‘Black Mirror’ Season 5 is easily the weakest so far (TV review)

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ith the failed experiment of the “choose your own adventure” movie “Bandersnatch” in the rear view, I was happy to hear “Black Mirror” Season 5 (Netflix) was finally on the horizon. I was very disappointed, however, to learn it’s only three episodes. With only a little over three hours of new material, my expectations were high for some quality episodes. Unfortunately, that’s not what we get. This is by far the weakest season yet.

(Spoilers follow.)

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‘Always Be My Maybe’ is exactly what you think it is – but not entirely to its detriment (Movie review)

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ou know what kind of movie “Always Be My Maybe” (Netflix) is, and the people who made it know what kind of movie it is, but that shared knowledge works in its favor. In this tale of two childhood besties who are soul mates but don’t realize it, Ali Wong and especially Randall Park give the types of performances where they know they’re in a movie but they let it all flow over them, from the clichés to the plentiful moments of at least mild inspiration.

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‘The Perfection’ isn’t what you think it is, but it’s still a clever little horror gem (Movie review)

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he Perfection” (Netflix) has one of those trailers that seems to give away the whole movie, so after making the mistake of watching the trailer, I let it fade from my mind a bit before watching the film. As it turns out, this horror thriller from director/co-writer Richard Shepard – who has a lot of credits but not many “wow” credits before this – is only partly like the trailer suggests. “The Perfection” so smoothly toys with and contradicts our narrative expectations that I wonder why more movies don’t use this tactic.

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‘Slasher’ Season 3 cracks the code on how to keep a slasher TV narrative fresh till the end (Review)

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s “Harper’s Island,” “Dead of Summer,” “Scream” and other slasher TV series have found, this medium can’t escape the law of diminishing returns the way a brisk movie can. As the story goes forward, the cast of characters gets dwindled until the mystery has evaporated: The killer is whoever is left. Also, we might get to really liking a character only to see them killed off, thus lessening our interest from that point forward.

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‘Sabrina’ (and Sabrina herself) stays strong – but occasionally gets goofy – in Season 1, Part 2 (TV review)

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n the “Buffy” fan Facebook page I frequent, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” (Netflix) is often mentioned when someone asks “What’s a new show that’s sort of like ‘Buffy?’ ” It’s hard to resist the comparisons. After all, the nine episodes of Season 1, Part 2 end with (spoilers follow)

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Marvel Cinematic Universe: All 13 episodes of ‘The Punisher’ Season 2, ranked (TV review)

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he Punisher” Season 2 (January, Netflix) might be the most violent season of TV I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t be surprised if the budget listed fake blood and wound makeup as the biggest expense. Some episodes are bleak enough to affect my overall mood for the next day. Still, while the usual Netflix Marvel Cinematic Universe problem of slow pacing is present in the middle episodes, this is overall solid serial storytelling.

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‘Bodyguard’ an intense, intricately plotted version of what ‘24’ would be like if it cared about details (TV review)

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odyguard” (2018, BBC and Netflix), the six-episode British suspense series, starts with police sergeant David Budd (Richard Madden) trying to talk down a terrorist bomber on a train and mostly maintains that level of intensity throughout its run, but in a different way than its obvious point of comparison, “24.” The teeth-chattering suspense sequences are strong, but what makes “Bodyguard” stand out is its intricate plotting. Budd might not be in peril 24/7 like Jack Bauer, but there’s always something sinister going on that at least tangentially relates to him.

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Marvel Cinematic Universe flashback: All 13 episodes of ‘Daredevil’ Season 3 (2018), ranked (TV review)

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here’s something to be said about keeping good villains around, and “Daredevil” Season 3 (October 2018, Netflix) is a case in point. Although Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) was the Big Bad of Season 1, he again fits that bill here, in 13 episodes that explore how one ingenious sociopath can take control of the very systems – the FBI, the justice department – that should theoretically protect society from him.

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Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ a partly exhilarating, mostly exhausting, very eye-opening walk in the shoes of a 1970s Mexican maid (Movie review)

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ith the Oscars coming up, the guilt of constantly scrolling past “Roma” (2018) on Netflix en route to “Daredevil” episodes finally got to me, and I gave the Best Picture nominee a watch. And also, my Cold Bananas colleague Shaune watched the first 20 minutes, laughed, and said I can claim this one in our attempt to check Oscar films off our list.

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‘He’s Out There’ is a decently scary lake-cabin stalker thriller, but not a unique one (Movie review)

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imilar to the two “Strangers” films, “He’s Out There” (2018, now on Netflix) strips the horror genre down to basics and tells a scary story of people in random peril at a remote cabin. It plays the requisite horror notes well, includes one moment that literally made me flinch, and offers a touch of mystery to keep a viewer wondering about the villain’s motivations. And while I wasn’t bored by the film, I knew I had Yvonne Strahovski to look at if the plot ceased to hold my interest.

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