A Series of Unfortunate Events – Episodes 3 + 4 Review

Following on from the vein of the first two episodes, Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events tells a familiar story whilst expanding the lore beyond that of what we would otherwise have known at this point in both the books and the 2004 film.

Once again the acting is fine, however, it must be noted that Neil Patrick Harris (Count Olaf) definitely puts in a better showing during the time that he is allowed to interact with Aasif Mandvi who is introduced to the series to play Uncle Monty. The highlight of which comes in two different scenes, one where Patrick Harris is allowed to momentarily break the fourth wall, and the second comes during some interplay with Aasif Mandvi in a cinema screen.

Aasif Mandvi himself is fine as Uncle Monty, he is definitely a strong enough character that his inclusion feels warranted and impactful enough to keep the story moving along. However, I do not feel that we grow attached enough over the two episodes to have the required emotional reactions that the show may ask of you.

With that being said, and taking into consideration the show’s insistence on giving us a peek behind the curtain, so to speak, of what is going on with the Baudelaire parents and the secret organisation that they belong to, it feels as though the show is in a rush to get through the first few books worth of story as quickly as possible. It is understandable, given that the 2004 film is still relatively fresh in the memories of many people and covered the first 3 books, that this new series would want to move ahead of that at a relatively quick pace. But the consequence of that is that the series is beginning to feel as though it is rushing us towards an end game whereby nothing that we are seeing now is of consequence.

However, being 4 episodes in we are only half way through the series and it is entirely possible that the second half of this season could slow down and allow us to really attach to characters that we meet along the way. Or perhaps it will continue to be a four horse show, only time will tell on that front.

But for the most part, these two episodes were certainly more enjoyable that the first pair. The only major negative being that whilst Count Olaf is shining, his crew are beginning to become more annoying than they are funny.

Final Score 7/10

By Mitch Adams


A Series of Unfortunate Events – Episodes 1 + 2 Review

Much like the books that it is based on Netflix’s new original series “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is going to be one that massively divides opinion. By keeping close to the books in many aspects, the show is overly quirky, but it is done in a very self-aware manner which will come across as endearing to some, but annoying to others.

The first two episodes set up the short series well and are effectively the launch pad of what is to come through the remaining six episodes, setting up a number of storylines and character arcs along the way. Whilst this review shall remain non-spoiler, it is worth noting that there is a major twist in the first two episodes that majorly deviates from the direction taken in the books. Whether this is to differentiate it from the 2004 film of the same name or to simply expand upon the material already given in the books (Which is also executed earlier than it would otherwise have been in its literature form) is unclear.

The advertising of the series was mainly focussed on the performance of Neil Patrick-Harris as Count Olaf, and this was a smart thing to do, Patrick Harris is the biggest name in the show but he is also the stand out star of the first few episodes. However, Patrick Warburton who portrays the titular Lemony Snicket also deserves credit for delivering a very admirable performance in such a limited on-screen role. Besides the two mentioned, no character stands out from the rest of the crowd in the first two episodes. With that being said, no one is bad in these episodes, they are perhaps just let down by the fact that they have nothing of significance to sink their teeth into.

There are times that the special effects severely let the show down, even as early as the first time we are introduced to the protagonist orphans. Whilst this does detract from the show, if you are able to look past it then there is really nothing else production wise that requires specifically being mentioned as a negative.

Netflix clearly has ideas to turn this into a multi-season series, as with only six episodes left do not expect this season to go any further than the 2004 film did storyline wise (Except for where the series has deviated from the path laid out in the books).

So whilst the new Netflix Original has started out by telling a familiar story, for the most part, it is done well (Again, for the most part) and succeeds in setting up the mysteries and storylines moving forward.

We suggest that you definitely check out the first two episodes of this season, but if they fail to grab your attention then don’t proceed any further as the show is unlikely to do anything significant beyond what you have already seen that would change your mind.

Final score – 6.5/10

By Mitch Adams

Oscars 2017

The beauty of the Oscars is the fact that it is at the very end of the awards season, therefore critics and fans alike already have some idea of who will be nominated and more importantly, who will win.

After the Golden Globes that have just taken place, La La Land (Lionsgate) is looking like the front-runner for a number of awards this year. The film picked up seven awards on the night of the Golden Globes, including Best Film, Actor (Ryan Gosling) and Actress (Emma Stone) in the Comedy and Musical category. The film has been called a love letter to Hollywood with the writing and direction being described as ‘mesmerising’ and is likely to do very well at The Academy Awards for its cinematic experience that can delight an audience.

Another film that has been tipped for success has been Manchester by the Sea (Amazon), this film arguably has much more drama and emotion compared to La La Land. Starring Casey Affleck, the film has been praised for its emotional appeal to the audience as the character Lee is named the legal guardian of his older brothers son after his death. Jumping from the present to the past, we the see the struggle of the characters and the moving story focusing on recovery and redemption.

Similarly to Manchester by the Sea, there have been films this year that have the emotional appeal to the audience, which could lead them to glory. However, a persistent issue that raises its head in Hollywood every year may overshadow this. The nominations for the BAFTA’s have just been announced and once again award ceremonies have been criticised for white actors dominating major awards. With that being said, two films this year could certainly buck that trend at the Oscars. Lion is an emotional rollercoaster of a film that depicts a adopted man looking for his real family using Google Earth. The film has been called visually stunning with superb acting from Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. Also the film Hidden Figures has thought to be contender this year. Based on a true story, a team of African- American women provide NASA with mathematical data to launch the first successful space mission. The film has been called an inspiration to young people to never give up on their dreams. Both films could well be considered for the main prizes this year, however it is hard to tell so far as they have not dominated the nominations for other awards.

The last thing I would like to touch on is the accomplishments of an individual, rather than Hollywood as a whole. Critics can be known to favour certain stars above others, so could this year be the year we see Meryl Streep nominated for her twentieth academy award nomination? As a favourite for the awards over the years, Streep could again be tipped for glory for her film Florence Foster Jenkins about a New York heiress desperate to play at Carnegie Hall. Even though the film has been snubbed in the awards season so far, I wouldn’t count it out of the Oscars just yet.

What are your predictions for the 2017 Oscar nominations? Let us know by posting a comment here or going to our Twitter and tweeting us.

By Sophie Banham

Full list of 2017 BAFTA nominations

The Golden Globes are behind us and now all eyes turn towards the British Academy of Film and Television Awards on February 12th. La La Land leads the way with 11 nominations, but sci-fi flick Arrival starring Amy Adams and Nocturnal Animals follow closely with 9 nominations each.

The full list of nominations:

La La Land is nominated for Best Film, Original Music, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design and Sound.  Damien Chazelle is nominated for both Director and Original Screenplay and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone for Leading Actor and Leading Actress.

Arrival receives nominations for Best FilmAdapted ScreenplayOriginal MusicCinematography, Editing, Sound and Special Visual Effects, as well as Director for Denis Villeneuve and Leading Actress for Amy Adams.

Nocturnal Animals is nominated for Leading Actor for Jake Gyllenhaal, and for Supporting Actor for Aaron Taylor-Johnson. The film is also nominated for Original Music, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design and Make Up & HairTom Ford is nominated for both Director and Adapted Screenplay.

Manchester by the Sea is nominated for Best Film and EditingKenneth Lonergan is nominated for both Director and Original ScreenplayCasey Affleck is nominated for Leading Actor and Michelle Williams for Supporting Actress.

Ken Loach is nominated for Director for I, Daniel Blake, which is also nominated for Best FilmOutstanding British Film, Original Screenplay and Supporting Actress for Hayley Squires.

Moonlight is nominated for Best Film and Original Screenplay with two further nominations for Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris who are nominated for Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress respectively.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is nominated for Outstanding British Film, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound and Special Visual Effects.

Andrew Garfield is nominated for Leading Actor for Hacksaw Ridge, which is also nominated for Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Make Up & Hair and Sound.

Lion is nominated for Adapted Screenplay, Original Music and CinematographyDev Patel and Nicole Kidman are nominated for Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress respectively.

Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant are nominated for Leading Actress and Supporting Actor for their roles in Florence Foster Jenkins. The film is also nominated for Costume Designand Make Up & Hair.

Jeff Bridges is nominated for Supporting Actor for Hell or High Water, which is also nominated for Original Screenplay and CinematographyNatalie Portman is nominated for Leading Actress for Jackie, which is also nominated for Original Music and Costume Design.

Also receiving acting nominations are: Viggo Mortensen for Leading Actor for Captain FantasticEmily Blunt for Leading Actress for The Girl on the Train; and Viola Davis for Supporting Actress for Fences.

The four films nominated for Animated Film are Finding Dory, Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana and Zootropolis. The nominations for Film Not in the English Language are Dheepan, Julieta, Mustang, Son of Saul and Toni Erdmann.

Notes on Blindness is nominated for Documentary and Outstanding British Film. The film also receives a nomination for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for Pete Middleton (Writer/Director/Producer), James Spinney(Writer/Director), and Jo-Jo Ellison (Producer).

The other nominations in the Documentary category are 13th, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, The Eagle Huntress and Weiner.

Under the Shadow receives a nomination for Outstanding British Film, as well as for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for Babak Anvari (Writer/Director) alongside the film’s producers Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill and Lucan Toh.

The other nominations for Outstanding British Film are American Honey and Denial.

The remaining nominations for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer are The Girl With All the Gifts (Mike Carey, Writer, Camille Gatin, Producer), The Hard Stop (George Amponsah, Writer/Director/Producer, Dionne Walker, Writer/Producer) and The Pass (John Donnelly, Writer, Ben Williams, Director).

Doctor Strange receives nominations for Production Design, Make Up & Hair and Special Visual EffectsRogue One: A Star Wars Story is nominated for Make Up & Hair and Special Visual Effects.

Five other feature films receive one nomination each: Hidden Figures for Adapted ScreenplayHail, Caesar! for Production DesignAllied for Costume DesignDeepwater Horizon for Sound and The Jungle Book for Special Visual Effects.

The British Short Animation nominees are The Alan Dimension, A Love Story and Tough. The five nominations for British Short Film are Consumed, Home, Mouth of Hell, The Party and Standby.

The nominees for the EE Rising Star Award, announced last week, are Anya Taylor-Joy, Laia Costa, Lucas Hedges, Ruth Negga and Tom Holland. This audience award is voted for by the British public and presented to an actress or actor who has demonstrated exceptional talent and has begun to capture the imagination of the UK public.

Source: BAFTA

Be sure to follow @WeAreNiche on Twitter as we will be following the BAFTAs live on the night of the 12th, bringing you the winners of each award as soon as they are announced.