[watching] What have you seen recently?

The Adjustment Bureau: would be congress man Matt Damon pursued across New York by Men-in-Black style agents intent on thwarting his burgeoning romance with ballerina Emily Blunt. It's all to do with "the Plan" as set out by the never seen "Chairman". Enjoyed this metaphysical thriller, based on a Philip K Dick story. Not much in the way of conventional action, it relies on intrigue and good performances to keep you watching. As often happens found myself wondering if this would work as an rpg scenario, for Unknown Armies maybe?
The King on Netflix. Sort of a postmodern retelling of Shakespeare's King Henry V part 1 & 2 getting even further from the historical truth in favour of some pretty gritty pop-psychodrama, play for today nonsense. I kinda liked this one in a late-night dark adolescent sort of way, although Robert Pattinson's portrayal of the Dauphin was offensively bad. To the point, I was internally chanting for him to get his comeuppance at King Hal's blade, but hey perhaps that's the point. In fact, afterwards the whole thing fell apart badly at the hands of my inteneral critic and I'm kinda ashamed I watched it now. I'm finding Netflix is kind like this, being a big glorified website on your telly with the front page full of "come on watch me!" adverts, and some real turkeys among the gems.

The Outsider again another made for Netflix was the reverse of the King. Set in post-war Japan , an American played by Jared Leto (Joker in Suicide Squad, Mr Wallace in Bladerunner 2049) is in jail in Osaka where he saves the life of a local Yakuza - whos gang then get him out. Predictably he then joins up with them. And on the surface, its a kinda implausible fantasy, were he effortlessly gains acceptance, but there's enough tension and twists in the tale that kept me intrigued. Also in the critical aftermath, I realised the very simple plot twist that had repeatedly been played on me as I was swept along with the gorgeous visuals and slick violence.

TV series at the moment I'm finding an embarrassment of riches, which has seen me temporarily overlook some obvious choices such as the latest season of Peaky Blinders and His Dark Materials.

Just bingewatched Britaininca II and what a wonderful psychedelic dark mythic fantasy trip it was. Bugger all to do with history and real Celtic beliefs, but I happily devoured its ten or so episodes, and look forward to seeing the struggle between the first man of the Celts and the Demon of Rome develop next season. Playing guess that tune from the 20-30 second snippets sprinkled in the soundtrack was fun too :)

Currently, HBOs Watchmen is the highlight of my TV watching week. It's sumptuously dark, twister than a twisty thing, and a lovely thing of mystery nicely unravelling in a satisfactory way. All the performances are spot on, and the world is wonderfully surreal but utterly believable. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's soundtrack is half the reason I tune in.


Level 7 Blingmaster
Just watched the first episode of War of the Worlds. I was looking forward to this, the BBC making a version of H G Wells classic set in it’s proper period. It couldn’t go wrong.
Or so I thought.

I can understand the need to add a female protagonist, and a little human drama before the big crisis but this was very sloppy. Not following the works, even in the broadest details, is wrong and in a way disrespectful.
Worst than that though is the poor rendering of the Martian Tripods. They just look awful. And in fact there seems to be only one on screen at any time. Tripods should appear everywhere!

They missed the whole building tension of the whole Horsell Common event is lost and squandered.

I’ll see how it goes but it seems the creators haven’t even read the novel at all.
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I have disagree with you both on War of the Worlds. If you were expecting a 100% accurate adaptation, then you will be disappointed. The book is very difficult to adapt to screen for a number of reasons, mainly because it is from the first person perspective. I felt it was no way "disrespectful" to the original work in anyway, which I'll explain in a moment. If it was completely faithful to the book, then the casual viewer will simply switch off. Let me point out that the one sorry adaptation that did stick rigidly to the book was utterly terrible and never saw broadcast in the UK as a result. Just go on YouTube and see the disaster for yourself.

The introduction of the female protagonist Amy and her life together with George (which is actually what the "G" stands for in H.G.) were elements simply borrowed from H.G. Well's own personal life. Things like he married his cousin and the fact they later separated. The fact that Wells later lived with one of his former students he was romantically involved with, who was also called Amy. The fact Wells was a socialist and a biologist. All these elements found their way into the adaptation. Plus the Martian Heat Ray was as described in the book. So not very disrespectful at all.

I had no issue with the Martian war machines and thought they looked great. No point in using Well's original descriptions for the tripods because they would look outdated and silly to a modern audience. I had no issue with the pacing and I felt the story was simply gathering momentum. I would also like to point out that overseas it was shown in two parts, both being an hour and a half long each; but the BBC - who didn't actually make the series as that would be Mammoth Screen, with ITV Studios responsible for distribution - decided to show it in three hour long parts. This is why the first episode may appear a little slow. So I feel judging the entire series on a single episode is a little harsh.


The Guvnor
Staff member
I haven't watched WotW yet. I am a big fan, of the book, the various films, the radio plays, even the audio one done recently by some dudes. i have the sequel by baxter here waiting to read after i have reread my Dover Press lovely hardback with illos I bought last year.
I loved Eleanor Tomlinson in Poldark and I like the addition of female characters in fiction that was written without them, or the simple step of changing the gender.
Given these feedbacks, I shall probably watch the whole thing in one go, as a kind of 3 hour film.

However.. you know.. I might have preferred the Alan Moore version to get some screentime...
They missed the whole building tension of the whole Horsell Common event is lost and squandered.
Also a floating bowling ball and some cruddy cgi flame effects aren't nearly as scary as Richard Burton describing dozens of innocent bystanders being scythed down by the heat ray.
If the Martians can build (quite small) levitating balls of doom, why do they need walkers? In fact why do they then need to fire things out of giant cannons on Mars when they could just take off(*)? ISTR that in the book there is a passing mention that some Martian flying machines were seen, but they were experimental as it would have been difficult/impossible to build them on Mars.

My initial reaction to the walker was that someone had been playing Half-Life 2...but I thought it looked ok.

I didn't see the point of needless soap opera being injected especially when it's 3 1 hour episodes.

I also don't see the point of setting it in 1904 as opposed to 1898 - a passing mention of the Russo-Japanese war and the Dogger bank incident?

(*) I did wonder if they had independently discovered Cavorite and that was the black oily stuff covering the sphere...
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I’ll see how it goes but it seems the creators haven’t even read the novel at all.
Ah that's to avoid being "influenced". I remember a programme about the remake of "The Italian Job" a few years ago where the writers expressly said they hadn't seen/watched the original so that they wouldn't be influenced by it. Obviously their ideas were superior...
It was my reply to the comments made by others. I believe people are needlessly trying to find excuses why to hate it when they have only watched a single episode.
I throughly enjoyed the final season of The Man in the High Castle. I felt the ending was...

A little ambiguous. Christina and I were debating afterwards what it actually meant. Who where the people coming through the portal? Where did they come from? What will happen next in this alternative world? One thing we did agree on was John Smith had to die. There was to be no salvation for him. Was his death important for the portal to open? Too many unanswered questions.