Loving Vincent – feature film; it’s hard to describe how magical this wonderful film is. In a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his final days here. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature (it lost to Coco), this is a most unusual kind of biopic. Using tens of thousands of oil paintings commissioned from scores of artists, the filmmakers transform famous works of modern art into a hypnotic and beguiling work of animation. The people van Gogh rendered on canvas are brought to uncanny life, with the voices of professional actors, some of them well known. You may recognize the animated renderings of Douglas Booth and Chris O’ Dowd among many others. I loved this beautiful film and can’t recommend it highly enough.
The usual addictions
Instinct – on CBS Sundays premieres tonight; a former CIA operative (Alan Cumming from The Good Wife), who has since built a “normal” life as a gifted professor and writer, is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose
Counterpart – on STARZ Sundays; mysterious miniseries set in a parallel universe Berlin
Homeland – on Showtime Sundays; we’re in Washington now and the President sees enemies everywhere; just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that everyone isn’t out to get you
Here and Now – on HBO Sundays; a less maudlin version of This is Us
The Walking Dead – now in its 8th season on AMC Sundays; the survivors still face a harrowing world where everyone is out to get them
The Chi – on Showtime Sundays; this series explores life on the south side of Chicago; if you were a fan of The Wire, you will love this series
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – on HBO Sundays; Oliver gives his sardonic twist to today’s events
IZombie – on The CW Mondays; a comedic series where zombies are generally the good guys
The Resident – on Fox Mondays; a medical procedural with a great cast
The Alienist – on TNT Mondays; olde time police procedural with a great cast
The Good Doctor – on ABC Mondays; a medical procedural with a twist – our lead character is an autistic doctor!
McMafia – on AMC Mondays; I’ve already bingewatched this one, but you can catch its 8 episodes on a weekly basis; good substitute for espionage films
Unreal – on Lifetime Mondays; although I’ve never watched a single episode of The Bachelor, this parody does explore the machinations behind reality TV; I do enjoy its rather venal take on Hollywood
This is Us – on NBC Tuesdays; maudlin but addictive family drama; get out your hankies!
Rise – on NBC Tuesdays; watch it if you love musical series set in a high school; it is extraordinarily reminiscent of Friday Night Lights, the show about high school football in a small Texas town which I absolutely loved and still miss; full disclosure: I started life as a high school theatre arts teacher, and there couldn’t be a show I would be more naturally inclined to admire, so I will give this new series my full attention
The X-Files – on Fox Wednesdays; last week’s episode was the last of the season; very sweet and affectionate considering it dealt with a murderous cult; do Mulder and Scully have a happily ever after?
Riverdale – on the CW Wednesdays; not your granny’s Archie Comics as sex, violence and intrigue abounds
9-1-1 – on Fox Wednesdays; medical/legal/firefighter procedural all rolled into one show about LA’s emergency services operations; very entertaining and superb cast including Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Connie Britton
Designated Survivor – on ABC Wednesdays; ludicrous political suspense series featuring a totally unqualified man suddenly elevated to the position of President of the US; like that could actually happen?
The Assassination of Gianni Versace – on ABC Wednesdays; dark and sad exploration of the events around this murder
Corporate – on Comedy Central Wednesdays; hilarious parody of corporate life
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – on TBS Wednesdays; Bee’s comedic take on current events
Gotham – on Fox Thursdays; now in its 4th season, this very gothic series explores the beginnings of the Batman story; I am a huge fan of Ben McKenzie since his breakout role on The O.C. and then Southland, so I take real pleasure in this campy show which shows the back stories of all the DC characters in the Batman comics
Real Time with Bill Maher – on HBO Fridays; great panels discuss current events
Strike Back – airs new episodes on Cinemax Fridays; mayhem abounds as a special ops team from British military intelligence completes high risk missions around the globe
Saturday Night Live – on NBC Saturdays; now in its 43rd season, this venerable comedy/variety series still keeps chugging along capturing the zeitgeist of our times; there was a very clever CBC satire on last night’s episode hosted by Bill Hader (the word “sorry” was overused to hilarious effect)
Shows that keep me sane
CBS Sunday Morning – on CBS Sundays; the news show that does personal interest pieces and has done since 1979; anything from interviews with actors political figures, athletes, musicians, etc. This show continually informs and inspires. Very soothing in these turbulent times.
The Comedians (Stephen Colbert on CBS nightly; Trevor Noah on Comedy Central M-Th; Jimmy Kimmel on ABC nightly; Seth Meyers on NBC nightly; James Corden on CBS nightly; Samantha Bee on TBS Wednesdays, Bill Maher on HBO Fridays). Some times you just have to laugh at the madness around us as these satirists poke fun at current events.
We’ve been awfully busy this last week: we finally made it to Naples’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the many high school marching bands; we dined out at several restaurants around town including 21 Spices, Kareem’s, Alberto’s, Bistro La Baguette, Mediterrano, Jeri Lu’s Kitchen and last but not least, our neighbourhood Panera to sample their new Breakfast Brioche. We hosted George’s Orlando golf group for dinner last night (they leave for their big annual trip tomorrow) and are celebrating the end of a wonderful season of golfing with George’s Treviso Bay regulars tonight at our clubhouse. This week I am attending a lunch talk with the authors of a beautiful book on Naples Beach Houses and we are participating in a tournament of our Georgian Bay Club golfers at Pelican Marsh. That’s on top of my usual golf and bocce activities!! I will be taking a little rest from this swirl of activity when we get back to Toronto. It’s in the 80’s today with blue sky and sun. Enjoy your week wherever you are! Hugs to my friends dealing with medical challenges.