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What Have You Watched Recently?


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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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1 hour ago, Logan D. Hurricanes said:

Sadly, the last season of Doom Patrol. Not getting renewed. 


Yeah, it's a shame. They had so much great stuff, but the new owners seem determined to turn it into another forgettable streaming service. Too bad.

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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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M3GAN has to have been the creepiest and most disturbing horror movie I've seen in years. The idea is a sort of variant on Frankenstein, in which a robotics engineer builds a robot designed to look and act human, and intended to protect her "primary user", in this case the engineer's new ward who was brought to her after her parents died. But, while the little girl adores the robot and sees her as a person, and the engineer's boss wants to start a M3GAN production line, M3GAN starts to transcend her boundaries, and gradually starts building a frightening demeanor, until finally she has no problem with killing even dogs and children if it serves her purpose.


Like the original Frankenstein, it poses questions. Is M#GAN a person, albeit an evil one? If she isn't, then who is culpable for her crimes?

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We finally got around to watching The Menu. It's very good, with plenty of tension from the menacing atmosphere that builds throughout the first and second acts. Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nicholas Hoult do a great job, while the set design, props, and cinematography are all excellent. But it's not perfect. There are a couple of story bobbles, and the ending is a little hard to swallow (heh), but it's still well worth watching.


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I finally go around to watching Wakanda Forever. It was good. Not quite as good as Black Panther, but solid. The memorial scenes for Chadwick Boseman at the beginning and end of the film were a nice touch, quite tasteful.


Shuri's vision was a bit of a shock, to be sure. But it fit. 


And I had no problems whatsoever with Namor in his film. I found the character internally consistent, and the actor did a good job with him. All the sturm und drang that surrounded his appearance in WFstruck me as the same kind of tiresome, manufactured fanboi angst we've seen with other films (Captain Marvel, among others).

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: As mentioned upthread, this is a good watch, and a moving memorial for Chadwick Boseman. (Disney+)


The Six Million Dollar Man Season 1: The stories improve greatly after the three pilot movies, and are still very watchable. Making my way into season 2. (Peacock)


Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers: Pilot for a series that wasn't to be, with some generally interesting characters and a good setup. And it was fun to see G'kar played by Andreas Katsulas one last time. For fans of the show, it's a good watch. (DVD)

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: I was a proponent of recasting but the memorial was moving. The look of Namor was excellent and the whole style and look was done much better than Aquaman. 

Kolchak, The Night Stalker: This is an excellent show and both movies as well. It is a great set-up for a normals campaign and the show had too much potential to be so short lived. 


Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: This cartoon is often overlooked even though it does a great job of diving into some Avengers history but with better pacing and voice acting than X-Men TAS. 


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Crown Court

Case 4 involves two activists brought to trial for a bomb explosion at a magazine's print room. Nobody was killed but evidence might link the pair to the explosion. Or they might know who did it but will not say anything to identify anyone else. This ties into the counter culture (as this is 1972). A night watchman who had previous contact with the accused says he saw them fleeing the scene. But is he biased ?

Case 5 involves whether two women sought to steal a dress from a Department store, one by causing a distraction and the other by hiding one dress under their coat. The women have separate Defence Counsels. Is the store detective who is new to the job correct in saying she saw the dress under the coat as one of the women drove away ? Why did it take the car so long to return to home where two police officers were waiting ? First time the jury definitely gets it wrong.


Curse of the Mummy's Tomb

The son of a pharaoh is murdered and mummified but the pharaoh curses the one responsible. And when the tomb is opened people start dying. I thought I had seen this Hammer Horror but I was wrong. It had a neat twist. Worth seeing for the twist alone. Also beware of waking the Mummy up as it might not do what you want.


The Kiss

A witch can only survive by passing down the bloodline of a certain family. When one sister tries to pass on the curse to her niece, then more people end up getting killed. I can see why this film did not get as much exposure as others did but it is not bad.


Cisco Pike

Oddly enough this has the titbit in the cast of saying 'introducing Kris Kristofferson'. Kris is a musician but of a double act who are currently split up. He is up on a drugs rap and the detective responsible forces him into selling marijuana so that the detective can make $10k. Kris has to negotiate selling the drugs over a two and half day period while keeping things quiet from his wife (Karen Black) and ex-partner (Harry Dean Stanton). He also has to avoid the slippery clutches of the detective played by Gene Hackman. I had not heard of this one before and it is an entertaining watch.


Kill Rommel

Italian made WW2 film set in the Deserts of North Africa. Has the distinction of having Anton Differing (German) playing the lead British officer. An American is assigned to his quasi Long Range Desert Group unit and this is where the fun begins. This includes the American trying to knock off Differing's wife without knowing it at the time. Not bad but bad dubbing.


Harpur and Iles

This is a TV movie set in Wales where the force is being investigated by an officer from outside the locality. Meanwhile a protection racket war turns really nasty when the head of one side is injured and his men in retaliation kidnap the son of the other side. It does not end well. Particularly as the police are not wholly white hats. The Assistant Chief Constable is not above planting evidence while his wife is sleeping with one of his subordinates and the officer being investigated has been on the payroll of the racketeer whose son was kidnapped.

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I'm six episodes in on Poker Face, a mystery of the week created by RIan Johnson (Knives Out). It's about a woman with the ability to tell if someone is lying who uses her ability to unravel the murders. Much like Columbo, we see how the murder takes place before she picks up on clues and starts digging. It's quirky, and I'm really enjoying it. The next episode drops on the 16th (weekly), and I look forward to watching it. As an aside, the episode title cards look like throwbacks to the classic mystery wheel shows from the early 70s, complete with boldface yellow text and a copyright line underneath.



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We finished S1 of a couple of different HBOMax series last night.


Oh Hell: This German dark comedy is about a young woman whose life is unstable at least partly because she uses lies as her main method for building relationships with other people. It's funny and sad and hilarious and horrifying. I hope they make a season 2 for it.


Avenue 5: This comedy is set on a space cruise-ship that ends up having to take its vacationing passengers the long way around our solar system. It works pretty well at times as social commentary (sometimes light -- the big complainer is named Karen -- and sometimes more serious -- everyone in charge seems to be a fraud and the masses are being lied to constantly), but mostly it works really well as a straight-up comedy with some truly absurd (but somehow realistic) situations. I'm looking forward to starting season 2 next week.

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Crown Court

Case 6 involves whether or not a father and son tried to smuggle drugs from France to England. An anonymous tip off led Customs to find the drugs on a boat that the father owned but that the son had piloted. The QC (Queen's Counsel) who had previously been defending people was now the prosecution and went after one of the defendants with a vengeance. This one had people changing testimony which was a first.


Close Encounters of the Third Kind

I have not watched this in an age. A little dated as the ship the Cotapaxi was found in the 80s but not identified until January 2020. And Flight 19 ditched in the sea. The effects still hold up. But I watch Star Wars way more.



Joan Crawford is the owner of a circus in England where people keep getting killed and this brings in more people. Judy Geeson is her daughter who has just been thrown out of school.


British Rock

This is a documentary looking at British groups and the British music scene in 1980. The only mis-step is looking at the Kinks who were not a factor at all in the years to come but it did feature The Police, Madness, The Selector, The Boomtown Rats and The Jam. Fascinating look at the period.


Animal Kingdom

This is an Australian film based on a real life criminal gang and the murder of two police officers by members of the gang.  Set in Melbourne a boy goes to live with his grandmother after his mother overdoses and dies. His uncles are all crooks, one especially is being hunted by the robbery squad who seem to be out of control and operating a shoot to kill policy. This is the fate that befalls one uncle and leads the most psychotic one to plan the murder of two police officers in return. Guy Pierce appears as one of the detectives in charge who tries to get the young boy to flip on his uncles. A low key but absorbing film.


Hawk the Slayer

I loved this film when it came out as it fed my D+D soul. The music now is a tad naff. I still like the film. Jack Palance is great as the bad guy and there are a lot of well known British faces in the supporting cast like Harry Andrews as the Abbot and Annette Crosbie as the Mother Superior. Even the small roles have well known faces like Roy Kinnear as a tavern owner and Maurice Colbourne as a tough. Repeating crossbows and Elven speed with a bow are still fun.

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Dead Reckoning

Film noir with Humphrey Bogart as a captain in the army brought back from wartime Europe after the conflict is over so that he and a sergeant can be awarded medals by the President. Except the NCO does not want to be photographed and goes AWOL once in the States. Bogart goes after him and finds out that maybe the sergeant killed someone before fleeing into the army. But did he ? Lizabeth Scott is the femme fatale.


King of the Zombies

A plane crashed on an island in the same area that an admiral disappeared the week before. The people on the plane take refuge with an eccentric doctor who had to flee Austria because of the war. However the man servant comes across zombies. Not flesh eaters but they obey no-one but a master. Bit what is going on and why ? Interesting little piece.


The Sadist

Made in the 60s only a couple of years after Starkweather went on the rampage, this has three teachers threatened by a psychotic teen and his compliant girlfriend. The cast is unknown so you don't know who is going to get in next and you don't know who will survive. At least the snakes had a good meal.


The Woman in Question

A fortune teller has been murdered but who did it and why ? The police question the last people to see her in order to find the culprit. One of Dirk Bogarde's earliest films.


Fixed Bayonets

Richard Basehart is a corporal who really does not want to give people orders. Set during the Korean War the Americans leave a rearguard as the main group retreats. The reargiard have to convince the Chinese that there are more of them than there are. Not bad.


The Boogie Man Will Get You

Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre star in this comedy horror. Karloff is forced to sell up his home due to debts but is allowed to stay in the cellar to finish his experiments. These are to do with making a superman now that the country is at war again. The woman who buys the place is being pursued by her ex who is due to join up bujt suspects the locals of exploiting her. He forcibly tries to stop them and Karloff and Lorre set out to stop him. You watch this for both the horror legends.

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Andor: I wish the Star Wars franchise wasn't so uneven.  I'd heard that this series was good, but I put it off after Boba Fett, Obi-Wan, and, well, the entire sequel trilogy.  But Andor is phenomenal.  The writing, the performances, the sets, the architecture--all top notch.  It's better than Rogue One.  It gets a little slow in places, and it suffers from the lack of an ending, but I wish I hadn't waited so long to watch it.

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Is watching the French documentary "Super-Vilains: l'Enquête" worthwhile? It sounds interesting: "Comic book writers discuss how they make the villains who take on the superheroes." But it's rated 5.4/10 on IMDB and there are no written reviews. HBOMax has it, so I guess I should just give it a go, but I wondered if anyone on here had taken a look?


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The Superbowl

This year Kansas vs Pittsburgh and what an entertaining game it was. Both teams first possessions ended in scores. Then the Eagles are ahead and the Chiefs made a comeback. As someone else pointed out the end was a bit of a disappointment but good use of managing the clock. Rhianna was on her own for the half time show but it looked to me like she was pregnant and what do you know ? After the show it was confirmed she was. Overall this was one of the best Superbowls I have seen.



This is a Robert Altman film with Susannah York as a children's author married to Rene Auberjonois's photographer. She starts seeing and hearing things so is she going mad ? One of the things she sees is her ex-lover who died three years previous. Played by the guy who Gene Hackman shoots after the car/train chase in the French Connection, this is a tad disturbing. I mean I see the guy as a tough not a lover. York goes off the deep end with this. Worth a look.



Kirstin Stewart works on a mining rig deep underwater. And then there is an accident and people have to run for the escape hatches. Only her group has to cross the ocean bed. And there is something else down there with them ..... This is ideal Cthulhu territory. So I enjoyed it.


Wheels of Terror

I have the Sven Hassel books and this is the only film based on the characters. It is toned down for a film and looks less at Sven than at Tiny, Porta, the Legionnaire and The Old Man (the sergeant). Michael Carradine and Oliver Reed play German officers. Worth a look. But Cross of Iron is better.



George Peppard is a police captain going to work for a Senate committee. But a man he arrested and beat up to get him to confess is about to be taken off death row and released due to breach of Miranda rules. As the film came out at the end of the 60s this fits the timeframe. George finds out his wife is having an affair with an ex-lover. He plans to pop back and surprise them while sitting in for a senator at a speech said politician was going to give. He gets drunk instead. But someone goes to his house and kills his wife and her lover. But who and why ?



Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor are humans who are reborn after they die but they retain skills they learned before hand. The latter has now become a nihilist and wants to destroy all human life but Wahlberg's previous life stole the doomsday device and hid it. The question is where ? This was quite an entertaining idea and lots of mayhem

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Trying to watch Blonde, but it's so very, very bad. Ana de Armas was wasted in this. 


Finished up seasons 4 through 7 of Fear the Walking Dead. Apparently, the showrunners changed after Season 3. Seasons 4, 5 and 7 were pretty bad, occasionally rising to moments of mediocrity, though season 6 was better. 


Started watching some new sitcoms, Shrinking (Apple TV)(more of a dramedy, from the Ted Lasso folks), Animal Control, and Not Dead Yet. All three of those were pretty entertaining. Tried a couple episodes of That 90s Show, but was only mildly entertained, and mostly by the cameos. Verdict's out on whether we'll continue watching that one. 




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Mission: Impossible ('66) The original TV show (on Pluto) is such an amazing time capsule. First off, everybody smokes. Second, seeing some of these faces that I did not expect is wild. Eartha Kitt as a member of the team for one episode! Joan Collins was a double agent in another. Many other familiar faces, like Larry "Major Burns" Linville, John "Dean Wormer" Vernon, and so many that make you go "Oh, it's that guy!" Several actors also appeared in multiple episodes though in different roles.


And the technology! This was spycraft at its weirdest. Most of it is very plausible which I appreciate, but some was just ridiculous. More than once Barney (the tech genius) operated a car with a remote control that only had switches marked left and right. One has to remember what wasn't available at the time. FREX, almost no computers, and the ones that did exist had printouts instead of monitors. 


And that's the entire show. It's either very clever, or just ridiculous. Often in the same episode. What really struck me was what isn't seen. Many missions could have been solved easily with a bullet, but they never shoot anyone unless it's self-defense. A far cry from spy fiction of today. In one episode, they go to absurd lengths to fake a gunshot that came from across the street and misses someone, then put a guy up there to get caught as if he had fired the shot. Just taking the shot would have been ten times easier. Also, they never name a foreign country. Some are obviously intended to be Soviet, Germany, South American, etc. but the names and maps are just pastiche, never specific and real. I guess that passed for diplomacy. Good thing everybody speaks English. 


Interrogation always consists of asking questions harder if they refuse to talk. And louder! "Answer me! Answer the question! It's no use, take him away." One persuasion technique consisted of playing very loud noise, and the interrogator acted like it was the equivalent of water boarding. That was kind of weird.  I guess torture, even implied, was strictly forbidden.


As to the acting, it's a mixed bag. Martin Landau is clearly the star, and deservingly so. Peter Graves, though, I have come to realize, is not very good. But he's better than the first guy that he replaced, Steven Hill. Leonard Nimoy and his sideburns came in later, and he's fun, but I just can't shake the whole Spock thing. It's odd. Barbara Bain is uneven. Sometimes perfect, sometimes clearly out of her element. Lesley (Ann) Warren doesn't fit in my opinion. Maybe it's the character she's being asked to portray, not sure. Greg Morris as Barney is always great, the real anchor of the show. Poor Peter Lupus as Willy is wood. He didn't get the job for his acting. 


It's a fun watch, though sometimes my eyes threaten to roll all the way out of my head. When it hits, it hits. When it misses, it's well, baffling. 

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