What I’ve been watching in April/May…

TV

11.22.63

I’ve been a Stephen King fan for many years, but I haven’t actually read this book yet (there’s a copy from the Waterloo book market in a pile next to my bed). I unusually decided it would be fine to go ahead and watch the TV show first, mostly because I’d heard good things coming over from America and also because of the involvement of James Franco, JJ Abrams and King himself.

The show follows Franco as he goes back in time through an anomalous time portal to try and save JFK from assassination and hopefully change the world for the better. I’m happy to say I found it totally gripping and addictive, unbelievably tense in places, and also incredibly well acted. I loved it so much that now I really want to read the book just so I can live through that intense plot again.

11-22-63_Promo_001

The People v. OJ Simpson

People-V-OJ-SimpsonThis was also intense and something I looked forward to every week, but in a very different way. Pretty much everyone in the western world will know the ending, even if younger viewers like me might not know all the details.

But it’s about the journey, and the character examinations of the key people in the double murder trial of football player OJ Simpson – especially prosecutors Christopher Darden (Sterling K. Brown) and Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) and the duelling defence attorneys Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance) and Robert Shapiro (John Travolta). The acting throughout is exceptional, the choice of pacing and what to focus on is excellent, and it is a gripping account to bring the trial of the century to a new generation.

Flaked

flaked-posterThe main reason I watched this in the first place was the involvement of creator and star Will Arnett who has always been comedically brilliant. I quickly realised this isn’t much of a comedy, and for a few episodes found it just okay. Flaked follows Chip (Arnett), an alcoholic and furniture maker, and his friends and their attempts to get with women and save Venice Beach from developers.

However, about halfway through I started to get invested in these characters and then something happened in episode six that blew me away, and I raced to the end. I discovered this was a show that required some patience, but once you’ve got to know the characters then everything garners some emotional reaction in the viewer.

Film

X-Men: Apocalypse

cf7kkqeuuaeqameI normally rush to see every superhero film in the cinema but with this one I was almost put off by all its poor reviews. I’m glad I went though as I enjoyed it much more than I thought (easily more than Batman v Superman!)

This addition to the saga sees a very powerful mutant (Apocalypse, an almost unrecognisable Oscar Isaac) awoken from where he’s lain dormant for a very long time. He decides the world has gone to pot in his absence and wants to wipe everyone out and start again. He rallies four mutants to back him up – including Magneto (Michael Fassbender), after a devastating twist for him – and of course Professor X (James McAvoy) and his team fight back.

It might sound ridiculous put like that, but I enjoyed getting to know the new X-Men – in particular meeting Cyclops and getting more of the cheeky Quicksilver than in Days of Future Past – plus Magneto’s storyline as mentioned above gave him more depth than he’s had in the past. There’s also an awesome cameo to watch out for! All in all I thought it was a fun ride.

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