Zorral

Watch, Watched, Watching: The Good, Bad and Ugly

185 posts in this topic

This week I completed the first season of Taboo.  It was one of the most immersive, ah-hem, series I've seen in a while. Water imagery, drowning imagery, along with that of dead who sing their siren songs, everywhere. So very Kongo -- people always crossing that kalunga line, which is the water, between the land of the living and the land of the dead -- which is why Delaney knows all.  He's crossed and re-crossed that line so many times.  This reference to his years of enslavement in Africa is just brilliant writing.  It doesn't matter if the watcher knows these things, but if the watcher does know about Kongo religion and practices, it adds a great deal -- particularly to appreciation of the writers.

Very different from what was described by the many people who disliked it to some and generally greater degree when it aired last year. Why so many viewers thought that nothing happened during most of it, I don't understand, but then a lot of people say the same thing about season 2 of Jessica Jones (another of the best in a while), which I don't understand either.

Maybe I would criticize Tom Hardy's delivery as Delaney as being too much like that of Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in Peaky Blinders (one of my all time favorite series, due no little to Cillian Murphy and his Shelby. For those who haven't seen it, in Peaky Blinders, for two seasons, Hardy and Murphy played frenemies, though the enmity as well as the helping hands, were all business, which both of them understood.

In Taboo Hardy keeps the grunt, he keeps the low, throaty voice that is hard to hear, never raising its volume, and getting slower and more quiet the more dangerous and angry he is. This latter is shared with both his character Alfie Solomons in Peaky Blinders, and with Murphy's Shelby -- but Murphy started it, in the two seasons before Alfie showed up. Delaney also has that long stare into the distance and the future (during which he's presumably communing with the dead) that Shelby has. There were occasions when I thought I'd been catapulted up the time line to Peaky Blinders. 

Both of the actors and their characters present such physical restraint and self-control, even while drinking themselves blind -- and both are capable of the most extreme violence and ordering others to commit violence. The difference between Taboo's Delaney though, and the Peaky Blinders guys -- this was business and business only for them. Not so for Delaney.  This feels a lot more Count of Monte Cristo than business or organized crime -- and this is the Count's era, after all.  From Wiki:

Quote

"The story takes place in France, Italy, and islands in the Mediterranean during the historical events of 1815–1839: the era of the Bourbon Restoration through the reign of Louis-Philippe of France. It begins just before the Hundred Days period (when Napoleon returned to power after his exile)."

One does wish

Spoiler

the East India Company's London HQ did blow up. It never did, alas.

That the show found the viewers to appreciate it via BBC Player allowed a second season.  And it has picked up 6 Bafta nominations:

 

Quote

 

The Crown has picked up the most nominations at this year’s Bafta TV Craft Awards, leading the way with seven nominations.

Tom Hardy drama Taboo isn’t far behind with six nominations, while Peaky Blinders, Planet Earth II and Black Mirror have all picked up five nominations each.

 

 

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Didn't even realise that "Electric dreams" had returned and finished on channel 4 so watched "the father thing". I thought it was rubbish to be honest but Greg Kinnear was good - less convinced about the kid in it. Makes me appreciate the casting in "stranger things" a whole lot more. Speaking of the episode tried a bit too hard to go stanger things/goonies in places and it jarred with the body snatcher aspects. There were also points where I thought the episode was going to explore child abuse via a SF metaphor which would have been risky but far more interesting than what we got. That said I'm still pleased I watched it if only for the camera work in which the kid walks through a revolving door - that was really cool (honestly, no sarcasm intended at all here).

It's a long time since I've read some of PKD's short stories so I can't remember whether I've encountered them before. I get the impression that there's a lot of adaptation occurring in these anthology installments eg I can't imagine PKD doing much in the way of Stranger things style kids vs pesky grown-ups. Most of the time this modern spin has failed - I think the only exception was the "the commuter" one which was trippy and weirdly touching.

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I finally watched Macbeth, the 2015 version with Fassbender and Cotillard. It was visually stunning and the acting was very good. The sound quality wasn't very good, however. I had to keep playing with the volume depending on whether there was dialogue or music. The dialogue was quiet and the music was loud.

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I watched The Disappearance of Sidney Hall, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I've also been getting ready for season 3 of The Expanse by rewatching season 1, and the first four episodes of season 2.  Should finish the second season this weekend.

 

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Watched all of season 4 of Black Mirror

You know I was never impressed with that show, there were episodes here and there I liked but for the most part it left me not really wanting more. Maybe it was just too bleak for me, maybe it was something else. But season 4 seemed miles ahead in writing and story telling quality, I loved it.

 

Been rewatching Everybody Loves Raymond. I think maybe I got a beat on why it's so popular. It appealed to aging boomers that fall in line for any just funny enough laugh-track-sitcom does but I also think it caught the eye of Seinfeld fans which made it that much more popular. They were older now, some were getting married, moving out of the city, starting families. They saw a Jerry/George hybrid that married Elaine and moved out to the suburbs close to their parents and had kids. Kramer got some empathy and a lot of insecurity and was now the brother and instead of Jewish they were Italian. I can see the Seinfeld crowd splitting, some going for the still man-child with adult responsibilities others doubling down on the neurotic aspect and going for Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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Was watching Bright on Netflix for the first time since it came out. Just noticed that during one of the scenes that it shows the moon, you can see a dragon flying above the city. Somehow I missed that the first two times I watched it.

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I went to see The Florida Project yesterday. Amazing film. Joyful and devastating at the same time, brilliantly acted and beautifully shot.

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Watched Curse of the Golden Flower, which I love, and never quite got why it was so roundly panned in reviews when it came out.  It's lush, interesting and well acted.  IMO.

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I decided to finally watch Dunkirk. I liked it. The non-traditional plot structure worked for me. I like how Nolan layered the three parts atop one another so the stories intersected in a, seemingly, nonlinear fashion. Cinematography was great, especially the air combat.

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Finished S2 of Sneaky Pete. Definitely Ocean's 11 through and through. I saw the final twist coming, or at least one of the twists. I'm not sure whether to be proud I figured it out or disappointed I didn't figure it out sooner given that I've seen this formula before.

Now on to Jessica Jones inbetween basketball.

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11 hours ago, A True Kaniggit said:

Was watching Bright on Netflix for the first time since it came out. Just noticed that during one of the scenes that it shows the moon, you can see a dragon flying above the city. Somehow I missed that the first two times I watched it.

I am sure I missed that!  Damn.

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15 hours ago, A True Kaniggit said:

Was watching Bright on Netflix for the first time since it came out. Just noticed that during one of the scenes that it shows the moon, you can see a dragon flying above the city. Somehow I missed that the first two times I watched it.

You sat through bright 3 times? 

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3 hours ago, WarGalley said:

Finished S2 of Sneaky Pete. Definitely Ocean's 11 through and through. I saw the final twist coming, or at least one of the twists. I'm not sure whether to be proud I figured it out or disappointed I didn't figure it out sooner given that I've seen this formula before.

The "FBI"?  I figured that out the second time they were on the screen, because no way real FBI would behave like that.  It then proceeded to annoy me every time they were then on screen that the characters were so oblivious.

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36 minutes ago, BigFatCoward said:

You sat through bright 3 times? 

Yep. And there will be a fourth viewing a little before the sequel comes out. 

The number of times I've watched Napoleon Dynamite is also approaching the double digits. 

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1 hour ago, A True Kaniggit said:

Yep. And there will be a fourth viewing a little before the sequel comes out. 

The number of times I've watched Napoleon Dynamite is also approaching the double digits. 

Do the chickens have large talons?

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Watching season 3 of Ash vs Evil dead. It's okay. I love Evil Dead. Sometimes I think the gore doesn't match the gore-tone of the films, and it goes too far in the wrong direction. Aside from that, I enjoy it.

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Watched Atomic Blonde tonight. It was ok. Plot was a bit convoluted, but it’s worth watching for Charlize Theron’s stunt work. 

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7 hours ago, Nictarion said:

Watched Atomic Blonde tonight. It was ok. Plot was a bit convoluted, but it’s worth watching for Charlize Theron’s stunt work. 

I watched it also, given how much praise it got, I was a little disappointed, it looked pretty but all surface, no there there.  

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8 hours ago, Nictarion said:

Watched Atomic Blonde tonight. It was ok. Plot was a bit convoluted, but it’s worth watching for Charlize Theron’s stunt work. 

 

1 hour ago, Cas Stark said:

I watched it also, given how much praise it got, I was a little disappointed, it looked pretty but all surface, no there there.  

I was entertained. A bit overboard with the soundtrack and James McAvoy's Percival was a bit ridiculous(kept reminding me of Tyler Durden in Fight Club), but better than I was expecting. And Charlize was great. Just don't question too  much and enjoy the ride.

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Saw Furious Seven and Jarhead with friends yesterday. Jarhead is still as awesome as I remember, really a great film. Furious 7 was dumb as fuck, although I was moved by their tribute to Paul Walker. Surprising to see such a tasteful homage in such a big, dumb movie.

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