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Sex Education Season 3- Review

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This review doesn’t contain any plot spoilers but if you want to go in totally blind, don’t read more than the first and last paragraphs!

Yesterday, Netflix dropped the trailer for the third season of its hit show Sex Education. The raunchy TV show first premiered in pandemic-less 2019, and after COVID disrupted the filming of the third season, Season 3 is finally here. And it soars. Netflix gives us more of the same in the best way possible. Check out the new trailer below.

The opening scene of the newest series sets the tone we are familiar with at Moordale; a sex-filled romp full of comedy, intimacy, and a great soundtrack! And that’s about right. The newest season is more of everything we love about Netflix’s one-of-a-kind show picks up with a time-jump, Jean is heavily pregnant (and still hasn’t told Jakob), the summer is over and it’s back to school for our impressive ensemble with the worry of university looming over everyone. After being heartbroken by Maeve ignoring his voicemail confessing his love for her, Asa Butterfield’s Otis is secretly having casual sex with one of the most popular girls in school.



Emma Mackey’s Maeve, having never heard the voicemail after Isaac (George Robinson) deleted it is focusing more on herself and her friendship with Aimee and Isaac after the devastating end of season two which saw Elsie, Maeve’s little sister, being taken into care after Maeve called the police on her mum, which has also led to Maeve being shut out completely by her mum. The two leads of the show spend a lot of the season sharing tension-filled scenes as Otis is upset with Maeve for ignoring his message, and Maeve is upset with Otis, thinking that he hasn’t spoken to her all summer, and you’re just screaming at the TV hoping Otis tells Maeve about the voicemail and when the truth finally does come out, it’s cathartic. 

Headmistress Hope and Head Boy Jackson

A big change in Season 3 is of course that, after the explosive end to the last season, Mr Groff is no longer the Headmaster at Moordale. He is unemployed and living with his brother, played by Jason Isaacs, and pretending to go to work. This obviously leaves a vacuum in Moordale which is quickly filled by new headteacher; Hope Haddon, played by Jemima Kirke. Kirke is the villain you will love to hate as she brings a totally new and incredibly strict leadership to Moordale. She really is one of the most brilliantly unlikeable villains in a long time. Hope’s main aim is to rebuild the reputation of Moordale after the events of the previous two seasons have left Moordale with the nickname “The Sex School” in the press. Hope goes above and beyond to fix this and makes more than a few enemies along the way. You will love watching and rooting for everything she does to fail!

Sex Education has always been impressive with its inclusion and this season takes a big step with the introduction of Dua Saleh’s Cal, the show’s first (though not only) openly non-binary character and so the writers must deal with what it’s like to be non-binary in school. Saleh’s performance is fantastic in this regard bringing xyr real-life experience as a non-binary person to the role. They have to deal with gendered school uniforms and being told to wear a skirt or stand in the girls’ line outside a lesson (yes, Headmistress Hope really is that contemptible), and while the writing around this sensitive topic can feel a little ham-fisted at times, it’s all well-intentioned and is handled well. Cal is strong and funny and stands up for themself and makes a great, compelling addition to the already impressive and busy cast of the show. Cal begins an unlikely friendship with Head Boy Jackson Marchetti as they both decide to take on the tyrannical new Headmistress.

My biggest issue with Sex Education, though, is Adam Groff (Connor Swindells). Specifically, his relationship with Ncuti Gatwa’s Eric. His performance is great but the ‘homophobic bully turns out to be queer’ trope is overused and harmful. It’s harmful enough on its own, but Sex Education takes it to the next level by having Eric and his bully fall in love. It’s as though Eric has Stockholm syndrome and has fallen for his abuser. And season 3 doubles down on this trope, having the two begin the series in a relationship and much more openly. Adam admits to being “a bit of a puff” in school, but still can’t tell his mother. Adam could have had a great redemption arc across the show if he’d have just realised that homophobia is bad and trying to make amends with those he has hurt rather. I also think exploring Adam’s bisexuality a little more would’ve been beneficial. It’s as though any interest he had in women in seasons 1 and 2 is totally gone here, which was a little disappointing. The writers do their best to redeem Adam and show us that he’s changed, particularly when he’s stuck next to Raheem on a coach trip to France which ends with the show trying to replicate the classic and iconic “it’s my vagina” moment from its first season, but it never quite feels like Adam deserves Eric.

All of the performances this season are brilliant. Ncuti Gatwa’s performance dealing with the complexities of his relationship with Swindells’ Adam is done very well, the two have an intimate personal relationship and Swindell does a wonderful job of opening up as Adam for us more and more each episode. As Eric Effiong, Otis’ best friend, Gatwa balances the comedy and the very serious issues perfectly in a charming performance. In one episode, Eric goes to Nigeria for a family wedding, and it is a fantastic exploration being queer and black in a religious Nigerian family in a country where it is illegal to be gay and Gatwa does it flawlessly. Mimi Keene is given much more to do as Ruby and she becomes much more than the ‘untouchable’ she has been limited to thus far. BAFTA winner Aimee Lee Wood returns as everyone’s favourite Aimee and is back to her usual charming and hilarious self, who now drives, although not very well. Butterfield and Mackey make compelling characters who are growing as people as each episode passes. While sometimes the comedy does seem a little lazier than previously; a lot seems to be relying on toilet humour and fart jokes, Sex Education still knows how to make us laugh. A lot. And I’m elated to report: there is MUCH more of Madam Groff!



So, strap in and get ready to dive into the hilarious and heart-warming world of Sex Education once more with its third season which is a conclusive hit! No show is tackling real social issues as well as this, it handles the most sensitive topics seemingly with ease. It’s a funny, NSFW, unique, inclusive look at love, sex, and being a British teenager. 

Make sure to stream Sex Education, exclusively on Netflix from September 17th.

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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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Comedy

And Just Like That… Review: HBO Max’s Sex and the City Revival

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We hope you like your cosmos with a side of drama as “And Just Like That..” has officially dropped onto HBO Max in the States and onto Sky TV and NOW in the United Kingdom, 

Are you ready for the next Chapter of Sex and the City!. 

This chapter follows Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) as they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s. 

The first two episodes “Hello It’s Me and “Little Black Dress” are now streaming on your countries chosen platform and from the start this HBO Max Original has done a decent and glamorous job of brining Sex and the City into the modern era, as the series is infused with a new familiar story, but is very much rooted in the classic SATC. It’s diverse and features a social/Cultural awareness especially with the use of instagram, podcasts, and a nod to this pandemic as the iconic trio talk about their time with their husbands during lockdown and the new hobbies and traditions they started that seem to have stuck with them. 

Thursday’s premiere truly catches us up with old friends in post-pandemic New York as they wait for a table at a crowded restaurant. All are navigating through their fifties as this new chapter of their lives explore and deal with grief, journey, friendships and the pressure of perfection to achieve career wise, whilst entering a new territory. 

Courtesy of HBO Max

It was nice to spend time this morning with Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda again. The actresses Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon truly step right back into their roles and their banter is just as quippy as ever, However “And Just Like that…” gets off to a dramatic end as we’re guided through a catch up which was necessary to pick up a story many years later after it ended. What was introduced during 1998-2004 was a newfound love and obsession with cosmopolitan cocktails, designer shoes and brunches is still featured but the sparkly fizziness from the original is absent and what follows is a much more mature self aware series. 

Notably absent from the series is Kim Cattrall’s fabulous Samantha who SPOILER ALERT has moved to the UK for work as Miranda confirms to their friend Bitsy, that no Samantha isn’t dead, the publicist has just moved overseas. From the get-go her absence seems to be part of the shows overall storyline as it showcases female friendships and the including that they don’t always last forever. 

But just as people leave in real life, new friendships start as “And just Like That…” introduces us to a host of new characters who fit perfectly into this world, We meet Charlotte’s mum friend Lisa (Nicole Ari Parker), Miranda’s law professor Nya (Karen Pittman and Carrie’s queer podcast host Che (Sara Ramiez). 

With introducing new characters, the series also gives us a reunion with returning characters we know and love, especially the beloved and iconic Stanford a delightful role played by the late Willie Garson and his fiery fierce husband Anthony (Mario Cantone) who try to put a fight behind them by embracing and acknowledging how lucky they are to have each other. 

Courtesy of HBO Max

Carrie the former newspaper sex columnist is now a social media connoisseur and professional podcaster. She and Big (Chris Noth) are having a loved-up experience complete with wine, record player, Peloton, and Carrie’s extensive walk-in wardrobe. She’s posting New York fashion onto her Instagram and contributes to a sex and relationships podcast. 

Courtesy of HBO Max

Attorney Miranda is going back to school to become a human rights advocate, Miranda has her own awkward moment at her first day in class and dabbles with alcohol dependency. She’s constantly all over herself not to appear racist. Though she also has to deal with her sexually active son. also returning is Steve Brady, Miranda’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, by whom she becomes pregnant with their son.

Courtesy of HBO Max

Charlotte is still Charlotte in “And Just Like That..” she’s prim and proper with daughters Lily (Cathy Ang) an overachiever and Rose (Alexa Swinton) more rebellious and failing to conform with her mothers brand of femininity. She’s also examining the last decade and a half of leaning into motherhood. 

Courtesy of HBO Max

The show still features its iconic humour and this new chapter certainly has potential to explore the next chapter of their lives which I can’t wait to see. After the first two episodes, just like that my heart is broken!.

“And Just Like That…” is now streaming on HBO MAX, Now and airing on Sky Comedy!

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Adventure

Lightyear – Official Teaser | Starring Chris Evans

Lightyear is an upcoming American 3D computer animated film produced by Pixar set to be released on June 17, 2022. The film is a spin-off of the Toy Story franchise. It will be Pixar’s 26th animated feature.

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Genre:

Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Release Date:

June 17, 2022

Director:

Angus McLane

Cast:

Chris Evans (Voice)

Plot Summary:

The story of Buzz Lightyear and his adventures to infinity and beyond.

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