‘Knight Before Christmas’ is more empty calories from the Netflix holiday machine (Movie review)

T

he Knight Before Christmas” (November, Netflix), like most of TV’s recent holiday movie catalog, is so uninspired that I wonder if the sets, locations, casting and costumes come first. Then an exec assigns a writer — Cara J. Russell in this case – to churn out a screenplay with the boardroom-approved punny title and then they go from there.

Continue reading “‘Knight Before Christmas’ is more empty calories from the Netflix holiday machine (Movie review)”

‘Let It Snow’ is a light but watchable Gen Z X-mas gathering (Movie review)

L

et It Snow” (November, Netflix) comes from a 2008 novel co-written by coming-of-age chronicler John Green. It’s adapted by Kay Cannon (“Pitch Perfect”) and two other writers for this who’s-who of Gen Z actors. Although I only recognized Kiernan Shipka (“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”) and Jacob Batalon (the best bud in the MCU’s “Spider-Mans”), the talent level is surprisingly high. Down the road, “Let It Snow” could play as a classic of young actors breaking out, except that the overall movie is too safe and predictable.

Continue reading “‘Let It Snow’ is a light but watchable Gen Z X-mas gathering (Movie review)”

Hilarious Florida roast aside, ‘Big Mouth’ takes a step backward with hit-and-miss Season 3 (TV review)

A

lthough “Big Mouth” Season 3 (October, Netflix) ultimately delivers enough good episodes that I give it a soft recommend, it is a clear step back from its first two seasons. In the worst episodes, the writers get so caught up in their timely messages about sexual identity, dress codes and objectification of women that they forget to make those episodes funny.

Continue reading “Hilarious Florida roast aside, ‘Big Mouth’ takes a step backward with hit-and-miss Season 3 (TV review)”

‘Unbelievable’ takes advantage of binge format to tell a gripping, personal story of a landmark serial rape case (TV review)

W

hen TV scholars look back years from now at trends in storytelling structure, I suspect “Unbelievable” (Netflix) will be seen as a pivotal show. The approach of releasing whole seasons at once was pioneered by Netflix several years ago, but most shows still operate as if they are airing weekly in hour-long segments. “Unbelievable” is a rare show that totally embraces the fact that all eight of its episodes will be immediately available.

Continue reading “‘Unbelievable’ takes advantage of binge format to tell a gripping, personal story of a landmark serial rape case (TV review)”

Fall TV 2019: After watching the trailers, I’m bananas for some of these shows, not so much for others (Commentary)

I

 watched the trailers of some notable fall TV premieres so you don’t have to (but they are embedded here if you want to). Here are my thoughts on each, 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 2019: After watching the trailers, I’m bananas for some of these shows, not so much for others (Commentary)”

Netflix MCU goes out on a competent but familiar note with ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 3’s treatise on the costs of doing evil and good (TV review)

T

he Netflix NYC neighborhood of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended too soon with “Jessica Jones” Season 3 (June), but I have to admit these series were starting to tread familiar ground. When watching these 13 episodes, I sensed that I was still watching prestige TV, yet I also understood where things were going long before they reached the finish line, thus enhancing the stereotype that Netflix MCU shows are slow-moving.

Continue reading “Netflix MCU goes out on a competent but familiar note with ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 3’s treatise on the costs of doing evil and good (TV review)”

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

W

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.)

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