Rinzy Reviews ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Season One (2019)

Release Date: February 15

Network: Netflix/ 10 episodes

Starring: Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Tom Hopper, Mary J. Blige, et al.

***

The Umbrella Academy is Netflix’s latest attempt at embracing the superhero genre. Being that the streaming giant’s recently said goodbye to the Marvel’s Defenders, its timing is perfect. And it sure looks like a worthy successor to raise the flag of superheroism on Netflix.

Over the course of 10 episodes, The Umbrella Academy tries to mostly be a time travel story, but it sure is other things. On October 1, 1989, 43 women around the world give birth at the same time. This is peculiar because none of them started the day pregnant. Sir Reginald Hargreeves, an eccentric billionaire adopts seven of these children, and starts the Umbrella Academy – a school for the gifted to help make the world a better place. Sir Hargreeves is crazy enough to give these children numbers – one to seven – in place of names, and detaches himself from having any form of emotional attachment to them, a duty he leaves for their mother – a robot named Grace. She eventually gives them names, except Number Five.


The main plot revolves around the children, now adults, reuniting to solve the mystery of their father’s death, the threat of the apocalypse, and more.

As the main plot unfolds, a lot is revealed about the family’s backstory. Some of which turned out impressive, and others not so much – like Luther and Allison’s incestuous relationship.

The Umbrella Academy is awesome storywise, but is heavily plagued by poor pacing, lazy writing, and horrible dialogues. Like in episode 8, when Allison finds Vanya in the cabin and tells her about Leonard being a murderer and all. The way that entire scene played out made me cringe; and that’s just one of many. These issues were evidently spread throughout the episodes, making it very difficult for me to decide which of them is the best, technically speaking.

The writing doesn’t fit the pacing of the story. The whole story takes place under eight days. Eight days to meet someone and fall blindly in love, like in the case of Vanya. I mean, who does that. And… the entire thing about the siblings easily turning on their Vanya, making it a case of Vanya vs. The world didn’t look good. I mean, these guys are retired superheroes; in no world is making such a decision as easy as depicted here.

Talking about Vanya, she’s got Marvel’s Phoenix level kind of power. Truly terrifying stuff. But if there’s one thing about her the show didn’t quite expatiate, it’s the fact that she’s got mental issues. There’s no doubt about that. She’s desperate for love, attention and acceptance from just about anybody since her family had refused to love her unconditionally. This is the reason she remained blind to all of Leonard’s wiles and tricks even when they became glaring.

The cast is great and the visuals are awesome. My favorite character is easily Number Five, and this is by no small measure because of Aidan Gallagher’s portrayal. The entire premise of a 58-y/o in a child’s body is so believable, you forget the character is been played by an actual 15-y/o. I see great things in his future, great things.

The season ended with more questions than answer. And was quite disappointing. It made all 10 hours invested in the season look meaningless, as we’ve got to wait for next season (should it get renewed) to reward our patience for this one. A poor shot at a cliffhanger, if you ask me. Doesn’t make much sense. But that doesn’t mean The Umbrella Academy is a bad show. On the contrary, it’s a decent one, and you should enjoy it.

Side notes:

1. We’re never told how Ben died. I hope it’s something that’s addressed in the next season. We didn’t get to see a lot of him, but he seems like an interesting character.

2. Whoever cast Mary J. Blige in the role of Cha-Cha has some answers to give. Even though there wasn’t much to work with, a more fitting actress would’ve brought a much needed depth to that role, and made the character remotely interesting. Hazel’s actor, Cameron Britton, escapes this judgement by a margin.

3. For a commission that safeguards the time-continum, The Commission’s office security is quite porous; this is evident in the countless times Number Five enters and leaves unregulated. Even Hazel gets to enter and put a bullet in someone who’s suppose to be high up the leadership board. You can imagine.

Rinzy’s Rating: 3/5

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Rinzy Reviews ‘Weird City’ Season One (2019)

Release Date: February 13

Network: YouTube Premium

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Awkafina, Steven Yuen, Rosario Dawson, et al.

***

Weird City is the real deal. It’s the latest series to mirror Black Mirror. Pun heavily intended 😁. Co-produced by heavy talent Jordan Peele, YouTube Premium’s six-episodes, SciFi, anthology series addresses various topics of everyday life.

Every episode features new set of actors playing new characters, and they’re connected Easter eggs and the fact that they’re all set in the titular weird city – a place where there’s a literal line (like the Wall President Trumps hopes will keep the Mexicans away) that separates the haves (those above the line) and haves not (those below the line). The series attaches big names to it, which helps to build credibility. But the fact that the show aims to tell a really impressive story is what makes all the difference.

Weird City is Black Mirror reconstructed; only this time it’s much more light-hearted. I’m not saying it’s a replace for the Netflix hit, but that it gives you an idea of what might Black Mirror might’ve been if it’d decided to embrace more humour.

Those living below the line have lifestyles similar to what’s obtainable in the present way real world. It’s those living above the line that provides the bulk of SciFi and comedy I believe the show will be revered for. If there’s one thing that’s obvious about those living above the line it’s that they’re sick in the head 😂. Countless humor abounds from their eccentric lifestyles. From the craziness of the one that’s the one in the Dylan O’Brien starring first episode to the second episode preaching against the dangers of gym-obsessed, and episode three, my personal favorite… There’s enough new, weird materials to go round in this Weird City. And I’m sure you’ll love it.

With contents like this, I’m likelier to take YouTube Premium shows more seriously.

Side note:

My quick ratings of the individual episodes.

Episode one – The One – 3.5

Episode two – A Family – 3

Episode three – Go to college – 4.5

Episode four – A smart house – 3

Episode five – Chonatan & Mulia & Barsley & Phephanie 4

Episode six – Below: Glail and Charlotta – 3

Rinzy’s Rating: 3.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet’

Release Date: November 5

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, Gal Gadot, James Corden, et al.

***

Ralph Breaks The Internet is a direct sequel to Wreck-It Ralph released in 2012. And it’s an animated movie with a heart.
Video-game bad guy Ralph and best friend Vanellope von Schweetz leave the comforts of Litwak’s arcade in an attempt to save her game, Sugar Rush. Their quest takes them to the vast, uncharted world of the internet where they rely on the citizens of the internet “the Netizens” to help navigate their way.

I liked the movie. I liked how it reinvented itself, ditching storylines from the first, but still finding creative ways to retcon, and the familiar world of the arcade for the more adventurous one of the internet. It was a brilliant, creative move that made this sequel, although six-years late, worth the long wait.

Ralph and Vanellope are beautifully written characters, and hard not to love. Their friendship is a beautiful thing to admire, especially for children. Possibly more beautiful are the supporting characters – Shank and Yesss easily standout, and their presence is made even more awesome when you know they were voiced by Gal Gadot and Taraji P. Henson.

Favorite scenes for me were all the ones involving the Disney princesses. They were the highpoint of the trailers for me, and I was happy they didn’t disappoint in the final product.

There were important lessons about friendship to be learnt in this movie, making it even more appropriate for children.

I and a good time watching Ralph Breaks The Internet, and I approve of it for your consumption 👍!

Directed by: Rich Moore and Phil Johnston

Rinzy’s Rating: 3.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Royal Hibiscus Hotel’s (2018)

Release Date: February 10

Starring: Kenneth Okolie, Zainab Balogun, Jide Kosoko, Rachel Oniga, Kemi Lala Akindoju, OC Ukeje, Deyemi Okanlawon, et al.

***

Ope (Zainab Balogun), a London-based Nigerian chef returns home to take her family’s heritage – The Royal Hibiscus Hotel – and turn it into all she’s ever dreamed of. Matter gets complicated when she falls for the man who wants to buy the hotel. The rest that follows is pure fairytale love.

Ebony Life Film is deep in the art of crafting fanciful rom-coms targeted at specific holiday seasons. Last Valentine, this was their big offering. Royal Hibiscus Hotel is a self-indulgent movie that promises you a good time. Does it deliver?

The movie had healthy doses of laughter, effortlessly incited, which I really enjoyed.

Zainab Balogun put up a strong performance as Ope, which would’ve been better given proper motivation. But, hey, it was her first lead-role; she’s gotten a whole lot better since then. Kenneth Okolie tries in his stint as the wealthy but surreal Deji. Okolie has almost the same set of expression in every movie or show I’ve seen him in (Hello, Husbands of Lagos?). Well, he and Zainab have got good onscreen chemistry, which made their romance believable even in places where the script failed. The bulk of the supporting cast, too, try their best… Rachel Oniga and Jide Kosoko, once again, show us why we should still revere veterans. It’s just a pity they were cast in their respective roles which they visibly struggled with from start to finish.

I still wonder whose idea it was to put Old Jacobs and Joke Silva onscreen in none-speaking roles 😒?

And… OC Ukeje 😍! Every scene with you is gold. A pity, you got a small role in this one.

Kemi Lala Akindoju’s larger than life Chika is easily one of my favorite characters. She’s annoying enough she gets to you, and easily reminded me of Rita Dominic’s performance in the 2011 movie The Meeting. The truth is, many of Chika’s behaviors would instantly get her a sack in the real world but then, the movie’s truly self-indulgent and doesn’t take itself serious, which is what makes it fun.

Same can be said for Deyemi’s stint as Martin, and the entire plot. The whole thing feels like a badly translated super-romance novels from older times. Very fantastic.

The movie doesn’t take itself too serious; you, too, shouldn’t. It demands that you watch and have a mindless good time.

PS: The choice of Nigerian hit singles for its soundtrack was a win for me. Every song was fit for the scenes they were in.

Directed by: Ishayo Bako

Rinzy’s Rating: 2.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ (2019)

Release Date: February 1

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton, Daveed Diggs, et al.

***

Netflix is undoubtedly the place to go for diverse contents for a wide range of audience. Just about anything you want can be found on the streaming giant’s platform. With the rate at which they churn out content, one could be forgiven for thinking all their content is a fit for just about anybody. This takes us to Velvet Buzzsaw.

It wouldn’t be wrong of me to say Netflix is still finding its feet movie-wise this year, with none yet bringing in the kind of rave review synonymous with a hit. First was the Mad Mikkelsen’s led Polar, which I categorically didn’t like, and now Velvet Buzzsaw.

Let me say this here, Velvet Buzzsaw isn’t a terrible movie. It’s far from that. It mostly came across to me as a weird movie.

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Velvet Buzzsaw is a movie that marries art and the supernatural. Paintings from a long dead artist are recovered and put on the market even though he left explicit instructions to have them destroyed. He (or at least something) comes from the other side to artistically kill everyone who’s profited from it.

As expected, Jake Gyllenhaal gives a performance for ages. I wholeheartedly believe he’s one of the greatest actors of his generation. I haven’t seen him give a bad performance even in a seemingly-bad movie. I don’t think I’d be wrong if I say his performance is the bet thing about this movie; the plot dances unevenly making little to no sense, but is still able to keep you invested with the promise that it’s building up to something great. Sad thing is, that never really happens. Yet, the movie still isn’t terrible. It’s just mostly weird.

Many things didn’t add up for me: like what was the motivation for all those many deaths? What happened to Jake Gyllenhaal’s character – is he dead or what? I believe if answers to these questions were provided the movie would’ve risen up my ranking.

So, if you’re wondering if Velvet Buzzsaw is worth a try? My answer’s yes.

Directed by: Dan Gilroy

Rinzy’s Rating: 2.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (2018)

Release Date: November 2

Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Tom Hollander, Ben Hardy, et al.

***

Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical film about the British rock band Queen. It follows singer Freddie Mercury‘s life from his joining the band in 1970 to their Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985.

Up until I watched this movie, I’d only been hearing the name Freddie Mercury, but knew next to nothing about the man and his legacy which still lives up till this day. His great contributions to music, and the many impact it had in the lives of those lucky enough to be alive when his show-stopping presence graced the world. They say ignorance is bliss, but finally knowing he and his band Queen were the ones that birth one of my favorite tracks of all times – WE WILL ROCK YOU – I feel silly for not looking them up until the arrival of this movie. Thankfully, Bohemian Rhapsody, like the many other film’s before it does its best to shed light on the life of one of the greatest musician and band to ever walk the earth.

Many argue the movie isn’t accurate, but if we’re being realistic we’ll know most biographicals aren’t ever, which really isn’t an excuse for mediocrity. But what Bohemian Rhapsody does do correctly is being a good movie. The viewing experience is beautiful. It immerses you into its world, and doesn’t bore you from start to finish. I found myself wanting every all all Queen related materials (songs included) I could lay my hands on; that says a lot about a movie. This great viewing experience is largely due to Rami Malek’s energetic performance, which I found to be mostly accurate. This 37-year-old star has a bright future in the industry as he’s continued to impress ever since we took notice of him in Mr. Robot.

In Bohemian Rhapsody, I believe we have a movie that’ll stand the test of time. In it I found an important lesson that can’t be over-flogged no matter how many times it’s preached – a risque lifestyle endangers you, and will ultimately shorten the time you have to spend on this Earth, causing your loved ones pain. It’s your responsibility to protect yourself (sexually and otherwise), and to make the best of everything life throws at you. Freddie Mercury was a force, and Queen was his symbol. He didn’t stop fighting until the very end (as I was made to understand), and so should you too.

Directed by: Bryan Singer

Rinzy’s Rating: 3.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald’ (2018)

Release Date: November 16

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Ezra Millar, Zoe Kravitz, et al.

***

The best way to describe Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is uninspiring, something that’s formerly unheard of for any entry into the Harry Potter universe. It’s almost impossible to believe J.K. Rowling had a hand in this finally piece of crap, lest being credited as a screenwriter. That’s lends credence (no pun intended) to a long running argument that being a best-selling novelist doesn’t translate into becoming a good screen storyteller. She should just stick to books. Another talent with a surprising poor input in this movie is David Yates. Certainly not a stranger to this universe, it’s shocking that the same man who helmed the affairs of critical and commercial hit like The Order of Phoenix, Half Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows 1&2 might have lost his Midas touch. Whatever the reason for the poor final product we got as The Crimes Of Grindelwald, both parties and the studio – Warner Bros. – need to spend quality time at the round table and discuss the way forward because I don’t believe audience would be to endure another round of such horse-sh*t, talk more of four more 🤦.

So, what makes Fanatstic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald so bad? Some who haven’t yet seen the movie night ask. Being that the first one – And Where To Find Them – wasn’t so great, many prayed the next one would be better, something closer to the thrills the main Harry Potter series gave us. The trailers promised a lot, like more do, but the final product disappointed on so many fronts. I found it difficult to care about any of the characters, especially the new ones. Even the ones I liked in the first part (like Redmayne’s Newt Scamander, Miller’s Credence, and Fogler’s Jacob) the movie found new ways for me to unlike them. I like Johnny Depp, but I hated every single scene he appeared as Grindelwald. In fact, with the way the movie proceeded I’m sure I’d have hated Colin Farrell too should he have returned.

The editing is weak, terribly executed. You see people appearing in places they weren’t without feasible explanation. And this happens a lot.

“There’s a major twist at the end,” I’d heard a lot of people who were opportune to see the movie at the cinemas say. But even that great reveal was so poorly executed I found myself almost not caring about it.

The franchise had better get itself in order, find a better screenwriter to help with the screen play, and a better team to edit the movie before it’s made available for public consumption, else it risks going down in history as one of the worst prequel series to a very awesome franchise.

Side notes:

1 The person who played a younger Professor McGonagall impressed me with the character’s impression. I felt similar vibe to what Maggie Smith brings to the character.

2 I was surprised to see Nagini being good. I’d very much like to know how she joined Team Voldemort.

3 Nicholas Flamel didn’t need to be in this movie.

4 There weren’t so many fantastic beats to gawk at. The show should fix this anomaly, the movie’s literally named Fantastic beasts. Of the few that featured, I loved this one most though:

5 Jude Law as Dumbledore: I still haven’t made up my mind about him. One thing is certain though, this Dumbledore is different from the one we’ve met before; younger, and more naive.

6 It was good to see Hogwarts again.

Directed by: David Yates

Rinzy’s Rating: 2/5