Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What I'm watching in February

What am I watching this month?
may contain spoilers!

1.  The Walking Dead is back! I loved the  first episode of the new season , especially the stunt with the cable stretched between the 2 cars  mowing down the herd of walkers. I feel like it would not have killed them since it just cut them in half and didn't destroy their brains, but it turns them into crawlers instead of walkers.  Carol's whole "I want to be alone" storyline is boring me, but hopefully she will snap out of it in time to help defeat Negan. What is Gabriel up to, stealing all the food and runnign away with it?

2. Project Runway Junior-  this has been  better than the last few seasons of adult PR. Those kids are  crazy talented and there are some weeks that there really is not a terrible look, they are all decent or good.  There is less backbiting and drama than the adult version. The only thing I don't like is when  Tim makes some pop culture reference like David Bowie or Gilligans Island and the kids all just have this  blank look because they have no idea what or who that is. I mean COME ON, Bowie only died a year ago and there is the internet these days and youtube, so kids today have more access to entertainment that happened before their time. If you are interested in fashion,  the burden is on you to learn a little something about fashion history, even just the 20th century at LEAST.

3. Sneaky Pete- this is a TV series on Amazon Prime that was co-created by Bryan Cranston (from Breaking Bad) and he also has an uncredited role as the villain. It also has some great character actors from The Americans ( one of my favorite shows that is coming back next month YAY!).  Margo Martindale is  in it (she plays Claudia on The Americans and also had a recurring role in Justified), and the actress who played Martha on The Americans is in it.
The show is about con artists  and it  has a lot of tricky plot twists and turns- I love movies and shows like this,  shows  about heists and intricate  plots. The  finale episode had a cliffhanger so I hope they are doing a season 2.

4. Z- The Beginning of Everything. This is another series on Amazon Prime.  I got Prime to watch Sneaky Pete, so then I just started watching the other Amazon original series to see how they are. This is a period piece about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald in the 1920's ,  starring Christina Ricci as Zelda.  It's got great costumes and sets and the acting is pretty good, although I think  Ricci is a bit old for the role.  She's 36 and she's playing a 20 year old  in season one (I think the series starts when Zelda was only 18). Later seasons may go up to when the real Zelda was  older, so  the age gap won't be as obvious as time goes by.
The episodes are only 30 minutes, so you can binge the whole season in a day.

5. Victoria- This is a PBS Masterpiece Theater series about Queen Victoria.. Season one is just the beginning of her reign and marriage,  and the birth of her first child. I'm assuming there will be more seasons since she reigned so long.  It's currently in the middle of the season  on TV, but  they  have the whole  season on the PBS website if you want to binge it. I had to  make a donation to PBS  in order to unlock it, but that is okay because it's a good cause, and the membership also gets discounts on some  local museums and stuff.

6.  Good Behavior-  This was a TNT series from last year but for some reason I never watched it when it was on. It has Lady Mary from Downton Abby as an American ex-con and recovering drug addict.  She's supposed to be from North Carolina, but has a very flat non-specific midwestern American accent with occasional slips of British upperclass crispness leaking through. She just basically talks way more posh than the character should,  being from a small southern town and a working class /criminal background. She also dresses very classy,   even though she's always out of work,  has nowhere to live,  always saying she's broke... but every scene she has a new designer outfit and she always has money for taxis and drinks at the fancy bars. I guess she must be stealing a lot off-camera.
I am enjoying it though, despite these quibbles. I am about halfway through the season.
For some reason, my Xfinity On Demand only has episodes 1-5, and episode 7. But it's missing episode 6, 8, 9, and 10. Amazon has those missing episodes though for $3 each (they aren't included in Amazon prime), so  I guess I am  going to buy them.

7. La La Land- I went to see this in a theater since it seemed like something you should see on a big screen. I  am not a big fan of musicals, but I did like it. I didn't LOVE it like a lot of people seem to, but the visuals were amazing. The production numbers were beautiful. The singing is mediocre, but it's more about the visuals I think. The plot confused me and kind of had this depressing middle section where they were fighting very unconvincingly, for no discernible reason.  It was  just like the plot arc says  that they break up, but it seemed to come out of nowhere and had no logic or reason behind it. Also, it reminded me a little bit of Woody Allen movies in the sense that it takes place in an alternate universe that  only has white people in it. Woody's New York is always shown as all white, and this movie's fictional Los Angeles was all white. (when in real life those are both incredibly diverse cities).

8.  Deadpool.   Got this dvd  from netflix, but they don't have it streaming yet, only on disc. I am not really  into all the comic book movies,  I think I have only seen a couple of the X men universe movies, but  I really enjoyed this.  It had  great special effects and stunts and action scenes, which is typical of this genre, but it  also had GREAT  witty writing and clever dialog, which is not that common for the genre.

9.  Taboo. This is a  TV series on  FX which is currently running (it's in the middle of the first season) , but I didn't start watching when it started. I just binged the first 6 episodes in the past 2 days to get caught up. It's  set in 1815 London, the same time period as Jane Austen novels ,(and it should be obvious by now that I love a good period piece!)  but instead of genteel country  squires, it's in the dirty underbelly of  London. The plot involves the East India Trading  Company, the Prince Regent of England,  The War of 1812.   There are spies, intrigue,  criminals,  prostitutes and street urchins, as well as incest and mystery, and some kind of a supernatural aspect which I don't fully understand.  The visuals are simultaneously gorgeous and  ugly. Instead of unrealistic period pieces where  everyone has 21st century hygiene with clear perfect skin, hair and teeth,   this series has a real  dark grittiness to the look,  there are great character actors in the supporting roles and  many of the  side characters have a certain grotesqueness to them. The  Prince Regent is especially grotesque. Jonathan Pryce plays the boss of the East India Trading  Company, and is a chilling villain.
 I often have to  scroll back and watch a scene 2 or 3 times. The first time, I am just absorbing the visuals, which are stunning and so textured.  The second time, I focus on the actor's delivery of lines, their voice and  mannerisms and expression. Then the third time, I can actually focus on the dialog itself and the exposition and plot details that are being revealed.

10. Saturday Night Live-
 The only good thing I can say about this presidential administration, is that it is providing comedy GOLD for the late night shows. Sometimes they don't even have to do any writing, just use the actual real,  insane,  rambling doublespeak  verbatim. Melissa McCarthy  is KILLING IT as Sean Spicer. Unfortunately they had a 2 week break when so many crazy things are happening.

What I am looking forward to watching:
The new season of Bates Motel starting next week
The new season of The Americans  starting next month

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