Post by Chalice_Of_Evil on Feb 28, 2019 10:34:57 GMT
The last mini-series I finished watching was Mrs. Wilson, which is inspired by true events in actress Ruth Wilson’s family. She stars in this, playing the part of her real life grandmother, Alison Wilson. (I know Ruth Wilson from a few different things I’ve seen her in, but mainly from The Affair where she plays another character named Alison). I’ve grown to really appreciate her as an actress (another mini-series I watched which starred her was the 2006 mini-series version of Jane Eyre).
I thought Mrs. Wilson was an interesting three-part mini-series. Here’s some information about it...
In a Land of Plenty, a relatively obscure 10 part BBC mini-series based off a novel of the same name. I saw parts of a few episodes many years ago which I've never forgotten, and I finally got to see the whole show in its entirety.
Post by Chalice_Of_Evil on Apr 1, 2019 7:29:43 GMT
I can’t say I fully understood everything that was going on throughout the show. It kind of lost me at various times, and there were some odd moments here and there (I also could’ve done without all the random push-ins/zooms), but I knew that with Michael Shannon and Alexander Skarsgård in the cast, I’d at least be guaranteed to see solid performances...and they didn’t disappoint.
I’d have to say the real stand-out, though, was Florence Pugh as ‘Charlie’. I hadn’t seen her in anything else before this, but after being impressed by her performance here, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for her in other stuff.
The other stand-out would have to be the production design/sets and costuming. Quite stunning.
Post by Chalice_Of_Evil on Apr 7, 2019 6:58:06 GMT
I first watched this mini-series when I bought it on DVD (I'm not sure if it was last year or the year before) and then I randomly decided to watch it again the other night. Since it was a rainy night, it added extra atmosphere, which I thought was fitting.
I've never read the book, nor have I seen the other movie versions of the story. However, I have seen movies/shows that do seem to 'borrow' from this story with their premise (ie. killing off each cast member one by one - the TV series Harper's Island being an example. I kept being reminded of that when watching this). Unfortunately, I was a tad spoiled for who the killer was in this mini-series, but I still found it pretty riveting.
If you haven't seen the mini-series and wish to avoid spoilers, don't view below the spoiler tag.
What I found interesting about the series was that, despite these all being bad people, I actually came to somewhat 'care' about some of them (though not all). Even more strange was finding that the ones I *did* care about were probably some of the 'worst' of the ten. My thoughts on them are as follows...
Just as well Marston was the first to die, as I pretty much disliked him from his introduction with running Armstrong off the road. While I hate excessively slow drivers too, those who speed and nearly cause accidents aren't any better. Then later at the dinner table he acted as if he wasn't in the wrong and I was like, "Okay, I'm ready for him to die now." (might seem harsh, but his character showed no signs of anything 'redeeming' about him).
I suppose in the beginning I might've felt a bit sorry for Ethel Rogers, as it appeared she was being abused by her husband. We then found out she was complicit in the covering up of murder he'd committed and that sympathy kind of went out the window. I did get somewhat of a 'creepy' vibe from her, despite her appearing the 'victim'. Maybe it was the sunglasses?
I always like seeing Sam Neill in things and his General MacArthur didn't get that much screentime before he was offed. Though at least he showed some regret/remorse before he met his demise (which reminded me of Harper's Island that I mentioned before. With that show it wasn't long before you worked out the 'pattern' for who would get offed each episode - those who got any sort of 'backstory' and/or showed any sort of remorse/'redeemed' themselves somehow usually were the ones who would bite it in the episode - which was how it seemed to be here. I wondered if maybe it'd be an idea to provide 'backstory' to characters before the episode they were killed off in...but I guess that'd screw with the structure). I'm still not quite sure why anyone would sit out on the edge of a cliff by themself when they knew a killer was on the loose. I guess maybe he couldn't live with what he'd done.
Thomas Rogers seemed like a nasty piece of work underneath his 'polite' facade he put on for the guests, given the way her treated his wife, so I wasn't upset to see him go. I wondered why this show was given such a strong rating (violence-wise), and I imagine seeing his guts coming out had something to do with that. Noah Taylor played 'creepy' very well.
Can't say I liked Emily Brent much. She rubbed me the wrong way pretty early on and her backstory certainly didn't make her anymore likeable (I recognised the young actress who played the girl that Brent threw out, causing her death, as the one who plays Margo in The Durrells - which is a s show that I watch). The killings certainly got a bit more 'open to interpretation' at this point, with the 'bee sting' being her knitting needle. Can't find any bees on the island, let's not be so literal about it!
Charles Dance did a good job of making Judge Wargrave come across as one of the more 'likeable' of the group. I especially liked how he seemed to form a bit of a 'relationship' (though not the romantic sort, of course) with Vera Claythorne. His chats with her helped conceal his true motives (and foreshadowed that they'd be the last two left later on). Would I have released the killer was him without being spoiled? Guess I'll never know, but when rewatching there were some obvious clues to it being him. Firstly, his talking about punishing the guilty...this coming around the time everyone had just heard the record which accused them all of their crimes. They didn't figure it was maybe him doing the punishing? There were other instances too which made it fairly clear he was the culprit, but that's the benefit of knowing before watching - you're able to notice all the little clues/hints.
I will say, though, it was a bit convenient that his playing dead and getting away with it relied solely on the others not bothering to check he was really dead. They even had a DOCTOR there in Armstrong. I guess it was lucky they he was so panicky and didn't show nerves of steel like he probably should have as a physician. And Vera, who was shown to be pretty sharp and on point with a lot of her observations, came close to checking when she asked about it...though didn't check herself? I do wonder what would've happened had any of them checked. It's a bit frustrating when the master planner's plan success relies on other characters making dumb mistakes. You ALWAYS check the body, people!
Charles Dance and Maeve Dermody did a really nice job in their last scene together with her hanging/choking and him explaining everything. Oftentimes this 'killer explains his motives and how he/she did it' comes across a bit corny and whatnot, but he knew she wasn't going anywhere and there was no one to stop him, so he could afford to take his time explaining himself. I do think with stories like this you have to suspend disbelief at least a little bit, given everything that had to come together to achieve this end result. Then there was the end, where he set everything up at the table to appear as if he too had been murdered and the gun oh-so-perfectly slid across the table (after he used it to kill himself) so his suicide wasn't evident. Mmhm, convenient.
I've seen Toby Stephens in quite a few things and while I had sympathy for him at that start when he was run off the road by Marston and his grievance with him didn't appear to be getting taken seriously by the others, he actually became kind of annoying pretty fast. He came across as a bit of a 'worm', and I probably should have sided with him during arguments he had with other characters, but I found myself siding with them against him most of the time. Not sure how he ever made it as a doctor, given how prone to freaking out he was. The one and only time he approached 'tolerable' was when it was down to the final four and he, along with the others, got drunk. Though that didn't last. Then he made the fatal mistake of running off by himself when there was a killer about. Stupid, stupid doctor.
Burn Gorman is yet another actor I've seen in quite a few things (plus, he has that unique name and face to go along with it, so he's kind of hard to forget). Considering his character was a Detective, he seemed almost as quick to panic as Armstrong did. After we learned what he'd done, it would've been easy to hate him and want him dead instantly. Oddly, though, I found the actor managed to bring some 'humanity' to this man who'd done a terrible thing. He showed regret, and you kind of wished that his imagined alternate version of events had actually happened. I think part of what made him seem not so bad compared to the others was that he was constantly being insulted/made fun of - though his relationship with Lombard was interesting in that, although they seemed to dislike each other, it did feel as though they eventually kind of formed a slight begrudging not-quite-'friendship'. His death actually had some impact when it happened (although it came close to being unintentionally comical when you saw the polar bear rug "hugging" his legs as he lay dead on the floor) and I almost felt bad for Blore. Kudos to Burn Gorman for playing a different type of jerk to what I'd normally seen him play.
Aidan Turner is an actor I'm very familiar with, as I first came to know of him in the UK version of the TV series Being Human, then from Poldark (plus, other stuff too). Considering Lombard's crime was probably one of the 'worst', it's amazing he came across as 'likeable' as he did. He certainly seemed the most level-headed of everyone (even the Judge comments on this near the end), and despite his constant insulting of Blore, I felt as though he didn't entirely hate him as much as he pretended. His reaction to Blore's death suggested he did at least feel a bit bad that he'd died...though not too bad. Clearly his feelings for Vera were real, though, and it's rather tragic that all he wanted to do was keep her safe...but she ended up suspecting him of being the killer at the end (which, given they thought everyone else was dead and they were the only two left, made a certain kind of sense) and wound up shooting him. Lombard really shouldn't have kept approaching her when she was pointing a gun at him. Anyway, it really did look like (up until that point) as if they would be the 'final two' and would end up together. However, I was well aware that this wasn't that type of story (where anyone lived 'happily ever after'), so I knew it could only end in tragedy. Kudos to Aidan Turner for making Lombard someone who I was glad to see survive til almost the end.
I've seen Maeve Dermody in a few things and really grown to like her as an actress (plus, she's an Australian), as she has seemed to make the most of all her parts (she only had a small role in the TV series Ripper Street, but managed to make that role compelling). Her Vera Claythorne really did come across as the 'final girl' type for the majority of the series. She was smart/figured things out/thought of stuff no one else did, she stood up to the men who would be aggressive towards her, she formed a 'relationship' of sorts with Lombard, and it really felt like the series would end with the two of them together. However, there was a hidden 'darkness' to her which was revealed in the final part of the story. It's too bad she didn't form a cover story that couldn't be nitpicked by the very man who she committed her crime for, as she might've gotten away with it if she had. There was something creepy about her feeling suicidal after killing Lombard and (to her knowledge) being the 'last one left', only to change her mind of wanting to die once the Judge revealed himself as still alive/the killer to her. She went from wanting to hang, to not-wanting to pretty quickly. Kudos to Maeve Dermody for making it really feel like she was struggling not to choke to death as she teetered on the overturned chair. I imagine her voice must've gotten quite hoarse after doing that scene (especially if it took quite a few takes). I was able to appreciate on second watch the foreshadowing of her demise via the noose given she saw a little one towards the series' beginning. There were actually quite a few bits and pieces of foreshadowing sprinkled throughout.
In a lot of shows/movies like this where you wonder who the killer is, people oftentimes theorise it might be the lead - as who'd suspect the supposed 'hero'? This story actually had that be the case. For all intents and purposes, it appeared as if Vera would be the one to figure out the killer and confront them/beat them in the end...but that wasn't the case at all. It was something 'different' to have her turn out to be just as guilty of a crime as everyone else. The real sad thing was that she showed she didn't even care as much for Lombard as she'd seemed to, as she was willing to throw him under the bus to save her own neck. I was a bit disappointed to learn she wasn't the 'hero' of the story, but it certainly made for a unique ending.
On the whole, I thought this was a pretty neat mini-series and I may rewatch it again at some point in the future.
If you wish to watch it, the three parts can be found on YouTube.
Depends on what you mean by miniseries. A lot of UK shows could pretty much count, as a full series could contain only several episodes. If we're talking US 'glory days' miniseries I have to admit to owning (and recently watching again) Mistral's Daughter, the goshawful adaptation of Judith Krantz's godawful book; partly because it's a guilty fun soaper that's nice to look at, and also because it features Stephane Audran and Ian Richardson in a couple of main supporting roles, and their performances are classy enough to almost obliterate the awfulness of the two stars, Stefanie Powers and Stacy Keach's.
Oh, I do remember this potboiler roman a clef of the Nixon administration. I even had the paperback novelization that was adapted from it. President 'Monckton', har har har. Jason Robards was pretty good though, and I recall liking Robert Vaughan as his Haldman-and-Erlichman-rolled-into-one, nasty and nazi-esque chief aide.
Post by Chalice_Of_Evil on May 14, 2019 22:33:57 GMT
The latest mini-series I’ve finished watching is Les Misérables.
I’d started writing an in-depth review of it, but in the end decided it wasn’t even worth all that.
So, the literal meaning of les misérables is "the miserable ones” – which is a very accurate description of the characters who populate this story. Prior to watching this mini-series, I’d rewatched the 2012 movie version starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. I have to say...I preferred that version a whole lot more than this one (songs included). At least there was some stuff to enjoy in that version, whereas this six-part mini-series is just depressing the whole way through. I much preferred the movie’s version of all the characters (yes, even Russell Crowe’s Javert). About the only thing I can praise in regards to the mini-series is Lily Collins’ harrowing performance as Fantine (if anyone ever doubts her acting ability, just direct them to episodes 2 & 3).
Do yourself a favour and watch/rewatch the 2012 movie instead.
In April I celebrated the 35th Anniversary of GEORGE WASHINGTON (1984) Based on James Thomas Flexner's 4-volume Biography series, this mini-series covers the man from his relationship with the Fairfax family (falling in love with his best friend's wife), the French and Indian War, his peaceful life as a plantation farmer, and then the Revolutionary war. Starring Barry Bostwick, Patty Duke Astin, David Dukes, Jaclyn Smith, and a cast including James Mason, Trevor Howard, Lloyd Bridges, Jose Ferrer, Rosemary Murphy, and Robert Stack (Viggo Mortensen and Kelsey Grammer have early career cameos) The 30th Anniversary of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (1989), starring Pierce Bronsan, Eric Idle, Julia Nickson, and Peter Ustinov, with a cast including Christopher Lee, Simon Ward, Lee Remick, Patrick Macnee, John Hillerman, Anna Massey, Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, Roddy MacDowall, John Mills and Robert Morley (the latter two were in the 1956 film version).