Barry Season 1 & 2 (HBO)

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Photo from Rolling Stone

Barry stars Bill Hader as the titular character. A hit-man who wants to get out of the life and become an actor. He is caught between these two very different lives and struggles to balance them both. However, he is determined to continue his dream of acting and a normal life, and is willing to kill anyone who may get in the way.

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Late Night (2019)

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Photo from Variety

Late Night is a film written from Mindy Kaling partly inspired by the time Kaling was a writer and diversity hire on The Office. It centers on late night talk show host, Katherine Newberry (Emma Thompson) who is on the cusp of losing her show. She has to hire a new female writer named Molly (Kaling) to ward off backlash but she ends up giving the show new life.

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Long Shot (2019)

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Photo from Bustle

Long Shot stars Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron as a down on his luck journalist named Fred Flarsky and Charlotte Field, the Secretary of State. They used to know each other and bump into each other unexpectedly at an event. The Secretary launches a environmental campaign around the world and hires Rogen’s character to write her speeches. They quickly becomes friends and something more starts to happen, but can this unlikely couple make things work?

Long Shot pleasantly surprised me, Seth Rogen comedies are about 50/50 for me, but this is definitely one of his better ones. I did laugh pretty consistently throughout the film, but there were a few jokes that didn’t land with me. This film is weirdly over the top but also a bit plausible in today’s political landscape.

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What We Do in the Shadows (FX Pilot)

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Photo from TV Insider

This version of What We Do in the Shadows takes place in New York City and centers around a new group of characters. Kayvan Novak stars as Nandor with Harvey Guillén as his servant, Guillermo. They live with the vampire couple of Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) and Laszlo (Matt Berry) as they attempt to prepare for the arrival of a very old vampire coming to check on them to see if they have conquered Staten Island.

Well good news to one and all, the TV series stays true in tone and spirit to the 2014 film. It’s hilarious, inventive, and has quirky characters. With creators Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi returning to help with the series, the TV pilot was a huge hit at SXSW. It was a definite highlight for me at my time there.

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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 (Amazon Prime)

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Photo from Adweek

In the fast talking, 1950s high society of the New York Upper West Side, Miriam Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is back and better than ever in season two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. After the fallout of season one with Miriam’s (also known as Midge) ex-husband Joel (Michael Zegen) walking in on Midge doing a stand up set, which was his dream, Midge now finds herself touring different venues to try and make a name of herself.

Rachel Brosnahan once again shines as Mrs. Maisel, she brings such charisma to this character and owns this show. I enjoyed Susie (Alex Borstein), Midge’s manager, more this season and her relationship with Midge. Zachary Levi surprised me this season as I had no idea that he was in the show but gave a fine performance as Midge’s new love interest, Benjamin. And the writing from show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino continues to be strong, though it is less centered this season.

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The Favourite (2018)

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Photo from The Playlist

The Favourite surrounds an ill and fragile Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) whose closest companion, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), is actually calling the shots. Once Sarah’s cousin, Abigail (Emma Stone), comes to the palace in need of a job, her and the Queen develop a close relationship. Both cousins suddenly find themselves in competition on who is Queen Anne’s “favorite.”

This film is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, and if you aren’t aware of his work, he makes weird yet thought provoking films like The Lobster (which I’m a huge fan of). This film is less thought provoking, and absurd in many ways (but a good type of absurd). I was taken by surprise on how hilarious this movie is. Olivia Colman does fantastic as Queen Anne, and even if the Queen is in a wheelchair and is not dressed properly, she must get what she wants. It’s also really fun to see Stone and Weisz’s characters go at it, both characters are cunning, so they manipulate each other as well as try to one up the other in order to get the Queen’s favor.

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Carmina o revienta (2012) – in English & Spanish

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Photo from El Mira

My review for this film will be brief. Carmina or Bust is a Spanish movie about a mother who lives in Seville and runs a bar. Her bar has been robbed but she cannot prove it. So, she needs to get money to cover it. The movie plays out like a documentary. She reminiscences about her life, talks to the camera and audience, and talks about the events that happened over the past month.

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Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

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Photo from Elite Daily

Crazy Rich Asians revolves around Rachel (Constance Wu), a NYU Professor, who goes with her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding), to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. But only on the way to Singapore does Rachel find out that Nick’s family is traditional and filthy rich. So, Rachel must learn how to navigate a way into Nick’s family and win his mother’s approval.

It would be remiss not to mention that this movie has an all Asian cast. And it’s a really great thing to see. In the film, we get to see more Asian culture – food, music, style, the Singapore skyline – things not typically presented in a Hollywood film. And like Black Panther earlier this year, this film is making buttloads of money at the box office, so yes more representation please, it’s time to get more diverse stories out there. Even though Coco was a huge success last year, let’s get an all Hispanic cast next in a live action film.

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BlacKkKlansman (2018)

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Photo from Vox

BlacKkKlansman surrounds Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) as he becomes the first black cop in Colorado Springs. He starts investigating the KKK after seeing an ad in a newspaper. Though he talks to them on the phone, Flip (Adam Driver), is a white cop that meets in the KKK in person. Both cops, whose nationalities the KKK are vehemently against, must play the part of white supremacist to investigate deeper into what the KKK are capable of.

Spike Lee does a great job with this film, though you should have already got from the title, it’s very political. It not only captures the attitudes and political sphere of the 70s but it also reflects modern day. Specifically, it calls out the current President of the United States.

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