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Peel the Onion | Squid Game Netflix Review: Predatory Capitalism Laid Bare (Part II)

Written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, Squid Game is a profoundly resonant work that deals with the human psychology of inequality and economic exploitation in capitalist South Korea. The mini-series picks up the threads of the moral convulsions of big-budget dystopian survival dramas like 2000's Japanese movie Battle Royale and The Hunger Games movie franchise. But as razor-sharp modern K-content, it more thematically works as a running accompaniment to 2019's Oscar-winning Parasite, which offered a glimpse into South Korea's raging class divisions.

Peel the Onion | Squid Game Netflix Review: Predatory Capitalism Laid Bare (Part I)

If anything encapsulates the theorem of pop culture as shoo-in for modern political discourse, Squid Game is it. That it happens to be the most-watched Netflix series ever solidifies its status as cultural phenomena nonpareil. 2.1 billion hours of the show have been viewed since its September release. That's roughly 239,700 years of continuous streaming.

Peel the Onion | Duds, Gems, and Masterworks: A Selection of Films from Ridley Scott (Part III)

As a testament to Scott's diversity and mastery over the medium, 2000's Gladiator almost single-handedly revived the swordplay genre from a decades-long Hollywood stupor. Because of this "genre reset," Gladiator today may be seen as a cliche, overshadowing its technical brilliance and brazen entertainment value. A star-making vehicle for relative new Hollywood acolyte Russel Crowe who plays Maximus Decimus Meridius, a fictitious character based on several characters, including Avidius Cassius, a general in Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius' armies.

Peel the Onion | Duds, Gems, and Masterworks: A Selection of Films from Ridley Scott (Part II)

In this epic Rashomon-like retelling of a rape incident from multiple perspectives, Scott poses the question of #metoo and feminism in an age of barbarity and hypocrisy. A rare release by today's standards with a harrowing central scene and a gut-wrenching final duel, one imagines that only someone like Scott could get the budget to do this, and his world-building and set design are flawless and immersive.

Peel the Onion | Duds, Gems, and Masterworks: A Selection of Films from Ridley Scott (Part I)

Only a handful of movie directors can lay claim to the "greatest living director" badge. At 84, Sir Ridley Scott is one of them. Since 1977, he has established himself as a meticulous master technician whose films have left us scenes, characters, and stories that have enriched the world of cinema as much as they have burrowed into our collective consciousness.

Peel the Onion | 'The Last Duel' Review (Part II)

Thankfully, there's no actual narration. But Scott highlights each perspective by presenting different interpretations of the same event— which, when aligned with a character's psychology, alter the objective details in question. In Le Gris's chapter, we see the rape of Marguerite from his perspective; she was playfully resisting him in the way all of Le Gris's seductions go down. She intentionally slipped her shoes off at the bottom of the stairwell; her gasps for air when trapped were guilty whines of encouragement.

Peel the Onion | 'The Last Duel' Review (Part I)

Both divergent personalities lead to different outcomes in status and prosperity. Over several years from Limoges, Carrouges runs afoul of the Count, who has grown to detest him and his allegiance to the King (an inbred Charles VI played by Alex Lawther). All this chips away at their "friendship" — Carrouges sees nothing but honor in his noble actions; Le Gris is tired of defending Carrouge's actions to his paymaster, seeing nothing wrong with his double-crossing provocations.

Peel the Onion | Blown Away by Dune? Six Denis Villeneuve Films You Need to See (Part II)

French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve has quite the filmography and has rightfully received praise for his sci-fi and thriller films. But which among them are his best? With Dune still blowing away audiences, we've come to expect nothing less of the maverick filmmaker. From French indies to sci-fi blockbusters, which among them are his best?

Peel the Onion | Blown Away by Dune? Six Denis Villeneuve Films You Need to See (Part I)

French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve has quite the filmography and has rightfully received praise for his sci-fi and thriller films. But which among them are his best? With Dune still blowing away audiences, we've come to expect nothing less of the maverick filmmaker. From French indies to sci-fi blockbusters, which among them are his best?

Peel the Onion | Dune Movie Review (Part II)

Where David Lynch's Dune plays as a grotesquely intriguing attempt to film the unfilmable with flashes of signature surrealism (and unhealthy amounts of inner monologuing), Denis Villeneuve's Dune is a stoic sci-fi about the triumph of the human spirit. Dune's most valuable asset has always been its phantasmagorical world, which Villeneuve successfully adapts for the big screen.

Peel the Onion | Dune Movie Review (Part I)

Scheduled to hit theaters in December 2020, Denis Villeneuve's remake of Dune finally dropped last month. So far, reviews have been mostly very positive — critics heaving collective sighs that this masterful adaptation to the notoriously botchable source material is faithful and sumptuous in style and execution. We've come to expect nothing less of Villeneuve as a maverick filmmaker, with Dune perhaps cementing his reputation as the sci-fi director of the 21st Century.

Peel the Onion | A visit to a war-torn Afghan village

This article gives a glimpse of the war that took place in the village of ARZO, the war that destroyed a newly rebuilt army base there, the war that ruined a house built 15 years ago by Mr. Sharifi, a villager, the war that crumpled the local boys' school, the war that …

Peel the Onion | James Bond: Daniel Craig's 007 Movies Ranked (Part II)

After fifteen years and five films, Daniel Craig's tenure as James Bond ends with No Time to Die [sad face]. But how do the Craig Bonds rank? Which was best and which were duds? Read on as we climb to the top spot.

Peel the Onion | James Bond: Daniel Craig's 007 Movies Ranked (Part I)

After fifteen years and five films, Daniel Craig's tenure as James Bond ends with No Time to Die [sad face]. Craig's final turn as 007 is the actor's swan dive swansong for the series' 25th outing.

Peel the Onion | Film Review: No Time to Die (Part II)

In No Time to Die, we're on the gorgeous frozen lakes of Nittedal, Norway, where production kicked off; idyllic Matera in Italy's breathtaking Mezzogiorno; the stunning Faroe Islands archipelago sandwiched between Norway and Iceland; Jamaica's Port Antonio, home of creator Ian Fleming's GoldenEye property; Cairngorms National Park, the largest in the UK; to Hammersmith Bridge where Bond meets Agent M aka Ralph Fiennes aka Voldemort.
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