Succession centers in on a global mega-corporation called Waystar RoyCo (based loosely on Disney) and the Roy family that runs it, who might also evoke parallels to other well-known real-world dynasties. Following the declining health of Logan Roy, the pater familias played by Brian Cox, the company's heir apparent Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) sees himself challenged for succession by his siblings Roman (Kieran Culkin, yes, he's Macaulay's younger brother), Connor (Alan Ruck), and sister Shivy (Sarah Snook).
The writing of this HBO-produced series is sharp, the humor biting, and anarchy abundant, but watching Succession feels like a vice: it's a guilty sneak-peek into the privileged but scary world of the mega-rich, making you a spectator of family dysfunction. Guilty also because you constantly find yourself rooting for people and causes, that are actually pretty awful. In addition to writing and wit, the cast and characters are all amazing, but watch out for Cousin Greg!
Former SNL cast member and comedy legend Bill Hader is the writer and main protagonist of the HBO-produced and three-time Emmy-winning series Barry. Part psychological thriller, part dark comedy – one of many new series in the “dramedy” genre – deals with the unlikely premise of a PTSD-ridden low-rent assassin, who, after travelling to LA to execute an actor, decides to dedicate his life to the amateur theatre scene. (Watch out for the always amazing Henry Winkler as the acting class teacher! He was rightly nominated for an Emmy for this performance.)
In typical Bill Hader fashion, this genre-mix is still a lot more comedy than thriller and one cannot help but root for hapless Barry, while he dodges one bullet after the other, as it were, navigating Chechnyan mobsters, the FBI, and his intense acting peers. A lovely, funny, and smart show about a seemingly emotionless guy trying to escape his past.
A young bisexual woman attends a shiva, caught between her parents and their expectations, her ex, and her sugar daddy. Rachel Sennott’s Danielle is yet to find her path in life and everyone is determined to remind her of that. Taking place almost entirely in real-time, the film’s sharp wit is contrasted with constant anxiety, complemented by Ariel Marx’s horror-like score, full of discordant pizzicato that sounds like every last bit of sanity snapping.
It’s a sex-positive take on 20-something life, treating bisexuality as wholly unremarkable and passing no judgment on Danielle’s sugar daddy income. Its specificities about Jewish customs and traditions are non-exclusionary, while its social claustrophobia is achingly universal. It’s comforting in the way it portrays the social horrors we all face, the feeling that everyone but you has life figured out, and that – ultimately – those who matter will pull through, eventually. One of 2021’s best.
Over the Garden Wall consists of 10 episodes that together run just under two hours. While each episode stands alone, it’s easy to watch the entire series in one sitting. The story beckons you to go deeper into its fantastical forest called the Unknown, at the center of which lies a dark mystery, and two boys on a quest to return home.
Wirt (Elijah Wood) and his younger half-brother Greg (Collin Dean) are lost in these enchanted woods. Beatrice, a talking bird, befriends the boys and offers to guide them home. Here, the trio encounter singing frogs, beastly creatures, and sinister forces hidden in the shadows.
There is no other series quite like Over the Garden Wall, which so perfectly balances its comedic and melancholic moments. If you’re looking for something a little bittersweet, musical, and fun, this miniseries will surely hit the spot—that is, if you’re brave enough to enter its Unknown.
Moon is a sci-fi movie that doesn’t care that it’s a sci-fi movie. It’s not about space exploration or aliens. It’s about a man struggling to understand what and who he is and the dehumanizing effect of industrialization. Moon leaves you with a pit in your stomach and an incredible feeling of melancholy. It is perfectly acted by Sam Rockwell and the voice of Kevin Spacey. Moon keeps you guessing and deeply enthralled. A true masterpiece I would recommend to anyone, whether they are sci-fi nerds or just movie lovers.
It’s a near-impossible feat to turn something as tragic and devastating as the Chernobyl disaster into a gripping and enlightening tale, but the HBO miniseries does just that. Through insightful storytelling, affecting performances, and sharp dialogue, Chernobyl the show stuns viewers into awareness and, at its best, galvanizes them into action.
It’s a well-crafted five-hour series that does just enough in the way of humanizing a distorted reality, bringing to light the all-too-relevant consequences of power plays and placing the interests of the political elite and national image over real, human lives.
In Cameraperson, documentarian and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson creates an incredible patchwork of her life—and her life’s work. Johnson has been behind the camera of seminal documentaries like Citizenfour, The Invisible War, and The Edge of Joy. Here, Johnson stitches together fragments of footage, shot over 25 years, reframes them to reveal the silent but influential ways in which she has been an invisible participant in her work.
In one segment, Johnson places the camera down in the grass. A hand reaches into the frame briefly, pulling up weeds that would otherwise obscure the shot. Cameraperson is a must-see documentary that challenges us to reconsider and reflect upon how we see ourselves and others through the camera lens, and beyond it.
This coming-of-age story based on the bestseller by the same name starts fun but veers towards darker territory. It's about a high-schooler who makes two older friends, played perfectly by Ezra Miller and Emma Watson. But as he gets closer to one of them, his anxieties and past trauma come to the surface. The impressive depth to which the makers of The Perks of Being a Wallflower were able to take it is what elevates it to greatness. It's the perfect mix between easy and challenging. If there is ever such a thing, it's this movie.
A story filled with love, laughs, and feelings, "The Way Way Back" takes us back to innocent, coming of age years. With great writing and characters you will love and miss when the movie ends, "The Way Way Back" is 2013's "The Perks of Being A Wallflower." Following their Oscar win for best adapted screenplay for "The Descendants" Jim Rash and Nat Faxon follow with "The Way Way Back". Duncan, played by Liam James , is a 14 year old shy kid who can't stand his mom's new boyfriend, Trent. Duncan is forced to vacation at Trent's beach house and after a few days, he decides to explore the town and eventually comes across a water park where he befriends Owen.
Sometimes you can just tell a movie means way too much to the people who made it. That makes me want to watch it more than once, which is what I wanted to do with The Tale. But while I think it's such an amazing movie and everyone should watch it, I don't think I can stomach a second watch.. It is based on the director/writer Jennifer Fox's own story - recounting her first sexual experience at a very young age. It's about the stories we tell ourselves to deal with trauma, and in that sense, and with utmost honesty, it invites grief and closure for similar experiences. A powerful movie led by a powerful performance by Laura Dern as Jennifer.
The culture of propaganda and cover-ups that kicked off the pandemic is the subject of this compelling documentary by award-winning director Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation). Wang, who traveled with her family to China in January 2020, saw and filmed the pandemic firsthand, and wrote to major newspapers like The New York Times to convince them to write about it. They never did.
Media and government in both China and the U.S. played down the threat, and this documentary asks how different everything would have gone otherwise. More dauntingly, it's an examination of how the Communist Party in China managed to use the event to its advantage.
A popular chef loses his job and respect after a bad review. He ends up with a food truck and tries to show the world he still has his creative side, while at the same time trying to fix his broken family. Chef is a heartwarming feel-good movie, after you finish it you will want to cook, love your family, travel, and spread the love. One of my favorite movies, I see myself happily watching it again numerous times.