Showing posts with label netflix. Show all posts
Showing posts with label netflix. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Watch on Netflix: Bird Box (2018)


2018 has given us quite a few reasons to believe that women can do more in Hollywood than what they’ve been regulated to. Similar to films released earlier this year such as science-fiction flick Annihilation or romantic-comedy Crazy Rich Asians, the latest apocalyptic adaptation Bird Box is another example of an unexpected film telling a different story than the ones we’re always used to: female roles can be complex, actresses don’t have to stick a certain genre, and men can be more than  the only strong character.

Based on the book by Josh Mallerman, a mysterious virus triggers people into killing themselves sparking an international apocalypse. Mallory, an artistic hermit who's not prepared to give birth to her child let alone the end of the world, must fight to step outside of her shell in order to survive. Forced to live alongside fellow survivors – an Army vet Tom (Trevant Rhodes), a MAGA conspiratorial Douglas (John Malkovich), a young and naive pregnant woman Olympia (Danielle Macdonald) - she has to remain guarded enough to stay alive but also not lose hope in humanity.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Watch On Netflix: Set It Up (2018)

For the past several years, romantic comedies haven't flourished like they used to. Gone are the days where one quirky love story after another swept us off our feet and dominated the box office. While The Big Sick and Love, Simon have recently become beloved favorites, regular hits seem few and far between. After significant word-of-mouth through social media, there might be some hope left for the ol' harmless genre with Netflix's Set It Up

Two hardworking assistants Harper and Charlie (Zoey Deutch and Glenn Powell, respectively) are anxious to live a normal life outside of the office and enjoy more free time to themselves. To get a much-needed break and reconnect with neglected aspirations/relationships, they decide to secretly set up their bosses Kristen (Lucy Liu) and Rick (Taye Diggs) for a quick hook-up that might just become the real deal.

Fascinatingly, Set It Up is not entirely different than most 'chick flicks' you'd find on the Hallmark channel - which isn't an insult to Netflix's surprise hit at all. Like all rom-coms, the story is a bit of a fairy-tale and more happy-go-lucky than real life fails to be; there's cutesy montages, sappy quotes about what it means to fall in love, a dance-party-Spotify-worthy songlist. Drawing on elements of what's worked in the past for the genre - heartwarming characters, the right cast, and a joyful setting - director Claire Scanlon and writer by Katie Silberman revive the rom-com wheel to create a funny and light-hearted movie night and a big hit online.

Where the movie truly shines is the leads. Zoey Deutch charms the hell out of her role as Harper, an awkward, dorky 'insert foot into mouth' aspiring writer who's become too comfortable filling out her boss's requests in order to take a leap of faith and combine her love of words and sports into a different career. (Something I relate with all too well, fyi). Glen Powell is the perfect counterpart as Charlie, a likeable guy-next-door who puts up with his hotshot boss in order to be promoted and live the high-life, but in getting everything he wants, he might inadvertently fall down the same loveless path Rick's on. As a pair they truly steal the show, wonderfully alienating each other until they fall in love as we fall in love with them.

As for Harper and Charlies' bosses, the script for both Kristen and Rick isn't horrible but could be a bit stronger. There's simply more to love about Lucy Liu's performance and wardrobe than Taye Diggs's. The former's boss-from-hell is fierce, independent, and demanding yet as down-to-earth-as possible, while the latter's quite one-sided and doesn't put his charisma to good use. Though Diggs is typically wonderful in everything he does, his character is less of a perfectionist womanizer with a heart of gold underneath, and more of a spoiled tantrum-thrower with shades of decency thrown in. While the rest of the cast has a sense of humor tailored to them (Harper's sarcastic/clever, Charlie's dry, Kristen's sharp), Rick's one-liners are so random they'll require a double-take. Additionally, Kristen/Rick's initial run-in can only be described as awkward, in comparison to the rest of the movie that's quite subtle and wholesome. While Rick's faults goes to the writing more than the actor, everyone blends together quite smoothly; Liu has a lot more to work with here (she might even get her own sequel), but with Diggs, they manage to exude 'will-they-or-won't-they' chemistry as well as Deutch and Powell.

The most refreshing aspect about Set It Up might be how it avoids falling into tropes with its characters, especially its heroine. The script, and Deutch, have a great time with Harper as a hard-working and dorky-to-the-max protagonist, and also showing that she hasn't had a lot of romantic partners but that doesn't necessarily define. Charlie, who thinks he's quite the ladies man, doesn't try to change her personality or looks to improve her life. Their relationship starts out as strangers who want the same things, which develops into a relateable friendship and something more. There's no man-boys forcing women to be something they're not (looking at you Judd Apatow) or a girl being forced to choose between work and love (looking at you...every other rom-com ever); all of the characters are on equal playing fields. As Netflix churns out feel-good flicks left and right, this one's reminiscent of traditional romantic movies that are thoroughly missed.

Set It Up might not be the most original romantic comedy, but sometimes that's the best kind of escape; girl and boy meet; for the most part get along and wear their 'friendship blinders' until they discover what they've been missing: each other. The movie has a lot to love just the way it is. With a great cast and delightful setting, it's genuinely worth a watch or two.

Have you seen Set It Up? What did you think?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Stranger Things Artwork

Stranger Things Artwork
Happy October! It's so exciting that Halloween is just around the corner. What better way to kick off this spooktacular month than with artwork from the hit series Stranger Things. Inspired by the nostalgic eighties and eclectic characters of Hawkins, Indiana, this collection of artwork hails from every corner of the web, especially the upside-down. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Season Review: Stranger Things

Netflix Stranger Things season review
Plucking similar children from The Goonies and setting them into a conspiracy within The X-Files and E.T., Netflix's series Stranger Things is out of this world.

When twelve-year-old Will Byer mysteriously vanishes, his pals try to find him by putting their D&D knowledge, walkie talkies, and bicycles to the test. As Will's mother and the chief of police start their own investigations, a mysterious girl Eleven with supernatural powers may hold the answers about weird disturbances occurring in their small town.

While the show remarkably weaves together laughs and scares into the backdrop of an eighties sci-fi quest, the cast steals the show. To start with the kids as Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) who are Will's closest friends are refreshingly natural. It's been a while since I felt performances by child actors were animated as well as complex. The boys are so buoyant and full of personality, even if their characters. With Will out of the show 90% of the time, the actor/characters' bond restores the purest connection friends share: the loyalty, hope and trust it takes to be apart of a pack.

Distinguishing one role over another is a difficult task. Every actor is an essential part of the show, but when Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven enters the scene, hold onto your eggos! She is someone of a very few words and actions speak much louder. Her character's abilities make her powerful and mystifying, and Brown brings a true humanity as a secret weapon, eliciting a fierce and tender performance.

In a true feat of meta-casting, Winona Ryder is on hand as Will's mother Joyce. Though the notable actress didn't go into an official retirement, the eighties icon 'comes back' with a striking perseverance. As a hardworking outsider of their small town, Joyce becomes increasingly unraveled and determined to find her son. Managing the difficult task of being aware how family and strangers see her desperation, Ryder acts a fine line between fragility and unshakable determination. Some critics have written her performance as hysterical, but she undoubtedly is another bad-ass mama bear whose protective nature is as fierce as it is warm and endearing. Seeing Ryder again in any capacity is pure joy, and she doesn't disappoint here.

I would say the series is a character-led adventure with enough creepy atmospheric elements to keep their quest interesting as well as entertaining. Series creators The Duffer brothers found a magical recipe to create the hit of the summer: write characters inspired by Steven Spielberg's young-adult catalog who have big hearts and a bigger sense of wonder, and cast them in a suspenseful Stephen King-esque world. Their binge-worthy experiment oozes with scares, delights with nostalgia and provokes epic feels.

Perhaps their most impressive achievement is how the series lives as a tribute to the eighties pop culture the brothers loved growing up. Although the Duffers make a plethora of references of movies from yesteryear, their influences aren't flat and flashy. The attention to detail towards the cast, costume, set, music and cinematography feel like something straight out of the eighties instead of a one-dimensional homage. For some, the creators might've gone overboard. For someone like me who is mildly aware of iconic science-fiction and horror movies, the show balances old and new to avoid being boxed in by certain film elements it mirrors.

Stranger Things is a welcoming change from a pretty slumber summer within television, and even newly released movies. The series' eight episodes play out almost exactly as one epic vintage blockbuster and even eight individual ones. If you haven't watched it yet - curl up under some blankets. Be prepared to laugh, get scared, and believe the hype. Trust me. Friends don't lie.
Rating: ★★★
Have you watched Stranger Things? What are your thoughts?