What have you been watching? Including The Lego Movie, The Bridge (US), The Leftovers and Halt and Catch Fire

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 fourth of July weekend hasn’t stopped American unveiling a slew of new shows this week, so elsewhere, I’ve reviewed:

I also managed to squeeze a movie in this week, too:

The Lego Movie (2014)
Not a 100% slam dunk and the live action bit towards the end felt a bit uncomfortable, but a very funny movie overall, in which an average Lego construction worker (Chris Pratt) must save the Lego world from the oppressive regime of President Business (Will Ferrell). Featuring slews of in-jokes and classic Lego sets (yes, I did have the blue space Lego in the 70s), the best bits are nevertheless the cameos from licensed characters such as Superman and Green Lantern, and especially Batman and certain characters from Star Wars. Definitely worth a watch.

After the jump, a round-up of the regulars, with reviews of 24, Halt and Catch Fire, The Leftovers and Suits, as well as the returning The Bridge (US).

Shows that I’ve been watching but not really recommending

This week, I’ve already passed third-episode verdicts on:

But I also watched:

The Leftovers (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
I gave episode two a try but couldn’t watch more than 10 minutes it was so dull. Then I read a summary of the book on Wikipedia and decided I’d had a lucky escape by not committing to any more of it. Lack of joy ≠ drama, guys.

The Bridge (US) (US: FX)
America’s inferior version of Bron/Broen returns and has decided to abandon the blueprint altogether in favour of its own story about the US-Mexico relationship, corruption, cartels and the drug trade. Although I decided to give up on this at the end of last season, the showrunner promised it would be weird and interesting this season so I decided to give it a second chance. Unfortunately, the first episode was prosaic and dull, with no real individuality or distinguishing features, and really requires you to have seen the first season if you’re to stand a chance. About the only good thing about it was Franka Potente as a cartel ‘accountant’ and some jokes from a Mexican character about a hybrid car. About the only thing that might make me want to watch more is the hope that Diane Kruger and Potente will get some scenes together in German, but that’s about it.

The recommended list

24 (US: Fox; UK: Sky 1)
Episode 11
More never-ending Jack excitement in this penultimate episode, although the trip to the Russian diplomat’s house was a bit of a waste of time. Jack’s not taking much time to get between places, yet always seems to be visiting the President for something or other. The Chinese reaction to the events of the episode were pretty stupid, too, and there only for cliffhanger purposes. But, it was still the Jack Bauer power hour, so worth watching.

Halt and Catch Fire (US: AMC)
Adventure
How do you try to make a PC – and therefore a show about PCs – more exciting? Make it more like an Apple computer, that’s how, and that’s what the producers of Halt and Catch Fire appear to be trying to do, even though PCs didn’t get to be that exciting for a couple of years at least. Indeed, given the show’s set in 1983, the Apple Lisa should already be making Cameron all wobbly and thinking that maybe her new adventure-game based OS (because natural language processing was so easy back then) is a bit rubbish in comparison. A slightly aimless episode around that central conceit, though, despite the extra characterisation of Joe (a man who can only copy rather than show himself), with once again all the exciting work on the PC project happening between episodes, rather than during.
First episode Third episode

Suits

Leveraged
Neal McDonough, Eric Roberts and Željko Ivanek in one episode together? Brilliant. Thankfully, also, most of the relationship things were put to one side for the episode to give us some actual legal work, although the SEC side of things was more interesting than the Harvey/Mike fight. Even the investment banking was more fun, although it diluted the legal focus. There were also hints the producers are intent on rehabilitating Louis into a plausible human being and lawyer. Is it my imagination, though, or is the swearing quotient increasing almost exponentially? It seems like there’s a rude word every other line now. They’re certainly pushing the basic cable envelope in that regard.
First episode Third episode




  • Gareth Williams

    After embarrassing myself at a cinema screening of 'Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back' laughing out loud, on my own, at a Star Wars joke a few years ago; I experienced the same phenomenon at 'The Lego Movie.'

  • aylwardreed

    Weirdly enough I ALSO watched The LEGO Movie!
    Thought it was fantastic and contrary to what you thought, I actually cried a little at the live action stuff probably because it connected with me in regard to children's imagination, building toys out of nothing and what it's like to have that sort of mind before the world kills it! I'm also a big softy.

    Debating wether to dive in to Leftovers. You obviously didn't like it but the guys over at The AV Club seem to love it post episode 1…
    Anyone else?
    I also watched the last few episodes of Louie and the first few of the new season of Comedy Bang! Bang! which I can't recommend enough.
    Still endlessly watching Billy on the Street episodes which is probably my favourite thing to do right now if you can find them(there's a couple full episodes on YouTube).

  • That's Star Wars for you – laughable. 😉

  • The live action bit felt a bit awkward because it was essentially lecturing presumably a portion of the audience about the right and wrong ways to use Lego. It made sense but it wasn't fun