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Ramsay B.

Watch, Watched, Watching: Hunting Minds

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I watched the third ep of Helen Mirren's Catherine the Great, which is pretty much a disappointment.  Nothing happens here, other than what is a dull love story between two people who dream of empire. That's quite an accomplishment.

I enjoy looking at it, but not all that much since it's shot so dark -- or at least is showing up so on my screen. It's a surfeit of gold gilded arches and vaults plus candles and the empress's very large gowns, more than anything else.  I want more Tartars (and their horses)! and their landscape.  More Black Sea and the Crimea.  They are interesting.  Catherine and her googooing at her infant grandson back in the palace against a backdrop of fireworks -- not really. We get more screen time of googoo than Tartars.

I also watched the first episode of (HBO too) His Dark Materials. I read the books on which the series is based; though some bits were of interest, the books failed to make an impression on my own imagination.  Arguing about our historical patriarchal religions in Fantasy context never has been anything this reader has cared for.  Nor am I much liking watching Ruth Wilson (don't care for this actor, though very many do!), who plays Mrs. Coulter. Thus I'm far other than enthralled with this too.

However, I haven't read The Watchmen's source comic book,s or seen the movie that was made from them years back, either. Yet, so far The Watchmen (also HBO) is so bonkers I keep watching. Plus I always appreciate watching Jeremy Irons , and I really like the actor, Regina King, who plays Angela Abar / Sister Night (Angela's masked identity). 

The Watchmen plays with history in a way that keeps one riveted -- even me, who dislikes and is bored by alternate history and dimensions. This may further explain why His Dark Materials, book or film, and now, so far, tv series, didn't grab me.

However, though Catherine the Great doesn't 'play' with history, and is far more historical than Netflix's The King -- as far as Catherine gives us much history beyond lovers' and family quarrels and great gowns -- HBO's  Catherine the Great isn't interesting history.  Not even Catherine and her lover, Potemkin are presented with any fascet of fascination.  Everyone at her court claims to be fascinated by her -- and yet Potemkin's personality is  rather more interesting as far as it goes than is that of  the Empress. 

My only criticism of The Watchmen so far, if it is a criticism, is that each screen is so densely packed with information, and each beat's time is barely a snapshot, that I miss a whole lot of the staffage. (I use that term in this context, though it isn't exactly accurate as art studies define it

https://educalingo.com/en/dic-en/staffage .)

Perhaps that doesn't matter since I don't know The Watchmen universe.  I rather am offput by supposedly having to previously know a universe in order to enjoy some movie or tv show, that I am yet expected to pay to see. But, somehow this isn't bothering me either -- so far.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Zorral's Quality of Horses Assessment for Catherine the Great: Fail.  Horses don't count in this one.

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This season's Castle Rock is fantastic... Lizzie Caplan's portrayal of younger Annie Wilkes is as spot on as it is terrifying. 

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Saw Terminator: Dark Fate last night.  I really enjoyed it.  Yes, like The Force Awakens was a retread of past Star Wars movies, this was a retread of T2 and the original.  That didn't bother me in the least.  The shift in the timeline is significant, while saying something importnat -- saying if we rush to create AI we will always create AI that will destroy us.  But give AI a chance to develop a moral sense and empathy, things can go differently.

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I saw Terminator: Dark Fate too. I really don't follow what's supposed to be happening with the Terminator universe at this stage and it's basically just a reworked T2 but it's entertaining enough. It's certainly better than Genisys anyway.

Spoiler

Although it does pretty much render the previous films pointless with killing off John Connor straight away and it not mattering. I wasn't entirely convinced by Dani as the charismatic leader of human resistance either but, whatever, the robot/cyborg car chases were fun.

 

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Been watching Dark, it's taken some patience to gather the overall m.o. of why the underlying events are happening.

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1 hour ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

Been watching Dark, it's taken some patience to gather the overall m.o. of why the underlying events are happening.

I'm halfway through season 2 and loving it. I'll need  rewatch before season 3 comes out. The plot is really bonkers in the best way, and pretty complicated. Good thing I made a list of all the characters, familial and other relationships while watching 1x01 - a list I'm updating. It helped a lot during the firat few episodes of season 1!

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I watched Midway last night. Decent enough movie but nothing special. It seems to be grounded in mostly real events and people. The first half hour seems rushed, at least to me. The characters, actors anyway, never felt like I cared too much about what happened to them. None of them seemed to grab you. From a historical perspective it's scary to see how just a few decisions could have changed things entirely.

It was odd seeing Bjorn Ironside as a American Navy man but hey he is a Viking so I guess it fits! Also has a Jonas brother in it so yeah.

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Saw Doctor Sleep tonight. I really liked it a lot. I was nervous about this when I first heard about it, as The Shining is one of my all time favorite horror movies, but I figured it was in good hands with Mike Flanagan directing. And I was right. He’s right up there with Ari Aster, Roger Eggers, and Jordan Peele, as one of the best in the business right now when it comes to horror, imo. I’ve never read either book, but this was a worthy sequel to the original film. Cast was superb all around. Ewan McGregor, Zach McClarnon (Hanzee!), even the young child actress was really good, but Rebecca Ferguson was my favorite part. Rose the Hat was a great character. 

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On 11/4/2019 at 2:54 PM, Corvinus said:

Went to Zombieland: Double Tap this weekend. Just as funny as the first one.

That’s good to hear. I’m seeing it Sunday. 

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22 hours ago, Ramsay B. said:

Respect!

I thought it was great too. 

As did I. Will watch it again on way back from Japan. Really intrigued to watch it knowing what happens.

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Finished watching The Hot Zone yesterday. If you work in lab science, or in infectious disease like I do then you should really watch it. There was a classic bit of CGI angry monkey action in the finale, which was truly hilarious. I get that it was set in the late 80's but I think they could have jazzed it up a little - it looked like a bit like a straight to TV, Hallmark movie at times. It's a bit sad, they could have done more with the base material I thought.

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Ray Shoesmith is a fascinating character.  The latest episode of Mr Inbetween was one of my favorites so far.  Scott Ryan was acting at 110% this last episode.

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I watched The Irishman. Some friends and I went out to one of the only theaters around that was showing it. It was... fine. It was fine. It was technically very well made, had good writing, good acting, good production values, the digital de-aging mostly worked well (young De Niro didn't work, but middle aged everybody look good). But it was less than the sum of its parts. Which is saying something considering it was three-and-a-half hours long. 

There was no need for the movie to be nearly that long. It definitely dragged, especially at the end. But it would be hard to point out what scenes to cut, because they were pretty much all equally good and all equally relevant to the plot. Which is to say, they were all equally irrelevant to the plot. There really wasn't much of a narrative through-line to anything; it was one long series of "this happened, then this happened, and then this happened" without much to connect it. And even though it was well-acted, there really wasn't much characterization to most of the characters. I couldn't begin to tell you what Frank Sheeran's motivation throughout the movie was, and he was on-screen 95% of the time. He just did things and watched things.

Also, I'm generally not one to notice or point out gender issues in movies. But considering the ultimate point of the movie (and there obviously was one even though there wasn't much of a plot), it's incredibly disappointing how little screentime Frank's wife or daughters had; two of his four daughters I don't think had any lines at all.

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