How was your first week of 2017? Have you stuck with your New Year’s resolutions? Like my DP, I don’t really go in for such things, but I am trying to start some new habits; namely, walking for 30 minutes a day, drinking more water, and organizing the house. I figure that if I don’t call those ‘resolutions’ I might actually do them. Time will tell.
Aside from those modest attempts at self improvement, I’m pretty much sticking to my old habits, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Acorn TV (okay, that’s new. I got a year’s subscription for Christmas), where I spend a lot of time looking for something new and different, but not full of gratuitous sex, violence, and absurd plot twists. Here are a couple of recent discoveries.
Brokenwood Mysteries (Acorn TV). This is a nice cop show from New Zealand. It takes place in the small rural town of Brokenwood, where an irascible, middle-aged detective and his young, blond, female side-kick solve murders.
Sound familiar? He even drives a vintage car and listens to music (in this case country music) that no one else likes. There isn’t much violence, personal conflict, or action. It’s incredibly pleasant, although admittedly, if it didn’t have the New Zealand novelty factor, I might not watch. The big mystery — at least to me — is those weird Kiwi accents. What happened to the short e? It does not exist. Every e sounds like an i, thus “I entered the tent to establish his whereabouts” becomes “I intered the tint to istablish his whirabouts”. Go figure.
Conspiracy of Faith: a Department Q Mystery (Netflix). For those of you who like Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Carl Mørck mysteries, this is a TV version of one of the recent (2013) books.
I confess that neither main character is as I pictured, but it’s still worth a watch if you want something slightly grittier than “Brokenwood” but not too far out there.
Disorder (Netflix). This French film stars Belgian actor, Matthias Schoenaerts, and German actress, Diane Kruger, in what seems at first like a very tired plot: former soldier Schoenaerts, suffering from PTSD, becomes the bodyguard to the wife (Kruger) and young son of an arms dealer. Bad guys come after them.
It’s actually really well done, stylishly shot, and (spoiler) it has no sex, surprisingly little violence, and loads of tension. I really liked this movie and recommend it to all. Schoenaerts’ performance is particularly good.
Last and least, we have Black Water (Amazon), an Australian movie allegedly “inspired by frightening true events”, in which three people (husband, wife, and wife’s sister) fight for their lives against a man-eating crocodile when their boat overturns and leaves them trapped in a mangrove swamp in remotest northern Australia. What sets this movie apart from the run-of-the-mill animal horror movie is the fact that it was filmed on location and they used a real (heavily sedated) 14 foot crocodile. Who can blame the actress for looking a little nervous, even with the croc wrangler right there next to her.
Considering the premise, it was quite restrained, and I did not hate myself for watching the whole thing, so hey, that’s something. The film also teaches one very important lesson: never, never visit northern Australia!
Those are my media pics for now. Have a wonderful weekend and do let me know your reactions if you watch any of these (try Disorder).