The Watchlist: September 2016

I feel like August was a bit mammoth in terms of my watching so I ended up retreating and having a cultural drought again, not committing to any new series.

Café Society

Ah, Woody Allen. A man whose films I feel I should be huge fans of as he’s very much the Begley-aesthetic™ but I’ve barely seen any. There were some good reports of Café Society in the press though so I toddled off to the cinema with a friend. Unsurprisingly it’s a film involving a relationship between a young woman and an older man (!!!) set around the Gatsby-era which is oh so fashionable of late, 1920s/1930s America. There were some really nice light funny bits, in particular the Jewish mom’s scene towards the back end of the film. Overall though it was one of those films which doesn’t massively go anywhere and just kind of ends. It’s never going to win an award for its plot but it wasn’t an unpleasant way to while away a couple of hours on a Sunday evening. And obviously it was lovely to see Jesse Eisenberg’s face in HD on a massive screen in front of me.

Holding The Man

I read the original story in book form in August. This is the Australian film adaptation. and the few promo images I’d seen for this film (including the cover of my copy of the book) looked promising. Holding The Man is an incredibly deep, detailed and sex-filled book so I was intrigued as to how they were going to portray this on screen and do Conigrave justice. The key thing is that HtM is a book of a life, over time. Film makers always have too options here; they can cast a host of actors young and old with mildly similar appearances and jump between them or cast one actor and age them as needed. HtM opted for the latter which proved to be quite unnerving to begin with as the scenes at the start of the film are based at school, with quite clearly two adult actors wearing wigs. They look grotesquely too grown up, and ridiculously proportioned. It took me a while to look past this and settle into the film. Some artistic license is used of course but broadly they stick to the plot – the only really noticeable changes were when John’s father comes home while Timothy and John are in bed together, leading to a confrontation which isn’t seen in the book. Also, in the film Tim *does* tell his parents his HIV status ahead of his sister’s wedding, whereas in reality he didn’t.

Those People

Judge me, judge me but I do enjoy the fact Netflix has quite a surprising breadth of LGBT films on offer. Admittedly a lot of them leave a lot to be desired but when you’re feeling morose on a Sunday evening a below par gay love film ticks all the boxes. Those People is set in the higher echelons of society as a promising music student falls for his scandal-ridden friend. I would at this point try to explain more of the plot for you but I can’t really remember it. I lost interest half way through and ended up doing phonemin (aka scrolling endlessly) while it was playing away instead. There is a [near] threesome scene though if that takes your fancy.

Will & Grace

My local Cash Convertor had a whole load of W&G boxsets so it seemed the perfect opportunity to get round to watching S2. The DVDs are sadly stretched and cropped from 4:3 to 16:9 so I wasn’t getting the proper episode experience but I enjoyed it none-the-less. Will & Grace was a good, funny show. It hasn’t aged massively well and it’s a real shame that for all the sex jokes I don’t think you ever actually see any proper gay rolandscape_ustv-will-and-grace-cast-shotmance or kissing that hasn’t got a punchline involved. If anything, the endless references to jack’s promiscuity because he’s gay grows a little tiresome. I’m being nit-picky though. There are still some great lines in here and obviously Karen is great… and always reminds me of that great line in 30 Rock where in the homophobic deep-South of America Will & Grace was edited so much it was simply called Karen.

Other bits and pieces:

National Treasure Julie Walters starring a Channel 4 drama! What a turn up for the books (fnar, fnar). There’s been a fair bit of publicity surrounding this and of course its plot is incredibly relevant. The first episode didn’t really do much for me so we shall see how it pans out.

Delivery Man This comedy got a bit lost on ITV last year – a shame really as it’s not too bad. Obviously, ‘ITV’ and ‘comedy’ in the same sentence leaves a lot to be desired in the current age but at least they’re trying, right? Can’t chastise a trier. Solid cast, decent 20 minute plots… although it does have Alex MacQueen in it playing the same tired character he always plays. You can’t have everything.

Murder In Successville I’ve been dipping into some bits and pieces this month. Initially heard about this show via a trailer on Radio 1 just before S1 started airing. It seemed such a ridiculous premise I thought it was one of Matt Edmondson’s mock-BBC Three trailers he used to incorporate into his show. I’d held off watching it for a while but took a punt and kind of enjoyed it. Not *hugely* so, but it filled some time.

Inside The Factory Eurgh, Gregg Wallace. I don’t understand how BBC commissioners and TV production companies are still convinced the British public like him. He’s not as charismatic as he thinks he is and the things you hear about him… he left in the first week of Strictly for goodness sake, that’s how much people dislike him! Looking past that I have a fascination with the places that make all our stuff and the first series must have passed me by. Delved into some episodes on iPlayer (fast forwarded through some bits) and they satisfied me so tick, tick, tick.

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