Three TV shows and three movies to see, and what else we can expect in 2021 (Commentary)

2

021 will be a hugely transitional year for television and cinema as they react to our new post-pandemic habits. It could also be hugely entertaining year for audiences, as we get all those delayed 2020 releases plus some new ones. Here are my picks for three TV shows and three movies to see this year, plus a rundown of other big series and films:

Continue reading “Three TV shows and three movies to see, and what else we can expect in 2021 (Commentary)”

John’s top 10 movies of 2020

T

he Oscars are expanding the 2020 movie year by two months in order for more films to get released and compete for statuettes. That’s a smart move, but on Dec. 31, I’m happy to make my year-end list and say good riddance to this year of the pandemic and all it wrought – including the push-back of many films to 2021 and the beginning of the end of cinemas. But we’re not tossing out the movies with the year itself, because enough good ones took the financial risk of coming straight to our home theaters. These were my 10 favorites:

Continue reading “John’s top 10 movies of 2020”

Sacha Baron Cohen retains crown as king of weird comedy in ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ (Movie review)

F

ourteen years after the original “Borat,” there’s still no one who does this brand of comedy as well as Sacha Baron Cohen and his team. A mixture of candid-camera moments, improv acting, editing trickery – and a lot more scripted writing than they want you to know — “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Prime) had me simultaneously laughing out loud and wondering what techniques they used to achieve these scenes.

Continue reading “Sacha Baron Cohen retains crown as king of weird comedy in ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ (Movie review)”

First episode impressions: ‘The Boys’ Season 2 (TV review)

I

t’s been said that Washington, D.C., is Hollywood for ugly people, but we mostly view politics and celebrity culture as two distinct categories. What’s smart and fun about Amazon Prime’s “The Boys” – which recently released the first three episodes of Season 2, with episodes 4-8 coming out on Fridays – is that it mashes politics and celebrity into one thing via The Seven.

Continue reading “First episode impressions: ‘The Boys’ Season 2 (TV review)”

Fall TV 2020: Relatively thin schedule nonetheless offers some shows worth going bananas for (Commentary)

T

he pandemic has wreaked havoc with fall TV scheduling (it’s hard to tell one socially distanced, masked story, let alone fill a slate with them), and also revealed that (no surprise) cable and streaming were better prepared with content in their pipelines than the networks. But while 2020 serves up the thinnest lineup in modern TV history, it’s not a total wash. Here are my thoughts on 13 notable fall premieres, along with a “Go Bananas” Level (on a 10-point scale) of how excited I am for the series. All times Eastern:

Continue reading “Fall TV 2020: Relatively thin schedule nonetheless offers some shows worth going bananas for (Commentary)”

Period SF flick ‘The Vast of Night’ is a gripping, stylish debut from Patterson and his team (Movie review)

U

sually when a director drops his calling card, he has a few minor credits on his IMDB resume before that. But Andrew Patterson’s resume is empty other than “The Vast of Night” (Amazon Prime); the same goes for writers James Montague and Craig W. Sanger. The film itself shows few signs of being helmed by first-timers, and not only in the sense of professionalism, but more importantly in its original sense of style.

Continue reading “Period SF flick ‘The Vast of Night’ is a gripping, stylish debut from Patterson and his team (Movie review)”

‘The Boys’ Season 1 deftly uses superpowered people in its military industry critique (TV review)

W

atchmen” popularized the idea of superheroes run amok, but that saga quickly moves beyond the question of “Who watches the Watchmen?” to its answer of “No one.” “The Boys” (July 2019, Amazon Prime) wallows in the question more, to its benefit. Based on a Wildstorm/Dynamite comic-book series that launched in 2006, the eight-episode first season introduces a corporation that sponsors and markets vigilante superheroes, but then it digs into the military-industrial complex. The Vought Corporation aims to have a relationship with the government similar to Lockheed-Martin, but with superheroes – not missiles — as the weapons they are peddling.

Continue reading “‘The Boys’ Season 1 deftly uses superpowered people in its military industry critique (TV review)”