Wednesday 30 October 2019

Lately I've Been Watching

More mini reviews and recommendations of TV series, films, etc.  Mostly watched on Amazon Prime and Netflix.

For all posts in this series, please click HERE

Series: The Loudest Voice 

5 stars plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Russell Crowe is utterly brilliant as Roger Ailes, the long-time Chairman of Fox News, in this seven-part series.  His make-up, as an older, obese man is completely convincing.  Sienna Miller does a great job of playing his supportive and naΓ―ve wife.  Aside from the story itself, it will be a real eye-opener for anyone who thinks that news stations do not have a political agenda, and do not have every intention of influencing and moulding how the public thinks (and votes).

There is no doubt that Ailes was a revolting, sexist, racist, manipulative, self-absorbed, elitist douchebag of the highest order, who engaged in sexual harrassment of his staff; he was eventually fired by Rupert Murdoch following sexual abuse claims by many former and current employees, thought it seemed to me that one or two of the women intentionally slept their way up the career ladder, rather than being sexually abused.  But I daresay it was all a lot more complicated than we saw in these seven episodes.  

Anyway, it's terrific, and I was engrossed all the way through.  Highly recommended.

Film: El Camino 

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The spin-off film from Breaking Bad, showing what happened to Jesse Pinkman after he drove away in the finale.  You do need to have seen all of Breaking Bad to enjoy this, btw - it's like the last bit of the story.  Aaron Paul is terrific as Jesse, and there is a great scene with him and Walter - a flashback, because of course Walter died at the end of the series.  If you loved Breaking Bad as much as I did, it's unmissable.

Dark Humour/Drama Series: Mr Inbetween 

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Love this!  Scott Ryan is the creator and star - it's an Australian series set in Sydney, about Ray Shoesmith, who is a 'fixer' for the owner of a lap-dancing club that is heavily involved in the underworld.  He is also a hired killer, but the other side of his life is touching and 'normal' - he has a great relationship with his eight-year old daughter and his brother, who as motor neurone disease; Ray takes great care of him.  In the first episode he meets Ally, a paramedic, and they fall in love, but she has trouble dealing with the violent side of his nature.  I've watched both seasons, and hope it carries on, because it's really great.  Highly recommended.

Series: A Confession

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

True story, starring Martin Freeman, about Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher who investigates the case of the missing Sian O'Callaghan.  When the killer is found, he confesses to another murder - but Fulcher has a great deal of trouble proving it.  The TV series is about the families, and what happens to Fulcher as a result of it, and the methods he used in extracting the confession.  Freeman is as excellent as ever, and if you enjoy TV police procedurals, you'll love it.

Comedy Series: Living With Yourself  

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Follows the story of a man who, after undergoing a mysterious treatment that promises him the allure of a better life, discovers that he has been replaced by a cloned version of himself.  Amusing and entertaining.  I found his wife massively irritating, though.

Netflix Film: In the Shadow of the Moon 

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Serial killer, time travel - stars a fairly down at heel cop with a heavily pregnant wife, starting in 1988.  It's good, entertaining, and the unravelling of what the plot is all about is not apparent at all.  Held my interest throughout; not particularly memorable but worth watching.

Series: On Becoming a God in Central Florida 

3.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

I hovered between 3.5 and 4* for this - loved it at first but after episode 3 it hasn't held my attention so much.  Kirsten Dunst is terrific as a bereaved wife who gets involved in a pyramid selling scheme.  Set in the late 80s or early 90s, I think, though there has been no definite date.  Worth giving a go :)

Monday 28 October 2019

Review: #TheWalkingDead S10:4 SILENCE THE WHISPERERS #TWD

Review: S10:3 GHOSTS
The Story of Daryl and Carol 

Written by: Geraldine Inoa
Directed by: Michael Cudlitz

'Never take your enemy at their word.  Measure them by their actions.'

Oh what a lovely start: Daryl smiling, sitting down to dinner with Rick's kids!  Normal life: Gabriel walks along with Rosita and the baby, Magna and Yumiko have a romantic moment—but then not so normal, as the increasingly disturbed Siddiq has a wobble or several, and a tree falls through the wall of the hilltop and lets the Walkers in.  

...a reflection of S6:08 Start To Finish, except that this time there's no Rick to motivate the band of Walker slayers, and no Daryl, Sasha and Abraham turning up with a petrol tanker.

Well done, Geraldine Inoa and Michael Cudlitz, and let us not forget the producers and editors; these more human episodes are fascinating, and underline how any society will have its problems, even when they should be banding together against common foe.  That our very nature makes us form alliances with those who have similar grievances, beliefs and prejudices—and how those allied will egg each other on to persecute a scapegoat, too, as Lydia is set upon by Gage, Margo and the other Highwaymen guy, in retribution for the death of their friends—even though she played no part in it.  Many real life parallels to be made here, of course. 😢

As Daryl so rightly says, it's a mess—you can understand Gage etc's feelings, the eagerness of Earl and Alden to blame the Whisperers for the Walker onslaught and the tree, and the way in which our lovely Saint Aaron allowed his halo to slip as he taught people to fight, stirring up the desire for retribution: 'These people took our land, our friends—they must be stopped.'

There is no right or wrong; nothing is black and white.  That Negan killed Margo by accident when protecting Lydia is one thing, but when he called her a 'goddamn asshole, beating on a kid', one could not help but remember him beating the not-much-older Glenn to death in front of his pregnant wife, and that he would have killed Carl in S7:16 The First Day of the Rest of Your Life if Shiva hadn't arrived at the right moment.  

Daryl was so right about Lydia hanging out with Negan doing her no good—like the misfits who band together in the school playground, such an alliance only exacerbates their image as social pariahs.  Not least of all because Lydia doesn't know what Negan did, six or seven years before.

Like Daryl trying to get the prison group to accept Merle, and Negan being allowed to be a part of the Alexandria community as per Carl and Rick's ideals, perhaps Lydia living there will never work.  

Who do you think let him out, then?  Next week is looking great (see trailer, below) - action packed, lots of stuff going on, and LIGHT!  This was another episode with too much dark, I thought.  And I found it hard to hear what Lydia was saying.  Twice, I played back the bit when she was talking about someone smelling of garlic and onions, and I still couldn't catch it.

I do think Michonne has hit the nail on the head - that Alpha will not kill them while she thinks Daryl is protecting Lydia.  She knows, mother to mother ... and the scenes with her and Ezekiel were so emotive.  Poor Ezekiel is wallowing in his own losses, not fully aware that for Carol it's all about the lost children, and maybe always was; he wasn't around in the Cherokee Rose days.  But I think it's easy for us to forget all that Ezekiel has suffered, too ~ and his 'and yet I smile' line at the end of that lovely scene on the broken bridge (that is where they were, right?) showed the more positive side of him that made him King Ezekiel in the first place.

Like Michonne said, it's worse the second time round, though with Carol's attachment to Lizzie, Mika and Sam, as well as Sophia and Henry, it's more like the fourth time.  Sob sob: when Michonne was talking about the pain of being without Rick, echoing the feelings of any bereaved wife, in any time.

Incidentally, whoever first leaked that picture of Ezekiel kissing Michonne needs a slapped wrist for making us all think the two of them were about to get together!

Other thoughts:

  • I'm assuming that Luke's touching goodbyes with the rest of his original group mean that he's going to die next week. Especially as he's got some potential love stuff going on. Call me cynical.  
  • Good to see Judith acting every inch Carl's sister—and I don't care if she is biologically the daughter of Lori and Shane; she's every inch the daughter of Richonne, too. Though it has to be said that neither Lori or Shane were ever slow in coming forward.
  • Does Daryl putting the one-winged waistcoat back on mean that he's gearing up for a fight?  I see it as his warpaint!
  • Just love those wagons made out of cars.  I want to live in a post apocalyptic world just so I can travel in one.
  • I am most pleased to see that the lovely Scott is still alive 😍
  • Like the little hint of backstory about how Magna and Yumiko got together; we know that Magna was in prison, and now that Yumiko was her lawyer.

A most compelling episode that gave much food for thought, and laid more bricks on the road to what might be in store.... but kept us all guessing, in the best and time-honoured TWD fashion.

Next week.... looks brilliant!

Sunday 20 October 2019

Review: #TheWalkingDead S10:03 GHOSTS #TWD #TWDFamily

Review of S10:02 We Are The End Of The World
The Story of Daryl and Carol - GIF post in two parts

Writer: Jim Barnes
Director: David Boyd

First of all, at the risk of annoying straight male readers, can I just say how totally hot Daryl looked all the way through this episode?

The title is 'Ghosts' ~ and it's all about those loved and lost, tricks of the imagination, and that which may be there...or may not.  It's also one of those more 'human' episodes—though not without some serious Walker action and Whisperer threats, it seemed, to me, to be more about the people, and their relationships with each other, with Eugene coming to terms with the fact that his and Rosita's friendship won't be 're-zoned into love town' πŸ˜‚ any time soon—and I'm really hoping the writers never decide to make that happen!  

Loved the most uncomfortable look he gave increasingly handsome baby-daddy Siddiq on walking away, too.  And I've just read on Twitter that there is talk of Siddiq having earned his life by agreeing to be a spy for Alpha... he does seem rather edgy, doesn't he?

On first watch, I was less gripped by this episode than the last two; I find the dark episodes, with much of it taking place at night, a bit frustrating.  Second time round, though, I liked it far more, and saw all the clever little nuances; with new episodes I'm can be too busy concentrating on the plot unfolding to see all the detail.  Everything that happened this week was such a necessary progression, leading up to the troubles within the communities next week, as many become increasingly frightened about a Whisperers attack.

'I forgive you, mother to mother' ... so sad to see Carol sent back into a dark place during the meeting with Alpha to 'discuss' the new borders between territories.  Daryl conceded that she might have been better off on her boat.  I hope not - we so want to see her with Daryl and happy, don't we?

She looked so drained and tormented all the way through, as she faced all she has lost and how alone she is, in comparison with Michonne, who, although heartbroken over Rick and Carl, has held it together.  The comparison between Carol waking up alone at the beginning, and Michonne returning home to her children was so poignant.

But Michonne was always a natural leader of people, who considers all aspects of a situation, whereas Carol deals with pain by taking herself away from others, and being single-minded about the path she must take; perhaps this is why she and Daryl understand each other so well.

It got off to a great start, though, with the Alexandrians doing twenty-four hour shifts in order to deal with the sudden influx of Walkers outside their walls ('thicker than fleas on a farm dog': Eugene), and the subsequent meeting, in which Gage and the remaining Highwaymen insist that they should declare war to avenge their lost friends, and Michonne talks sense—showing herself to be a wise leader yet again (Rick would have been so proud!). 

I don't believe for one moment that Alpha is not sending the Walkers their way, though.

What with Siddiq clearly unwell, Carol taking tablets, Negan itching and Aaron going temporarily blind, I thought that Alpha had somehow sent some curious disease their way, but it turned out to be lack of sleep for the first two, and hogweed-covered Walkers for the latter.  I liked the exchanges between Negan and Aaron—just when you think the thinner, older, greyer Negan really might have changed for the better, he gets that look in his eyes again....

'If you don't protect what belongs to you, sooner or later it belongs to someone else ... the story of the whole goddamn world' 

Now, the hallucinations.  I am not a fan of hallucinations or dream sequences in either TV or books; I want to know what IS happening, not what is imagined.  When re-watching S3, I always fast-forward the Rick and ghost-Lori/imagined phone call bits.  However, as they were there for a reason, so were Carol's in this episode.... and what about that ending, eh?  Not just hallucinations, then ... and perhaps her dream about living with Daryl was what she really wants.

Other stuff I liked:
  • Meant to mention before—the image of Rick and the bridge in the titles.
  • 'Peanut butter—meet jelly'
  • The way that many of them are using Morgan type sticks as anti-Walker weapons now—made me think of Rick in S2, saying to Shane that they had to get used to using their knives rather than far they have come.
  • Carol being back at Alexandria, and seeing her, Daryl and Michonne working together—especially when you consider that she hasn't been there since she left, back in S6!
  • How, like Merle, Aaron has turned his stump into a weapon.
  • Seeing inside the old world buildings, and how faded and irrelevant all that stuff looks now.
  • That Rosita still looked stunning and cool, even after fighting Walkers all night!

I hope Carol gets her act together next week—and we want more lovely scenes with her and Daryl! 

...and I see that 'Silence the Whisperers' is directed by the lovely Michael Cudlitz, and written by Geraldine Inoa, who co-wrote the fabulous The Calm Before, from S9, which has to go down in the list of all-time TWD greats.

The Story of Daryl and Carol Part 1 #TheWalkingDead #TWD #TWDFamily #Caryl #DarylDixon

Daryl and Carol
Part 1: Atlanta to Alexandria

Fighting the good fight together for ten years 😍

From back at the Atlanta camp, right at the start, 
when Daryl gave her the axe to take out her pain on what was left of Ed....

...and he fought the Walkers outside the CDC, so that Carol and Sophia could get safely inside—because Carol didn't fight back in those days.

When Sophia went missing, he was more sure than anyone
that she would be found
He went out to look for her when he heard Carol crying in the RV

...and tried to raise her spirits with the Cherokee rose :)

Daryl goes out looking for Sophia and ends up getting shot by Andrea....

...and afterwards, Carol was the only one who could see that 
behind his bravado was his fear that he didn't measure up
He was with her when they found Sophia

....but afterwards took his failure to save her out on Carol.

By the time they reached the prison, six months on, 
Carol had learned how to shoot

...and had was taking her turn on watch 

Daryl found her when everyone thought she was dead,
after prisoner Andrew tried to sabotage their new home.

She was distraught when she heard Daryl had gone off with Merle

...and so happy when he came back.
(after all, look how far you've comeπŸ˜‚)

As they got ready for what the Governor would do next, 
they talked about Merle's final heroic act. 

 Six months after the first fight with the Governor, both had become leaders in Rick's new prison community.

Then the virus hit, and and Carol was about to do the 
thing that would make Rick send her away.

...but then Rick banished her, and Daryl was furious. 

They would not see each other again for many weeks—
not until Carol lit the fuse that enabled the whole group to escape Terminus, and at last they were reunited

After Terminus, on watch, Carol won't talk about what happened to her and Tyreese on the road. Then they hear some strange noises—are the Terminus crew still tracking them?

While seeking sanctuary at Gabriel's church, 
Daryl tells Carol he wants a fresh start
He also tells her about the people who took Beth
—and then they see the car like the one that took her

Their trail leads them back to Atlanta, and to a women's refuge where Carol used to go, to escape Ed - and where he now kills a woman and child Walker, to stop Carol hearing their cries

....they escape Walkers with a hair-raising jump in a van

But all their efforts to save Beth are, ultimately, in vain

 On the road, after the church, Daryl finds it hard to come to terms with the fact that he couldn't protect Beth

Then Aaron arrives, and takes them to Alexandria.
Carol pretends to fit in, while Daryl is, at first reluctant.

...though after a day out with Aaron, and dinner with him and Eric, 
Daryl decides it's not so bad there after all

But both Carol and Daryl, with Rick, keep a back up plan (an off-camera one!)