Category: Netflix

“Cooking With Paris”

7.2

I’m still a bigger “Selena + Chef” fan, but this was a close second. All the typical Paris shenanigans, with a carousel of celebrity friends learning to cook. It’s gaudy to the max. If you’re not concerned with actually learning any culinary expertise, this is your show. If you want actual recipes and depth, head over to HBO Max for Selena’s rendition.

“Fear Street Trilogy”

8.2

These types of films are becoming their own genre, and I am here for it. The “Stranger Things”/”Wet Hot American Summer” nostalgia-soaked adventure through well-established genres. In this case, classic horror slashers. From “Friday the 13th” camp, to the Salem witch trials, to the Stephen King “It” style adventure tying it all together.

The script was razor-sharp, the cinematography was gorgeous, and the soundtrack was everything you could ever dream of shoe-horning into this trilogy that serves as a masterclass in constructing a horror saga. There was an almost perfect balance between nostalgia and new-newness struck in these films. Characters you grow to genuinely care about by the time they have their final showdown between good and evil in the neon-soaked mall that serves as the site that ties it all together. Literally, the crossroads of the mall serves as the singular geographical point in all three generations where these stories come together.

I waited until all three were out, so I could binge them back to back. I do, however, appreciate that these streaming services have kept alive these cinematic events that can bring us all together to watch the same thing at the same time and have this kind of shared experience. They also inspired me to go on an 80’s slasher marathon this weekend, which was an added benefit.

Of note, this series was much more violent and gore-filled than I had anticipated. Not for those with weak stomachs or a general aversion to these types of content. And of course, there has to be sex before the teenagers get picked off by a masked killer with a hardware store weapon, witch, or possessed beat friend—highly recommended popcorn flicks.

“Army of the Dead”

7.1.

Well, that road head did not have a happy ending…

Turn your brain off and watch the zombie brains explode and the screen fill with the screams and remains of the undead.

The story is a bit inconsistent, not bothering to decide whether it’s a serious family drama or pure action thriller. The runtime is a bit long, but it’s Zack Snyder, so… that’s to be expected. Nitpicks aside, it’s a beautifully done zombie/heist film, with great characters, great action, and one of the best opening sequences of the year. The soundtrack is subtle but spectacular. The characters aren’t the place to go looking for depth but well executed by all involved. Dave Bautista sticks the landing as the lead in this film and the anchor of the team.

Better on a big screen, but will be ok on a big TV. Seems sacrilegious to see the Netflix Studios opening in a theater.

“I Care A lot”

8.2

Talk about playing the long game…

Rosamund Pike, don’t mess with her. Between this and “Gone Girl,” will we never learn?

The story itself is sickening enough as it is. A crash course in elder abuse, neglect, and misappropriation. On top of that, you involve the mob, presumed blood diamonds, murder for hire, and the mess that is the U.S. legal system coming to blows with the mess that is the U.S. healthcare system… a recipe for disaster, albeit entertaining disaster. Somewhere between “A Simple Favor” and “Cold Pursuit” lies this film. Humor as dark as it comes, beautifully crafted heists and hits, and a story with more twists that a day at Cedar Point. Very well done, Netflix!

“Mank”

7.9

Gary Oldman shines as the secret screenwriter behind the masterful manuscript of “Citizen Kane.” Hollywood studio politics, national politics, and international politics all collide in a wonderfully witty and dramatic period piece.

The black and white cinematography was a solid choice and lent itself to the story’s style itself. I felt truly immersed in the narrative the entire runtime. It strikes me as somewhat predictable that, of course, the famous author-screenwriter is a hellacious lush. Oldman finds an outstanding balance and hits all the necessary notes to round out the main character. I had no idea the hidden agendas behind all of the classic tale characters. Very well done!