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.

Movie Review: Prevenge (2017)

Pregnancy. Amazing, fascinating, terrifying, weird. Many words can describe this natural part of human life. But I never thought one of them would be “murderous”.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Prevenge”.

Ruth (Alice Lowe) is a widow. She’s also seven months pregnant and about to go on a killing spree. And that’s the premise for this movie. So how’s the plot here? I actually thought it was good. Weird, but good. When I say weird I don’t mean that it does anything overly ambitious and strange with the narrative, as it does follow a pretty regular structure. But what I mean by weird is that some strange shit happens throughout, and I found all of that quite interesting. The plot also has a darkly comedic tone that gives it a unique and off-kilter vibe that for the most part works. There are times where the tone somewhat clashes with moments in the narrative, but it was never enough to ruin the plot for me, it just brings it down a notch. So overall this plot is pretty good.

I’m only gonna talk about one character here since we only really follow one, and she’s the only one we really get to know. Here we have Alice Lowe as Ruth, the pregnant widow going on a killing spree. She’s a damaged and quite unstable individual that is quite interesting to follow, as she’s quite a unique and intriguing. And Rowe does a great job in the role. And all the supporting players in this are all godo in their respective roles.

The score was composed by Toydrum, and it was good. It’s an eerie electronic score with plenty of droning notes to give an ethereal and uneasy vibe that I really liked. Took scenes that would’ve been kind of bland and turned them into something unique and intriguing. It’s amazing how much music can affect something.

“Prevenge” was written and directed by its star, Alice Lowe. So she’s wrote, directed, and starred in a movie while also being pregnant? That is pretty fucking impressive. And I have to say that she did a damn good job with her directing duties here. She gives the movie a very weird, almost dreamlike feel with her directing, complementing the off-kilter story quite well. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a movie that feels like this one does, so that’s pretty cool.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“Prevenge” is a weird and off-kilter character study that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it. It has a good plot, a really good character, really good performances, really good music, and great directing. Though as I previously mentioned, there are moments throughout where the tone clashes with narrative. Not a deal breaker, just brings it down a notch. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Prevenge” is an 8,88/10. So while not perfect, I still think it’s worth buying.

My review of “Prevenge” is now completed.

Well, that was… weird.

Movie Review: Four Lions (2010)

Terrorism. A horrible thing that I wish wouldn’t exist in our world, but unfortunately pops up a terrifying amount of times every year. Hopefully we’ll one day be free of it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Four Lions”.

The story follows a group of British jihadists who plan to commit an act of terror, and we follow them as they train and prepare to commit this horrible act. Luckily they aren’t the most competent of people. And that’s really it. You’d think a concept like this wouldn’t very good, relying more on tasteless shock humor for the sake of shocking audience members. But this is an incredibly clever, funny, and fascinating plot that has a surprising amount of heart to it. It very much has the feel of “The Thick of It” or “In the Loop” (makes sense given some of the crew members), and I think that is awesome. It’s a cleverly satirical plot that kept me entertained and interested from start to finish.

What is interesting about the characters here is that they’re really just a bunch of bumbling idiots. They’re not your typical “scary muslim” type characters that you see in so many movies featuring terrorism. They are just average people/idiots who feel like they should commit some horrible acts, somehow endearing us to them and their quest. I’m not gonna go in-depth with all of them as I don’t want to spoil some fun stuff, but I will talk about one of them. The one I want to talk about is Riz Ahmed who plays Omar, who is more or less the main-main character of this movie. While he is up for this quest and has some great comedic chemistry with the other “Lions”, we do get to see some other, somewhat emotional sides to him when he’s with other people. He’s a well-rounded, and interesting character that I cared about. And Ahmed is great in the role. As for the other characters, they don’t get the same depth as Omar, but I don’t think they need it as they have more focus on their outrageous personalities. Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak, Adeel Akhtar… I salute you. Everyone in this movie is great.

The interesting thing about the music in “Four Lions” is that there is no real original score here, just a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the movie. And I think that works really well, since they have found some really solid tracks to use throughout the various scenes here.

This movie was written and directed by Chris Morris (with several other people helping out with writing), and I have to say that I’m impressed with all that stuff. Sure, they don’t go for some grand, sweeping epic here. As a matter of fact it feels very low budget (which it probably is), but I like that. As previously mentioned, it very much has the feel/style of “The Thick of It” and “In the Loop”, even having a similar documentary-esque directing style that I think often elevates a lot of the scenes. As for the comedy here (since it is a satirical comedy), I think it is fucking hilarious, I laughed quite hard at it. Admittedly the humor here is very dark and will most likely put some people off… but I loved it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Four Lions” takes a serious and disturbing subject and turns it into one of the funniest movie this decade. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Four Lions” is a 9,88/19. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Four Lions” is now completed.

Don’t blow people up, kids.