Moonlighting is a show that doesn’t often enter the modern discourse on television, but I’m here to argue that it is a remarkable television achievement that opened up the door for other hour dramas to be comedies and to experiment with their format. Moonlighting allowed flights of fantasy to take over the show and engaged continuously in Fourth Wall-breaking and meta-conversation about being a television show.Continue reading “The Best of Moonlighting Part One”
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (2019)
Written & Directed by Bi Gan
There are two starkly separated halves to this film. The first half is nothing too remarkable, some beautiful cinematography and a noir story that will feel very familiar, no real surprises. The second half is a shock; the visuals are the focus, yet somehow they still keep the narrative going. Bi Gan takes some significant risks in this latter section, banking his entire film on what could easily have just been a gimmick. Instead, he turns this into a remarkable feat, something rarely attempted in filmmaking, but Bi Gan sticks the landing.Continue reading “Movie Review – Long Day’s Journey Into Night”
Knives Out (2019)
Written & Directed by Rian Johnson
Knives Out appears on the surface to be a modern take on the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery, and on a certain level, it is precisely that. However. writer-director Rian Johnson has cleverly managed to subvert our expectations and tell the story he’s interested by dressing it up in the tropes and formulas in this genre. About a third of the way into the story, the audience is privy to the circumstances of the murder, and it seems as though the rest of the picture will be a cat & mouse game. The murderer will be continually trying to be one step ahead of the law and will likely get caught. But that’s still not the story Johnson is telling.Continue reading “Movie Review – Knives Out”
Big Little Lies (HBO)
Season 1, Episode 1 – “Somebody’s Dead”
Written by David E. Kelly
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
There is so much television I hear I should watch and with 24/7 streaming services abounding it can quickly become overwhelming. To finally get a taste of all these great shows I will start doing TV Tryouts. Each month I will watch a couple of pilot episodes of series I have been hearing rave reviews about and see if that first episode can hook me to keep watching. Now, an argument you might make is that you have to view the first six or entire first season before a show “gets good.” To that, I say, “I just don’t have the time.” A television series should have strong enough writing that its characters, dialogue, and plot naturally compel me to keep watching. If it doesn’t then that’s ok, plenty of shows for everyone.Continue reading “TV Tryouts – Big Little Lies”
Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)
Written & Directed by Drew Goddard
The El Royale is a unique Lake Tahoe hotel in that is straddles the California/Nevada line. The place was one a prestigious getaway for many of the Rat Pack and other glittering stars of a bygone age. By the time the film begins, 1969, the glory days are gone, and the hotel has fallen into disrepair. On this fateful day, a priest, a lounge singer, a vacuum salesman, a mysterious woman have checked in. El Royale has only one troubled staff member who seems to discourage these people from staying but reluctantly gives in. By the end of this night, all of these guests will be changed forever, facing their fears and discovering the dark secrets behind the El Royale.Continue reading “Movie Review – Bad Times at the El Royale”
Under the Silver Lake (2018)
Written & Directed by David Robert Mitchell
Sam is aimless. He’s far behind on rent; his relationships involve random flings or women he ogles after from his balcony. His apartment is reeking of an awful smell; he claims its the skunks roaming around the area. One evening he meets Sarah, a new neighbor whom he shares a quiet moment with. The next day everything in her apartment is packed up and gone. Suddenly, Sam is thrust into a conspiracy of codes and symbols; the mundane is given greater meaning. There are cultish rooftop parties. The band with hidden messages in their records. Fallout shelters deep beneath Los Angeles. The pirate. The balloon girl. The homeless king. Sam finds the surface of reality rippling in bizarre ways. But is this a revelation or his delusion consuming him?Continue reading “Movie Review – Under the Silver Lake”
Search Party Season 2 (TBS)
Written by Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers, Jordan Firstman, Starlee Kine, Anthony King, Christina Lee, Andrew Fleming, and Matt Kriete.
Directed by Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers, Lilly Burns, and Michael Showalter.
The first season of Search Party ends with the central mystery solved but a much more significant problem on the hands of the four main characters: they murdered someone. The second season picks up right where the first let off and becomes an entirely new animal. Dory is wracked with guilt, knowing that her actions led to this murder. Her ex-boyfriend Drew continues to distance himself from her and is now joined by their friends Elliott and Portia. Each of them is dealing with their part in the murder and cover-up in very different ways, yet all destructive and sloppy in some manner. Whereas the first season was a mix of comedy and mystery, this round is still funny but much more psychological and darker in where it goes.