Tag Archives: Sky Atlantic

Game of Thrones: History in the making

GoT

(Series 6, ep. 3) If you haven’t been watching series 6 and you don’t want to know what’s happened so far, stop reading now! There may well be some hideous spoilers below. You’ve been warned.  Continue reading

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Game of Thrones: Dragons, dogs and direwolves

roose ramsay game of thrones(Series 6, ep. 2) SPOILER ALERT: I’m not going to be able to review this at all without totally ruining it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, so if you don’t want to know, please don’t go any further. Stop reading now Continue reading

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Game of Thrones: Breathless catch up

jon snow game of thrones

(Series 6, ep. 1) Game of Thrones is back, and there’s much rejoicing throughout the land – at least that segment of the land which (a) has access to Sky Atlantic and (b) gives two hoots.

If you give two hoots and haven’t seen it yet, don’t read on, because it’ll ruin it for you (SPOILERS AHEAD!!!) Continue reading

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Game of Thrones: Still no winner in sight

daenerys game of thrones(Ep.21)  When I read the first Game of Thrones book, it was a real page-turner. I wanted to know who was victorious in the war, who succeeded Robert Baratheon on the Iron Throne – basically, who won? I reckoned without the writing stamina of George RR Martin, who seems determined to go on forever before reaching any kind of resolution. As the books went on, my interest in them went off. There was too much walking from one place to another, too many lovingly-described meals. Also I felt a bit cheated of anything resembling a satisfying conclusion, funny old-fashioned (short attention-spanned) thing that I am.

Luckily, the TV adaptation doesn’t suffer from these problems, because they’ve managed to distil the action and organise things so there’s more going on in a 75 minute (including ad breaks) episode than you can shake a stick at. We’re onto Series 3 now, and it’s staying true to form in the sense that when the EPG mentions “nudity and upsetting scenes,” you can bet that’s what you’re going to get. The nudity was fairly low-key in this season opener (a token topless whore) and the most upsetting thing was a eunuch soldier having his nipple sliced off to prove how hard he was. He was so hard he didn’t scream or cry, but thanked the nasty man doing the slicing for the opportunity to be of service. A bit like The Apprentice when someone gets fired.

Daenerys was after buying 8,000 of these Unsullied. With an army of such ruthless single-mindedness and brutality, she reckoned it would be easy-peasy to get the Iron Throne back. She hasn’t met Cersei Lannister yet, however. Will 8,000 eunuchs really be a match for the Cersei Lannister Stare?

North of the Wall, Jon Snow met up with the infamous Mance Rayder. Is his first name short for Romance? Having seen him, I doubt it, though he does seem about 100% more cuddly and human than Joffrey.

Posted by PLA          (more Game of Thrones here)

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The Following: Things that go AAARRGGHH!!! in the night

the following bacon purefoyI watched the first episode of The Following last night (I know, only a week behind everybody else, as ep. 2 has already aired) and I think I’m still shivering. It’s seriously spooky stuff.

The set up is that Kevin Bacon plays Ryan Hardy, your typical ex-FBI agent with an alcohol problem and nightmares about his last case, the one where he took down a Seriously Bad Guy Indeed. The episode opened with the serial killer Bad Guy, Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) breaking out of prison, leaving a trail of gore in his wake – but how did he do it? And how will the FBI capture him before he kills again?

Obviously they need Hardy, and obviously after initial reluctance he’s persuaded to come back. This is where it starts getting properly creepy. Continue reading

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Game of Thrones: Season 2 trailer!

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Mildred Pierce: Monty, Carlo and bust

(Episode 5) Way back when, episode two in fact, a chap noted that it was difficult to get a rise out of Mildred Pierce because of the high quality writing and production. Also mentioned was the need to scour the later pages of James M Cain’s source novel to indulge in some gentle teasing; such were the more ludicrous plot devices presented to his readers. This raised faint hopes of the same cathartic idiocy in the final part of this series.

Are we there yet, CL? Oh yes, my little corumblings.

Last week we left Mildred unhappy but free from her wellsprings of weakness and downfall: Mad Veda and The Man Who Was Del Monty. Veda has left home in a strop (it was a mink strop, having exhausted her extensive wardrobe of huffs) to explore the downtown existence of an uber-diva. An advance guard of contrived silliness here, being as she has never sung a note in her life. Meanwhile Monty has been jettisoned on account of being a bit of a nuisance in the accounts; his first, then Mildred’s [note to feminine side: aristocratic gigolo with pencil moustache and cheek-bones built for glacier skiing bad for wallet).

The final episode opens with Mildred stalking Carlo Treviso, the famous conductor with whom Veda is pursuing her nascent career of operatic parping. She wants to pay the bills but Carlo, having been briefed, refuses to take orders from the mother ship. He also offers a baroque homily about coloratura sopranos, a trillful elite among whom Veda is the trilliest. This pep talk is a little hard to follow – still less quote – so here are my notes verbatim: “See little snake at zoo. Very pretty. Take home? Not sensible. Girl is snake. Coloratura much worse than snake. I no enjoy snake bite.”   Continue reading

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Mildred Pierce: Mother and child disunion

(Ep.4) Let’s re-cap: Mildred Pierce is a grass widow (ie no present husband) in the sun-drenched California Depression. She has three men, two daughters and a chicken shack on the go. She also has a pair of loyal girlypals who, unlike the others, are constant in both friendship and number.

You see the menfolk are currently down to two, Wally and ex-husband Bert, because The Man Who Was Del Monty – who pressed all, and I mean all, of her buttons – Mildred dumped on a dark and stormy night. She’s a daughter down as well, the grippe officially (that’s flu don’t yoo knoo) but it could have been because there were chickens in need of a wholesome nosh during the run-up to Mildred opening her first restaurant. This last soon bucks the unlucky streak because it’s “going gangbusters” and there are now two, soon to be three outlets. It’s at this third where we find our Ms Pierce this week …

The new joint’s way out in Laguna, a place I know little of other than it’s where you catch tuna; and that only through one of my desert island discs, the gloriously escapist Let’s get away from it all.  Mildred’s found a rather spiffy seafront spot and she’s going to let best friend Lucy live there and run it with a share of the profits thrown in. Ida, the pal she met in the LA branch of Bettys Tea Rooms is already running Chicken Biz II in Beverly Hills. Lucy is so overwhelmed by the kindness she invents “Surf & Turf,” having decided that big city rich people aren’t going to nip out to the beach for chicken.   Continue reading

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Mildred Pierce: Chicken and a basket case

(Ep.3)  If you were to ask a terse chap to say one pithy word about this week’s Mildred Pierce, he might offer: “depression.” Me? Well I’m not the least bit terse, as a lifetime of snoring chums will aver, but that’ll do me. You see, we’re still in The Depression and Mildred’s life majors in disappointment, bookended by mourning and unhappiness.

Let’s start with the mourning. Last week ended with cuteness & cupcake daughter, Ray Pierce, dying of grippe in a huge and well-staffed hospital that’s empty of other patients. “Grippe” is flu, by the way, which information you will find useful should you ever require the appropriate jab in a big old hospital suspiciously devoid of patient life.

This week we open with lots of achy-breaky heart stuff with ex-husband Bert and  Mildred in the kitchen. We’re also treated to an ominous close up of some Very Sharp Knives indeed. Prophetic or just odd? Who knows, but anything is possible with psychotic older daughter Veda around.

A little later we’re off for a brief spot of funeralising, followed immediately by Mildred visiting a chicken farm. Unworthy thoughts of Ray’s cute & cupcakey body being sold off as animal feed are dispelled when it becomes clear that she’s buying, not selling. Then again, this might be a barter, which would mean Ray returning home as a live and well-fed chicken.  Continue reading

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Mildred Pierce: Meeting the man who is Del Monte

(Series 1, Ep.2)  When you review a production as strong as ‘Mildred Pierce’ it can be difficult to take the mickey. Okay, so the pace is more stately than Chatsworth House, a valid comparison were Chatsworth on castors; but the writing is faultless. You have to go back to the source text (James M Cain’s 1941 novel) to load up with raspberries. And since the more ludicrous elements of his story don’t show up until the later stages, you’re left with precious little at which to thumb a nose in episode 2 of what I hope will be a fruity five hours.

So where were we? Well, if you caught the very end of last week’s episode you’ll have seen the camera pan to the back of Veda’s head as she eavesdropped on Mildred’s shower scene with her friend Lucy (which, I need not remind you, was not what you think). Remember Veda (Morgan Turner)? She’s the annoying older daughter who needs a good kicking (my intent kicked in early this time).

Estranged husband and father Bert pops in for some quality time with his daughters and, as kids are, Veda’s like: “So Father, what’s your opinion on the current economic conditions?” It seems that Bert knows about this sort of thing, which is good. In our house, when my lot made such an enquiry, it was so that they could yawn dramatically or call me an idiot. Generally they did both; still do in fact.

Veda’s also been nosing around her mother’s closet (shows how evil she is: no normal child ever does that) and has discovered whisky (it’s the Prohibition, remember) and a waitress’s uniform; this latter turns up later on.

As Bert leaves, Mildred gets a touch assertive and has the car keys off him. Apparently relenting, she offers him a lift home and gets to ask: “Are you staying with Maggie?” That’s Mrs Beiderhoff, by the way, the Other Woman. Poor old Bert is a tautology of crumpling defiance: “I prefer not to say where I’m staying. I’m staying where I’m staying … you can drop me off at Maggie’s.”

Now you may remember that Mildred took a job in the Beverly Hills branch of Betty’s Tea Rooms and was set to become The Worst Waitress in the World. Evah!!! But no, she’s been practising after school and can now carry three dishes before panic sets in. Ida (Mare Winningham), her boss at Betty’s, is a “pal” and promises to run with the idea of Mildred baking all the pies. They take off (not literally, otherwise they’d be soufflés) and Mildred uses the extra dough (hah!) to get some home help: Letty, whom Veda forces to wear the waitress gear. She’s trying to humiliate her mother because she, Mildred, is going out to work. Oh the shame.   Continue reading

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