Nosferatu
Film

What have you been watching? Including Nosferatu and Vampyr

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

It’s been a quiet week for TV, less for movies at TMINE. TV-wise, it’s just been the regulars: For All Mankind, Debris, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Superman and Lois. And they’ve all been fine.

The cosmonauts in FAM made the show more interesting than previous weeks, but not greatly so, and the changing attitudes to gay relationships in a little over a decade was well happened; Debris was more scary science with everyone in boiler suits, which was good; TFatWS was better than the first episode, funnier, with some interesting things to say about race, thanks to good old Carl Lumbly (Alias) and the arrival in the MCU of (spoiler alert) Isaiah Bradley; and Superman and Lois was alternately exciting and tear-jerking, thanks to the return of Airwolf‘s very own Michele Scarabelli as Martha Kent.

All good viewing, all staying on the recommended list, but nothing that made punch the air or something. It should be noted, however, that Superman & Lois isn’t back until May now, since Supergirl has now got its timeslot. How odd.

Movies-wise, I got about halfway through The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020), but was a bit disappointed by the lack of scorching Aaron Sorkin dialogue. Good cast and I might try to watch the rest of it, but I’m not enthused.

I did manage to watch all of LA LA Land (2016), in which tedious Ryan Gosling tries to explain the joys of jazz to Emma Stone. Hated it. Lovely song and dance numbers, beautiful design, but you’ll want to kill Gosling by the end of it.

Meanwhile, a couple of classic German black and white movies were leaving MUBI so I figured I should try to watch them while they were still on: Vampyr (1932) and Nosferatu (1922). Nosferatu is the more famous but while it’s a visually stunning adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with some truly iconic moments, it’s not a great movie. Plus the soundtrack given to this silent movie for the MUBI release was borderline comic. It would have been about a thousand times better with the soundtrack on this trailer.

Vampyr is a slightly more haunting affair based on elements from J Sheridan Le Fanu’s In a Glass Darkly. Again, visually great but with a plot that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

I think it’s worth watching them both to say you’ve watched these two foundational movies, but don’t go in thinking you’re going to be thunderstruck by how awesome they are.

All in all, not a bad week of viewing, more an uninspiring one, if you see what I mean?

But what did you watch?

US TV

What have you been watching? Including Justice League: The Snyder Cut, Superman & Lois, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

Hello! How you all doing? Good week? Looking forward to springtime and being able to see other human beings again soon (albeit outdoors and at a distance)? That’s great!

But until then, let’s talk about what we’ve been doing indoors – watching streaming TV and movies. Of the usual things, I’ve been both slacking and catching up. Lovely wife continues to enjoy Young Rock (US: NBC), but I’ve given up on it. I might watch future episodes out the corner of my eye again, but it’s not what I’m going to be calling a regular.

Debris remains enjoyable for all the reasons I mentioned last week. This week, though, we got our first hint of how the alien tech works, as well as some of the darker sides of the various conspiracies going on. Enjoying it still! Yay!

However, For All Mankind (Apple TV+) seems to have put itself on the back burner, since I’ve not watched the latest two episodes. Bad TMINE. I’ll get round to them this week, I reckon.

But let’s talk about some ‘new’ things after the jump. In films, out last week was the ‘Snyder Cut’ of Justice League (2017), which is possibly the most different director’s cut of a movie you’ll ever see, as well as possibly the best superhero movie ever made (but probably isn’t).

Talking of superheroes, coming to Disney+ on Friday was the latest MCU TV series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which sees the two eponymous heroes dealing with PTSD, bank loans and finding purpose in life now that Steve Rogers/Captain America is no more.

And lastly, I realised I’d forgotten all about Superman & Lois (US: The CW)! Worse than that, I actually watched the first episode three weeks ago and then just forgot to review it! So I’ve been playing catch-up with that. We can talk about all four episodes after the jump, too.

But also, tell me what you’ve been watching, too, please

However, I have watched new things!

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Justice League: The Snyder Cut, Superman & Lois, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”
TV reviews

What have you been watching? Including Debris, Coming 2 America and Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

What a busy week I had last week! So much so, even the current reduced TMINE service was out of the question. However, fingers crossed, this new regular Monday slot is going to work out better with my new schedule.

I’ve continued to watch the usual thing: Young Rock (US: NBC) is more or less the same as always, being a comedy, although last week’s was the first to stick to more or less one time zone. So not much to say about that. I’ve watched another ep of For All Mankind (Apple TV+), which was fine – a bit dull, but with one big emotional scene – but I’ve not caught up with the latest yet.

However, I have watched new things!

Can’t Get You Out of My Head

Available on iPlayer

I gave a couple of episodes of Adam Curtis’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head a whirl, which given there are six of them that are about two hours long each in some cases was about as much as I could do.

And it’s pretty good, almost back to the form of The Power of Nightmares, as well as a return to some of its ideas, so it’s almost a rounding up of Curtis’s work of the past 20 years. Some of it is counter-intuitive and backtracks, so now Vladimir Putin is largely powerless apparently. He also manages to link all manner of unconnected things in surprising ways that end up making surprising sense.

But a lot of it you feel like shouting “That’s nonsense!” at, only to realise you’ll see it’s all true in about 10 years’ time (cf The Power of Nightmares). And it’s also very depressing. But then that’s the news right now.

Also, if you play Adam Curtis Bingo as a drinking game, you will be hammered by the end of the first hour.

However, I honestly can’t face watching four more episodes. Seriously, it’s too long.

Coming 2 America (2021)

Available on Amazon Prime

Sequel to the 80s comedy classic that sees Eddie Murphy discovering he has a son in America and bringing him back to his how country to become his heir. Slight problems: he already has three daughters, all of whom would be better monarchs than the new guy; and Wesley Snipes runs the neighbouring country of Nexdoria and expects his daughter to marry Murphy’s son.

And I know everyone hates it, but I loved it. Would happily watch it again. For starters, it’s co-written by Kenya Barris (#BlackAF, black-ish et al), who is a genius, and there are genuinely laugh out lines, as well as some great callbacks to the original. The story isn’t just a retread of the original – more an inversion – and although one can question why a prince who went to America to find his equal partner would find it hard to let a daughter take over from him, you can sort of see how it’s commenting on how young radicals become conservative in their old age as they tire of trying to fight the system.

Importantly, while it’s clearly not a film made by Africans, it’s very definitely a movie made by Black Americans – director Craig Brewer is most famous for Hustle & Flow (2005) – and it’s far more imbued with Black American culture and values than the original was. This feels like a movie made by Black Americans for Black Americans, that in part comments on their own feelings about Africa and satirises them. And there are the occasional nods to knowledge of African culture, such as Snipes’ talking about ‘aunties’

Equally importantly, turns out Snipes is a comedy genius and he gets to do a little bit of martial arts. Bonus!

Debris

Available in the US on NBC and Peacock

At first look, Debris feels like one of those generic NBC mystery shows (cf Manifest) crossed with a Fox/CBS procedural. The central conceit here is that an alien spaceship entered our solar system and then started to break up, raining down debris on the Earth. However, whatever that spaceship is made from, it’s got weird properties that seriously mess up physics – and people. The US and UK launch a joint taskforce to gather as much of the debris together as possible to prevent all manners of disaster happening, with Jonathan Tucker (Kingdom, The Black Donnellys) and Riann Steele (Holby City) playing CIA and MI6 officers respectively.

So far so ordinary. Both sides are also keeping secrets from one another and there are shadowy individuals also collecting the debris for their own use. Each episode so far has also had heartwarming endings that tell us something about the human spirit. Yuch.

However, this is probably the closest thing we’ve had to The X-Files since it first started in several ways. Firstly, it’s got a great electronic soundtrack. Secondly, it’s just plain disconcerting. The effects the debris have genuinely feel alien and more like magic than science, with resurrections and cloning just not as we know it. It’s almost Fringe-like at times. I mean Mulder and Scully didn’t go everywhere trailing huge suitcases containing hazmat equipment and who knows what else. It’s clear this is hugely dangerous and mindwarping stuff, right down to Tucker (spoiler alert) having to shoot one of his own clones in the second episode.

This is quickly joining my regulars list. I hope it maintains the same level of uneasiness throughout.

But what have you been watching?

Film

What have you been watching? Including Beyond Clueless

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

Splat! Hit another brick wall. Sorry, I’ve barely watched anything this week. WandaVision (Disney+) was about it and while I enjoyed it, it was something of a Basil Exposition episode. Interesting, though, to see how this Agatha Harkness compares to the comic books version, so let’s see if they mesh up this week, given this appears to be a big exercise in making the Wanda Maximoff of the MCU a lot more like the one of the comic books.

Young Rock (US: NBC) I continued to watch out of the corner of one eye and was amiable enough. Randall Park is probably the best thing about it, as usual (“I used to be an actor” “yes, you’ve mentioned it. Several times”).

In movies, I tried to watch Legend (1985) on MUBI. However, that had the Jerry Goldsmith score, rather than the Tangerine Dream score, so was practically unwatchable.

That meant the only film I actually watched was another MUBI offering: Beyond Clueless (2014), a UK look at the teen movies that were made after Clueless (1995). It’s fair to say it’s a pretty shallow affair that’s more reminiscent of a Channel 4 100 Greatest… show than anything that really adds to the understanding of those movies.

Although there is a sort of grouping of ideas, there’s no real look at the development of themes over time, just a sort of mild critique of their attitudes. It’s not helped by the fact that it lumps together romcoms and horror movies under the same umbrella, which makes any real critique almost impossible. And there are also notable omissions, while many movies from which clips are extracted barely get any real discussion, just act as wallpaper.

On the plus side, I did spend an inordinate amount of time spotting people who did go on to be far more famous in other film and TV roles a decade later, but who I’d never realised had been in movies like this before. Baring Ali Larter, of course.

But what have you been watching?