Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Lately I've Been Watching...

More mini TV and film reviews, including trailers.  Mostly watched via Netflix or Amazon Prime, and I've stated where if I remember!  If you would like to look at more, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching...

Film: Mr Jones

5 stars plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

One of the best films I've seen in the last couple of years, easily.  It's a true story—James Norton stars as Gareth Jones, a journalist from Wales, who in 1933 travels to the Soviet Union and uncovers the truth about the Holodomor, the manmade famine in Stalin-governed Ukraine, in which millions died.  This film had none of the hype of 1917, but I thought it was better.  One of those that I thought about for days after.  Fabulous.  Just make sure you see it.

Series: Vikings - Season 6: Part I

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I thought this was the best so far of the post-Ragnar seasons, in which Ivar goes east and finds new allies, Hvitserk sinks into a drink and drug-induced hell that brings about great tragedy, and Mr Grumpy Bjorn continues to be Very Angry Indeed 😡 about a lot of stuff.  Just when I was starting to like King Harald, he showed his true colours....ended on some great cliffhangers for Part II, which will be the end of the series, though I hear it may continue later, with different characters.  Anyway, if you've loved the rest of the show, you won't be disappointed.

Series: Brotherhood - all 3 seasons (Showtime: Amazon Prime)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

LOVED this series - it dates back to 2006/7/8, and has been named as one of those shows that should never have been cancelled.  Award-winning but not a great hit with viewers, apparently.  It's about the Irish community in Providence, Rhode Island, and centres round two brothers: Tommy (Jason Clarke) is an ambitious local politician, and Michael (Jason Isaacs) is a local gangster.  Of course, both are equally corrupt. 

Also features a horribly possessive, manipulative mother (Fionnula Flannagan), Tommy's substance addicted wife (Annabeth Gish), a family friend in the police force (Ethan Embry - TWD fans will recognise him as Carter from Alexandria), and Michael's girlfriend Kath (Tina Benko) who has a great deal to put up with.

I wasn't too sure about it at first as I thought it lacked a certain spark (which is perhaps why it didn't do so well in the ratings), but it got better and better as it went on, until I was looking forward to telly time each day, to see more!  Highly recommended.

Series: Ray Donovan - Season 7

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The man with one facial expression and anger management problems returns in this seventh season, in which the quality didn't falter for a moment - I think it was one of the best.  Jon Voight is terrific as his rogueish father, as ever.  I've read that it's been cancelled, but fans are in uproar; it's possible there might be a final, short series, to bring it to a close.  If you haven't seen it, start at the beginning, because it's seriously worth watching.  Crime, violence, gangsters.

4 part series: Flesh and Blood (ITV)

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Francesca Annis, recently widowed with three grown-up children, meets a doctor (Stephen Rea) with whom she falls in love - but her children are suspicious of him, as is the rather pathetic, lonely next-door-neighbour Mary (Imelda Staunton).  It's one of those ITV/BBC dramas with a beautiful coastal setting in which it is always summer.  From the beginning, we know that someone died or was murdered, as each member of the family and Mary are being questioned by the police; the build-up to the death/murder is punctuated by these interviews.

I was totally absorbed all the way through, though I found Russell Tovey as the son and Claudie Blakley as the eldest daughter intensely irritating; they both have marital problems (not surprised), as does the younger daughter (Lydia Leonard), who I liked. The ending wasn't much of a surprise, but there was a nice twist right in the very last moment.  Recommended.

Comedy Series: This Country - Seasons 1 and 2 (BBC)

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

'Mockumentary' ostensibly about problems facing youth in today's rural communities.  Cousins Kelly and Kurtan (Daisy May and Charlie Cooper, who are brilliant) live in a picturesque village in Gloucestershire, have not worked since leaving school, and spend their time doing ... nothing in particular.  Also features a well-meaning vicar, a tattooed bruiser called Mandy, Kelly's revolting, criminal, builder father who has no interest in her, and her obese mother, who you never see; she just yells at her from the bedroom.  In a nutshell, they're Jeremy Kyle guest types.  It's very funny, but at the same time horribly depressing.  I'd definitely recommend if you like this sort of thing. 

Film: Come to Daddy

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Elijah Wood stars as a bit of a loser who gets a letter from his father, from whom he is estranged, to visit him in his remote coastal home.  But Daddy is nothing like he expected, and he soon realises he is in great danger.  Entertaining and fun to watch, nothing to write home about, but yeah; it's good.

Film: Jumanji: The Next Level

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Back the four YAs go into the video game for more fun and games, in their new personas played by Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, etc, along with Danny De Vito as Spencer's grandfather, and Danny Glover as his vociferous frenemy.  I enjoyed watching this, great escapism.

Film: Knives Out

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Enjoyable cosy mystery type whodunnit, about an eccentric old chap whose family is fighting over his estate, and trying to find out how he died.  Stars Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Shannon, amongst others.  I doubt it would win many prizes; I saw it a few weeks back and had to watch the trailer to remind myself what it's about, but it's enjoyable. I liked it.

Series: Hunters- Season 1 (Amazon Prime)

3 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Young lad Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman) discovers after his grandmother's death that she was involved with a group of Nazi hunters, headed by Al Pacino.  He joins them, to halt the forming of a Fourth Reich.  It's okay; a bit too silly in places.  Wasn't too keen on the slightly comic book tone of it, at times.  I don't know if I'll bother to watch the next season.

Film: Color Out Of Space 

2 stars ⭐⭐

Horror/SciFi film based on an H P Lovecraft story, starring Nicholas Cage and Joely Richardson.  A family-moves-into-new-house scenario, at first it seemed as though it might be really good, but it's just ... a bit daft, and quite boring, not scary.  At times it became like a parody of the genre.  Next time I see the description 'Lovecraftian', I believe I will steer clear.


  1. I saw Knives Out at the cinema and I really enjoyed it.

  2. I loved Ray Donovan & James Norton is just an incredible actor! Great reviews...want to see Mr. Jones!

    1. Oh, Machel, you will love it - he was amazing! Glad you like Ray Donovan too xx

  3. We enjoyed Mr. Jones.. and got a kick of Jumanji. Did watch the first few seasons of Ray Donovan and might pick this season up if you recommend.. Vikings is a hot favourite.. thanks for the run down Terry... hugs

    1. Oh, you're the first person I've met whose seen Mr Jones - and yes, Jumanji if fun! Ray Donovan gets better and better as it goes on, I think; I wasn't bothered about the first series.