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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
Jack should have operated alone
It had a decent if derivative story but the action was slowed down by having not one but two women interfering all the time. I have absolutely no problem with women in action films - think Ripley and Connor - but they just didn't belong here.
Jack Reacher is a loner-he works things out himself - he fights alone - that's why we like him. But with this young girl in tow that he had to protect it started reminding me of 'Taken'.
The prison escape scene was ludicrous - this isn't Mission Impossible Tom - more like Mission Improbable.
So a disappointing rental - but the baddies were OK .
The Big Short (2015)
A truly great film about the corruption in the financial sector. I enjoyed every minute of it and also it was very close to home. I used to set these things up on back office trading systems after they were dealt.
I began to notice that we were moving away from ordinary bonds to MBA's - (Mortgage Back Assets) and after a while we moved onto CDO's (Collateral Debt Obligations).
What I could never understand - but personally found reassuring - was why the always had such high ratings. I didn't want my bank to take any undue risks and go bust because my job depended on it.
In around 2006 I read the 'Economist' and there was a mention about these subprime mortgages. I felt uneasy so I sent them a mail asking why mortgage backed bonds in general had such good ratings... No reply.
Anyway I lost my job with them around July 2006 when my job went out to India as I was told they needed to cut costs (It later transpired that the cost of providing two direct connections between the trading floor and the Indian back office cost more than keeping the team in London). However I was treated fairly and got a decent redundancy package and soon found a new job.
2008 - kerpow! my ex employer took a huge hit and a year later had to transfer Euro 85bn of problem assets off its balance sheet. It now no longer exists - a once proud bank. Total losses (so far) which had to be covered 23 billion dollars.
Numerous trading scandals were unearthed and a new scandal is just being investigated. With hindsight I'm glad I lost my job to get out of the mayhem - but 1000's of jobs were lost in London and Germany due to high level incompetence.
There's another crash on the way as Donald is just stirring things up nicely.
I thought the character Mickey looked slightly familiar. It's the actor Ian McDiarmid who went on to feature in several Star Wars films.
Here he plays an unhinged character bent on taking revenge on the National Health service after losing his wife. He acts very well with an air of revenge mixed with despair.
A great piece of absorbing drama demonstrating that things are not always as they seem below the surface. The film encompassed love - dissatisfaction - friendship - sex - hopelessness - tragedy and violence.
I only watched it by pure accident as I had been viewing a recorded program on my TIVO box. When that program ended it defaulted back to BBC2. At that point it was 20 minutes into NW and I almost switched channels. However after only a few moments I realised that I was watching something special so I wound back TIVO to the start.
The acting was superb with each character drawing you into his or her World. When we walk down the street we may see happy couples -unhappy couples - poor people - the destitute - people flaunting their wealth
But in reality we know nothing about what is really going on in their daily lives. Of course others could look at you and me and think the same thing.
After watching it I was left with a searching question - what really does make people feel happy?
Not too bad -
Yes getting to Mars will be tough. My 1970 Peter Fairley's Space album says we'll be there by 1985 - we'll looks like we've missed that window.
Production wise it obviously suffers from a smallish budget - the monitors in ground control just look like standard home television sets mounted together while for some reason cameras - both for TV and journalists - have bucked current trends and got bigger.
So far - unless there's going to be flashbacks - none of the long journey to Mars was shown except the landing (interior shots only).
Interesting drama has been added as the - rather big - spaceship has landed over 70 kilometres from its intended target - a preconstructed base.
I will be following the series because even if the sections set in 2033 prove not to work that well then there's always the real interviews with scientists - authors and entrepreneurs from the present day giving their views. At the very least it's holding my interest because if we don't get there by the 2030's I might not be around to see the momentous landing.
I hope we do make it.
Are You Being Served? (2016)
What were they laughing at?
The actual jokes themselves? How we - in the 21st century - view jokes from the 1970's and 80's so felt warm nostalgia for them? The casts impersonations of the original cast? To be honest I'm not sure. I managed to smile a couple of times but that was it.
If you're going to revive a show from the 1970's it's unlikely humour written for that decade is going to appeal to modern day audiences - even the original fans (discounting actual repeats which seem to transport us back to the era so we become one with it again).
You either have to knowingly mock it (as done brilliantly on 'The Day Today) or somehow bring the script up to date. This production seemed to do neither so ended up stuck between the bargain basement and the ground floor
Top Gear: Episode #23.1 (2016)
All a bit hysterical
Well Mr Evans was doing his best to succeed but it came across like a mashup between Thank God it's Friday (together with that program's audience) - an unfunny German road show and a surreal adaptation of Stranger in a strange land starring Mr Leblanc.
I didn't feel relaxed watching it - the previous team felt reassuring and comforting like a pair of your favorite slippers
But I'll give it another chance because 5th Gear is not getting another series - what a pity that team weren't told before the BBC selected the current group.
Is there anyone in this bunch who can actually review a car?
Doctor Who: Hell Bent (2015)
Well looking at the message boards some like it some don't - others are stuck in the Twilight zone.
As for me? Well it wasn't what I was expecting from last week's lead in but I still really liked it. Having watched the first ever episode back in 1963 it's nice to see that my longtime 'companion' is still around.
Clara looked radiant (yes genuinely pretty) and I don't begrudge her being given a second chance for some fun. Clara and her new companion should take the diner back to the 60's and serve Elvis (they'd better have plenty of meat and cheese though).
Am I cross with Mr Moffat for a slightly anticlimactic conclusion? Given time I'll forgive him.
Intelligent and entertaining
Well these synthetics cost no more than a car - can cook - garden - iron and engage in pretty lifeless 'conversations'. Quite frankly it might be better to splash your money on the new Mazda MX5 this Summer and have some real fun.
But wait not all synthetics are created equal and there's a rather cool group of them who have emerged. Emerged into quite what is uncertain but they've certainly developed some form of feelings.
I really enjoyed A.I and it's great to see one of it's stars - William Hurt - appearing in this which shows how one day human like robots might become an every part of family life.
Quite what William's relationship with his rather outmoded model 'D' synthetic is - is open to conjecture - but he certainly seems very attached to him (or it)
The Interceptor (2015)
Well you know it's a program about an interceptor because right from the awful opening titles you continually see O.T. Fagbenle (Ash) running like someone in training for the 100m at the Olympics.
He (Ash) snarls - grimaces - shouts just like any good interceptor should. He's a naughty boy too disobeying his superior's orders because he wants to do things his way.
After his partner in crime gets badly hurt he acts like a man possessed even if it means blowing the chance to get the Mr Big. You see he has to get (and beat) the scumbag who caused his friend to get injured.
Therefore he's a man with a heart - but not much brain....he's The Inceptor.