Time for something lighter.
The Good Place
Ted Danson is a long time favorite, and Kristen Bell a top comedic actor. Put them together, what could go wrong ?
Well, she could die, which is the premise of the show. “The Good Place” as a Heaven-like utopia he designed, in reward for her righteous life. She soon realizes that she was sent there by mistake and must hide her morally imperfect behavior and try to become a better person.
This is bright any breezy, reminding me in tone of Pushing Daisies, a show I loved. It’s available on Netflix.
In episode one we get the setup and the first problem to arise (gigantic insects ?)
Robin has dinner at Al’s ultramodern, immaculate, lakeside house. Robin tells Al she thinks Tui’s note, that said “No One”, meant there were multiple rapists. Al counsels Robin she is getting too involved in Tui’s case, likely because of Robin’s own history of having been gang raped, at age 15.
Just when I thought things were going to get interesting, with a police procedural crime series, things take a downwards turn.
Robin has dark secrets, with the rape revelation. And everyone is obsessed with sex. I can see things are going down a dark, depressing hole. After three episodes, this has become dull, time to bail.
King’s Bounty: Crossworlds
This is is an expansion pack for the previously played game King’s Bounty: Armored Princess.
This time I played as a warrior and achieved Level 54 (previously Level 57). Although this is an expanded game, I played for 67 hours, where previously it took 99 hours. Probably because I got used to cheating by invoking maximum rage before each attack and using a cheat to replace troops.
This starts with a very bizarre sexual encounter, for no apparent reason. Robin and the police start a search for Tui.
It seems that the Police Sergeant has a clandestine relationship with Matt Mitcham, local gang/thug leader.
By the end, it’s the local pedophile who is the main suspect, having committed suicide. Still no Tui.
Actor Ben Barrington, seen last in The Almighty Johnsons plays Terry.
Top of the Lake is a mystery drama television series created and written and directed by by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee.
It aired in 2013, and the sequel, entitled Top of the Lake: China Girl, in 2017. It marks Campion’s first work for television since An Angel at My Table in 1990.
In the small town of Laketop, New Zealand, a young girl named Tui Mitcham is discovered standing chest-deep in the icy, glacial waters of the titular lake. Afterwards, a school nurse notices that the girl is pregnant.
Robin Griffin, who grew up in the area, is now a police inspector in
Sydney who specializes in cases involving children. While home visiting her sick mother, she agrees to interview Tui at the local police station.
This starts very slowly, it takes a while for the plot to start. Robyn Malcolm turns up with a strange American accent and Holly Hunter is almost unrecognizable. Her natural Texas twang subverted, so we never find out where she is supposed to come from.
The first crime is a nasty killing by the local thug and his boys. Then the main character Tui is with the police and her pregnancy revealed.
By the end of the episode things become intriguing and engaging.
Elizabeth Moss (as Robin Griffin)
Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The film is directed by Ryan Coogler from a screenplay by him and Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.
In Black Panther, T’Challa returns home as king of Wakanda but finds his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary in a conflict that has global consequences.
Currently at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, this is getting high praise. It’s easy to see why. Great visuals and sound, as expected. The story is about two characters and their conflict over the future for their country. Notable for being almost entirely a black cast, with the exception of Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis. Freeman is an unlikely CIA agent and Serkis just gets to be cool and bad.
There is a good amount of humour throughout that lightens the tone. Some very good fight sequences, but rather obvious character CGI effects.
Also of note is the even balance between the influence of male and female characters, especially in the second half.
Ultimately it’s a popcorn movie. It could have been more interesting with a different and more challenging ending.
Dirty Money #6 – The Confidence Man
Weaving together a tapestry of tales in real estate booms and busts, Stevens lays out how Donald Trump’s business career transformed from epic failures into a consummate branding machine that propelled him into office.
Nothing much new here about Trump. It had the odd pro-Trump’er thrown in for balance but didn’t delve into why he won. Mainly about his history.
Dirty Money #5 – The Maple Syrup Heist
In Canada, maple syrup is worth more than oil. When $20 million of syrup goes missing, the trail leads back to an epic battle between cartels and the little guy.
Less of a scale than previous episodes, this is more about the robbery than anything else.
The issue of a cartel controlling production and distribution is similar to those of Fonterra in NZ.
Star Trek Discovery 1.15 Will You Take My Hand
It should have been called ‘A War without Consequences’.
It all felt very flat, with people doing illogical things.
When the crew goes to Kronos, they act very un-disciplined:
Tilly promptly eats the local food and takes drugs. They split up and gamble. Georgiou has an orgy with aliens. Everything is acted like it’s a sunday afternoon picnic.
Then, just as Georgiou presents a solution to remove the Klingons permanently , some sort of warped morality enters and Burnham hands a bomb to someone who has a history of deception.
How do they think this will unify the Klingon’s. All it will take is one person to call her bluff, and everything is back to war.
They we get it all wrapped up with a bow and as if there wasn’t enough voice-over, we get more moralizing by Burnham.
Just hopeless and badly written.
But, it was cool when Captain Pike turns up.
BTW – Tilly’s hair is amazing, it goes from curly to straight between scenes (!)
Dirty Money #4 – Cartel Bank
For decades, HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, laundered hundreds of millions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels. Senator Elizabeth Warren, dogged journalists and prosecutors try to hold the bankers to account.
Not as interesting as the other episodes. This has fewer revelations. It just seems obvious that as the drug trade between the USA and Mexico has continues, there must be big banks involved that looked the other way.
The amazing thing was that at the end, after paying over a billion dollars of fines, the bank still continues and nobody has been prosecuted.