My Fortnight in Film, 2016 Weeks 43 & 44

It’s been another two weeks since the last update, and in that time I’ve watched the entire first series of The Night Of, so here’s my (spoiler-free) thoughts on it.
the-night-ofIf you’re not familiar, The Night Of sees Naz (Riz Ahmed), a generally decent, awkward kid who borrows his Dad’s taxi one night to go to a party in the city, but ends up picking up a fare in the form of Sofia Black-D’Elia’s Andrea, heading back to her home, doing some drugs, getting drunk, playing the knife game from Aliens and waking up in the morning to find her stabbed to death 22 times. In a disoriented panic, Naz flees the scene, but in the most incriminating manner possible, ends up accidentally getting caught and things get worse from there. The series covers his trial, with his lawyer (John Turturro) attempting to coach Naz and find out what happened on the night, and whether anyone else could have possibly committed the crime, whereas the police (led by Bill Camp’s Detective Box) see the orgy of evidence in front of them and understandably assume Naz is guilty. Meanwhile, Naz and his family try to cope with the ordeal, with Naz attempting to survive in prison under the wing of Freddy (Michael K Williams) and Naz’s parents struggling to get by outside, with the taxi impounded as evidence and the shame of their son’s arrest hanging over the family. I loved the opening episode, especially the look-through-your-fingers car crash TV that is Naz doing everything as perfectly wrong as he could, and the cranking of tension as he sits as yet undiscovered in the police station, and was genuinely intrigued for the first few episodes. However around about halfway through the season the character of Naz takes an abrupt and jarring change that felt necessary for his situation, but entirely too sudden. Ahmed is terrific though, someone I’d only previously seen in Nightcrawler, and I’m now looking forward to Rogue One a little bit more due to his involvement. I think a bit too much time was spent on Turturro’s skin issues – his character has fairly serious eczema and allergies – given they don’t pay off a great deal with the overall plot, simply adding background flavour to his character and why at times he is more nervous, stressed or out=of-place than others. Finally, I was a little disappointed with how the finale turned out. Some very relevant aspects were only introduced in the final episode, so it would have been impossible to make any kind of prediction as to who the eventual culprit was, and it was all lacking in the last couple of degrees of closure, so whilst it wasn’t exactly unsatisfying, I could have done with just a little bit more. Still, I was gripped throughout the show, and apparently a second season has been commissioned, so I look forward to it.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been watching recently week movie-wise:
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My Week in Movies, 2016 Week 17

This is one of those weeks where I’ve not got anything to say other than the usual lamentations on my lack of progress or the woes of international podcasting, so instead I’m going to highlight a podcast I’ve started listening to recently that you might like. I don’t watch a great deal of TV, but one of the few shows I’ve not only seen in its entirety but have revisited at least once is The West Wing, and one of its latter-season stars, Joshua Malina (he played Will Bailey), has recently begun a podcast called The West Wing Weekly, which he hosts alongside Hrishi Hirway, a self-proclaimed big fan of the show. On this show Joshua and Hrishi discuss an episode of The West Wing every week, in chronological order, occasionally with guests who were in some way involved in the TV show. So far they are six episodes in, and their guests have been DulĂ© Hill (who played Charlie Young), Janel Maloney (Donna Moss) and Eli Attie, a writer/producer who was also Al Gore’s chief scriptwriter. Whilst I’ve never been terribly interested in politics, especially that of another country, and one that seems to become more of a literal circus every year, my love of The West Wing stems from the characters, their interactions, relationships and dialogue. I discovered the show after watch Aaron Sorkin’s follow-up, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, which was criminally cancelled during the first season, and remains one of my favourite shows ever, one season or not. When I was denied further episodes, I sought out the next best thing. After recently lending the whole boxset to a friend, who returned all seven seasons in a matter of weeks, my partner has also shown an interest so I’m introducing her to the show whilst re-watching it myself, and at one-a-week it shouldn’t be too hard to keep up with the podcast.
Anyway, enough of TV, here are the films I watched this week:
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My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 41

HitchcOctober isn’t going too well, is it? Almost halfway through and I’ve only written one post. For shame. Still, it’s been an eventful month so far what with the meet-up in London (which has since made every film-watching occasion a major disappointment due to the lack of pub-based discussion afterwards) and a week spent visiting Aisha’s family. I’ve used this time to watch a few new releases, but alas everything else is getting ignored. Sorry about that. The rest of the month is looking fairly uneventful though, except for the fact that I need to watch eight John Carpenter movies over the next six days in preparation for this coming weekend’s Lambcast, so I’m really starting to doubt whether I’ll meet my aim of finishing all of Hitchcock’s movies this month. Damn. Here’s what I watched this week:
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