Saturday, 22 February 2020

Review: #TheWalkingDead S10x09 SQUEEZE #TWD #TWDFamily

Review: S10x08 The World Before
Review: S10x07 Open Your Eyes

Written by: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Directed by: Michael E Satrazemis

'We fight for our future, we don't fight for revenge'  
A truly excellent episode that stunned, surprised and challenged sympathies, and was gripping from beginning to end, with edge-of-seat tension and perfect dialogue.  Seriously excellent start to 10B!

Such a shocking, shocking end, in which Carol's utter despair was painful to watch, when she begged Daryl and he shrugged her off, and when even Saint Aaron walked past her without a word.  

Whereas I thought Magna was totally petty for calling her out earlier on, I understood the feelings of the others when the mining shaft caved in—especially after Daryl had said, earlier, that he would have been tempted into reckless moves in her position, too, but would have listened if she tried to stop him.  That she would get people she cared about hurt.  Oh, Carol, didn't you hear what he was telling you?

'I want to be there for you.  I do.  I begged you to talk to me'

On the other hand, and it's a big other hand, Daryl would do well to remember that no one blamed him when his actions got Glenn's head caved in.  They've all done stuff that's caused people to get killed, but also acted with great bravery and saved many, and not least of all Carol.  

Not only that, but when Connie and Magna were at the exit point after the first explosion, and could have got out in time, Magna shouted out that there were 'more skins' behind them, and off she sauntered, hips swaying, into the darkness. Connie was right behind Carol, but went back to follow Magna.  Maybe Jerry saw that, and will stand up for Carol?  I'm pretty sure they're not dead, anyway.  I believe the Carol-Daryl-Connie storyline has a way to go yet.  

Did you expect Jerry to be the one we lost?  I did; I fall for those TWD red herrings every time.  Particularly when we saw how scared he was at the prospect of jumping across over those stepping stones... and inching through that horrifying tunnel.  Poor Jerry, he had every reason to be terrified, but he bravely used that massive frame of his for good, at the end, by holding up that beam so they could all get out.  Respect, sir.

Angel Theory as Kelly was fabulous in this episode, and I thought it was the first time that she really seemed like part of 'the gang'; previously, I've felt that some of the Magna group interactions felt a bit forced, as if they were shoe-horning them into the established cast.  Not this time.  The sisterhood thing between her and Connie is so touching, as was the scene when Connie helped Carol through her panic attack; I see her as one of the TWD 'angels', like Aaron and Glenn.

Meanwhile, back at chez Whisperers... what will Beta think when he finds out about Negan's 'crass reward' for alerting Alpha to Gamma's possible betrayal? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚  She may have described him as a crass man, but it was clear she fancied him from first meeting - underneath that outfit she's been wearing since she first appeared, she's still a woman(ish), and I suspect that the 'reward' thing was but an excuse to get her rocks off with him.  I must say, though, that my first thought on seeing their naked embrace was that I hope she'd taken a dip in the stream first...

I liked his crash course in dealing with the ego pitfalls that can come with being a powerful, charismatic leader, suggesting that she 'zigs where he zagged' - nicely put!  So is Gamma Alpha's Dwighty-Boy?  Although, yeah, he's got all that narcissistic and psycho stuff going on, he's also super-intelligent and perceptive and I love every perfectly delivered quip: 'Am I going to get my skin suit and learn the secret Whisperers handshake?'.  JDM, you were as brilliant as ever :)

And so to Daryl.  What I noticed most about him in this episode was how, without Rick or the presence of Michonne, he automatically assumes the role of leadership, though in a different and possibly more effective way—practically, quietly, never making it about him, making sure that the whole group work together.  He's become the person he never would have been if the world hadn't ended - and, maybe, if Rick was still around.

He gets people.  He always did.  Loved this:

'I never told you I was claustrophic'
'If I only knew what you told me, I wouldn't know shit'

I thought, he remembers TS19, too! 
'Are we underground?' 'Are you claustrophic?' 
'A little' 'Try not to think about it'.

I was watching S5x06 Consumed yesterday, in which Daryl and Carol went to Atlanta to search for Beth, and thought how much better they know themselves now, with all they have learned and come to terms with over the years and how much more easily they communicate—but then Carol blows it all up with that dropped stick of dynamite.  We have to remember, though, that she has had loss after loss piling up on her, for years; as she said back in S5, she finds the person she always should have been, and then it gets burned away.  Over and over.  She is demented with grief; if only she would open up to Daryl. 

Squeeze is an episode that will leave Carol and Connie/Magna fans reeling, but all is not necessarily lost; Daryl and/or Kelly may still find a way to rescue them.  Let us hope so.  

And is Gamma really doing a Dwight, now that she knows Alpha lied to them about Lydia?  Cross fingers...

Gif posts:


Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Lately I've Been Watching

More mini TV and film reviews, with trailers.  If you would like to see more, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching

Film: 1917

5* and a little bit more ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Much talked about and award-winning, and yes, I was engrossed throughout: two Lance Corporals sent on a dangerous mission through enemy territory, because phone lines are down.  The whole pointlessness and brutality of war seen through one man's eyes, if you like.  Many A list actors have 5 minute spots - Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden - while the attention is held by the young Dean-Charles Chapman, of whom I had not heard before.  

I expected it to be one of the best films I'd ever seen, after all the hype; I wouldn't go that far, but it's extremely good, and artistically a joy to behold.

Limited Series: Catch 22 (Hulu)

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dramatisation of Joseph Heller's famous book about a US Air squadron in WWII. Amusing, sad, entertaining, so well-acted, and highly entertaining.  Christopher Abbot is brilliant as Yossarian.  Also features Hugh Laurie and George Clooney.  Loved it!

Film: Midway

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

WWII extravaganza about the Battle of Midway and the events leading up to it.  The cinematics are stunning, amazing, and brings home how super-humanly brave those fighter pilots were, more than anything I've ever seen before - whether or not they came home really was largely the luck of the draw.

The script seems to have been written with constant referral to The Complete Book of War Film Clichรฉs, but the special effects make it great to watch, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Lots of well-knowns like Woody Harrelson, Dennis Quaid, Aaron Eckhart, and Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn in Vikings!). 

Film (true story): Don't worry, he won't get far on foot (Amazon)

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Stars the totally awesome Joaquin Phoenix as quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan.  Callahan was a drunken waster who lost use of his limbs in a car accident with his friend Dexter (Jack Black).  Lots of funny stuff about Alcoholics Anonymous.  It's funny, sad and fairly 'feel good'; at times I found it a bit corny, but Phoenix is so brilliant I could deal with that.  It's great.

Series: Our Friends in the North

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I saw this some years ago and have just watched it again - it's the award winning BBC series (made in 1996) about the fortunes of four young people growing up in 1960s Newcastle - Nicky (Christopher Eccleston), Tosker (Mark Strong), Mary (Gina McKee) and Geordie (Daniel Craig), and moves forward, each episode set in a different year, up to 1995.  It deals with just about every social issue you want to name - poverty, bad housing, the miners' strike, alcoholism, the permissive society, marital infidelity, divorce.  It's great and I loved it all over again, though this time round I felt it had dated more than I thought it would, and I found Gina McKee so wooden (only one facial expression throughout) that I couldn't see why both Nicky and Tosker didn't find someone a bit less po-faced.

Daniel Craig's Geordie has the saddest story; it's heartbreaking, and he plays it perfectly.

Film: Mrs Lowry & Son

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Timothy Spall stars as L S Lowry, the 1930s Lancashire painter who captured the working class life around him, and Vanessa Redgrave as the manipulative mother around whom his life centred, albeit in a not uncomplicated fashion.  Delightful, sad, touching and funny, often in the same few minutes.

Film: Ford vs Ferrari

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in the early 1960s true story of Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby, who offer their services to Ford so that they might win the Le Mans 24 hour race against Ferrari, for the first time in history - but they must also battle against the huge might of the Ford corporation.  Very good, exciting, touching in places, and Damon and Bale are as good as you would expect - yes, I liked it a lot, though Bale and his wife's English accents varied between middle-class educated, South Yorkshire, West Midlands and Liverpudlian, and the odd bit of Australian throughout.

For TWD addicts - Jon Bernthal co-stars as a Ford marketing guy! 

Series: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I'm over a decade late to the party with this one - in a spin-off from the Terminator films, Lena Headey (Cersei in Game of Thrones) stars as the mother of the son who will lead the army against the machines that will take over the world.  Recently watched this along with all the Terminator films, a couple of which I hadn't seen before.  I love the premise: that warriors from not very far into the future have to come back to stop disaster happening, that one decision made can affect the future, but as events keep being altered, there are more than one or two realities.  

Shame they stopped it after S2 - I hear it's on many lists of 'Shows that never should have been cancelled'.

Documentary film: Joy Division

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the band of the same name.  Very well done, with members of the band interviewed.  Made me understand more about the troubled soul of Ian Curtis.

The link below is actually the whole thing, on Youtube.

Series: Cobra (Season 1)  Sky One and Now TV

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A solar storm causes nationwide power outtages in the UK, and Prime Minister Robert Carlyle has to deal with the subsequent civil unrest in the North East and all sorts of troubles on the domestic front, too, mostly caused by his excruciatingly irritating daughter.  I was excited about the concept, though the fall-out from the storm turned out to be not as disastrous as I'd hoped.  It's good, I enjoyed it, and it looks like there might be another season.

Film: Terminator: Dark Fate

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The latest Terminator film.  If you like them, you'll like this.  Arnie is back, and hilarious.  This one is kick-ass heroine-orientated, it being of its time. 

Film: The Good Liar

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Betty (Helen Mirren) and Roy (Ian McKellen) meet on a dating website for those in their twilight years - but Roy has a hidden agenda.  It's an interesting plot with twist after twist, and Mirren and McKellan (particularly the latter) are as highly watchable as one would expect; I found it a little too contrived/unlikely in places, though.  I know this sounds a bit rich coming from someone who has just been watching all the Terminator films, but belief-suspension is entirely personal!

Film: Long Shot

3.5* ⭐⭐⭐

Romantic comedy.  Geeky journalist Seth Rogen reunites with his childhood sweetheart Charlize Theron, who is now the US Secretary of State.  Escapist fun, worth watching, though not memorable.

Film: The Wave

3.5* ⭐⭐⭐

Chap with tedious and demanding wife succumbs to a night out on the town with his party animal friend, and his life is never the same again after he takes a type of hallucinogenic drug previously unknown to man.  Amusing, passes a fairly pleasant two hours, but nothing to write home about.

Series: We Are The Wave 

3* ⭐⭐⭐

Feisty German teens form a group to fight against social injustice, mostly in a rather cringe-inducing fashion.  Fairly entertaining and well-dubbed into English, but the characters were a little too nauseating for me.  I think YAs will love it, though.  If that doesn't sound too patronising.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Lately I've Been Watching....

The latest in my irregular series of mini TV and film reviews.  For more, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching

Series: Messiah (Season 1): Netflix

5 stars plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is an AMAZING series, and S2 can't come soon enough!  Stars Mehdi Dehbi as a charismatic stranger so gorgeous you just want to look and look at him.  Superficial, I know, but....!  Plot summary from Wikipedia: The series focuses on the modern world's reaction to a man who first appears in the Middle East claiming to be the eschatological return of 'Isa' (Jesus). His sudden appearance and apparent miracles spark a growing international following, casting doubts around who he really is, a case investigated by a CIA officer.  

It's SO well-written and acted, and the way in which everyone starts to follow him is utterly convincing.  The end is one of the best cliffhangers I've ever seen.  Watch it!

For TWD fans: Emily Kinney features as a mother who wants the Messiah to cure her terminally ill child. 

Series: The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (Season 3): Amazon Prime Video

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Love this show!  Season 3 is much better than #2, which I thought got a bit OTT in places.  If you haven't seen it, it's set in New York in the late 1950s (just got to 1960 in S3), about a married woman who accidentally becomes a stand-up comedian.  Funny, sad, entertaining, Rachel Brosnahan is marvellous indeed, and you'll drool over the frocks!

Series: You (Season 2): Netflix

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Darkest of dark humour, murder, obsession....

Liked this nearly as much as S1, though I do wish everyone's favourite psycho Joe would stop becoming obsessed with such irritating women.  This one is better than the dreary Beck from S1, though - and the story is turned on its head as he meets his match, which is totally unexpected.  

I've decided to stop feeling weird about the fact that I like Joe so much (Benjy Peach, etc....), to stop wondering how on earth he managed to build that new, hi-tech cage in a lock-up, and just enjoy.  The final scene promises an interesting S3, too :)

Film: The Informer

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Enjoyable story about an ex-soldier who has served a jail term for a murder he didn't mean to commit, and was let out on the condition that he became an FBI informer.  Joel Kinnaman stars, and is as good as ever.  I liked it - it's not particularly memorable, but definitely worth watching.

Series: Tell Me A Story : CBS All Access

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've seen S1 and 5 episodes of S2 - each season is a modern re-telling of three fairy tales, all linked together  The first was the Three Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel; the second is Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.  The stories are all inventively turned around—Beauty and the Beast, for instance, is about a famous female singer whose face is burned in an accident, and her lovely bodyguard, Beau.  Kim Cattrall is great as Red Riding Hood's grandmother, possibly the only really likeable character in it.  It's dark, entertaining, and has held my interest throughout, though the dialogue is a bit corny and predictable in places. 

For TWD fans: Michael Raymond-James, aka Dave from 'Nebraska', stars in S1 as one of the Three Little Pigs.

Film: Uncut Gems: Netflix

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fast-moving thriller in which Adam Sandler plays Howard Ratner, a gambling addict and diamond dealer who gets over his head with loan sharks and must retrieve an expensive gem he sold, in order to pay his debt.  It comes across as highly authentic, and is gripping and so well-acted, but I found it a little confusing at first; I couldn't work out exactly what was going on, only the gist.  Definitely recommend, though.

Series: The Morning Show: Apple TV +

3.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Drama that centres around a fictional morning TV show, and the culture of sexual harrassment within the network.  Highly watchable and very much 'oh go on then, just one more episode' - stars Jennifer Aniston as Alex, the grande dame of daytime TV, and Reese Witherspoon (in an unconvincing wig) as Bradley, the spunky ingenue who ends up sitting beside Alex after Mitch, her co-host of 15 years (Steve Carell), is fired for sexual misconduct.

It's ostensibly about Strong Women Standing Up Against The Patriarchy, but it's actually one of the TV shows most damning to women that I've seen in ages.  Aside from the enjoyably snazzy finale when Alex and Bradley say their piece, it portrays women as having zero self-awareness, childish tantrums and an unhealthy dose of victim mentality, seeming incapable of rational thought, and being swayed this way and that by what everyone else wants them to do.

One woman has an unwanted sexual encounter with Mitch, chooses a promotion over speaking up about it (when given this choice by the head of the network), and allows her shame and regret to haunt her for the next decade, with tragic results.  Another, a massively irritating 24-going-on-12-year-old Posh Brit who uses the adjective 'fucking' in a cringe-makingly self-conscious fashion every five minutes, ditches the only nice guy who works on the show because she feels embarrassed about being 'defined by her relationship', but as soon as said tragic event occurs, falls back into his arms because she can't cope after all. 

My favourite character was a studio exec played by Billy Crudup, who watches debacle after debacle unfold with a smile on his face; the only person who can see the big picture.

Something odd: for some reason most of the women wear wide trousers that flap two inches above their ankles, like they picked up the wrong ones in Wardrobe and haven't noticed.  I thought at first that this was some new fashion I didn't know about, but when they were out on the Manhattan streets, no one else apart from the women who worked on The Morning Show appeared to be wearing them.  Okay, so it's a new fashion.  Just remind me not to wear it.

Other than all this, I (almost) enjoyed it.  Even though I've seen all the actors in better stuff.

TWD fans will spot Tammy Rose as Reese Witherspoon's mum :)

Film: Thunder Road

4* ⭐⭐⭐

Darkly comic drama about a cop whose life unravels.  I enjoyed it, but didn't find it particularly memorable.  It is good, though; the Wikipedia page will tell you more about it, HERE.

Film: Bombshell 

3* ⭐⭐⭐

Stars Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie as TV newswomen used and abused by the infamous Roger Ailes of Fox News, played by John Lithgow.  A few months ago I watched the brilliant The Loudest Voice, a series on the same subject starring Russell Crowe as Ailes, which I reviewed HERE.  Once you've seen that, a film such as this seems like a pale sort of version that skims over much of the necessary detail.  It was just okay.

Friday, 3 January 2020

#TheWalkingDead: Dinner Time

It's not all dogs on the side of the road 
and raw tortoises.....

'They may not seem like much one at a time, but in a group all riled up and hungry. Man, you watch your ass'
Morgan and Duane have a guest for dinner in S1x01 Days Gone Bye 

'We didn't come here for the eggs'
but dinner at the CDC the night before isn't so bad :)

'Does anyone know how to play the guitar?  Dale found a cool one.  
Someone's got to know how to play.'

'Otis did.' 

The most awkward dinner ever, in S2x05 Chupacabra

'That owl didn't quite hit the spot'

Didn't fancy spaghetti hoops, then....
S4x06 Live Bait 

'I ate 112 ounces of pudding'

'Crazy cheese?'

'So you want to spend the rest of our lives staring into a fire
and eating mud snakes?'

'Peanut butter and jelly, diet soda and pig's feet.
That's a white trash brunch right there'

Pecans, pecans and more pecans....
S4x14 The Grove

'Hi, I'm Mary ... let's get you settled
and we'll make you a plate'

Better off going hungry.... S4x16 A

'If she's in, I'm in'

The time when it was dogs on the side of the road... 

'It's some pretty serious spaghetti'

They'll all get cookies.  Lots of cookies...

Dog food sandwich, anyone?

...while Dwight got something much better

There's fish, fish, or you can have fish...
Tara dines at Oceanside in S7x06 Swear

'I'm just the guy that makes your kid spaghetti'


 Can't do without that Kingdom cobbler....

.... 'D'you have to be a king to get something to eat round here?' 

Chilli AND mac 'n' cheese :)

That family picnic in S9x03 Warning Signs...

'This is nice, you making dinner for us'

Thinking about absent friends, maybe....
Daryl has dinner with Michonne, RJ and Judith

And this.... if only ๐Ÿ˜ข
 (the extended dream sequence, deleted scene.  So worth watching ~
a real treat if you haven't seen it yet.)