More mini TV and film reviews, mostly stuff I've seen on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
For more in this series, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching
Comedy Series: Extras (both seasons, and Christmas special)
5 stars plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Yes of course I've seen this before, more than once, but I've recently watched the whole thing again, and loved every minute. Even more so than The Office, I think. The cameos by the famous people are marvellous (I particularly liked Robert de Niro and Orlando Bloom, and David Bowie's song), but it's Andy Millman's 'journey' from desperate extra to fame-chasing TV star through to disillusionment with the whole celeb culture that is the real genius. If you've never watched it, you MUST.
Film: The King
4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the early years of Henry V, ending in his return from Agincourt. I loved that it didn't seem 'Hollywoodised' or sensationalised at all, rare for historical fiction these days; it's actually quite low key. Timothée Chalamet is an unusual and inspired choice for Henry; I thought he was perfect. The lead-up to and the battle itself made it worthy of 5*, but I've taken a half star off because I think the beginning would be quite hard to understand if you didn't already know who all the people are, and their histories.
I very much appreciated the realism of the settings, and, thus, the picture of how the ordinary people lived in those days, too. Most definitely worth watching!
Mock Documentary: The Magician
4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The forerunner to Scott Ryan's terrific Mr Inbetween; a camera follows around Australian hitman-for-hire Ray Shoesmith. If you love the series as much as I do, you'll want to see this too. Horrendous, sad and funny, all at the same time.
Series: The Crown(Season 3)
4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
After a lacklustre first episode I enjoyed this as I did the other two seasons, not least of all because of the historical aspect (I was born in 1959, so remembered events, clothes, attitudes, etc). Olivia Colman plays the queen so well; I particularly like how the relationships between her and PMs Wilson and Heath were portrayed (and Wilson's comment about her being a secret leftie!). A Twitter friend mentioned how much older she looked than the queen would have looked then, but my mother was exactly the same age, and I remember her looking very similar when I was a child; in the 1960s, styles for women over thirty-five were so ageing and, mostly, quite unflattering. Those terrible hats!
I was less impressed with Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret; she seemed more like a pantomime version of her. She's too old in the face, too fat around the middle (I've googled pictures of Margaret, aged around 40), and too lacking in class and style. Vanessa Kirby was a far better choice. On the subject of that marriage, I notice that Armstrong-Jones is portrayed as a perfectly reasonable chap in this season, (though played by the gorgeous Ben Daniels, so I'm not complaining) rather than the feckless, faithless swine of Season 2. Charles and Anne I thought were very good; most interesting to see how damaged he was from an early age, and how, like his great uncle, he is probably unsuited for monarchy, at least in the old sense. This made me wonder what he would have thought then, had he known he would still be the Prince of Wales in his 70s.
I noticed how the format has changed; each one now deals with an 'issue' that is neatly resolved by the end of the episode, with some sort of emotional epiphany on the part of each character. Not sure about this; seems a bit contrived, in particular the one about Prince Phillip's mid-life crisis.
One more negative: not keen on some of the too-modern language used; phrases like 'Here's the thing', and Prince Phillip describing Anne as 'a royal' - surely that was something that started to be used by the tabloid press in Diana days? The queen saying 'Not on my watch'? I look forward to what comes next, though, especially how the whole Diana debacle will be addressed.
NB: Fans of Mr Mercedes will enjoy seeing the man himself as Roddy Llewellyn!
2 stars ⭐⭐
Watched one episode of this X Files type show made in 2008. That was enough. The plot wasn't bad but the plot developments and character stereotypes are hackneyed and the dialogue so clichéd that several times I guessed the next line, and was almost spot-on. Waste of excellent actors like Kirk Acevedo and Lance Reddick, though it has to be said that Reddick always plays the same part. He usually gets better lines, though.