TV and Movie Reviews - Week 5
The Movie Maestro, Evan Wade!
First up this week is the recently released Netflix film, Da 5 Bloods, by director, Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcom X). Four African-American veterans return to Vietnam decades after the war to find their squad leader's remains - and the stash of buried gold he helped them find.
Keeping to the current political climate, Da 5 Bloods explores a retrospective view on the role of black people in the Vietnam war and society during that period, while comparing it to today's society. The film runs for an impressive 2 hours and 35 minutes, during which we follow the group of vets in modern day 2020 in a drama-like fashion as they reconnect and reminisce with each other about their lives. Between these scenes, we see war movie-esque flashbacks to the war itself, which tells the tale of their squad and their leader 'Stormin' Norman' played brilliantly by Black Panther star, Chadewick Boseman. The actors who play the vets in modern day (such as Delroy Lindo and Clarke Peters) also play their younger selves in the 1960's flashbacks making it easier to identify each one during the battle scenes. The film takes a turn for the extreme in the 2nd half, bringing some violence and gore into the mix, in case that's not your thing. But all in all, it is an interesting concept wrapped in a fun and engaging plot.
2nd this week is a much lighter watch, with 2003's Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Sick of ceding the spotlight to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck is fired by studio boss, Kate (Jenna Elfman) when he demands equal pay and billing. After going on a studio lot rampage Daffy manages to get security guard DJ Drake (Brendan Fraser) fired too. When Drake discovers his movie star/real life spy dad (Timothy Dalton) is kidnapped, the pair set out to rescue him, pursued by Kate and Bugs.
I've chosen this as a pick this week for something very light that isn't too serious at all and can be watched with the kids. Looney Tunes: Back in Action is a spiritual sequel to the much loved 1996 Space Jam, with basketball player, Michael Jordan. And although Back in Action received a hefty amount of criticism from fans and critics alike back in 2003, for not having the same magic as it's predecessor, I'd go as far as to say it's more watchable today than Space Jam. When I watched Back in Action again recently for nostalgia purposes, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. Having just rewatched Space Jam before it, which leans very much on the 'kid's movie' side of things and is now unfortunately riddled with R Kelly music, Back in Action held up much better. It's filled with a bunch of 4th wall breaking and dozens of references to other classic Warner Bros movies, and tonnes of jokes aimed at adults. And of course watching Daffy and Bugs bickering is always a joy to watch. So if you're looking for something you could enjoy with your kids, or just something light-hearted and easy, give it a try.
If violent war or cartoon silliness aren't your things, then you might still enjoy the 3rd pick this week. Last year's Netflix original miniseries, Russian Doll. It follows Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) on her journey as the guest of honor at a seemingly inescapable party one night in New York City. She dies repeatedly, always restarting at the same moment in the party, as she tries to figure out what is happening to her.
Immediately Russian Doll draws comparisons to Groundhog Day and while it's roughly the same concept and is comedic, it ultimately goes way deeper in it's storytelling and clever twists. It's a very fun, very funny and very additive show that will have you moving straight onto the next episode. With a fun cast of New Yorkian characters, a fantastic quirky carefree performance from Natasha and a second season on the way, Russian Doll stands as one of Netflix's best originals to date.
And that's it for this week. Once again, have a great weekend and I'll catch you the same time next week for more!