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First episode of The Last of Us.  It was surprisingly long, covering both the initial outbreak and the postapocalyptic dystopia.  But I was expecting a show starring the Red Viper of Dorne and the Queen of Bear Island to be awesome, and it did not disappoint.


Interestingly, I've read some scientific discussion that the pathogen involved--a fungus--is a relatively plausible mechanism for causing a zombie outbreak IRL.

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1 hour ago, Old Man said:

First episode of The Last of Us.  It was surprisingly long, covering both the initial outbreak and the postapocalyptic dystopia.  But I was expecting a show starring the Red Viper of Dorne and the Queen of Bear Island to be awesome, and it did not disappoint.


Interestingly, I've read some scientific discussion that the pathogen involved--a fungus--is a relatively plausible mechanism for causing a zombie outbreak IRL.



Note: Some may find this disturbing. But if you played or watched The Last of Us you've seen worse.

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I'm about 45 minutes in to The Last of Us, but it wasn't really what I wanted to watch at the time. So, I switched over to


Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons: Animated movie about Clark's son, Jonathan, getting powers, and having to team up with Batman's son to save the world from invasion from space. A good watch. (HBOmax)


Violent Night: A good re-watch, now available on streaming. (HBOmax)



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South Side (S1): A pretty funny look at life in Chicago's South Side, partly inspired by The Simpsons and with much love for the city.

Oh Hell (S1): This is a sitcom from Germany that's centered on a woman who is a walking talking natural disaster. They don't go so far as to make her unlikable, keeping this funny and engaging.

Avenue 5 (S1): A cruise ship in space, complete with a fraud of a captain and an owner who is probably closer to the reality of most billionaires than they'd care to admit. Funny as hell at times, it functions pretty well as a parody of modern life.

Pennyworth (S3): This dramatic action series keeps being really fun and compelling to watch. This season needs more Paloma Faith, but otherwise it's great stuff.



Cinema Toast (S1): This series of half-hour episodes uses footage from old public domain films and gives them new dialogue. The first episode was brilliant. The second was just OK. We'll see.

Twilight Zone (S1): This one continues to be the rare successor to The Twilight Zone to be worthy of the name. Really good stuff.

The Good Fight (S1): This courtroom drama spinoff series (of The Good Wife) is so far juuuust barely good enough to keep us going, like much of The Good Wife's run was for us.



Fleishman is in Trouble (S1): Like The Good Fight, each of the episodes of this dramatic series we've watched so far has just barely given us enough to make it worthwhile to keep going. The setup is that a self-centered social climber leaves her husband in the dust when she realizes he doesn't at all share her ambitions. She then disappears, leaving him with the kids -- and a mystery to solve. Meh.



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I'd recently seen a positive review of the new Blu-ray set of The Six Million Dollar Man, looked up the price on Amazon, and then tried to figure out if I would really watch the set to justify the cost. Turns out that Peacock has put the five seasons on their service, and I've started watching it (probably for the first time since syndication in the 80s). I'm about three double-episodes in, which were all originally released as TV movie pilots for the series.


The first one explains Steve Austin's background as an astronaut and covers the aftermath of the accident from the title sequence. Its plotting is slow, with a voice-over by Martin Balsam as Dr Rudy Wells.

The second is set as more of a James Bond-styled story, complete with a villain who has stolen several nuclear missiles for sale on the black market. The third has an unnamed worldwide criminal organization that is kidnapping people for ransom. The third movie was the one that I enjoyed the best.


There's a lot of stock footage in use to bring down costs, with some odd results, like a commercial airplane changing its livery in mid-air, or an establishing shot not matching the actual shooting location. Lots of voice-overs to place the actors in generic action shots, and even some scenes recycled between movies with different dialogue badly applied on top. Some details were probably not visible on the television sets of the era, like the American power sockets in the Parisian hospital room. 


I'll probably start the regular series episodes tomorrow.

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1 hour ago, Logan D. Hurricanes said:

Watching Ghosts on Paramount+. Good dumb fun. I laugh more than I'm comfortable admitting. 


It sure is fun!


I like it about as well as the British original, and I like it a lot that the American version does its own thing with the premise.

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I saw The Fablemans tonight with my mother, about a Jewish youth who learns to make home movies and throws himself into making movies with and for his friends -- until he films something he shouldn't, and his world starts crashing around his ears.  Sounds like normal family drama stuff, until I tell you it was inspired by the life of his director -- one Steven Spielberg.


Some of the things that happen to Sam Fableman and his family are things that happened to a lot of people in that generation and the generation that followed, and that makes the film relatable in a way that few coming-of-age pictures about art and artists manage to do. Sam Fableman's journey takes many turns as events outside his control influence his life.  His family moves from Jersey to Arizona to California with the work of his engineer father, while his glides through life as it becomes clearer and clearer that she has issues. In California, Sam encounters Anti-Semitism on a personal level for the first time as the new kid in school. The film ends with Sam encountering an aged, irascible John Ford (played by auteur director David Lynch) and learning an important lesson from a two-minute visit. (There is a similar scene with Judd Hirsch as an elderly relative).


Since this is, with the serial numbers filed off, Steven Spielberg's own story -- showcasing in a fictionalized setting some of the things that got him started and went into making him the giant he is -- there was absolutely one question I need to find an answer for -- what directors from the current generation will become the sort of towering figure Spielberg is?

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We decided to watch an 80s movie neither of us had seen before: Broadcast News. It's got a great cast: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter, Joan Cusack...and Jack Nicholson (just before his turn as The Joker). And it was written, directed, and produced by James L. Brooks (of Simpsons fame).


Broadcast News has a similar theme to the previous decade's Network, but dives into the deliberate corporate crapification of the news from a traditional workplace comedy perspective. And it is funny. James L. Brooks knows comedy. The material he gave the actors is great, and they do such a good job with it! Right down to subtle reaction expressions that are just perfect and hilarious.


The movie didn't seem as dated as I expected. It's true that sometimes it feels like I remember the 80s better than I do the 2000s, but even so. Sure, the fashion is very late 80s and some of the workplace attitudes are of that time, but for the most part the movie held up just fine to me.


Hurt plays the new pretty boy anchor who is honest about how unqualified he is for the job beyond his looks and his way with people. Brooks and Hunter respectively play the veteran reporter and producer who understand the geopolitical world and the media business at an intuitive level - but who have so far been unable to advance in their professions. And they are dedicated to their professions. To them, people like Hurt's character are a symptom of what's wrong with the business. Meanwhile, Hurt wants to befriend them so he can succeed as an anchor.


There are some unexpected moments that are just beautiful.


Highly recommended.


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I saw Broadcast News at the cinema. Really enjoyed it. Have not seen it since but I remember it. Jack Nicholson has a cameo as the main news anchor.


On to what I have been watching


Crown Court

This was on during the 70s and 80s and takes a case and covers some of the evidence and testimony in three days of half hour episodes.

The first case which was the pilot involved whether a hospital was guilty of negligence as a man brought in after a car crash walked out of the hospital after an initial diagnosis, collapsed on the street and was brought back in, was operated on and subsequently died of a bleed on the brain. The difficulty for the defence was that the doctor and nurse who looked after him had been in a relationship but had separated. The case had no jury but was decided by the judge.

The second case involved whether a woman installed in a penthouse flat by a rich man had to give the flat back after the relationship ended. The man had returned unexpectantly from a trip abroad and found his son in the flat in a state of undress and believed she was having with him. This one had a jury although technically it did not need one. The son had been thrown out of his residence by a landlord and had crashed the night at the flat. But he was also the one that his father had first seen the woman with.

The third case involved a woman who had attacked a police officer. She was a teacher and had just been told that she was not being retained at a temporary teaching post she had. The defence did not dispute that the attack took place but what had caused it and the woman's mental condition. The case revolved around a letter that the police had sent and which the defence proved was crucial to events.


Mayans MC

Set in the same universe as Sons of Anarchy the events take place a couple of years after the end of the former seasons end. Ezekial Reyes is a prospective member of the Mayans motorcycle club but he killed a police officer and has only just been let out of prison. He was pursuing a man he believed killed his mother and got involved in a shoot out with him but he accidentally fired on someone who was behind him who was a cop. The DEA are using him to get information of the Galindo drug cartel who use the Mayans as delivery men and he was let out of jail early as a result as his older brother was already in the club. The first episode involved a robbery of the drug shipment and the Mayans and Sons of Anarchy come together to get the drugs back and kill the miscreants.

The wife of the head of the Galindo cartel is Ezekial's (called Easy for short) old girlfriend and this is a continuing bone of contention throughout the season. Ezekial's brother Angel is involved with rebels in Mexico who are after the cartel as well. Things get heated when the baby son of the Galindo clan is kidnapped.

The series is as involved as Sons of Anarchy is but seen through the perspective of the Latin American bikers who operate on the border with Mexico. Danny Pino plays the head of the cartel and it was good to see him play the bad guy as I knew him from cop roles in Cold Case and Law and Order. Edward James Olmos plays the father of Angel and Ezekial. Well worth watching. I have season 2 and 3 to get through now. The BBC has it on their IPlayer service.


New Year's Day Concert from Vienna

Managed to miss this live so had to go back and watch it on the BBC IPlayer service. It did a lot of music that had not been in the New Year Concert before. Two hours of music and only a couple of pieces had any singing or audience accompanyment. Beautiful and uplifting.


Despicable Me 3

I had only seen bits of this so now I saw the whole thing. It was fun and still pleasing. No Russell Brand but Steve was playing dual parts of Gru and his twin brother Dru who had hair. Gru is fired for not apprehending a child star turned supervillain played by Trey Parker despite recovering the diamond that the guy tried to steal. He meets his twin who he had not known even existed and goes after the gem after the villain manages to steal the gem. Only two of the minions have stayed with Gru as he is not going back to being a villain.so the rest desert him to find a new master. It is short and to the point so I have no problem recommending it.



This is the Disney live action version of the film with Will Smith as the Genie. It is a different beast to the cartoon with Robin Williams but I have not seen that in over twenty years. The only downer is Jafar is rather one note as a villain. Still worth a look.



Two British soldiers are sent on an urgent mission to stop an attack by their own side on the Germans who have retreated to new positions. The attack will be a massacre as the Germans want the British to attack and have prepared positions. Telephone lines are out and the best way is to get through German lines and then race over to where the unit is. One of the soldiers has a brother in the unit so it is very personal to him. The film has a conceit of making a lot of the movie look like a continuous tracking shot especially for the first hour. The two soldiers are played by unknowns so you do not know if they will live.

Well known actors (at least to a British audience) play major roles like the general sending them out on the mission and the officer in charge of the attack. The set dressing is good with dead bodies lying in the ground and rats ever present. It comes down to the last minutes and seconds as to whether the attack can be stopped in time. This is an unalloyed gem and one of the best things I have ever seen.

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The Hitman's Bodyguard: More fun than I expected, it's the story of a professional bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) who has to protect a hitman (Samuel L. Jackson) on his way to testify against a former dictator on trial for various crimes against his people. (Netflix DVD.com)


Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (Maclunkey! edition): A nostalgic watch of the current version of this movie, in 4K and Dolby Atmos. (Disney+)


I'm about halfway through the first season of The Six Million Dollar Man, and the stories and production have greatly improved over the three pilot movies. So far, a good watch. (Peacock)



More on the subject of HBOmax:

I made it about 7 episodes in to the fourth season of the remastered Babylon 5 on HBOmax, before they removed the show from streaming, no reason given that I can find.


Additionally, a bunch of Looney Tunes and Flintstones cartoons were also removed from HBOmax, but the reason there is that they are no longer authorized to show them (even though they are fully owned by Warner). Apparently, there was some kind of internal deal between a different part of Warner and HBOmax, and they've decided to save money by letting the rights lapse.


Concurrently, HBOmax announced an increase of their monthly fee to $15.99. It's still in the category that I feel I'm getting enough out of it (mainly for DC content), but that's an evaluation I'm now making month-to-month. 


All of the show removal shenanigans is probably the best argument I've seen for owning stuff you like on physical media. While I own all of the B5 DVDs (except, for some reason, Legend of the Rangers, which should now be delivered on Wednesday from Amazon), it was nice watching them in a cleaned-up, non-letterboxed format. 


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1 minute ago, Ternaugh said:

The Hitman's Bodyguard: More fun than I expected, it's the story of a professional bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) who has to protect a hitman (Samuel L. Jackson) on his way to testify against a former dictator on trial for various crimes against his people. (Netflix DVD.com)

I really liked this one, I didnt like the sequel nearly as much, despite adding Salma to the mix. I felt  they went backwards with Reynolds competency.

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On 1/30/2023 at 6:53 AM, csyphrett said:

Watched The Bad Guys as a crew of criminals try to run a con about going straight only to be framed by their mentor.


The Bad Guys has been compared to the classic anime/Manga series Lupin III, about a master thief, his crew, and the femme fatale he wants to bed (buit she has other priorities). The inspiration was a French series from the turn of the last century about a master thief named Arsene Lupin -- "Lupin" was originally supposed to be his part-Japanese grandson, although he may have slipped to great-great-grandson over the years).  There have been two-score or so Lupin III theatrical films -- the most notae, The Castle of Cagliostro, was the director debut of Hayao Miyazaki.  It's the Japanese take on the James Bond franchise.

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