Series Review: Legion – Season 2 (2018)

Another year(ish) has passed, the season has wrapped up (in the US and here in Sweden at least), so now I can finally talk about the insanity that is “Legion” once again. If you haven’t seen the show or know nothing about it, go read my season 1 review, then go watch the show. This is not the jumping-on point.

Ladies and gents… “Legion” season 2.

Set a year after the first season, David (Dan Stevens) finds himself having to work with both his friends and an old foe to stop Farouk (Navid Negahban) from finding his old body, which would give him a lot of power. So the basic idea this season is a bit more straightforward compared to the first, since we know what the general goal of the characters is. Of course, “Legion” being “Legion”, its approach to telling this story isn’t as straightforward and normal as most shows. It’s still filled with weird, trippy shit that may just leave you confused at first, but will make a little bit more sense down the line. But through this strange journey we do get some solid drama, suspense, and intriguing storytelling. Is the narrative as strong as the first season? Not quite. It’s still damn good, but it’s not quite as tight as the first season since it’s trying to branch out into something bigger. The plot here is still damn good though.

The characters in this are weird, unique, colorful, and endlessly interesting. Dan Stevens returns as David, the trouble yet powerful young man at the center of the story. He already got some solid development over the first season’s run, and I’m happy to see that being a thing here as well. The journey we see David go through as a character is really fascinating and it really makes him such a deep and interesting character. And Stevens is once again fantastic in the role. Next we have Rachel Keller back as David’s girlfriend, Syd Barrett (*Insert Pink Floyd song here*). She has an interesting arc here that is based around David’s arc, with his affecting hers (keeping it vague is hard). And it’s interesting. We do also get some good backstory on her. And Keller is great in the role. Next we have Aubrey Plaza once again as Lenny, the mysterious old friend of David’s. Not gonna say anything else about her arc because it’s best left experienced. But it’s great. And Plaza is great. We also of course see the return of Bill Irwin, Amber Midthunder, Jean Smart, Jemaine Clement, Jeremie Harris, and Hamish Linklater, and all are still great in their respective roles. And newcomer Navid Negahban also holds his own as the smooth yet powerful and somewhat intimidating Farouk. Really, it’s a damn great cast.

Jeff Russo returned to do the score for this season, and he once again knocked it out of the park. His score is tense, trippy, surreal, emotional, and just overall works perfectly for the show. There’s also a ton of licensed music used throughout, and all the song work excellently in their respective scenes. The use of music in this show is just phenomenal.

Based on some Marvel comics from Bill Sienkiewicz and Chris Claremont, the show was created by Noah Hawley (who’s still the showrunner). And once again, the creative minds behind this show has crafted something truly unique. Let’s start with the visuals, because that’s what a lot of people will pick up on first. The way the show uses lighting, colors, creative camera angles, effects, and even aspect ratio to create a unique style helps make this show one of the most visually interesting I’ve ever seen. I thought season 1 had some great visuals, but this season brought that stuff to the next level. And the editing (which I almost never talk about) is also sublime. This show just has such a unique style that I’ve never really seen anywhere else.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10 and is ranked #225 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

While not quite as amazing as the first season, “Legion” season 2 is still a great season of television. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography/effects/other technical things. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Legion” season 2 is a 9,54/10. So it is still worthy of the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

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

Even if “Legion” would drop a bit in quality, I’d rather take it and its strange and unique kind of storytelling over most shows.

Series Review: Fargo – Season 3 (2017)

It feels good to have had this show back. I loved the first two seasons of this show (*cough* there are reviews available *cough*), so I was of course looking forward to this season. So let’s see if it is any good.

Ladies and gents… “Fargo” season 3!

Minnesota, 2010. We follow brothers Emmitt (Ewan McGregor) and Ray (Ewan McGregor) and how their sibling rivalry becomes the center of a series of deaths, betrayals, conspiracies, and other crazy things. So now we have our off-kilter crime-drama. And yeah, it’s pretty fucking great. Once again this show has managed to craft a deep, compelling, weird, suspenseful, and unpredictable crime story. I honestly never knew where it was going and it managed to really surprise me with some of the twists and turns throughout. It’s an odd and fascinating journey that I loved following.

The characters in this season (like in previous ones) are unique, interesting, quirky, and just extremely entertaining. Ewan McGregor had a tough job here as he had to play two roles, and make them feel different from each other. Emmit is the parking lot king of Minnesota, a wealthy and generally liked businessman. While Ray instead is a balding, poor(ish), parole officer who is jealous of his brother. And McGregor makes them both feel very different and manages to give two fantastic performances. Carrie Coon plays Gloria Burgle, a police chief/single mom who is investigating a murder that might be linked somehow to the Stussy brothers. She’s determined and kind, but has a little trouble with modern technology. And Coon is fantastic in the role. Michael Stuhlbarg (sporting an awesome mustache) plays Sy Feltz, the right hand man and best friend of Emmit. He’s loyal to a fault, wanting to make sure Emmit has a good a life as possible. And Stuhlbarg is great in the role. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Nikki Swango (awesome name), a gambler who is also the girlfriend of Ray. She’s tough, sexy, and just cool. And Winstead is great in the role. David Thewlis plays V.M. Varga, a very strange man that comes into Emmit’s life and starts changing it quite a bit. How do I best describe Varga… he’s weird and creepy and and he gets under my skin. So yeah, Thewlis is fantastic in the role. Really, this is filled with plenty of awesome characters and performances, and while I don’t have the time to go through all in detail, I’m just gonna list some of the awesome supporting players here. Olivia Sandoval, Shea Whigham, Mark Forward, Thomas Mann, Hamish Linklater, Goran Bogdan, Andy Yu, and Mary McDonnell. There are more, but I feel like some are better left as surprises.

The score for this season was composed by Jeff Russo, the man who did the music for the previous seasons. And once again he killed it. Of course the main theme from the previous seasons is played every now and then, still being awesome. But then there’s also a lot of new stuff that fits the show very well. There are tracks for more serious moments, and there are tracks for some of the more “silly” (in lack of a better word) moments. And there are licensed tracks used throughout as well, and they fit pretty well too.

For those not aware (fucking cave dwellers), “Fargo” is an anthology series created by Noah Hawley, based on the Coen brothers film of the same name. And while I’m not gonna list every director that this season had, I will at least say that they all did very well here. The shots look great, and they manage to create a lot of tension with very little thanks to their excellent direction. And the cinematography too is great. Sure, color pallet is a bit drab, but I think it kind of works for this story. They even have a little bit of animation in this to tell a certain part of the story. I’m not gonna spoil what, but let’s just say that it’s pretty cool. I also feel like I have to mention that this is really violent. Not just in terms of there being blood (though there’s that too), but there’s plenty of violence in this. There’s also a good dose of dark humor in this which I thought was quite funny.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 89/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #23 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

While not qutie reaching the heights of season 2 (which is fucking amazing), “Fargo” season 3 is still a fantastic season of television. It has a fantastic plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic directing. Time for my final score. *Oh jeez*. My final score for “Fargo” season 3 is a 9,90/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Fargo” season 3 is now completed.

*Please get renewed, please get renewed*.

Movie Review: The Big Short (2015)

Finances. While they are important for society (somehow), I find it hard to give a shit about them. They’re not interesting, they’re not fun, and they often make little to no sense.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Big Short”.

In 2007, some people working within various sectors of the financial world predict that the global economy is gonna collapse in a very near future. So we follow these men as they either try to do something about it or try to earn a profit from it. And this gives us all a deep look into the world of banking, finances, and the people behind all of that shit. And while it’s an interesting enough idea for a plot, I was never really invested in it. It does a pretty good job of trying to explain things in a way that an idiot like me can kind of understand, I felt like this plot wasn’t that strong. It felt a bit unfocused and the tone was a bit inconsistent. It went from comedic to really serious at times. And while that can work in a movie (See “Up in the Air”), here it felt a bit off. I wouldn’t necessarily call it bad, overall it is an interesting plot and I was never bored… but the clashing tones and the amount of plots going on makes it a little messy.

What this movie lacks in plot, it makes up for in characters. While none of them are heroes in any way. they were all fleshed out, entertaining, and interesting to watch. Christian Bale plays Michael Burry, a really smart but kind of socially awkward guy who is the first person to kind of predict the financial crisis, and Bale is great in the role. Steve Carell plays Mark Baum, a man who’s part of all of this who also happens to be kind of prone to anger. And Carell gives a great performance. Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett, a wall street man who more or less acts as our narrator, and Gosling was good in the role. Brad Pitt plays Ben Rickert, a veteran within the business, and while he wasn’t in the movie much, he was really good in the role. Then we also got a whole bunch of great supporting performances from people like Hamish Linklater, Melissa Leo, John Magaro, Finn Wittrock, Marisa Tomei, and a whole bunch of other people.

The score for the movie was composed by Nicholas Britell and it was really good. What I especially enjoyed about it was how it played around with a whole bunch of different styles. From more serious and gloomy piano pieces to fun and energetic tracks. And it worked very well for the movie, often elevating scenes. There were also a whole bunch of licensed tracks throughout the movie, and not only were they often overall good songs, but they also worked very well in the scenes they were used in.

This movie was directed by Adam McKay and he did an okay job. His direction takes on a very documentary-esque style, containing a lot of quick zooms and feeling very amateur-ish. And while that can work for certain movies, I don’t think it worked too well for this one. Especially with some of the weird fourth wall breaks that the movie has. Again, it’s not necessarily bad directing, but I feel like it wasn’t the best choice for this story.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best adapted screenplay. It also got an additional 4 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best supporting actor (Bale), Best director, and Best film editing.

“The Big Short” is a movie the critics loved, but I thought was only fine. It features an okay plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and okay directing. My problems with the movie (as previously stated) come from the story being kind of messy and the directing being a little too amateur-ish for the subject matter/story. Time for my final score. *Gulp*. My final score for “The Big Short” is a 8,50/10. While quite flawed I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Big Short” is now completed.

That 8,5 I gave it was on the edge of not being worth buying (8,5 is minimum for “Worth Buying”). So I ask y’all out there, what is a movie the critics loved that you didn’t think was that great?

Series Review: Legion – Season 1 (2017)

The world of comic books is filled with all kinds of crazy characters. From grumpy billionaires dressing up like bats to angry Canadians with sharp knives in their hands, there are all kinds of weirdos in comics. Now, while it’s fun seeing some of the more “normal” and popular characters, I’d like to see some more obscure and odd characters. Now, I’m not talking about Arm-fall-off-boy, though that would be hilarious. But here we go, FOX taking a chance with one of their more… “crazy” characters.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Legion”!

David Haller (Dan Stevens) is a young man that’s been admitted to a mental hospital to get treated for schizophrenia. However he soon finds out that his crazy episodes might be because of more than simple schizophrenia, that he might have some kind of power. And that’s where I’m gonna leave it because this plot is fucking great! I mean, it’s really weird and most definitely a mindfuck… but it’s definitely great. I think that it could be a bit polarizing for some. The weirdness might seem like it has no purpose at times, but if you stick with the show then it will actually make sense. It’s weird, it’s trippy, but it’s also compelling, layered, and incredibly entertaining. So yeah, the plot here is great!

All of the characters here are troubled which makes them really interesting to watch. Dan Stevens plays David, our really troubled and fascinating main character. The character has a lot of layers to him and the fact that he might actually have serious mental problems just makes him so much more interesting. And Dan Stevens is fantastic in the role. Rachel Keller plays Syd Barrett, a woman that David falls for, and she’s great in the show. Her character has some problems of her own, and it makes her a really compelling character. Aubrey Plaza plays Lenny, a friend of David’s and she’s just a million flavors of fun. Her character is chaotic and unpredictable which makes the scenes with her so incredibly fun and investing. We also get some great performances in the show from people like Bill Irwin, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Jean Smart, and Mackenzie Gray. Shit, every actor that pops up in this show is great… no weak performances here.

The score for the show was composed by Jeff Russo and it’s really great. Often it can be as weird as the plot, which just makes it a better fit for the show. But overall it is very well composed, containing all kinds of great stuff from big and brassy action tunes to weird electronic stuff to slower/more serious stuff. There are also a lot licensed tracks used htroughout to great effect from artists/bands like Nina Simone, T-Rex, Radiohead, and Sonny Simmons (and a whole bunch more).

The series was created by Noah Hawley (the man behind the awesomely awesome “Fargo” series). And while he didn’t write/direct every episode, it’s still clear that he had a hand in this. Speaking of directing, this is a very well directed show. Shto composition is really solid and scenes flow very well. What I also like about the show on the more technical side of everything is the use of different colors, lighting, and even different aspect ratios. It makes for a rather unique and interesting watch… and I love it. So yeah, there are loads of weird visuals in this show, but I’d argue that it all has a point. It’s style mixed with substance.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,8/10 and is ranked #91 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Legion” season 1 is an incredibly weird but also incredibly awesome show. It has a great plot, great characters, terrific performances, great music, and great directing/editing. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Legion” season 1 is a 9,90/10. So yeah, it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Legion” season 1 is now completed.

So it’s probably gonna be about a year until next season comes out… *sigh*. At least “Fargo” returns soon.