The Menu | Little Hope | The Bear, Season One
Lots of food with a side serving of extreme darkness.
- Combining the food and darkness of the two sections below, I watched The Menu and had a really good time with it, although it just failed to nail the landing for me to consider it truly great.
- While it has horror, thriller and darkly comedic elements which are all excellent in their own ways, they end up feeling like meal that has the highest quality ingredients, but with flavours and textures that don't complement each other.
- After watching it, I did seek out what the reaction to it was and saw a lot of people comparing parts of it to Midsommar and Ready or Not and I can see why, although I would say both of those movies are better than The Menu.
- The surrealism of the story does match well to a similar feeling when watching Midsommar, while an innocent young woman (from the antagonists' perspective) having to figure out how to get the hell out of the situation mirrors both movies.
- One piece of advice though for those who, like me, might wonder why Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) are a couple when they don't really seem to like each other: keep watching, a satisfying reason is given.
- I just felt I had to add that because there are too many movies where either the relationships are poorly-written or the stars are completely lacking in chemistry to the point of making you wonder why they're a couple, but there's a very good reason here and I appreciate the movie for making it work.
- As far as the horror elements go, they share a similarity with the black comedy on display, with both most likely leaving you wondering "what the fuck?", although for entirely different reasons!
- The Menu is a fun watch overall, and it's not exactly a long movie either, so doesn't outstay its welcome, but you'll most likely want to watch something more willing to commit to the extremes of the genres of which this movie gives you only light tastings. [7/10]
- Following on from Man of Medan comes The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope, which is such an unwieldy title that I hope it's blatantly obvious I didn't write the full thing out in the title up top.
- Will Poulter is the biggest name in the cast this time, playing one of a group of students trapped in an abandoned town with their professor, as they experience flashes back to the late 1600s and numerous executions as a result of paranoia surrounding witchcraft and devil worship.
- I did enjoy this more than Man of Medan thanks to these switches in timeframes adding some much needed variety, even if this game is mechanically very similar and has an equally lacklustre ending.
- I'll admit that I had seen a playthrough of Little Hope before playing it myself, so decided to try a 'be a dick' run where I deliberately chose the most confrontational dialogue options wherever I could and still managed to keep a couple of characters alive somehow.
- It's still not a particularly great experience to play, but the visuals and sound design are pretty great and there's more than enough material here to deserve going through the game multiple times to see everything if you're enjoying it.
- I do have one recommendation regarding the games look though, and that is to turn up the brightness; there's very little light in the game, and the fog present tends to 'muffle' that too, which can make it hard to follow things at times.
- The ending however, is what really brings Little Hope down for me, with events turning out to be along similar lines to Man of Medan, although it might not be so bad for you if this is your first game in the series. [6/10]
- After watching Uncut Gems and both seasons of The Bear, I really think most Americans, and especially those paid to write about TV/media, have far more comfortable lives than they realise.
- I remember when Uncut Gems was released in the UK and met with pretty much a shrug by British audiences after getting rave reviews and being considered anxiety-inducing or a 'panic attack on film' by Americans, and very much agreeing with the overall British response.
- It's pretty much the same with The Bear's first season, which is incredibly fast-moving, but felt more 'busy' to me than anything else.
- There's a lot going on, especially with a fairly sizeable ensemble cast to get used to in pretty short episodes so it can definitely take some time adjusting, but once I was up to speed it became a fairly easy watch.
- I mean that in terms of pacing though, rather than anything else, as the character progression and how much time has passed in/between each episode seems to change to fit what the plot needs
- The chemistry that the cast has is pretty great and they all feel like genuinely real people, so it's pretty terrific TV watching them all interact with each other, usually at high volume and varying degrees of anger and frustration.
- As a result, each individual episode is pretty great in its own way, but it definitely feels like it wasn't made to be binge-watched like I did, and getting used to the frenetic pace may have taken away from the intended experience.
- The Bear's first season is still great to watch as a binge, but I think it might be best to watch each episode spaced out from each other so you have to get used to the pace each time and maybe feel a little more of the stress the characters are going through that little bit more. [8/10]