More TV/film/etc reviews recommendations.... if you would like to see more, please click on the 'Lately I've Been Watching' tag at the bottom, which will bring up the rest of the posts in this series. Happy watching!
Documentary film: Unseen Enemy
Terrifying, fascinating and absolutely must-watch - a film showing how easily viruses spread, particularly now that the world has become such a small place, and the dangers of them more virulent than anything we have seen yet, emerging via the animal and bird population. Seriously, if this doesn't put you off eating meat and poultry, nothing will. Prepare to fall in love with Dr Moses, btw.
5 stars plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Animated film: American Pop
This lasts about an hour, an animated film told in the music of the time, from a Jewish boy's escape from the Russion pogroms at the turn of the 20th century, through to the late 1980s, when the film was made. Every era is captured so beautifully and perfectly. The 'pop' of the title isn't only about the music, though; it's also about how each of the four male main characters relates to his father, as it zips through four generations. I loved it, and you will, too!
5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
TV Series: Line of Duty (Season 5)
One of my favourite TV crime shows, this season was as good as any that came before it, as the search for 'H' continues. Stephen Graham is terrific as an undercover cop working with an OCG who soon realises that he is on his own - will Arnott be the person to help him, or will he chicken out?
Film: Lawrence of Arabia (colour etc restored)
I can't believe I had never seen this epic classic before, but the other night I spent 4 hours engrossed in it. Peter O'Toole is wonderful, the cinematography is amazing, and it's a poignant illustration of European politics in the early part of the century. The scenes in the desert were spectacular.
5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
TV Series: Silicon Valley
Very funny show about start-ups in Silicon Valley and the world of technology. Pokes sophisticated fun at trends and hip company cultures and the ridiculous amounts of money some can have on paper, in this strange digital age - and how transient it all is. Half hour episodes. I liked the first two seasons the best, after which the writing seemed to change a little, and it became more 'standard sitcom' than 'clever satire'. Best character: Bertram Gilfoyle, a satan-worshipping tech wizard. In S5, some have become caricatures of themselves, as happens when some show producers think 'hey, these lines and jokes are getting great approval ratings. Let's include a version of them in every episode and do them do death till they're not funny any more.' .... but it got better towards the end and I ended up really hoping there's going to be an S6!
S1/2: 5* all the way. S/4: 4.5* S5: 4*
4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Film: Extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile
Stars Zac Efron as Ted Bundy. I admit to being slightly disappointed by this, as it is not about his crimes but more about his relationship with girlfriend Liz, while he was living his secret life. Efron is terrific as Bundy, and it does a great job of showing how the evil can completely disguise themselves to the world, but I was waiting for a slow reveal of what he actually did, or a shocking, hard-hitting end, that never came. It's good, though, and well done; held my interest throughout.
4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
TV Series: The Ice Cream Girls
Adaptation of a book by Dorothy Koomson, stars Martin Compston (Line of Duty) as a slimy teacher who screws his pupils and gets violent with them. Fast forward 17 years, and we find that he's been murdered - but by Poppy, a lonely waitress with a crush on him who was imprisoned for the crime, or Serena, the 16 year old pupil he said he was crazy about?. Great premise, and I loved the first episode, but it went downhill, and I was disappointed by the final third. I spotted a few glaring plot holes and highly unlikely reactions, and the end was far too HEA and swiftly wrapped up.
3 stars ⭐⭐⭐
Musical Theatre: Rock of Ages
Went to see this at Derngate Theatre, Northampton. Love story with a backdrop of the 80s LA rock scene. I like the dancing, and some of the cast (mostly Zoe Birkett, who came 4th in the first Pop Idol) were great, but I was fairly disappointed in much of it. It wasn't really representative of the music or the styles of the time; the 'rock' music was little of the 'hair bands' like Poison, LA Guns, Cinderella, Warrant, or heavy rock like Aerosmith or Zep, but mostly soft or pop rock type, like Journey. Most of the men had short hair, and looked more like members of Noughties boy bands than 80s rockers. I enjoyed some of it well enough, but I think it's more a show for people who like musicals, generally, rather than those who like rock.
3 stars ⭐⭐⭐