The crime drama returns to the Land of 10,000 Lakes and rediscovers its best storytelling self.
Throughout the six episodes of Fargo Season 5 screened for critics, the series isn’t exactly subtle. From opening the season with an on-screen graphic defining “Minnesota Nice” as neighbor attacks neighbor during a school board meeting to Sheriff Roy Tillman (Jon Hamm) staring up at a campaign billboard of himself, the show loudly states its theses at the viewer over and over.
However, it never feels like creator Noah Hawley has lost control of the storytelling. It’s methodically over-the-top. The audience is on a roller coaster, but they can feel the quality of the engineering keeping them on the tracks. In other hands, this approach can feel alienating or blunting. Fargo Season 5 benefits from meeting Hawley’s signature energy with a game cast and impressively insightful art direction. As a result, the series turns in its best offering since Season 2’s near-perfect effort. Continue Reading →
Our Flag Means Death
It’s always the surprise hit quirky shows with the most to live up to in their second season. A bad sophomore outing, especially after quickly gaining a cult following, could make or break, say, the plucky little pirate romance known as Our Flag Means Death Season 2. Luckily, David Jenkins, Taika Waititi, et al. keep things fresh and fun without reinventing (or stealing) the wheel. Continue Reading →
Welcome to Wrexham
Welcome to Wrexham Season 2 opens with Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney telling the audience, directly to camera, that they’ve spoken to the King of England. It’s a good gag, with both demonstrating their talents for comedic timing. It is also the kind of thing that makes avowed anti-Royalists and fans of Season 1—of which this critic is both—a bit nervous. Continue Reading →
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
When a show enters its final season, it has an opportunity to decide what it really wants to say. And what The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel wants to say is this: For all her tenacity, Susie (Alex Borstein) genuinely cares about the people in her orbit, especially her first client. For all that he's been a presumptuous prick, Joel (Michael Zegen) has become a better man. For all his professorial condescension, Abe (Tony Shalhoub) realizes how wrong he's been about so many things. And for all her immense talent and unflappable air, Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) must and will scratch and claw to get the chances denied her because of her gender and prove that this isn't just a phase; it's who she was meant to be. Continue Reading →
I Am Groot
The recent Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have gotten enormous in scale. It’s no longer only Avengers installments that span multiple planets and involve countless superheroes. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness explored multiple alternate dimensions, while Eternals concluded with a massive robot emerging from one of Earth’s oceans. Even the Earthbound Spider-Man: No Way Home made room for multiple Spider-Men. Continue Reading →
Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight
The Kung Fu Panda universe is no stranger to the small screen. Previously, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny ensured that audiences could watch more antics of Po the Panda in the comfort of their home. But the newest expansion of this franchise, the Netflix program Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight, breaks new ground by being the first of these shows to feature Jack Black reprising the role as Po. Continue Reading →
When Black Bird opens with its Mogwai-penned and performed score and its series of voyeuristic but vague imagery, one will likely have an idea what kind of show they’re in for. And they will probably be correct. Continue Reading →
A blandly suited district attorney steps up to the podium to make his opening statement.“In a very real sense, this case is about pretense and appearances,” he intones. “It’s about things not being as they seem.” Continue Reading →
We Own This City
The easy move in discussing We Own This City is to compare it to co-creators David Simon and George Pelecanos’ The Wire. After all, they both concern crime, police, and politics in Baltimore. However, to do so diminishes both. Continue Reading →
Previous seasons of Netflix’s Ozark followed Martin and Wendy Byrde’s (Jason Bateman and Laura Linney) quest to survive death and prove their family’s worth to the cartel and their violent rivals. Now, in the fourth and final season, the Byrdes must figure out if they can survive without their dark, criminal lives. They sacrificed a lot to get to the top—but what would they sacrifice to stay there? Thanks to this ask and its answers, Ozark Season 4 Part 1 is slow-burn suspense at its finest, with the Byrde’s maneuvering to stay on top, no matter the personal costs. Continue Reading →
Weihnachten mit Joko & Klaas
KinoKultur is a thematic exploration of the queer, camp, weird, and radical releases Kino Lorber has to offer.
Beneath the great Kino Lorber distribution partner family tree, there are a few classic presents worth opening this holiday season. Below is a brief guide to four films that offer interesting things to contemplate during this time of year, films that—in the spirit of the season, invite the audience to consider charity, capital, and country as they were when these pictures were new and today.
Pocketful of Miracles Continue Reading →
Nine Perfect Strangers
Big Little Lies and The Undoing creator David E. Kelley returns to the small screen for another collaboration with Nicole Kidman with Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers, an adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s 2018 bestseller. The book received mixed reviews, though, despite its commercial success, and the series struggles with the shallow nature of its story. Coming on the heels of The White Lotus, another show depicting rich, difficult people at a beautiful location, Kelley struggles to capture the suspense of his previous endeavors. Continue Reading →
Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
Six weeks after her father Mitch’s (Peter Gallagher) death and funeral, Zoey (Jane Levy) emerges from her self-imposed exile, spurred on by Mo (Alex Newell). In her disconnect from the world, things have changed. Joan (Lauren Graham) is on her way to greener pastures. Leif (Michael Thomas Grant) has done his best to run the fourth floor in her absence, resulting in a fraternity-like atmosphere with Tobin (Kapil Talwalkar) as the unofficial lead “brogrammer.” Her dueling love interests Simon (John Clarence Stewart) and Max (Skylar Astin) have become friends. Life moved on while she sat out and recovered. Or tried to recover, anyway. Continue Reading →
As TV’s best series about mental illness and addiction comes to an end, our hero BoJack doesn’t get closure, exactly (because there’s really no such thing), but is further down the road to self-awareness and real insight than he ever was. He may end up making yet another bad decision based both on self-loathing and selfishness, but there has to be some reason he keeps getting another chance, another hit at the reset button. If you’ve ever struggled with depression and/or addiction, then you know how both wonderful and absolutely terrifying that feels. Though the final season stumbles a bit with extended bits on cancel culture and open relationships, it ends on a subtle, melancholy note: “Life’s a bitch, and then you go on living.” [Gena Radcliffe] Continue Reading →