I have to confess that this week’s blog is a little uninspired. The Summer Olympics have taken a toll on what is currently available on TV. Many of my regular shows have wound down to their season finales and there really isn’t much to comment on but I will do my best. We were a little preoccupied this past week by a real estate search which resulted in our successful bid for a condo in the west end of Toronto. Condo living, here we come!!
On the Big Screen
A very rainy day in Thornbury had us travelling in to the Collingwood Cineplex to watch the latest Bourne film titled Jason Bourne. I am a devout Bond fan and in years when there are no Bond films I long for replacements and have enjoyed some of them tremendously (The Man from UNCLE, Mission Impossible, The Night Manager, etc.). However, I was a bit disappointed by the latest Bourne entry. Even though Matt Damon is back (ably supported by Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, etc.), this film felt a bit tedious and flat to me. It features two lengthy car chases and interminable footage of major characters walking (almost an ad for Fit Bit). In the end, this film is almost indistinguishable from its 4 predecessors. Thankfully, Jeremy Renner (where is his charisma?) has moved on to other projects (including his role as Hawkeye in the lacklustre Avengers franchise where he continues to practice his lame archery skills when all the other characters have much better superpowers). I can’t recommend this movie as it felt very flat to me.
The Get Down is the latest big original miniseries produced for Netflix and is directed by Baz Luhrmann (Australia, Moulin Rouge, etc.) Although the advance press for this series has been terrific, I found the pilot to be a little stultifying. It follows the birth of Hip Hop music in the Bronx in the seventies. There is a big cast (Jimmy Smits, Kevin Corrigan and Giancarlo Esposito are familiar faces), but the emphasis is on the young actors of whom there are many. I had to watch the pilot in two instalments as I found myself drifting off into dreamland. I don’t know if I will stay with this series. In the musical genre, I must confess that I didn’t finish watching Straight Out of Compton either which followed the rise of Rap music in LA. Neither musical genre is a real favourite for me. I also had a hard time staying with the recent HBO series Vinyl (from Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger on the seventies rock scene in NYC), which simply never really touched a chord with me. I’ve given up on HBO’s Roadies (about the unsung roadies who back up rock bands when they are on the road) as I simply don’t care what happens to any of those characters even though I adore Carla Gugino and Luke Wilson. I’ve been able to stay with Empire and Nashville because of the hilarious melodrama of their plot lines and characters, but so far The Get Down hasn’t grabbed me.
My Recent Favourites
Still hanging in with Mr Robot. I’m bound and determined to find out what is really happening in this boggling enigma of a show.
Animal Kingdom had its season finale (love that series with Ellen Barkin, Scott Speedman, Shaun Hatosy, etc). The young star is played by Brit actor Finn Cole whom you may recognize from Peaky Blinders and Inspector Lewis. Those of you who are still uninitiated should seek out the Australian film of the same name which inspired it. Ben Mendelson (of Bloodlines and the next Star Wars film) plays the most dangerous family member.
I can’t believe I’m still watching Suits, but I have to see how the damned thing ends. We’re with Mike in prison and Harvey is still plotting to get him released. Mike and Rachel still pine for each other.
Queen of the South debuted this past week. Originating on USA network, it tells the powerful story of Teresa Mendoza, a woman who is forced to run and seek refuge in America after her drug-dealing boyfriend is unexpectedly murdered in Mexico. In the process, she teams up with an unlikely figure from her past to bring down the leader of the very drug trafficking ring that has her on the run. Action packed pilot, so we’ll see how this one goes.
Tyrant is just plain silly now. Barry Al-Fayeed seems to be heading down the mad dictator route (he sees dead people), like his brother before him. Sadly, I can’t look away.
Still enjoying Brain Dead (from the creators of The Good Wife) and American Gothic. Both shows are blackly humorous.
Still hooked on Ray Donovan and The Night of. Outcast had its bat-shit crazy finale last week, but is still available on demand.
Inspector Lewis has its last show of the series tonight and The Tunnel also concludes. Those of you in the US are lucky to be able to watch these great series on demand on PBS.org. Not so lucky in Canada.
I believe tonight episode of The Choir may be the last episode of the season where Gareth Malone has his workplace choirs competing against each other. Malone is a charmer and his show paints a fascinating portrait of contemporary British society.
It’s been a thrilling and sometimes heartbreaking experience to watch these Olympics. The Canadian athletes have done extremely well. There have been incredible wacky stories (those US swimmers and their hijinks) but the story that has really intrigued has been that of the female runners. I was interested in the controversy about the intersex gendered African runners. Caster Semenya has been under scrutiny over the last seven years because of her high testosterone levels. Last night’s 800 metre race was won by South African Semenya and the bronze and silver medals went to two other African runners who are also considered to be hyperandrogenous (elevated testosterone levels). These runners have a natural advantage and the IAAF is preparing to challenge the current ruling that these runners should not have to take testosterone suppressing drugs in order to level the playing field.
I had literally better start packing. Our new condo closes in less than one month. Decisions must be made, boxes must be acquired, elevators must be booked, etc. TV may actually have to be on the back burner as there are also golf games to be played, bridal showers and two weddings to attend before our big moving day and we are off to NYC for a long planned visit right after we take possession of the new condo. It’s time to get busy!!