Series Review: Barry – Season 2 (2019)

Reviewed season 1 a few weeks back (ahem ahem). So it’s reasonable to think that I should tackle the second season now that it too has come to a close. Well, here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Barry” season 2.

Set a few weeks after the events of the first season, we follow Barry (Bill Hader) as he tries to get on with his life as an aspiring actor, while the consequences of his previous actions start creeping up to haunt him. Season 1 took a concept that I wasn’t entirely sure about and managed to make something great out of it. So how would they follow that up? By upping their game tenfold. That’s right, the second season of “Barry” manages to take the dark, yet somewhat quirky ideas of the first season and elevate them in ways I didn’t think possible. It manages to be fun, heartbreaking, suspenseful, exciting, and just overall a damn concise season of television. Great stuff.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, colorful, fun, and overall just really interesting. Bill Hader of course returns as the titular hitman-turned-actor. In this season we get to see a lot of his old demons come up. Combined with a lot of his more current issues, and it gives him a lot of really engaging character development. And Hader is fantastic in the role. Sarah Goldberg returns as Sally, Barry’s girlfriend and acting partner. She goes through a bit of personal conflict throughout the season, and it’s quite engaging. And Goldberg is great in the role. And we get supporting work from people like Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, John Pirrucello, Michael Irby, Patricia Fa’asua, Daniel Bernhardt, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with season 1, the music was composed by David Wingo, and it’s great. Suspense-building, emotional, dramatic, and just overall well composed, working well for the various scenes it’s found in. There’s also the occasional licensed track here and there, and they work alright in their respective scenes.

The show was created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader, with those two writing most of the episodes. And the craft here is pretty spectacular. Not only did they up their game in terms of storytelling, but they also went all in when it came to direction and cinematography as well. The first season wasn’t bad in that regard, but there’s a notable leap here, created a visually arresting show that also keeps the viewer on edge throughout most of the runtime.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

Season 1 of “Barry” was great. And somehow, season 2 is even better. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Barry” is a 9,94/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Barry” season 2 is now completed.

Crazy motherfuckers somehow did it.

Series Review: Barry – Season 1 (2018)

Don’t kill people. It’s bad. I mean, for most of us, that goes without saying, but some people don’t have that as their default setting. Killing, bad. Okay, let’s talk tv.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Barry” season 1.

Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) is a former Marine who’s been working as a hitman for years. However, while hired to do a job in Los Angeles, he finds himself drawn to a local acting class. And we follow him as he tries to lead this double life as both a hitman and a shitty actor. And I know what you’re thinking, because I too thought so when I heard about it. This sounds like something right out of a “Saturday Night Live” skit, and like it wouldn’t work as a full series. But god damn it, this show proved me fucking wrong. “Barry” is one of the most uniquely compelling shows in recent years. It’s a serious story within a comedic premise, deftly blending a dark crime-drama with its funny setup, surprising me at every turn with how good the storytelling is.

The characters in this show are unique, colorful, fun, layered, and really interesting. Bill Hader plays Barry, the titular hitman (hitular? titman?) who finds a new hobby in life. He’s a guy who’s been through a lot of shit, and seeing how that affects his actions throughout the show is really engaging. And Bill Hader is fantastic in the role, showing that he’s not only hilarious, but also an excellent dramatic performer. We also get supporting work from people like Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, Sarah Goldberg, Henry Winkler, John Pirrucello, Paula Newsome, D’Arcy Carden, Glenn Fleshler, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by David Wingo, and it’s pretty great. It’s sometimes droning, and sometimes on synths, it helps create an uneasy and emotionally investing mood that helps elevate the already excellent storytelling. And the occasional use of licensed music works quite well too.

“Barry” was created for HBO by Alec Berg and Bill Hader, with them handling writing for most of the episodes, with Hader even directing a few episodes. And the craft here is really solid. The camerawork is methodical, feeling more like a high-budget thriller than a comedy. And this does add a lot to the show, giving it a tension-filled edge that makes it stand out. And as this show is still technically a comedy, I should briefly talk about the humor, right? Well, here we go… it’s funny. Sometimes silly, sometimes dark, sometimes mildly satirical, I laughed at it all.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10.

Season 1 of “Barry” took all my expectations, shot them in the head, and threw them in a ditch and showed just how fucking good it is. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “Barry” is a 9,91/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Barry” season 1 is now done.

If “Barry” is a taco, then the shell is made of comedy, and the filling is made out of drama. Shut up, my metaphors are great.

Movie Review: Take Shelter (2011)

I would try to come up with some clever intro to this, but this movie stumped me in that regard. Can’t come up with something clever or fun for an intro to this. Ummm… Michael Shannon, amiright?

Ladies and gentlemen… “Take Shelter”.

When he starts getting apocalyptic visions, Curtis (Michael Shannon) starts trying to rebuild the old storm shelter in his backyard. But his strange change in behavior starts creating some problems with everything in his life, from his family to his job. And throughout the movie we sit and wonder, is he actually seeing the end of the world, or is he just a bit crazy. But it’s not so much a big and loud apocalyptic thriller (like some movies might do), aiming more for a human drama that explores the desperation of this man in trying to figure all this crazy shit out. It’s very slow-paced, but that works quite well for the story as it helps in fleshing it out. So it’s quite a good plot.

The characters in this all feel quite realistic and I thought they were all interesting. Michael Shannon plays Curtis, the construction worker who starts getting these strange and scary dreams/visions. He’s a good father and husband as well as a good worker. So seeing him change as a person due to these scary dreams/visions is quite interesting, and turns into an intriguing character study. And Michael Shannon is fantastic in the role, giving one of his more subdued performances (though he does get at least one explosive moment). Then we have Jessica Chastain as Curtis’ wife Sam. A lot of her arc lies in her reacting to her husband’s situation(s), and it’s quite interesting, especially since it leads to some emotionally charged moments. And Chastain is great in the role. Then we have Tova Stewart as Curtis’ daughter Hannah. Hannah is deaf, and that’s probably the most interesting aspect of her. She gets the least amount of development over the movie, but she’s still an interesting piece of this puzzle. And Stewart is good in the role. Then we get some supporting work here from people like Shea Whigham, Katy Mixon, Robert Longstreet, and more, all doing well in their roles.

The score for the movie was composed by David Wingo and it’s good. It’s less focused on melodies or being instantly recognizable, acting more as ambient noise for the various scenes. But it works quite well for the movie as it helps build drama and a sense of dread throughout the movie.

The movie was written and directed by Jeff Nichols and I think he did a really good job with that. While a lot of directors would’ve tried to build a lot of tension with their directing, making it as noticeable as possible, Nichols is a lot more subtle, carefully capturing the human drama and subtly building a sense of dread over the entire situation. And it made me feel a lot more invested in what was going on.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Take Shelter” is a subdued and highly effective psychological drama. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Take Shelter” is a 9,56/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Take Shelter” is now completed.

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

Movie Review: Midnight Special (2016)

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Big budgeted action movies are great and all, but sometimes we need to take it down a notch and give some attention to the smaller guys. You know, the movies with small(er) budgets. And that’s what we’re doing today.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Midnight Special”.

Roy (Michael Shannon) is on the run together with his friend (Joel Edgerton) and his son (Jaeden Lieberher) from the government and also a cult. Why? Because Roy’s son apparently has superpowers. And from this basic idea we get a surprisingly deep, emotional, and tense plot that has a decent amount of layers to it. It’s not just a suspense thriller/road movie, but also an intriguing mystery surrounding this boy and his powers. And the ending (no spoilers), I thought it was a solid ending for the movie. I mention this because there are people who don’t really like how this movie concludes, and that’s fine… I’m just saying that I thought it worked. I thought the entire plot worked very well, it was great.

The characters in this movie are all really interesting. Michael Shannon is great in the main role as the father who just wants to do anything to find his super-son’s purpose, whatever that may be. Joel Edgerton plays his best friend in the movie, and he gives a really good performance too. Jaeden Lieberher who plays the superpowered kid, Alton, is actually really good in the movie. I am usually someone who is a bit against child actors, but I do have to admit that this kid was genuinely good. We also got Adam Driver as one of the government agents and he was really good in the movie. I’d say that most if not all actors did a really good job.

The score for the movie was composed by David Wingo and it was pretty fuckin’ good. It is a beautifully haunting score that perfectly manages to create a lot of emotion that perfectly fits the movie. Seriously, it’s some awesome stuff.

This movie was directed by Jeff Nichols who also made the movie “Mud”, which I really liked. And here he did a great job with the direction. The movie is magnificently shot, it looks beautiful. What I also enjoyed about it is how well the CGI in the movie blended with everything else. None of it felt out of place or looked bad, it all worked very well in the movie. There’s also a good amount of suspense in the movie, which I really liked.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Midnight Special” is a pretty different movie. It’s more of a slow burn than most modern sci-fi movies, but that’s also kind of why I like it. But also because it has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. I WILL FIND HIM! My final score for “Midnight Special” is a 9,87/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Midnight Special” is now completed.

This apparently bombed at the box office. Shame on you, world.