The latest in my series of mini TV reviews, with trailers and 'where to watch'. If you have trouble finding where any show/film is available, try typing 'where can I watch *name of show*' into whatever search engine you use.
If you would like to see more posts, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching. If you get as far as the bottom, 'Older Posts' will take you to more.
Please note the subtle difference between half star ratings; a 4.5 might be rounded up or down, depending on what I thought of the programme.
Film: Sound of Metal (Amazon Prime)
5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Riz Ahmed stars as Ruben, a thrash/hardcore punk metal drummer who loses his hearing. Also stars Olivia Cooke, as his girlfriend. It's about his path to acceptance of his new silent world, which sounds worthy but not that thrilling, but it's fabulous. Heartbreaking in parts, but never ever schmaltzy. Ahmed is terrific. Awesome film.
For TWD addicts - features Lauren Ridloff, playing a deaf teacher!
Series: The Affair - Seasons 1-5 (Now TV, Amazon Prime)
5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Noah Solloway (Dominic West), Brooklyn teacher and novelist, spends the summer in Montauk where his rich in-laws live; his wife is Helen (Maura Tierney), and they have four children. At a diner, he first lays eyes on Alison Lockhart (Ruth Wilson), who is married to Cole (Joshua Jackson). Noah and Alison fall in love, which sets off several chains of events that will affect both families for many, many years to come. Bit of background: Alison and Cole's four-year-old son, Gabriel, drowned two years before she meets Noah, and Noah has felt emasculated by Helen and her parents throughout their married life.
I watched the first 3 seasons when they came out, but decided to watch them again, before I watched #4 and #5. Each episode is seen from the points of view of two or more of the main characters; often, the same period of time is played over twice, but it doesn't become tedious, because it's so well done. I was thoroughly gripped by this all the way through all five seasons - the unexpected happens all the time, and just when I was wondering if #5 would become drawn out, over-egging the pudding, it was given a fabulous twist by taking us into the future, to 2053, seen from the point of view of one of the children, now an adult.
There's a bit too much graphic shagging in it (I said to my husband, 'I'm getting fed up with seeing Dominic West's arse going up and down'), but it's about love and passion, after all, and I think the fact that I watched all five seasons one after the other, several episodes a night, made it seem more excessive than it might have otherwise.
Some characters I loved, some I didn't like, and some I changed my mind about a lot. If you've seen it, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Characters I loved: Alison, Cole, Vik, Nina (Noah's sister).
Characters I liked: Anton, Martin, Juliette, Eddie, Cherry (Cole's mum).
Characters I was up and down about: Noah, Helen, Joanie, Sierra, Colin, Janelle, Bruce and Margaret, Robert.
Characters I didn't like: Luisa, Athena, Adeline (Sierra's mother), Scott, Yvonne.
Characters I detested: Ben, Whitney, Furkat, Sacha Mann, Audrey, Eden.
What I wanted most was for Alison to end up with Cole, run the Lobster Roll together, and carry on living in their lovely house by the beach....
Limited Series: The Serpent (BBC)
Eight episodes: drama about the true story of Charles Sobhraj, a gem trader and violent killer who preyed on travellers in the early 1970s. Posing as the sociable, helpful and friendly Alain, he and his sidekick Ajay and girlfriend Monique (Marie-Andrée) would poison their guests, then offer them 'medicine', which was more of the same. They would then steal their belongings and passports, and murder them. Tahar Rahim and Jenna Coleman star. Fascinating, shocking and gripping, highly recommend.
Documentary: How Deep is Your Love: The Bee Gees (HBO Max)
Documentary about the career and personal lives of the Bee Gees from childhood to now. I'm not a particular fan, but I loved this. Many interviews with all three of them; I liked Maurice the most. I found the insight into their relationship most interesting, how Robin was secretive and difficult, how he and Barry had many battles of will about who would sing which song, while Maurice was the mediator. I wondered if it was anything to do with Robin not being blessed with the film star good looks of Barry. After Maurice died, Robin and Barry saw very little of each other.
Most sad of all was Barry Gibb at the end, saying that he would give up all the hits to have his three brothers back (Andy died in 1989, Maurice in 2003 and Robin in 2012).
Something I didn't know: their mother was called Barbara Gibb. Mine was Barbara Gibbs. 😁
(Below, for the ladies, Barry Gibb in the Staying Alive video. Phwoooooarrr...)
Mini Series: The Pembrokeshire Murders (ITV Hub)
True crime drama, in which, in 2006, detectives solve murders from the 1980s when they link an artist's impression of a suspect to a contestant on Bullseye. The murderer is particularly abhorrent. Good. Three episodes.
Film: The Song of Names (Amazon, Fandango, Vudu)
Tim Roth and Clive Owen star in this slow-paced drama about a chap searching for a Polish boy taken in by his family just before the start of World War II. The boy in question was a genius-level violinist, who disappeared just before a concert; he was also a Jew.
The boy's story is linked to the search for his parents, who he suspects were killed in the concentration camps. It's good, and most emotive near the end, but there was less drama and tension than I had thought there might be. It's more of a human drama/mild tearjerker.
Film: The Little Things (Amazon, HBO Max)
Fairly standard serial killer plot starring Rami Malek as a young, ambitious cop, Denzel Washington as the standard jaded-older-cop-with-baggage-and-secrets-who-can't-let-an-old-case-go, and Jared Leto as the psycho. With those actors it should have been great, but it was just okay. Certainly watchable, but it lacked that ingredient X that makes a film memorable.
Film: Narrowsburg (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu)
Documentary about a small town in New York state, when a moderately well-known actor and his wife move there to start an independent film festival, and to make a film, promising that many of the townspeople will act in it. Alas, it's all a scam, and the people of Narrowsburg fall for it.
It's billed as being 'stranger than fiction', and I actually thought it was a 'mockumentary' at first, except it wasn't funny. Just weird. The interviews with the actor and his wife when they're older show them as being complete fantasists, narcissist and sociopaths. I'm still not sure it's real...