Watchlist: May into mid July

It’s ages – two and a half months – since I did one of these, and I’ve had a busy time watching things, including three theatre trips which I’ve reviewed at length separately:


  • The Motive & the Cue – by Jack Thorne. John Gielguid directed Richard Burton in Hamlet on Broadway in an acclaimed production in the 1960s – this is the story of how the production reached the stage. Mark Gatiss is Gielguid, Johnny Flynn warms as Burton with Tuppence Middleton as Liz Taylor. Now transferring to the West End – GO!
  • Patriots – A dark comedy about oligarch Boris Berisovsky and the rise of Putin by Peter Morgan. Tom Hollander and Will Kean were brilliant.
  • The Pillowman – by Martin McDonagh, starring Steve Pemberton, Paul Kaye who both shone and Lily Allen who I was less taken with. A difficult subject – I couldn’t say I enjoyed it a lot.


  • Ted Lasso – (apple tv)I will miss this series and will have to rewatch the entire thing soon. I cried big-time during the last couple of episodes.
  • Silo – (apple tv) from the books by Hugh Howey which I’ve not read – fab dystopian SF in a post-apocalyptic world (or is it?)!
  • Dead Ringers (Prime) – Rachel Weisz plays the gynaecologist twins – much blood, gore and twisted horror. I can’t remember the original David Cronenburg film with Jeremy Irons well enough to compare.
  • We Hunt Together – (BBC2) – Such an odd murder series but totally addictive. Eve Myles and Babou Ceesay are the chalk and cheese cops on the trail of serial killer Freddy and her boyfriend Baba. Very dark, very good.
  • Strange New Worlds (Prime) – Star Trek classic series prequel with young Spock, Captain Pike and Number One. Glossy and fun.
  • Annika (BBC1) – Nicola Walker – need I say more! She’s a Norwegian police detective with the marine investigation branch based in Glasgow (I think). You either love or hate it when characters break the fourth wall – I loved it.
  • Staged – series 3. (BBC2) STOP IT! The first two series were so good – this third one of Sheen and Tennant being self-caricatures was tedious.
  • Hijack – (apple tv) – Unravelling in real time – we’re halfway into the hijacked flight from Dubai to London. Idris Elba is on board and will save the day, with help from pilot Ben Miles, with Max Beesley, Eve Myles and Zahar Gahfoor on the ground. Thrilling!


  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – at the cinema. A tear-jerker based on the book by Rachel Joyce and adapted by her for the big screen. Who else but Jim Broadbent and Penelope Wilton could play Harold and Maureen. Wilton in particular really got Maureen’s pent-up anger, and why hasn’t Broadbent been knighted yet?
  • Air (Prime)- about Nike/Michael Jordan – Matt Damon is the Nike exec who is determined to widen their sales by targeting basketball, and meeting his match in Jordan’s mum! A surprisingly enjoyable film for a sports/business movie.
  • The Sisters Brothers (DVD) – I finally got around to watching this film of one of my favourite novels. Set during the goldrush, John C Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix are the guns for hire, with Jake Gyllenhaal after them. Does the book proud, and has a fab soundtrack
  • Magnolia (DVD) – why have I never seen this before! Tom Cruise was magnetically repulsive as the motivational speaker. I liked John C Reilly as the shy cop in particular in this ensemble cast.
  • The Whale (Prime) – Sad. I can see why Brendan Fraser got his Oscar.
  • Living (Prime) – Bill Nighy is the civil servant with a terminal diagnosis in Kazuo Ishiguro’s retelling of Akira Kurasawa’s Ikuru. However, it was quite ponderous in parts, and Nighy is sooo restrained except in a few scenes, that it was difficult to love.

What have you been watching lately that you could recommend?

14 thoughts on “Watchlist: May into mid July

  1. imogenglad says:

    I’m a bit of a Russia nerd and LOVED Patriots, helped my my big crush on Tom Hollander. I Saw Living at the cinema last year, and it was so sad. I thought Billy Nighy was great in it, but he definitely had his eye on an Oscar nomination. I must look out for The Sisters Brothers – I loved that novel so much. Does the film keep the humour?

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Patriots was so good wasn’t it. I’m a huge Hollander fan, boosted by the fact he’s an old boy of the school I work for. In Living, I just felt that Nighy was so restrained – so ‘Zombie’-like – except for those few scenes where he really came to life, that it made things a little dull for the most part. But I would watch anything with him in though. In the Sisters Brothers, they have a good deal of humour, but maybe not as much as the book. Reilly stands out though, and it was super. Made me want to re-read the book.

  2. A Life in Books says:

    So glad you enjoyed The Sisters Brothers. Took me ages to take the plunge but I’m glad I did. Sorry about Living, though. I enjoyed it very much but watched it last year when it was released in the winter. It felt very much like a Christmas movie which might have made a difference.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I felt he (Nighy as Williams) lived up to the nickname the girls gave him too much. I wanted him to cut loose more.

  3. Calmgrove says:

    I agree with your view of the third season of Staged. Plot – lost – methinks — but maybe that’s the point that’s being made?! Still, about from a handful of inadvertent guffaws a huge disappointment, especially as we couldn’t hear most of the dialogue.

  4. winstonsdad says:

    I’ve been loving hijack love how it leaves it on a cliffhanger each episode. I be been looking at the new Star Trek as paramount have the reboot of quantum leap so may have resubscribe to it

  5. JacquiWine says:

    I’m very jealous of your trip to see The Motive and the Cue as it sounds fantastic! I much prefer the National to some of the West End theatres, so I’m not sure about the transfer, but we’ll see…

    The best film I’ve seen at the cinema recently was a preview of Passages, a love triangle with a difference, featuring Franz Rogowski, Adele Exarchopoulos and Ben Whishaw, three actors I love. It’s brilliant, and surprisingly funny at times. Out in September, highly recommended!

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      It was such a good play. Lovely staging too – I don’t know how the big wide rehearsal room set will fit into the West End theatre. I’d really recommend it. Gatiss in particular was so brilliant. I don’t know if they’re doing a screening though…
      I shall look out for Passages in September – thanks for the recommendation.

  6. thecontentreader says:

    Wow, that is a lot of series to watch. I am, for the time being, out of touch with everything. I tried yesterday to muster up some energy for different series. Started, or continued I think. 7-8 ones before I gave up and watch a Dutch documentary on Rembrandt. Sometimes, I feel series and films these days have the same theme. You almost know what will happen just by reading the short cover note. But, I hope it will change soon.

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