Writing to you from beautiful Naples, Fl. Although the sunshine and warm temperatures have made it very difficult to concentrate on TV and movie watching, I have been giving it my best effort. Here are some of the Oscar nominated films I’ve caught up with recently:
The Imitation Game stars the wonderful yet bloodless Benedict Cumberbatch as the real life Alan Turing who broke the Enigma code during WW2 and who paid a tragic price for his homosexuality.
Birdman is a wonderful fantasy of the behind the scenes world of NY theatre. Both Michael Keaton and Edward Norton are wonderfully charismatic in this.
American Sniper is a film directed by Clint Eastwood that celebrates the life of the real life US sniper Chris Kyle who died trying to help veterans with PTSD. I found this film to be a little morally ambiguous, but Bradley Cooper gained 40 pound to play a burly guy. His neck almost totally disappears, he becomes almost unattractive (despite his blue eyes) and this earned him an Oscar nom.
The Theory of Everything is a heartwarmng film about Stephen Hawking and stars Eddie Redmayne as a wonderfully likable Hawking. Felicity Jones is also very engaging as his wife.
Wild is a film about a woman trying to redeem herself by walking a 1000 miles in the US wilderness. Somehow, I didn’t really connect with this film as I couldn’t see past the glamorous Reese Witherspoon pretending to be a down on her luck gal. She’s way too well known as an actress to be believable in this role. Now, if my beautiful niece Sarah (who actually walked 900 k on the Camino de Santiago in Spain this fall had played the role, that would have been believable!).
Gemma Bovary is a peculiar French film that I recently watched on an airplane starring the beautiful Gemma Arterton as a real-life modern incarnation of Emma Bovary.(I watched it even though it’s not actually nominated for any Oscars, as the pickings were pretty slim on Air Canada)
Foxcatcher is a very dark film about the real-life murder of a professional wrestling coach by the real-life John E. DuPont played by Steve Carrell, who also bulked up by many pounds, lost his neck, became extremely unattractive and wore a huge prosthetic nose which earned him an Oscar nom.
Trying to catch up on new shows:
So far I have been able to watch the first 8 episodes of Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime. I love this wonderful show about the behind the scenes life of a fictional NYC symphony orchestra complete with scheming fundraisers, prima donna conductors, aspiring musicians and the people who love them.
I have now seen the first 4 episodes of Grantchester on PBS Masterpiece Mystery. I love this nostalgic show set in early 50’s rural Cambridgeshire about a handsome young Anglican priest who has a knack for solving crimes. Apparently this type of British mystery is known as a cozy. There’s chintz everywhere, everyone is always drinking tea or whiskey, and the 50’s fashions and makeup are sublime.
Trying to catch up with Justified, The Americans, Gotham, Grimm, Red Band Society, Chicago Fire, Forever, Person of Interest, Sleepy Hollow, Modern Family, The Middle, Fresh off the Boat... It may be time to consider letting some of these shows go by the wayside. A girl has to golf and go to exercise class as well as watch TV.
Yesterday was Sunday again! After a month of no TV watching, I may have gained a little perspective on the massive amount of episodic TV I’ve been watching in the last 6 months. I’m also back in the USA where even though I have a PVR here, the on demand functions of our local cable company are vastly superior to Rogers, with all programs being available within 24 hrs of airing.
I was able to watch my favourite Sunday morning TV show, CBS Sunday Morning, a soothing compendium of segments on arts, culture and human interest stories. Sunday night CBS aired the Grammy Awards and BBC America showed The Bafta Awards (their Oscars). Stephen Fry hosted and was delightfully wry. It was wonderful to see Boyhood showered with awards. The young man who played the lead referred to the film’s humanity. I was so relieved to see Interstellar relegated to technical awards as it so lacked in humanity and relatable situations. The Theory of Everything also took many of the top awards and Redmayne gave a wonderful acceptance speech for Best Actor thanking his 3 families: his parents, his film family and the Hawking family.
Better Call Saul debuts this week with two episodes. This is the prequel to Breaking Bad focussed on the ne’er do well lawyer, Saul and his life before he meets Walter White and Breaking Bad begins.
Finally got around to watching NBC’s new show Allegiance which has received such unfavourable comparisons to The Americans. I loved this very complex show which features two retired Russian agents living in present day NYC who are ordered to turn their CIA analyst son into a double agent. Absolutely loved it! Hope Davis stars and she’s wonderful as the Russian mom.
I hope all my friends in Ontario are managing to stay warm and snug. We actually had a spectacular rainy day here today with what seemed almost a tropical fierceness to it. Otherwise it has been pretty balmy here. Looking forward to my first golf game tomorrow since Dec. Until next time….