Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Oct. 21′: ‘Ted Lasso,’ ‘Squid Game,’ and More

Brendan Hunt, Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein, and Nick Mohammed in TED LASSO — Photo: Apple TV+.

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!

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REVIEW: The Guilty (2021)

Jake Gyllenhaal as Joe Baylor in Antoine Fuqua’s American version of THE GUILTY — Photo: Netflix.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua — Screenplay by Nic Pizzolatto.

Antoine Fuqua’s The Guilty, written by True Detective-creator Nic Pizzolatto, is an American remake of the 2018 Danish single-location thriller Den Skyldige, which was then directed by Gustav Möller. The film follows Joe Baylor (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who is an agitated LAPD officer with a troubled past, while he is at a 911 call center. Though he is initially largely uninterested at the call center, he suddenly ‘wakes up’ when a distressed woman calls him and says she is being abducted by her ex-husband. From his computer and telephone, Joe must now try to figure out what is happening and try to get law enforcement to her position before it is too late.

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REVIEW: Nobody (2021)

Bob Odenkirk as Hutch Mansell in NOBODY — Photo: Universal Pictures.

Directed by Ilya Naishuller (Hardcore Henry) — Screenplay by Derek Kolstad (John Wick).

At this point, it feels like we’re being inundated with action-thriller films that are trying to ape what made John Wick a huge success and a competent film franchise on its own. While I think these kinds of films can be quite good and entertaining, I also think films like Gunpowder Milkshake or Atomic Blonde have largely missed the mark, so I have become more trepidatious with this action subgenre than I was initially. This is exactly why it was so refreshing to me that I greatly enjoyed Ilya Naishuller’s Nobody, which is yet another action-thriller in the vein of John Wick (also co-written by Derek Kolstad).

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REVIEW: Free Guy (2021)

Jodie Comer as Molotov Girl and Ryan Reynolds as Guy in FREE GUY — Photo: Alan Markfield / 20th Century Studios.

Directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) — Screenplay by Matt Lieberman & Zak Penn.

It feels like I have been waiting for Free Guy for so long, and, in a way, I have. The first trailer was released back in 2019, then its theatrical release was delayed again and again due to the COVID-19 pandemic until it was finally released in the summer of 2021. And now it has finally been released on Disney+ in select regions. I actually always enjoyed the trailers, but, I must admit that, a small part of me was trepidatious about the film because I worried that I would have the same problems with Free Guy that I had with Ready Player One. But even though Free Guy does have plenty of references, I never thought it was as overwhelming as I thought the aforementioned modern Spielberg dystopian action film was. I quite enjoyed this movie, warts and all.

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REVIEW: No Time To Die (2021)

Daniel Craig as James Bond and Ana de Armas as Paloma in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s NO TIME TO DIE — Photo: Nicola Dove / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios / Universal Pictures.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga — Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

When I rewatched Sam Mendes’ SPECTRE the other day, I was reminded of the fact that the previous film in the Bond-franchise was released all the way back in 2015. A lot has happened since then, so much so that you may have even forgotten about all of the behind-the-scenes drama that transpired long before No Time To Die became the first major film to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After several rounds of rewrites, the shift in director, production, and the pandemic, the fifth and supposedly final film in the Daniel Craig-era of the James Bond-franchise has now finally been released. Thankfully, in spite of the real world drama that threatened to ruin it, this is actually a spy epic that is suitable as a true tribute to Daniel Craig’s bumpy but extraordinary time as the iconic agent. It isn’t the best film in the Craig-era, but it is a very memorable chapter in the franchise.

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‘The Chestnut Man’ is the Best Danish Netflix Original Thus Far – Netflix in the State of Denmark

Mikkel Boe Følsgaard & Danica Curcic, the stars of Netflix’s THE CHESTNUT MAN — Photo: SAM PRODUCTIONS.

In recent years, Netflix has gained a foothold in basically all corners of the world. As it becomes a global streaming service, Netflix is also starting to churn out local foreign language content that can grow a global audience. In recent weeks, that has happened with a show like the South Korean survival drama Squid Game, which has been compared to everything from The Hunger Games to Saw. But, of course, the most famous non-English language Netflix original series are Money Heist from Spain and Dark from Germany.

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REVIEW: Midnight Mass (2021 – TV Series)

Hamish Linklater as Father Paul Hill in MIDNIGHT MASS — Photo: Netflix.

Series Created & Directed by Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House; Doctor Sleep) — Available on Netflix.

At this point, I feel like Mike Flanagan is becoming a master of horror. I don’t think it happened over night, though. I think his output was fairly consistent in the beginning, but the latest works in his oeuvre are just outstanding. While I think Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Hush were all right, I think Gerald’s Game, Doctor Sleep, and his Netflix shows (The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor) are all great must-watch horror films or shows. I think he has this ability to find beauty in even some of his more frightening works, and that is also true of his latest horror series, Midnight Mass, which I think is pretty much on par with the truly excellent Hill House.

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Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Summer ’21, Pt. 3: ‘The White Lotus,’ ‘Malcolm & Marie,’ and More

Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy in THE WHITE LOTUS — Photo: HBO.

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I once again talk about my experience of trying to catch-up on some of the 2021 films released earlier this year, but this time I also want to talk about a show that I was surprised I liked as much as I did. What did I like about The White Lotus? Is Malcolm & Marie better than its reputation? Are Antoine Fuqua and Stefano Sollima’s latest action films any good? 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!

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REVIEW: Dune (2021)

Josh Brolin, left, as Gurney Halleck and Timothée Chalamet, right, as Paul Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s DUNE — Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures / Legendary Pictures.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) — Screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth.

When science-fiction neophytes first lay their eyes on the marketing material for Denis Villeneuve’s latest science-fiction film, Dune, they should be forgiven, if they immediately remark that it looks like an imitation of Star Wars — or other similar films. Obviously, they would be under a false impression, but, after all, it is a little bit strange that one of Star Wars‘ most obvious sources of inspiration — Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune — has not previously generated a widely known or appreciated adaptation.

In fact, the Dune property is perhaps especially renowned for being difficult to adapt. Famously, Alejandro Jodorowsky tried but failed to get an adaptation off the ground, while David Lynch’s adaptation from 1984 was critically panned. Those ‘failed’ attempts are, in fact, more widely known than the Sci-Fi Channel mini-series that the franchise also spawned. Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have now entrusted auteur Denis Villeneuve with the job of adapting Frank Herbert’s rich, influential, and dense source material, and I think that was a very smart decision.

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REVIEW: Minari (2021)

Steven Yeun as Jacob Yi in Lee Isaac Chung’s MINARI — Photo: A24.

Directed by Lee Isaac Chung — Screenplay by Lee Isaac Chung.

Though the act of spoiling a film or a show is, to put it mildly, frowned upon, I think the general idea is that a great movie cannot be spoiled, which is to say that it will still be great even if its plot or central surprise has been ruined for you. For a while, I think I actually shared that school of thought, and I can probably name a small handful of films that I love which were actually spoiled for me. Still, I am nervous when it comes to spoilers. I remember one of my friends once spoiled the end of a game in a series that I loved (and had introduced him to), and, as a result, I didn’t finish the game for quite some time. I guess, to me, it felt like it had been ruined for me, and, alas, when I finally finished the game it didn’t leave the same emotional impact on me that it appeared to have had on him.

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