FARGO Season 5 – Review by Diane Carson

Fans of the 1996 film Fargo and the television series of the same title know that calm, understated, traditional fare will never dominate the narrative. This pattern holds true in Fargo’s fifth season set in 2019 Minnesota and North Dakota, as titles repeatedly remind us. This iteration blissfully delivers the desired off-beat humor and distinctive, inimitable violence. Very serious issues undergird the entire series, most significantly domestic abuse cloaked as the divine-directed dominance of wives by husbands. Creator Noah Hawley manages to entertain and inject humor into the weighty content.

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DEATH AND OTHER DETAILS – Review by Susan Granger

Hulu’s 10-episode crime series Death and Other Details, created by Mike Weiss and Heidi Cole McAdams, strives to be different, unearthing the generational secrets of internationally powerful families. Set in the Mediterranean Sea on the luxurious S.S. Verona yacht, the plot focuses on Imogene Scott , the prime suspect in a locked-room murder mystery. A prologue explains that – when Imogene was 10 years-old – her mother died suspiciously. Although world-famous British detective Rufus Cotesworthwas summoned, he’s been unable to crack the case. Now 28, Imogene is on-board with the wealthy Collier family who took her in after her mother’s tragic demise. Patriarchal Lawrence Collier is retiring and Imogen’s best-friend, Anna Collier, is ready to become CEO of Collier Mills, a textile company.

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FARAWAY DOWNS – Review by Susan Granger

Do you recall a 2008 Baz Luhrmann film called Australia? Starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, I found it an exciting, epic adventure but – at the box-office – it went nowhere, perhaps because it touched too superficially on that country’s notorious Aboriginal race issue. So resourceful Luhrmann recently re-edited it into a six-episode limited series called Faraway Downs, telling a compelling tale as viewed through the eyes of Nullah (Brandon Walters), an enchanting half-Aboriginal outcast child – and adding nearly an hour of never-before-seen footage.

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NO ONE WILL SAVE YOU – Review by Susan Granger

‘Tis the time for horror movies – and the best of 2023, so far, is Brian Duffield’s No One Will Save You. Just three days after its release, novelist Stephen King posted this Twitter endorsement: “NONE ONE WILL SAVE YOU – Brilliant, daring, involving, scary. You have to go back over 60 years to a TWILIGHT ZONE episode called ‘The Invaders’ (1961) to find anything remotely like it.” Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro posted: “I couldn’t think of a more perfect movie for your weekend.”

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Jessica Yu’s QUIZ LADY comes to Hulu – Brandy McDonnell reports

Jessica Yu’s Quiz Lady, a hilarious and heartfelt comedy from 20th Century Studios, will premiere Nov. 3 exclusively on Hulu in the United States. Starring Awkwafina and Sandra Oh, the original film about a dysfunctional family and the game show that just might be the key to their salvation also will stream on Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ under the Star banner in all other territories.

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THE FIRST – Review by Susan Granger

While the Writers’ and Actors’ strikes persist, streaming networks are reaching back into their archives to show various series that ran for one season and were – perhaps inexplicably – cancelled and/or not renewed for a second season. Making his initial television-series venture, Sean Penn stars in The First, playing Capt. Tom Hagerty, a former Astronaut Mission Commander who is now training the first crew for a manned mission to Mars, circa 2030s.

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FLAMIN’ HOT – Review by Leslie Combemale

In the moments before Eva Longoria’s feature directing debut, the 20th Century Fox fanfare plays, but the traditional score is changed to sound like a mariachi band is playing it. That’s the first sign that Flamin’ Hot is going to bring strong, fun Latin flavor to the screen. What comes next is a two hours tall tale, far from the true story of the origin of the famous Frito-Lay snack, but which is a true and often joyful celebration of Latin culture and family life.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Eva Longoria’s FLAMIN’ HOT’ to stream on Disney+ and Hulu – Brandy McDonnell reports

Flamin’ Hot, the feature film directorial debut from seasoned actor and filmmaker Eva Longoria, starts streaming June 9 on Disney+ and Hulu. The film is based on the true story – or at least the popular urban legend – of Richard Montañez, the Frito Lay janitor who channeled his Mexican American heritage and upbringing to turn Flamin’ Hot Cheetos into a snack that disrupted the food industry and became a global phenomenon. Flamin’ Hot premiered in March at South by Southwest (aka SXSW) in Austin, Texas, where it won the Headliners Audience Award.

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BOSTON STRANGLER – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

The Hulu crime drama Boston Strangler is a decent journalism time capsule that aligns more with 2015’s Spotlight than with a suspenseful thriller like Silence of the Lambs. A mood piece with a core mystery much like 2007’s Zodiac—complete with similar gray-green cinematography and lighting—the film focuses more on the women journalists who broke the story of this real-life 1960s serial killer than the investigation itself. The insider’s view of the newsroom and the sexism these women faced proves compelling, although true crime fans will find the procedural details and ambivalent resolution frustrating.

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