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Watch, Watched, Watching: The cancellations continue

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11 hours ago, Alarich II said:

even Kasparov backed down from some of his more preposterous claims about women


Kasparov was the consultant who put the games together for the show, and speaks about his work on it with at least the implication that he's a fan of the book or at least read it for the job and respected it, so he's clearly gotten over any qualms he had when younger over the idea of women playing chess.

Anyway funnily enough my view on Queen's Gambit having just finished it is almost the exact opposite of HoI. Okay, it's definitely well acted and mostly smartly written, but I found its pacing patchy throughout, because it kept tripping through massive chunks of time with nary a connecting scene (I suspect this reinforced HoI's notion that Beth Harmon was a real person - it's paced very like many biopics)- it had some excellent scenes and others I just didn't care about coz I knew it was gonna skip on two years in a second and we wouldn't be back to whatever was happening in an in-depth way.

It was also an advert, by ommission, for the idea that shows made for streaming should use the advantage of not playing to timeslots and make some episodes of variable length. There were a few occasions where sequences and storylines I felt should have stood on their own and could have been built out into shorter eps of their own were instead rammed together into awkwardly fitting single episodes. Episode five is a particularly bad example of this - two barely connected stories, both key in the longer term, both with some excellent scenes within but both rushed and compacted.

But that issue alleviated itself the further on we got and unlike HoI
 

 

I thought the final episode was an absolute triumph of Rocky-style feelgood cheese. Was exactly in line with where the series was going all along. I'm not saying I wouldn't want a more intense, psychological take on a chess series or movie but this wasn't it and didn't need to be and I enjoyed the ending thoroughly. I can't lie I had a big cheesy grin throughout

 

So yeah. Overall a good show definitely well worth it.

On Hannibal- season 3 was a mess in parts, did get a bit too up itself  though it still has some great moments, but season 2 is one of the best seasons of television ever broadcast, and the finale one of the best episodes. Really hoping season 4 comes together.
 

Edited by polishgenius

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Knocked another long overdue classic of my list by watching 1989's Glory. I went in cold, ready to be completely surprised and damn this was a weird film. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I can imagine a film historian having a field day with this. The way it tells its story is almost as fascinating as what it is actually about.

The beginning is quite horrible, with that stupid "I might be going to war, but can't imagine anything going wrong" letter Broderick writes to his parents. Even with my limited knowledge of the American Civil War, I knew that Broderick was bound to throw himself headlong into Antietam after that scene. The film then goes out of its way to tell the typical white savior story and Broderick is just too weak an actor to sell it. He's such a dweep that you can't help wonder why the movie isn't about Denzel, Braugher or Freeman characters more. Looking up the real historical colonel, you almost feel like it's an insult to the man's memory.

The farther along the movie goes however, the more it understands that Broderick is too milquetoast as an actor to make the white savior trope work. As so many other actors have found out to their detriment, not everyone can be Tom Cruise in Last Samurai level good (remember back when Tom Cruise still acted instead of being a glorified stunt man?). So the movie starts foregrounding its black characters more and more.

That's when it really reveals its greatness. It's very good at building relationships and the period details to me seemed very convincing (I even saw men dressed as zouaves which was quite neat). Not all the characters really make sense to me even here (Like Denzel's character), but they work regardless.

The film's best part is its ending however. It really crescendo's because it commits to something that I would describe as magnificently unamerican 

Spoiler

Everyone just flat out dies. I read that in real life around half of the regiment perished (which is just a terrifying casualty rate to think about), but the way they cut away from the final charge to just the bodies being dumped in the mass grave seemed to imply that they went down to the last man. I expected Broderick and one of the major black stars to bite it, but everyone in that regiment? Shit, that's unexpected. Brilliant stuff.

I do feel like Denzel's death was a tad wasted. Picking up the flag and immediately getting shot? I was expecting a Mel Gibson Patriot style dash with the flag before he got shot to shit. This was just a bit sad.

I do hope that one day we'll get another film set during this era that solely focuses on the black soldiers, unless they can get Tom Cruise for the role of White Savior.

On 11/17/2020 at 5:01 AM, dbunting said:

I think that the 80's movies just had a fun feel to them, not sure how else to describe it. I got the same feel from Stranger Things S1. Also it's funny you mention Footloose because people were chatting it up on my facebook feed today

Yeah, Fun is a good way to describe it. Perhaps better would be joie de vivre. Those eighties films just didn't care and flat out celebrated life. that's the big difference with today's grimdark obsession.

4 hours ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

The procedural elements fall away as the show goes on. We still do new killers and whatnot, but they turn into multi-episode arcs or get spaced out a little more if I recall correctly. Hannibal is like the best network TV show I've ever seen that wasn't a comedy. Enjoy.

I'm glad at least someone gets it! One of the strongest tv series of the last couple of years.

1 hour ago, Ran said:

I really enjoyed Hannibal to begin with -- visually fantastic, great performances, amazing atmosphere. But at a certain point it started to feel like it had fallen into a kind of navel-gazing trap and started just feeling unpleasant for the sake of being unpleasant.

I don't see how it really evolved in its unpleasantness. It was lurid, deep and utterly fascinating all the way through (although season two was the best of them all). The navel-gazing was part of the appeal.

1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

Hannibal definitely got worse, but it was always style over substance. Beautiful to look at sometimes, but dumb as a brick.

Be gone Heartofice! Shoo! 

Style is substance is kind of Hannibal's whole point. No one sees the monster lurking right there because they are all way too razzle-dazzled by his style, charm and intelligence. 

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4 hours ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

The procedural elements fall away as the show goes on. We still do new killers and whatnot, but they turn into multi-episode arcs or get spaced out a little more if I recall correctly. Hannibal is like the best network TV show I've ever seen that wasn't a comedy. Enjoy.

I’d put Twin Peaks and The X-Files ahead of it. Both had their issues, but so did Hannibal. 

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57 minutes ago, Nictarion said:

I’d put Twin Peaks and The X-Files ahead of it. Both had their issues, but so did Hannibal. 

YOU SON OF A BITCH I'LL RUIN YOU

Nah, though. I've never seen either, but I know they're highly acclaimed. That Sculdoon lass was aces in Hannibal though.

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5 hours ago, Ran said:

I really enjoyed Hannibal to begin with -- visually fantastic, great performances, amazing atmosphere. But at a certain point it started to feel like it had fallen into a kind of navel-gazing trap and started just feeling unpleasant for the sake of being unpleasant.

 

Felt the same way. My wife and I loved the first couple of seasons but then it seemed to get caught up in it's own, "style or hype" if that makes sense. We both stopped watching it.

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3 hours ago, Veltigar said:

Knocked another long overdue classic of my list by watching 1989's Glory. I went in cold, ready to be completely surprised and damn this was a weird film. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I can imagine a film historian having a field day with this. The way it tells its story is almost as fascinating as what it is actually about.

The beginning is quite horrible, with that stupid "I might be going to war, but can't imagine anything going wrong" letter Broderick writes to his parents. Even with my limited knowledge of the American Civil War, I knew that Broderick was bound to throw himself headlong into Antietam after that scene. The film then goes out of its way to tell the typical white savior story and Broderick is just too weak an actor to sell it. He's such a dweep that you can't help wonder why the movie isn't about Denzel, Braugher or Freeman characters more. Looking up the real historical colonel, you almost feel like it's an insult to the man's memory.

The farther along the movie goes however, the more it understands that Broderick is too milquetoast as an actor to make the white savior trope work. As so many other actors have found out to their detriment, not everyone can be Tom Cruise in Last Samurai level good (remember back when Tom Cruise still acted instead of being a glorified stunt man?). So the movie starts foregrounding its black characters more and more.

That's when it really reveals its greatness. It's very good at building relationships and the period details to me seemed very convincing (I even saw men dressed as zouaves which was quite neat). Not all the characters really make sense to me even here (Like Denzel's character), but they work regardless.

The film's best part is its ending however. It really crescendo's because it commits to something that I would describe as magnificently unamerican 

  Hide contents

Everyone just flat out dies. I read that in real life around half of the regiment perished (which is just a terrifying casualty rate to think about), but the way they cut away from the final charge to just the bodies being dumped in the mass grave seemed to imply that they went down to the last man. I expected Broderick and one of the major black stars to bite it, but everyone in that regiment? Shit, that's unexpected. Brilliant stuff.

I do feel like Denzel's death was a tad wasted. Picking up the flag and immediately getting shot? I was expecting a Mel Gibson Patriot style dash with the flag before he got shot to shit. This was just a bit sad.
 

The ending is probably why I liked it so much, that and the acting from Denzel and Freeman. Broderick does just enough to not ruin it! As to the ending, spoilers in here for Arlington Road and The Sum of all Fears.

Spoiler

Those two movies didn't have the happy ending. The nuke actually goes off and the guy in Arlington rd was a patsy the whole time and never saw it coming.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Veltigar said:

 

The beginning is quite horrible, with that stupid "I might be going to war, but can't imagine anything going wrong" letter Broderick writes to his parents. 

The text of that letter is 100% from Robert Gould Shaw's actual letters. I believe they combined two letters he wrote -- one to his mother and one to his sister -- on the day his unit received orders to join the campaign. This was actually when he was still an enlisted man in a New York militia, to be sure, at the start of the war rather than half way through it, so the context is changed. But soldiers telling their loved ones that the risks they face will be minimal and they'll be home by Christmas is age-old.

IMO, Broderick was just right as a naïve, high-minded young man who doesn't really feel those ideals in his bones until he's confronted by the reality of the war and what he and his men are fighting for. 

 

Edited by Ran

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10 hours ago, Veltigar said:

Style is substance is kind of Hannibal's whole point. No one sees the monster lurking right there because they are all way too razzle-dazzled by his style, charm and intelligence. 

haha, I mean that is a good way to try and sell the show, and I'd buy it if Bryan Fullers entire CV wasn't a bunch of style over substance shows that are also dumb as bricks. I think that is just what he does ( I liked Pushing Daisies though)

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6 hours ago, dbunting said:

 

I liked Braugher performance the most I think. It felt more complicated than what Denzel and Freeman had to do. I guess a lot of the audience shares Denzel's characters aversion to Braugher's character, so to sell and overcome that takes courage.

42 minutes ago, Ran said:

The text of that letter is 100% from Robert Gould Shaw's actual letters. I believe they combined two letters he wrote -- one to his mother and one to his sister -- on the day his unit received orders to join the campaign. This was actually when he was still an enlisted man in a New York militia, to be sure, at the start of the war rather than half way through it, so the context is changed. But soldiers telling their loved ones that the risks they face will be minimal and they'll be home by Christmas is age-old.

Sure, but then having him run into Antietam straight away? That's questionable. Especially if it wasn't actually in a letter he wrote before Antietam itself. Not to say that cliches like that are always bad, but here it just struck me in the wrong way. Perhaps I have seen too many British documentaries about the Battle of the Sommes to be fully on board with that sort of stuff.

45 minutes ago, Ran said:

IMO, Broderick was just right as a naïve, high-minded young man who doesn't really feel those ideals in his bones until he's confronted by the reality of the war and what he and his men are fighting for. 

 

Was that it though? In my reading of the film, I felt that for his character it was never about his beliefs or conviction in his black troops (or the capacities of black people in general).  I took those at face value and I don't think we see a lot of major changes in his regard over the course of the narrative. His actions during the whole film felt more like him projecting his own insecurities about being a soldier (and a leader of men to boot) on everyone else.

According to the film's depiction of events, he went down like a patsy at Antietam, with that small nick in his neck. He then spends the rest of the film trying to muster up the courage to be the leader his troopers deserve and to shield others from his failings (which is why he's so obsessed with drilling his forces in the beginning).

That's what I see most in his interactions with Thomas, who grew up with him and can therefore be seen as a proxy for his character (i.e. if race roles had been reversed, it would be Thomas leading the unit and Broderick fulfilling Thomas' role with the enlisted men). Thomas is constantly shown as a poor soldier and Broderick is very strict because he wants to turn him into the soldier he still doesn't feel himself to be. 

Spoiler

And in the end that discipline and the deep conviction everyone shares turns the men (all of them, white and black) into a proper fighting force which continues to fight even in desperate circumstances like in the fort.

 

30 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

haha, I mean that is a good way to try and sell the show, and I'd buy it if Bryan Fullers entire CV wasn't a bunch of style over substance shows that are also dumb as bricks. I think that is just what he does ( I liked Pushing Daisies though)

But how is Hannibal dumb as bricks? That's what I don't get. The way Fuller creates this dreamlike heightened reality for Hannibal to operate in is quite clever in my book. At times it almost veers into a dark sort of magical realism, with Hannibal as a variation on Milton's Satan.

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3 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

But how is Hannibal dumb as bricks? That's what I don't get. The way Fuller creates this dreamlike heightened reality for Hannibal to operate in is quite clever in my book. At times it almost veers into a dark sort of magical realism, with Hannibal as a variation on Milton's Satan.

Sure, Hannibal is presented as Satan in one way, but mainly because he's mostly omnipotent, amazing at everything and is everywhere. He's so obviously evil, like most of the show there is zero subtlety to anything.

Anyway it has been a while since I saw the show, but I always found it so utterly full of cliches and standard detective tropes, seemingly unaware that they were using those cliches. The worst offender is the main character Will, who can literally get into the mind of a serial killer. That is the plot of pretty much every procedural cop show for the last 20 years. Except Hannibal takes it to extremes by making Will pretty much psychic. He has that sixth sense like hitting Witcher view in a game. It is very silly. 

I dunno, give me Mindhunter which is pretty much the same thing, only good, any day of the week.

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S3 of hannibal is the biggest drop off in quality I can think of for any TV show. And I'm including the last season of GOT. 

Halfway through queens gambit, the child Beth was much better than the teen/adult. 

Community, I'm not disliking it, but I'm not getting the hype. About 6 episodes in and about to call it a day unless anyone suggest otherwise? 

 

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15 minutes ago, BigFatCoward said:

S3 of hannibal is the biggest drop off in quality I can think of for any TV show. And I'm including the last season of GOT. 

Halfway through queens gambit, the child Beth was much better than the teen/adult. 

Community, I'm not disliking it, but I'm not getting the hype. About 6 episodes in and about to call it a day unless anyone suggest otherwise? 

 

Adult beth I think is better half way through the series, I found her performance a little off in the first few episodes, too much staring beside the camera and 'serial killer stares', which I think was a stylistic choice.

Community has a golden period, and it is I think seasons 2 and 3 (I always forget which is the one Harmon left). Back end of S1 is good as well I recall. I think your love for the show will largely depend on your own nerdiness.

-- also, the idea that the last season of GoT was a drop in quality I will never understand. Did anyone watch season 7?? That was probably the worst season of the lot, culminating in the ice lake episode which almost made me stop watching the show. Even then the show had been pretty cruddy since S5 started. I don't get how anyone could think S8 was a drop in quality when that bar had already dropped so low

Edited by Heartofice

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4 hours ago, Heartofice said:


Anyway it has been a while since I saw the show, but I always found it so utterly full of cliches and standard detective tropes, seemingly unaware that they were using those cliches. The worst offender is the main character Will, who can literally get into the mind of a serial killer. That is the plot of pretty much every procedural cop show for the last 20 years. Except Hannibal takes it to extremes by making Will pretty much psychic. He has that sixth sense like hitting Witcher view in a game. It is very silly. 

 

I'll agree with this (though again, I'm only halfway through season 1). The character of Will is probably what bothers me most about the show, along with the constant use of the "he's on the spectrum, therefore he can visualize crimes!" trope. The plotting in individual episodes has also been very messy sometimes, with Hannibal and annoying tabloid reporter essentially being able to do anything the plot demands, like get in and out of police zones with nobody noticing them or Hannibal hiding corpses. But the upsides definitely outweigh the downsides of the show, and everyone seems to agree it hits its stride in season 2, so I'm looking forward to that. Though I didn't realize season 3 was so divisive...

The Leftovers episode I watched last night (It's a Matt Matt Matt World) was hilarious and incredible and really weird. I'm going to miss this show so much when I'm done with it.

Edited by Caligula_K3

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3 hours ago, Veltigar said:

 

Was that it though? In my reading of the film, I felt that for his character it was never about his beliefs or conviction in his black troops (or the capacities of black people in general).  I took those at face value and I don't think we see a lot of major changes in his regard over the course of the narrative. His actions during the whole film felt more like him projecting his own insecurities about being a soldier (and a leader of men to boot) on everyone else.

I think that's certainly a part of the character, but the bits that are most memorable to me regarding Shaw are his run-ins with the obstinate resistance of other Union officers and especially the situation with Harker and Montgomery, which to me seemed to strengthen his resolve -- the actual ugliness, rather than the theoretical ugliness, made him a stronger and better leader.

 

2 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

S3 of hannibal is the biggest drop off in quality I can think of for any TV show. And I'm including the last season of GOT. 

 

Yeah, S3 is where I checked out.

How'd you get on with Into the Spider-Verse?

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31 minutes ago, Ran said:

I think that's certainly a part of the character, but the bits that are most memorable to me regarding Shaw are his run-ins with the obstinate resistance of other Union officers and especially the situation with Harker and Montgomery, which to me seemed to strengthen his resolve -- the actual ugliness, rather than the theoretical ugliness, made him a stronger and better leader.

 

Yeah, S3 is where I checked out.

How'd you get on with Into the Spider-Verse?

Struggling to get back into it. wife has no interest so having to wait for an opportunity.  Some of the animation is weird. It feels like it should be in 3d but isnt. 

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5 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

Community, I'm not disliking it, but I'm not getting the hype. About 6 episodes in and about to call it a day unless anyone suggest otherwise? 

Eh, if it's not your cup of tea after 6 episodes I can't really argue it gets significantly better after that, IIRC.  Although I do think the second season was my favorite.  Before moving on I would suggest skipping ahead to the episode "Modern Warfare."  It's definitely worth the ~20 minutes.

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9 hours ago, Heartofice said:

haha, I mean that is a good way to try and sell the show, and I'd buy it if Bryan Fullers entire CV wasn't a bunch of style over substance shows that are also dumb as bricks. I think that is just what he does ( I liked Pushing Daisies though)

It probably helped it was cancelled before it disappeared up its own bum too. S3 picks up but the first few episodes were like the show wanted to be cancelled by not only being new viewer hostile but trying to drive away the hardcore fans too. Slo mo blood and grating wire sounds was the first half dozen episodes

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