July 23, 2016

My summer holidays start now

Posted yesterday at 15:44 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Heraklion

It's that time again, my friends - holidays! Yep, I'm off again and since most of you are, too, as well as most of the people who make the news, there's not going to be much point blogging for the next few weeks (ie August) so I won't.

Well, I might. I'll be back mid-August and since it'll be straight back to work and there is actually going to be new tele to watch, I might end up blogging a bit. All of which is my usual faffing way of saying everything will be back as normal in September, but don't be surprised if I pop up again in a few weeks' time if I get bored.

Feel free to chat and discuss things here while I'm gone, though. Here are a couple of brief thoughts on this week's viewing, too:

Star Trek: Beyond (2016)
The best of the new movies, even if as usual it involves the Enterprise getting twatted one. Lots of homages to the original series and it also feels like an old episode at times, with some genuinely alien and visually innovative moments, as well as plenty of character time, rather than a simple focus on action. Not outstanding and plenty of all-out daftness, but definitely more of a Star Trek II than a Star Trek V.

Mr Robot (US: USA Network; UK: Amazon Prime)
2x3 - eps2.1_k3rnel-pan1c.ksd
Genuinely brilliant TV, messing with you the viewer in utterly unexpected, marvellous ways - if you're not watching it, you're not doing tele right. Season 1's just started on Universal Channel in the UK, too, BTW.
ReviewsFirst episodethird episode 

Stranger Things (Netflix)
I might do a longer review of this when I get back since although I paid almost minimal attention to it while it was in production and only reluctantly decided I'd give it a try this week for the sake of completeness, I'm so glad I did, as it's an almost painfully beautiful, near-perfect recreation of the 80s, as well as 80s genre movies and TV, taking in everything from ET and Goonies through to The Thing and D.A.R.Y.L. I loved pretty much every second of it, from its title sequence and music through to the plot itself, which even though you can probably guess most of it just by extrapolating from other shows or anything by Stephen King, is delightful, with an innocence you just don't get any more. One of my favourite TV things this year, give it a go, as it's only eight episodes and Winona Ryder's in it. A second season has already been commissioned.

Anyway, see you all on the other side and I'll leave you with the official Wonder Woman (2017) poster and trailer, which were revealed this weekend at Comicon. They bode well.

Wonder Woman (2017) poster

As does the Justice League trailer....

July 22, 2016

News: Daredevil renewed; many Marvel trailers; BBC1's Les Mis; + more

Posted 2 days ago at 06:20 | comments | Bookmark and Share

The Daily News will return in September. Or maybe August

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July 21, 2016

Mini-review: Vice Principals 1x1 (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)

Posted 3 days ago at 18:22 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Walton Goggins and Danny McBride in Vice Principals

In the US: Sundays, 10.30pm, HBO
In the UK: Tuesdays, 9.35pm, Sky Atlantic. Starts July 26th

This year, it seems, is the year that US TV has decided it wants not only to go back to school but to go back to school childishly. "Being an adult hard? How about a bunch of teachers who behave like kids? Wouldn't you like to watch that?" seems to be the theory.

We've already had Teachers and Those Who Can't from TV Land and TruTV respectively, offering us just that, and now we have HBO's efforts at the same, Vice Principals, in which Walton Goggins (Justified, The Shield, The Hateful Eight) and Danny McBride (Eastbound and Down, Tropic Thunder) are - yes, you guessed it - vice principals at the same US High School. Goggins is the sweet-talking but ultimately two-faced popular one; McBride is the foul-mouthed, inadequate dick that everyone hates; both hate each other.

Then the principal (Bill Murray - yes, Bill Murray) decides to stand down for the sake of his sick wife, prompting a contest between his deputies to replace him, only for both their dreams to be dashed as outsider Kimberly Hebert Gregory (Devious Maids) gets the top spot instead. My enemy's enemy is my friend so McBride and Goggins unite to defeat their new opponent - but such is their ineptitude, all's that likely is mutually assured destruction instead.

The show has several strands of (attempted) comedy. With McBride co-creating and writing, as per Eastbound and Down, it's not surprise there's his usual parade of attempted alpha male put-downs, extreme dickery and inappropriate teaching methods, here filtered through a more inadequate, more self-aware, less sports-obsessed prism than Kenny Powers. There's also the childish squabbling between McBride and Goggins, and their frequently politically incorrect antagonism towards Gregory's 'smart, sassy black woman' routine - which, subtly, is itself as manufactured as both McBride and Goggins' facades.

But despite all those elements at play, Vice Principals isn't hugely funny, except towards the end of this first episode when the two enemies unite, and largely feels like watered down Eastbound and Down. McBride's ex-wife Busy Philipps (Cougar Town) doesn't get to do much beyond be the butt of his ineptitude, while Shea Whigham as her new husband largely gets to play the unexpectedly nice guy that McBride doesn't quite know how to deal with, without getting to cause any laughs himself. 

An almost-interesting looking at failing masculinity and petty power struggles, Vice Principals might get better in its second episode when hostilities take off. The fact that it's a definite two-season, 18-episode run means that it should have a fixed story arc that takes as long as it needs, no more, no less, which is another plus. At the moment, though, it feels like it needs work: must try harder.

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News: Black Sails cancelled; The Spy Who Came In From The Cold TV series; + more

Posted 3 days ago at 06:14 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Lucifer and family

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July 20, 2016

News: Power renewed; Chronicles of Amber adaptation; CBS has a Hunch; + more

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July 19, 2016

Weekly Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #2, Batman V Superman: Ultimate Edition

Posted 5 days ago at 20:55 | comments | Bookmark and Share

Lego Wonder Woman's 75th anniversary tribute

It's the last Weekly Wonder Woman for at least a month now, I'm afraid, as I'm away on my usual August break. Sorry about that, but vacations are so, so necessary.

I don't think I'll be missing much in my coverage, at least in terms of comics, since despite the launch of DC Rebirth, Wonder Woman going bi-monthly and her 75th birthday, there's not been much for me to cover of late. Okay, so in the past week, Lego has done that nice 75th birthday tribute shot above, which takes in everything from Wondy's heady Volume 1 days fighting the Nazis through her TV series, her adventures with the Justice League, her nu52 showdown with Darkseid to Batman v Superman (Nice Ares, by the way).

DC's done a similar thing themselves this week, showing us Wonder Woman through the ages:

There's also been quite a bit about next year's Wonder Woman, including a synopsis:

Wonder Woman hits movie theaters around the world next summer when Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action adventure from director Patty Jenkins. Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.

Joining Gadot in the international cast are Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner and Saïd Taghmaoui. Jenkins directs the film from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg, based on characters from DC Entertainment. Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston. The film is produced by Charles Roven, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder and Richard Suckle, with Rebecca Roven, Stephen Jones, Wesley Coller and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers. Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, an Atlas Entertainment/Cruel and Unusual production, “Wonder Woman.” The film is scheduled for release on June 2, 2017, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

No mention of her being a goddess or anything, but it's a synopsis. There's also been a lot of chat about who's actually written the movie. We've had some new pictures, including one with Chris Pine as Steve Trevor with Gal Gadot:

Gal Gadot and Chris Pine in Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman with sword and shield

Both Gadot and Pine will be at this year's ComicCon, incidentally, where DC has all manner of things planned for Wondy's 75th - you can even have your photo taken in the cockpit of her invisible jet, apparently. Hmm…

And Batman V Superman: Ultimate Edition has also been released in the UK on download (Blu-ray release date: 1 August). As well as a few precious extra bits of footage involving Diana - largely involving her hacking up Doomsday and all of which can be seen in this shoddily edited video…

…there's a couple of featurettes about our Di. The first is a surprisingly good look over her 75th years in comics and on TV, featuring the likes of Phil Jimenez, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang.

The second is more about the movie Wonder Woman, particularly how they designed her costume. Intriguingly, it also confirms that this Wonder Woman is immortal and 3,000 years old; it also features some new footage from Wonder Woman. Take a look while you still can or go and buy it:

But apart from that, it's been quiet. She almost appeared in Action Comics #959… but we're just going to have to wait until next month for her rematch with Doomsday.

Wonder Woman is coming in Action Comics #960

That means we only had Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #2 to peruse. What happened in #1? Well, you could read last week's review or you could watch this DC recap video. Apparently that's a thing now.

Unfortunately, it'll be no help in telling you what happens in #2 as odd- and even-numbered issues are following completely different storylines with different artists. One day they'll converge… just not yet. More on that after the jump when we discuss 'Wonder Woman: Year One'!

Continue reading "Weekly Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #2, Batman V Superman: Ultimate Edition"

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News: Netflix acquires new Star Trek; young Jane Tennison cast; Arnie Pumps; + more

Posted 5 days ago at 07:39 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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  • Trailer for The Magnificent Seven

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July 18, 2016

What have you been watching? Including Mr Robot, Marco Polo, The Last Ship and Outcast

Posted 6 days ago at 16:42 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

It's "What have you been watching?", my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

The usual "TMINE recommends" page features links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended, and there's also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I've reviewed ever. 

Today's is going to be the last WHYBW for quite some time now, since I'm off on my traditional summer break from next week. Whether I'll take all of August off remains to be seen, but let's not start promising anything at this point.

Before then, I'll be reviewing the first episode of Vice Principals (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic) and I've got plans to have a look over a couple of French shows on Netflix and Amazon, too. I might even have a look at Netflix's Stranger Things, which debuted on Friday.

I've already reviewed the first episode of Barracuda (Australia: ABC), but after the jump, I'll be looking at the latest episodes of 19-2, The Kettering Incident, The Last Ship, Outcast and Preacher, as well the return of Mr Robot and the rest of season two of Marco Polo. Given that I'm going to be away on holiday, will I employ my usual July ruthlessness and purge from the viewing list any that I can't be bothered to catch up with? It's a possibility…

At this point, I'd normally tell you about the movies I watched last week. Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, we couldn't get through either Joy or Hail, Caesar!, since they were both a bit dull. That might be the closest I ever get to reviewing them, but you never know.

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including Mr Robot, Marco Polo, The Last Ship and Outcast"

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News: BBC1's Man In An Orange Shirt; Chris Hemsworth back for Star Trek 4; + more

Posted 6 days ago at 07:32 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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July 15, 2016

Mini-review: Barracuda 1x1 (Australia: ABC)

Posted 9 days ago at 20:17 | comments | Bookmark and Share

Barracuda

In Australia: Sundays, 8.30pm, ABC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

There's a worrying trend developing in television drama, one that I heartily disapprove of: drama about sports. It's coming to us from the US, with the likes of Ballers, Pitch and Kingdom; meanwhile, Australia's already given us tennis players in The Beautiful Lieand now we've got to put up with swimming with ABC's Barracuda. I'm guessing with the Olympics on the way, there may be even more sports shows to come. Tsk. There's really no need for it, though, is there?

To be fair, Barracuda is more an excuse to look at the issues around sport and at young men in speedos, than it is all about the glories of swimming, no matter how many dodgy poems Hungarian swimming coaches read to their youthful charges in their homes. Set in 1996, it sees newcomer Elias Anton playing a working class Olympian hopeful winning a scholarship to a prestigious private school that trains swimming champions. But there, as well as having to shave his chest and dive into water a lot, he has to navigate class boundaries, bullying and racism, in order to make it to the top. But what price does it come at and is it all worth it?

If you've watched any kind of sports drama and any kind of drama set in a school, particularly a private school, you won't be surprised by much of what Barracuda has to offer, although what it does, it does very well. The young cast is decent and look the part; Matt Nable (Arrow, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Gallipoli) is suitably inspiring as the coach, even if he sounds more South African than Hungarian; and the talented Rachel Griffiths (Brothers and Sisters, Very Annie Mary, Camp, Deadline Gallipoli) mysteriously shows up as one of the mums of the swim team.

It's all beautifully shot and there are some good moments, even some involving sport, particularly when the reason for the show's name gets revealed. But ultimately, even at just four episodes, you have to give a monkey's about swimming for Barracuda to be worth your time.  

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Secret City was a bit timely

Posted 9 days ago at 19:10 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

All that talk about the South China Sea, hey?

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