• Unhealed Wound

“Dead To Me”: A Balancing Act

Guest reviewer:  David A. Kennedy, horticulturalist and author of the thriller, RICOCHET Mortality, deceit, redemption – these are bread-and-butter themes for the storyteller. Add a little meat to them bones, and you might have something special. Netflix’s Dead To Me (two seasons with the third coming this fall.) attempts that balancing act, and as a comedy-drama, no less. And, for the most part, it succeeds quite well. In the pilot episode, Jen (Christine Applegate) meets Judy (Linda Cardellini) at a group bereavement meeting. Jen recently lost husband Ted in a hit-and-run...

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“Roar”–Hear My Voice

Roar is a new Apple mini-series, a show-and-tell of eight feminist vignettes based upon Cecelia Ahern’s 2018 short story anthology. Highlighting the unexpected onslaught of devastating events from family, friends, corporations, and community, Roar   attempts to address what women are trying to express about themselves.  The opening graphic–a feminist scream of a vulva-suggesting mouth stretching wide inside of a rose–perhaps says it best.  Hear my voice! Each of the self-contained episodes begins with the title “The Woman Who…”...

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Ozark (Finale)–No Exit

This masterful series, breathtaking in all four seasons, has now come to an end. Season 4 Part 2 of Ozark debuted April 29, delivering the conclusion to the Byrde family saga. Ozark is exhausting, brimming  with betrayal, murder, money-laundering, and more murder, and brutal family dynamics.  What’s the meaning of it all? The viewer sees  character arcs over time that always hint that the two parents, Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney), and their children will redeem themselves.  After all, they  have committed  unspeakable...

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“The Dressmaker”–Quirky Down-Under Drama

Based upon Rosalie Ham’s novel by the same name, The Dressmaker  (2015) gives us an opening scene in which  10-year-old Tilly Dunnage is being bullied by classmate Stewart Pettyman, the mayor’s son,  and a group of boys in Dungatar, a town in the  Australian outback. With little investigation she is sent away by police Sergeant Farrat (Hugo Weaving) for the boy’s murder. Twenty-five years later (1951) Tilly (Kate Winslet) returns to Dungatar after a highly successful career as a couturier working in Paris.  Presumably returning to care for...

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My Top 30 Movies and TV Series for 2021

While we all continue to  shelter-in-place during this lockdown, many of us craved new content to watch, some less well-known and under-the-radar.  Well, this year I watched more movies and television than ever before, so I have thirty to recommend, instead of the usual 15-20. Here are the reviews I wrote this past year with the criteria that they were available online since movie theaters were either shut down or offered very limited screenings. Of the 52 reviews I reviewed this year, here are my favorites.  Yet another difficult year to make my “listicle”. ...

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“Dopesick” (2021)–Lies Upon Lies

Based on journalist Beth Macy’s book Dopesick, this Hulu eight-episode miniseries focuses on the early epicenter of the US’s struggle with the opioid addiction. Purdue Pharma, the Sackler mega-company that manufactured the deadly painkiller OxyContin, is the catalyst for an epic tragedy involving the duplicitous collusion with drug distributors, doctors, university researchers, and government agencies (Department of Justice, DEA, and FDA). Dopesick involves a series of characters impacted by OxyContin:. Finnix (Michael Keaton) a family physician in a small coal-mining...

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