Sometimes shows go through a sophomore slump, when they can’t quite find what made their first season stand out from the ground. So going into the second season of Sex Education, I was scared because not only did I really enjoy season one but with the ending, it was obvious that the show could go in a lot of directions. But after being able to watch all episodes of the second season before it’s released, I am happy to say that not only did it meet my expectations but it also exceeded them. Now, this review will be spoiler-free because I do believe that all the little twists and turns that happen on this show make it even better and I want everyone to be able to enjoy it and freak out just like I did when I was first watching it.
(Please note that this review is not spoiler-free as I had to go into detail to explain why I felt the way I felt.)
Nostalgia is probably the biggest thing in cinema and television right now. With all the reboots and sequels, the idea of nostalgia drives a lot of the film that we get. Sometimes it works, others not so much. But more then none, it creates a product that feels like something we have seen before. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker feels like that, a product that was created simply to cater to the fans that felt betrayed by the previous instalment. Rise of Skywalker isn’t a bad movie per se, but when placed right after what I considered to be one of the best Star Wars movie ever, then it feels jarring and is not a satisfying end to a saga that spanned 40 years.
Honestly, just because you can de-age someone, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. And yes, it’s so good, we had to write about it twice.
What feels like a lifetime ago, I wrote an article about Netflix and its original programming. Even then, I knew it was only a matter of time before we got bigger projects to appear exclusively for Netflix, but I never thought we would get a Martin Scorsese picture.
Why did Netflix fund the passion project? Besides just because they can, because it’s harder to get people into theatres to watch a three and a half-hour film. My screening was at 10 am and there was a very brief moment of me questioning if I have to see it. The answer was yes, of course, I do. And I’m very glad I had the opportunity to see it on the big screen (and if you live in Toronto, you can see it now at the TIFF Bell Lightbox). Yes, the film is long, but I never really felt it’s length. Only near the end of the film, but that was only due to the water I drank during the duration of the film. The positive of the film going straight to streaming services is that you would be able to pause the film for washroom breaks – but you also probably would check your Facebook or Twitter feeds if you were in the comfort of your living room.
The Irishman stars Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran, Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa and coming out of his retirement, Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino. I didn’t realize how much I missed Pesci’s presence until he appeared on the screen. The film follows Frank, as he remembers his life as a hitman while working with big mob bosses and including Jimmy Hoffa himself.
There are moments in the film in which we shy away from the violence, and there are moments we lean into the brutality of it all. The film is almost reminiscent of prior crime films that Scorsese has made, except this time, Scorsese isn’t proud of the violence. Frank may continue to be a hitman until it’s too late, but as he’s older, and then it lays heavy on him. You can see how he stays to be the last man standing, and he tries his best to stand tall. He doesn’t bulge, but he tries to talk to God as he’s sad for what he has done.
The Irishman is a film that’s made with wisdom, the understanding of recollecting your past. Or living with your regrets. A film that makes an argument for the streaming service while demanding to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
Last year, Netflix won big with Alfonso Caron’s Roma. It was a turning point for them and it was just a matter of time before more high profile filmmakers made their way to a streaming service. This year saw just that, a wave of filmmakers walk toward streaming services instead of regular theatrical releases. And Netflix found a film that might just propel them to win big once again at this year’s Oscar ceremony. It might be surprising to see Martin Scorsese creates a film and have it bow on Netflix instead of having the theatrical release one would be accustomed to seeing with a name like his. But after viewing The Irishman it’s easy to see why Netflix was not only the best choice for the film but also the only choice.
Or Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw.
One thing I didn’t expect coming out of this film was the overwhelming sense of boredom that I found in it. It’s cruel to say, I know, but the film runs way too long and for me, past its welcome. The film likes to stop and live and Hobbs (Johnson) and Shaw (Statham) bickering for far too long. The only good thing that comes out of this, is that it reminds me of Statham’s great performance in the underrated Spy.
Identity is something that defines you when you are part of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a question that you wrestle with most of your life and sometimes it takes forever to answer it, sometimes you can never truly become yourself. Maybe that is why Man Made is so touching, so powerful. Because it’s about men finally being themselves, putting themselves out there and being true to themselves. It’s admirable, to say the least, and it’s a subject we don’t talk enough about and is not seen enough in film, fiction or not.
It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten a fairly high caliber anthology horror film. The last one for myself may have been 2012’s VHS, or even its sequel, VHS2. But nothing quite hit the mainstream like Trick ‘R Treat slowly did. A film that once played at Toronto After Dark back in 2009. There are a few things that need to hit in order for an anthology (horror) film works well. It’s to my belief that The Mortuary Collection hits all of them.
Fantasy films are some of my favourites but too often they focus on characters that I can’t connect to or even identify with. Too often the characters feel the same and never feel like I could be one of them. It’s not to say that I can’t enjoy fantasy or film of that genre but it’s not the same. That is why Alice Waddington’s Paradise Hills is such a breath of fresh air, a film that creates such a universe that you can forgive the flaws and story problem. In her directorial debut, Waddington creates a universe that feels complete, bringing a breath of fresh air in this genre that is too often dominated by men and their stories.
As I mentioned briefly before, we were told going into the festival that The Furies was going to be the goriest. They also warned us that The Assent is the scariest film of the festival. From what I’ve seen so far, I definitely agree. I didn’t think I would learn a few things about demonic possession during the film.
Movies that deal with the notion of time travel are either a success or a complete miss. Too often the story gets lost in the explanation of how it is possible. Luckily, James vs His Future Self is able to avoid this by playing smart and actually taking the time of making the time travel a device that drives not only the story forward but also the characters that the world is filled with. By mixing different genres, the film becomes more than just a time-travel film, it is able to create a story that might not be new but it has so much heart that it brings something fresh to the table.