Vermeer, woman in yellow

Telly time

I was supposed to go and see The Lost City of Z by James Gray, tonight, but it has been here I am, in front of my small screen, instead of being at the cinema. I will soon go to bed and read some crime novel, but before that, let's talk about tv shows, shall we?

I'm behind Feud yes I watch Feud, if only for the atmosphere and the acting, and because beside the obvious stars (Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, of course, but also Stanley Tucci or Alfred Molina), Martha from The Americans and Sally Draper from Mad Men are in it!!!! –, but I'm all caught up with the weirdest shows that are done for this season, meaning Legion and Fortitude, and ready to welcome the return of beloved series as such as Better Call Saul or FARGO.

I liked Legion's finale but didn't love it...and definitely didn't like it as much as I liked the previous two episodes.
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Fortitude's finale was gory and bonkers, as expected. I don't know if a third season will happen, but if I were Richard Dormer I would keep the northern look. It suits him.

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As much as I enjoyed, or am still enjoying, entertaining newcomers like Lethal Weapons, Lucifer, and Feud, so far my favourite new shows are Legion, Westworld and The Good Fight, which is still on.

BTW, did I mention how much I love the opening credits of The Good Fight ?

And I swear, if I were into women, I would totally have a crush on Cush Jumbo.

I still can't write on The Americans, a show that deserves more articulate reviews...I will just say that I miss Arkady Ivanovich. Here's hoping that Oleg's journey will cross his path some day.
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PS/ moscow_watcher, if you're still around, I hope none of your beloved ones or acquaintances were harmed in St Petersburg subway attack today. *sigh*
Vermeer, woman in yellow

Spring break is here

I'm on holidays...sort of. I managed to hand back all the papers I had to mark so I can focus on the thesis writing over the two week break that is starting today.
I'm exhausted but I have no choice, I have to write chapter 9, damnit!

Yesterday evening, I went to the cinema and saw Logan. The film totally deserves the praises it has gotten. The first Wolverine movie was bad and the second was entertaining but mediocre. This third and final opus is great and looks nothing like the previous ones or like any of the X-Men films (which I usually like) in general.

Logan isn't a super-hero movie, it is a western at heart. And it is a western quoting a 1953 classic western, Shane.

“There’s no living with a killing. There’s no going back from one. Right or wrong, it’s a brand… a brand that sticks.” , tells the gunslinger to the innocent child in Shane.

The meta quality of the film doesn't end here, since the X-Men comics are also mentioned in it. Reality is grim and brutal but one can take comfort in fiction and hopes that, some time, there will be "no more guns in the valley"...

Logan is a beautiful way for Hugh Jackman to dance his swan song as Wolverine. And he did dance it in a stellar way.

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What impressed me the most, though, isn't the acting or the writing but the direction. James Mangold made a beautifully shot film there. Logan is melancholy and lyrical, gripping and haunting, and it is just brillantly directed. Go and see it, people!

medieval demons

All hail Noah Hawley!

I'm still in Marking Hell, and still coughing (haven't stopped since the car thing), but I'm dropping by to post because I have to say how great chapter 7 of Legion was. That show is bloody creative, isn't it? Every episode was so far, but this 7th one managed to outdo them all, breaking new grounds with some memorable scenes. A magnificent hour of television.

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Legion does have style, but it never feels pretentious, only fun. It's like Noah Hawley is playing with his series toy and, lucky us, we get to play along.
Vermeer, woman in yellow

New tv shows

So far, I'm enjoying The Good Fight. Diane was my favourite character from The Good Wife so it's nice to have her back, even without Will...

And Cush Jumbo, who was the highlight of a final and terrible season, is simply terrific. And it isn't only because fo her fabulous hair.

Also, speaking of British actors, I have to confess that I've been watching Lucifer on French cable. It's extremely silly, but it is fun. It's all about the dialogues and the way Tom Ellis delivers his lines, even the most ludicrious ones. The fact that Lucifer has an English accent makes no sense at all, especially given that the other angels don't – well, they probably thought it was sexier and they wanted him so say "Bloody Hell!" all the time – but Ellis is just delicious to eat watch. And the man can sing!

Oh and, of course, Maze rocks!

As for Legion, there's nothing like it on tv. It's visually stunning and challenging, and it's a showcase for cousin Matthew from Downton Abbey, who has finally lost his baby fat. On the one hand I appreciate what Noah Hawley is doing with the show, completely re-visiting/re-vamping the Marvel and Superhero stuff, and exploring the inner world of a mutant. On the other hand, I can't say that I am hooked least not the way I was with FARGO.

And has someone else noticed that David Selby (Richard Channing from Falcon Crest!!!) is playing the villain there?

Vermeer, woman in yellow

A last movie before entering Marking Hell

I saw The Handmaiden (which is called Mademoiselle in France, an interesting choice because it actually switches things) yesterday evening. I really enjoyed it. It's a pecculiar film, because it sometimes verges on ridiculouness and burlesque, or just indulges in them. It is beautifully shot and rather cleverly written, hiding genre within genre. It's visually stunning, but also gripping. The film lasted 2: 30 hours but never felt long. And it was actullay funny in places. I laughed many times.

An intelligent and neat piece of escapism.

The film is based on a Victorian England-set novel (The fingersmith)...but it takes place in Japan-occupied Korea and Japan in the 1930's, which makes the "adaptation" quite refreshing!

The story begins with the arrival of a new handmaiden in a big house that looks partly English, partly Japanese. She's Korean and there to serve a Japanese heiress. Soon enough we learn that there's a con behind her presence there. Then things get more complicated.

It's a cautionary tale about greedy (vicious) men using women – or, shall we say, a feminist film –, or maybe a pastiche of erotica, or maybe it's a thriller about a con job (or rather a scam within a scam), or maybe a scorching lesbian love story, or maybe a hall of mirrors where the question of identity is challenged, or perhaps all of that! But it never seems all over the place. Very well made and masterfully directed by Park Chan-Wook.

The Handmaiden pays tribute to its Victorian(and even Gothic) roots, but also to History, to Japanese culture, to litterature (Sade's Juliette) and to several movies. There are shades of Rashômon in it, for instance.

Vermeer, woman in yellow

Why, but why does nobody talk about Westworld on LJ?

Oh well, even though I'm just talking with myself, I need to write a few thoughts down. Last week's episode was pretty great. I didn't find the time to write a review but I really, really,  liked it.

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This week's episode was less engrossing, but I'm still intrigued by the show.

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Also, here is something I've been meaning to say, for a while, about a certain fan theory:
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Vermeer, woman in yellow


So, who else has watched the premiere of Westworld?

I mean, western setting, robots and Ed Harris (the rest of the cast is great too, but I have always been a fan of Ed Harris)!!!!! How could I not watch it?!

I had been craving for a good robot show since BSG and  Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles ended. I was so excited and Westworld didn't disappoint.

Evan Rachel Wood was good but it's Louis Herthum who delivered the best performance of the episode.

Here he is, facing Sir Anthony Hopkins, in a scene that was kind of a tribute to Blade Runner:

And there was this iconic moment, on the instrumental version of "Paint It Black"

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 ETA: Apparently some things have already been addressed and answered HERE.

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Vermeer, woman in yellow

The time of the goddesses

Yesterday, I had a drink with one of the few friends who are still in Paris and we went to the cinema to see a film that is flawed and yet necessary.

It isn't easy to be a woman, but it can be extremely in hard in many parts of this world, even in the largest democracy of the world: India.

Last year, the news kept mentioning instances of Indian women being raped or gang raped, and often beaten or killed in the process.It is a big issue over there. "Rape culture" is a plague in that country.  I've been in India three times, nothing happened to me there, but I remember too well the concupiscent looks in many male gazes and the wandering hands, as if almost all men were sex crazed and obsessed.

So Angry Indian Goddesses is far from being perfect (the writing is sometimes very cliché, some scenes are  abit too Bollywood-style and the ending is problematic) – and to tell the truth I' ve never seen women like those during my stays in India (even in Kerala, not far from Goa wherein the film mostly takes place) – but, still, it's great that this a movie was made and it must be seen, if only for its message and the beautiful women (each in their own way) in it.

When the males of the world are all about violence and destruction, let's channel our inner Kali!

Vermeer, woman in yellow

Still raining, so I'm watching tv shows

I've started binge-watching the new season of Orange Is The New Black. Poussey remains my favourite!

I also watched Game of Thrones and Penny Dreadful. Writing isn't both shows' forte (GoT is all about the visuals, the action and the spectacle; PD is all about the atmosphere and Eva Green's performances) and I would even say that they suck at plotting, but the latest episode of Game of Thrones couldn't have been more cliché, predictable and telegraphed...while I really didn't expect that finale from Penny Dreadful!

The PD finale was definitely a surprise but it was also so rushed...and filled with new timeline nonsense – in one scene it seemed that a few weeks had passed from the previous week's episode, which would make sense in terms of travel logistics, but then another scene seemed to happen only a few minutes after! – and laughable convenient stuff. Oh well, there were still some great shots of Timothy Dalton's green eyes.

Now I'm hoping for a good second season of Mr Robot.

When is RECTIFY coming back?

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