2023 is off to a surprisingly fun start. January is normally a slow month with not so many movies or TV series being released. But this year things are different, I don’t remember a year starting with so many interesting pop culture options like this one. So here are two series and three movies that I enjoyed last month.
This is a psychological thriller series produced by M. Night Shyamalan. The show follows a young couple who lose their child, only for it to be miraculously returned to them not long after their new nanny arrives. Servant has piled up many mysteries throughout the previous three seasons, and this fourth and final one has a lot of questions left to answer. But based on the first three episodes that I had access to, the show doesn't seem too bothered with tying up all of the loose ends, instead, it wants to ratchet up the tension and make viewers uncomfortable. I liked that the first episode has a lot of action. It starts with a member of a cult who is intent on bringing Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) back into their fold and all hell breaks loose. There is even some bird action mimicking Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. It’s a fun watch. In the other two episodes, the show goes back to its typical vibe of creeping dread and unexpected reveals, but with the addition of some action, such as chases and fights, and a lot of tense moments and uncomfortable situations. So far I’m really happy with what I have watched and I’m looking forward to seeing how the show will end. If you invested any of your time watching this series’ previous seasons as I did, this is a must-watch.
The second and final season has been released on Amazon Prime after a three-year gap. I thought the first season was only OK but had a good cliffhanger. However, it was nothing to write home about. This season explores the period between 1975 and 1979, focusing on the formation of a hit squad by the character Wolf and the aftermath of his death. It delves into the backgrounds of core characters and introduces new ones, including Chava Apfelbaum played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. The show is most robust when it gets deep into the motives and paths that lead the characters to join Wolf's cause. Unfortunately, the series suffers from writing issues and inconsistencies in tone. Despite these issues, there are moments of good dialogue, strong performances, and even an entire episode (The Home) that showcase the series’ potential. All in all, I found the second season to be an adequate wrap-up to the story and enjoyed the action-packed undercover missions. But I would only recommend it if you are already invested in the series or if you have some time to kill.
Jung_e is a sci-fi movie about how humanity will adapt to living alongside AI in the future. It Was directed by Yeon Sang-Ho(Train To Busan) and it was an interesting watch. The movie takes place in the 22nd century when climate change has made Earth uninhabitable, and humanity lives in off-planet shelters. The plot revolves around a soldier who was the ultimate badass and died in combat. Now, they are trying to clone her brain and put it into a robotic body to build the ultimate AI soldier to win a civil war between the shelters. Jung_E is a tight standalone sci-fi action story and reminded me of other sci-fi films like Robocop, And Blade Runner. The movie also explores the ethical implications of creating AI, and the relationship between the main scientist and the AI soldier. Actresses Kang Soo Yan and Ryu Kyung-soo deliver awesome performances and the film has a great balance of action and drama and also has a compelling story. I enjoyed the visual effects and world-building of the dystopian future as well. I recommend this one especially if you are into dystopia/cyberpunk stories.
Missing follows the story of June (Storm Reid) as she's left alone at home while her mother and her mom's boyfriend go on vacation to Colombia. But when they don't arrive at the airport as planned, June discovers that they've been kidnapped and that her mom's boyfriend may not be who he seems. This film takes the stakes to a whole new level and is even more heart-wrenching than its predecessor Searching. While it may not be as fresh or exciting as the original, it's still a fun mystery with plenty of twists and turns. I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you enjoyed the first one. Missing is a solid film and a promising start to what's shaping up to be another great year for movies.
This is a horror-comedy film that tells the story of a brilliant toy company roboticist who creates a life-like doll using AI, with the intention of emotionally bonding with her newly orphaned niece. However, the doll's programming works too well, causing her to become overprotective of her new friend with terrifying results. The film plays with absurdity, delivering more laughs than scares. As a horror film or slasher, it leaves something to be desired and comes off as tame. The kills lack the gore and shock value that one would expect from a horror flick and it feels somewhat generic when compared to other horror movies. However, as a comedy, the film is a lot of fun, and it manages to entertain me. Overall, while the film may not be the best horror or thriller, it still manages to be an enjoyable comedy. The story, although not particularly original, is well executed. The pacing of the film is well-balanced, and the humor is well-placed throughout the film. The special effects are well done, and the cinematography is pleasing to the eye. While not perfect, the film is still worth watching for those looking for a horror-comedy.