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April 15, 2016

What have you been watching? Including The Tunnel: Sabotage, 12 Monkeys and Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Posted on April 15, 2016 | 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. 

I promise it's not deliberate: "What have you been watching?" has not gone fortnightly. But work got a bit silly on both Friday and Monday and I couldn't string two sentences together by the end of the day, so WHYBW had to take an enforced break. 

It's back now. You can exhale.

I've been doing my best to catch up with all the new shows, although I'm afraid to say that a certain 'can't be arsed' feeling has permeated my viewing schedule. I have at least reviewed the following new shows in the past two weeks:

I've also passed a third-episode verdict on TV Land's Lopez. However, I really just couldn't be arsed to watch:

Dice (US: Showtime; UK: Sky Atlantic)
The new eponymous Andrew Dice Clay comedy, because it stars Andrew Dice Clay

The Path (US: Hulu)
This cult drama (no, not like The Tripods) has managed to air four episodes so far and I got through a minute of it before I decided to do more enjoyable things and gave up.

The Girlfriend Experience (US: Starz)
This may be a beautifully directed drama produced by Steven Soderbergh and based on his film of the same name, but it's still on Starz and it's still about New York escorts, so is basically going to be porn, isn't it? I managed 5 minutes of internship interviews at various attornies (oh, how will she make ends meet?) before giving up.

The Ranch (Netflix)
Ashton Kutchner stars as one of two brothers trying to run a business together on a Colorado ranch. It looked potentially interesting until it turned out to be a multi-camera comedy with an audience, at which point I gave up.

The Durrells (UK: ITV)
Keeley Hawes takes her family of future authors to live on Corfu in the 30s. I gave up, mainly because of Keeley Hawes. However, I might come back to it at some point.

Watch those trailers (or even an episode) and tell everyone if you could be arsed, why don't you?

I also couldn't be arsed to watch any more episodes of:

  • Blå Ögon (Blue Eyes) (Sweden: SVT1; UK: More4)
    As I said in the previous WHYBW, the show has two plot threads: a conspiracy thriller and a right-wing terrorist drama. The latter is great, the former is bobbins. Unfortunately, the third episode was 75% of the former, only 25% of the latter, so I gave up after 15 minutes.
  • The Catch (US: ABC; UK: Sky Living)
    I almost can't remember what the episode was about, but the desperate attempt to do Ocean's 11 with a cast desperately under-equipped for the challenge was more than I could bear.

That means that after the jump, we'll be looking at the final episodes of 11.22.63Billions and The Magicians, as well as the latest episodes of Arrow, The Americans, Banshee, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Limitless, Lucifer and Supergirl. We've also had the return of both 12 Monkeys and The Tunnel (Tunnel) - how well will they hold up in their second seasons, I bet you're wondering.

Before that, though, a movie, and I should also offer as a side-note that Netflix has acquired RTÉ One's Rebellion, which makes my decision to review the first few episodes not quite as insanely stupid as it looked at the time, hey? 

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010) (Amazon Instant Video)
The movie that almost killed off director Edgar Wright's Hollywood career before it began - the fuss behind the scenes over Ant-Man eventually did that - is a comic book adaptation that has so many things going for it yet ultimately never quite works. A fusion of comic book and gaming logic and visuals with the real world, it sees nerdy inadequate college student Scott Pilgrim (Arrested Development's Michael Cena) wanting to date new girl 
Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) but finding he has to fight her seven evil exes first. Literally.

We did try to watch this a couple of years ago, but we switched off, bored, after the first 40 minutes or so. Giving it another go last weekend, I have to say that wasn't an entirely incorrect decision, but it does get a lot better in the second half. It has many individually visually beautiful moments, dozens of nerdy heady nods to the expected and the unexpected (Flash Gordon), and is frequently hilarious, but stuck together, none of it quite works - the narrative falters like watching all the narrative scenes from a video game stuck together.

All the same, six years on, it's fun to see not only its influences (I'm pretty sure The World's End owes a lot to it) but also what a marvellous supporting cast it had, with people who were already quite big to start with or who went on to many big things later on (Alison Pill, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Mae Whitman, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, Thomas Jane).

My wife's been vegan for the past few months and this clip is now her new favourite thing, too - I'll make sure she doesn't drink any half-and-half, don't worry.

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