Series Created by Tony Gilroy — Available on Disney+ now.
Since Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, it has been somewhat of a bumpy ride. Their so-called sequel trilogy features a safe-but-satisfying opener (The Force Awakens), an excellent and thrilling second film that divided the fanbase and revealed toxicities (The Last Jedi), and a conclusion that, in trying too hard to satisfy toxic fans, went back on what the previous film had set up and ended the trilogy on a whimper (The Rise of Skywalker). Even the spin-off films have divided opinions due to them over-explaining things that needed no explanations. As live-action Star Wars has embraced streaming, it has been with similar ups and downs. The Mandalorian is a bonafide hit (but in its most memorable moments it has still clung to fan service). The Book of Boba Fett was good in glimpses but its best episodes are essentially episodes of The Mandalorian. Finally, though richly satisfying, Obi-Wan Kenobi was a safe and fan-service-laden limited series that was yet another reminder of how insular Star Wars storytelling can often feel. As a huge Star Wars fan, it pleases me greatly to be able to affirm that ANDOR, a prequel spin-off series of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is a breath of fresh air in that it is a mature, dark, and gritty series that makes the Empire and the Rebellion feel real again.
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.
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)”→
The following is a spoiler review of Marvel’s The Avengers, a Joss Whedon film. This review was written in early 2016.
Marvel’s The Avengers was and is a very special movie. For many this film was not unlike a religious experience. You finally saw that these mega-movie events were possible, and Marvel Studios had finally proven that their cinematic universe was built on solid ground, with a fantastically entertaining team at the center of it.
But there are some very noticeable problems with one of Marvel Studios’s very best films, and some of those problems really annoyed me when I rewatched it a third or fourth time. So, in this review I will be brutally honest, and therefore the review does include some spoilers. You have been warned.
The following is a review of Thor, a Kenneth Branagh film.
Thor was the first film that really made it clear to me that Marvel Studios could make any hero character interesting and cool. What really made this film work was how they managed to add both humor and Shakespearian dialogue to a film about a Norse God. I absolutely love this film, though, I do realize that I might be one of the biggest fans of this film. Continue reading “REVIEW: Thor (2011)”→