THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF HENRY SUGAR – Review by Susan Granger

Netflix has quietly launched Wes Anderson’s The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar and three additional Raoul Dahl short stories. This whimsical cinematic anthology is the creation of Wes Anderson, who became intrigued by the emotional truths in Roald Dahl’s work after adapting his novel into the Oscar-nominated, stop-motion animated Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Each is a fanciful fable drawn from the extensive ‘idea’ files that eccentric, cardigan-clad, curmudgeonly storyteller Dahl (Ralph Fiennes) kept in Gipsy House, his isolated ‘writing hut’ adjacent to his home in Buckinghamshire, England. Stumped on how to translate Dahl’s jottings to the screen, Anderson decided to have the four principal actors (Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Kingsley, Dev Patel, Richard Ayoade), playing various characters, narrate the author’s adroit descriptions and their actions directly into the camera at a rapid pace with deadpan directness.

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THE MENU – Review by Clotilde Chinnici

The Menu movie dishes are carefully planned and prepared by Chef Julian Slowik, with each dish offering a specific meaning and commentary on the food industry and wealthy clientele. The courses served throughout The Menu foreshadow the dark and deadly outcome of the dinner experience, revealing Chef Slowik’s plan to kill everyone in the end. The significance behind each dish highlights themes such as the fleeting nature of human life, the futility of pursuing perfection, and the insecurities of toxic masculinity.

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THE MENU – Review by Susan Granger

One of the most bizarrely absurd thrillers of the year, The Menu skewers pretentious ‘foodies’ and the ‘fine dining’ they crave. A group of privileged epicureans pay $1,250 per person to travel to a windswept coastal island in the Pacific Northwest for what they believe will be a unique gastronomic experience at an exclusive restaurant called Hawthorne, run by a world-renowned chef. As the evening unfolds, there are many unexpected, unduly malevolent surprises for the stunned guests as multi-layered secrets are revealed and tension mounts.

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THE MENU – Review by T.J. Callahan

The Menu is a multi course meal full of meaty madness served up rare…as in bloody. It’s Get Out meets Hell’s Kitchen. No one will be allowed to pack their knives and go when a sadistic chef, played by Ralph Fiennes, invites a group of foodies to his exclusive restaurant on a secluded island to stir their pots and make their blood boil. There are no substitutions. All the guests are there for a reason…they upset the chef at one time or another and he’s ready for revenge.

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THE KING’S MAN – Review by Susan Granger

This prequel to writer/director Matthew Vaughn’s previous comedy/action/adventure reveals the origins of the super-secret British agency headquartered in a discreet tailor’s shop on London’s fashionable Savile Row. Set during World War I, the irreverent story revolves around Orlando, Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes), who is determined to prevent a nefarious cabal, led by The Shepherd, from annihilating Europe’s ruling class and creating anarchy.

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NO TIME TO DIE – Review by Diane Carson

No Time to Die is the twenty-fifth installment of the James Bond franchise and Daniel Craig’s final appearance as 007. It’s a worthy, though not overly spectacular, exit of the famous character, delivering what every Bond film must have, that is, reckless car and motorcycle chases, gravity-defying stunts, gorgeous locations, plus futuristic technology and gadgets: watches, autos, and planes.

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THE DIG – Review by Susan Granger

Set in 1939 in the countryside as England was on the brink of W.W.II, this period drama stars Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) as wealthy, widowed Lady Edith Pretty who believes there are historical artifacts buried on her estate, known as Sutton Hoo, near the River Deben.

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THE DIG – Review by Diane Carson

Australian director Simon Stone achieves two worthy goals. First, he dramatically chronicles the 1939 discovery and unearthing of the imprint of an eighty-six foot long, sixth-century burial ship found beneath one mound at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, on England’s east coast. Second, he makes archeology fascinating, thanks in large part to an economical script and understated performances.

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