We had a wonderful time with our friends in Palm Springs. We visited them 5 years ago when they first bought their beautiful mid-century modern home there and we were honoured to be with them on this last visit as they have sold up, lock, stock and barrel and are moving on to new adventures. Very bittersweet for all of us. We enjoyed perfect weather and had some great hikes, incredible meals and many toasts with festive beverages.I didn’t watch much TV, so I had a lot of catching up to do when we got home this week. Here are my recommendations:
On the big screen
Elle with Isabelle Huppert. Nominated for Best Foreign Film (France) at the Oscars, this thriller will have you on the edge of your seat with its plot twists and turns. On the surface, it’s a rape revenge fantasy, but underneath it’s a savage look at life among the Parisian bourgeoisie. I loved it, but it’s probably a little dark for most people. Just watch it for Huppert’s performance, for which she has been honoured as best actress at many festivals and competitions.
As I flew back from California on United Airlines this week, I took another look at Me Before You (based on the novel by Jo Jo Moyes). I had originally seen the film before I read the book (it’s on my Florida Book Club list for March). Having now read the book, I cried my eyes out from almost start to finish while watching the movie. It’s a beautiful adaptation of a lovely novel about a caregiver and her patient who come to care deeply for each other. Bring out your hankies! Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin are perfectly cast in the major roles.
The Path (Hulu) continues its harrowing tale of life inside a cult.
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. It’s a little jarring to hear very British accents in the roles of Parisians, but you eventually get over the weirdness of that. Intrigue abounds.
Legion has aired its first two episodes about a mutant with astonishing powers. From the Marvel Universe, Dan Stevens is almost unrecognizable from his Downton Abbey days as Matthew Crawley. Not for most of the people in my life, but I am intrigued by this sort of thing.
Taboo continues with its dark and mysterious ways. Tom Hardy is charismatic as the mysterious protagonist on a revenge mission against the East India Company.
Billions has returned with Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti. Their cat and mouse game continues as the billionaire hedge fund manager and the state prosecutor try to ruin each other.
Black Sails (aargh!) continues its final season. Revolution is coming to Nassau. Long John Silver comes to life in this prequel to Treasure Island.
Outsiders tells the story of Appalachian hillbillies who are fighting big coal’s attempt to blow the lid off their mountain. Fascinating stuff.
Little Big Lies debuts tonight. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz. Here is a rave review from The Daily Beast:
Girls with Lena Dunham (special guest star Riz Ahmed showing off his rapping skills) and Adam Driver returned for its final season last week. Here’s John Doyle’s take on it:
The Young Pope aired its last two episodes last week. I haven’t gotten around to watching them yet and frankly, I’m holding off. A thoroughly reprehensible protagonist (Jude Law) whose self-serving amorality induces shudders. I will watch this when the weather prevents any other type of activity.
Homeland is heating up!! Will Quinn completely recover? Why does Saul keep getting himself dragged out of cars with a hood over his head? Will Carrie (Claire Danes) save the world from terrorism again?
The Missing returned for a second season (Keeley Hawes and David Morrissey are the leads for Season 2) last Sunday. Here’s John Doyle’s recommendation:
Imposters has aired its first two episodes. A delightful black comedy/revenge fantasy about a team of grifters who operate by targeting vulnerable souls and then fleecing them for everything they have, including their dignity. The fun starts when the victims join forces to exact their revenge. Here’s John Doyle’s take:
Speaking of saving the world from terrorism, a new version of 24 has returned with a former Special Forces officer out to stop a series of sleeper cell attacks. He’s no Jack Bauer, but he’s a great character in his own way.
I still haven’t caught up with my pure guilty pleasure shows Grimm, Emerald City and Blacklist, but it’s only one week until Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) gets his own spin-off series, The Blacklist Redemption (debuts Feb. 23).
I still haven’t caught up with Mercy Street and Victoria, but I will relish watching both of them.
Arrow and The 100 are both in full swing. For science fiction and fantasy fans.
Riverdale has emerged as an extremely watchable mystery series that has turned the Archie comic book series into a very intriguing look at life in a seemingly idyllic small town and the darkness that lies beneath it. I am loving it!
The News Shows/The Political Comedy Shows
Well, I simply can’t stop watching my favourite new channel CNN as it covers the amazing unfolding story of this new presidency. The recent press conference was totally fascinating to watch.
On NBC, Seth Meyers: A Closer Look segments have become must see viewing:
Likewise Bill Maher’s Friday night Real Time series has featured provocative speakers and roundtable discussions:
Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee are also must see viewing for their comedic take on the latest political insanity.
My Moments of Zen
I am about to turn on my favourite show of the week, CBS Sunday Morning. It soothes and comforts me. Ah…… I finally caught up with BBC’s series Planet Earth. BBC America is rerunning the whole series as Planet Earth II is about to debut. The most astonishing nature photography I have ever seen. Lose yourself amongst penguins, polar bears and caribou, when the worries of today’s world seem overwhelming.
I am headed to the airport later this morning to pick up my son Jon for his 10-day visit with us. We have many excursions planned, so I hope the boy doesn’t think he’s going to be lying by the pool the whole time he’s here. He’s going to be my bocci and pickle ball partner. We are off to purchase some tennis racquets so that we can actually try out our numerous tennis courts here. I may drag him to some fitness classes and try and get him to join me for a round or two of golf. Of course being my son, he wants to see some films in luxurious surroundings (The Mercato where you can wine and dine while watching films in very comfortable leather seats). This happens to be my birthday week, so we’ll be celebrating with friends at a neighbourhood spot. Hoping you all have a wonderful week, and don’t forget to try and see some of the Oscar nominated films. It makes watching the show so much for fun!! Set your PVRs for next Sunday, February 26 if you are going to be away!