Tuesday, November 30, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 39
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
A QUIET PLACE PART II
ANOTHER ROUND
BINGEABLE: 100 FOOT WAVE (2021-)
BINGEABLE: BARRY (2018-)
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG (2016-2019)
BINGEABLE: MAID (2021)
BINGEABLE: MIDNIGHT MASS (2021)
BINGEABLE: ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING (2021)
BINGEABLE: SQUID GAME (2021)
BINGEABLE: SWEET TOOTH
BINGEABLE: TELL ME YOUR SECRETS (2021)
BINGEABLE: THE WAY DOWN (2021)
BINGEABLE: Y: THE LAST MAN (2021)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX (1999)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
BOSS LEVEL
DUNE
ETERNALS
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
GUILTY PLEASURES: GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE
GUILTY PLEASURES: JOLT
GUILTY PLEASURES: TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM (1996)
I CARE A LOT
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
LIMBO
NEW FLICKS: ARMY OF THIEVES
NEW FLICKS: CRUELLA
NEW FLICKS: FINCH
NEW FLICKS: HIGH GROUND
NEW FLICKS: LAND
NEW FLICKS: RED NOTICE
NEW FLICKS: RIDERS OF JUSTICE
NINE DAYS
NINE PERFECT STRANGERS (2021)
NO TIME TO DIE
PIG
SOUL
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM (2019)
THE CARD COUNTER
THE FRENCH DISPATCH
THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER (2020)
THE LAST DUEL
THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS
THE NEW MUTANTS
THE PAPER TIGERS
THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN
THE SUNLIT NIGHT
TV REVIEW: A WILDERNESS OF ERROR (2020)
TV REVIEW: BATES MOTEL
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES (2021)
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON
TV REVIEW: I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE
TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: MARE OF EASTTOWN
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: ONE MISSISSIPPI
TV REVIEW: PAINTING WITH JOHN (2021)
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TABOO
TV REVIEW: TED LASSO (2020-)
TV REVIEW: THE BOYS
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL (2020)
TV REVIEW: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
TV REVIEW: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
TV REVIEW: THE VOW
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WANDAVISION
TV REVIEW: WARRIOR
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS (2005)
UNDERRATED: THE KINGDOM (2007)

‘Nine Perfect’ Strangers weaves a tantalizing New Age mystery

NINE PERFECT STRANGERS (2021)

PHOTO BY , COURTESY OF BLOSSOM FILMS

NINE PERFECT STRANGERS (2021)


Where is it playing?: Hulu

What's it rated?: TV-MA

What's it worth?: $Full price (Anna Starkey)

What's it worth?: $Full price (Glen Starkey)

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Based on Big Little Lies novelist Liane Moriarty’s 2018 novel Nine Perfect Strangers, this new series developed by David E. Kelley and John-Henry Butterworth introduces us to health and wellness guru Masha Dmitrichenko (Nicole Kidman), who runs Tranquillum House, a New Age health and wellness resort that promises healing and transformation after a 10-day stay. However, her nine current stressed-out guests get more than they bargained for as their carefully tailored “health regimens” take on a sinister and perhaps unethical tone. (eight 42- to 55-min. episodes)

Glen: As a mystery, this isn’t quite as engrossing as Big Little Lies, but it’s pretty juicy, and the characters are really interesting and are all hiding secrets. There’s struggling novelist Frances Welty (Melissa McCarthy), whose career and personal life are in shambles. The Marconi family—Napoleon (Michael Shannon), his wife, Heather (Asher Keddie), and daughter, Zoe (Grace Van Patten)—are dealing with a family tragedy. Lars Lee (Luke Evans) has some kind of hidden agenda. Vapid social media influencer Jessica Chandler (Samara Weaving) and her ultrarich husband, Ben (Melvin Gregg), are working through relationship troubles. Carmel Schneider (Regina Hall) is angry because her husband cheated on and abandoned her. Former football star Tony Hogburn (Bobby Cannavale) watched his career disappear with an injury and his family disappear because of his drug use. Not only do they have personal problems, they also all don’t play well with others, and watching the interaction between them is part of the fun. There’s also Yao (Manny Jacinto), Masha’s right-hand man; Delilah (Tiffany Boone), another employee who begins to question Masha’s methods; and Glory (Zoe Terakes), another Tranquillum House employee. Episode by episode, secrets are revealed, tensions mount, and someone is threatening Masha’s life. Who could it be? 

Anna: The isolation of Tranquillum makes it feel like an island, but instead of the relaxing and reinvigorating experience all of the guests showed up for, they soon feel trapped and begin to question Masha’s true intent. Is her unconventional treatment approach sound, or is she playing with fire and putting her guests at risk? We get to know a bit of her backstory and the trauma that caused the scar that runs down the center of her chest. She was shot for reasons unknown, and we also learn that she has had to process the loss of someone near and dear to her as well. Kidman is wonderfully cast as this ethereal being who we soon learn is barely holding all the strings to her peaceful paradise together. The guests soon suspect that Masha may be harboring a secret, and sure enough they are told their morning smoothies aren’t just green juice and fruit. In fact, they have all been micro-dosing psilocybin, with the exception of Zoe Marconi, who is underage, as well as Jessica and Ben, who Masha has a different plan for. It’s pretty engrossing, and watching these interactions and this A-plus cast needle these characters out is pretty fun. We watched week to week, but now that it is all out, I can see this would be a great binge watch.

Glen: The mystery of Masha and her stalker is a bit meandering, and by the time it’s finally revealed, I had an “I knew it” moment, so the payoff isn’t as big as it could be, but the acting is exceptional, especially Shannon and Cannavale. It’s worth watching because the whole cast is committed to portraying these flawed characters, and in the miniseries format, the actors really have the time to fully develop their roles. Obviously, what Masha is doing is shady, and when the guests first find out they’re being dosed, they’re angry, but the results soon have them rethinking their resistance. The idea of using hallucinogens isn’t far-fetched, either. They’ve been effectively used to treat everything from PTSD to alcoholism. Masha is so sure of her treatment, and she has a Svengali-like presence that can manipulate her guests. It’s a pretty engrossing watch but a little bit of a soap opera; however, if you’re looking to escape into a story for seven hours, it’s worth it.

Anna: You’re right—both Shannon and Cannavale are wonderful here, as are McCarthy and Keddie. Things heat up in the last few episodes, and Masha pushes her guests to their breaking points. Moriarty writes tales with a twist, and while this isn’t as engrossing as the adaptation of her book Big Little Lies, it has its own way of hooking the audience. Carmel is a seemingly sweet and quiet woman, but when Lars sets her off over breakfast, we learn that she really has a ton of hatred and anger sitting just below the surface. McCarthy’s Frances is tough on the outside but struggling so much with being catfished by a man she thought she loved and the failure of her latest work. She and Tony get off to a rocky start—he’s moody and mean, and so is she, but soon the two realize that they kind of like that about each other. I think that in reality the twists shock the audience less than the filmmakers wanted, but Kelley and Butterworth know what they’re doing. They pulled off a pretty engrossing eight-part series.

New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Sun Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.










Weekly Poll
What are your Thanksgiving plans this year?

Traveling to be with family.
Staying home to feast with local family/friends (gas is too expensive/we’re not out of the pandemic yet).
Putting up my Christmas lights and tree ASAP.
Asking family to come to us this year.

| Poll Results






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