A Simple Favor starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively is a surprisingly enticing thriller powered by the compelling performances of both stars. Dire Paul Feig had all of the elements to make a great thriller but just fell slightly short on the thrill part. The story is about Anna Kendrick's 'Stephanie Smothers' a stay at home mother who just can't seem to get enough of volunteering. Whether it's volunteering her time at her son's elementary school or her efforts on her vlog for other mothers she just can't stop helping people. She meets 'Blake Lively's' mysterious 'Emily Nelson', through their sons at school and strike up a budding friendship rather quickly. The story takes a turn when Emily asks Stephanie "A Simple Favor" to pick up her son but then seemingly goes missing and Stephanie's life is changed. The film then goes on a roller coaster of twists and turns keeping the viewer on edge. This was an extremely enjoyable film that I just wish pushed the boundaries of the actual thrills a little more, but still a great watch.
Netflix's newest animated series, "The Dragon Prince" is a must watch for anyone who was a fan of "The Avatar: The Last Airbender". Aaron Ehasz, one of the writers of Avatar, has managed to make another epic tale where similarities in tone, comedic beats, and style are extremely apparent in the best of ways. Dragon Prince is set in a world where elves, dragons, magic, mythical beasts and mages exist. The story centers around Jack Desana's "Callum", who also voiced Sokka in Avatar, as the adopted prince of the king of the magical land of Xadia and young mage, the crown prince Ezran, and elven assassin, Rayla. The three of them have banded together when they stumbled upon the last dragon egg, thought to be destroyed, and set out on a journey to return the egg and bring peace to Xadia. In it's 9 episode season 1, it has managed to form a solid story with compelling characters and has left us wanting more. Hoping season 2 comes soon.
Ozark season 2 didn't start out as fast paced as season 1 but when it picks up it doesn't slow down. Season 2 showed Jason Bateman's Marty Byrde's family go deeper down a dark path. Each member of his family finds themselves slowly going from the innocent, unwilling, and desperate family of season one to the criminals that employ them in season 2. While the family sees themselves each getting colder and more comfortable doing criminal activity they also find themselves in more danger from various groups than they did in season 1. The Cartel, the mob, the feds, the Snells, and Ruth Langmore's father, Trevor Long's Cade, each have their own agenda and reason for wanting the Byrdes. Season 2 did a great job of further character development, introducing a slew of new characters, and sadly getting rid of some older characters, exciting us for what's to come in season 3.
The newest installment in the Predator saga, "The Predator", not to be confused with the original's "Predator" is all flash and no substance. The Predator, is about a rogue Predator that escapes to Earth only to be intercepted by a far more evolved Predator. The alien race has been studied by Stirling K. Brown's villainous, Traeger's, team of scientists for some time in the shadows, and Boyd Holbrook's character, a sniper who sees first hand what this creature is capable of, gets himself, his family, and his team caught between them. It is a fairly strong story but it doesn't dive into the characters enough for us to really start to care about them. Instead it focuses more on the action, which still in some scenes didn't live up to expectation. It was still a fun, popcorn movie, that is enjoyable. It's just a movie with not much to say. This Predator, like 2010's "Predators", did end leaving the audience to believe there will be future installments. Let's see if we get a sequel that is a little better.
Iron Fist Season 2 has managed to turn arguably Netflix's worse Marvel shows into one of it's strongest. With an extremely strong and fast paced first half, the second half slowed down considerably after Davos' plan succeeds. Episodes 6 through 10 focus more on the character development of Danny, Colleen, Davos, Ward and Joy Meachum, and Misty Knight. You can see each of these characters amazingly grow into the characters that they will be in the future installments. Danny embarks on a journey to become the best Iron Fist he can be, Colleen becomes an unwilling hero, The meachums both deal with their personal demons, and Davos becomes more villain, that self appointed savior. The finale takes the show in a surprising direction, similar to Luke Cage's Season 2. The ending showed Danny as well as Colleen in a way that made us all excited for season 3.
In just the first 5 episodes of Iron Fist Season 2, it has already cemented itself as one of the stronger Netflix Marvel shows. This season we see Rand and Colleen find themselves between a growing triad war in China Town and targets of now teamed up Davos and Joy Meachum. Thus far the action sequences, acting, pacing and the dialogue is much better than season 1. Seriously how many times does Danny Rand need to tell us he's "The Immortal Iron Fist". It's clear that Finn Jones has found the right lane for the Danny Rand since his brief stint on Luke Cage season 2, going from petulant child to the determined and balanced warrior that we know Iron Fist to be. Besides Jone's clear improvement the first 5 episodes introduce new comer, Alice Eve as "Typhoid Mary". Typhoid Mary is a new antagonist to Danny Rand with a dissociative property. Eve plays this role with scene stealing performances demanding our attention. The first half of season 2 has been extremely "bingeable" and I'm hoping the second half gets even better.
"Blackkklansman", lead by Denzel Washington's son, John David Washington, and Adam Driver, the latest spike lee joint with help from Jordan Peele is an instant classic. In this true story we witness the journey of Ron Stallworth, rookie police officer and the first black one in town, played by Washington, and Driver's character, Flip Zimmerman, go undercover and infiltrate the KKK to stop an attack. With Blackkklansman's stellar acting, deep and unsettling message, along with strong memorable dialogue it has brought Spike Lee back to form and given Jordan Peele one more hit to his growing resume. It might have also given us a new star in John Washington. Highly recommend.