Movie Review – Thoroughbreds

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Thoroughbreds (2018)
Written & Directed by Cory Finley

throughbreds

Amanda arrives at the home of her estranged friend Lily for a surprise invitation to “hang out.” Amanda quickly realizes this is a tutoring session set up by her mother, worried about Amanda’s borderline personality disorder getting in the way of meaningful friendships and her ability to do well in school. We learn that the two drifted apart after Lily’s father died and her mother remarried Mark, an incredibly wealthy man who demands the two women in his house comply with his rules. Amanda remarks that if Lily’s stepfather is causing her such grief, she should just kill him. At first, Lily shies away from this idea but the more she lingers on it, the more she wants to work to make it happen.

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Movie Review – Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Written by Jonathan Kasdan & Lawrence Kasdan
Directed by Ron Howard (well 70%, Phil Lord and Chris Miller for the other 30%)

solo

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, lived a young Dickensian orphan named Han who was under the thumb of an alien Fagin. He and his sweetheart Kira plan their escape from the hell of the shipbuilding planet Corellia, and sadly, only Han gets out while Kira is taken by their masters. Feeling lost and alone in the world, the young man joins up with the Galactic Empire with hopes of becoming a pilot. Along the way, he meets Beckett and his crew as well as befriending Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, and getting to fly the Millenium Falcon. They all get entangled in debt to the Crimson Dawn cartel that involves a heist which will, of course, go awry.

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TV Review – Atlanta: Robbin’ Season

Atlanta: Robbin’ Season (2018, FX)
Written by Donald Glover, Jamal Olori, Ibra Ake, Taofik Kolade, Stephen Glover, Taofik Kolade, and Stefani Robinson
Directed by Hiro Murai, Amy Seimetz, and Donald Glover

atlanta-season-2-donald-glover

There are shows I forget are amazing because the delay between seasons can be so long and so many other shows and films fill up my brain in between. Louie was one of those shows, The Leftovers was another. Atlanta is the current show that I fail to remember the greatness of. I wasn’t hyper-excited for season two because the first season felt like a distant memory, excellent but hazy. I have to say I enjoyed this second run of episodes immensely, even more so than its first season. Creator and showrunner Donald Glover isn’t even working at the height of his game in my opinion, he’s on the path to getting there, which is exciting because I expect something even better than what we have seen to date. We also shouldn’t ignore director Hiro Murai who set the plate so to speak of how Atlanta looks and feels. The aesthetic of the show feels so dreamlike, hazy blues filtered over the screen. When characters are outside it often has an early morning, dew-drenched misty quality, reminding me of nights where you stay up late and greet the morning. Glover cited Twin Peaks as an influence in the feel of the show, and I would agree that in its best episodes Atlanta finds that particular style.

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TV Review – Wild Wild Country

Wild Wild Country (2018, Netflix)
Directed by Maclain and Chapman Way

wild wild country

In 1981 a group of strangers arrived in the barely-there small town of Antelope, Oregon. These were the Sannyasins, followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, an Indian guru who was seeking a site for his new collective commune. They purchased 64,000-acre ranch where they began Rajneeshpuram, their new home. While the Bhagwan stuck close to his vow of silence, his personal secretary Ma Anand Sheela took the lead on being the public face. The residents of Antelope became distrusting of the Sannyasins as a result of their liberal sex practices and cult-ish nature. Things got increasingly worse with both sides gathering up weapons and the Sannyasins seeking to influence local county politics no matter the price.

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Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo

avengers-infinity-war

All of reality is threatened as the mad titan Thanos seeks out the Infinity Gems, objects forged in the creation of the universe that allows their wielder to manipulate everything from time to the fabric of reality and the very soul of living beings. Iron Man stands alongside Doctor Strange and Spider-Man when Thanos’ lackeys arrive in New York City to search for one of the gems. Meanwhile, the Guardians of the Galaxy come across what remains of the Asgardians and Thor deep in the void of space. Captain America and his rogue Avengers also come to the table when it becomes clear everything they know is in danger as long as Thanos is in possession of these items. Only Gamora, with her intimate knowledge as Thanos’ daughter, can help them, but is it already too late?

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TV Review – Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block

Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block (2018)
Written by Nick Antosca
Directed by Arkasha Stevenson

butcher's block stairway

Sisters Alice and Zoe are attempting to start their lives over and end up in a new city, adjacent to the Butcher’s Block neighborhood. This neighboring slum is infamous for what happens at night when residents seem to vanish into thin air. There is a connection to a nearby park which used to be the land belonging to the Peach family, a wealthy old South type of family who ran the now decaying meat processing plant. People talk about strange figures that roam the park at night and a staircase going nowhere that pops up. You are warned to never go near those stairs, to turn around and leave if you see them. Into this strange melange of urban legends, our two protagonists are dropped, and they might not make it out alive.

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Movie Review – Annihilation

Annihilation (2018)
Written & Directed by Alex Garland

annihilation

Lena, a cellular biologist, is finally in the mourning stages after her husband Kane was sent on a secret military mission. At the twelve-month mark, she is starting to move on when Kane appears from nowhere in their house. He falls into a coma and Lena is taken to a government base on the edge of a phenomenon called the Shimmer. Lena is informed that an object dropped from space three years prior and has created a growing field of energy. Multiple teams and drones have been sent in, but nothing has come back, and Kane is the first person to ever emerge. Lena finds out a team is about to head in days from now and volunteers herself, without informing them of her personal connection. As the quartet travels further into the Shimmer the more bizarre natural mutations, they encounter all until the real darkness is revealed at its center.

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