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Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches

No real resemblance to the book
I have no idea how Anne Rice's legacy is being handled, but based on this cheap adaptation they certainly are not bothering themselves with ensuring quality productions to honor the essence of the books. You'd think with such a huge fan base attention would be paid to faithfully follow the story of the Mayfair Witches. For starters, the show has dropped two major characters from the books and other storylines are simply being ignored.

This series is poorly acted, poorly lit and poorly adapted. I'm getting the feeling they're trying to cater to The Walking Dead audience with another horror series to try and recapture those viewers. Mayfair Witches is not a horror story. AMC has the ability to create great shows. Why they chose this route is with such a beloved author's work is mind-boggling.

Business Proposal

Time to break the cycle
'Business Proposal' is yet another kdrama that relies on tropes used to exhaustion in almost every recent romance out of South Korea. Here are some of the oft repeated storylines:

-the uber-wealthy ML CEO who dazzles the poor, hard-working FL with his ostentatious displays of wealth to show just how willing he is to impress her. Most include fireworks at some point and the buying out of the amusement park, the restaurant, etc. These scenarios are completely unrealistic.

-the obnoxious support cast consisting of loud, overbearing portrayals of friends, co-workers, etc. This trope almost always includes an overbearing relative (the mom who slaps and yells constantly, the older relative who interferes and objects to the relationship only to finally go along with it).

-the total lack of any behaviors that would explain why the leads or secondary characters fall so desperately in love with each other. Watch a few of these romances and you'll see what I mean. Oftentimes neither lead shows any sort of behavior that explains to the viewer why they're so appealing.

-one of the leads must have a tragic history of loss. Parents, personal trauma, etc.

-the endless episodes. To fill a 16 episode arc, storylines become tediously repetitive and boring. Anything to drag out the story to fill the quota of episodes.

-the secondary relationship. The leads must have their best friends also meet cute, struggle to connect, yet inevitably fall for each other in the end.

This drama is a copycat of almost every one before it and originality is sadly lacking. The same tired formula is wrung out until the end. Dramas like this might appeal to viewers who are new to the kdrama scene, to more experienced viewers there's nothing new here.

The acting in these 'romances' can vary widely. ML's seem to be encouraged to appear strong and stoic and are shown doing very little actual work until love causes them to transform their lives. FL's are usually almost always cheerful and upbeat despite their circumstances. I found in 'Business Proposal' that the FL is one of those actresses that think quirky, confused or exaggerated expressions is acting. There's zero depth brought to most roles due to limited skills and the same old tired script.

South Korea offers many fine viewing experiences in drama, police procedurals, horror (definitely not my genre, but I've heard excellent reports), and romance, etc. It's sad to see the romance genre brought down by the ridiculous repetition of tired tropes and formulaic writing.

When done well, there's so much kdramas can offer.

Three Pines

I'm so happy!
I've waited forever for someone to adapt Louise Penny's wonderful Inspector Gamache books as a series. Alfred Molina didn't come to mind as my first choice for the lead character, but through the first few episodes he's doing a very commendable job. I also imagined Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Gamache's second-in-command and eventual son-in-law, as a bit more conventionally handsome, but that's neither here nor there if Rossif Sutherland (son of Donald Sutherland) can portray the character well. Clare Coulter is hitting all the right notes right out of the gate as the crabby poetess/author Ruth Zardo.

The quality of the production is only fair, but they've captured admirably the Canadian village of Three Pines as Penny describes it in her books. If the series is picked up for a second season, I would expect the production values to rise.

I hope the series gets a good reception and fair appreciation and Prime Video will continue to tell these marvelous stories!

The Peripheral

Two episodes have me hooked
As I was reading the reviews, I noticed a few complaints about the language used in this show. Glad to get those people out of the way because if you're judging a show based on foul language alone, you're not giving the show a fair shot. Plus, there appears to be a reviewer who has a real problem with Chloe Grace Moretz. Too bad. We won't miss you as a viewer either.

I had no idea of the concept of this show when I turned it on. All I knew was Netflix has zero that I want to watch at the moment and my additional streaming channels are the same. I'm not a huge fan of Prime original programming with the exception of The Wheel of Time. Were there things that needed improvement? Yes, but there was enough there that I'm looking forward to season two.

I'm not going to reiterate the plot as some reviewers have done an excellent job of giving you the gist of this show. All I will say is after 2 episodes, any series that neatly balances action and non-action, that's hired competent actors who are playing their roles well, has an interesting sci-fi plot, and pretty top-notch CGI is worth keeping up with. Will my score change? It's possible. But I'm going to give this show a fair shot. Foul language notwithstanding.

Catherine Called Birdy

Charming and Delightful
I'm not a Lena Dunham fan, but I've got to hand it to her. Catherine Called Birdy is a terrific film. Basing a film on a children's book set in 13th century England you can run a big chance of the sets, costumes, dialogue and general mood giving off an inauthentic feel. Not here.

The plot centers around Lady Catherine, nicknamed Birdy, the 14yo only daughter of Lord Rollo (Andrew Scott) and Lady Aislinn (Billie Piper). Lord Rollo is desperate to marry Birdy off to a rich suitor to feed his coffers which have been severely depleted over the years by his flagrant and unbridled drinking and spending. Lady Aislinn lives a seesaw of emotions due to her many pregnancies resulting in still births, yet she truly loves her spendthrift husband and wild, rebellious daughter. Scott and Piper play the determined yet conflicted parents beautifully. The supporting cast includes Joe Alwyn, as Birdy's handsome Uncle George, home from the Crusades and the magnificent Lesley Sharp as Morwenna, whose harried job is the daily care and upbringing of Birdy.

After Birdy successfully fends off suitor after suitor, one finally appears with wealth enough to satisfy Lord Rollo's wildest dreams and he demands Birdy marry him. The problem is he's a vile, disgusting, lecherous older man. Much older. As Birdy's inevitable fate draws near, the love between parents and child is tested to its limits.

Catherine Called Birdy is a breath of fresh air in the form of original programming, a superbly written script, fantastic sets and exceptional performances.


The 355

A tremendous waste of talent
How can you have 3 Oscar-winning actresses (Chastain, N'yongo, and Cruz), one of the best directors in Hollywood (Simon Kinberg), and end up with such a flop?

The 355 has nothing going for it except its 3 stars. The supporting cast even includes Diane Kruger who we seem to see so rarely these days. The movie lacks competent writing, cinematography and direction. The plot is banal, generic and frankly, we've seen it a hundred times. Something is in the field that threatens global security, blah, blah, blah. Jealous coworkers lurk to try to stymie the work being done by the lead team, blah, blah, blah. There's running and shooting down the alleyways of Paris but the camerawork is so shaky it's impossible to see much. In fact, the cinematographer can't seem to capture a decent shot. The dialogue doesn't matter because we've heard it all before. The direction is meh. In the action scenes it's obvious when the stunt doubles are doing the work and the transition from actress to stunt double is glaringly obvious.

It's amazing to see a film with a female-led cast, but they deserve so much better than this. As I said in the title-this is a tremendous waste of talent.

The Midnight Club

Poor Mr. Flanagan
I don't know if Mike Flanagan is choosing to go this route or Netflix has a hand in this, but the latest chapter of Flanagan's horror series is a watered-down, talky-teens, add a gajillion jump scares production. It pales in comparison to his previous work for Netflix.

The plot is interesting, but the acting and story, with few exceptions, is generic teen drama with generic teens. (I don't know if they really are teens, there's a tendency these days to have 20-something's play teens that annoys me no end.) The Midnight Club centers on a group of terminally-Ill teenagers living in a gothic mansion (the exterior of which is apparently CGI, which is too bad, it's a cool place). They exist with almost no adult intervention as they live out their days. Their nights are filled with the Club where they meet to exchange terrifying ghost stories. Why are terminally-ill people always portrayed in dramas as incredibly intelligent, creative souls? No one is ever average and neither are the tales these kids think up.

There-I've entered the requisite minimum characters.

If you like teen productions, you'll like this. If you like jump scares ad infinitum, you'll like this. If you like real ghosty ghosts and true suspense, watch something else.

Do Revenge

20 something's playing high school kids...yet again
It's really getting ridiculous having 20 something's (in this case, at a minimum, a 24yo, 26yo and 28 yo) playing high school students. They don't look like high school students by any stretch of the imagination. But we're stuck with them here and stuck with this script written as if these are real teens. Do writers really believe teenagers talk like this? That most have stopped saying 'like' every other word and express themselves like ultra jaded 40+ adults? Enough with the constant witty repartee and the incredibly intense self-insight. Few real life adults have as much world-weary insight as these teen characters do.

On to the actors- notwithstanding her role in 'Stranger Things', Maya Hawke is not yet a good enough actress (in my opinion) to carry a lead role. Austin Abrams, at 26, is seriously miscast as the most popular and sought-after boy in school. He just isn't convincing as a heart throb. Camilla Mendes who also looks much, much older than your average teen executes her role well, while Sophie Turner looks so much older than her true age that it was uncomfortable to watch her. Sarah Michelle Gellar is one of the few bright spots in this. The rest of the cast is adequate but forgettable.

The comparisons this film hopes to make to films of the 80's, 90's, etc is painfully obvious and it painfully misses the mark.

Teens can be written as complicated, intelligent, mature-ish human beings. Why have they so often stopped being written that way?

The Voyeurs

SS is derailing her own career
Does Sydney Sweeney really want to be known as an actress or just a 'body'? If this woman wants a legit career beyond 'Euphoria' and this tripe, it needs to start now. In almost every production she's in lately she gets naked or semi-naked. She's truly gorgeous from head to toe, but as proven again and again in Hollywood, if nudity in film is what you choose to offer then that's all you're going to BE offered.

She's got true acting talent, there's real depth to her abilities. However, if she continues down this path, I fear she's doomed to 'Hey, Sydney Sweeney shows some skin in this movie, wanna watch it?" as evidenced by this pathetic film. It's cheaply made and completely preposterous. Sydney seems to work constantly, but if it's vehicles like this, why bother? She's getting perilously close to being known for always showing her 'all'. Soon, it'll be truly detrimental to her future.

Time to move on if she's serious about a long-term career.


Don't bother. Really. Don't bother.
From the writers who brought you Gods of Egypt and Power Rangers comes this mess of a movie.

1. Horrible script-I mean, BAD writing. Worse than Gods of Egypt if that's possible.

2. Whether they sped the action up or slo-moed it to death, the CGI is unbelievably cheap and clunky looking.

3. Leto is always hit or miss and he missed big time here. Matt Smith, too. But they both had a rotten script.

4. It's shot in a lot of dark and dank settings . You can almost smell the musty dampness.

5. Why they thought Moribus was a good addition to the franchise in the first place baffles me.

6. The biggest sin? It was boring.

The Lost City

A pathetic Romancing the Stone ripoff
Wow, did this movie suck.

1. Bullock must have been paid a ton of cash for this. It's the only reason I can see why she'd take this terrible role. She's past her due date on these romantic comedies. Her nervous, gotta be in control schtick is wrung dry. I wish she'd take on a role that is different than this same old trite crap.

2. Channing Tatum-he should stick to dancing because he's not a comedic actor by any stretch of the imagination. Or, much of an actor at all, tbh. I'll give him this-he tried, but I didn't buy for one second that he'd be attracted to Bullock's character.

3. The secondary roles and the actors who portrayed those characters are all completely forgettable. Daniel Radcliffe is horribly miscast.

4. The Dominican Republic was made to look like a 5 star jungle park that's as dangerous as a Disney theme park.

5. Brad Pitt is fabulous in his all too brief role as a ex Navy Seal recruited to save Bullock. Sad news is he's killed 15 minutes after he appears onscreen.

6. 2 stars is generous.

Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area

Just rewatch the original
It feels like this show was quickly thrown together in an attempt to capitalize on the current wave of excellent programming to come out of SK, but it's substandard on every level and fails miserably.

The worst part of the series is the acting. Jang Yoon Joo is no actress, she is badly miscast as Nairobi. In fact, all of the actors come off as incredibly awkward. The sets are dingy and look like they're from dated dramas of years past. The direction does nothing to help the story which seems to be an absolute copycat of the original. At least tweak the show so it feels genuine to SK.

A cheap copy not worth your time. Rewatch the original.

Let Them All Talk

Let them all Talk...even though what they're saying isn't interesting.
This was one of the slowest, most tedious films I've ever seen. It's gotta be impossible to make a bad movie with Meryl Streep, Dianne Weist, Candace Bergen and the very talented Gemma Chan, right?

Divulging the plot isn't even worth it, because 15 minutes in, I listened v watched because nothing happened. Nothing. It was when I found out (after viewing) that the whole movie was basically ad-libbed that the tediousness made sense. I guess the chance to work with Soderbergh was too much to resist.

This is honestly a waste of talent of a very talented cast. Don't bother.

Lark Rise to Candleford

It didn't improve on a second viewing as I hoped
I must have romanticized my first viewing of the show, because on second viewing all the glaring plot holes, the changes in the characters and the illogical sequence of events became glaringly obvious.

Julia Sawalha, Brendan Coyle and Claudie Blakley are excellent actors and continued their careers long after the end of Lark Rise to Candleford. The series is blessed with many gifted actors and actresses in secondary roles as well. That made it much more painful to watch beloved characters become obvious caricatures.

It only took until season two and the introduction of the Minnie character (Ruby Bentall) to turn me off the show this time around. I jumped ahead to future seasons in the hope it would improve. That didn't happen.

I know the series is much loved, but for me it began to fall apart as the writing got weaker. This included the introduction of characters who simply disappeared. The storylines got more predictable. It felt like a badly written soap opera this time around. A classic show improves on subsequent viewings, but sadly that didn't happen for me with Lark Rise to Candleford.


I Stopped Watching in the Middle of an Episode to Write This
Why do they invariably take a FL from competent, intelligent and resourceful and turn her into a crying, frowning, trembling mess of emotions? The FL in this show ends up allowing herself to be grabbed forcefully by the wrist, tugged, pulled, tripped onto a hard floor and told what to do, when to do it and told who they can do it with. It's desperately depressing to watch.

I realize Heirs/Inheritors is a 2013 production, but that's not so far in the past that manhandling should be an acceptable part of the script. Sometimes it's frustrating to watch Korean writers perpetuate some of the most repressive things about South Korea. That women can and should be controlled by men many times against their will. It can take a teenage drama and drag it down to unbelievably misogynistic levels. Wake up, writers. Let the females continue to be self -assured and confident through out the series. Or let them at least show some emotional and intellectual growth by having them stop the males from mistreating them.

The sad part is you still see it in current productions.

Otsomae Bolkeun Kkeutdong

This is the way to write a Sageuk
This historical drama ranks up there with the best. Although we're only halfway through the series, the quality of the writing, the production value and the amazing performances all point to continued success.

Casting is key. It can lift a sluggish story and it can elevate average writing. Lee Jun-ho as the Crown Prince and Lee See-Young as the court lady he loves and cherishes lead an exceptional group of seasoned actors and bright newish faces. Hong Deok-Ro played by Kang Hoon and Oh Dae-Hwan playing Kang Tae-Ho are perfectly cast as the Crown Prince's cold and calculating advisor and Head Guardsman respectively. Many familiar faces round out the superlative cast.

The physical attraction and sexual tension the Crown Prince and his Court Lady experience is written to perfection. She resists becoming his concubine because exercising her free will and thoughts (as freely as you could being a member of the court), is her fervent desire. Initially she rebuffs the Crown Prince explaining in no uncertain terms her feelings on the matter. As a Prince who is both demanding and somewhat arrogant this causes him to swiftly remind her that her future and her life, for that matter, rest solely in his hands. In many author's hands this relationship could come across blandly as is the rule in most kdramas. Here the writers walk a fine line conveying to the audience the reality of the times and the reality of the love blooming between the two leads. It is executed to perfection by Lee and Lee.

We can only hope the excellence of the production continues. I have every reason to believe it will and eagerly await the remaining 8 episodes.

This is a must-see for fans of quality Korean productions.

Kkotboda namja

The lead actress is terrible
Kdramas have come a long way since 2009. You can't always expect a show to age well, but for only 12 years having passed since Boys with Flowers was released, it's dreadful how badly the fashion and hairstyles look. I would have guessed this drama to be much older than it is simply based on its look.

There are a lot of young actors in this who were probably cast for their popularity and visuals and they're mostly just fine in their roles. But the lead actress, Ku Hye-Seon, (who was about 25 when this show was shot, so NOT a teen) was a horrible choice for Geum Jan-Di. She's one of those people in the acting profession who think grimacing and exaggerated facial expressions, eyerolls, and pouts, convey emotion or provide insight into the character. If she'd been a teenager it'd be a bit more understandable or forgivable. She was more of a cringe-worthy caricature. Shockingly bad.

As I said Korean cinema has come a long way. There are many excellent young actresses and actors today in their 20's who could pull off an excellent portrayal of Geum Jan-Di. Thank goodness!


Kept Starting and Stopping
This is one of those kdramas you hear about and see on "What to Watch on Netflix" lists. I bet started/stopped this show 3? Times before I made it through the series. And, that's with fast-forwarding through some episodes because the pace is s-l-o- w with lots of unnecessary plot lines, uninteresting scenarios, etc.

Like most kdramas they make 16 episodes when 10-12 well paced episodes would be 100x more enjoyable.

The premise is good. A handsome young man tries to break into the acting world and the trials and tribulations of his journey.

Pros: Han Ae-Sook as the housekeeper/mom to Park Bo-Gum's character and Lee Min-Jae, who played PBG's agent.

Cons: Park So-Dam as the FL/love interest to PBG. Utterly forgettable as are too many of the players and their roles.

Round it all out with the all too typical lethargic pacing and you've got a story that could and should have been much more fun to watch.


What a mess
Boy, was this a miss for me. Even the concept was off. Three giant gorilla-looking monsters come and literally beat to death 'sinners', incinerate their remains, then jump in the air or through a wall and just disappear. That's it, episode after episode. You don't even really know WHY these people are singled out for 'hell'.

Here we go with another recent Korean drama that's bathed in violence (graphic, graphic violence) just for the sake of it. Korea puts out fabulous, well-written productions 9 times out of 10 so why this sudden penchant for over the top blood and gore Netflix programming eludes me.

On top of it all, everything was badly done-the CGI monsters, the amateur acting, clunky dialogue, and repetitive storyline was so boring amid all that bashing and blood that I gave up after 3 episodes. I won't watch violence just for the sake of it which is really what this series goal seems to be.


Kooky? Not Really.
I gave Inspector Koo a chance to settle into the individual characterizations, but the overacting by the FL is just too distracting for me. After 3 episodes her attempt to act quirky is beyond annoying. It's a shame because all the other characters are great. What was enjoyable was seeing 3 former cast members from Hospital Playlist.


We've seen this movie before
Pros: The story has a decent concept and the acting is good. It was smart to put out all the episodes at once because the timing is fast paced so it helps to keep the story moving along. The FL does well enough with a script that calls for a lot of physicality, yet she's written as a one-note character with no variations in her mood. The ML is well suited to the role of an intense and violent crime boss. The eventual love interest of the FL serves his purpose well enough.

Cons: Yet again they take a physically normal person and quickly turn them into a super fighter with super human skills and super human stamina and endurance, who can be beaten down, sliced and diced and just keeps getting up for more. In fact, most of the cast fits this bill. There is so much graphic violence it actually takes away from the story's impact. And it's guaranteed that the audience sees almost every bullet hit, every knife wound, and every machete slice. Every episode is filled with violence. Some characters are killed for no reason other every fight is apparently to the death while others survive unbelievably horrific wounds. More than once, if you can believe it.

Overall, I couldn't give it more than 4 stars because we've seen this type of film before. My Name has bleak and dark cinematography and a bleak and dark storyline. Watch it with that in mind.

Boiseu: The Fourth Golden Time/New Emails
Episode 1, Season 4

Not the Voice I remember
I think fans of Voice can agree that season one was an intense ride into the depths a driven cop will go to in his search for a serial killer stalking the dark alleyways of Seoul. He's consumed with guilt when he realizes that while he was partying close by with his squad, his wife was repeatedly trying to contact him as she's being relentlessly pursued by a killer. Combine that with his overwhelming grief, his excessive drinking, and he almost falls into the abyss. When he starts working with a remarkable woman with a remarkable gift for voice profiling, the season moves on quite well.

Now here we are at season four, episode one and I'm shocked at the changes that appear to have happened with Voice. This entire episode is nothing but sensationalistic violence, subpar acting and cheap gory thrills. Gone is the convincing narrative and high suspense level that grabbed you at the outset of season one.

For the fan's sake, I hope Voice recovers to a semblance of season one's intense and compelling storytelling. It takes a lot for me to abandon a show after the first episode. People may think I'm not being fair, but there are too many great Korean shows on Netflix for me to wait and hope Voice gets its voice back. (I know, terrible pun.)

Thunder Force

Stop green lighting every single thing by Falcone/McCarthy
While Melissa McCarthy can be funny (I enjoyed The Heat and Spy), it's obvious no matter the studio, everything McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, offer up is immediately greenlit. That has to stop. This is the umpeeth unfunny movie by the married duo.

After the first 30 minutes, I simply had the movie on in the background, but could still hear McCarthy's ad-libs which were excruciatingly awful.

If this is the best an immensely talented actress like Octavia Spencer has to pick from, that's a sad commentary on the state of comedic films. Let's hope she got a big, upfront payday.

The One

Liked the concept-not a fan of the execution
The concept is interesting, a program that can match you with 'the one' based on your DNA. First of all, it seemed to breeze right onto the market without the outrage you'd expect from governments and private individuals. If you get past that, the villainess has 3-4 men willing to cheat, lie and kill for her. R-I-g-h-t.

The acting is what really lets this show down. Wooden, unemotional. I didn't believe a single character's arc or their immediate willingness to believe whatever they're being spoon-fed.

I'll make it through the series but it's certainly not one I'll recommend.

Alice in Borderland: Episode 4
Episode 4, Season 1

Easy peasy solution
I'm shocked the ML who figured out game one so brilliantly couldn't have quickly realized the solution to this game. I figured it out the first time they showed the numbers. It was obvious they were adding distance as they ran through the tunnel. Shaking my head at this episode.

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