Farewell to TIFF:
The Viewer’s Choice Award at TIFF went to Room based on a book by Canadian author Emma Donohue. This is an important award, chosen by the fans, and often is a predictor of the Oscar best film award. Filmed in Toronto, Room is a wonderful film about the resilience of the human spirit and the special bond between mother and child. Joy, a 17 year-old, is abducted and held captive by a man we know only as Nick. During her 7 years of captivity she gives birth to a son who is celebrating his 5th birthday when the film begins. Very touching and disturbing and ultimately inspiring as Joy and her son Jack manage to survive the brutal nature of their imprisonment..
Jurassic World was actually better than I expected it to be. Thoroughly engaging, amazing special effects, and I only screamed out loud a few times. Use of some character actors in villain roles does predict that they will meet a horrific end (I’m talking about you, Vincent D’Onofrio) and tends to telegraph their eventual demise.
The Family was a bizarre crime comedy about a Brooklyn mafioso (played on auto pilot by Robert DeNiro) and his family (Michelle Pfeiffer is a stand out) who are placed in the witness protection program in France. Directed by Luc Besson, this very uneven film constantly veers back and forth between comedy and violence. Much better than I thought it would be.
The November Man is a routine spy thriller with Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko. Enjoyable but forgettable.
Deliver us from Evil is a routine police/demonic possession film starring Eric Bana and Sean Harris (Mission Impossible Rogue Nation).
The returning shows:
Gotham is on Mondays at 8 on Fox. Got to love that Ben McKenzie as the very serious Jim Gordon. The young fellow playing Bruce Wayne is growing up before our eyes. Sean Pertwee as Alfred the butler is extremely likeable as the steady, wise force looking out for our future Batman.
Scandal on ABC Thurs at 9 was juicy! Murder of a princess and divorce papers served!
Empire on FOX at 9 was over the top juicy! Guest stars galore and a prison murder!
Nashville on ABC Wed at 10 was juicy! Juliette is still bonkers! Deacon lives! Scarlett is as fragile as ever! Rayna is feeling sad about her record company! Luke is still gay!
The Mindy Project is back and available on the Internet for Season 4. The first episode is a hilarious parody of It’s a Wonderful life as Mindy dreams of her alternative path in life and Danny goes off to India to ask Mindy’s father for permission to marry her. The second episode is the childbirth episode and has great appearances from the Duplass brothers as the alternative childbirth advocates.
The New Shows:
Blindspot on NBC reminds me of The Blacklist in terms of the central mystery at its core: Who is Jane Doe and what is her relationship to our leading man? Similar to who is Reddington and what is his relationship to our leading lady? A Jane Doe is found in Times Square with no memory and mysterious tattoos on her body. I will give this show another look, if only for the pleasure of seeing Sullivan Stapleton (Strike Back) again.
The Player on NBC starring Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester (Strike Back) had a premiere that was beyond ludicrous. A mashup of every Vegas show ever made, plus every hi tech crime series ever made, crossed with a futuristic crime prediction plot (like Person of Interest) and add in millionaires gambling on crime outcomes and you have the insane premise for this show. Winchester is yummy even without his fake British accent, but that’s the only reason I would ever watch this guilty pleasure dreck again. Sadly, although both of the above shows star Strike Back‘s two leads, neither show is nearly as engaging as Strike Back which was astonishingly uncomplicated in comparison to these two madly derivative messes.
Tried to watch Rosewood but gave up out of sheer indifference despite the Miami setting. Don’t really feel the need for another crime solving pathologist (what a novel idea). Bored silly!
Gave up on Minority Report with an impossibly complicated sci fi/hi tech plot line involving pre-cogs (pre cognitives) who can see into the future!! I’m not making this up! Nothing about this show engaged me and I gave up in total disinterest before 15 minutes had lapsed.
The Driver (a 3 part miniseries from BBC) made its debut Thursday night on CHCH. Starring David Morrissey and set in Manchester, this series is a grim noir tale of a taxi driver who takes on some extra driving duties for a crime boss played by Colm Meaney. This doesn’t look like it will end well for Morrissey.
The Interceptor (BBC Canada on Thurs at 10) – this show is a bit of a British take on The Wire as a law enforcement team targets most wanted criminals using wire taps and surveillance techniques.
Miss Fisher Murder Mystery (PBS Thurs at 8 and Netflix) – Phryne and the police inspector get cozier!
The Doc Zone (CBC Thurs at 9) had a terrific doc on voluntarism. An eye opener!
Strike Back (HBO Canada Fri at 11) continues its nonsensical mayhem with its two charismatic leads Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester wreaking havoc all over Asia and Europe.
Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex continue Sunday night on HBO Canada. The Strain continues Sunday night on FX.
Still loving my comedy and current affairs shows including Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Bill Maher, and my Sunday mainstay CBS Sunday Morning. This week Trevor Noah will debut on Comedy Channel at 11 pm Mon-Thurs as the new host of The Daily Show replacing Jon Stewart.
A great article from John Doyle in The Globe on 10 new fall premiere shows to watch:
On my watch list for Sunday night premieres:
Great article by John Doyle in the Globe re Indian Summers, the latest Masterpiece Theatre starting Sunday:
On ABC Sunday night we have two new shows Oil and Money (starring Don Johnson in North Dakota as a fracking magnate) and Quantico (an FBI thriller with an international cast). Both shows look very entertaining!!
Enjoy this beautiful Indian Summer weather we’ve been having. If you’re not too busy watching the new shows Sunday night, there is a Supermoon lunar eclipse on Sunday night which we should be able to view in Ontario at about 10:15. If you miss it, you will have to wait until 2033 to see the next one, so set your PVR, or pause your shows and get outside Sunday night to see this spectacular celestial event. We will be around our fire pit in Thornbury leaning back in our Muskoka chairs and staring at the moon. Starting Monday, we go into countdown mode as we head toward the big family wedding next Saturday. Fingers crossed for more glorious weather and smooth travels for all attending.