HOUSE OF THE DRAGON – Review by Susan Granger

So many people wanted to see HBO’s debut of House of the Dragon that they crashed the streaming service! Set in Westeros nearly 200 years before Game of Thrones, this pulpy, 10-episode prequel is based on George R.R. Martin’s novel Fire & Blood – both of which it offers in abundance. The plot revolves around an earlier civil war for the Iron Throne, waged largely among various factions of the silver-haired, incestuous Targaryan dynasty, ancestors of Dragon Queen Daenerys Targaryan, played by Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones. It’s all about family rivalry.

Read more

BODIES, BODIES, BODIES – Review by Susan Granger

Here’s the set-up: five longtime friends and their respective companions gather at a remote vacation house on the eve of a predicted hurricane. They decide to play an improv game in which players ‘kill’ someone by touching them. Whomever discovers the ‘murder’ yells: “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” – and everyone has to figure out who the ‘killer’ is. The chaotic shrieks and scares are supposed to be great fun until – one after another – various participants are brutally slaughtered. Whodunit? Who cares?

Read more

THE BEAR – Review by Susan Granger

Interest in food shows and chef’s stories has grown exponentially, but they primarily focus on haute cuisine. Not The Bear. The first season of this intense FX series on Hulu revolves around the noisy kitchen in a renowned neighborhood restaurant in downtown Chicago. Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) is a James Beard Award-winning young chef, earning Michelin stars for some of the finest restaurants, including Noma and the French Laundry; he was named a Food and Wine ‘Best New Chef’ before he turned 21. But when his older brother Michael commits suicide, he returns home to run his family’s sandwich shop.

Read more

THIRTEEN LIVES – Review by Susan Granger

On June 23, 2018, twelve soccer players and their coach became trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand. In Thirteen Lives, director Ron Howard details how they were rescued. While the boys (ages 10 to 16) and their 25 year-old coach were exploring deep into the massive cavern system, heavy rains of the monsoon season began to fall, flooding the exit and stranding them inside.

Read more

THE OLD MAN – Review by Susan Granger

Jeff Bridges delivers one of his most compelling performances in The Old Man, playing Dan Chase, a weary, disillusioned CIA agent who’s been living incognito in Vermont since he went rogue decades ago. He’s a gruff widower, guarded by two ferociously loyal dogs; ever cautious, he communicates with his beloved daughter Emily only by burner phones. When he’s ‘discovered’ and assassins invade his home, Dan goes on the run, picking up a lonely, troubled divorcee, Zoe McDonald (Amy Brenneman), along the way.

Read more

BULLET TRAIN – Review by Susan Granger

Bullet Train may not be the worst picture of 2022 – but it’s gonna come close! the film, incoherently adapted by Zak Olkewicz from Kotaro Isaka’s 2010 novel Maria Beetle, it’s feverishly directed by David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) with bumpy nods to the tenants of Thomas the Train Engine. Since there’s zero character development, the imbecilic, almost non-stop violence is dutifully chronicled by cinematographer Jonathan Sela.

Read more

PREY – Review by Susan Granger

It has been 35 years since the original sci-fi action thriller Predator (1987) was released – and Prey is a worthy complement to the franchise. Set in 1719 in the Comanche Nation on the rugged Northern Great Plains, the story revolves around wannabe warrior Naru, who is determined to be recognized by her tribe as a hunter like her skeptical older brother Taabe “Why do you want to hunt?” inquires her mother. “Because you all think I can’t,” Naru replies.

Read more

NOPE – Review by Susan Granger

After huge success with Get Out followed by Us, Jordan Peale tackles a sci-fi/Western/horror story, set in Southern California’s picturesque Agua Dulce, where “O.J.” Haywood Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) and his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) are trying to continue a family tradition. Peale is a bit too subtle this time because, while there’s plenty of tension, often evoked by Hoyte Van Hoytema’s striking cinematography and Michael Abels’ score, the stakes are pretty low.

Read more

THE LAST MOVIE STARS – Review by Susan Granger

Ethan Hawke’s searing six-part HBO Max documentary, The Last Movie Stars, delving into the tumultuous marriage of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. The Last Movie Stars not only examines the complexity of the Newmans’ marriage but also shows how the trajectory of their individual careers influenced, affected and challenged their bond.

Read more

DC LEAGUE OF SUPER PETS – Review by Susan Granger

According to legend, when his home planet of Krypton was about to explode, baby Kal-El’s parents placed him in a space capsule headed for Earth. But what no one realized until now is that, just before blast-off, Kal-El’s beloved puppy, Krypto, jumped into the capsule too. Written by director Jared Stern (LEGO animated films) with John Whittington, this animated comic-book feature is loosely based on DC’s “Legion of Super-Pets,” which first appeared in 1962’s “Adventure Comics #293.” It’s loaded with laughs, imaginative jokes and a heartfelt life lesson about the value of friendship – and it sets up a sequel.

Read more