Series Review: Doom Patrol – Season 1 (2019)

We’re getting a lot of superhero stuff these days. But what I do like about it is that we’re at a point where we’re getting more experimental things, not just typical “Colorful hero saves day” thing. Don’t get me wrong, I like those… but I appreciate the lean towards a lot more weird things. So let’s discuss such a thing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Doom Patrol” season 1!

The story follows a group of outcasts who have been brought together by a scientist (Timothy Dalton) as they have to reluctantly band together to stop the villainous Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk)… at least that’s the initial setup. It sets itself up with a bit of a typical superhero idea, but then decides to shove that to the side a bit to explore the stranger side of the DC universe. While there are overarching themes and ideas, each episode is generally a self-contained adventure where the team encounter a new strange thing and have to deal with that while also having to try to handle their personal demons. So the show balances a lot of ideas and tones, which can often be a movie or show’s downfall. But “Doom Patrol” balances it all wonderfully to create a unique superhero show that for the most part just subverts most superhero tropes, all while giving us some of the most surprisingly compelling character drama that I have seen in quite a while. It’s a strange, fun, emotional, and overall well-realized story that I loved following from start to end.

The characters are flawed, layered, colorful, and just overall really interesting. They’re all damaged in some way, which makes them quite dysfunctional, leading to a lot of interesting character dynamics. And with the core cast of Diane Guerrero, Brendan Fraser, April Bowlby, Matt Bomer, Joivan Wade, and Timothy Dalton, you get some truly great performances to go along with these vividly written characters.

The score for the show was composed by Clint Mansell and Kevin Kiner. And man, it is pretty great. A lot of synth is used throughout, which gives the show an almost otherworldly feeling that helps sell the unique vibe of the show. It’s suspense-building, it’s emotionally charged, it’s exciting, it’s fun… it’s just a perfect match for the show. There are also a handful of licensed tracks used throughout the season, and they work quite well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this show has great music.

Based on the comic books from DC, the show was created by Jeremy Carver, and written/directed by a whole bunch of cool people. And as mentioned in some of the previous sections, the writing is some of the most uniquely compelling stuff I’ve experienced in quite some time. And the directing is pretty stellar too, featuring some really fun camerawork that adds a lot to the show in terms of visual storytelling. I should probably also mention that the show in large part is a comedy. So is it funny? Yes, very, it’s one of the funniest shows I’ve watched in a while. The humor can often be quite crude and weird, but I do think it works to the show’s advantage in giving it a distinct feel.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

“Doom Patrol” is one of the weirdest shows I’ve seen in quite a while… but it’s also absolutely fantastic. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great writing/directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Doom Patrol” season 1 is a 9,92/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Doom Patrol” season 1 is now completed.

That was a bit insane.

Series Review: The Beech Boys – Season 1 (2019)

So to get the legality out of the way, this is technically a sponsored post. The other day I was checking my phone, and I noticed I’d gotten an email from Matt Tory, the director of a movie I reviewed a while back called “We Make Movies”. And he offered me a copy of his new show, for free, in exchange for reviewing it. So here we are… thanks for the free review copy, Matt, I really appreciate it! Now that we’ve cleared the formalities, on with the review!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Beech Boys” season 1!

Beechwood Estates, a quiet little community. This community is filled with pools. And it’s up to Trey (J.J. Carroll) and Ethan (Zach Castle) to keep them clean, for they are… The Beech Boys. So we follow them as they chat, hang around pools, and interact with the various people living in Beechwood. I enjoyed the little stories here, they were fun. They’re the kind of light entertainment one might need on a summer day. I do however have a bit of a gripe with it. The episodes are a bit on the short side. Now, briefness isn’t a problem in itself, but when your show has actual continuity and you go for that five-to-six minute runtime, it can make the pacing feel a little rushed and abrupt at times. It doesn’t ruin the entire experience for me, but an added two-to-three minutes might’ve helped some scenes breathe a bit more, making it feel less stop-start-stop-start. Overall though, the plots themselves are quite a bit of fun.

The characters in this are colorful, charming, flawed, and fun. J.J. Carroll plays Trey, the almost self-appointed head of the Beech Boys. He’s a bit of an egomaniac, but he’s given enough redeeming qualities to not just make him an annoying douchebag. That said, I wouldn’t befriend him. But he’s a fun character, and Carroll is really good in the role. Zach Castle plays Ethan, Trey’s friend and fellow Beech Boy. He’s not the brightest bulb in the house, but he’s a good dude who wants the best for the pools of Beechwood. And Castle is good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Courtney Coker, Joshua James, Matt Tory, Becky Brown, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The music in the show was made by Flash Fluharty (great name), and it’s pretty good. At certainly does have a bit of a summer-y vibe, at times even emulating the surf rock of yesteryear. It’s enjoyable and works well enough for the show as a whole.

“The Beech Boys” was created and written by Matt Tory & J.J. Carroll, with Tory handling directing duties. And the craft here is pretty good. It’s decently shot, and the overall directing has a nice flow to it. And let’s talk about the humor, because if I don’t talk about the humor in a comedy review, then I’m gonna look like a clown. It’s pretty funny. I don’t think there was ever any gut-busting laughter for me, but there were a good amount of chuckles throughout.

“The Beech Boys” is an entertaining little series that is perfect for those dull summer nights. It has decent plots, good characters, good performances, good music, good directing, and funny comedy. However, as previously mentioned, due to the short runtime of the episodes, the pacing gets a bit weird at times. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “The Beech Boys” season 1 is an 8,90/10. So while a little flawed, I’d say it’s still worth watching.

My review of “The Beech Boys” season 1 is now completed.

Once again, huge thanks to Matt Tory for the free copy, I really appreciate it. If any of you guys want to support this show, it will be available on Amazon Prime tomorrow, July 1st.

Series Review: Sneaky Pete – Season 2 (2018)

In early 2017 we saw the premiere of “Sneaky Pete”, a new Amazon series. I watched it, and I gave it a very positive review. So now season 2 has been out for a few days and I’ve watched it all. So let’s talk about it and see if it’s any good.

Ladies and gents… “Sneaky Pete”.

When we last saw Marius (Giovanni Ribisi), he found himself in a bit of a pickle. Two intimidating enforcers (Desmond Harrington & Joseph Lyle Taylor) thinking he was another man asked where “his” mother was. Why would they care about someone’s mother? Because she had gotten hold of eleven million dollars that their boss wanted. So we follow Marius as he tries to find this woman and her supposed eleven million. But we also follow the family that he’s snuck his way into as their lives start spiraling out of control as well. So now we have our plot. And while I think the first season had a somewhat more engaging plot, I still think that this season has a really interesting, suspenseful, and fun plot. It has a lot of twists and turns, and they all work quite well for the plot, keeping it all fun, fresh, and fairly unpredictable.

The characters in this are all quite colorful, unique, and interesting. Giovanni Ribisi is back as Marius/Pete, the con man posing as his former cellmate to get in with the cellmate’s estranged family. He’s an incredibly clever, quick-thinking, man who always tries to be one step ahead of everyone. In season 1 he was more of a no-good shyster who was only out for himself, but here in season 2 we see that he’s evolved a bit, like he actually cares for this family. He’s quite an engaging character, and he has a really solid arc this season. And Ribisi is great in the role. Marin Ireland plays Julia, the “cousin” of our main character. She works in a bail bonds office, and has (much due to Marius) gotten herself into some shit. And it’s interesting to see her go through that stuff and see what she does about it. Ireland is damn good in the role. Then we have Margo Martindale as Audrey, the “grandmother” of our main character, and the matriarch of the Bernhardt family. She’s tough, but she’s also a nice old grandmother. And she has one of the most interesting character arcs this season. And Martindale is of course fantastic in the role. Then we have Peter Gerety, Libe Barer, and Shane McRae as three more members of the family. They’ve all great characters with good arcs, but I’m lumping them together because I don’t wanna make this part too long. But I can at least say that they’re all great in the role. We also get a lot more of Ethan Embry as the real Pete this season, and he’s a fun and interesting character to follow. And yeah, Embry is really good in the role. Then you get supporting performances from people like Jacob Pitts, Jay O. Sanders, Justine Cotsonas, Alison Wright, Jennifer Ferrin, Jospeh Lyle Taylor, Desmond Harrington, Jasmine Carmichael, Jane Adams, and many more. And they’re all great.

The score for the show was composed by Nathan Barr, and I think he did a good job. His score isn’t the most standout thing ever, but it gets the job done. It helps create tension, it adds a little extra emotion, and it’s just overall well composed. There are also a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the season, and thye work very well within their respective scenes. And I just wanna add that the show’s theme song, “Harder Out Here” by The Bight Light Social Hour, is such an awesome song.

The show was created by David Shore & Bryan Cranston, but Graham Yost stands as the showrunner. And it was written/directed by a whole bunch of different people. And this is a very well directed show. The direction here is fast-paced and fun, but never to the point of losing and seriousness/tension, because when a scene has to be serious and suspenseful, it fucking nails it. And at times it also has some fun humor in it. It’s not a comedy, but it does implement humor at various points throughout, and it works quite well.

This season/show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10.

While I still prefer the first season, season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” is still a great season of crime television. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” is a 9,75/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Sneaky Pete” season 2 is now completed.

Trust in me…

Series Review: The Tick – Season 1 (2017 – 2018)

Whereas Netflix is currently known as the king of streaming these days, I feel like we should give some major cred to Amazon. Mainly because they’ve produced quite a diverse range of shows and movies, and a good amount of them I have enjoyed. So let’s talk about one such show today.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Tick”.

Arthur Everest (Griffin Newman) is a very nervous young man with a tragic past. And one day his life changes when he meets a mysterious man in a blue suit, simply known as The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz). And soon the two find themselves teaming up to try to stop the evil villain known as The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley). So now we have our superhero story. And what I liked about it is that compared to a lot of other modern superhero stories, it isn’t concerned with being gritty or grounded or overly serious. Instead we have a more tongue-in-cheek superhero story that aims more to entertain and inspire. It’s almost like a parody of superheroes, while still indulging in a good amount of classic superhero clichés. And I found this plot to be pretty damn great.

The characters here are layered, unique, interesting, and endlessly entertaining. Peter Serafinowicz plays The Tick, the titular blue hero. He is a bit lost in life, because he has no memory of his life before meeting Arthur. All he really knows is that he’s a superhero and he’s called The Tick, and I think it works for his character, you don’t always need a definitive origin. He’s also a very fun hero, he’s a very aloof and optimistic man who always looks on the bright side of life. Inspiring with a side order of silly is how I’d describe it. And Serafinowicz is fantastic in the role. Griffin Newman plays Arthur, the neurotic young man at the center of this story. Due to something that happened to him during his childhood, he’s a very nervous person and a little bit of a conspiracy nut. But we see him go through an interesting arc in the show after he meets The Tick and starts investigating The Terror with him. And Newman is great in the role. Then we have Valorie Curry as Dot, Arthur’s sister. She’s may look small and frail, but she’s actually quite tough and is doing everything to help her brother lead a normal life. And Curry is really good in the role. Then we have Scott Speiser as Overkill, a very grim and violent mercenary that Tick and Arthur run into during their adventure. He makes for an interesting contrast within this generally silly story, making for some very enjoyable scenes. And Speiser is really good in the role. Then we have Jackie Earle Haley as The Terror, the main villain of this story. The best way I could describe him is that he’s a little bit like Aku from “Samurai Jack”. A menacing and capable villain that also has a fun and enjoyable personality, making him stand out among all the villains in movies and TV. And Haley is great in the role. The final person I’m going mildly in-depth with is Yara Martinez as Ms. Lint, the henchwoman of The Terror. She’s got lightning powers, and that’s all I’m gonna say because her story and other personality traits are better left experienced. And Martinez is really good in the role. We also get some supporting work from people like Devin Ratray, Alan Tudyk, Brendan Hines, François Chau, Townsend Coleman, Michael Cerveris, John Pirkis, and many more. All doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Chris Bacon, and it was damn good. It’s fun and jazzy at times, but at other times it’s fairly serious and sounds more like something you’d hear in a typical superhero action movie. But I feel like all the music works quite well here, as it often elevates the show in certain ways. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout and they work quite well too.

Based on a comic series by Ben Edlund, this show was created by… Ben Edlund? Yeah, he made a show out of his own comic… not gonna lie, I think that’s kinda cool. Anyway, he also got help with writing and directing from a whole bunch of people. And I have to say that it all works out marvelously. The direction is fun and fast-paced, which means there’s never a dull moment, even when they slow down for character stuff. And the action scenes are fun too. Sure, they’re not the most epic or overly choreographed things, but they’re pretty fun to watch. Admittedly there are some visual effects in this show that look a bit corny, but I think it kind of works for this since they’re not taking it as seriously as a lot of other superhero things. And since this is a comedy, let’s talk about the humor. It’s fucking hilarious, I laughed quite a lot throughout this. And I’m not just talking about simple chuckles, there were a lot of loud laughs coming from me throughout the season, which is rare for me to find these days.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“The Tick” is a ton of fun and is also one of the best superhero shows available right now. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/action/comedy. Time for my final score. *SPOON!*. My final score for “The Tick” season 1 is a 9,88/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Tick” season 1 is now completed.

This show is so refreshing.

Movie Review: Mute (2018)

I’ve been looking forward to this movie for quite a long time. The director is one whose movies I’ve enjoyed quite a bit, so a new movie from him is something I of course was hyped about. And now it’s finally out, and I have now seen it. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mute”.

Berlin, 40 years from now. Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) is a mute bartender living a seemingly happy life. But after his girlfriend disappears, he goes on a mission to find out what happened to her, which leads him down the seedy Berlin underground. So is this plot any good? Parts of it are. The problem(s) with this plot is how tonally inconsistent it is. Because at first it seems like it’s just gonna be an emotional and gritty character drama, but then it throws in  bunch of more lighthearted and almost silly scenes featuring a pair of surgeons (Paul Rudd & Justin Theroux) as they go about their lives. Yes, the surgeon stuff is important to the plot, but it’s so tonally different to Leo’s quest. The pacing is also inconsistent. At times it moves at an acceptably slow-ish pace, but then there are times where some unnecessary stuff happens that pulls the pace to a bit of a crawl. Really, the best word I can use to describe the plot of “Mute” is inconsistent. Not necessarily bad (though some bits aren’t that great), just very inconsistent.

The characters in this are (you guessed it) inconsistent. Alexander Skarsgård plays Leo, the mute bartender at the center of this story. He’s clearly a damaged person, and seeing him go through his journey is compelling as he’s a fairly interesting character. I’m also really impressed by Skarsgård’s performance, because he has to convey so much emotion without being able to utter a single word… and the dude kills it in the role. Paul Rudd plays Cactus Bill, one of the two surgeons that are a large part of this story. He’s a dickhead, but he also seem to have some morals (mainly relating to his daughter), so he’s somewhat grounded (even if I don’t always like the character). And Rudd is good in the role. Then we have Justin Theroux as Duck Teddington (best name ever?), the other surgeon. He’s a bit of a hippie that we learn some interesting stuff about through the movie. And he’s one of the reasons for the “tonally inconsistent” things I mentioned before. Theroux is good in the role. Then we get supporting performances in the movie from people like Noel Clarke, Rob Kazinsky, Dominic Monaghan, Seyneb Saleh, Florence Kasumba, and more, most doing a good job (though the characters could use some more work).

The score for the movie was composed by Clint Mansell, and now we finally have something that I can give some high praise to! His score here does take some cues from “Blade Runer” (and a few from “Moon”), but it does enough unique stuff to stand out in a crowd, and ends up being a fucking great score that elevates a lot of scenes in the movie. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work decently in their respective scenes.

This movie was written and directed by Duncan Jones, and this is very clearly a passion project of his. But did he do well? For the most part, sure. The direction here has a nice flow to it, and I was fairly sucked into it. It also helps that Gary Shaw’s cinematography is really fucking gorgeous, this movie has some really great eye candy in it. And any and all visual effects in this look really good.

This movie just came out, but it has already received some less than stellar reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 6% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 36/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Mute” is a mixed bag. It has a tonally inconsistent plot with some pacing issues and some lackluster character work. But it does also have some good ideas, a few okay characters, great performances, fantastic music, and good direction/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mute” is a 6,31/10. While very flawed, it could still be worth a watch.

My review of “Mute” is now completed.

At least this movie has a really cool easter egg in it…

Movie Review: Mudbound (2017)

This movie is a fairly unique case. Mainly because it’s a Netflix original movie that somehow has gotten multiple Oscar nominations. Not saying that it shouldn’t have gotten the nominations, just saying that it’s very interesting. Anyway, let’s just get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mudbound”.

Mississippi, the 1940s. We follow the McAllans and the Jacksons, two families who live in close proximity to each other in a farmland. And throughout the movie’s runtime we see them have to deal with everything from the struggle of farming, to racism, to adjusting to life after being in a war. What we have here is a very rich and layered plot. Yes, it’s a fairly lengthy movie, and it does move at a fairly slow pace. But there’s enough payoffs and beautiful nuances to the plot here to make it all feel rewarding. The plot here is emotional, engaging, layered, and at times even disturbing. It’s absolutely fantastic.

The characters here are kind of like the plot in that they are quite layered and interesting. I will however not go too in-depth with each and every character as I feel that they’re best left experienced rather than explained… also, I don’t want to make this post too long and rambly. So here’s just quick overviews of the two central families and their most essential members (essential for the plot, that is). First we have the McAllans, featuring the likes of Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, and Jonathan Banks. They’re a white family who’s lived a relatively easy life until they move out to the Mississippi delta, where they have to start their new farm life. And they all get some really interesting development/moments throughout. Then we have the Jacksons, featuring Mary J. Blige, Jason Mitchell, and Rob Morgan. They’re a black family that kind of has to live with the McAllans, which of course leads to some solid drama throughout. And the Jacksons are an interesting bunch of characters. I will now also say that all the actors in this movie are running on all cylinders, there’s no weak link within the cast, they are all absolutely fantastic in the movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Tamar-Kali, and had I not done that research I would’ve just assumed that the score was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. The score here is at times reminiscent of the score from “The Assassination of Jesse James” in that it takes a dark, emotionally charged, and even kind of eerie. But it still has a very unique sound and it’s just overall great. And before you ask, the song “Mighty River” by Mary J. Blige is fucking great.

Based on a novel by Hillary Jordan, “Mudbound” was directed by Dee Rees who I think did a great job. Her direction is sweeping and confident, at times feeling like a lot of old school dramas while still feeling new and unique. I also want to talk about Rachel Morrison’s cinematography for a second, because it is fucking amazing. There were a good amount of shots in this movie that made my jaw drop. What’s also cool about it is that none of the shots felt like a “just there to be pretty” type of shot, all of the shots had a purpose while also being pure eye candy. Speaking of images, there’s some disturbing imagery at a couple points in this movie… just thought I’d give you that warning in case you’re a bit sensitive… I don’t judge.

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 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. As previously mentioned, this movie has been nominated for multiple Oscars. Four of them actually, in the categories of Best supporting actress (Blige), Best adapted screenplay, Best cinematography, and Best original song.

“Mudbound” is a big and sweeping drama that shows that Netflix isn’t playing around. It has a fantastic plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic direction/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mudbound” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mudbound” is now completed.

I got nothing to put here. This isn’t the kind of movie you joke about afterwards.

Movie Review: The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Can we just take a second to talk about how this movie just came out of fucking nowhere? We’ve gotten a few tiny details about it for a while, but we knew jack shit about it. Then last night during the Super Bowl a teaser for it was released that said “Hey, this movie is getting released on Netflix right after the game”. That is unprecedented in the modern film industry. It’s fucking insane. Anyway, here’s a review of the movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Cloverfield Paradox”.

The earth is going through a bit of an energy crisis, so a group of scientists work on a space station to try to solve it. But when they test out a device intended on solving it, they accidentally seem to mess with space-time, which means they have to face whatever consequences that come from their actions. So now we have our space-thriller. And is it any good? I’ll give it this, I was never bored of the plot in any way here. My problem is that the space-thriller here, while having some interesting ideas going on, never goes all-out on them and just comes off as a bit undercooked and bland. Then we have the “Cloverfield” part of the title, and this movie is somehow trying to connect all the movies in the Cloverfranchise, and it doesn’t always make sense that way. So overall here we have a messy plot that is undercooked and bland. The space-thriller side of the plot is kind of fun at times, but the entire thing is messy.

The characters here are a bit uninteresting. If you wanted me to go in-depth with them, then I couldn’t do that. I don’t know enough to do that. The only one we get some idea about is Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character, and even that is a little too weak to fully care. But I can at least say that the cast here is really solid, and they all do quite well (some better than others). Other than Mbatha-Raw, we also have people like Daniel Brühl, David Oyelowo, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, John Ortiz, and Roger Davies, all doing well in their roles.

Like with “10 Cloverfield Lane”, the score for this movie was composed by Bear McCreary, and it’s good… almost too good. It’s really exciting and overall very well composed, and somehow always outshines the scenes that feature it (hence why I called it “too good”). Sure, at times it does kind of succeed in making some moments/scenes more exciting and slightly tense. Good music, doesn’t always fit.

This movie was directed by Julius Onah and I think he did an okay job. Again, when it’s just the contained space-thriller the movie can be pretty fun, even if it doesn’t always work in a narrative way. But he does capture the feel of isolation quite well, making me feel a bit more interested in what’s going on. Though there’s an overall lack of actual tension. And the scares aren’t really scary. Mildly creative, but not scary. The cinematography is good, and the visual effects and sets looks fantastic. There’s good stuff here.

This movie just came out, so it doesn’t have too much data on my usual sites (at the time of writing). But on Rotten Tomatoes it has a 13% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 36/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“The Cloverfield Paradox” is a heavily flawed movie, but it does still have some fun to it. The plot is messy, the characters uninteresting, the performances are great, the music is good, and the direction/cinematography/effects and such is good. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Cloverfield Paradox” is a 6,55/10. So while it’s far from great, I’d still say that it could be worth watching.

My review of “The Cloverfield Paradox” is now completed.

I’m still excited in seeing what the Cloverfranchise could bring next.

Series Review: Altered Carbon – Season 1 (2018)

So it’s a new sci-fi series? From Netflix? Sign me up!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Altered Carbon” season 1.

In the future people have found a way to sort of cheat death by transferring their consciousness from one body to another. Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) is a man who gets to experience this as he’s brought back to life in a new body. And soon he’s hired to solve the murder of a very wealthy businessman (James Purefoy). And as Kovacs begins investigating this murder he soon notices just how deep and twisty this whole thing gets. So now we have our cyberpunk story. And is it any good? Yeah, it really is. Not only is it a complex whodunnit with plenty of twists and turns, but it’s also a journey of identity and life. I mean, with people more or less being able to cheat death, it’s got to lead to some interesting questions. And these explorations are quite interesting, and meshes quite well with this cerebral murder mystery. The only flaw I have with it is that it can get a little bit meander-y at times. For the most part it has a good focus on what the hell it’s doing, but there are times where the pacing meandered a bit too much. Luckily these meander-y bits aren’t too frequent, so it doesn’t kill it to much for me. So overall this is a really solid plot.

The characters here are layered, flawed, damaged, and just overall quite interesting. Joel Kinnaman plays Takeshi Kovacs, the cool guy at the center of this story. We learn quite a lot about Kovacs and his backstory throughout the season, and we see him get some decent development as it moves forward. And Kinnaman is great in the role. Martha Higareda plays Kristin Ortega, a cop that Kovacs runs into throughout the season. She’s a tough, take-no-nonsense kind of character that still shows a fair bit of vulnerability throughout, adding to her layers. And Higareda is really good in the role. Then we have James Purefoy as Laurens Bancroft, the very wealthy businessman whose murder Kovacs has to solve. And I hear you asking “How could Purefoy get any acting/character development if he’s dead?”. Simple: His consciousness got put in a new body. He is the one that hired Kovacs to solve his murder. This isn’t a spoiler, it’s something you learn very early in the first episode. Either way, his character is slightly weird and seems a bit shady and is just an interesting addition to the cast. And Purefoy is good in the role. Then we have Ato Essandoh as Vernon Elliot, a man that Kovacs runs into throughout the plot (and kind of starts working with). He’s damaged and has some things in his past that clearly trouble him, but he isn’t some broody and overly serious character, he feels fairly realistic. And Essandoh is great in the role. And the final one I want to go slightly in-depth with is Chris Conner as Poe. Poe is the manager of the hotel that Kovacs stays at throughout the season. While he is intended as a slightly less serious character than the others (often having a lot of funny moments), he still works well dramatically speaking. And Conner is really good in the role. As for the other characters in the show, they are interesting in some way, but I don’t wanna ruin it for you. But I can say that we get some really good supporting work from people like Kristin Lehman, Hiro Kanagawa, Antonio Marziale, Tamara Taylor, Adam Busch, Matt Frewer, Cliff Chamberlain, Will Yun Lee, and many more.

The score for “Altered Carbon” was composed by Jeff Russo, the man who also did the music for “Fargo” and “Legion” (two awesome shows). And once again he has killed it with the music. Sure, it clearly takes inspiration from “Blade Runner” (which we’ll get back to in a bit), but it still does enough differently to feel fresh. It’s tense, emotional, and just overall great. There are also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the season and they work quite well within their scenes, improving said scenes quite a bit. So yeah… this show has good music.

Based on a novel by Richard K. Morgan, this show was created by Laeta Kalogridis and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. And in terms of direction this show is excellent. The direction here is stylish and sweeping, but still tight and tense. And now we get to the bit that I alluded to before… visually speaking this has a lot of similarities to “Blade Runner”. At least when we see the skyline or follow the characters on the streets, it all looks a lot like Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic. That said, I’m not bothered by it since that seems to be the general aesthetic of cyberpunk fiction. And I just generally like it… it shows that a lot of time and love went into crafting this show. That and an obvious fuckload of money. You can really tell that Netflix went balls out with the budget, wanting to make this as extravagant as possible. The props, sets, and CGI are all absolutely fantastic. My breath was taken away at a lot of the visuals here. And the action scenes in this are all really good. They’re tense, badass, and really well choreographed. From shootouts, to melee combat, to a chase or two… the action here is really good. Oh, and violent… really violent… many gallons of blood. So if you’re squeamish you might have have a hard time watching this. There’s also a lot of nudity. So if you hate naked people, don’t watch this. But yeah, this show has some good production value.

The show just came out, but it has already pretty good reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,9/10.

“Altered Carbon” isn’t for everyone, but I sure as shit liked it. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography/action/effects. Sure, the pace meanders a little bit at times, but it’s not too bad. Time for my final score. *Pew*. My final score for “Altered Carbon” season 1 is a 9,52/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Altered Carbon” season 1 is now completed.

“Blade Runner? Never heard of it!”

Series Review: Stranger Things – Season 2 (2017)

The Month of Spooks, still going strong! And on the plate today we have the second season of last year’s smash hit Netflix series. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Stranger Things” season 2.

It’s 1984, one year has passed since the horrifying events that transpired in Hawkins, Indiana. And ever since he’d been rescued from the Upside Down, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) ihas been experiencing a series of terrifying visions. And we soon find out that a new threat in looming over the sleepy little town, ready to take over. And that’s just the main plot here, we do get several sub-plots as well. This is an ambitious narrative, both in making the monstrous threat feel bigger, and in just expanding this world that we’ve gotten to know. And while that is a risky move for any show, since the multiple sub-plots aspect can tangle itself up and become convoluted, I feel like “Stranger Things” pulls it off nicely. You have the tension of the monster plot, you have the drama of finding out more about Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), you have the kids meeting this new girl (Sadie Sink) that comes to town, you have the struggles of Nancy, Jonathan, and Steve (Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery)… what I’m trying to say is that there’s a metric buttload of threads here, and they never feel like they tangle into a mess. It’s a solid plot filled with good drama, mystery, and charm.

The characters in “Stranger Things” are likable, layered, and endlessly interesting. Let’s start with Will Byers, played by Noah Schnapp, because he is more or less the focus of this season. Sure, he’s safe(ish) from the Upside Down, but he’s experiencing these horrifying/traumatic visions, putting him in a more vulnerable position. And Schnapp is great in the role. Then we have Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, the pseudo-leader of this group of friends. Seeing him trying to cope after his friend/love Eleven has been out of his life is actually a bit heartbreaking, but he’s not some mopey idiot about it, keeping him interesting. And Wolfhard is great in the role. Then let’s go with David Harbour who once again plays police chief Jim Hopper. He’s still a stern man with his heart in the right place. Hopper was my fave last season and he still might be. So yeah, Harbour is great in the role. Gaten Matarazzo returns as Dustin, the funny and slightly naive little man with the colorful hat. Like I said, he’s a bit naive, but he’s not stupid. He’s also the funniest of the four main kids. And Matarazzo is great in the role. Caleb McLaughlin returns as Lucas, the slightly more serious one in the group. And McLaughlin is great in the role. Then we have Winona Ryder once again as Joyce, mother of Will, and slightly neurotic person. However, her being a bit nervous like that is understandable after everything that happened last season. But she seems to have found a decent system for her life… until shit starts getting real again, that is. And Ryder is great in the role. Natalia Dyer returns as Nancy and she’s really good. Charlie Heaton returns as Jonathan, and he’s great in the role. Joe Keery is back as Steve, and he’s great in the role. Millie Bobby Brown returns as Eleven, and she’s great in the role. Right, returning faces done, now for some newbies. We get Sean Astin as Bob, Joyce’s new boyfriend. He’s a bit of a dork, but he’s a good person and he does everything to try to be a good pseudo-father for the Byers boys. And Astin is really good in the role. Sadie Sink plays Max, the new girl in town with a seemingly troubled home life. She meets the boys and more or less starts befriending them. And Sink is great in the role. Then we have Dacre Montgomery as Billy, a new guy in town who is a big asshole bully. And while he doesn’t have much of an arc, Montgomery is really in the role. And finally, we have Paul Reiser as a doctor who is likable and kind, but seems to have some shady shit going on. And Reiser is great in the role. Overall, this has great characters and the performances are great.

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein returned to do the score for this season, and once again they killed it. The synth-heavy sounds perfectly capture the era and tone, and does even manage to create some decent tension at times. Really, it’s more of the good synth-y stuff, not much else I can say. And since this is set in the 80s, we of course get some really awesome licensed songs throughout from not only the 80s, but also 60s and 70s… it’s really just an awesome soundtrack that made me very happy. Overall, great music.

The show was created by the Duffer brothers, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. And it’s just overall very well handled. The directing is tense, fun, and filled with energy. And Tod Campbell’s cinematography is of course absolutely stunning. And the visual effects in the show look great too. There’s also plenty of comedy in this show, and I thought it was all really funny. I also enjoy that it never overshadows the drama/Lovecraftian sci-fi, but just is another part of the world that comes into play every now and then.

This show/season just came out but has already been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,9/10 and is ranked #37 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Stranger Things” season 2 is pretty awesome. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography/writing. Time for my final score. *Rawr*. My review of “Stranger Things” season 2 is a 9,86/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Stranger Things” season 2 is now completed.

Awesome.

Series Review: Mindhunter – Season 1 (2017)

I know what you’re thinking. “Markus, you said that October was about spooky shit, and maybe some trailers and Thor!”, and that is true. However, sometimes an idiot like me has to make exceptions. Plus, this could technically count as Month of Spooks stuff… ’cause serial killers are scary.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mindhunter” season 1.

Set in 1979, “Mindhunter” follows FBI agent Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) as he investigates various murder cases while also developing a system for psychologically analyzing criminals. So now we have our drama plot. And is it any good? Yeah. Seeing the early stages of criminal psychology and how it develops is fascinating, and the way they use it to investigate these horrible crimes is quite riveting. The pace here is deliberately slow as a tortoise, which will turn some people off, but I thought it worked quite well for the show. But the plot isn’t just the development of the criminal profiling system, it is also an engaging character-drama. Seeing how these characters react to all the shit going on and how it affects their lives is quite riveting. So yeah, it’s a solid plot.

As you probably could understand from the end of the previous paragraph, the characters here are all quite interesting and engaging. It’s also pretty refreshing to have a cast where I didn’t know any of the main players. I recognized a couple of the supporting people, but for the most part I knew no one. Jonathan Groff plays Holden Ford, the young man who we follow for the majority of the show. He’s slightly naive, but means well and shows great intelligence. And Groff is really good in the role. Holt McCallany plays Bill Tench, Ford’s colleague/partner. A slightly stern family man, Tench often get slightly annoyed at Ford’s plans and action, but understands that they can be important. And McCallany is great in the role. Anna Torv plays Wendy Carr, a consultant who gets brought in to help Ford and Tench in their work. She’s determined to get shit done, and she’s an interesting part of the team. And Torv is great in the role. Hannah Gross plays Debbie, a woman that Ford meets and starts a relationship with. She’s sassy, she’s smart, and she’s a nice foil for Ford. And Gross is really good in the role. The entire cast does a solid job here.

The score for the show was composed by Jason Hill and it was great. It was dark and quite chilling, reminiscent of the movie scores by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross. It often helped elevate certain scenes, making them feel a little eerie and slightly uncomfortable. There were also licensed tracks used throughout the show and they were used pretty well.

This show was created by Joe Penhall, and directed by three people. The directors are Asif Kapadia, Tobias Lindholm, Andrew Douglas, and David fucking Fincher. And yes, the only reason why I listed all of them was for that dramatic effect on Fincher. And even though he only helmed four of the ten episodes, all of them feel very Fincher-esque. Cinematic, cold, steady, confident, it just oozes of David Fincher. So yeah, it is incredibly well directed. This show is also R-rated. Cursing, nudity, sex, some violence. Sure, it’s not “Game of Thrones” levels of R-rated, but it still has some stuff that makes it inappropriate for younger audiences. Also, this show was produced by Charlize Theron… not trying to make a point, just think that’s pretty cool.

This show just came out but has already been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,2/10 (but will most likely drop in the near future).

“Mindhunter” is great… don’t know what else I can say. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mindhunter” season 1 is a 9,65/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

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

Month of Spooks, not Month of Spooks… Killers are scary, Month of Spooks.