June 15th, 2020

Love Life is a new series on Crave from HBO starring Anna Kendrick.   On it’s face it appears to be yet another Friends-like sitcom with a laugh track being a half step above reality TV with dating shows/train wrecks.   That was my anticipation going in.  It is 10 episodes, but these are not an hour long (it’s closer to half an hour).   So your investment in time isn’t that intense.   Each episode focuses on a relationship that the Anna character (Darby) has at the time.   It follows along chronically with some gaps between episodes.   There is some flashback, and actually I felt that the flashback became the emotional anchor to the season.   The viewer gets to better understand Darby and her past.  Without giving anything away, the high school Darby was an interesting person, who has more depth than one would expect.  Then there are episodes which focus on her friends or family rather than romantic relationships.  In summary it was unexpected, and I enjoyed going on this journey with her.   Ultimately this becomes about her relationships but the other episodes build upon her and reflect on those relationships and her friends.   She grows.   She becomes more secure and advances in her career, one which is important to her, and she kind of falls into it.   It apparently has been announced that there will be a Season 2.  That is an interesting development.  The direction in how it would go to be determined.   As I remember back to the beginning of When Harry Met Sally (one of the best relationship movies – also in NYC) they had the vignettes with the older couples talking about how they met.  It shows that everyone has a story.  Everyone.  Think of your family and friends and you will realize that each of them has a story to tell about how they met their spouse (or how it didn’t work out).   There are some episodes worthy of a conversation afterwards.

On Disney +, they are pushing out a new movie starring another young hero who has to find a way to save the world, like Ender’s Game, or The Last Starfighter or many others in the genre.   Here there is an impressive cast, with Dame Judi Dench and Colin Ferrell.   Kenneth Branagh directs.    The setting is Ireland, which is called a “magical place”, and sets the tone for a fantasy that seems to borrow a bit from Harry Potter as well as Maleficent in a way.  I like the scenes in Ireland.   Basically Colin Ferrell is a father with a mysterious job, who spends a great deal of time away from his only son.   Mom, of course, is passed (what is a Disney story without parental death – think about it).   But younger Artemis is very bright is an independent sort.  He is causing some trouble with his teachers.   He has been well versed on the Irish fairy tales, but there is an undercurrent that he should be believing them.   Dad disappears.   Artemis then needs to fix a problem.   There is a clash among worlds as the problem to be solved unravels.  Alliances are made.   The bad people are identified.  Sadly near the end of the 90 mins, the viewer realizes that this is an introduction.   I don’t think I give much away by saying that.  I was disappointed.    So there is more to come with the oh-so-cute young stars, who act smarter than they likely are.   We adults should be so thankful that they are around.  The comedy relief is an over-sized dwarf who resembles a young, overly bearded Jack Black.   He channels that vibe well anyway.   Do I want to watch more?  Do I need to see where this leads?   Unknown.    But you can judge for yourself whether this new Disney product might be for you.   Said differently, I wouldn’t pay for Disney + solely to watch this.  I originally purchased Disney + for The Mandalorian.   I enjoyed that, but I am a Star Wars guy and have been since the original back in 1977.  As a sidenote, I laughed when I saw one character who looked like one of the members of the disgraced group Milli Vanilli…you’ll know who I mean when you see him.