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.
The heat’s back on again, both in terms of the summer weather and the arrival of new shows, so I’ve not been able to get round to/force myself to watch FX’s Middle Eastern-yet-largely Caucasian dictator and familial rapist show, Tyrant. I’ll try to get round to that by Monday, assuming that all these Dulux swatches I’m keeping my eye on have lost enough moisture that I can compare them accurately. But I have reviewed two new shows:
One was better than the other.
I also managed to watch a couple of movies. Well, one and a half.
Jane Austen but with a black woman and slavery. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Undercovers, Bonekickers (yikes), and Touch, but best known as Martha Jones’ sister Tish in Doctor Who) excels as the daughter of a slave whose aristocrat father places her with his uncle to look after – his uncle being the highest-ranked judge in England (Tom Wilkinson). Based on a true story, it’s a two-threaded piece, on the one hand examining the place of black and mixed race women in 18th century society, with Belle too high-born to eat with servants yet because of her skin too low-born to formally eat with her own family. She may have a £2,000 income a year, unlike her impoverished, equally-illegitimate white cousin, but that doesn’t mean anyone wants to marry her either. Contrasted with that is a case being examined by Wilkinson in which slaves are thrown overboard a ship and the ship’s captain tries to claim on the insurance for loss of cargo. The two threads mirror each other, with Wilkinson’s growing awareness of Belle’s station informing his opinion on the case and vice versa. The cast are fabulous, with Penelope Wilton, Miranda Richardson and Emily Watson shining, too, although Tom Felton (Murder in the First, but best known as Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter) is horribly typecast as an evil racist aristo. Some tear-jerking moments and a lovely romance, but a little too gently paced and in need of trimming in places.
Monuments Men (2013)
Another film based on a true story, this sees George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman and others as somewhat past-it art experts at the end of World War 2 flying out to Europe to try to rescue whatever art they can before the Nazis steal it or destroy it – or the Allies bomb the hell out of it. That’s the first half-hour anyway, but we gave up after that because pretty much nothing much happens. There’s no good dialogue, the direction is limp, there’s no action, no scenes of note: there’s more excitement in a Pathé newsreel.
After the jump, a round-up of the regulars, with reviews of 24, Continuum, Enlisted, Halt and Catch Fire, Old School, Penny Dreadful, Suits and Undateable.
Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Belle, Halt and Catch Fire, and Continuum”