored’ with the classic thumbs-up/thumbs-down-method on my site.
There’s Someone Inside Your House | Film | Dir. Patrick Brice | Release Year: 2021 | Seen on: Netflix | Recommended?: Mixed Thoughts.
I’ve liked some of director Patrick Brice’s previous films (Creep & Creep 2), but There’s Someone Inside Your House didn’t work for me as well as I had hoped it would. The best thing about the film is its spin on a somewhat trite slasher concept. It feels like a blend of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer but updated for Gen Z, Social Media, and ‘cancel culture.’
It’s quite interesting that the main character almost seems more worried about her secret getting out than about finding a stranger in her house. I also quite like the idea that the film’s villain wears 3D printed masks of his victims’ faces. It’s just a shame that it feels as familiar as it does, all the while not actually ever being all that scary.
Frankly, I think the film is more oddly comedic than scary. Still, though, I think there definitely is an audience for this film. As a side note, that title is a real mouthful, and I don’t think it actually does the film any good. It may sound like a classic horror line, but it isn’t really what the movie is about.
Ted Lasso: Season Two | Series | Developed by Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt, and Joe Kelly | Release Year: 2021 | Season Length: 12 Episodes | Seen on: Apple TV+ | Recommended?: Yes.
When I first wrote about this show back in August of 2020, it felt very much like a hidden gem, but, since then, Ted Lasso has taken the world by storm. The sports workplace sitcom has won several notable awards and has essentially put Apple TV+ on everyone’s radar. My sixth favorite show of 2020, the first season was charming, comforting, inspirational, and just outright delightful, and I think most people just wanted more of the same.
While the second season of Ted Lasso is still charming, comforting, inspirational, and delightful, it is also more ambitious, more challenging, and arguably deeper than ever before. Characters such as Brett Goldstein’s Roy Kent, Nick Mohammed’s Nathan, Toheeb Jimoh’s Sam Obisanya, and Brendan Hunt’s Coach Beard have been focused on more than I expected them to be in this second season, and the show has still done a lot of good for Juno Temple and Hannah Waddingham.
But it is the addition of Sarah Niles’ sports psychologist that is the most interesting thing about this season. Because Ted Lasso: Season Two is really all about mental health in sports. We learn more about what makes Ted tick this season, and the show is never afraid of talking about dark subject-matter. I genuinely think that this excellent second season of Ted Lasso will help many people gain the courage to go into therapy.
So, the second season is equally wonderful but just more inventive and bold than before. Perhaps some of the interpersonal drama is resolved too quickly, perhaps time moves a bit too fast, and perhaps we didn’t need a Christmas episode (it felt a little bit shoe-horned in). But those are merely minor problems that I had with an otherwise excellent second season of this beautiful and charming sitcom.
Squid Game | Series | Created by Hwang Dong-hyuk | Release Year: 2021 | Season Length: 9 Episodes | Seen on: Netflix | Recommended?: Yes.
For the last several years, I have been very interested in South Korean cinema. South Korean entertainment is having a real international moment right now, which Parasite‘s Oscar-success was a perfect example of. Parasite-director Bong Joon-ho challenged an international audience to embrace subtitles so that everyone would be able to discover additional rich stories from all over the world, and Bong noted that his film worked everywhere because we are all affected by the ‘culture’ of capitalism.
That is the perfect segue to start talking about Squid Game, the South Korean survival drama that has been compared to everything from The Hunger Games and Saw to Battle Royale (and which also reminded me so much of the extremely popular video game Fall Guys). To say too much about the plot would be to rob readers of the act of experiencing the show for themselves, so those comparisons will have to suffice.
The show captures the powerful excitement of game shows, a good amount of tension, and it does a good job of communicating the universality of capitalism and class struggle. I won’t say too much about it except than to say that I think it is such a great show to binge-watch. It didn’t grab me until the end of the first episode, but by the start of the second episode it just had me hooked. It features disturbing brutality and questionable morality, it is an engrossing story, and it is not even an episode too long. That said, the ending was slightly unsatisfying to me, because I disagree with the way one character is written towards the very end, and I will also say that the show, which absolutely is not unpredictable at all, is at its worst when it includes English-speaking actors who don’t match the tone of the rest of the show.
Being James Bond | Film | Dir. Baillie Walsh | Release Year: 2021 | Seen on: Viaplay | Recommended?: Yes.
You know, I really enjoyed this documentary short / piece of promotional material for No Time To Die / tribute to this iteration of the iconic British character. Baillie Walsh’s documentary short is a solid run-through of Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond. Because it was released prior to the release of Craig’s final Bond-film, it obviously doesn’t really cover the experience of filming No Time To Die in detail, but it does remind you of just how tumultuous the production was.
This retrospective is somewhat superficial, but I did enjoy being reminded of the journey. I think the documentary is the most interesting when it tells us which scenes Craig changed for the better, or when it reminds us just how wrong the online criticism of him was. Bond fans probably won’t find a lot here that they didn’t already know, but I still would recommend it to those who don’t really feel like going through a rewatch of his films before they see No Time To Die.
– Reviews Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.