Tuesday 7 February 2023

Lately I've Been Watching

This month's 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.  

If you can't find what you're looking for, try putting 'where can I watch (name of show)' into your search engine

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.

Film: The Banshees of Inisherin

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Disney+.  Buy: Amazon, Apple.  US: HBO Max, Directv, Rent: Amazon, Apple)

Marvellous film; I believe it is/was nominated for various awards, and rightly so.  Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star as Pádraic and Colm, two friends living on the Irish island of Inisherin in 1923.  This dark tragi-comedy is based around the outcome of a dispute between them.

The scenery/cinematography is magnificent, the sense of place and time is like a glimpse back into a different world, and the acting is poetry.  Kerry Condon (Clara in S4 of The Walking Dead, Mike's daughter in Better Call Saul) also stars as Pádraic's sister, and Barry Keoghan (Chernobyl, Dunkirk) as local boy Dominic.

Can't recommend too highly.  

Limited Series: American Gigolo

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(US: fubo, Roku, Showtime.  UK: Paramount +)

Eight part series based on the 1980 film of the same name, with Jon Bernthal playing male escort Julian Kay.  The episodes delve into the character's past, so we understand more about why Kay ended up with the life he didn't really choose.  

I'll watch anything with Jon Bernthal in it, not only because he is top totty but also because he's a terrific actor (for TWD fans: in this he comes over very much as Season 1 Shane Walsh!).  I also love Gretchen Mol, who plays his one true love, Michelle Stratton (she was exquisite as glamorous, delusional narcissist Gillian Darmody in Boardwalk Empire).  Clever of the producers to choose a beautiful woman of fifty instead of someone younger, I thought - and to have the same actor playing the young Julian Kay and also Kay's son, later in the show.  I couldn't remember what happened in the film because I haven't seen it for decades, but the pain and love in Stratton and Kay's relationship oozes from the screen, and I so wanted an HEA for them!

Rosie O'Donnell is great as Detective Joan Sunday (male detective Joe, originally) - she's the stereotypical world-weary, the-job-is-everything, emotionally screwed up TV detective who makes some serious mistakes but gets it right in the end, but she brings a certain je ne sais quoi to the role that makes Sunday more appealing than I'd anticipated.

It's jolly good.  And you get to look at Jon Bernthal for, like, hours.  

Limited Series: Clickbait

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK and US: Netflix)

Eight episodes about the kidnap and murder of loving husband and son Nick (Adrian Grenier - Entourage).  Each episode is shown via the point of view of one of the main characters - Nick's sister, his wife, one of his sons, the detective working the case, etc.  Most effective.  

More than anything, Clickbait (clue's in the title) explores the way in which people can develop whole relationships online, without having a clue who they're talking to.  I guessed some of the outcomes earlier on (like the woman who considered a fake online profile to be her 'boyfriend', and spoke of him thus, but didn't reveal to anyone that she had never actually met him), though the end was a total surprise.  It's good.  Kept me interested all the way through.

Series: Tulsa King - Season 1

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK and US: Paramount+)

Liked this more and more as it went on - Sylvester Stallone stars as New York gangster Dwight Manfredi who gets released from prison after 25 years, only to be sent by the 'family' to Tulsa, Oklahoma - which is the equivalent, in their world, of being banished to Siberia.  Except that he makes a go of it.  He falls foul of the FBI and an brutal biker gang headed by Ritchie Coster (Head Reaper 'Pope' in The Walking Dead), but soon gathers a new crew around him.  It's violent, but very funny in places; there's some great dialogue, particularly for Stallone.  Definitely recommend!

Series: Falling Skies - Seasons 1-5

First shown from 2011 - 2015

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(US: HBO Max.  UK: Buy on Amazon/Apple)

Five seasons of alien invasion on Planet Earth.  Husband described it as 'the Happy Shopper Walking Dead' which I thought was about right, though I did enjoy it!!  Stars Noah Wyle as Tom Mason, a history professor turned inspirational and fearless military leader.  Sadly, the Mason family are largely unlikeable (with the exception of middle son Ben - Connor Jessup), being self-righteous or just a bit bland and irritating.  Certainly no Grimes vibe going on here.

The Daryl/Merle character (every apocalypse show needs one) is John Pope, expertly played by Colin Cunningham, and my favourite character in the show.  He alternates between rogue-former-baddie-you-love, and irrevocably-damaged-psycho, depending on how annoyed he is with the self-righteous Mason.  Will Patton plays Hershel Greene - sorry, I mean Dan Weaver - the old-timer with lots of sound, old-timerish advice.

It's a very fast-paced show, with never a let-up in the action/disaster/potentially lethal danger, give or take the odd pause for profound philosophical observations and kissing bits, though at the same time it's a bit repetitive, but I didn't really mind that.  The special effects are great, as are the destroyed city settings.

Featured in Season 5 are the Pathetic Sharks of the military, who made me think of the UK police force chasing up people who tweet offensive words, but ignoring actual crime.  In Falling Skies, this outfit is more concerned with catching human collaborators than fighting the real enemy - indeed, when Mason asks them to help in a battle against the creatures who are trying to, like, destroy humanity, their Commander says no because she wants to keep her soldiers safe.  It is at this point that it occurs to Mason and Happy Shopper Hershel that the Commander might have ulterior motives.

If you like gun battles and things being blown up, death and destruction and aliens that speak perfect English with an American accent, you will love this.  It missed that X Factor that made it memorable, but mostly I enjoyed it all the way through; I looked forward to getting back to it each evening throughout its duration :)

Here are some cool clips featuring Colin Cunningham as Pope, also Mason and Hershel/Weaver:  Good Stuff!

Film: Into the Storm (2014)

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(UK: Amazon.  US: HBO Max, Directv)

Enjoyable weather disaster romp starring Sarah Wayne Callies, just post-Walking Dead, and various other recognisables playing documentary teams and storm chasers as they surviving freak earth-shattering tornadoes.  Also Alicia from Fear The Walking Dead.  Fab special effects.  I love disaster stuff, especially when lots of people get their ticket punched in unusual ways, so this was right up my rue; if it is also up yours, I recommend this as a worthy use of 2 hours of your life!

Film: M3gan 

3.5* ⭐⭐⭐

(Rent: Apple, Amazon)

YA type horror film about an AI controlled doll that develops a mind of her own.  It's a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of passive entertainment hours!

Documentary: Unseamly

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Four part documentary about chain store clothing design billionaire Peter Nygård (the 'Polyester King'), discovered to be a sexual predator of the most monstrous kind.  Up there with Savile and Epstein, though some describe him as the worst of the lot.  Gross and horrifying.  And that's just his hairstyle.

Film: Under The Silver Lake (2018)

3* ⭐⭐⭐

(Showtime, Amazon)

Andrew Garfield plays a young, aimless 30-something in LA, who becomes involved in the disappearance of a girl with whom he spent one night.  As his search brings him into contact with more and more strange characters and peculiar scenarios, it became more and more biazarre, seemingly for the sake of being bizarre.  According to Wikipedia: Under the Silver Lake polarized critics; while its originality, direction, soundtrack, cinematography, and Garfield's performance were praised, some found the screenplay confusing, too cryptic, and lacking the substance and depth the film was aiming for.

Series: The Rig - Season 1

3* ⭐⭐⭐

(UK & US: Amazon)  

Crew on a dilapidated oil rig - led by Iain Glenn with Martin Compston as chief communications chappie - are stuck there because of oddly unusual bad weather.  An organism from pre-history appears and does all sorts of weird shit. People die and stuff.  The mutinous member of the crew (every similar show has one) reveals his honourable side after he and Iain Glenn, in a life or death moment, discover they have personal tragedies in common. I was waiting for Iain Glenn to say, 'You're one of my best crew members, apart from when you're being a pain in the arse.  Are you with me?', and he nearly did but not quite.  

Along comes Mark Addy as the bloated red Face of Corporate Evil.  Then people fly off in a helicopters but we don't know where to.  End of Season 1.  Sorry, meant to say 'spoiler alert'.

Despite being about life/death and off-shore engineering problems, The Rig manages to carefully tick the PC boxes with far higher percentage of women working on an oil rigs than actually do (I looked it up), a gay male mixed race couple and a lesbian doctor, plus the token white heterosexual couple.  Though she's American and he's Scottish so still makes a nod towards mixed race.  Lol.


  1. I loved Falling Skies and watched it with my eldest years ago. Neither of us liked how it ended but the show was great.

    1. Main problem for me with the last season was that Pope was totally justified in his anger towards Mason!!!

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