Streaming Movie Recap: October 2019

We are already a few days into November, but before getting too wrapped up in the onslaught of holiday movies, I wanted to take a minute to review a few films released on streaming services in October:

Aaron Paul reprises his role as Jesse Pinkman in “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie”

EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE (NETFLIX)

If you were a fan of the series “Breaking Bad,” then you’ll likely love the nostalgic value offered by “El Camino,” an epilogue to the show written and directed by series creator Vince Gilligan.  Despite its two hour runtime, “El Camino” feels less like a feature film and more like an extended episode of the show.  But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Gilligan allows the story, which follows Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) as he goes on the run directly after the events of the series finale, to unfold at its own pace.  Despite some moments of action, the film is largely fueled by both tension and reflection.  This movie is filled with every cameo imaginable, but Paul proves with his emotional performance that Jesse—who in the show was typically more of a supporting player in relation to Bryan Cranston’s Walter White—can more than hold a story on his own.  This movie doesn’t need to exist by any means—the series was perfect, and ended perfectly—but it’s a fun and emotional ride for fans of the show, while also giving Jesse his moment.  Runtime: 122 minutes. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Lupita Nyong’o fights off a zombie horde in “Little Monsters”

LITTLE MONSTERS (HULU)

Just when you think the zombie movie genre has exhausted every trope imaginable, something a little different comes along.  This time, that something different is “Little Monsters,” a horror comedy written and directed by Abe Forsythe.  The film set in Australia follows Dave, a washed up musician living with his sister and young nephew Felix after a disastrous breakup with his girlfriend.  The movie, like Dave, starts out rough—Dave, played by Alexander England, is too much of an egotistical loser for us to like or even pity him.  But things look up when Lupita Nyong’o appears.  She plays Miss Caroline, Felix’s cheerful kindergarten teacher who Dave immediately develops a crush on and decides to volunteer on the school field trip to spend time with her.  But a zombie outbreak occurs while the class is at a farm, forcing Dave and Miss Caroline to fight, protect the children, and reflect on their past mistakes.  There are some sweet moments of character development later in the film, especially courtesy of the kids, who provide an amusing contrast to the violent zombie action surrounding them.  There is also a humorous appearance from a vulgar Josh Gad as children’s TV show host Teddy McGiggle.  A lot of the humor falls flat or feels awkward, but there are enough winning moments in this movie to make it worth checking out—even if it seems at times like the film wouldn’t be as watchable if it wasn’t for Lupita’s ukulele-wielding teacher.  Runtime: 93 minutes.  Rated R.  3 out of 5 stars.

Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) and his crew in “Dolemite Is My Name”

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (NETFLIX)

I wrote a full review of “Dolemite Is My Name,” which you can check out here.  But suffice it to say that this movie, which chronicles the rise to fame of comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) and the making of his first movie, “Dolemite,” is a joy to watch, serving as both a well-crafted and wonderfully acted ode to a creative genius.  This is Murphy’s first film appearance in three years, and it’s one of his best ever.

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