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'

'Just like momma used to make'.... not. 

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 really 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 

'This is nice, you making dinner for us'

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

Stewed possum, anyone?

....and don't forget your manners.  If asked for dinner, always bring a contribution....

And this.... if only 😢

 (the extended dream sequence, deleted scene from 7x01.  So worth watching ~ a real treat if you haven't seen it.)