Roar

Sorry, yet another review of something on a pay stream, but just like Severance, this weird little gem is well worth the money – from what I’ve seen so far anyway.

Roar is a series of eight films, based on the story collection of the same name by Ceclia Ahern.
Each story touches upon issues such as gender, race, illness – pretty much a metaphor for modern living, which probably explains why the whole series is heavy on metaphors.

I haven’t gone through the whole series yet, but so far, so good:

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Severance

If you haven’t seen Severance yet, then you should. The first season (running on Apple TV+) has just finished, and the whole thing has been absolutely bonkers.

I mean, from the strangely disturbing opening credits, you know you’re in for something seriously weird.

The premise is deceptively simple; Severance tells the story of a small group of individuals who, in order to work for the dystopian Lumon Corporation, have agreed to be ‘severed’. What does this mean? Okay hang the hell on … The employees have a chip inserted into their brains which prevents them accessing their home life memories while they’re at work, and their work memories when they’re back at home.

Ideal for Lumon: the staff have no idea what they do for a living when they’re not at work, and when they are at work, they’re not distracted by problems at home. Sounds almost too simple to run a whole TV series around, but the genius of it hits you when you realise that what you have is two separate people living in the same body, and as your memories are part of who you are, then these people can become completely different over time. And as far as the ‘Innie’ (the person actually at work) is concerned, their whole existence is in the office. They get in the elevator to go home, but they don’t go home: as far as they can tell, the elevator doors open and they’re still in the office. That’s when it hits you how inhuman it is; people are being exploited with no escape, and when their ‘outie’ leave the company, they simple cease to exist … or did they ever exist in the first place?

As I said, it is bonkers, a dark comedy, thriller and dystopian science fiction all rolled into one. The script is witty and sardonic, the acting is brilliant; it’s worth seeing for the sheer novelty, and for Patricia Arquette’s mad portrayal of the department boss.

Yeah, it’s on AppleTV+, but it’s worth taking out the sub for the month to binge it.

Soul

This one comes from the Pixar Studios, which as far as I can remember, has never put a foot wrong. The film was supposed to be out last summer, but suffered the same fate as a lot of movies set for a June outing: faced with the prospect of empty cinemas, the studios delayed the release, hoping that the pandemic would be sorted by Christmas.

Well, for the UK and the US . . . not even close. So with no end in sight, the studios have three options:

  1. Keep delaying the film until audiences can return to the picture houses, and hope they’re still interested in seeing it. (No Time to Die)
  2. Release to the cinemas anyway and hope enough people are willing to risk infection to see it. (Wonder Woman 1984)
  3. Release it to a streaming service and see if it attracts new customers.

Pixar went for option number 3 (which they can do since they can stream on Disney+), and frankly, they deserve to have the gamble pay off.

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