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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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“Squid Game”–Hunger Games Meets Snowpiercer: Gangnam Style

This #1 Netflix mega-hit, streaming in nine episodes, is a Korean dystopian story of survival.  A mastermind known as the Front Man, in a mask like Darth Vader, stages a series of deadly childhood games (tug of war, red-light-green-light, and the Korean-specific squid game).  The debt-ridden players, trapped on a remote island, are forced to compete in deadly versions of the gladiator-style games: gunned down if they lose.  Guards with triangles, circles, or squares marked on their masks are anonymous. Squid Game’s sometimes shocking–always bloody–drama...

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“Sandra Day O’Connor–The First”

For almost 200 years, the United States Supreme Court was a male bastion. In PBS’s American Experience: “Sandra Day O’Connor: The First” we see Sandra Day O’Connor become the first woman Supreme Court Justice.   She is remembered for being the critical swing vote on cases involving this country’s most controversial issues, including race, gender and reproductive rights — and for casting the decisive vote in Bush v. Gore.  Her riveting–often unexpected– family and career trajectory are explored in this timely biographical portrait.  Born...

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“The Morning Show”–Wake Up America

The Morning Show, an award-winning AppleTV+ mini-series, is inspired by Brian Stelter’s book about Matt Lauer and the Today Show. Dominant themes and subplots focus on the vile, abject humiliation involved in corporate politics, gender roles, and sexual predation. In the opening scene, co-anchor Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) has just been fired for sexual harassment and possible assault, leaving his co-host Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) without her onscreen partner of the past fifteen years.  Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), a West Virginian small-town reporter, is covering...

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“Official Secrets”–Blowing in the Wind

Based upon the  true story of British Intelligence whistle-blower Katharine Gun (played by Keira Knightley) immediately before the planned 2003 Iraq invasion, Official Secrets exposes a joint US-UK illegal extortion plan [under President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair).  Both governments colluded against members of the UN Security Council in order to obtain their votes for invasion.  Gun, a minor functionary and translator of highly confidential documents, leaks a top secret NSA memo  that  proposes blackmailing...

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