Watched Mad to Be Normal (2017)

Interesting subject that challenges our understanding of mental illness. In todays world, where we all have some kind of issue, R.D. Laing’s approach needs to examined, understood, and implemented. ‪I’m not an expert but it feels more holistic that traditional approaches. There are strong performances from a brilliantly assembled cast, that let a well crafted screenplay, tie them in all kinds of knots.‬

Watched VFW (2019)

This owes more than a little to John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 (1976). When a young woman takes refuge in a veterans bar, a small group of old soldiers defend their last post against a murderous gang of drug fuelled crazies. This shares more than just the plot with Carpenter’s film. There’s references to the great mans use of typeface, his style of titling, and the driving electronic beats of his scores. Beyond the obvious Carpenter references, it revels in the bright colour extremes and explosive gore you’d expect to see in one of Dario Argento’s “giallo” films of the 1970’s. There are great performances from a cast of veteran actors who feature in many of the VHS “grindhouse” films that might once have been slandered as “video nasties”. Entertaining stuff from new writers Max Brallier and Matthew McArdle, and the director Joe Begos, who’s other films I’ll be seeking out.

Finished watching Gangs of London (2020– )

Warring gangs, high finance, and political intrigue underpin possibly the most brutal television series I’ve ever seen. It’s well crafted, excelling from the writing on down. Bringing cinema style action to the small screen. Fight sequences that you don’t see on television. And gun battles Sam Peckinpah would be proud of. I have to admit this took me a while to get through. All in it runs to about nine and a half hours. I probably realised too late it’s one to take your time with. Bingeing though it will leave you dulled, mute to just how ferocious it is.

Watched Reality Z (2020– )

An interesting reworking of Charlie Brooker’s 2008 television series Dead Set. Transposed to Rio de Janeiro the original Big Brother backdrop is turned into something more Brazilian, a gameshow called Olympus. The first five episode run close to the original storyline, then it runs off in a new and interesting direction. These additional episodes blends perfectly with the original, opening out the story, and bringing all kinds of new drama. As you’d expect from the genre the blood and gore is viscous and sticky. But while Brooker’s original is a swipe at unreality of reality television, and a critique of that kind of celebrity. This deals with a more authoritarian world, plagued by corruption and criminality. There’s a bleakness to the way this all plays out that’s in keeping with the genre, and more importantly with the series. Definitely worth watching.