Sunday 29 March 2020

Lately I've Been Watching

More mini TV and film recommendations (or not, as the case maybe), with trailers to help you make up your mind, for these long weeks at home!  I've made a note of which site I saw it on, when I can remember (mostly Amazon Prime and Netflix).

If you would like to see more, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching.  There are many of these posts; if you want to see them all, click on 'older posts' when you get to the bottom.

Film: Only 

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Post apocalyptic - a deathly virus that only affects females.  Because most have died, women of childbearing years have become currency.  Freida Pinto and Leslie Odom Jnr play the couple, Will and Eva, trying to escape both the authorities and the bounty hunters looking to earn money by catching themselves a live female.

The story flits back and forth between now and then, showing Will and Eva's life before, and how it gradually unravels as the virus closes its grip.  It's great, one of those films I wanted to carry on watching to see what happens next!

TWD fans will enjoy seeing Jayson Warner Smith (Gavin) and Chandler Riggs (Carl) as a father and son duo tracking Will and Eva - and a brief scene with Joshua Mikel (Jared)!

Six part Series: White House Farm (ITV)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

True crime drama about the case of Jeremy Bamber, who murdered his whole family so that he would inherit his parents' estate, and blamed it on his psychologically disturbed sister.  I remember it when it happened; Alexa Davies plays his girlfriend Julie Mugford who eventually spilled the beans, and looks exactly like her.  Freddie Fox is totally believable as the narcissistic Bamber.  Cops played by Mark Addy and Stephen Graham.  Completely absorbing, and you'll love it whether you're familiar with the case or not.

Series: The Crossing (Amazon Prime)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A warning from the future...

This is terrific - great story, and Steve Zahn is excellent as the small-town Oregon sheriff who discovers a whole bunch of people washed up on the beach.  Turns out they're from year 2187, when an army of genetically enhanced humans called Apex are intent on ending the human race as we know it.  Those who have come back aim to stop this from happening, by killing those who will bring about the rise of Apex.  It's all totally convincing, with the visitors delighting in 'the long peace', which is what they call the first half of the 21st century. 

For some completely barmy reason, it was cancelled after the first season.  However, it does stand up as a series to watch on its own, albeit with an ominous ending.  I was dying to know what was going to happen; alas I never will.  Maybe Apex is already on the rise.....๐Ÿ˜ฑ ๐Ÿ˜ฑ ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Documentary: Punk NYC Revolution (link to watch it on trailer)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Excellent, this - a three-hour-long documentary about the New York rock and punk music scene of the mid-late 1970s and into the 80s, and the influence of the Velvet Underground and Warhol on other bands and trends; features CBGBs, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Television, Blondie, the Ramones, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, etc, and gives a great insight into the culture of the time.  Highly recommended.

Series: Meadowlands (Showtime: 2008) 
Known as Cape Wrath in the US, I believe.

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Loved this!  David Morrissey stars as the father of a family who enter a witness protection plan.  When they are delivered to their mysterious new home on the Meadowlands estate, something seems a bit odd about it.  They soon discover that it's a secret place for others like them - and they can't leave.  Paranoia and psychological intrigue ensue....  

Apparently there was going to be another season but it was cancelled because of poor ratings.  It doesn't matter, though; the ending is terrific, a real open-mouth moment, and such that this single season stands up on its own.

Film: Official Secrets 

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Docu-drama about Katherine Gan, who worked for GCHQ when the 2003 US/UK invasion of Iraq was about to take place.  Keira Knightley manages not to pout too much as the whistleblower who discovered an illegal spying operation by which the US were to blackmail certain UN diplomats into giving the thumbs up for the attack.  Gripping.

Film: The Invisible Man

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Few female actors do deranged desperation better than Elisabeth Moss, and she was perfect in this remake of the cinema classic, in which fate and Adrian, her evil former lover, conspire to make her look both crazy and criminal.  I'd recommend it, for sure.

Miniseries: The Outsider (HBO)

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Based on a Stephen King book, Jason Bateman plays a man who is falsely accused of abducting and murdering a small boy.  Ben Mendelsohn (like him a lot, chap who played Danny in Bloodline) plays a cop and his friend.  Soon, other similar murders of supposedly innocent people are discovered, and it emerges that there is some evil entity going about changing himself to look like other people in order to commit deeds most abhorrent.  Also features Cynthia Erivo as an eccentric investigator who unearths the truth.  Her name is Holly Gibney, so I expect she is the same character as the eccentric woman of the same name in Mr Mercedes.

I'm sure S King fans will love this, though I'm not so keen on supernatural stuff.  It's good, though, and satisfyingly horrific and shocking.

Series: Manifest (Season 1) (Netflix)

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A plane travelling from Jamaica to the US is over booked, and some passengers volunteer to take a different one.  They hit on turbulence during the flight, and when they get home, discover that, for everyone else, five years have passed.  Main character Michaela (Melissa Roxburg) discovers that her fiancรฉ has married her best friend, and her brother Ben that his wife has a new boyfriend.  

It's pretty good, not one of my favourites, but I've enjoyed it.  A good story and acted well, etc, though it lacks that spark that would make it memorable. Michaela is fairly cool but not many of the characters are particularly likeable; the one I liked most was Ben's wife's boyfriend, who is a lot less irritating than Ben.  And his wife is possibly the most irritating of all.  Season 2 is showing at the moment. 

Series: Kingdom (Netflix)

3 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Chinese zombie film, dubbed into English.  It's quite good, well-filmed, etc, but I've only watched two episodes and wasn't that mad about it.  Might watch some more, though.

Film: Call of the Wild

1 star ⭐

A mockery of one of the best books ever written; Jack London must be turning in his grave.  I hadn't read up about it before watching but was so pleased when I saw that a film had been made, and was looking forward to it.  Alas, what I saw of it (about 45 minutes before turning it off) was ghastly.  Schmaltzy semi-comedic pap, more like a children's film, and the hardy trappers with whom Buck first ran were replaced by Man at Marks & Spencer, complete with natty, very clean jumper that looked like nothing anyone would have worn in the 1890s, and a stylish scarf.  Obviously the animals are all CGI, but for some reason Buck is much bigger than a dog would really be.

The one star is for the animation, which was otherwise well done.

Saturday 28 March 2020

Review: #TheWalkingDead LOOK AT THE FLOWERS #TWD #TWDFamily

Review S10x13 WHAT WE BECOME

~ S10 x 14  Look At The Flowers ~
Written by: Channing Powell
Directed by: Daisy Von Scherler Mayer

I just can't get over how good S10B is, without so much as a weak scene ... it's going to be hard to wait until we-know-not-when for episode 16—for anyone who doesn't know, AMC made this statement:'Current events have unfortunately made it impossible to complete post-production of 'The Walking Dead' Season 10 finale, so the current season will end with its 15th episode on April 5'.  

Let's cross fingers we get to see it soon!

Carol and Negan making their deal was the best possible way to open this episode, especially as they've had no direct contact before (and, incidentally, didn't Carol look beautiful in those scenes in Negan's cell?)

'I need this done, and it will help every man, woman and child here 
... so you bring me Alpha's head, and that's what people will remember you for'

'Just walk me through those gates 
so I can open up a whole new chapter in the Book of Negan' 

When she walked off and left him afterwards, though, instead of taking him back to Alexandria to claim the glory, it quite took the wind out of his sails; Carol is one of the few to show him that, of superior intelligence and cunning though he is, he can't always be in charge of every situation!  That she's more than just a 'certified badass who missed her shot'...

I usually find hallucination scenes on TV or films (or in books) pretty tedious, but not this time; using Alpha as Carol's subconscious was a clever way of showing the torment in her mind, all the painful memories and true feelings with which she has been wrestling for so long ... especially when Alpha echoed dear little Mika: '{My mom used to say} Everything works out the way it's supposed to'—and, of course, the title of the episode.  

Alpha-Subconscious said, 'What do you want?  What do you want?  Say it'.  So did Carol acknowledge that she won't find it by running away, as she has done more than once, but by going back to Alexandria?  And it was interesting that her inner thoughts should appear to her as Alpha, rather than someone more benign; does this symbolise the dislike for herself that she has, all too often?  Poor Carol, when she has done so much good for so many people.

I have to say, though, that I thought Daryl might have given her a slightly warmer reception when she returned.

Since Negan made Beta look silly with all the hilarious Beta-with-benefits stuff, and now that they do not have the Machiavellian Alpha at their helm, the Whisperers seem to have lost their terrifying mystique; the fact that Negan is considered the new Alpha because he killed the old one is truly animalistic and ancient-tribal, but also funny—and I doubt that anyone apart from those three Whisperers thought Negan was really going to kill Daryl rather than them.  

'You should probably shoot me'
'Don't threaten me with a good time'

I've already seen on Twitter that the Caryl fans are loving the fact that Negan referred to Carol as 'your girlfriend' when talking to Daryl ... is this another slow step forward towards what most people want to happen?  Or are they just teasing us?  The Daryl and Negan scenes were interesting, though I suspect that Daryl will continue to be a hard nut to crack, if indeed this ever happens.  'Is that supposed to make me like you?' 

I will never forgive Negan for Glenn and Abraham, but I do think he is genuinely trying to mend his ways, and becoming a better person—and I think that if the writers/producers allow him to die it will be a seriously bad move for the show; JDM just gets better and better, every week.  I did consider a mild sort of theory that the delaying of the finale might also be to give it a do-over to keep him in it, because he's been so massively popular with the fans this season.


As for Beta, the Jolly Green Giant is deranged with heartbreak and a desire for vengeance; less terrifying or not, the scenes from next week are looking a bit worrying.  Beta appears to be in Alexandria with rather a lot of Guardians, although it seems that our people have all left (see below, if you haven't seen the trailer for next week).

I loved Beta's scenes in the cafรฉ—TWD scenic perfection, with all those poignant details of the world before: the blackboard on the wall, a salt shaker on the table, candles, coatstands, and posters about forthcoming gigs that probably never happened* (see below!).  'Those 2 eyes see 1 truth', said the note, and his twisted mind thought it was telling something. He was pretty nuts before, but the loss of the woman he loved has definitely sent him over the edge.

*March 30 update: I just read via @TWalkingDWorld on Twitter that the poster was actually about Beta himself—he was not a deranged loser before the apocalypse, as I'd always assumed, but a famous musician called Half Moon.  Daniel in FTWD had one of his albums!  

Question: where is Lydia, and what part will she play next week?


So to the other main story—and Ezekiel wins the prize for being my favourite character this week.  I wasn't bothered about him either way until Season 10, but he has become kind of lovable in his sadness and humility, and has grown on me more and more.  I loved how he jumped in to support Eugene when Magna and Yumiko were mocking his plan to go and meet Stephanie.  I still can't see the point of Magna and Yumiko; I guess their goodbye scene was written to be touching, too, but they still feel too 'new' for me to care about what happens to them.  But then it's often that way with newer characters.

That scene when he said goodbye to Jerry was a real 'ahhhh' moment, especially as Jerry called him 'Boss' at first, then changed it to Ezekiel, possibly for the first time.  Loved this scene, above—it's got a real medieval look about it.  When Jerry said he was going to miss him ๐Ÿ˜ข ... please don't let it be the last time they see each other!

Eugene continued his run of being pretty damn awesome this week, too ... 'After everything we've lost, I'm willing to be the fool'.

Then there was Ezekiel's bravery on the road, the sadness when he had to put his horse down, and entering the city, at which point I kept pausing it to study all the fabulous detail of nature reclaiming control... eleven years in, and the shop signs are faded, the cars just forgotten, useless lumps of rusting metal.

Ezekiel knows he may not have long and is making the most of every moment, like when he saw the humour in the dressed up Walkers in the tacos van, the cafรฉ and, of course, the traffic warden—no doubt the work of Princess, who they met at the end, who seems just as deranged as Beta, though in a different way.

I'm hoping that Ezekiel doesn't die too soon, given his cancer—I hope my theory about lots of tear-jerking and touching scenes before a sad demise is proved wrong.

Lots to look forward to as ever next week, then, but in a bittersweet way as we don't know when we will get to see everyone again.  Let us pray that all of our precious TWD Family, fans, crew and actors alike, stay safe and well. ๐Ÿ’•


Saturday 21 March 2020

Review: The Walking Dead S10x13 WHAT WE BECOME #TWD

Review: S10x12 WALK WITH US 

~ S10 x 13  What We Become ~
Written by: Vivian Tse
Directed by: Sharat Raju

'I've found something that belonged to the Brave Man'

(but what do the Chinese symbols mean?)

Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone involved, for not killing off Michonne!  What we thought was going to be such a sad episode was not, it was full of hope and optimism, and wasn't Judith brave, fabulous, and just like Carl, telling her to go off and find her dad?  Judith knows.  It's what Michonne has to do, and should do.

Meanwhile, for those who were worried about this, it's great to know that she and RJ know won't be left heartbroken, thinking that they've lost their mum, too.  Btw, loved how Michonne picked up Rick's boots and smelled them; it was so real, just what she would have done.

'You have to go.  You have to'

'Okay, baby girl, I’m gonna try. I’m gonna head north.
I’ll try you every morning on this walkie for as long as I can'

I'm a big fan of 'what would have happened if' scenarios—I know the hallucinations after poor, demented Virgil's jimson weed tea were drug-induced, but I like to think it really was how her life would have played out had she not saved Andrea—in that sad, bad parallel world she described as 'hell', she would have turned her back and wandered on, a damaged soul lost in the woods, only to become Orange Backpack Woman, be 'saved' by Negan and evolve into Arat's much more evil big sister—and be killed during the Saviors War by the man she might have loved.

So Andrea did more good than she or those who gave her a hard time ever realised; remember in S4:16 A, when Michonne said this to Carl: 'I was just another monster.  And I was.  Me.  I was gone for a long time.  But then Andrea brought me back.  Your dad brought me back.  You did'.

'You probably shouldn't have taken a swing at me'
 'Or, I probably shouldn't have missed'

I've mentioned before that some 'baddies' (Martinez, Gavin, Mary) might have ended up walking on the sunny side of the post-apocalyptic street if they'd simply met the right people rather than the Governors, Negans and Alphas of the world - but it works the other way, too.  And Michonne could have remained in that dark, destructive pit she was in after Andre died, and allowed it to swallow her up.

I was just another monster. And I was. Me. I was gone for a long time. But then Andrea brought me back. Your dad brought me back. You did

Read more at:
I was just another monster. And I was. Me. I was gone for a long time. But then Andrea brought me back. Your dad brought me back. You did

Read more at:
I was just another monster. And I was. Me. I was gone for a long time. But then Andrea brought me back. Your dad brought me back. You did

Read more at:
I was just another monster. And I was. Me. I was gone for a long time. But then Andrea brought me back. Your dad brought me back. You did

Read more at:

The trip/dream scenes were masterfully put together, with the footage from the past; and who's to say that Daryl, wings intact but with longer hair, wouldn't have been the one to go out on the King County gun-seeking mission, in S3x12 Clear ... and fail to pick up the woman on the road?  He probably would have killed Morgan, too, as he wouldn't have known who he was ... more domino shit*. 

And so there was Siddiq, and Glenn and Heath, and Laura and DJ back in the bad old days, and Michonne as the guy in the outpost bed who Glenn killed; except he didn't—Michonne killed him, instead.  When she paraded in front of the line-up and talked about the slaughter of the outpost Saviors, it did give a slightly different perspective on the whole affair.  Made me think of what Negan said to her, about no one ever thinking that they're the bad guy.


 'We reap what we sow, asshole' 

The early part of the episode, whilst just as gripping, seemed almost irrelevant once Michonne found the boots and the phone—suddenly it went from dark and despair into the light.  Virgil, brain addled with hallucinogenics, didn't realise that you don't give Michonne sharp eating utensils and expect to stay healthy, but, without realising it, he led her to where she needed to be.

I did shudder at that feeling of impending doom as she began to realise that she had been tricked, and he had made her his prisoner, like those other three.


Tear-jerker of the week surely has to be at the end, when Lou Linklatter out of Mr Mercedes and her friend asked her to help them, and we saw that moment, long ago, at the prison...

...and heard Carl's voice saying, 'Shall we help her?'  Then Rick saying 'Do you want to tell us your name?  Who are you?'  

Once more, Carl shows the way, from beyond the grave. ๐Ÿ™Œ

Who are those travellers, in their careful formation, with wagons?  Did we hear the sound of a helicopter, as Michonne and her new friends moved off to join them?  What with Eugene going off, next week, to meet Stephanie, it seems like the whole TWD world is moving into its next phase.  If Eugene is going to find the Commonwealth, is Michonne on the way to finding the place Rick went to?  Does that mean she may be in one of the films???

I adored this episode, which I am sure I will watch again and again, and I think S10B is surely one of the best half seasons ever.   All five episodes so far have been STUNNING from start to finish, with not even a weak moment.  

Most of all, though, thank you Danai Gurira for bringing Michonne to us for all these years—she has been my favourite female TV character ever, and I so hope, even though you will now be on the other side of the camera, that you may, one day, allow Michonne to reunite with Rick, Judith and RJ.  We love you, and hope you have a wonderful rest of your life!

~ Au Revoir, Michonne ๐Ÿ’• ~

Let's hope she finds his dad..... 

*Quote: Terminus Martin, S5x09!