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It’s been a month since I posted!  With all the crap going on around the world and at home I wasn’t particularly inspired, plus there wasn’t a lot of news to report.  I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 but after a lot of other folks, and frankly I didn’t write up a review on it because I actually liked the first one a lot better.  I imagine that’s a minority view, but that’s my opinion!

So now I’m going to post a couple of news tidbits from the last few days.

The first is a sad bit of news.  Sir Roger Moore has passed away at the age of 89 from cancer.  Moore was, of course, the third James Bond.  He did seven of the films, including Live and Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me.  Prior to playing 007 he was Simon Templar, The Saint, for six seasons.  It was his work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, however, that earned him his knighthood in 2003.  He leaves his wife Kristina and three children.

There are four Star Wars magazine covers I want to mention, and they’re not from EmpireVanity Fair will release in early June covers of The Last Jedi actors in costume, photographed by Annie Leibovitz.  One shows Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill; the second is of Gwendolyn Christie, Domhnall Gleeson and Adam Driver; Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran grace the third cover, and the fourth has the late Carrie Fisher by herself.  You can see the covers here on VF’s website.

For Downton Abbey fans there’s news of two of the show’s leading ladies.  Joanne Froggatt plays a serial killer in Dark Angel.  The first episode was last Sunday, but you can still catch it online here on PBS’ website.  Elizabeth McGovern will star in The Chaperone, a film written by Downtown creator Julian Fellowes.  After its run in theaters it will be shown on PBS.

#RogerMoore #StarWars #TheLastJedi #DowntonAbbey

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The BBC and ITV have teamed up to start a new streaming service, BritBox, according to Variety.

For us Anglophiles stuck here in the U.S. this is good news!  Many of us have been able to watch some British TV through, say, Netflix (hello, Midsomer Murders!) or if PBS decides to collaborate with or piggyback onto the BBC’s content, but have been frustrated that we’re unable to get ahold of some shows that are up online in the U.K. but are blocked for us viewers here in the States.

Enter BritBox, which brings a mixture of classic and current television.  Old favorites such as Blackadder, Fawlty Towers and The Office are available now, as are back episodes of current shows such as EastEnders and Casualty.  New episodes of those are loaded up the day after they air in the U.K.

If you like detective stories and mysteries, there’s Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, Helen Mirren’s Prime Suspect, Joan Hickson as Miss Marple and Rosemary and Thyme, among others.

Bleak House, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Upstairs, Downstairs (both the original 1971 version and the 2010 remake) are part of the historical drama contingent.

Right now the offerings are a little thin, but I would imagine that’s due to the BBC and ITV wanting to see if this takes off before adding more.  I would love to see Coupling on here, maybe Graham Norton, and possibly some game shows.

The service starts with a 7-day free trial and is $6.99 monthly thereafter.  To sign up go to BritBox.com.

#BritBox #BritishTelevision

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Actor Bill Paxton passed away yesterday from complications after surgery.

He had a long list of successful films, including Titanic, Apollo 13, Twister, Aliens and The Terminator.

Paxton also did a lot of television work.  His current small-screen project was the CBS television series Training Day.  His son James was to co-star with him in an upcoming episode.  He had also appeared in several episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and miniseries Hatfields & McCoys and Texas Rising, among many other roles.

His last film was The Circle with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, which is in post-production.  That film will be released in the U.S. on April 28th.

Paxton leaves his wife Louise and a daughter in addition to son James.  Condolences to all.

#BillPaxton

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Some snippets of news for your Friday…

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Fox has given Lethal Weapon a renewal for season 2.  If you haven’t been watching this show you’re missing out.  And if someone doesn’t give Clayne Crawford some kind of award then there’s something wrong somewhere.  He’s done an incredible job all year taking on a very difficult role.  Love the rest of the cast also.

To almost everyone’s surprise, NBC has given Days Of Our Lives a renewal for its 52nd season.  Low ratings, Megyn Kelly and writing team shakeups notwithstanding, there will be more sand flowing through the hourglass!  While I only check in on my old soap occasionally, I would be very sad to see it go.  It’s like that old teddy bear in the box stuffed in the back of a closet… you may not look at it often, but you know it’s there if you want to.

Benedict Cumberbatch has another new project coming up, and surprisingly, this one is for the BBC and PBS’ Masterpiece.  According to Deadline, he will star as Stephen Lewis in The Child In Time, adapting the novel by Ian McEwan.  Benedict will also executive produce under his SunnyMarch TV banner.  The plot revolves around Lewis and his wife, and the difficulties they face after their daughter goes missing.

Benedict is filming The Current War, where he plays Thomas Edison to Michael Shannon’s George Westinghouse.  He’ll also be putting on the Cloak of Levitation again in Thor: Ragnarok and the sequel to Doctor Strange.  One busy man.

If you’re a Dan Stevens fan (and you’ve forgiven him for leaving Downton Abbey) then you can catch him in FX’s Legion as David Haller.  This is one of the more obscure X-Men characters.  The role is a big departure for Stevens from Downton and his upcoming princely role in the live-action Beauty and the Beast.

#LethalWeapon #DaysOfOurLives #TheCurrentWar #BenedictCumberbatch #LegionFX #DanStevens

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Last night the film La La Land and the television miniseries The Night Manager brought home some Golden Globes.

La La Land, the throwback musical film starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, won all eight Globes it was nominated for, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and best performance nods for Stone and Gosling.

In the film drama category the winner was Moonlight.  Isabelle Huppert took home the Best Actress award for Elle and actor Casey Affleck won for Manchester By The Sea.

Zootopia won the award for Best Motion Picture – Animated.

Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie won Globes for their performances in the AMC original miniseries The Night Manager.

The legendary Meryl Streep received this year’s Cecil B. DeMille Award.

You can see all the winners and nominees on the official Golden Globes website here.

#Golden Globes #LaLaLand #TheNightManager #TomHiddleston

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Please note that this review of the first episode of Sherlock series 4, titled The Six Thatchers, contains all kinds of spoilers.  If you haven’t seen the episode don’t read any farther.  Fair warning!

I’m also not going to hold back in this review.  As much as I loved the first two series of Sherlock, it started to go off the rails in series three and it has now completed that unfortunate detour.  I wish I could say that after two years Sherlock is back and it’s great.  But unfortunately I can wipe this episode off my DVR and feel no pain.

When we last saw Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) he had killed villain Charles Augustus Magnussen and it looked as though our hero would be banished from Britain.  Just four minutes later, however, he gets a reprieve and it turns out his brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss, who also wrote the episode) and three others in the British government devised a plan to doctor the security footage of the deed to make it look as though someone else did it.  The reason they do it is that it appears villain Moriarty has made some plans from beyond the grave and they need Sherlock to save the day (brother Mycroft’s spies seem to never be enough, apparently).  Despite the many mentions of Moriarty, however, he really has nothing to do with the episode and is just thrown in for… well, I’m not sure why he’s thrown in.

There is an actual case to be solved, the case of The Six Thatchers, which is a takeoff on the original Conan Doyle story The Adventure of the Six Napoleons.  In the original story six identical busts of Napoleon are shattered and Sherlock works out that a missing and valuable pearl was placed in one of them during manufacturing while they were still wet.  After the busts had been sold the thief had to hunt down and break them all to find it.  This story is speedily dispensed with in The Six Thatchers, with busts of old Maggie standing in for Napoleon.  Instead of a pearl, though, what’s found in the bust is a duplicate of the flash drive that was destroyed in the last series that has details of Mary Watson (Amanda Abbington) and her former assassin team’s info on it.

And here’s where we go off the rails.

(more…)

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One day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, passed away, her mother, legendary entertainer Debbie Reynolds, has also died.

debbie_reynolds_via_wikipediaDebbie Reynolds suffered a stroke while at her son Todd Fisher’s home and was rushed to the hospital where she later passed away, according to Variety.  She was 84 years old.

Reynolds was a fixture on screen in the 1950’s and 60’s, with such films as Singin’ In The Rain, Bundle of Joy and Three Little Words.  She was nominated several times for a Golden Globe as well as other awards, and in 1965 was nominated for an Oscar for The Unsinkable Molly Brown.  She was recently presented the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.  Her career as a singer included several albums that went to the top of the charts.

Reynolds married three times, but only had children with her first husband, Eddie Fisher.

Condolences to the family and friends of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

Image via Wikipedia.org

#DebbieReynolds #CarrieFisher

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Is everybody jolly out there?  Well, if not, I’m here to give you some ideas how to spend your time off from work.

  1. Go to a movie.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the big one out there that you may have trouble getting tickets to.  Order them online if necessary.  I haven’t had time to check this one out yet, but I probably will in the next few days.  Chris Pratt’s Passengers is also out, but with a big ol’ Rotten Tomatoes splat (31% – yikes!) I’m not sure if I’ll put out the coin for that one or just wait for it to show up for rent online.  If anybody’s seen it feel free to let me know how it is by posting a comment.
  2. Watch Sherlock series 4.  This will premiere on the BBC and PBS on January 1 with the next two episodes on subsequent Sundays.  The last episode, The Final Problem, will also be shown in certain theaters.  See my previous post for more info.
  3. Do some charitable work and/or donate to your favorite cause.
  4. Catch up on Lethal Weapon.  Episodes are available for free online.
  5. Play with the furkids.  You got the felines and canines and any other animals in your lives presents, right?  Mine are getting a some-assembly-required new cat tree.  Cross your fingers I get this one put together before I have to go back to work.  I have 10 days.
  6. Rewatch all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.  That’ll take you a while.  Be sure to get up and stretch once in a while.
  7. Write down your New Year’s Resolutions.  Then put them in an envelope, tear them in half, and throw them away.  Seriously, who needs the pressure?
  8. Watch all the old Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone.  There were 14 of them.  Personally I’d skip the ones where they’re chasing Nazis (outside of the first two they were all in what was then present day.  No, BBC’s Sherlock wasn’t the first to do that).
  9. Listen to all 26 episodes of BBC radio’s Cabin Pressure.  With Benedict Cumberbatch and a crew of very funny people (including Anthony Head in some later episodes), it’s my go-to comedy series when I need a laugh.  You can order the CD’s or an Audible version on Amazon.

Everyone have a very happy whatever-you’re-celebrating, and hug the furkids for me!

#Sherlock #CabinPressure #LethalWeapon #StarWars

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The nominations for the Golden Globes are out, and there are some surprises as usual (Deadpool!! Ryan Reynolds!  Tom Hiddleston!)  Mostly this consists of a lot of stuff I haven’t seen, so I can’t say I’m particularly invested in who wins, but hey! Deadpool got nominated, so there’s that.

Highlights are below:

Best Motion Picture – Drama:

  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Lion
  • Manchester By The Sea
  • Moonlight

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

  • 20th Century Women
  • Deadpool
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • La La Land
  • Sing Street

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Amy Adams, Arrival
  • Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama:

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea
  • Joel Edgerton, Loving
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

  • Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
  • Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
  • Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:

  • Colin Farrell, The Lobster
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jonah Hill, War Dogs
  • Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Best Motion Picture – Animated:

  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • Sing
  • Zootopia
  • Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Television Series – Drama:

  • Game of Thrones
  • Stranger Things
  • This Is Us
  • Westworld
  • The Crown

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made For Television:

  • American Crime
  • The Dresser
  • The Night Manager
  • The Night Of
  • The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made For Television:

  • Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
  • Bryan Cranston, All The Way
  • Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
  • John Turturro, The Night Of
  • Courtney B. Vance, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story

In addition, Hugh Laurie won a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a  Supporting Role in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (whew – can they get all that on the statue?) for The Night Manager, where he played a very chilling villain.

A full list of the nominees can be found on the Golden Globes website.  The awards will be presented on January 8th.

Congratulations to all the nominees.

#GoldenGlobes #Deadpool #TomHiddleston #RyanReynolds

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There are three episodes to the upcoming fourth series of BBC/PBS’s Sherlock.  The titles are as follows: The Six Thatchers, The Lying Detective and The Final Problem.  The series starts on both networks on January 1.

It’s the title of this last episode that bothers me… as any Holmesophile knows, The Final Problem is the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story where Doyle intended to kill off the detective as well as his nemesis Professor Moriarty by having them battle to the death over the Reichenbach Falls.  Doyle ended up bringing back Holmes after a public outcry.

The current version of Sherlock has already done a story where Holmes supposedly dies called, of course, The Reichenbach Fall in the second series.  Let’s hope there’s not another “is Holmes really dead?” mystery at the end of this one, or I will simply never forgive Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.  It has been hinted, though, by stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, that Sherlock will return at some point.  Those guys have been pretty busy doing little projects like, oh I don’t know, The Hobbit and Doctor Strange, so getting on their calendar has been tough.  From all accounts, though, we will see more Sherlock although it may be quite a while before the next one.  I’d be happy with a made-for-TV movie once in a while as doing three 90-minutes episodes requires months of shooting.

In the U.K. and Ireland The Final Problem will be shown in theaters on the same night as on BBC1, January 15th, according to Radio Times.  Here in the U.S. the episode will air in its usual slot on PBS but won’t be shown in the theaters until January 16th, followed by another showing on the 18th, according to Entertainment Weekly.  Why pay to see it in the theater when you can plop in front of the TV and watch it for free with your cats curled up by your side?  Because there will apparently be additional content in the theatrical version that is not included in the television one (not to mention that those of us stateside know that PBS does cut some time out of the BBC version to allow for their completely unnecessary intro).

Go to Fathom Events here to order your tickets online for the theatrical version.

Below is a trailer for the fourth season.

#Sherlock #BenedictCumberbatch #MartinFreeman

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The Mel Gibson/Danny Glover Lethal Weapon films are classics, so when I saw Fox was doing a television series I wasn’t sure I wanted to try it or would like it.  I was wrong.  This and Designated Survivor are the only new shows on my DVR list, and of the two I always try to watch Weapon live and I’ll catch up Survivor on DVR.

Is the series as good as the films?  I’d say it’s about 85% as good, but you’re talking putting together an hour long show every week, instead of a two-hour film in three months.  I can tell you the best thing about the series in two words: Clayne.Crawford.  Crawford takes on the role of batshit crazy, suicidal cop Martin Riggs.  Damon Wayans is Roger Murtaugh, Riggs’ older partner.  When he’s partnered up with Riggs it doesn’t take long for him to figure out that arrangement could be just as dangerous for his longevity as the heart attack he just recovered from.

I hadn’t seen Crawford in anything before Weapon, but if you want you can still catch him in the Sundance Channel’s series Rectify.  He is very impressive as Riggs, which is not an easy role.  One minute he’s making jokes and pulling stunts, and the next he’s reminded of his pregnant wife who died in a car crash, and the pain he’s feeling comes like a punch in the gut.  He has the comic chops to go toe to toe with Wayans, who is great at the comedy but is not Crawford’s equal in the drama department.  Nonetheless these two have great chemistry on screen.

The supporting cast includes Jordana Brewster (The Fast and The Furious) as an LAPD psychiatrist and an excellent Keesha Sharp as Roger’s lawyer wife Trish.

There’s a serious amount of action, car crashes and general mayhem in each episode, which tells me Fox is spending some bucks on it.  They’ve ordered a more-or-less full series of episodes (18), so here’s hoping the show will get a second season renewal.

Promo below:

#LethalWeapon #LethalWeaponFox

 

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AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire is a great show with inexplicably horrible ratings.  The third season just ended, but despite the ratings AMC has announced they will give it a fourth and final season.

The show centers around Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace), Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), Donna Clark (Kerry Bishe) and Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis).  All of the first two seasons and most of the current third one is set in the late 1980’s, when personal computing innovation was taking off and something called the Internet was a twinkle in the eye of an idea man like Joe.  It’s not just a show about computers, though, for those who are worried it might be for computer geeks only.  It’s also about the lives and relationships of the four main characters, how they intertwine and separate, only to come back together again… or not.

The final two episodes oddly fast-forward four years from the end of episode eight into the early 1990’s, so be prepared for some major changes to have taken place in those four years if you’re catching up.

We’ll keep an eye out for season four.

#HaltAndCatchFire #LeePace

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Empire Magazine’s website is showing off their new Doctor Strange covers, one of which is shown on this post.  These are for the November issue.

empirecover_nov2016They also have a couple of images from the film, one with Benedict and Rachel McAdams, and another with Mads Mikkelsen.

There’s a persistent rumor that Doctor Strange will show up in Avengers: Infinity War/Film and other sites are putting two and two together from some comments Cumberbatch made.  No official confirmation from Marvel… at least not yet.

In the U.K. Doctor Strange will be released on October 25th.  In the U.S. it will be November 4th.

On to Sherlock news.  The BBC has released two of the three episode titles for the upcoming fourth series.  They are: The Six Thatchers and The Lying Detective.  As noted in the article, The Six Thatchers appears to be a reference to the Arthur Conan Doyle story The Six Napoleons, and The Lying Detective may be The Adventure of the Dying Detective in disguise.

The BBC will be showing the series beginning sometime in January.  Let’s cross our fingers that PBS Masterpiece will be showing it stateside at the same time.

#Sherlock #DoctorStrange #BenedictCumberbatch #Martin Freeman

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BBC’s Poldark returns to PBS’ Masterpiece beginning tonight for series 2.  It will be a special two-hour premiere starting at 8pm ET, followed each Sunday through November 27th beginning at 9pm ET.  Official website here.

As this series open Ross (Aidan Turner) has been accused of murder and is heading to jail.  Things are looking bleak for our hero and his love Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson), thanks to villain George Warleggan (Jack Farthing)!

Never fear, though – if you had any doubts, it looks like Ross will cheat the hangman as series 3 has already begun filming.  Digital Spy has the low-down on that here.  In that series there will be a plethora of new characters as they continue down the list of author Winston Graham’s novels.

Here’s a short trailer for series 2:


#Poldark #AidanTurner #PBSMasterpiece #PoldarkPBS

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So the Emmys are in the books for another year, and amongst the winners were the usual suspects –  Game of Thrones, Veep (I still don’t know anybody who watches Veep, but anyway)… some good and unexpected things did happen.

Tatiana Maslany finally won an Emmy for Actress in a Drama Series!  If you haven’t seen Orphan Black, you’re missing one of the most incredible performances on television.

The Victorian-era special episode of Sherlock titled The Abominable Bride won in the TV movie category.  Unfortunately, some bastard stole star Amanda Abbington’s purse from under her seat when she went to the stage with the rest of the Sherlock crew to pick up the award.  Karma will hopefully come to visit that person!

The full list of winners can be found here on the official Emmy website.  Congratulations to all the winners and the nominees!

#Emmys #Sherlock #OrphanBlack

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