Tuesday 31 October 2023

Obligatory Last Day of October Photos: Autumn Colours

 (Not dissimilar to photos taken last year, and the year before...)



Sunday 22 October 2023

Lately I've Been Watching....

 My latest 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: Sound of Freedom (2023)

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Cinemas only, US buy on Vudu)

A film that has caused much controversy in the media.  It's the true story of Tim Ballard, former FBI agent working in the prevention of child trafficking, who, through his job, becomes aware of the scale of the problem.  So that he could give his all to this cause, he made the decision to go it alone, foregoing his generous salary.  Tim Ballard is played by Jim Cavieziel.  

Many mainstream newspapers have reported what Ballard has uncovered as being a 'faith-based Q-Anon type conspiracy theory'.  Because of this, I was expecting to see controversial allegations and accusations, but there is none of that in this film.  It's just an account of what happened.  What is happening.  It seems likely that this barely scratches the surface, especially when you hear that the child trafficking business has now overtaken arms as the second most lucrative illegal trade, and is gaining fast on narcotics.

This film covers one main incident, when Ballard tracked down a missing girl, little knowing what else he would uncover.

Go see it if you can.

Film: The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (2023)

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Paramount, Apple, Showtime) 

A remake of the 1950s film of Herman Wouk's play, but brought up to date - in that it's set in the present day - and this film shows only the court-martial.  I was disappointed when I realised this, having been hoping to see what actually happened onboard, but I needn't have worried - it's utterly riveting, all the way through.  

If you don't know the story, it's about a ship's captain relieved of his duty by his first officer, during hours of great maritime peril.  The court-martial is to ascertain whether or not the first officer should be acquitted or punished.

Kiefer Sutherland stars as Lt Commander Queeg, and he is staggeringly good.  I've loved him as an actor since I first saw Jack Bauer, but this performance is a different class.  I expect it will be described by some reviewers as the high spot of his career so far; if it's not, it should be.

Also stars the late great Lance Reddick as the head judge; it was released after his death, and is dedicated to him.

Series: TWD: Daryl Dixon - S1 (2023)

5* plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(AMC, AMC+, Amazon Prime)

Six episodes set in France, where Daryl ends up by mistake, and it's just great, all the way through.  TWD never, ever fails to surprise, and this is nothing like I expected.

The views of post-apocalyptic Paris are stunning, but I can't say any more about the story or it will spoil it for you when you watch it.  

Ends with a dilemma for our hero, a total cliff-hanger for the next season - and the appearance of an unexpected guest star!

More more more, can't wait for S2 - The Book of Carol :)

Film: State of Grace (1990)

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Excellent crime/gangster film set in Hell's Kitchen, starring Sean Penn, Robin Wright, Gary Oldman, Ed Harris, John Turturro, John C Reilly.  Apparently it was released on the same day as Goodfellas, which sealed its fate.  It's about as good, though less sensational, less glossy, more gritty.

Limited Series: The Barrier (2020) 

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Spanish, dubbed into English.  In the 2040s, twenty years after World War III, Spain faces radiation, disease, and extreme shortages. A despotic government rises and places the country under martial law. Madrid is divided into two sectors separated by a wall. The wealthy and powerful live in relative safety and luxury, but everyone else lives in squalor and in fear of forced disappearances.  

Film: Nowhere (2023)

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐


More post-apocalyptic, dystopian Spain, in which a couple try to escape on a cargo ship heading for Ireland.  Mia is pregnant, which has put them in danger.

If you like watching stuff about survival at its most raw, desperate and resourceful, you'll love this.  I did.  :)

In Spanish, dubbed into English

Series: The Silent Sea - Season 1 (2022)

5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Stunning series - Korean, subtitles.  In the future, water is scarce, and a mission is sent out to a defunct lunar research station where many people died, to collect a vital sample.

Stars Gong Yoo, the main man in Train to Busan, who is terrific. Suffice to say that he's become one of those 'if he's in it, I'm watching it' actors. Highly recommend this one; tense, riveting.

Limited Series: Mosley (1998)

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐


4 episodes, the life of Oswald Mosley from the end of World War I to his arrest shortly before the outbreak of WWII.  It was good, but lacking in detail about why he suddenly embraced fascism, other than his relationship with Diana Mitford.  Whatever - he was a narcissist through and through, caring for little other than his own glorification.  Horrible, horrible man, played horribly well by Jonathan Cake.  Written by the (usually) comedy creating team of Marks and Gran, and based on books by Mosley's son Nicholas.  Also stars Jemma Redgrave, Hugh Bonneville, Windsor Davies.

Film: Out of the Blue (1980)

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A film by Dennis Hopper, described in this trailer as being '1980s', but as it was released in 1980 I would call it more 1970s - particularly as it features the early punk scene.

It's about a horribly dysfunctional family, with Dennis Hopper as a sleazy fantasist and criminal, and Linda Manz as his deeply disturbed (with good reason) teenage daughter.  It's raw, somewhat depressing and gets increasingly dark, but it's very, very good.  Can't remember where we found it, but I'd definitely recommend giving it a look.  Released in Canada as No Looking Back.

Series: Cabinet of Curiosities

3.5 * ⭐⭐⭐


Series of 8 x 1 hour dramas; horror, ghosts, monsters, general sinister stuff.  They were all moderately entertaining to watch, some better than others, but sadly every single one had an anti-climatic ending.  My favourite was The Outside, about a young woman so desperate to be attractive and accepted by her plastic, vacuuous workmates, that she will try anything.  Good news is that Andrew Lincoln stars in the last episode!


Documentary Series: Murder Mountain (2018)

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Compelling series about Humboldt County in Northern California, which produces over half the marijuana sold in the US.  The documentary spans 7 decades, from the 60s, when a few people went up the mountain to live off-grid, starting peaceful communities, through to the remoteness of the area appealing to drug traffickers looking to earn vast amounts of money from their crops ... and, finally, to the change in the area when marijuana became legal.

The main focus of the series is the mystery of what happened to a young man called Garret Rodriguez, who chose to enter this dangerous world for financial gain.  Interviews with law enforcement, private detectives, residents, the family of Garret and parents of other children who disappeared during these decades.  Fascinating. 

Limited Series: Dear Child (2023)

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 


A mother and child are found in the woods, identity unknown.  It soon transpires that they have been kept prisoner for many years, the child since she was born; she knows almost nothing about the outside world.

German, dubbed - it kept my interest all the way through and if you love domestic thrillers, this is one for you!

Series: Into The Night - 2 seasons (2020)

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Belgian, dubbed into English.  When the sun inexplicably starts killing everything and everyone in its path, a few ‘lucky’ passengers and crew of an overnight flight out of Brussels try to survive as they fly west - into the night. Good scary post-apoc survival desperation stuff, bunker with everyone going nuts with cabin fever. Don't know yet if there is going to be a Season 3. Would like to see more!

Limited Series: Wilderness (2023)

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Amazon Prime)

Based on the book of the same name by Bev Jones.  Jenna Coleman plays Liv, in what she thinks is a perfect marriage to Will.  They've just moved from England to New York for his career, though she is yet to find her feet there.  It's not long before Liv finds out the truth about her loving husband - and on a road trip out to the back of beyond, she has a few decisions to make...

This is total binge-watch stuff, filled with twists and betrayal, lies and revenge.  The only problem for me was that I found Will smarmy and revolting and couldn't work out why anyone would want to sleep with him in the first place, but apart from that it's great fun!

Film: Paradise (2023)

4* ⭐⭐⭐⭐


German, dubbed into English.  Dystopian future in which the poor can sell years of their lives to the rich, provided a DNA match can be found.  It opens with an 18 year old boy being persuaded to 'donate' 15 years of his life in order to buy his family a visa out of the slums - he will, in effect, become 33 overnight.

Main character works for the company that provides this service - Aeon.  All is well until he finds himself in dire financial straits, too...

Sounds more daft than it seems when watching it - it comes across as credible!!  I enjoyed it - actually wish I'd thought of the story!

Film: Alien Code (2018)

4 * ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Sci-fi film starring Kyle Gallner, who I always like.  If you want to know how good it is, take a look at the comments below the trailer.  I actually watched it about two months ago so can't remember the details, but I know I liked it enough to give it 4.5* and add it to the 'put on blog' list!!  It's revolves around the idea of aliens who want to change the course of time.

Film: Index Zero (2015)

4.5* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Some humans are not sustainable any more...

Italian, dubbed into English.  Bleak dystopian scenario, in which drought and famine have rendered the economic recession terminal, and the EU has been supplanted by a huge administration called the United States of Europe.  A boundary has been built to separate this from the wasteland, where survivors live any way they can.  

Kurt and Eva travel to the USE to enter illegally, because she is pregnant.  Actually, 'bleak' hardly describes how grim this is, especially the ghastly scenes when they're tunnelling under the walls.  For anyone who loves their post-apoc stuff as raw as possible!  Loved it.

Film: Arctic Void (2022)

4*  ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Fabulous scenery! Two men documentary film makers travel on a Norwegian tourist ship to an Arctic settlement travel in a tourist ship.  Out of the blue, everyone on it disappears...  it's good, a fun thriller.

Saturday 14 October 2023

That Time Of Year Again #Autumn



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