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  1. I started watching this show because I tend to enjoy British TV (the shorter seasons generally make for a higher quality per episode product) and because it came recommended by some sources I trust. I also tend to like spy stuff. I think the conceit is that it's about domestic spies in England with a focus on how difficult it is to live a normal personal life when you are in the business of deceit. Overall, I think the pluses of the show are the great acting, and surprisingly high production values for a British series, and the willingness to kill of any main character at anytime, which lends a sense of urgency. There are some characters that I particularly like, such as the Tom Quinn character. It was almost a science experiment of things they could put him through the see if he would eventually break down. Other characters, like Zaf, are just poorly drawn shells of humans. My biggest beef with the show, however, is the sheer carelessness with which some episodes are written. It's painfully easy to tell at times that the writer was in a corner and had to throw in a convenient mechanism to get out of it. For instance, there is one episode where the protagonists had no leads until a government official attempted to sneak out of a meeting with several files, and subsequently admitted treason within ten seconds of suspicion being placed on her. There also another episode where one of the protagonists was framed by another branch of the security services. This was done by a recording from a subway ("tube") security camera showing her standing next to a guy that eventually jumped in front of a train, framing her for his murder. At the exact moment of him jumping, the "security footage" cut to a closeup of two hands pushing someone. The spooks were nonplussed as to how to disprove this damning evidence. I have an idea: Maybe tell the authorities there is no security camera in the world that zooms in at random times. I'm currently on season six (of ten seasons) and feel as if I should see it through.
  2. I feel like I just ate an entire box of Chips Ahoy! cookies. I am so ashamed that I have now watched - and enjoyed - "Jack Reacher," the Tom Cruise action thriller from 2012, but so I did. Sometimes, multiple external factors converge to make you want nothing but the cheapest, most escapist brand of diversion, and such was it with me, and the previews for the Reacher sequel which just came out were enough to reel me in for the most tawdry brand of entertainment there is. And I enjoyed it. This was my beach book, my Robert Ludlum, my Twilight Zone without the historical significance. I'd enter a spoiler alert, except there's nothing to spoil, any more than me taking pictures of the Domino's pizza that arrived, twenty minutes into the film. And I'm kidding about the pizza. But the movie was perfect within its genre, and I'm actually looking forward to the sequel.
  3. I saw "Selma" for the first time this evening, and while I'm glad I saw it, and feel that I'm a better person for having done so (how many of us are truly familiar with the non-fictional story?), I can only say "very good" and not "great" as a motion picture - perhaps mainly due to casting problems, and perhaps mainly due to my personal prejudices in getting over them. Tim Roth as Governor George C. Wallace? Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon Baines Johnson? And worst of all, Dylan Baker as J. Edgar Hoover? I don't see any of them. That said, Carmen Ejogo was a physical dead-ringer for Coretta Scott King - I felt as if I was actually watching Mrs. King herself! (I know physical perfection doesn't a good role make; this is more of a side comment.) David Oyelowo played a very humanized, non-legendary Martin Luther King, Jr., and (if I may borrow a phrase I read) pulled him back from the statues, into the human race. He was flawed, self-doubting, and I loved the humanity in his role. It's late at night, I've already slept a couple of hours, and am not up to full reviewing-mode right now, but I'm really hoping people will chime in with some opinions about this recent movie, good, bad, and everything in-between. I'd like to read your thoughts, all of your thoughts. Has anyone else seen this? This was worthy of (and certainly designed for) being nominated as 1 of 8 nominees for Outstanding Picture at the 87th Academy Awards - one of these days I'll mature enough not to use the Academy Awards (or, for that matter, the Beard Awards), as any sort of benchmark, I promise you, but there's just no doubting that they're the highest honor, at least for Hollywood, and this picture had "Hollywood" written all over it. I love film, and want to watch every good movie ever made. My father, as he got older, became quite an expert, and I hope to follow in his footsteps; I doubt I'll ever match his accomplishments, but I hope to have fun trying.
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