Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Seen in October 

We didn't see as much this month but the quality more than made up for it.

Where did you get those fab outfits? No, really, you're breaking the believability of this being a quaint Welsh town.

Sex Education S04

I spent most of season four trying to understand what the hell Cavendish College, the new school where the season is set, actually was. I couldn't understand how senior high school kids were at a college, but a college that had a "principal"? It turns out it's a Sixth Form College (a kind of prep school where British kids do their A levels in preparation for university). It also bugged me that everyone dressed as though they lived next to the most fabulous 70's and 80's vintage shop known to humankind. Let's forgive this ridiculous bit of art direction for what it was. This is all aside from the fact that this college is an American conservative's nightmare. It's woke AF, as the kids used to say. Within those environs we find that such in-your-face wokeness can also be toxic and oddly conformist. These youths use the language of inclusion almost to weaponized levels. Yet, there's still room for growth, learning and understanding. The older I get, the more I understand how we learn the most by listening, which, if I recall, is not something that teenagers are adept at. Hiding the shame of their spotty foreheads? Yes. Screaming their individuality at the top of their lungs. Also, yes. Listening? Not so much, but that's what makes this show worth the trip.

Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin have chemistry even in an elevator.

Only Murders in the Building S03

I think a Slate article about Martin Short being unfunny was really about forcing us to recognize just how funny he is. There were a few episodes where the trio of leads were separated and maybe the humour waned but this show runs on all cylinders when they are together. It’s the show’s gestalt. The theatrical setting with dramatic cameos only makes you wonder what they can do next. Stay tuned.

Cate Blanchett slays as Lydia Tár.


Cancel culture isn’t just for the guys! This film is about Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett), composer, conductor and celebrated intellectual whose career is undone by her exercising her authority over subordinates for her pleasure. There is a point when manipulators like her will push too far and make the mistake of believing their own press. Tár eventually pushed one young woman to take her own life, which triggered the moral backbone of her assistant to let all of the cats out of all of the bags. This film not only touched on that power dynamic but also how the complacency of supporters of abusers only empowers them, and how traditional authority seems to rub a younger generation the wrong way, which in turn entitles their outrage. I’m probably not making any sense but the point is that while exploitive behaviour shouldn’t be tolerated, it is also true that social media has turned a generation of far too sensitive youngsters into a pious jury without boundaries. Not everyone who challenges your viewpoint is attacking you or your identity and by the way, maybe your identity isn’t reason enough to feel as if you can’t be judged. Even by making these distinctions, I'm probably stepping in a mess. I'm here for the mess, and you should be too if you are to enjoy this film as much as it richly deserves.

Ghostbusters II

In every film lover’s life, some seasonal cheese must be consumed and enjoyed. I want it on the record that I don't think these films are as good as their fans believe. That's fine. It's still enjoyable and easy entertainment on a cold and weary night. I have no idea why I didn't realize this film is set during the holiday season between Christmas and New Year's, putting it years ahead of Nightmare Before Christmas as a film that blends Halloween and Christmas. It's easy to forget as it seems like perhaps a decision was made late in the filming to comply with some hitherto unknown release schedule.

The cinematography is also killer in Scorsese's latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon.

Killers of the Flower Moon

What to say of Scorsese's most recent film? Is it his opus? Only time will tell, but let's be clear, Scorsese isn't adding filler to his résumé or taking it easy in his 80th year. Neither are Leonardo DiCaprio or Robert De Niro, who takes great bites into his best role in years. This is the story of the murders of people of the Osage Nation (in what we know as Oklahoma) to access their oil rights. The early effects of oil and the wealth it brought to the Osage can't be overstated as it enabled education, affluence, health and influence, all of which their white countrymen coveted and sought through the only way they knew how. Murder and the legal system. Some are making a lot out of the film's runtime, which is almost 3-1/2 hours long, but it genuinely does not feel that long, so do not be scared by it. Embrace it and settle in. The film also showcases an amazing new talent, Lily Gladstone, who, it turns out, is a veteran actor I just haven't seen before. Another reason to see this is the amazing score by Robbie Robertson who passed just before the film's release.

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka.


I'm not sure I held much hope for this new Disney Star Wars series other than enjoying Rosario Dawson in the titular role as Ahsoka, wandering Jedi. I was happily surprised to find this series had much more meat on its bones than other disappointments. Set after the death of Darth Vader and the fall of the Empire, in the early days of the fledgling Republic, Ahsoka is determined to keep embers of the dismantled Empire cold. She learns of a plot to find the influential tyrant Admiral Thrawn and install him as the head of a loyal force to fight back against an ill-prepared and bureaucratic Republic. Her singular effort to stop Thrawn is thoroughly compelling and leaves us wanting more from a second season.

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