Glow. Season 3. Review.

The benefit of one of your favourite actors/ actresses being in something is that you are always more inclined to check it out as a viewer. That was my relationship to the first season of Glow. I know next to nothing about wrestling (although I did see Fighting with my Family this year) but it was the new project starring Alison Brie in the lead role and I’ve never seen her be less than great in anything. So I tried the first episode and was really surprised with its quality. Season 1 was a very pleasant surprise but it was with Season 2 to that the show transitioned into one of my favourite Netflix originals. It was a more ambitious and developed season tackling a broad range of issues that I wouldn’t have expected coming out of the very entertaining but mostly quite lightweight tone of Season 1 . Going into the release of Season 3 I was excited to see what relocation to Vegas would do in terms of storyline opportunities and the show had put just enough time i’m into each member of the very large ensemble cast but I was invested in the characters and their drama. How did Season 3 turn out?
I think Season 3 is in the middle of the park as far as the quality goes. It’s very solid. Better than Season 1 but not as good as Season 2. That said I can see see why certain viewers might not be as into it this time around. This season makes very clear from early on that whilst in Vegas the characters are performing the same show show with the same matches night after night. The writer’s room is smart enough to know but this will be incredibly boring from an audience perspective. As a result if this is a much more low key and character focused season that reduces the focus on the wrestling significantly. The shows characters and writing are strong enough to keep the season engaging throughout. The final two episodes are particularly strong. If you enjoy so regardless of how much wrestling may be involved in each storyline I think you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of this season. If you’re watching specifically for the wrestling angle your mileage may vary.
Despite the more low key tone this was a very solid season of what is a very good show regardless of how much you know about wrestling. With the recent announcement of the fourth and final season,even if Netflix have a tendency to end shows prematurely given where the story has left off and what’s been set up I think a final season to explore these plot lines and finish the story is about right for this show.

Crawl. Paragraph Movie Review.

Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper star in this straightforward but nicely effective creature feature as a father and daughter who get trapped in a basement full of alligators. The film is as cliche as they come but it manages to maintain a good sense of tension throughout and never outstays it welcome at a brisk 87 minutes.of Nuts and bolts action horror that is perfect Friday night viewing.

The Farewell. Movie Review

As someone who follows the buzz coming out of the film festival/ premiere circuit but who is very rarely able to go go to any festival/ premiere screening (that being said I’m travelling to see the UK premiere of the new Makoto Shinkai film next month) you occasionally come across those films for which the buzz is so strong that is immediately goes the top of your “I must see this as soon as screening becomes available.” This was definitely the case with Lulu Wang’s The Farewell which I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about since the start of the year. I took the first chance I could to see it a couple days prior to the UK release. Did it live up to the hype?
The answer is a very big YES. This is a lovely film. The film is proof if proof were needed that this sort of gentle drama can still be incredibly comparing (take note British ” grey pound” film industry.) Wonderfully performed with a quiet power that is actively quite difficult to describe (at least for me.) Despite it’s very specific focus on Chinese culture and custom I found it’s depiction of how various different personality types and generations on can choose to deal with the prospect of grief and how this causes inner conflict within families very relatable and moving in places. It’s wonderful on so many different levels.
If your a fan of quality and emotionally engaging drama this is an absolute must see. The subject matter might not sound like something you need to rush out and see but what as with all media,any theme or subject matter can be effective if its pulled off in the right way (I recently saw the UK production of the absolutely wonderful post 9/11 musical Come From Away which is another poster child for this fact.) I’m looking forward to seeing what’s Lulu Wang does next.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Movie Review

The 2015 Goosebumps film is much better than you’d think it should be. It was a clever and self aware way to adapt to the franchise for a feature length runtime. Match as you don’t need to bother with the 2018 sequel (which looks like a TV movie you would find on Nickelodeon) you can thank the first films modest success for this films existence. It’s taking the same approach of adapting some disparate stories from a popular book series but this time wants to be be a slice of legitimate teen horror rather than knockabout slapstick. With the backing of Guillermo Del Toro the and some solid reviews I wanted to see whether this approach could be pulled off a second time.. Did they manage it?
Honestly…no. I’m not much of a horror fan but even I could see but this film was a pretty blatant attempt to copy the success of other recent media. Goosebumps has already been mentioned but there’s a fair amount of Stranger Things in the perioud setting and team horror (one climactic set piece it’s incredibly similar to a set piece in Stranger Things 3.) There’s also a little bit of Until Dawn, a heavy dose of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (which despite some rough edges is better than it has any right to be ) and a fair chunk of Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House. Despite two nicely constructed set pieces and a strong lead performance that suggest a good career ahead for Zoe Margaret Collins I spent most of the film wishing I was watching/ playing any of the things previously mentioned. There’s also the fact that the film succumbs to the generic jumpscare phenomenon that simply isn’t scary if you’ve seen more than 1 modern horror film in the last 5 years
This film could have been something is the filmmakers had taken it in another direction. That said despite a few bright spots in its current state it’s far too bland and indebted to other things to be anything beyond a mild curiosity.