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Update January 30th, 2019:

I have added a Search Window on the Sidebar (=========> ) to allow for previous Reviews to be found.   It took a while to figure out how to add this feature which to me is necessary for anyone looking to see what any thoughts have been for something that they wish to watch.    You will note that there are multiple entries for many movies.

I hope this makes the reviews more accessible and available for those visiting.   Happy movie watching!

Original Posting:

Thanks for joining me!  For many years I have been sharing movie reviews with my good friend Alison.   What started out as Monday water cooler discussions on what films we saw (we seemed to see movies often) then turned into emails.   She moved from her job.   I moved from mine, but we still kept in contact.

The reviews have been been shared with others over time, but the beginnings remain the same.   When I review, the email was addressed to Alison, and then others were added.

So here I am.   After much thought, the idea of sharing the movie reviews over time has finally taken shape.

I must early on make a shout out to the late, great, Pulitzer prize winning reviewer Roger Ebert, from the Chicago Sun Times.    I depended on Roger and his reviews, and his TV show At The Movies with Gene Siskel.  Now I didn’t always agree with Roger and his reviews, but I would read and enjoy how he viewed these films.   It is not unusual for me to refer to him, or wonder what he would think about a particular film.

I am adding present reviews as some historical reviews as I find them.   You will also see some more lengthy discussions about films as well (like discussions about Alien Covenant or Star Wars The Last Jedi).

These of course are all one man’s opinion.   Nothing more, and nothing less.   If it can save you from spending $13.99 on the latest film in the theatre, by avoiding a bad film (in my opinion) then great!    If it opens up a level of discourse on a film and a debate – I have always enjoyed debating films (and other things).

 

Maggie G TIFF 2018

Maggie Gyllenhaal at TIFF premiere of The Kindergarten Teacher

 

February 24th, 2020 – A discussion

The Souvenir – Alison wrote about this movie back in October.  Check out her thoughts.   I saw this on Crave on Tuesday night, and it has stuck with me ever since.

There are so many angles that one can take when reviewing this movie.   In its simplest terms it is a movie about relationships.   That can take you almost anywhere.   It raises so many questions as I watched.  All at once I was intrigued at what was unfolding and then moments later frustrated beyond belief.   There are a number of surprises along the way, and I won’t divulge them here.   The basics are that it stars Tilda Swinton’s daughter, Honor Swinton Byrne, who is a young filmmaker in her early 20s.  She is attending film school.   Her actual Mom, Tilda plays her doting Mother who seems to just want to love and support her daughter and see her happy.  Mom appears to be on her own.   Daughter by happenstance meets a young man, played by Tom Burke.  The story and relationship unfolds for these two.

Questions arise like: how does an attractive, intelligent, driven young woman with a good vision of her goals become wrapped up in a toxic relationship?   How does any person get to be involved in these?   It’s so easy to spot a toxic connection as you watch from afar and catching the highlights and lowlights, yet not so easy being in the centre of it.  There is always an element of a lack of communication but once again this is nothing new.   Maybe the answer is that these situations just creep up on you, until an event occurs that makes it plain as day that this just isn’t for you.   The undercurrent which is a driving force to keep it going is that need in all people for love and connection.   One can overlook flaws, and in many cases substantial flaws, because there are some positive qualities there in this other person.   People generally are not all bad, through and through.  Do you really want to start all over again?    How does a Mother not see things that seem pretty plain, like a recurring need for a daughter to ask for money?   There is another “project” and another piece of “equipment” that just seems to be necessary and it will, of course be “paid back”.  The cycle continues with the hope of “this time it will be different”.  This movie for me raised these questions in my head as I watched.    It is not so crass as you insert a psycho-analyst and spoon feed it to the audience.   I like that.

Some other movies like Beautiful Boy, Ben is Back or Rachel Getting Married deal with challenges for families with a member who struggles with their own demons.  I will leave it at that.   There was a moment where I was thinking that this was autobiographical for the young Byrne.   Maybe so, I don’t know.

This is a slow burn.  It takes its time to bring you to the meaty stuff.  It allows you to see the characters interact.  Near the end the line delivered “I have been a beast to you…” actually floored me.    It highlighted in a few words what this was really about.

I hadn’t figured out entirely what the significance of the the picture in which this film was named but I will include it here.   Younger viewers of the movie may not understand all the complexities, but those north of 50 who have some “experience” behind us, should see the issues clearly.   This is another film where what you bring to it will likely impact your enjoyment.    It is a really good case study.

The Souvenir By Jean Honore FragonardI followed up watching this movie by catching Leap Year, a romantic comedy.   Many of my readers will know that I am a card carrying member of the I Don’t Like Amy Adams Club.   This likely impacted why I didn’t seek it out earlier when it was released in 2010.   I did really like Amy Adams in Arrival,  and also the series Sharp Objects.  I cannot forgive Lois Lane, starting in Man of Steel.   It also stars Matthew Goode, who was the smart, dark haired, good looking guy in Imitation Game who picks up women with ease.   As romantic comedies go, it is pretty basic.  Woman in longer relationship is expecting a ring from her boyfriend.  They live happily in Boston where he is a surgeon and she is a “stager’ for real estate brokers.  The ring wasn’t presented.    He gets called away to a conference in Dublin.   Her father John Lithgow reminds her of the Irish tradition of a woman being able to propose to a man on the leap years.   She decides to go to Ireland and find him to do exactly that.  Best laid plains go awry and she is detoured to a remote area of the UK.   She meets up with Goode character and they have their swords cross a few times.   You know how it will end.   For me, one of the highlights of course was the scenery around Ireland.  From the cliffs, to the countryside to the stone walled roads through the country and the castles.   It is beautiful.    It made me want to look up some of the spots and re-visit:

Amy Adams’ Leap Year: Where Was it Filmed? (The Locations You Can Actually Visit!)

As a travel log this was marvelous and beautiful.   As a movie, less so, but light entertainment.    I enjoyed nevertheless, even though I continue to carry my Card!

My youngest son and I this weekend watched Ma, starring Octavia Spencer.  She plays an outcast woman small town America, where she works for a local vet.  Some local teens are seeking someone to buy them booze for a fun night out and they happen to see her walking her three-legged dog.   Spencer decides to help them out and later befriend this group.   She offers up her house basement so that they can have some parties and not risk getting pinched by the local cops.   In time, you learn that she went to high school with some of the parents of these kids.   One of the parents is Juliette Lewis.   As an aside, Ms Lewis hasn’t seemed to age well.    Spencer is a year older than Lewis, and you would never tell it.   I guess being in the spotlight from a very early age, Lewis was nominated for an Oscar for her teenage role in Cape Fear with Robert De Niro back in 1991.   But I digress.   There are elements of Misery in this movie, and other movies similar like Carrie.   This is a thriller and typical teen thriller.   The performance by Spencer has been noted as why one would watch this.  I agree.   I think she finds a way to show that level of normal versus psychotic in an interesting way.   She channels in much the same way as Kathy Bates did that person who is just a little off.   In this case, more than a little off who will surprise in what they are capable of doing.

February 17, 2020 Family Day

On Netflix I caught Killing Heydrich or The Man With the Iron Heart.  It is a WWII film about one of the planners of the Final Solution.  Played by Jason Clarke, he is a man that early on in his career got involved with the wrong woman (a General’s daughter) and was court martialed as result of a failed affair.   He marries another woman instead played by Rosamund Pike.   She is a confirmed Nazi supporter in the late 20s and thinks Hitler can bring back pride to the Fatherland.   The story is somewhat disjointed as it starts near the end of the story with an assassination attempt but then roams back in time to show background.    It didn’t work for me.  We shift from the life of Reinhard Heydrich to the mission of the Czech resistance to have an impact on the Nazi occupiers.   Pike is sadly underutilized which is a shame.  It reminds me that I need to see A Private War, in which she stars.   I like war films and there is real value in the production design as they didn’t scrimp on making this look authentic (the townspeople, the cars, the uniforms etc).   Still it could have used a more directed story.   I can’t recommend it.

I decided this past week to re-watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I think seeing Tolkien brought this forward, and remembering back to the Best Picture Oscar that Return of the King got.   Like the books, my main complaint about these movies then, and after seeing again is that they are too long.   There is just way too much time wasted.    There is a pre-occupation with male men kings who are in some way incapacitated by a force external to them.   Then there is the ongoing journey of Frodo and Sam.  I had forgotten just how important that Sam really was.   Smeagal was a new level of CGI at its time (Fellowship of the Ring was 2001 – almost 20 years ago now).   Andy Serkis plays him very well, but still it is never ending.  Then in the final movie itself, it is never ending.   Stories are closed out, only to come back with more.   And then more still.   There are epic battles with so much going on.  So many of them.  With the overwhelming Orc numbers you would think that more of the featured characters would fall.    This set the stage for pieces like Game of Thrones and the fantasy genre.    I admit that I much prefer The Hobbit book to these books and movie, and Peter Jackson made a mistake in elongating The Hobbit story when putting it on film.   It was a self-contained easy read with a story that moved along.   He slowed it right down to squeeze every movie-going penny out of it.  A shame.  Another epic science fiction movie is coming, Dune directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival and Blade Runner 2049).   Looks good!

February 13th – Post Oscar Alison posting

Unlike Elizabeth I am no longer the queen…of the Oscar pool…long live the king!
I did a last push to try and take in a few more nominated films before the big show and will share my insights.  First, Honeyland was nominated for both best documentary and best foreign language film.  Already I was intrigued intrigued.  The story follows a woman who seems to live in the middle of barren land alone with her mother.  She spends her days covering a vast territory tending to her bees who provide for her well being.  She lives an impoverished life caring for her bees and elderly bedridden mother with one simple rule, when taking from the bees always leave half for them.  Half for me, half for you; a symbiotic relationship for equal sustainment of life.  One day a family moves in next door.  I never did tally up the number of children they had but they could not be more different from our bee keeper.  Nonetheless she affords them kindness and shares her knowledge of bee keeping when they express an interest.  If I hadn’t read that this was I documentary I would have never known.  It plays like a well scripted film and is non-typical of a documentary in that there is no narrative, no presentation of the subject and position of the documentary maker up front.  Even when the credits roll  it leaves you to draw your own conclusion of their story.  It will not take you long to get the message of this film but I’m not going to ruin one second of it for you.  Brilliantly done in a year of Parasite and the Obama’s documentary, Honeyland was winless but well worth you time.
The other foreign language film nominee that I watched was Corpus Christi.  This is a film from my honorary Polish homeland and marks the first time their Oscar entry featured someone smiling; but just one person, everyone else had the scowl (Oscar nominees The Nun and Cold War both featured miserable people beautifully shot in black and white).  Corpus Christi features a young man about to be released from a juvenile detention centre.  He sings like an angel and wants to be a priest but is told that he would never be accepted to the seminary due to his criminal past.  The priest at the centre arranges for him to report for work in a mill.  For what ever reason, our young hero steals the priest’s collar and by a trick of fate ends up being mistaken for a priest and decides to go with it.  He was not like any priest the townsfolk had seen – he swore, admitted failings, called a thing a thing but most of all he found joy in it.  And the pews filled.  But every hero has to have a foe and well, scowlers gonna scowl.  This film sucks you in and has you rooting for young Daniel and also for the townspeople he was trying to reach.  I liken its tone to Waking Ned Devine and St. Vincent but with Polish sensibilities. If I didn’t have to vote for Parasite I would have given Corpus Christi the win.
Harriet was a pleasant surprise and I had hoped it would have won best song.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this film but was curious because it was an unexpected surprise at the box office and because Cynthia Erivo was nominated for bestie.  I knew little of the extent of Harriet Tubman’s extraordinary life and bravery and this was my primary take away.  Who escapes slavery to the safety of the north and goes back time after time to rescue others?  Harriet Tubman.  She rescued some 700+ people.  She served in the civil war and was the only woman to ever lead an infantry.  Quite a remarkable person.  The cast that surrounded Cynthia just couldn’t match her performance and was the weakest part of the film.  Cynthia is currently starring in a supporting role in the Outsider (mentioned by Rob below) and as in Harriet has a scene stealing intensity I’ve only ever seen from Viola Davis.  See both so you can jump on the Cynthia bandwagon.
Lastly I watched Richard Jewel as Kathy Bates was nominated for best supporting.  Honestly it was just awful.  Somehow Clint managed to coax out the worst performances from Kathy and my boy Sam Rockwell. Don’t bother.
Unlike me, Rob reviews on a weekly basis. Catch up at https://mondayswithrobbie.com/

February 10th, 2020 – Oscars

This week I managed to get to see the final Best Picture nominated film on the listing for me.  JoJo Rabbit is on the face of it a silly title and the movie poster with the pictures of Hitler and the swastikas with more a vaudeville feel didn’t really make me want to see this.   Alison though had encouraged that this was still worth seeing.   So I ended up taking my youngest son to go see it.  We both enjoyed it.

The premise is a simple one, with a young boy living with his mother (played well by the nominated Scarlett Johansson) in Nazi Germany in the mid 1940s when the war had turned and things weren’t looking as rosy for the Third Reich.   JoJo is a 10yo boy who is a Nazi through and through.   He has a fascination with Hitler, and Hitler comes to him and speaks to him directly in his imagination.    He attends a Hitler Youth Camp, and does other things expected of young boys of his age.   He isn’t popular with few friends.   His mother seems to be quite busy, but he doesn’t seem to know with what.   She is more a free spirit and looks ahead to days when the war is over.    Things happen and I won’t delve further into the plot.   Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson play supporting roles as Nazis, and Rockwell in particular is very good.   Taika Waititi who is the writer, director also plays the flamboyant and moody Hitler.  The find in all of this is the young boy Roman Griffin Davis who is excellent.  He shows the naivete that one can expect from a 10yo, who lives in a very black and white world, filled with winners and losers.  But someone who realizes over time that there are elements of grey that creep in and shape his life.  There are moments that are funny, with a couple good laughs and others that are more serious, as it should be considering the subject matter.   The title although appropriate for me takes away from quality of the movie itself.   Like Ford v Ferrari we both enjoyed this film and would encourage others to see it.  I don’t think it will win the Best Picture but that shouldn’t take away from the enjoyment.

I finished Season 3 of The Crown on Netflix.   There were a couple episodes that were slower for me and not as engaging, however overall I liked this Season a great deal.   When I saw the nominations for Golden Globe for Tobias Menzies, playing Prince Philip, I wondered about it, as I have to admit that I wasn’t overly impressed with his character in Outlander,  for which I had only seen a few episodes.   His episode with his mother was very good, and there is a sequence in the Moon Dust episode where he speaks with priests that I found to be powerful.   He brings some sympathy to a guy who generally comes off as a pompous entitled ass.    I didn’t warm to Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret after the marvelous Vanessa Kirby played her when she was younger.    Olivia Colman too didn’t measure up as well as Claire Foy who was simply excellent.   Yet the young man who played Charles was very good.  Throughout the season you can see how the Windsor family, and principally the Queen Mother played crucial roles in shaping the lives of the younger generation, which is especially true of the young Charles.     The Queen gets somewhat of a pass in manipulating the young future King.   But the foundations are there as you see his relationship not only with Camilla (who was frowned upon by Philip and Queen Mother) but his connection with former King Edward VIII.   How much of this is accurate is unknown by me.  I suspect the Royal family may watch, and I would expect in the least the Harry and Meaghan have seen it to learn something.    It is well acted and well done overall.   Worth the time spent.

Finally I was encouraged to watch Stephen King’s The Outsider on Crave.  It is a psychological thriller and begins with a gruesome murder scene of a young boy.  A local teacher who coaches the baseball team (played by Jason Bateman) is the teacher.   It seems to be a relatively open and shut case, with witnesses and obvious camera footage.   But then cracks appear in the case, and it becomes more and more confusing.  The story moves forward.  I will let it unfold as I have only watched three episodes.   So far I am engaged.   We’ll see where this goes.

For the Oscar awards themselves, I first want to recognize and salute my brother Scott who won the Oscar pool.   In a year that was “off script” in many ways he came through and won this year.   We had 11 participants and Alison came in second, just one point behind Scott.   It’s fun to watch how it unfolds, where in a case like this year, someone rightly guessing which Animated Short wins, decides who wins the pool.   Well done.

History was made last night as Parasite dominated the big awards, with Best Director and Best Film, along with Best Foreign Film.   In total four awards.   What distinguishes this film, which I will note is NOT for everybody, from a quality film in the past couple years like Burning, or Shoplifters.   But never mind, I think it is a good idea that world cinema get acknowledged and that subtitled films do get more love.   Congrats to all those involved in Parasite and bringing it forward.

The acting categories to me were pretty much decided long ago without much debate.   Now after seeing JoJo Rabbit I think that Scarlett Johansson deserved the win, but maybe that comes from me not wanting the portrayal of a blood-sucking family lawyer getting the nod.   I think Laura Dern wins because more people can relate to that and feel that pain.   Brad Pitt was really good, and he made that movie better than it was.   The unfortunate thing for me about last night was having to listen to the Best Actors on stage deliver painful, elongated nonsense.   We heard them at the Golden Globes blather on both Jacquin Phoenix and Renee Zellwegger.   Then with an Oscar in their hands they do the same thing; Phoenix especially who if you note, thanked no one.   No one.    He spouts off about why do humans get to decide what happens on this planet and take baby cows from screaming mothers.   Oh my!!   Stop!   The short answer is, Buddy, top of the food chain.   Full stop.   But if it really is such a concern of yours, do feel free to give away all your millions to buy some cow sanctuaries.   A cow hotel and resort perhaps.   I would make it my personal mission as a member of the Academy to ensure that you never had that platform again.   Some may say, well Marlon Brando was just as eccentric.   He was.   But then he stopped showing up!    Perfect!   Zellwegger who was delivering words, but whose face never moved was at least a little more humble.   Still, I don’t want to listen to you, in a movie I have no interest in seeing.   By all accounts, it’s dreadfully dull.   Other movies like 1917, and JoJo and Ford v Ferrari all got some Oscar love.   In the end, it really wasn’t that strong a year.   No films really stand out, and I think this will be a year that will fade away into the memory banks like 1956 28th Academy Awards (I’ll let you look it up!).   You search back through the years, there is usually one or two standout films that stand the test of time (and don’t always win the awards).   But this year is done, and we can move on.    I’ll be back next year with another contest and hope we have some memorable films then to talk about.

February 3rd, Bonus Alison Oscar post

The Oscar’s are coming!  The Oscar’s are coming!  Each year I try to watch all the best film nominees along with each of the best actor nominees.  I’ve Bombshell, Richard Jewel and Harriet left.  Our annual trek to TIFF Bell Lightbox for the shorts did not happen this year but that’s ok.

Someone had to watch Judy so I took one for the team and sat through it.  I recall as a “yoot” (thanks My Cousin Vinny and every Jamaican) going to the Capital Theatre to go see Mommie Dearest.  Looking back, it seemed an odd choice for a bunch of giggly teens but Judy put me in mind of this film as both are the story of broken starlets from the glamorous days of Hollywood attempting to stay relevant and raise a family.  I use the term raise somewhat generously.  Anyway, Judy tells the story of Judy Garland, a has been middle aged divorcee mother of two trying to stay drunk and eek out a living to keep a roof over the heads of her children. The movie opens with their eviction from a hotel for non-payment forcing Judy to leave the kids with her ex and begrudgingly accept a singing gig in London where she still has some popularity.  It would be some of her last times on stage.  Renee Zellweger, I think, gives the performance of her career here to the point where I wondered if Judy was truly such a twitchy odd little thing worthy of my pity.  Now, don’t mistake my praise as endorsement of this yawn fest but if you go into it solely to observe Zellweger dazzle and sing, one can get through. The movie uses flashbacks to Judy’s childhood in Hollywood where she was quickly given uppers to keep her on set for eighteen hours a day, introduced to bulimia and denied any normalcy of relationships with adults.  Perhaps this explains the Beebs.  Renee gets my vote for best actor in a female lead this year but the movie should have gone straight to video.
For Sama is nominated for best documentary.  For Sama tells the story of a Syrian family as they endure the war raging in their country.  This film was profoundly moving for me as it was not some glitzy highly edited piece.  It’s shot as a diary with a handheld by a young mother for her new baby Sama, so she could understand what took place in her homeland and how it effected her family.  A young university student, Waad, married a young doctor and they moved into a modest apartment to begin their lives together.  Then the bombs came.  And then the gas.  Their home destroyed and the neighbourhood abandoned they moved into the safety of the hospital where her husband worked. Then they started bombing the hospitals. In the middle of this chaos Sama was born and with her, hope and determination.  The footage of their lives is raw and compelling and comes without the warning for the tiny glimpses shown here on our local news.  Frontline aired For Sama on PBS where it is still available for viewing at www.pbs.org.  I promise that if you start it you won’t be able to look away and perhaps it will help to bring us all a bit closer together as human beings.
Alison

February 3rd, 2020

Eddie Murphy comes back to the big screen with Netflix’ Dolemite Is My Name.  This is a biopic, comedy about real life comedian Rudy Ray Moore.   Moore was an aging and somewhat out of shape LA based comic.  In the beginning he is an emcee for a nightclub.   He feels as though he has missed opportunities which could make him a “star” including singing.   He has plenty of ideas, and wants to make an impact.   He comes upon a rather racy street person who talked with plenty of profanity who called himself Dolemite.   He sees a new opportunity to create another alter-ego, in the form of Dolemite.   He records the jokes and stories of the street person and then makes them his own.   He doesn’t lack in confidence.  He tries some material at the club, and it’s popular with the patrons.   Moore seems to understand what his patrons want to hear, and what they think is funny.   After some success with a self-financed comedy album, he decides he needs to be in movies, and in all the urban theatres in cities throughout the country.   The story continues from there as he looks for financing, location, director and all the technical people on how to make and create a film.   Other aspects like distribution also provide a challenge.   The real surprise for me in the film is the work by Wesley Snipes, who last I heard was doing time for tax evasion.   He is good as a more known main stream actor who gets offered the opportunity to direct.   In truth, the resulting movie is more Plan 9 From Outer Space (or any Ed Wood feature), but you can see what the results are.   I knew nothing of the character or that movie and this was an education.   Murphy was very good and had some real fire playing this outrageous man.  Worth checking out and a couple good performances.

For those who are interested, I have once again set up the Oscar pool, only for fun.   No money involved, just bragging rights.   Feel free to give it a go and add some fun for the viewing next Sunday night.

http://www.officepools.com/invite/pickem/m/HYQRJ6E7

This week I also re-watched the classic Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver.   This 1976 film shows in many ways how far Scorses and his group of actors has come.  This is his 12th feature film.   It was before Raging Bull and King of Comedy, but after Mean Streets and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.   It stars a young Robert DeNiro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepard, Albert Brooks and Harvey Kietel.  It was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor in DeNiro, Best Supporting ACtress for Foster and Best Score.   It didn’t win any.  But the test of time shows the impact that this movie has even now – just say “You talkin’ to me?” to virtually anyone, they will know the source of it.   The story is of a loner taxi driver in 1970s New York City.   You see Times Square here, and note how different it was then to now.  It was far more seedy.   And DeNiro plays Travis Bickle an ex-Marine who can’t sleep and decides to make money doing long shifts in NYC.   He comes across various people, but he is awkward and not well versed in human interaction.  He becomes frustrated and angry and wants to channel it.   He looks to help some people and find a way to vent.   I hadn’t remembered the ultimate resolution, it wasn’t what I had expected.  I thought it was interesting that Scorsese himself plays more than just a bit part.   First he is sitting on a stoop in front of a building, then later is a taxi patron tracking down a cheating spouse.   This is a classic film and shows NYC as it was.   Raw, filled with characters on the fringes, lost people and people on the underside of the city.

There it is.  Enjoy!

January 27th, 2020

This week was a mixed bag of viewing, partially because I had access to some shows on Prime Video.   Principally on a flight to and from Vancouver I was able to watch Fleabag to begin with.  This recently awarded Best Series and Actress from Golden Globes and SAG Awards was available and I decided to catch it with enthusiasm.   It was worth it.   This show is the brainchild of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and she has an excellent cast, including last year’s Best Actress in Olivia Colman (currently playing the Queen, in The Crown).  It is a simple premise of the life of the female lead, who talks to the camera as asides, much like Ferris Bueller, and then she interacts with the characters and situations around her.   She and her sister are left behind when their mother has passed away from breast cancer.   Dad wasn’t close with the girls but manages to bounce back quickly romantically with the girls’ Godmother (played by Colman).   It is the story of their lives, and careers and loves.  There are flashbacks as you piece together what is happening in their lives.   It is layered and unfolds over time slowly.   Season 2 picks up with the impending wedding of the father, and introducing a couple new characters, notably the priest, played by Andrew Scott, who also played baddie Professor Moriarity with relish.  Having finished the series I found that the last two episodes really brought it all together.  This isn’t just a comedy and I will leave it at that.  There are more complications, and fully written characters around the lead who add greatly to the story.   I like the way it gets tied together.   According to Waller-Bridge this is the end.   There is no Season 3.   Although this clip suggests she “may re-visit” herself when “she is 50”.    So those who care to watch will have plenty of time to catch up since she is 35yo!   Enjoy what she has put together.

I decided to watch Tolkien on Crave as well.  It is pronounced Toll-Keen which corrected me after years.  This is the story of the writer’s early life, and then as he grows up through college.   It speaks to his books of course as his life unfolds and those he is most well known for being The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series.  I was more impressed by this than I was expecting to be honest.   I had heard modest reviews, but perhaps I was in the mood for it.  He came upon his primary relationship with the woman who would become his wife, early on, and he was forbidden by his guardian and priest to see her until he was 21yo.   The resolution of that, and her impact upon him cannot be understated, despite that she was of a different religion.   He also relied heavily on his friends which eventually they became a band of brothers really.   They met and talked and explored different ideas, in a way that just isn’t done anymore.   There are elements of Harry Potter and common rooms within a dorm, where people would gather and discuss.   This interaction has mostly gone away, and we as people have become more solitary.  Technology in this case, isn’t for the better.   These young men greatly impacted the young Tolkien and shaped who he would become.   I won’t reveal more but in many ways we all know how this ends.    He ends up writing one of the defining and definitive works of fantasy which has impacted countless others.   He created a world with new languages.  He created new classes of beings like Orcs, Elves, Ents and others.   He died in 1973 at the age of 81.   Edith his wife pre-deceased him in 1971 at the age of 82.   On her tombstone he had an Elvish characters name inscribed on it.   I will caution that this film can be slow, but I didn’t mind the pacing.  Others might.

Finally I started watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, with Rachel Brosnahan which won the SAG Award again this year, but has previously won Golden Globes and countless other awards.   Brosnahan was in House of Cards.  She played the woman that creepy Doug was obsessed about.  She is excellent in this role as a 1960s era Jewish housewife in New York City from a well-to-do family that breaks new ground by taking on the role as a stand up comedian.   In some ways this borrows off the themes from Mad Men where the men were the providers and women were the stay-at-home meek types.  The woman’s value was in how she supported her husband.   Times were changing.   Early on, she meets up with the legendary Lenny Bruce who broke new ground with his stand up comedy.   I like the writing.   I am less than enthused about the family interactions between husband and wife.    It seems very stereotyped, but maybe that we really the times.   I am not old enough to confirm or deny this.  I found the one court sequence interesting.   How times have changed when you look back on it 50 years ago.  So early days in this for me, and the fact that Brosnahan removes her top in the first episode didn’t hurt either.   Hey, guys can be guys after all.   I will stick with it for a while longer and hope that we see her progression into this profession.   Maybe she is more like a Joan Rivers.   But again, I am not sure.