REVIEW: You People (2023)

L-R: David Duchovny, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jonah Hill, Lauren London, Eddie Murphy, and Nia Long in YOU PEOPLE — PHOTO: NETFLIX / Parrish Lewis.

Directed by Kenya Barris — Screenplay by Kenya Barris and Jonah Hill.

In SAVE THE DATES, Netflix’s 2023 preview of select significant upcoming films to be released by the streamer this year, the first date and film that Netflix wants us to mark down is January 27th’s release of Kenya Barris’ You People starring Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and co-writer Jonah Hill. Released on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, You People from Kenya Barris (the co-writer of both 2021’s disappointing Coming to America-sequel and the dull modern remake of Cheaper By the Dozen from 2022) follows Ezra Cohen (played by Jonah Hill), a hip and modern podcaster of Jewish heritage, as he decides takes it upon himself to gain the acceptance of his girlfriend’s family before he asks her to marry him. His girlfriend, Amira (played by Lauren London), is a young Black costume designer who grew up in a Muslim household, and her father, Akbar (played by Eddie Murphy) is staunchly against her taking a white husband. While both Ezra and Amira struggle with each other’s families, the situation goes out of control when the families meet each other.

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REVIEW: Dog Gone (2023)

Johnny Berchtold’s ‘Fielding Marshall’ with ‘Gonker’ in DOG GONE — PHOTO: Netflix / Bob Mahoney.

Directed by Stephen Herek — Screenplay by Nick Santora.

Inspired by a book by Pauls Toutonghi and the true story that it was based on, Stephen Herek’s Dog Gone follows a father (John Marshall, played by Rob Lowe) and a son (Fielding Marshall, played by Johnny Berchtold) as they search desperately on the Appalachian Trail for the son’s missing dog named Gonker. It is a race against time, as Gonker has been diagnosed with Addison’s disease, which requires him to have a life-saving shot every month. As the family (including the mother, Ginny Marshall, played by Kimberly Williams-Paisley) tries to reach out to others for help, they are surprised to find out exactly how many people can relate to their situation and are desperate to help.

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REVIEW: RRR (2022)

N. T. Rama Rao, Jr. and Ram Charan showing off their dancing skills in RRR — PHOTO: DVV Entertainment /

Directed by S. S. Rajamouli — Screenplay by S. S. Rajamouli — Story by V. Vijayendra Prasad.

Excuse me as I begin my review with a bit of a story. For months, I’ve wanted to watch the widely successful RRR, the Indian epic that has taken Hollywood and the world by storm, but I have also been deeply frustrated by the fact that it isn’t really in theaters and it isn’t on streaming services. Or was it? You see, for a while now I’ve noted that Netflix allowed me to put the film on my watchlist but not actually watch it. JustWatch, the primary online streaming guide I use to track the arrival of new releases, even insisted that it was on Netflix in Denmark. I didn’t know what to believe. Well, this frustration went on for quite some time. That is, until last week, when I read a Danish review of the film, which specified that to watch the film in Denmark, you simply needed to change your language to English on Netflix. Et voilà. It actually was on the Danish Netflix this whole time, but for some reason, it was locked away behind simple language settings. Anyway, I digress. Let’s talk about the hottest movie of 2022, which I’m so glad that I finally saw, S. S. Rajamouli’s RRR

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REVIEW: Argentina, 1985 (2022)

Ricardo Darín and Peter Lanzani star in Argentina, 1985 — PHOTO: Amazon Prime Video.

Directed by Santiago Mitre — Screenplay by Santiago Mitre and Mariano Llinás.

Santiago Mitre’s Argentina, 1985 is a historical courtroom drama about the true story of the Trial of the Juntas, which sought to bring to justice the ringleaders of the military junta that committed murder, kidnappings, and torture under Argentina’s right-wing dictatorship in the late-1970s and early-1980s. The film primarily follows Julio César Strassera (played by Ricardo Darín), the chief prosecutor, as he, along with a team of inexperienced lawyers, gathered evidence and testimonies that could possibly convince the court.

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REVIEW: The Pale Blue Eye (2022)

Christian Bale in THE PALE BLUE EYE — PHOTO: NETFLIX.

Directed by Scott Cooper (Hostiles) — Screenplay by Scott Cooper.

Netflix’s first major film release of 2023 is Scott Cooper’s (very late entry into the 2022 movie year) The Pale Blue Eye. The film, which is based on a historical fiction novel of the same name from author Louis Bayard, features an incredibly well-known author, Edgar Allan Poe, as a character that is integral to the narrative, and it should go without saying that the film does not come close to becoming even a little bit as notable as the author the creatives have built a fictional mystery around. That would be a tough ask, to be honest. Still, though, this is a pretty decent crime thriller, even if it won’t end up on many best of 2022 lists. 

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REVIEW: Stoker (2013)

Mia Wasikowska as India Stoker — PHOTO: Fox Searchlight.

Directed by Park Chan-wook (Oldboy; Joint Security Area) — Screenplay by Wentworth Miller.

A handful of years before he directed all episodes of the excellent and underseen adaptation of The Little Drummer Girl led by Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgaard, Park Chan-wook made his first film in English with the Hitchcockian thriller Stoker, based on a screenplay from Prison Break-actor Wentworth Miller (under a pen name). 

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REVIEW: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (2022)

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (2022). Daniel GimÈnez Cacho as Silverio. Cr. Limbo Films, S. De R.L. de C.V. / Netflix

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu — Screenplay by Alejandro González Iñárritu and Nicolás Giacobone.

Taking inspiration, whether conceptually or visually, from a lot of different filmmakers including Fellini and Malick, Alejandro González Iñárritu has gone out and made a visually eye-opening self-insert introspective dream narrative that is possibly going to be quite puzzling for most people (if, indeed, they ever choose to watch it and sit through it on Netflix). It follows a Mexican journalist and documentarian filmmaker who is trying to make sense of his dual identity during an existential crisis. That is a really short and simple way of summing up a film that tries to be so much more and which has an overwhelming runtime, but it perhaps doesn’t get to the kind of jaw-dropping visual ideas that the director throws out there. It goes places that can be tough to wrap your head around (e.g. a baby is pushed back into her mother moments after it was born), and these ambitious hallucinatory sequences may be the best thing about the film, even though it, along with the runtime, may be the very thing that discourages viewers from pressing play.

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Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy (2002-2005) | Retro Review

Park Chan-wook, one of South Korea’s finest filmmakers, is fast becoming one of my favorite directors. I first encountered the director with his 2016 feature The Handmaiden, a stylish and precise near-masterpiece, which then made me go back and watch Oldboy, which I thought was just as brilliant. Years later, I have now reviewed his so-called vengeance trilogy, which includes the aforementioned Oldboy. In this article, you will find reviews of the three films in the thematic trilogy known as the vengeance trilogy: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003), and Lady Vengeance (2005).

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REVIEW: After Yang (2022)

(left to right) Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, and Justin H. Min in AFTER YANG — PHOTO: A24.

Directed by Kogonada — Screenplay by Kogonada.

Kogonada’s After Yang is a science-fiction drama about a family that has lost someone. After competing in a dance competition as a family, their second-hand robotic son, Yang (played by Justin H. Min), malfunctions. Hoping to get him fixed, the family father, Jake (played by Colin Farrell), sets out to find a way to fix him, even though they are advised to simply replace him with another unit. As Jake gets access to Yang’s memory bank, he gains a new understanding of who Yang actually was.

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RETRO REVIEW: Joint Security Area (2000)

Park Chan-wook’s JSA: JOINT SECURITY AREA — PHOTO: CJ Entertainment.

Directed by Park Chan-wook (Oldboy; The Handmaiden) — Screenplay by Kim Hyun-seok, Jeong Seong-san, Lee Moo-yeong, and Park Chan-wook.

Based on Park Sang-yeon’s DMZ, Park Chan-wook’s Joint Security Area, or JSA, tells the story of an investigation into the murder of two North Korean soldiers inside a North Korean border house in the Korean Demilitarization Zone. One North Korean soldier survived. So did two South Korean soldiers on border duty, one of which fled the North Korean border house while wounded. However, the North Korean and South Korean soldiers have reported conflicting accounts of what happened, and so Swiss Army Major Sophie E. Jean (played by Lee Young-ae) is assigned by the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission to lead the investigation into what exactly transpired.

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