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What have you been watching? Including Jason Bourne, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and Ash vs Evil Dead

Posted on December 12, 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 and your chance to recommend anything you've been watching. 

It's been a slightly busier weekend than I was planning, thanks in part to the arrival of my new nephew, Charlie (welcome to the world, Charlie!). That means I didn't quite manage to watch all the new shows I wanted, but I'm otherwise pretty much up to date. I've already reviewed the first episode of Shut Eye (US: Hulu), but that's as far as I've got - third-episode verdict later this week, though. I'm five minutes into Netflix's Medici: Masters of Florence and it's got a worrying Borgia-quality to it, so I'm not in a rush to get any further with that, but I'll try.

However, I'll definitely be previewing Swedish Dicks (Sweden: Viaplay) this week and hopefully working my way through 3% (Netflix) and anything else that looms large, too.

That means that after the jump, thanks to last week's minor purge and the December break, I'll be looking at the slightly reduced list of current regulars:


Chance, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Falling Water, The Flash, The Great Indoors, Lethal Weapon, Shooter, Son of Zorn and Timeless.

I'll also be looking at the season finales of Ash vs Evil Dead and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

I did manage to watch a movie this week, too:

Jason Bourne (2016)
Disappointing return of the now-venerable franchise, with both Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass returning after the brief Tony Gilroy/Jeremy Renner interlude of The Bourne Legacy. Trying to take in the developments in world espionage since the The Bourne Supremacy, Jason Bourne brings Damon out of retirement to help Julia Stiles with her Snowden-esque activities, only to discover that his own dad might have had a hand in the Treadstone programme that created 'Jason Bourne'. Meanwhile, Alicia Vikander is helping CIA director Tommy Lee Jones hunt down Damon and Stiles, while covering up his guilty secret, which involves Mark Zuckerberg-alike Riz Ahmed; Vincent Cassel is their asset out in the field, trying to kill Damon and Stiles, but not just because he's following orders.

The plot and pretty much everything else is a poor retread of the best and worst bits of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, offering nothing new, while sacrificing one of the things that made the first few movies so refreshing: a reasonable attempt at mimesis. Here, the technology is just nonsense - "I've embedded malware in the files. As soon as she accesses them, I'll know where she is" - the fights and inevitable car chases are poor and implausible, and even locations are glossed over, with the Canary Islands standing in for Athens at one point.

Should have stayed off the grid, guys. Or asked Tony Gilroy to help out again.

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Clive Owen is back driving BMWs again

Posted on September 22, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The people of Britain first became aware of Clive Owen a long time ago - back in the 80s, in fact, when he was Chancer on ITV. That show made him very popular with the ladies in particular thanks to his starring role as the wide-boy conman 'Stephen Crane' - if you've seen the show, you'll know why I put that name in quotes - and he became indelibly stamped on the popular psyche as a result.

But it took a while for the rest of the world to wake up to Clive Owen and although the indie movie Croupier helped to establish him, it wasn't through movies or even a TV show that he became a star. Instead, it was through a series of auteured adverts for BMW called 'The Hire'. Each mini-movie advert was streamed online - one of the first ad series to take advantage of the Internet - and featured Owen driving a BMW.

Okay, that's not very informative, I know, but that was more or less the only thing the ads had in common - how could it be otherwise when you had the likes of Tony Scott, John Woo, Ang Lee, John Frankenheimer, Joe Carnahan, Wong Kar-wai, Alejandro G Iñárritu and Guy Ritchie directing them in their own unique styles, and Gary Oldman, Forest Whitaker, Don Cheadle, Marilyn Manson, Ray Liotta, Stellan Skargård et al guest starring?

Here are the John Woo and the Guy Ritchie ads so you can compare and contrast.

After the series began in 2001, BMW saw its sales go up 12% from the previous year, the ads being viewed more than 11 million times in four months. Indeed, the films were so popular that BMW produced a free DVD for customers who visited certain BMW dealerships - except BMW ran out of DVDs.

The result was that - at least in the US - Doug Liman could cast Owen in a bit part in The Bourne Identity, have him do little more than drive a BMW arround and the audience would know that a sly wink to the series was being cast in their direction. 

Owen, of course, went on to much bigger and better things, including movies and Cinemax's The Knick. But now, 15 years after the ads, he's back for old time's sake. The director chosen for 'The Escape'? None other than Neill Blomkamp, with Dakota Fanning, Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga along for the ride.

You'll have to wait until October 23rd before you can see the full thing on BMW Films. Until then, you can enjoy this shiny trailer with Jon Bernthal shouting and shooting a lot.

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News: Jude Law Young Pope trailer; Blue Murder sequel; France 3's Murder In… collection; Orlando Jones - African god; + more

Posted on June 16, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Film trailer

Australian TV

French TV

Internet TV

New UK TV shows

  • Trailer for Sky Atlantic's The Young Pope, with Jude Law


US TV show casting

New US TV show casting

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