[watching] What have you seen recently?

Spider man: Into the Spider-verse (A)
Aquaman (B-)
Tomb Raider (C)
The Greatest Showman (A+)
Poldark S2 ('my missing season') (B)
Diabaleros (so far, C+)
Sabrina Christmas Special (C+)
DC Elseworlds Crossover (B-)

Coming soon
The Shape of Water
Ready Player One
The Protector
...and probably some other stuff
So Ready Player One is on Sky Cinema. So I finally watched it.

As I feared, a bucket of CGI was thrown in my face. I thought "I'm not ready for 2 hours of this." Turned it off.

Returned to it later and realised that the bucket of CGI was just Spielberg palette cleansing before being clever. Basically and extremely well made, sweet little, YA rebellion against "The Man" in a dystopian future flick with a (very) shiney patina.

Obviously, you know me, and I can't unsee Hollywood's fascination with "pretty people". The central romance trope was just too predicatable. (He so chose the wrong girl.) And that wasn't the only stuck in the 20th century thing that rubbed me the wrong way. But I'm just too fussy.

It's an easy watch. Had the ubiquitous - and excellent - Hannah-John Kamen(?). Well worth two hours of anyone's time.
Just watched ‘Castlevania’ on Netflix.
Excellent little show dealing with an anime Dracula. I was impressed how they dealt with Vlad Tepes of Wallachia.
Worth catching if you have a spare moment.
I really enjoyed the new three-part adaptation of The ABC Murders on BBC1. It has a much darker tone than previous adaptations, and it does change the plot somewhat, whilst leaving in some of details from the original novel, such as Inspector Crome’s suspicions about Poirot’s credentials for example. I also felt this incarnation of Poirot was similar to the recent Maigret in tone, with a touch of Peaky Blinders for atmosphere. John Malkovich is magnification in the role, a worthy successor to David Suchet, and he is certainly the right actor to play Poirot in this day and age. I hope the BBC will do another adaption with Malkovich, so they can build on this one. I can just picture Malkovich taking on the Murder on the Orient Express or Cards on the Table for example. I can easily see a new take on Poirot going the distance.
Bless Dwayne Johnson! Yes we’ve had endless Kong remakes and we don’t need a film based on an 80’s arcade game.

But it doesn’t hurt anyone to make one and RAMPAGE - on sky cinema over Xmas - was just big dumb stupid monster fun but was played straight and wasn’t camp.

Worth a punt.


Staff member
I thought this was excellent. My wife and mother in law were less impressed. Think they are less willing to accept the non canonical parts.
I liked Malkovich's Poirot, a lot.
I did not like the retcon for Poirot's background.

Not least because he wouldn't have been speaking French in Flanders.
I liked Malkovich's Poirot, a lot.
I did not like the retcon for Poirot's background.
I think they are trying to carve out a new, re-imaged Poirot, with a new canon. Then again, I don't think any of the previous adaptations were that faithful to the original text either, including the David Suchet one from the early 90s.
The Good Place - started watching this because it was on E4 and have continued binge watching it on Netflix. Know what my next few evenings are going to be spent doing 😀

Favourite quote so far:

Chidi Anagonye: So Aristotle was Plato's student. And Aristotle believes that your character is voluntary, because it's just the result of your actions, which are under your control. For example, right now, you have made the insane choice to ignore the person who is literally trying to save you from eternal damnation.
Eleanor Shellstrop: No, yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm listening. Uh, I just are we sure we should be paying attention to these guys? It's like, who died and left Aristotle in charge of ethics?
Chidi Anagonye: Plato.

- Neil.


Staff member
Love the Good Place.

Saw A Star is Born at Tyneside cinema last night. Some of the songs sent shivers through me, they were so good. It now sits alongside the Rose as one of my favourite films about musicians.. and there aren't many... Even bought the soundtrack when I got home... BUT... sad warning behind Spoiler tag.

It's a sad ending with a suicide and that really unsettled me. Just a heads-up

Bear with me. There's all this hype about “blockbuster” films as if everything has to be either “Star Wars” (the original) or nothing. And when you’re spending almost £9 on a cinema ticket you need to read the reviews and decide what you’re going to spend your money on.

But with everything being rated against a single measure - most things come up short.

So being a miser it takes a lot to get me to the cinema. I recently read all the reviews for “Spiderverse” and was disappointed.

But just because a film ISN’T Star Wars doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have been made. You can enjoy it later. Maybe if I’d left Spidey to TV I’d’ve been more forgiving...

I’m lucky enough to have Netflix and Sky Cinema - at least until Xmas is over. So I’ve been catching up on sons of the “overhyped turkeys”.

And you know what? I’m glad they were made. Cf. My recent experience with Rampage.

And so to Pacific Rim: Uprising. For most of my life I’ve been jealous of Japanese kids because of their ready access to SciFi. In recent decades I’ve realised I can’t access it raw, though. The ideas and production are FANTASTIC. The plotting, pacing and portrayal of teenage girls is more alien to my perspective.

In Pacific Rim del Torro tried to tackle this by reining things in and making the big robots - at least - feel real. And make a real blockbuster. Mixed results. IMHO.

Pacific Rim: Uprising has a lower budget, lesser director and less star power. Try to judge it as a blockbuster and you can see why people consider it a flop.

What it IS is a big kids movie (and a movie for big kids) that translates the Japanese love of big robots vs monsters into a meal that western audiences can swallow. But also gives the Japanese a big budget treat they can enjoy.

(How it tracked with the Chinese audience Hollywood really needs to court I don’t know.)

Is it perfect? No. John Boyega is a fledgling English character actor, not a star. Chops not Charisma. Too much plot for a single film. One key sequence spoilt by a duff soundtrack.

But it’s easy to watch and - if you judge it for what it is rather than against some inappropriate yardstick - it might just be best westernised version of Japanese SciFi we’ve had.

As enjoyable as a bucket of popcorn and well worth taping when it finally settles down to an outlet you’ve got easy access to.

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I really enjoyed the New year's day special for Doctor Who, Resolution.

It reminded me of the first series episode Dalek, and probably the best Dalek story in a long time. The solitary Dalek mutant trapped on Earth was pretty cool idea, what with it taking people hostage and piloting their bodies about. I also thought the makeshift Dalek shell was incredibly fun, and I liked the new weaponry it was packing. With the premise it was a Dalek scout, I just hope that is the beginning of something, like a full on Dalek invasion in series 12. The only thing I was disappointed with was that UNIT was disbanded due to funding. I know it was an attempt at satire by Chibnall, in regards to Brexit.
Just saw th first episode of Titans, Ok only one episode but it comes across as the most mature DC supers TV series out there. The crazy thing is the Teen Titans as the comic was known was for younger audiences and yet we get something more mature than Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow any of them. I guess its the Netflix way, even though Black Lightning is rather corny it is not as juvenile as Super Girl etc.

In fact Titans may be the first DC supers series I finish instead of giving up on. It does make me wonder though, if the Marvel titles had been produced else where would they be all dumbed down for teens? :)