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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See How They Run: The Theater Is A Dangerous Place

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The set of a production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap turns into a crime scene.

For those looking for a serious straight laced murder mystery film look elsewhere. Though I am not saying this film is inherently a comedy, I do think there is a degree of metaness to the film and a commentary on the Whodunit genre more broadly, which worked well for me. Many scenes of this film almost serve as a parody of the genre’s tropes and seeks to subvert and deconstruct. I think these aspects of the film really enhance it and add a sense of quirky charm that will endear this film to a lot of people. I also think the film is very funny and frequently made me laugh as I was watching it.

The performances across the board are great but the main duo of Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan are by far the best, they play off each other well and both become your favourite character at different parts of the film. If I had to edge it out I would say that Ronan gives the best performance of the two as her plucky spirit feels infectious throughout.

Overall, a fun whodunit that proves there is still life in the genre, and to a lesser extent in British cinema.

Pros.

Ronan

Rockwell

The charm

The mystery

Cons.

The pacing is a little off, it could have been shortened

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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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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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Sideworld,Terrors Of The Sea: What Waits For Us At The Bottom Of The Ocean

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

This film explores the dark and sinister side to our oceans.

I have long thought that there is something quite gothic and mysterious about the sea and I know I am not alone in that belief. I often say to people how crazy it is that we have barely scratched the surface with ocean exploration and cannot fully comprehend what may be waiting for us at the very bottom of the sea, in the areas where there is no light.

In that vein this film really captures in essence the foreboding nature of the sea, coming off often as more curious and mysterious than outrightly scary. I think it is in that regard that this Sideworld film differs from the last, it is less scary. I don’t know if this is by design, but certainly I found this to be different in tone and intent than the last film.

In terms of the sea stories, it was a good smattering of different things from ghost ships to sea monsters. None of it will be things you have never heard before, but thanks to the narrators fantastic delivery it still manages to feel captivating and intriguing until the final frame. I think the sea monster section was probably my favourite.

Overall, if spooks and creepy stories to listen to as the nights slowly darken again are your kind of thing then you will be doing yourself a disservice not to check this out.

Pros.

It truly captures the mystery of the sea

It is intriguing

It has a good mixture of tales

The sound work is incredibly strong and really does both set the sense and create a fantastic atmosphere.  

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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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Only Murders In The Building:The Tell

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The trio continue on their hunt for the murderer, which leads to a very tense game of Son of Sam.

I think this episode continued to build on the positive momentum of the last and actually does go to some interesting places. I am not saying that this is a perfect episode or anywhere near the same level as the first series, but it is a hell of a lot better than the earlier episode of this current season.

In large part the improvement here can be placed on two keys scenes and performances. Firstly, the Son of Sam scene is very good as it transports everyone back in time and gives them period attire, moreover, Charles, played by Steve Martin, and Oliver, played by Martin Short, go after Alice, played by Cara Delevingne, suspecting her to be the murderer not just for the game but for the wider mystery of the series. Delevingne gives her best performance yet during this scene, possibly the best of her career, and she really falls into the character. Secondly, the other strong scene here is the one in which Charles talks to Jan, played by Amy Ryan, on the phone. During this conversation the two have such strong chemistry that it becomes palpably hard to look away from. Hopefully we will get more Charles and Jan throughout the remainder of this season.

My major issue of this episode is the final twist in which Oliver learns he might not actually be his son’s biological father. To me this just feels like more needless drama that doesn’t really serve the story but instead acts as filler to pad for time, In addition as far as twists go this one feels quite cheap and manipulative.

Overall, the second season seems to be trending upwards after a shaky start.

Pros.

Charles and Jan

Delevingne

The mystery is getting better

Good costume work

Cons.

The ending

The pacing is still far too slow

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