Showing posts with label HBO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HBO. Show all posts

Thursday, August 19, 2021

What I Watched (and Liked) While on My 2021 Summer Stay-cation:TV Series - Part 2

[I review "McCartney 3-2-1," "Schmigadoon," "The Beast Must Die," "The White Lotus," and "The Unforgotten on Masterpiece"]

McCartney 3,2,1

Sir Paul discusses his songwriting philosophy and reminisces about life as a Beatle in this intimate portrait.

When I was 15 and discovered The Beatles I was determined to marry Paul. Well, we know how that turned out, but I continued with my "love affair" in my mind and have been a fan for life, not to mention my love of bass players, so I very much enjoyed this new series - "McCartney 3,2,1" - now streaming on Hulu in six-30 minutes episodes. Very easy to binge. You can watch the whole thing in one night!

But you don't need to have had a mental love affair with Paul to enjoy this intimate and enlightening series. If you are into the Beatles or even just into music, you will enjoy this up close and personal behind-the-scenes look at the Beatles, the music and the times from Paul himself with producer Rick Rubin keeping a low profile but asking all of the right quesions while at the same time queueing songs up on the mixing board so that Paul can reminisce and discuss his songwriting philosophy. You will learn some things you never knew.

I saw the Beatles back in 1964 and was fortunate enough to see Paul in 2013 in Seattle. Momentous events in my young and old life. But the Beatles represented so much more than momentous concert events.

As I wrote in a blog post "Why the Beatles Matter,"

"They brought England out of the shadows of the deprivation that came with the end of WW II and created hope and enthusiasm for the future.  America was in mourning for President Kennedy and needed a lift.  With their "long" hair, Carnaby Street attire and music that came from the American black rhythm and blues they so admired, The Beatles inspired my generation to throw off the strictures of conformity and head into the future knowing we could do anything.  It was a time of promise for us young Baby Boomers, and the joy and cheekiness the Beatles exuded spilled over onto us and made us hope and dream for more.  Goodbye "Man in the Grey Flannel Suit" and the subservient housewife.  Hello freedom and equality."
And after the Beatles were no more, Paul kept going with that same joy and enthusiasm. You feel that in this documentary at a time when we still need joy and hope.

Can I add that Paul certainly has a healthy ego? When Rubin compliments him and his songs, Paul doesn't demur, he nods in agreement. But rather than seeming to be arrogant, I found Paul endearing. I know that to make it in show business, especially the music world, you really do have to have confidence in yourself or you would never get where you need to go. And can I add that at 79, Paul still looks fab!

Rosy the Reviewer says...this captures the real Paul. It's all very candid and honest and you feel like a fly on the wall. You musicians out there will particularly enjoy this and you Baby Boomers can relive your youth! (Hulu)


A charming parody of all those classic musicals we loved!

Imagine being out on a backpacking trip and finding yourself in a MUSICAL! That's what happens to Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) and Melissa (SNL alum Cecily Strong), two doctors who meet cute over a candy vending machine. But as happens, the relationship starts to cool over petty things so they decide to seek some couples counseling through an outdoor adventure. While out backpacking with the other couples, they wander off the trail, cross a bridge and find themselves in Schmigadoon, where the townspeople sing and dance and act like they are in a...well, a musical. Turns out Josh and Melissa can't leave until they find true love. Hey, they thought they WERE in love! So they immerse themselves into life in Schmigadoon.

While in Schmigadoon, among others, they meet the married mayor, Mr. Menlove (Alan Cumming) a carnie (Aaron Tveit), a school teacher (Ariana DeBose), a man hungry ingenue (Dove Cameron) and the town's moral arbiter (Kristin Chenoweth), all standard musical characters except none of them are as they seem on the surface. They all have secrets! The mayor's name gives you a hint about what his secret is!
Schmigadoon-Brigadoon? Get it? This is an affectionate parody of movie musicals with all of the tropes, big dance numbers, and even songs that, though they are original, sound familiar. Those of you who love musicals will enjoy trying to figure out all of the references..."Oklahoma," "Carousel," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "The Sound of Music" and "The Music Man" are all here, and of course the title is a huge giveaway.
Created by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, this is a light-hearted, joyful romp of 30 minute episodes that are easy to binge. Yes, it's silly fluff but that's okay. It's okay to spend some time feeling joyful. Go for it!
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you love musicals, you will find much to love here and all of those parodies of musical tropes will make you laugh.
(Now streaming on Apple+)

The Beast Must Die

A woman grieving the hit-and-run death of her six-year-old son seeks revenge.

“I am going to kill a man. I don’t know his name.  I don’t where he lives.  I have no idea what he looks like.  But I am going to find him and kill him.”

So begins this six-part British series now playing on AMC.

You know the expression "Revenge is a dish best served cold?" Well, there is nothing like losing a son to turn a mother very, very cold. And that's Frances Cairnes (Cush Jumbo) who has lost her six-year-old son to a hit and run while vacationing from London on the Isle of Wight. She is bent on killing the beast who killed her little boy because she is not happy about how the police have handled her case and she is especially unhappy that her case has now been taken over by Police Detective Strangeways (Billy Howle), who is down from London and let's just say the name fits because he is dealing with some issues of his own, and he has his own beast that he needs to kill. 

Strangeways has taken over for a long term detective who died suddenly and it seems nothing has been done on Frances' case, so she decides to take matters into her own hands.  When Frances thinks she has tracked down the driver, George Rattery (Jared Harris), a wealthy, entitled privileged type, she infiltrates his life and plots her revenge. Will she get justice for her son’s death? 

At the same time, Strangeways has inherited a police force that is parochial and ineffective.  Is Strangeways in over his head?  Well, let’s just say he’s in therapy and has massive anxiety attacks.

How will these two come together to solve this case and will Strangeways get there before Frances gets revenge on her son’s killer?

Written and developed by Gaby Chiappe, this is a classic British crime drama – twisty and turny, with memorable performances by Jumbo, Howle and Harris. I won't be forgetting them or this story for a very long time.

Rosy the Reviewer says…this is a riveting vengeance story but what makes it special is Jumbo’s performance and her face… one of the most expressive faces in film history.   (AMC and AMC+)

When staying in a hotel or resort, ever wonder about the lives of your fellow guests or what is happening with the staff behind the scenes? Well, quite a lot, as it happens!

This latest HBO series explores that concept in this satiric and rather dark comedy that follows guests and staff at the White Lotus, an exclusive Hawaiian resort, over the course of a week in this six-part series and let’s just say a lot can happen in a week.
It begins with the hint of a murder. Someone has died and we don’t know who or why and then, in flashback, we meet the guests and staff: Armond (Murray Bartlett), the unctuous manager who is starting to resent having to toady to folks he doesn't respect; newlyweds Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) and Shane (Jake Lacy), who are already having issues about whether or not she should keep working – you see, he thinks he is rich enough for both of them - she thinks that's not the point; the also rich Mossbacher family, Nicole (Connie Britton) and Mark (Steve Zahn), she a successful CEO and he, not so much - successful, I mean. They are accompanied by their disaffected teen children, Olivia (Sydney Sweeney) and Quinn (Fred Hechinger) and Olivia’s friend, Paula (Brittany O'Grady). Finally, there is rich but lonely Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge), traveling on her own to scatter her mother’s ashes, and Tanya is so lonely she gloms onto Belinda (Natasha Rothwell), an empathetic staff member who runs the hotel spa.
Written and directed by Mike White who also wrote “Beatriz at Dinner,” this shines a light on the economic disparity between those who stay at resorts and those who serve them and just how entitled rich white people can be, even more so on vacation.
Remember those big budget films of the 60’s and 70’s – such as “Airport” and “Hotel” – where disparate characters played by big name stars were brought together and their stories interwoven? This series is like that except it's darkly funny and the characters are entitled rich people. The ensemble cast is first-rate, with special kudos to Bartlett and Coolidge. Despite an ending that is a bit forced and not especially satisfying, this biting satire fits the world we live in now.

Rosy the Reviewer says… a satire about race, class and white privilege, which are serious subjects, indeed, but don’t think this is a stuffy lecture. This is darkly funny and gets its point across in a satisfying, and dare I say, entertaining way?

DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DS Sunil "Sunny" Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) try to solve a murder that occurred 39 years ago. 

I hesitated posting this as a must-see when I first started watching it, because it’s in its fourth season, and I was thinking that if you had not seen the earlier series, you would be lost. But I have to recommend this because it’s one of the best true crime shows on television, and it is not to be missed. Thank you, Chris Lang, for creating it! And I was wrong thinking it was necessary to see the first three series to know what was going on. This season stands on its own, but if you do want to get the background, that’s what Wikipedia is for – to bring you up-to-date on series you have missed before. Likewise you can also start at the beginning and watch earlier episodes On Demand. It's worth it.
This time around, DCI Cassie Stuart (Walker) has needed to take some time off because of what happened to her in a previous case and basically she has had it with police work, but she realizes she still needs three months of work to get her retirement so she is back to help solve what the Brits call an “historical murder,” something we call a Cold Case.
And this is literally a "cold case." A body has been found in a freezer, a body without a head or hands, and after some investigation, it appears the body has been there for 30+ years. And after more investigation, in true Agatha Christie style, four suspects who were all fledgling police officers at the time of the death have been identified as having been together the night of the murder and with the victim. Now 30+ years later, those four are in the spotlight.

The four are DCC Liz Baildon (Susan Lynch) who is up for a big promotion; Dean Barton (Andy Nyman), who left the police force and is now a happily married family man; DCI Ram Sidhu (Phaldut Sharma), who has had several issues during his police career but feels that he has been unfairly racially targeted; and Fiona Grayson (Liz White), who also didn't continue as a police officer and has kept her past a secret from her family. For 30+ years, despite all living successful lives, that horrible night has been in the back of their minds and all hoping it would not come back to haunt them. Well, folks, sorry. Knock, knock. Cassie is on the case.
If you have watched “Last Tango in Halifax” or “MI-5 (called "Spooks" in the UK)," you will recognize Nicola Walker. She has appeared in many British TV shows as well. She is a fantastic actress whose face in this embodies those long hours trying to find bad guys. Actually in most of the work she has done, she is very, very serious. She doesn't smile much. She does “resting bitch face” really well, but in a good way. Bhaskar as DS Sunil “Sunny” Khan is another memorable actor.

Rosy the Reviewer say…if you appreciate really good crime drama, this is it, but brace yourself for a huge and sad twist in true British crime fashion. (PBS)

Thanks for reading!

See you soon!

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And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What I Have Learned from "Game of Thrones"

I am feeling kind of depressed today, and I think it's because Season Six of "Game of Thrones" just ended.

If you read this blog, you know I am a hopeless TV addict, so you will be surprised that I have not watched or binge-watched the many long-running dramas such as "Mad Men," "Orange is the New Black," "Breaking Bad," "The Good Wife" and other shows that have been so popular.  I guess I've been too busy with "Naked and Afraid" and "Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars."

However, there is one drama that Hubby and I have become hooked on and that is "Game of Thrones."

It wasn't that long ago that I didn't know my Cersei from my Jon Snow.  "Game of Thrones" had already been on for five seasons when I decided to give it a try.  My daughter was an avid fan and had been talking about it so much that I was intrigued.  So when Season Five began last year, I started TIVO'ing it and then ran to the library to get the earlier seasons to binge watch and get caught up. I figured that if we watched a couple shows per week of Seasons 1-4, we would be caught up by the time I had all of the Season Five episodes taped (I have since been disabused by a friend that watching a show two times a week is NOT binge-watching so I guess I'm still learning). 

We had a trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast planned during that catch-up time, so we even took some of the discs with us.  I have fond memories of sitting on the bed in our room in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome after a long day of sightseeing and watching The Night's Watch prepare for the attack of the Wildings (Season 4) on Hubby's laptop.

So when we arrived home from our trip, we were well and truly ensconced in "Game of Thrones."

Warning:  If you haven't been watching "Game of Thrones" and plan to, proceed with caution.  Possible spoiler alerts.

As I said, Season Six ended the day before yesterday (Sunday), and I am not happy that I have to wait another year to find out whether Daenarys will take control of the Seven Kingdoms, get a boyfriend (or girlfriend) and live happily ever after, who Jon Snow's father is and what will happen to Sansa and Arya, though I have to say there is some deep satisfaction that the icky High Sparrow has finally been dispatched. What a pain he was!

What is it about these TV shows that draw us in to the point that we will spend entire weekends watching episode after episode because we can't get enough? 

I think that telling and listening to a good story is in our DNA. 

A good story speaks to who we are and some themes transcend time and place. Where once we sat around the fire eating our mastodon steak and recounting our adventures fighting dinosaurs, now we stand around the water cooler at work with our Starbucks and retell our favorite moments in our favorite TV shows. Some things never change. We can all come together and bond over a good story and "Game of Thrones" is a damn good story with elements we can relate to, despite the fact it takes place hundreds of years ago and features dragons.  

In the end, it doesn't matter if you are a "Game of Thrones" fan or an "Outlander" fan or a "Mad Men" fan.  If it's a good story with family problems, mother and daughter relationships, royal intrigue, romance, danger, war, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, sex, all of which are part of the human condition, it speaks to us as humans. We can relate in some fashion to all of those.  Well, maybe not the royal part, but all of the other stuff.

All of those things draw us together in common experience.  For example, we realize that mothers throughout time have had to deal with children who didn't do what they wanted them to do.  Friends have betrayed friends and fathers have been disappointed in their sons then and now.  Dragons have come to our rescue.  Well, maybe not that, but the gamut of human emotions and frailties are played out. There is usually a sense of catharsis at the end of a particularly intense or satisfying episode, and we can also feel grateful when we realize that their lives are way worse than ours. For example, unlike in the "Game of Thrones" world, I don't particularly need to worry that when I am feasting on a big leg of lamb at a banquet, that I could very well get my throat slit. There is comfort in that.

Watching "Game of Thrones" also gives us an escape from our sometimes mundane lives and allows us to be a part of something epic without having to leave home and actually participate in bloody battles or live in drafty castles.

It's also educational.

We can learn some things when we watch stories like "Game of Thrones." 

Here are some things I learned:

  • I learned that I wasn't such a bad Mom.  My kids would have been mortified and probably never forgiven me, if, like Cersei, I had pissed off the local clergy and had to do a naked "Walk of Shame" down the streets of our town with the soccer moms shouting "Shame! Shame!" and me wishing I hadn't eaten that extra piece of chocolate cake. Cersei probably would also have caused scenes at ball games or blown up the hot dog stand if her kids didn't get to play. I also didn't kill my kids. I managed to avoid all of that.

  • I learned I have a vengeful side.  I couldn't wait to see Lord Ramsay Bolton, one of the most insidious and sadistic characters of all time, get his, and, boy, did he.  I HATED him!  During the penultimate episode, I sweated so much that I think I lost about 30 pounds or maybe it was all that jumping up and down in glee I did.

  • Lord Bolton's demise also taught me that it's a good idea to keep your dogs fed, especially if you are an abusive husband and your wife plans for you to go to the dogs, literally.

  • I learned that family feuds don't end well nor does running off and joining a cult.

  • Women can be badass warriors.

  • It's not just me.  Wine has always been with us.  They drank a lot of it back then.

  • We should have some dragons at our beck and call or at least a dire wolf or two.

  • I learned that if you are a hunky, handsome leading man, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that you will be brought back from the dead, especially if we pray really hard.

  • And in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "It ain't over till it's over." In a really good series like "Game of Thrones," the story and characters are unpredictable and continually surprising. Just like Jon Snow coming back to life, you can't predict what will happen. I can't wait to see what is in store.

I have a question though.  With all of that velvet, brocade, leather and lace everyone wore back then, where did they get their clothes dry-cleaned?

Watching "Game of Thrones" has helped to wean me off of my diet of "Housewives," home tours, food competitions and other reality shows and to broaden my TV watching horizons. 

So "Game of Thrones" may be done for this season, which makes me sad, but I plan to drown my sorrows by immersing myself in one of these series. 

"Breaking Bad"
"Orange is the New Black"
"House of Cards"
"The Fall"

Along with some wine and my very own little dire poodle, that ought to do the trick until "Game of Thrones" comes back!

See you next year "Game of Thrones!"

Until then...

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday

for my review of

"Now You See Me 2"



The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)


and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."


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