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.
However... I've found it to be not absolutely up to date at all times. Sometimes I've had better results simply putting 'where can I watch ***' into the search engine, or going 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.
Series: Raised by Wolves - Seasons (1 and) 2
(UK: Sky, Now. US: HBO Max)
We re-watched S1 before watching S2 - I reviewed S1 in a previous post, but that was 18 months ago and I needed a recap!
Set way into the future when wars (between atheists and those who believe in the god Sol) have made the earth uninhabitable, two androids have been sent to a deserted planet with the eggs of twelve human babies, to restart our race. Their mission is hampered by illness, and by the appearance of some other space travellers (one of whom is Travis Fimmel, aka Ragnar Lothbrok)
In Season 2, the conflict between the atheists/robots and the followers of Sol continues as Mother, Father and 'their' children discover what lies on the tropical side of the island. Mother and Father struggle with the development of human emotion, and Mother with her innate instinct to kill lots of people and blow things up.
It's every bit as good as the first season - didn't want it to end. If you haven't seen it and you love quality futuristic sci-fi, do give it a go! Trailer is for Season 2; Season 1 trailer in previous post.
Series: Severance - Season 1
5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
(US, UK, Aus: Apple+)
Employees of Lumon Industries are given the option to have the controversial 'Severance' brain operation - when at work they remember nothing about their life outside, and when they leave, they remember nothing about their day at work. Mark Scout (brilliantly played by Adam Scott) chooses to have the procedure as a way of coping with the death of his wife; while at work, he will not be tortured by grief.
As the episodes unfold, we become more and more aware of how enclosed the life of the Lumon workers actually is, and the impact Severance has on their 'real' lives. During the day, knowing nothing at all about the outside world, or their own histories, they become amusingly obsessed with office minutiae, and behave in a sometimes almost childlike way towards their colleagues. Of course, there are much more sinister goings-on behind the scene, as some of them being to suspect.
Also stars Patricia Arquette (fabulous!), Christopher Walken, John Turturro and various others you'll recognise. A great story perfectly realised, I was gripped all the way through and am very much looking forward to Season 2.
Series: From - Season 1
(Epix, Amazon, Netflix)
A family on a road trip takes a wrong turn, ending up in a one-horse town that looks as though it dates back to the 1960s. They ask Sheriff Boyd Stevens (Harold Perrineau) for directions back to the highway, but find that the road out takes them back into the town. There appears to be no way to leave - as was discovered by the others who live there. Even worse, the town is plagued at night by terrifying nocturnal creatures.
Really good stuff, this. Convincing, sinister, and I have no idea what's going to happen, why they are there, how they will get out, if the town exists on another plane, or what, so I very much hope there is going to be a Season 2!
Film: The Outfit
(US: Rent on Amazon, Google, Apple and many more.
Stream on Disney+ in July.)
This is such an excellent film, with an unusual structure for these days of special effects and fast-paced plots. The whole thing takes place in a bespoke tailor's shop, in 1956 Chicago - it could be a play. There are just seven cast members.
Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall) stars as Leonard Burling, an English 'cutter' (a term considered, in the industry, to be superior to 'tailor') with his own successful business - though his main customers are a family of gangsters; the Boyles and their associates. Burling allows them to use his shop as a stash house for their dirty money, feeling he has little choice. One evening, two of the gangsters crash in needing assistance; Ritchie, son of the mob boss, has been shot. Burling allows them to use his cutting room to lay Ritchie out so they can do their best to save his life. From that moment on, the events of the evening go from bad to worse.
Mark Rylance is as terrific as you might expect, and I was totally absorbed by this film all the way through. The plot is unpredictable and gripping, and it's so well acted and produced. Definitely recommend!
Series: The Walking Dead - Season 11b
Episode 14: The Rotten Core - full review HERE 5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Episode 15: Trust - full review HERE 4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Episode 16: Acts of God - full review HERE 4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
(Trailer is for episode 14)
Miniseries: The Dropout
(US: Hulu. UK and Aus: Disney+. )
The true story of Elizabeth Holmes, failed biotech entrepreneur who falsified evidence that her company, Theranos, could produce the technology to revolutionise the blood testing/early illness detection industry, in order to amass untold millions in investment and backing. She was named by Forbes as the world's youngest and wealthiest female self-made billionaire.
Trouble was, it was all based on a lie. She'd been told, when she first came up with the idea, that it was impossible, and this proved to be the case. She then faked demonstrations to secure initial funding, and used her youth, femininity and passion for her project to lure in the big names. Her world began to crumble when two dissatisfied employees decided to talk to a Wall Street Times journalist, and one of them also reported her to the CMS (Centre for Medicaid and Medicare Services).
I got the feeling, watching this, that Holmes was a deranged fantasist whose actual goal was to be seen as a brilliant entrepreneur who'd changed the world, rather than to produce a workable product; she was obsessed with Steve Jobs, even copying his style of dress. She put her name on the patents for the items invented, though she'd had little input; she had neither the education or the experience, having dropped out of college.
I watched a documentary about the real Holmes a couple of years ago (review/trailer on previous post) and am fascinated by the story, so when I saw that this miniseries had been made, I jumped on it. Holmes is played by Amanda Seyfried, who captures her narcissistic idealism perfectly; the more highly acclaimed she becomes, the further from reality her mind wanders. I imagine if you watch this, you'll be as fascinated by it as I am!
Elizabeth Holmes' Wikipedia page is HERE, if you want to know more about her. She is currently awaiting trial and could face up to 20 years in prison.
(Not streaming in US and UK yet, but on Stan in Australia)
Set some time, somewhere in a post-apocalyptic future, when two men who have only just met drive through a vast and inhospitable desert. When they stop for a while, they discover an enormous gold nugget under the sandy soil, which they are unable to break free. Kevin, the driver (Anthony Hayes) leaves in search of an excavator, while Virgil (Zac Efron) stays behind to mind the gold.
The film centres around Virgil's survival and deterioration in the barren wastes. Loved it, and Zac Efron gives it all he's got, most successfully!
Series: Snowpiercer - Season 3
(UK and Aus: Netflix. US: HBO Max, Directv, TNT, Spectrum)
I was a bit 'don't really care' about this season at first, but got more and more into it as it went on, and ended up sticking my bottom lip out at the BRILLIANT ending, because I can't wait until S4 to see what happens.
For anyone who hasn't seen it, it's set in the future in an ice age, where the only survivors (that they know about) travel in a permanently in motion train, 1029 cars long, on a circular track laid all round Africa and Europe and the Middle East; yes, they pass the Pyramids once every three months. The hierarchy in the train makes the story, as disputes arise and get resolved, and shift into other disputes, etc etc. It's jolly good. Stars Sean Bean, Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly. And Steven Ogg is in it too ;)
Documentary Series: Secrets of Playboy
(US: Directv, Spectrum, A&E. UK: Amazon, Sky)
Interviews with former residents of the Playboy mansion and girlfriends of Hugh Hefner that make clear what a totally evil, disgusting sleazebag he was. And I'm not just talking multiple sex partners. The women, particularly Holly Madison and Sondra Theodore, came across as completely authentic and still so damaged by what went on there, now decades ago. Like me, you may think before watching this, 'Well if it was so bad why didn't they just leave?' But when you hear the whole story you kind of get it.
Also includes interviews with Hefner's male friends and one female photographer, all of whom said he was a really great guy. May or may not have something to do with the fact that Hefner filmed all his guests enjoying their orgies and other degenerate stuff, for insurance against them, should they ever be tempted to reveal what really went on in the mansion.
Hugh Hefner did not 'love women'. He despised them, and used his wealth and powers of manipulation to degrade them as much as he could. There were claims that his Playboy empire arose from a teenage rejection by a woman he loved - maybe partly, but I think that's just an excuse. It's clear there was something very dark inside him; there's a reason why he was fascinated by Charles Manson.
Warning: you may be unable to get certain anecdotes out of your head, and wish that someone had provided him with a long, painful death, years ago. Ditto all the men who went to his 'parties'.
(UK: Buy from Apple, Amazon, Sky. US: same, but rent option too)
English film set in and around London. Neil Maskell plays a former contract killer returning to assassinate the entire family of his father-in-law (David Hayman), who he blames for separating him from his son. Tamzin Outhwaite plays his mother-in-law (not quite sure how she got to be in her fifties, but, you know, that time passing thing!).
It's extremely violent with horrible people living a hard, criminal life, the sort that make you think, 'I hope nobody like that ever floats into my orbit'. The ending was a bit off-genre, possibly a bit daft, but I kind of liked it and enjoyed the film generally, if 'enjoyed' is the right word. I must, however, reiterate the 'extremely violent' bit. Not for the faint of heart or anyone who thinks working class Londoners are all jolly market traders with hearts of gold.