Snapshots - 1

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.

TV shows…

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.

The movies…

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.

Comments

  1. I enjoy your short takes on the films you've seen and I'm delighted to see that you gave Wolf Hall a second chance. I am a big fan of Hilary Mantel's writing. I loved the first two books in the Cromwell series and I'm looking forward to the third. I thought the film adaptation of the books was wonderful, especially Mark Rylance's portrayal of Cromwell.

    I also thoroughly agree with you about Silicon Valley. Funny, funny show about five completely hopeless nerds. I look forward to it every week.

    And BTW, thanks for the shout-out!

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    1. I agree that Mark Rylance was brilliant in Wolf Hall. I watched season 1 of Silicon Valley over two days.

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  2. Wolf Hall didn't grab me at all - not sure why. I'll keep an eye out for that Silicon Valley one. At the moment I am watching the first series of Outlander - and enjoying it although it seems more violent than the book. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

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    1. I understand about Wolf Hall because it didn't grab me the first time either, but I think seeing it after The White Queen made me like it the second time around. You probably noticed that the narrative of the miniseries was very dry, matter-of-fact even,so maybe that's what you didn't like?
      I too want to watch Outlander, but I've read mixed reviews. Some of them say that it takes too many liberties with the source material, which I don't think I would mind because I have not read the series.

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  3. I'm glad to hear you gave Wolf Hall a 2nd chance, as I loved it; I also enjoyed not loved Deadpool; but I did love Maleficent, as I though Angelina Jolie was a bad-ass dark fairy!

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    1. Angelina was great in Maleficent, and that is probably why I liked it more.

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  4. I haven't seen all of these but I have seen Deadpool and Maleficent - both okay, pretty much agree with what you've put tbh. They didn't blow my socks off but I'm not sorry I watched them. I've watched the first series of Outlander (and read the first 5 - I think - books) and I think they've done a pretty good representation of the books tbh. It's difficult to stick to the books entirely when you're converting to screen I suppose. I thought it was okay though.
    Lynn :D

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    1. Good to know, Lynn, since I want to buy the series. I have to watch a few others first,though. You are right, from book to screen there's always a trade-off between adhering to the book or give it a different spin to surprise the audience.

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  5. Wolf Hall, the TV series did not live up to the books for me. But I loved Maleficent and I am looking forward to Rogue Nation.

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    1. Too bad you didn't like Wolf Hall. I thought it was very good. Maleficent was just OK for me, but I enjoyed Rogue Nation a great deal; I'm a fan of the franchise.

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  6. I read the 2nd book in the Wolf Hall series and so perhaps would like to check out the TV miniseries. I have not seen it, but did like Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies.

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    1. He was great in Bridge of Spies, quite an understated performance. His Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall has the same kind of understated appeal. Keep in mind that I didn't read the books, so my perception of the series is not affected by my like or dislike of the books and how they were presented.

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