January 20th, 2020 is a date that will go down in infamy as the end of one the greatest eras in modern television : the brief but powerful reign of "Bojack Horseman", star of screen and book. Five and a half moving, funny, poignant, brilliant seasons have left little doubt that Raphael Bob Waksberg and friends will knock the final six episodes out of the park but there are many questions left about how our dubious hero will say his final goodbyes. Besides "The Office" ( the soundtrack of my life) there are few shows I have examined as carefully or studied as intensely as "Bojack Horseman". It is the only show I’ve ever loved enough to consider a fan tattoo. My careful examination of a show that rewards careful examination has revealed the following : Bojack Horseman’s (Will Arnett) life is in danger.
"Marriage Story" is actually a tale about a divorce - that of two successful theatre artists, Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson). Initially, the film appears to be entirely Charlie’s story but without Nicole, there would be no movie. In the beginning, he is unable to see his wife for who she really is but he grows to see her so clearly that he can fully appreciate the extent of what he’s lost. That theme - of appreciating women as fully formed human beings, equal to their male partners and counterparts - is what makes "Marriage Story" a feminist love story.
It is a show run by women, about women, and about women using their bodies not for the benefit of men but for the benefit of themselves. As someone who has been inundated with images of how a woman should look and can’t look, it is powerful see a group of women who show that there is no wrong way to look or be or exist. That every woman has strength in her.
Chances are you’ve got a few Christmas classics that you like to watch every year. Maybe you enjoy crime-capers like “Lethal Weapon”, “Die Hard”, or “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. You might prefer holiday horrors with “Gremlins”, “Anna And The Apocalypse” or “Love Actually”. Or perhaps you go with family-fare such as “The Muppet Christmas Carol”, “Elf” or “Home Alone”. With Spanish animation “Klaus”, Netflix has released an instant festive classic for all the family, albeit with a lot of dark humour…
Documentaries present a formidable challenge. Even after meeting the significant demands of research, including excellent interview skills, the filmmaker faces a new test: how might they create a cohesive narrative that will captivate their audience? Ava DuVernay’s attention to detail and design makes “13th” sobering, enraging, and ultimately energizing documentary.
I had a surreal experience watching “The Irishman” (2019). There is a scene of a gangster assassinated while he is eating dinner with his family in a restaurant in New York City’s Little Italy. As I watched I slowly recognized the restaurant and remembered a dinner I had had with my brother and two cousins so many years ago I had forgotten all about it. My memories superimposed themselves on the murder taking place onscreen which I had never known before had happened there. As an Italian American raised in New York one must sometimes wonder, “Have I really been living in a Martin Scorsese film all my life?”
The greatest achievement of Netflix is giving creators a place to put their work. From Martin Scorsese to Ava DeVernay, Netflix has become a creative landing for directors and writers to display their work without the hassle of going through the tired Hollywood process. Dee Rees got to do just that with her second feature "Mudbound" as a Netflix original movie. After her debut "Pariah", which also earned a spot on our Top 50 List, Rees proved her worth and had a much larger market to sell her idea in. It premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was released in November of 2017, which put it squarely in the Oscars award season. Not that it needed help being premiered at the end of the year, but it helped to gain it four nominations, including two for Mary J. Blige who created an original song for the film.
We are just a couple of months away from the beginning of the end. The Canadian comedy, “Schitt’s Creek” became a hit thanks to the audience Netflix brought. If you have not watched the show yet, now is the time to get started. The show follows the Rose family. Johnny (Eugene Levy) is the patriarch of the family. He obtained his wealth through video stores. Moira (Catherine O’Hara) is the matriarch, who starred on notable soap operas and is a C-list actress. Their children David (Daniel Levy – and Eugene’s own son) and Alexis (Annie Murphy) have never worked a day in their lives. One day, it is learned that the Rose family has lost everything after being defrauded by their business manager. But they do have one asset (no, Moira, not the children) – a small town called Schitt’s Creek that Johnny bought.
“I Lost My Body” (2019) is the first feature film by director Jérémy Clapin. It was shown as part of the “Dare” stream at London Film Festival 2019 which was described as “In-your-face, up-front and arresting: films that take you out of your comfort zone”. That certainly is a good description of this film. The Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prize winner engages all the senses to take you on a melancholic and emotional journey towards a gruesome end.