Series Review: What We Do in the Shadows – Season 2 (2020)

Taking a break from my dive into my own country’s filmography, just so I can talk about a show I’ve watched over the past ten weeks.

Ladies and gentlemen… “What We Do in the Shadows” season 2!

We once again follow  Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), as they deal with all sorts of supernatural hijinks throughout their daily lives. All the while their human familiar Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) tries to keep his recently discovered vampire slaying legacy secret. So it’s another season of vampiric shenanigans. And just like the first season, the story here are quite a bit of fun. They really went for a deep dive in exploring their own world, as well as old school vampire mythology. And I found it all very entertaining. Sure, there are parts of the show where it dips every so slightly, but generally I have nothing negative to say about the stuff going on here. It’s a silly bit of fun with a surprising amount of thought behind it all.

The characters are colorful, charming, funny, and overall just really interesting. Some of them even go through a surprising amount of development throughout the season. The returning lead cast of Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, and Mark Proksch are all terrific once again. And the guest stars this season (that I won’t mention by name, because it might spoil things) are terrific too.

The music for the show was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, and I think it’s really good. Really captures the sort of gothic, semi-Victorian vibe that they go for with these centuries-old vampires, while still keeping a somewhat cheeky/silly vibe to it. Really fits the show splendidly.

This season was written and directed by a whole bunch of different people, and I think they all did an excellent job with it. The directing is great, they really make the most of the mockumentary format, making for a lot of energetic cleverly directed scenes. The editing is also really good, a lot of good cuts and such going on throughout. And since the show is a comedy, I guess I should briefly touch on the show’s sense of humor. It’s really funny, at times even gutbustingly hilarious. It’s very silly, relying on a mix of wordplay, slapstick, and a hint of raunchy stuff. Sure, the show’s sense of humor might not be for everyone, but I certainly love it.

This season/show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10.

Season 2 of “What We Do in the Shadows” continues the show’s winning streak, with another ten episodes of funny supernatural antics. It has fun stories, great characters, great performances, good music, really good directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “What We Do in the Shadows” season 2 is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “What We Do in the Shadows” season 2 is now completed.

BAT!

Series Review: What We Do in the Shadows – Season 1 (2019)

Once upon a time, some very creative and funny people from New Zealand made a gut-bustingly hilarious movie called “What We Do in the Shadows”. Several years later, they take the opportunity to adapt it for television. And now that the first season of said show has come to an end, we can talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “What We Do in the Shadows” season 1!

The story follows a group of vampires (Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Mark Proksch) who all live together in a house on Staten Island, as they get into various misadventures while they’re just trying to live their lives. And I have to say, I really enjoyed following the stuff that happened here. It retains the overall tone of the movie, without feeling like a rehash of the kind of stuff that happened there. The show takes the general idea of the movie, but carves its own, silly path. And It’s a ton of fun to follow.

The characters in this are colorful, unique, charming, and really entertaining. The four people playing the vampires, Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, and Mark Proksch all bring something really fun with their performances. Combine that with the stellar writing for each and every one of them, and you get some absolutely delightful characters that I couldn’t get enough of. Then we also have Harvey Guillén as Guillermo, the familiar (fancy word for servant) of one of the vampires. It’s kind of fun to see his dynamic with the crew, as he’s the only human of the group, which makes for some really fun times. And Guillén does a good job in the role. There are other actors showing up throughout the show as well, and they all do well in their respective roles too.

There isn’t a whole lot of music in the show, but when there is, it’s pretty good. The score itself was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, and when it shows up, it’s alright. Not exactly memorable, but it works. The occasional licensed track exists too, and they work fine.

Based on the 2014 movie of the same name by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, the show was created by Clement, and written/directed by him, Waititi, and various other cool people. And their work on that front is really solid. The show of course keeps the documentary-style direction of the movie, and it just adds to the surrealness of it all. The writing in itself is fucking hilarious, but I feel like the mockumentary style adds another dimension to it that somehow makes it even funnier. So yeah, I laughed, a lot. This is one of the funniest show I’ve watched in recent years.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10 and is ranked #247 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

Season 1 of “What We Do in the Shadows” took my already positive expectation and somehow blew them out of the water. It has a fun plot, great characters, great performances, okay music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “What We Do in the Shadows” season 1 a 9,89/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “What We Do in the Shadows” season 1 is now completed.

BAT.

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.

Movie Review: What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

The Month of Spooks continues! So what is the theme today? Vampires again… cool.

Ladies and gentlemen… “What We Do in the Shadows”!

Wellington, New Zealand. We follow a documentary team as they document the lives of three vampires (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonny Brugh) who share an apartment. And really, it’s just a look into what these guys do in their everyday lives. From cleaning the apartment to going out on the town… it’s just the mundane lives of some vampires. And I thought it was a good plot. It’s a fairly simple mockumentary that just has a fun sequence of events that we get to follow. Seeing what supernatural creatures are up to in modern day society is a fascinating idea, and it was really fun and interesting to follow here.

The characters in this are all unique, quirky, slightly incompetent, and just incredibly fun. And I’m gonna keep all of this fairly vague because the characters and their “arcs” are best experienced rather than being told to you. Jemaine Clement plays Vladislav, a ladies man and the oldest of the main trio. And I’m not gonna say more other than that Clement is great in the role. Taika Waititi plays Viago, a somewhat naive and good-hearted vampire. And Waititi is great in the role. Then we have Jonny Brugh as Deacon, the youngest of the three, and the bad boy of the group. And Brugh is great in the role. And then we get a whole bunch of solid supporting performances from people like Cori Gonzales-Macuer, Ben Fransham, Jackie ven Beek, Rhys Darby, and more.

This movie doesn’t exactly have a typical score, but instead has various songs done by a group called Plan 9. I’m not exactly sure how their contributions work, but I can say that the music in this movie works very well, helping to elevate the silly and off-kilter mood that they clearly want to convey in this movie. And it’s all quite a bit of fun.

This movie was written and directed by both Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi. And they did a really good job. I think the mockumentary approach was the perfect one for this movie, especially since they were working on a fairly small budget (as far as I know). But sometimes you got to work with your limitations, and they did a great job with that. And since this is a comedy, let’s talk about the humor. It is absolutely hilarious, I laughed throughout it all. Some chuckles, but mainly loud laughs like an idiot. They manage to blend dark humor with an overall silly style to make some of the funniest humor this decade.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“What We Do in the Shadows” is one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen in recent years. It has a good plot, great characters, good music, really good directing, and great comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “What We Do in the Shadows” is a 9,89/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “What We Do in the Shadows” is now completed.

I don’t have anything clever to put here…

Movie Review: The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

“The Lego Movie” is one of the most surprising movies ever. The idea of having a feature length movie about Lego just sounds like the most blatant piece of product placement ever… which it still technically was. But it actually had great writing, direction, and acting, so it turned out to be kind of awesome. So let’s see if the second movie in the (not officially titled) Lego Cinematic Universe is any good.

Ladies and gents… “The Lego Batman Movie”.

The many villains of Gotham are out to once again wreak havoc, and it’s up to Batman (Will Arnett) to stop them! But it’s not just another “Bats stopping bad guys” story, as we also follow him as he goes through some family issues after he accidentally adopts Dick Grayson (Michael Cera). So now we have our family-friendly adventure. And the plot here wasn’t just a silly and fun adventure, as it shows a surprising emotional core in the Batman family issues side of things. Because of what happened to Bruce in the past, he is afraid to get attached to anyone in case of him potentially losing them, but he’s too proud to show it. So you get a fun and fast-paced Batventure combined with a surprisingly investing family story, filled with lots of heart.

The characters in this are fun, entertaining, and relaly interesting. Will Arnett reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne from “The Lego Movie” and he just kills it! This version of Batman is very self-centered, with an ego the size of Norta Dakota. He always talks about how awesome he is, but he also goes through a pretty surprising character arc. And really, I just can’t stress enough how awesome Will Arnett is as Batman. Michael Cera plays Robin in this movie, and from the trailers he almsot seemed like he could get a little too much based on how energetic and excitable he was. But he was actually a really fun and endearing character that I found myself caring about, and Cera was great in the role. Ralph Fiennes plays Alfred in this, and he jsut nails it as the character. There’s nothing unique about him compared to other Alfred’s we’ve seen before, but the lines he’s given and his deadpan delivery is just great. Rosario Dawson plays Barbara Gordon and what is there to say, really? She’s tough, she’s smart, she’s Rosario Awesome. Zach Galifianakis plays Joker in this and I think he’s good in the role. The character has a fun and important role in the story, and he was overall fun, but it’s mainly his voice that didn’t sit that well with me. I like Galifianakis, and I get that there’s only one Mark Hamill, but I feel like the voice here was a bit too… normal to work for the Joker. Again, Galifianakis was overall good in the role. And then there’s… I don’t exactly want to spoil it, and I can’t sit here and list every character that pops up, so I’m just gonna list some of the people doing voices here, because there are plenty of great names here. Though I will mention, Two-Face is played by Billy Dee Williams, and if you don’t get the significance of that… then you should go back and watch the 1989 “Batman” movie. Anyway, here’s the cast list: Zoë Kravitz, Conan O’Brien, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Eddie Izzard, Doug Benson, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindholme, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Ellie Kemper, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Adam Devine, Hector Elizondo… and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Lorne Balfe and it was great. It was big, bombastic, epic, and just badass. It’s the perfect type of music for a “Batman” movie as it takes elements of the scores from various “Batman” movies. And I liked that. There’s also some new songs created for this movie that were quite fun. None as catchy as “Everything is Awesome”, but I feel like none of them would get on my nerves as easily as that one. Then there’s also a bunch of licensed tracks that are used very well throughout.

This movie, unlike “The Lego Movie”, was not directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Instead it was directed by Chris McKay who is currently slated to direct the live action “Nightwing” movie. And I think McKay did an excellent job with the direction. This movie is so fast-paced and filled with energy that I never felt bored or out of it at any point. There was something interesting happening every second, and that kept me invested and energized. And the animation, mother of god, it is fucking amazing. It is of course done in the same stop motion-esque style that “The Lego Movie” was done in, and it is just so fun to look at. The animation especially shines in the action scenes, something there’s plenty of, keeping any kiddos watching interested. And seeing as this is a comedy, let’s talk about the humor. I laughed a lot in this movie, there’s joke after joke after joke here, rarely giving you time to breathe between them. For the most part it uses the humor to oke fun at Batman’s history, but not in a “HA, this is dumb!” kind of way. It’s a sort of loving tribute to the Caped Crusader and his many iterations, done in the way of satire/spoof. And it’s all funny, at various levels of laughter. There are also references to other pieces of pop culture, and those are really fun too.

This movie 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 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“The Lego Batman” movie is an incredibly fun animated movie with loads of heart. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, fantastic directing/animation, and great humor. Time for my final score. *I’M BATMAN!*. My final score for “The Lego Batman Movie” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Lego Batman Movie” is now completed.

DARKNESS, NO PARENTS, CONTINUED DARKNESS.

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.