Showing posts with label The White Lotus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The White Lotus. 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)


Schmigadoon


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?
(HBO)





DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DS Sunil "Sunny" Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) try to solve a murder that occured 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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