Movie and TV show reviews are rare in these digital pages, but thanks to Netflix, they come in small doses, as there was quite a lot to like (and dislike) in August.
I usually prefer watching movies on BD due to better picture and sound quality, but as Netflix has taken up so much time, especially with TV shows, it’s almost become an exception to unwrap physical copies and use the player instead of streaming. Still, the digital platform is nice to sort through a catalogue of movies one is either surprised about to be quite good or quite bad, making a future purchase either a possibility or a no-go.
Last month was different from others, as I gave German productions a try, with Siegfried being pretty funny with the Rhenish accent and anarchic humor ridiculing the folklore tale. But Sieben Zwerge: Männer allein im Wald and 7 Zwerge: Der Wald ist nicht genug, a parody on the Seven Dwarves tale, again showcased that there’s a reason why German movies stay inside Germany, unlike British comedy. Live comedy show Helge und Band: Komm hier haste ne Mark! is difficult to explain to a wider audience, and I still remember seeing the comedian perform in his surreal mix of music and nonsense in Cologne a while back. Yes, Germans are weird…
Japanese are weird, too, and if ever there was an anime that needed a better live action adaptation, it was Death Note. Some might argue the US version destroys everything the manga and anime established, but let’s be honest. The original two movies had terrible acting and were way too long. This actually has some great gore effects and a nice, if repetitive, 80ies score. Adapting a Disneyland ride to the big screen is a challenge, and while The Haunted Mansion isn’t perfect, it at least is entertaining and has enough nods to the source material.
Haunting, but rather hauntingly mediocre is what one can call thriller Fear Island that has a cool twist at the end, but is otherwise forgettable. Fear Dot Com doesn’t fare much better, taking the The Ring template and using modern technology to create a story that is as engaging as its characters: not at all, although it has some nice nightmarish scenes. One is used to overacting, silly dialogue, flat characters, and non-existent storylines in slashers, but if it’s as boring as in Most Likely to Die, even the most hardened fan will fall asleep, which the few gory scenes can’t make up for.
If you’re in the mood for some witchery, then The Covenant is a bland example of how Renny Harlin, known for entertaining action like Die Hard 2 and The Long Kiss Goodnight, doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing anymore. A much better effort is The Craft. It might hark back to the MTV days, but at least it has plot and character development.
The Covenant [5/10]
The Craft [7/10]
Death Note (2017) [8/10]
Fear Dot Com [5/10]
Fear Island [5/10]
The Haunted Mansion (2003) [7/10]
Most Likely to Die [3/10]
Sieben Zwerge: Männer allein im Wald [7/10]
7 Zwerge: Der Wald ist nicht genug [6/10]
Live comedy shows:
Helge und Band: Komm hier haste ne Mark! [8/10]
Some TV shows are too good to pass up and can be watched again and again, so it’s no surprise that Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp still holds up brilliantly, and I’m looking forward to the recently released Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. Trailer Park Boys has been a long-running series, and of course one should expect some drop in quality. If the quality consists of nonsense anyway, then it’s too bad that the involvement of Netflix suddenly made it more story-driven. Good thing it stopped a few episodes later and let the actors and actresses do best: cursing and doing stupid things.
A lot of buzz was going on with the Fargo TV show, and I simply didn’t get it. The first season was true to the original movie, and Billy Bob Thornton was quite convincing in his killer role, but it also dragged on a bit. The second one was extremely boring and annoying with all the 70ies references and a cinematography that was as forced as the mafia-like serious tone. The third season was surprisingly fun, especially with Ewan McGregor playing two characters. It might have been a bit too weird at times, but this was the closest I had as fun with this much-praised series.
Hannibal didn’t take long to have me hooked. Presenting a new serial killer with nasty deaths in almost each episode was already gratuitous fun, but when the psycho terror really kicked in, it become even more engaging. Too bad the second season couldn’t hold my attention in the same way, despite some very memorable and horrible scenes.
Fargo (Seasons 1+2+3) [7/10, 6/10, 8/10]
Hannibal (Seasons 1+2) [8/10]
Trailer Park Boys (Season 7, Episodes 5-10, Season 8, Season 9, Season 10, Episodes 1-3) [10/10, 7/10, 8/10, 8/10]
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (Season 1, Episodes 5-8) [10/10]
Calling Netflix a time-waster or life-throw-away-er would be a bit unfair, but it’s certainly true that there is just so much content that if one would watch everything, one wouldn’t ever have to buy any movies or TV shows, as it’s a neverending finish-this-and-add-this scenario. Still a very fun (and cheap) time to get into all sorts of interesting genres.
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