[watching] What have you seen recently?

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Rune Priest
Strike - Lethal White: Interesting visual style, reminiscent of 50s film-noir at times. Otherwise a shuffling, bloated beast of a series that proceeds nowhere very much. Sort of thing that could have been wrapped up in two episodes or a ninety minute film if it wasn't for the endless digressions into the character's personal lives that just kill any sense of pace it might have had. Is it a crime story, or is it a soap?

Toast of London: Struggling actor sitcom with Matt Berry. Rude, crude and quite remarkably foul mouthed. Nothing remotely clever about it, but it does make me laugh (I'm slightly ashamed to say).
 

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Rune Priest
A Walk Amongst the Tombstones: Liam Neeson in post-Taken latter day Charles Bronson mode going after a pair of serial killers. Read the book by Lawrence Block many years ago, it remains vividly in my memory as a well sicko installment of his Matt Scudder PI series. As for the film it's got a real 8mm vibe about it. Pretty grim for mainstream Hollywood fare, and does the right thing dumping Scudder's tart-with-a-heart girl friend, but wimps out at the end: In the book the drug dealer guy exacts some seriously biblical style vengeance on his wife's killers, a scene subsequently nicked by David "Gritty Bafta" Peace in his debut novel 1974. Regardless, I can only recommend it to those of you with strong stomachs.

I wouldn't have minded this being the first film in a series adapting the early Scudder books which do a really good job of conveying what it's like trying to be an alcoholic who just happens to be a private detective. Alas, it seems not to be.
 

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Rune Priest
I saw that a while ago with no background on the books and really enjoyed it. I can definitely second the recommendation.
The early books are really good - I suspect Block or someone he knew had serious trouble with the drink. I lost interest in the later ones which increasingly started to read like low rent Thomas Harris (that's before the man himself turned into a low rent Thomas Harris).
 

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Rune Priest
Bit late to the party, but made a start on watching Manhunt: Unabomber. Two episodes in, and despite being based on a real life case, it seems to take most of its cues (including its title) from Manhunter, the 1980s film adaptation of Red Dragon: Burned out investigator yanked from retirement by his superiors, poking around the crime scene so as to enter the killer's mindset, gory grime scene photos, white coated forensic types doing science stuff in the lab, consultations with an incarcerated madman, plus the inevitable uneasy homelife made worse by the nature of his work.

Paul Bettany's mumbly voice overs bring an air of eccentric menace to the proceedings, they're remiscent of Steve Wright's zoned out DJ in Reservoir Dogs, but on the whole this strikes me as a derivative drama, albeit competently done, rather than anything outstanding. It's probably enough to keep me watching though.
 
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I watched Tokyo Ghoul on Netflix the other day. It's not a bad series overall, with a mix of some interesting characterisation juxtaposed against some fairly silly characters and typically OTT martial arts scenes.

Our spawn have had us on a steady diet of Totoro, Ponyo, Duggee and Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. Totoro is a lovely film but I'm Totoro'd to death.
 

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Rune Priest
The Final Programme - early 70s adaptation of Michael Moorcock's novel which the man himself is reputed not to like very much. I thought it was all right. Some nice retro pop-art styling (Writer/Director Robert Fuest worked on The Avengers) and John Finch and Jenny Runacre make an enjoyably louche couple as Jerry Cornelius and Miss Brunner. Great supporting cast of rock solid character actors: Sterling Hayden. Graham Crowden, Patrick Magee etc. It sagged a bit in the last third set in a secret Nazi base in Lapland, but even that's enlivened by a hilarious punch up between nominal hero Cornelius and his Greek rival Dimitri. I'd like to have seen a few sequels, or even a Miss Brunner spin off.
 
I have finally weakened and got Netflix, so I am bingewatching Archer and consuming The Witcher at a more sedate pace. The Witcher felt like a slow starter despite all the fights and monsters, while Archer started to lose its consistent hilarity at the beginning of season 8 - I hope it picks up again.
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
Watched Life on BBC, excellent drama about a bunch of relationships.
Watched the Good Liar on Rakuten with McEllen and Mirren, enjoyed it, they are so good.
Watched the Suite Francaise, also on Rakuten, a very enjoyable WW2 romance.
Now Spitting Image episode 2.. that is Episode 2 of the new one on Britbox.
 
Finally got around to watching 1917. Enjoyed it muchly.
Recommendation for a western to watch: The Ballad of Lefty Brown (on Prime). Bill Pullman, Peter Fonda and Kathy Baker. The major themes throughout the movie are friendship, reciprocity and western dime novel culture. Thoroughly absorbing and probably one of my favourite recent westerns (2017). Not in the same class (IMHO), The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix). There are six stories...the trouble is a couple of them are outstanding, a couple are ok and the others are rubbish.

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Finally got around to watching The Big Lebowski last night, after many years of thinking 'I really should see that'. Didn't resonate with me at all, I'm afraid. I guess it shouldn't have come as a surprise, Coen brothers films haven't really been my thing. Oh well, never mind.
 
Finally got around to watching The Big Lebowski last night, after many years of thinking 'I really should see that'. Didn't resonate with me at all, I'm afraid. I guess it shouldn't have come as a surprise, Coen brothers films haven't really been my thing. Oh well, never mind.
I really liked Miller's Crossing but then Barton Fink just left me utterly cold and I haven't really bothered with any of their films since. I enjoyed Bridge of Spies though which they had a hand in writing.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
I rewatched Inception last night (mainly as the 'Time' theme got in my head as the eldest lad is playing the Alan Walker remix at the moment). I forgot how layered the film is. Not one to be watched often, but definitely worth it. Perhaps Memento next?
 
Just started Altered Carbon on Netflix. I thought the book was good, if a bit gruesome in places; both book and TV show explore what would happen in a future dystopia where minds can be backed up and 'resleeved' in the same, cloned, or different bodies. If they go for a second series, Woken Furies would be good.
 
A weekend of film vegging resulted in these pithy reviews

Bloodshot - load of predictable toss
Underwater - looks pretty, but a load of predictable toss
1917 - weird two part movie. I was really into it, then it happens and it just faded away

I also discovered the wonder that is We Bare Bears and my world may never be the same again

(I'll also add that 1917 was clearly a quiet day at British Male Character Actor Central Casting as they managed to get just about everyone in there, doing their Officer-schtick as a balance to the two main actors - Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Scott, David Mays, Richard Madden - great six degrees of separation movie)
 
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The Town - ok crime thriller set in working class Boston. Derivative of Michael Mann and Martin Scorsese, but better than The Boondock Saints. Jeremy Renner's quite good as the barmy bum-fluffed mustachioed scrote who you just know is going to end up dropping everyone in it. Pete Postlethwaite plays Mr Big with a bizarre Irish accent that even the late James Coburn would have written off as being too outlandish to be remotely believable. Rebecca Hall is class, as ever.

Cold Pursuit
- what first seems to be another run of the mill Liam Neeson grumpy-old-sod-with-a-gun vigilante flick turns into a strange 3-way family feud saga: Neeson's blue collar folks vs Yuppie drug dealer vs Native American tribe. Maybe a bit sub-Tarantino at times with a few too many quirky characters but I enjoyed its offbeat plotting and refusal to do the expected. Some reviews suggest it's actually a send up of a revenge drama, and possibly it is. I think it's based on an original Scandanavian film, which I'd certainly be interested to see.
 
The Boys - Season two was excellent as ever and poked a lot of fun at the DC and Marvel films. There is a lot of character development too, which was nice. I'm now stoked for season three, which we may not see until 2022.

Score: 10/10

The Umbrella Academy - Season two was just as strong as season one, with even more twist and turns and wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff going on. Although it looks as if they are going to skip over the third graphic novel and cover the fourth one in season three.

Score: 8/10

The Last Kingdom - Despite the absence of certain key characters from seasons 1 to 3, season four has certainly stepped up a gear. New characters step up to replace the old, including Uhtred's children. The books this season covers are The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne, so we are guaranteed at least another two or three seasons with the remaining books we have.

Score: 9/10

We're currently watching Brave New World and watched the opening episode of season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery. The latter having extremely strong opener and a game changer for Star Trek canon. Brave New World on the other hand, is good and I'm hoping the rest of the season remains on par with the first five episodes.

In my don't bother with watching category:

Netflix's Cursed could have been so much more than it was and had potential. It was let down by bad story pacing and poor acting. I'm not quite sure who they were aiming this series at. I have a feel it was aiming for the young adult audience but it definitely missed the mark.

Score: 2/10
 
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