Recent Media April 2024 Edition

A few things that found their way in front of my eyeballs of late.

Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters. Apple TV+. I'm as surprised as you are that this was actually rather good as Godzilla things go. Kurt Russell was great in it, Wyatt Russell was also great doing a pretty good impression of his Dad.

Gravity. Yeah, the George Clooney Sandra Bullock movie. First re-watch since I saw it at the movie theater when it first came out. Made all the more entertaining because of a group of young kids shouting profanity down the front (I remember my first beer as well) who got kicked out to rapturous applause. Anyway, yeah this holds up extremely well. Fantastic movie. Perhaps the most George Clooney that ever George Clooney'd? That would probably be Oceans 13 mind.

Life. Because why watch one sci-fi thing, when you could watch two? Hiroyuki Sanada is great, Rebecca Ferguson is great. Ryan Reynolds and Jake Whatshisface were also present. But this movie dear reader, while not getting great reviews, is excellent. I would watch it again right now.

Constellation. Apple TV+. Because why watch two sci-fi things, when… well, you get the idea. Apple TV+, while not having the catalogue of Netflix, has had some fantastic tv shows of late. This one is no exception. An accident on the ISS forces (some/all) of the astronauts to return to Earth. Sort of. Great cinematography, this show looks like a million dollars. I'd love to live in their house in Hamburg. Noomi Rapace is great in this. And grumpy Jonathan Banks is grumpy. "Mamma"…"Alice" when you get to that episode you'll know what I'm talking about. Would like to see a second season.

Stephen King – Billy Summers. This book was a delight. An assassin out for one last job. A coming of age story. And two novels in one cleverly handled. I've been a fan of King's since I was a teenager and always forget what a great story teller he can be.

3 Body Problem. Netflix. What happened was, I'd learned people who read the books weren't impressed by the TV adaptation? And yet the premise sounded great, and the trailer sucked me in. So I went in cold. And it was glorious. To the point where I've now bought the first book in the trilogy and I'm a quarter through it. Fantastic story.

This Is Us. Netflix. My wife and I started watching this on live terrestrial TV when it first came out and kinda forgot about it somewhere around season two ish. So we watched it from the beginning to the end. It gets a lot of flack for being trauma porn & needing to teach a life lesson every episode. But I dunno, as guilty pleasures go, this was pretty good.

Röyksopp – Profound Mysteries III. I've become somewhat obsessed with this album and have played it to death this week. It's playing right now in fact. Give it a listen if you haven't already.


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Spent a bit of time hacking on lastweekly today to rip out Twitter integration. It's been busted since Elon broke the API last year; that and I'm not really that interested in Twitter these days. Slowly replacing all that with WordPress integration so the weekly cron job will now post stats here automagically instead.

It's that time of the year where we get our Olive trees sprayed to prevent the fruit from growing. Dear reader, why would anyone ever do that? The trees look pretty, but the actual olives themselves are a bit of a pain in the ass. They fall on the driveway and if you step on them they stain the concrete and then you walk that lovely olive splatter into the house. Plus they're a Pigeon magnet and no one wants to host a Pigeon party.

Because there are more TV shows to watch than hours left in my life, I decided to add yet one more watching project to the list. As you do. Last night was the start of the big X-Files re-watch extravaganza. All 11 seasons of it. One episode down, 217 left to go!

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Recent Media March 2024 Edition

A few things that found their way in front of my eyeballs of late.

Maggie Moore(s). You know how you're sitting on a plane and being nosy looking at what the bloke in front of you is watching on his screen? I see this movie playing with Tina Fey, John Hamm as a Police Chief, and Nate from Ted Lasso! So I find it and watch it. And it's just a fun black comedy that I loved. Don't be put off by the lukewarm reviews.

Wonka. This was an absolute delight. Timothée Chalamet an excellent choice to play the title character. Fun songs, visually impressive, an all round good time.

Peaky Blinders season one. I might be one of the few left on the planet who hadn't watched this. The Peaky Blinders were a street gang based in Birmingham, England, operating in the early 1900s. Cillian Murphy excellent as head of the family Tommy Shelby. And you can inject Sam Neill's Northern Irish accent into my veins. Six seasons all told, I can't wait to get started on season two.

Beastie Boys Story. Mike D and Ad-Rock on stage in Brooklyn telling the story of the Beastie Boys. As a huge fan I loved every second of this. I learned a lot about their early years as a hardcore band before taking a chance with rap. How the band evolved from the Fight For Your Right years is an impressive tale. They're both so engaging, I could have listened to them all night. Of course it prompted a Beastie Boys listen fest.

Poor Things. I don't remember ever walking out of a theater going what the hell did we just watch?, but in a very good way. Give all the awards to Emma Stone who is truly excellent in this movie. A visual masterpiece, the cinematography is breathtaking. If you kinda squint it's a retelling of Frankenstein's Monster maybe. Every scene has something to make you feel just a little uncomfortable. 10/10 bravo.

The Creator. Set in a future with AI and robots. Except the robots are kinda human and drink tea and smoke, and stuff. AI is outlawed in the US after a nuclear bomb drops on LA. So all the AI'ing happens in Asia. Where the US is just allowed to bomb all the time because AI bad. The locations are superb, and the special effects are second to none. It's a fun ride if at times it doesn't make lot of sense.

Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster. I'd watched A Year And A Half In The Life… back in the early 90s on VHS documenting the making of the Black album. Completely missed their second foray into similar territory in 2004. Fascinating look behind the scenes of Jason Newstead leaving, James Hetfield going into rehab for almost a year, and their subsequent hiring of Robert Trujillo. I've had an on and off relationship with Metallica over the years, but I'm a sucker for any and all behind the scenes documentaries about bands in general. This one is great.


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Recent Media January 2024 Edition

It's been a while since I've done one of these media catch ups. So why not write the first one of 2024.

Shrinking. Apple TV+. Created by Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein of Ted Lasso fame. Jason Segel plays a grieving therapist who decides to become drastically more involved in his patients' lives. Harrison Ford plays his boss. This show is an absolute delight.

Silo. Also Apple TV+. Set in a dystopian future where people live underground in a huge silo. No one knows why they can't go outside, no one knows how long the Silo has been there. Or do they? Everything about this is so right up my alley. Rebecca Ferguson and Tim Robbins are just great in this.

Wool – Hugh Howey. What happened was, I loved Silo so much that I couldn't wait. Season one ended amid the writer's strike; no telling when a second season would come out. I decided to read Hugh Howey's original trilogy of books and my mind is blown. Wool is the first in the series and different than the TV show in subtle ways. Season one only covers half of book one. There's just so much more to it. Highly recommended.

• The Bourne Movies. Even the one with Jeremy Renner, which is more Bourne adjacent than anything. In all honesty, they're just an excuse to make the same movie over and over. A leak of secret CIA programs. Bourne remembers more about his past. An asset is dispatched in a failed attempt to kill Bourne. Obligatory chase scene or two around a European city. The CIA chief ends up dead or in an oversight committee/jail. And queue Moby Extreme Ways music at the end. They're all entertaining in their own way.

The Deer Hunter. A De Niro classic I'd never seen before. It's long. It's intense. You're probably going to want to do something fun after watching it. But it's really good. What a cast. Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken were both so good.

The German Wife – Kelly Rimmer. Inspired by Operation Paperclip, an enthralling tale of life in Nazi Germany, rocket science, and family dynamics. The author skillfully moves back and forth between the rise of the Third Reich and 1950s USA where the Germans are helping win the space race.

Heat. Arguably the best heist movie of all time. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer all excellent. The score is wonderful with some delightful synth fills.

Slow Horses Season Three. Score one more for Apple TV+, who have been one of the more consistent streaming services of late. The third season of Slow Horses is great. Set in London, a band of MI5 outcasts under the supervision of their obnoxious and jaded boss Jackson Lamb, save the day. Gary Oldman was born to play that role and deserves all the awards. This might be my favorite of the Apple TV+ shows of the last few months.

The Fall Of The House Of Usher. Netflix. Inspired by various Edgar Allen Poe works, Mike Flanagan's latest mini-series hits all the right spots. Bruce Greenwood, Mary McDonnell, and Mark Hamill all great. Not quite as good as The Haunting Of Hill House or Midnight Mass, but still highly recommended.

• As for music, so far this year I've been slightly obsessed with all things Shoegaze. Slowdive, Ride, and Magic Wands all in my ears regularly. And then just this week, out of nowhere, A Flock Of Seagulls' song randomly played from my liked songs playlist. So for the past few days I've been listening to their first three albums. They get a bit of stick and are certainly not exactly very cool, but their back catalogue is great. Very underrated.


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Consciousness Catch-up

Things that should have been Tweets, yet weren't, but stayed in my head nonetheless.

• Man those early Simple Minds albums are so good. Sons And Fascination and Sister Feelings Call just sublime.

• Apple TV+ has some pretty great shows you should watch. Severance, The Shrink Next Door, Ted Lasso, Silo, Foundation, The Essex Serpent, Slow Horses, Shrinking.

• A round up of other TV shows worth your time. The Peripheral, Wednesday, 1899, The Last Of Us, Black Sails, Beef, Hunters, Outer Range, From, Night Sky.

• I'm suffering from Marvel fatigue. It's the only thing I can think of why all of a sudden the thought of watching the TV shows or movies makes me go meh. I might be missing out on some gems by not watching anything since Loki. But I just can't bring myself to watch them.

• I found my old Dr Martens boots the other day. Nostalgia of the olden goth years. I mean, I still have a thousand black t-shirts, that's never changing but they're the grown up ones.

• After trying both Mastodon and Bluesky, I keep getting drawn back to Twitter. A cesspool of a service undoubtedly made worse by Musk certainly, but everyone I like following is still there. And lo, you go (or stay) where the people are.

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Season Three, How's That Going?

Star Trek Picard and The Mandalorian have entered their third season. How's that going for them so far?

Up to this point, the previous seasons of Star Trek Picard have been…fine. The show as a whole meandered a bit, and I'm not sure quite figured out what it was trying to be. But I still enjoyed it because, well, Patrick Stewart and Jeri Ryan, come on. Season three though is a different beast entirely. They've gone full on TNG nostalgia and I'm here for it! Every single episode has been great and I'm really really glad they finally figured this show out. It was The Next Generation all along.

The Mandalorian, however, has been quite the surprise. When they nailed the landing at the end of the second season I thought Favreau and Filoni could do no wrong. Then came the hot mess that was The Book Of Boba Fett. Made even more bonkers when it turned into The Mandalorian season 2.5 because reasons. Made even more bonkers because you had to have watched this lessor show for The Mandalorian season three to make sense. And we're now half way through said season and I still don't really have any idea what the goal is. The episodes haven't been great, the writing poor, and in places just outright silly. It feels very rushed like Disney just said "I don't care it isn't very good, just get it out there, we have more toys to sell".

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Recent Media Lost Edition

And so began the not insignificant time sink binge re-watch of the entire six seasons of Lost.

Arguably where the era of prestige TV began. Arguably one of the best TV shows of all time. It's been hovering around my own personal top three since it ended in 2010. Mind blowing to spend six years on the once a week release of a story that captured the internet of the era. So many fan theories on message forums and it was just so fun to trade ideas and have people point out easter eggs in scenes.

Look, here's a still capture of that Shark with the Dharma logo on it – what does it all mean wtfomgbbq!!!

So how did it hold up on a binge watch? Let's just say Lost has cemented itself as my favorite TV show of all time hands down. I did wonder how it would feel knowing the plot twists in advance. And it was ok. I must say though I do envy anyone watching this for the first time. You're going "wait, did Kate know Jack before the Island? I'm so confused." followed by the record needle scratch of Jack going "we have to go back" (mind explodes).

What I realized this time around was that even though they didn't (couldn't) answer every possible fan question, they still did a pretty damned good job. But the real thing that stood out on a binge was that Mystery Island wasn't even important at the end of the day. What really mattered were the characters, their stories, their interaction. This show has some of the best well written characters of any show I've watched and I just love them all. Locke, Sawyer, Kate, Jack, Desmond, Ben.

You know you've watched something special when you've got that sinking feeling of no more episodes. I can't recommend this enough. If you're one of the few people left on the planet who hasn't watched it, go do that immediately.

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Media I've Not Liked So Much July 2022 Edition

The other week I mentioned a series of three catch up posts of TV watched of late that I've loved, liked, and … not liked so much.

This is the third in that series. The ones I wasn't quite as enamored with. Disappointed even? You may have liked some of these, and I don't mean to yuck all over your yum, they just weren't all that satisfying.

Also, here be possible spoilers. So, SPOILER ALERT.

Invasion. The trailer for this alien invasion survival story on Apple TV+ looked fantastic. Sam Neill is in it! And he was in it for exactly the first episode. And we never return back to any of the characters/setting and it's never mentioned again. Ok, interesting choice, but maybe the rest of the season bears fruit? It does not. Meandering plot, unlikable characters, lackluster dialogue, huge budget that was spent where exactly? For a show that promised much, it didn't deliver. I don't think I'll be watching season two.

The Book Of Boba Fett. I mean, they can't all be "the best star wars tv show ever" can they? And this proves that rule. What a confusing season this was. In Star Wars fandom, Boba Fett is quite the cult figure. Over the years we've heard rumors of a standalone movie but nothing ever happened. His surprise re-introduction to the Star Wars Universe in The Mandalorian was pretty great. So when they announced he was getting his own show I thought we had another winner on our hands. But… the way his character was written, crime boss who needs to protect "his people". But there wasn't a lot of crime, or bossing, or any real explanation of his motives or why they're his people. And nothing really happens. And then the show morphed into a couple episodes of The Mandalorian season three because reasons. And at least those were good. Quite why "here, let us remind you of a vastly better show" seemed like a good idea to the showrunners I've no idea.

Star Trek Discovery. I really liked the first two seasons. Modern Star Trek, with a large budget, Jason Isaacs! Then Anson Mount and Ethan Peck. Great stuff. Then season three happened and there was just something about it that wasn't working for me. And then in the end, well, the "big bad" and explanation for everything was a bit of a let down let's be honest. Maybe season four will be better? I got maybe 2 episodes in before deciding this really wasn't my cup of tea.

(Speaking of Anson Mount and Ethan Peck, what is my cup of tea is Star Trek Strange New Worlds which was utterly fantastic – more on that in another post)

Star Trek Picard. So in season one they got the band back together. Sort of. And of course there was lots of nostalgia here. Patrick Stewart I could watch for days on end, in fact just let him read the phone book (kids, ask your parents what that is). Jeri Ryan also great, because well, Jeri Ryan. Was super excited about season two. And it started with promise, Q, the Borg Queen, Brent Spiner. But somewhere in the middle it meandered and never quite got back on track. Next year's season three I see they really are getting the full band back together, so of course I'll watch it.

Fear The Walking Dead. A show with lots of promise at the beginning. The Walking Dead but let's see more of the actual collapse of society at the start of the apocalypse. And it delivered. In fact it delivered for three seasons. Season three perhaps up there with the best Walking Dead content. Then they threw the baby out with the bathwater. And what has happened for the next four seasons is quite the roller-coaster ride of quality. I stuck with it because lots of time invested in The Walking Dead universe – and I want to see how it all ends. Season seven of this show has proven to be the breaking point though, I couldn't even get through it. Terrible writing, what appears to be a huge drop in budget, terrible effects and poor sets. What a shame.

Other posts in this series:

Part one: Media I've Loved July 2022 Edition
Part two: Media I've Liked July 2022 Edition

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Media I've Liked July 2022 Edition

The other week I mentioned a series of three catch up posts of TV watched of late that I've loved, liked, and … not liked so much.

This is the second in that series, the liked post. Shows certainly worth your time if you need something new to watch.

Foundation. I read the Asimov books when I was young and don't remember a lot about them if I'm honest. So went into this show with no expectations and turned out it's a pretty good sci-fi tale. I've since read they pretty much ignored the books and made their own thing. The Empire plot by far the more interesting, Lee Pace should just be in everything.

Hawkeye. After being very pleasantly surprised by how good Wandavision and Loki turned out, I was optimistic about the third Marvel live action TV show. Now, if you'd asked me watching The Avengers movies if I wanted to see more standalone Clint Barton content, I wouldn't have necessarily said yes. But this was a lot of fun. Hailee Steinfeld and Alaqua Cox were both great in this. And bonus Christmas Island by Depeche Mode!

After Life. I follow Ricky Gervais on Twitter so had heard about this show, but it wasn't until earlier this year that my wife and I decided to watch it one evening. We were hooked instantly. Superb writing – how a sad subject can be made both heartwarming and hilarious was a master stroke.

Obi-Wan Kenobi. Hello there. This was really good. A little meandering in the middle but, as they say, they stuck the landing. Spoiler alert: relieved it wasn't all set on Tattooine – to be honest I don't really need to see that planet ever again (there are other planets Lucasfilm).

Vigil. Heard this one recommended on a podcast and thought a murder mystery set in Scotland on a British Nuclear Submarine sounded interesting. And it was excellent.

Other posts in this series:

Part one: Media I've Loved July 2022 Edition
Part three: Media I've Not Liked So Much July 2022 Edition

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Media I've Loved July 2022 Edition

I'm really behind on posting these "hey I watched a thing" posts. So to catch up, this is the first in a series of three posts: TV watched of late that I've loved, liked, and … not liked so much.

This is the loved post. And I'd have to say the following are right up there in my list of the top ten best TV shows I've ever watched. If you haven't seen these, please do so immediately. Recommendations of the highest order.

Station Eleven. Post apocalyptic series unlike anything I was expecting. Heartwarming tale of the future. Standout performances from Mackenzie Davis and Hamish Patel. Wonderful cinematography and the whole thing looked so beautiful. The whole series was so well written, and just storytelling at its finest. The choice of Your Sweet Love by Lee Hazelwood to accompany such a sad scene in episode two worked perfectly.

Mr Robot. Hello friend. Everyone and their brother has already watched this show from 2015. But for me it was the revelation of 2022. I finished season four a couple days ago and I'm still processing it. A wonderfully accurate hacker series for one – actual real Unix here, real commands, great attention to detail. A story of sibling kinship, mental illness, and tragedy. The whole show has the best soundtrack from the synth score to all the individual songs added for great effect. How they incorporated World Destruction by Time Zone into an episode title sequence was so good. Carly Chaikin, Christian Slater, and Rami Malek are great.

The Leftovers. Not really post apocalypse per-se, but what happens when 2% of the global population just disappears? How to the titular leftovers deal with that? I love TV shows that answer questions I didn't even know I had. Tell a different story than expected. And this is that show. Great cast of Christopher Eccleston, Scott Glenn, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman. Damon Lindelof has created a masterpiece of television here. Up there with his work on Lost.

Other posts in this series:

Part two: Media I've Liked July 2022 Edition
Part three: Media I've Not Liked So Much July 2022 Edition

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