Movie Review – John and the Hole

John and the Hole (2021)
Written by Nicolás Giacobone
Directed by Pascual Sisto

There’s been a trend in independent cinema for the last decade and a half to focus on cold neutral aesthetics. For some films, that can work given a well-written script with strongly developed characters. While these movies often lure me in with moody slick trailers, I find myself utterly bored while watching them. This isn’t to say there’s something wrong with slow, atmospheric films, but you need to be a very skilled filmmaker to make this particular aesthetic pop. John and the Hole failed to do that and was a true slog to watch.

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TV Review – I May Destroy You

I May Destroy You (2020)
Written & Directed by Michaela Coel

I had a hard time finishing this series. It’s a heartbreaking mini-series written by Michaela Coel, who should’ve gotten all the praise but was snubbed for any Emmys when it was released in 2020.

The title of the show questions who it is that Arabella (Michaela Cole) might destroy. Will she destroy her friends? Her enemies? Her career? Herself?

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TV Review – The Sopranos Season Two

The Sopranos Season Two (HBO)
Written by Jason Cahill, Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess, Frank Renzulli, David Chase, Terence Winter, Todd A. Kessler, Michael Imperioli
Directed by Allen Coulter, Martin Bruestle, Lee Tamahori, Tim Van Patten, John Patterson, Henry J. Bronchtein

In the wake of season one’s success, it becomes clear that David Chase is pumping the brakes. While he adds new characters and explores the backstories of his characters, thematically, he stays put, preferring to mine deeper into these ideas. The result is one of the best seasons of television I have ever watched, my investment in the characters at some of the highest levels I’ve ever experienced. Chase has expressed a strong disdain for television grown out of his experiences working with networks in the 1980s & 90s. The constant focus on surface-level content like sex & violence worked prohibitively against exploring human existence. Free from those restraints, he was able to produce something as remarkable as The Sopranos, a show which has been copied again & again by showrunners across the spectrum.

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TV Review – Work in Progress Season 1

Work in Progress Season 1 (Showtime)
Written by Abby McEnany & Tim Mason & Lilly Wachowski
Directed by Tim Mason

Work in Progress is a show that is made with love and thought. At first glance, someone might assume it is the queer response to Curb Your Enthusiasm, but it isn’t.

Abby McEnany brings to us on screen a heavy, queer representation onto television that is much needed. Abby writes alongside her writing partner Tim Mason, and she stares in it too.

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Movie Review – Pig

Pig (2021)
Written by Michael Sarnoski & Vanessa Block
Directed by Michael Sarnoski

If you have seen the trailer for this new Nicolas Cage vehicle, you will still not really understand what you will see. There are shades of a John Wick-style revenge film hinted at in this picture, yet it is absolutely nothing like those movies at all. They share a slight similarity in the inciting incident, but when it comes to themes and characters, Pig could not be more different. This is also not a movie that leans into the meme-ifcation of Cage that has become popular over the last 15 years. In reality, this is a quiet, meditative film about working through grief. 

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Patron Pick – New Waterford Girl

This is a special reward available to Patreon patrons who pledge at the $10 or $20 a month levels. Each month those patrons will get to pick a film for me to review. They also get to include some of their own thoughts about the movie, if they choose. This Pick comes from Amy Stewart.

New Waterford Girl (1998)
Written by Tricia Fish
Directed by Allan Moyle

As someone who spent ages 10-18 in a small rural area, I have found that places like this can feel incredibly stifling. Much like the characters in this story, their religion (Catholicism in their case, American Nationalist theology for mine) casts a shadow over their lives but not in a way that strictly shapes their behavior. Instead, they create loopholes for inevitable downfalls of human morality. For example, if you get a girl pregnant, you just marry her, and then all is forgiven, or you go off for a few months to a convent where the baby is taken, and then you come home, and no one ever talks about it again. There’s not much to look forward to in this place, leading to a rather bleak outlook on life, a desire to escape.

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TV Review – Hacks Season 1

Hacks is an HBO Max series that has a total of ten episodes. Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) is a legendary Las Vegas comedy diva clinging to keep her spot as younger performers threaten to take her dates.

Vance’s agent sends Ava (Hannah Einbinder), an entitled 25-year old, to help freshen up the material, and Vance begins mentoring her.

While I was looking to see what others were giving it high praise as a comedy. I don’t know if I entirely agree, or maybe I’ve become quite picky about my comedies.

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Movie Review – Brittany Runs A Marathon

Brittany Runs A Marathon felt like it was being promoted everywhere if you ever bothered with running websites or apps. Little clips of Jillian Bell turning from party girl to runner in the short clips or blurbs here and there in the year of 2019.

Or that was solely me when I started my running journey. Fear not, my running is still uninspirational, but I will be comparing notes.

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Movie Review – On Golden Pond

On Golden Pond (1981)
Written by Ernest Thompson
Directed by Mark Rydell

I can remember instances of comedians parodying On Golden Pond in my youth, especially Katherine Hepburn’s particular affectations throughout. As I got older, I learned more about the actors involved, especially the rift between Henry Fonda and his daughter Jane. The film started after Jane saw the play and purchased the rights so she could cast her dad in the lead role. Pairing Henry Fonda with Katherine Hepburn was also a way to appeal to classic movie lovers by featuring these legends. It would turn out to be Henry Fonda’s final film but certainly not one of his best. Sadly, the final product on the screen feels incredibly cheap and trite.

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Movie Review – My Dinner With Andre

My Dinner with Andre (1981)
Written by Andre Gregory & Wallace Shawn
Directed by Louis Malle

Growing up, I heard about My Dinner with Andre in the context of making fun of it. As a young person with limited knowledge of film & art, it did sound like a silly idea for a movie. Two people at dinner talking in real-time. My expectation of film was that you would have the standard five-act structure with conflicts and character arcs. These seemed like a super boring and dumb idea. It became a movie that kept coming up on lists and in internet discourse, so that I developed some respect for it from a distance, still having not watched it. Now I can say it’s one of the best films I’ve watched this year and is a challenging but also easily accessible watch. We’ve all had dinner with people we maybe weren’t elated to see and had to converse with them. In that way, My Dinner with Andre is about a universal experience.

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