Rinzy Reviews ‘Stranger Things 3’ (2019)

Release Date: July 4

Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard, David Harbour, et al.

***

When Stranger Things first arrived in 2017, it rode high on people’s feelings of nostalgia for the ’80s, and quickly became one of the best original series of this generation, further catapulting Netflix higher among the big wigs in entertainment. These days, the show’s become its own entity, is currently the biggest young-adult series on air, and is now fully able to express itself and tell its perculiar breed of horror-SciFi stories without relying much on external nostalgia. Stranger Things 3 does reference some pop culture materials or the ’80s – Terminator, Back to the Future, Gremlins, Evil Dead 3, etc. But its greatest references comes from its earlier seasons, and that works fine too.

I enjoy watching kids grow up in movies – Arya and Sansa’s arcs were two of my favorites in Game of Thrones. For the Stranger Kids, adulthood beckons, and with it all the quirks that follow; a new kind of drama abounds – and that includes teenage love, with sub-themes of understanding, commitment, and how not to lose yourself while in a committed relationship. The show handles these mature topics well, even better than most movies centered around adults.

Millie Bobby Brown is a terrific actress for her age, and part of what makes Eleven’s naivety and bravery believable is thanks to her portrayal. It’s good to see her better hone her craft as well as her sense of style this season.

As the never-ending drama between the children’s club vs. the demons rages on, it’s become more incredulous seeing the Scooby-gang as Earth’s first defense against enemies of life and the United States. It’s even more unbelievable when you consider the lack of strong reason the show keeps revisiting the same plot over and over again. It was easier when all we we had to deal with watching Eleven battle Demogorgon beasts trying to usurp our world, but when you add a Russian spy plot (with a Terminator-looking agent at the forefront) believability gets thrown into a mix.

It’d be expected that since the show returns to the same central conflict of man vs. demon again and again it’d be boring already, but Stranger Things 3 works so well because it’s mostly character-driven, even the Mind-Flayer is given a rebranding push, becoming a gigantic goo.

Stranger Things 3 is great because it lets its characters (old and new) play and grow in ways the last season didn’t, making it a better and well-rounded one. It still isn’t half as good as the rollercoaster ride the first season was, but it’s far better than the mostly lacklustre sophomore outing. And even though the characters are mostly separated into factions for the better part of this season, they mostly play off into one another, making the story feel like different parts of the same body at the same time.

My verdict: Stranger Things 3 doesn’t disappoint. It’s an 8 hours of entertainment well spent, and I can’t wait for the next installment. If you wait around long enough, you’ll catch the mid-credit scene, and have an idea of what’s in store next season. More monsters and, hopefully, a resurrection for our fan favorite character.

Rinzy’s Rating: 4/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Little’ (2019)

Release Date: April 12

Starring: Regina Hall, Marsai Martin, Issa Rae, Luke James, Tone Bell

***

Imagine you go to bed one night only to wake up little the next morning? Not a pretty thought, I suppose; but that’s exactly what Jordan Sanders goes through. At its core, Little is a movie about reconciliation and forgiveness, two strong themes we see recur throughout its runtime. Little’s titular lead actresses –Marsai Martin and Reginal Hall– bring their A-game, making Jordan a very convincing character going through magical changes in two bodies.

Honestly, the only thing more beautiful than watching Regina Hall move about in expensive suits and cars is watching Marsai Martin walk in her shoes. Fans of ‘Grown.ish’ are already used to seeing the youngster do wonders on the small screen, Little pushes her a step forward towards a global audience, which was always bound to happen at some point in her career – better now than later.

For most people, high school was the worst period of their lives, and would give anything to selectively turn back the hands of time without having to return there. For Jordan, this option’s off the table when a girl calls her out on a meanness and curses her with literally walking in her 13-year-old self’s shoe all over again, so she’d reminded of what it’s like to feel small and powerless. Ever-loyal Personal Assistant April (Issa Rae) wouldn’t risk going to prison on her behalf and sends her back to school, where she’s forced to hang out with a bunch of fellow losers, and grow into a better person.

Issa Rae puts up a good performance, not far from what she’s come to be known for. Her role as April is distinct from Issa of ‘Insecure’, but they do share some of the quirky features known to stem from the real-life Issa. I think she really needs to diversify by taking-up roles across various genres to expand her acting range.

Tone Bell, Lakeith, and the rest of the supporting cast all do a good job. Justin Hartley even features, and I couldn’t be more excited. His teacher-student scenes with Martin are hilarious, and rank high among my favorite in the movie.

If ever you wanted a movie to inspire team spirit in your work place Little‘s a good enough recommendation because, in the end Jordan learns her lesson, the real-world picks up some morals, and we all lived happily ever after.

Directed by: Tina Gordon

Rinzy’s Rating: 3/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Shaft’ (2019)

Release Date: June 14

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Regina Hall, Alexander Shipp, Jessie T. Usher, Richard Roundtree, et al.

**

John Shaft Jr. III (aka JJ) is on a mission to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s death. To succeed, he enlists the help of the best detective her knows, John Shaft Sr. (L. Jackson).

It’s a family business, always has been. Since the first Shaft (2000), the entire franchise has been riding on this principle, and this sequel/soft reboot follows through on delivering plenty awkward father-son bonding sessions, which are sure to erupt laughter here and there even from the most stoic viewer.

Samuel L. Jackson is arguably the biggest name attached to this movie (no offense Regina), probably why Netflix didn’t think twice once the opportunity to coup this under its banner presented itself. Though not his best work, he and Jessie Usher make an amazing pair enough to mildly forgive the familiarity of his rampant use of modafucker. Shaft is flushed with occasionally slouchy dialogues and jumpy pacing; luckily, they’re never prominent enough to distract you from the main adventure.

Shaft doesn’t have the best story out there, it doesn’t really try to be different from most other entry into black entertainment, but I thought it was entertaining. And having to watch three generation of Shafts fight crime was the best part for me. Thank you Richard Roundtree for been as prolific as mainstream L. Jackson.

The greatest offense of this movie is its underutilization of Regina Hall. I mean, who does that?

Favorite Quote

1. “He thinks he’s black James Bond.”

“If that modafucker was real, he’d think he was me.”

2. “It’s your duty to please that booty.”

3. “Lady syphilis, madam chlamydia.”

Directed by: Tim Story

Rinzy’s Review: 3/5