/ July film thread

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Blue Straggler 01 Jul 2019

Kicking off with a predictable low point, what can I say, I felt like punishing myself on Friday and had some time to kill.


Yesterday (2019)

3/10

I was going to give it 4/10 but then realised I was only doing that so that people wouldn't think I was marking it down simply because I don't generally like the works of Danny Boyle or Richard Curtis, but on reflection, it's a 3. It's not "wretched", nor even "gruelling", but it is very badly written (I mean truly appalling writing, poorly thought out - if you are going to do a high-concept premise like this, don't just hand in your first draft that you wrote when drunk, Richard), overlong, has a weak lead performance, and basically just felt like 2 hours of watching the trailer. 
It salvages a couple of points for nice performances by Lily James in the only half-decent role in the film, and Joel Fry gamely playing a badly written slapstick role, I give him credit for somehow making bad dialogue watchable. On the downside, as mentioned, the lead, Himesh Patel, just can't deliver lines convincingly, and every time Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal appeared as Patel's "comic-relief" parents, it was like nails scraping down a blackboard. Avoid. 

This is the film that Danny Boyle abandoned James Bond for. Bond is now in the hands of Cary Fukunaga (True Detective Season 1, the 2011 Jane Eyre, and Maniac and Beasts of No Nation neither of which I've seen but which look more interesting than most of Boyle's output. Bond wins. 

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elsewhere 02 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Yesterday - good date movie, I enjoyed it.

Apollo 11 - good date movie for geeks, I enjoyed it.

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Offwidth 02 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

You must be drifting away from your voting on fitness for purpose here?  I have no interest at all in the film but pretty much all of what Boyle and Curtis do suits their fans fine. The film has an audience score of 90% on RT (60% for critics) pretty much as I would expect for the film equivalent of radio 2 rose tinted history fare. I'm not complaining about the review btw, I just sometimes wish you would dump the voting system as it seems contrived to me:  what you say means so much more.

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Blue Straggler 02 Jul 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> You must be drifting away from your voting on fitness for purpose here?  I have no interest at all in the film but pretty much all of what Boyle and Curtis do suits their fans fine. The film has an audience score of 90% on RT (60% for critics) pretty much as I would expect for the film equivalent of radio 2 rose tinted history fare. I'm not complaining about the review btw, I just sometimes wish you would dump the voting system as it seems contrived to me:  what you say means so much more.

A fair point but I thought about this one long and hard and I will defend my system. I don't think it achieved what it set out to do because there wasn't a single line, joke or sight-gag in it that even raised half a smile (and I noted that nobody else in the admittedly small 5:30pm audience made a single noise of amusement). It's meant to be a comedy. It's witless and charmless and gormless. Curtis appears to have read a Wikipedia entry on "the legacy of the Beatles" and classed that as research.
I assume it set out to present a breakout star by putting an unknown in the lead role. It fails because he is not good. It might be the worst thing that Curtis or Boyle has produced. Yes I've stated that I don't much like their output in general but I've never really found it to be actively BAD. I kind of liked "About Time" and despite its many problems, I grant that "Love ,Actually" kind of works in a way. I gave Trainspotting 2 a rather high 8/10. 



minor spoiler alert here.

The premise, shown in trailer and on posters, is that some global event causes The Beatles to never have existed, but otherwise life goes on as normal for everyone except our protagonist who uses his recollection of their catalogue, to become a music star. Fine. Except every now and then we get references to other things that have now never existed. Coca Cola comes up twice, maybe there is Pepsi product placement in the film? And a couple of other things. But neither the film nor the protagonist bother to explore these after the "sight gag" of looking them on the Internet. 
The film shows a fundamental ignorance of how the music industry works (and how dificult it is to access a big star backstage at a concert!) and presents an insultingly cartoony version of it all. Its romance plot is an infantile mess. It tries to put an "Easter Egg" in toward the end (I say Easter Egg because it's not exactly a twist) and although well played and perhaps the most imaginative bit of the film, it is too little too late, and the writing and delivery are trite. 
I eyeballed the departing audience (around 14 people) and they all looked umoved and a bit bored). 
My score is NOT based on it "not being for me". I don't believe that it is fit for purpose. I have numerous friends who I thought of when I saw the trailer and thought "they might like this", indeed I went to see it willing to give it a chance. I would not recommend it to friends who like the Curtis and/or Boyle canons. 


Also, have you SEEN it?

Also, most of my write-ups don't refer quite so much to the points. In this case, yes it does. 

Post edited at 11:36
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Blue Straggler 02 Jul 2019
In reply to Offwidth:


> I just sometimes wish you would dump the voting system as it seems contrived to me

>  The film has an audience score of 90% on RT (60% for critics)

Turning things around.....aren't you being a little hypocritical here? You wish I'd dump my scores, yet you argue against my reviews by throwing Rotten Tomatoes scores back, often on films that you don't have a personal opinion of.
 

And as an aside, I'm not sure I've ever seen you complain about me giving a higher score than your beloved Rotten Tomatoes. 

Post edited at 11:39
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Offwidth 02 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

That 90% shows that your cinema opinion of the audience isn't typical. I don't mind going to see something critically acclaimed,  or an art house movie, or a Sci Fi big budget film, to resolve or confirm an argunent;  but such Curtis fare, if I watch at all, will have to wair for a good day when I'm watching TV a few years hence.

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Blue Straggler 02 Jul 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> That 90% shows that your cinema opinion of the audience isn't typical. 

You have totally misunderstood my system. It's not about audience members' enjoyment. 

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Offwidth 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Clearly.... I like your reviews but don't quite understand the numbers. The main thing for me is these threads are a useful resource for film lovers. I mildly prefer RT over IMDb but find these threads add more interesting stuff than either.

Post edited at 10:51
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Stichtplate 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Watched 'A Dark Song' yesterday interesting little Brit flick. Atypical country house horror, played as a two hander with very watchable performances from Catherine Walker and Steve Oram. Hard to put my finger on exactly why, but I really enjoyed it.

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Blue Straggler 04 Jul 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Thanks, I will bear it in mind

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Gordon Stainforth 05 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

At last got round to seeing Rocketman (I would have seen it weeks ago if it hadn't been for my hip replacement). At least 8.5 on your scale, probably 9. Superlative in every way; perfectly realised. My god, Taron Egerton is talented. I can't imagine anyone doing it better. I didn't realise until I came out of the cinema that he was the same actor who'd played Eddie the Eagle, nor that it was the same director. (I have a way of going to see movies without reading up about them first! Deliberately.) Nor that it was Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott) playing Bernie Taupin. (I didn't recognise him.) Superb, dark script. Worked at many levels/all levels, shunning nothing. At the top level it was a great celebration of music. Taron E was at least equal to the challenge musically, amazing. As were all the other players in the superlative cast. I expect/hope to see several Oscar nominations, not least for Taron and Dexter. 

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Blue Straggler 05 Jul 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I think that unfortunately Taron's chances of an Oscar nomination will be hampered by Rami Malek having just won for playing Freddie Mercury in a film directed mostly by Dexter Fletcher. Can't have two gay British musicians with a 1970s heyday, in consecutive years!

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Blue Straggler 05 Jul 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Glad I persuaded you then! I gave it 8 or 8.5 but don't tell Offwidth  

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Gordon Stainforth 05 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Yes, good point re Malek. But Dexter might still get it (I think his taking over the directing of Bohemian Rhapsody was uncredited, wasn't it?)

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Gordon Stainforth 05 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Yes, your recommendation (plus that of another film buff friend of mine - and also some good reviews) made me want to see it. Thanks.

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Blue Straggler 05 Jul 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Yes, good point re Malek. But Dexter might still get it (I think his taking over the directing of Bohemian Rhapsody was uncredited, wasn't it?)

I believe it was, but of course industry knows, and I think some nominations are influenced (not wrongly!) by "industry information" e.g. Sandra Bullock's Oscar nomination for Gravity is surely because it was a role that every major player had been interested in, and everyone knew that aside from what is seen on screen, it was a particularly tricky role given that most of it was acted sitting in a dark box with just her head sticking out

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Blue Straggler 05 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Spider-Man : Far From Home

Special review without a score, just for Offwidth. And having to hold back a little so as not to inject any sort of spoilers. 

I think this film is set up to be the start of the next "phase" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe although honestly I don't know what the phases have been, apparently we've had three. 
More to the point, after the significant events of the past two Avengers films, this is a bit of a fresh start, and it keeps things pretty lean - even more lean than Spider-Man: Homecoming insofar as it pretty much concentrates ONLY on Peter Parker / Spiderman, and new entry into the series, Quentin Beck / Mysterio. 

Not sure if they have gone too far with making this one light-hearted and near-comedic, to compensate for the heavy tone of the past two Avengers outings (and the relative lack of humour in Captain Marvel), some slapstick aspects were a little tedious and although the comedy sidekick/best friend Ned is likeable, his schtick DID get repetitive. Bit of a slow start on this one too or at least it felt that way as there is no token opening action sequence - again a bit of a change maybe. 
In an early scene it deals very deftly with certain questions left hanging after Endgame (regarding the "snap" and the "blip"), and then starts to feel a little disjointed/schizophrenic as it focuses on Peter really wanting to just have a holiday from being Spider-Man, and to be allowed to just be a 16-year-old high-school kid on his summer trip, but it doesn't take him long to be swinging back into usual action. 
The plot involving the Jake Gyllenhaal character is pretty damn predictable but it actually suits the light hearted tone of this film, almost as if they'd wanted to make something more child-friendy, easy to follow etc. And I have to say Gyllenhaal is great in this, he really elevates it. He and Zendaya (as MJ, the object of Peter's desire) are the standouts, although nobody is weak. 
More unwelcome slapstick from the schoolteachers spoils what is otherwise a nice little travelogue through Venice and Prague and London (arguably the nicest use of real locations, in any of the MCU films) and business as usual with superhero stuff going on. 

Overall likeable due to humour and being concise. 

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aln 05 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Good review. Can I have a score please (promise I won't tell Offwidth)?

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Bwox 06 Jul 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

>  Apollo 11 - good date movie for geeks, I enjoyed it.

That sells it enormously short. Possibly a lot of the footage has been previously shown here and there, but the way it's all put together and the detail it shows gives a fresh perspective on the whole endeavour. My highlights were the extended shot of the Eagle module coming to land, and the footage of Neil and Buzz out and about on the moon's surface. It's a  good thing someone had the foresight to film all the goings-on for posterity.

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Offwidth 07 Jul 2019
In reply to Bwox:

A madcap psychoanalytical comedy... surprisingly good despite the obvious low budget. Imagine Terry Gilliam illustrating a fable on the subject. Especially loved the relationship between the images of Freud and Jung.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/prezit_svuj_zivot

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Dr.S at work 07 Jul 2019
In reply to Bwox:

Ah, are you one of the misguided fools who believe in the Moon?

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Bwox 08 Jul 2019
In reply to Dr.S at work:

>  Ah, are you one of the misguided fools who believe in the Moon?

Someone has to.

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Tom Ripley 08 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler and Offwidth:

I watched this the other week, and was looking forward to it, having previously enjoyed Danny Boyle films, Richard Curtis scripts, and the Beatles.

However I agree wholeheartedly with Blue’s review/rating. 

I think the film was a great idea, but delivered poorly. If you consider that Notting Hill is a film based around the idea that your friend brings a famous actor to dinner as their date. 

Yesterday is the same premise, but based on the idea, due to some bizarre twist in circumstances, that the Beatles never existed, and our protagonist is the only person who can remember their songs. However, unlike Notting Hill, Yesterday executes that idea very poorly.

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Blue Straggler 09 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Midsommar. 

Again trying to not put a score on this, as an experiment in placating Offwidth and avoiding him bouncing irrelevant Rotten Tomatoes scores back at me. 

If you've seen the trailer for this film you are probably thinking "The Wicker Millenials". if you haven't seen the trailer, then know this - it's about a group of young American students who visit a friend in Sweden on the "commune" in which he grew up, which just happens to be having its "once every 90 years" 9-day summer pagan festival. Cue the shenanigans.

All of which makes it sound a bit naff...BUT if you've seen the trailer you may have noticed that it looks pretty good. 
This is the second film from writer-director Ari Aster who made last year's opinion-dividing "Hereditary", a film that divided opinion even in the same viewer (I gave it a high score but its ending did throw me off a bit and put me off it....).
What Aster excelled at with Hereditary was: playing it straight; a slow burn; getting superb performances out of his cast. 

Midsommar provides all of the above in spades (there ARE moments of humour, most welcome across a 2.5 hour running time), and there's the bonus of it having an excellent ending rather than the questionable one from Hereditary. 
In short it is an excellent, memorable and somewhat bold film, even if you do feel that a thin storyline is stretched out and it is indeed basically The Wicker Man. It's a lot better than The Wicker Man which is a very effective cult classic but which has a lot of silly aspects to it.
Midsommar's Florence Pugh carries the whole film in a brilliantly rounded complex role. She is superb. The support cast of mostly "unknowns" is also strong but this is Pugh's moment. 
Even if the story is thin, the dialogue is brilliant - as an example, an early scene (way before all the shenanigans) featuring an awkward "not quite breaking up" conversation between a couple, is very real and grounded. 
Most of all, the film treats the audience with respect and assumes some intelligence. Very little is spelled out, as it doesn't need to be - Aster allows you to be ahead of the story for the most part (there is an assumption of a small amount of cine-literacy but it is fine without). 
It certainly earns its 18 certificate.
Never SCARY, it's proper unsettling throughout.
 

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Blue Straggler 09 Jul 2019
In reply to aln:

> Good review. Can I have a score please (promise I won't tell Offwidth)?

It was a strong 7

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L Tom808 09 Jul 2019

I saw In Bruges last night for the first time and it was one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in a long time. The plot was great and I really enjoyed the dark comedy throughout the film. 

http://imdb.com/title/tt0780536/

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Blue Straggler 09 Jul 2019
In reply to Tom808:

Two MANKY hookers and a racist dwarf

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Blue Straggler 09 Jul 2019
In reply to Tom808:

Read this thread today while the film is still fresh in memory. 

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/off_belay/things_to_do_in_bruges-553710

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Flinticus 09 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Not seen this but it breaks my self-imposed rule made after viewing too many long films: not to go see anything over 1hr 45mins. Anything longer usually means the story drifts significantly in places and I end up resenting the lack of editorial control / conciseness of vision. Blade Runner 2049?

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Blue Straggler 09 Jul 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

I feel similar sometimes, and am kind of happy when I see that a film is under 1h45m (I have that same threshold!) but I am not going to cut off my nose to spite my face, and a good story well told need not necessarily feel that long (AND I've seen 90 minute films that felt too long because of poor pacing etc). 
Midsommar did not feel 2.5 hours long but you certainly felt that it was long, yet as I say, I appreciated that this allowed GOOD pacing. The story never drifted, the editorial control was bang on and the vision was maintained. 

Last year's remake of Suspiria, on the other hand, was about 40 minutes overlong, at 2.5 hours (plus I'd somehow got it into my head that it was 1h50m, I probably read 150 minutes and got muddled, so during the film I was actually thinking it was gearing up for the climax 30 minutes before it did so)

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Flinticus 09 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Not everyone agrees! The Guardian review:

Aster lets the Hårga’s rituals unfold over tedious stretches of time (the film runs nearly two and a half hours), revelling in geometric images, pagan symbols, sunbleached Swedish fields and trippy CGI; flower crowns bloom and trees liquefy as the characters lose their heads. Annoying then, that there is no puzzle to solve. As the film sways drunkenly towards its inevitable conclusion, Aster fails to conjure a sense of dread or even tension – essential qualities of the horror genre.

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Blue Straggler 09 Jul 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

Peter Bradshaw by any chance?

edit...nope. Oh well

I don't think the length was really her issue with it though. She was frustrated that there wasn't a "puzzle to solve"

Post edited at 12:53
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L Tom808 09 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

That thread is amazing, I love how many small references there are! 

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Blue Straggler 09 Jul 2019
In reply to Tom808:

> That thread is amazing, I love how many small references there are! 

owlart never ever reported back as to whether he'd watched it!

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Jon Stewart 10 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Watched Get Out last night, first movie in ages (due to youtube addiction).

7/10 I think. Quite silly, but great fun. Probably the first time I've seen racism used for comic-horror effect, and it worked brilliantly. Plus, the inverted racism of presenting whiteness as sinister and blackness as real and honest, was pulled off in a way that was tongue-in-cheek and genuinely funny rather than self-righteous. The off-the-shelf horror format and techniques were a bit boring, but it's definitely good fun and worth watching.

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Blue Straggler 10 Jul 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I would agree with that assessment. A perfectly good film but not nearly as good as the "buzz" around it suggested. 

Jordan Peele's next film "Us" was a real let down, it just didn't work. What a shame. 

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Tom V 11 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

The Captain.

 Unfortunately basically a true story with occasional surreal moments and a weird background scene played out along with the end credits.

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Offwidth 13 Jul 2019
In reply to Tom V:

Another marmite recommendation

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/loveless_2018

It's impressive and intelligent cinema, well worth seeing, but almost visceral in its bleakness to score its political points against life in Putin's Russia.

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Blue Straggler 13 Jul 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I liked Kathryn Bigelow's feature debut The Loveless, saw it on Moviedrome circa 1991.

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Blue Straggler 15 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

quick one for now. 

Stuber was even worse than the trailer suggests. Just downright awful. 

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Offwidth 15 Jul 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

An 'anniversary' documentary shown on BBC4 and currently available on the I Player. Still stunning.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00lkvtr/for-all-mankind

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/for_all_mankind

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HB1 13:58 Tue
In reply to Flinticus:

This was from a Guardian reviewer unknown to me. In fact Bradshaw gave it 5 stars. Over-generous perhaps, but the film held my attention for the full 2 and half hours. Not a lot of horror really, and quite funny/ridiculous in parts.

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Tom V 21:55 Tue
In reply to Offwidth:

Just started to watch it but had to stop after two minutes  and ponder the maths. The intro says there were nine moon missions and twenty four astronauts made the trip. I understand the nine missions but am puzzled by 24 since 9x3 is 27. Any ideas?

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Blue Straggler 22:55 Tue
In reply to Tom V:

Some went more than once 

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Tom V 00:10 Wed
In reply to Blue Straggler:

 Ah yes,they did.  So Lovell has made the journey twice without setting foot on the surface.

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Blue Straggler 00:43 Wed
In reply to Tom V:

I am still puzzled that without knowing the facts of it, you still couldn’t have instantly applied that reasonable assumption, to make the mathematics work. 

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Tom V 09:02 Wed
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Well that depends on one's definition of a "reasonable" assumption, I suppose. It appears that eliminating the impossibles is not my strong point.

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Blue Straggler 09:10 Wed
In reply to Tom V:

Hi Tom, it was more that you state you actually stopped and pondered the maths. If you hadn't mentioned the maths, my second comment might have been less acerbic I do, by the way, pride myself on the diplomacy of my first one!

Post edited at 09:11
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Offwidth 13:50 Wed
In reply to Blue Straggler:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_big_short

BBC2 @ 11.00pm on Saturday. A must see for anyone who missed it and wondered what exactly was behind the 2008 global financial crash. The answers are more shocking than most could imagine and the film lays this out with humour and detail.

More than a decade of austerity later the financial system faults that led to the crash are barely repaired and our government still blame Labour budgeting for a banking crisis on a global scale due almost entirely to lax regulation in the US (most passionately supported by the right).

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Offwidth 17:45 Wed
In reply to Tom V:

Just started watching these BBC4 documentaries  that put together the historical and technical context of the space race. Excellent so far.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006vr4

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Offwidth 14:50 Fri
In reply to Offwidth:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/canopy

Having spent a fair bit of time in Malaysian rainforests I was almost hypontised by this highly minimalist tale of two fugitive strangers, who don't speak the same language, trying to evade and survive during the Japanese attack on Singapore.  Humanity reduced to the primodial nature of the jungle; with the rainforest as very much the star of the show

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Offwidth 21:15 Fri
In reply to Offwidth:

Such an abundance of space riches this month.  This time a rarity: the perfeft blend of science and art:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0005prm/holst-the-planets-with-professor-brian-cox

Earlier this month Brian's view of The Planets was also an amazing watch (and still on I Player for now). Ice on the surface of Mercury... who could have guessed that?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07922lr

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/p07922lr/the-planets

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Tom V 00:22 Sat
In reply to Offwidth:

Managed to get Titan on my little scope the other week.  Gives you a bit of an empty feeling

 (Not as much as M31, of course)

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