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Thread: What are you watching?

  1. #3781
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    I've been watching The Cleopatras, a critically-panned BBC television series from 1983 which was intended to be a successor to I, Claudius. It followed several generations of the Ptolemy/Cleopatra dynasty in Egypt. Like I, Claudius, entirely filmed on some pretty basic indoor sets.
    It's an odd series--in some ways ahead of its time, with a sort of arch self-reflective humour from the characters, in other ways strikingly dated, with its "look at what we can do with our electronics!" cuts between scenes (picture rolls up into a shrinking ball and spirals into the next scene, for instance). At the time, it was seen as a sort of frivolous farce, lacking the gravitas of Claudius, but I must say I'm enjoying it now, despite its limitations.

    Grant Hutchison

  2. #3782
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I've been watching The Cleopatras, a critically-panned BBC television series from 1983 which was intended to be a successor to I, Claudius. It followed several generations of the Ptolemy/Cleopatra dynasty in Egypt. Like I, Claudius, entirely filmed on some pretty basic indoor sets.
    It's an odd series--in some ways ahead of its time, with a sort of arch self-reflective humour from the characters, in other ways strikingly dated, with its "look at what we can do with our electronics!" cuts between scenes (picture rolls up into a shrinking ball and spirals into the next scene, for instance). At the time, it was seen as a sort of frivolous farce, lacking the gravitas of Claudius, but I must say I'm enjoying it now, despite its limitations.

    Grant Hutchison
    I loved "I Claudius" but have never heard of this series. It may not have even made its way onto Australian TV. There are some pretty well known names, to me anyway, among the performers involved. I see that it is available on YouTube and may have to give it a whirl - even though even a 30 second look does indeed highlight the "pretty basic indoor sets".

  3. #3783
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    I loved "I Claudius" but have never heard of this series. It may not have even made its way onto Australian TV. There are some pretty well known names, to me anyway, among the performers involved. I see that it is available on YouTube and may have to give it a whirl - even though even a 30 second look does indeed highlight the "pretty basic indoor sets".
    Yes, lots of great British character actors of that era. Robert Hardy is a good jack-the-lad Julius Caesar ("well, of course, that sort of favour will cost you"). But my favourite performance is from Richard Griffiths, who plays the monstrous Ptolemy VIII as a perfectly reasonable and much put-upon person who finds himself forced into behaving monstrously just because everyone else is behaving so unreasonably.
    The whole thing reminded me of occasional moments in the HBO series Rome, when the characters mixed a modern sensibility with a mild-mannered and cheerful acceptance of their own nastiness. A classic of that sort was when a retired soldier returned from having murdered Cicero. "I've just been chatting to that Cicero. He seemed like a really nice chap. Very reasonable, he was. No fuss at all."

    Grant Hutchison

  4. #3784
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    Tenet. Another Christopher Nolan movie for which the "Making Of ..." extras were more interesting than the movie itself.
    I love Nolan's philosophy of movie-making but (like Interstellar) he seems to have devoted a huge amount of time, effort and money to producing a spectacular film with an intricate plot that actually makes less and less sense the more you think about it.

    The palindromic title TENET obviously links to the plot, and I imagine if I rewatched the film I'd pick up something, someplace or someone called AREPO, given that I noticed Nolan had worked in SATOR, OPERA and ROTAS, giving a total of four of the five lines of the classic Latin palindromic square. The fifth will be in there somewhere, I'm sure.

    Grant Hutchison

  5. #3785
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yes, lots of great British character actors of that era. Robert Hardy is a good jack-the-lad Julius Caesar ("well, of course, that sort of favour will cost you"). But my favourite performance is from Richard Griffiths, who plays the monstrous Ptolemy VIII as a perfectly reasonable and much put-upon person who finds himself forced into behaving monstrously just because everyone else is behaving so unreasonably.
    The whole thing reminded me of occasional moments in the HBO series Rome, when the characters mixed a modern sensibility with a mild-mannered and cheerful acceptance of their own nastiness. A classic of that sort was when a retired soldier returned from having murdered Cicero. "I've just been chatting to that Cicero. He seemed like a really nice chap. Very reasonable, he was. No fuss at all."

    Grant Hutchison
    Well I have watched the first episode of 'The Cleopatras' and found it enjoyable. As you said, Richard Griffiths is the standout of this episode with some good lines and he seemed to be having fun playing his part. Also in line with your comments, I think the cinematographer must have got some sort of new fangled Electronic device for Christmas and was determined to use every possible trick for scene changes. To me the sets gave off a sort of 'Blakes Seven' cheesy vibe - even if they are set about 2,5000 years apart. The music was also of the 'interesting' type. The visiting Roman delegation were also good value. Anyway, I will keep on watching it.

    One other thing is that I haven't seen so many bare breasts on a BBC programme since -- well I can't remember when.

  6. #3786
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    Well I have watched the first episode of 'The Cleopatras' and found it enjoyable. As you said, Richard Griffiths is the standout of this episode with some good lines and he seemed to be having fun playing his part. Also in line with your comments, I think the cinematographer must have got some sort of new fangled Electronic device for Christmas and was determined to use every possible trick for scene changes. To me the sets gave off a sort of 'Blakes Seven' cheesy vibe - even if they are set about 2,5000 years apart. The music was also of the 'interesting' type. The visiting Roman delegation were also good value. Anyway, I will keep on watching it.
    I think it actually gets better after the first episode.

    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    One other thing is that I haven't seen so many bare breasts on a BBC programme since -- well I can't remember when.
    Yes, they made considerable efforts to realistically depict the odd haircuts, false beards and cropped bodices featured in paintings and carvings. I suspect that didn't actually help their ratings.
    And although the unclad dancing girls may well be historically accurate, they're certainly gratuitous in their frequency of appearance.

    Grant Hutchison

  7. #3787
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    What are you watching?

    Weíve been watching Stranger Things and itís not clicking for us. Kind of a mashup of ET, Goonies, Poltergeist and Close Encounters.

    Winona Ryderís character is nails on chalkboard annoying.
    Last edited by schlaugh; 2020-Dec-23 at 08:44 PM.

  8. #3788
    Scrooged: Yule love it.
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  9. #3789
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Weíve been watching Stranger Things and itís not clicking for us. Kind of a mashup of ET, Goonies, Poltergeist and Close Encounters.

    Winona Ryderís character is nails on chalkboard annoying.
    Iíve liked Stranger Things but Iím not hugely enthusiastic. Basically, for me it is good enough to watch (which is better than a lot of Netflix stuff). I donít have any strong feelings about Winona Ryder.

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  10. #3790
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I think it actually gets better after the first episode.

    Yes, they made considerable efforts to realistically depict the odd haircuts, false beards and cropped bodices featured in paintings and carvings. I suspect that didn't actually help their ratings.
    And although the unclad dancing girls may well be historically accurate, they're certainly gratuitous in their frequency of appearance.

    Grant Hutchison

    Good to hear. I might catch up with some more episodes whilst hiding from the current hot weather.

  11. #3791
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Been watching The Repair Shop, on Netflix. It's definitely one of those "I need something pleasant and heartwarming" shows; people bring in their family heirlooms to a thatched workshop full of restoration experts. A painting with a dart hole in the lips. A cradle that had been in the family for five generations with a large hole in the canework. A sea chest that an ancestor had with him on the China trade. A pair of figurines that were all that survived when the person's parents' house was destroyed in the Blitz two weeks after their wedding. Just an amazing assortment of things, most of which have charming stories--it's entirely possible they've been made up, I suppose, because "I found this in a thrift store" doesn't quite have the same effect, but I'm pretty sure I've seen episodes where they bought the thing because it was a thing they'd always wanted, and they treated it as perfectly reasonable.

    Either way, the moment of the reveal, where the item has been completely restored, gets me every time.
    We've been watching the latest available (on Netflix) season of this as well (we'd watched the others last year or the year before). We'd looked into the show's background and it seems everything you see is legit, and they don't charge anything for the repairs. I believe there are additional seasons/series out there that have not made their way to US streaming yet, too. We love the show and some of the work they do is nearly unbelievable.

    CJSF
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    It's not made of fire
    Forget what you've been told in the past
    Electrons are free
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  12. #3792
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    Yeah, I looked up the details and am charmed. I just mean that the owners might theoretically make up a "this belonged to my grandmother" story.
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    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

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  13. #3793
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Winona Ryder’s character is nails on chalkboard annoying.
    Perfect description.

  14. #3794
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    We had a 'B' movie day today and watched "Swing Parade of 1946". You know what sort of movie experience you are going to get when the Monogram Pictures title comes up. The movie starred the fabulously renamed Gale Storm (Josephine Cottle) and Phil Regan, a former NYPD detective whose nickname was "The Singing Cop". It also featured The Three Stooges, including Curly Howard in one of his final outings. There were also a couple of more well known performers doing 'numbers'. One was Connie Boswell with her appearances, as usual, being 'staged' to hide the fact that she was confined to a wheelchair for most of her life. The other was "Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five" who looked like they had dropped in from a completely different movie. But at least he performed his big hit "Caldonia". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCH_n9CTTbA

    The hilarious highlight was the inept choreography and a group of female dancers - being kind. There were a couple who could actually dance but most of them had trouble walking in a straight line. The peak, or nadir, of their appearances was when a number required a forward flip off a raised platform on the stage into a split. One dancer did a very competent attempt by herself. Then another 6 had a go. A couple almost made it but most of them ended up landing on one knee and having to struggle into a, almost, correct position.

    It was an altogether fun hour or so.
    Last edited by ozduck; 2020-Dec-27 at 08:39 AM.

  15. #3795
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    Watched WW84 on HBOMax and was not disappointed. Good concentration on the characters, some call backs (inside jokes) to the first movie, rewarding action scenes that weren't too over the top. It was interesting to see how she's been staying out of the public eye but still fighting crime. Gadot's husband and daughters have cameos toward the end, as does someone else during the end credits.

    Kristen Wiig and Pablo Pascal were very good. Gal Gadot simply owns this role.
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  16. #3796
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    On the other arm of the superhero world, we are watching Marvel 616 on Disney+. It's a documentary series about different aspects of Marvel; 616 is the designation of our universe in the Marvel Multiverse. The first episode is about Japanese Spider-Man. Currently, we're watching an episode about the release of this year's reboot of Iron Man 2020.

    Also on Disney+ is Soul, which we watched yesterday and which I found very moving. The kids liked it, too.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  17. #3797
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Yeah, I looked up the details and am charmed. I just mean that the owners might theoretically make up a "this belonged to my grandmother" story.
    Ah, I see what you mean. Well, it's clear to me that they vet the items and select from multiple requests for restoration. In some segments it is very clear that the people have talked to someone related to the shop or show prior, and that some of the non "resident" workpeople are there specifically to work on that piece by arrangement. That methodology probably would weed out most made up stories, I would think.

    CJSF
    "The sun is a quagmire
    It's not made of fire
    Forget what you've been told in the past
    Electrons are free
    (Plasma!) Fourth state of matter
    Not gas, not liquid, not solid"

    -They Might Be Giants, "Why Does The Sun Really Shine?"


    lonelybirder.org

  18. #3798
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    Death to 2020 (MA) on Netflix. HILARIOUS!

    Line of Duty on Prime is good.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  19. #3799
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    Boy, I am not fond of The Searchers.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  20. #3800
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Boy, I am not fond of The Searchers.
    Nor am I! What the heck was John Wayne expecting when they found the girl?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  21. #3801
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    Line of Duty on Prime is good.
    Oh yes, watched it on Netflix, but I always had to follow it up with something light and silly, so went for Gilmore Girls.

  22. #3802
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    We're watching Season 2 of Yellowstone.

    OrThe Sopranos on horseback.

  23. #3803
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Nor am I! What the heck was John Wayne expecting when they found the girl?
    I get what the movie was going for, but oh, man. And it's not just that it's trying to make a statement about people it doesn't allow to speak.

    Waking Up Before The Kids Theatre continues this morning with the Robert Mitchum/Marilyn Monroe The River of No Return, which so far looks like it's getting moved out of "the kids can't watch it" to "the kids can watch it with us," not that I'm sure the kids will care about that. I think I'm fifteen minutes or so in, and Marilyn's on her third song.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  24. #3804
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    Hunt For The Wilderpeople, directed by Taika Waititi. Grumpy But Likeable Old Guy (Sam Neill) and Troubled But Likeable Teenager (Julian Dennison) end up, via a series of unfortunate events, as the subjects of a massive manhunt through the New Zealand bush country.
    Funny, poignant.
    As the Boon Companion remarked: if she were in charge of TV programming in Scotland, she'd have a channel that showed nothing but back-to-back Repair Shop and Hunt For The Wilderpeople from now until everyone was vaccinated.

    Grant Hutchison

  25. #3805
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    Started to watch another Netflix original series called The OA. After a bit of reading I learned that there was a two-year gap between season 1 and season 2, and then Netflix killed the show - with a cliffhanger ending no less. So for that alone I think we'll pass. Plus the story was slow, muddled and a little too "out there" for our tastes.

    We also just viewed The Professor and the Madman, with Mel Gibson and Sean Penn as James Murray and Dr. William Minor, respectively.I know the film received a lot of critical panning, but we found it quite watchable for the performances of Gibson and Penn. I did not know the story of how the Oxford English Dictionary (sort of) came to be but this telling seemed to follow the major facts. But the film could have used some editing of its own.
    Last edited by schlaugh; 2021-Jan-01 at 07:54 PM.

  26. #3806
    Three-d printing Daleks as security drones what could go wrong.
    Also I knew tea is down fall of civilization, if that lorry driver didn't stop.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
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  27. #3807
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Started to watch another Netflix original series called The OA. After a bit of reading I learned that there was a two-year gap between season 1 and season 2, and then Netflix killed the show - with a cliffhanger ending no less. So for that alone I think we'll pass. Plus the story was slow, muddled and a little too "out there" for our tastes.
    The OA is massively "out there" but I loved the show for it. I think it was airing (both seasons) when that sort of almost surreal disconnect was what we needed. They took that show so far (and without resorting to near pornographic sex or gratuitous blood baths) that I desperately WANTED more, even with the ridiculous season 2 ending! It was wild!

    And it was really good to hate Jason Issacs' character SO MUCH.

    CJSF
    "The sun is a quagmire
    It's not made of fire
    Forget what you've been told in the past
    Electrons are free
    (Plasma!) Fourth state of matter
    Not gas, not liquid, not solid"

    -They Might Be Giants, "Why Does The Sun Really Shine?"


    lonelybirder.org

  28. #3808
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Three-d printing Daleks as security drones what could go wrong.
    Also I knew tea is down fall of civilization, if that lorry driver didn't stop.
    Yes this. Also, any time The Doctor said something terminally threatening or hearkened back to how the Doctor always ends the Daleks, my wife and I would say, "Well, apparently not." They are bad pennies at this point. I get they and the Cybermen are iconic DW antagonists, but enough's enough already, I think.

    And with these large gaps between Who series, I just can't retain plot lines for the life of me. Did they EVER explain the alternate Doctor?

    CJSF
    "The sun is a quagmire
    It's not made of fire
    Forget what you've been told in the past
    Electrons are free
    (Plasma!) Fourth state of matter
    Not gas, not liquid, not solid"

    -They Might Be Giants, "Why Does The Sun Really Shine?"


    lonelybirder.org

  29. #3809
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    And with these large gaps between Who series, I just can't retain plot lines for the life of me. Did they EVER explain the alternate Doctor?

    CJSF
    An explanation would have required the creators to have some idea what it meant themselves!

    The new episode wasn't great, but it was better than the whole previous season.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  30. #3810
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    River of No Return was pretty good.

    I bought Graham the fourth season of Night Court for Yule, which is when the cast finally solidified--they hired a young actress as the cantankerous but funny bailiff after having two old ones die on them--and it mostly holds up. There's one episode, though, where I want them all to have to sit down for a lesson on the legal definition of "consent" and how it cannot be coerced.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

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