A Season with: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2017) – Season 3

Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt returns elegantly in aftermath of the second season’s ultimate cliffhanger and sees our titular powerhouse, Kimberly ‘Kimmy’ Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), grown into a more empathetically, complex protagonist. While the cult captive PTSD theme is still revisited for once or twice, season three witnesses Kimmy arises above the ground, literally leaves the underground bunker, and gets integrated into a real world problem of empowerment and feminism.

At first, Kimmy’s got to do something to clinch the cliffhanger, where Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) demands a divorce; then, she’s going to college for education and, eventually, career; later, she’s learning something about herself that makes her different from other people. At the same time, creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock insert insightful quests for other characters to deal with, which take roots from their deeds in the second season; and make them a more integral part of the storytelling. Continue reading A Season with: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2017) – Season 3

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A Season with: Dear White People (2017) – Season 1

Review: Taking full resilient force from Justin Simien’s 2014 indie-hit, Dear White People, Netflix’s Dear White People reuses the same force to launch this 10-episode of witty comedy into this year’s most thought-provoking spectacle. This works as an extension of the infamous black-themed white-people party in the feature film, although it starts off with effective reimagining of it; but, it transcends mostly as the aftermath with counter-racism and cross-cultural conversation at its heart.

Set in a fictional Ivy League university, Winchester College, Dear White People follows a tribe of black students living in all-black dorm named Armstrong-Parker house. If the film version combines multiple characters’ arcs in a full-frontal riot, the series presents the story differently. Each pivotal character gets a full 30-minute episode arc in exercising the doomed party’s aftermath. Continue reading A Season with: Dear White People (2017) – Season 1

A Season with: Riverdale (2017) – Season 1

Review: For starter, Riverdale “borrows” super-likable characters from your childhood Archie comics – from red-haired jock-musician wannabe, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), the good girl Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), smoky hot rich Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), quirky Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) to the thorn girl, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), throws them into a bleak, neon-bathed YA world, and give them a completely new storyline. While appearing campy and soapy for the whole season, the series has proven to be another guilty pleasure entry from the CW, which surprisingly works.

Set in a fictional town named Riverdale – hence the title – this series practically kicks off with the mysterious murder of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines), a brother to Cheryl and a lover to Betty’s sister. From there, Riverdale quickly escalates into a provincial-townie, coming-of-age murder whodunit, which is often overshadowed by toned-down Game of Thrones/The Sopranos-esque faux complexities. Stories have never been an aspect this series excels in, but they’re important to make those likable characters shine like cents. Continue reading A Season with: Riverdale (2017) – Season 1

Thursday Movie Pick #19: Deserts

Welcome back to Thursday Movie Picks by Wandering through the Shelves! According to the theme of the week, we pick and share three to five movies are with the reason. Should anyone be interested in joining in, feel free to visit the main page here.

This week’s theme is Desert. For this theme, I’ll go with popular choices and big names. Desert has always been an immense setting for films — whether to mark wastelands, post-apocalyptic, expedition, wars, nature powers… and romance. So, here’s my picks! Continue reading Thursday Movie Pick #19: Deserts

Free Fire (2017) – Review

Review: Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire knows no cease fire in narrating a full-frontal arms deal gone awry chaos. With ten characters introduced upfront, initially dispersed into two opposing factions, before grouping into smaller groups later on, you know that there’s no guarantee that this bullet bonanza will end well… or start well.

Taking time to lead us to the main event – the claustrophobic bullet ballet, but the time Free Fire takes is apparently made into a delightful appetizer. We’re quickly introduced to two Irishmen, Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley) who, with their henchmen (Enzo Cilenti and Sam Riley), are in full trust to a fixer, Justin (Brie Larson), who works with Ord (Armie Hammer), to buy guns from Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and his men (incl. Jack Reynor and Noah Taylor within). We know from the beginning that something is off in this deal; therefore, when things escalate quickly as past grudge re-embarks, ‘surprise’ is no longer an appropriate vocabulary. Continue reading Free Fire (2017) – Review

A Silent Voice / 聲の形 / Koe no Katachi (2017) – Review

Review: In its 130-min duration, Koe no Katachi a.k.a. A Silent Voice tackles a complex coming-of-age drama of consequences, self-alienation and reconciliation. Sometimes it staggers, sometimes it falls into melodrama; but, in the end, it passes a meandering way with subtlety and grounded intricacy.

Naoko Yamada’s first feature is adapted from a manga series by Yoshitoki Oima. The story orbits on a bittersweet connection between Shoya Ishida (voiced by Miyu Irino) and Shoko Nishimiya (Saori Hayami). As a kid, Shoya, not knowing the consequences of his deeds, bullies and abuses hearing-impaired Shoko. When consequences finally catch him up, all he has done to Shoko return to haunt him – excommunication, persecution, and all. Since then, he decides to prefer solitary, avoid contacts with people, and alienate himself from society. Continue reading A Silent Voice / 聲の形 / Koe no Katachi (2017) – Review

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Movie reviews, ratings, and discussions by Paskalis Damar