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Watch, Watched, Watching: Watching Severance and working for Lumon


Veltigar
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People have been recommending Severance to me ever since it came out. I finally tried it out and I have to say, it is great. If they can keep up the same quality throughout the seasons (or even better improve some more), this has a big chance of going down as one of the all time greats. I'm always a bit queasy about these mystery shows (there is a big chance that it turns out like Lost), but so far I'm definitely intrigued.

I think it was a great idea to frame this device around the workplace, because it is quite recognisable at times. Not sure whether anyone else has that feeling, but there were some aspects of the Lumon culture that were creepily familiar to some real-life places I worked at. Fortunately for me not for a very long time, but I joked with friends who had to stay there for longer and they all agreed about the cultish atmosphere in Severance reminding them of that place.

Everything about Severance has been great so far, but I want to give a particular shout out to Tramel Tillman, the actor playing Mr. Milchick. I don't think I have ever seen him in anything before, but he was an absolute delight. For me he's definitely the stand-out performance. It really isn't easy to strike that balance between friendliness and intimidation, but he manages to hit it perfectly every time.

My favourite scene was this one in episode 7.

Spoiler

 

 

Edited by Veltigar
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  • Veltigar changed the title to Watch, Watched, Watching: Watching Severance and working for Lumon
54 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

I also watched the first episode of Masters of the Air and found it rather forgettable. Does it become more compelling after a while?

 

Well the air battles are cool and the bomber scenes are immersives. Regarding the characters becoming more compelling, umm not really. Additional aspects of the war are shown though so yeah it becomes more compelling that way. You might be interested in

Spoiler

A glimpse of the Belgian resistance

 

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2 hours ago, Veltigar said:

I also watched the first episode of Masters of the Air and found it rather forgettable. Does it become more compelling after a while?

 


I think it very much depends on expectations and measuring stick.  The cast is potentially more cohesive than The Pacific and there’s a lot of potential in the overall story.  It does have a lot of ground to cover though some of which is going to feel formulaic after Band and Pacific (replacements, combat stress…)
 

im enjoying it quite a bit but it pales in comparison to 12 O’  Clock High. 

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I watched The Black Cauldron, Disney's fabulously expensive "1985 animated dark fantasy adventure film." This bombed like crazy at the box office and it's not hard to see why. Probably one of the worst Disney films I have seen.

The only thing truly interesting about it are the dark scenes featuring the Horned King antagonist, but reading IMDB trivia, the one saving grace of this film upset studio executives so much that they actually cut a lot of the darkest material. A big mistake in my opinion. The film would probably have made no extra money, but I do think it would have eventually turned into a cult classic like that.

Now it's just extremely forgettable, with a bunch of the most generic LOTR knock-off characters you can imagine (the beast man Gollum/Sam hybrid in particular was weird). I also found the main character Taran quite annoying, so I wasn't really rooting for anyone here.

I read that the books this is based on are a lot different, but I'm not sure whether I'd even want to try and read them after this.

3 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

Well the air battles are cool and the bomber scenes are immersives. Regarding the characters becoming more compelling, umm not really. Additional aspects of the war are shown though so yeah it becomes more compelling that way. You might be interested in

  Reveal hidden contents

A glimpse of the Belgian resistance

 

The bolded was the answer I feared. The show looks very good and the action scenes were okay, but the characters are ciphers. It's been a long time since I watched its two predecessors, but didn't they begin in basic training or back home? This show doesn't even try to give me a reason why I should care about these particular people.

2 hours ago, hauberk said:


I think it very much depends on expectations and measuring stick.  The cast is potentially more cohesive than The Pacific and there’s a lot of potential in the overall story.  It does have a lot of ground to cover though some of which is going to feel formulaic after Band and Pacific (replacements, combat stress…)
 

im enjoying it quite a bit but it pales in comparison to 12 O’  Clock High. 

Building on my reply to @Corvinus85, I was hoping for a journey with interesting characters and cool action sequences. After episode 1 I was tempted to just go for episode 2 and jump ahead to the combat scenes. The ones in episode 1 were interesting enough to maintain my attention, so I might just do that. 

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24 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

I read that the books this is based on are a lot different, but I'm not sure whether I'd even want to try and read them after this.

I watched The Black Cauldron in the movie theater as a kid. I have no idea why exactly my parents decided to go to that one, but anyways, my memories of it are rather fond but I have not seen it since... well, approachin 40 years ago now.

That said, the Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander are actually quite wonderful YA, steeped in Welsh myth and folklore with Alexander's particular style. The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor book, and the last in the series (The High King) actually won the Newbery Medal. For whatever reason, of the books I rememberTaran Wanderer best.

They didn't miss, the Newberys, back in the day -- it's how I was also introduced to Robin McKinley and The Blue Sword.

Edited by Ran
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16 minutes ago, Ran said:

I watched The Black Cauldron in the movie theater as a kid. I have no idea why exactly my parents decided to go to that one, but anyways, my memories of it are rather fond but I have not seen it since... well, approachin 40 years ago now.

That said, the Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander are actually quite wonderful YA, steeped in Welsh myth and folklore with Alexander's particular style. The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor book, and the last in the series (The High King) actually won the Newbery Medal. For whatever reason, of the books I rememberTaran Wanderer best.

They were some of my favourite books as a child. I remember the Cauldron Born being terrifying. Taran Wanderer was definitely different to any of the other fantasy books I read as a child, it definitely didn't follow the standard epic fantasy template.

I never watched the film. I wonder if someone might try a new adaptation of the series at some point, given all the other fantasy series being made.

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35 minutes ago, williamjm said:

I wonder if someone might try a new adaptation of the series at some point,

Back in 2016, Disney had re-acquired the rights to Prydain, and in 2020 there was a rumor that they were considering doing a live action Black Cauldron, but obviously nothing seems to have come of it. And with the enormous failure, alas, that was Willow -- did so poorly they chose to turn it into a write-off by removing it from their service -- I'm dubious they'll try again any time soon.

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1 hour ago, Veltigar said:

I watched The Black Cauldron, Disney's fabulously expensive "1985 animated dark fantasy adventure film." This bombed like crazy at the box office and it's not hard to see why. Probably one of the worst Disney films I have seen.

The only thing truly interesting about it are the dark scenes featuring the Horned King antagonist, but reading IMDB trivia, the one saving grace of this film upset studio executives so much that they actually cut a lot of the darkest material. A big mistake in my opinion. The film would probably have made no extra money, but I do think it would have eventually turned into a cult classic like that.

Now it's just extremely forgettable, with a bunch of the most generic LOTR knock-off characters you can imagine (the beast man Gollum/Sam hybrid in particular was weird). I also found the main character Taran quite annoying, so I wasn't really rooting for anyone here.

I read that the books this is based on are a lot different, but I'm not sure whether I'd even want to try and read them after this.

The bolded was the answer I feared. The show looks very good and the action scenes were okay, but the characters are ciphers. It's been a long time since I watched its two predecessors, but didn't they begin in basic training or back home? This show doesn't even try to give me a reason why I should care about these particular people.

Building on my reply to @Corvinus85, I was hoping for a journey with interesting characters and cool action sequences. After episode 1 I was tempted to just go for episode 2 and jump ahead to the combat scenes. The ones in episode 1 were interesting enough to maintain my attention, so I might just do that. 

I think that the characters are developing. I’ve watched the other playtones too many times to recall my first experience with either. I’d read Band prior. 
 

My recollection, though was that episode 1 developed Winters, Nixon and Sobel. Episode 2 improved on Guarniere, Popeye and Malarkey. 

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9 hours ago, Veltigar said:

I also watched the first episode of Masters of the Air and found it rather forgettable. Does it become more compelling after a while?

 

No, not so much. I'm current on it and it still doesn't feel like I want to watch it. It's almost like I am watching because BOB was so good and I am just hoping they can capture some of that. The Pacific was way better than this has been so far.

The air scenes aren't even very good IMO, because it's just fighters flying past and bullet tracers. I believe they are going to introduce American fighter planes at some point and that will help it out, for me anyway. I need the air to air chasing I guess. 

Spoiler

There was one air battle so far that was pretty good, kept the tension up and showed the chaos in the planes. Ep2-3 can't remember which.

There was also some promise

Spoiler

With the Belgian resistance.  I think the one guy was given away as German because of how he wrote the date. When I saw it I was like, yeah, we don't do that but the Germans and Brazillians I know do. Kind of like  Inglorious Basterds with the 3 fingers.

 

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I've only got a couple of episodes left of Mr & Mrs Smith but I'm quite sure it will be on my list of best shows of 2024. It really has taken what could have been a pretty tired idea, and a remake of a bland movie, and turned it into something special. Each episode feels like it's own thing, and it combines fun action with pretty well observed relationship dynamics. Both the leads are great but I honestly think Maya Erskine does a fantastic job as her character, there is a lot of depth to what she is doing and she balances cold hard nose stubborness with real vulnerability very well, all in a very naturalistic acting style.

I also didn't realise till recently that she is Mizu in Blue Eyed Samurai, and there are a lot of very similar things going on there. 

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Funny, I too have started Mr. And Mrs. Smith, and was kind of swept away with the feel and style of the first episode. Just finished the 5th episode, so 3 left. Donald Glover is, IMO, a generational talent, and Maya Erskine's chemistry with him is terrific. And yeah, the fact that she's also the voice of Mizu.. pretty cool! I don't really know her from anything else, but I saw an interview with her discussing that she created and wrote PEN15, which I gather was rather well-received as a comedy.

Lets see... also watched The Devil Wears Prada for the first time, it was all right as  typical formulaic workplace comedy where a lot hangs on the leads, and it worked all right. 

 

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9 minutes ago, Ran said:

Donald Glover is, IMO, a generational talent,

He is. I went back after the first episode of Mr & Mrs Smith and watched some Community. As good as he was as Troy, I would never have sensed he would be doing things like this and Atlanta in a few years. I really liked Childish Gambino for a long time without even realising it was him! 

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Went to see American Fiction on Sunday. Quite liked it. I found most of the 'supposed to be funny' bits funny,which was nice. I liked the ending and the fact that it wasn't all neatly tied up with a bow. The pacing was a little bit up and down/uneven but that felt intentional, as it fits with Monk's whole up and down experience too. 

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I also wrapped up Mr & Mrs Smith and agree with the rest that Glover and Erskine played characters with real depth. The episode plots were just as ludicrous as Reacher, but they were able to sell it far better.  A couple quibbles for an overall good show- the later episodes got a tad tedious as they started bickering constantly and the missions were boiled down into like 20 seconds of flashbacks.
 

Spoiler

I was expecting some sort of reveal with Hihi- all the missions seemed to target uber-rich folks and between Hihi responding nearly instantly to their texts and the he's 'god' comment by the other Mr and Ms Smith, I thought there would be a twist.

Between the psychologist and the unclear ending, it seemed to borrow pretty heavily from the Sopranos

Finally, how can you kill the cat! 

 

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