How’s your weekend everyone? It’s another glorious weekend weather-wise… Summer is so fleeting here in MN so we’ve got to make the most of our time being outside.
I didn’t go to the cinema this weekend, trying to finish up Mr Robot Season 1 and we’ve got four more episodes to go. I’ll defer my final judgment until I finish all episodes of the first season, but I’m impressed w/ it so far. It keeps me guessing just what the heck is going on and it always ends on a suspenseful cliffhanger.
It’s certainly one of the most diverse cast of a TV series, with the lead Rami Malek himself of Egyptian descent. No shortage of interesting characters in this series, Mr Robot himself (played by Christian Slater) is definitely an enigma, but the Swedish-speaking Tyrell played by Martin Wallström is the one who gives me the creeps. He reminds me of American Psycho‘s Patrick Bateman with his steely gaze and violent tendencies.
Looking forward to finishing Season 1 hopefully next week!
Saturday night I watched the new Tom Hanks drama set in Saudi Arabia. At first it made me think of Lost In Translation mixed with Learning to Drive, though it’s quite different from either. Cross-cultural stories always appeal to me, though this film is more about a personal journey for the lead character. Alan Clay is a washout American sales rep who’s sent to Riyadh to do a major pitch for his company to a wealthy-yet-elusive monarch.
I have to say I’m not sure what to make of this movie. I was amused one second, discombobulated the next. The novel by Dave Eggers (which Hanks reportedly loved) might have been very interesting, but it feels like it might not have translated as well on screen. Now, it’s not that I wasn’t entertained, there are some amusing moments and Hanks was likable as always, I just felt that the humor felt a bit forced at times. They also hired another White guy (an American) to play an Arab. Alexander Black plays the taxi driver Yousef who predictably becomes friends with Alan. There’s a running joke about him checking the hood of his car for a bomb, not in a terroristic way he said, but from a jealous husband who suspects he’s having an affair with his wife. It was amusing the first time around, but it became repetitive. I feel there’s a lack of genuine rapport between the two actors, but it’s more because of the way they’re written.
There’s a budding romance between Hanks and his female doctor, Dr. Zahra (Sarita Choudhury) who treats him for the cyst on his back. I’m not really feeling the chemistry between them however, just like Alan and the taxi driver. Oh and the scene between the two towards the end is very um, unexpected. Let’s just say I didn’t expect to see a topless underwater scene in this movie, though I don’t think that alone warrants that the R-rating. Interesting that Choudhury was also in Learning To Drive, it seems like she’s got that ambiguous ethnicity where she could play an Arab, an Indian or Italian believably. I like that her character defies the stereotype of what we, in the Western world, think of an Arab woman. There’s another female character, a Danish woman working in the region who came on very strong to Alan, but her storyline seems grossly under-developed.
The pacing of the film seems off, though the story did manage to surprise me a few times. I can’t judge how accurate its portrayal of Arab culture as I’m not from that region, but I feel that the filmmakers did attempt to do it respectfully and not resorting to simple stereotypes. Filmed in Morroco with some exterior shots of Riyadh, it blends the traditional and very modern aspect of the Arab world. The actual hologram presentation to King Abdullah itself is a non-event, apart from a rather odd cameo from Ben Whishaw playing a Q character of sort.
Once I finished the film, I found out that the film’s director is Tom Twyker. I love his German film Run Lola Run, but his last Hollywood movie is the even more puzzling Cloud Atlas. I did praise it for its valiant effort, though I honestly don’t know if I’m going to like it as much upon rewatch. Now, what I can say for this one is, give it a shot if you’re a huge fan of Hanks (as he’s in virtually every single scene). Overall it’s lacking a certain oomph to make it a memorable movie. But at only 138 minutes, at least it didn’t overstay its welcome.
I saw on Twitter there’s a new reality show called The Wine Show arriving on HULU. It’s got the two gorgeous Matthews, Matthew Goode & Matthew Rhys, who played Mr. Wickham and Mr. Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley. The show was originally done for British ITV. Filmed in beautiful locations all over the world, The Wine Show is informative, entertaining, humorous and surprising, with something for everyone who enjoys a glass of wine. I love that the wine expert is called Obi Wine Kenobi, ha!
I love this, definitely will be watching all 13 episodes!
35 thoughts on “Weekend Viewing Roundup: Mr Robot, ‘A Hologram for the King’ & The Wine Show”
I didn’t see anything new over the weekend either, wanted to go see Hell or High Water but it’s only showing at the crappy Uptown theater. Hopefully they’ll expand it to more theaters this weekend since it’s getting tons of great reviews. I watched The Fifth Element last night, picked up the new bluray disc with Dolby Atmos surround sound. Still a fun film and most of the effects still look pretty good.
Not sure if I’ll ever see A Hologram for the King, I still like Tom Hanks but just not that interested in that story. Hanks’ star power definitely went away within the last few years, I think this film would’ve been a hit had it came out during the time of his box office dominant.
Hello Ted! I was going to give you the ‘Hell or High Water’ screening but it’s at the Lagoon. Boy I haven’t seen Fifth Element in a long time, that’s good that the effects still hold up.
Yeah I was surprised how under the radar this movie is. I think Bridge Of Spies got attention because of Spielberg. Hanks is still likable but the movie isn’t that memorable.
Yeah I think remember seeing Hell or High Water on the list of press screening you sent me. That theater is in such a bad condition, the surround sound is awful and the seats aren’t that comfortable. I hope The Icon theater or Southdale will have a showing of the film soon, then I’ll go see it.
Some of the effects on The Fifth Element definitely didn’t look good but it came out in the early years of CGI so it’s forgiven. Some films from that era didn’t age so well when it comes to CGI.
This weekend I watched two movies I really enjoyed, Indignation and Pete’s Dragon and then one I didn’t care for, Sausage Party. The middle part of Sausage Party was so boring, I could hardly stay awake. Indignation was a pleasant surprise, I thought it was going to be really boring but I was engaged for the entire movie. Pete’s Dragon was a fun adventure. I enjoyed how the Elliot acted like a dog and enjoyed the chemistry. Watching it I couldn’t help but compare it to The BFG. For me, Pete’s Dragon had everything that The BFG lacked.
I saw Hologram for the King when it was in theaters and thought it was okay. Nothing memorable happened in it.
Hi Steven! Did you review Indignation? Glad to hear you love Pete’s Dragon, I absolutely adore that one. I even admitted in my review that I cried buckets watching it, ahah. “Pete’s Dragon had everything that The BFG lacked.” Exactly! That’s what I said too in comparison to BFG. I have no desire for Sausage Party, can’t believe it was a hit AND critics actually like it.
Ahah, we’re in agreement too about Hologram For the King!
I have not reviewed Indignation yet. I saw 4 movies last week that I need to write reviews for, the three I saw over the weekend and Nerve. I picked up a new TV over the weekend so I spent a lot of time messing with that and other things so reviews took a back seat.
Hi Steven, I hear ya! I’m so behind on reviews too as I have press screenings every week. That’s why I barely have time to watch TV.
The Wine Show is right up my alley! Love the Matthews and the locations look stunning. Lazy weekend… I think I watched at least six episodes of Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives (gotta love that Guy) and Beachfront Bargain Hunt… does that count? 😉
I know you’ll enjoy The Wine Show! I wish I knew something about wine, ahah, but it’s still enjoyable to watch these guys. I have no clue about the stuff you watched, you’d have to tell me in person what they are about 😉
I find Mr. Robot pretty impressive as well. It’s kind of this weird mix of The Social Network and Fight Club. An though I love many elements of the show, altogether it ends up leaving me a little cold and unsatisfied. I’m keeping up with Season 2, but I might not be for long.
Hey Khalid! Y’know I think I’m going to be in your camp about Mr. Robot. It grabbed me initially and it kept me engrossed, but in the end the emotional gratification just wasn’t there. I also think Rami’s acting seems to be pretty much the same throughout, but maybe that’s what’s required of him from the director(s)?
The only thing this weekend that I saw is Spaceballs. “Oh shit, there goes the planet”.
I haven’t seen that one. I presume it’s a comedy?
Yes. Mel Brooks. Parody of Star Wars and other sci-fi films.
Oooh Mel Brooks does parody very well, I should definitely watch that!
The Matthews are both such great actors. I don’t drink wine though so it’s not up my alley. I’m into Season 2 of Mr. Robot and I’m not even sure what’s going on either. I’m going to try to avoid fan theories so I don’t get too spoiled.
Hey Eddie! Yes indeed they are. I don’t drink ANY alcohol at all, the taste of it makes me cringe, but I wish I liked wine. Hmmm, so season 2 is just as cryptic then? I’ll see how I feel at the end of season 1 if I want to continue.
Season 1 gives lots of answers. I’m only 3 episodes into Season 2 and I think there is something else going on that hasn’t been revealed yet. 🙂
The Tom Hanks film is an interesting one in that it doesn’t have that straightforward mainstream “hook” about it that you’d usually associate with Hanks. I haven’t seen it yet so it’s disappointing to read you weren’t a big fan of this one Ruth. Hanks’ films have been a hit and miss over the last ten years, I hope I like this one.
I actually was drawn to the Saudi Arabia setting, it has that fish-out-of-water vibe and Hanks seems perfect for the role. But for some reason the movie just left me perplexed and lacking an emotional connection.
The Hanks film looks interesting. Isn’t amazing how reliable he is as an actor? Even in films like this that sound like slightly lesser Hanks movies, he still is so likable.As for my movie watching, Anthropoid, Suicide Squad, and Mustang were all I has able to fit in over my three day weekend.
Hanks is extremely likable so yeah, even in a so-so movie he’s still the best thing in it. I wish the story grabbed me more, but I’d say it’s still worth a look. Oh you saw Mustang! It’s a French film right, did you like that one? I was a huge fan of a female-ensemble French drama Girlhood from a couple of yrs ago, I think I’d enjoy Mustang too.
Mustang is a French/Turkish film. Still putting together my thoughts on it. Hope to have a review up tomorrow. It definitely leaves you with things to talk about.
Ah ok so that is the one. Well, even if it wasn’t perfect at least it gave you things to think about, unlike a bunch of recent blockbuster films that are loud, flashy but no substance.
Oh I didn’t say it wasn’t perfect. 😉 Okay, so none are perfect but….
Ahah yes I suppose you’re right, even the best films usually aren’t perfect.
I loved Eggers’ book but never would have imagined it could come across on film.
Hi Jay! Yeah that’s what I thought too as I was watching this. I bet the book had the nuances that the film simply couldn’t capture.
I love Mr. Robot, it’s easily become one of my favorite shows. It’s just so different.
It is definitely a unique series and I love the diversity of its cast.
Pingback: AUGUST 2016 Viewing Recap + Movie of the Month
Bit late reading this. Glad you watched Mr.Robot. Season 1 was amazing. I’ve seen five epidsodes of the second one and that’s good too.
A Hologram fro the King I saw recently and like you I had mixed feelings. It helps that Hanks is the leading man, else it could have turned out quite differently. Scored it about the same way.
Keep watching M robot. Last week’s episode was the craziest ending
Hi there! Yeah I plan on watching season 2 once the entire episodes are available on Amazon.
Reblogged this on Secret Admirer Society.