Friday 26 January 2018

Lately I've been watching.... what else but #Vikings?

Previously on Lately I've been watching: 
9 January
18 January

This 'Lately I've been watching' is dedicated only to the first 10 episodes of Season 5 of Vikings, which I've just watched over 3 days.

Loved it, as always, though I felt it's become a little more theatrical this season, and wondered if this was the directors making up for the element it is now lacking, ie, Ragnar Lothbrok.
The glorious Travis Fimmel as Ragnar (early days!)

At the very end of last season I was much interested in the inclusion of Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Bishop Heahmund; my theory is that he's been put in as one-for-the-ladies, now that the glorious Travis Fimmel is no longer with us.  A nice bit of stuff though JRM undoubtedly is, I find his brand of actorish-acting more suited to the Hollywoodised romp type historical drama of The Tudors than the previously more authentic-feeling Vikings; for instance, his exchanges with Ivar the Boneless lacked the subtlety and depth of those between Ragnar and Athelstan.

I was, however, most pleased to see him get together with Lagertha at the end, and it was good to see Lagertha back with her shield maiden hairdo and warpaint ~ is this the 21st century ideal of femininity?  If so, I'm all for it.

It's brother against brother once more, then, in the tradition of Ragnar and Rollo, as Ivar persuades the not-so-intelligent one whose name I had to look up because a) he is so insignificant and b) I could never hear it properly (Hvitserk), to side with him against the mighty Bjorn Ironside and the honorable Ubbe, who is the only one who actually looks like Ragnar, albeit a watered down version.

Then there is Harald Finehair and the adventurer Halfdan (another favourite of mine), whose loyalty to Bjorn was cemented when they dined on a Sicilian in the desert.  I was so sad to see Halfdan killed in the last episode, and wanted Valhalla to be real for him.  Less so Astrid, who got on my nerves.  Poor Harald; how long must it have taken to grow that plait?  When all the time the father of Astrid's child might have been any one of group of four whalers; like Harald's plait, I felt this storyline was chopped off prematurely.  Then again, he did kill Halfdan, in direct contrast with Ubbe, who, when the shields were down, could not kill his own brother.  Shame that Halfdan was far more worthy of life than Hvitserk.

Harald and Halfdan enjoy a cool 99 in Valhalla

And let us not forget Alfred and Aethelred....  I expect to see Alfred become a major character loved by a Viking leader as Ecbert was by Ragnar.  Though maybe not Ivar, who has shaped up so well as the pantomime villain with the occasional weakness, though one never knows; does he just show this to keep others such as Hvitserk on his side?  He is a master war statistician, but will he meet his match in Alfred?  And will Rollo sort the little tinker out, now he's back, in his designer robes?  Has he stopped throwing his toys out of the pram and learned to do what is right?

Love the Floki in Iceland sideshow ~ I took it that he had not only thought he had seen the gods in his starving, delirious state, but also the land as lush and verdant.  I expect he'll be dissuaded from sacrificing himself, and will, at some point, be able to show them the mountain that breathes fire, thus proving that he was right all along about it being a magical land.

And so to the next ten episodes....

  • Will mad-as-a-box-of-frogs Margrethe kill Torvi or her children?
  • Will Lagertha have her highlights redone, or will she stay shocked-silver, following her reluctant murder of Astrid?
  • Will Alfred follow in the wise footsteps of his grandfather, but this time manage not to murder a bunch of Norse farmers?
  • Has Rollo arrived to side with Ivar or Bjorn?
  • Which one of Ragnar's sons will decide to chuck it all up and open an international cab firm instead? 


We shall see.....

Thursday 18 January 2018

Lately I've been watching.....

A few more TV and film recommendations... or not, as the case may be.

Previous post with more, HERE

Dunkirk : film.  

Needs no explanation.  Stars Mark Rylance, Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Kenneth Branagh, and, oddly, Harry Styles from One Direction.  Fabulous, we watched it in total silence.

5 big huge golden stars

Damnation : TV Series

Set in 1930s Depression in American midwest, drama/thriller about feuding brothers and evil bankers trying to force eviction of farmers.  Stars Logan Marshall-Green (lush!) and Killian Scott.  Jolly good!

4 stars

Horace and Pete 

Web series starring Steve Buscemi, about two brothers running an Irish bar.  Tragi-comedy, takes the form of a play.  Very funny, obviously!

4 stars

The Fast and the Furious: Film series, starts in 2001

Recently watched all these wonderfully preposterous car chase/action films, which were far better than I thought they'd be.  Stars the lovely Paul Walker who died during the making of #7, and Vin Diesel, who I really liked.  Great fun, terrific escapism.  I liked #2 and #5 best.

4 stars.

Hard Sun : pre-apocalyptic thriller, TV series.

Woman cop with issues and male cop with secrets discover that the world is going to end in five years when something weird happens to the sun.  Murky characters try to stop them letting the cat out of the bag.  Interesting side-stories, nicely left open at the end for possible 2nd series?

3.5 stars

Jigsaw: film

Horror, starring Tobin Bell.  Utterly clichรฉd, predictable rubbish, hackneyed plot, appalling acting.

1 star

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Lately I've been watching....

Some film and TV comments, with trailers for your enjoyment!  Click on name of film/series for more info.

Film ~ Jungle

Fabulous true life tragic and amazing adventure starring Daniel Radcliffe - loved it so much I could have watched it again straight away, and now want to read the book.

5 stars

Black Mirror Season 4

A glimpse into the technology of the not so distant future... brilliant, as always.   6 separate stories ~ my favourites were  1, 3 and 5.

 5 stars 

Stranger Things Season 2

Liked this series much more than the first.  Sci-Fi series set in 1984.  Gives me the feeling of curling up in bed reading comics, as a child.  Love that it's not all about today's technology; will appeal to the oldies like me!

4.5 stars

Borg vs McEnroe ~ film

About their thrilling 1980s final!  (The guy who played Borg was amazing)

4.5 stars

Curb Your Enthusiasm

The long-running comedy series starring Larry David, who created Seinfeld.  I watch a few episodes of this whenever I feel like something light; always great.

 4.5 stars

Fearless - serial drama

Lawyer tries to prove the innocence of a child killer and opens up a whole can of worms.  I did like it, but don't think I would have remembered it if I hadn't made a note of it straight away.  It's worth watching.

3.5/4 stars

Doomsday ~ post apocalyptic film from 2008

The first five minutes showed great promise.  After that it was preposterous rubbish, mostly.  Gangs of unruly punks in forgotten Scotland, who all happen to be really great looking with great bodies despite living on a diet of human flesh.  Breakaway gang of immunes live in a castle, and for some reason all dress in medieval attire.  Scantily clad girl beats huge man in full body armour in battle.  You get the picture.  Some good music, though.

2 stars

American Gothic ~ serial killer family thriller

2 stars

Mostly preposterous rubbish, but I watched it to the end, possibly because it starred the bloke out of Banshee who is totally hot.  Includes token beautiful, successful professional woman who happens to be a lesbian, as is usual in TV drama these days (nb, this is not a slur against the LGBTQ community, but a criticism of the patronising tokenism present in the TV industry).