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The Dig

A beautiful, gentle nuanced film
With a cast as good as this, it had a very good chance of being a wonderful film. It did not disappoint. It is a constant delight, with subtle performances, gentle reveals and perfect characterisation. One of the most rewarding films on Netflix in a long time.


Some nice tunes
The music had been part of our culture for forty years and some if it is good. As for the rest of the film, oh dear...

My wife saw it when it first came out. My daughter has watched it, by choice, many times. I was required to watch it as a family evening. It was rubbish.

The acting is lacklustre. The plot is paper thin, land continuity or purpose. The themes are banal, dipping into either irrelevance or being morally unacceptable. The characters are unlovable, two dimensional, unbelievable. Worse, they are not developed over the course of the film. Many of them are jerks. Few are sympathetic. Most of the set pieces are irrelevant to the plot. There appears to be no effort to get the actors to try to sing in time with the recorded musical pieces.

It's some of the worst writing I've encountered.

There are some good bits. The school principal and school secretary are nuanced, funny and well acted. Some of the dances are good.

If it were released today, it would be panned more than Cats, and rightly so. I totally get that it comes laden with nostalgia and I'm glad other still enjoy it, but frankly and objectively, it's a terrible film. Fine as a guilty pleasure, but far, far short of the great reviews.

The Boys

Dark hero stuff at its best
A few people mentioned The Boys, but none were effusive about it. So my expectations were that it would be ok, but not great. I'm glad to say my expectations were wrong.

It's at the other end of the scale from the excellent Marvel films, which unflinchingly portray heroic superheroes; much closer to the Marvel series like Jessica Jones, that delve into the psyche of the heroes themselves. Unlike Marvel's heroes, those in The Boys aren't just flawed, they are convincingly broken.

The subtext, the shocking brutality, the corporate manipulation, the impotence or obliviousness of ordinary people and the terrifying prospect of such power in the hands of charismatic, amoral celebrity makes for an outstanding alternative to the superhero mythos; one that is almost believable (bad physics notwithstanding). Add some excellent acting, especially from Homelander, and this is a series you should watch.

Wild Bill

It's a crackingly good start to a show with real potential
As others, I started watching because I was intrigued by how Rob Lowe would shape up. The first episode was intriguing, a surprisingly well balanced blend of dark drama, cleverly plot and character interplay. The Lincolnshire backdrop is really unusual and adds context and flavour. The second episode was even better. The plot kept me guessing; the writing avoided the obvious clichés, the acting remained solid.

I have high hopes for the series remaining as entertaining and engaging.

Not yet a tour de force, but it's in the zone

Travelers: Protocol Omega
Episode 10, Season 3

Cracking Finale, even if they crammed everything in
The entire show had been entertaining and season three was really powerful, especially the way they toyed with our emotions by messing with our favourite characters.

The final episode felt a bit rushed; I definitely had the impression that they wanted a full 12 episode play-out but only got 10. That notwithstanding, it was powerful, clever and did reach a proper conclusion (so much so that I wonder if they do plan a session 4). If only all series were as well done.


After months of putting off watching, I'm glad I finally made the time
Surprisingly clever, this film riffs on so many cop movies and fantasy tropes, but brings something entirely new.

The racial metaphor is a bit obvious (and I'm frankly rather bored of the whole black repression thing. But then I'm English and we dealt with that centuries ago, more or less; if I was a black American I'd undoubtedly feel differently). But the fact that the main protagonist is black and it's the orcs who get the rush deal is a cute departure and helps us think about these issues a little more objectively; that's a powerful application of sci-fi.

More impressive is the alternative history, with elves, orcs and even fairies coexisting in well thought out modern world. This is subtly done and leaves so much more to explore.

The film itself is solid. Plenty of action, decent enough dialogue, solid acting and some nifty fight scenes and even a spot of magic.

There are missed opportunities, Ms Rapace has yet to impress me and the young elven character is largely under developed.

Overall, a solid 8/10 for a great concept with room to explore in a series.

Lucky Man

Classic British drama with a twist
It's early days, but the pilot episode shows real promise. Played out as a proper British cop show/gangland drama, with characteristic British tropes, the excellent London setting and some fine actors, but with Stan Lee influence. What's not to love as a concept!

There is a danger that it may over play the clichés and tropes - court room, marriage drama, mysterious strangers, corrupt cops, hard arse bosses and instantly dislikable colleagues all make an appearance (not spoilers!). That's fine as long as the writers continue to keep them balanced.

But if they can maintain this balance and keep it dark and true then it bodes well.

Jekyll & Hyde: The Harbinger
Episode 1, Season 1

Intrigue, action and the supernatural promise much to come
An exciting beginning. Beautifully detailed period setting which captures the grime of London, with the beginnings of a plot that subverts and extends the Jekyll and Hyde contemporary myth/metaphor.

As a first episode it focuses on character development and exposition, setting the events that have led from the classic Gothic tale to this later time; like all good first episodes it achieves this without clumsiness or prosaic narrative. A few carefully placed flashbacks bring us quickly into the story.

It's delightful to see Richard E Grant in a role well suited to his acting style. Other strong performances from a highly credible cast.

With its blend of action, whimsy, mystery, the supernatural and intrigue, and with the highly dependable Charlie Higson wielding the pen, backed by some first rate actors, things are looking good for Sunday evening viewing for the next ten weeks.

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