What I’ve Been Watching

It seems to be getting harder and harder to find something that both my husband and I want to watch. His taste is more towards superheroes, and mine veers more towards… well… Richard Armitage! But sometimes we have a meeting of the minds. (Movie stills from IMDb)

Handsome Devil (2016): (On Video on Demand)

Handsome DevilI’d read some interviews with the actors in Handsome Devil and was interested to see how this Irish film plays with stereotypes amid the unconscious  homophobic attitudes in a boys’ boarding school. I first was able to interest my rugby-mad husband because it takes place in a rugby-focused boys’ school. But what held both his and my attention was the light Irish humour with which this coming of age story about being your authentic self is presented. The acting is convincing by Fionn O’Shae as the bullied oddball and Nicholas Galitzine as the handsome rugby star who are forced to room together. Andrew Scott (Sherlock) plays the insightful and supportive teacher everyone would like to have. Moe Dunford is like a toned down Jack Black as the rugby coach you wouldn’t like to have. While the movie is a bit hopeful about how teenage boys might react, it really is a nice film to watch.

“The Intern” (2015): (On Netflix)

the internWhile both my husband and I had seen this before, it was a lot of fun to watch it again. Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway are wonderful together as a 70-year-old intern with a lot to contribute and a stressed out business owner who definitely needs what he can teach her, about business but mainly about life. Funny and touching and just a well-written and well-executed movie.

“Into the Storm” (2014): (On iTunes)

Into the StormWell, enough of togetherness… what’s more appropriate than re-watching a Richard Armitage movie about massive tornadoes, while storms were raging to the South? Hubby caught only bits of this one as he walked through the room on various errands. Admittedly, while the storm and pyro special effects are spectacular, the scripted human parts leave a lot to be desired. Poor dialogue and questionable accents make this pretty much a B-movie. Still, there are some good action sequences and some heart-warming scenes. Recommended for fans of the storm-type disaster genre or for die-hard Armitage fans who want to watch his continued casting in water-logged roles. (I’ve now started reading Zeesmuse’s fanfic, Raising Nemoset two years after the storm, to see how she envisions the heroic vice principal.)

“Personal Shopper” (2016): (On Netflix)

personal shopperOkay, completely lost the hubby on this one. My guilty secret… I was a fan of the Twilight movies, particularly the first one before they became so Hollywood. I know some people make fun of it, but I actually like Kristen Stewart’s acting style. It is very low-key and true-to-life, which I think doesn’t always show well in big budget glossy films. Personal Shopper is an award-winning film that did pretty badly at the box office. Stewart plays a spirit-sensitive woman whose twin brother has died. While hoping he will make contact with her at his Paris house, she encounters malevolent ghosts and is pursued via anonymous text message by someone who may or may not be dead. There is even a murder, and spirits may be influencing live people. A weird story that is very uneven but has some pretty cool atmosphere and creepy bits.

Five Days (2007 miniseries): (On Crave TV -HBO)

Five DaysThis BBC production takes place on five separate days, starting with the day that a married woman and her two mixed race children go missing and ending on the day that the full mystery is solved. While it is a police crime drama, the most interesting part is watching the family members go through this experience, each so alone in their own fear and grief. With the cast of BBC regulars, the acting is really believable and the story (although a bit soap-opera-ish) is one that makes you want to watch through to the conclusion. It’s always fun to watch a BBC production to see who you’ve seen in other BBC shows or who has since made it big. Frankly, in an ensemble cast like this one, they are too many to mention, but here are just a few. David Oyelowo (Selma) is wonderful as Matt, the worried and bewildered husband and father. The in-laws who’ve never quite accepted him are played by Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey) and Patrick Malahide (Game of Thrones, Middlemarch). Sarah Smart (Sparkhouse, Wallander) does an interesting turn as someone who insinuates herself into Matt’s and his children’s lives. The teenage stepdaughter and the children are played by Lucinda Dryzek, Lee Massey, and Tyler Anthony. The police investigative team is lead by Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and supported by Janet McTeer, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Michelle Bonnard, and Charlie Creed-Miles. An interesting five-episode binge-watch.


Now, how to get my husband to commit to watching Berlin Station with me when it starts up again…. (I might have to get him to watch the first season first though!)

13 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Watching

  1. So glad you liked the little Irish film. I saw it in the cinema here in Dublin and loved it. Lots of funny scenes to laugh out loud at – and added bonus for locals: recognising some of the locations.
    As for “wind film” – erm. Well. I think you hit the nail right on the head: something for die-hard Armitage fans. And even some of those have not been able to sit through that twice…

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  2. Huh — okay. I had the opposite reaction to ITS — was bored by the special effects after the second viewing, but some of the human scenes are really great. The short snippets are the best (the encounter at the car in the morning, Gary’s argument about whether his younger son can videotape or not, the scene at the end before they go to clean up, the moment where Gary rescues the old man from the car), but I also loved the scene where Gary pulls his son out of the car.

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    • I used to really enjoy disaster flicks, having seen “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno” in the cinema. I thought the special effects in ITS were good.
      The worst dialogue, I thought, was when the storms were happening (“Are you seeing this?”). I thought some of RA’s scenes were good, particularly when he rescued the old man. But this second time, I found myself thinking, why does an assistant principal know more about staying safe in a tornado than the scientist? That kind of bugged me.

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      • I’m not defending it, but I do know that the assistant principal probably is required to do disaster preparedness training every year. At least they would be around here.

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        • Well, true. I don’t know… I just felt like the big strong man was taking care of the poor little woman. Didn’t strike me like that the first time, so I don’t know… not that I would mind RA taking care of me!

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          • I don’t have a big issue with that if it comes out of things like physical difference (although frankly I don’t believe that either of them would have been able to hang on in some of those scenes — that was not really believable). I mean, in essence I’d be afraid of arguing that she shouldn’t be cast because she’s so small and cute — which is sort of against my feminist principles. Also, I think Armitage said something in the interview about asking whether she shouldn’t be driving in certain scenes where he was. So he had clearly thought about that problem. It seems fairly clear that one of the features of her character is that she knows a lot about the science of storms but not how they play out on the ground — she’s regularly wrong about things as opposed to the storm hunters who don’t have the science. I didn’t find it all that unbelievable. And that school was in OK, so in Tornado Alley. Someone who really had Gary’s job probably would know a fair amount about disaster procedures.

            What I really don’t like about the film are the two screwups who are trying to capture the viral video. I don’t find them especially funny, but / and all of those scenes seemed very condescending.

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            • Yeah I think if you’re hanging on and your legs are blowing out behind you, you’re probably gone. I don’t mind the physical difference unless it’s being translated into an intellectual difference i.e. I’m the man so I must know more than you. But that is true that she wasn’t from around there and was more versed in the theoretical than the practical. And I didn’t think about how much tornado disaster prep the school admin people would likely have. In fact they might have been through smaller storms in the past. So I suppose he could have much more practical experience than her.
              In terms of the two guys, I guess they felt they wanted some comic relief to release the tension, but I see what you mean about the scenes being condescending. Not to mention, impossible!

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      • Yeah — I’m mostly uninterested. I remember those films being on TV when I was a kid but did not watch them. I did see that tornado film with Helen Hunt in it in the theater b/c ex-SO wanted to see her, but that might have been the last one. Normally I wouldn’t go to see a disaster film. I won’t say that I’m never impressed by special effects, but if I know in advance that a film is going to have a lot of them that is a reason for me to not want to see it (and it was the major thing I didn’t like about BOTFA). So in that sense I was only watching this for Armitage.

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  3. my husband and I just finished up ‘Berlin Station’ not too long ago. neither of us really liked it. it was too hard to follow, and while I think Richard looked great in it, his character really did not have much essence to him until the end. I did enjoy Leland Orser 🙂

    I agree with your assessment of ‘Into the Storm’, big on action but clunky on everything else. doesn’t mean I haven’t watched it multiple times though 😉

    have you or your husband watched ‘Legion’? superhero tie-in for him, enjoyable sets & character development for you. win/win! (and Dan Stevens big blue eyes, but whatever 😀 )

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    • Haven’t tried “Legion” yet. I’ll look into it. Hubby is busy watching “The Defenders” for the second time. I should probably try it. I did like “Jessica Jones”.

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