The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)

So far in my life, I’ve seen Kaley Cuoco in TV three series: Charmed, The Big Bang Theory and now The Flight Attendant.  I don’t remember her making much of an impression in Charmed beyond being young and pretty.  As someone who liked and enjoyed The Big Bang Theory, I appreciated how she transformed Penny from essentially eye candy to a person with self-awareness, vulnerability and the ability to deliver a punchline.  With The Flight Attendant, Cuoco managed to destroy twelve years of good will over what I can only describe as a mess.

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Rebecca (Netflix)

Rebecca is a curious movie.  It has all of the ingredients that should make it far more enjoyable than it ends up being.  The leading roles are played by Armie Hammer (The Social Network) and Lily James (Cinderella), both young, attractive and capable actors.  Supporting actors include Ann Dowd (The Leftovers, Hereditary) and Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient).  The production design and camera work are aces.  The movie is based on the same material that brought Hitchcock his only Best Picture Oscar (back in 1940).  For varying reasons, the ingredients don’t come together, resulting in a middling viewing experience.

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On the Rocks (Apple TV+)

On the Rocks is one of Sophia Coppola’s best films.  Released in a “normal” year, it certainly would have gotten positive notices from critics and several award nominations.  In 2020, however, the various critics circles may consider the movie as too lightweight to be taken seriously in these troubled times.  That would be a shame, because for me, the movie was perfect in almost every way.  I’m pretty sure I was smiling from beginning to end, and laughed many times at the hi-jinks of Bill Murray’s Felix and his exasperated daughter Laura, played by Rashida Jones.  I know that I’m giving this movie high praise, but honestly I don’t think I can praise it enough.

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The Haunting of Bly Manor (Netflix)

The Haunting of Hill House, released on Netflix in 2018, was regarded as both a commercial and critical success.  The series was a retelling of the novel by Shirley Jackson published in 1959.  While two movies based on the novel have been released (the 1963 being far superior to the 1999 version), the Netflix series felt fresh due to a new take on the material, one which retained the scary elements at its core, but moved the story to a modern setting and tweaked the plot in ways that defied expectations.

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As I Lay Dying (Novel)

The reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time.

Addie Bundren shares this bit of wisdom from her father in an effort to explain her life and the choices she’s made.  At this point in the story, Addie has actually been dead several days.  Before Faulkner has Addie speak from beyond the grave, Addie has only been featured in several early scenes, where she is lying sick in bed, waiting to die.  Before her death, Addie was closely watching her eldest son while he built her coffin.  She ultimately dies before it is completed, but a promise she extracted from her Anse, her husband, drives the narrative.

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Hubie Halloween (Netflix)

A friend of mine who reads my reviews said he couldn’t wait to read my review of Hubie Halloween.  Given that I am not a fan of Adam Sandler in any way, and have not watched any of his movies from beginning to end–or for more than a few minutes at a time, to be honest, reviewing his latest offering on Netflix would be an interesting challenge.  Even though I am not a film critic who gets paid for their work, and must see and critique films that they would gladly miss, I felt it was my duty to honor this request from my small, yet devoted audience.

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