Catching A Killer

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When I was growing up, The Bill was huge here in Australia. We watched it as a family and we all loved the show – and thus a fascination with all things British policing was born.

Over the years there have been many great documentary shows on the subject – everything from Traffic Cops to Police Interceptors to Sky Cops to 24 Hours In Police Custody – the more of these shows you watch, the more you see how shows like The Bill got things pretty right. You could easily plop the cast of The Bill down into a real UK police station and you would not be able to tell the difference.

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A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon Catching A Killer on the ABC here in Australia – you can still view it on iView (until September 16) and I highly recommend it. There are only two episodes of the show. For those not in Australia, you can currently catch these docos on youtube here and here.

To me the most fascinating part of the documentary is how the police use the ANPR system to track the movement of vehicles in the UK. In both episodes it is a crucial part of the investigation, especially in the second episode. They were able to take 5300 vehicles on the roads at the time and narrow it down to one vehicle.

Did you know that the UK has over 8500 cameras capturing the movements of vehicles across the country? These records are stored for up to two years in the National ANPR Data Center, which can be accessed, analysed and used as evidence as part of investigations by UK law enforcement agencies.

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The police can type in a numberplate and see every occasion that particular vehicle has been seen on camera, and they can track where a vehicle goes – the screenshot above shows a vehicle which the owner claimed was at home hitting various cameras across the UK where the green circles are..

They have a pretty decent CCTV network over in the UK as well, and watching them piece together the movements of cars and people of interest is a sight to be seen.

All this to say, if you have a spare minute, watch these documentaries. Especially those of you who enjoyed Line of Duty, this is like the real thing but without all the police corruption and major plot twists!

television shows

I Listen To Things

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For many weeks here on Wednesdays I have been doing reviews of movies and television shows. We will return to that yet again in the future, I promise. This week I want to talk about The West Wing Weekly podcast, Google Chromecast, and various images.

For the most part I do not set up technical things up in this house. That task falls to The Other Half. So I mostly just accept the way things are, and when my old tv box which allowed me to watch things on the server began acting up, I inherited a Google Chromecast, or at least I think I did. I truly am clueless about it.

If I watch something on Netflix or on our server, when I am done with it if I do not switch back to Foxtel images begin to appear on my screen via Google Chromecast. Many of the images are quite stunning to look at and I do enjoy seeing them. There are NASA images of the day, images from Google Earth View, and images taken in national parks across America. The image up the top there, Turquoise Swirls in the Black Sea is one of the rotating images, as is the image you see below, which is – Lakes and Rivers Have Ice Too.

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Here are some of the Chromecast Backgrounds collected together beautifully for you to view, if you like. Here you can view some of the Earth View images. Here you can find the NASA image of the day and their archives.

It may not come as a surprise to you to hear this but a big phrase in my world is “I would like to know more about that” and I love that the NASA images can easily be found by typing in their title to your favourite search engine (eg Solar Evaporation Ponds Near Moab, Utah which you are about to see a part of below, click on the link for the whole photo and story) and you get a page with a story about the photo.

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I do not love that the images for Digital Globe have no backstory attached and the images really can’t be found so much online. Most of them just have a location and if you type that location into your search engine of choice, you are going to get all kinds of odd unrelated stuff and I don’t always know what it is I am seeing. I will say though, I did NOT need to look at the location to know when I was looking at Oahu from space partly because I have spent so much time looking at it on Google Maps, and partly because of the natatorium shown.

I was surprised to find that I never listened to any of The West Wing Weekly (TWWW) podcasts. I’m not a big podcast person to be truthful with you. I listened to the Breaking Bad Insider Podcasts and deeply loved every single one of them, I recently enjoyed the Better Call Saul Insider podcasts, and somehow I stumbled onto TWWW. I have been binging like an addict. The good thing is, I know the episodes so well I do not have to watch them, so I can just put my cordless headphones on and enjoy the podcast.

While I am listening, Chromecast is throwing these gorgeous images onto my screen, which I did find distracting to begin with but now I have seen all the images and it is cycling through them, I can just enjoy the beauty of them. The earth is such an amazing and gorgeous place especially when seen from space.

television shows, The West Wing

Line Of Duty

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When I heard that Thandie Newton was guest starring in Season 4 of Line Of Duty, I had a choice to make – watch the previous three seasons, or just watch Season 4 and see if I liked the show. I chose the latter and I think I made the right decision at the time, but my advice to others would likely be, watch the whole series in order.

Due to my deep love for Thandie thanks to her previous works and especially recently, her work in WestWorld, I was on her characters side from the beginning. If I had watched the previous seasons I would probably have been suspicious of her character instead.

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I watched season 4 in two sittings because it is the kind of show that you need to watch the next episode right away – better to stop mid-episode than wait till the end if you have things to do because most of the time they have cliffhangers at the end of the episode. There were only a couple of times where I missed some connection due to not seeing previous seasons.

After watching season 4, I discovered seasons 1-3 are available on Netflix here in Australia (check Hulu and Amazon in the USA), and it was a fast gallop through those seasons. Season one I watched in one sitting, it was just 5 episodes long.

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So what is this show all about? We begin with the following – DS Steve Arnott is in charge of an operation that goes wrong. His fellow police officers try to cover up their mistakes but he refuses to lie about what happened.

He then is a bit of an outcast among his colleagues and ends up being transferred to an Anti Corruption unit, led by Superintendent Ted Hastings. Meanwhile DC Kate Fleming is already working undercover on the case he is about to be assigned – checking into DCI Tony Gates who has a suspiciously high arrest rate.

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This show is sometimes like being strapped into a rollercoaster and launched repeatedly from a standing start to travel instantly at enormous speeds as a surprise to yourself, in the dark, with no idea of what is coming next.

You think you know where things are going, and the rollercoaster lurches in a totally different direction. You think you know who the good guys are, you are probably going to be wrong, and even the good guys have flaws and can bend like the branches of a tree when required.

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Seasons 2-4 of the show were filmed in Northern Ireland and for fans of The Fall you might occasionally spot a familiar location. Each season has a different main guest star character, and you never know who might show up in a supporting role.

Seasons 1-3 are available on Netflix here in Australia, season 4 just finished playing on 13th Street on Foxtel, and sometimes this show can be seen on the ABC as well. If you enjoy police drama, this is a great show to watch. If you enjoy complex plots and twists and turns, this is definitely a show you should seek out. I’d go so far to say, I have never seen a show twist and turn as much as this one, and even the interview scenes with the actors sat round a table disputing “facts” can be incredibly gripping and occasionally shocking.

I am now a huge fan of the main cast which includes Martin Compton as Steve Arnott, Vicky McClure as Kate Fleming, and Adrian Dunbar as Ted Hastings. I loved this show! :)

television shows

Animal Kingdom – The TV Series

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There is no question about it – we are living in the days of peak television. How else could I have let this fantastic show sit on my “to watch” list for nearly 2 years?

I have been a huge fan of Scott Speedman since the Felicity days. So when I heard they were making a TV series based on the Animal Kingdom movie and Scott Speedman was set to be one of the main cast, I added that to my list of shows to watch. And just recently – having finished Line of Duty which is another show I will be writing a post about soon – I spotted it on Netflix and dove in head first. Wow, what a ride!

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Having completed all the episodes presently available, I went to watch the movie again. I had seen it a while ago but the main thing I remembered was Ben Mendelsohn and his dark, malevolent presence in that film.

If you have seen the movie do not think of it as a spoiler for the TV series – almost none of the events of the movie appear in the TV show as yet and I have seen season 2 episode 7.

The main thing the movie has given the TV show is the cast of characters and their backstory. The show begins in a very similar way to the movie, but then the TV show moves off onto a different path and what a delight it is to travel with it.

If I had to describe this show, it would be a longer version of Point Break. The surfing is there, the jumping out of planes, the robberies, the crime planning, the California setting, virtually everything that was great about Point Break is present here. However they have added to it a fantastic cast and some highly talented and experienced crew.

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I love what they have done with Smurf – played by Ellen Barkin – in particular her costumes are great but they have taken her character from the movie and stepped it up like 300 notches – not only is she the matriarch of this crime family but she is a huge part of it, basically the ringleader of it, choosing the jobs, allocating the work, laundering the money, making big decisions. I loved the scene where she is ironing male underwear, too. This role in the movie gained Jacki Weaver an Oscar nomination. Due to so much excellent television Ellen Barkin has not received any nominations for her portrayal of Smurf and that is a great shame.

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Shawn Hatosy is playing the character of Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody – played by Ben Mendelsohn in the movie – and Shawn is really amazing in this role, SO CREEPY. Before I saw this my one question was who could possibly do justice to that role and now that question has been answered. It is very interesting that in the first season I felt quite scared by his character but in the second season somehow they turn the tables a bit and I found myself cheering him on and hoping he might find what he is looking for.

There is a lot of shirtlessness and nudity which you will either love or dislike. I’m totally fine with it myself. There are some other aspects to this show which people might not enjoy – definitely some violence but it is not pointless, it fits in with what is happening on the show and it is not done just for kicks, there is always a reason for it.

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Me personally the one storyline I did not enjoy was the detective trying to get info on this crime family by whatever means necessary. I think that went a little too far and by the end of the first season I wanted to slap that detective for about an hour. I was truly grateful when she did not show up in Season 2, at least she has not yet, though there are still a few episodes left to watch.

Some interesting names popped up in the directors chair – in particular Regina King, Laura Innes and Emmy Rossum have all directed episodes of this show.

Where can you see this in Australia? Netflix only at this stage, I am afraid. :/

television shows

Movie Catch Up 10

Loved

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Okja

“Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a fascinating animal named Okja.” IMDB

Okja is not the first made for Netflix film but it is the first one I have seen. It is controversial in many ways which I won’t go into – this review does a better job of giving you some of the story about what happened at Cannes and also why this movie would probably not have been made without Netflix.

Having seen the trailer for this movie I had a pretty good idea of what I would be in for. I said to the other half – I don’t know if I want to watch this movie with you because I am pretty sure it is going to make me cry. I thought some more about it and I said to myself, I can control my emotions! So one Friday night I said I am determined I will not cry about a CGI superpig, we will watch it together.

Not only did I cry about a cgi superpig, but it was completely ugly crying. I do not want to spoil any of this movie for you because I do think it is worth seeing, though I believe you will need Netflix to be able to see it I do wonder if they might allow TV networks to purchase it and show it at a later time in order to give this movie a larger audience. Okja raised a lot of questions for me that I am still not sure I have answers for, and even a week later I still find myself thinking about it.

This movie had a great cast many of whom were playing teeny tiny parts compared to other parts they have done. Every part counts and these performances added up to make something great. Tilda Swinton is in this movie, and there are two of her! That was something I really loved. I did feel like Giancarlo Esposito was under-utilised and I wanted to know more about his character and what his motivations were as that did not seem especially clear. I also felt like a lot had been cut out of this movie and that might have been one of the things cut.

It was lovely to see Stephen Yeun away from The Walking Dead though his role was fairly small he provided one of my biggest laugh out loud moments of the movie when he showed his new tattoo. Jake Gyllenhaal played such a crazy character who was also quite evil. I was not sure whether to laugh or despise him, though despise him won out after a particularly brutal series of events. Paul Dano was here too, with a beautiful, calming character in the midst of much character craziness.

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Before I Fall

“February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life, until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s losing.” IMDB

I forget where I heard about this movie but wherever it was marketed it to me as similar to Groundhog Day which is one of my favourite movies of all time, so how could I resist? One icy Saturday afternoon when I decided to use the soft sole express and had 90 minutes to fill where I could not walk around the house, I thought this movie would be perfect. And I was right. I really enjoyed it overall. Though some of the music in the movie, in particular the party scene which we saw multiple times, I was not a great fan of.

It was kind of all my favourite movies as a teenager mixed together to create a new thing entirely and very well done. The Groundhog Day aspect was excellent. If you like that movie you will probably enjoy this even if you don’t enjoy watching angsty emo teenagers.

I enjoyed the cast overall but Zoey Dutch played the main role of Sam and I think she was brilliant in it. I had never seen her before in anything but I became a fan and will definitely look out for more of her work.

Disliked

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To The Bone

“A young woman is dealing with anorexia. She meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.” IMDB

Another very controversial Netflix movie, but this one is Not Great At All and in my opinion it had nothing to do with any of the controversial reasons why. It just seemed to be absolutely pointless and have no message at all. It did not educate, it did not illuminate, it did very little at all.

Keanu Reeves was completely wasted as a doctor who was supposedly unconventional in the way he treated this disease – I would say this doctor had no plan or idea of how to treat this disease or perhaps if he did, we never got to see or understand what his treatment might be. Other than taking his patients to see some rain art, because they are alive, but it seemed to me like an excuse to have a montage of people dancing in the rain.

What a lost opportunity for the people who do suffer from eating disorders, to have their stories told in an engaging and educational way. It is my understanding that the lead actress – Lily Collins who happens to be Phil Collins daughter – has suffered from this disease, as had the director. I am not sure what exactly they were trying to achieve here but I felt like whatever it was, they did not manage it.

movies

Movie Catch Up 9

Some quick movie bites today.

Loved

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Florence Foster Jenkins

“The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.” IMDB

I do not even know what to say about this film. I feel like all the words will not be enough. It was just beautiful. The costumes were stunning, the hair and makeup was gorgeous, everything was delightfully sparkly. The scene with the sparkly star head dress, I could watch that over and over. Photos do not do it justice, the movement of the stars, so beautiful.

And at the end when it takes a sad turn towards the tragic, one cannot help but feel that Florence Foster Jenkins truly sucked the marrow out of life, and when she came to die, discovered that she had truly sung, even if it was off key.

Bring your kleenex for this one folks, Meryl is in fine form and you will need them. Earplugs are optional. I highly recommend this film.

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Christine

“The story of Christine Chubbuck, a 1970s TV reporter struggling with depression and professional frustrations as she tries to advance her career.” IMDB

Some films never quite get the recognition or attention they deserve. Christine is one such movie. Set in the mid 70s the costumes and sets are incredibly well done and that is what I noticed at first, until the first rate performances took over. What a great ensemble cast this is, backing up the main star Rebecca Hall beautifully.

Michael C Hall was the main reason I had this on my to-watch list and he was great as always. Another stand out was Timothy Simons who plays Jonah on Veep – I really liked his performance here. A pleasant surprise was J. Smith-Cameron who I loved from Rectify, here playing the mother of Christine.

This is not a happy story as Christine was the first person ever to attempt suicide live on television. It is a story well told and performed. Would I recommend it? As long as you know this is not a happy story and especially if you are a fan of any of the cast.

Disliked

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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

“Remake of the 1956 film noir film “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” in which a writer’s plan to expose a corrupt district attorney takes an unexpected turn.” IMDB

Given that one of my favourite movies of all time is a remake of a movie from the mid-50’s which starred Michael Douglas – A Perfect Murder – I had high hopes for this one which also starred Michael Douglas plus that cute guy from Desperate Housewives AKA Jesse Metcalfe. My high hopes were sadly not met.

You know when you are part way into a movie and you just know it is bad and is going to get worse? That is how I felt here. So about 16 minutes into this one, I turned it off and put on A Perfect Murder instead. It was the right thing to do. :)

movies

TV Catch Up – The Handmaid’s Tale

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Based on the 1985 novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, you will hear a lot of big words used to describe this show. The IMDB description says “Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.” which is more 50 cent words than your average sentence involves. I prefer the version that Elisabeth Moss gave on the Seth Myers show.

“Try to stay with me it is a little far fetched. It is about a right wing fundamentalist group who takes over the government, and takes away all of women’s rights.” The story really is not quite that simple and it is not just the womens rights that vanish – plenty of men get punished and killed on this show as well. Though there is one scene where you might be right on board with that as a concept.

I read the book a few months ago knowing this series was on the way and knowing I would want to see it because Elisabeth Moss is one of my long time favourites. She is the true star of this series, she is the center of this story and she is absolutely magnificent. She will greatly deserve every award she wins and I have no doubt it will be all of them available. However she might face some competition from Evan Rachel Wood for her incredible performance in WestWorld.
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When I heard that Joseph Fiennes would play the Commander and Yvonne Strahovski would be Serena Joy, I really could not picture that having read the book. I had seen much older people in those roles. However it has worked out for the best, because somehow Yvonne made me feel empathy for Serena Joy – certainly not something I expected and not something I experienced when I read the book.

Samira Wiley – who Orange Is The New Black fans will know as Poussey – is another stand out cast member in a show full of amazing performances. O-T Fagbenle is incredible as Luke and Max Minghella is great as Nick the driver. The costumes are beautifully done.

Taken by itself this show is terrifying enough. When you combine it with some of the other shows of recent times – WestWorld in particular has some similar themes along these same lines and I typed some thoughts about that here – we might be in the middle of peak television right now, but it is also the middle of scary as heck television, in my opinion.

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Starting tomorrow the full series is available on SBS on Demand – for free. But here are my suggestions re watching it –

This is NOT a show to binge watch. You need to take some time between episodes. You need to let it sink in. The first 3 episodes are especially heavy to watch. This is not a show for right before bedtime because it will make you think and you won’t get to sleep. I’ll be honest and say even when I watched the episodes early in the day I found myself thinking about them at bedtime. They resonate pretty strongly.

Having said all of that, I do think this is a very important show to watch especially right now, with all the recent talk of internment camps for certain groups of people etc. Are we at the top of the slippery slope that could lead us to a world like this? I sincerely hope not. :(

television shows

Movie Catch Up 8

Loved

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John Wick 2

“After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.” IMDB

I talked about the first John Wick last week – we have now seen the second one. It was somehow even more beautiful than the first one, in every aspect. The budget has clearly gone up, so the fake death scenes were a bit more bloody and sometimes even slightly gory, perhaps this would be too much for some who did enjoy the first one.

We learn a little bit more about the hitman universe this time, which I appreciated a lot. In particular we learned why the suits are a must – they are basically a bullet proof vest hidden in a suit. I loved that the costume designer played the part of the tailor and he was utterly fantastic in *both* roles. The costumes in this are excellent.

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In the first movie a story was told about John Wick killing 3 people with a pencil, and this time we see exactly how he does that. I kind of feel like the myth was better than the actuality but it certainly gave all involved an opportunity to showcase their skills, whether it be stuntmen, actors, art department and/or prop department, and probably more people than we will ever know about. It makes me hope there will be a DVD commentary track so we can find out more about how this was done.

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There are a lot of big names showing up in this movie and I imagine there will be even more in the next one. Everybody is going to want to get killed by John Wick! The stand out for me was Common. That is the first time I have seen him in a movie bu I am now a fan so I will be putting some of his other works on my to-see list.

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The other stand out features of this film was the amazing cinematography, there were some stunningly gorgeous shots in here. The set design was truly killer especially in the last museum sequences, and the beginning action sequence of this film where John attempts to retrieve his stolen car was so incredible and brilliantly done. I loved the door thing.

Recently they announced they will be doing a TV series spin off from this world called The Continental, which is the hotel chain that is home to the world’s league of assassins. No cast has been announced yet but I do believe this is a great idea and there are so many stories that could be told here. If Lance Reddick signs on, the levels of awesomeness will be huge. I want to know more about his character! However he is likely to be in Bosch season 4, which might make that difficult.

This is the best action movie I have ever seen. Ever. Truly great work by everyone involved. It makes total sense to me that both of these John Wick movies were directed by Chad Stahelski who has a long career as a stunt performer and coordinator. If this is what happens when stunt performers direct movies, then we need a lot more stunt performers to direct movies.

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Buster’s Mal Heart

“A family man’s chance encounter with a conspiracy-obsessed drifter leaves him on the run from the police and an impending event known as The Inversion.” IMDB

Am I here? Who am I? Why am I here? Should I grab a stock pot, put it on the kitchen counter, and poop in it? These are all questions that came to me as a surprise when I watched this film. I think there was life before seeing that scene, and life afterwards, and the two are not the same thing. I did not screenshot it for you, see how nice I am? ;) But it was quite the sight.

It did not take long for me to become a huge Rami Malek fan. The camera loves him, even when he has all the hair and the beard they add on in parts of this movie. I have no idea what the heck this movie was all about or whether *any* of it was real, at all. Rami has such a talent for making the unreal seem like it is real. He does it beautifully in Mr Robot, too.

I enjoyed every minute Rami was on the screen, and if you are a fan you will too. if you are not a fan, this is not a movie for you. I would not have enjoyed this at all with a lesser actor or someone I was not a fan of. I have no clue what this movie was trying to tell me. Was it all a dream? Was it caused by sleep deprivation? Was it mental illness? What really happened, and in what order did it happen?

It is especially interesting that Rami Malek signed up to do this movie *before* he signed onto Mr Robot, and yet the two could easily be entwined within each other, some of the same themes run through here, and there is some music at times which felt like it could be put into Mr Robot.

All I have are questions, and zero answers. I loved this movie even though I am – like Buster and Jonah, completely and totally lost. Am I floating in a boat, out at sea, covered in frogs? I DON’T KNOW. :)

The one thing I do know, I am excited to see Bohemian Rhapsody where Rami will play the role of Freddie Mercury, due for release in late 2018.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

“The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.” IMDB

I have never seen or read anything Harry Potter related at all. I saw part of the trailer for this a while ago and I thought I might like to see it, so when I discovered The Other Half intended to watch it I said I would like to sit in.

I think it might actually be a quite scary place, the inner mind of J.K. Rowling, if some of these beasts actually live there. But it might also be quite a magical place. This movie certainly was magical. There will be a second one, and this might be one we go to the cinema to see, along with John Wick 3.

I am not the biggest fan of CGI stuff and there was a lot of it in this movie, but I did love the movie. Even though I have an irrational dislike of Eddie Redmayne. It is odd, because I have seen movies where he was in them and I quite enjoyed them, I just do not like the guy and I have no idea why. It might be hair related. I did want to get a pair of scissors and just trim his hair slightly shorter, so it was not quite so close to his eyes.

movies

Movie Catch Up 7

This week we have a Men I Love To Watch trilogy.

Loved

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John Wick

“An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.” IMDB

At first glance this may not seem to be the kind of movie I would enjoy, especially if you look at my previous movie catch up posts. But I am a fan of Keanu – I have been ever since Bill and Ted back in 1990. SO-CRATES. And then there was Point Break and Speed, where he proved he could be an action star.circlek

I would probably not have found my way to this movie at all if I had not gone to visit The Other Half as he was watching it, because it is not my kind of thing. But I walked into a scene that I found interesting, and I spotted more than one actor I enjoy watching in it. So I said I would like to see the whole thing. And wow, was it quite the show!

But I need to offer one word of warning. There is a huge reason John Wick – who had retired – un-retires. And it is probably one of the most difficult things for me to watch when it comes to movies and luckily I knew about it in advance so I did not have a massive sad, which I would have if I had not known. But I really do not want to spoil the movie for anyone who has not seen it yet.

That one I will not spoil it for you event sets John Wick off on a rampage of epic proportions. And because of what that event is, I was right there with him, and likely 99% of the world was as well.

These movies involve a lot of people fake dying and sometimes that is not very pretty to look at however the fight scenes and the John Wick Shoots Every Bad Guy In Sight But Conveniently Misses Innocent Bystanders scenes are so beautifully choreographed, it is almost like interpretative dance. A ballet of death, of sorts. Not a ballet for the feint of heart and there is a lot of shooting, so do not watch this movie if you are offended by violence and shooting.

The movie soundtrack is excellent, my particular favourite was Killing Strangers by Marilyn Manson but there was a lot of great thumping bass songs, too.

I have to credit the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul insider podcasts for giving me a respect for how things are done in teevee and movie land. There were some scenes in here where I was just wow, how much time, effort and work went into that!

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Hands down this is the 2nd best action movie (the 1st best will be here next week) I have seen in a long, long time. Some of the shots are SO gorgeous. There are some great names in this cast, everyone from Lance Reddick (seen above, who I love watching in the TV show Bosch) to Ian McShane to John Leguizamo to Willem Dafoe – plus the wonderful bonus of Toby Leonard Moore for us Billions fans.

I really loved that most of the main characters were suited up in very gorgeous menswear suits most of the time. Though if you are a hitman, perhaps there are better colours of shirt than white. And if it is bucketing down rain and you are fighting in a suit complete with waistcoat and tie that might be a bit of a hindrance to your performance in real life but it sure looks great on the screen.

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Anthropoid

“Based on the extraordinary true story of Operation Anthropoid, the WWII mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution and the Reich’s third in command after Hitler and Himmler.” IMDB
This movie contains two men I love to watch – Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy sporting a haircut that reminded me very much of an early Mark Owen hairstyle. In fact his resemblance to my favourite pop star was mildly jarring to me throughout the entire movie.marko

Mark Owen from Take That

I really should research these kinds of movies before I watch them but that tends to spoil them. In this case I am very glad I did not as not knowing the outcome ramps up the tension levels for me. If you plan to watch this movie I strongly recommend you do not research this operation either.

I am not going to say anything about what actually happens in this movie other than to say this is an important story which was extremely difficult to watch. I am glad I had no idea what I was letting myself in for or else I may not have watched it at all. Approach with caution is all I can suggest. It might be that I find the Nazi regime more scary than most things.

I will say that I had planned to see this in the cinema when it was released and having seen it now I am very glad I did not. I think it would have been too much to witness all of this on the big screen. I was enough of a mess having seen it on the TV.

The performances are excellent by everyone in the cast, especially Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy but they are ably supported here by a truly wonderful supporting cast. The writing is great, the tension is high and for at least the last 40 minutes I was completely freaking out. I understand in real life the events that took place in that 40 minutes went on for 6 hours. That is completely unimaginable to me.

The end result that Sean Ellis directed, co-wrote, produced, operated the camera and was the cinematographer for is an incredible effort. He is someone I will be keeping an eye on, this was so well done. I cannot believe one person was responsible for so much of it. That is a lot of work.

Liked

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Come and Find Me

“When his girlfriend goes missing, David must track down her whereabouts after he realizes she’s not who she was pretending to be.” IMDB

The only reason I chose this movie was because Aaron Paul was in it. I have been a huge fan since he was in Breaking Bad. Sometimes even the best actors end up in Not Great movies and this was one such occasion. I think the biggest problem here was the huge amount of flashbacks for no apparent reason. Every time the story began to pick up the pace and you would get comfortable and/or interested in the “now” suddenly the movie would flash back to the “then”.

Garret Dillahunt was the stand out cast member other than Aaron Paul, and an unexpected star of the movie was Canada, where this movie was filmed. Aaron does his usual reliable work, and that was enjoyable, but this is not something I would go back to watch a second time.

Directed and written by Zack Whedon – the brother of Joss and Jed – I also suspect that these two tasks did not mesh very well. Sometimes when you have written something, you cannot see the trees for the forest when it comes time to direct that same something. The story might have been better served if someone else had directed it.

Men I Love To Watch, movies

Movie Catch Up 6

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This week we have a Helen Mirren movie trifecta. I’ll watch anything she is in. I love her style and in some ways it is very similar to mine – not so much the lace but the element of always bringing something unexpected. Is there any role Dame Helen cannot play to perfection? I think not. She brings her A game to every single character she inhabits.

Just because I can, here there are Four Helen Mirrens in the same room, it took me a while at first to work out which was the real one, and I only worked it out because that one moved.

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Eye in the Sky

“Col. Katherine Powell, a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, sees her mission escalate when a girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare.” IMDB

This movie has a great cast, including our Helen Mirren obviously, Alan Rickman in his last ever on screen role before he passed away – there were two more movies released with just his voice – Barkhad Abdi who has a great tension filled foot chase, plus Aaron Paul who of course I love. The very delightful newcomer actress Aisha Takow plays a young girl trying to sell bread.

This is a tough storyline to watch, with many people discussing whether or not the mission can go ahead. When the politicians get involved of course it becomes even more convoluted. At the moment with all the terror attacks happening, this movie is timely in exploring the issues around taking action before an attack is carried out even if it puts innocent people in danger VS what might happen if the authorities do not act.

Helen Mirren plays a colonel in this movie and she is determined and resolute in her belief of what is the right and necessary thing to do, right now. And had she been listened to at the beginning, things might have turned out very differently. But then this would not have been much of a movie.

I do recommend this movie if you are looking for something to make you think and of course if you are a fan of any of the cast you will enjoy it, the performances are excellent. I would give it 7 wax Helen Mirrens out of 10 because she is part of an ensemble cast here but she is quite a big part of it.

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Woman in Gold

“Maria Altmann, an octogenarian Jewish refugee, takes on the Austrian government to recover artwork she believes rightfully belongs to her family.” IMDB

Best to have apple strudel on hand because early on in this film when Helen Mirren serves some to an incredibly dorky version of Ryan Reynolds, you will want some. Who knew it was possible to make Ryan Reynolds not drop dead gorgeous?

When this movie takes off, it takes the viewer places I did not quite expect to go. This is why I love movies overall – when you start the film you do not expect or know what you will see and how you will feel. This particular movie had me experiencing almost all the emotions in less than 2 hours and the ending definitely requires Kleenex.

This is a very difficult movie to watch, especially the flashback scenes of Austria when the Nazis took over. This movie will probably make you angry. Having said that, the performances are – as one would expect – excellent. In the flashback scenes Tatiana Maslany plays the younger version of Helen Mirren’s character and it is amazing how alike they actually look, I had never realised it before. Max Irons is also in the movie, long a favourite actor of mine.

In the middle of the movie the tension ratchets up to almost unbearable levels when in flashback Maria and Fritz make a run for it, which may have you reaching for the Google to find out the outcome but do not do it, no matter what. Let the movie tell you this story. Like any movie there is more to the real life story than what you see in the film and once you have finished watching, then you may google. :)

The levels of love that I have for this movie are so high, even though it made me ugly cry. Wow, that rhymes! Added bonus, it features the airport from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as a shooting location. I strongly recommend this one and would give it 10 wax Helen Mirrens out of 10 because she truly is the star of this movie.

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State of Play

“When a congressional aide is killed, a Washington D.C. journalist starts investigating the case involving the congressman, his old college friend.” IMDB

This is one of the older movies in my to-be-watched directory, released in 2009. It is an adaptation of the 2003 BBC One miniseries which I had enjoyed and the cast of the adaptation is somewhat spectacular. Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright, Jason Bateman, Jeff Daniels just to give you an overview.

I really enjoyed this movie, every single cast member brought their A game, even Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck who I can usually do without. Rachel McAdams really saved this one for me, I am such a fan of hers since Morning Glory.

It makes me want to go back and watch the original, which I probably will do over the next few weeks. That one had Bill Nighy and David Morrissey who is probably best known now for his role as The Governor in The Walking Dead.

I would give it 4 wax Helen Mirrens out of 10 because she is in this movie but not as much as she could have been though when you do see her it is well worth the price of admission.

movies, Women I Love To Watch