The title of this recurring feature was inadvertently suggested by Dorothy @ The Nature of Things. Thanks, Dorothy!
Following the format of Latest Updates 1 and Latest Updates 2, I intend to publish snapshots of movies and TV shows that I have recently watched that don’t merit a full post for whatever reason.
Wolf Hall (♦♦♦♦): I watched the first episode of this miniseries months ago, and I thought the narration was dry, the characters not that compelling, so I put it aside without any perspective to watch it again. This month, after watching the only season of The White Queen, I decided to give Wolf Hall another try and what difference that made! I have spent the last few weeks in the company of British royalty.
Wolf Hall, an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Hilary Mantel, chronicles the years between 1529 and 1536 in the life of Henry VIII from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, whom, from humble beginnings, rose to the position of king’s private secretary under Anne Boleyn’s sponsorship.
The series starts with the king seeking divorce from Katherine of Aragon to free himself to marry Anne Boleyn, the split from Rome and Henry VIII assuming the reins of the Church of England, the marriage to Anne Boleyn, and Anne’s subsequent fall from grace when she failed to give the king a live male heir.
I did like Wolf Hall very much. I appreciated the maneuvering and power struggles in a court whose king got increasingly volatile as years went by. I particularly liked Thomas Cromwell, not because he was particularly a sympathetic character, but because he knew to navigate the waters of the morally complex world which he inhabited. Was he perfect? Far from it! And that was his main appeal.
Silicon Valley (♦♦♦♦): I really liked Season 1 of this HBO comedy about five nerds who start an IT company and have to develop a business plan and its company’s culture.
Silicon Valley is hysterical, so much so that almost peed my pant in a fit of laughter. The writers nailed the nerdy talk and the uncertainty of being a specialist in your field but not knowing how to follow up with a sound business plan to obtain financing for your startup company.
If you like The Big Bang, you’ll appreciate Silicon Valley even more because it is funnier, and probably truer to life.
Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation (♦♦♦♦): Ethan Hunt and the IMF chase an elusive terrorist organization-- constituted by rogue agents from the world's intelligence agencies who have been declared dead--spreading chaos all around. This Rogue Nation is known as The Syndicate, and to prove its existence Ethan Hunt will have to match wits with Ilsa Faust, a disavowed MI-6 agent.
Sex appeal, check. Dangerous acrobatics on the side of a plane, check. Lots of action, check. Stellar cast, check. This franchise has all the elements of a commercial success, and like its predecessors, it doesn't disappoint. Where else can you see Tom Cruise these days if not in Mission: Impossible or edgy action-sci-fi movies?
Deadpool (♦♦♦): this is not a superhero movie. It stars an anti hero who gets converted into a mutant super fighter looking for a cure for his terminal cancer.
Deadpool lands some really good jokes, even at the expense of Ryan Reynolds' good looks courtesy of Ryan Reynolds himself, but The Green Lantern should have been proof enough that he is not a superhero kind of guy. Give him some romantic movies and you may resurrect an almost dead genre.
Maleficent (♦♦♦): Lots of great special effects and a very solid performance by Angelina Jolie as Maleficent in this Disney retell of Sleeping Beauty, make this an OK watch. Expect lots of sugary drama too.