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. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there’s Locate TV – they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.
A couple of new things this week, although I’ve not got round to watching From There To Here, yet.
Mr Sloane (UK: Sky Atlantic)
This should be must-see TV: Nick Frost, Olivia Colman and Peter Serafinowicz in a comedy-drama set in the late 60s about a Frost’s meek and mild Mr Sloane, how he meets his wife (Colman) and why he ends up trying to kill himself. How could that not be brilliant? Very simply, the script, which is about as funny and compelling as lift muzak. It’s just sort of them, vaguely trying to be funny and establish character, but with lines and moments you’ll have seen a dozen times before in ‘comedies’ about meek and mild men struggling with life. Beyond the occasional impression by Serafinowicz and the general charisma of Frost and Colman, there’s just nothing new or interesting here at all.
Gang Related (US: Fox)
Crack LA police unit tries to deal with gangs of all ethnicities, using agents of all ethnicities. But despite the missing hyphen in the title, there’s a double meaning and it turns out that one of the police is actually a member of one of the gangs. This is largely a mess of cliches that occasionally dares to be different, but usually doesn’t. While it’s nice to have a diverse cast (Ramon Rodriguez, Sung Kang, RZA, Jay Hernandez, Inbar Levi, et al), with New Zealand’s Cliff Curtis bizarrely chosen to be the head of the Latino mob, the whole unit is naturally headed up by an old white guy, although thankfully it’s Terry O’Quinn (Lost), there’s some crappy soapiness (the hard-nosed IA cop is his daughter) to deal with and the pilot’s efforts to exploit the singing profile of RZA (one of the co-founders of the Wu Tang Clan) is only partially successful. There’s only one female cop (Levi) and she’s mainly there to be a potential love interest, add sexiness and do sexy things, rather than because she has any well-defined character of her own.
And I watched a couple of movies…
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Parts one and two (2010/11)
I’d seen the first six Harry Potter movies, read all the books, but somehow it’s taken until now (and being given free copies when I bought a new Blu-Ray player) before I watched these two final ones. Directed by David Yates at the same leisurely pace as the previous two, the movies stay faithful to the books while losing an awful lot of background material. It comes tantalisingly close to some really excellent moments, drawing on everything from Threads to war movies to suggest a country riven by Voldemort and his wizards, making it – as with the books – the end point of a more progressively adult franchise. Largely where it works is down to the original material, rather than anything Yates does, and the ending is particularly effective and tear-inducing (at least to us older folks), thanks to its message that kids, your parents may be old but they probably had all sorts of adventures you don’t know about when they were young. But more a conclusion to the franchise, rather than an exceptional couple of films in their own rights.
After the jump, a round-up of the regulars, with reviews of 24, The Americans, Game of Thrones, Hannibal, Prisoners of War, and Silicon Valley.
Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Mr Sloane, Gang Related, 24, The Americans and Prisoners of War”