Saturday, 11 June 2022

Lately I've Been Watching...

The latest in my series of mini TV and film reviews, with trailers and 'where to watch'.  If you have trouble finding where any show/film is available in your country, this is a good site: Justwatch.  Just put the name of the show into the search, and choose your country further down, from the drop-down menu.  It shows where you can stream, buy or rent.  

However... I've found it to be not absolutely up to date at all times.  Sometimes I've had better results simply putting 'where can I watch ***' into the search engine, or going to the programme's own site, if it has one.

If you would like to see more posts, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching.  If you get as far as the bottom, 'Older Posts' will take you to more.


Miniseries: Pistol

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Disney+, Virgin Go.  US: Hulu, Bundle)

Six episodes about the formation, rise to anti-stardom and inevitable demise of the Sex Pistols.  It's shown from the POV of guitarist Steve Jones, as it's based on his book Lonely Boy.  

Jones is played by Toby Wallace (you know how the one producing always gets someone really good-looking to play themselves!), but the star of the show, in my opinion, was Anson Boon as John Lydon (Johnny Rotten), who had Lydon's voice down pat, and portrayed his eccentricity and brilliance so well.

I get that Steve Jones's past was ramped up a bit for dramatic effect, but many of the incidents really did take place - Sid Vicious assaulting Bob Harris, Jones stealing Bowie's gear, and the story that became the song 'Bodies'.

Maisie Williams (Arya in Game of Thrones) was surprisingly convincing as Jordan, and Beth Dillon looked exactly like the young Siouxie Sioux.  I wasn't part of the punk scene although I was the right age, because I was one of the long hair rock music people they despised (😆), but I remember it well, and it's pretty accurate.  The seventies was a great time to be young, and this series shows it.  I liked the stuff about Chrissie Hynde, too, who I never knew was so involved with the Pistols, though I was not sure about the casting.

Highly recommended, whether you were into the music or not, but especially if you remember the time.  I was totally gripped all the way through.


....and here are some of the actors with their real-life counterparts :)



Miniseries: We Own This City

4.5 * ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(US: HBO Max.  UK: Sky, Now)

Jon Bernthal and Jamie Hector in a new cop show from the makers of The Wire and The Deuce?  Sign me up!

Based on a true story and a non-fiction book by investigative journalist Justin Fenton, the miniseries is six episodes long and covers the rise and fall of the  Baltimore PD's Gun Trace Task Force, headed by Wayne Jenkins. Bernthal plays Jenkins as a kind of Shane Walsh on speed (info for non-believers: Shane was the cop he played in The Walking Dead).  His crew are heavily into helping themselves to any wads of cash available, arresting innocent people who have committed no crime to keep their stats up, etc.  Jamie Hector plays the good-guy homicide detective who is not without blame.

The time line goes back and forth as we see how Jenkins' criminal career evolved - at times it's a little confusing and you do have to keep on the ball in order to remember whether you're in 2015 or 2017 or whenever.  It's very good and I did enjoy it, though I was slightly put off by the way it seemed to have an agenda, as well as telling the story.  Brilliantly written, directed and acted.



Series: Night Sky - Season 1

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Amazon Prime, all countries)

J K Simmons (Oz, The Tomorrow War, Counterpart, Justice League) and Sissy Spacek are terrific as an old couple who have a secret down their cellar - a chamber that leads to another planet, that can also transport people to other places on Earth, in an instant.

The beginning is slow, with nothing much happening in the first episode, but that's okay; Simmons and Spacek's quality of acting kept me interested.  Episode 2 ups the pace, and in #3, the story really gets going.  It's good.  I liked it.  Room for a Season 2!



Comedy: Ricky Gervais: SuperNature

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Netflix)

I was going to say that Ricky Gervais is a love-him-or-hate-him sort of artist, but I find myself right of centre where he's concerned: mostly, I think he's hilarious and spot on, but now and again he tries too hard to shock.  His use of the 'c' word, both in this and Afterlife, is a little cringe-making (not because it's offensive, but because it's trying to be so), and now and again in this stand-up show he goes too far with the 'I can't believe he said that' stuff.  For instance, the bit about how funny it would be to fart at a baby's funeral just came off as not very funny at all, and bad taste.  Mostly, though, this show is great.  He's a master of cutting through daft pretensions, through bullshit and cultural fads, of brilliantly observing the body language, facial expressions and speech affectations of those he wants to take the piss out of, not excluding himself.  If you love his sort of humour, you'll definitely enjoy this.  And I loved the bit about the duck-billed platypus making his own custard.


Limited Series: Shining Girls

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(US & UK: Apple+)

Elisabeth Moss is a former reporter who was attacked and left for dead by a psycho played most convincingly by Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot).  Murder victims with similar injuries to hers start popping up, and she enlists the help of maverick reporter Dan Velazquez (you know, the one who drinks too much and gets into trouble with his bosses but is like a dog with a bone for the right story), played by Wagner Moura - Pablo Escobar in Narcos.

After a while, they realise that the timelines are all wrong, between the cases and the evidence, which is when the story moves from a dark psych thriller to science fiction.  It's good, I enjoyed it.  Wouldn't totally rave about it, but I liked it.



Documentary: Bad Vegan

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Netflix)

Four part documentary about Sarma Melngailis, who owned the restaurant Pure Food and Wine, a vegan raw food establishment in New York that was, at the time, the place for the health-conscious celebrity to be seen.  

For some reason, which I was not able to fathom (bearing in mind that Ms Melngailis was beautiful, successful, wealthy, sought after, etc etc), she becomes involved with a fat uncouth conman called Anthony Strangis, who manages to convince her that he's part of a supernatural group of overlords who secretly run the universe, and that if she paid him large amounts of money he would make her beloved dog immortal, and they would (eventually) be granted a happy ever after.  Yes, it really is that nuts.

She gave him everything in her bank accounts including thousands from investors, failing to pay her staff.  Her mother's retirement fund disappeared too - all because Strangis told her she was being 'tested' by this group of deities who wouldn't make her dog immortal if she didn't. 

There are long interviews with Sarma; at first I thought she was a just victim of mind control/brainwashing, but as it went on she came over as something of a narcissist, not caring how many people suffered because of what she did.  She kept saying, 'He made me send him (insert vast amount of cash here)', but every time it was a choice she made, as was lying to investors to get more money, pretending she needed it for the business.

Spoiler Alert: he gambled it all way.  Something like $1.6 million.



Series: The Wilds - Seasons 1 & 2

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Amazon Prime)

Nine young women (all about 17 years old) end up on a deserted island after a plane crash en route to a retreat that they're told will help them through their emotional problems.  Except that the 'plane crash' and desert island survival is part of their 'programme', and they're being monitored at all times.  Amongst the group are two 'plants' who are in on what's happening.  In each episode we see backstory, bringing the whole plot together and showing how they all ended up there.  In Season 2, we see the boys' group, same scenario.  Of course, as time goes on, one or two of the group members begin to suss out that there's something fishy going on.

If you've seen it, my favourite female characters were Dot and Fatin.  I liked Shelby, and Toni and Nora grew on me as time went on.  Leah and Martha I found intensely irritating.  It's very well-plotted and acted, the unfolding of the plot is paced just right, and I found it more absorbing than I thought I would.

The negative: I noticed that each of the girls were allotted one basic character trait (being quick to anger, obsessed with appearance, always seeing the good in people, etc) that was then displayed and referred to at regular intervals, just to make sure we knew what their 'issue' was.  Also, despite them being desperately hungry much of the time, none of them lose any weight.  The two who are overweight remain so; the largest of them actually looks fatter in Season 2.  When you're that age the weight just falls off you, especially if you have no access to processed carbs and sugar.

Now, the boys.  If we are to believe what we see, all late teenage boys are super-touchy-feely, talk to each other about their feelings, give each other frequent, reassuring hugs, and communicate in woke ideology.  The only one I liked was Kirin, and I quite liked the entrepreneurial Scotty; the rest (aside from Seth, who was just weird) seemed like a good advert for bringing back National Service (if you're younger than 55 and not British you probably won't know what this means, but never mind).

Having said all this!!!  I did enjoy it, and it ends on a terrific cliffhanger that made me anxious to see Season 3!



Limited Series: The Shadow Line 

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Amazon Prime)

Seven episodes, cops vs drug dealers.  Chiwetel Ejiofor (you'll recognise him from lots of British TV, if you don't know the name) stars as DI Jonah Gabriel, complete with memory loss from an accident, and Christopher Eccleston as the numbers guy for drug lords who juggles multi-million pound deals and the care of his wife, who has Alzheimer's.  Rafe Spall is excellent as the spoilt, psychopathic son of the former cartel boss, as is Stephen Rea, as the mysterious Mr Gatehouse (no spoilers!).

As the series goes on, Gabriel begins to uncover vast corruption inside the force, and can't remember if he had anything to do with it before his accident, or not.  It's all about morality - how far will you go down the wrong path, to get what you want?

It's good - it lacked the spark that would have made it truly memorable, but I enjoyed it.



Series: American Rust - Season 1

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Sky, Now, Virgin.  US: Fubo, Directv, Showtime)

Based on the novel of the same name by Philipp Meyer, set in small-town Pennsylvania.  Jeff Daniels stars as chief of police Del Harris, who takes on a case when the son of Grace, the woman he loves, is accused of murder.  Grace is played by Maura Tierney - Helen in The Affair.  Harris uncovers the network of Fentanyl distribution in the town.   Also stars Dallas Roberts (Milton Mamet in TWD) as a dodgy pharmacist.

The atmosphere of the 'rust belt' (dilapidated steel towns) adds so much to the story - most people are poor, down-at-heel, scraping together a living any way they can.  It's good.  Not outstanding, but good.




Thursday, 19 May 2022

My 100 Favourite Songs - Part 5: The Top Twenty


  It's Top 20 time!


Welcome to the final part of My 100 Favourite Songs - it was so difficult to decide on my Top 20.  Some I thought were in it turned out not to be when I listened to them again, and vice versa.  I've also managed to narrow down my Top 10 - I would have liked to do a proper top twenty countdown but the order would have changed from week to week.  

I hope you have enjoyed listening to some of my favourites, and perhaps they've brought back some memories of your own, too.

Enjoy!

Part 1 HERE

Part 2 HERE

Part 3 HERE

Part 4 HERE


Street Fighting ManThe Stones (1968)


  Chiquita - Aerosmith (1979)


Blowin' Free - Wishbone Ash (1972)



 Public ImagePublic Image Ltd (1978)



Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)


Heroes - David Bowie (1977)



Wait Until Tomorrow - Jimi Hendrix (1967)

This was the best I could find - stacks of cover versions on YouTube; this was the only actual one with Hendrix singing!



Sweet Home Alabama  by Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)



Found A Job - Talking Heads (1978)

I remember having this album on a lot when my then-boyfriend bought it, and I kept thinking, oh, there's that really good one again, before I worked out which one it was. You know how certain tracks kind of steal into your brain almost before you know you love them.



Movin' Out - Aerosmith (1973)




The Top Ten

In no particular order....  


Freebird - Lynyrd Skynyrd (1973)

Was my number one favourite song for ages - still love the musical outro soo-oo much.



Family Affair - Sly and the Family Stone (1971)


(I'm A) Road Runner - Junior Walker & The AllStars (1966)



My Old School - Steely Dan (1973)



Civilian - Wye Oak (2011)

I discovered this beautiful song when it was featured on The Walking Dead; I like this acoustic version of it best. I never tire of listening to it.  Walking Dead  below!




Hangman Jury - Aerosmith (1987)


One Way Street - Aerosmith (1973)

How do you pick your favourite song from your favourite band?  It's a toss up between this and Hangman Jury.  This was from a set they did on the MTV Unplugged series in about 1989.  Hangman Jury featured too, but I couldn't find a decent video of it.

.  



 Gimme Shelter - The Stones (1969)

Just a shot away...



No one Came - Deep Purple (1971)

Just brilliant.  The instrumental bits are sublime. 



Black Water - The Doobie Brothers (1974)

If I had to choose one favourite song ever, it would probably be this one.  Loved it since I bought the album in the late 70s.  I'd like to live in it.  That violin.  



Lately I've Been Watching...

 The latest in my series of mini TV and film reviews, with trailers and 'where to watch'.  If you have trouble finding where any show/film is available in your country, this is a good site: Justwatch.  Just put the name of the show into the search, and choose your country further down, from the drop-down menu.  It shows where you can stream, buy or rent.  

However... I've found it to be not absolutely up to date at all times.  Sometimes I've had better results simply putting 'where can I watch ***' into the search engine, or going to the programme's own site, if it has one.

If you would like to see more posts, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching.  If you get as far as the bottom, 'Older Posts' will take you to more.


Series: Coyote - Season 1

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Amazon)

This was just terrific.  The always excellent Michael Chiklis stars as Ben Clemens, a Border Patrol officer who has reluctantly retired, but accidentally becomes involved with the Mexican mob.  The scenery is breathtaking, the story is a cracker, and this is the best acting I've seen from Mr Chiklis (we are not worthy).  It would have been so easy for him to play this as yet another fearless action man, like Jacks Bauer or Reacher, but when he finds himself in a dangerous situation, Ben Clemens actually looks like he's crapping himself and feels totally out of his depth.  Like, how any real person would.  Not that he hasn't got many tricks to pull out of the bag - this is the man who brought us Vic Mackie, after all.

Only six episodes, and whether or not there is going to be another season has not yet been confirmed.  I remain hopeful.  Watch it anyway, it's great.

(ps, guest appearance of Jose Pablo Cantillo - Martinez in TWD.  I thought, I bet he's going to be in this, and he was!)



Miniseries:  WeCrashed

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Apple)

True Life drama about entrepreneur, silver-tongued charlatan and general narcissist Adam Neumann, who started the company WeWork with his totally-out-to-lunch wife; together they expressed their desire to 'elevate the world's consciousness', without actually explaining, when asked, what this actually meant, aside from facilitating a relaxed office atmosphere.  Wallowing in luxury and every extravagance imaginable, they paid their staff a pittance and frittered away billions from investors.  

It's real edge of the seat stuff, and Jared Leto is excellent in the role of Neumann.  Wife Rebekah is played by Anne Hathaway, who usually gets on my nerves, but she is perfection in this.  Her conversation and ideas are made up of buzz-phrases and t-shirt slogans; she gives 'superficial' a whole new meaning, without a care for the lives she disrupts in the execution and inevitable failure of her barmy ideas.

It's really, really good.

Article in the New York Post about the Neumanns.


....and I also watched this:

Documentary: WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

3.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Hulu, Virgin, or rent from Amazon or Apple)

Interesting to see the real people in action, but this lacked something.  I felt it skirted the surface of the subject, probably because there was too much material for a documentary of this length; much of the subject matter was just touched upon.  Hadn't got quite enough meat to it, somehow.



Series: 12 Monkeys - Seasons 1-4

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Sky, Now. US: Hulu, or buy on Amazon or Apple)

Based on the film, this version is wildly more complicated - it's not one to watch while you're doing something else, as it dips in and out of many, many time periods as, in a post-apocalyptic 2043, Dr Katarina Jones (Barbara Sukowa) uses her time machine to send James Cole (Aaron Stanton) back to 2015 to stop a viral outbreak that wiped out most of the world's population.  Only thing is, it turns out to be a lot more difficult than they'd thought, with the man who they think is responsible being only a minor player.

It's one of those epic shows that I missed when it had finished.  Special mention to the ever-fabulous Kirk Acevedo as José Ramse, Cole's best friend - I found the relationship between the two of them a lot more moving than that of Cole and his love interest, a beautiful doctor who somehow managed to have amazing hair and delicately applied make-up even when the world was crashing down around them.  Also the awesome Xander Berkeley (who played a character not unlike TWD Gregory), and Emily Hampshire as the eccentric Jennifer Goines.  It's completely ridiculous in parts but so good that belief was 100% suspended throughout!




Film: Stalin: Reign of Terror
(also called Within The Whirlwind)

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Amazon, Virgin)

One of those if-it-was-fiction-you'd-say-it-was-too-far-fetched true stories based on the memoir of Yevgenia Ginsberg - she was falsely accused of anti-Stalin activity in 1934, and sent to a forced labour camp.  Stars Emily Watson.  Excellent stuff.




Series: Ozark - Season 4

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Netflix)

Well, what a belter of a final season this was.  Best since the first one.  Loved the very end, though I was gutted about two of the deaths this season - if you love this show too, you'll be able to guess which ones, I should think.

If you've never seen it, I recommend most highly - Jason Bateman is terrific as the deceptively mild accounting maestro whose family become involved with the Mexican mob, and Laura Linney as his highly-strung, ambitious wife.  Also, a round of applause to Julia Garner, who plays Ruth Langmore, a member of a local hillbilly crime family.  Set in the Lake of the Ozarks region of central Missouri - some of the scenery is to die for.  And I'd live in a trailer like Ruth, if it meant waking up to the view over that lake every morning.




Series: Outer Range - Season 1

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Amazon)

Starring Josh Brolin, set in small town Wyoming.  Ranchers and family secrets and drunken bar fights - and strange happenings that cause time shifts, out on remote parts of the land.  It's quite slow and low key, but this makes it more realistic and atmospheric.  Also stars Imogen Poots as a hippie traveller girl who turns up at the Abbott farm, and Lily Taylor as Josh Brolin's wife.  Liked it a LOT, looking forward to Season 2 - they'd better not cancel it!!





Film: The Northman

3.5* ⭐⭐⭐

(US and UK: Rent from most channels.  UK: stream Virgin TV G0)


Two Hollywood Producers sitting in a bar.

Producer #1:  'You know how Vikings with Travis Fimmel was, like, hugely popular?  Well, I'm making a film in the same vein, but with Alexander Skarsgård and Björk, which is better 'cause unlike Travis Fimmel they are real Scandinavians.  And it will be dirtier and bloodier with more fire and quite long, so we can market it as an 'epic'.  And I'm getting Anya Taylor-Joy 'cause everyone wants her in everything at the moment.'

Producer #2: 'Sounds good.  Whassit about?'

Producer #1: 'Well, Ethan Hawke is the king and everyone loves him, and he is married to Nicole Kidman.  They have a young son called Amleth.  But the king has an evil brother, later to be known as Fjölnir The Brotherless because he kills Dad Ethan Hawke in front of Amleth, takes the crown and abducts Nicole Kidman—'

Producer #2: 'Does the son escape and flee across many lands, returning years later to wreak revenge on the evil brother, free his mother and claim his rightful place as king?'

Producer #1: (looks confused) 'Y-yes.  How did you know?'

Producer #2: 'smirks) 'Wild guess.'  

Producer #1: 'Yes, but it's got a great twist.  The son—Skarsgård—will find out that the, like, tropes are turned on their head.  And the audience will be like 'what the fuck, that was brave and controversial,' bearing in mind that everyone loves Ethan Hawke and nobody can stand Nicole Kidman.'

Producer #2: 'Sounds like a great twist, man.' (bites lip trying not to laugh)

Producer #1: 'It so is.  We're going to make Skarsgård and Fjölnir have a naked sword fight to tick the homoerotic box.'  (Sits back, satisfied)  'Anyway, Alexander Skarsgård and Björk.  Real Scandinavians.  And we've got runes in the titles.  They never thought of that in Vikings.  So there.'




Series: Snowfall - Season 5

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Sky, BBc iPlayer, Disney+, Virgin. US: Hulu, Fubo, FXNow)

The standard of this series doesn't falter - it's about how the CIA engineered the crack epidemic in the 1980s, to amass funds for the Nicaraguan Contras, though it centres around young drug entrepreneur Franklin Saint (played outstandingly by Damson Idris).  In S5, he's trying to go legit, and get into property.

This season was particularly interesting, as it shows Franklin having qualms about what he's doing, and the impact on those around him.  It really is excellent - highly recommended if you haven't seen.  The 6th season will be the final one.




Miniseries: Joe vs Carole

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Sky, Now.  US: Peacock)

True life drama adaptation about the degenerate oddball zoo owner (now convicted felon) who calls himself Joe Exotic, or the Tiger King, and his long-running feud with big cat obsessive and animal rights activist Carole Baskin.  Totally addictive binge-watching stuff.  Eight episodes.




Afterwards, we watched...

Documentary Series: Tiger King - Seasons 1 and 2

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Netflix

I'm late to the party with this one, I know - I might not have watched it had I not seen the 'docu-drama'.  I was disappointed to find that in real life, Carole Baskin is not a charmingly eccentric Agnetha Falksög lookalike, but manipulative, definitely a bit bonkers, and with a highly suspect past.  And that the real life Howard Baskin is nothing like the endearing version played by Kyle MacLachlan.  And that Joe Exotic was fatter and older-looking, his husbands drug-addicted rednecks rather than the moderately attractive young men featured in the fictional version.  

Some of the secondary characters were fairly accurate representations, but whereas Joe vs Carole was definitely designed to make the viewer see the Baskins as the good guys, I'd say the truth seemed more like six of one and half a dozen of the other.  Highly entertaining, though.




Film: Morgan

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(US: Fubo, Directv.  UK: Disney+, Virgin)

Entertaining sci-fi thriller romp about a secret project to raise an artificial being with nanotechnology-infused synthetic DNA named Morgan, played by Anya Taylor-Joy (Queen's Gambit, Last Night in Soho, The Northman).  All goes horribly wrong, of course.  Also stars Kate Mara, Paul Giamatti (Chuck Rhoades in Billions), Toby Jones (The Detectorists), Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rose Leslie (Ygritte in Game of Thrones) and a ton of other people you'll recognise.  Worth watching.




Miniseries: The Virtues

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: All 4, britbox.  US.  Topic - buy only)

Four episodes starring Stephen Graham as an Irishman who grew up in Liverpool, with a few serious issues that have set his life on a downward course.  Child abuse, divorce, family separation, losing children, drink and drug abuse, psychosis, anxiety attacks, religious hypocrisy - it's got the lot.  It's extremely good, and Graham's portrayal of the alcoholic whose brain flicks a switch with the first drink was masterful - coupled with the regret, the self-hatred, and the usage of severe emotional problems as a reason for drinking rather than an excuse - but boy, was it depressing.  Most heartrending of all was a beautiful, charismatic young woman called Dinah (Niamh Algar) whose life was ruined by her devout Catholic mother.

(Niamh Algar plays Sue, partner of Travis Fimmel's Caleb, in Raised by Wolves - I didn't recognise her.)




Documentary: Will Young - 
Losing My Twin, Rupert

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK - All 4)

45 minutes long, Will talking about his relationship with Rupert, who killed himself a couple of years back.  It's extremely moving, and Will is so open and honest about all the emotions he has gone through.  Shows film of them as children, and scenes of Will and his parents talking about his brother, also his meetings with a former alcoholic and a woman who began an art project for the families, in Yorkshire.  So worth watching.

Can't find a trailer to it, but here's a bit about it:




Series: The Syndicate - Seasons 1-4

3.5* ⭐⭐⭐

(US: Acorn, britbox, freevee, Hoopla.  UK: britbox, Virgin, Acorn, Sky)

I mostly quite liked this.  Each season is about a different syndicate of lottery winners and the fortunes that befall them.  For some reason they're all working class people living in Yorkshire, which I didn't get.  Also, each character was incapable of resolving conflict without creating a huge drama or going into a silent strop and refusing to tell anyone what the problem was.  They all yelled a lot, whether happy or angry, interspersed with phrases like 'this don't 'appen to the likes of us' and 'my giddy aunt'.  Kind of like cartoon Yorkshire people, some of whom managed to buy palatial houses within about a week of receiving their winnings, and half of whom carried on working in their mundane jobs despite being multi-millionaires

However... it was fun.  I liked the 2nd season best, which was about a group who worked in a hospital, and featured excellent actors such as Alison Steadman, Jimi Mistry and Mark Addy.  I also quite liked Season 3, about the staff of the crumbling country seat of Lord something (Anthony Andrews), though it became a bit too ridiculous as it went on.




Comedy Series: Ten Percent - Season 1

3* ⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Amazon, Virgin.  US: Amazon, AMC+ and others)

About dramatic talent agency Nightingale Hart, based on French series 'Call My Agent' and following the 'Extras' model of having a moderately well-known face playing themselves in each episode (Helena Bonham-Carter, Emma Corrin, etc), except it's nowhere near as funny.  Mainstream kind of humour, a bit slapstick, over-the-top chaos and misunderstandings.

Stars Jack Davenport (wife played by Natasha Little, who was with him in 'This Life', nearly 30 years ago), Jim Broadbent, Tim McInnerney and others you'll recognise.  The only character I liked was Stella Hunt, played by Maggie Steed.  Lots of ghastly Californians buy out Nightingale Hart and take over; they are meant to be ghastly but it isn't as clever and well-observed as, say '2012'.  

The sort of programme that's quite entertaining but you can watch whilst doing hard level sudoku puzzles and not miss anything.  In fact, have some handy.




Film: Pandemic (Parts 1 and 2)

2.5* ⭐⭐⭐

(US: Roku, Hoopla, Film Rise.  UK:Freevee, Apple (buy))

B-movie type film about the spread of a virus from Australia to the US, that becomes concentrated in Los Angeles.  Pretty mediocre, but worth watching (just) if you're into this sort of thing.  Features a few recognisable faces, including Faye Dunaway and Tiffani-something who was in later seasons of Beverley Hills 90210, so I expected it to be better, but it's like something off those A Bit Crap Afternoon Movie channels that I used to watch 20 years ago.  



Wednesday, 18 May 2022

~ May ~

 

   Ma

For my father, if he is following my blog up in heaven, because May was his favourite month.



I'm glad the local council appears to be doing the rewilding thing; in previous years these spaces would have been mown to half an inch all over.  Or perhaps they just haven't got the staff.