Heartbreak! I lost a post

I knew my general lack of technical expertise would catch up to me and it just happened as I lost a morning’s worth of blog writing.  I will try to recap, but I sadly assumed my work had been saved as I navigated through the site.  Fingers crossed this time.  Here’s a brief recap of my first attempt to give you some recommendations for the week:

 

On the Big Screen

Thor: Ragnarok I did enjoy this film even though it suffered from CGI bloat.  Despite interminable battle scenes, there is still much humour in this film.  Directed by Taika Waititi, a New Zealand director previously responsible for the delightful What we Do in the Shadows (vampire film parody) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (coming of age/buddy film), Waititi has a cameo role in this film as the voice of Korg.  He steals every scene he’s in. Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth also deliver very fine comic performances.

HBO

War Dog This touching documentary recounts the stories of the K9s specifically trained for Special Ops.  The unbreakable bond between their handlers and the dogs is very poignantly retold.

A United Kingdom This touching film tells the story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his loving but controversial marriage to a British white woman, Ruth Williams put his kingdom into political and diplomatic upheaval.  Very timely, as Mugabe’s stranglehold over neighbouring Zimbabwe finally comes to an end after 40 years of dictatorship.

Netflix

Mudbound  This is a very gritty portrayal of the return of two servicemen to rural Mississippi after WWII.  The film doesn’t shrink from a very stark portrait of racism and takes a very violent turn at the end.  Coincidentally, my favourite film of all time, The Best Years of our Lives (1946) deals with very similar subject matter in a much more sentimental way, complete with Hollywood happy ending.

The Punisher This is the latest in the Marvel franchise that includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.  This revenge fantasy is unrelentingly violent in the first three episodes that I watched.  As the season is 13 episodes long, I fear it is a real example of Netflix bloat where long form storytelling unnecessarily draws out a story so that it becomes tedious.

Showtime

SMILF I totally enjoyed this new series about a single mom trying to survive.  It reminded me of The Florida Project, another look at a single mom on the margins.  Frankie, the lead character, is incredibly complex.  She’s bright enough to tutor a Harvard University entrant, yet has a difficult relationship with her mentally unstable mom (played fearlessly by Rosie O’Donnell) and a somewhat loving relationship with her ex.

Here’s what John Doyle had to say in the Globe and Mail:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/smilf-a-small-intimate-show-and-typical-of-top-tv-right-now/article36947806/

 

HULU and Superchannel in Canada

Chance This is the latest series from Hugh Laurie (House).  Here he plays a forensic neuro-psychiatrist on the trail of a serial killer.  Great suspense!

Parting Words

I have departed from my usual format this week so if you want to see some of my usual recommendations, have a look through my archives.  It is US Thanksgiving this week, so I’m going on a bit of a holiday and shortening this post.  So sad that I lost my first attempt.  It’s time to kick back and watch my weekly moment of Zen:  CBS Sunday Morning.  It’s my moment of calm in an otherwise turbulent world.  Enjoy your week wherever you are!!

 

 

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Netflix made me do it…

 

Gorgeous weather here has beckoned, and I actually spent a glorious morning birdwatching with a naturalist and several neighbours as we drove golf carts around our course and spotted many varieties of birds. In the meantime when I wasn’t glued to Netflix watching the fabulous Australian series Wanted, I did manage to catch up with a few series and films.  Here are some suggestions for you:

The Big Screen

The Florida Project is a small independent film with only 1 professional actor in it.  Willem Dafoe plays Bobby, the manager of a welfare motel in Orlando, Florida. Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadow of Disney World.  The film is poignant in its depiction of life lived on the margins of the American Dream and the Magical Kingdom. The children’s performances are truly magical.

 

Netflix

Wanted is a fast paced Australian suspense series about two strangers who become prime suspects in a murder.  I loved this series for the wonderful performances from the two lead actresses, the Aussie locations, and the incredible suspense that builds as the two characters are relentlessly pursued by both good and bad guys.  I watched the first 6 episodes in 1 day and was delighted to see that the second season is already available on Netflix.  Damn you Netflix, I just can’t quit you!

Streaming

The Hatton Garden Job is a small British caper film based on the true story of the 2015 burglary of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company by 4 elderly men.  The total stolen was valued at 200 million British pounds and has been called the “largest burglary in English legal history.”   I actually watched it for its stars Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey), Stephen Moyer (True Blood) and Joely Richardson and then was charmed by its cast of British character actors who played the elderly thieves.
Berlin Station continues its tales of espionage in the new cold war.  Great performances from Ashley Judd, Richard Armitage, Richard Jenkins, Rhys Iffans, etc.  If you are missing Homeland, this is a good alternative.
Good Behaviour stars Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey)  as Letty Raines, a thief and con artist whose life is always one wrong turn, one bad decision from implosion.  She hooks up with a charming paid assassin and the thrill ride continues in Season Two of this very entertaining suspense series.
Outlander is truly the most romantic series ever made for TV as an English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743.  Season 3 continues to enchant as we follow the story of the two star-crossed lovers through time.  I usually hate the time travel genre, but I have made an exception for this marvellous epic romance.
Chance stars Hugh Laurie (House) as a forensic neuropsychiatrist who reluctantly enters a dangerous and violent world of mistaken identity, police corruption and mental illness. This second season follows the story of a serial killer who is pursued by Chance.

Star Trek: Discovery is the latest reboot of this perennial favourite sci-fi series.  Starring Jason Isaacs as the latest Captain, the series takes place ten years before Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise, as the USS Discovery discovers new worlds and lifeforms and as one Starfleet officer learns to understand all things alien.

 

ABC

The Good Doctor is about Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and Savant syndrome, who is recruited into the paediatric surgical unit of a prestigious hospital.  From the team that created House, this series has actually become a huge hit, and people are intrigued by the main character’s journey.  I resisted watching this one (because honestly, I can’t possibly watch everything worth watching on TV) and it has been the breakout show of this season), however, I am now hooked.
Designated Survivor started out with the intriguing premise of what could happen when everyone in line for the Presidency is wiped out by a terrorist attack and a nebbishy cabinet secretary played by Kiefer Sutherland ascends to the presidency.  The plot lines often veer towards ludicrousness, but I can’t stop watching.

NBC

The Brave is a total guilty pleasure show about good guys confronting bad guys as a special operations unit stages rescues and interventions around the globe.

This is Us I resisted watching this during Season 1, and then relented for Season 2, since it was the breakout hit show of last season and I had to see what the fuss was all about.  Although, I still find it maudlin and overly sentimental, I’m not giving up until I find out how the Dad died.

CBS

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert continues to amuse with Colbert’s humorous take on the news of the day.

FX

Better Things is a raw and poignant series about a single mother trying to survive in LA.  Starring Pamela Adlon, hitherto known for her work with Louis CK.  As a result of his recent notoriety, Adlon has received an unwanted amount of attention for her relationship with him.

FXX

You’re the Worst is a sitcom which enters on two toxic, self-destructive people who fall in love and attempt a relationship.  Now in its fourth season, the series hasn’t maintained the quality it started out with and is actually quite cringeworthy for the most part, but I have to see how this relationship ends.

 

HBO

Real Time with Bill Maher and  Last Week Tonight with John Oliver both continue to amaze me with their satirical comedy on current events.
Tracy Ullman’s Show showcases her amazing skills as a mimic.  Her Judi Dench alone is worth watching for.

 

AMC

The Walking Dead is still on the air in its 8th season.  Who knew you could watch Zombies attack the living for this long?  Same old, same old.  I can’t look away.

The CW

Riverdale,  Dynasty, and Arrow are all pretty silly (especially the lame reboot of Dynasty from the 80’s) but they are awfully entertaining.  I know they are shows for teenagers to watch, but they fascinate me all the same.

National Geographic

The Long Road Home is a new miniseries about American forces occupying Iraq who are ambushed in a Baghdad neighbourhood.  I have recorded the first episode and will watch a few episodes together once I summon the stamina to watch a series about this terrible endless war.

USA

Damnation I actually really enjoyed the first episode of this epic saga about the secret history of the 1930’s American heartland.  It centers on the mythic conflict and bloody struggle between big money and the downtrodden.

Starz

The Girlfriend Experience Our journey into the dark side of the escort business continues as the series now divides itself in two with two separate 1/2 hour storylines each airing. In one story, Erica Myles, the finance director at Right to Action, a Republican super PAC, enlists the help of an escort, Anna Garner, in an attempt to gain access to a secret, dark money donor network.  In the second storyline, Bria Jones a former escort, enters the witness protection program in order to escape an abusive relationship. When she is relocated to a small tow in New Mexico, she finds the escort world beckoning her once again.

PBS

Durrell’s in CorfuPoldark, and The Collection make up the PBS Sunday Night Masterpiece Theatre program. Delightful and soothing.  Period costumes and British accents, who could ask for anything more.

Fox

The Orville is a tremendously entertaining Star Trek parody from Seth MacFarlane.
The Gifted comes to us from Marvel’s Universe. Starring Stephen Moyer (from True Blood), it takes place in a world where gutted humans are treated with distrust and fear, where an institute for mutants battles to achieve peaceful co-existence with humanity.
Gotham, now in its 4th season, tells the story behind Detective James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman’s arrival.  Campy and kitschy, this show is not for everyone, but I love its over the top performances and crazy plot lines.

Comedy Central/Channel

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is a very funny take on today’s news.

The Jim Jeffries Show is a delightful take on today’s news. As an Aussie, he takes a very sanguine view of today’s headlines.

 

TBS

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is a fearless satirical take on today’s news.

Current Events

CBS Sunday Morning is my Sunday morning alternative to Church worship.
The show takes a relaxed approach to human interest stories and celebrity profiles.  My moment of Zen.
Fareed Zakariah GPS takes a very measured approach to explaining world events.

Parting Words

There are some new shows coming up this November and I will write about them next week.  Until then, get outside and enjoy the weather if it’s wonderful where you are, and if not, stay in, stay warm and enjoy the pleasures of the winter season.

Bingeworthy shows continue…

 

It’s been a busy week as some of my regular activities (golf, Book Group, fitness) have started up and  I’ve also been catching up on some shows I’ve been meaning to watch.  I’ve watched so many of these programs on demand, that I’m henceforth leaving specific time slots for you to track down. Our cable system Comcast Xfinity in Florida includes a voice activated feature that allows you to search for your program simply by naming the show you wish to watch, so it has enabled me to watch whatever I’m interested in very easily. Here are some recommendations:

 

HBO

Spielberg is a wonderful documentary made for HBO.  I can’t recommend it highly enough if you are interested in the evolution of this extraordinary filmmaker .
Real Time with Bill Maher continues every Friday night with new shows in which Maher’s panels deal with today’s political realities.
Last Week tonight with John Oliver on Sunday nights continues to try to elucidate and educate on current events.

Tracy Ullman does hilarious impersonations of celebrities and running characters she has created herself on Friday nights following Bill Maher.

 

Streaming

Star Trek: Discovery takes place ten years before Kirk, Spock and The Enterprise.  The USS Discovery discovers new worlds and lifeforms as one Starfleet officer learns to understand all things alien.  Fabulous cast includes Sonequa Martin-Green (from The Walking Dead), Jason Isaacs, and Anthony Rapp (the actor who has accused Kevin Spacey of assaulting him when he was 14).

Chance (Season 2) is a suspense series that stars Hugh Laurie (House) as a forensic neuro-psychiatrist who reluctantly enters a dangerous and violent world of mistaken identity, police corruption and mental illness.

Berlin Station is a murky espionage drama set in Berlin with a fabulous ensemble cast that features Richard Jenkins, Richard Armitage, Rhys Ifans, etc.
Good Behaviour is a fabulously entertaining suspense series featuring Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary from Downton Abbey) where she plays a reformed grifter trying to raise her son.
Outlander is still the most romantic show on TV.
The Infiltrator is a Bryan Cranston film about infiltrating the financial system that underwrote the Pablo Escobar cartel.
Thor and Thor: The Dark World, and The Avengers: The age of Ultron are all films I have been trying to catch up on before subjecting myself to the latest in the series, Thor: Ragnarok (now in theatres).  Full disclosure, I loved Thor, have set up Thor: The Dark World to record today, and gave up on The Avengers… after about 10 minutes. The latest instalment is directed by the same New Zealand director (Taika Waititi) who did The Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What we do in the Shadows, so like those two previous films, Ragnarok is apparently filled with sly humour and has had marvellous reviews.

Netflix

The Centre Will Not Hold is a documentary bio-pic about the life of writer Joan Didion.  It is touching and sad and recreates a literary world that we only dimly remember now. It’s directed with great affection by her nephew, Griffin Dunne.
Alias Grace (like the marvellous Anne of Green Gables) is a CBC production that is now available on US Netflix.  The second Margaret Atwood adaptation of this year (after The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu), it is a dark, murky and very disturbing murder mystery.
Mascots is a silly mockumentary made for Netflix about the furry creatures who support various teams.  Great cast which includes Chris O’Dowd, Zach Woods (from Silicon Valley), Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins and many other comic actors.

YouTube

An Open Secret is a documentary from 2014 that is an investigation into accusations of teenagers being sexually abused within the film industry.  In light of the Kevin Spacey revelations, this film has achieved a second life on YouTube after sinking from view when originally released.  It’s a terrific film and will open your eyes to this troubling problem. Directed by Oscar nominated Amy Berg (Deliver us from Evil  about sex abuse in the Catholic Church, West of Memphis, Janis: Little Girl Blue), the film exposes Bryan Singer (X-Men director) among many other Hollywood pedophiles preying on child actors.  Berg had great difficulty finding a distributor for this controversial film when it was initially made.  Hopefully, it will find a new audience today.

PBS

The Sunday evening offerings of Masterpiece Theatre include the following British productions:
Durrells in Corfu (Season 2) is a delightful escape to a simpler time as a family of British eccentrics tries to live cheaply in Greece after WWII.
Poldark (Season 3) tells the romantic story of this adventurer in Cornwall after the American Revolutionary War.
The Collection is a gripping family drama and entrepreneurial fable, set in a post-war Paris fashion house.  It exposes the grit behind the glamour of a rising business, spearheaded by two clashing brothers.

Fox

The Orville (an affectionate Star Trek parody created by and starring Seth MacFarlane) follows the crew of the not-so-functional exploratory ship in the Earth’s interstellar fleet, 400 years in the future.
The Gifted takes place in a world where mutated humans are treated with distrust and fear.  An institute for mutants battles to achieve peaceful co-existence with humanity. Stars Stephen Moyer (True Blood) and Amy Acker (Person of Interest).

AMC

The Walking Dead is now in its 8th season of harrowing escapes and crushed dreams. Sherriff Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is still leading a group of survivors to stay alive.

NBC

This is Us follows a unique ensemble, as their paths cross and their life stories intertwine, from sharing the same birthday, to so much more than anyone would expect. As this was the breakout hit of last year, I have caught up with this season, but I do find it a bit maudlin and sentimental for me.

Saturday Night Live continues to try and make us laugh at the pop culture and current events of our times.

ABC

The Good Doctor is the breakout hit of this season, so I have caught up with it by  bingewatching it on demand.  From the same production team as House (starring Hugh Laurie as a master diagnostician with no interpersonal skills), it is not dissimilar in its plotlines which are driven by diagnoses of mysterious ailments.  The big difference is that its star is played by Freddie Highmore, who plays Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and Savant syndrome who is recruited into the surgical unit of a prestigious hospital.

CBS

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert provides political humour nightly.

CBS News Sunday Morning (hosted by Jane Pauley) does personal interest pieces including interviews and profiles of actors, political figures, athletes, musicians, etc.  I find it fascinating and inspiring.  The perfect way to spend your Sunday mornings.  An antidote to most of the negativity of our times.

 

The CW

Arrow (Season 6) stars Canadian hunk Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, a spoiled billionaire (& mayor!) by day, and a superhero by night.  Guilty pleasure to the max!

Comedy

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah provides nightly political satire.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (available on TBS in the US) provides political satire every Wednesday night.
The Jim Jeffries Show provides political satire on Tuesday nights.
The President Show stars a Donald Trump impersonator with his own talk show and provides political satire on Thursday nights.

Parting Words

It’s another glorious day in Southwest Florida.  I have signed myself up for a birdwatching expedition later this week, so fingers crossed that our weather stays dry and sunny.  We are playing golf this afternoon and dining with friends after.  Enjoy this wonderful day wherever you are!

Back in Paradise…

We had a very smooth trip down to Naples this past week.  We spent a night in Beckley, WV and then another night in charming Jekyll Island, GA.  No huge accidents or construction or weather delays.  Naples is a little more debris strewn than we anticipated, but our own property damage (mostly to our pool lanai screens and to three trees on our property) is mostly cleaned up.  I didn’t get to watch much TV this past week, but I have been making up by binge watching 9 hours of Stranger Things 2 on Netflix, so here are some recommendations:

On the Big Screen at the Naples Film Festival

The Fabulous Allan Carr is a sweetly sad documentary about the Hollywood producer who had stars in his eyes and dreamed of being a megaproducer in Hollywood from his early days as kid in Chicago.  A fascinating and heartbreaking tale of behind the scenes showbiz.

The Divine Order is a touching film from Switzerland that tells the story of a young housewife who challenges the status quo by fighting for women’s suffrage in 1971 Switzerland.  A must see film for anyone who doesn’t value the right to vote and how hard this struggle has been to win.  It’s a very engaging film with wonderful performances from an ensemble cast.  There’s a hilarious consciousness raising scene where an entire room full of women have their first experiences gazing at their own vaginas for the first time.

Netflix

Stranger Things 2 is a mesmerizing, thrill ride into the joys and sorrows of early adolescence.  The whole crew is back with some new additions to the cast.  Notably Sean Astin as Bob (a beau for Joyce), and Max and Billy (our new human villain).  The kids are growing up and they are so perfectly cast in their roles that you can’t help falling in love with them. If you haven’t had a chance to watch Season 1 yet, you must see it before watching Season 2.  I love this series for its affectionate tributes to landmark films of the 70’s and 80’s.

Riverdale (also on the CW) is a delightfully dark adaptation of the Archie comics.
Dynasty (also on the CW) is a silly politically correct update of the classic 80’s series.

Streaming

Chance is an intriguing suspense series about a forensic psychiatrist starring Hugh Laurie.
Star Trek Discovery is a fabulous prequel to the original series.
Outlander (also available on Starz US and W Canada) is back for Season 3 and is as romantic as ever.
Good Behaviour (also available on TNT US and W Canada) is a fabulous vehicle for Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary from Downton Abbey) as a drug addicted con woman who has hooked up with an Argentinean hitman.  I love this series which is now in its second season.

CBC

Alias Grace is about to debut on US Netflix, so I am keen to continue watching it.

CTV

The Disappearance is a terrific Canadian miniseries that I haven’t found yet in the US.  I will be looking to stream it via the internet. It’s about the abduction of a 10-year-old boy.

The CW

Arrow is a sheer guilty pleasure show for me which features hunky Canadian actor Stephen Amell.

PBS

The Durrell’s in Corfu (Season 2) is a lovable series about an eccentric British family trying to live cheaply on the Greek island after WWII.  Delightful!
Poldark is an epic adventure series set in Cornwall in the 18th Century.
The Collection is a touch odd series about post WWII France and the fashion industry.  Strangely, most French characters speak with British accents.

NBC

Chicago Fire is another guilty pleasure show built around hunky firemen.
The Brave is another guilty pleasure show built around hunky special forces officers.
Saturday Night Live continues to find humour in current events.

FX

You’re the Worst is a very dark relationship comedy about LA misfits.

FXX

Better Things is a bittersweet comedy about an LA single mom.

Fox

Gotham is a dark and campy prequel to Batman.

HBO

Ray Donovan is a wonderfully dark tale of a Hollywood fixer.

ABC

10 Days in the Valley is a dark tale of the underside of Hollywood built around a child abduction.

Comic Relief

Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Jim Jeffries, and The President Show all try to make us laugh at today’s events on a regular basis.

Audible.com

We listened to The Girl in the Red Coat (by Kate Hamer) during our drive down to Florida. Dark and harrowing, this tale of child abduction has two narrators: the mother and the child who is abducted.  The audiobook is marvellously narrated but I must confess the last chapters were endless.  I found it incredibly draining and wanted it to be over.  I feel overwhelmed by stories of child abductions lately:  The Disappearance, 10 Days in the Valley, The Five, etc. have all been televised recently.  Perhaps I just need a break from this type of story.  Read at your own risk, but I was exhausted by it.

Closing Words

Today we planted our garden, tomorrow George’s golf games begin, Tuesday is the beginning of my ladies’ day golfing, Mahjong will begin on Wednesdays,  Book Club meets again this Thursday, and our Fitness Centre classes will be up and running on Nov. 1 (the roof of the gym is currently being repaired post-Irma).  The weather has been mostly glorious (full disclosure, we actually had a very short-lived tropical storm linger over Naples yesterday) so there is much motivation to actually get outside and enjoy the sunshine. In the meantime, enjoy the fall weather wherever you are.  Safe travels to all our friends who are in various stages of preparing to visit the Sunbelt.

 

On the Road Again…

We are packed and ready for our road trip to Florida tomorrow morning.  We will stop overnight in Beckley, WV and Jekyll Island, Georgia.  We won’t be watching much TV while on the road, but here are a few recommendations in the meantime:

 

Netflix

Riverdale is a darkly irreverent update of the classic comic with lots of murder and sex thrown in.
Dynasty is a silly politically  correct update of the classic 80’s series.
The Five is a British mumble core interminably drawn out 10 part miniseries about a child disappearance.

Streaming

Berlin Station intrigues us with espionage.  Great cast features Richard Armitage, Richard Jenkins, Ashley Judd, Rhys Ifans, etc.

Chance is in Season 2 of this intriguing Hugh Laurie suspense series.
Star Trek Discovery is a fabulous prequel to the original series starring the wonderful Jason Isaac.

Transparent is a bittersweet series in its 4th season following the lives of the comically dysfunctional Pfefferman family and their transgendered patriarch.

ABC

Designated Survivor is a silly suspense series starring Kiefer Sutherland.  I don’t know why I can’t look away from this ludicrous show.

 

CBC

Alias Grace is darkly elegant and murky in this adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel.
Kim’s Convenience is delightful and affectionate in its portrait of a Korean family, their convenience store and the neighbourhood it serves.

 

CTV

The Disappearance is yet another dark and disturbing tale of a child disappearance.
Arrow is a delightful yet wacky superhero show starring hunky Canadian actor Stephen Amell.

PBS

Poldark is a rollicking epic about a headstrong adventure in 18th C. Cornwall.  Period costumes and British accents!  Heavenly.
The Collection is a bit odd in its evocation of post-war Paris.  Everyone seems to speak with a British accent!

 

NBC

Chicago Fire has an awfully hunky cast of firefighters. So simple minded, yet so comforting.
The Brave is one of several series that debuted this season featuring special operations forces rescuing people in jeopardy all around the world.
Saturday Night Live continues to entertain us after all these years.

FX

You’re the Worst is a very dark relationship comedy set in LA.

FXX

Better Things is a very dark family comedy set in LA.

Fox

Gotham is a darkly campy suspense series set in Gotham.

HBO

Ray Donovan is a dark drama about a Hollywood fixer.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver features delightful political satire.

Tracey Ullman’s Show is delightful sketch comedy with Ullman impersonating various celebrities and characters.

Bravo

10 Days in the Valley is a dark drama series about yet another child disappearance.

Comedy

Trevor Noah, Jim Jeffries, Samantha Bee, The President Show all abound on the Comedy Channel.  Catch them if you can.

Parting Words

Since virtually every show is available on demand or through internet streaming, I am leaving out the time slots for these shows. Catch them when you can!  Happy viewing.  Next time I write, it will be from Naples, Florida.  Have a wonderful week!

 

 

 

Jury Duty Blues…

I wrote this blog while sitting in the Court House on University Ave. waiting to be called for jury duty, so if I seem a bit blue in the writing of this, I was feeling incarcerated in a huge room of very unhappy people.  However, they released us about 2 pm, and I fled happily to the subway and scampered home feeling suddenly as free as a bird.

If we had been allowed to take pictures, I would have inserted a picture of our 300 strong jury pool. That is, 300 of the most bored, irritated people I have ever seen. And we were only on the first day of 5 days of mandatory attendance. They were processing the poor souls who  requested exemptions for the first three hours we were there. As this is my third summons this year (I was successful in obtaining 2 previous deferrals over the last year) I buckled down to serve my time here thereby earning an exemption for the next three years. We can now leave for Florida in one week as planned! No trials of the century for me, thank goodness.

Now, as for some viewing recommendations:

On the Big Screen

Viceroy’s House stars Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson (The Fall, X Files) as Lord and Lady Mountbatten presiding over the partition and granting of independence to India. Superb! Period costumes and British accents. I was in heaven!

Netflix

Mindhunter is an 11 part miniseries that debuted this past weekend. Starring Jonathan Groff (Jesse from Glee), as a founding member of the Behavioural Science Unit of the FBI, this totally engaging series charts the rise of criminal profiling in a fascinating way. We watched the whole thing in one wknd. Fabulous!

Dynasty is back and now available on Netflix. Somehow less fabulous (I guess I do miss those shoulder pads), and updated for our times, Stephen Carrington is now totally out of the closet, Sammy Jo (formerly played by Heather Locklear) is now a gay man, Cristal is now Latina, etc. First episode has already featured a cat fight, yet somehow, I doubt I will stay with this one.

Riverdale is also now available on both the CW and Netflix. I love this dark take on Archie Andrews and his high school crew. More sex and murder than there was in the very wholesome comics. This is a savage social satire with witty writing and the aforesaid sex and murders.

Jack Whitehall: Travels with my father is a delightful miniseries about a stand up comedian travelling with his stuffy father around Southeast Asia for 5 weeks.

 

Streaming

This is Us continues to unravel this tale of family. I still find it maudlin, but I will watch season 2 until I find out what all the fuss is about.

Berlin Station has returned for Season 2 on Epix and can also be seen on Superchannel in Canada. Still brooding and murky!

Streaming/CBS All Access

Star Trek: Discovery has been rebooted as a prequel and I love watching Jason Isaacs as the latest captain. Great ensemble cast featuring Sonequa Martin-Green from The Walking Dead.

HBO

Ray Donovan wound up its most recent season last night. This was a challenging season as it dealt with Abby’s death and the impact on the family. Even darker than the preceding seasons.

Last Week tonight with John Oliver aired a new show last night. His major target was Equifax and I did find it tedious.

ABC

Designated Survivor (Wednesdays at 10) is incredibly silly and inane, but I can’t look away. It’s one of the few series that paints its leading character as a truly good man played by Kiefer Sutherland.

NBC

Saturday Night Live (Saturday nights at 11:30) with host Kumail Nanjani was terrific this past weekend. Nanjani was great in every sketch and his monologue on racism was very funny. Alec Baldwin opened the show as Trump. I don’t think he’s nearly as funny as The President Show‘s Anthony Atamaniuk.

The Brave is a new show that has been airing on NBC on Monday nights at 10.  It’s one of the many shows this year that is unabashedly patriotic and features special forces operatives executing different missions each week.  Full disclosure:  it features Mike Vogel who previously starred in the ludicrous Under the Dome and he’s awfully easy on the eyes!  I have enjoyed the first 3 episodes of this show, so we shall see if it continues to hold my attention.

CBS

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert starts repeats this week.

Comedy Channel

The President Show has shifted its time slot on the schedule and now airs at 10 pm on Wed.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee should have a new show on Wednesday night at 10:30.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah has new shows Mon – Thurs at 11.

Jim Jeffries has new show Tuesday at 10:30.

People of Earth is a very funny show about survivors of Alien Abductions who join a support group on Tues at 10.

PBS

Poldark continues its romantic epic saga of 18th Century Cornwall on Sunday nights at 9 pm.

Closing Words

The news is full of Harvey Weinstein sexual assault charges. Apparently, someone is trying to revive sexual assault charges against Mr. Trump. Should be an interesting week. The trees are glorious and the forecast this week is for increasingly warm weather, so enjoy this lovely autumn wherever you are.

Back from hiatus…

It was a whirlwind two weeks in Scotland and Iceland.  I spent time with my charming host and hostess in their beautiful home in the village of Burntisland, on the north shore of the Firth of Forth overlooking Edinburgh, Scotland.  We travelled around the Kingdom of Fife and toured the Eastern Coastal route of Scotland (including Anstruther and St. Andrews) passing through historic towns and the picturesque fishing villages of the East Neuk; we stayed in a holiday cottage on the North Atlantic coast of Scotland in the village of Findhorn in Moray on the south side of the Moray Firth. From Findhorn, we took day trips to Cawdor Castle, Brodie Castle, Scone Palace, etc.  It was like living in a fairy tale! We then spent 5 days touring Iceland from our hotel in Reykjavik.  We saw the Northern Lights, went on a day trip that included hiking around geysers and waterfalls and then a 1 hour snowmobile journey around a glacier.  The last day was spent relaxing at the Blue Lagoon, a hot springs resort which has become a bit Vegas-like as it is completely besieged by young Americans having bachelor and bachelorette parties.  Hilarious!

As for TV and movies, I did watch some shows on Netflix and caught a few things on the plane’s in flight entertainment series, and I have been furiously catching up on some of the shows I have missed over the past few weeks, so here are several recommendations:

On the Big Screen

Blade Runner 2049 is a sequel to the original 1982 film.  Elegiacally slow (164 minutes long), pretentious, and tedious, yet filled with incredible images of a dystopian future.  If you can keep your eyes open (full disclosure, I did sleep through much of Villeneuve’s previous sci-fi film Arrival), you may marvel at this tale of replicants, their creators and their hunters. Ryan Gosling is a little robotic, Harrison Ford is awfully old, but the young actresses who play the various replicants are wondrous (Mackenzie Davis as Marietta, Sylvia Hoeks as Luv, Ana de Armas as Joi). Sean Young makes a few appearances in flashbacks as Rachel, Robin Wright is fierce as Gosling’s police boss, Lennie James plays his usual unhinged self as Mister Cotton.

 

Streaming

LaLaLand is now available through streaming and on-demand, and as my Scottish friend Catherine had missed it, I had the great pleasure of re-watching it with her.  Lush and romantic, it was hilarious to see Ryan Gosling open up the premiere of SNL with a very self-deprecating series of LaLaLand references.

Star Trek Discovery is available through CBS all access and through streaming.  This is a wonderfully energetic prequel to the original series.  Jason Isaacs is the new commander and as I adore him, I couldn’t be happier.  Great ensemble cast including Sonequa Martin-Green from The Walking Dead.

 

 

Netflix

 

Dr. Foster If you haven’t watched this BBC thriller yet, go and catch up with Season 1, as Season 2 is now available.  A tale of obsession and revenge, once you start watching, clear your calendar, as this is highly addictive and binge worthy.

GAGA: Five foot two is an original documentary about Lady Gaga made for Netflix. Very revealing.

Love in a Cold Climate is a wonderful 2001 British adaptation of two Nancy Mitford novels.  I caught up with this on British Netflix.  Delightful!
The Wee Man is a 2013 British crime film about the life of Glasgow criminal Paul Ferris.  I needed this for background research on my Scottish trip and caught up with it on British Netflix.

Here’s a great list of suggestions for movies you may have missed on the big screen that are now available on Netflix:

https://www.nytimes.com/watching/lists/best-movies-on-netflix-indie?mwrsm=Email

 

Iceland Air In flight entertainment system

Planet Earth: Season 2 I have now watched the whole season and am amazed at how good this nature series is.  Incredible photography of scenes from nature that enthral with their intimate views of all forms of wildlife including both flora and fauna.

Midnight Sun This Scandinavian Noir series is a Swedish/French co-production for Canal Plus TV. I loved the first 5 episodes of this 8 episode miniseries. From the team that created The Bridge, this thriller is set in a small mining village in Northern Sweden and tells the story of a series of savage murders that are investigated by a team of Swedish and French investigators.  Fabulous!  Sadly, if I hadn’t gotten hooked on Planet Earth, I might have been able to finish all 8 episodes. Still trying to track them down.

Superchannel

Berlin Station has returned for its second season.  Wonderful espionage series, which almost takes the place of Homeland, if you are feeling the lack of a good series about spy craft. Great cast which includes Ashley Judd, Richard Jenkins, Rhys Ifans, Richard Armitage and the great German actor Thomas Kretschmann.

Get Shorty is a wonderfully wry noir comedy about criminals who decide to make films in LA.  Great performances from an ensemble cast that is led by Chris O’Dowd and Ray Romano.

Amazon Prime

Tin Star is an 11 hour miniseries currently airing in the UK, but made for Amazon Prime in the US.  Don’t bother!  Totally ludicrous as Tim Roth stars as a lawman brought to be the new sheriff in a mountain town in Alberta, Canada from the UK.  Outlandishly stereotypical characters and ridiculous plot.  Be afraid, very afraid of wasting your time with this one.

BBC

A Child in Time I was able to catch this very touching miniseries starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the father of a disappeared toddler.  Very sad.

 

HBO

Ray Donovan continues its current season with its out of chronology plotting.  The whole Donovan family is on display with all its complications and flaws.

Episodes is a delightfully clever sitcom which concludes its 5 season run this year.  A husband and wife sitcom writing team leave the UK for greener pastures in LA.  Great performances from an ensemble cast that includes Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig as the two leads, backed by Matt LeBlanc, John Pankow and many others.  Enjoy!

Jack Whitehall: Travels with my father is a delightful 6 episode miniseries about the 5-week tour of South East Asia that Whitehall (a 28-year-old British comedian) takes with his impossibly stuffy father.  Very sweet!

 

CBC

Alias Grace is the second Margaret Atwood adaptation to come to TV this year. Alas, as it is filled with British accents and costumes, I have found myself snoozing through it, despite my will to watch it.

 

ABC

Designated Survivor is a somewhat flawed attempt to create a political thriller for Kiefer Sutherland to follow-up his role of a lifetime in 24.  Inept, inane, but insanely watchable in its awfulness.

Modern Family had a hilarious season debut with a family boat trip gone comically awry.  I had given up watching this one because of a surfeit of other shows filling my PVR, but I was very amused by this season opener.  Those kids are getting awfully grown-up!

NBC

This is Us is an NBC series I had resisted watching last year (even though everyone I know loved it), but I succumbed to societal pressure and have caught up with the first two episodes of season 2.  Hmmm… awfully sentimental and maudlin, but I have to see what the fuss is all about.

 

Comic Relief

South Park continues to be incredibly timely and savagely funny.  The episode about DNA ancestry profiling and the controversy around the proposed abolition of Columbus Day was pretty hilarious.

Saturday Night Live is NBC’s mainstay comedy show.  Ryan Gosling hosted the first show of the season, Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) hosted the second show. Very funny in fits and starts.
Real Time with Bill Maher is HBO’s Friday night entry in the political comedy arena. Good political discussions with interview guests and a panel.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is on Sunday nights on HBO. Devilishly clever political commentary from a British perspective.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is CBS’s nightly political chat show. Colbert has been consistently hammering the Trump administration with his jokes.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! is ABC’s late night chat show.  Kimmel has received kudos for his outspoken commentary on Health Care and Gun Control.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is on Wednesday evenings on Comedy. She is savage in her political commentary.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is on Mon-Thurs evenings on Comedy. Noah (who is South African) brings a truly international perspective to his insights regarding current events.
Jim Jeffries the Aussie comic is on Tuesday evenings on Comedy. Outrageous!

 

PBS

I have missed the first two episodes of Season 3 of Poldark but have recorded them in Thornbury and long to watch them.  Lush and romantic!!

W (in Canada, STARZ in US)

Outlander has aired the first 5 episodes of Season 3.  Ahhh… so lush and romantic as Jamie and Claire struggle to reunite.

 

Parting Words

We were amazed at the beautiful sunny weather we had in Iceland and Scotland, but we couldn’t believe the gorgeous weather we came back to in Ontario.  Summer in October! We have now unpacked from our trip and are starting to plan for our drive down to Florida later this month. We are making arrangements to have the Hurricane Irma damage repaired and are anxious to see our place and do whatever cleanup is still required.  Until we head down on our very long drive, we will enjoy every minute of this beautiful Fall weather.

 

 

 

Last week before hiatus…

Well, Irma came and went last week, and at this date, we are aware that our pool cage has been blown to smithereens and the screening will need to be replaced but the structure is intact. Very thoughtful friends are headed down next week to check on our place.  It has been a busy past week as I hosted several longtime friends in Thornbury for 3 days of R&R and then attended our last 3 screenings at TIFF.  This week I have a large group of my special fitness girlfriends coming to the area for 2 1/2 days of hiking on local trails and they will depart just in time for me to catch my flight to Scotland on Friday.  George and I are off to Scotland for 1 week.  He will golf as part of a group of 12 touring the top courses there, while I am going to visit with a dear friend who lives just outside Edinborough.  We will do a little touring, especially in the Aberdeen area, the Northern Lights capital of Europe.  George and I will then depart for Iceland where we have 5 days of touring scheduled.  Last stop for the Northern Lights.  We return on Oct. 5, so I am taking a little break from TV and Movie watching and will try to catch some of the new shows before I write again later in October. In the meantime, here are some suggestions for viewing:

The Emmy Awards Broadcast

 

The Emmy Awards air at 8 pm tonight. Westworld and SNL lead the nominations with 22 each.  Stephen Colbert hosts, so it should be great fun!

TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)

Kodachrome was our first screening. A perfectly sweet but predictable father/son road trip movie.  Lovely ensemble cast features Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis and Elizabeth Olsen star.
Journey’s End is a gruelling WWI tale of the horrors of trench warfare and the human toll that was taken during this completely futile war of attrition.  Great cast features Sam Claflin, Paul Bethany and Asa Butterfield.
Good Favour is a puzzling parable set in a religious community in Central Europe.  This magical realism film is based on the appearance of a teenage stranger who gradually reveals his motives and what seem to be magical powers.
Professor Marston and The Wonder Women is a true story of William Moulton Marston, the polyamorous relationship between his wife and mistress, the creation of the beloved comic book character “Wonder Woman”, and the controversy the comic generated in its earlier years.  This film is quite delightful in its portrayal of Marston’s relationship with his wife and lover.  Very broad minded!

 

Streaming

The Big Sick is a delightful romantic comedy that I recently rewatched with a group of lady friends.  If you have watched Silicon Valley, you may have already fallen in love with Kumail Nanjiani.  This film is based on Nanjani’s own life and his rocky romance with his real life girlfriend Emily and his involvement with her parents when Emily suddenly develops a life threatening medical condition.  Prepare to fall in love with this charming film. Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond)and Holly Hunter are wonderful as Emily’s parents.

Get Shorty is a 10 episode miniseries, currently airing on Epix in the US.   I have binged on the first six episodes of this terrific series which I have been able to stream. It will debut on Superchannel in Canada on Sept 20. Likeable Irish actor Chris O’Dowd leads a great cast in this tv adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel about a hit man who becomes a movie producer in Hollywood. Ray Romano has now refashioned his career and has come a long way from his Everybody Loves Raymond character as he plays Rick, a washed up movie producer who is forced to produce a film as a money laundering technique for a crime family. The 1995 film which featured an all star cast with John Travolta, Gene Hackman, etc. was clever, but this extended version of the story is incredibly engaging.

Younger, a delightful comedy series about a 46 year-old single mom forced to lie about her age (passing as a social media expert millennial) to get a job, aired its season finale in the US this past week but will debut the 4th season premiere later this year on Much.

 

TVPremieres and Returns

People of Earth, a delightful sitcom about a support group for alien abductees will return for its second season premiere on Sept 19 on Comedy at 10 pm.
Animal Kingdom, a gritty crime series starring Ellen Barkin, returns for its second season premiere on Sept 20 on Bravo at 10 pm.

The Deuce, a gritty series about the NYC history of pornography, premiered last Sunday on HBO and airs Sundays at 9.

Outlander, the most romantic show on television, premiered last Sunday on W and airs Sundays at 9 pm.

Jim Jeffries, an outrageous Australian political comedian,  returns with new shows on Sept 19 at 10:30 on Comedy.

 

My usual favourites

Endeavour, an Inspector Morse prequel, has its season finale tonight on our local PBS station;  I watched it last week in a different time zone, and also caught the local PBS fundraiser, Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy from Great Performances.  This is a wonderful special that explores the unique role of Jewish composers, lyricists, songwriters on Broadway and film musicals. It’s a 90 minute documentary that is well worth watching.

Ray Donovan, a series about Hollywood fixer, airs  Sunday nights on HBO at 9 pm.

Episodes, a delightful story about behind the scenes Hollywood, airs Sunday nights on HBO at 10 pm.

The Sinner,  a murder mystery starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman,  airs Monday nights on Showcase at 10 pm.

 

Comic Relief

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is back with new shows on CBS at 11:35 Mon-Fri this week; The Daily Show with Trevor Noah continues with new shows on Comedy at 11:00 Mon-Thurs; Full Frontal with Samantha Bee has new shows on Wed. night at 10:30 on Comedy; Real Time with Bill Maher has new shows on HBO on Fri at 10 pm.

Closing Words

It has been a gorgeous week and weekend.  Fingers crossed that this amazing Indian Summer (probably a totally politically incorrect expression these days) weather continues into the fall.  Enjoy the beautiful colours and incredible temperatures.  I will return mid-October with some stories and pictures from Scotland and Iceland.

 

 

 

Irma Arrives in Florida

Well, I guess there is a downside to owning a vacation home in paradise.  We are very grateful that our place in Naples is just a vacation retreat for us.  Unlike the millions of Florida residents who are facing the reality of losing their homes and livelihoods, we have other options.  We are considering whether we should adjust our plans for the next few weeks and head down to check on our property once the storm has passed.  More on that later…  In the meantime, if you’re not compulsively watching CNN for storm news, you might want to check out some viewing options:

TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)

Kodachrome was our first film this past week.  A romantic comedy starring Jason Sudeikis, Ed Harris and Elizabeth Olsen.  A very sweet film about a father/son road trip.  I felt I had seen many films which covered this territory in more original and engaging ways, especially Nebraska (from 2013 starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte).  However, this film is Canadian (filmed entirely in Toronto, directed by a Canadian filmmaker and featuring some great Canadian actors in supporting roles like Bruce Greenwood, Wendy Crewson and even Sebastian Pigott – formerly of Lambton Kingsway School), so I was happy to see it even though it was a bit predictable and lame.
Upcoming films for us include Journey’s End (British WWI film starring Sam Claflin, Paul Bethany, Asa Butterfield, Toby Jones, etc.); Good Favour (international co-production from an Irish director set in a Christian community in Central Europe); Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (starring Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, JJ Field), the film tells the life story of Dr. William Marston, Harvard psychologist and inventor, and the relationship between his wife and his lover, who became her lover after his death, that inspired the iconic super heroine, Wonder Woman.

Netflix

Little Evil is an intermittently funny parody of The Omen starring Adam Scott, Evangeline Lilly, Sally Field, etc.).  Gary, who has just married Samantha, the woman of his dreams, discovers that her six-year-old son may be the Antichrist.

Narcos returns for its third season. Pablo Escobar is gone and we have moved from Medellin to the Cali cartel as our intrepid DEA agent, Javier Pena, continues the US War on Drugs.  This third series is just as mesmerizing as the first. Pedro Pascal is amazingly charismatic as the driven agent awash in a sea of corruption.  You will root for the cartel security man, Jorge Salcedo (played by Matias Varela), who is a decent man struggling to get his life back.

Handsome:  A Netflix Mystery Movie stars Jeff Garlin, Natasha Lyonne.  Beware of this one.  So much potential, yet so awful. A peculiar comedy mystery hybrid.  Be afraid, very afraid of this painfully off kilter film.

The Mist You should also be afraid of this 10 episode time waster from the Stephen King novel about an eerie mist that rolls into a small town. Frances Conroy, who was so heroically wonderful in  Six Feet Under, is unabashedly awful in this one.  Look away!!!

Season Premieres

Outlander (9 pm on W) returns tonight for its third season.  Ahh, the romance that endures across the centuries continues. Jamie’s past provides his only hope of survival following the Battle of Culloden; a pregnant Claire attempts to adjust to life in 1940’s Boston.

People of Earth  (Sept 19 Season 2 premiere on Comedy). If you haven’t caught up with Season 1 yet, you are in for a treat.  This delightfully wry comedy is about  a support group for oddballs who think they have been abducted by aliens. Hilarious!!

The Deuce (9 pm tonight on HBO) This series is directed by James Franco and is from the writing/producing team that created The Wire. A look at life in NYC during the 1970’s and ’80’s when porn and prostitution were rampant in Manhattan, it stars James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

The New TV Season Preview

Keep this list handy:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/50-new-fall-tv-shows-worth-watching-will-and-grace-lady-gaga-twin-james-francos-and-more?via=newsletter&source=DDMorning

 

Regular Viewing

Ray Donovan (9 pm tonight on TMN) continues to follow the Donovan family on their journey following Abby’s death.  The dark underbelly of LA is the territory of fixer Ray Donovan, who covers up the crimes of the rich and famous.

Episodes (10 pm tonight on TMN) is a hilarious behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood and TV production, which follows the journey of British sit com writers who are birds out of water in LaLaLand.

Preacher (9 pm Monday on AMC) has its Season 2 finale.  The Trio prepare for a new life, as Jesse questions the path ahead; Tulip uncovers a dangerous secret; Cassidy grapples with a difficult truth.

The Sinner (10 pm Monday on Showcase) continues to investigate the mystery of why Cora suddenly murdered a stranger on the beach; with Ambrose’s help, Cora struggles to recover missing memories, which lead Ambrose to a new suspect.

Suits (9 pm Wednesday on Bravo) Mike and Harvey’s power move is countered, putting their backs up against the ropes. Rachel fears her father’s judgment is clouded by the past. Louis aids Alex when his client comes under fire.

Versailles This sumptuous series seems to have paused its second season after the first 7 episodes on TMN.  Catch up if you can with past episodes on demand.  Absolutely mesmerizing spectacle.

Comic Relief

Real Time with Bill Maher had a new show this past Friday which can be caught on demand; The Daily Show (Mon-Thurs on Comedy at 11 pm )with Trevor Noah has new shows; The Late Show (Mon-Fri at 11:30 on CBS) with Stephen Colbert has new shows; fingers crossed that Samantha Bee (Wed on Comedy at 10:30), Jeffrey Jones (Tuesday on Comedy at 10:30) and The President Show (Thursday on Comedy at 11:30) also have new shows.  We all need to laugh this week!

Closing Words

Although we have been thinking that climate change, rising sea levels, etc. would all be problems that our grandchildren would have to live with, this current onslaught of consecutive hurricanes has shown that the future is now.  The concept that waterfront property is actually desirable may be a thing of the past.  An entire state (population 20 million; in the largest mass evacuation in US history, 7 million have been ordered to evacuate) is in a state of emergency.  Millions of people face catastrophic damage to their property and have fled to higher, dryer ground. The aftermath of this storm and the ensuing clean-up will take a very long time.  Several Caribbean islands have already been decimated.  More than thoughts and prayers will be required to help the victims of this disaster.  Please be prepared to help in any way you can.

The local Thornbury forecast for this week is apparently beautiful. We are off to a community dinner for local charities being held in a local orchard this evening.  I am having a houseful of longtime lady friends come and stay with me for three days of sisterhood and laughter.  We will head back to TIFF later this week to watch our last films.  Count your blessings and enjoy each day. Carpe diem!  You never know what each day will bring.

 

 

Labour Day is here…

The leaves are changing.  We have had very cool evenings around the fire pit.  The children have been visiting and we have enjoyed some wonderful family evenings.  This past week was all about the Meaford International Film Festival (MIFF) and the coming week heralds the beginning of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).  Soon, the new fall TV series will debut!  In the meantime, here are some suggestions:

On the Big Screen

Maudie (MIFF) is a wonderful biopic about Maude Lewis, the Nova Scotia folk artist.  Starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, this touching movie will both inspire and cause you to weep at the hardships this very disabled woman faces in her unquenchable desire to create her very original art.

The Teacher (MIFF) is a thought provoking film about a manipulative teacher during the Communist era in Czechoslovakia.  A very interesting character study of people trying to survive in a system rife with institutionalized corruption.

The New Fall TV Series

Here are some articles to help you make your choices:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/50-new-fall-tv-shows-worth-watching-will-and-grace-lady-gaga-twin-james-francos-and-more?via=newsletter&source=DDMorning

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a57227/new-tv-shows-fall-2017/?src=nl&mag=esq&list=nl_enl_news&date=082917

 

Streaming

Animal Kingdom (Streaming) is a terrific crime series starring Ellen Barkin as the matriarch of a Southern California family of ne’er do wells.  If you haven’t caught Season 1 yet, you can catch up on Netflix.

Younger (Streaming) is a delightful series (now in Season 4) that originates on TVLand and will be seen later this season on E! in Canada; a gorgeous 41 year old single mom pretends to be 26 in order to get a job in publishing.

Snatched (Streaming) is a very silly but intermittently entertaining comedy starring Amy Schumer and an almost unrecognizable Goldie Hawn (way too much Botox and filler).  This movie is about a mother/daughter duo who are kidnapped while on holiday in Ecuador.  It did make me laugh.

Ben Hur (Streaming) is a totally unnecessary remake of the original 1959 classic with Charlton Heston.   It stars Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell.  There is much more back story in this one, and much more religion. Also, much more CGI in this one.

Rough Night (Streaming) is a very well cast comedy about a bachelorette party gone terribly awry.  Scarlett Johansson, not generally known for her comedic skills, Kate McKinnon (mesmerizing as a wild Aussie, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Jillian Bell and in disarming cameos as sex crazed swingers Ty Burrell and Demi Moore. Fitfully funny, this genre film owes a lot to many other movies (The Hangover, Very Bad Things, and numerous others).

On Broadcast TV

The Sinner  (Showcase on Mondays) is an intriguing series starring Jessica Biel about a young mom who inexplicably stabs a man to death while on a day at the beach with her family.  Bill Pullman is the detective who tries to solve the mystery.

Ray Donovan (HBO on Sundays) continues the story of a Hollywood fixer from a family of Boston Irish ne’er do wells.

Suits (Bravo on Wednesdays) just had its 100th episode.  Thank god, the pro bono case is finally over.  So painful….

Versailles (TMN on demand) is the second season of a gloriously entertaining look at Louis IV and the court of Versailles.  Much debauchery!

Line of Duty (Superchannel on demand) is a marvellously intriguing 6 episode miniseries in its 4th season of an internal affairs department investigation.

Graves (Superchannel on demand) is a satire about a former president who seeks redemption.  Great cast starring Nick Nolte as the now addled president and Sela Ward as his controlling wife.

Preacher (AMC on Mondays) continues the story of a preacher, his girlfriend, and a vampire who join forces in the search for God.

 

Netflix

The Mist is a remake of the Stephen King story about a mysterious mist.  Previously a feature film, this is now a series.  I may not binge on this one, given that I have only watched a fairly underwhelming first episode.

Comic Relief

Colbert is still on hiatus this week, as are Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, John Oliver.  There appears to be a new Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO on Fridays) and a new The President Show (Comedy on Thursdays).

Final Words

We have three weeks to go before we head off on our Scotland/Iceland trip.  In the meantime, I have two groups of lady friends coming to stay in Thornbury, and this week we begin our TIFF screenings.  Enjoy this beautiful fall weather no matter what your plans are.