Tag Archives: Netflix

Rinzy Reviews ‘Carmen Sandiego’ Season One (2019)

Release Date: January 18

Network: Netflix

Starring: Gina Rodriguez, Finn Wolfhard, Rita Moreno, Kimiko Glenn, et al.

***

Carmen Sandiego is one property that’s been around for a long time now, but might not be as popular as some of its counterparts age-wise. Thanks to Netflix, this status is sure to change.

Who is Carmen Sandiego?

A mischievous orphan who enrolls into V.I.L.E. academy – a school for thieves. It doesn’t take her long to discover she doesn’t belong there. Subsequently, she leaves, and soon starts to mastermind ways to take stop the evil organization from causing more harm’s worldwide.

The nine thirty-minutes episodes of the season addresses this issue in a back-and-forth manner that mostly gives educative exposition to the nefarious activities of V.I.L.E.

The show doesn’t do much to keep you invested storywise; but what it fails in that angle it makes up for with good animation and idiosyncratic characters like Detective

It’s educative and witty: perfect combo for kids and adults.

Rinzy’s Rating: 3/5

Advertisements

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

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 ‘Polar’ (2019)

Release Date: January 25

Network: Netflix

Starring: Madds Mikkelsen, Vannesa Hudgens, Katheryn Winnick, Matt Lucas, et al.

***

I’ll just get right to it, make this review short, and spare us all more heartache; Polar is waste of time. The movie is H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E!

There’s nothing likeable about this movie: not even the presence of Mikkelsen, whom I respect, and Hudgens, whom I’ve come to like since I watched A Princess Switch last Christmas. This movie is a good example of something that should never have existed in the first place. It left me wondering what has happened to Mr. Mikkelsen, if he has hit the wall of his career, and why he’d agree to have his name attached to such a project.

Check out the synopsis:
The world’s top assassin, Duncan Vizla, aka The Black Kaiser, is settling into retirement when his former employer marks him as a liability to the firm. Against his will, he finds himself back in the game going head-to-head with an army of younger, faster, ruthless killers who will stop at nothing to have him silenced.

The weakness of this synopsis is made more obvious by a weaker execution. I wonder who approved it in the first place.

The movie’s picture is horrible, colors hurtful to the eyes. For most part of it it looks like something lifted from a game play. The acting is bland, which is made worse by characters you care next to nothing about. And then there’s the terribly, horribly, annoying big bad. Gosh!

Even though Netflix gives us great contents every now and then, they are bound to have near-misses. This isn’t one of those. This is a total misfire. And if you have two-hours of your life you’re not using again, feel free to donate it to the nearest hospital 😉.

The only reason this movie doesn’t get one star is because I was able to complete it.

Directed by: Jonas Akerlund

Rinzy’s Rating: 1.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘The Punisher’ Season Two (2019)

Release Date: January 18

Network: Netflix/ 13 episodes

Starring: Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Georgia Whigham, Amber Rose Revah, Josh Stewart, Annette O’Toole, Corbin Bernsen, et al.

***

The major theme of The Punisher season two is family. On different fronts, the show tries to explore what that word really means. Frank, Curtis and Russo’s history in the army easily comes to mind; but there’s also the fact of Russo (now Jigsaw, in a manner of speaking) banding together another set of war veteran misfits looking to fight another war into his Frank-Castle-Killing-Club. Billy Russo, even with his PTSD and memory loss, is worse than ever, and easily motivates these persons into fighting his personal war with the Punisher. Talk about a charismatic leader.

There’s also Amy, the girl without a family, and how some wrong life choices land her in Frank Castle’s laps long enough for him to begin to see her as his daughter. Lastly, there’s the person of religious assassin John Pilgrim, and how every murder he’s committed in the name of the Schultz has been in service of his two sons and (eventually) late wife.

This central theme of family spins two entirely separately stories connected only by the antihero – Frank Castle aka The Punisher. Even though he doesn’t really do much punishing anymore as at when the season begins, it doesn’t take long for one (or two) nasty persons to do something to get him angry enough to willing murder gratuitously. In this case, it’s a group of crazy people who shoot at his newfound bartender girlfriend (or more accurately, sex mate he was beginning to catch feelings for). This is enough motivation for Frank Castle to be drawn into the many crazies of Amy’s world, which all turned out to be the Schultz parents sending assassins (including John Pilgrim) after her simply because she’s using photos of their son kissing another man to blackmail them.

The second plot is what really retcons both seasons of the show. It deals with the consequences of the fallout between Frank Castle and Billy Russo in the season one finale. After Frank successfully enacted his revenge on Billy by brutally disfiguring him, the doctors manage to salvage his face, but with severe memory loss and PTSD from the events of that night ay the park, Russo is still a bitter, angry man desperate to fill in the blanks. Some things never change. But luckily for him, he has a psychologist with a sad past enough to get her triggered as she helps him heal. Together, they go further down the drain – committing unspeakable crimes in their bid to stay together as destined true loves.

Agent Dinah proves to still be an interesting addition to the show. I enjoyed every moment with her dealing with her fallout from Russo last season. PTSD is a big deal and, just like Russo, she too has her fair share of it.

Frank Castle’s war veteran friend Curtis features more prominently this season, and manages not to be much of a bore.

For the better part of it, The Punisher‘s second doesn’t really improve upon its first season, I thought it was a tad weaker. But it’s a wonderful watch, with enough emotion to go with the grit allowing you care about Mr. Castle and Russo and all the death and destructions they cause in their wake.

Rinzy’s Rating: 3.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘You’ Season One (2018)

Release Date: Sept. 9 to Nov. 11

Network: Lifetime

Starring: Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Shay Mitchell, et al.

***

You‘ is weirdly named. So, one might think. But once the tape gets rolling, it wouldn’t take a branaic to figure out why it’s rightly so. It’s not everyday your protagonist is a functioning psychopath, and the narrator of his own story.

Joe Goldberg is a bookstore keeper, and a content one at that. His life’s simple, as were made to believe, until Guinevere Beck walks into his store (and life). He believes it’s true love, hence must have her. This drives him to doing whatever’s imperative to make their love going; this includes keeping whoever poses a threat to their continued love at Bay, by any means necessary (including murder).

It’s weird how far someone would go to propel a relationship (love) that doesn’t legally hold up in court. It’s clear from the onset that Joe is sick upstairs. Certified mental imbalance. But with the way the story progresses, you’re drawn into this mind of this crazy man, who, unfortunately for the ladies, is also a sweet, hopeless romantic, and you can’t help but see reasons why he does the crazy things he does. He’s crazy. 🤣. The story is one about obsession and boundaries. And how to be thankful if you don’t have one who dotes over you in such manner.

Penn Badgley does a terrific job at bringing Joe to life. Not one with many acting credits, but his performance on this show shows a side to the actor his six years as Dan Humphrey on The CW’s Gossip Girl never did, thereby showcasing his great range as an actor.

You is a good show. Not great, but good. The story’s decent; I mean, who wouldn’t want to get into the mind of a passive psychopath? But I also feel it dragged for too long; a shorter, tighter episode order would’ve worked in favor of the story. A shortcoming I hope they fix next season.

The acting is good; pretty decent for a show whose most popular face was a star in a CW show. Peach Salager is my favorite character; a pity she didn’t get to hang around long enough for me to enjoy more of her nasty attitude.

One thing I didn’t like about the show are the many moments of questionable character actions. You see characters making silly decisions not feasible in their present situations. It’s many, yes; but it isn’t enough to turn you off from watching. The shows a real thriller. If you were sitting on the fence about watching, I hope I’ve given you enough details to make a decision. It even ends with a cliffhanger, if you’re into such. 😉

PS: A second season has already been commissioned; this time, it’ll be airing on Netflix.

Rinzy’s Rating: 3.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ (2018)

Release Date: December 28

Network: Netflix

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Will Poulter, Asim Chaudhry, et al.

***

Although Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a unique movie, it’s sure to leave you feeling funny and, if like me, somewhat sick. The crazy thing is, I admit it’s a good movie. I’m all for a movie that doesn’t follow the conventional rules and expectations of audience, and that’s exactly what Bandersnatch does. Everything about it is strange. A pity it came across as a little but too much for my system to handle. The constant looping of specific scenes made it seem as though I was losing my mind.

The interactive viewing experience thing is most likely what the movie will be remembered for more than any of its many alternative endings. The way you the viewer seemingly control Stefan’s (Fionn Whitehead) actions is the breakthrough action of this film event. Believe me when I tell you Black Mirror: Bandersnatch has come to change the way films will be made, especially for streaming and other e-platforms. This really isn’t a good thing because certainly not all will be great in reviews like the pioneer and we might have more people ending a movie feeling worse than they started.

There’s gore, blood and violence, all themes that make a good movie these days. If only sex on a loop was added to the mix, maybe I might’ve liked Bandersnatch better. I recommend you give it a shot and make up your mind whether you like it or not; the experience certianly differs from person to person.

Directed by: David Slade

Rinzy’s Rinzy: 2.5/5