Special Correspondents: This Really Is Fake News.


DIRECTED BY: Ricky Gervais

STARRING: Ricky Gervais, Eric Bana, Vera Farmiga, Kevin Pollak, Kelly Macdonald, Benjamin Bratt, America Ferrera, Raúl Castillo

GENRE: Satirical Comedy

YEAR: 2016

COUNTRY: United States, United Kingdom, Canada

News radio journalist Frank Bonneville (Eric Bana) enters a murder scene posing as a cop. After getting the details of the crime, he is removed from the premises and, immediately after, reports the story live on the radio. When he returns to the station, Frank is applauded by colleagues on getting the story before any other press, but his boss Geoffrey Mallard (Kevin Pollak) warns that if he breaks the law one more time, he’ll be fired.

That night, Frank’s sound technician Ian Finch (Ricky Gervais) takes his wife Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) to the station’s annual ball but has to leave for a stake-out with co-worker Claire Maddox (Kelly Macdonald). Eleanor then meets Frank, who sleeps with her, unaware she is married to Finch. The following day, Mallard puts Frank on a story about an uprising in Ecuador and assigns Finch to accompany him. However, Finch tells Frank he can’t go as Eleanor has left him. He also says he’s written a letter, begging her not to end their marriage.

Totally in Ecuador…we swear.

Since fake news or the struggle to find credible news is all the rage these days I decided to this was the perfect time for our Special Correspondents. Written and directed by Ricky Gervais, this “Netflix Original” has hilarious bullshit all the way down to the core. The main cast of Eric Bana, Ricky Gervais, and Vera Farmiga completely embody their characters providing plenty of expert chemistry (or lack thereof). Vera Farmiga’s character is by far the best one, as she steals most of her scenes just as she stole America’s hearts. Also, as the film’s premise is rather clunky to begin with, Gervais is able to turn it into comedy bronze.

Beyond the characters though, Special Correspondents is nothing more than a modest B-rated comedy. While there are some geniunely funny moments, the film is as trope-filled as any English comedy can be. However, this seems obviously done on purpose, a they cast plays to their strengths. Unfortunately, if you don’t like English humor, you might as well chuck this one deep into your queue for another day.


  • Main cast performance.
  • Supporting cast performance.
  • Character design.


  • Over the top British humor.
  • Trope-filled to the brim.
  • Clunky premise.

SCORE: 6.0 / 10

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The Judge: Homicide vs Cancer

Hello everybody! For this week’s new movie show, we have The Judge.



DIRECTOR: David Dobkin

STARRING: Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Billy Bob Thornton

GENRE: Drama

YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY: United States

Hank Palmer is a successful defense attorney in Chicago, who is getting a divorce. When His brother calls with the news that their mother has died, Hank returns to his childhood home to attend the funeral. Despite the brittle bond between Hank and the Judge, Hank must come to his father’s aid and defend him in court. Here, Hank discovers the truth behind the case, which binds together the dysfunctional family and reveals the struggles and secrecy of the family.


I went into the Judge believing that I was ready to sit down for a great film. What I saw was far less than spectacular. What can I do though? Robert Downy Jr. was great as the estranged son, it reminded me of many of his earlier roles. His character relationships with Robert Di Nero and the rest of his brothers was superb as well. I did like Billy Bob Thornton as opposing counsel, as the personal and professional relationship between Downy and Thornton make them perfect rivals.


Overall I decided that The Judge was a disappointment. I went into the film expecting to be blown away with the sheer amount of acting talent packed into the film, but I was let down. This is what happens when my expectations are too damn high during my first viewing. Robert Di Nero and Billy Bob Thornton disappointed me the most, as I felt their performances could have been much better. The film was quite lengthy as well, it could have been easily cut by at least 30 minutes. Don’t expect to find anything spectacular about the courtroom scenes either, as the scenes fall under the majority of courtroom tropes. But I digress.


  •  Robert Downy Jr. performance.
  • RDJ nostalgia.
  • Character relationships.
  • Thornton vs RDJ


  •  Supporting cast performances.
  • Film length
  • Courtroom tropes.

SCORE: 6.0 / 10

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Bates Motel: Norman Bates, The Teenage Years

Hello everybody! Today we have the prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the tv series Bates Motel.



DIRECTOR: Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin, Anthony Cipriano

STARRING: Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nicola Peltz, Nestor Carbonell


YEAR: 2013-2014

GENRE: Drama, Thriller, Suspense

COUNTRY: United States

The first season follows Norman and Norma Bates when they buy a motel shortly after Norman’s father dies. On one of the first nights of the two owning the motel, things end badly when the former owner breaks in and rapes Norma. A returning Norman knocks the attacker out and Norma then kills him, and they decide to hide the body in a lake. When the town sheriff and his deputy notice that a man has gone missing, Norma and Norman must keep them from digging too far.

The second season follows the aftermath of Norman Bates and the mystery of the death of his teacher Miss Watson and her past secrets being revealed. Meanwhile, his mother Norma struggles to keep the motel open with the impending bypass about to be open just miles away, and his older half-brother Dylan deals with a disturbing discovery about his true parentage.


The Norma-Norman relationship isn’t the show’s only deviation from its source, or sources; Bates Motel is mostly deviations, really. It’s set in the present. Norman has an older, tougher half-brother named Dylan Massett (Max Thierrot) — his mom’s son from a previous marriage — who gets involved in the local underworld while needling Norma for being a rotten parent. There are hints that Norma’s a femme fatale/black widow with more than one brutal crime in her past. Everyone uses a cell phone and communicates via text message, and in one sequence, Norman uses his phone’s camera light as a flashlight to navigate a dark house.


I’m torn between condemning the series for piggybacking on a classic and promising an origin story it doesn’t really care to deliver, and praising it for avoiding the homicidal Muppet Babies formula and pulling a pretty brazen bait-and-switch. More the latter, I suppose — for now, anyway. Bates Motel is tangentially connected to Robert Bloch, Alfred Hitchcock, and Psycho; like Norma Bates, it has kept its married name while pursuing its own identity and agenda. It’s as much Norma’s show as Norman’s. Their relationship — which often suggests age-imbalanced, platonic spouses rather than mother-son — is the tale’s misshapen center of gravity.


  •  Norma-Norman relationship.
  • Main cast performances.
  • Themes.
  • Tone.


  •  Strong deviation from source material.
  • Not much of an origin story.
  • Supporting cast performances.

SCORE: 7.2 / 10

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