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Bates Motel (2013–2017)
Great acting, gripping and great slow-build psychological terror
15 October 2019
Bates Motel is a modern-day prequel to Hitchcock's Psycho, even though you don't need to have seen the movie to enjoy it

The actors are amazing or rather the casting is just spot on - you can clearly see the characters transforming throughout the seasons, evolving into different people and that is always well portrayed in their - even if sometime subtle - expressions by the actors.

You often will be "afraid" of what is coming next but equally there are plenty of cliff hangers to go around.

This is a really good show if you like to be on the edge of your seat. And you have on top of that a brilliant psychological terror which is driven by exemplary carved characters.

Just too good to miss.
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13 Reasons Why (2017– )
Season 1 is great and different - from then on it is just a teen detective show
15 October 2019
I imagine that this show had a much higher rating than its current 7.9 in 2017 - and understandably so

The 1st season is very good, no doubt about it. It touches on subjects which are pressing questions for teens but in a refreshing way - you are really put in the shoes of the victim to understand what they may be feeling, and some scenes (rape scene, I'll say no more) are incredibly hard to watch, in the good way. It will also builds the suspense as the season progresses in a very smart way through the progression in the tapes.

So overall a very decent show and certainly one that draws attention to the mental health problems that teenagers may suffer from - bravo.

Season 2 is the aftermath so I get it - you want to make money of the phenomenon of the 1st season and you have a "battle" to attribute the blame of Hannah's suicide to someone. Fair enough.

Season 3 however, has nothing to do with it. The plot is inserted as any teen detective drama would - someone died, who did it? all kids are suspects, wow - and, even worse they introduce a new character to be the narrator. So someone who broke into a close group of friends with no background (tricky thing in a high school) and is somehow omniscient, even though the storyline doesn't really support that point. I won't go on on Ani, since the character has been decimated enough in other reviews. But overall you end up with a cliche of a season, which is interchangeable with any other teen mistery, because guess what - the original characters are not likeable enough to drive a story on their own without an innovative catalyst (such as the tapes in S1).

Show really diluted itself by producing more seasons, although i understand it is still profitable to do so.
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Compelling mistery show, even if character's libido is a bit off the charts
14 October 2019
How to Get Away with Murder manages to do a rare thing - it always has a strong mistery driving each of the seasons, involving a murder. That makes it compelling to binge watch. Not a lot of shows manage to pull this off.

The fact that the main characters are a lawyer and law students of course gives it a different twist, but overall is much more a murder mistery with hints of soap opera - waaay too many sex scenes and romantic relationships started with little context - than a legal show. The courtroom pieces are in its vast majority fillers when not dealing with the main case at hand of each season.

The formula works well even though after 4 seasons I feel it is becoming more like a telenovela and less like a murder mistery, also due to the implausibility of the same people constantly being involved in a murder every few months.

That and the dialogue, which is often over-charged with emotions a bit out of context, are the series' faults.

Still, the first few seasons are definitely worth a watch if you like a murder mistery which compels you to watch one episode after another.
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OJ vs. People is a great insight into one of the most famous murders in the US
14 October 2019
I really liked the People vs. OJ Simpson story, so much so that I am keen to give the Versace chapter a try despite not having nearly as much impact in pop culture as the crimes allegedly involving OJ Simpson.

I think everyone is familiar with the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman and to some extent to the controversy surrounding the "trial of the century" - this mini-series aims to be a real depiction of the events that take place from the murders onwards, based on book by reporter Jeffrey Toobin: "The Run of his Life: the People vs OJ Simpson".

Part of the success stems from the way it captures the
  • the swings in public opinion based on the evidence presented at the trial
  • the unprecedented media circus surrounding said trial and just how much pressure that creates for those involved
  • the very palpable racial tension underlying every step of the way
  • does all this and still you very "personally" connected to the people portrayed

Can't help but think some of its success is related to the involvement of writer Ryan Murphy (Nip Tuck, Glee), now on a 5y contract with Netflix.

Overall a great watch, compelling and ideal if you heard about OJ Simpson but really don't know much details around the crime.
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Top Boy (2011– )
The Wire fans, line up - you have to watch this brilliant show
14 October 2019
Puzzled as to why this only has c.60 reviews at time of writing

Netflix picked up this show - reportedly after high profile pressure from show producer Drake - and has managed to improve what was an already great crime drama by Channel 4

Top Boy follows the ins and outs of drug gangs in London, based out of a council estate (think concentration of social housing if you are not from London).

This is a very realistic, gripping drama where you feel really bonded to the characters. Add that with good acting and a masterful score - which is a major tribute to London's own Grime - and overall you have a great show.

Would definitely recommend for those who like crime-related dramas with intense dialogues, no obvious good guy character and realist depictions of gang related violence.

PS: You can watch the new Netflix season without watching the Top Boy - Summerhouse seasons, context provided is more than enough
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So hard to watch but in the best of ways
8 September 2019
This story if about 5 boys who were falsely accused of raping a woman in Central Park.

Seeing their journey from the first day they go into a police station and across the justice system was for me the most gut wrenching story i have ever seen portrayed on TV.

It was very painful to watch but the show is so well executed that it makes all viewers very emotionally invested in these people. Specially because you must always be reminded that this a real story, not a script.

The last episode that focuses on Corey Wise (one of the 5 kids) is particularly gut wrenching.

Genuinely recommend this mini-series which is not only a wake up call for a real story but also one that will really make you riddled with emotions.
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The Society (2019– )
Thought it was gonna be a lame Teen Drama, it is actually an interesting take on a social experience
17 June 2019
This is considetable better than i thought going into it.

So, my girlfriend is out of town for the week so I had to wait for her to watch Black Mirror and When They See Us. With limited other choice, I went for The Society.

A decent teen drama to spend the time i thought, not much more

ACtually it turns out it is considerably more interesting.

The Society's premise is what would happen to a town ruled by teenagers, if they were stuck there with no internet and without any way to communicate / go to the rest of the world.

So there is definitely some angle of a Netflix teen drama, but actually it dives on much more interesting angles of the actual problems of building a society.

How do you ration food? How do you establish a rule of law? How can you provide medical services if no one is trained? Why did this happen in the first place?

The background of the love relationships is there, sure but to be honest it stirs a lot more debate than i thought it would, and also the characters are far more grey / less obvious that the typical good guy vs. bad guy conumdrum

Very positively surprised by this one.
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Dead to Me (2019– )
Not groundbreaking but well writen and with great acting
17 June 2019
I watched the whole of 1st season of Dead to Me in less than 48h. Not because it is particularly addictive but it is indeed quite entertainting.

This is a good mix of a somewhat dark comedy, drama but with an ongoing mistery behind. Which has a few twists and turns

So overall, it is a good mix. You'll laugh, you'll be intrigued and probably moved once or twice as well. Definitely worth watching (only 1 episodes of about 25mins).

The two main actresses absolutely nail their role and make up for very believable characters and actually show a very natural, raw way to deal with grieve.

The dialogues i would say are top notch, particularly in the scenes with big arguments and i would say sound considerably more real than the average tv show.

So overall well done, and I think season 2 has been confirmed, so bring it on!

PS: if you liked After Life created by Ricky Gervais, you should definitely watch this one as well given the refreshing take on the grieving process as well.
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Watching it over 30 years after its release but still one of most touching movies ever
31 May 2019
Not only does it dwell on the importance of cinema as a cultural exercise, but it also manages to move you by looking backwards at the relationship of a man who introduces a young child to the art of cinema

For those of you who resist foreign movies (such as me), I think this Italian masterpiece is really one of the best out there and really worth watching, especially if you are looking for an emotionally charged movie
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Bodyguard (2018– )
Bodyguard will keep you glued to your screen
31 May 2019
Bodyguard is not necessarily a must-binge, but the suspense is very well built/shot and often you will have problems looking away just because of how tense it is

Definitely worth watching this BBC production with Richard Madden as the main actor (Rob Stark In Game of Thrones)

I'd say however it does come across as a bit of a reash of the first, very successful, seasons of Homeland - main character somewhat mentally imbalanced, takes job above all else despite the emotional side to it and is able to make connections/conclusions where others failed

Having said, it is a great if short show. If you are into Homeland, you should definitely watch this one
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Some funky, likable characters but not a great show
30 May 2019
In all honesty I have never read the Comics and I am not making a judgement on their value

Still objectively speaking, Umbrella Academy is not a great show

The dialogue is often very basic and predictable, and I would add that aside from Klaus you will have a hard time growing attached to these characters as they are not particularly realistic

Too many cliches in both the punchlines in the dialogue and in the relationship themselves are jammed into this show, which then has somewhat long fight sequences which do not add much

Some quality characters yes but not a lot of value on this Netflix original

Although I do get the level of marketing done on this one given the appeal to the teenager / millennial, excluding myself
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Does not live up to the potential given it is making off of one of the best shows of all time
30 May 2019
Given were talking about one of the best shows ever in the history of television I think behind the scenes documentary for the last season would have enormous potential And I can say that in my view The Last Watch fails to live up to their potential

Why? Firstly because you would want to hear from the main actors and from the writers - controversy aside - the producers, etc. Instead, most of the time is focused on a prosthetic artist (sure, she has a struggle by being away from their family but waay too much time is spent on this) and believe it or not on the Head of Snow, yes the person responsiblee for coordinating the amount of snow in each of the scenes

Obviously these people are important for the show and convey the amount of man hours and work that going it to making, but it is not the ones I would like to hear from when such an epic journey reaches its final Destination

HBO had a small chance of giving a treat to some of the fans that were disappointed by season 8 and in my view failed to seize the opportunity

6 out of 10
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Big Little Lies (2017– )
Plot is not groundbreaking but acting and writing more than make up for it
30 May 2019
Although the setting of the highly rich (and snob) Silicon Valley area is fairly new, the plot itself is not that innovative - essentially a story of several housewives which see themselves stressed by their everyday life and emotional baggageto the point of committing a murder

But what makes big little lies compelling is that HBO spared no expense in hiring the cast, as this show stars - Reese Witherspoon (gives an amazing performance as an obnoxious, perfectionist mom) Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Adam Scott's to name a few

Of course these actors have the ability to make even an average plot into something amazing due to their the quality of their work

Also the writing is top-notch: there are some marital disputes which constitute some of the most well written dialogue I've ever seen on TV

So if you like Crime Stories in the background of the mundane world, then Big Little Lies is for you

Bring on season 2!

P.s. this show has the characteristic of being entirely portrayed as flashback, you as the viewer already know that a crime has been committed in and instead you are watching the weeks leading up to said crime If this is something you are into I would recommend Netflix's show Elite created by the same people as Casa de Papel (money heist in English). Setting is the same - you know crime has been committed in your looking at the week's leading up to the crime although it is considerably much more like a Teenage Drama than big little lies.
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Amazing production value, refreshing topic, funny and incredibly well written
2 April 2019
Marvellous Mrs. Maisel is a very different and refreshing show. A few reasons why I liked it so much:

  • level of attention to detail in recreating late 1950s New York is top notch, and really makes you feel like you are living it yourself

  • dialogues are one of the most realistically written I have seen. And probably because of that you really don't have a favourite character. You root for all at same time or another, but they're all flawed

  • way funnier than I anticipated. Back and forth between Midge (Mrs. Maisel) and her agent Susie, or between Abe (midge's father) and Moishe (midge's father in law) are just genius

  • topic is actually very refreshing. A crude look at the "shame" of being divorced at that time and how hard it was to step out of what society expected of a woman in 1950s... And they approach the subject without any major morale lessons or anything, they just show you what it is like

  • acting is amazing. Probably it goes to the well written but still

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After Life (2019– )
Incredibly touching and hilarious... At the same time
26 March 2019
Ricky Gervais pulls here a sort of magic trick... Because in the same episode, in the span of a few minutes, this show makes you think about life / get emotional and laugh out of loud.

This is not necessarily one to binge, but I went through it in 2 days (6 episodes of under 30 minutes)

The raw approach on the grieving process and the constant sarcasm really make this show special

Definitely recommend
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Great acting but ultimately plot is just too predictable
16 February 2019
A Star is Born (the second remake of the 1954 musical) is an OK movie experience but ultimately has too many of the plot clichés you seen in this type of movies throug the years.

Without spoiling it - the successful musician that takes a younger, talented female singer under her wing and then they have a romantic relationship is essentially the plot of A Star is Born and it doesn't sound familiar only because it is a remake, it sounds familiar but it has been rehashed many times before...

Still, the movie stands out versus most movies with the same story mainly because

The songs are good. Bradley Cooper's character reminds me almost of Eddie Vedder (obviously with due differences) and the songs played by Lady Gaga's character were a huge commercial success

But more importantly, the acting. Bradley Cooper pulls off a hell of a role, as a very believable emotionally damaged singer. Including over a year of a vocal training for the singing parts. Lady Gaga is also quite remarkable for someone who is debuting as an actress

Overall 7/10
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You (2018– )
Compelling and geniusly uncomfortable first person narrative
12 February 2019
Not your average show.

Originally a Lifetime show ( based on the same name novel by Caroline Leone's) really skyrocketed in popularity when picked up by Netflix

The show is almost always narrated by Joe Goldberg, a seemingly average bookshop owner in New York who develops an obsession with a girl he meets by chance and then begins to stalk intensively

The show is incredibly well written because you really feel as an observer (like Joe) when he narrates his wild thoughts about a relationship he could have with Beck, the object of his obsession

Also, it integrates really well the social media aspect of stalking (which the one that really matters today) without being too "millennial" or boring

I think the shows really succeeds in one thing - as a viewer, you are often rooting for someone who has shown to be an absolute sociopath (does Dexter ring a bell?)

The downsides of the show are, in my view a) some aspects are not very believable ( who would have sex with their shades open on a ground floor?) b) the fact that the show has a second season takes away some of its power in my view, think it would work better as a close season - but of course you gotta milk the popularity cow...

Overall a very good show, well filmed and constructed to make you feel like a "stalker" and sometimes even end up rooting for one

Would recommend to people who viewed Dexter (even if of course the latter is better)
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Milking the Harry Potter franchise with little to go on
12 February 2019
The only plus of this movie is that visually it is still great, the depiction of the magic world of Harry Potter is achieved

But brings little else

Basically it is constructed on a very weak plot which is often lost in the middle of the introducing new characters for no reason (who is everyone searching for again?)

And then it shows you a Harry Potter Easter egg so you get that nostalgia feeling without any merit in storytelling

The idea of comedy of this movie is having a non magical (ie. Less capable in this context) fat guy... The most basic comedy writing ever

Then the only true character development included has no warning or indication beforehand, which makes it quite confusing

They do succeed in making the Newt annoying if that was what they were going with by making him so awkward when speaking and interacting with others (probably why they casted Redmayne)

Overall - very weak plot and dialogue results in a non compelling movie which other than its visuals borrowed from HP movies doesn't offer much
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Green Book (2018)
Good luck not getting emotionally attached to Tony and Dr. Don Shirley
12 February 2019
Green Book tells the story of a trip where an Italian-American nightclub "bouncer" (Viggo Mortensen) ends up driving a prestigious, and importantly black, piano player (Mahershala Ali) around the US in the mid 1960s, namely through several shows in the deep US south still very much socially divided

If this movie was only about segregation in the South, it probably would not add as much given how frequently this topic has been depicted in movies

But thankfully it is much more than that

It is about feeling accepted by your keen, it is about how success can be lonely and also about embracing the best of people who are different from you.

And it does this brilliantly by showing a constant debate between these two man and the different setbacks and distinct perspectives with which them face them.

As added bonus, the soundtrack is great and not by one second do you doubt the actor is playing those piano keys, even if they are actually supplied by the movie's soundtrack coordinator.

Viggo Mortensen's performance is absolutely sublime, especially if it is not your first time watching one of his movies, and a real candidate for the Best Actor. Of course Mahershala Ali does not disappoint either, but I see some traits there from his role in House of Cards

In any case a great movie with an engaging plot, heat-warming and still very emotionally charged and with lots to be shocked about in regards to a black man's statue in the 1960s (which continues to be absolutely mindboggling when you realize this was 50+ years ago only).
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22 July (2018)
In a good way - this is very difficult to watch
6 February 2019
The movie deals not only with the events occuring on the day of the Utoya terrorist attack, but with what follows - namely diving into how one of the family of the survivors recovers from the trauma but also how the perpetrator (Andreas Brevik) manages and deals its trial proceedings.

Apart from the slightly awkward fact that this movie is portrayed by Norwegian actors speaking English (which might make it sound less natural), this is a great movie

Probably because it is still so fresh in our memories, it really pained me to watch this movie. I was incredibly anxious in the scenes where the terrorist is looking for more youngsters on the islands and absolutely devastated when victims share their experiences in the court proceedings.

This is very well scripted movie which to my knowledge is a great depiction of what happened and it will make you feel sad and angry - so definitely passes something over to the audience
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Bird Box (2018)
Entertaining but not "the" horror movie
3 January 2019
I think some people reviewing are quite disappointed by the movie because they were looking to have nightmares after seeing BirdBox - which is fair given all the buzz around the web as "the scariest thing ever"

If you are big on the horror genre, this will not blow your mind. It has less jump scare moments and many more "oh god, no!!!" moments

Which doesn't make the movie worse, just different

That being said, it a entertaining movie

  • cool premise of a creature that makes you feel stuff so horrid you commit suicide merely by looking at it. The plot could definitely do a better job on the whys and hows of this came to be. Same goes for the ending.

  • all things you expect from a big budget movie - Sandra bullock's acting is very good, scenery is great and so are all the angles and filming throughout

  • definitely keeps you engaged as you want to know what will happen next. But again, more a thriller than a horror movie

All in all, not the biggest thing ever as the hype might suggest, the way the plot develops is a bit disappointing, but ultimately an entertaining movie but will make for a well spent 2 hours.

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Black Mirror (2011– )
Re-defining the SciFi genre
27 December 2018
I think calling Black Mirror SciFi is a bit offensive but technically it is indeed made of fictional stories on how science may evolve.

Unlike other shows, this is essentially a collection of short movies, but each one succeeds in being very compelling, thought provoking and often has a thriler edge to it.

So it is a drama, thriller and satire all rolled into one. Which is what it makes it so good.

Basically Black Mirror premise is to dive into (very plausible) scenarios into where technological progress may lead us if we are not careful, and just how f-ed of a world we may end up with it.

Would recommend watching all of the episodes, and it is a perfect show to watch if you feel like watching something but maybe do not have time to watch a movie, while still getting that beggining, middle and end feeling - and most likely will be very philosophical after that.

Strong 9/10
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Great movie - great acting, moving and funny at times
27 December 2018
Was drawn to the movie because of Jonah HIll and Joaquin Phoenix, as lot of people probably were but was not disappointed by the overall film, and there performances were very strong indeed.

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot he is heart-warming (true) story about cartoonist John Callahan and how he surpass the self-loathing of being both an alchoolic but also of aving the missfortuned of being in an accident that made him almost quadraplegic.

Still, the story does not enforce drama and or eye-tearing situations - actually feels much more like a Woody Allen movie in the sense you are just accompanying this man's life and his struggles without any particular ending to drive to.

It is often funny as well, which is a plus in my view. And not only because of the real cartoons done by Callahan which are showed in the movie.

Definitely worth watching.
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Cliches all around and one of the worse movies I have seen in years
25 December 2018
Completely baffled as to why this movie has a 7.1 rating at time of writing.

Very few romantic comedies (this movie is not funny at all btw) are probably worth more than a 7, but this is clearly not the one.

The plot is the most cliché thing ever - romantic take about a couple where one is wealthy and the other is a self made person, which makes obviously bthe family of the former think the latter is inadequate spouse. Where have I seen this before? I guess in every telenovela globally...

Then there are very few funny moments throughout, none of the relationships (some formed over 3 days) are believable and the dialogues are garbish.

The worst rating I have ever given on IMDb and rightfully so.
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Searching (III) (2018)
Gripping and innovative approach to crime mystery
25 December 2018
Searching is a movie about the disappearance of a little girl but equally about the importance of technology and social media in one's life.

It shows this in a refreshing perspective where all scenes are either face time calls or just filming a computer screen - it succeeds in doing this because still the plot is very entertaining, keeps you on the edge and the story has plenty of twist and turns.

Ultimately very entertaining and one to watch if you like mysteries / crime movies, quite compelling
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