First of all, a shout out to my brother who won the Oscars Pool that I created. I am thinking that he should be betting with his record. To put it into perspective, he was able to get 38 points, 4 more than my eldest son. He only missed ONE question for Best Cinematography out of 23 categories. Damn impressive. Alison was third with 27 points. I sadly in a tie for fourth with 16 points.
Death On The Nile: Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and she was a prolofic mystery, who-dun-it mystery writer. She wrote Murder on the Orient Express, among many others. Her writings have been put into TV series, like Agatha Christie Mysteries and others in BBC and elsewhere. Kenneth Branagh has brought Orient Express to the big screen back in 2017. I have not see it. Given this result, I likely won’t seek it out. This story is brought with another star studded cast. Among the stars include Wonder Woman Gal Gadot. Ridley Scott is involved for executive producing, while Branagh directs. The focal point is the French detective Hercule Poirot. Gal Gadot is the main star with a supporting cast that includes Annette Bening, Armie Hammer, and Tom Bateman. In this story Poirot is shown early as a young soldier at the front in 1918. He makes an observation which is game changing for his platoon during an offensive push. It basically gives the message that he is a smart and observant guy. Time moves forward and he observes a couple on the dancefloor being very connected (Hammer and Emma McKay) and she is a friend of Gadot who arrives with much fanfare and paparazzi at this club. Jazz music is playing as the couple danced provacatively. As an aside, the band was playing electric guitars in a time noted as 1937. I do believe that this is early for the use of the electric guitar and I would have expected to hear more big band music. Incidentally, it was in 1936 when was first used by jazz musician Charlie Christian. Anyway, the story went forward as the young Emma McKay encourages her fiance to dance with the dazzling Gadot character. It ends up resulting in the fiance dumping his paramour and opted instead to marry the Gadot character. They decide to have a honeymoon on the Nile in a grandiose side-wheel boat. All of this, of course, in CGI that makes this look more like a TV movie than ready for the big screen. The underlying theme in this episode is people will do a lot for love. People start to get knocked off in mysterious circumstances. Now the survivors turn to Poirot to provide some insight into the murders. Was I entertained? Somewhat. It wasn’t overly convincing. I will confess to having some ideas on the true murderer. The end wasn’t a surprise. Can I recommend this? Not really.
Spiderman: No Way Home: I will confess that I am not a superhero guy, which is no surprise to those who know me and read these blog entries. Further, I am not a spiderman guy at all. I feel as though it has been overdone. Before we allow one set of movies to sink in, then another reboot occured. From Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst, to the Andrew Garfield iteration and now Tom Holland. Tom Holland brought Spiderman into the Iron Man, and the Avengers universe. Adding in a character like Doctor Strange, adds in another dimension, with multiple timelines. And by timelines we have the villians from previous Spiderman films who don’t recognize the Tom Holland character who need to be put back into their own times. Doc Oct is there, along with Wilem Dafoe as The Green Goblin, and Sand Man etc. It was confusing. Returning a villain to his version of the Spiderman world is just odd. I won’t delve into more of the plot, but this was THE movie in the theatres last year. It grossed insane amounts of money and that confuses me. Not every movie needs to be an Oscar contender. Hell movies like the recently reviewed Fast & Furious are prime examples of movies that are just meant to entertain. This isn’t for me. Sure Tom Holland has personality, and he is engaging as a Spiderman. There are new gadgets that Spiderman can be equipped with, which was entirely new. I don’t know the comics. I don’t know the backstory and therefore I feel that it is difficult to comment further. Will there be more of these? Let’s not kid ourslves, there will be plenty of these movies to come. I know that I don’t need to pay to see these in the theatre, but if they are on a free streaming service then I can check them out.
Julia: This is a new series from HBO Max. For me, my limited knowledge of Julia Child was Meryl Streep as Julia in Julie & Julia with Amy Adams. I own the book Mastering The Art of French Cooking. After watching that movie I was moved to make Boeuf Bourginon.
Sarah Lancashire embodies Julia Child. I have watched the first two episodes and I think that she is excellent. Julia Child was passionate about her husband, France, and her food. These shows are all about the food really. This show focuses on the time after the cook book was released, her husband Paul has retired from the diplomatic service and she is looking to establish herself as a TV personality. In episode one, we see David Hyde Pierce playing Paul not really being overly supportive of Julia’s idea of starting a new career into TV. We take TV for granted. Back in her day, however, she didn’t own a TV, and there was skepticism over whether TV would last. This is shocking to my generation and later. But also this was the early days of “Public Television”. Those who grovel for money shamelessly in the Membership drives. Julia had the ambition to think that she could diversify the way that Amercian housewives are going to cook in the household. Back in the day of Swanson frozen dinners, this was revolutionary, along with the thoughts of using real herbs. Julia was passionate about having recipes that had everyday ingredients in the average grocery store. To say that she was a main contributor in the way that we eat today wouldn’t be overstating it. I have finished two episodes and look forward to more. David Hype Pierce isn’t as supportive to Julia as the Stanley Tucci version of Paul in Julie & Julia. I like the idea of understanding in putting together a 30 minute show on making a lengthy dish like Coq au Vin. It looks delicious. Julia Child was a visionary, and a trail blazer in which today’s networks like Food Network and all its stars all can thank her. Remember that her times were more all about the men, and the women were supporting cast members only. Well worth the view.
The Ultimatum: this new Netflix series comes from the same team, Nick Lachey and his wife, who brought forth Love is Blind. Love is Blind was the where singles never laid eyes on the other person, and had to propose to them before laying eyes on them. They spoke to each other in dates through an opaque glass. It was preposterous and mind candy really. In this series there are six Austin Texas based couples where one of the parties wants to force the other party to marry them. They have come to this show to have a marry up or walk away discussion. The kicker in this is that you do this in front of the other person that you want to marry. In this show, they then choose another of those people in the couples to live with for three weeks! Oh and they all live in the same building and then have conversations with the other members of their sex on (Girls Night Out and Boys Night). It is remarkable and scary at the same time. These 20s age people are dealing with their own relationships and thinking that they to get married straight away and have kids. It is a train wreck. But it is crazy fun to watch. After three weeks with the “New Accelerated Marriage” then they are to return to their original partner. Oh what fun! If these shows aren’t your thing, stay away. If you want tears and drama, this is for you.