Stranger Things (Season 2)

Ever since Duffer brothers announced the release date for the second season of Stranger Things, fans have been eagerly waiting for the Halloween weekend to come. The trailer too promised a darker and stranger sequel. So does it fulfill its promise? Let’s find out.

Almost a year after Will was rescued from the Demogorgan, he starts experiencing nightmares which connect him to an evil force from the ‘Upside Down’ world. At the same time, some strange things start happening in the town of Hawkins. Are these things connected? What does the evil force wants?

The writing and story structuring is almost perfect across the entire season. The story gets divided into multiple branches where different characters are solving different problems. At the end, all the strings come together seamlessly and connect the dots perfectly. You can also see the changes and the maturity in the characters as the story reaches the end.

The first two episodes are little slow which just connect the viewers to the first season and sets up the curiosity to binge race the entire season. Season 2 is bigger and better than the first season. Few new characters are introduced which are only supporting. The old characters truly drive the show with their superb acting. The essence of the story and the characters are maintained. Season 2 lives up to the expectations and even goes beyond. 

To summarize, Stranger Things still remains one of the best shows currently on Netflix and better than any other over-hyped shows out in the world. Like always, the ending will make you well up and wait eagerly for season 3.

Rating: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ & 1/2

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Genre: Science fiction, Horror, Supernatural

Created by: The Duffer Brothers

Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine, Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, Sean Astin, Paul Reiser

Music by: Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein

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Gerald’s Game

This year we saw two adaptations of Stephen Kings novels, The Dark Tower and It, the former was failed to attract audiences and the latter became a box office hit. Unlike most Stephen King film adaptations, the new Netflix movie Gerald’s Game doesn’t announce itself as being based on a Stephen King novel until you reach the end credits of the film. And it works because this story is so different than the other King’s novels.

Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) are a married couple who are hoping to spice up their sex life by indulging in a dirty weekend away in the countryside. Gerald plans to handcuff Jessie to satisfy his sexual fantasy about which Jessie has no idea. But things go horribly wrong and Gerald has a heart attack while Jessie remains in cuffs. Will she survive or not? Head to Netflix and find out yourself.

One of the best things about this movie is its smallness. Almost the entire film takes place in a single room. It is a mixture of multiple genres and themes like horror, psychological, thriller, feminism, survival, childhood trauma, supernatural, etc. That’s the beauty of this film. The actors have done a fine job especially Carla Gugino. She keeps it real and believable.

Director Mike Flanagan, who has made critically acclaimed horror hits, Hush and Ouija: Origin of Evil, uses smart pacing and well-crafted storytelling to make this film engaging. In one of the scenes where a past memory is shown using a surreal solar eclipse filter, looks cinematically awesome and gives a tonality to the film.

Overall, Gerald’s Game is more than just a survival tale which you should check out to experience a new kind of storytelling.

Rating: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹

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Directed by: Mike Flanagan

Written by: Jeff Howard, Mike Flanagan

Based on: Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Henry Thomas, Chiara Aurelia

Cinematography: Michael Fimognari

Death Note (2017)

death note netflix

Hollywood is slowly moving towards adaptation of some of the famous and classic Japanese anime stories. This year, Ghost in the Shell was a good attempt but ‘Death Note’ by Netflix is certainly not.

The film follows the story of a young high school student from Seattle named Light Turner, who finds a mysterious notebook known as “Death Note”. He meets the terrifying demonic death god Ryuk who teaches him how to use the notebook and tells him that the book is capable of causing the death of anyone the user writes in the book. Light decides to use the book for good intentions only to be found being pursued by an intelligent and skilled detective known as L, who longs to capture Turner for his actions.

The motivation for using the death note is totally different. It feels little silly in this version of Death Note. The thrill of investigation is lost. It is more fast paced and stylized than the original. Also, the writers have tried to fit in the whole story in this single movie. Because of that, the detailing has gone for a toss.

The characters aren’t properly fleshed out. The character of L is made more emotional and human with a little back story which was interesting. The original characterization of L was more weird and intriguing. The original character of Light is more matured and intellectual. His motivation was more justified because of this thinking and his vision of justice. The God of Death Ryuk looks scary and real than the animated one in the Japanese original film.

The director Adam Wingard simply sought to make an action film with a bit of romance thrown in. But in the process forgot that Death Note was never about action. It was about Light and his fight to impose his vision on to the world.

Those who haven’t seen the original Japanese film may like this film because of the concept. But for others who have seen the original two films may find it disappointing.

Rating: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹


Directed by: Adam Wingard

Screenplay by: Charles Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides, Jeremy Slater

Based on: Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata

Starring: Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley, Shea Whigham, Paul Nakauchi, Jason Liles, Willem Dafoe

Stranger Things (Season 1)

Stranger Things is a sci-fi, horror web series created by the Duffer Brothers. The story revolves around the disappearance of a young boy and the struggle of his mother, his brother, a police chief, and his friends in order to get him back.

Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) gets disappeared after he encounters a supernatural creature. His traumatized mother Joyce(Winona Ryder) along with Jim Hopper(David Harbour), who is the police chief, start searching for him. The investigation slowly uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments and terrifying supernatural forces. The most interesting characters are Will’s three best friends Mike(Finn Wolfhard), Lucas(Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin(Gaten Matarazzo) who fearlessly try to find Will with the help of Eleven(Millie Bobby Brown), a young girl with psychokinetic abilities.

The show grips you from the first scene itself. As the story is based in the 80’s, we don’t see much of high tech gadgets and labs. Still, it is a pretty good sci-fi story. Not too much of VFX used, which makes it more real and believable.

Stranger Things is one of the best Netflix shows till date. It is a great blend of sci-fi, thriller, horror and drama. It is just perfect. You have to binge watch the series to satisfy your curiosity.

Rating – πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ & 1/2

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Genre: Science fiction, Horror, Supernatural, Period drama

Created by: The Duffer Brothers

Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine, Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery

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13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why is a drama-mystery web television series based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Jay Asher. The series revolves around the mysterious suicide of a high school student Hannah Baker(Katherine Langford). Hanna leaves behind 13 audio tapes(13 episodes) which will unravel the mystery behind her death.

The other central character is Clay Jenson(Dylan Minnette) who is a close friend of Hanna and also her secret admirer. The story is narrated through Hanna’s voice recordings played through her tapes by Clay. Each tape reveals a new chapter and a new person from Hanna’s life.

This is not a typical high school story. It is a refreshing take on the teenage high school life where topics like love, friendship, sexuality are shown in a matured way. The visuals very seamlessly connect the present with the past memories as Clay tries to solve the mystery at his hand. This approach looks similar to another Netflix series, Sense8. The writing is outstanding. All the characters are nicely fleshed out. Also, both the lead actors have done a commendable job.

As the story moves ahead, it gets a little complex and multi-dimensional. More characters and storylines get added which makes it difficult to guess the reason behind Hanna’s suicide. This takes your curiosity to another level and you just cannot stop watching it. Netflix has another winner in its collection.

Rating – πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹

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Genre: Drama, Mystery

Developed by: Brian Yorkey

Starring: Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Miles Heizer, Ross Butler, Devin Druid, Amy Hargreaves, Derek Luke, Kate Walsh

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Sandy Wexler

Sandy Wexler is a satirical homage to Adam Sandler’s real-life manager, Sandy Wernick, who worked as a talent manager in Los Angeles during the 1990’s.

Sandy, played by Adam Sandler, is a weird and lonely guy with a good heart. He treats his clients like family and never gives up on them. Everything changes when Sandy falls in love with his new client Courtney, played by Jennifer Hudson, who is a talented singer. 

The story is narrated in bits and pieces by famous Hollywood actors in a fun and comic way. You will also see some familiar faces from Sandler’s other movies like Kevin James, Terry Crews, Rob Schneider and Nick Swardson doing small yet important roles. 

Sandy Wexler is not a full on comedy. It is an emotional and light-hearted love story at its core. You won’t laugh your heart out but it does have a few fun moments through the mishaps of Sandy’s clients who are trying to make it big in the industry. Even though the film stays flat from start to end, Adam Sandler has tried his best to make this mediocre story entertaining.

You will need some patience and popcorn to complete this 2-hour long film. Watch it only if you are an Adam Sandler fan.

Rating:  πŸ’‹πŸ’‹

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Genre: Drama, Comedy

Directed by: Steven Brill

Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Hudson, Kevin James, Terry Crews, Rob Schneider, Colin Quinn, Nick Swardson, Lamorne Morris