|Image courtesy of Hulu|
April 28, 2022
April 26, 2022
|Image courtesy of Focus Features|
One director who’s had more success than not with preserving his artistic vision — with the three features he’s produced thus far — is Robert Eggers, writer/director of 2015’s The Witch, 2019’s The Lighthouse, and now The Northman, a Viking-centric story emblematic of Hamlet which allows Eggers to dive into the endlessly deep well of Norse mythology. Alexander Skarsgård stars as Amleth (the name being one of the more obvious parallels with its Shakespearean influence), a Viking prince whose young life is uprooted when his uncle Fjölnir (Dracula’s Claes Bang) kills his father Aurvandill War-Raven (Dead Poets Society’s Ethan Hawke) and takes the throne, kidnapping Amleth’s mother (Being the Ricardos' Nicole Kidman) in the process. Amleth manages to escape, armed only with a mantra anyone who saw a trailer for this movie in theaters can likely quote verbatim: “I will avenge you, father! I will save you, mother! I will kill you, Fjölnir!”
Two decades later, as Amleth has grown into the much beefier Skarsgård, he finally begins to make progress on his promise. The traditional hero’s journey is punctuated with vivid Green Knight-esque side quests and increasingly violent distractions. Woe befalls anyone who crosses his path, whether they be undead warriors or egotistic cousins, and the adventure only gets better as it nears its end.
April 24, 2022
April 20, 2022
One of its premier series was The Flight Attendant, a comedy/thriller starring Kaley Cuoco as Cassie Bowden, the titular flight attendant who finds herself involved in an international conspiracy scandal. Just in case it didn’t get picked up for a second season, the first tied a neat bow on the story and our main characters, ensuring that it could work well as a limited series. It also happened to be one of the most engaging series I’d ever seen, proving that — once again — HBO (Max) doesn’t miss, and has always been reliably consistent in producing excellent content.
April 19, 2022
The Lenient Critic Podcast Episode 22: Ambulance, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
April 17, 2022
|Image courtesy of Lionsgate|
A Cage-tastic opening can only be followed by…you guessed it…more Nicolas Cage! Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself in Massive Talent, fighting for relevance and ready to quit acting. While I highly doubt that would ever be an option in real life, Massive Talent’s Nic Cage is preparing to take that step when he begrudgingly accepts an offer to attend the birthday part of Javi Gutierrez (The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal). As you might expect — especially if you’re seen the trailer — things very quickly get out of hand, and soon Nic finds himself fighting both for his family and himself.
April 15, 2022
The not-so-fantastic Harry Potter spinoff series welcomed a new entry this week with The Secrets of Dumbledore, and I didn’t have a chance to cover everything I wanted to in my review. Here are some other thoughts I had about the film that didn’t quite fit into the review — and keep in mind, there are major spoilers ahead.
April 13, 2022
|Image courtesy of Warner Bros|
Despite being confused about its own timeline — a character claims that the first film took place a year before, when that’s almost certainly not the case — we apparently pick up with our favorite characters in 1932, as the followers of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (played here by Hannibal’s Mads Mikkelsen, replacing Johnny Depp) are growing in number, and a war in both the magical and non-magical worlds becomes more an eventuality than a possibility. Just as with its predecessor, there are far too many characters to follow, but at least The Secrets of Dumbledore has a concrete idea of how to use each one and make their parts important in the grand scheme of its story.
April 12, 2022
April 8, 2022
That said, I’ve never been one for video games, and so there was a limit to my anticipation for the sequel. It came more from a place of traditional expectations — I enjoyed the first film (perhaps more than it deserved), and its follow-up looked like a lot of fun. Nothing more, nothing less.
Happily, Sonic 2 measured up almost exactly to those expectations. Nearly every named character returns from the first film, and in that way Sonic 2 is perhaps one of the best direct continuations when it comes to children’s films. There’s a surprising amount of carryover from its predecessor, especially when it comes to character dynamics, leading to some genuinely hilarious moments.
April 6, 2022
Creator and writer Rose Matafeo once again stars as Jessie, a New Zealander who, in the first season, had a one-night stand with a man who turned out to be movie star Tom Kapoor (Nikesh Patel). After subsequent fits of passion and subsequent break-ups, Jessie and Tom are back together, with her completely abandoning her plans to permanently relocate home to New Zealand in order to be with him. In a Graduate-style sequence, the two sit together at the back of a bus without a care in the world about what their lives will be like in the days, weeks and months afterward.
Season Two covers those days, weeks and months. After an idealized and romantic ending, the real world rears its ugly head, and Jessie and Tom have to deal with the fallout of her impulsive decision, the return of her ex-boyfriend and the realities of living together. Their worlds once again clash, and they (along with the audience) begin to once again ask the question of “why are these people together?”