REVIEWS: Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ Film Series (2020)

Letitia Wright as Altheia Jones-LeConte in “Mangrove.” — Photo: Des Willie / Amazon Prime Video.

When British filmmaker Sir Steve McQueen makes a film, you pay attention. McQueen has quietly become one of the best directors of his generation with critical darlings such as the perhaps underseen Michael Fassbender-led films Hunger and Shame, the Oscar-winning Solomon Northup-biopic 12 Years a Slave, and his 2018 heist film Widows, which did not get the awards attention it deserved. In 2020, McQueen released a collection of films — an anthology — titled Small Axe at film festivals and later on, for example, BBC or Prime Video (on the Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s streaming service in my territory).

Continue reading “REVIEWS: Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ Film Series (2020)”

REVIEW: Invincible – Season One (2021)

Omni-Man (left, voiced by J. K. Simmons) and Invincible (right, voiced by Steven Yeun) in “Invincible,” — Photo: Amazon Studios.

Series Created by Robert Kirkman — Available Now On Amazon Prime Video.

It’s always nice to see, when something you’ve loved for years is adapted successfully. Over five years ago, I read the first forty issues, or so, of Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, a superhero comic book series from Image Comics. I loved the comic book series back then, I still do, and I was excited when it was announced to be adapted as both an animated series and a film. That interest reached a fever pitch when the voice cast was announced. Steven Yeun (voicing Mark Grayson, Invincible), J. K. Simmons (voicing Nolan Grayson, Omni-Man), Sandra Oh (voicing Debbie Grayson), and Gillian Jacobs (voicing Atom Eve) voice the most pivotal characters, but it doesn’t stop there. Other great actors such as Seth Rogen, Mahershala Ali, and Walton Goggins all play important characters. Once you actually watch the show, you’ll see exactly why the cast is so star-studded. Because Invincible could be the ‘next big thing.’

Continue reading “REVIEW: Invincible – Season One (2021)”

REVIEW: Sound of Metal (2020)

Paul Raci and Riz Ahmed in SOUND OF METAL — Photo Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Directed by Darius Marder — Screenplay/Story by Darius Marder, Abraham Marder, and Derek Cianfrance.

If I’m not mistaken, Darius Marder’s first narrative feature film, Sound of Metal, was originally slated to be released in Danish theaters in December of 2020. However, when all of Denmark’s theaters were then ordered to close due to another lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the film was basically put in some sort of limbo. This week, on April 12th, 2021, I finally got the chance to watch one of my most anticipated films of the 2020 awards season, when it was released on Amazon Prime Video. In short, it was definitely worth the wait.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Sound of Metal (2020)”

REVIEW: Coming 2 America (2021)

Eddie Murphy stars in COMING 2 AMERICA. — Photo Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Directed by Craig Brewer (Dolemite Is My Name) — Screenplay by Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, and David Sheffield.

Craig Brewer’s Coming 2 America takes place 30 years after the events of the first film, and the sequel still follows Akeem (played by Eddie Murphy), who has now become king of Zamunda, as he tries to figure out who his heir to the throne will be. The neighboring nation conveniently called Nextdoria (you get the joke) has proposed that since Akeem has no male successor to the throne, his eldest daughter, Meeka (played by KiKi Layne), should be married to the eldest son of the leader of Nextdoria for the purpose of bringing the two nations closer together. But Akeem doesn’t like that idea, so he is looking for another way out of this problem. Continue reading “REVIEW: Coming 2 America (2021)”

Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Jan. ’21: ‘Cobra Kai’ and ‘Uncle Frank’

Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, and Peter Macdissi in ‘Uncle Frank,’ — Photo: Brownie Harris/Amazon Studios

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I take a look at Alan Ball’s latest film, Uncle Frank, starring Paul Bettany and Sophia Lillis, and I talk about how I’ve binge-watched the delightful YouTube/Netflix Original Series, Cobra Kai. Continue reading “Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Jan. ’21: ‘Cobra Kai’ and ‘Uncle Frank’”

Overview: June 2020

Overview provides my readers with a brief overview of the articles or reviews that I have written, as well as additional bite-sized thoughts on films or shows about which I do not intend to write thorough reviews. In June 2020, among other things, I wrote a lengthy spoiler-filled discussion of the story of The Last of Us: Part II, and I also, finally, reviewed the third season of Westworld.

Continue reading “Overview: June 2020”

REVIEW: Troop Zero (2020)

Release Poster – Amazon Studios

The following is a review of Troop Zero — Directed by Amber Finlayson & Katie Ellwood (also known as Bert & Bertie).

Bert & Bertie’s Troop Zero is a feel-good dramedy about a young girl, Christmas Flint (played by Mckenna Grace), who looks to the stars in search of life and her mother. She lives in a trailer park with her widowed father, Ramsey (played by Jim Gaffigan), who has told his daughter that her mother is among the stars, comets, and meteors. Because of this Christmas is obsessed with space, and she sometimes uses odd descriptions to describe people in her life. For example, Christmas, at one point, calls Miss Rayleen (played by Viola Davis) an “an intergalactic warrior,” even though she is nothing of the sort. One day, Christmas overhears that girl scout troops will compete at a jamboree to have their voices recorded by NASA and sent into space. This is a dream come true for the perennially bullied Christmas, so she begins to assemble a group of misfits to compete as a girl scout troop at the jamboree, but she soon learns that the girl scout community will not easily accept unique newcomers. Continue reading “REVIEW: Troop Zero (2020)”

REVIEW: The Report (2019)

Release Poster – Amazon Studios

The following is a review of The Torture Report — Directed by Scott Z. Burns.

While Netflix is enjoying another moment in the sun with the release of Martin Scorsese’s latest masterpiece, The Irishman, which is streaming exclusively on Netflix, Amazon Studios has quietly released The Report to Prime Video. The lack of awareness that The Report is getting is reminding me of a quote in the film itself: “you have a sunlight problem.” Though The Report isn’t the most notable or, frankly, the best film released on streaming services this week, Scott Z. Burns’ film is genuinely gripping thanks, in large part, to a strong central performance from Adam Driver that elevates the otherwise potentially dramatically listless material. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Report (2019)”

REVIEW: The Upside (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – STX Films / Lantern Entertainment

The following is a short review of The Upside — Directed by Neil Burger.

A remake of Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano’s French film, Intouchables, from 2011, Neil Burger’s The Upside follows Dell Scott (played by Kevin Hart), an African-American father on parole, who is hired to be the caregiver of the quadriplegic millionaire Phillip Lacasse (played by Bryan Cranston), who, after having lost his wife, has lost his will to live. Together, they form an — according to this film’s cliched formula — unlikely friendship from which they both learn a lot about life and culture. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Upside (2019)”

Top Ten TV-Shows of 2018

The New Golden Age of Television continued in 2018 with yet another great year of television. This must be reiterated year after year — yes, even in a year without Game of Thrones — 2018 continued that age, or trend, in which television is as effective as, or even more so than, cinema. For some, television of 2018 is defined best by the return of the increasingly confounding Westworld, and, for others like me, it is best defined by limited series that kept my attention far better than most long-running shows. Continue reading “Top Ten TV-Shows of 2018”