REVIEW: Bad Education (2020)

Release Poster – HBO Films

The following is a review of Bad Education — Directed by Cory Finley.

Bad Education is the second film from director Cory Finley (Thoroughbreds), and the HBO Films drama is based on a New York Magazine article written by Robert Kolker about a public school embezzlement scandal that happened back in the 2000s. The film follows Dr. Frank Tassone (played by Hugh Jackman), the superintendent of the Roslyn Union Free School district, and Pam Gluckin (played by Allison Janney), the assistant superintendent. Gluckin and Tassone have achieved great success as a team as is evident by the fact that their district’s public high school is ranked fourth in the nation at the beginning of the film. But, as one student is about to uncover, their successful partnership is built on illegal activities. Continue reading “REVIEW: Bad Education (2020)”

REVIEW: Westworld – Season Three (2020)

Poster – HBO

The following is a review of the third season of HBO’s Westworld — Created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.

I wish I had more nice things to say about this latest season of Westworld. This is a show that I have loved for a very long time. In the past, I have spent a lot of hours online reading theories and speculations about the series. In the past, I would discuss the show with friends and family. In the past, I would nerd out about the show. In the past, it never wore me out. I would spend each and every week writing recaps and reviews of each and every episode of the first two seasons. But, unfortunately, season three of Westworld was the one that convinced me to stop reviewing the series episode by episode. It, honestly, shocked me to find out that a show that I had loved so much could lose me so easily. Continue reading “REVIEW: Westworld – Season Three (2020)”

Snyder Cut: Zack Snyder’s Justice League is on its way to HBO MAX – Special Features #70

During a watch-along of his film Man of Steel, today — May 20th, 2020 — director Zack Snyder, alongside his wife and creative partner Deborah Snyder, announced that, in 2021, Warner Bros. will, finally, ‘release the Snyder cut’ of Justice League (2017) on HBO MAX. DC Comics’ vocal fan base has been heard. In this week’s edition of Special Features, I will answer some questions about this piece of news, and I will tell you exactly how I feel about Warner Bros.’ decision. Let’s get to it. Continue reading “Snyder Cut: Zack Snyder’s Justice League is on its way to HBO MAX – Special Features #70”

REVIEW: Watchmen (2019 – Limited Series)

Release Poster – HBO

The following is a short review of Watchmen — Created by Damon Lindelof.

Alan Moore’s Watchmen is one of the most beloved comic book stories ever made. It is one of those graphic novels that comic book readers have been championing for decades, and it has been notoriously difficult to adapt. Zack Snyder tried and succeeded (to some extent) with his 2009 adaptation, which, of note, changed the ending of Moore’s story. Moore, infamously, is unwilling to endorse or watch adaptations of Watchmen, but I think it is time for the celebrated comic book writer to change his tune. Because Damon Lindelof (LOST; The Leftovers) has made a sequel to the iconic graphic novel that deals with timely issues and which also subverts all of the right tropes. Continue reading “REVIEW: Watchmen (2019 – Limited Series)”

Top Ten TV-Shows of 2019

The New Golden Age of Television continued in 2019 with yet another great year of television. This must be reiterated year after year — yes, even in a year with a disappointing conclusion to Game of Thrones — 2019 continued that age, or trend, in which television is as effective as, or even more so than, cinema. For some, television of 2019 is undoubtedly best defined by the conclusion to shows like Game of Thrones or Fleabag, and, for others, it is best defined by limited series that shocked you to your core. Continue reading “Top Ten TV-Shows of 2019”

REVIEW: Succession – Season Two (2019)

Release Poster – HBO

The following is a short review of the second season of HBO’s Succession.

In the second season of Jesse Armstrong’s Succession, the future of Waystar Royco is still uncertain as shareholders are still considering the coup that Kendall (played by Jeremy Strong) orchestrated. So, to prove that the Roys can still be trusted to lead the company into the future, Logan (played by Brian Cox) has to start to consider who his successor should be. This season, Siobhan (played by Sarah Snook) becomes interested in the top position, Roman (played by Kieran Culkin) becomes fascinated by Gerri (played by J. Smith-Cameron), Connor (played by Alan Ruck) wants to become President of the United States, and Kendall seems incapacitated under his father’s thumb. Continue reading “REVIEW: Succession – Season Two (2019)”

REVIEW: Big Little Lies – Season Two (2019)

Release Poster – HBO

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)

Release Poster – HBO

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)

Release Poster – HBO

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)

Release Poster – HBO

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)”