Tag Archive: Now streaming


Review by C.J. Bunce

The best British police procedural series of the past decade is back for what was long believed to be its final season.  It’s the seventh season of Shetland, and the cast and writers seem to have breathed some new life into the show, as BBC One shared that stars Douglas Henshall and Mark Bonnar will not be returning for an eighth season (which begins filming in 2023).  So fans of the much-awarded series have six episodes to get their fix of Henshall’s Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez over the next five weeks.  Perez and his small police unit in the close-knit Scottish island hit the ground running with its first episode, now available on BritBox via Prime Video.

When we last left Perez, he was about to get removed from the police force and his best pal Duncan (Mark Bonnar) was going to jail, all resulting from a frame job courtesy of the suicide of twisted murderer Donna Killick, played by Fiona Bell.  (Some spoilers from episode one follow).

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Although Stan Lee didn’t design or write the character Morbius, it was his idea, and that’s no surprise, as Netflix viewers will find this weekend now that Sony’s big screen flick Morbius arrives on the streaming service.  Stan’s quick quasi-science works at some level for cinema’s Spider-Man and the Hulk, good storytelling made it work for Luke Cage on TV, and humor made it work in Deadpool and Venom.  Without Kevin Feige and Disney’s Marvel backing, Marvel fans still may think Sony’s latest could land like Spider-Man, or even Venom.  Unfortunately it’s a movie closer to The Fantastic Four (the one with Miles Teller).  What’s the problem?  Either the decision to make a movie at all from this singularly derivative character, or the choice of writers.  We’re in a world where good writers and filmmakers have created spectacular movies and TV about B-level superhero types.  Like Ant-Man or Moon Knight, or Sony’s own Venom and Deadpool.  As you may guess, Morbius falls into the spectacularly bad category.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

A lot of child actors who begin in horror roles tend to continue in the genre through their entire careers.  Why is that?  Take Isabelle Fuhrman, star of the 2009 surprise hit, Orphan, where at the age of 10 she starred opposite Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard as Esther (it’s too late to call spoiler!) a 30-year-old posing as a 10-year-old; a 30-year-old with a disease that causes her body not to age so she’s a believable 10-year-old.  A movie that kooky sounding wouldn’t normally be one of the best psychological thrillers in its niche, but Fuhrman truly sold the performance.  Now at age 25, Fuhrman is back, this time playing her age–sort of–in one of those rare sequel/prequels that surpasses the original: Orphan: First Kill Are B-level horror movies supposed to be this good?

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It arrived in Scotland and the UK in 2019 before the pandemic, then took its time getting to the States.  In the interim BBC’s series Guilt won top honors in Scotland for its darkly funny and thrilling story from creator Neil Forsyth.  The series stars the amazing, award-winning co-star of Shetland and Unforgotten, Mark Bonnar, and the second season is even better than the first.  Fans of UK television have seen Bonnar as both well-meaning and outright guilty before, but not like his Max McCall in the first season of Guilt.  But the second season should have been titled Revenge.  Max was a reasonably well-adjusted lawyer, scheming and in deep with the local mob, before he went to jail–between seasons.  We meet him again, after two years of thinking about what kind of man he wants to be.  Emun Elliott takes the co-lead spot this season as the put-upon (but improving) investigator Kenny Burns.  The second season of Guilt is now airing on PBS Masterpiece, with the entire eight episodes of its first and second seasons available anytime now on PBS Passport and on PBS DVD.

Do you love a good revenge plot? 

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Director/producer Tim Miller’s dark genre anthology showcase Love Death+Robots has netted 11 Emmy Awards so far.  The series plucks short stories from science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and adapts them using a director and creative team from across the entire industry of animation.  Bring them altogether with visual effects house Blur Studios and the broad variety of artwork behind all three seasons of the show are an introduction to the myriad methods of expression available to the 21st century animator.  Landing in bookstores everywhere tomorrow, The Art of Love Death+Robots is writer Ramin Zahed’s latest behind the scenes tour of a TV series, and for Love Death+Robots, it’s all about concept art and futuristic style.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

For every series that exceeds your expectations–say, for example, this weekend’s premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power–a series you have hopes for disappoints.  This summer, Apple TV+ subscribers were provided with a weekly dose of what was billed as a psychological thriller.  Surface follows a woman of uncertain identity as she tries to find herself after she may have tried to commit suicide by jumping off a ship into the ocean and awakened afterward with amnesia.  A series with such a preposterous starting point owes it to viewers to provide some compelling storytelling.  With the final episode of its first season arriving this past week, the truth set in.  A payoff never happens.  Just a corporate effort to get viewers, complete with corporate logos waved at the viewer, banking on doses of cliffhanger endings, all setting up for a batch of unanswered questions for the final scene in hopes someone will pick it up for a second season?  Save yourself the time:  You have tens of thousands of other series–especially British-led series as this is–with far more compelling stories.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you can get through the first hour of Netflix’s new vampire action thriller Day Shift, you’re in for the next level of vampire genre movie-making.  Thirty-plus-year stuntman, stunt coordinator, and frequent second unit director J.J. Perry leans into his stunt craft to direct a vampire movie that sets the bar for the genre.  Led by Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx as a vampire hunter that has everything you could hope for in MCU’s forthcoming remake of vampire hunter Blade, Day Shift earns its R rating with an uber-violent body count with more blood, decapitations, stabs, and guns than probably any other mainstream movie this decade.  After a slow start, the second half of the movie has screenwriter Tyler Tice and Army of the Dead and John Wick film series writer Shay Hatten settled in with a story better than your average video game adaptation.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Every now and then a movie truly keeps you riveted to your seat.  You can usually bank on a movie co-starring Ethan Hawke to be good.  This year’s “coming of age, supernatural horror thriller” The Black Phone is much better than good.  It’s the best movie I’ve seen in a few years of any genre.  Following a brother in sister in a small Denver suburb in 1978 as the town is shocked by a criminal dubbed the Grabber, who is kidnapping and killing young boys, a few years before pictures of missing kids would be the subject of milk cartons across the nation.  Based on a Joe Hill short story, the subject matter is not something audiences are expected to be comfortable with, and yet the handling of it, as well as the incorporation of supernatural elements, makes for a movie as stunning as David Fincher’s Zodiac, grounded so much in reality anyone who lived through the era will certainly find elements from their own memories as director Scott Derrickson delivers one of the finest re-creations of the 1970s ever put on film.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In the world of zombie stories, Resident Evil has more than established itself as the big winner.  Box office billions aside, after this year’s better than expected, big-budget fun zombie flick Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (reviewed here) and last year’s anime Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, the most successful video game tie-in franchise ever only gets better.  Netflix’s eight-part Resident Evil live-action television series isn’t perfect, but fans aren’t really looking for perfect.  What you get is the ultimate genre-bending mash-up.  Sure, you’d expect the sci-fi horror, but full-fledged kaiju monster action?  Edgy-Terminator level cautionary themes?  Orphan Black-inspired clones?  Evil Dead-level action and fun?  Skip the drama of The Walking Dead–this is the kind of action, acting, and storytelling game fans really want.  And you don’t even need to care about the zombie genre to dig it.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The biggest draw of ITV’s first two seasons of its police procedural The Bay was its lead detective.  Morven Christie (Death in Paradise, Doctor Who) played detective Lisa Armstrong, a family liaison officer (“FLO”) with the Morcambe police.  Morcambe is the eponymous Bay, a seaside town on England’s northwest coast, near Manchester (setting of several great British crime dramas, like Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, and Cracker).  But that changes for the third season of The Bay, now streaming on Britbox.  Taking her place is Marsha Thomason, who played White Collar’s (American) agent Diana Barrigan.  Armstrong’s show was as much about her personal life, her kids and relationships, as the crime-solving.  Viewers get no wrap-up for her story, but for season 3 the writers try to hold that same focus on the pressure of life as a cop helping citizens who have experienced distress.  And the season opens with a dead body floating out in the bay near a buoy. 

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