FROM ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION
FOR RELEASE: AT WILL DATED: 5/19/2021
SERIES REVIEW by Richard Roeper
A seven-part sequence accessible Friday on Amazon Prime Video.
The widespread theme of human isolation runs via all seven episodes of the Amazon anthology sequence “Solos,” and the finale contains references to among the characters from earlier installments — however every story from showrunner David Weil is a stand-alone miniature movie, and a few are simpler than others, so we’ll overview accordingly.
Morgan Freeman is the offscreen narrator who introduces the primary six episodes earlier than starring within the nearer. He introduces every episode with a cryptic and existential query, e.g., “If you happen to traveled to the longer term, may you escape your previous?” and “How far would you journey to search out your self?” and “Who decides who belongs on the planet?” You may virtually see the ghost of Rod Serling of “The Twilight Zone” within the nook, cupping a cigarette and nodding his approval.
— Within the Zach Braff-directed “Leah,” Anne Hathaway activates the emotional spigot with such fury it makes her Oscar-winning flip in “Les Miserables” appear understated. Hathaway — a high quality actress who does hit some resonant notes right here — performs a genius-level physicist in her 30s who actually lives in Mother’s basement and is surrounded by glowing and rumbling gadgets that add as much as one huge time machine, which Leah has been attempting to good for years and years. Out of the blue, Leah comes nose to nose together with her future — and together with her previous, giving us three Anne Hathaways interacting with each other, and alas, two of them are extra irritating than three-dimensional. Additionally, utilizing John Denver’s cornpone ballad “Again House Once more” in a key second is a serious misstep. Ranking: Two and a half stars.
— We get one other actor-plays-against-the-same-actor gimmick in “Tom,” with Anthony Mackie as a profitable man with a beautiful spouse and nice children who learns he is working out of time — so he pays for a alternative, who appears similar to Tom and sounds similar to Tom and has downloaded all of Tom’s experiences and is now doing a meet-and-greet with Tom. (The “Solos” prolonged universe exists in a comparatively close to future, the place there have been vital advances in science, and the smartphones are even spiffier than in the present day’s smartphones.) Mackie turns in a high quality twin efficiency, with the true Tom displaying far more urgency and emotion than his alternative, however there’s an excessive amount of unexplained, too many questions unanswered. The entire thought of a Tom 2.0 is rarely fleshed out, leaving us with an incomplete storyline. Ranking: Two stars.
— The one performer we see in “Peg” is Helen Mirren in a snazzy pink spacesuit, and who’s not up for that? This can be a melancholy gem a few 71-year-old girl who at all times has been afraid to take possibilities in life and decides on a whim to enroll in an experiment during which people are despatched to the deepest reaches of outer house — and it is a one-way journey. Now THAT’S switching gears. Peg generally converses with an unseen A.I. entity who seems like a extra benevolent model of HAL 9000 from “2001: A Area Odyssey,” however this might nicely be a one-woman stage present, with Mirren alternately enjoying charming, humorous, contemplative and desperately unhappy as Peg displays on possibilities not taken and alternatives misplaced. Ranking: Three stars.
— Almost the entire tales in “Solos” really feel like they may very well be going down throughout an outbreak — and within the case of “Sasha,” we’re really in a post-pandemic world, some 20 years after a globally transmitted virus despatched all the planet indoors. It is lengthy been secure to return to normalcy, however Sasha has change into paranoid and believes the sensible system put in in her home is attempting to trick her into leaving. Uzo Aduba turns in shifting and efficient work as a girl who has disconnected from actuality and reduce off communications together with her family members and is now in a panic as a result of her solely pal, the artificially clever voice in the home, says “he is” leaving as a result of this system is over and it is time for her to stay her life — a prospect that completely terrifies her. Ranking: Three stars.
— Constance Wu has uniquely subversive comedic timing, and she or he places it to nice use within the wickedly humorous after which stunningly tragic “Jenny,” during which the title character is absolutely and actually drunk and goes off on an epic tangent that begins off bawdy, turns humorous after which spirals into one thing so darkish it is practically insufferable — for Jenny and for us. That is arguably the best efficiency of Wu’s profession. Ranking: Three and a half stars.
— My solely grievance concerning the masterful “Nera” is it’s miles too quick at just below 20 minutes, as we’ve all of the makings of a horror basic within the custom of “Get Out” and “Us.” Tiffany Johnson directs with exact depth and professional timing, Stacy Osei-Kuffour delivers a razor-sharp script and Nicole Beharie is mesmerizingly good as Nera, who has taken benefit of a near-future fertility remedy to change into pregnant and is about to offer start to her first youngster. Couple of issues: There is a winter storm raging exterior Nera’s cabin so she’s gonna have to do that on her personal, and her physician warned of the slight chance Nera’s youngster would expertise radically accelerated development and maturation — kind of like a linear Benjamin Button, solely with survival instincts that would flip him in opposition to Mother, and we’ll say not more than that. Nera goes from elated to terrified to … one thing else as she processes the freakish occurrences transpiring over the course of 1 lengthy and stormy night time. Ranking: 4 stars.
— Equally highly effective is the finale, “Stuart,” during which we lastly get to fulfill the person who has served as our narrator/tour information: Morgan Freeman’s Stuart, who’s within the remaining phases of dementia and appears destined to stay out his days in a memory-free fog, till a younger man named Otto (Dan Stevens) exhibits up with black market reminiscence implants that would deliver every thing — EVERYTHING — flooding again to Stuart. As that occurs, we’re saved guessing as to Otto’s true motives till the very finish. What transpires after that’s concurrently brutal and delightful. Ranking: 4 stars.
(EDITORS: For editorial questions, contact Josh Peres, jperes(at)amuniversal.com.)
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