Ozark Season 3 

I can’t imagine there’s anyone who hasn’t dipped their toes and then waded into Ozark, but if you are that person, you’re missing something. If for some strange reason you have not started season three, go to your couch now and hit the remote.

The show is gritty and “tough” – so beware. The acting, writing, directing (Jason Bateman’s episodes especially) is among the best on streaming. The British shows like Happy Valley, Broadchurch and The Bodyguard are worthy of comparison.

In Season 3 Ozark continues the seasonal arcs of the Byrde family making mistakes in dealing with money laundering for the  mob followed by often bungling and yet ingenious solutions to save their skin. Supporting actors nail their roles, starting with Julia Garner playing Ruth, the multi-award winning, Janet McTeer, as Helen, and for me the “debut” of Tom Pelphery. Pelphery has been around TV for years, but I had somehow missed him. In Ozark, Pelphery plays a bi-polar relative of the Byrdes who can be charming, sweet and terrifying. His soliloquy in the back of a taxi cab may be the best five minute performance on streaming this year.

Bateman, Laura Linney and their two kids (the outstanding, Sofia Hublitz and Skylar Gaertner) manage to move between pitch black emotional darkness and blue sky optimists at the turn of a switch. Jason Bateman is a scene stealer; his calm and cool in the most bizarre situations makes you love him and fear him in the same moment, which is clearly the point. Bateman is the perfect next door neighbor who turns out to be loaded with tortuous secrets. He’s never who you think he is. Ms. Linney navigates an equally impossible role, juggling motherhood, a psycho brother and a Mexican cartel. One wonders how she could show up at the set the next day. We are all better that she did. 

But it is the writers who steal this season, as they have every other. Just when the story is testing the limits of credibility, they manage to pull it back, push it sideways and land a twist like a gymnast. The viewer is hooked. Such creative plotting, and always with the characters fully running the movement of the plot. If you want a lesson in plotting perfection, start at Season 1 and order a few pizzas. You won’t regret one minute you’ve given to the show. It’s a Master Class in balancing character arc with twisty plotting. Count me in for Season 4. I can’t wait.

The dark and brooding world of a young woman facing human and ethical decisions plays out across the loneliness of the impersonal New York City landscape.


These are probing queries read from an abortion questionnaire — and the film’s title — as our central character, Sidney Flanigan as Autumn, a runaway, navigates homelessness, womanhood, social economics and friendship. Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always challenges the viewer to stop watching, and yet one never looks away. It is slow, murky and as unforgettable as real life. The cinematography is visceral, the acting (Talia Ryder as Skylar is equally terrific) spot-on, and the direction unrelenting. If ever there was a film in which the viewer wants to reach into the screen and pull the two lead characters to safety, this is it. It’s a hard film to watch, and even harder to forget.

(https://www.focusfeatures.com/never-rarely-sometimes-alway) Be advised: It’s a STRONG PG-13. By subject matter alone it deserves more of an R.