MAY 1, 2023

American Honey (2016)

Directed by Andrea Arnold
Written by Andrea Arnold

Having been plucked from obscurity, Sasha Lane is an instant star in her first acting gig, Andrea Arnold’s fourth feature, “American Honey.” Shia LaBeouf turns in a captivating performance and deserves more respect for his craft. The romance is believable, all the characters feel lived in, and this feels like a story not told often.

A24 | Streamed on HBO Max | First-time Viewing

The Monster (1903)
Man Walking Around a Corner (1887)
Roundhay Garden Scene (1888)
Horse and Rider Jumping Over an Obstacle (1888)
Monkeyshines, No. 1 (1890)
Monkeyshines, No. 2 (1890)
London’s Trafalgar Square (1890)
Newark Athlete (1891)

The Gray Man (2022)

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
Written by Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely

All the talent in the world can’t fix “The Gray Man,” a desperately forgettable action film. The casting choices are fun, with Chris Evans playing the wacky, psychotic villain, but Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas have zero chemistry, and the entire plot feels wholly contrived.

Netflix | Streamed on Netflix | First-time Viewing

MAY 3, 2023

Ted Lasso

Episode 308: “We’ll Never Have Paris”

Directed by Erica Dunton
Written by Keeley Hazell & Dylan Marron

In “We’ll Never Have Paris,” we see Ted Lasso take a step toward the dark side, requesting Rebecca’s help in figuring out whether Ted’s ex, Michelle, is being proposed to in Paris by Dr. Jacobs. Throughout the whole ordeal, Ted isn’t paying attention to his son. You get the sense that this entire season is leading to Ted returning to America to be with his son. The episode’s other storyline sees Keeley dealing with a leaked explicit video that sends her and Jack on separate paths. It’s a sweet moment when Isaac gets the whole locker room to delete pictures of their exes off their phones.

Apple TV+ | Streamed on Apple TV+ | First-time Viewing

MAY 4, 2023

40th Academy Awards
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Paul Newman (Nominee)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – George Kennedy (WINNER)
Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium (Nominee)
Best Original Music Score – Lalo Schifrin (Nominee)

Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Written by Donn Pearce and Frank R. Pierson

In one film, Paul Newman sells why he was one of the biggest names in Hollywood history. His presence on-screen is monumental, and he elevates those around him. A case in point is Oscar-winner George Kennedy, who perfectly plays off Newman and creates a cinematic masterpiece.

Warner Bros | Streamed on Vudu | First-time Viewing


Episode 306: “#RIPLilDicky”

Directed by Ben Sinclair
Written by Starlee Kine

This season of “Dave” takes a huge turning point when Lil Dicky’s tour bus explodes in the desert. Instead of reporting what happened, Mike decides to stay off the radar and allow the “death bump” to increase the album numbers. Dave rightfully toils with this, feeling guilty and having visions of speaking to Anne Frank. It’s a decent episode but does little emotionally compared to some previous episodes.

FXX | Streamed on Hulu | First-time Viewing

MAY 5, 2023

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

Directed by James Gunn
Written by James Gunn

By far my favorite film this year, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is one of the most emotional Marvel films ever. Fixing many problems I had with the first two films, James Gunn’s final go at bat with his motley crew quickly became my favorite of the trilogy. Watching it with a responsive crowd in IMAX was the perfect outing for seeing the film for the first time. I cried, laughed, and clapped right along.

Walt Disney Pictures | AMC Universal CityWalk | First-time Viewing

MAY 6, 2023

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

Directed by James Gunn
Written by James Gunn

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” remains just as emotional through a second viewing. Seeing a film that caused tears during the initial watch often fails to do so the second time around, but knowing what’s to come almost makes the tears flow more freely. Although the animal cruelty is challenging for younger audience members, the story as a whole is worth the pain it may cause and the fact that PETA endorsed the film should go a long way to appeasing that argument.

Walt Disney Pictures | Regal Canyon Country | Second Viewing

The Mandalorian

Episode 307: “Chapter 23: The Spies”

Directed by Rick Famuyiwa
Written by Jon Favreau & Dave Filoni

There’s a moment during “Chapter 23: The Spies” where a character we’ve known since the first season dies. And instead of feeling sad, I shrugged. The score played its sorrowful song, and the hero tried as hard as they could, but they ultimately got defeated. And I didn’t care. And I feel like that says a lot about how invested I am in “The Mandalorian.” No matter what happens, nothing ever moves me.

Disney+ | Streamed on Disney+ | First-time Viewing

The Mandalorian

Episode 308: “Chapter 24: The Return”

Directed by Rick Famuyiwa
Written by Jon Favreau

One element of “The Mandalorian” I love this season is the costume and set designs. Regardless of whether the story interests me, these little details, like the horns on Moff Gideon’s Mandalorian helmet or the Praetorian Guards’ suits, keep me engaged.

Disney+ | Streamed on Disney+ | First-time Viewing

MAY 7, 2023

Marlowe (2022)

Directed by Neil Jordan
Written by William Monahan & Neil Jordan

Neil Jordan is a great director, and he tries his best to deliver his take on film noir, but ultimately “Marlowe” brings nothing new to the genre. It would have made a slight difference if they had chosen to make this black-and-white. Danny Huston turns in an excellent performance, but Liam Neeson and Diane Kruger have little chemistry and leave you wanting more from this vaguely appealing mystery.

Open Road Films | Streamed on Vudu | First-time Viewing


Episode 405: “tricky legacies”

Directed by Bill Hader
Written by Bill Hader

I wasn’t a massive fan of the time jump in this episode, with Barry and Sally now raising their son Jon under new identities. Almost immediately, he gets drawn back to the life he left when Gene shows back up to consult on a movie about the story of their lives.

HBO | Streamed on HBO Max | First-time Viewing


Episode 407: “Tailgate Party”

Directed by Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini
Written by Will Tracy

The party on the eve before the presidential election is every bit as intriguing as you would have hoped it to be. Matsson attends to stir up support for the GoJo acquisition while Kendall and Roman seek approval of their plan to kill the deal. The episode’s highlight is Shiv and Tom finally airing their grievances with one another.

HBO | Streamed on HBO Max | First-time Viewing

MAY 10, 2023

Ted Lasso

Episode 309: “La Locker Room Aux Folles”

Directed by Erica Dunton
Written by Chuck Hayward

In an opportunity to give every “Ted Lasso” character a chance to shine in the last season, this episode remains mostly with Isaac and Colin as they navigate the revelation that Colin is gay. As always, there’s a learning moment. Nate also gets to see who Rupert is. But as the audience already knows, the moment falls flat.

Apple TV+ | Streamed on Apple TV+ | First-time Viewing

MAY 13, 2023

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

Directed by James Gunn
Written by James Gunn

In the third viewing, I was less emotional for the sincere moments but still got excited for the key fighting moments, like when Star-Lord and Groot storm the High Evolutionary’s tower. The film fires on all cylinders when the team is working together, kicking butt. That includes the one-take hallway fight to “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” and the end battle with High Evolutionary, where everyone gets in their licks. The death fake-out toward the end feels a bit cheap, but the Florence + the Machine cue is a highlight of the year.

Walt Disney Pictures | AMC Universal CityWalk | Third Viewing

MAY 15, 2023


Episode 406: “the wizard”

Directed by Bill Hader
Written by Duffy Boudreau

This final season of “Barry” is flying by, with substantial character developments occurring in one or two episodes. Now Fuches is a hardened criminal with a gang to back him up. Although I like this new side to him, I wish it could get explored more. The attack on Sally and John, who are home alone, is intriguing and an example of the ridiculousness this show does so well. Where Barry ends up at the end of the episode is perfect.

HBO | Streamed on HBO Max | First-time Viewing

MAY 17, 2023


Episode 408: “America Decides”

Directed by Andrij Parekh
Written by Jesse Armstrong

How could you make “Succession” any more dynamic? Throw a tumultuous presidential election in the middle of it. Roman plays devil’s advocate, stirring the pot for Mencken to win, while Kendall grapples with what decision to make, and Shiv’s secret of being in Matsson’s ear emerges. Roman shows he has what it takes to make what he wants a reality.

HBO | Streamed on HBO Max | First-time Viewing

MAY 19, 2023


Episode 307: “Rebirthday”

Directed by Tony Yacenda
Written by Jeanie Bergen

Can I say I love Chloe Bennet in this series, and she’s a perfect counterpart to Dave? I love the moment in the argument where you think it will end the relationship, but Dave chooses to understand rather than get upset.

FXX | Streamed on Hulu | First-time Viewing


Episode 308: “Met Gala”

Directed by Kitao Sakurai
Written by Niles Abston & Trevor Alper

What a fun look inside the Met Gala. The pending doom of Dave and his Gala outfit is the perfect driving force for this episode. Also, giving Dave an archnemesis in the form of Jack Harlow is genius. I cannot believe they got all the big names for this season, including Megan Fox, Machine Gun Kelly, Don Cheadle, and Rachel McAdams.

FXX | Streamed on Hulu | First-time Viewing

MAY 21, 2023

Crater (2023)

Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Written by John Griffin

Without McKenna Grace, “Crater” would feel like its namesake, empty and without weight. A small, fun young adult science fiction film, “Crater” follows a group of kids venturing out on the moon during a meteor shower to fulfill an adventure before one of their ranks leaves for a new colony 75 years away. Although none of the child actors stand out besides Grace, there is some heart to the tale, and with “good enough” graphics, this feels like the perfect fare to put on the Disney+ streaming app.

Walt Disney Pictures | Streamed on Disney+ | First-time Viewing


Episode 409: “Church and State”

Directed by Mark Mylod
Written by Jesse Armstrong

In true “Succession” fashion, just when you think someone has what it takes to handle taking the company’s reigns, they ultimately fall on their face. That’s what happens to Roman in this episode. Last week, he won the election for Mencken, and as he practices the speech for his father’s funeral, you start to believe he’s finally on the right track to taking over. And then, he falls terribly. Shiv does an excellent job of getting her agenda heard by Matsson.

HBO | Streamed on HBO Max | First-time Viewing

MAY 23, 2023

Ted Lasso

Episode 310: “International Break”

Directed by Matt Lipsey
Written by Jane Becker

This “Ted Lasso” season has offered the wonderful treat of seeing Rebecca own all the men in her life. She’s invited to join the Super League and uses the opportunity to stick it to Akufo. Nate quit West Ham after the Rupert moment last week, so that comes as sort of a surprise. It feels like they’re changing his character too quickly, and it would have been nice to keep him the villain for longer if only this weren’t the last season.

Apple TV+ | Streamed on Apple TV+ | First-time Viewing

MAY 25, 2023

58th Academy Awards
Best Picture (Nominee)
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Whoopi Goldberg (Nominee)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Margaret Avery (Nominee)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Oprah Winfrey (Nominee)
Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted – Menno Meyjes (Nominee)
Best Cinematography – Allen Daviau (Nominee)
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration – J. Michael Riva, Bo Welch, & Linda DeScenna (Nominee)
Best Costume Design – Aggie Guerard Rodgers (Nominee)
Best Music, Original Song – Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton, & Lionel Richie (Nominee)
Best Music, Original Score – Quincy Jones (Nominee)
Best Makeup – Ken Chase (Nominee)

The Color Purple (1985)

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Menno Meyjes

Whoopi Goldberg wows in this period drama directed by Steven Spielberg. It deals with the many hardships experienced by African-American women in the early 20th century, including domestic violence, inappropriate sexual behaviors, poverty, and racism. Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover are some of the highlight supporting actors, stealing any scene. My only wish was for the film to have more drive and point of focus. Instead, it’s simply a meandering glimpse into these people’s lives.

Warner Bros. | Streamed on HBO Max | First-time Viewing

Ted Lasso

Episode 311: “Mom City”

Directed by Declan Lowney
Story by  Brendan Hunt & Jason Sudeikis
Teleplay by  Joe Kelly

Ted’s mom is in town, and you get another moment of his emotional awakening as he opens up to her about the loss of his father. The episode’s highlight is when Jamie has to face his demons regarding his father and returning to Manchester City, the team he used to play for. There’s also a nice moment between Coach Beard and Nate as they find common ground for Nate to return to AFC Richmond.

Apple TV+ | Streamed on Apple TV+ | First-time Viewing

MAY 26, 2023

Sanctuary (2023)

Directed by Zachary Wigon
Written by Micah Bloomberg

“Sanctuary” is one of the most refreshing, original films of the year, and I don’t see that changing by the end of it. Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott have an unattainable chemistry, and their shifting demeanors and wants from scene to scene make for wholly engaging and fascinating content. It’s sexy and scary and keeps you on the edge of your seat without leaving a single hotel suite.

Neon | AMC Burbank 16 | First-time Viewing

You Hurt My Feelings (2023)

Directed by Nicole Holofcener
Written by Nicole Holofcener

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the best thing going for “You Hurt My Feelings,” a dramedy about two upper-class families dealing with minor trials and tribulations and developing a woe-is-me attitude towards silly problems. Julia’s character hears her husband tell the truth about a white lie he told her and holds it against him for most of the movie. Meanwhile, as she volunteers at a clothing charity for people experiencing homelessness, she steals a blouse back that her mother donated when a homeless person tries to choose it. A son works at a marijuana shop instead of finishing a draft of his first play. In the grand scheme of things, these are all trivial, and it lessened the overall experience of the movie for me.

A24 | AMC Burbank 16 | First-time Viewing


Episode 309: “Dream Girl”

Directed by Shannon Murphy
Written by Vanessa McGee

The drama emerges in this latest episode of “Dave,” with Robyn questioning whether Dave will ever stop looking for love, even when he’s found it right before him. The juxtaposition between GaTa objectifying women and Dave buying a sex doll is genius, and the documentary not going as planned is a great way to stir up even more drama. The side characters remain underutilized this season, so I’m there for it whenever they can shine.

FXX | Streamed on Hulu | First-time Viewing

MAY 27, 2023

Fast X (2023)

Directed by Louis Leterrier
Written by Dan Mazeau & Justin Lin

Overly long and unnecessarily complicated, “Fast X” continues with the action but does little anywhere else. The new characters leave me wanting more, with Jason Mamoa as the villain remaining polarizing. His flamboyant nature is the perfect counterpoint to Dominic’s stoic demeanor, but it all feels out of left field. The editing is jarring, the dialogue is stiff, and the only thing saving this is a highlight here or there from additions like Daniela Melchior and Alan Ritchson.

Universal Pictures | Regal Valencia | First-time Viewing

MAY 28, 2023


Episode 407: “a nice meal”

Directed by Bill Hader
Written by Liz Sarnoff

Watching Hank try to bomb Fuches’ mansion might be one of the funniest moments of this entire season. Although, the kidnapping that follows is not as interesting. Barry’s kidnapping leads to some unexpected turns, and it’s funny to see Gene hasn’t changed a bit when told who will be playing him in the big-budget film of their lives.

HBO | Streamed on HBO Max | First-time Viewing


Episode 206: “Qui”

Directed by Liz Garbus
Written by Karen Joseph Adcock & Ameni Rozsa

Movies or television episodes that spend the majority of their run-time in dreams or false realities without making it clear that’s what they’re doing always feel like a cop-out to me. I see what they were going for with the episode “Qui,” because younger Shauna spends the next few episodes questioning whether or not the events in her dream genuinely happened. But, it leads you down that alternate path so far that it seems silly.

Showtime | Streamed on Prime Video | First-time Viewing

The Little Mermaid (2023)

Directed by Zachary Wigon
Written by Micah Bloomberg

Mostly, these live-action Walt Disney remakes have felt unnecessary, and “The Little Mermaid” is no different. Halle Bailey makes a great Ariel, and Javier Bardem, Daveed Diggs, and Melissa McCarthy make the whole endeavor bearable, but otherwise, the new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda feel woefully out of place, and there’s zero chemistry between Bailey and her Prince Eric, Jonah Hauer-King. Like previous attempts, the songs and shot selection make the film feel like a shot-for-shot remake of the classic animated version.

Neon | AMC Burbank 16 | First-time Viewing


Episode 408: “wow”

Directed by Bill Hader
Written by Bill Hader

In the scope of the entire series, the last episode is not quite as satisfying and “full circle” as you would hope it to be. But as far as wrapping up the current season and closing the book on these characters, it does a decent job, ending unexpectedly but still darkly humorous.

HBO | Streamed on HBO Max | First-time Viewing


Episode 410: “With Open Eyes”

Directed by Mark Mylod
Written by Jesse Armstrong

The ” Succession ” series finale may not wrap a bow around the entire series and give you everything you desire. Still, it does continue to be provocative and delivers a thoughtful and dynamic send-off. With highlight performances from all the leads, this will be the show to beat come to the Emmys next year.

HBO | Streamed on HBO Max | First-time Viewing

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