Review: ‘The Witcher Season 2’ is a cool, confident continuation and improvement of the story that began in season one

The Witcher

Let me begin this by saying that I enjoyed the first season of The Witcher. Some were put off by the multiple timelines and Geralt’s absence from some of the stories, but I was not one of them. If you were, you will be happy to know that the entire second season takes place in a single timeframe and that Geralt’s story is the main plot of every episode. On the other hand, if you were like me, well, you already like the show, and you’ll continue enjoying it because it’s good.

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Review: ‘Hawkeye’ premiere episodes are lighthearted fun

Hawkeye

The main complaint about Clint Barton’s Hawkeye as a character, at least when it comes to the MCU version, is that he’s boring. I’ve never quite thought that myself, but it’s easy to see where it comes from: he’s a spy that shoots good, and in most of the films, that’s kind of all he is.

What the new Disney+ series Hawkeye proposes is: what if that’s ok?

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Review: ‘Cowboy Bebop’ recreates the look, but not the feel, of the classic anime series it’s based on

It isn’t an understatement to say that the 1998 anime series Cowboy Bebop, directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, written by Keiko Nobumoto, and scored by Yoko Kanno, is a masterpiece. Binding together influences from around our world, in particular noir thrillers like The Big Sleep, westerns like The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, and science fiction classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it became a gateway anime for many –including myself.

Its 26-episode (and one movie) run is far more approachable than most anime series. Despite its near-flung future setting –where the earth is ruined, and the solar system colonized–, Cowboy Bebop became a stone-cold classic of the genre that holds up to this day.

It’s only natural that someone would want to remake it as a live-action series; the only surprise here is how long it took to do so. With such an intricate world and iconic characters, adapting it was never going to be easy. Still, while Netflix has wrangled a promising cast and put a ton of money into re-creating the future of the anime series, they managed to miss the mark.

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Home Video: Buy, Rent, or Stream Cowboy Bebop ahead of its live-action remake

As one of the most well-regarded anime series of all time, the live-action remake coming to Netflix is highly anticipated. The trailers show promise, but the original has a certain style and charm that will be difficult to replicate, but I am choosing to remain hopeful.

Either way, whether it’s time for a re-watch or if you’ve never seen it, now is a perfect time to revisit the anime series as well as the animated film they made a few years later.

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Review: ‘The Shrink Next Door’ is a showcase for Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell

The Shrink Next Door

How does one end up in a cult? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at some point. How does someone end up entirely under the sway of another person’s will? The Shrink Next Door can’t answer that question for everyone, but it can answer it for Marty Markowitz, a successful but anxiety-ridden new york businessman who ended up in the thrall of his psychiatrist for nearly thirty years.

As with many shows that are based on real-life, the story is almost too much to be believed. Markowitz (played by Will Ferrell), struggling with his business and an ex-girlfriend, seeks therapy from Dr Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf (Paul Rudd). Herschkopf’s methods immediately stand out as skirting the line of professional ethics –he literally tells off the ex-girlfriend, in person, while Marty stands there nearly helpless– but Marty is enamoured. “People take advantage of you,” Herschkopf says, “but not anymore. I am going to take care of you.”

It wouldn’t be a series of things didn’t get weird. These eight episodes of television chronicle just how deeply Herschkopf ingratiated himself into Marty’s life, and serve to showcase excellent performances from stars Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell.

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Home Video: Great Films (and series!) from Director Mike Flanagan, and where to Buy, Rent, or Stream them

Midnight Mass

Over the last several years, Mike Flanagan has made a name for himself as a director of horror, and at the same time, become one of my personal favourite filmmakers. This past week saw the release of his latest project, the Netflix series Midnight Mass. To celebrate this, here are three great films and two series he directed.

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Review: ‘Star Wars: Visions’ offers some new takes on the galaxy far, far away, mostly

Star Wars: Visions

Star Wars is a franchise of epic stories, but the galaxy far, far away has always felt a little small. Planets with the population of villages, each only a short drive through hyperspace from one another. One thing that the franchise has needed for a long time is some expansion, some stories to push at the universe’s boundaries. Animation has been, for years now, the place where that has been happening, and Star Wars: Visions –a project in which Lucasfilm let several prominent anime studios tell Star Wars stories– is the latest series to do it. Mostly.

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Home Video: Where to Buy or Stream ‘The Sopranos’ ahead of ‘The Many Saints of Newark’

The Many Saints of Newark

Next week we’re getting a new entry in the Sopranos franchise. The Many Saints of Newark will tell a story of a young Tony Soprano (played by original Tony Sporano actor James Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini) as he learns the family business from his uncle Dickie Moltisanti. What better time to get caught up on everyone favourite crime family, and watch or rewatch the series?

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Review: ‘Midnight Mass’ is another excellent horror story from Mike Flanagan and one of the best series of the year

Midnight Mass

There’s something familiar about Crocket Island, both for myself and the average viewer. For the latter, it is that indelible image of the small American town, the tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone, and everyone puts up with everyone else’s idiosyncrasies because of that feeling of community. For the former, for me, it reminds me of home. I grew up in a small town on an island in the pacific northwest. Not as small as the Crock Pot, as it’s affectionately referred to, but much of the feeling of that small town reminds me very much of what it’s like to live in a small place –and to feel trapped there.

This is the tone struck by the setting of Midnight Mass, the new horror limited series from director Mike Flanagan. The tiny, dying island community withering away year after year. Once a community of hundreds, now reduced to dozens, the people who remain are there either by loyalty, fear, circumstance or some combination of the three. It’s a place where time seems to have stopped, where every kid has a smartphone, but every living room has a tube TV with rabbit ears, a place where change comes either very slowly or –with the right catalyst– very quickly.

At the outset of the story, two new residents arrive on the island: the prodigal son of a longtime island family returning home in disgrace after a stint in prison and a charismatic young priest. Following their arrival, things start to change very quickly for the residents. Miraculous things begin to happen, and a revival of religious faith takes place. But, of course, these miracles come with a price, and by the time Midnight Mass reveals what that price is, it will have taken you on a journey exploring family, faith, doubt, loss, and the great lengths those things will make us go to.

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Review: ‘Only Murders in the Building’ is both lighthearted fun and a great send-up of true crime podcasts

True Crime is, debatably, the largest and furthest reaching of all the podcast genres. They reach mass audiences and have been adapted into television series that have gone on to critical acclaim. So it’s only natural then that someone was going to send them up. Luckily for us, that person turned out to be Steve Martin.

Martin, alongside producer John Hoffman and joined in the cast by Martin Short and Selena Gomez, created a delightful lighthearted comedy series and a delightful send-up of the true crime podcast genre itself.

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