The King (2019) | REVIEW

Timothée Chalamet as King Henry V in THE KING — PHOTO: NETFLIX

Directed by David Michôd — Screenplay by David Michôd and Joel Edgerton.

Loosely based on William Shakespeare’s so-called Henriad plays, David Michôd’s The King follows the future King Henry V, “Hal” (played by Timothée Chalamet), as the once ne’er-do-well Prince of Wales inherits the throne to then go into war with France. In the film, at the Battle of Agincourt, Henry V relies on his chief tactician and companion Sir John Falstaff (played by Joel Edgerton) to lead his army to victory against the much larger French army led by Louis, the Dauphin (played by Robert Pattinson).

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Barry: Season Four (2023) | REVIEW

Bill Hader as Barry Berkman in HBO’s BARRY — PHOTO: Photograph by Merrick Morton/HBO.

Be aware that the following review of the final season of HBO’s BARRY discusses details from episode 5 which would be considered spoilers for those who have not yet seen the season.

A lot has happened since this dark comedy started back in 2018. Five years and four seasons later, now the show has reached its conclusion on its own terms. Back when it premiered, I described it as a blend of “James Manos Jr.’s Dexter and, well, Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which is probably the closest comparison — a film where a criminal, who is hiding from the police, ends up running into an acting audition that he somehow knocks out of the park.” The dark comedy about a hitman who tries to fulfill his potential, and sort of disguise himself, as a wannabe actor has come a long way, and, in season three, it genuinely felt like Bill Hader — the series’ star, co-creator, and frequent director — was experimenting with the show, but in a way that made the show more engaged in the kind of deep reflection on guilt, redemption, and responsibility that half-hour comedies only rarely have the time and consideration to dwell on. In my review of season three, I noted that the show had gotten more depressing than outright funny as it progressed and that its focus on acting and the entertainment industries had changed (though it was still very much there). In the final season, I think the blend of dark and depressing themes and laugh-out-loud comedy is handled much smoother, and the result is arguably the best season of the show.

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The Boogeyman (2023) | REVIEW

Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, and Vivien Lyra Blair in THE BOOGEYMAN — PHOTO: 20th Century Studios.

Directed by Rob Savage (‘Host’) — Screenplay by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods (writers of ‘A Quiet Place’ ; ‘65′), and Mark Heyman (co-writer of ‘Black Swan’).

It’s safe to say that The Boogeyman isn’t exactly a new idea. Not only is it built on the classic boogeyman — is there something in my closet or under my bed? — superstition and childhood fear, but it has also led to several films. Uli Lommel’s 1980 film of the same name spawned two sequels in spite of so-so-to-bad reviews, and Stephen Kay’s 2005 film Boogeyman, which was a financial success in spite of poor reviews, also spawned two sequels. It’s safe to say that audiences like to be spooked by this familiar concept. Well, this week, another film of its kind was released. What is different between the previous releases and this 2023 Rob Savage film is that Savage’s film is based on a Stephen King story.

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AIR (2023) | REVIEW

Matt Damon and Viola Davis in AIR — PHOTO: Amazon Prime Video.

Directed by Ben Affleck — Screenplay by Alex Convery.

Ben Affleck’s AIR is a biographical drama about the origin of the highly successful original AIR Jordan basketball shoe, which was designed with Michael Jordan in mind when he had yet to actually play an NBA game. It follows Sonny Vaccaro (played by Matt Damon), a basketball talent scout for Nike, as he tries to convince first Nike and then Michael Jordan and his parents, including his mother Deloris (played by Viola Davis), to choose Nike, which was, at that time, not the massive company that it is today, as his brand of choice. There are, however, quite a few obstacles that Sonny must overcome. Jordan allegedly prefers Adidas, Nike likely cannot afford to compete with Adidas for his signature, Nike is considering axing their basketball division, and Sonny doesn’t have the best relationship with Jordan’s agent (played by Chris Messina).

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Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (2023 – Documentary) | REVIEW

Michael J. Fox in “STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

One of the things that I have thought a lot about since I was first made aware of this documentary has been my own relationship with Michael J. Fox’s work. I think I speak for a lot of people my age (and maybe even a slightly older generation) when I say that I grew up with his work. For my upbringing, Back to the Future was as important as Star Wars or Jurassic Park. Frankly, I think he might’ve even been my first favorite actor because I genuinely remember a young me watching films and shows solely because he was in them, including The Frighteners and Spin City. I remember hearing about his diagnosis when I was very young, and I probably think about him and his condition more than I realize. As such, I was always going to be interested in this documentary, which is why I am glad to say that Fox isn’t just a fantastic documentary subject, the documentary itself — from Davis Guggenheim (the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind An Inconvenient Truth, who, by the way, is married to Elisabeth Shue, who starred alongside Fox in Back to the Future Parts II and III) — is terrific as well.

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Ed Sheeran’s The Sum of It All is Better Than Your Average Modern Music Documentary | Review

Everyone gets a documentary nowadays. Whether it’s Apple TV+, Disney+, or Netflix, you can find several documentaries highlighting musicians. Naturally, some of these documentaries are more fascinating than others. Some music documentaries are put out to function as tell-all documentations of a tour or the construction of an album, others function as these musician origin stories that are obviously heavily constructed by the musician so that the right story is told from their point of view. The very best music documentaries get to find a way under the skin of their artist. On the surface, this Ed Sheeran docu-series may look exactly like one of the many unremarkable types of music documentaries. But once you dive right in and follow along, you are met with the kind of documentary that goes more than merely skin deep.

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‘The Nurse’ is a Solid Danish True Crime Series with a Great Final Hour | Netflix in the State of Denmark

(L-R) Josephine Park and Fanny Louise Bernth in THE NURSE — PHOTO: NETFLIX / Tommy Wildner.

As Netflix tries to churn out local content, we get to see several Danish Netflix originals. For example, a couple of months ago, Nicolas Winding Refn got to show off his style with his Danish series Copenhagen Cowboy, which I admittedly have yet to see, and, a while back, I recommended The Chestnut Man and called it the best Danish Netflix release at that time. Today I want to talk about the latest major Danish Netflix original, which I think is mostly solid. But it must be said that in moments it is genuinely tense and gripping.

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REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 (2023)

(L-R) Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Voiced by Bradley Cooper), Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Nebula (played by Karen Gillan), and Mantis (played by Pom Klementieff) in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 3 — PHOTO: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Directed by James Gunn — Screenplay by James Gunn.

“What a bunch of a-holes,” were the last words spoken in the very first trailer for James Gunn’s original Guardians of the Galaxy film back in 2014. Here was a trailer that introduced Marvel Studios’ biggest swing at that point in time — a team-up film built around a talking raccoon, a Chewbacca-esque tree, a wrestler in body paint, Avatar’s leading lady having swapped out her blue alien for a green one, and a minor supporting actor from Parks and Recreation, who was thrust into a stardom that he still enjoys. Back then it seemed like a huge risk to back C or D-list Marvel characters, but a lot can happen in nine years. Now, Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora, and Star-Lord are some of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they had their own Star Wars-inspired Holiday Special just last Christmas, and the films’ director, James Gunn, is about to end his time with Marvel after having been both fired from (due to social media ‘receipts’ detailing offensive jokes) and re-hired for this very film in the late 2010s. Gunn didn’t just revive Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling,” and make your mom and dad know who Groot is, Gunn also established himself as one of Marvel’s actual auteur filmmakers, which is a reputation that has landed him a huge job over at Warner Bros. as the shepherd of the soon-to-be rebuilt DC Comics cinematic universe. But first, he had to finish his Marvel Studios trilogy. And, so, how did it turn out? Well, let’s just say, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films go out on a high note, as they are now arguably the very best Marvel Studios trilogy.

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REVIEW: Tetris (2023)

Taron Egerton and Nikita Efremov in “Tetris,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Directed by Jon S. Baird — Screenplay by Noah Pink.

Jon S. Baird’s Tetris is a biographical thriller about the struggle to acquire the licensing rights to the hugely popular video game Tetris back in the 1980s. The film follows Henk Rogers (played by Taron Egerton), a game developer, who, while advertising another game at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is introduced to a video game known as Tetris, which instantly hooks him. This love-at-first-play-session sets in motion an attempt by Henk to secure the rights to the video game for the purpose of reselling them to Nintendo. However, that is much easier said than done, since it was invented by a Soviet programmer and since he will have to travel to Soviet-era Russia to have any chance of securing the rights, thus putting his life at risk, while another far more wealthy potential buyer is willing to do whatever it takes to get the rights before him. 

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REVIEW: Clock (2023)

Dianna Agron in CLOCK — PHOTO: 20th Digital Studio / Hulu / Disney+.

Directed by Alexis Jacknow — Screenplay by Alexis Jacknow.

Alexis Jacknow’s Clock follows Ella (played by Dianna Agron), a woman constantly questioned for not wanting children of her own, as she decides to check herself into a clinical trial for cognitive therapy that could kickstart her biological clock. However, after having undergone behavioral therapy, Ella starts having these terrifying visions that interrupt her daily life and shake her to her core.

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