2018 Retry

This is a small update post which, like most of this ‘blog’ will probably only be read by me, but either way, for anyone reading this, myself or otherwise, hopefully this should fill in what happened last year and set out my plans going forward.

So last year was a measly attempt at writing about every film and show I saw, I gave up by the end of February then felt like it wasn’t worth picking it back up because I couldn’t catch up. The problem was that I was watching 3 films a week for my degree, as well as watching films and TV in a solid amount of my leisure time and most of my posts ended up being well over a thousand words. This just became a little bit tricky to juggle with the other parts of my degree, yknow, actual essay and all that, the various plays I was in, my job and my social life, so it all just sort of tapered off.

So I’m going to try this whole thing again, thankfully only watching two films a week for my degree (dissertation research not included), I have no job this term and my play involvement is still pending. That all said, I’m probably going to write a lot less on the things I watch, just basically get some brief thoughts down which was the initial point of this blog and I may not write about EVERY film I see, but I’ll certainly aim to, TV writing will probably also take a big backseat this time around unless I’m binging.

Before I wrap this post up, I’m gonna just list some of my favourite films I saw in 2017, I feel as though I’ve forgotten a lot of what I’ve seen, hence why I’m trying this whole thing again:

  • Wind River
  • Mother
  • Personal Shopper
  • A Ghost Story
  • Funeral Parade of Roses
  • The Meyerowitz Stories
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • The Dance of Reality
  • The Beguiled
  • Hell or High Water
  • The Godfather I & II
  • Moana
  • I Love You, Man

There are probably others which have escaped me for the moment but hey, I’m also realising just how few foreign films I seem to watch, and yes, it did take me til 2017 to watch The Godfather, I’m also just quickly gonna put some of my top TV series down for prosperity:

  • The Leftovers Season 3
  • Mr Robot Season 3
  • The Marvellous Mrs Maisel
  • Bojack Horseman Season 4
  • Dear White People
  • The Good Place Season 2
  • GLOW
  • Legion
  • Transparent Season 4
  • Fargo Season 3
  • Catastrophe Seasons 1-3
  • American Vandal
  • The first 4 or 5 episodes of American Gods
  • Big Little Lies

Its been a fantastic year for TV and film and I’m super bummed I was so terrible at keeping up with it on this blog, so I’m gonna try to do better from here on out.

 

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Mr Robot – Season 2 (2016)

This has been my only series over the Christmas break, university and having to worry about internships sucks cause it really takes your time away from whats important, being television. This may be a little sporadic and not very in depth at all since I watched this series over 3 weeks with some big gaps here and there for various reasons. Oh also spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t seen it, I’ll try to mark them but just be careful.

I loved season 1 when I watched it but for some reason I wasn’t particularly excited to watch this but I’m really glad I did. Narratively I can understand criticism levelled towards this season but I feel that watching it as a binge can help to brush past those concerns. (Spoilers ahead) I did feel that Elliot was slightly wasted as a character this season, I felt like he had very little impact on the story of f society, especially in the first half of the season with his status in confinement. The reveal of his confinement was wonderfully done albeit quite expected, and I really enjoy how Esmail plays with having an unreliable narrator, somewhat of a rarity in television and film. Even if he only really served to give Elliot something to do, I really enjoyed Ray as a character, I thought he was an interesting and well rounded character who served his limited purpose well.(Spoilers end) Despite the character being sidelined, Rami Malek was fantastic this season, I don’t know if I noticed how good he was in season 1 but I was pretty blown away by him this season. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Christian Slater who was given very little interesting material to work with but I suppose that was only natural after the season 1 plot twist. The power struggle between Elliot and Mr Robot did get a little tiresome and seemed to make very little progress.

This really was a season for the ladies, with the fantastic addition of Grace Gummer as FBI agent Dominique and Carly Chaikin’s Darlene moving the story on more than anyone else and Angela with a surprisingly interesting arc this season. I cannot say enough good things about Grace Gummer’s character Dom, I had found Gummer quite annoying in American Horror Story so I wasn’t thrilled to see her addition to the cast but I was so so wrong. Dom is one of my new favourite characters on television, she is such a layered character with perhaps more depth than any of the other characters on the show. It was refreshing to see a female character who is exceedingly capable, neither sexualised or sexless, equal parts sensitive and tough with a sense of humour and can handle herself not only intellectually but in a fight, yet she never felt preachy or like they were making a point with her being a woman, she just was. She was a grounded and believable character I was always eager to see more of and to see her survive any perilous situation.and Grace Gummer did a wonderful job. Chaikin stepped up her game with Darlene this season who is a fun chaacter but has yet to be given much more depth beyond what she has. Angela was a a nice eye into the mysterious world of E Corp and her inner turmoil was interesting and performed well, although I must admit I am growing tired of the same nervous expression with the furrowed brow three times an episode, although hopefully we’ll see Angela have more backbone with her new circumstances. Whilst talking about the ladies, we have to mention the terrifying and terrifyingly beautiful Joanna Wellick, at the start of the season you may wonder why we’re seeing so much of her, not that you’ll be complaining, she’s fantastic, but she seems unrelated, but it all pays off. (Spoilers) She pulls some serious Claire Underwood shit which could really change circumstances for Tyrell going forward. Tyrell was one of the big mysteries of the season, only coming back for the last two episodes, I honestly found him pretty tiresome with the constant crying which wasn’t quite believable but I’m excited to see him return as a regular next season (spoilers).

The cinematography continues to be top notch and distinctive through out with its cold and distant offices and unconventional extreme close ups, its such a pleasure to watch. I particularly enjoyed any scenes shot outside at night time, one example that comes to mind is the end of episode 10, a really fantastic sequence which was beautifully shot. (spoilers) Talking about that particular sequence, one thing I’ve loved in Mr Robot since that incredibly unnerving but brilliant suicide in season 1 is the way this show depicts gun violence. The stand out moments are Gideon’s murder, the shooting in China and the restaurant shooting in episode 10, the choice to show that restaurant shooting from outside is the kind of inspired direction that makes the show stand out. I cant quite put it into words, but theres just something about the gun play that feels so unique to this show, its quick, its brutal and its bloody but never over the top, it feels more real than most shows and movies which is perhaps why its so effective. However the show didn’t handle violence so well in the case of Elliot’s beating being swapped out for an overly long, heavy handed 90s sitcom sequence was a swing and a miss (spoilers).

The development of the dark army has made them into a formidable and very threatening possible antagonist, they really do feel dangerous and the addition of Whiterose gives them a face which is greatly appreciated. I admittedly got a little lost with some of the Whiterose/E Corp drama and the powerplant but I imagine that all will become clear next season. (spoilers) Although I liked the cinematography, I didn’t care for the Lynchian meeting between Angela and Whiterose with that child, it didn’t feel like it belonged in the world of Mr Robot stylistically and was a little too self indulgent but its one small moment in a great season (spoilers).

I thought this was a really great season particularly thanks to the brilliant Grace Gummer and expanded roles for other characters. The stakes feel very real with the deaths of big characters early in the season and violence that feels indiscriminate and real. Along with the usual great performances from the old regulars and beautiful cinematography I’d say this is a great season that avoided the dreaded sophomore slump.