So the idea of “having it all” was a big lie, right? It is nearly impossible to balance and give equal time to a fulfilling career, a stable relationship, and full-time parenting, with room for leisure time, hobbies, and staying fit. Something will fall to the wayside somewhere, sacrifices will have to be made that will either affect us now or affect us later. But women, we’ve been hearing this nonsense for decades, right, about how with the perfect day planner or the number one meal delivery service or the best ten-minute workout we can do it, we just have to want it bad enough. But not too bad, because ambition is an ugly thing in women. But, on the other hand, so is laziness. Add “find the right balance between too ambitious and not ambitious enough” to the list of things we have to do. Continue Reading →
Salvage Hunters: The Restaurators
In Season 2, Hunters remains dedicated to exploring whether vengeance and justice can ever be one and the same. Continue Reading →
The Sex Lives of College Girls
Despite sounding like something one might hesitate to Google outside of a private browser, HBO Max's The Sex Lives of College Girls is a fairly wholesome dramedy about four young women starting off their adult lives as freshmen in college. Admittedly, yes, college freshmen who do have sex, but wholesome just the same. Created by Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble (who also write many of the episodes) TSLoCG quickly overcomes the gimmicky nature of its title. Continue Reading →
Never Have I Ever
It’s time once again to return to Sherman Oaks High as Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher’s bittersweet teen comedy Never Have I Ever returns to Netflix. Picking up right where season one left off, we reunite with Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), her friends, family, and the surprisingly rich cast of secondary characters. Continue Reading →
Last Chance U: Basketball
If you’re like me, you may be surprised to find that one of Netflix’s most enduring original franchises is Last Chance U, a documentary series chronicling football players as they juggle sports and academics. Though the show ended after a four-season run last year, Netflix isn’t one to let a recognizable brand name rest. Last Chance U has returned in the form of Last Chance U: Basketball, which shifts the focus from the Friday night lights of football to the indoor basketball fields of East Los Angeles Community College. Continue Reading →
Al Pacino leads a team of Nazi hunters in a brassy Amazon series stuffed with Holocaust pathos and comic-book sleaze.
(Editor's note: this review is based on the first five episodes of the show, which is what was provided to critics prior to the show's premiere.)
Amazon’s Hunters is a lot. That’s not bad, by any means, but it is a heads up. It’s funny and heartbreaking and stressful, a love letter to exploitation films, comic books, and revenge fantasies, and it is a lot. It’s also very much something that people need to see right now. Created and written by David Weil and produced by Jordan Peele, Hunters was inspired by his grandmother’s stories about World War II and the Holocaust, stories that Weil saw as a battle between good and evil (much like the comics that the show references and draws visual inspiration from). Nothing is as simple as good versus evil, of course, but Hunters does an excellent job of addressing the battles head-on.
Set in 1977, the show revels in its primary NYC setting, full of grit and cigarettes and flickering subway car lights, and the visits to other locales are given equal ‘70s glory by production designer Curt Beech and set decorator Cathy T. Marshall, with loud wallpaper and lights shaped like grapes and so much carpeting. The most real and lived-in location is the modest house where 19-year old Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman) lives with his grandmother Ruth (Jeannie Berlin). After Ruth is murdered and the police handwave her death as a burglary, Jonah is approached by Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino), who knew Ruth from their time in a concentration camp and who, Jonah comes to learn, is the financier and now leader (in Ruth’s absence) of a group of Nazi hunters. While the Hunters are working from a list of Nazis who were active during the war and are now living in the United States, it becomes clear that there is a wider network at play and larger stakes than even the Hunters had suspected. Continue Reading →
Locke & Key
Netflix's adaptation of the Joe Hill comic series takes a while to get going, but hits a dark-fantasy stride by the end.
For better and worse (but mostly better), Locke & Key imports the tone and feel of its comic book inspiration almost entirely to its TV adaptation. Show creator Carlton Cuse has proven increasingly adept at helming smart, faithful adaptations for television from books (The Strain) and comics.
For those unfamiliar with the source material by writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key concerns the titular Locke family, who, after a personal tragedy back in Seattle, move east to a small Massachusetts town. There waits a large manor home, Key House, one that deceased patriarch Rendell Locke (Bill Heck) hated so much he left in the rearview and never spoke of to his family. His brother Duncan (Aaron Ashmore) has been left caretaker, but largely avoids the property even though he remembers very little of his childhood. The Lockes, though, are in need of a change, and Key House seems to be the easiest place to start. Unfortunately, they quickly find that the home offers much less refuge (and much more danger) than they ever expected.
Part of Locke & Key’s charm is how closely it hews to the comics on which it’s based. It diverges here and there, but never in ways that existing fans will resent. In fact, they may appreciate how it gives the narrative a few surprises while maintaining what made the series so popular in the first place. It’s the rare adaptation that manages the feat of feeling like its source material while not simply being a retread. Continue Reading →