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Lessons in Chemistry–A Delicious Dose

Based upon Bonnie Garmus’s bestselling blockbuster of the same name,  the AppleTV+ mini-series Lessons in Chemistry opens in 1961, at the cusp of the feminist and civil rights revolutions.  Elizabeth Zott (Brie Larson, Academy Award-winning actress of “Room”),  a highly educated and talented chemist, has taken a job as a low-level lab tech supporting  an all- male team of chemists at a renowned research institute.  The major problem:  none of the male chemists see her as a peer. However, one equally brilliant chemist, Calvin Evans (Lewis Pullman), sees her for who she really...

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The Long Song–An Aria of Grief and Strength

Based on the largest slave uprising in Jamaican history, leading to the abolition movement in Europe, the three-episode The Long Song is adapted from the late Jamaican-British author Andrea Levy’s acclaimed 2010 historical novel.  The author has fictionalized the uprising through the story of a young girl, July. “The life of a white missus on a Jamaican plantation,” a narrator (Doña Croll) intones in voiceover, “be surely full of tribulation — from the scarcity of beef to the want of a fashionable hat.” Within seconds, the hideous screech of that “white missus” interrupts the narrator. ...

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All the Light We Cannot See–Love is Blind

All the Light We Cannot See opens with a devoted, widowed father, Daniel LeBlanc (Mark Ruffalo),  teaching his young blind daughter, Marie (Aria Mia Loberti),  the intricacies of artifacts in the museum where he works as a locksmith.  Based upon the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Anthony Doerr, this four-part Netflix mini-series (released on November 2)  takes the viewer on an emotionally intense journey through Nazi-occupied France.   While teaching his daughter living skills to maneuver in a war-torn country–Marie’s father, Daniel,  builds a miniature...

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Lupin (2021)–The Gentleman Thief

Based upon a popular 1905 collection of short stories about a gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin, written by the French mystery writer, Maurice Leblanc, the three-season blockbuster Netflix Lupin series (2021)  is a reimagining of  the legendary thief in present-day Paris. Lupin is the equivalent of a French Sherlock Holmes with some important differences. In flashbacks  the young Assane Diop (Omar Sy of “The Intouchables”, see March 27, 2013 review)  endures a travesty of justice that imprisons his beloved Senegalese immigrant father.   Growing up in a foster home, Assane...

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Fall of the House of Usher–Poe on Steroids

This Halloween-esque Netflix eight-episode mini-series (released in time for Trick or Treat on October 12) is a not-so-loyal but brilliant riff on Edgar Allan Poe’s 1840 collection  of short stories, “The Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque”.  Embroidered with many literary references to some of these tales,   each episode in Fall of the House of Usher is named after one of Poe’s works.  For example,  Episode 1: “The Masque of the Red Death”. Literary allusions to even more short story titles throughout this mini-series are playful and witty.  (For example,...

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The Burial–Reaching Beyond the Grave

The wealthy almost always have an impact on the financial decisions of the poor and on limiting their options to make informed choices. Combine that with the shameful  racist history in the US and we have the new Amazon Prime release: The Burial. Based upon a true story,  the opening scene features small business proprietor, Jeremiah O’Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones), celebrating his seventy-fifth birthday. Surrounded by his loving wife and many adult children and grandchildren, all is not well for Jeremiah.  His Biloxi, Mississippi funeral home business of eight branches...

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