Reviews - page 30

Slow Horses doubles down on misdirection and suspense [Apple TV+ recap]

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Slow Horses recap: River Cartwright (played by Jack Lowdon) searches for a crucial clue.
River Cartwright (played by Jack Lowdon) searches for a crucial piece of evidence.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ spy series Slow Horses gets ready for the climactic showdown between MI5, Jackson Lamb’s misfit spies at Slough House and the kidnappers. Lamb hatches a plan to acquire some crucial evidence, but it involves subterfuge, bombs and the music of The Proclaimers.

Are these guys as clever as they pretend to be? The penultimate episode of season one delivers high highs and no lows — everything an hour of TV should be.

Disaster shakes up Pachinko this week [Apple TV+ recap]

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Pachinko recap: A massive earthquake leads to death and despair in this week's unusual episode.
A massive earthquake leads to death and despair in this week's unusual episode.
Photo: Apple TV+

Pachinko, the stellar Apple TV+ series about the fortunes of a Korean family across decades and generations, takes time away from its main storyline to tell the story of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, which killed tens of thousands of people in Japan.

The episode isn’t a full stylistic break, but it’s a very different animal from the rest of the season. It offers a harrowing look at one person’s struggle to survive before and after a disaster that forever changed the face of Japan and the Koreans who lived there.

WeCrashed finally crashes and burns [Apple TV+ recap]

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WeCrashed finale recap: Goodbye and good riddance!
Goodbye and good riddance!
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s WeCrashed is finally done, which means we can finally stop looking at the hollow eyes of Jared Leto as WeWork CEO Adam Neumann. The company can’t go public while Adam remains CEO. But Adam doesn’t ever want to not be CEO.

He left WeWork in terrible shape before the board kicked him to the curb, and the only solutions are expensive ones. If you’re still invested in this story, god bless. But the time for some of these people to face consequences was long, long ago.

They Call Me Magic captures Magic Johnson’s pivot to humanitarian [Apple TV+ review]

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They Call Me Magic review: The Apple TV+ docuseries puts the legendary Earvin
The four-part docuseries puts legendary basketball player Earvin "Magic" Johnson under a microscope.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s latest documentary series is They Call Me Magic, a look at the life and legacy of one of the greatest and most flashy basketball players the game ever saw.

Director Rick Famuyiwa gives us a guided tour of Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr.’s game, the illness that took him out of professional sports, and the family members — both professional and blood — who made his life hard but worth living. The documentary’s form is digestible and the story is a necessary window into living memory, to see at once how far we’ve come and how little we’ve changed.

Add Ethernet and 6 more ports to MacBook with this clip-on USB-C hub [Review]

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HyperDrive Duo Pro 7-in-2 USB-C Hub review
The HyperDrive Duo Pro clips to a MacBook and adds HDMI, USB-A, Ethernet and more.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The HyperDrive Duo Pro 7-in-2 USB-C Hub plugs into the side of a MacBook to add a variety of useful ports. The standout is Ethernet, but there’s also USB-A, HDMI and microSD.

I did real-world testing of the 2022 version of this clip-on hub, and found that it lives up to the hype.

Pachinko goes for the heartstrings this week [Apple TV+ recap]

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Pachinko chapter 6 recap: It's a week of surprises on Pachinko.
It's a week of surprises on Pachinko.
Photo: Apple TV+

This week, Pachinko rewinds to Solomon’s upbringing, the birth of a false hope, and the dying days of a wayward daughter. The Apple TV+ series brings out some big guns to connect the trauma of the past and present. And as usual, the cast, crew and writers are up to the task.

The developments this week are soapy and tug on your heartstrings as everyone does their best to make this material stick in your mind week to week. When you’re building a story out of little moments of heartache, it’s tough to keep them all equal. But this crew has done an amazing job with this material.

Slow Horses turns up the heat in a real potboiler [Apple TV+ recap]

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Slow Horses recap
Things turn deadly serious this week, but thankfully there's still room for humor in this spy series.
Photo: Apple TV+

Slough House’s Slow Horses are on the run in this week’s installment of the Apple TV+ dark comedy about rogue failed spies working at the bottom of the British intelligence circus.

Slough House chief Jackson Lamb makes a Faustian bargain with Standish. River can’t help but check on Sid. Min’s crush on Louisa deepens. Struan gets picked up. Ho is in the wind. And everyone’s afraid of Taverner.

It’s another cracking potboiler of an episode this week as the noose tightens around everyone.

WeCrashed grapples with IPOs and PDA [Apple TV+ recap]

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WeCrashed recap,
Aren't these toxic lovebirds just adorable?
Photo: Apple TV+

WeWork is finally going public in this week’s installment of Apple TV+ series WeCrashed. But is it too late for the company? Is it too late to save Adam and Rebekah’s marriage? And are any of these truly pertinent questions in a show about the waste of millions of dollars, aired during an economic crisis?

The show goes long on the emotional connection and dreams of these characters at a time when interest in them — after six episodes of watching them behave like spoiled children — is at an all-time low.

Roar’s star-studded feminist fables fall for the happy ending [Apple TV+ review]

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Roar review: Nicole Kidman stars in the standout episode of this anthology series.
Nicole Kidman stars in the standout episode of this anthology series.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s newest series is Roar, an anthology series based on the short story collection by Cecelia Ahern. Shepherded by Glow showrunners and playwrights Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, the show is a collection of vignettes shot and presented in roughly the same style.

Each takes on a different facet of womanhood. And each contains some element of magical realism. The first season, which debuts Friday, seems like a mixed bag, to put it delicately. But the high points of these “feminist fables” prove high indeed.

Upgrade your HomeKit setup with this Thread-compatible smart plug [Review]

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Wemo Smart Plug with Thread
The Wemo Smart Plug with Thread is both simple and advanced, offering home automation with mesh networking.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Insert the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread into any wall socket and you can use HomeKit to control any plug-in appliance with your iPhone. It’s easy. Plus, this gadget (obviously) offers Thread mesh networking, the future of smart home tech.

I tested in my own home. Here’s why there’s a lot to like.

Slow Horses picks up the pace this week [Apple TV+ recap]

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Slow Horses recap: Slough House's reject spies get into some serious business this week.
Slough House's reject spies get into some serious business this week.
Photo: Apple TV+

Slow Horses enters the thick of its spy games this week in an excellent third episode. Jackson Lamb is in Dutch with M15 chief Diana Taverner just as she screws up an important operation — and implicates him and his whole team at Slough House, the reject pile of the British intelligence service.

As a result, they enter into a sleazy bargain to clean up the mess together. Of course, nothing’s ever as easy as it seems when your business is underhanded espionage. The pace and the tension ratchet up for a marvelous little installment of this new spy show on Apple TV+.

Pachinko delivers a deep message about the meaning of ‘home’ [Apple TV+ recap]

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Pachinko recap: Minha Kim delivers an exceptionally strong performance in this week's episode.
Minha Kim delivers an exceptionally strong performance in this week's episode.
Photo: Apple TV+

Pachinko, the new Apple TV+ series based on the book by Min Jin Lee, arrives in Japan and returns to Korea in this week’s episode.

Solomon and Sunja become amateur detectives in search of a lost woman and a missing grave site. Houses become homes, and countries swallow each other up in the search for identity. No one’s exactly happy, but the characters muddle their way toward something like peace with the worlds they’ve left behind.

All along the way, this epic show continues to impress.

WeCrashed can’t escape Jared Leto’s excruciating acting [Apple TV+ recap]

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WeCrashed
Nothing can withstand Jared Leto.
Photo: Apple TV+

WeCrashed, the Apple TV+ show about overhyped co-working startup WeWork, starts to bring the walls down around founder Adam Neumann this week. As his wife, Rebekah, demands more and more of the pie for herself, Adam keeps screwing up important meetings and losing his standing among his investors and cheerleaders.

The wheels are about to come off — and the only one who can’t see it is Adam. Now, if only any of this were remotely as compelling as the directors and writers deemed it, it would be a lot more exciting to tune into the fifth episode of a show about how supposedly terrible investment banking is that nevertheless revels in all the resulting excess.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey finale will break your heart … in a good way [Apple TV+ recap]

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The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey finale recap: This is the perfect ending to an exquisitely emotional show.
This is the perfect ending to an exquisitely emotional show.
Photo: Apple TV+

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, the Apple TV+ series based on the book by Walter Mosley, winds down with a somber closing chapter. Ptolemy has one last score to settle before his memory leaves him for good and Robyn is once more on her own.

The only thing left for him to do in this breathtaking finale is leave the world a better place than he found it.

Ptolemy Grey has been an odd six hours of TV: part science fiction parable, part brutal historical memoir, part comment on race relations and changing mores, and part beautiful family/relationship drama. It perhaps had a little trouble keeping every single element in even proportions. But for every little misstep or fumble, there are dramatic beats, performance notes, shots, cuts and scenes that are worth twice a regular TV show’s whole season.

Severance season finale goes out with a bang [Apple TV+ recap]

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Severance season finale recap: Lumon Industries' disgruntled workers face shocking revelations this week.
Lumon Industries' disgruntled workers face shocking revelations this week.
Photo: Apple TV+

Severance draws its excellent first season to a close this week with an episode that makes excellent use of every second of its pulse-pounding airtime.

The perfectly curated frames give way to woozy chaos as Lumon Industries workers Irving, Mark and Helly experience the outside world for the “first” time.

Revelations await them. And they’re going to have be savvy if they want to get away with this illegal operation to bring down Lumon. Everyone’s in fine form as usual, and the show makes a great case for a second season. (Which Apple just made official, BTW.)

Credit card-size item tracker supports Apple’s brilliant ‘Find My’ network [Review]

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Credit card-size item tracker supports Apple’s brilliant ‘Find My’ network [Review]
The Chipolo Card Spot is the size of an Apple Card, and helps you find you misplaced wallet.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Think of the Chipolo Card Spot as a very flat AirTag. Put either device into something valuable and you’ll be able to locate it with your iPhone, whether it’s lost in your home or out in the world. But the Card Spot is slim enough to go into your wallet — don’t attempt that with an AirTag.

I tried out Chipolo’s latest item tracker with support for the Find My network to see how well it survives daily use. And it came through with flying colors.

WeCrashed dishes out another week of disgusting scammer porn [Apple TV+ recap]

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WeCrashed recap Apple TV+: The story WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann just keeps getting seamier.
The story WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann just keeps getting seamier.
Photo: Apple TV+

WeCrashed, the Apple TV+ drama about real-life startup WeWork, goes big, goes crazy and gets bitter this week.

As WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann starts trying to expand his co-working company, he decides he’s got to tear down the competition, too. Meanwhile, his wife Rebekah is having her own crisis of confidence — and it may end with her having burned every last bridge she has.

Though cheaply entertaining a few times an episode, this show suffers from an insurmountable problem: It never picked an identity. It has to believe enough in Neumann’s prowess as an entrepreneur to find his tactics interesting, while also tacitly admitting he was wrong and crazy and a huckster.

But you can’t sort of admit your hero is a bad guy, not when you keep charting his rise to success without giving you any kind of window into who he was.

Flashbacks and a funeral propel The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey [Apple TV+ recap]

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The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey recap Apple TV+: Astounding acting makes for another compelling episode.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey recap Astounding acting makes for another compelling episode of this touching show.
Photo: Apple TV+

Ptolemy starts tying up loose ends in this week’s episode of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, the Apple TV+ series based on the book of the same name by Walter Mosley.

We see reconciliation and revelations for almost everyone this week, in a finely acted and carefully directed hour of television. Ptolemy’s memories are fading, but before they do, he remembers his days as a boy. And he realizes he wants his nephews to feel protected the way he used to.

Pachinko packs an emotional wallop [Apple TV+ recap]

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Pachinko recap Apple TV+: This is what memorable television looks like.
This is what memorable television looks like.
Photo: Apple TV+

Pachinko, the epic, time-hopping Apple TV+ series about a Korean family’s struggles, hits its stride in a truly unbelievable fourth episode.

The show started strong enough, but it reaches pantheon level in this incredible installment, which sees Solomon renouncing his capitalist training, Sunja saying goodbye in the past and hello in the future, and a climactic singalong uniting people, eras and cultures.

This is the kind of thing you’re lucky to get out of serialized TV.

Lumon’s drones plot their escape this week on Severance [Apple TV+ recap]

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Severance recap Apple TV+: Lumon Industries doesn't know what lies ahead.
Lumon Industries doesn't know what lies ahead.
Photo: Apple TV+

The plan is set on this week’s episode of Apple TV+’s dark comedy thriller Severance. But will our heroes make it out of Lumon Industries? Will anyone believe Mark, Helly and Irving when they wake up from their regular lives and emerge their work selves?

This week’s magnificently tense episode, directed by series executive producer Ben Stiller, is a real nail-biter. It’s wonderfully edited and excellently performed.

Severance has abandoned its early crux — the depressing lives of office drones who literally have no souls because they’ve been surgically stripped of them — for a more fast-paced approach to the show’s thriller aspects.

It’s no longer a show about the drudgery of both lives lived by lost people. It’s about the race to get back some measure of its characters’ personhood.

Spy series Slow Horses comes out of the gate fast and sarcastic [Apple TV+ recap]

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Slow Horses recap: Gary Oldman plays Jackson Lamb, head of a group of screwup spies in new thriller series Slow Horses.
Gary Oldman plays Jackson Lamb, head of a group of screwup spies, in new thriller series Slow Horses.
Photo: Apple TV+

Slow Horses, based on the first book in the Slough House series by author Mick Herron, is the newest addition to the Apple TV+ roster of thrillers.

In the series, which premieres Friday, Gary Oldman plays Jackson Lamb, the leader of a group of misfit spies who work cases in secret while MI5 looks down its nose at the scrubs.

Directed by James Hawes and created by Will Smith (no, not that Will Smith), the first two episodes of this oddball spy show prove reasonably diverting.

Sturdy folding stand makes MacBooks more ergonomic [Review]

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Sturdy folding stand makes MacBooks more ergonomic [Review]
The Wiplabs Lift is always ready to make typing on your MacBook easier.
Photo: Adel Neal/Cult of Mac

The Wiplabs Lift makes it easier to type on your MacBook by tilting the keyboard up. At the same time, it raises the display closer to eye level. And it offers these benefits anywhere you go because the rugged, aluminum stand folds so you can stow it away.

I put the portable stand to the test … and it really stood up.

Servant season 3 finale will leave you desperate for more [Apple TV+ recap]

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Servant season 3 finale recap: Just when you thought things couldn't get any weirder in the Turner household ...
Just when you thought things couldn't get any weirder in the Turner household ...
Photo: Apple TV+

Dorothy has one final trick up her sleeve on the season finale of Apple TV+ thriller Servant, M. Night Shyamalan and Tony Basgallop’s show about a mystic nanny and the troubled family she appears out of nowhere to help.

Just when it seems like things can’t possibly be more warped than they already are, a handful of desperate events throw the Turner household into tragedy and disarray. Is there any coming back from this?

Servant‘s riotous third season comes to a close on a dreadful cliffhanger, promising more chaos and darkness in the currently filming fourth season.

Severance cues up a disturbing dance party [Apple TV+ recap]

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Severance recap,
Actor Tramell Tillman, left, gets a chance to cut loose in this week's episode.
Photo: Apple TV+

A depressing dance party and a murder round out the crazy goings on in this week’s episode of Severance, the Apple TV+ show about a workplace plagued by secrets and underhanded, science fiction-style practices.

Once Mark (played by Adam Scott) sees the truth of his situation, there’s no turning back. But he can’t fix the problems at Lumon Industries alone. Wouldn’t it be helpful if something traumatic happened to everyone on his team, aligning them against their employer?

This week’s episode of Ben Stiller and Dan Erickson’s trippy workplace thriller brings a cavalcade of violent upsets — and each new incident stings intensely. It’s all a hair convenient, but it’s compelling enough to clear the hurdle anyway.