In this edition of my recurring movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I take a look at one of the start of the year’s best shows, and I also give you my thoughts on a (currently) Oscar-nominated film. So, get comfortable, and get ready to read my thoughts on things like Apple TV+’s latest gem and the film that very well could earn Jessica Chastain her first Academy Award tonight.
- 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.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye | Film | Dir. Michael Showalter | Release Year: 2021 | Seen on: Disney+ | Recommended?: Mixed thoughts.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye isn’t particularly special. It is, at best, merely okay. It doesn’t really escape the conventional, by-the-numbers biopic features and structure, and it drags from time to time. Still, Jessica Chastain is pretty good in it (although there is no denying that this showy, transformative performance is quite Oscar-baity). I love how much she throws herself into the role with such excitement from time to time, and I also do think that Andrew Garfield is solid here.
There sure is a lot of make-up, so I can see why it secured the ‘Make-Up and Hairstyling’ Oscar nomination, and I could see it win the award, even though the altered appearances of both Garfield and Chastain were sometimes rather distracting. It definitely feels like it would’ve been a more interesting documentary, so it made a lot of sense when I found out it was even based on one. Maybe I’ll check that one out one day.
The Afterparty: Season One | Series | Created by Christopher Miller | Release Year: 2022 | Season Length: 8 Episodes | Seen on: Apple TV+ | Recommended?: YES.
Apple TV+ has slowly started to assemble quite a stellar content library of original shows, and The Afterparty is one of its very best. Featuring a solid ensemble comedy television cast this Christopher Miller comedy whodunnit series is a lot of fun to follow, as you try to solve the murder mystery at the heart of the show alongside Tiffany Haddish and Sam Richardson’s characters, but it is also such an entertainingly designed and structured show.
Outside of it being a quite funny show – Ben Schwartz and Dave Franco were sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, to me – I think the hook of the show is that each episode, which sees Tiffany Haddish’s detective questioning an individual, is different. In each and every episode, we see another person’s perspective on the night that preceded the murder, and we also see the night through the lens of a different cinematic genre. There is an animated episode, a musical episode, an episode designed to be like a Vin Diesel-esque action-flick, and more. Is the payoff as good as the individual ‘mind-movies?’ Perhaps not, but nevertheless I thought this show was absolutely terrific.
Deep Water | Film | Dir. Adrian Lyne | Release Year: 2022 | Seen on: Amazon Prime Video (It’s Available on HULU in the U.S.) | Recommended?: I can’t.
An erotic psychological thriller, Adrian Lyne’s film is the third adaptation of the 1957 Patrick Highsmith novel of the same name. Deep Water is Lyne’s first film as a director in twenty years, and it is a bit of a star-studded affair with rising star Ana de Armas and long-time star Ben Affleck — who reportedly struck up a brief romantic relationship after production — serving as the film’s leads.
Seeing as I quite like Affleck and de Armas, I have been looking forward to this film for quite some time, so it pains me to have to say that I was pretty disappointed with this one. One of its biggest problems is that it mostly feels like a pale imitation of better films, and perhaps it was a mistake to have Affleck in the film because I kept being reminded of Gone Girl, which is superior to Lyne’s film in every way. To be perfectly honest, it put me to sleep twice.
People who have been looking forward to a good erotic thriller will be disappointed because the thriller elements aren’t particularly strong (scenes feel missing, the pacing is off, and so is the editing), and the erotic element takes a backseat in the second half of the film. Unfortunately, the performances can’t save it either, even though Ana de Armas, who is quite good in the film, understood the assignment. At some point, it goes into B-movie territory as it suddenly rushes toward an unsatisfying ending. So, yeah, in short, it is a bit of a disappointment. If you’re in the mood for a relatively new erotic thriller, then I’d rather point you in the direction of Michael Mohan’s The Voyeurs, which I think is better even though it, too, is a pale imitation of better films.
– Reviews Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.