Autumn TV Goodness and update


the-walking-dead

Yeah I know to the majority of my readers, that’ll be ‘Fall TV goodness’ but I’m in the UK and well, that’s just how I roll.  Starting pretty much from now, there seems a plethora of exciting TV shows coming my way to fill up my nights with quality drama.  First off we have the return of The Walking Dead for it’s sixth series.  This very consistent and very well made show has never disappointed and the characters and storylines remain as compelling as ever.  Next up will be the return of er…The Returned, a French horror drama about a group of dead people who return to their hometown seemingly unaware that the people they love have been mourning their deaths for several years and had only just began to rebuild their lives.  Season One was excellent with some great characters and a quality, eerie atmosphere.  So I’m looking forward to whatever this season has install. 

homeland

Last week also saw the latest season of acclaimed drama Homeland hit UK screens and going by that first episode, it looks to be another gripping season ahead.  Homeland has certainly been one of the best shows in recent memory and the real-world relevant backdrop of terrorism adds a great deal to the impact this show can have.  Starting this Monday too, is the second season of that surprise hit TV spin-off Fargo, based on the Oscar winning Coen Brothers movie of the same name, this time set a number of years before season one.  I don’t entirely know what to expect, but last season was so damn good, it should be pretty unmissable.  Now add to this I’m still catching up with Game of Thrones which has been fairly consistent and gripping through the almost three seasons I’ve watched thus far, and that’s a lot of TV to cram in.

In other news, I’m gearing up to see my favourite band, alt-rockers Garbage on the 9th of November in London, a very long-awaited and never before realised dream for me personally.  Th12094917_1078237858853731_1035346105295295619_oe highly anticipated 20 Years Queer Tour kicked off stateside on 06 October and runs until end of November with a final date in lead singer Shirley Manson’s hometown of Edinburgh.  I’ve been watching videos on Periscope of them backstage, checking Facebook fairly religiously and probably doing my head in (and everyone else’s) during the build up – but dammit, am I excited and looking forward to it.  In preparation I got myself a copy of the re-mastered edition of their debut album in a deluxe version on CD, as well as buying a couple of t-shirts and other bits of merchandise.  Hey, I may never see them again as it’s not the easiest thing for me to arrange or make happen … so why not go all out?  I’m intending to take some photos and possibly record some footage so maybe I’ll put some stuff on here once it’s all over with.

In recent posts I have remarked on depression and difficult times and I’m trying my best to steer away from this now.  I have some amazing things on the horizon that should and will give me a different, more positive outlook on life.  I think I’ll always be prone to negative thinking and dwell on the past and on certain people in my past, but looking to the immediate future …. it’s more positive than I sometimes let myself believe.  My 40th birthday is also right around the corner and it will mark a milestone in my life and a step in the right direction, and I need to see it that way.  I need to look ahead with a clearer outlook and not focus on the past at least not as much, anymore.

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Update


Frequent visitors to this page may think I’ve gone a bit quiet of late, with not much being posted.  It has been a stressful few weeks with work stresses, personal ups and downs etc … updating this blog hasn’t been a priority, or that of visiting other people’s blogs (sorry).  Of course I intend to fix that as I am away from work for a week starting Monday so will have a bit more time for leisure, watching movies, playing games etc.

What else have I been up to you may ask?  Well been watching two TV shows recently, that of the adaptation of the hit Coen Brothers movie ‘Fargo’ and the new Gothic horror series ‘Penny Dreadful’ both of which I am enjoying.  I don’t tend to report on TV much as I feel it can cause spoilers etc. which isn’t fun for anyone … but I do recommend both those shows anyway.

E3 as previously reported is in full swing and is looking good.  Enjoying the many internet videos of gameplay footage for such games as Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, The Division and even Nintendo games that I probably won’t get to play like the lush looking Legend Of Zelda.

Well that’s me for now.  Promise to report back again soon!

Fargo


Viewed – 25 April 2014  Blu-ray

I would generally say, you can’t go wrong with a movie from sibling directing / writing duo Joel & Ethan Coen.  Their brand of often darkly comical thrillers, mysteries and just plain wacky comedies have earned them many accolades and have them standing tall as two of the best film makers around.  That’s not to say they don’t sometimes perplex me, with the underwhelming Intolerable Cruelty and the bizarre A Serious Man … but also like this Oscar winning effort from 1996 their movies deserve multiple viewings and like me, you may not necessarily ‘get it’ first time around.

Fargo

William H Macy plays a car sales man in money troubles, who thinks his only way out is to have his unassuming wife kidnapped so her rich father can pay the ransom.  Enter kidnappers Steve Buscemi (kinda funny lookin’) and Peter Stormare, who pretty much screw up the whole deal.  This snapshot of Minnesota, South Dakota life and their inhabitants pokes fun at their accents but also captures a good natured likability that despite the cold, the deep snow and the fact we have a murder or two (or three) … seems a nice place to visit.  In the Coen’s hands though this is that kind of uncomfortably funny, macabre tone they seem to nail so perfectly … is it a comedy?  is it serious? … neither question needs to be answered as you wallow in several excellent performances.  Macy is superb as the awkward, nervous sales man in over his head, and remains one of my favourite actors.  A special mention must of course go to Francis McDormand, another superb actor who pretty much steals the movie even though she doesn’t appear for the first half hour or so.  Buscemi is also great as is a dead-eyed, sinister Stormare to round out a great cast.

This should probably go on record as one of the Coen’s most satisfying and well played movies and if you haven’t seen it, I really think you should.

The Blu-ray is a re-release and remastered version of the earlier HD release and boasts a very detailed image, with plenty of clarity and detail to things such as cars, signs, close-ups and in door scenes.  Outside it gets a little softer but considering the amount of snow and distant shots this should be expected.  The sound in either DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 or Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 is more than acceptable but for a gentle, talky movie it’s not going to be a fully immersive showcase for your system.  Extras include an informative commentary by director of photography (and Coen regular) Roger Deakins and also a fun and interesting trivia track to play as you watch the movie.  As this gained a big cult following after release and plenty of talk about it’s apparent true story (it isn’t) – this makes for a worthwhile inclusion.  An archival documentary, a photo gallery, trailer and TV spot also round out this release, making for pretty decent treatment of a genuine modern classic.

Verdict:

(the movie)  5 /5

(the Blu-ray)  5 /5