Category Archives: TV Addict

Maniac

Maniac (2018)

Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, a depressed computer, a series of mind-bending simulations and a seemingly predestined shared destiny – what’s not to love?

Honestly, not much. While everyone seemed to be tooting on about this when it first dropped on Netflix, I had a hard time getting past the first few episodes. But I wanted to give it a fair go, given its cast and I’m so glad I did.

I found it to be thoughtful, beautiful, funny and heartbreaking all at once. Like, honestly so profound in places that I thought my own heart might burst out of my chest and jump across the floor.

I don’t know how well I can describe it but Maniac focuses on Owen (Hill) and Annie (Stone), two quite damaged individuals who find themselves part of a new and potentially life-changing drug trial, run by Dr. Muramoto (Rome Kanda) and his colleague, Dr. Azumi Fujito (Sonoya Mizuno).

Both our protagonists have their own battle ahead. Owen Milgrim lives with severe mental health issues. He is also due to testify on behalf of his brother (Jesse Magnussen) in court, after he commits a felony. Increasingly, Owen disconnects from the world and from his family, struggling with suicidal notions.

Annie Landsberg grieves the death of her younger sister in a car accident and is driven to take extreme action to face what’s become of her life since. And so the two find themselves loosely acquainted, both test subjects in Muramoto’s lab. The tests are surreal and immersive, not to be discussed with the other patients but to be dissected at length after the fact.

When Muramoto drops dead suddenly, seemingly an addict of his own experimental drug (and the very pill the subjects have been taking prior to their simulations), Azumi calls in Dr. James Mantleray (Justin Theroux) to take his place. James it seems was one of the founders of the experiment, which is set to address and then fix all the misery of the world.

You didn’t think it would be that simple though, did you? Well of course it isn’t, as the project is plagued with issues. In fact, the only thing that seems sure in this whole trippy scenario (and all the wonderfully vivid simulations) is that Owen and Annie will find themselves together, their lives somehow entwined. Which isn’t supposed to happen.

The rest is up to you but it’s a Technicolor study of loss and life and love and mental anguish. Of accepting your limitations, of taking a leap of faith – of not being ‘normal’ and doing it all anyway. I adored it and by the last episode I actually felt deflated. Maniac has lit up this dreary week and engaged me fully. I want it back.

Have you seen Maniac? What did you think?

Hannah Gadsby: Nanette

I really want to talk about Nanette without actually talking about Nanette, which is going to be a bit hard. But going into this stand-up special with little to no knowledge about what it’s about means you’ll be hit with the power of it.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that this blew me away and has remained in my thoughts ever since I saw it. I’ve also recommended it to a heap of people and I’m recommending it to you too, dear reader because I believe everybody should see it, no matter who they are or what they stand for.

Hannah Gadsby is an Australian comedian and TV writer. I hadn’t heard of her before but I hope Nanette helps the right people find her because she is brilliant. She’s astute, eloquent and her observations are both hilarious and sharp as hell. Hannah also shares deeply personal moments of trauma and it’s difficult to hear but imperative that we do. She talks about (but not limited to) mental health, being medicated, unsolicited advice (mostly from men), art history and every moment is a joy.

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Not to spoiler this
but there were a couple of segments that spoke profoundly to me and one of them was about being described as sensitive. This is definitely a word that has been used to label me, particularly by my family and Hannah does a whole bit about why this has to be perceived as a bad thing – and why being insensitive would be something to strive for. Reader, I felt seen and heard in a way I can’t describe.

Hannah also talks about letting anger go and although I’ve always subscribed to the anger can be a good motivator strategy, she really made me consider this from another point of view. Honestly, drop everything and get Netflix on now, please.

What are you watching?

Weekly Digest

This week I am digging:

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Search Party, Season Two

One of my favourite shows is back and I found out BY ACCIDENT! So I spend a whole weekend rinsing the second season and it was dark and funny – and a perfect reminder of how much I love the characters in the first place.

I’m going to give this show a post of its own so won’t go into too much detail but this season picks up right after the shocking events of the last, and sees our intrepid foursome dealing with some very hard truths in the cold light of day.

Love, love, love.

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The Mountain Between Us

I thought this film would be cheesy as all hell and it is. But there’s something kind of old school and wholesome about it – and I enjoyed the ride. The obvious thought here is who wouldn’t want to be stranded up a mountain with Idris Elba, even with a broken leg and certain death just round the corner? But I will not be that predictable.

Kate Winslet for the record is still a problematic fave. I like and respect her but I just can’t really get my head around the defending Woody Allen thing. Like, she’s allowed to have her own opinion but I’m surprised by it.

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Little Fires Everywhere

When artist Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl arrive in Shaker Heights, everything changes. Not least for the Richardson family who rent a duplex to the new arrivals. Mia promises Pearl that this time is different, that this time they won’t leave after six months for the next town that feels right – and Pearl starts to plant roots, starting with new best friend Moody.

Things are idyllic for a while but then something happens and the two families find themselves on opposing sides of an argument that threatens to split the perfect community in two. Secret pasts unravel, loyalties are tested and hearts are broken.

LFE is beautifully written by its author, Celeste Ng. The characters are vivid and wonderful. A good read for a cold Sunday afternoon, or anytime really.

What are you digging this week?

Just a Little Crush… Game of Thrones Edition

Basically how I communicate with boys

The world can be a cold and frightening place at times with events making you question everything you hold dear, including your own sanity.

When life gets you like this it’s always worth taking a moment if you can and thinking about the things that bring you joy. Partners, friends and family, food and great big crushes on grubby fictional characters should do it, I’d say.

This is my guide to my Top 5 Game of Thrones (Season 6) crushes:

*FYI spoilers! Seriously, don’t read ahead if you’re not up to date on this series*

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You didn’t know me back in my time. You don’t know the things I’ve done.” ~ The Hound

Sandor Clegane AKA The Hound (Rory McCann)

Okay, I’ve always had a thing about the gruff, not particularly nice Hound from day one. He’s done some heinous things in his time, including working as the short-lived bodyguard of hideous Joffrey Baratheon. However, he’s also gone some way to redeeming himself by protecting the two Stark girls in his own way, showing surprising (if brief) kindness to Arya and being so very very burly. But what was once a sort of joke crush has since developed into something far deeper for me.

Old Clegane was left for dead by the mighty Brienne of Tarth back at the end of Season 4 and that was that. Though as we’re learning, if you don’t see a character breath their last breath (and even then), you can never be sure they’re really gone. A rumour began soon afterwards that my number one thug might live to fight another day and I didn’t dare believe it. Except that I did and I never stopped hoping and dreaming that I would see his badly burnt face and chocolate brown eyes once more.

Well, I won’t go into much detail on his story line but let’s just say, he’s on this list and he’s more or less a lumberjack now, so I’m one happy girl. What happens next is anyone’s guess but when we last saw him he was waxing lyrical with the Brotherhood Without Banners and re-evaluating his life choices.

In my heart of hearts I long for a final battle between Sandor and his disgusting brother, Gregor (AKA The Mountain) somewhere in the near future. But since The Mountain became Robocop and rips spines out of bodies easier than I can open a packet of crisps, I can only imagine the outcome. The Hound I wouldn’t say is a nice man but he does have a certain moral code I can get behind – and I loves him.

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Plenty of little men tried to put their swords through my heart. And there’s plenty of little skeletons buried in the woods.” ~ Tormund to Jon Snow

Tormund (Kristofer Hivju)

Let’s take a minute to appreciate the beautiful beastliness of my favourite Wildling, the excellent Tormund. Just one name, like Madonna.

Monday night’s Twitter was awash with Tormund appreciation and that’s because he’s really come through this season and has developed so much as a character from Season 3 that he’s virtually unrecognisable. One thing you’ll never be in doubt of though is that fiery head of hair and glorious beard. It means you could never lose him in a battle. He’ll be the one headbutting someone before biting their face off btw.

Tormund started this game very much against the ‘high born’ Jon Snow and was fiercely loyal to his boss and leader of the Free Folk, Mance Rayder. He remained so until the day Rayder was burnt at the stake (and subsequently put out of his misery by Snow’s arrow). Snow won him round and now the Free Folk are onside which is lucky, as those fuckers can fight. Oh, and they have a giant.

Again, who knows how much further Tormund has to go? (To my bedroom, Sir, straight ahead). All I do know is that every moment we have him here is a blessing. Also, is anyone else holding out for a Tormund/Brienne lost tryst (as above)? Yeah, me neither.

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I’m going to find out who did this. I’m going to feed them to the sharks while they live.

Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan)

Possibly my favourite female character, after Brienne of Tarth and fierce as fudge Lyanna Mormont, Yara is a raw human being, crazy hench warrior and captain of her own long boat. She’s also flipping amazing.

I thought for a while that Season 4 was it for this character, as her attempt to rescue her brother Theon from the torture-loving Ramsay Bolton failed dismally, though not for want of trying on her part. For sure Theon’s brainwashed Reek was dead to her and I believed we might never get to meet the Ironborn again.

Luckily I was wrong and Yara is very much finding her own groove is Season 6. Not only is she in the running to become the very first Queen of the Iron Islands (as endorsed by Theon who recognises he isn’t fit for the job), she’s also managed to escape the murderous (but quite attractive) intentions of her dickhead uncle Euron who wants to take the salt throne for himself.

Right now The Greyjoy Siblings are in Meereen, kicking it with Tyrion and Daenerys, and hopefully with the help of the Mother of Dragons, Yara will get to her rightful place. I must say this season has shown Yara in her very best light, her tough love treatment of Theon is a pleasure to watch (because the boy so needs to pull his socks up) plus, I totally want to go for a pint with her.

Don’t even get me started on the medium level flirt fest of Episode 9 between our two leading ladies. If you haven’t yet got to it, then let me tell you, you are in for a T-R-E-A-T!

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You want me to have a god? Fine. King Stannis is my god. He raised me up and blessed me with his trust. He gave you a future I could never have imagined. You know how to read, you’ll be a knight some day. You think a fire-god commanded all that? It was Stannis, only Stannis.” ~ Davos Seaworth to his son, Matthos

Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham)

Davos is a fucking legend. I just really think he’d be the best person to have on side in a fight as proven in plenty of ruckuses so far, including the Battle of the Blackwater where his son was killed. Loyal to Stannis Baratheon to the bitter end, Davos was especially close to Baratheon’s daughter, Shireen, who taught him to read.

Sadly, he wasn’t around to stop her being sacrificed by Melisandre to the Lord of Light. You best believe if he had been things would have been very different. For now I’m enjoying his allegiance to Jon Snow and Castle Black, while his blossoming friendship with Tormund is a real pleasure to watch. Keep on keeping on, you handsome bloody bugger.

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I’m guilty of a far more monstrous crime: I’m guilty of being a dwarf!” ~ Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)

Last but by no means least, the lion of the pack, the handsome imp. What can I say about Tyrion that’s not already been said? He’s such a well rounded character, the light relief when you need him to be but he can break your heart in half in the blink of an eye.

I love his romantic heart, how kind he was towards Sansa Stark after their arranged marriage and now I’m enjoying him holding court in Meereen in the absence (not any more) of the Breaker of Chains. I love his chemistry with Lord Varys, with whom he pulls no punches in the banter stakes.

Tyrion has been a firm favourite from the start though I thought he was a goner at the Battle of Blackwater (where he acquired that gangster-looking facial scar). Thankfully he’s more resilient than that and went on to fall in love with Shae, who betrayed him in court and then in his father Tywin‘s bed (woman scorned and all that). She broke his heart into a million pieces and set in motion a chain of events that changed our darling’s life forever.

Tyrion is a force majeure and I just hope he’s there until the end as I don’t know what I’ll do otherwise. Also, he gets better looking every time I see him.

~

So that’s where I am with the objectification of these beloved characters. I’m not even sorry, though now I’ve played favourites they’ll all be killed brutally, probably all at the same time to teach me a lesson. George R.R. Martin doesn’t want me to be happy or comfortable.

You watching? Who’re your favourites? And what are your thoughts on this series so far? ❤

For the record I don’t condone violence against women or at all really. This is a tongue-in-cheek post celebrating flawed but wonderful characters. You know, just in case anyone asks. 

#weekendcoffeeshare*

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*Idea shamelessly stolen from Holley who blogs at Chasing Destino (who credits the idea as Part-Time Monster‘s).

If you and I were sitting on my new sofa**, sharing coffee I would talk to you about:

Making a Murderer (2015) – Two weeks ago I was convinced I knew everything. More so I was sure of Steven Avery’s innocence because obviously he didn’t commit such a heinous crime after winning back his freedom after 18 fucking years of false imprisonment – nobody is that stupid.

Now I’ve read more I’m not so sure. It’s a criminal case that just keeps giving, and I LOVE IT.

**My New Sofa – which is fictional at this stage. It was too big to get into the front room. The delivery guy was patronising and blamed me for not measuring it (which is fair TBF). Then he mansplained something verrry slowly to me and I told him not to speak like I’m stupid. Minor victory to me, still no sofa. Floor picnic it is!

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes – This is the sequel to the best book I read last year and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. This one is set in LA, amongst the movie set and follows Joe, just an ordinary guy with a penchant for stalking and murdering people, usually his girlfriends. No biggie. As far as I’m concerned, You is the yardstick by which I will measure all thrillers from now on.

The Hateful Eight (2015) – Hmmmmm. Before I lay it down I feel I should pre-fix my thoughts with this: I love Quentin Tarantino. The Director, not so much the man who comes across slightly pompous and probably wouldn’t be my friend IRL. As an artist though, woweee. I have loved almost everything he’s set before me and I will remain faithful until the day I die (Kill Bill Vol. 1 yo).

3df2223bdd2afb3d_TH8-CH_NN1NGST1LL.xxxlarge_2xBut to TH8: I don’t know how to feel. My instinct is that I really hated it because Sam Jackson takes centre stage (I like him but I don’t think he’s good enough to carry so many scenes, sorry). I didn’t like any of the characters and it was so ‘talky’ (well, duh) – but now I’m thinking that all that was the point and just maybe, it’s actually brilliant and worth a second viewing just to see.

Another almost 3 hour viewing. Dammit, QT, I wish I knew how to quit you. (Not really).

For the record, it was good to see Jennifer Jason Leigh in her role. Even though she’s as heinous as any of her cabin mates, I kind of rooted for her. Plus, a cameo from Channing Tatum never hurts.

What’s on your mind this week? I’m happy to listen ❤

Things & Inc #4

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d share a few of things I’ve been into lately. Why the hell not, eh?

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Television: Sense 8

I’m not great at explaining what the chuff is going on in most Sci-Fi stories, most of the time barely clinging on to the plot myself, so I’ll let IMDB explain it for me:

A group of people around the world are suddenly linked mentally, and must find a way to survive being hunted by those who see them as a threat to the world’s order.

Got it? I have just about grasped it now but the first few episodes were not my friends. What sets this series apart from similar, and what ultimately pulled me in and kept me there, is that it’s written and directed by The Wachowskis.

I can’t believe there are many people out there unfamiliar with The Matrix franchise, but if one of you happens to read this post (hi, what have you been doing?); The Wachowskis were responsible for the trilogy. They’ve also been involved in a few films I adore, including Bound (1996) and Cloud Atlas (2012). Even writing and producing V for Vendetta (2005).

What makes Sense 8 rule, aside from great characters and some fucking great action scenes, is that it takes a close look at issues such as sexuality, gender, identity, religion and plays around with our perceptions of those things. Essentially, these eight ‘sensates’ can walk in each other’s shoes and wouldn’t the World be a better place if we could all do that, even for a moment?

I can’t talk about all the characters but I will say my favourite is Sun Bak (Bae Doona), a Seoul businesswoman with a Masters degree in Ecomomics – who is also an up-and-comer in the underground, and male-dominated, kickboxing world.

EXACTLY.

I strongly recommend this though I will freely admit that I nearly stopped watching after the first episode. I’m so glad got over myself as this was so worth my time. With a rumoured 5 year plan in place for the characters and show, the future is looking rather bright for Sense 8.

Film: Creepcreep

I love Mark Duplass. He’s handsome and clever; and frequently credited with pioneering the mumblecore movement with his brother, Jay and a handful of other like-minded writer/directors.

He also does creepy rather well, as this film proves. The gist is this: a videographer answers an ad in Craiglist to be part of a bizarre assignment in a remote mountain town. Things, of course, are not quite as they seem when he arrives.

I have to be careful with this mini review as it would be easy to give the game away, and the beauty of this slightly odd film is in its subtlety. And then not. You’ll see what I mean.

Aaron (Partick Brice) meets Josef and quickly realises there’s something a little off about him. But he also has a sad back story, which has driven him to reach out to Aaron, so what’s a kindly guy to do?

I’ll let you figure out for yourself how Aaron and Josef get on but since this is a ‘found footage’ film, you’ll have the idea going in that it isn’t all friendship bracelets and clinking beer bottles.

Chilling, atmospheric and ominous as fuck.

Music: Go/Shine

The best two songs of the Summer (so far).

Go makes me feel like a superhero when I listen to it, usually whilst walking to work. And I bloody love Years & Years.

Believe me, listening to current music is not something that I do very often, so to be into these is kind of a big deal.

What have you been loving lately?