REVIEW: Big Little Lies – Season Two (2019)

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The following is a review of the second season of HBO’s Big Little Lies.

The second season of Big Little Lies — now directed by Andrea Arnold, but more on that later — follows the so-called Monterey Five — Madeline (played by Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (played by Nicole Kidman), Jane (played by Shailene Woodley), Renata (played by Laura Dern), and Bonnie (played by Zoe Kravitz) — during the aftermath of Perry Wright’s death. Bonnie is struggling as she feels incredibly guilty about what she did. So guilty, in fact, that she considers turning herself in to the local police. Just as Celeste is struggling as a single mother, Perry’s mother, Mary Louise (played by Meryl Streep), starts to question not just her son’s death but her daughter-in-law’s claim that she is a victim. Meanwhile, Madeline’s marriage is coming apart and Renata’s financial security is at risk of collapsing. Continue reading “REVIEW: Big Little Lies – Season Two (2019)”

REVIEW: Chernobyl (2019 – Mini-Series)

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The following is a review of the HBO / Sky Atlantic Limited Series Chernobyl — Created by Craig Mazin.

While Game of Thrones, HBO’s proudest possession, was coming to an end amid fan uproar and disappointment, the co-writer of The Hangover Parts II and III, Craig Mazin, was quietly releasing his masterpiece to the world on the very same television network. Released alongside an in-depth after-the-episode podcast, Chernobyl is, now that it has ended, starting to earn the acclaim and popularity that it deserves. I think Chernobyl is one of the most accomplished mini-series that I’ve ever seen, if not the most incredible and impressive of its kind. Continue reading “REVIEW: Chernobyl (2019 – Mini-Series)”

REVIEW: At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019 – Documentary)

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The following is a short review of the HBO documentary At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal — Directed by Erin Lee Carr.

From the mid-to-late-1990s to the mid-2010s, Dr. Larry Nassar — a husband, and father of three children — worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University as a national team doctor and physician respectively. Nassar was, to many, seen as the nice guy in a sport populated by inhumane coaches. Nassar was, even by victims in this documentary, described as a confidante and friend.

What parents did not realize — and what gymnasts blocked out — was that Nassar was a serial abuser who used his position of power to abuse young women for decades until he was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison in 2018. At the Heart of Gold — Erin Lee Carr’s latest HBO documentary — explores the institutional abuse that allowed for Nassar to exist, and it presents damning and heart-wrenching victim interviews. Continue reading “REVIEW: At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019 – Documentary)”

REVIEW: The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019 – Documentary)

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The following is a review of The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley — Directed by Alex Gibney.

In 2019, we’ve already been given multiple tantalizing tales of young entrepreneurs revealed to be con artists, phoneys, or fraudsters. Call them what you will, but, with the two documentaries about the catastrophic ‘Fyre festival’ and now this documentary about a wannabe-disruptor and con artist in the biomedical industry, I find myself thinking about the loopholes these young people jumped through and how investors were fooled into making them frontmen, leaders, and innovators. In the case of The Inventor, it is not so much about incompetence but more about deception and how investors were deceived into propping up a transfixing, deep-voiced, and intense Stanford drop-out with delusions of grandeur, even as she spouted out incredibly vague descriptions of her grand idea. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019 – Documentary)”

REVIEW: Leaving Neverland (2019 – Documentary)

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The following is a review of Leaving Neverland — Directed by Dan Reed.

The saying goes that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. When it comes to the case of Michael Jackson and everything surrounding him there’s been more smoke than you can safely breathe in. Indeed, Leaving Neverland-director Dan Reed and his film’s subjects would allege that Michael Jackson has been blowing smoke most of his adult life about what exactly goes on inside Jackson’s bedroom or his Neverland-ranch. Continue reading “REVIEW: Leaving Neverland (2019 – Documentary)”

REVIEW: True Detective – “The Big Never”

This is a recap and review of the third episode of the third season of True Detective — Expect spoilers for the episode.

In the third episode of the third season of True Detective — The Big Never — we get to see where Roland West (played by Stephen Dorff) is in his life in 1990, while Hays (played by Mahershala Ali) has a panic attack in a supermarket. The Big Never was written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Daniel Sackheim.
Continue reading “REVIEW: True Detective – “The Big Never””

REVIEW: True Detective – “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”

This is a recap and review of the second episode of the third season of True Detective — Expect spoilers for the episode.

In the second episode of the third season of True Detective — Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye — as the search for Julie continues in 1980, Wayne Hays (played by Mahershala Ali) and Roland West (played by Stephen Dorff) ask around about the corn husk dolls. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye was written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Jeremy Saulnier. Continue reading “REVIEW: True Detective – “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye””