Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review

the-last-jedi-posterSTAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (2018)

Directed by Rian Johnson

Written by Rian Johnson & George Lucas

Starring Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega & Kelly Marie Tran

Synopsis (IMDb): “Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.”

It took a while to get my head around this one. And I’m still not sure I should do this review without seeing The Last Jedi once more. But as I don’t, at the moment, have a chance to see it, I’ll try my best to give my opinion. As always, this will be mostly spoiler free review. I have to add some pics to make my point.

As it is usually easiest to me to see films through Oscar categories, I’ll take a look at The Last Jedi piece by piece.

First of all, The Last Jedi looks good. I, especially, adored the production design. And I loved the colour scheme. Those bold colours of red, black and white. They just do it for me everytime. And within this story they worked wonders. Though some might think they’re too into your face. But I like!

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I also liked sounds and visual effects of course and I believe the film should be nominated for Oscars on those categories. As well as the production design, it just stands out. Music is also guaranteed John Williams but nothing  we haven’t heard before because we already got to know those fantastic new themes for Rey and Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. None of the new stuff caught my ear the way I would remember it now, eight days later after seeing the film.

When it comes to acting, I have no complaints, I think everyone has come to their own. Daisy Ridley is Rey, Adam Driver is superb in picturing tormented soul of Kylo Ren and I appreciated a lot that the plot went his way much more than in TFA. Carrie Fisher, of course, has always been the perfect princess soldier although in the last two installments she’s definitely the queen. And Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker has never been this good. Or maybe he has and I just didn’t appreciate his younger, whiny self. Though, he’s still whining. But acting is great and I liked a lot Luke’s story. Worked for me.

I also enjoyed the diversity and having more female characters, especially Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, but to be honest, there were way too many characters on the board. And I didn’t care what happened to them despite them having some nice scenes. But I would love to see more of Oscar Isaac’s Poe. Isaac is hugely talented actor and I somehow feel that he’s being wasted here. Plus I like his rebelliousness almost as much as I loved Han Solo back in the day. What’s not to like in the bad boy who saves the day? Thankfully we have Kylo Ren to keep that bad boy attitude up. Pity that in the same timewe also have so, so many wasted characters. Almost including John Boyega’s Finn. But he had nice chemistry with Rose despite the fact that story almost messed it all up.

Btw, I love the fact that Chewbacca actor of today is Finnish.

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There’s been A LOT of complaints of The Last Jedi not being right kind of Star Wars film. And I disagree and agree at the same time. I was thoroughly entertained and watch the most of the film from the edge of my seat. And marveling some amazing shots, made probably by computer but who cares when your eyes rest on them. I especially liked the ending, it felt and looked great. Cinematography worked nicely together with set and visual effects. As well as action were beautiful, including that out of reality (duh!) fight with light sabers and other cool weapons. Not to mention cool people.

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But the plot. I don’t know. Too much of everything, I guess? Something was off but I can’t really point out what. Too many characters, like I said, but maybe too many story-lines too? And I didn’t really get Rey’s journey. Maybe I’ll get answers in the next episode. I sure hope so at least. And I hope they get rid of those, what they were called, porgs? Yeah, they’re cute but nothing else. Too much of everything. That was the main problem for me. But The Last Jedi is not a bad movie. Not even near. But it’s not The Empire Strikes Back. And it’s not even The Force Awakens but I am interested to see what happens next.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

 

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Christmas Films #2

Yeah, it’s already December 12th and I’ve watched two Christmas movies. I don’t really want to watch more of them, especially because Netflix has amazingly bad options here in Finland right now. Like really bad. They used to have better selection. Now it’s just sad. But here goes nothing…

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A CHRISTMAS PRINCE (2017)

Directed by Alex Zamm
Written by Karen Schaler & Nathan Atkins
Starring Rose McIver, Ben Lamb & Honor Kneafsey

Synopsis (IMDb): “When a reporter goes undercover as a tutor to get the inside scoop on a playboy prince, she gets tangled in some royal intrigue and ends up finding love – but will she be able to keep up her lie?”

A Christmas Prince is made to Netflix. So it is also so-called TV movie. And it feels like one from tip to toe but it is still well done. It is cheesy, intentionally, but at the same time it manages to level with it. It is kind of hard to explain but this movie is made tongue in cheek and it has found its balance. Weird, huh? But somehow it manages to do it.

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Usually I’m a huge hater of made for TV films. I loathe them. My mum makes me watch them if I’m home for Christmas that happens quite rarely these days. For some reason she thinks that Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy or Game of Thrones are not suitable for Christmas. So she forces everyone to watch these horrid TV movies. Talking about torture… Anyhow, A Christmas Prince is surprisingly tolerable TV movie even when it has all the clichés or maybe because of that. It has cheesy music, beautiful studio-made scenery, royals, kissing in the snow and other “fun” snow activities, horses, betrayal, the script from “how to write a story 101 by Aristotle” and even snow in New York. Oh, and a rebellious journalist lady. EVERYTHING you can imagine. But it’s ok.

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Despite the fact that A Christmas Prince is total bullsh*t, it actually is watchable. Didn’t even feel bad, on the contrary, it made it laugh with it and at it. The script could be worse and the actors, they could be a lot worse. I actually though they make quite nice job with the story like that. Honor Kneafsey is not as annoying as kids in these kinds of films usually are, Ben Lamb as the Prince is genuinely charming while under utterly ugly make-up and I think Rose McIver can balance it between being cute and funny. I just realised that she’s in the main role in iZombie and has done some nice telly including Once Upon a Time and Masters of Sex. She’s good.

In conclusion, if you want to watch corny Christmas movie, this one is not the bad choice. I liked it.

Stars: *** (out of 5)

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A WISH FOR CHRISTMAS (2016)

Directed by Christie Will Wolf
Written by Helen Frost & Don McLeod
Starring Lacey Chabert & Paul Greene

Synopsis: “Sara Thomas is the type of woman who prefers to sit on the sidelines at work, but when her big idea for a Christmas initiative is stolen, she makes a wish to Santa that she’ll finally have the courage to stand up for herself. Santa grants her wish, but only gives her 48 hours. As the clock ticks, Sara will discover how to channel the Christmas magic and speak her mind all on her own.”

A Wish for Christmas is made for Hallmark. And it’s the kind of that makes you want to kill yourself. But I actually finished watching it regardless of this all the time mounting nausea. I kind of felt somehow weirdly good after finishing it but I’m not sure if it was because I managed to do something like it or because it had something. No, it must be the first. Because no one should watch this one. Just don’t.

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The script is dreadful. Well, at the beginning I thought for about 15 minutes that it might actually work but no, it didn’t. And the more time goes by, the more horrible it gets. Actors are not good. No. Hmm, I didn’t hate all of them though, so sometimes watching were tolerable. Oh, and what is the worst; that dolly shot when that really, really important, magical thing happens to our main character. Everytime there’s a dolly shot with that same music. Just to make it sure that you understand what is happening right now.

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I gave this one more half a star because I do feel bad for Lacey Chabert, I used to like her in Party of Five. And Mean Girls too. But really; DO NOT watch this. Except if you’ve been naughty and you need to punish yourself.

Stars *½

 

The Best Picture Reviews: Arrival & Manchester by the Sea

2017oscarsYes, I’ve been absent again for a while but let’s get back to that later. It’s the Oscars week and I’m so behind. Here are my thoughts on the first two best picture nominees that I saw. And what are their chances on Sunday evening.

arrivalposterARRIVAL (2016)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Eric Heisserer
Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner & Forest Whitaker

Denis Villeneuve’s last two films I liked a lot. His style is extraordinary and in Arrival it is on its full potential. Arrival is astonishing. I absolutely loved it! It will probably be at least in top-3 of my films of 2017 or if not, this will be helluva year. I think Arrival deserves every praise it gets and then some more.

First of all, Villeneuve obviously is the master here, it’s his vision that shines through. Also the screenplay is spellbinding. I was totally hooked. At some point I had grabbed the seat on front of me (in cinema) and was sitting right on the edge of my own seat without realising that I was doing that, I was so absorbed into the film. And that’s what I talk about when I say it is Villeneuve’s vision. Unbelievable. And to support that there’s beautiful production design, simple but effective.

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Cinematography. Well, of course. If you’ve seen the film, you know how suitable eerie it looks. And editing obviously clearly makes the pace, perfectly. Sometimes dwelling in feeling, sometimes throwing the viewer in the middle of a mess. And again here we can see how cleverly the script is written. The film never lets you off the hook. And it makes you think. And feel. And perhaps, if you think and feel hard enough, understand. It is actually hard to write about it as it is that kind of a film you need to use all your senses and no words would do honour for it.

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What still makes me angry, is that Jóhann Jóhannsson wasn’t eligible for the score because it’s stunning! He is quickly becoming one of my favourite composers if not the one. In Arrival music and sounds are so, so important. And that’s why I really feel that it should win for the sound editing at least and also for mixing.

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It bums me out that Amy Adams wasn’t recognised as she is as good as ever. She’s my favourite actress and I don’t think she’s ever bad and surely she wasn’t here. But thankfully it’s been a very good year for female leads as there were too many to choose from. Adams is the player here, everyone else is just there to make the story go further. Except the aliens. They’re important. And I never complain when I see Mr. Renner on screen.

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So, to sum it up. I would love to see Arrival to win for cinematography, maybe editing, both sounds and as I appreciated its simplicity, also production design. And tie with directing. I think. I still haven’t seen all the nominees (yeah, I know, so late!!!), so it’s hard to say yet plus there was one that I also loved, so…But still, perfection.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

manchesterbythesea

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (2016)

Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
Written by Kenneth Lonergan
Starring Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams & Kyle Chandler

So, I saw these two films in a row and in this order. That might have affected somehow how I viewed Manchester by the Sea. I can’t really say if I’d liked it more if I hadn’t watched Arrival just before it. Or maybe I wouldn’t have liked it as much as I did because I was already in the mood to watch great movies. I don’t know but I know I did like Manchester quite a lot. It was a good cinema day.

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Manchester by the Sea is nominated for six Oscars and will most probably win for the leading role for an actor as Casey Affleck is impressive. It is his show as much it is director-writer Lonergan’s. Affleck is mesmerizing. He does so little but tells so much. All those suppressed feelings are there for the viewer to see and feel. Manchester by the Sea is heartbreakingly sad story of ordinary people. People who are like anyone of us. Besides Affleck, Hedges and especially Williams have earned their nominations. That scene in the movie poster is perhaps the most moving scene in the film and it’s such a showcase for Affleck and Williams; they’re so authentic, so raw, so full of emotion. If Arrival is a story of human kind, Manchester by the Sea is a story of humans.

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Besides acting, Manchester is nominated for the original screenplay, directing and the best picture. It could win for all and I wouldn’t really mind. But I think it will win for the screenplay and it definitely should. I adored it. I loved the way the story was told the way that it just began, like when meeting a new person. And then you get to know them, little by little. You start to understand why they do something, why they say something, why they like or don’t like something. Manchester is like that. At first you are like “who the f is this guy and why he is there” but then, a little by little, you start to understand and sympathize. Life is life and you just have to live it. Also, big points for the ending.

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This has nothing to do with the film but she’s beautiful. From January Elle magazine.

One thing that I didn’t really like was the music, it’s too hard. It annoyed me. But otherwise, beautiful film and sad story about life that I think I will definitely see again. And I’ll be mad if Lonergan won’t win for the screenplay and Affleck for the lead actor, they are THAT good.

Rating: ****½

P.S. 2017 is already better movie year for me (as I’ve seen all nominees this year) than the last year was. Yay for that!

Doctor Strange Review

doctor_strange_posterI should go back to my Oscar predictions but let’s take a look to another Marvel Cinematic Universe movie first.

DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill & based on Marvel comics by Steve Ditko

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams,  Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen & Benedict Wong

Synopsis: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts. (IMDb)

I didn’t know anything about Doctor Strange beforehand. I’m not a fan of comics, I find them kind of silly. I used to find comic films silly as well but Marvel changed it. Since The Avengers I always have high hopes for MCU film and sometimes I’m a bit disappointed (meaning I give a film 8 out of 10 at IMDb) but usually I’m not and Doctor Strange is not exception. It’s a solid film with great visuals, interesting story and well, with that cast, obviously strong performances.

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I kept thinking during Strange that it is quite an achievement from film industry to make these huge blockbusters with actors who have been recently nominated for Oscars or some have even won some like Tilda Swinton in this case. No wonder characters in these kind of films are not bland anymore like they used to be. There is much more depth to them even if scripts are weak. The script of Doctor Strange is probably the simplest thing in it. And for some reason, villains in recent comic movies have been on the weaker side too. And Doctor Strange is no exception. But at least its villains are not black or white. What brings me to the point of Doctor Strange being accused of “white washing”. What? There’s Ejiofor, there’s Wong and there’s a woman as an Ancient One. And internationality more than most of the films.

Marvel Studios Hall H Panel

The best element in Strange is the pace. I was never bored. The story starts right away, you get the feeling who we’re dealing with Dr. Strange and Cumberbatch draws the character perfectly. We see how he deals with others, what kind of a person he is. And we don’t really like him but we get to know him and see him grow and we definitely start to care about him. I also liked a lot of McAdams’ character even though she’s quite on the side. And there are some very, very nice one-liners. As always when it comes to MCU movies.

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In general Doctor Strange is great! It might lose some of its magic (ha haa) when watching it again (and again which I will probably do) and on the first time, I loved it. Is it perfect? No, but it’s entertaining as hell. I recommend. Half of the star in rating is given because I got overly excited because of the first end-credits scene, it sure was the best one so far!

Rating: ****½ (out of 5)

Films of the Week Vol. 12

I’ve been so lazy at watching films. Then again, I’ve been working 7 days in a row and today is one more. But then I have some time off. And the last time I had time off, I watched some TV, read about it here. But during the last week I saw two films; The Hunger Games (again) and a bit newer stuff, Florence Foster Jenkins. Here’s my thoughts on them.

hungergamesposterTHE HUNGER GAMES (2012)

Directed by Gary Ross

Written by Gary Ross, Billy Ray & Suzanne Collins

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley & Lenny Kravitz

Synopsis (IMDb): “Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death”

Yeah, I know, everyone has seen the films already and bla bla bla but as I’ve reviewed three other parts already (here, here and here), then why not do the first one as well. I’ve already mentioned before I liked it, so there’s not much to add but as I still liked it, after seeing it, I don’t know, probably tenth time, I may as well say something about it.

It was a bit surprising that The Hunger Games still works. It was on TV and I watched it “live” with commercial breaks (I know! So weird.) and it took something like three hours but that time flew by. It is that good film. The pace is perfect, the introduction of situation
hot_jennifer_lawrenceis over quickly and in no time Katniss is on her way to the Capitol where they waste no time in introducing more characters and how our heroine works together with others. We even get couple of nice twists and then it’s game time. Even the emotional pace works nicely. So, well done Gary Ross, that’s the way you direct a film based on a youth novel.

And as said 1001 times, Jennifer Lawrence is perfect as Katniss. She’s strong and vulnerable at the same time but she’s also genuine and manipulative. And a spectator can’t be sure of her motives. Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta is no match to her but I’m still totally Team Peeta. He’s still somewhat endearing. And those youngsters from areas one and two actually feel dangerous.

I also like how the film is set, the production design, make-up, costumes and obviously the music are nice too. The film is a bit one-dimensional and goes on a bit too long and some of the actors are wooden but otherwise; no complaints.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (2016)

Directed by Stephen Fears

Written by Nicholas Martin

Starring Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg & Rebecca Ferguson

Synopsis: “The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.”

I have no idea how truthfully Florence Foster Jenkins is told but if it is, it is quite amazing which lengths people would go for their loved ones. That’s beautiful and quite moving.

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First of all, Meryl Streep is still amazing actress. I’m quite sure she again will gain an Oscar nomination for this role. She’s fearless and can, apparently, act anything. I also appreciated Simon Helberg’s work here and I’m so glad he gets recognition from somewhere else too than The Big Bang Theory. And it was refreshing to see Hugh Grant playing something else than single douchebag. I’m not sure how much make-up he has here but he’s old and that’s weird.

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Simon Helberg

I liked the way the film looked, it’s very pretty with all those clothes from 1940s and always fabulous New York and its Carnegie Hall. The film is nicely told, the pace is ok and it made me feel good. But that’s about it. I was a little bit bored, there’s not enough of story to be told, I think, and as the film is not too emotional, it’s a bit bland. I really wanted to like it more but it’s one of those films you will forget you even saw. Streep is great but as she is always, it’s nothing exceptional. Oh, there’s some nice music if you like classical music. There’s not much to say about it. I saw it and I’m quite sure I will never watch it again, it is just not interesting enough. I also wanted to give it 2,5 stars but as everything works, it deserved more.

Rating: *** 

TV of the Week Vol. 4

Vol 4! Really?! Well, I assure you I do watch A LOT more TV (or well, streaming services) than that. But this weekend I had a lot of free time, so I caught up with some of my favourite television.

breakingbadBREAKING BAD (2008-2013)

Created by Vince Gilligan

Starring Bryan Cranston & Aaron Paul

Synopsis (IMDb): “A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family’s future.”

Yes. I know. I’m still watching this. Shocker. I have no idea why I haven’t seen this before. It’s been something like two years or more when I started to watch this but it was a thing that I did with my then-roommate and after we moved apart, I let it be for quite a while. But the last week I finally continued watching this. The problem is that it really affects me oddly deeply and I can watch something like four episodes and then I need to watch something really fluffy and comforting. It’s really weird because I can’t remember any series going so badly under my skin. I don’t know why this one does. Oh no, not true, Hannibal was even worse, I couldn’t watch it at all after few episodes.

Obviously most of you, who read my blog, have seen the series and I also started the fourth season couple of days ago but again I find it difficult to go back to it. But when I do, I enjoy the writing and acting immensely. Especially the writing, it’s so amazing, the pacing is unbelievable. There are people who probably don’t like how it’s told, at points so slowly, that it’s hardly moving and then it hits you hard on the face when it moves so quickly that it almost hurts. But I actually think that is why Breaking Bad was and is so popular. It also e3e520e96df88334d79b5cbed18fbd58helps a lot that all of the players are amazing. Especially Bryan Cranston. But then again, isn’t he always. He is one my favourite actors of all time. And it makes it easier to relate when these people are a lot like us with their problems and especially how they look. Aaron Paul is cute as a bunny but he could be any bad, but so hot, boy from your high school.  Great series and even though I know the ending it is still a pleasure to watch this even though it’s taking its toll on me.

Rating: ****½ (out of 5) (I might give it full five after finishing it.)

DOWNTON ABBEY (2010-2015)

Created by Julian Fellowes

Starring Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Rob James-Collier, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Leslie Nicol, Penelope Wilton & Maggie Smith

Synopsis: “A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 20th Century.”

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I would have never, ever thought that Downton Abbey would be one of those series that I end up loving. Before starting to watch it I assumed it’s a soap. A very lavish and stylish, made with a lot of sterling but still a soap. And yes, maybe it is a bit. No, I can’t say that because that word underestimates Downton Abbey too badly. Although I have to admit that some twists in the plot are straight from soap opera world. But all in all, Downton Abbey is affecting drama with a lot of sugar and spice.

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When I started watching Downton Abbey, I watched four seasons in 10 days or so. That hasn’t happened for a while that I get caught so badly to any series. And what was the most surprising I absolutely fell in love with the characters. And that is where the richness of Downton Abbey lies. Its characters. They’re the heart of the whole thing. Yes, the series downton-abbey-ladieslooks amazing, the music is beautiful, English language is always amazing to listen when spoken so elegantly as here (some might call it snobbishly but I love it!) and as a big England fan, I love the scenery. But without rich and full-bodied characters, Downton would be nothing. It’s been a while since I’ve cared fictional characters this much. Even the ones that I don’t like that much. But Fellowes and co. have managed to make every character a human, a breathing, living, mistake-making human. And you accept them as those, love them despite their flaws.

I’ve been shocked to my core by Downton Abbey, I’ve cried so much, felt despair and love with the characters and lived every moment with them and it felt so good! I’m sad that it’s downtonabbey_mrsvioletlanghamnow over. But I’m glad they wrapped it up before it got sour. Btw, it’s surprisingly funny and big thanks for that goes to Maggie Smith. There is a reason why she’s been honoured because of the role again and again. She’s amazing.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

SCREAM season 2 (2016)

Created by Jay Beattie, Jill E. Blotevogel  & Dan Dworkin

Starring Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, John Karna, Carlson Young & Amadeus Serafini

Synopsis: “What starts as a YouTube video going viral soon leads to problems for the teenagers of Lakewood and serves as the catalyst for a murder that opens up a window to the town’s troubled past.”

I already reviewed the first season within the films, you can read it here. The second season continues the story in a same way, no big changes here. Murders are still bloody slashers, characters are still young high schoolers and plot repeats itself. No big revelations here. It’s entertaining and quite hooking but that’s it. I did like the first season more.

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The biggest annoyance here is the leading lady, Emma, played by Willa Fitzgerald. Her character is just really, really annoying. She just can’t see outside of her own life. And she’s such an angel. Ugh. I do not like her. So it makes that much harder to watch this. I heard they’re going to do two episodes special or something for Halloween and I kind of hope they will wrapped it up with it. There just isn’t enough steam to continue. But that is just my opinion. Or if they will continue, I hope they make some nice changes like kill the main character in the beginning of the third season. At this point, if feels like writers are playing it safe. But I do admit that the beginning of the season worked and so did the end of the season but as it is 12 episodes long, they could cut at least half of them and viewer would not lose any excitement. There’s basically no character development and the story itself is starting to be boring. Despite my negative thoughts, I did watch it in two nights. And was that scared that I needed to watch some Friends before going to bed.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

P.S. Nice pastiches of classic horror films including the titles of episodes.

Brooke Episode 204

Stranger Things Review

I’ve been away for over three months and that I apologize. I’ll get back to that but now the stranger_things_posterreview for my new favourite TV show. Again, like usually, spoiler-free.

STRANGER THINGS (2016)

Created by The Duffer Brothers

Starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer & Charlie Heaton

Synopsis: “When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.” (IMDb)

Few days ago I read a review of Suicide Squad where the writer complained about that there’s no more heart in filmmaking when everyone is just following same script and making same kind of superhero movies that have worked during the few last years. And I know what that person means. It’s all been about making money lately. Who gets the biggest opening, who hires the biggest starts, who has the biggest audience and especially who makes the most money. I’ve liked quite a few of those films but then again, I’ve kind of forgotten them almost immediately. On TV side there’s been amazingly great television lately but for some reason it’s glorious and looks amazing but it’s cold, dark, brutal, sad, violent and makes you feel dirty. To be honest, Stranger Things is also dark, actually very dark, especially literally and it is sad and a bit violent and people are dirty in it. It’s also cold in it. And brutal too, I guess. But what matters the most, it has huge, beating heart in the middle of it.

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When watching Stranger Things you can feel the love. Love towards filmmaking, 80’s, Spielberg, King, fairytales, good, old-fashioned good vs. evil. All those things that made you (or at least me) to fall in love with movies. That “larger than life” thing, you know? Besides that you can feel it, it is there to see in all those big and little details. You can easily see it in those photos of the set, how they look, how the setting is and obviously story owes so much to all those stories before it but yet again, it’s original and somehow weirdly fresh. And with a lot of twists.

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It’s always risky placing a kid in the centre of your film as child actor can easily ruin your story. It’s even riskier to put a bunch of them there but in Stranger Things all kids can carry their parts and even more. I loved every character, especially the lads in the center of it all and even more specifically Finn Wolfhard as Mike as he brought such maturity to the role that kind of variety might be hard to reach even for an adult. And none of these kids have THAT long careers behind them yet. And same goes for guys who created the show, Matt and Ross Duffer aka The Duffer Brothers. As directors both of them (they’re twins) have four (!) credits in IMDb. Not much. So kudos to them; well done! I wonder if they’re both married. :p

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The Duffer Brothers

Back to Stranger Things. Besides the great cast (only Winona Ryder was a bit too much for me from time to time), set decoration, all production design is basically flawless (surely some have already found flaws); it feels like you’ve watching some strange and much, much scarier E.T. And on that mark, do remember to give this excellent series its whole credit and watch it in dark after the sun has set. And how fun it is to spot all those popular culture references? At least to me it never gets old.

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stranger_things_axe

stranger-things-high-school-kids

What else? Nothing really, just watch it. I don’t know anybody who hasn’t liked it. To me it was total 5/5. The best new series since Sherlock (I watched that later than GoT). I don’t know how Netflix manages to do this, finding such talents, but I do hope they will continue doing it.

Rating: ***** (out of same amount)