BUT that's about to change.
Not that there will be a monthly post as before but hopefully there will be one once in every while, starting with, not a film, but the afore mentioned ...
SIX FEET UNDER ...
Essentially the goings on of the somewhat dysfunctional Fisher family who run a funeral parlour. Not something you'd maybe expect to be high on laughs but, darkly funny, it has its moments - with every episode beginning with a death, just ask Mr T about the woman with a frying pan.
What surprises me though is just how much I'd invested in these characters. With the world outside proving to be just as challenging, I laughed; I cried (Oh my goodness! The last ever episode); I raged with/at brothers Nate and David; their sister, Claire; their mother, Ruth ... the whole entourage.
My only gripe? Some of it relevant, some of it not; much of it fast-forwarded through the further we got into the series there were too many sex scenes for my liking. TT
NJT - Very biased on this one so not much of a review, more a paean of praise. Death and its rituals have always been a subject of interest for me and possibly more so now engaged in the delivery of funerals. This box set has been watched several times over and bits of it feature regularly in training and lectures. The struggle for meaning and purpose, nothing less is the theme here, set around the stories of one family whose business is a funeral home. 'tis a gritty one that doesn't pull its punches and not for the delicate of language or those put off by sex scenes. Not that this is gratuitous in anyway but I know some who find it a bit much. Totally engaging life stories of rich characters whom you will love in one episode and detest in the next as you follow the roller coaster of their life and loves. A favourite element of the show for me is that each episode opens with a brief scene of a death, the deceased turning up in the mortuary basement of the house and frequently joining in the conversations... if only the dead could talk, and here they do. Some of them bitter deaths, some are tear-jerkers and others are, well, Darwin Awards readers will appreciate, very, very funny... as well as episode mentioned above the episode beginning with The Rapture is pretty impressive.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES ...
A book both Mr T and I enjoyed (him more so than me if memory serves but then he had read the original novel). The film started off well with laughs aplenty. However, it soon became, well, well,
somewhat ... meh. TT
NJT - Having left school with a passionate hatred of the English classic and swearing never to look at Austen, Dickens, Bronte ever again, I of course had to take a butchers at this cultural melange. The book a better read than the film... (I sent my copy to an Austen loving friend in Louisiana!) the film sticks pretty rigidly to the story and extends Austen comedy of Englishness, manners and stiff upper lips into the zombie genre with good grace on the whole. Good settings and scenery, costume its worth a watch but not one to go back to I don't think.
THE MARTIAN ...
Having read (and not enjoyed) the book and this, being on a terrestrial channel with adverts, ten minutes short of three hours long, I decided against watching it. TT
NJT - Yes worth a viewing, it certainly has more to commend it than Apollo 13 in my opinion. As a technical malfunction and a failed transmitter leave the astronaut stranded a long way from home it follows his struggle with loneliness and eking out an existence with what he has to hand. Back on earth meanwhile the error is discovered and the rescue plan put in place. A bit long perhaps and I would have shaved a good 20 minutes out of it at least, but an entertaining enough piece.
VICTORIA AND ABDUL ...
One of the best film I have seen in a long while. Highly watchable; funny and charming, a poignant portrait of the human connection, the sense of grandeur palatable; the cinematography beautiful. Its not afraid to have a few digs at racism and snobbery, its illustrating the palace's games for power, fascinating; the use of poetic licence both impeccable and exquisite.
A far better film than Mrs Brown (for one thing Victoria's companion; her 'Munshi', Abdul Karim played beautifully by Ali Fazal, is so much more pleasing to the eye than Billy Connoly), this sees Judi Dench return to her role as the now 68 year old monarch.
I don't see it as my 'job' to recommend films; only to record my thoughts on them, BUT if I were to do so I'd say ... watch this. TT
NJT - Thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours tracing this later relationship in Queen Victoria's (Judi Dench) life which was kept very hush and hush and only revealed in the discovery of Abdul's (Ali Fazal) personal journals years after he died. Chance as chance is, unpredictable, he finds himself plucked from Agra to be one of a pair presenting a ceremonial medal to Queen Victoria in England. The chance develops into something wonderful as the two find a mutual liking and she appoints him her 'Munshi'. The establishment is scandalised of course and fails to see the delight and happiness that the Queen gains from this and the forces gather to see it ended. Not least of these is in Bertie, her eldest son, who played by Eddie Izzard is reprehensible and displays nothing but contempt for the man. Dench is superb as the crabbitty had enough of this lark queen, and Fazal plays a delightful, honest devotion that is compelling, their conversations touching on meaning and purpose in life and the constraints that we face in discovering it.
Inspired by Kelly's One Sentence Movie Reviews, you can catch up on what she has been watching here.