Locke & Key (S1) | Beautiful & Creepy

Adapted from the supernatural horror graphic novels of the same name by Joe Hill (Horns) and Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key is brought to the small screen by Netflix and stars Emilia Jones (Brimstone, High Rise), Connor Jessup (American Crime), Jackson Robert Scott (It, It Chapter 2), and Darby Stanchfield (Scandal, Mad Men).

Premise: Three siblings who move into their ancestral estate after their father’s gruesome murder discover their new home’s magical keys, which must be used in their stand against an evil creature who wants the keys and their powers.

Review: The beginning of the show is very suspenseful, and somewhat whimsical, but at the same time you can feel the darkness creeping in the edges. Then when that first piece of darkness comes it’s a bit jarring – I’m talking about the dad’s storyline. I love how it unfolds, the mystery is peeled layer after layer masterfully. And the effect that storyline has on each character involved is well written and portrayed.

The comedic aspects of the show is smartly sprinkled throughout the story and counterbalances what could have been a heavy depressing series. Speaking of heavy stuff, it was weird how everyone seems to revel in the Lockes’ trauma.

As for individual characters, Bode (Jackson Robert Scott), the youngest of the Locke’s kids is too old and too smart not to have blabled about Dodge – the scary well lady – and stressed on how dangerous she was. Kinsey (Emilia Jones) keeps putting herself in situations that would trigger traumatic memories, and her broey brother, Tyler (Jessup) is just acting stupid. The older two are too nonchalant about the keys or the lady when they hear about her. It’s all the more jarring when you know they’ve been through some serious stuff so they should have been on high alert the minute they found out about the keys or the “scary well lady.”

By the way I’m taking about my feelings towards the characters’ actions is a testament to the writing and the acting. Take kinsey for example, Jones, the actress, was so convincing has the shy introvert girl that the shift into a fearless version of herself is palpable. Tyler turns out to have more depth than the first episodes suggested. Stanchfield and Jackson Robert Scott are just damn good and make their characters

The cinematography is crisped and beautiful, it melds the grounded and whimsical aspects of the series very well. The directors they picked for the show complemented each other and subtlety sectioned the show in two hour chunks.

Locke & Key is very easy and pleasant to watch. It’s a fantasy thriller with a perfect amount of horror and drama.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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You (S3) | Exploring The Lies We All Tell To The World

Netflix’s psychological drama with the adorkable serial killer Joe Goldberg played by Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl) is back for a third season. The series see the return of Saffron Burrows (Agent of Shields) and Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting of Hill House, Bly Manor) from season two, joining newly cast Travis Van Winkle (Instinct, The Last Ship), Shalita Grant (NCIS: New Orleans, Special), Tati Gabrielle (CAOS) and Dylan Arnold (After We Collided, After).

Last seasons: After first meeting Joe Goldberg in New York, where he developed an extreme, toxic, and delusional obsession with Guinevere Beck, a customer from the bookstore where he worked. When the relationship with Beck sours – to put it mildly – and old demons comes back to haunt him, Joe moves to Los Angeles, changes his name to Will, and falls in Love with local heiress Love Quinn. His tumultuous time in L.A. came with a ton of surprises, pone of which the fact that Joe and Love have more in common than Joe first thought.

Premise: How do a couple of sociopaths like Joe and Love feel about being expectant parents and other conventional norms – especially when they have an exponentially messy series of murders to cover up ?

Review: The end of season two could have a happy ending for Joe, who now lives in the suburbs, he’s married to Love – who knows about his dark past and has one of her own – and they are also expecting their first child together. It could have been a series finale, if one is ok with Joe getting away with what he’s done but in the last seconds of the episodes it becomes apparent that Joe will never change. At first, I did not know how this move into suburbia was going to impact the show but F**k! it made it very interesting. It was nerve-racking, hot, sad and exciting at the same time.

Their new location brought a slew of new and interesting characters, like Joe and Love they have a darker side to them. They might not be as twisted as the Quinn-Goldberg couple but they all have their secrets and present a different persona to the rest of the world. I guess the tag line “Living their best lies” has more meaning than I first thought. Throughout the season, old and new characters have quite the interesting arc. The series focus on different types of relationships, how they work, and makes a good case for working on what you have t make it as good as you’d like it to be instead of constantly looking for better and more elsewhere.

For a moment things even looked like they were going to follow the same pattern with Joe’s newest obsession but they didn’t, it was worse. Having similar personalities didn’t seem to make Love and Joe the best dynamic duo that I thought they would be but a good team. Seeing a couple of sociopaths trying to act normal despite their dark impulses slipping through was fun. I also enjoyed seeing Joe explore new things and loved seeing him struggle through them. The moments with the therapist were gold, filled with dark humor like a lot of the season.

However when it comes to Love, the show kind of leaned toward a “Bitches be crazy” trend that I didn’t like, it was even highlighted by Joe’s – hypocritical – inner monologue when it came to Love and his relationship with her. She was the only one working the relationship while Joe was looking for a shiny new thing. Ultimately I don’t think that they were a great match even with their similar past and personalities because they wanted different things.

You S3 was thrilling but there is a formula to the series that is starting to get old. The writers have been good about managing Joe’s impulses, which probably won’t change, but within those parameters there’s still ways to switch it up.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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The Last Duel | This Movie Will Piss You Off

This historical drama directed and produced by Ridley Scott sees the reunion Ben Affleck (ZSJL, Paycheck) and Matt Damon (The Martian, The Bourne Identity) on film since Good Will Hunting (1997). The film also stars Adam Driver (Hungry Hearts, This Is Where I Leave You) as Jacques Le Gris, Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) as Maguerite de Carrouge, in this adaptation of Eric Jager‘s book about the last legally sanctioned duel in France’s history.

Premise: In 1386, after the squire Jacques Le Gris is accused of a heinous crime, King Charles VI (Alex Lawther) declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.

Review: The story is told from three perspectives, one from each of our main characters, Jacques Le Gris, Jean De Carrouge, and Lady Marguerite. The perspectives are interesting in showing how each individual see themselves and the others involved.

The first perspective lays some foundation on the circonstances surrounding the duel besides the crime Le Gris is accused of. However, when the second perspective arrives and seemingly starts from the beginning – with minor differences – I was rolling my eyes waiting to see how the crime in question would be seen in that perspective. It didn’t turn out like I expected, I thought they’d be more of gray situation, more doubts as to who’s telling the truth but there’s no argument to be had. So from then on I got steadily angrier, I even said aloud “what the F” wondering how this was his account of the crime. I am not trying to pin modern morals onto the past but I can’t help if I’m pissed at what’s going on. I was also glad not to have read the book, because if I had I don’t think I would seen this movie.
As for the third perspective, it just adding insult to injury, pouring more salt to the wound, I saw red and doubted how this duel would be resolved. The duel itself is a high point in the movie action-wise but it’s also a point of contention for me because the outcome was a toss up, and it was not about justice.

The cast did an amazing job, there are subtle but meaningful differences in their portrayals in each of the perspectives. Driver even manages to make his Le gris’ belief that he did nothing wrong beside adultery believable. Damon and Comer were excellent.

The Last Duel took me on a wild emotional ride that barely abetted my anger in the end.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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One of Us Is Lying (Premiere) | I hope they keep this up

Review: I had no idea this was in the works but when I found out I went ahead and read the book – that was sitting on a virtual shelf for four years. So going in I didn’t know anything about the casting or the production, so I’m not going to wine about actors not looking like fictional characters unless they’re sh!t at their job.

What I immediately liked in the first minutes of the show was the preview of Simon’s next four posts as we were first introduced to the main suspects, I mean characters. The “subtle” John Hughes reference was also appreciated, and the way they streamlined some storylines – I’m not going to go into specifics but it the makes show a little more exciting.

As for the cast they are pretty spot on with the stereotypes that their characters represent. I’m pleasantly surprised by the premiere and I hope the show will keep it up it’ll continue.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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No Time to Die | Not The Woke Fest Some Say It Has Become

The fifth and final Daniel Craig 007 movie, No Time to Die, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, is spy thriller we were all waiting for. Craig led the franchise as the notorious James Bond for 15 years, he has the longest tenure held by an actor in the Bond movie franchise. This time around, the iconic agent is joined onscreen by Lashana Lynch, Ana de ArmasRami Malek and Billy Magnussen.

Premise: James Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

Review: My excitement for this movie seriously waned, when it wasn’t very high to begin with. Between Spectre that wasn’t very inspiring and the long wait, I went to see this film for something to do knowing that I would probably write about it. I’ve seen this movie on Tuesday and delayed writing this review because this movie failed to excite me despite being a good movie that managed to make shed a few tears.

The story is really engaging and connects all of Craig’s films in a clever way, this movie is influenced by the previous ones. If like me the other movies are not fresh in your mind there might be a bit of a disconnect but it takes little away from action and drama. There’s a lot of incredible action scenes, which compliments the directing and cinematography very well, while highlighting the ingenuity of the stunts. The dramatic moments are good and refreshing for a Bond film, it’s a bit more emotional, which I liked.
However, I have two main nitpicks with this movie, one is about the vilain and the age difference that is hinted at between Swan and Safin, I’m sorry it doesn’t work there’s no way he’s much older; the other one is about the weapon that Safin has, I feel like there was another solution to that problem. I won’t say more because that might be considered a spoiler.

As for the cast, they’re amazing in this movie. I enjoyed seeing the returning cast, it made me want to see more of them, I wouldn’t be opposed to a mini-series on Q (Ben Whishaw). Lynch is kickass as a 00 agent, de Armas and Magnussen have small roles but they’re far more memorable than Malek who is criminally underused.

No Time To Die is a solid spy thriller that really feels like the end of an era. It’s not the woke fest some might like to say it has become because Bond is not F’ing multiple woman instead on focusing on the threat at hand.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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