The latest in my series of mini TV and film reviews, with trailers and 'where to watch'. If you have trouble finding where any show/film is available in your country, this is a good site: Justwatch. Just put the name of the show into the search, and choose your country further down, from the drop-down menu. It shows where you can stream, buy or rent. Or you can put 'where can I watch ***' into whichever search engine you use, or go to the programme's own site, if it has one.
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.
Miniseries: John Adams
(UK: Sky, Now. US: HBO Max, HBO, Directv)
Made in 2008, the story of the second President of the US. Paul Giamatti (Chuck Rhoades in Billions) is as terrific as one would expect. Laura Linney (Ozark) plays his wife. It's a fine televisual achievement, so well-written, acted, directed, with intricate historical detail, and made me understand more about why the Americans make such a big deal of patriotism - also how far removed Congress was from the ordinary soldiers, when I watched Turn: Washington's Spies (see further down).
I particularly liked the last episode, about the time after Adams' presidency, his family and the last years of his life. Best of all, the portrayal of how he and his great friend and sometime adversary Thomas Jefferson (POTUS #3) (played masterfully by Stephen Dillane - Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones) died within hours of each other, on July 4th, 50 years after the Declaration of Independence. If that was a detail in a work of fiction, the editor would score a line through it for being too unfeasible and corny!
Series: Squid Game - Season 1
Much hyped and discussed Korean series about a few hundred people who, stricken with hellish financial problems, agree to participate in a game that ends in death for all but the winner, who gains a life-changing amount of moey. The setting up of the storylines was, I thought, a bit slow at first, but as time went on I realised this was necessary to make one care what happened to the characters. The games were thrilling. I loved it. I watched the dubbed rather than the subtitled version.
Series: Vikings: Valhalla - Season 1
At first I thought this was going to be little more than a Happy Shopper version of the original Vikings, but it turned out to be great, and just as good, give or take the absence of Travis Fimmel and Katheryn Winnick. Loved it, and am fascinated by how the world has moved on in the 100 years since Ragnar. Made me feel nostalgic for the first season of Vikings all over again, and sad about how the peoples' culture was destroyed. I was interested to see that the settling of Greenland had come to be by then, too. If you remember, at the end of the last season of the original, a party had gone there but the only one who stayed was a chap who went off his head.
It's great, and I very much look forward to seeing more. Also, plenty of eye candy. 😉
Series: The Walking Dead - Season 11b
Episode 10: New Haunts - full review HERE 5*⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Episode 11: Rogue Element - full review HERE 4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Episode 12: The Lucky Ones - full review HERE 5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Episode 13: Warlords - full review HERE 5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- A whole pack of sleeping tablets crushed into a small glass of wine, dissolving to leave no taste or sediment.
- A 999 emergency call giving information about a hit and run accident that left a child dead - the call was cut off half way through but was not immediately traced and followed up by the police.
- Solicitors able to effect a house sale for two million in cash, within a matter of about 3 weeks, from deciding to sell to the new owners moving in.
- Not one of the neighbours in this close, everyone-looks-out-for-each-other neighbourhood notices the estranged husband emptying the three storey house in the middle of the night.
- Man with dodgy unpaid fine background opens Swiss bank account at the click of a key, it appears (I've just looked it up, and it's a fairly complicated process).
- The writer(s) didn't appear to realise that all phones can be traced for location and all text messages uncovered.
Series: Money Heist - Season 5B
I wasn't as mad about the first part of Season 5 as I had been the first 4 seasons, but this second half is much better. It's also the end of the story, it appears - since Tokyo died at the end of the last half, it seemed at first to be logical that these five episodes would be a wrapping up, but there's a lot of exciting stuff happening, still - the last 3 episodes are particularly good. Yes, it ends but there is scope for more...
Miniseries: The Tourist
(US: HBO Max. UK: BBC iPlayer, Sky, Virgin)
Jamie Dornan as an Irishman in the Australian outback, who leaves a rundown old gas station, gets in his car to carry on with his journey, only to be chased down by a huge truck, 'Duel' style. After a crash, he loses his memory - which means that the reason for him being in Aus and exactly why he was being chased by the truck are a mystery to the viewer, too. Slowly, slowly, his story is pieced together, though he doesn't know who is genuinely trying to help, and who had something to do with the situation in which he found himself.
I very much liked the setting; the cinematography is most atmospheric. It's a good story but one of the main characters I found so irritating that I could hardly bear to watch her. I liked it. Wouldn't rave about it, but it's good.
Film: Ted K
(US: Rent on Apple, Amazon, Google)
Sharlto Copley stars as Ted Kaczynski, better known as domestic terrorist the Unabomber who lived in a cabin in the woods near Lincoln, Montana, and grew increasingly angry about the destruction of his environment and the effects of technology and industry on the world. He channels his rage into a series of mail bombs, some of which cause fatalities. Copley was outstanding, and the film was so artfully produced; I imagine there will be many who watch this and feel some sympathy for his emotional state if not his actions.
I notice that Wikipedia describes it as a 'historical crime drama'. Kaczynski was arrested in 1996. Does the genre 'historical' now refer to anything that took place before the 21st century, one wonders?!
Film: No Exit
(US: Hulu. UK: Disney+)
Havana Rose Liu stars as a junkie who absconds from rehab and holes up in a visitors' centre in impassable mountains during a bad storm. Four other people are already there - but which of them has dastardly intent?
It's good, as far as fairly solid thrillers go. Nothing outstanding, but worth a watch.