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: The Handmaid's Tale - Season 5
I thought this was the best season for a while, with the close-ups on June's glowering face thankfully less frequent than in the last one, in particular. The coming together of her and Serena was most interesting; they seemed almost fated to be forced to team up. I find the Nick/June/Luke thing most compelling - I'm on team Luke, but feel so sorry for Nick, because June is clearly the woman he loves, not his wife, and always has been.
The Canadians have had enough of the refugees now - human nature never fails. I thought it was clever how this was done, much more realistic than having Canada remain a paradise of welcome and benevolence. A pertinent conversation was had when June was impressing on Luke the need to go, because she sensed that the time of safety there had run out. She reminded him that they should have run before, back when the government of Gilead took her and Hannah prisoner, but they failed to see the danger until it was too late. He said, 'Canada's not Gilead', and she said, 'America wasn't Gilead until it was.'
Lots of flashbacks to earlier times in this season, which always works so well. I was gripped all the way through - I thought it would be the last season, as I was thinking, what else can possibly happen? But now I can see that there is so much story yet to be told.
Film: Boiling Point (2021)
(UK: Netflix, rent on Amazon. US: Roku, Hoopla)
Highly recommend this one! Stephen Graham stars as the part-owner and head chef in a busy restaurant, where he has to deal with a hot-headed, sometimes unreliable staff, customers who don't understand the concept of fine dining and ask if they can just have steak and chips, clashes with the bossy restaurant manager (not specified, but one gets the impression she's the daughter of one of Graham's partners). Added to that, he is going through a divorce, and has a drink and cocaine problem.
This film follows one night when everything that could go wrong, does - not least of all the appearance of his former partner, now a successful TV chef (Jason Flemyng), who brings along his restaurant critic girlfriend.
What's so interesting about this is the way it is filmed - it appears to be one continuous shot, like a documentary camera team following them around. It's very, very good, and I wanted more when it ended - there's enough material there for a limited series, for sure. I would have given it 5* plus (that extra 6th star!) if it wasn't for the fact that some of the threads were frustratingly unresolved - this isn't a criticism, it's the nature of the art form - and because, although I think dialogue in both film and book should be realistic, it gets a bit much when the only adjective any of them appear to know is 'fucking'. If you can get past this, though, it's terrific.
Series: The Crown - Final Season
During the first episode I thought, this is so dire that I don't know if I can watch it, but then I got drawn in, and began to like it more.
Thoughts on the casting:
- Jonathan Pryce and Imelda Staunton looked more like the Buckingham Palace janitor and housekeeper than the Queen and Prince Philip. Fine actors in other circumstances, but not right for this.
- Elizabeth Debicki as Diana - Diana was tall, but not head and shoulders above everyone else in every room. I didn't see Diana's femininity and glamour at all; I was not convinced. Only her spoilt, attention-seeking side was portrayed, not the reasons why she was so loved.
- The woman who played Princess Anne - I thought she was meant to be Princess Margaret, who she looks more like. Since when did Princess Anne have dark brown hair - or, should I say, a bad dark brown wig that, on occasion, looked as though it hadn't been stuck on properly?
- Jonny Lee Miller is FAR too attractive and charismatic to be John Major, though I loved the way he played him.
More convincing were Princess Margaret, Camilla, and Dominic West as Prince Charles - I always like him and he's clearly researched his subject so well, but, again, he's WAY too attractive for the part.
Mohammed Al Fayed is very good, as is Dodi. And Prince William is spot on.
Then ending - not what I expected AT ALL. Good scene earlier, when Diana looked back out of a car window and saw the paparazzi on motorbikes behind her, as if a premonition. I realise why the story was stopped where it was, not least of all because of the controversy surrounding Diana's death, but a little bit of hope might have been nice; it was rather too flat. Maybe a brief view of Prince William, happy and laughing ... and perhaps one of a young Kate Middleton. Or go the other way, and show Prince Andrew and the Markles. On second thoughts, maybe the subtlety of the ending was a better idea!