TV REVIEW: Black Mirror Season 2 – All 3 Episodes Rated and Reviewed

Black Mirror Season 2 has three episodes

Season 2 of Black Mirror, a science fiction anthology show available for streaming on Netflix, all three episodes, rated and reviewed in this post.

“Be Right Back” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Episode #4 – Original Airdate: February 11, 2013

A man dies in a car accident and his pregnant girlfriend, Martha, becomes attached to his persona embedded in a phone OS and including his virtual voice. This predated the movies, Her⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (October 2013) and Jexi⭐️⭐️⭐️ (2019). Good length, I think this idea works best as a short, not a full length movie.

“White Bear” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Episode #5 – Original Airdate: February 18, 2013

Woman awakes with amnesia and runs into strange acting gawking people taking pictures of her with their cell phones. Nice twist on this one turned it into something very different than where I expected it would lead.

“The Waldo Moment” ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Episode #6 – Original Airdate: February 25, 2013

Comedian Jamie Salter is the voice for a blue, brash, foul-mouthed bear named Waldo. His producer gets him into politics, despite his reluctance where the lines between reality and comedy become blurred. Waldo engages in conversations on the street through at cartoon image controlled inside a truck by Jamie in a VR-like setup. The realness of virtual reality and a comic character are prodded, poked and explored. This is a lighter fare episode of Black Mirror. Not quite as enjoyable as the other episodes, but still pretty good.

Season 2 Overall Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

An increased attention to technology in season two over the first. The episode lengths in this one are better, hence a bump in a half star overall rating for the season over the first. I think this season showed increased maturity over the episodes in the first and was a little better overall.

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: Ford v Ferrari, The Good Liar, Charlie’s Angels

Want to know what we recommend seeing that opened this 11-15-2019 weekend #46 at the movies? All wide releases were seen, rated and reviewed with links on the movie titles below.

This week our favorite is …

Ford v Ferrari ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ScreenX

With the roar of the engine and accelerating around turns at breakneck speeds, this film kept us locked in — especially enjoyed in ScreenX. The conflict is over who will win the 24 hour Lemans, between Ford and Ferrari and Matt Damon and Christian Bale provide outstanding performances. Definitely recommended.

The Good Liar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Turning, twisting plot that keeps the viewers guessing what is going to happen to the characters. Expertly acted by Ian McKellan and Helen Mirren. Nothing about the story or the characters is ever quite what it seems.

I really enjoy watching movies like this one. It’s billed as a thriller, and it’s more dramatic mystery than anything. It will play tricks on the viewer and tells a really good story. Recommended.

Charlie’s Angels (2019) ⭐️½

Save yourself from this ho-hum, bland second reboot featuring a slew of Bosleys (there are angels everywhere in this movie) and a new trio of mostly underwhelming angels (Kristin Stewert is the best of the worst). This turkey is mostly style without substance. Not recommended.

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theater that are recommended. Any movie we rate at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that it was necessarily that good. 4-star movies are highly recommended and films we rate as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see.

  1. Harriet ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  3. The Lighthouse ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  4. Motherless Brooklyn ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. Last Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. Parasite ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Black and Blue ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. Zombieland: Double Tap ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Motherless Brooklyn has dropped screenings, but it’s worth seeking out for Edward Norton’s performance and a good screenplay. The Lighthouse harder to find, due to limited screenings, but recommended for horror fans.

Haven’t seen Jo Jo Rabbit as of this writing. Jo Jo Rabbit is finally playing nearby, so will get that viewed soon. It was previously limited screening. All other films now playing in theaters are not recommended to see in the theater. You can see all our movie reviews on Letterboxd, including those on streaming channels.

60th Twilight Zone Anniversary REVIEW – Rod Serling’s Daughter Shares More about What Made Her Father Tick

Kara, Joel and I all caught up with, rated and reviewed ….

The Twilight Zone: A 60th Anniversary ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

… on the big screen for the first in theaters last night and loved seeing it. Was like watching TV on a giant screen. The theater was probably 60% full, so not everybody came out that could have, but was a decent showing.

Looking around this morning, I came across some more articles about the event.

While I could have done without the political stuff (President Trump is just too easy a target for anybody, especially Rod Serling), I enjoyed Jodi Serling’s insight. Serling was a master of telling the stories he wanted to tell, but framing them in a way that could get though the hypersensitive network censors of the time:

Overflowing with big ideas and uniquely attuned to the fault lines running through America, Rod Serling’s pioneering series provided the vital counterpoint to the placid programming that mostly worked to distract viewers from the realities of life. “He started to write The Twilight Zone to address the problems in society,” Serling’s daughter, Jodi Serling, confirms to Yahoo Entertainment. “He felt it was criminal that [television] writers were not permitted to address the social evils that existed.” 

Rod Serling’s daughter spills ‘Twilight Zone’ secrets — and the link between MAGA hats and Ariana Grande’s Halloween costume

Here is our video review from Joel and I:

Let’s hope we’re all here to celebrate 75 years of Twilight Zone in 2035!

32+ Doctor Sleep Reviews – Stephen King’s Views Softened On Kubrick’s Adaptation of The Shining

#1 recommended of wide movie releases

Doctor Sleep ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ is performing under expectations at the box office, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie. There are many movies that have done worse than expected at the box office and went onto greatness like, er …

The Shining ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director Mike Flanagan seems to have done the impossible with author Stephen King. He took an author who has disliked an revered by fans adaptation of his novel The Shining by legendary Stanley Kubrick and somewhat reconciled the two. All by making a great movie.

“I finished the movie, I brought the film to Bangor, [Maine, where King lives], and I showed him Doctor Sleep. I sat with him in an empty theater and watched the movie with him. I spent the whole movie trying not to throw up, and staring at my own foot, and kind of overanalyzing every single noise he made next to me. The film ended, and the credits came up, and he leaned over and he put his hand on my shoulder, and he said, ‘You did a beautiful job.’ And then I just died. The rest of the day we talked a lot about Kubrick, we talked a lot about his other adaptations, we talked a lot about modern politics and Trump and about the state of the world, and we talked about shows on Netflix we liked, and we just talked. He was like, ‘Having watched this film it actually warms my feelings up towards the Kubrick film.’ That’s when I really kind of freaked out. The whole goal from the beginning was to inch those two back together in any way, to reconcile that gulf of distance between the Kubrick Shining and the King Shining. If there was ever a way to do that, even a little, that was what I wanted as a fan.”

Stephen King says Doctor Sleep ‘redeems’ Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining | EW.com

Wow.

Other Blogger Reviews

My opinion of the film is that it is one of the best movies I’ve seen in 2019, and it also has the most likes of any review I’ve done to date (like four times as many likes of any other movie review).

Doctor Sleep review received four times the number of likes of any other review I’ve written

Plenty of other movie reviewers enjoyed this film. Let’s take a look at what others have to say, both recommended or not.

Recommended

  • Nightmare on Film Street: “With strong new characters and an obvious affection for the original, Flanagan gives fans the movie they’ve been waiting for. It is a movie that stays with you, settling into a quiet corner of your psyche — much like the ghosts of The Overlook Hotel.”
  • skuldren: “In welding all these elements together, fusing them into one smooth running and engrossing story, he delivers a fantastic movie. And it really is a fusion of film and literature.”
  • Mr. Sculpin: “By paying tribute to the source material and treading new narrative ground, Doctor Sleep is a film that skirts past “sequelitis”, and becomes one of my favorite films of the year.”
  • Peter Kanelis: “Time will tell if this will be some kind of horror classic, however I think it was a pretty solid bit of entertainment.”
  • Seongyong’s Private Place: ” Sure, it is less perfect than its predecessor, but it distinguishes itself well on the whole as paying homage to both King and Kubrick as demanded, and I like that.”
  • Flamingo Lifestyle: ” The movie’s score was haunting, and the visuals were stunning, I was not disappointed. Doctor Sleep is one of Stephen King’s best film adaptations as well as one of my favorites.”
  • Craig’s Movie Report: “This is how you do a sequel to such a legendary movie … build on a great concept yet take nothing away from the original.”
  • Lee Hall: “It’s a great sequel full of atmosphere, gripping performances, cinematography and dark imagination. Those who are into horror will enjoy this whether you have read or watched the first story; it doesn’t matter, this one will get ya! “
  • The Movie Burners: “I enjoyed this film immensely. It’s one of the better King adaptations and a film I will undoubtedly rewatch many times”
  • Nerdtropolis: “This movie had me captivated from beginning to end. I didn’t know I needed a sequel to the original “The Shining”, but Mike Flanagan changed my mind”
  • Movie Metropolis: “It has a lot of tension and a ton of good qualities that gives me no qualms with recommending it for fans of both King and horror films in general. However, there is no way I can say it’s the best King film since Shawshank. I would say that It, Gerald’s Game, and The Night Flier are all better than Doctor Sleep.
  • The Nerds Templar: “Pull away all The Shining stuff (besides the ending) and it’s a solidly made film with strong performances from McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson.”
  • Chicago Indie Critics: “…the fascinating character studies of the film’s first half haunts us enough to make the lonely quiet moments of the night more existential by actualizing the literal and metaphorical dark through those closest to it.”
  • DOTT: “Flanagan has done something not many filmmakers adapting novels and making sequels can do, and that’s please just about everyone (for the most part), King fans and Kubrick fans alike.”
  • Clay Bones: ”  It’s a movie that takes time with its development, but once the ball gets rolling, it draws you into every element with an hypnotic effect.”
  • Social News XYZ: “…that rarest of spin-offs driven by veritable curiosity and interest with characters. Albeit excessively long by at any rate 20 minutes, it is increasingly accessible and doesn’t excessively punish the individuals who haven’t seen the first film.”
  • Jordan Woodson’s Reviews: “…. a sluggish first act, but the rest of the film, Flanagan’s directing as well as the incredible talent on display truly make this a movie that would make both King and Kubrick satisfied, despite their differences.”
  • CJ Film Mafia: “…all credit to Flanagan and all involved, it’s highly entertaining, which certainly makes it one of the strange surprises of 2019.”
  • Irish Film Critic: “While “The Shining” had almost 40 years to seep into the public’s consciousness, with time, I feel that “Doctor Sleep” will follow suit and will be viewed by many as a superior successor to its less-than-stellar predecessor.”
  • Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys): “…never comes close to matching the highs of its forefather and while this over-long film outstays its welcome as time wears on, there’s enough here to warrant a viewing, especially with Ferguson creating one of 2019’s most memorable villains along the way.”
  • Calilou Pettis: “…is an utterly bone-chilling, skillfully acted, tension filled masterpiece that serves as an incredible sequel to The Shining. “
  • Glyn Williams: “It doesn’t try too much to be a sequel and instead makes sure it’s a interesting film by itself. You care about the characters, much due to the actors performances,”
  • Kevin Boyle: “…is a wonderful film. It’s emotionally honest and it uses the horror genre to tell a story about recovery, about how it sucks, and that you just have to keep on keeping on.”
  • natezoebl: “Flanagan has reverence for both King’s source material and the beloved 1980 film, and bridging the two is a source of enjoyment.  “
  • Film Geeky: “It strikes a careful balance in recognising Kubrick’s contribution to the universe of The Shining and building a view of the world beyond the Overlook hotel, and as a result delivers an impressive and engaging dark thriller.”
  • Comic Book Debate: “Overall, Doctor Sleep is one of the best movies of the year. The film is a worthy successor to The Shining, and honors both Kubrick and King equally as it delivers a story that will satisfy film and book lovers alike.”

Not Recommended (or on the fence)

  • Dr. Filmlove’s Film Reviews & Ratings: “….its biggest fault in entering an arena of bickering and strong-minded visions is that it only offers a few of its own. And that’s a shameful fact, given that the ones on display are actually worthy of substantial, stimulating, and sometimes shocking merit.”
  • reelhit: “….thought it was a surprisingly well-done movie, ranking very high on the list of all-time best Stephen King adaptations “
  • Your Intrepid Host: “I don’t want to call the film ‘bad.’ It isn’t bad. It has a good, entertaining story. There are beautiful shots in the film. Flanagan knows how to make imaginative scenes and captivating imagery. Also it features a very cute cat.”
  • Little Movie Reviews: “The scary parts, early on in the film, are few and far between. And to add insult to injury, the third act’s scary moments are only homages to The Shining, and are a repeat of the scenes that horrify you in Kubrick’s version.”
  • Howard for Film: “Although DOCTOR SLEEP won’t go down in cinematic history as the best film adaptation of a Stephen King novel, it should be remembered as a fairly respectable one.”
  • Aspiring Human Shazam: “The film is a near three hour long endurance filled with too many characters, too many subplots (all of which are mostly unoriginal) and nowhere near enough scares or iconic scenes.”
  • Society Reviews: “While there are without question, signs of brilliance here, the 2 1/2 hour runtime and lack of cohesion makes The Shining 2.0 ultimately nothing more than a mediocre attempt of providing a second chapter to a story that was good enough with the first.”
  • Flattout Studios: “If you’re looking for a traditional horror film or something as iconic or shocking as The Shining, then you’re going to be disappointed. However, if you allow yourself to get drawn into the craft and atmosphere of the film, you experience something special, which doesn’t come to theaters all that often “
  • Mr. Jabbatron: “It certainly isn’t a bad film, but it is flawed and the length is definitely 30 minutes too long for no good reason”

TV SERIES Review: The Mandalorian Episode 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

The Mandalorian was made with love for true Star Wars fans!

Now available on Disney+ as of today 11/12/2019, you can see some old school Star Wars in the new TV series: The Mandalorian.

TV SERIES REVIEW: The Mandalorian Episode 1

I can take you in warm …. or I can take you in cold

– The Mandalorian

Here is what the bounty hunter’s mark looks like:

He’s on the Bounty Hunter’s radar — uh oh!

Episode 1

“Chapter 1” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

The Mandalorian receives a mission to track down a mark in a lawless area of a planet. This is seriously old school Star Wars on a TV series and it’s awesome. We get to see the bounty hunter take on enemy forces in a city, work with a droid, weird aliens that look like they came straight out of Star Wars IV and more. I’ve already watched this twice. Great start to a new series.

Like The Mandalorian’s dry dialogue. He’s totally Boba Fett-like. I’ve always felt Boba Fett would make a great movie or TV series, as it appears like the path of this new Disney+ series. Wish it would have launched with more than one episode, which I took a half star away because it is left (intentionally?) incomplete. I get that every episode should leave us wanting more, but this one is leaving us with too many questions.

Fortunately, Wikipedia is providing a few more answers:

Within the first 10 days of launch, subscribers will receive the first three episodes

Via Twitter #TheMandalorian filled in even more details on the release schedule:

Wonder if this will be an every episode The Mandalorian gets a new mark to track down and either capture or kill? That just leaves all kinds of cool possibilities to explore the expansive Star Wars universe.

Jon Favreau wrote the first three episode and is the creator of the series. Favreau is the guy behind Elf, Iron Man and Iron Man 2, to name a few.

I won’t spoil, just get signed up for Disney+ and watch it yourself. Great stuff.

10+ Midway Reviews – The True World War II History Behind Midway

Today is the day in the United States that we honor veterans and we are very much a military family. Our second son is a veteran, who fought as Army Infantry in Afghanistan, my father an Army Ranger fought in the Korean War and my grandfather (“Papa” to all of us) an Air Force pilot who flew B-17 bombers in WWII.

Walter Wysaske – My grandfather and “Papa” to all of us

There is one story Papa told me that I’ve found amazing to retell. I wish he was still alive to tell it in his own words, but you’ll have to allow me to pass it down with reverence.

He would speak about the war if you asked him, never shying away from the history or what it was like back then flying those secret missions to bomb places like the ball bearing plants in Germany. How they had to keep the planes in formation, even when it seemed like enemy fire most certainly would take them out. The formation bombing was critical to increasing the likelihood of striking the intended target.

In his elder years Papa was able to tour inside an actual B-17 plane on an exhibition tour. I remember Papa being excited about it, because it had been so many years since he had been inside a B-17. Someone asked him if he thought he could still fly the plane and he instantly responded, “You bet.”

While walking through the plane, there was a piece of metal jutting out on the seat and Papa cut his hand. He was silent for a minute, remembering all those years ago flying into Germany during WWII, and then began to laugh.

He showed the cut to others and said wistfully, “In all the missions I flew with enemy flak shooting through the darkened skies and some coming up through the floor of the plane, this is the very first blood I’ve ever shed inside one of these planes.”

That was Papa. Always a good sense of humor.

It is difficult for me to watch war movies. Hard to separate the fiction and fantasy from the real world human losses — both deaths and disabilities — suffered in war.

Since none of our immediate family was in the Navy it was a little easier watching Midway ⭐️⭐️⭐️ last Friday, but it pains me to see any soldiers injured or killed. The dogfights, the dive bombing, every time a plane crashed or blew up I cringed. If that makes me sound like some gigantic pussy, guilty as charged, it’s true.

The other part of these war movies is how historically accurate are they? Both the Smithsonian and TIME have excellent, revealing articles about what truly happened at Midway:

“The Pacific campaign is long and complicated, and gets overshadowed, in our attention, by what was happening in with the Nazis in Europe,” says screenwriter Wes Tooke. “But it’s an amazing comeback story. I hope that the movie relaunches an interest in learning about Midway.”

The True World War II History Behind the Midway Movie | Time

Would strongly recommend reading both of these excellent articles, digging in and taking a moment of silence for remembering all the veterans. Civilians like me will never have a hard job compared to what any soldier must face.

Japan are our allies and friends today, but it was a much different relationship in the 1940s.

We liked the Midway and recommended. Hollywood unfortunately does not have the time in two hours to share everything that happened in the real encounter. They have to combine characters, simplify and in many cases remove subplots. Moviegoers are getting a dramatic license portrayal of what happened, almost never the complete true story.

It felt like Midway the movie kept at least tangentially related to the actual events, which I appreciated.

Other Blogger Reviews

Let’s see what other moviegoers think of Midway. Keep in mind that some/many of these reviews contain spoilers.

Recommended

  • Cinema Spotlight: “…in spite of it’s missteps, I would actually recommend “Midway”. It’s pretty forgettable and bland but the updated effects are convincing and while the writing might be simple it is neat to see a war movie that doesn’t just focus on the fighting.”
  • George Sylex: “Roland Emmerich’s ‘Midway’ isn’t engaging as “Pearl Harbor” and not emotional as “Flags of Our Fathers”. Possibly falls someplace in the center. Midway is a conscious tribute to the men who gave their lives during this unequivocal fight, denoting another feeling of development to the Emmerich’s work.”
  • bgarten: “Pretty much everything you could want out of a war film. The battle scenes were graphic, grand-scale, and captured the perfect balance of chaos and focus.”
  • Scott Holleran: “I enjoyed this week’s top movie at the box office “
  • Will You Magazine: ” Overall, Midway is a gripping, interesting film that both marvels and educates in equal measures, it’s just nothing too new or original.”
  • Author and Historian Blaine L. Pardoe: “Having bitched about the inaccuracies, I DID enjoy the movie.  It’s not up there with A Bridge Too Far, but it holds its own and doesn’t suck like Pearl Harbor.  I’ll be purchasing it for home viewing and will permanently shelve my copy of the 1970’s Midway.   That, on its own, is not a ringing endorsement. “

Not Recommended (or on the fence)

  • Starside Cafe: “…the more scattershot approach here makes many of the battles and emotional beats hit far less effectively than war films that maintain a higher level of focus on one event and a smaller cast of central characters.”
  • RockAtTheMovies: “Maybe the film needed a little cheese and relationship drama like that of Pearl Harbor because that film was infinitely more entertaining. This is a by the numbers, going through the motions film, with pretty action sequences.”
  • Vinay Krishna: “The plot and characters are wafer-thin and the lead character is kind of a superhero. The dialog is cheesier than a Nestle factory and the screenplay is way too choppy, even for Roland Emmerich standards.”
  • theidiosynchratist – “…this spare-no-expense production about the most vital naval battle of WWII merely plasters the latest in digital effects over the same war time movie tropes that Hollywood has been pedaling (sic) for decades.”

Thank you to all those brave men and women who serve in the armed forces all over the world.

20+ Parasite Reviews – A Curious Class Exercise In Social Irony and Cruelty

Saw Parasite ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and, based on the amount of critic love, and the fact that it won the prestigious Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, I was expecting it to be jaw-dropping amazing — but for me it was not.

Sure, it’s creative, it might even be a little genius in that it makes the viewer think both during and after the film, but is it among the greatest films ever made?

Sorry, no.

It is cynical, mostly unfunny — except for a small few scenes like the sewer overflow scene (loved that!) — sometimes meanders and was filled with unlikable characters and subtext that were supposed to make the viewer think it was amazingly clever, but obviously tried too hard.

“Parasite” has picked up the kind of praise from critics and audiences that make it one of the relatively rare foreign-language films that looks to have real potential across multiple categories in the Academy Awards. Nominations in the best film and best director categories are genuine prospects.

‘Parasite’ to Pass $10 Million North American Box Office This Weekend – Variety

Yes, I’m definitely in the minority on this film. Way in the minority as you’ll see from numerous praiseworthy reviews below. Some are giving this perfect scores. It has a 99% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m just asking: is this movie as good as Gone With The Wind? (90% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Seriously?

It’s a bummer when I’m on the opposite side of enjoying something that many others love. I also think critics too often fawn too much over movies simply because they are artsy, experimental and/or unusual, not because cinematically they tell fresh, engaging stories.

At least this time I liked the movie, just didn’t love it. Ad Astra ⭐️ and
Hustlers ⭐️½  I pretty much hated both of those. And in Hustlers case, I was on the opposite side of box office sales (it performed pretty well).

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Parasite. It is creative and clearly there was talent involved in the film. I just needed some light to go with the darkness. Films like this one and Joker⭐️⭐️⭐️½  that just dwell on the dark with no light. I mean what were the redeeming qualities of these people at the end? What were the character arc from either the scammers or the scammed? There were none. It was just rich vs. poor and both were unlikable. I couldn’t root for either social class.

And perhaps that’s the story Bong Joon-Ho wanted to tell: for there to be neither side to root for. Just a searing social commentary on behavior having little to do with economics.

I don’t mind sad films that are supposed to be sad. I’m OK crying at films when they are designed to make me cry. I just want comedies — even black comedies — to make me laugh, rather than feel like it was all just cruel and unusual punishment. What’s funny about class warfare where both classes are unlikable?

When a movie is presented to make me feel one way but makes me feel another, I am not a huge fan of this deception. Being off balance as the viewer is important, yes, because predictable stories are no fun, but if you go to a comedy you want to laugh. The sewer scene aside, I couldn’t smile much here. The guy sitting next to me sort of made this grunting chuckle sound throughout the film. The rest of the theater attendees were dead silent.

Nobody stood up and applauded when it was over. Shouldn’t at least somebody in the audience have done that? It was like watching a movie at the cemetery.

(The audience did applaud at the end of Doctor Sleep ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Here is a comment I almost left on another reviewer’s blog comments and pulled back, in response to debating if we need likable characters in a movie:

We root against characters we dislike and root for characters we like. That’s an innate viewer trait, yes? It’s the reason we want ROCKY to beat Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago. It’s why Hans Gruber’s devious plot in DIEHARD must be foiled by John Maclane. We want Marty Mcfly and Doc to foil Biff Tannen’s bullying tactics in BACK TO THE FUTURE.

But in PARASITE I can’t root for either side. I can only root that they all fail at what they are doing … for the entire movie.

None of the characters have any arcs, which is what I look for in movies that I LOVE. What about the social circumstance changed any of these characters? Nothing. So, at the end it is just the director saying, “no redemption for either economic class.” Is that really true or even realistic in life?

Yes it’s just the movies and we should suspend our belief at times. It doesn’t have to be real to be enjoyed. I get all that and to some degree I agree, but this film is intentionally trying to skewer social economic disparity. It does it without having any opinion of its own. It just picks a cynical angle and exploits it. That is the point, it seems.

There are some wonderful rich people (Fred Rogers was one of them, in his undying work educating children) and wonderful human beings that are poor (Harriet Tubman was a slave who freed herself and then spent her life freeing other slaves — she was as poor as you can be). So, throughout history we have characters on both sides of the economic extreme who are good people. I would have loved this movie if just one of the characters had some positive or at least illuminating arc.

Instead, the director just makes a film expressing cruelty and economic despair with no solution or even perceived solution, just commentary that we as viewers are supposed to say, “Yes, that’s just the way it is.” No, it’s not. So that’s what took me away from loving this movie.

Comment I decided not to leave on another movie reviewer’s blog

Again, I’m not saying I didn’t like Parasite. I did, gave it three stars which means I recommend to others to see it. That in and of itself is a compliment. I think it did a number of things creatively, but just wish there had been one character having a redeeming arc of some sort. Some glimmer of hope.

We have enough depressed, disturbed people in society right now. We need films that show some glimmer of hope for people at the end, not just bleak, barren hopelessness. I’m not saying every movie needs a happy ending, but movies that don’t offer any conclusion outside presenting “here’s a problem with these two disparate economic classes — they both are flawed.” What is so enlightening or awe-inspiring about that?

If you’re on the fence, I do recommend seeing Parasite and judging for yourself.

Other Blogger Reviews

Now that you know my opinion and why, let’s see what others think.

Recommended

  • Trang / Bookidote: “This movie should be studied in school because the storytelling is compelling and a masterwork. You will, laugh, shiver, stress with the characters.”
  • Jarred Jzyk: “I think it’s a masterpiece and definitely one of my favorite movies of 2019 so far. It’s virtually flawless in almost every way from start to finish. From the direction to the characters to the story and everything from a technical aspect.”
  • Fullerton Observer: “…is well over two hours long and not all audiences will enjoy this unusual film spoken in Korean with English subtitles. Also, its startling tonal shifts can be off-putting. But adventuresome audiences may find this movie worth their time and worthy of discussion.”
  • David Ferguson: “What begins as a devastating social satire morphs into a wild and crazy time of violence … without losing its general theme. A comedy of familial con artists bursts into a violent class thriller – the price to pay for unearned comfort. The film is not just unpredictable, it smacks us with a jarring twist.”
  • Screen Zealots: “…is one of the most intriguing, intelligent, and disturbing films of the year. It’s also one of the best.”
  • Fresh Film Takes: “To infect my mind with creative inspiration I have been ruminating over ever since my initial viewing, the film finds its hook and raises the temperature to boiling heights.”
  • The Movie Files: “Everything you may have heard is true, both about the quality of the film (it’s a straight-up masterpiece)”
  • Jordan Woodson’s Reviews: “It is a masterfully crafted movie with an impacting message that brings Bong Joon Ho to elite-filmmaking status.”
  • eggylettuce: “…a fantastic movie and thoroughly engaging from start to finish. It rides a fine line between upbeat comedy and gritty thriller and it does so effortlessly, spanning multiple genres with ease while covering some very serious topical themes whilst never hitting you over the head with anything.”
  • A. Leon: “Extremely recommended with a warning. This is not light fare. You won’t be able to separate the plot from the social commentary, which is there without ever becoming a hurdle or a nuisance.”
  • Saigon Geeks: “I guess this is what they call a Dark Comedy. But the real reason I enjoyed it was because it was a breath of fresh air, I could follow the plot but I had no idea where the story was going. Usually I don’t like that kind of thing, but maybe because I stepped into the cinema with zero expectations, anything is better than zero…?”
  • Essential Movies: “…my expectations were so high that I was worried I’ll get disappointed in the end but that’s not what happened and after watching it I can say that Parasite is easily one of the best movies I’ve ever seen (I’m 20 I haven’t seen that many though).”
  • Chicago Indie Critics: “I’ve seen Parasite twice and I cannot wait to see it again.  Led by Bong Joon-Ho’s masterful direction, stellar performances, and technical greatness, Parasite is one of the very best movies of 2019 and a movie unlike any you have seen before.”
  • Jeremy Koh: “It is a movie that will inevitably get under your skin and take up space in your head long after the credits have rolled.”
  • Hector Valverde: “It’s flooring not just how much, but how synergistically and open to interpretation Joon-ho crafts his film, particularly in his impressive ongoing visual motif contrasting the power disparity between high and low height levels.”
  • Matt Stephen: “…is unmistakably the work of a master of the craft addressing a borderless plight.”
  • Dylan McDermot: ” is easily one of the best films I’ve seen in the past few years. It is an incredibly creative story of class and diversity told in an engaging narrative that hooked me from start to finish. If foreign films aren’t your thing or you don’t like subtitles, I highly recommend you stretch yourself and try something new.”
  • simplyjorge: “…a movie that must be watched without having very much knowledge of it in the first place in order to see all the twists and turns unfold in the movie. I would have to give this movie a rating of 5/5 with zero issues in my opinion.”
  • Rachel’s Reviews: “The director trusts the viewers and the film he has crafted enough to not feel the need to hold your hand through every metaphor of the story. It’s definitely a movie that has stayed with me and one I hope to be able to watch again soon.”
  • Heather’s Hot Takes: “…unfolds in such a surprising and clever way.It dares to venture into the most brutal and darkest of places, making it unlike anything I have experienced before. It’s brilliant.”

Not Recommended (or on the fence)

Pat H. left his very first review and didn’t like Parasite
  • R.L Terry: “I had incredibly high expectations for this film based upon everything I was hearing and reading, but it just didn’t do it for me. After the brilliant first half of excellently crafted suspense, foreshadowing, and plot setup, the second half loses the intrigue and just takes one convoluted turn after another for the sake of complicating the plot in an effort to make it say more than it actually does.”
  • greatmartin: “I left the theatre glad I didn’t walk out but at the same time I really can’t see recommending it while, on the other hand, Allen thought it was a classic whodunit.”

NOTE: I liked and followed most, if not all, of the blogger’s linked above. I don’t care who disagrees with me (or I disagree with) and enjoy reading other moviegoers’s opinions, including dissenting ones, on films. Echo chambers are to be avoided.