Amazon’s Hunters has piqued television fans’ interest by selling Al Pacino as a killer of Nazis in 1970s America. Does the pulpy series pay off on that curiosity? The first reviews, based on the first five episodes, are rather mixed, but the premise retains its promise even in some of the less-favorable takes. The dark-comedic drama seems heavily inspired by comic books and the work of Quentin Tarantino with lots of violence, and whether that’s respectful of the Holocaust or whether the pastiche and mix of tones works is up for serious debate.In addition to Pacino, the series stars Logan Lerman, Jerrika Hinton, Josh Radnor, Carol Kane, Tiffany Boone, Greg Austin, Louis Ozawa, Kate Mulvany, Saul Rubinek, Dylan Baker, and Lena Olin.Produced by Amazon Studios, Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, and Sonar Entertainment, Hunters was created by David Weil, who serves as executive producer and co-showrunner alongside executive producer Nikki Toscano. The series is also executive produced by Peele and Win Rosenfeld from Monkeypaw Productions, Nelson McCormick, David Ellender from Sonar Entertainment, and Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who directed the pilot.Here’s what critics are saying about Hunters:Is this essential peak television?(Photo by Amazon Prime Video)Click image to see full poster in a new tab.It’s very much something that people need to see right now. Megan Sunday, The SpoolAn astonishingly good series that blends exploitation films, revenge movies, a brilliant cast, and a killer soundtrack. Alex Maldy, JoBlo’s Movie EmporiumHunters is a lot of fun. Merrill Barr, ForbesThe series manages to deliver enough Nazi-hunting thrills to make it worth a watch, if not an immediate binge-watch. Kevin Yeoman, Screen RantI toggled back and forth between thinking the show was good or bad — occasionally in the same moment. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling StoneI m still struggling to decide if the show is quality TV, and if I like it or not. What I m sure of is that I find it fascinating and while I may not necessary want to recommend it, I want to talk to people about it. Dan Feinberg, Hollywood ReporterIs it good for the Jews?(Photo by Christopher Saunders / Amazon Studios)The show pays respect to the history of the Jewish people above all else, something that series creator David Weil clearly holds dear. Kevin Lever, Tell-Tale TVIt may require an almost Talmudic level of study to determine if Hunters is good or bad for the Jews, but I m willing to participate. Dan Feinberg, Hollywood ReporterGiven today’s climate, both Jews and the Holocaust deserve something better and a bit more dignified. Rodrigo Perez, The PlaylistHow is Al Pacino’s performance?(Photo by Christopher Saunders / Amazon Studios)Al Pacino is really good as the Professor X of this story even if his thick Jewish accent can sometimes come off a bit comical. Alex Maldy, JoBlo’s Movie EmporiumPacino is surprisingly reserved here, playing Meyer as someone perpetually weary. Chris Evangelista, SlashfilmThe legendary actor keeps the volume of his Germanic growl at a low rumble, which makes Meyer’s rare outbursts more powerful. Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment WeeklyThere s a confident wisdom and impish cleverness to what Pacino is doing, a sense of fun that comes from watching the wheels spin in this iconic star s head. It s just hard to judge it using traditional metrics of quality. Dan Feinberg, Hollywood ReporterWhat about the rest of the cast?(Photo by Christopher Saunders / Amazon Studios)Carol Kane is, of course, fantastic. Megan Sunday, The SpoolOn a show packed with remarkable talent, [Greg] Austin manages to stand out. Kevin Lever, Tell-Tale TVDespite Austin’s excellent work, it sometimes feels like [his character] wandered in from some other show. Megan Sunday, The SpoolThe main character is Lerman s Jonah Heidelbaum, which is Hunters biggest problem…He s a charm-less character with only one dimension, and Lerman s surly performance amplifies it. Liam Mathews, TV GuideLogan Lerman is the show s actual lead, and holds his own against his older co-stars. Still, the degree to which any of this cartoonish mayhem feels real is largely a credit to the gravity Pacino provides in certain moments. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling StoneIs the show well-written?(Photo by Christopher Saunders / Amazon Studios)The first five episodes of Hunters are taut and intricately plotted…occasionally the writing feels facile. Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment WeeklyThe dialogue has a tryhard, wound-too-tight quality. The quips are too long and too crude, with a lack of rhythm. Liam Mathews, TV GuideThe storytelling so far is dutifully on the nose, making those kinds of transitions feasible. Christian Toto, HollywoodInToto.comWhat are critics comparing the show to?One concentration camp flashback is shot in black-and-white until finally a single object is presented in color, like the little girl’s red coat from Schindler’s List; suddenly, the scene is less about the suffering of the people in it and more about the filmmakers’ love of Steven Spielberg. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling StoneIt’s a tonal Hindenburg – Tarantino-esque one minute, Schindler’s List the next. For those aghast at the comic detours taken by Jojo Rabbit, this is infinitely worse, sloppier, and crude. Christian Toto, HollywoodInToto.comHunters makes you feel like you re watching a really long Tarantino knockoff that lacks the director s humor and audaciousness. Liam Mathews, TV GuideThis show seems to borrow much of its aesthetic from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds…but it fails to get the alchemical balance right. Daniel D’Addario, VarietyDoes it try to pack in too much?(Photo by Christopher Saunders / Amazon Studios)There is a lot going on in this show…so much that Weil opts to open Hunters with a 90-minute premiere episode that frequently buckles under its own weight. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone[It] lives in the extremes. It can be sober and thoughtful in one moment, gleefully trashy in the very next.” Alan Sepinwall, Rolling StoneCartoonish splash-page montages exist back-to-back with unflinching flashbacks set in concentration camps. It takes a deft hand to encompass material like this – and that deft hand is severely lacking here. Chris Evangelista, SlashfilmDoes the show have trouble balancing its tone?The balancing act works pretty well if you can stomach each extreme Ben Travers, IndieWireHunters deploys its surreal (and much-needed) humor strategically.” Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment WeeklyHunters is a story that should not be as funny as it is nor should it be as shocking, but it works in both ways. Alex Maldy, JoBlo’s Movie EmporiumAs the tone becomes broader, it pushed me away from the tight involvement I initially felt to the premise and the players. Peter Martin, ScreenAnarchyIt’s just a shame that there seems to be so much distance between what Hunters wants to say and what it actually expresses. Judy Berman, Time MagazineWhat is the show’s portrayal of Nazis like?(Photo by Christopher Saunders / Amazon Studios)The Nazis of Hunters are, at least on the surface, just folks…they aren’t manifestations of supernatural evil and Hunters benefits from it. Megan Sunday, The SpoolOpting to portray the Nazis as a hierarchy of cartoon villains, Weil makes them so uniformly crafty and fearsome that you can imagine contemporary neo-Nazis watching Hunters and feeling pretty good about their forebears. Judy Berman, Time MagazineHunters wants to have it both ways, depicting its villains as both horrifically dangerous and clownishly incompetent, sometimes in the same breath. Kevin Yeoman, Screen Rant And what about the Holocaust? It respects the drama inherent to any Holocaust story while still allowing fans to enjoy the fictionalized quest for vengeance. Ben Travers, IndieWireIt doesn t divorce the Holocaust from reality and it doesn t trivialize it, but it certainly sensationalizes aspects of it in ways that left me feeling uncomfortable. Dan Feinberg, Hollywood ReporterHunters will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, February 21.
Few industries enjoy taking really, really long extended holiday vacations quite like Hollywood, and when we get to this time of the year, there s rarely much in the realm of movie development news to discuss. So, this week and next, we re going to review 12 of the year s top stories, presented to you in monthly chronology. The year-in-review begins with the Fresh Developments of the year.JANUARY: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 7 AND 8 TO FILM BACK-TO-BACK (Photo by David James/Paramount Pictures)There are lots of long-running movie franchises, but in many of them, the cast changes over time (the MCU and the Rocky/Creed franchises being two exceptions to the rule). In January, we first learned that, in 2022, Tom Cruise will hit movie #8 in the Mission: Impossible franchise, as Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8 are being developed for release in the summers of 2021 and 2022, respectively. The two movies will be shot back-to-back to ensure their releases within a year of each other, and also to make it easier to secure not just Tom Cruise, but also his supporting cast, which may include Fallout cast like Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, etc. Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie will work on these sequels, hoping to match what he s achieved with the last two films, 2015 s Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation (Certified Fresh at 93%), and last year s Mission: Impossible Fallout (Certified Fresh at 97%). Mission: Impossible 7 is now scheduled for July 23, 2021 (the week after LeBron James Space Jam 2), and Mission: Impossible 8 is scheduled for August 5, 2022. The first new franchise cast member to be announced for Mission: Impossible 7 was British actress Hayley Atwell, who probably remains best known for playing Marvel s Peggy Carter, as seen in both Captain America: The First Avenger, and in the much-missed ABC series, Agent Carter. There are no details yet as to where the Mission: Impossible franchise might go after 2022, but Tom Cruise will turn 60 on July 3 of that year, so Mission: Impossible 8 might be his last opportunity to hang off the sides of airplaines and jump off of skyscrapers.FEBRUARY: AQUAMAN GETTING SEQUEL IN 2022 AND HORROR SPINOFF FOR THE TRENCH (Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)With over .14 billion earned at the global box office, Aquaman became the highest-grossing DC Comics movie (worldwide) ever in early 2019, even above The Dark Knight (though Joker came close to beating Aquaman at .063 billion). That was quite an achievement for a character long considered a joke (including a long-running story arc on HBO s Entourage). Those numbers also made it super obvious that Aquaman would get a sequel and that s exactly wh
We also see that Alexandria is thriving in certain ways; more crops, more organized, new structures and buildings, and they ve got a pretty well-oiled society going on within the walls. Can we assume Eugene has been a big part of engineering all that as well?McDermitt: Yeah, we saw that in the first five episodes. He was working on the plans for the bridge. He is the big brain that brings it all together. But the communities are definitely working together to make that happen, not kind of like just one person, which is awesome. Each community is six years older as well, and it s possible that we have other survivors that we ve come in contact with that maybe know a thing or two about building a pizza oven or whatever we were going to add. It s not all just on Eugene, so that s allowed him to continue to build his confidence as a survivor, learn how to be proficient in knives and that sort of thing.His last big interaction with Rick was Rick telling him how important he was to their family, to their community, at a time when Eugene was apologizing for not having done more. You could tell, visibly, it meant a lot to Eugene to hear that from someone he respected so much. How much of that evolution of Eugene and this new confidence in him is a result of having gotten that praise, that recognition, that respect from Rick?McDermitt: I think you nailed it perfectly. I think that s exactly it. He s received the recognition from Abraham back in season 6 when Eugene stepped up to take the RV and try to lead the Saviors away. Abraham said, You are a survivor, like, you are a person who can live in this world and be self-sufficient. That was huge for them, that moment. And then as we see him get kidnapped by Negan,Negan starts to (spark) more and more value within Eugene. I think Eugene needs that affirmation; he needs people to say, Hey, you re not just this guy that s annoying me. You actually add value to this group. And I think to finally get that last piece from Rick was awesome. It was something that he d never had, and he had been with Rick a long time. Not that Rick was mistreating him or anything, but it was this thing: Eugene said, “If I could have done more —” and Rick said, “Don’t say that. You did all this, and after everything, that is everything.” That’s a huge moment for Eugene. I think without that, we may not have seen Eugene, who he is after the six-year time jump.(Photo by Gene Page/AMC)His new confidence allows him to try to take his friendship with Rosita to the next level, too. Do you think he s always been in love with Rosita?McDermitt: I think he s always been girl crazy, and I think with her, she is probably the person that he s closest with who s left within this group of survivors. He s just always had an eye on her and been attracted to her, but also, they have a brother-sister relationship more than anything, so maybe he s never really stepped up to do anything. But I think what s really driving this is seeing that Rosita and Gabriel are together, Eugene maybe feeling left out, like, “How come I didn t get a chance?” He says, “Look, I get it: Machete-wielding men of the cloth aren t exactly a dime a dozen. If that s your thing, that s your thing. But there s other people, people who ve known you longer, people with a different set of skills that —” And as he s evolving and growing into this bigger survivor who can be extremely self-sufficient — we see Daryl off living on his own. It wouldn t surprise me if Eugene feels like he could do that, too, if push came to shove.I think he s been wanting to not be left out for his whole life. I don t know that he would necessarily settle down if the apocalypse didn’t happen. He s just comfortable being him, but he s grown so much it s like, OK, maybe I should try a relationship. And who s the person I know the best? And that would be Rosita.What do you think Eugene s romance history is? Do you think he s ever been in love before? Had he ever dated before? Or as you said, that just wasn t something that was really important to him before the apocalypse?McDermitt: I ve always assumed that he s never really dated. He was just comfortable being — I always thought he lived with his mother — just comfortable being in his own world, playing his video games and eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and stuff like that.