As we enter into October, I’m sure one of us here (not me) will be reviewing the latest horror phenomena on the screen. Before we do that though, I’d like to take you through a real horror; the dismantling of source material.
Netflix recently released the “limited series” Maniac. The series, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill as two subjects in an experimental drug trial that will supposedly solve every one of their mental health issues. The series also features Sonoya Mizuno (Crazy Rich Asians), Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), Sally Fields (My Name is Doris), Billy Magnussen (Game Night), and James Monroe Iglehart (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). While the series may only be 10 episodes, each one varying in length from roughly 26 to 45 minutes, the show packs a punch and gives us performances that will linger for a very long time.
Last year Netflix released the animated series Big Mouth. Created by Nick Kroll (The Kroll Show), Andrew Goldberg (Family Guy), Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett (Journey to the Center of the Earth). The show follows a group of 7th graders who deal with the ups and downs of puberty and growing up. The show features the voice talents of Nick Kroll, John Mulaney (Oh, Hello on Broadway), Jessi Klein (Inside Amy Schumer), Jason Mantzoukas (Brooklyn 99), Jenny Slate (Bob’s Burgers), Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Maya Rudolph (Life of the Party), and Jordan Peele (Get Out).
This weekend saw the release of First Man directed by Damien Chazelle (La La Land), written by Josh Singer (The Post), and starring Ryan Gosling (Blade Runner 2049) and Claire Foy (The Crown) as Neil and Janet Armstrong. The film follows the life of Neil Armstrong during the ten years leading up to the first landing on the moon.
This past weekend Sony released Venom. The film, directed by Ruben Fleischer and written by Jeff Pinkner & Scott Rosenerg and Kelly Marcel, stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, an investigative reporter who bonds with an alien symbiote and becomes a super powered anti-hero. This is Sony’s first attempt at releasing a film featuring the supporting characters of the Spider-Man universe, without the web-head himself. The success of this film will help determine the plans for a potential cinematic universe. The problem is, while the film had a great opening weekend, it’s hard to view it as anything more than something that had potential.
Ask anyone who has watched the Marvel Netflix shows and they’ll tell you Iron Fist Season 1 is the bad one. Every other series has been outstanding on one level or another, but there were a lot of issues that plagued the introduction of Iron Fist. The character grew a bit more with Defenders, and when used in the second season of Luke Cage, we finally saw the Danny Rand fans know and love. The new season is without a doubt a step up from the first season, but it does still have some flaws.
Last year Netflix debuted the dark drama Ozark to little fanfare. The series stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, a Chicago financial advisor who has secretly been laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel. When their deal goes south, he proposes a new venture to save the lives of him and his family: laundering $500 million in 5 years through small businesses in the Ozarks. The cartel gives him three months to come up with the $8 million his partner stole as a test. If he succeeds, they move forward with the five year plan; if he fails, they kill him and his family.