Saturday 24 April 2021

Like a House on Fire

This is an interesting little film available via streaming services about mothers abandoning their daughters. It starts with Dara, played by the very capable-looking Sarah Sutherland, who turns up at her home two years after going missing, leaving daughter and husband not knowing her whereabouts.

What happened to her was never really explained fully. There are references to mental health institutions and postnatal depression but nothing really confirmed. She finds that her husband has a new woman in his life, who is pregnant, and the film goes on to explore the dilemmas and difficulties present between the three/four of them as they try to understand, work things out and find a solution which might include a mother forming a relationship with her daughter, who has forgotten her.

Dara rocks up at her dad's house, who is also shacked up with a woman (the only actor I actually knew - Amanda Brugel from The Handmaid's Tale) and her daughter. There are no sons to be seen in the whole of this setup, just mums and daughters. There are resulting uncovers about Dara's mum, who had similarly gone missing with some sad and reflective outcomes.

It's a gentle tale but one which makes you think. It's thoughtfully shot on a budget, if you can see past the constant held-hand camerawork. The cast all perform very well and it is engaging and moving as a story, created and directed by Canadian Jesse Noah Klein.

Thursday 15 April 2021

The Terror (Series 1)

Just come to the end of this, this week and thoroughly recommend a watch for those who haven't skipped ahead on the iPlayer and gorged themselves on it weeks ago!

Apparently based on some truth but then bent out of shape by Dan Simmons in his 2007 novel of the same name. Fictionalised and dramatised - but to good effect. It's grizzly in places, warm in others, harsh in most and an eye-opener as to what on earth explorers were up to in the mid 1800's.

Two ships sail off to the Arctic to open up the North Passage for easier trade links with the far-east. But they come a cropper as they get stuck in the ice. For three years. To make matters worse, as they run out of supplies they realise that the canned food they have for stock has been canned badly, resulting in them all going loony tunes! Oh dear, what are they going to eat when they have nothing else? You can imagine.

Hang on a minute, there's also some sort of creature stalking them too! Throw a feisty mutineer into the mix questioning the authority of the leadership and it makes for a tasty tale!

Jared Harris is excellent as Captain Francis Crozier, in amongst a star cast all hoping to survive the ordeal and to the end of the first series! Adam Nagaitis plays the mutineer with gusto, clearly having great fun in the role. He and Harris also teamed up in the excellent 2019 outing Chernobyl.

It's really well paced, atmospheric, insightful and the time watching it simply flies. Really well recommended. Still on the iPlayer in the UK for a while. Ten episodes of nearly an hour each.

Apparently the second series, which we haven't had over here yet, is a different tale altogether about an American-run Japanese internment camp during World War II with George Takei in a star (trek) role. I shall look out for it.

The Human Centipede Trilogy

Continuing with my skin-thickening my next stop was this bizarre pick! Warnings ahoy for all sorts of violence, nudity, sex, madness, depravity and gory nastiness. As we used to say, a Video Nasty!

The first one I found to be darkly comic, but more comic than anything else. Mad German doctor decides to kidnap three people at random and turn them into a, you guessed it, human centipede. I'll leave you to imagine how that worked and what depravity was required to get there! But it was comic in The Man With Two Brains type way. So absurd that you just end up laughing at what is going on! The actor playing the doctor is Dieter Laser who executes it deliciously looking the part perfectly!

The second one is probably the best as we follow a fan of the first film trying to take the idea further and make a human centipede with a chain of people, so many more than the three. This one is shot in black and white and very stylish, through the gore and violence, in a David Lynch type way. The mad fan is an under-trodden car park attendant abused by his mother (think Psychoville).

He exercised his power over others by re-enacting the bones of the film he loved so much bumping people off left, right and centre in the process. Leaves very little to the imagination and has to be seen to be believed. The fan is played by Laurence R. Harvey kitted out with wild eyes and does it scarily.

The third one really is utter nonsense and rubbish as Laurence R. Harvey and Dieter Laser are thrown into a situation in an American prison where one is the warden and the other his accountant. Laser is off his trolley again and hatches a plan to make the longest human centipede ever with all the prison inmates. And even has a go at a human caterpillar! Chaos and madness ensue. This really is the weakest of the three films and is all just rubbish!

Tom Six is behind all this mayhem and even appears in the third film as himself as the lines of reality intersperse with filmmaking and fandom moving forward. It's all absolutely chaotic, mad and daft - leaving you wondering why on earth anyone would make such nonsense. Unbelievable - the most bizarre thing I have ever seen.

Too Close

This ITV Drama has just aired - the three episode mini-series ending tonight. It really was a quite terrific drama excellently acted by the two leads, Emily Watson and Denise Gough.

It's a sad and insightful story about the two women, one a psychiatrist treating the other as she tries to unpick the background as to why she ended up driving her car through a bridge barrier and into a river whilst her daughter and friend's daughter were strapped in too.

The tale is told and story unfolded from her room at the facility and via much flashback. What becomes clear is that Watson's psychiatrist character has her own background which is being drawn out by having to go about helping her patient.

Both of them have guilty feelings based on their own backgrounds with harrowing grief alongside. There's more to tell as we go along about mental ill-health and society's monitorisation of people's medication, treatment and regimes. If we're going to be picky, I guess we could argue that the psychiatrist was probably not in any fit state to take the case on, given her baggage but I overlooked that.

It's very well paced, produced and acted by the whole cast. I was drawn to it because of knowing Emily Watson's body of work and this is a fine addition. I guess that it will be on the ITV Player for a while. Recommended.

Thursday 1 April 2021

PodHub UK Podcasts for March 2021

 ...a roundup of our month of podcasting. Links to the team, communities and podcast homes on the net at the foot, so scroll down!

Whatever Works
Episode 132 - A Wee Washing Up Bowl
Friday 5th March
Aidan and I are back with another fun-filled hour of brain-noodling as we chat about Whatever Works for us and you! This time we are transparent about urinals, lead the charge with LEDs and make some smashing bread and coffee again! But don't worry - no sign of eggs!

Phones Show Chat
Saturday 6th March
Steve and I warmly welcome back Mike Warner to natter about all things mobile phone this week as we catch up with his latest delve under the bonnet.

Tech Addicts
Sunday 7th March
Gareth and I are back this week with another bunch of tech stuff to amuse and entertain. Hopefully! Tons of stuff covered as we break the 2 hour barrier for real this time. Woops! Interesting Apps, free stuff to use, bag a bargain and there's even a robot for your toilet!

Projector Room
Episode 83 - Goliath vs Llamageddon
Wednesday 10th March
Gareth, Allan Gildea and I are back again with our fortnightly roundup of stuff we've been tuning into in film, cinema and TV. Plenty of goodies this time again including an experimental Llamageddon Amazon Prime Watch Party, which you can hear our commentary of, while you watch, if you really want to(!) by grabbling the audio file from the show notes - all good fun, so why not!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 629 - Magic and Doze
Saturday 13th March
Steve and I welcome back Malcolm Bryant this week as he gives us a masterclass in Android's Doze and related, keeping many of us from getting timely notifications. All the usual goodies as well of course, plenty of topics and me living on the Edge!

Tech Addicts
Sunday 14th March
Garethand I are back again with our weekly round-up of tech stuff that's caught our eye. Why not join us as we chew it over! Can you Find the right X3 for you? Afford (or want) a very expensive CD Player? How about a retro typewriter keyboard? If all else fails you can Go 2 the action or play Stadia on your XBox!

The Phones Show
Tuesday 16th March
Join Steve as he muses on yesterday's phones, today's phones and explores how to appreciate the true value in the smartphone you are using - and why you really probably don't need that shiny new one!

Whatever Works
Episode 133 - The River Rat
Friday 19th March
Gareth joins Aidan and I this time as we natter for a while about stuff that works for us and you! From rat traps to turbines, ketchup to drones and socks to chains - do tune in and help us decide what BFS means!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 630 - It's All About Feel
Saturday 20th March
James Honeyball is guest of honour this week as Steve and I find out where he's up to with mobile, what devices he's been using and get his take on various topics.

Tech Addicts
Sunday 21st March
Gareth and I are back with another weekly roundup of what's caught our eyes in the tech world. This time we consider massive sensors in phone cameras, massive live Mario figures and massive skybrators! Or how about miniscule Zenfones, bluetooth speakers and Raspberry Pi enclosures? It's all here - and more!

Projector Room
Episode 84 - Rafifi Graffiti
Wednesday 24th March
Gareth, Allan and I are back again with another catch-up on what we, and you, have been consuming in the last fortnight in cinema, in film and TV. American Graffiti was a big one this time with sprinklings of Happy Days and Grease! Loads more of course too.

Chewing Gum for the Ears
Thursday 25th March
Steve and I take a look at the ups and downs of the sadly short life of Mick Ronson, his Bowie/Hunter collaborations, solo work and more. "The Spider with the Platinum Hair".

Phones Show Chat
Episode 631 - The Search Goes On
Saturday 27th March
Steve and I are back with another - our 631st in fact! This time we welcome back Mark Swidler from the good ol' USofA to chat about where he's got to in his mobile world. S59, F3, X3, Mi11, 1+9, G100 and 5ii - the discussion list goes on until we're solar-powered up!

Tech Addicts
Sunday 28th March
Gareth Myles and I are back with another tech natter as we catch up again this week. All sorts of goodies from Poco, Sony, Samsung, Instagram Kids and top it all off a right old Nerdgasm!

The Phones Show
Episode 418 - Xiaomi Mi 11 Review
Tuesday 30th March
Join Steve as he puts this very capable Xiaomi through the review process along with an overview of the range, including the Mi 11 Ultra.

The Podcasts
PodHubUK - Phones Show Chat - The Phones Show - Whatever Works - Chewing Gum for the Ears - Projector Room - Tech Addicts

The MeWe Community Groups (follow the links to join up)
Phones Show Chat & The Phones Show - Whatever Works - Chewing Gum for the Ears - Projector Room - PSC Photos - PSC Classifieds - Tech Addicts

The Team
Ted Salmon - Steve Litchfield - Aidan Bell - Gareth Myles - Allan Gildea

Abigail (2024)

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