Question of the Week: What new (or new to you) TV series are you really into right now?

Hi everyone! Just to switch things up from all the awards chatter (which is so tiresome already), let’s talk about TV shows.

BroadchurchBBCIn the start of the new year, I thought I should catch up on some great shows that people have been recommending. So last week I finally caught up on Season 1 of BROADCHURCH starring Olivia Colman and David Tennant. Thanks to my friend Dave W. who gave me this top 10 reasons of why you should absolutely check out this amazing British drama if you haven’t already. It’s every bit as gripping and emotionally-engaging as I had expected. It took me about four days to finish all 10 episodes as it’s really quite addictive that I couldn’t stop watching!

Now, just yesterday I finally got around to seeing another British series I’ve been meaning to check out: The Honourable Woman.

TheHonourableWomanI erroneously thought that this 8-part series will leave Netflix at the end of the month but it’s actually not up for renewal so it will REMAIN on its streaming service, yay! In any case, I can’t tell you enough how good this series is and Maggie Gyllenhaal absolutely deserves her Golden Globe win as the show’s protagonist. Here’s the premise:

Nessa Stein, a woman who inherits her father’s arms business and finds herself in a international maelstrom when as she continues to promote the reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Right from the get go, the show created by Hugo Blick is immensely riveting and suspenseful. Plot twists abound as you have no clue who’s good or bad, there’s no clear heroes or villains which makes it all the more intriguing. The writing, acting and cinematography are top notch, and not only does it have a strong female protagonist, it’s nice to see women playing prominent characters in this series. As a fan of British dramas, the show is filled fantastic mostly-British cast: Stephen Rea, Janet McTeer, Andrew Buchan (who’s also in Broadchurch), and Tobias Menzies. Maggie is a native New Yorker but her British accent is flawless (well it sounds that way to me anyway) but it’s her acting and elegant way she moves that is truly fun to watch.

Check out the trailer:


So that’s what I’ve been obsessing lately. Which *new* shows did you just discover that you can’t get enough of?

October Movie Watching Recap and Movie of the Month

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Hello November! It’s also the weekend daylight savings ends here in Minnesota, so we get an extra hour to do whatever we wish, yay! Well, since I’ve been suffering with a cold the past week (yes that meant I was sick during my vacation plus I also twisted my ankle on my second night of the trip), most likely I will be using that extra hour to rest.

But hey, don’t cry for me, folks. It was still an awesome trip to NYC, which was to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding, the first of two wedding festivities (the 2nd one will be in our hometown Jakarta). LOVE New York City in Autumn, the foliage hasn’t quite peaked yet, but the leaves colors are just gorgeous! I didn’t get a chance to visit as many places due to my twisted ankle though, so we’ll likely be back next year!

Before the ankle-twisting incident... Visiting Belvedere Castle in Central Park and goofing around w/ my sister-in-law on the BIG Piano at FAO Schwartz
Before the ankle-twisting incident… Strolling w/ my dear hubby in Central Park, visiting Belvedere Castle, and goofing around w/ my sister-in-law on the BIG Piano at FAO Schwartz

I’m also happy to report that thanks to TCFF, it’s been a GREAT movie-watching month for me. Check out my 2013 TCFF coverage by clicking the tab at the top of the blog, there are surely some movie gems you wouldn’t want to miss!

Well, here are some of my posts this past month:

New-to-me Feature Films Watched (in alphabetical order):

12 Years A Slave

August: Osage County

Beyond Right and Wrong: Stories of Justice and Forgiveness (doc)

Captain Phillips

Dark Knight Returns Part I and II

Everybody’s Fine (for the Robert De Niro Blogathon)

Forev

Gladiators: The Uncertain Future of American Football (doc)

How I Live Now

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Nebraska

One Chance

Parkland

RUSH

The Armstrong Lie (doc)

The Fifth Estate

The Big Noise

The Search for Simon

Trust Greed Bullets and Bourbon

Winter in the Blood

Check out which of these films made my TCFF Top Five

I still have some TCFF screeners I have yet to see as I had to lend them to fellow blog volunteers, so there would’ve been more films on this list had I got around to watching them. On top of the films listed above, I also watched a total of 8 short films during TCFF: The Family-themed Shorts that includes A Better Life, as well as Hot and Bothered.

I was planning on going to The Counselor‘s screening but couldn’t make it as it was at 10 in the morning. But after reading the dismal reviews, it’s perhaps best that I just rent that one later. Besides, that might be too dark and disturbing to see before going to work, ahah. No rewatches for me either this month, though we did get our Pacific Rim Blu-ray a couple of weeks ago that we’ll be watching this weekend!

SpidermanTurnOffTheDarkOh, whilst I was in NYC, my hubby and I also got a chance to catch Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway. It was pretty decent and the theatrics was pretty entertaining, and Justin Matthew Sargent was good as the lead. I do think Marvel’s web slinger is much more suitable as a feature film, plus they made some changes to the story that I wasn’t too keen on. The music by Bono is not bad, though the only one I really dug is Rise Above, here’s a sample:


I’m glad I saw it, but unlike say, The Phantom of the Opera, it’s not a show I’d want to see over and over again.


Movies of the Month:

I knew it would be hard for me to pick just ONE Movie of the Month in October, there are simply too many excellent films. Well, after much deliberations (in my head that is) it came down to a tie between these two:

AugustOsageCty_Collage12YrsASlave_CollageInteresting that both feature a star-studded ensemble cast, and both has Benedict Cumberbatch in it. I didn’t plan on that (nor did I plan on seeing THREE films this month that stars the awesome and mighty popular Brit, not that I’m complaining). Both films feature a brutally-honest look into its subject matter, both physically and emotionally, and at times it’s tough to watch. Kudos to directors Steve McQueen and John Wells for their daft hand in crafting such challenging films.

As for the performances, the true star of August: Osage County and 12 Years A Slave are Meryl Streep and Chiwetel Ejiofor, respectively. I have a feeling Streep is a shoo-in comes next year’s Oscar, but I sure hope Ejiofor would get a shot, he sooo deserves it. I hope to review both of these soon and will post ’em when the embargo is lifted, but I highly recommend both films which will surely get a lot of mentions come award season.


Well, that’s my monthly recap folks. What’s YOUR favorite film you saw in October?

Five for the Fifth: OCTOBER 2013 Edition

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Hello folks, welcome to the 10th Five for the Fifth of the year!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item, observation, trailer, actor/director spotlight, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. There are two actors I like who’s having a birthday today: Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce. I’ve dedicated a post to the luminous and massively talented miss Winslet and posted my top five favorite roles, so I’m going to focus my attention here on the Australian thespian.

GuyPearceBday

Mr. Pearce who turns 46 today, I haven’t seen enough of his work to do a top five but I absolutely love him in L.A. Confidential and Memento (in that order), and also his supporting roles in The Hurt Locker, The Count of Monte Cristo, The King’s Speech and Iron Man 3. I still want to see the Aussie drama Animal Kingdom and also Lawless, he’s so unrecognizable in the trailer!

What’s YOUR favorite Guy Pearce roles?


Timberlake_RunnerRunner2.  I just read this article on The Wrap on Justin Timberlake after I saw the trailer for Runner Runner (review coming Monday). Truth be told, I wasn’t fond of the pop star at all, nor do I find him to be remotely attractive. But I’m slowly warming up to him, though I still much prefer him in supporting parts (preferably more comedic than dramatic roles) as he’s just not leading man material to me. Case in point: In Time, which would’ve been a lot more compelling had Cillian Murphy is in the lead instead of him. Granted the Irish actor is perhaps not a ‘marquee name’ (though he SHOULD be) so he’s not as marketable, but he’s certainly a much better actor.

In any case, it’s interesting to see how many films Timberlake has done, but his most successful one is still The Social Network, which I think is still my fave film he’s been in. I guess he’s not as good an actor as he is a singer, and his star power doesn’t exactly translate at the cinematic box office.

Thoughts on Justin Timberlake? I’m also curious if there a musician-turned-actor whose work you admire.


3. Ok, this is one piece of news I find truly mind-boggling.

Earlier this Spring, the crime drama BROADCHURCH aired on ITV in Britain, and then the show was bought by BBC America and it was shown this past August. The show just concluded its first season run on BBC America last week. Former Dr. Who David Tennant and Olivia Colman star as two detectives investigating the murder of a young boy in a small coastal town, which brings a media frenzy that threatens to tear the community apart. My friend Novia (a huge fan of BBC shows) praised the show in her review, and I’ll be posting a guest post on why people should check out this series.

BroadchurchBBC

Well, I just read on BBC America web site that FOX is going to remake it and though Tennant will reprise his role as the lead detective, the show will be “thoroughly Yankified,” as the article says. “The Fox redo will be set in an American small town. The network hasn’t said whether Tennant will play a Scotsman (which he is in real life) who has ended up on this side of the Atlantic or will adopt an American accent for the U.S. version of the series.”

I guess it’ll be similar to the show Elementary on CBS which capitalizes on the popularity on BBC’s Sherlock, and just as pointless. I really don’t get this types of projects but maybe there’s actually people who thinks this remake is a good idea. If so I’d like to know why. I’m also puzzled why Tennant is willing to play two separate versions of the same character [scratch head]

So perhaps one of you smart folks could enlighten me as to WHY Hollywood is doing this??


4. A couple of trailers got me super excited this week:

Before I get to it, watch Thorin er, Richard Armitage introduces the trailer [swoon] 😛

… and the trailer itself:

Totally agree with Sati that every woman who sees The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug trailer better has medics waiting for her outside!

ThranduilThorin_Hobbit2

I LOVE that there are more scenes with Thorin this time and also Thranduil (Lee Pace), the two major eye candy by two actors who really should get more roles already. I wish those two were as busy as Benedict Cumberbatch, whose dragon voice sounds awesome. Fun to see Sherlock tormenting Watson again, ahah.

Speaking of Cumberbatch, I just rsvp-ed to see The Fifth Estate this coming Tuesday. Can’t wait to see the controversial film about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. It’s got a great cast, too, including Daniel Brühl and Dan Stevens. Check out the latest trailer:

Are you excited for either (or both) of these?


5. Now, the last topic is inspired by my recent review of GRAVITY, which still lingers with me a week and a half after I saw it. Few films have such power to really get under my skin (in a good way). In my review I mentioned about the deep emotional/spiritual aspect of the film, yet another strength of the film on top of its technical and visual spectacle.

Well, now my last question to you is: What’s the most emotionally gratifying film(s) you’ve seen this year?


That’s it for the OCTOBER 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.