In March and April, I’ve watched All The Money in the World, Annihilation, The Shape of Water and Season 8 of The Walking Dead. As well as, Marvel’s Jessica Jones S2 and Santa Clarita Diet S2, on Netflix.
Jessica Jones (S2)
Created by: Melissa Rosenberg
Starring: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, J. R. Ramirez, Terry Chen, Leah Gibson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Janet McTeer, Callum Keith Rennie, Rebecca De Mornay
Jessica Jones is always enjoyable and this season is no exception, though, it is not without its problems. Each episode is brilliantly directed by different woman, Jones’ trademark razor-sharp wit is still a highlight and the exploration of Jones’ PTSD is wonderfully explored — again brilliantly portrayed by Ritter. However, the lack of a clear antagonist causes the show to, occasionally, lose its focus and Trish’s arc tires quickly.
Season 2 is messier (in a good way), a little stranger and a lot more complicated, but it’s all held together by Ritter’s captivating and irresistible performance.
All The Money in the World
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Charlie Plummer, Timothy Hutton, Andrew Buchan
Ridley Scott made one hell of a bold move to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer, in light of Spacey’s sexual misconduct allegations. However, ATMITW has become a showcase for Plummer’s extraordinary ability and he perfectly portrays a truly detestable yet complex man. However, the most interesting aspect of the film is not the kidnap itself, but the destruction and grief the Getty’s money causes the family. Michelle Williams impresses, as does Charlie Plummer as John Paul Getty III, and Romain Duris gives a sympathetic twist on an otherwise clichéd character. Mark Wahlberg appears out of place amongst everyone else and Timothy Hutton is completely underused.
All The Money in the World, on paper, could have proven to be a disaster but in Scott and Plummer’s capable hands, they’ve delivered a marvellous and fascinating thriller.
Director: Alex Garland
Starring: Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac, Benedict Wong, David Gyasi
In a ridiculous move, Annihilation was not released in UK cinemas due to studio heads believing the film to be “too intellectual” for our audiences but, thankfully, Netlifx picked it up. Initially, the most striking thing about the film and, as Empire Magazine’s Jonathan Pile states, is ‘the make-up of the squad — it’s all female. […] Given the prevailing mood in Hollywood, its timing is impeccable.’ The film is an interesting dichotomy, given the visually stunning world the women are presented and then stripped to discover the ugliness underneath. Annihilation is a hard film to describe without spoiling things but it’s a mystifying expedition into the unknown containing a stunning and haunting visual spectacle.
Following his wonderful Ex Machina, Garland delivers a gripping and thought-provoking sci-fi thriller that provides genuine terror. Watch on the biggest screen possible.
The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones
Del Toro has crafted a stunning adult fairy tale with mesmerising performances from its cast, in particular, Sally Hawkins. The film looks absolutely beautiful and features an incredible soundtrack, with nods to Old Hollywood. With zero dialogue uttered between the lovers, del Toro has created an enchanting and surprisingly emotional love story that makes you care for their fate.
In his distinct world, del Toro has created a romantic, utterly dazzling and impossibly beautiful love story between two unlikely heroes. Just don’t describe the film to anyone.
Santa Clarita Diet (S2)
Created by: Victor Fresco
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skyler Gisondo
Santa Clarita Diet has become two things: a funny family sitcom and a wonderful zombie comedy. This combination could easily have become bogged down with too much of one and not the other, but SCD has found the perfect balance. Season 2 is more self-aware and silly than before, a great thing considering the subject matter, and Barrymore and Olyphant’s chemistry continues to elevate the material. Olyphant, in particular, is given more do this season and his comedic timing just gets better and better.
The weirder the show gets, the better it gets. Bring on season 3!
The Walking Dead (S8)
Developed by: Frank Darabont
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Austin Amelio, Tom Payne, Xander Berkeley, Khary Payton, Steven Ogg, Katelyn Nacon, Pollyanna McIntosh
It is no secret that The Walking Dead has been running on fumes for a long time now and the disappointing Season 8 suggests the show should probably end sometime soon. The group are rallying together in their fight against Negan — whose charm and watchability has begun to dwindle yet he remains the most exciting character thanks to Morgan. The problem with the show is that it made humans the villains so the backdrop of the Walkers have become, frankly, unnecessary and not the least bit scary.
Only a few characters remain that are worth your time; far too many are underwritten or just plain boring and the most interesting of the bunch are sidelined. It does still have its good moments though with a character’s death handled well and a few other surprising moments. Season 8 is a struggle to get through at times and contains a very anticlimactic finale. However, I believe the show still has potential for next season, I just hope they utilise it.