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Love, Victor Season 2 | Engaging, Entertaining And Emotional

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After the 2018 film Love, Simon was a hit, it received its own spin-off TV show Love, Victor which premiered on Hulu last year and on Star on Disney+ in other territories earlier this year and now the second season is here. Fans have been waiting eagerly to see what happens next after the end of season 1 left us on a big cliffhanger.

At the end of the first season we saw Victor (Michael Cimino) come out as gay to his parents, but the show ended right there leaving us waiting to see how they react. Season 1 saw Victor coming to terms with his sexuality and it was about Victor’s own self-discovery and the new season is about what follows from that discovery as Victor now has to deal with the difficulties that follow including how his parents react. How does he deal with his ex-girlfriend Mia (Rachel Hilson)? What about the difficulties of being an openly gay star-athlete? And on top of all this Victor has the excitement from his newfound relationship with Benjy (George Sear).

Season 2 of Love, Victor definitely ups the levels of drama and emotion in the show, which results in it being excellent. But most importantly it also broadens the scope of it. Whilst it is still mainly told from Victor’s perspective and he’s still the main character, we learn much more about the lives of all the supporting characters from the first season including Mia, Benjy, Lake (Bebe Wood) and Felix (Anthony Turpel).  By enriching the backstories and complex emotions of all of this other characters it makes everything feel that bit more real.

There’s definitely a lot more going on in the second season but that just means it’s much more fast-paced and it results in season two being just as good, if not better than the first. At 10 episodes long, season 2 moves along quickly but it still spends just the right amount of time with each character, subplot and story, making sure to develop everything fully.

At lot happens over the course of the new season and I won’t divulge into any specific plot points or spoilers, but it picks up immediately from where the first ended with Victor coming out to his parents and it keeps going from there. It engages with lots of important issues like divorce, homophobia, sexuality, mental health, and religion, showing all of the ups and downs that come with teen relationships and it does so in a mature and sophisticated manner going into real depth with many of these important issues.

As well as this, the connection to the rest of the Love, Simon universe is expanded upon but crucially, Love, Victor isn’t dependent on these connections. It builds upon the characters that have already been set up in the film Love, Simon, but the show is constantly proving that it is its own thing and isn’t just a spin-off for spin-off’s sake. It’s developing and it’s moving beyond what’s already been established in this shared universe and allowing the show’s characters to develop, rather than relying on the characters from the film.

Season 2 of Love, Victor is engaging, entertaining, emotional and somehow even better than season 1. The new season adds a wealth of depth, not only to Victor but to all his friends and to his parents so that by the time season 2 ends you feel so connected to all of the characters in the show. And much like with the first season, it leaves you desperate to know what happens next and you just can’t wait for season 3.

Season 2 of Love, Victor starts streaming on June 11th on Hulu in the US and on June 18th on Disney+ in the UK.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7iyAHFoih8

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Prey | 20th Century Studios | Hulu

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Horror

Release Date:

20222 (Hulu)

Director:

Dan Trachtenberg

Cast:

Amber Midthunder, Dane DiLiegro, Stefany Mathias

Plot Summary:

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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Comedy

Sex Appeal Review | An Interesting Enough Premise Gets Squandered in Predictable Platitudes

A quasi-R-rated version of “The Kissing Booth” surprisingly works? Color me shocked.

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In a world filled with horrible teen coming-of-age comedies which re-tread John Hughes and other popular 80s comedies, Hulu’s Sex Appeal probably wouldn’t have worked. As it stands, the movie is interesting enough to make a distracting impression upon ourselves, but it’s nowhere near as sharply written as any of the mid-1980s/late-1990s coming-of-age comedies it keeps referencing. 

In any case, the best comparison I can give you is that its plot feels eerily (though not completely) similar to Netflix’s The Kissing Booth trilogy, though without any of the cringe and a legitimately compelling “best-friends” relationship. The “best friends” in question are Avery (Mika Abdalla) and Larson (Jake Short), who have had a close-knit relationship since childhood…until Larson decided to “make a move” at the age of 14, immediately rejected by Avery. Our female protagonist narrates the entire story like Joey King’s Elle Evans in The Kissing Booth and has a pretty narrow-minded view of everyone and everything. Basically, she only cares about herself. Avery will register for STEMCON, an annual youth scientist (?) convention, to which attendees will have to build an app that responds to their personal problems. 

Sex Appeal (2022) - IMDb

Avery’s “problem” is that she can’t have fulfilling sex with anyone and forcefully takes Larson as her Guinea Pig to experiment with diverse types of sex on him and her, to which we metaphorically see what happens inside IMAX-like dream sequences. A plot as preposterous as this shouldn’t work, but it kinda does. Of course, it’s a story we’ve all seen before, with the egotistical female character going on a journey of self-discovery and finally realizing that life doesn’t solely revolve around her, and that humans have feelings. By developing the app, she fails to realize the most important human element of all, love, because Avery is incapable of feeling love…until her experiment gets her to realize what love is and how it feels. 

Yes, director Talia Osteen and co-writer Tate Hanyok use sex as the driving force for Avery’s realization that her app should be all about love, and not all about sex. And she’ll learn this by having sex with someone she genuinely cares about but doesn’t want to admit that she has feelings for. Why? Because she had to focus on her studies? That feels like such a BS excuse, but the plot warrants it anyways. So yeah, once you get a gist of Avery and Larson’s “friendship that morphs into a quasi-relationship”, you can tell exactly where this movie is going, without fail. She has a non-existent relationship with her boyfriend (Mason Versaw), and can’t even feel love even if she also uses the app with him as they do it. Doesn’t she know what love is, or is she incapable of feeling it because she doesn’t want to? This is the central question Sex Appeal asks, and it surprisingly works twofold. 

Sex Appeal (2022) - IMDb

Firstly, the chemistry between Abdalla and Short is insanely palpable. In The Kissing Booth, the movie already doesn’t work because the chemistry between Joey King/Jacob Elordi/Joel Courtney feels unbelievable like they all belong in different movies (the writing is also a problem, but whatever). You can relate to Avery and Larson because their relationship feels real. And so it’s easier to get on board with an insanely predictable story if the acting holds the fort, to which it does greatly. Even the smallest supporting roles can bring surprising laughs to the mix, and genuine heart, which this movie has tons of. Its heart is in the right place, and the acting is decent enough for you to care about the characters’ plight, even if we’ve seen it all before. 

Secondly, the film’s aesthetic is original enough for the movie to rise above the platitudes it presents in its script for metaphorical sex sequences that are way more interesting than, say, if Avery and Larson solely had sex. Osteen prefers to open up the 2.39:1 frame to 1.90:1 during these dreamlike sequences to represent how Avery feels during the time she “experiments” on Larson, which ultimately makes her realize all the love she has for him, especially when she tries to do the same thing with Casper (Versaw) and, lo and behold, it doesn’t work. I appreciate the work of filmmakers who try different things than the usual paint-by-numbers coming-of-age sex comedy, without an ounce of creativity in its filmic representation of a protagonist’s state of mind, especially when it works, even if it may be on the nose for some. Sure it is, but it works nonetheless. 

So it’s surprising to see how engaging the movie is when the acting and the aesthetic work together and actually deliver a pretty good time at the movies, even if it’s a movie that we’ve seen before, done better. Where Sex Appeal fails in its story, it more than makes up for it through its creative aesthetics and terrific performances from Mika Abdalla and Jake Short, which in turn makes it a rather transfixing watch. It’s not the greatest movie in the world, sure, but it does its job right and the film’s heart is in the right place. What more can you ask for?

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Sex Appeal is now streaming on Hulu.

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Hulu

Mother/Android Review | This Terminator Meets The Walking Dead Hybrid Sure Is Dull

Chloë Grace Moretz gives an impactful performance in Mattson Tomlin’s “Mother/Android”, but the rest of this sci-fi hybrid picture is quite dull.

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Whether you like it or not, 2022 is off to a start (it’s too early to tell whether or not it’s a good or bad start, give it about a week or two), and I won’t wait until theatres reopen (yeah…) to write about film and TV. Kicking off my adventures in moviegoing for the year is Mattson Tomlin’s Mother/Android, a movie that came out on December 17th in the United States on Hulu but is gearing up for an International release on Netflix this week. Chloë Grace Moretz leads this sci-fi movie as Georgia Olsen, who finds out she is pregnant to Sam (Algee Smith)’s child on Christmas Eve, sometime in the near future where Androids are now part of human life.

During a party, a technical glitch causes the Androids, who are, in this world, acting as servants for humans, to become erratic and violent, causing death to anyone that comes in contact with them. Nine months have passed (for some odd reason). Georgia’s water can break at any moment, while Sam is looking for a path to Boston, where they can seek refuge in Korea, escape the post-apocalyptic hell doom of the United States and start a new life there. We’ve all seen this movie before. A survival sci-fi/horror film where characters have a plan to leave a dystopia to a promised utopia, and nothing goes according to plan.

Mother/Android follows that plot trope in the most unengaging way possible. Tomlin tries to visually explain, to the best of his ability, how the Androids were created and became part of everyday life, but the visual exposition is so minimal it becomes a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” moment. We have no idea how to what purpose the Androids were created, but we do recognize their visual inspirations from The Walking Dead and Terminator. When they don’t get shot in the face and have their face peeled like a T-800, they sure do run like brainless Zombies with the intent to kill people.

We never know what drives them to kill humans, or why they suddenly become violent. Sure, a blackout, but what caused the blackout and why did the blackout suddenly transform calm Androids into Zombie-like killing machines? These are important questions the movie never takes time to answer and instead spends most of its time with Grace Moretz’s Georgia on the cusp of giving birth inside cyclical and boring situations. Georgia and Sam go to a military base, potentially to help Olsen give birth. For the most bewildering reason, they get kicked off the base and must learn to fend for themselves. The same situation happens with their next objective. Every individual they meet, or place they visit has the same structure.

Tomlin begins by giving the audience a glimmer of hope, either through the movie’s decent-looking cinematography from Patrick Scola or through its minimalist, but emotionally-driven music from Kevin Henthorn and Michelle Birsky. Then, some lines of dialogue begin to swell hopium, until this “hope” is constantly crushed by:

a) The character’s own idiocy of not realizing the most obvious and/or never making the right decisions.

b) Androids show up. When in doubt, android it up.

c) The reality of the situation. Tomlin sets up Mother/Android‘s world as pessimistic by design. Therefore, the characters’ expectations of the promised utopia will be undoubtedly crushed. This isn’t a spoiler, but the reality of ANY post-apocalyptic sci-fi or horror film. It’s always the same, without exception.

Because of this, audience investment is at its minimum. Even if the movie does contain a few cool action sequences, including a rather exciting motorcycle chase filled with high-speed drones and, dare I say, scary-looking androids, Tomlin never gives us a reason to care about any character we spend time with, let alone care about the world they inhabit. Post-apocalyptic films are always enjoyable if the writer/filmmaker establishes the world first, before thwarting the characters in the action. Of course, they can thwart the characters first, to then establish the world, but that’s a riskier bet than the former. Tomlin decides to do the latter, but he never wants to establish the world further than “Androids evil. Georgia and Sam need to leave the USA.” Cool. But neat-looking action sequences and pretty images aren’t enough to hook people in.

Chloë Grace Moretz in Mother/Android.

Thankfully, Chloë Grace Moretz’s performance is impassioned enough that she carries the entire movie for herself. The final scene between her, Sam, and Korean officials is an absolute heartbreaker to watch, solely due to Moretz’s performance. Tomlin consistently relies on her for raw emotion, because he knows his script can’t carry the entire movie for itself. Sure, she does get trapped in a few “damsel in distress” situations, but when the movie needs her to shine, she always comes through and likely gives the best performance of her career. Her filmography isn’t filled with some of the best movies ever made, but her performance in Mother/Android almost puts hers in Suspiria and Clouds of Sills Maria to shame. She’s that good.

It’s an absolute disappointment that virtually anyone (or anything) else doesn’t work as hard as Moretz does here. She seems to have a deep affection for the material, and so does Tomlin, who infused some of his personal life in the script. But an affection for the material doesn’t necessarily equate to good material. If you’re not giving any reason to care about anything that’s going on in the movie, then the audience will check out quicker than the movie will ultimately “get going.” The truth of the matter is, this movie never gets going and gives a chance for us to care. If you want a great post-apocalyptic movie, 28 Days Later is the quintessential example of how it’s done.

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Mother/Android is now streaming exclusively on Hulu and will release on January 7th for International audiences on Netflix.

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