<![CDATA[Nothing To Say Here - Dave\'s Movie Reviews]]>Mon, 16 Sep 2019 20:57:49 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Review of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance]]>Tue, 17 Sep 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://nothingtosayhere.com/daves-movie-reviews/review-of-the-dark-crystal-age-of-resistance
By Dave B.
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In The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix) the land of Thra has been ruled by the Skeksis for 1000 years. During that time, they’ve exploited the land’s resources and its people, the Gelflings, by building up a religion for the Gelfling that attributes the prosperity of Thra to Skeksis rule. But the Skeksis are growing old and in their quest for immortality, they stumble upon an effective, but heinous method to preserve themselves forever. The Gelfling must overcome their indoctrination if they are to have any hope of effectively protecting themselves and their world from the Skeksis’ vile depredations. 
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Age of Resistance is undoubtedly an impressive technological accomplishment. The detailed craftsmanship of animatronic puppets are often a wonder to behold and it’s pretty amazing that an entire show was made with them with no human actors at all. The scenery is also absolutely stunning. The world of Thra is crafted in exquisite detail, from lush vistas to the creatures that fill every ecological niche. A lot of effort went into creating the environment and history of Age of Resistance and it shows. 
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Despite the stunning visuals in this show, Age of Resistance has some significant flaws. First and foremost, it’s slow, as in it isn’t very binge-watchable at all. Without exception, every one of the 10, hour-long episodes feels nearly twice as long as it is. The main reasons for this relate directly to the other two major flaws of the show: the story is derivative and there is very little action. For the most part, I can overlook the unoriginality of the story. Age of Resistance, while not necessarily targeted at an audience of children (it may be a bit scary for the youngest and most sensitive viewers), clearly has them in mind. So the predictable story and simplistic moral messaging on issues such as environmental protection don’t feel completely out of place. The lack of much action however is a bigger problem for me and is a direct result of the limits of animatronic puppets. An anime or  live-action, human-cast show can break up endless stretches of dialogue with physicality in a way that puppets just can’t. The result is that I nearly fell asleep at least once every episode.
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The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is interesting to look at and an impressive technical accomplishment, but it’s just not that great of a show. Even the decent cast of voice actors can’t make up for the fact nothing much (unexpected or otherwise) happens throughout the show. Throw in an unrealistic, mostly nonsensical ending, and I can’t recommend this show on its overall entertainment value. That said, you should definitely check out at least an episode or two just to see a technological and visual marvel.
Rating: 5.5/10
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<![CDATA[Mini-Review of Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (+ Epilogue)]]>Fri, 13 Sep 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://nothingtosayhere.com/daves-movie-reviews/mini-review-of-dave-chappelle-sticks-stones-epilogue
By Dave B.
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In Dave Chappelle’s newest stand-up special, Sticks & Stones (Netflix), the comedian covers a lot of well-worn ground, largely dealing with topics that he’s addressed in previous specials. The hour-long program is followed by a 20-minute stand-up epilogue that tries to explain some of his perspective on comedy in general and some of Sticks & Stones​' more controversial topics, in particular. 
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Sticks & Stones has generated some controversy, but ultimately, anyone who has seen Chappelle’s previous Netflix specials shouldn’t be shocked by the content of this one because he barely covers any new topics. It’s a credit to his talent as a comedian that he can make the same subject matter funny, and truthfully, Sticks & Stones IS funny in a very technical, occasionally insightful way. It is not his best work, but at this point in his career, if he executes well, his fans will enjoy most of what he does.
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And that’s the rub with Sticks & Stones. If you are not a fan of Chappelle’s stand-up, this special certainly won’t turn you into one and if you're already a fan, nothing in it will dissuade you from continuing to like him. So if you enjoy Chappelle’s recent work, watch Sticks & Stones. And if you don’t…then don’t. When it comes to comedy, it’s as simple as that. 
Rating: 6.0/10
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<![CDATA[Premieres 2019: September 13 - September 19]]>Thu, 12 Sep 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://nothingtosayhere.com/daves-movie-reviews/premieres-2019-september-13-september-19
By Dave B.
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"Premieres" will feature official trailers and synopses from what I feel looks like the most interesting (or the only, in some cases) original programming coming out in the subsequent week on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and elsewhere. In no way to these previews represent recommendations or reviews. My intent is to post this segment each Thursday or Friday, but we'll see. Enjoy!
Undone - Amazon Prime, September 13
Synopsis:
"From acclaimed creators Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg (“BoJack Horseman”) comes the Amazon Original Undone, a groundbreaking and genre bending animated series about a young woman’s complex journey to unlock her past and solve the mystery of her father’s death.
Alma Winograd-Diaz (Rosa Salazar, “Alita: Battle Angel”) takes her mundane life one day at a time until a near fatal accident induces visions of her late-father, Jacob (Bob Odenkirk). Through these persistent visions he urges her to tap into a mysterious ability that allows her to travel through space and time with the hopes of preventing his untimely death. This quest challenges Alma’s relationships and brings into question her mental wellbeing with those closest to her."
Freaks - In Theaters, September 13
Synopsis:
"​Kept locked inside the house by her father, 7-year-old Chloe lives in fear and fascination of the outside world, where Abnormals create a constant threat – or so she believes. When a mysterious stranger offers her a glimpse of what’s really happening outside, Chloe soon finds that while the truth isn’t so simple, the danger is very real."
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<![CDATA[Premieres 2019: September 6 - September 12]]>Thu, 05 Sep 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://nothingtosayhere.com/daves-movie-reviews/premieres-2019-september-6-september-12
By Dave B.
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"Premieres" will feature official trailers and synopses from what I feel looks like the most interesting (or the only, in some cases) original programming coming out in the subsequent week on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and elsewhere. In no way to these previews represent recommendations or reviews. My intent is to post this segment each Thursday or Friday, but we'll see. Enjoy!
The Spy - Netflix, September 6
Synopsis:
​"
In the 1960s, Israeli clerk-turned-secret agent Eli Cohen goes deep undercover inside Syria on a perilous, years-long mission to spy for Mossad.
The series stars Emmy-nominated Sacha Baron Cohen (Who is America?) as Cohen, a man who wants nothing more than to be of service to his country, but he does his job so well that he finds it hard to strip off his double identity. Noah Emmerich (The Americans) plays Dan Peleg, Eli’s Mossad handler who tries to ease his own guilt over the sacrifices Eli makes, Hadar Ratzon Rotem (Homeland) portrays Eli’s wife, Nadia, who is left to raise their family on her own and knows something isn’t right about her husband’s government job, and Waleed Zuaiter (Colony) plays Amin Al-Hafez, a military officer who thinks he’s found the perfect ally in the undercover Cohen."
Into the Dark: Pure - Hulu, September 6
Synopsis:
"
In the female coming-of-age horror story, several teen girls perform a secret ritual at a purity retreat and, when one of them begins to see a supernatural entity, the terrifying question emerges, what is more dangerous: the demon they’ve unleashed, or the pressure to conform to their fathers’ expectations."
IT: Chapter Two - In Theaters, September 6
Synopsis:
"
Because every 27 years evil revisits the town of Derry, Maine, “It Chapter Two” brings the characters—who’ve long since gone their separate ways—back together as adults, nearly three decades after the events of the first film."
Chained for Life - In Theaters, September 11
Synopsis:
"A beautiful actress struggles to connect with her disfigured co-star on the set of a European auteur's English-language debut. Through pitch-black satire, Chained for Life examines the treatment of disability on screen and on set."
The I-Land - Netflix, September 12
Synopsis:
​"
When ten people wake up on a treacherous island with no memory of who they are or how they got there, they set off on a trek to try to get back home. They soon discover this world is not as it seems. Faced with the I-Land’s extreme psychological and physical challenges, they must rise to their better selves — or die as their worst ones."
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<![CDATA[Review of Carnival Row]]>Mon, 02 Sep 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://nothingtosayhere.com/daves-movie-reviews/review-of-carnival-row
By Dave B.
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​In Carnival Row (Amazon Prime) the homeland of the Fae has been a battleground for human empires seeking to exploit its untapped wealth. When one faction finally wins the war, the Fae are ruthlessly exploited and many are forced to flee their home for an uncertain future in The Burgue, the Fae’s nominal ally during the war. In The Burgue, two former lovers, Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne) and Philo Philostrate (Orlando Bloom) are caught up in a web of intrigue and murder as they try to navigate through each other’s vastly different worlds. 
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Let’s start with the negatives: Carnival Row has a TON of moving pieces. The creators cram a lot of story into eight, hour-long episodes. There’s just a large amount of stuff going on in every episode, with multiple storylines interacting in various (occasionally unnecessary) ways. Further, the show’s ultimate mystery is fairly weak and nowhere near mysterious enough. Looked at in isolation, Carnival Row’s plot is average, at best.
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Fortunately, there is a lot to love about Carnival Row, so its plot does not have to be viewed in isolation. For starters, it possesses some of the best, most in-depth world-building that I’ve seen in years. Helped by the fact that The Burgue is based upon Victorian England, the world of Carnival Row feels extremely real. The discrimination and hostility that the Fae face are well captured in gruesome (but only occasionally gory) detail. And Carnival Row is simply beautiful in a grimy, 19th century kind of way. Being able to make people with functional wings seem even remotely real is quite an accomplishment. Most importantly, most of the characters are interesting and extremely well-acted. I have to give an extra special kudos to Delevingne, who can make her eyes go from forlorn to murderous in an instant. She’s fantastic in this show. 
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In short, while not perfect, Carnival Row is great and extremely easy to binge-watch. I highly recommend this show to viewers of all types, but particularly those who enjoy alternate histories or historical fiction (although Carnival Row is neither, it has the feel of both). This show is a must-see and I can almost guarantee that you’ll like it. Personally, I’m ridiculously excited to see the second season and I think you will be too. 
Rating 8.5/10
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<![CDATA[Premieres 2019: August 30 - September 5]]>Thu, 29 Aug 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://nothingtosayhere.com/daves-movie-reviews/premieres-2019-august-30-september-5
By Dave B.
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"Premieres" will feature official trailers and synopses from what I feel looks like the most interesting (or the only, in some cases) original programming coming out in the subsequent week on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and elsewhere. In no way to these previews represent recommendations or reviews. My intent is to post this segment each Thursday or Friday, but we'll see. Enjoy!
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance - Netflix, August 30
Synopsis:
"
Based on The Dark Crystal, Jim Henson’s groundbreaking 1982 feature film, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance tells a new story, set many years before the events of the movie, and realized using classic puppetry with cutting edge visual effects. The world of Thra is dying. The Crystal of Truth is at the heart of Thra, a source of untold power. But it is damaged, corrupted by the evil Skeksis, and a sickness spreads across the land. When three Gelfling uncover the horrific truth behind the power of the Skeksis, an adventure unfolds as the fires of rebellion are lit and an epic battle for the planet begins."
Carnival Row - Amazon Prime, August 30
Synopsis:
​"
Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne star in Carnival Row, a series set in a Victorian fantasy world filled with mythological immigrant creatures whose exotic homelands were invaded by the empires of man. This growing population struggles to coexist with humans — forbidden to live, love, or fly with freedom. But even in darkness, hope lives, as a human detective, Rycroft Philostrate (Bloom), and a refugee faerie named Vignette Stonemoss (Delevingne) rekindle a dangerous affair despite an increasingly intolerant society. Vignette harbors a secret that endangers Philo’s world during his most important case yet: a string of gruesome murders threatening the uneasy peace of the Row."
Wu Tang: An American Saga - Hulu, September 4
Synopsis:
​"
Wu-Tang: An American Saga is inspired by “The Wu-Tang Manual” and “Tao of Wu”, and based on the true story of the Wu-Tang Clan. Set in early ’90s New York at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, the show tracks the Clan’s formation, a vision of Bobby Diggs aka The RZA, who strives to unite a dozen young, black men that are torn between music and crime but eventually rise to become the unlikeliest of American success stories."
Ága - In Theaters, September 4
Synopsis:
​"
In a yurt on the snow-covered fields of the North, Nanook and Sedna live following the traditions of their ancestors. Alone in the wilderness, they look like the last people on Earth. 
Nanook and Sedna’s traditional way of life starts changing – slowly, but inevitably. Hunting becomes more and more difficult, the animals around them die from inexplicable deaths and the ice has been melting earlier every year. Chena, who visits them regularly, is their only connection to the outside world – and to their daughter Ága, who has left the icy tundra a long time ago due to family feud. When Sedna’s health deteriorates, Nanook decides to fulfil her wish and he embarks on a long journey in order to find Ága."
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<![CDATA[Review of Aquaman]]>Mon, 26 Aug 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://nothingtosayhere.com/daves-movie-reviews/review-of-aquaman
By Dave B.
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In Aquaman (2018), the titular hero, born of both sea and land, must save both realms from a cataclysmic war sure to devastate both sides. To do this, he must claim his birthright and become more than a hero by facing daunting trials and uncovering his destiny.
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I’ve got to admit, Aquaman surprised me. I was kind of expecting an overly-long, overly-serious, bore (like some other DC movies that I could name). Instead, Aquaman is a lot of fun. The film is fairly light-hearted, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is a visual feast, with underwater kingdoms rendered in exquisite detail. The humor in the film (of which there is quite a bit) mostly works and the main characters are generally likeable. Viewers can kind of get a feel for when a cast enjoys working on a project and its clear that’s the case with this one.
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​However, at 145 minutes, Aquaman is just too damn long. Watching this film in the theater would have been almost unbearable for me because I can’t sit still for over two hours. Exacerbating the issue, the plot is EXTREMELY generic. You’ll know what’s going to happen in this film literally hours in advance. I understand that origin stories can be a bit rote, but in Aquaman it feels like all of the creativity went into the (admittedly stunning) visuals and “witty” dialogue, leaving the plot itself as an afterthought. 
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That said, Aquaman reminds me a lot of “Jupiter Ascending”, in that it’s not great, but it’s fun to look at and I like it more than its quality probably deserves. Most important for me when it comes to movies is that I have an enjoyable experience and overall, Aquaman is a blast. Even the underwater fight scenes that are compelling and entertaining. For it’s fun factor and great CGI, I definitely recommend this movie. Just make sure that you’re prepared to get nothing done for half a day if you decide to watch it.
Rating: 8/10
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<![CDATA[Premieres 2019: August 23 - August 29]]>Thu, 22 Aug 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://nothingtosayhere.com/daves-movie-reviews/premieres-2019-august-23-august-29
By Dave B.
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"Premieres" will feature official trailers and synopses from what I feel looks like the most interesting (or the only, in some cases) original programming coming out in the subsequent week on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and elsewhere. In no way to these previews represent recommendations or reviews. My intent is to post this segment each Thursday or Friday, but we'll see. Enjoy!
Angel Has Fallen - In Theaters, August 23
Synopsis:
​"
When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), his trusted confidant, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), is wrongfully accused and taken into custody. After escaping from capture, he becomes a man on the run and must evade his own agency and outsmart the FBI in order to find the real threat to the President. Desperate to uncover the truth, Banning turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name, keep his family from harm and save the country from imminent danger."
Tigers Are Not Afraid - In Theaters, August 23
Synopsis:
"​A haunting horror fairytale set against the backdrop of Mexico’s devastating drug wars, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID follows a group of orphaned children armed with three magical wishes, running from the ghosts that haunt them and the cartel that murdered their parents. Filmmaker Issa López creates a world that recalls the early films of Guillermo del Toro, imbued with her own gritty urban spin on magical realism to conjure a wholly unique experience that audiences will not soon forget."
Jacob's Ladder - In Theaters, August 23
Synopsis:
"After losing his brother in combat, Jacob Singer returns home from Afghanistan — only to be pulled into a mind-twisting state of paranoia. Singer soon realizes that his sibling is alive but life is not what it seems."
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool - In Theaters, August 23
Synopsis:
"
Miles Davis: Horn player, bandleader, innovator. Elegant, intellectual, vain. Callous, conflicted, controversial. Magnificent, mercurial. Genius. The very embodiment of cool. The man with a sound so beautiful it could break your heart.
The central theme of Miles Davis's life was his restless determination to break boundaries and live life on his own terms. It made him a star—it also made him incredibly difficult to live with, for the people who loved him most.  Again and again, in music and in life, Miles broke with convention—and when he thought his work came to represent a new convention, he changed it again. Miles's bold disregard for tradition, his clarity of vision, his relentless drive, and constant thirst for new experiences made him an inspiring collaborator to fellow musicians and a cultural icon to generations of listeners. It made him an innovator in music—from bebop to “cool jazz,” modern quintets, orchestral music, jazz fusion, rock ‘n’ roll, and even hip-hop.   
Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, studio outtakes, and rare photos, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool tells the story of a truly singular talent and unpacks the man behind the horn."
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<![CDATA[Review of The Handmaid’s Tale: Season Three]]>Mon, 19 Aug 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://nothingtosayhere.com/daves-movie-reviews/review-of-the-handmaids-tale-season-three
By Dave B.
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The third season of The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu) finds June on a mission to fight back against the tyrannical regime that has destroyed her life. Finding herself in a new home with an unorthodox Commander, June displays a newfound ruthlessness as she organizes the oppressed Handmaidens and Marthas to carry out an audacious plan that will strike straight to the heart of Gilead’s most powerful families. 
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​Personally, I think the most recent season of The Handmaid’s Tale is FAR superior to Season Two. It suffers from many of the same problems, namely a terribly paced plot that feels as if it only progresses every three or four episodes. But June’s new perspective on life and her determination to fight back against Gilead breathes fresh life into the show. Frankly, June’s pregnancy in Season Two limited both her character development as well as her mobility. The Handmaid’s Tale works best when characters are in motion, both physically and through their machinations. Season Three brings that element back to the show. It also delivers some of the most stunning imagery we’ll see on television this year. 
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To some extent, The Handmaid’s Tale has suffered from its own success. It’s pacing problems are largely due to not having three seasons worth of content. There’s a limit to how much audiences are willing to watch nearly unmitigated suffering, which is why a newly empowered June is so refreshing. But frankly, is exceeding its design life. If it’s next season isn’t going to be its last, the show needs to go in a radically different direction. 
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I’m definitely recommending the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s entertaining and is infused with fresh energy. The relentless brutality of the first two seasons is leavened a bit with June’s new determination to fight back. But there are only so many times that fans are going to continue to watch a story that progresses so slowly. People want to see Gilead burn. Let’s see that happen in Season Four and end this series on a high note. 
Rating: 7.5/10
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<![CDATA[Premieres 2019: August 16 - August 22]]>Thu, 15 Aug 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://nothingtosayhere.com/daves-movie-reviews/premieres-2019-august-16-august-22
By Dave B.
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"Premieres" will feature official trailers and synopses from what I feel looks like the most interesting (or the only, in some cases) original programming coming out in the subsequent week on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and elsewhere. In no way to these previews represent recommendations or reviews. My intent is to post this segment each Thursday or Friday, but we'll see. Enjoy!
Driven - In Theaters, August 16
Synopsis:
"
A fast-paced, comedic crime thriller of a bromance gone wrong between John DeLorean, played by Lee Pace (Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Book of Henry, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies), and Jim Hoffman, played by Jason Sudeikis (TAG, Colossal, Booksmart).
Set in early 1980s California, the story follows the meteoric rise of the golden boy of the automotive industry, John DeLorean (Pace) and his iconic DeLorean Motor Company, through the eyes of his friendship with charming, ex-con pilot turned FBI informant, Jim Hoffman (Sudeikis). DeLorean turned to unsavory activities to save his financially troubled DeLorean Motor Company, and it was Hoffman who was all too willing to lure the car designer/engineer into a cocaine trafficking ring set up by the FBI. Isabel Arraiza is Cristina DeLorean, DeLorean's fashion model wife, Judy Greer (Ant-Man, Jurassic World, War for the Planet of the Apes) is Ellen Hoffman, Hoffman's direct, no nonsense wife and Corey Stoll (First Man, Ant-Man, Midnight in Paris) is ambitious FBI Special Agent Benedict Tisa."
Ready or Not - In Theaters, August 21
Synopsis:
​"
Ready or Not follows a young bride (Samara Weaving) as she joins her new husband's (Mark O'Brien) rich, eccentric family (Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell) in a time-honored tradition that turns into a lethal game with everyone fighting for their survival."
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