Hidden Gems of Netflix's Watch Instantly

Finally finished Occupied after rediscovering it in my queue and seeing they had added two more seasons.

It's a danged solid Norwegian political thriller set in a world getting hammered by global warming and a US that has withdrawn from the global stage. Norway's new Green Party prime minister moves to transition the country off of fossil fuels and shuts down all North Sea oil and gas production. The EU isn't happy with that and allows Norway to be puppeted by Russia.

I also watched the "based on a true story" mini-series The Spy starring Sacha Baron Cohen. It's about Eli Cohen, a bookkeeper turned Mossad agent, who spent the early 60s as an almost unbelievably successful undercover agent in Syria. Cohen's performance is outstanding even if the writing tanks a bit towards the end. It's only six episodes and is perfect if you have an itch for a great and unknown (at least to me) spy story.

I finished watching The Circle with my wife yesterday. I was let down a bit by the finale, which is less about the result and more about the format. The beginning of the finale was great, but then they moved it to some studio set where it was kind of like a reunion show with brief chats with the non-finalist contestants and then longer interview-y segments with the finalists, all of which I thought dragged quite badly. It seemed they were trying to draw out the tension but instead just lost momentum. But as a whole, I really enjoyed this show and was surprised by how much I liked so many of the participants, who seemed almost uniformly hateable at first. Thumbs up overall.

My wife and I felt the same way about the finale. We actually just skipped ahead through all of it until they got to revealing the winner. Overall it was pretty entertaining for a reality show.

Watched October Faction and liked it. The beginning is very slow. They do some things that don't really go anywhere and just waste time. Then the story is a little scatter shot and poorly edited. I have no idea why the show is called October Faction. Lots of odd things happen in October but it is never stated why or if that is the only time strange things happen.

The first episode ends with a serious medical condition going down. The next episode doesn't pick up at that point and the show never states what happen. It is like if someone was shot at the end of the episode and then in the next episode we see them walking about like nothing happen and never learn why they are ok. Was a scene or two cut? I don't know.

The acting is okay. The real problem is that the teens don't seem like normal teens. Instead it is like how a adult that hasn't talked to a teen thinks how teens act. I didn't hate it just found it odd.

I thought the monsters and action scenes were good. I liked the main casts. Interesting that every couple on the show was in a interracial relationship. I was kind of thinking that one group of monsters had all their females white and all the males black. That isn't the case though. They had one really good scene about race also. And a few really good who is the real bad guys here scenes.

Anyway I liked it but can't recommend it because it is so slow. I didn't really get into it until episode 6. That is a long time to invest in a show that should hook you from the start.

Narcos Mexico: Season 2

I'm lucky my rudimentary knowledge of Spanish kicked in, because for whatever reason on my end the subtitles kept cutting in and out.

Noone enjoying Sabrina S3? I think with the introduction of the Cthulu mythos into the world, I kinda love this season. There's a lot of Supernatural to the writing and has the same kind of feeling to it.

Shame on Netflix for not promoting it more, but season three of the ridiculously good Berlin Babylon comes out March 1st.

I watched The Laundromat yesterday. I'm always impressed by Stephen Soderberg's ability to effortlessly mimic any genre he sets his eye on. This time, it's the dramatic lecture style of a film like The Big Short.

Like The Big Short, The Laundromat tries to simultaneously dramatize and explain a complex, real world financial topic through anecdotes, metaphors, snappy fourth-wall breaking tricks, and some personal stories to bring it all back to the viewer's own experiences. The Big Short was about the 2008 collateralized debt obligation crisis, and The Laundromat is about the world of offshore accounts, shell companies, and tax avoidance.

It's an interesting topic and everyone involved seems to have had a great time, especially Gary Oldman as a German lawyer who helps create these tax shelters. There's a lot of clever staging and editing used to try to jazz up some dry explanations, and it's all a delight to watch as an appreciation of the craft of filmmaking.

Unfortunately, the script isn't quite up to the task it sets itself. I didn't feel like I left the movie with a better understanding of how all these shell companies and tax schemes actually work. Despite all the effort put into presenting information, I don't feel like a lot of information was really presented.

The script also goes off the rails a bit at the very end with a lecture direct to the camera from Meryl Streep that, again, is a fun bit of filmmaking that doesn't have nearly the impact the writer and director seem to think it does. The closing shot aims to be a stirring call to action but instead manages to be at best bathetic. And I even agree with their argument!

OG_slinger wrote:

Shame on Netflix for not promoting it more, but season three of the ridiculously good Berlin Babylon comes out March 1st.

Rats. Gonna have to resub for a month to watch that.

ComfortZone wrote:

Anyone else watch Giri/Haji? It's really solid, would recommend if you like gangster/crime dramas.

Binged it over the weekend. Absolutely amazing.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

at best bathetic.

I learned a new word today.

Locke & Key was a disappointment.
Mediocre acting, lacklustre characters, mediocre script, weird CGI. It also had really bad editing, which is something I don't usually notice.
I have the comics waiting to be read. I don't really want to read them now.

Klaus was pretty entertaining. It uses familiar tropes, but at least uses them well. The animation is pretty nice with the way 2D looks like 3D (though some stuff really is 3D).

slazev wrote:

Locke & Key was a disappointment.
Mediocre acting, lacklustre characters, mediocre script, weird CGI. It also had really bad editing, which is something I don't usually notice.
I have the comics waiting to be read. I don't really want to read them now.

Read them. Locke & Key is a great comic. I've not finished the show, but from the first four episodes I watched it seemed that Netflix was favoring the fantasy side of the story over the horror side, and was compressing the story way too much. The comic had 6 volumes and season one is covering stuff from the first four.

Hill is actually one of the writers for the show... They seem intent on going farther with the show than they did with the comic.

The Locke & Key comic is exceptional. You should read it!

I liked Locke and Key and did not think the acting was bad.

The comic is half off on comicology.

karmajay wrote:

I liked Locke and Key and did not think the acting was bad.

I'm five episodes in, and I don't think the acting is bad at all.

Not bad.
IMAGE(https://media1.tenor.com/images/8927554078b0300c4e3e5b1d0244dfca/tenor.gif)

Mario_Alba wrote:
karmajay wrote:

I liked Locke and Key and did not think the acting was bad.

I'm five episodes in, and I don't think the acting is bad at all.

Seriously? The kid that played Bodie made Jake Lloyd look like Lawrence Olivier.

I loved one scene where his sister and brother ask him to keep it down and the kid just keeps on screaming as usual. Their mother sleeps like a stone.
However, of the 3, the older brother was the worst, acting wise. He had one face and that was it.

Paleocon wrote:
Mario_Alba wrote:
karmajay wrote:

I liked Locke and Key and did not think the acting was bad.

I'm five episodes in, and I don't think the acting is bad at all.

Seriously? The kid that played Bodie made Jake Lloyd look like Lawrence Olivier.

Well, here's a potentially controversial statement, then. Not only do I think that the kid who plays Bode does a good job, but having rewatched The Phantom Menace last December I think Jake Lloyd is probably the actor that delivers his lines the most convincingly and sounds the most natural in the whole cast of that less-than-stellar film. At least, that was my impression, having nieces his age. That said, I am not defending that movie, though, hahaha.

Mario_Alba wrote:

I think Jake Lloyd is probably the actor that delivers his lines the most convincingly and sounds the most natural in the whole cast

I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to take your opinion card. You can have it back when you've demonstrated that you can have opinions responsibly.

slazev wrote:

However, of the 3, the older brother was the worst, acting wise. He had one face and that was it.

He did an incredible job of adapting the comic then. (-:

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Mario_Alba wrote:

I think Jake Lloyd is probably the actor that delivers his lines the most convincingly and sounds the most natural in the whole cast

I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to take your opinion card. You can have it back when you've demonstrated that you can have opinions responsibly.

Hahaha. Just let me know when I've earned it back .

I think some people mistake decision on character personalities as bad acting. Not every person in real life is also super expressive so some characters shouldn't be either. Compare acting in this show and acting in b or c movies from the past and you can tell the difference. Or go watch The Room and come back at me.

I see it as an example of the Olivia Dunham effect, where the actor's choice to play her as buttoned down and internal appeared wooden until you saw her play Fauxlivia as a confident extrovert.

The neither hada lot of guilt over his father's death, and it always looked to me like he was bottling it up - I thought it was quite a subtle performance.

What I found annoying about Locke and Key was how much the plot depended on stupid choices by characters who should have known better.