Others have commented on the plot, acting and other aspects of moviemaking, so I'll discuss the backdrop. Much of the movie spans the 1970s through the 1990s in Poland and most of that time, the country was under a Communist government, but you'd hardly know it.
It is true that Poland practiced a slightly softer version of Communism than say, East Germany or the Soviet Union. It is also true that the image of the well functioning Communist state was built on lies, there was plenty of corruption, crime networks existed and there were the illicit rich. Having said that, the state was still all powerful in Communist countries and anyone of any means had to bribe and cajole members of the party and security apparatus to maintain their status. Yet this is hardly shown at all in the movie.
That aside, it's still a good and entertaining, if a times bizarre, flick.
If you want to see beautiful and fashionable young people engaging in a soap operaish comedy in an exotic foreign city, this is it. I don't understand some of the other reviewers' criticisms about the series being "bigoted" because some characters are nefarious. One Ukrainian who is a thief says nothing about all other Ukrainians! I don't think any nationality comes across collectively good or bad in the series.
As an aside, Lily Collins must have had a lot of stipulations on her physical appearance written into her contract. She is very particular about what parts of her (admittedly very nice) figure are shown. Virtually every outfit she wears has a bare midriff that shows of her very toned abs. However, in one spa scene, she remains fully robed among a group of topless women.
The movie resembles "Dr. Strangelove," an all-star cast in a dark comedy featuring a somewhat implausible scenario that is a metaphor for a serious real world threat. Dr. Strangelove dealt with a rogue general triggering a nuclear exchange, but the real world concern was nuclear war generally. "Don't Look Up" is ostensibly about the threat of a comet hitting the earth but it is really a stand in for the threat of climate change. I'm not sure dark comedies end up sufficiently conveying the concern of the movies' writers and producers, but here is hoping.
A fantastic recap of the 2001 anthrax scare and subsequent hunt for the perpetrator. Although some events are a bit out of actual chronological sequence in the depiction of the investigation, overall the series does a good job of covering the history. The fact that the lead suspect in the investigation had access to such dangerous materials despite his obvious mental problems is a scary thought in itself! If I had a criticism of the series, the "hero" Mathew Ryker is almost too good to be true, not only is he always right, he never even entertains an erroneous thought in the series. However, even if that depiction isn't quite credible, the series is not only entertaining but informative.
Can all of the reviewers alleging false or negative portrayals of Trump really take issue with what is shown? Virtually all the things Trump says in closed door conversations in the series were repeated in public, often many times, in the ensuing years. If anything, the series validates claims by some Trump defenders about views of Trump by senior FBI brass, although it also shows some surprising views of Clinton that are probably less well known. I've made it through the first three episodes and the only thing that might be somewhat biased was the characterization of the departure of Sally Yates in Episode 3.
If you like great scenic shots, beautiful people and a lot of singing and dancing, you'll love "In the Heights." I don't understand some of the critical reviews, especially about the length of the songs. The songs were meant to tell a story, so many had to be long.
The one criticism I do have is the movie pushes the ethnic grievance angle too far and sometimes disingenuously. Even then, it wasn't enough for some, which prompted ridiculous apology for supposed "colorism" even though one of the lead actors was black.
Finally, a series set the 1960s that was not about the decade
Others have noted the good points of the series that I don't need to repeat. However, I will add I was pleased to finally see a series set in the 1960s that didn't feel the need have the major events of that decade as backdrop, or even worse, make them players in those events.
Chess was, and is, a niche field. However, outside of their obsession with chess, the participants are like the vast majority of other Americans (and the foreigners shown), not involved the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, the Kennedys, etc, etc). Not that those and other major events are unimportant, they were, but they weren't day to day concerns for most people. One wouldn't know that from most movies or series set in that era.
Overall, this is a good documentary how the Feds took down the mafia in NYC in the 80s. The one huge drawback was the inclusion of Rudy Guliani without some sort of a disclaimer. He (and Michael Chertoff) did good work and deserve praise for the crime fighting efforts back in those days.
Unfortunately, Giuliani has so dishonored himself by supporting Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election, he should have an "*" by his name in any discussion of his life's work.
This episode shows ICE agents as sometimes saviors, combating human smuggling and rescuing migrants stranded in the desert. It also shows the plight of migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Latin America. While fielding valid criticisms of current immigration policy, the critics often don't seem to offer viable alternatives or any alternative at all. One critic, UCLA faculty member Jason De Leon, comes across as rather ignorant when he says NAFTA "crashed" Mexico's economy causing a surge in migration. Even setting aside the dubious claim about NAFTA, Mexican migrants had been streaming north for years prior to the 1995 economic crisis.
I rated the overall series highly as it is, for the most part, balanced and fair. However, this episode deviated slightly. There is one part where it shows a highly sympathetic asylum petitioner and interviews with both her lawyer and an ICE official. The ICE official comes across as a hypocrite given the rules for release that he articulates. However, it isn't clear he is talking about her specific case since he doesn't mention her name. If in fact he was just describing the rules generically, it's a bit of a cheap shot at him.
I had heard this was an anti-ICE series but I didn't get that sense at all. It certainly delved into some controversial policies, but those aren't created by the ICE employees. For the most part, I see ICE agents doing their jobs and in a respectful and diligent manner. Any errant comment can be taken out of context.
As for the politicians, the series tries to show all sides, warts and all. Trump and his aides are certainly disingenuous in their about face on family separations. However, the "Abolish ICE" crowd comes off as unrealistic. Whatever the agency is called, there is still going to be a need to enforce immigration laws.
Many other posters fault the film for being biased towards the Cuban government. I didn't see it that way at all and I'm very much opposed to the Cuban dictatorship. The fact that the anti-Castro forces and the Cuban government criticize the film (although the anti-Castro side is more vociferous) is a plus in my mind.
It seems correct on the major facts and neither side comes out spotless. The Cuban government did shoot down unarmed planes in 1996 that posed no military threat. Anti-Castro forces did bomb tourist hotels in Cuba. Agents of the Cuban government were spying on American soil and some folks they surveilled were at least tolerant of violent actions towards Cuba. I was familiar with those events but the movie added a lot of detail, some of which may have been hyped for cinematic purposes. If I had one criticism is it took a little to long to reveal the intentions of the lead characters, but even there I can see a reason for telling the story the way they did.
If one takes this series at face value, the US was alarmed by the Labour Party victory in the first postwar election in UK and felt the need to spy on the new government. However, that wasn't an accurate depiction of the Labour Party or most European socialist parties in the 1940s, many were anti-communist and alarmed by the thuggish tactics of the Soviet Union. The Labour government of Clement Atlee backed the creation of NATO and the US in the Korean War. It's also worth remembering the US was governed by New Deal Democrats at the time, the gap between the views of the Truman Administration and Atlee government wasn't that large.
As bad as Lindbergh is, in the earlier episodes you don't get the sense this will end with a "Nazi America." That is certainly the view of folks such as Rabbi Bergensdorf or Herman Levin. Much as they disagree on the virtues of Lindbergh, neither has given up on the country. A viewer could envision a "best case" scenario (or really a "lesser evil" scenario) where Nazis dominate Europe but the western hemisphere sort of functions independently as a place where Jews can still exist. This episode starts to give off hints that such optimism is misplaced.
A lot of Reviewers seem to be complaining about the pace of Series. I have not read the book, I don't know how the series sends but I think the slow pace is precisely the point. If the end is something akin to the "Nazis take over America" by definition it isn't something that would happen quickly. Say what you will about the USA in 1940, while there was antisemitism, hostility to Jews had never reached levels present in Europe or, specifically, Germany prior to the Nazi takeover there. It follows that the build up wouldn't be the same. The changes have to be ordinary enough that most folks wouldn't notice them.
It's really amazing that an Israeli spy could penetrate the Syrian leadership so deeply but apparently the real world Cohen did. One thing the series can't show is Cohen's versatility in Arabic, which no doubt came from his Egyptian origin.
I also really liked Yael Eitan although she plays a secondary (but still important) role as "Maya." She is a real looker. Too bad fashion restrictions of the era didn't let her show off her six-pack abs!
If I had one criticism of the film is it shows a few hairstyles that weren't common until the 1970s. I'm hard-pressed to find pictures of any man with longish hair in Israel or Syria in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
As others have noted, the series has a telenovela aspect to it, not just with Bolivar's romances but with the romances of other key players. However, it appears to adhere to actual history. I don't know why Venezuela's idiot President Maduro dissed the series, since everyone in Venezuela reveres Bolivar and the series casts him in a favorable light. However, he does make some military decisions that would not be viewed favorably by modern standards.
If I had a criticism, it's that the military forces often appear too small. You see them getting ready to engage in battles involving many hundreds or a few thousand and sometimes there 20 or 30 troops. However, like I said, it gets most of the story right.
I understand the many complaints about the actors speaking English rather than Norwegian. I assume the producers just thought it would reach a wider audience in English. I have no problem watching subtitles, but I don't doubt others do and I'll leave it at that.
I think the reason the film focused more on the aftermath of that horrific event than the event itself is really the hidden message of the film. They want to show this is how "civilized societies" deal with a mass murdering terrorist. In this view, I suppose the US wouldn't make the cut as civilized.
Personally, I'm a supporter of capital punishment and I think Timothy McVeigh got what he deserved for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The end of July 22 shows an alternative form of punishment (the last few seconds are the most insightful). It didn't make me change my mind but I thought it was an interesting perspective anyway.
Besides good acting, another thing I like about this series is it seemed pretty credible. I could imagine many of these events happening in real life. However, the bar scene in this episode really strained credulity, just the way the speed and ease that conflicts occur.
It has been a quarter of a century but I still remember this event well and especially the fall out after words. It's a gripping series although others have raised concerns about it's accuracy. Anyone who paid attention to this event knows that the Branch Davidians were a cult and were accused of some serious crimes such as child abuse. The FBI was accused of recklessness in their assault of the cult's compound. This series will give credence to both points of view. At times, the Branch Davidians come across as harmless and close knit and David Koresh at time seems wise and kind. However, even if the series doesn't show most serious allegations against the group, it suggests Koresh was guilty of polygamy and statutory rape, which was enough to merit the attention of the authorities.
Much of the cinematic coverage of Iraq War was focused on fighting against Saddam's army and the Sunni resistance. This movie focuses on the experience of a U.S. Army unit in the midst of the Shiite area of Sadr City. As such it focuses on the Army's attempt to win "hearts and minds" but also deal with an insurgent threat.
The depictions are gritty and realistic. However, the first couple of episodes have a few glitches. One, it implies that Iraq was considered peaceful prior to the unit's arrival in April 2004, when an active insurgency had been under way since the summer of 2003. Also, members of the unit repeatedly say one the name and rank of one of their fellow soldiers over the radio, which is a big communications security "no-no." However, it does a good job depicting the contemporary military, equipment, uniforms and customs.
I'll watch pretty much any Presidential movie so I was glad when this one came out. Unfortunately, thanks to mixed reviews, it won't be a big hit but I hope it doesn't discourage the genre.
The movie does a good job hewing to actual events. I read LBJ's memoirs many years ago and many of the events were depicted similarly in the movie. It isn't always kind of LBJ, showing him as two-faced and conniving, but ultimately driven to do the "right thing" especially when he became President himself (there is little discussion of the Vietnam War). Unlike some others, I wasn't bothered by the flashbacks to JFK's assassination, but if I had a criticism of the film is Harrelson just doesn't look like LBJ, especially without glasses, even with all the modifications to his appearance.
The series depicts the lives of ordinary French citizens under German occupation during WWII and the immediate aftermath. Besides doing a good job of replicating the styles and technology of the times, it hues to historical events reasonably well. Interestingly, the village depicted doesn't actually exist, perhaps the writers didn't want to cast a pall on a real city. Most importantly, the characters wrestle with the complications many of the occupied must have dealt with. How much should one cooperate with occupying authorities and how much should they resist? Much of it isn't black and white.
I'll watch pretty much any decent drama with a well anchored historical setting. The Deuce does this for the most part although I don't disagree with those who think real world NYC was much grittier in those days. Not clear where the series is ultimately heading but its worth finding out. If I had to say anything negative, the women playing the prostitutes are often too old, obese or ugly for the roles. I know prostitution is a rough life that can age and decay among those who engage in it, but from what I've seen at red light districts, I have a hard time seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal, Pernell Walker and Jamie Neumann as plausible. Kayla Foster, on the other hand, does look pretty typical for the business.
This excellent series begins in East Germany, circa 1980. The Kupfer family is made up of Stasi (State Security) employees. The father, Hans, is a senior Stasi bureaucrat. One son, Falk is a detective aspiring to rise up the ranks and the other son, Martin, is street cop. Julia Hausmann, daughter of dissident singer Dunja, works in a cosmetics shop. The two families are intertwined, sometimes in ways that seem to be a bit too coincidental, but there are very few dull moments.
The plot is captivating in itself, but I don't want to divulge spoilers. What was equally appealing for me was the backdrop, the German Democratic Republic and lives of its citizens. The people depicted don't live deprived lives, they would easily qualify as middle class in the West, but they are surrounded by a colorless Communist society. Drab high rise apartment buildings and small box like cars dot the scenery. Some, like Stasi employees, live better than others but it is largely a "classless" society the socialists claim to venerate. The characters are all devoted to socialism although they differ on the need for conformity and repression. The ways in which repression is applied are particularly interesting. Another movie that explorers similar sentiments is "The Lives of Others."