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What are you watching? 2018 edition


#41

Finally finished the Netflix Punisher series. Daredevil season 1 is still my number one, but Punisher is up there. It has some incredible performances, and I can’t think of a more perfect Frank Castle than Jon Bernthal, he is exceptional.

That being said, I think I’m done watching Netflix Marvel shows. Seasons continue to be unnecessarily long and slow. I’ve found it hard to work my way through the last several seasons of Marvel shows, and really none since the first season of Daredevil have compelled me to binge watch. It just doesn’t feel like a valuable use of my TV time anymore.

I do have some major issues with The Punisher series though. The season really painted all war vets as unstable, bloodthirsty, suicidal, and/or without remorse. It painted a really dark light on war vets, and while I’m sure that wasn’t the intention, it was the impact the season had on me. Also, it was unnecessarily brutal. Violent scenes were clearly added just because they could, and didn’t help to improve the narrative at all. That made it really hard to watch. If I wanted torture porn I’d go watch Hostel.


#42

I saw The Post with my family yesterday. It’s solid. Not on the level of All the President’s Men or Spotlight, but still very enjoyable. I knew next to nothing about the Pentagon Papers so it’s informative, too (although I realize the movie over-emphasizes the role of the Post). Meryl Streep is excellent–the writing of her character is pretty heavyhanded but she makes it work with a subtle, elegant performance. Tom Hanks forces an accent he can’t really pull off so that’s annoying. But the rest of the cast is really good, especially Bob Odenkirk, who I didn’t realize was in this. A few other unexpected faces I know mostly from TV pop up in small roles; I’ll spoiler-tag them because it’s kind of fun being surprised by them: David Cross, Carrie Coon, Alison Brie, Zach Woods, Jesse Plemons, and Tracy Letts.


#43

‘Counterpart’

JK Simmons is excellent of course, but it’s not quite there as a show. Close, but after a first half getting started it loses it’s way a bit, starting to ramble way too early.

But it’s only episode one, so I’m sticking with it.


#44

Finally got around to watching the Lego Batman Movie. It’s really underwhelming. Most of the jokes fall flat, the story is one of the least interesting takes on the character going (and throwing in all the villains from other films feels weird and like an odd attempt at Lego Dimensions synergy) and worst of all, it looks horrible. Replicating the physical feel of Lego in CGI is still impressive, but the way it’s shot is garish and overly busy.

Lego Batman was a highlight of The Lego Movie, but this movie shows that not every breakout role deserves a spin off.


#45

I was bored during the first episode, which is a crime. It feels cheap. It feels like a gimmick with little mileage. It feels like JK Simmons is the only daw and he’s let down by every other part of the show. I’m done unless subsequent episodes get huge praise.


#46

I’d caught the second half of it a few months ago, and it was on again so I watched the first half of HBO’s Spielberg. Really well made (authorised) documentary on his whole career. Interviews with all the people you’d expect, lots of behind the scenes footage, making-of insights, and personal details (I’m not a huge fan or scholar of his work so seeing the link between him being a child of divorce and the recurrence of estranged or absent parents in his films was interesting).


#47

Christel and I watched a great interview with David “John LeCarre” Cornwell on 60 Minutes.


#48

Good to hear. Hope to catch it sometime soonish (emphasis on ish).


#49

It’s been done a lot before in shows like ‘Fringe’, it’s being done right now in Star trek, there’s plenty of potential when characters meet versions of themselves and their world.

But it risks falling into the Marvel TV trap of padding a (hopefully) good story with needless digressions.

There’s a point sometimes, and it needs to be stuck to. The time to expand and explore is later, when we’ve settled into the whole thing and want to know about the side roads.


#50

Sorry to be out of touch for so long, gang, hope y’all are well.

Given that things can be sketchy trying to get the t.v. away from the 10 year old, much less getting in movies and shows he’s not allowed to watch, given his bedroom vent is beneath the living room… been staying on top of Supergirl, Gotham, Flash, X-Files and Riverdale…Black Lightning was a pretty strong debut despite the trope of an urban high school principal waging war on thug elements in his school…at least this has some heart to the storytelling thus far. Finally caught up to the new It movie…I was overall happy with it, though this Pennywise is in no league of Tim Curry and I favor the original storyline with the adults being tormented first, prompting their honoring of the pact, the reunion, the long flashback to set up the big hurrah…updating it to the 80s was mostly well-done, though I’ll go to my grave stating NOBODY used the term “mullet” back then. I was a longhaired grit, or a hockey head, ape drape, what-not. Mullet was a Gen-Y jibe that became part of ordinary lexicon for rednecks with shags…thanks for nothing, Billy Ray Cyrus.

Also caught up with Gone Girl, which I loved, Deepwater Horizon, which I also enjoyed, but should’ve been rated R due to the excessive cussing (the dialogue is natural to the environment, sure, but would’ve earned an easy R back in the day for the gratuitous S and F bombs), but obviously someone slipped the MPAA some bread to keep it PG-13.

I have Blade Runner 2040 on deck and can’t wait to clear the room and dive in.


#51

A very entertaining and captivating film.


#52

Hoping to catch the debut of The Alienist tonight on TNT.


#53

Almost finished with Godless, which is a very quintessential Western. It’s not very original - not Deadwood by a long shot - in the way it harks back to a number of Western motifs we’ve seen before, but it’s very good at delivering its take on those classic stories.

And Jeff Daniels is great as the leader of a group of outlaws with a messiah complex. Like, really great. “Ain’t nothin’ scarier than a man with a gun, and ain’t nothin’ so helpless as a man without one”.


#54

I was deeply impressed by it, inclusive of Trent Reznor’s atmospheric score.


#55

I got caught up on the second season of The Good Place. It’s still a fantastic series, that’s really built off of season one, and had some great fun with its new premise. The best part is that I don’t know where it’s going to go next.


#56

Yeah, they’ve been blowing up the premise every other week. I’ve no idea what the show will be in any given episode. Loved this week’s one.


#57

The Shape of Water - I wanted to love this but I never really bought into it. It’s supposed to be this love story for the ages, but the movie spends way too much of its runtime on plot mechanics (understandable, as the plot revolves around saving a creature from a top secret, high-security government facility) and side characters, and not enough on the actual romance. I did like the look of it and the performances, though, even if Michael Shannon is a bit wasted as an extremely one-note villain.


#58

Recently re-watched Back To The Future, and was shocked to find it was a PG movie, with the amount of swearing.


#59

“this is heavy” isn’t actually a swear.


#60

Yeah but Great Scott takes on a new meaning when you realize that’s the name he gives his penis.