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Watch, Watched, Watching: It's Award Season


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1 hour ago, Zorral said:

Been watching the latest in the Netflix history documentaries, this one Alexander: The Making of a God.  Not a fan of these sorts of docu formats, with repetitive live action scenes portrayed by actors in inexpensive 'historic' sets and locations*, but sometimes the Netflix approach is actually involving and educational in parts.  They are uneven -- parts of the Rise of Empires series, Ottoman: Mehmed vs. Vlad has quite a bit of good material, revealing parts of this past not often (at least in the 'west') covered or noticed in any treatment of the Ottoman Empire. The Age of Samurai was very good, both in teaching and involvement.   For the Alexander series, I'm not sure.  Some of it is very useful for those like me who know little about his career -- a focus on his Egyptian period, about which I knew nothing, and that's revealing. What struck me most is that after his victory at Issus, is that was when he went to Egypt -- he didn't continue on directly to the empire-changing battle of Gaugamela. 

Then, in this documentary, he beds Darius's wife in Egypt, impregnates her; both she and child die soon after the birth.  I'd never read anything regarding this -- but I don't know this period . . . I dunno. Their relationship is depicted as passionate.  I dunno about that either.  Mary Renault and Hephaestion might be turning in their graves? :D

Have no idea if NF will do a second season of Alexander, as this ends quickly with Darius's final defeat.  There's a lot more after this in The Great's history.

* We are treated in this one to a simoon, one of the killer Saharan Desert sandstorms.  When it's over, none of them or their camels are even buried in sand, not even a little bit!  They don't even have to shake out their blankets!  No sand on the camels! Hephaestion's beard has retained its perfect, stylish shape and length! while Alexander still doesn't need to shave at all!

 

 

the alexander docu got my attention, but i have such a hard time trusting anything historical or science related on netflix, ive seen to many "debunking" of netflix produced programming that i just dont watch anything related to that on netflix unless i know its something that it wasnt produced by netflix like planet earth or something like that

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Those ‘historic documentaries’ on Netflix really are a travesty. I got 5 minutes into the Alexander one and it went from bombastic large scale battle to old lady looking at pottery. Either one would be fine but the contrast is just so odd when put together.

Mostly annoying is how Netflix markets these things like they are full blown movies , when in reality they are just the same shitty quality history docs you might have seen on the history channel years ago. 

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6 hours ago, Conflicting Thought said:

its something that it wasn't produced by netflix like planet earth or something like that

Yet, Age of Samurari: Battle for Japan was quite good.  But it is more than difficult most of the time to trust anything that shows up as 'history' anywhere, including the History Channel.  :D  This is particularly so when the subject is one the viewer knows well.

There are stirrups, of course, in Alexander.  Nobody performs proskinesis, which included kissing a part of the King of Kings, such as a foot, which is a signal of obeisance at the time of these Middle Eastern rulers. But then again, I don't honestly know that this was done, though I do know that people believed it was and so wrote. It got into Ptolemaic Greece and into later Rome.  It was certainly part of the rituals around the pope and the saints later. :dunno:

Edited by Zorral
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12 hours ago, RhaenysBee said:

Oh also, I watched Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince last night while ironing. I was halfway through but I could write a 5 pages essay on how absolutely terrible it is even though it’s one of the better Harry Potter movies. You know, if any big millennial franchise and pop culture phenomenon should get a remake, it’s Harry Potter. The movies beyond the first two, generously three are atrociously bad. 

And I’m still rewatching Buffy. On the rewatch, yes I hear you, Dawn is horrible.  But that aside, my brain wants to bathe in a Buffy script all day every day. I want a lecture series about Buffy. I want a writing master class based on Buffy. 

I may be wrong but I thought I'd heard something vague about a HBO TV series. I also agree with your opinion on the movies and I know its unpopular to have 1 and 2 as the favourites. 

I am however done with anything HP related so I won't be watching any potential TV show

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Watched After Hours, Martin Scorsese's 1985 black comedy that basically creates that "one crazy night" comedy genre. Never seen it before, and after watching it, I sort of/kind of see why... and I also see why it's something of a beloved cult classic among cinema nerds. I had a certain picture in my head of what the film was going to be based on what I heard about it on a podcast (Screen Drafts, the third and final part of their Martin Scorsese mega-draft), but what I got was absolutely wildly different than what I expected. It's a nightmarish, picaresque story of Paul (Griffin Dunne), a lowly office drone who meets a woman (Rosanna Arquette) who shares his love of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer (!) and shares the number of the artist friend she's staying with (played by a smoldering Linda Fiorentino).

A fateful phone call to that number leads to a crazy string of misadventures, each seemingly darker than the last. The ending kind of brings you back to where the film started, which feels like perfection, but apparently was not the plan for a long time (he even had Terry Gilliam and Steven Spielberg watch rough cuts to ask their advice on the ending) but no less august a personage than Michael Powell (director of The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus among others) convinced them to do it (he was dating or about to marry Thelma Schoonmaker, who was editing the film). It goes in some very dark directions with Arquette's character, although it turns out some of the darkest material was actually ripped off by the screenwriter from a radio monologue by Joe Frank, who ended up suing and getting a tidy sum.

I'm kind of flummoxed by the film. It's one of the crazier "one crazy night" films I've ever seen. I didn't know Scorsese had it in him.

Edited by Ran
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1 hour ago, HexMachina said:

I may be wrong but I thought I'd heard something vague about a HBO TV series. I also agree with your opinion on the movies and I know its unpopular to have 1 and 2 as the favourites. 

I am however done with anything HP related so I won't be watching any potential TV show

It seems to have been confirmed? 
 

https://screenrant.com/harry-potter-hbo-max-show-story-details-updates/#:~:text=It has been confirmed that,Blair and Ruth Kenley-Letts.

I agree w/ both you guy re the first and second films being… ok and the others being pretty bad. Also, count me out of anything involving JK Rowling. 

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FYI, there were reports of the first real progress on the development of HBO's Potter series in months just yesterday.  Apparently, they're close to finally choosing a showrunner:

Quote

The Harry Potter television series is closer to naming its creative leader as Deadline understands that the shortlist is now down to three names.

We hear that Succession writer Francesca Gardiner is now among the finalists to score the job of adapting JK Rowling’s books for the Max streaming platform. It’s understood that Gardiner is now one of three writers currently being considered to lead Harry and his pals on the small screen.

I've never been much of a fan of the franchise.  Still never read the books, but I have now seen all the films repeatedly just due to, like, Cable TV-watching osmosis with their ubiquity.  The first two are my least favorite just cuz they're Chris Columbus kids movies - not my bag.  The third is easily the best IMO.  The rest are pretty meh, yeah.

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Finished season 1 of The Bear tonight - because people here said it was good.

Well, it is. Good stuff. I'm not usually into shows about cooking, but the quality got me hooked. The acting is good, but the pacing is what really takes you in.
Took me the entire season to realize Jeremy Allen White reminds me of Zach Braff.

Partner said the restaurant could be seen as a metaphor for America. Up to a point mayhaps. I'd say the show does a really good job of having a hyper-realistic social dimension without attempting any heavy commentary.
 

Spoiler

Have to say I didn't see the happy ending coming. Kept thinking that Mike's suicide hid something bad like drug trafficking and/or money laundering. Was pleasantly surprised when it turned out it didn't.

Truly curious about season 2 now, as I feel they could go anywhere with this.

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Partner has been watching Barbie :rofl: and laughing so hard he nearly falls out of his chair.  He says Barbie is the best movie he's seen since Wayne's World! He's texting about while watching with a friend who is in audience somewhere else listening to a music concert.

He's having a wonderful time on this freezing night.

Ha!  It's so much fun watching and hearing him!  He keeps pulling me in to watch.  His laughing makes me laugh too.  Ha!  What a world!

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Have regained my Netflix access.

Been busily catching up

Griselda- From some of the same folks that brought us Narcos. Seen 4 of the 6 episodes thus far. Very engrossing, Griselda was a real life Narco during the Escobar era.

Society of Snow- A decent new version of the famous Andes plane crash survival saga. Saw the original and read the book years ago.

Equalizer 3-

The settings in Sardinia and other Italy locales are gorgeous. Denzel is taking on the  Cammora(sp) which gave it a surprising Gomora vibe.

Anywho glad to be bingeing some stuff that hasnt been available to me recently.

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16 hours ago, Zorral said:

They are uneven -- parts of the Rise of Empires series, Ottoman: Mehmed vs. Vlad has quite a bit of good material, revealing parts of this past not often (at least in the 'west') covered or noticed in any treatment of the Ottoman Empire. The Age of Samurai was very good, both in teaching and involvement.   

My dad was at one point rather obsessed with these half historical fiction half docu things about the Ottoman Empire :lol: I watched a couple 10-15 minute bits of it with him pre Covid, but the format is just too weird for me. 
 

12 hours ago, HexMachina said:

I may be wrong but I thought I'd heard something vague about a HBO TV series. I also agree with your opinion on the movies and I know its unpopular to have 1 and 2 as the favourites. 

I am however done with anything HP related so I won't be watching any potential TV show

Yes there are plans for a HP series with Rowling involved in the project. Since she was involved in the films as well and she published the Cursed Child, I’m not sure that’s guarantee of a solid outcome. If it’s ever produced and I’m around (my therapist says I need to a stop talking about my future in conditional sentences and he’s right, so). If it’s ever produced, I will tune in just because the first attempt at adaptation did no justice to the story and the characters, so I would like to see them try again. 

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The wife and I watched Hidden Figures tonight, which was quite delightful, and had a lovey James Horner and Thomas Newman-tinged score courtesy of Hans Zimmer, Ben Wallfisch, and Pharrel Williams. 

Terrific acting all around, and hey - Mahershala Ali is in it as well, and cranks the Adorbs Machine up to 11!

Edited by IlyaP
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Re: Alexander and Age Of Samurai and other historical documentaries on Netflix: I enjoyed AoS but generally find Netflix, or any of the cable/streaming providers, very hard to trust on actual history.  There are several good YouTube channels that are much better for historical rigor (Kings and Generals for one).  They don’t have budget for any live action, and the production value is basic, but at least the history is well researched and the synthesis narrative is well structured.  Plus the channel sponsors point you toward higher production value versions for a subscription cost if you want.

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Personally I don’t need my history to have high production values. Kings and Generals is a great channel and just enough to feed my imagination and inform me at a high level. 
 

Mostly I’ve always preferred the ‘old professor talks to camera for an hour, interspersed with the occasional historic imagery’ kind of history.

I start to twitch if I ever see a low quality bit of amateur dramatics trying to show me what Henry VIII looked like when he was thinking. 

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1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

Personally I don’t need my history to have high production values. Kings and Generals is a great channel and just enough to feed my imagination and inform me at a high level. 
 

Mostly I’ve always preferred the ‘old professor talks to camera for an hour, interspersed with the occasional historic imagery’ kind of history.

I start to twitch if I ever see a low quality bit of amateur dramatics trying to show me what Henry VIII looked like when he was thinking. 

We Brits have been spoiled by the likes of Simon Sharma, Michael Wood, Bettany Hughes etc

Edited by Which Tyler
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5 hours ago, RhaenysBee said:

the format is just too weird for me. 

The interperse-ing of talking head scholars/specialists has a lot to do with the weirdness, one thinks.  They are so obviously actual people, while the 'drama re-enactment figures are so obviously not people but actors', for one thing.  It's even weirder as Partner and I have been those talking heads being shot to be the in-between, interpreter, explainer figures more than once -- and while filming was going on, all I could think about was these weird people on the 'documentaries' of whom I was being one!

However, their series, Rise of Empires: Ottomans,  has Roger Crowley as a talking head, a scholar whom I've long admired, all of whose books I have read -- and his work on the fall of Constantinople, 1453, I've read more than once -- it's a treat to hear his lisping glosses on the action.  This one, btw, is far and above superior to most of these -- and had more money to spend too.

1 hour ago, Iskaral Pust said:

the history is well researched

There are the various series too, which essentially are lectures on a subject, some of which have gone to great lengths to liven up the static format.  There was one for a while available on Amazilla P, on the bubonic plague, which was very good.  They'd put in a lot of thought to the set dressing, which though cozy, attractive, like somebody's living room, had plush rats subtly placed throughout, an the rats changed positions between the cuts.  I got a real kick out of that.  Ha!

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20 minutes ago, Which Tyler said:

We Brits have been spoiled by the likes of Simon Sharma, Michael Wood, Bettany Hughes etc

Exactly, it’s just an old school form of storytelling that has some respect for the viewer. The docudrama stuff is just patronising 

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2 hours ago, Heartofice said:

Personally I don’t need my history to have high production values. Kings and Generals is a great channel and just enough to feed my imagination and inform me at a high level. 
 

Mostly I’ve always preferred the ‘old professor talks to camera for an hour, interspersed with the occasional historic imagery’ kind of history.

I start to twitch if I ever see a low quality bit of amateur dramatics trying to show me what Henry VIII looked like when he was thinking. 

20 years ago I enjoyed watching that show about ancient battles which used the Rome Total War graphics to showcase the battles while historians were talking.

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