Confess Fletch: Who Doesn’t Need A Whole Bunch Of Fake Identities

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Retired investigative journalist Fletch, played by Jon Hamm, explores an art world mystery.

I will open this review by saying that I have no fondness for the Chevy Chase Fletch films. They were before my time and upon watching them in a more modern context the humour just didn’t land for me at all. However, I am pleased to say I enjoyed this film much more than the older Chase films.

I thought all of the performances across the board were great most noticeably Lorenza Izzo and Jon Hamm, but all of the characters were very easy to warm to. I thought this film had a lot of old school charm and reminded me of comedy crime films of yore, the sort that someone like Steve Martin would have made. However, unlike those movies a lot of the more toxic and problematic elements of those films were cut out here, much to the betterment of the film.

Moreover, the central mystery is pretty solid I did not guess it which is a sure sign of quality. In addition the humour of the film was more hit than miss for me and quite often made me laugh, I think Hamm in particular has great comedic timing.

Overall, a fun and enjoyable film that won’t set the world on fire.

Pros.

Hamm

Izzo

The humour

The mystery

Cons.

A few pacing issues  

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Bodies Bodies Bodies: Hello Fellow Kids

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of friends gather together to wait out a storm and play some party games, once there things take a turn for the worst and one by one people start getting murdered.

Spoilers Ahead

I thought this film was pretty entertaining, but it was not without its issues. Most obviously, you could tell that this film was written by someone who isn’t Gen Z as though they use some correct vernacular it never really feels authentic and genuine. Moreover, with the expectation of Amandla Stenberg the cast are not members of Gen Z either, these might only be little nit picks I know but as the film has been labelled a Gen Z murder mystery it deserves to be pointed out.

The mystery was well used for the most part, however, it is ruined by the end of the film. Where it turns out that there never was any murderer just a series of accidents and misunderstandings leading to all these deaths then it just feels like a cop out. Honestly I didn’t find the ending funny I found it to be infuriating.  

For me the performances were a mixed bag, I thought Maria Bakalova, Lee Pace and Rachel Sennott all gave strong performances whereas Myha’la Herrold’s Jordan felt cliched, Stenberg’s Sophie underdeveloped and Pete Davidson’s David to be totally unlikeable.

Overall, whilst it has some enjoyable moments for the most part this is a decidedly average film.

Pros.

A few funny moments

It is a good mystery until the ending ruins it

Bakalova really shines

Cons.

A lot of the supporting cast are wasted

It feels clearly like someone older trying to write for Gen Z

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Only Murders In The Building: I Know Who Did It

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The trio reveal who the killer is.

I worried last week that the show would swerve away from having Cinda, played by Tina Fey, be the main villain of the series, and then this episode proved that worry to be founded by having it be her assistant instead. I think this reveal was way less satisfying and felt quite anti-climactic.

Moreover, another thing I didn’t like about this episode, which has also been at the borders of this whole second season more broadly is a sense of smugness. I know the show has been nominated for a number of awards and has quite a devoted fanbase, but the series seems to be a little too into itself now, giving far too many knowing looks to the audience.

I will give the episode some praise for bringing back Cara Delevingne’s character, even if she is still being incredibly under used, I think Delevingne’s new arrival is probably the best thing about what is otherwise a very mixed season.

Overall, a decent end, but one that highlights the shows key issues, it’s long in the tooth continuation onwards, and its smugness.

Pros.

Bringing back Delevingne

It was watchable

A few funny moments

Cons.

The smugness

It ignored the best possible villain

It like the rest of the season was badly paced

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Only Murders In The Building Sparring Partners

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

An old enemy rears their head as the gang home in on a murderer.

So I think this episode was again a mixed bag, for the most part it is filler and padding, however the final twist reveal more than makes up for it. By pointing the finger at Cinda, played by Tina Fey, the show really capitalises on the dislike the audience has for her and creates a satisfying ‘it all makes sense now’ sort of moment. I will say however, that if the show doesn’t go with Fey’s character being the villain of this season then it will feel like a huge missed opportunity.

Again the Oliver, played by Martin Short, parenting subplot continues to not even remotely interest me, as we all know the secret will come out it is just inevitable. I think some of the side stories this season has done has expanded and deepened the character of a lot of our favourite Arconia residents however, in other cases such as this it has just ended up feeling like filler.

I liked that Cara Delevingne’s character returned and that it looks like she won’t be the villain, hopefully in the next episode we can have her origins explored a bit more so that her character can start to feel less two dimensional.

Overall, a fairly standard episode made a lot better by a great and satisfying twist ending.

Pros.

The ending

Delevingne’s return

The sparing sequence

Cons.

The Oliver parentage side story

The pace is really quite off

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Only Murders In The Building: Hello Darkness

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The trio must race back to the Arconia in order to save Lucy, played by Zoe Colletti, who faces down a killer in a blackout.

I was right the prospect of a blackout did lead to interesting things. I think the idea of Lucy genuinely being in danger of dying and the sort of ticking clock narrative of all that really helped to bring me back on board for this episode and to care again. I thought this episode often nailed the tension it was going for and had genuinely worried for the characters.

I also really enjoyed the Nina, played by Christine Ko, side story in which she chats to the buildings doorman, played by Teddy Coluca, during the blackout. I thought it was nice to see a more human side to Nina as parts of this season have set her up as some what of a cold character or even a possible future antagonist. I thought the scene the two shared was sweet and it brought a smile to my face.

However, nothing can ever be without flaw. I didn’t like the Oliver, played by Martin Short, subplot wherein he questions his son’s parentage. It felt almost soap opera esque and entirely needless, I would have rather the series be shorter and we don’t have to get overly indulgent filler like that.

Overall, certainly a lot better than the last few episodes but not without its issues.

Pros.

The tension

How the episode uses the blackout

The scenes with Nina

It makes you care about the characters

Cons.

The Oliver subplot

It feels like the ending of the season should be closer than it is  

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Jawbreaker: A Bargain Basement Heathers Knock Off

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A clique of bratty teenage girls accidentally kill one of their member, played by Charlotte Ayanna, and must try and cover it up.

I understand that this film was ‘inspired by’ Heathers but did it have to be so blatant in copying it, could they not have at least tried to come up with some new ideas and concepts? Maybe it is because I have not viewing this from a contemporary lens and am instead looking at it years later, but to me this film just seems played out and done better before.

None of the central trio are particularly easy to warm to or engaging, I found myself spending most of my time getting annoyed every time they opened their mouths. Truly nothing is worse than the teen mean girl trope, it is so lazy.

A mild pro I will give this film is that it was occasionally unintentionally funny, and that managed to at least to a very small extent lighten up the unpleasant and frankly tedious viewing experience.

Overall, I see that this film has developed a cult following, however to those people I say why choose a knock off version of Heathers.

Pros.

It is unintentionally funny

It is watchable

Cons.

The lead trio are incredibly unlikeable

It feels like a weaker Heathers

It is tedious for a lot of the runtime

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: Robert Downey Jr’s Secret Best Film

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A tongue in cheek take on the hard boiled detective stories of old.

Many people point to The Nice Guys as one of Shane Black’s best films, but more people than that seem to forget that before Black made that film he made this one, and in many ways this film is almost better.

I think the most obvious merit of this film is the fact that the satire and subversion of the genre is done so spectacularly well that layers can be seen within the commentary. This is not a film of references to other famous moments from other genre fare, or even scene mimicry, no this is a deconstruction of the genre to an almost subatomic level. Through this film Black is taking apart the hard boiled detective story and lampooning it whilst also creating something that feels both similar yet markedly different.   

The other boon for this film is Robert Downey Jr on top form in a pre-Tony Stark age. Though Downey Jr is the star of the piece he is strongly supported by Val Kilmer with whom he has great chemistry. The two men together really bring a tour de force in terms of performance to this film, and it certainly ranks amongst Downey Jr’s best films.

My one slight criticism of this film is that in places the pace becomes a little clawing and it could do with being made tighter. This is a problem for a lot of films.

Overall, perhaps Shane Black’s best film.

Pros.

Downey Jr

The satire

It is both funny as well as engaging and tense

The chemistry between the leads

Cons

The pace

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Only Murders In The Building: Flipping The Pieces

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Mabel, played by Selena Gomez, and Theo, played by James Caverly, bond and open up about their pasts.

Many people are hailing this as Gomez’s finest moment on the show, her big emotional back story. Whilst I think Gomez did give a good performance, I thought her delivery left a little to be desired and thought that her facial acting was woefully lacking. Though she is reciting what is supposed to be a painful story from her past her face stays mostly the same throughout, this is not how to act for any one looking to start out.

However, I did find Mabel and Theo to be a good pairing and hopefully we will see more of the two of them together later in the season. Gomez and Caverly have good on-screen chemistry together and are a believable duo. In addition, I thought this episode was actually better for featuring Steve Martin and Martin Short less, the two of them are becoming very one note this season and by focusing this episode mainly around Mabel it helps it to stay fresh.

I think the idea of the blackout leaves the episode off on an interesting place, I would much prefer if we knew that this show was heading into its final episode this season but as there are still two more episodes after the next one we know they are just going to keep dragging this out.

Overall, better for giving Mabel a bigger focus

Pros.

Mabel and Theo make a good pair

Mabel’s backstory

The ending tease

Cons.

They are still stretching out a paper thin mystery

Gomez’s performance leaves something to be desired  

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Only Murders In The Building: Performance Review

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

People from Mabel’s past come out of the woodwork to accuse her of past misdeeds and the world of Only Murders In The Building is further explored and built upon.

Frankly again I am slipping back into struggling to care for this season which is sad as the last couple of episodes seemed to be heading in an interesting direction. I think the big issue here is the same it has been throughout this second season, in that the mystery itself is paper thin and then the show is trying to stretch it out for as long as possible stuffing it full of needless side lots in order to try and keep people engaged. It is so blatant it might as well be written in neon.

I think the Mabel, played by Selena Gomez, heartbreak subplot was at least well-acted even if it was not needed. I do think that Gomez often has to do a lot of the heavy lifting for this show in a dramatic sense and luckily for the show she can hold her own in this regard.

To be perfectly upfront with you dear reader I am struggling to finish this season or to find any excitement for new episodes, to be of service to you I will stick it out until the end of the season but I won’t be coming back for the next season.

Overall, this season is being dragged out and dragged out beyond any semblance of a good show.

Pros.

Gomez

It is watchable

It was nice to Charles’ sort of daughter return

Cons.

It is getting long in the tooth

Too many subplots

Awful pacing

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Under The Banner Of Heaven: True Detective This Is Not

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A murder in small town America, how fresh.

I know this series has got a lot of good reviews from other people and outlets but honestly I found this tedious to get through.

I think my issues with this show come from a mixture of the fact that each episode felt about 20 minutes too long and that I am incredibly checked out of the whole small town America murder plot and feel it has been done to death. Maybe it is because I am not American but to me this series just felt like many other crime shows and the plot was so generic that it could not keep me interested.

I think Andrew Garfield is one of the best actors working today but even he couldn’t prop this show up. Moreover, I would daresay that I think Garfield may have been miscast as his boyish looks didn’t really fit the kind of character he was playing.

Overall, this felt incredibly samey to me and didn’t have the right lead to keep me engaged throughout. By the midpoint of the series I really was just trying to finish it so I could give a complete review, I was otherwise checked out.

Pros.

Garfield is trying his best

It is well shot

Cons.

Garfield is miscast

It is badly paced

The mystery feels incredibly generic and samey

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