Three reviews on must watch content from the Big and Wee Screen for 2022…
The first post from Wandering Through the Shelves for 2023 asked for reviews for new film and TV content from 2022.
This is the first of my 2023 posts for this weekly entertainment-themed challenge from Wandering Through the Shelves. For my one and only January post, the challenge was to pick three to five new releases from last year.
More about this blog’s 2023 blogging challenge is found HERE… and this page also includes the blogger’s second challenge for this month, if you are now keen to join this fun collaboration.
…. welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them.
All my contributions for 2023 are found HERE… and my and others’ contributions for this particular topic are HERE. Please note I will be adding all links to this collaboration as I get them…
Other new releases that I reviewed for this year include Stalker (2022). And the three new releases for 2022 I’ve selected to illustrate this topic are Candy, Pam & Tommy and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
Candy: A Death In Texas
Candy | Trailer | Hulu, Hulu
This television mini-series was retitled Justin Timberlake Investigates by my Darlin Husband after this singer / actor makes a surprise appearance as the Deputy Sheriff, Deffibaugh. It tells of the true story of Candy Montgomery who was accused of murdering her neighbour Betty Gore with an axe using a substantial amount of blows in 1980, in a Texas town.
The five part mini-series tells about the crime from the viewpoint of both women. Candy Montgomery (Jessica Biel), is on appearances a virtuous wife, mother and churchgoer but is revealed to be bored with her life and marriage. Her husband Pat (Timothy Simons) appears to be perfect in every way but he does not get intimate with her after she initiates things in the bedroom.
After her friend’s divorce and on her own initiative, she embarks on an affair with her good friend Betty’s husband, Allan (Pablo Schreiber). The story also tells about Betty’s life, and her friendship with Candy, where she saw Candy as a good friend. In the telling of Betty’s life, it seems Allan was a distant husband who took little interest in her and was often away from home with work. Often alone with a new baby, Betty also had to deal with anger issues from their foster child.
The series tells of the background of this homicide case, by looking at the community the women live in and these women’s unsatisfying relationships with their partners and their family life. The series reenacts events leading up to the crime, the crime, its aftermath and Candy’s trial. Both these women’s stories are both told in a non-judgmental and rounded way, and it also gives a full story of their friendship. It leaves your judgement open til the final episodes of the full events of the day of the murder, and the reasons behind Candy’s actions on that fateful day.
Jessica Biel in the Candy role was physically unrecognisable with a short curly hairstyle and spectacles that a 1980s Michael Caine might own. She was mesmerising in this performance and she was lauded with a nomination for Best Actress in a Streaming Limited or Anthology Series or Movie by the Hollywood Critics Association (HCA) TV Awards. Critic Brian Tallerico, at the Roger Ebert site, also adds HERE,
She imbues Candy with a jittery energy that makes it seem like this woman’s perfect house of cards had to collapse at some point.
Betty was played by the always splendid Melanie Lynskey, who gives a sympathetic and empathetic performance for Betty. Lynskey received a Best Supporting Actress in a Streaming Limited or Anthology Series or Movie from the HCA. Special praise must also go to the costume designers and set decorators for creating the late 1970s and early 1980s ambience.
Interestingly both the leading actresses’ husbands star in this series, as the police officers who investigate Betty’s murder. Another upcoming series has been written about this crime, with Elizabeth Olsen in Candy’s role – but if you want to go retro the crime was first dramatised as a TV Movie in Evidence of Love (1990) with Beaches (1988)’s star, Barbara Hershey in this role.
Pam & Tommy
PAM & TOMMY Trailer (2022), One Media
This 8 part mini-series is loosely based on another true story and is a biopic of the entertainment kind in an odd mix of comic and drama. Clint Worthington at Roger Ebert concurs with this genre description HERE adding that its plot swings,
between searing biopic drama and Coen brothers-esque dark comedy…
It’s a show about a very specific moment in history, where the ‘90s was set to change the world forever with the rise of celebrity gossip mags and the mass reach of the Internet.
This series tells the love story of the one time Playboy model and actress and sex symbol, Pamela Anderson and her husband at the time of this plot, Tommy Lee. This mini series was set between the time of their marriage, in 1995 when their personal sex tape was stolen – albeit unintentionally – by a one-time employee who was out for revenge after he was unpaid for his work by Tommy Lee. It seems it subsequently led to a more poignant story for both those two celebrities. However, it really should have stuck to drama rather than adding those moments where it adds unwanted and unneeded tasteless comedy which distracts from the drama.
The story was based on a 2014 Rolling Stone article telling about the reasons for the stealing of this couple’s sex tape and the aftermath of this act after it was released to the public without Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s consent. This could have made an interesting biopic about this celebrity couple, but instead, at times, it seems to make light of this incident. It also adds how this famous pair met and fell in love and their whirlwind marriage which although interesting, wasn’t relevant and only serves as unnecessary padding.
Lily James as Pamela does add a more credible and empathetic vision of this actress’ experience and life. You do feel Pamela was unnecessarily involved in this “revenge” act. You sympathise with this actress, on learning that it was even made using this one time couple as Pamela Anderson did not want to be involved in the making of this series. In the film, Pamela is seen at her most vulnerable and her role and her part in this series appear to be from another script where this subject was given the gravitas it deserved.
Sebastian Stan as Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee does have both dramatic and comic moments in this adult storyline with both playing their roles in the dramatic times that were possibly caused by Rand’s actions.
The series begins and focuses on the carpenter, Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen) who was working for Lee on his home, It suggests that he often asked for last minute changes in design and had to pay for these out of his own pocket. After Rand walks in on a half-dressed Pamela, he is fired for his work by Lee, is not paid and later returns for his tools. Lee allegedly threatens him with a gun… and keeps the tools. Rand justifies and plans revenge and literally steals the musician’s personal safe. And in the safe, then he finds the sex tape of this famous pair doing the deed on their honeymoon and rather than return it makes it more public.
It is important to stress that Pamela Anderson did not get involved in this production, and watching it is clear this time in her life may have been an unhappy one. Tommy Lee endorsed the series. It does however leave you wondering, especially in relation to these opposing views of those who were chronicled in this biopic, why this series couldn’t have been made as a purely fictional and cautionary tale…
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery | Official Trailer | Netflix, Netflix
In 2019, the all-star murder mystery was homaged at possibly its most comic, with a more currently well-known cast in Knives Out (2019). This film brought a new detective to this genre, in the shape of the Southern, Benoit Blanc. Blanc was played with obviously restrained glee by the man who was James Bond, Daniel Craig. This time the ensemble 1970s neo-noir murder mystery The Last of Sheila (1973) was tributed by the writers of this sequel. But as a sequel, there were similarities in the name and casting of the detective only and with a couple of cameos.
The 2020 plot was set during the early days of the pandemic and has megalomaniac billionaire, Miles Bron (Edward Norton) sending out some mysterious boxes to his friends. These boxes open after completing several natty puzzles and contain a personal invite for each of them. He has invited his friends to join him on his Greek island for a murder mystery-themed event…
Miles Bron is the successful tech company co-founder of Alpha and had previously worked alongside his one-time business partner, Cassandra “Andi” Brand (Janelle Monáe). His invited friends (and those accompanying them) are listed on Wikipedia HERE as,
Alpha head scientist Lionel Toussaint, Connecticut governor Claire Debella, controversial fashion designer Birdie Jay, men’s rights streamer Duke Cody, and Alpha co-founder and ousted ex-CEO Cassandra “Andi” Brand. Famous detective Benoit Blanc also receives an invitation and joins the group, along with Birdie’s assistant Peg and Duke’s girlfriend Whiskey.
It seems that Blanc also received an invite but not from Miles and the host invites him to join them. Blanc immediately shows his detective skills by solving Miles’s murder mystery in record time. Miles boasts that he has created “Klear”, a hydrogen-based alternative fuel to the concerns of a couple of his guests who believe it’s unsafe for use. He also proudly shows off his home, the Glass Onion of the title and his prized car and the Mona Lisa painting which the famous French museum loaned him.
On meeting for drinks, Andi seems to be unpopular in this group of buddies. After she leaves the room, she is implicated as a murderer after Duke dies after drinking Miles’ drink… but did she do it and was this drink meant for Miles or Duke…? Then it’s noted that Duke’s gun has gone missing… as the room plunges into darkness… and there are twists and turns as these characters go literally Knives Out 2…
The cast as before is the all-star calibre kind, and it includes Mother’s Day (2016) actress Kate Hudson and Guardians of the Galaxy II’s (2017) Dave Bautista. However, once I warmed to these new characters, this whodunnit was a good tribute – especially in relation to those flashbacks – and had some unexpected twists and a fabulous tell-all story. I did like that Daniel Craig returned for this second film, and more was told about this enigmatic detective’s home life.
Admittedly at first on seeing this I disliked all the characters, I preferred those dysfunctional Thrombey family members from the first of this film series. I had been hoping for more murder most foul from this first Knives Out cast, and it did take a while to enjoy this plot. It did have some spectacular costumes – especially for Hudson and that always stylish Detective – and set design.
The Last of Sheila is my favourite of the two, and I feel it is a more personal choice due to my love of the 1970s all cast casts and movies. But do keep your eyes peeled, as they will water at those fabulous cameos which you can find on going true detective…
Don’t forget to read the other contributions for this topic on Wandering Through the Shelves link up HERE.
And tune in February for a post on romance blossoming during travelling…
4 thoughts on “FILMS and TV… My Three Fave New Releases for 2022”
Great article Gil! I loved Glass Onion and only just discovered Candy through your write-up on it and the trailer you included, Unfortunately we don’t have Hulu in Australia so hopefully can find it elsewhere – it looks fantastic!
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Jessica Biel is fantastic, and Lynskey is just as fabulous. We had it on the Star channel ( adult add on with Disney plus) over here, you could try there. Hope you manage to track it down its a great series.
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I recently read that apparently Pamela Anderson really dislikes the show – which I found curious because to me it felt very well made and also painted her in a great light. The show did a good job depicting all her struggles, showing her as such a layered and nuanced person, when it could’ve easily just played the dumb blonde angle.
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It was made without her consent and it was a difficult part of her life. The show did show her in a good light, but I can understand her motivations in not seeing it.