BY ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION
For publication: At will: May 19, 2021
SERIES REVIEW by Richard Roeper
A seven-part series available on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.
The common theme of human isolation runs through all seven episodes of the Amazon anthology series “Solos,” and the finale contains references to some of the characters from previous episodes – but each story by showrunner David Weil is a miniature film in its own right. and some are more effective than others so we will review them accordingly.
Morgan Freeman is the off-screen narrator who introduces the first six episodes before starring. He introduces each episode with a cryptic and existential question, e.g. B. “If you were to travel into the future, could you escape your past?” and “How far would you travel to find yourself?” and “Who decides who belongs in the world?” You can almost see the ghost of Rod Serling from “The Twilight Zone” in the corner, taking a cigarette and nodding in agreement.
– In “Leah”, directed by Zach Braff, Anne Hathaway turns the emotional tap on with such anger that her Oscar-winning twist on “Les Miserables” seems an understatement. Hathaway – a good actress who hits some resonant notes here – plays a brilliant physicist in her thirties who literally lives in Mommy’s basement and is surrounded by glowing and rumbling devices that make a great time machine that Leah has tried for years perfect myself. Suddenly Leah is faced with her future – and her past that gives us three Anne Hathaways interacting with each other, and unfortunately two of them are more irritating than three dimensional. The use of John Denver’s cornpone ballad “Back Home Again” at a key moment is also a major misstep. Rating: Two and a half stars.
– We get another gimmick in “Tom” where actors play against the same actor, with Anthony Mackie as a successful man with a wonderful wife and great kids who learns he’s running out of time – so he pays for a replacement, who looks just like Tom and sounds just like Tom and downloaded all of Tom’s experiences and is now doing a meet and greet with Tom. (The expanded universe “Solos” exists in the relatively near future, where there has been significant advances in science and smartphones are even fancier than today’s smartphones.) Mackie does a good double job, with the real Tom being much more urgent and emotions than its substitute, but there are too many unanswered, too many unanswered questions. The whole idea of a Tom 2.0 is never concretized, so we have an incomplete plot. Rating: two stars.
– The only actress we see on “Peg” is Helen Mirren in a fancy red spacesuit, and who’s not ready for it? This is a melancholy gem about a 71-year-old woman who has always been afraid of taking risks in life and who on a whim chooses an experiment that sends individuals into the deepest reaches of space – and it is a one way trip. Now that shifts the gears. Peg sometimes converses with an invisible AI entity that sounds like a more benevolent version of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but this could well be a stage show with a woman where Mirren takes turns being charming, funny, contemplative and Desperate plays sad as Peg ponders missed opportunities and missed opportunities. Rating: three stars.
– Almost all of the stories in “Solos” feel that they could take place during an outbreak – and in the case of “Sasha” we are actually in a post-pandemic world, some two decades after a global transmission virus sent the entire planet inside . Returning to normal has long been safe, but Sasha has become paranoid and believes that the smart device installed in her house is trying to trick her into leaving. Uzo Aduba works movingly and effectively as a woman who has broken away from reality and cut communication with loved ones and is now in a panic because her only friend, the artificially intelligent voice in the house, says “he” leaves because the The program is over and it is time for her to live her life – a prospect that absolutely terrifies her. Rating: three stars.
– Constance Wu has uniquely subversive comedic timing, and she uses it very well for the wickedly funny and then amazingly tragic “Jenny” in which the title character is really and truly drunk and plays an epic tangent that starts bawdy turns funny and then turns into something so dark it’s almost unbearable – for Jenny and for us. This is arguably the best performance of Wu’s career. Rating: three and a half stars.
– My only complaint about the masterful “Nera” is that it is way too short at just under 20 minutes, as we have all the requirements for a horror classic in the tradition of “Get Out” and “Us”. Tiffany Johnson directs with precise intensity and expert timing, Stacy Osei-Kuffour delivers a razor-sharp script, and Nicole Beharie is fascinatingly good like Nera, who has used fertility treatment in the near future to get pregnant and is about to give birth to her first child. A couple of issues: A winter storm is raging outside Nera’s cabin, so she has to do it herself, and her doctor warned of the slim possibility that Nera’s child would experience radically accelerated growth and maturation – much like a linear Benjamin Button just with Survival instincts that might turn him against mom and we won’t say more than that. Nera goes from excited to scared to … something else as she processes the insane events that arise over the course of a long and stormy night. Rating: four stars.
– Equally powerful is the “Stuart” finale in which we finally meet the man who served as our narrator / tour guide: Morgan Freemans Stuart, who is in the terminal stages of dementia and seems destined to live his days in a memoryless fog until a young man named Otto (Dan Stevens) shows up with black market memory implants that could send anything – EVERYTHING – back to Stuart. We keep guessing Otto’s true motives until the end. What happens after that is brutal and beautiful at the same time. Rating: four stars.
(EDITOR: If you have editorial questions, contact Josh Peres, jperes (at) amuniversal.com.)
COPYRIGHT 2021 CHICAGO SUNNDAY
DISTRIBUTED BY ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION
1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500
Sign up for our Kicks & Entertainment newsletter!
Get the latest local entertainment news, restaurant reviews and more straight to your inbox every Thursday.
Contact the reseller of this article, Universal Uclick, for information on copyright information.