Free Guy – It feels like we’ve been waiting a long time for this Ryan Reynolds video game-centric film to hit theatres and that’s really because it was supposed to come out more than a year ago and the first trailer for it was probably almost two years prior. The film was originally scheduled to release on July 3rd, 2020 but was delayed to December 11th, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before being shelved indefinitely in November. After getting rescheduled another two times this Shawn Levy comedy is here and follows a bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game who decides to become the hero of his own story when a user shows him the reality of his world. The movie has been getting a lot of great reviews and a bunch of my reviewer friends have said that they had a smile plastered to their face for its entirety. That’s a pretty great endorsement I think.
Respect – Another victim of the theatre shut down during the pandemic was this biopic that I felt everyone knew was coming after the death of legendary singer Aretha Franklin and just as sure was the casting of Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson in that very special role. It should also be known that Franklin herself hand-picked Jennifer Hudson to play her when the movie was in early development. The film looks to be your standard music biopic, following Aretha Franklin from a singer in her father’s church choir as a child, following her as she grows up to become an international musical superstar and an influential figure on all R&B singers to follow. This movie seems like total Oscar bait for Hudson to at least earn another nomination but I’m really curious about the casting around her that includes Forest Whittaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra MacDonald, Marc Maron and more. That is a seriously stacked cast.
Don’t Breathe 2 – A few years after the breakout hit and original thriller from Evil Dead remake director Fede Alvarez blew our minds, his long-awaited follow up is now on our doorstep and even if Fede is taking a back seat in this one and producing it his fingerprints are all over it. Now, as far as I see, we don’t get the return of Jane Levy in this but we do get the awesome and formidable Stephen Lang reprising his role as the terrifying old blind man and the trailer gives me goosebumps. The film picks up with his character who has been hiding out for years in an isolated cabin and has taken in and raised a young girl who lost her parents in a house fire. Unfortunately for the perpetrators, their quiet existence is shattered when a group of kidnappers show up and take the girl, forcing the Blind Man to leave his haven to rescue her. I expect the same sort of shocking ultra-violence to permeate this film thoroughly but what I find interesting is that the Blind Man has been shifted in his role as the antagonist in the first movie and now is an almost anti-hero we root for in this one. Honestly, when I think about the original film the turkey baster scene always rises to the top so I hope there is just as memorable of a scene in this one.
Infinite – Fourteen years after their last collaboration Shooter in 2007, director Antoine Fuqua and megastar Mark Wahlberg have re-teamed for this brand new sci-fi thriller for the Paramount+ streaming service and the story looks pretty cool, based on the novel by D. Eric Maikranz called The Reincarnationist Papers, the author’s debut book. The story follows Evan McCauley, a man with skills he has never learned and memories of places he has never visited that haunt his daily life. Self-medicated and on the brink of a mental breakdown, Evan is sought by a secret group that calls themselves “Infinites,” revealing to him that his memories may be real but they are from multiple past lives. The Infinites bring Evan into their extraordinary world, where a gifted few are given the ability to be reborn with their memories and knowledge accumulated over centuries. With critical secrets buried in his past, Evan must work with the Infinites to unlock the answers in his memories in a race against time to save humanity from one of their own, played by the great Chiwetel Ejiofor, who seeks to end all life to stop what he views as the cursed, endless cycle of reincarnation. This movie is basically action hero intrigue to me and I’m totally on board for that as who doesn’t love an expensive-looking sci-fi no brainer, right?
The Comeback Trail – I’m not going to lie, I watched this movie based on the involvement of Zach Braff and him alone as he’s been teasing this film for a long time on his social media accounts. Why is he the only draw? Well, because it comes from writer and director George Gallo who has done great screenplays with Bad Boys and Midnight Run but his directed work, as of late, has been horrible, with The Poison Rose and Vanquish. This film stars Robert De Niro alongside Braff as two movie producers who owe money to the mob that set up their ageing movie star for an insurance scam to have him die on set to try and save themselves from their mountainous debt. The film has Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones in supporting and pivotal roles and manages to keep itself on the rails for the most part but the problems, both in script and execution, keep rearing their ugly head and the third act features a resolution that almost infuriated me. That said, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.
Naked Singularity – Ever since the British sci-fi action movie Attack The Block I have been a huge fan of John Boyega’s and have just wanted him to succeed in everything. Unfortunately, his Star Wars character got a lacklustre and easy storyline that didn’t pay off and his Pacific Rim sequel just wasn’t anywhere near as good as the first movie and it was left to his Steve McQueen movie to see some of what I wanted. This movie had all the makings of a Steve favourite though as it follows Boyega as an idealistic young New York City public defender, burned out by the system, on the brink of disbarment and seeing signs of the universe collapsing all around him, who decides to rob a multi-million drug deal of one of his clients. Featuring Bill Skarsgard, Olivia Cooke and Ed Skrien, this movie should have been a violent romp with great dialogue but instead is this disjointed mess of a narrative that feels hampered by how cool and edgy it’s trying to be. I kept waiting for something to spark some originality that just never came. I was so disappointed.
Beckett – One of the hottest stars on the planet in my mind is John David Washington who seems to absolutely killing it every time I see him on screen. His last Netflix release was the divisive Netflix two-character study Malcolm And Marie co-starring Zendaya and while I wasn’t a fan of the overarching story and its resolution, both stars were absolutely knock out which has me excited for this new film. Washington plays the title character, an American tourist who becomes the target of a manhunt while vacationing in Greece following a devastating accident. Forced to run for his life and desperate to get across the country to the American embassy to clear his name, tensions escalate as the authorities close in, political unrest mounts, and he falls even deeper into a dangerous web of conspiracy in a film that looks intense and totally predicted on the motions of our lead star. The middling reviews at the time I am writing this are a bit of a deterrent but seriously I don’t think you can go fully wrong with the son of Denzel because he is starting to have the same track record as his rarely miss father.
Nine Days – I hadn’t heard of writer and director Edson Oda before starting his ambitious and deeply philosophical feature-length live-action debut but you can be sure that I know his name now and definitely feel the influence of those who inspired him. It also helps that he had the great talent of Us star Winston Duke to anchor his insanely existential story to and the erratic power of Zazie Beetz to dispel those feelings of narrative control. This film is incredibly hard to describe but to put it into the vaguest of terms, it follows Duke as a reclusive man who conducts a series of interviews with human souls for a chance to be born into existence. Skirting discussions of existence in an umbrella of grand questions, the movie plays as if Terence Malick’s Tree Of Life was a philosophical thriller and manages to not get ugly in its pretentiousness but instead prompts more introversion into the viewer’s own beliefs. This movie is definitely not going to be for everyone and the reward lies not within individual scenes but the entirety of its mosaic and comes out the other side with its own separate narrative on consciousness and what we choose to do with it. I also loved the casting with Benedict Wong stealing every scene he was in.
CODA – This might be my favourite drama this year, a heartwarming little coastal America story that doesn’t rely on big names, with Marlee Matlin and Eugenio Derbez being the biggest ones in the cast, and it left me with the feeling that the Sundance Film Festival still knows how to pick them as the Sian Heder written and directed production won four of the big awards this year. The story follows Ruby, a CODA or Child of Deaf Adults, who is the only hearing person in her deaf family and is, in turn, the sole interpreter for them and a big part of their existence within the hearing world. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents. This film is brimming with heart and character building and I felt drawn into the story more and more as it progressed, moving towards a finish that constantly brought tears to my eyes. Stories like this that can hit you in the heart and stay there without feeling manipulative or contrived are so special and I really hope that it picks up a lot of word of mouth because this film deserves a mountain of it. This will most likely be in my top ten at the end of the year.
Materna – Kate Lyn Sheil might be one of my favourite independent actresses working today with the incredible character actor fueled drama Kate Plays Christine and Amy Siemetz’s existential horror film She Dies Tomorrow popping into my head every time I see her. This is why I was immediately interested in checking out this new drama that has her in yet another challenging role, this time under the direction of writer and director David Gutnik in his feature film debut. The story follows the journeys of four New York women who are isolated by city life, separated by class, politics, race and religion, and yet bound by a shared hunger for identity and connection. With their futures at stake, the characters’ lives are upended by a fateful encounter underground, where their stories of personal transformation become a battle for survival. As you can tell from that description, this movie is super heady and isn’t infused with a moment of levity, just the challenge of existence. It is a driven film with a reality to it that resonates far after the credits roll.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit – A new true story drama out of Germany, you always pique viewers’ curiosities when you put the name of Adolf Hitler in the title of your movie, it’s just a horrendous reality. Beyond that, I really didn’t know anything about this movie but conducting my research on it before watching, I noticed that the reviews from festivals and the like were pretty good. The film follows a Jewish family that had to flee from the Nazis from Berlin to Zurich to Paris and finally to London in 1933. Sadly, this forces the youngest, Anna, to leave everything behind just like the rest of her family to face a new life full of challenges and privations abroad but this includes her beloved pink rabbit and, in turn, a piece of her soul. This film is a movie piece of cinema but I really couldn’t say that it had anything the set itself apart from the other Nazi Germany exodus stories and will quickly blend into the crowd of more original dramas.
The East – This week we get a war film from the Netherlands to give us a little more foreign flair for the week and it’s an ambitious first solo film from writer and director Jim Taihuttu who is actually one half of a Dutch DJ duo called Yellow Claw whose music is a mix of a wide range of genres and often incorporates elements from trap, hip hop, dubstep, hardstyle and moombahton. So, nothing to do with World War II. For his debut, the film follows a young Dutch soldier who is deployed to suppress post-WWII independence efforts in the Netherlands’ colony of Indonesia and finds himself torn between duty and conscience when he joins an increasingly ruthless commander’s elite squad. I have to say that Taihuttu’s breakout film was a lofty one that really plays out as the character wor is really solid and it shines a glaring light on the moral mistakes of an entire country. I’m sure it wasn’t received that well in his home country because it really elevates an ugly side of their history I’m sure they’re trying to bury.
Whelm – Got to love a dusty old depression-era movie and, to be honest, my wife loves to make fun of me for saying dusty every time I bring up this time in American history but it really was dusty from all I can see. It was called the Dust Bowl Era even. I know I’m right on that. Featuring an unknown cast and a debuting filmmaker, the story follows two Midwest brothers who get tangled in a rivalry between a legendary bank robber and an eccentric young criminal. Through a series of bizarre occurrences, they are forced to claim allegiance to one, as they hunt down the other and, as they dig deeper for the truth, they find that they are part of a larger historic scheme. I really wish this movie had a little more studio presence behind it as the story is fascinating and well-plotted with great reveals but I felt constantly distracted by the shortcomings of the production. It really almost had me fully invested in certain instances during it and I won’t get into that for spoiler reasons.
Queen Bees – This week’s Blu-ray and DVD dive starts with a film definitely geared towards the older adult crowd and easily so as it features some absolute legends with Ellen Burstyn, Jane Curtin, Loretta Devine, James Caan, Ann-Margaret and Christopher Lloyd. I know it sounds like I’m saying “this is a movie for old people” but c’mon, I can say that in tone and also absolutely praise it too, right? The film follows Burstyn as an independent widow who moves into the Pine Grove Senior Community and discovers it’s just like high school, full of mean-girl style cliques and flirtatious suitors. What she initially avoids leads her to exactly what she has been missing as she starts to make new friendships and even gets a chance at love again with a dashing newcomer to the home. The film is entirely corny and goes for the low hanging fruit of easy smiles but it really has such a charming cast to it and I was very relieved that it didn’t feature Diane Keaton in the lead role who, no matter how legendary her status is, seems to be almost insufferable in everything she does these days. I feel like I dodged an ageing bullet here.
Finding You – A music-driven romantic drama set on the sprawling coastline of beautiful Ireland? Well, you just netted a huge part of the P.S. I Love You audience without getting to the plot, so, kudos on that. Oddly, the film comes from American writer and director Brian Baugh but it makes sense when you see that it involves strangers in a strange land. The story follows Finley, a talented aspiring violinist, who meets Beckett, a famous young movie star, on the way to her college semester abroad program in a small coastal village in Ireland. An unexpected romance emerges as the heartthrob Beckett leads the uptight Finley on an adventurous reawakening and she emboldens him to take charge of his future until the pressures of his stardom get in the way. The film has a familiar face to Arrow fans as Mia Smoak herself Katharine McNamara leads the film alongside The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’s Dorian Gray, Jedidiah Goodacre, who is also Canadian. This film will entertain anyone looking for a fluffy little love story but don’t expect good accents.
American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally – I can’t even begin to get into this new film that features Al Pacino without stating that this movie, trying to be a true story examination, comes off like a badly done reenactment done through the prism of a comedy parody. That’s almost enticing enough to give it a hate-watch but I implore you to not do that and just let the sands of time sweep it away. The story follows an American woman named Mildred Gillars who broadcast Nazi propaganda during World War II and was dubbed Axis Sally by the American GIs who simultaneously loved and hated her. The main plot follows Sally’s eventual capture and subsequent trial for treason in Washington D.C. after the war but more closely her relationship with her lawyer who struggles to clear her name and struggles to not ham it up in a terrible Al Pacino performance. He seems to be getting further and further away from the skills that made him an Academy Award-winning actor, except The Irishman because he was great in that. Don’t watch this movie!
The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 – Apparently the Mike Epps spoof comedy Meet The Blacks was lucrative enough to make a sequel because, inexplicably, we are here to talk about this confusion of misspent money. It seems that the movie gods are kicking my ass this week with disappointing movies but this one is no surprise because I suffered through the first film and I failed to see what substance it had beyond being a Purge parody. This film is definitely pulling from Fright Night, a dated reference, The film picks up with returning character and best selling author Carl Black moving his family back to his childhood home and immediately finds that he must team up with oddball neighbours to do battle with a pimp, who may or may not be an actual vampire played by the largely miss or hit, Katt Williams. This movie is complete nonsense, always goes for the lowest of jokes and literally has no redeeming qualities to it whatsoever. The pain I felt in my soul just trying to finish this movie was horrendous. I do not recommend it.
Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two – The finish to possibly my favourite Batman detective-style story ever told is now here thanks to the incredible minds and creators at the DC Comics animated film division of Warner Bros. Picking up where their last film left off a couple of months back. the Holiday killer is still at large, wiping out members of Gotham City’s two major crime families, the Falcones and the Moroni’s with Batman nowhere to be found in the investigation. Why? well, it looks like Falcone has been padding his accounts with some Wayne Foundation money through Poison Ivy’s control over Bruce Wayne. Told with a great animation style and a great voice cast that includes Jensen Ackles, Titus Welliver and the late Naya Rivera, my only gripe with both of these movies is that they are a little too short and seem to cut some corners storywise to make those time constraints. I know a lot of the DC Comics animated films like to make sure they clock in at an hour and fifteen minutes but maybe that template needs to be re-evaluated for the story’s sake. The book is quite thick so a lot is missing in its transition to screen. That said, I’m happy we got what we got.
Occupation: Rainfall – This definitely a weird one as it is a sci-fi film with some recognizable stars like Jason Isaacs, Ken Jeong, Boba Fett himself, Temuera Morrison and more but it is an Australian production that pretty much had absolutely no ad campaign behind it in North America and now lands on our shelves, unceremoniously. It’s an end of the world story, as, two years into an intergalactic invasion of earth, survivors in Sydney, Australia, fight back in a desperate ground war. As casualties mount by the day, the resistance and their unexpected allies uncover a plot that could see the war come to a decisive end and, with the Alien invaders hell-bent on making earth their new home, the race is on to save mankind. Well, I will say that they spent a whole lot of their budget on the special effects because a lot of them look seamless and quite gorgeous but that is as far as the attention to detail goes. The script is terrible, the plotting is predictable and it all feels like a completely hokey little sci-fi story that was better as a concept pitch than a fully fleshed out production.
Profile – Wanted and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter director Timur Bekmambetov is back for probably his most understated films of his career but also one that has been shelved for over three years which is crazy for a movie that only took nine days to film. The film follows a British journalist who goes undercover and infiltrates the digital propaganda channels of the so-called Islamic State, which has been mobilizing ever greater numbers of women from Europe, in which her daily Internet contacts with an ISIS recruiter gradually pull her in and push the limits of her investigation and maybe turning her into a conduit for the enemy. This film was screened a couple of years back at the Vancouver International Film Festival and pulled in a mixed bag of reviews, some believing that the twists and turns drew them in but others believing it was silly and far-fetched. I haven’t always loved Timur’s work but this one seems inventive and fun.
Friday The 13th: 8 Movie Collection – It is not unknown that I am a huge horror buff and a box set like this is something I fanboy over without end, especially as I kind of own this set already on DVD so getting an upgrade to blu-ray is sweet. Now, this set doesn’t have all of the Jason films as Jason Goes To Hell, Jason X, Freddy vs. Jason and the 2009 reboot aren’t here but all the classics are. Now is the time to champion your favourite movie in the series. Is it the 3D installment when he got the mask? Is it baghead Jason from part two? Momma Voorhees in the film that started it all? The Corey Feldman “Final Chapter”? There are so many to choose from but I’ll end this by saying my favourite is part seven, The New Blood, which is usually panned but it has so much great stuff going for it including the greatest actor to play the hockey mask-wearing monster, the great Kane Hodder. This set will keep me occupied for a long time.
A Place In The Sun – Talk about the triple threat of the era as director George Stevens, two years before he did the incredible and landmark film Shane, got Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift together for this romantic drama that ended up earning six Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography in 1951. The story follows the nephew of a wealthy industrialist, who is excluded from high society and given a blue-collar job at his uncle’s factory where he becomes romantically involved with his co-worker. However, when he is introduced to socialite Angela Vickers, played by Taylor, he quickly falls for her, leading to a tragic love triangle. Shelley Winters played the other woman and had mixed feelings about the film as she was made to look very downtrodden in comparison to Taylor and developed a complex around it. I’d love to say that this is pure golden age Hollywood but it still definitely happens in the industry.
Are You Afraid Of The Dark: Curse Of The Shadows – Following up the first installment of Nickelodeon’s rebooting of a classic intellectual property that got a lot of young viewers into horror in the early to mid-nineties, the producers are furthering what is so far a good thing with another story told by a new grouping of the Midnight Society. On the heels of the great Carnival Of Doom, Curse Of The Shadows follows the Midnight Society on the search for one of their own when the lead storyteller goes missing and the remaining crew attribute it to an ancient curse that has been hanging over their town. The scares deepen when they start to investigate and the evil forces start to push back. As far as young adult horror goes, these shows are super effective in giving a bridge to those new to the genre and the story is fun and intriguing, crafted very well by showrunner BenDavid Grabinski who definitely has the proper reverence to lead this show.
Steve’s Blu-Ray Geek-Outs:
Chain Lightning – A late arrival from the Warner Archive collection, I had to give this one a geek-out platform just on the fact that it’s led by the biggest star of the time of its release, Humphrey Bogart, a true giant of classic cinema. Funnily enough, this post-World War II action-adventure was the last film Humphrey Bogart did for Warner Bros., effectively ending a twenty-year relationship between the box office star and the giant studio. The film has Bogart playing war hero and flying ace Matt Brennan who takes a position as a test pilot for a commercial aircraft corporation where he bumps into his old girlfriend, Jo Holloway, who now works as a receptionist for the company. His position is to help the production of a brand new and experimental jet but Matt finds himself conflicted as it doesn’t feel safe for release although the company is pushing him to say otherwise. Bogart brings his iconic smoulder to this performance that drips with his style and does not at all give any of his disgruntled feelings towards the studio at all. He went out of the Warner Bros. system with absolute prideful posturing.
G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra 4K & G.I. Joe: Retaliation 4K – With the attempted rebooting of this Hasbro made and grown toy franchise has come and gone with Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins disappointing us all with its mediocrity, we can now look back at the two live-action installments with a little more sunshine as I believe they well unfairly maligned. Not to say they were amazing but they weren’t as bad as a lot of people said they were. The first movie is a fun ride, made by Stephen Sommers, the guy behind the Mummy movies, and introduced all the classic characters like Duke, Scarlett and Dr. Mindbender with the stupid mech suits being a major drawback. The second film, Retaliation, tries to reboot it within a retconning but has the benefit of franchise Viagra The Rock to guide it along in his charismatic and charming way. Both being rereleased on glorious 4K, it’s a great opportunity to relive the first fledgling attempt to bring the Real American Heroes to a new generation, for better or worse.
Working Girls – Look, I’ve got to get my Criterion Collection in where I can and when they sent me the physical copy of this unsung drama I knew it was totally Geek Outs worthy. The film operates as a day-in-the-life story of several prostitutes in an upscale Manhattan whore house, a stark portrayal of the women prostitutes, the male customers and the motivations of both. Written and directed by Lizzie Borden, and not the axe-wielding Lizzie you’re probably thinking of right now, this film was in a constant battle with the MPAA over its content with the filmmaker not backing down and subsequently getting an X-rating that meant not many people saw it. Now, with the platform of the greatest home release distributor to film-minded people, the film gets the golden seal it deserves with an incredible revamp of the picture quality and special features the flesh out everything Borden was going for. This movie was a true discovery for me and I hope it gets the attention it deserves between this release and hopefully a streaming one on the Criterion Channel.
Your Honor – When Bryan Cranston does a new series, you take notice, but when he does a new show for Showtime? Get every Breaking Bad fan you know on board because this might be the new binge. A new show from The Night Of creator Peter Moffat, the story has Cranston starring as a judge confronting his convictions when his son is involved in a hit and run that embroils an organized crime family. Facing impossible choices, he quickly discovers how far a father will go to save his son’s life and the boundaries he’ll not only cross but sprint through. Kind of Walter White sounding, right? Look, Cranston is great in this show, as to be expected, but the underlying thread of a father going to the nth degree to save his family is a long threaded trope for him, is it not? I think you’ll enjoy it if you can get past this but otherwise, it’s old hat.
Pixie – Following her career since the sci-fi thriller The Signal in 2014, I’ve always been drawn to the work of actress Olivia Cooke who has since starred in great movies like Thoroughbreds, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and last year’s Sound Of Metal. Her name toplining this crime comedy thriller is why I was drawn to it and the supporting work from Alec Baldwin and Colm Meaney is just icing on the cake. The film has Cooke as the title character, Pixie Hardy, a woman on a path of vengeance for her mother’s death who attempts a heist that will give her the means to leave her small-town life behind afterwards. When the plan goes horribly wrong, she’s forced to team up with a pair of misfits who are clearly in over their heads and, on the run from a criminal gang of priests and nuns, the trio tries to scheme and swindle anyone they come across. The movie definitely feels like filmmakers Barnaby Thompson and Preston Thompson have watched every heist film and nabbed a little tidbit here and there but at the end of the day, it didn’t matter to me, I just enjoyed it thoroughly from top to bottom. This one definitely feels like a crowd-pleaser of gritty crime comedy fans.
Star Trek: Lower Decks: Season 2 (Crave) – The Star Trek universe is ever-expanding under the umbrella of CBS All Access that has since become Paramount+ and going beyond the three and soon to be four seasons of Discovery and the soon to be two seasons of Picard, we also got an animated comedy that exists in that universe as well. Featuring the voices of The Boys’ Jack Quaid, Loki’s Eugene Cordero and Jerry O’Connell, the show follows the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the U.S.S. Cerritos have to keep up with their duties, often while the ship is being rocked by a multitude of sci-fi anomalies. I thought the first season was really funny but that may be because I have no real investment into the Star Trek universe and don’t feel so reverent to the source material. I know a lot of Trekkies out there who hate all of this new stuff and I don’t have that high bar set for it I guess.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 8 (NBC) – NINE-NINE! Yes, the greatest currently running television series is back for one last ride and I’m deliriously excited about it as I adore every single character on this show, it is simply perfect. With infinitely quotable lines, series long-running in-jokes, characters that ACTUALLY develop, which is rare in these shows, and a cast that brings it with every episode, what’s NOT to love? This show is up in the hall of fame of great shows with absolutely no bad episodes in it and I can’t think of another show like that except for maybe Breaking Bad? I digress though because I will say now that I feel pretty bittersweet about this one because I know that the sadness will creep through my system with each episode as we get closer to the end and we have to say goodbye to these incredible characters created by Michael Shur and Dan Goor, two of the best writers on television now. Let’s all mentally hold hands and say NINE-NINE together one last time, okay?
What If…? (Disney+) – Following WandaVision, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier and Loki, we now get a Disney+ original from Marvel Studios that don’t have implications on the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe but instead wants to play in the sandbox of what could have been. Featuring already established talent within the MCU like Hayley Atwell, Dominic Cooper, Samuel L. Jackson and the final performance of Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa the Black Panther, the show has the brilliantly cast Jeffrey Wright as The Watcher, an all omnipotent being who spins tales with the express purpose of reimagining noteworthy events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and creating a multiverse of infinite possibilities. I love it when they do this in the comics, so I’m excited to see what they do with it in this form, even if it is just animated. I haven’t been disappointed by any of these shows yet so I’m almost guaranteeing that this is going to be great.
Brand New Cherry Flavor (Netflix) – I’m so excited that we get something totally Lynchian to dig into on Netflix this week as this new series feels totally like a nightmarish Lost Highway or Mulholland Drive spin-off. The cast is another draw to it as it has Alita: Battle Angel’s Rosa Salazar, The Good Place’s Manny Jacinto and Catherine Keener in a way you have never seen her before. The series follows Salazar as Lisa Nova, an aspiring film director who travels to the sun-drenched but seamy world of Los Angeles in 1990 and finds herself embarking on a mind-altering journey of supernatural revenge that gets nightmarishly out of control when a desperate producer takes her short film from her under the pretense of it being made into a feature film. Honestly, if I described the first episode to you it would probably sound like I was lying, it is that insane. I really hope this one catches on because I would love to see multiple seasons of it get made.
Titans: Season 3 (Crave) – DC and Warner Bros couldn’t seem to get their movies to work, but now The Suicide Squad came through to change that and alongside Birds Of Prey, Shazam and Aquaman have given us something to be excited about. Their television division is doing just fine with Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing and this series and now it makes its highly anticipated third season debut. Originally constructed for their DC-centric streaming platform, this is the darker-themed adaptation of the Teen Titans, led by Robin and featuring Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy. It also is still deeply connected to the Doom Patrol, which I still think is the heavyweight in their arsenal and the gift that keeps on giving. Heck, it’s part of the reason that we’re getting a renaissance for actor Brendan Fraser.