Pam & Tommy
Streaming. A very entertaining and rather eye-opening look at the ‘stolen home movie incident’ that plagued the lives of Tommy Lee and Sebastian Stan in the ’90s.
Lily James is an absolute revelation here. Not only does she physically embody the part of Anderson, she nails the expressions, vulnerability & varied emotions. Sebastian is equally good – and brave. Episode 2 will put a few off with its talking schlong but if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded by a very compelling, funny & surprisingly sweet tale. Both Pam and Tommy, should they watch the show, may not like how they’re immediately represented but midway through will be impressed how respectfully treated they are.
Medal too for Seth Rogen, so good as Rand, you’ll demand a show purely about that character next. This might be Seth’s most commanding performance. Credit to Seth and Evan Goldberg for finely balancing the show’s comedy, drama and historic elements. They’ve handled this one with care. [CC]
Digital. A biting (sorry.. couldn’t help myself!) rom-com about a vampire that’s audited by the IRS (yep, that pitch had me too), Bite Me is a fangtastic profusion of laughs, romance and warm and fuzzies that serves as a showcase for star and writer Naomi McDougall Jones.
Directed by Meredith Edwards, the pic serves up the valentine’s day perfect plot of two misfits – the vampire and the IRS agent – overcoming their differences and tax beefs to forge a relationship.
No, it won’t be on this year’s Oscars ballot sheet but by golly if it won’t be significantly more exciting than this year’s telecast. [ML]
Blues on Beale
Digital. This one has sax appeal and then some.
From director Larry Lancit and distributed by Echelon Studios, Blues on Beale serves as part promo for the annual Blues Challenge in Memphis and part super-entertaining, music-fueled doc on the finest in the jazz biz.
The very comprehensive doc fixes on a competition that sees winners from local blues competitions heading to the competition of competitions – in this case, the 36th International Blues Challenge, where over 200 entrants show off their singular talents in the hopes of winning recording deals and medals.
Even if you’re not a fan of the blues (but seriously, why not!?), this is a doc that will greatly appeal to every underdog and the driven gifted reading this review. Check it out. [ML]
Reacher : Season One
Streaming. Lee Child’s ex-cop turned renegade crime solver and legendary drifter waltzes back onto screens in a new 8-episode Amazon offering.
As good as Tom Cruise was in the feature adaptation – and its sequel – of the long-running book series, he didn’t physically resemble Lee’s creation. “Smallville” alum Alan Ritchson is Cruise’s complete opposite – less understated in his bearings, more brutish than temperamental but mostly, big. As if championing himself to play the next Hulk or Terminator, the 6’3 actor dazzles with an intimidating, pitch-perfect frame that has the film’s crooks running from merely an eyebrow raise.
Equally good, though the apple to his pear, the softer, shorter Willa Fitzgerald as MPD officer Roscoe Conklin, is just as commanding. Together, Ritchson and Fitzgerald make for one of this year’s most dynamic and interesting TV twosomes.
A real surprise package, “Reacher” is the must-see television event of 2022. Bring on Season 2. [CC]
For My Daughter
Digital/DVD. A poignant and delicately directed film exploring the difficulties of being an illegal émigré, “For My Daughter” fixes on a family who enter America illegally and soon find themselves questioning their decision to relocate after their new existence in San Diego spurs anxieties and legal issues.
Short (at just an hour) but no less sweet than a lengthier, similar-themed film like “In America” or “The Pursuit of Happyness”, director Fernando Rodriguez’s “For My Daughter” serves as yet another reminder that, despite all, family comes first. [ML]