What I Watched in November ‘15


Spectre – review here. **

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – I queued this up right after finishing the book.  It is a tense and understated spy movie, with the focus being more on the psychological battles instead of action scenes.  It is well acted and completely engrossing.   ****

The Peanuts Movie – review here.  ***½

King Kong – I love Peter Jackson’s King Kong.  It is long and it has some really terrible effects shots, but there are just so many great scenes that I can’t help but love it. I love Jack Black’s slimy Carl Denham and Kong himself. Denham just can’t help but be the worst person, you never get the feeling that he is lying to anyone more than he lies to himself. ****

The World is Not Enough – The action scenes are really rough, but this is the sort of Bond movie I enjoy, warts and all.  It is nothing to write home about, but it is certainly entertaining.  ***

The Man from UNCLE – I really enjoyed this, so I bought the DVD. It holds up to repeat viewings.  ****

Dinner for Schmucks – This movie gets by on some really funny leads in Rudd and Carrell, but it is still either too mean spirited or not mean spirited enough to really fly.  Because it has just enough of a cruel streak to be uncomfortable but not enough to go all the way. Still, there are a lot of really funny moments and characters.   ***

The Cobbler – I had heard this movie was bad, but I wasn’t really prepared when I watched it.  It starts fine, despite Sandler being a complete nonentity in the title role, but as soon as it establishes its concept, that when Sandler’s character Max puts on the shoes he’s repaired he becomes that person, it veers off into crazy town.  Really, little once he starts changing to movie is just unbelievably bad. What Max does with his powers tends to the inexplicable, moving from one laugh-less adventure to the next with little rhyme or reason until it gets to the even more ludicrous conclusion. *

Mad Max Fury Road – My family in for Thanksgiving hadn’t seen it, so we watched it.  Still the best movie of the year.  *****

Creed – review coming soon. ****½

Rocky 2 – It is Rocky 1 again, only this time not quite as good.  Still, it is highly entertaining.  ***1/2

Rocky 3 – This is the movie that turns Rocky from character drama with boxing to cartoons about boxing.  Still, it is a super fun cartoon.  ****

Rocky 4 – This one goes further down the road to crazy town, but doesn’t stop being super entertaining.  ***1/2


Supergirl – I won’t deny that the show is experiencing some growing pains.  Its seems to be spreading its characterization around a bit too thinly, with no one but Kara and maybe Jimmy Olsen getting enough development to be memorable.  Still, the good parts of the show have been really good.  I think it has the potential to be as good as The Flash, but it’s not quite there yet.

The Flash – This is still the best superhero show.  On TV or anywhere.  Still, this season has not been quite as smooth as the first one.  It is spending a little too much time setting up pieces for the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow, but the rest of it still coming along nicely.  Plus, it just did a Gorilla Grodd episode that set up Gorilla City.

Arrow – Still not as entertaining as its little brother, but the show seems to be more focused than last season.  It also has a somewhat lighter tone, which works better for what this show has become four seasons in.  The show just feels really comfortable right now.

Jessica Jones – I plan to have a full write up on this show coming soon, but for now I’ll just say that is it very good.  It gets dark, occasionally stupidly so, but it is largely well acted and written.  Most of the attention had been paid to David Tennant’s villain, for a good reason, but just as strong was the central relationship between Jessica and her best friend/adoptive sister Trish.  That is the real emotional heart of the show and it works flawlessly.

Master of None – I’ve loved Aziz since first seeing him on Parks and Recreation, and then seeing his stand up.  This show it just short of a masterwork.  It manages to be really funny and really heartfelt at the same time.  Many of the situations Aziz’s Dev finds himself in are ridiculous, but the larger problems he deals with, like relating to his parents or weighing the choice of becoming a parent, are real.  Any show that can be this real and this funny is something to be treasured.  

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