This month I discovered I can get a 6-month free trial of Amazon Prime, so that’s opened up a whole new world of procrastination…
The Revenant (2015) film, Netflix
The cinematography is amazing, but apart from that I felt kind of meh about this. It’s too long and the pacing is off so it kept losing me. I just found I didn’t care about the continued torture of Leonardo DiCaprio and just enjoyed the scenery instead.
Derren Brown’s The Push TV special, Netflix
I don’t think I’ll be watching any more of these Derren Brown shows. He always aims to put people in extreme situations to push them towards huge personal growth, but there’s no way he can hit it every time. The people in this show genuinely believed they’d killed someone. It doesn’t matter that they actually didn’t. I’m sure he and the show put lots of support in place every time they do this sort of thing, but post-traumatic growth is a very difficult thing to engineer. Also, imagine trying to get this stuff through a university/NHS ethics committee.
Brooklyn 99 (series 1-3) series, Netflix
This is my new obsession. It’s perfect easy-watch-but-good TV. I love Holt being weird and mischievous, and Charles being weird and yet so pure. I’m sad I’m already half-way through series 4. I love it so much.
I, Daniel Blake (2016) film, Prime
As someone who’s been in the middle of the DWP system before, it’s taken me a while to get to watching this because I knew it would be hard. I was very lucky in that I never had to deal with some of the difficulties and poverty that Dan and Katie do, but that hold music…The DWP hold music is enough to make me feel stressed and horrible. The only problem with this film is that I don’t think it will change the minds of people who support the current system. I don’t think some people understand that what’s in the film aren’t extreme examples, but very common ones, or that the characters aren’t exceptional ‘deserving poor’ compared to all the ‘scroungers’. But watch it anyway.
The Big Sick (2017) film
I’m not a big romcom fan, but this was funny and enjoyable enough. I think I liked it more because I find Kumail Nanjiani so likeable, and I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much with someone else as the lead.
The Shape of Water (2017) film
I was a bit underwhelmed by this. I liked how it played with fairy tale, like a lot of del Toro’s films do, and it looked great, but the amount of hype (plus the Oscar) meant I was expecting something more from it.
What Happened to Monday (2017) film, Netflix
Netflix is really great at original TV, really not so great at original films. It has an interesting premise and a good cast, but it’s so badly written all the sisters blur into one (ironically), it’s predictable, and full of weird plot holes. Give it a miss.
Train to Busan (2016) film, Prime
This a Korean zombie film that’s huge in Asia and about to be made into a VR game. Like a lot of horror films this is also social commentary, and it doesn’t do it subtly. The characters are quite trope-y so it’s very easy to quickly predict who will live and die by the end, but I actually didn’t care. Most of the characters have personality despite the tropes and it’s just an enjoyable zombie film. I must play the VR game.
Wild, Wild Country (2018) documentary, Netflix
This is a really great documentary about the cult/religion (depending on your perspective) of Rajneesh in Oregon in the 1980s. It doesn’t tell you what to think, but you constantly switch back and forth between supporting the town and supporting the religion/cult (until they go too far and you support no one), and on how much you trust and support individual ex-members. It’s so good. If you like stuff about cults or crime, definitely watch this. And then make everyone you know watch it too because you’re going to want to talk about it (even if just to figure Sheela out).