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Much like last year, this television season was a tumultuous one, let’s get that straight. With shows being delayed for various reasons and producers deciding how they wanted to handle the Pandemic (whether to incorporate it entirely, utilize it in an episode or two and then move on, acknowledge it but jump past it, or completely ignore it), it wasn’t guaranteed that your favorite shows would be back this year, much less be as high of quality as they have in the past. Once November rolled around, though, and stations began rolling out their new shows and seasons, most of that anxiety fell to the wayside, eventually returning are televisions back to relative normal (with the exception of a few more breaks between episodes than usual for most shows).
Now it’s that time again to present some awards to the shows that kept us entertained through the sustained pandemic in my annual TV Awards! (See previous Awards – 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013).
The Emmy’s air this Sunday, as usual, to kick off the new network season, so over the next few days I’ll grant awards, good and bad, to twenty-five different series, compiling several actors, scenes and moments that resonated with me in some form or another over the last twelve months.
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The anticipation is over. Originally slated to premiere nationwide in March 2020, A Quiet Place Part II, like the majority of other films in 2020, went the way of the year-long hiatus, hoping eventually, they could reap the benefits of our patience. Unlike other studios in the last few months, Paramount chose not to do a day-and-date release of the A Quiet Place sequel, choosing instead to do an exclusive theatrical run. This will be a gamble, as a lot of people are still hesitant to get back into theaters, but as the summer heats up, and we see the official start of the summer movie season, it will be interesting to see if more than just hardcore moviegoers believe this film is the one to get them back into the cineplex. If you are still on the fence on whether to wait for this to hit streaming, let me say that I do believe that A Quiet Place Part II is definitely worth the risk of heading back to theaters.Read Full Review
The Saw franchise did two things when it first launched with Cary Elwes and Leigh Whannell stuck together in a filthy bathroom: 1) it launched what would eventually be termed the “torture porn” genre; and 2) it set itself apart from that same genre. As opposed to films like Hostel and The Devil’s Rejects, which killed for the sake of killing, Saw gave John Kramer (Tobin Bell), a strong motive for what he did to his victims. Though the franchise ultimately devolved into a state of torture porn, the original three films, and 2018s Jigsaw, highlighted how John, aka Jigsaw, gave his victims a chance to redeem themselves and live a better life. This doesn’t condone his methods, but at least there was a reason other than simple blood lust. Spiral: From the Book of Saw, attempts to expand the Saw universe with a story that tries to emulate the reason for killing its inevitable victims, but still borders a little too close to what makes torture porn itself such an uncomfortable genre.Read Full Review
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first saw the trailers for The LEGO Movie. Up until Phil Lord and Christopher Miller crafted a beautifully referential work where everything was awesome, the LEGO movie franchise had been relegated to straight-to-video and cable movies and shows that were good-natured fun for the kids but didn’t have much pop behind them. Lord and Miller followed this up as producers of several films, including the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, in which Lord was also a writer. With these, and many other films in the duo’s prolific list of film and television credits, they have mostly been in control of the narrative. With Netflix’s The Mitchells vs. the Machines, producers Lord and Miller take a bit of a back seat, providing the film with a good bit of clout, but ultimately handing over the majority of creative control to relative newcomers Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe.Read Full Review
With all the studios halting production and theaters closing around the world for the majority of the year, one had to wonder if Hollywood would even have anything to award this year. Luckily, streaming had already made a big impact in the film industry (garnering over 24 nominations last year and a whopping 47 nominations this year, 34 by Netflix alone), so there was never going to be a complete absence of options to choose from when it came to new and exciting material.
I do have to say up front, I didn’t see a lot of the movies that were eventually nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, so attempting to pick winners will be somewhat difficult for me this year. When did that stop anyone from trying, though. Below are my picks for who will and should win at this year’s Academy Awards, and as usual, a few of my own awards for other films I thought should be highlighted.My Picks
Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the… wait. Sorry. Wrong Voyager. This Voyagers is not about a team of explorers navigating the vastness of space, but instead a group of kids, manufactured and raised to take an 86-year journey to another planet that they know nothing about except for the fact that it has oxygen and water. These types of films always make me question why we, as a human race, are so arrogant as to believe these types of planets are uninhabited and ripe for the taking. Just because we once did the same in America does not make us entitled to expand to wherever we want – as if populating another planet won’t go horribly wrong, even if it is uninhabited by another thinking, feeling race of beings.Read Full Review
When dealing in any genre, there are a typical set of rules that must be adhered to in order to create a story that everyone can easily follow, relate to, and understand. When done well, viewers generally will not notice this design; when done poorly, the model sticks out like a sore thumb. This is especially true in the supernatural horror genre, which is one of the easiest to emulate, but the hardest to appear original. There’s also a high expectation level for the effects, whether CGI or practical, to integrate seamlessly into the story so as not to hinder the overall enjoyment of what is usually a simple, routine story. In the case of The Unholy, the plot and character elements are all in tact as they should be, but some of the direction leaves many of the necessary scares wanting.Read Full Review
When I first saw the trailer for Nobody, my first thought (as it was for probably many others) was that it was going to be a not-so-subtle mix of John Wick and Taken, with maybe a little bit of Falling Down thrown in for good measure. After all, based on the trailer, the movie was going to be about an ordinary man with extraordinary skills who finally snaps after living a fruitless, mundane life. Last week I reviewed Cosmic Sin, which I deemed too unimaginative to be anything more than a ripoff of a whole lot of different films. Does that mean Nobody was going to fall into that same trap? Fortunately, it doesn’t. Although the summary I wrote above isn’t too far off from the actual plot of the film, there is more going on here than simply retreading what’s come before.Read full Review