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    Originally posted by Stumpy Pepys View Post
    As much as I like Netflix, I'm starting to wonder if they've just given up on movies, in order to concentrate on series. The current collection is looking very threadbare.
    Yes, can't say I'm overly impressed with Netflix. It's good, but it has the same strengths and failures as Amazon and Now TV, from what I've seen so far.

    Spent yesterday at home on the sofa with a poorly sra. stev9e. We watched the first episode of The Amazing Mrs Maisel, which was as good as everyone has said it would be. We then watched Jules and Jim, which was f*cking superb. I've said it before, but Amazon Prime really has some great films hidden away in its depths. I think we're going to watch Delicatessen today.

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      It's good, but it has the same strengths and failures as Amazon and Now TV,
      No, that's definitely not true. For the Amazon comparison, Netflix's stable of originals is vastly more extensive and generally better. It also, at least in the UK, is much more aggressive in getting new run US TV either contemporary with the US airing or very soon after the season ends. Amazon is starting to catch up, but it's not there yet, and it doesn't seem to do the international distribution thing anything like as much. For NowTV, Netflix is just massively superior as a service (and cheaper if you're getting both movies and TV). NowTV tops out at 720p. It doesn't have HDR. It doesn't have 5.1 audio. It inserts stupid NowTV bumpers into shows. You have to authorise each device you use it on. It's still worth considering just as a relatively cheap way to get HBO shows, but it's the worst of all the paid streaming services, as a streaming service.

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        I just subscribe to Now TV entertainment, don't do movies. I don't have a HDR TV or any special audio boxes, so all that tech stuff doesn't bother me. I definitely don't get Now TV messages coming up in the middle of a show.

        But my take on what's available in each service:

        Films - Amazon is the best by a long distance. Has good selection of new, old and foreign films.
        Original drama - Netflix is best but not by a massive margin.
        Non-original drama - Now TV has the stuff I want to watch by some distance.

        Biggest criticism of Now TV is the lack of subtitles, that's really frustrating. Netflix is excellent in that respect. But overall, none of the 3 are good enough to be a single solution, but they've all got enough on them at a reasonable enough price to subscribe.

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          Watched all of Altered Carbon on Netflix. Itís like a combo of Blade Runner, Neuromancer, the Matrix, hard-boiled noir, and a bit of Battlestar Galactica. In fact the references/R.I.P.-offs are overt. Itís a bit of a mess - especially toward the end of the season - but it looks good and does raise the usual Philip K Dick/Black Mirror kind of questions about the implications of artificial consciousness.

          Some reviewers are mad that the lead is played by a white guy - who is actually a Japanese-Slovak guy downloaded into a different body. And there is a lot of sex and violence, including some sexual-violence. I think the story is trying to use those as examples of how depraved people would be if theyíre free from consequences but, as with Blade Runner or any number of noir detective stories, some may see it as just needlessly ugly and hostile to female viewers. I can see both perspectives.


          I went to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Itís really good though the old people sitting near me didnít like it. Itís just about characters and how people learn to live with each other under awful circumstances. There isnít much of an arc or extensive plot. Thatís ok. Loads of good actors, including some pretty famous people in small roles.

          I watched the film - forget the exact title - about the psychologist who invented Wonder Woman. I recommend it if you like stuff like Masters of Sex or that one about the Kinseys. Itís about smart people with ideas about sex and womenís liberation that were not popular in their day. They may have been wrong, ultimately, but you have to admire their willingness to look at it as honestly as they could.

          Now iím watching Prime Suspect: Tennison. Itís a prequel to Prime Suspect set in 1973. I never watched much of Prime Suspect, but the early 70ís vibe was intriguing, the lead actress is stunning, and itís a good cop procedural. And itís got that guy who plays a London gangster in everything.

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            Saw the Prime Suspect prequel a few months back. Forgotten everything about it.

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              Originally posted by Amor de Cosmos View Post
              Saw the Prime Suspect prequel a few months back. Forgotten everything about it.
              So far it's a very Law & Order kind of plot - the daughter of a wealthy family gets involved with heroine and ends up strangled on the street. It looks like another sad case of a prostitute killed by a john...BUT WAIT...all is not as it seems. Then there's a running side-plot about some guys drilling a tunnel from the basement of a Greek cafe into a bank. That really happened, as I recall, and was the subject of that Jason Statham film. The connection between the two plots is not yet clear to me. Also, Tennison is struggling to be taken seriously by her male colleagues, fighting with her parents about her decision to become a cop, and having a relationship with her superior officer.

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                Sorry. Sounds vaguely familiar, but obviously nothing left much of impression.

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                  Iím getting into Sneaky Pete on Amazon. Itís about con-artists, mostly, who say things like ďHeís running a Spanish Prisoner. Iím gonna roll it up, but I need a crew.Ē Or ďThis better not go down like Kansas City - Itís not going to be like Kansas City.Ē

                  Itís got Bryan Cranston and the guy who played Danny Noonan, among others.

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                    Got to the end of Turn: Washington's Spies. Many good sequences and some fine acting, but patchy and stretching incredulity often.

                    SPOILERS:

                    The Americans are less glamourized and more morally ambiguous as the series goes on but then the last two episodes abandon that complexity in favour of happy resolutions.

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                      Originally posted by Satchmo Distel View Post
                      Got to the end of Turn: Washington's Spies. Many good sequences and some fine acting, but patchy and stretching incredulity often.

                      SPOILERS:

                      The Americans are less glamourized and more morally ambiguous as the series goes on but then the last two episodes abandon that complexity in favour of happy resolutions.
                      I think they were hoping to do another season but AMC pulled the plug, so it got rushed.

                      The real story *did* have a happy resolution as wars go, for everyone white, at least. The Americans won decisively at Yorktown. Britain realized the effort was no longer worth it and let us have independence, which worked out pretty well for the empire in the long-run anyway. The French aristocracy that supported the US to stick it to he British got their come-uppance.

                      Washington and Lafayette were treated as massive heroes and still are. Arnold was a pariah in both countries. Abe Woodhull and Caleb Brewster went on to have long fairly happy lives. George III became mentally ill, but was still a pretty good king as kingís go, as I recall.

                      Simcoe went to Canada where he did a lot to help found Ontario as we know it and opposed slavery (as mentioned in that bit at the end).

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                        Finished Babylon Berlin yesterday evening. I really hope it warrants a second season, it's constantly gripping story-telling with unmatched production values. The highest budget non-English speaking TV series ever made apparently. I just hope it finds a big enough international audience. I know many people won't watch anything with subtitles, which is going to be a constraint on sales unfortunately.

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                          Films - Amazon is the best by a long distance. Has good selection of new, old and foreign films.
                          Original drama - Netflix is best but not by a massive margin.
                          Non-original drama - Now TV has the stuff I want to watch by some distance
                          I could broadly agree with this but your tastes in drama must be very different to mine. The only drama I watch on NowTV is the HBO stuff and the occasional FX show (eg Legion, Archer). I watch way more on the other services. It still justifies the fee, but it would be the first service i dropped if I were going to.

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                            Originally posted by Amor de Cosmos View Post
                            Finished Babylon Berlin yesterday evening. I really hope it warrants a second season, it's constantly gripping story-telling with unmatched production values. The highest budget non-English speaking TV series ever made apparently. I just hope it finds a big enough international audience. I know many people won't watch anything with subtitles, which is going to be a constraint on sales unfortunately.
                            I want to try it, but subtitles, especially with German, give me a headache.

                            I used my "free trial" of showtime to knock out the first season of SMILF, which is pretty good and I also started on season six of Homeland before remembering that as much as I like Clare Danes, the show is pretty ridiculous.

                            I'm just going around to all the pay-channels Amazon offers and watching stuff during the free week trial. I wonder if I can do it all again in a year?

                            I'm currently looking into the Masterpiece Theater one. I'm watching Victoria, but I don't know if I'll stick with it. I may give Poldark a chance.

                            There's also a "broadway channel." I'm not interested in the musicals, but it has a bunch of Shakespeare I would like.

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                              Iím watching Babylon Berlin. I like it so far.

                              Itís supposed to start in 1929, right? But the Fourth International - mentioned in the second episode - wasnít named that until 1936. Is that an anachronism?

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                                I've no idea. Maybe it's more what the Trotskyites in Berlin were calling for at that time? The season does begin in 1929, but the series of books its based on goes to 1934. That's why I'm hoping for more. (If I was forty years younger I'd be madly in love with Charlotte.)

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                                  Essentially yes. The groundwork for what would become the Fourth International pre-dated Hitler's seizure of power.

                                  From Wiki

                                  In the early 1930s, Trotsky and his supporters believed that Stalin's influence over the Third International could still be fought from within and slowly rolled back. They organised themselves into the International Left Opposition in 1930, which was intended to be a group of anti-Stalinist dissenters within the Third International. Stalin's supporters, who dominated the International, would no longer tolerate dissent. All Trotskyists, and those suspected of being influenced by Trotskyism, were expelled.

                                  Trotsky claimed that the Third Period policies of the Comintern had contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, and that its turn to a popular front policy (aiming to unite all ostensibly anti-fascist forces) sowed illusions in reformism and pacifism and "clear[ed] the road for a fascist overturn". By 1935 he claimed that the Comintern had fallen irredeemably into the hands of the Stalinist bureaucracy.[10] He and his supporters, expelled from the Third International, participated in a conference of the London Bureau of socialist parties outside both the Socialist International and the Comintern. Three of those parties joined the Left Opposition in signing a document written by Trotsky calling for a Fourth International, which became known as the "Declaration of Four". Of those, two soon distanced themselves from the agreement, but the Dutch Revolutionary Socialist Party worked with the International Left Opposition to declare the International Communist League.

                                  This position was contested by Andrťs Nin and some other members of the League who did not support the call for a new International. This group prioritised regroupment with other communist oppositions, principally the International Communist Opposition (ICO), linked to the Right Opposition in the Soviet Party, a regroupment which eventually led to the formation of the International Bureau for Revolutionary Socialist Unity. Trotsky considered those organisations to be centrist. Despite Trotsky, the Spanish section merged with the Spanish section of ICO, forming the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM). Trotsky claimed the merger was to be a capitulation to centrism. The Socialist Workers' Party of Germany, a left split from the Social Democratic Party of Germany founded in 1931, co-operated with the International Left Opposition briefly in 1933 but soon abandoned the call for a new International.

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                                    Yeah. It seems that there was already a growing Trotskyist movement against Stalinism, but it wasnít called the Fourth International quite yet. But thatís ok. The point in the show is that that guy, whose name I forget, and his Russian girlfriend, whose name I forget, are Trotskyists. That will no doubt get complicated as, I guess, there are Stalinist operatives in Germany at this time as well as, of course, the militarists who will evolve into the Nazis.

                                    This also led me down a wikihole and I read the whole summary of Troskyism. I knew the JPF/PFJ joke was based on a real history of left-wing groups splintering, but I had no idea how bad it really was. According to Wiki, the US alone has or has had at leas 13 different Trotskyist parties, none of which Iíd ever heard of. Britain has had at least that many too.

                                    No wonder the tyrants win. They just murder their opposition or get everyone onside by spreading around wealth and favors. Trying to actually get everyone to agree to row in the same direction is very hard.

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                                      I'm currently looking into the Masterpiece Theater one. I'm watching Victoria, but I don't know if I'll stick with it. I may give Poldark a chance.

                                      There's also a "broadway channel." I'm not interested in the musicals, but it has a bunch of Shakespeare I would like.


                                      Is that the new Victoria, with the very flattering casting? the thing about all of these dramas about monarchy, is that if the people involved were as good looking as the actors portraying them, they'd probably have a very different outlook on life. (And the giant Henry VIII would probably never have taken a lance to the face, and suffered a serious brain injury if he was Jonathan Rhys Myers sized.)

                                      This is probably a much better series about Victoria. She was an absolute fucking maniac.
                                      Last edited by The Awesome Berbaslug!!!; 15-02-2018, 09:50.

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                                        Originally posted by Hot Pepsi View Post
                                        I may give Poldark a chance.
                                        Two episodes is about all you need of Poldark. It very quickly becomes silly and repetitive, and by the second series the arch knowingness about Poldark's shirt coming off at regular intervals makes it all but unwatchable.

                                        Watched the first of the new series of Shetland yesterday. It is well played and the scenery is gloomily impressive, without deviating very far from the Nordic norm.

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                                          I think Poldark has enough about it up until around the end of series two. Since then it has been far too 'by the numbers' though I still watched series three (and will probably do so with the fourth) out of Sunday night habit.

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                                            Originally posted by The Awesome Berbaslug!!! View Post
                                            I'm currently looking into the Masterpiece Theater one. I'm watching Victoria, but I don't know if I'll stick with it. I may give Poldark a chance.

                                            There's also a "broadway channel." I'm not interested in the musicals, but it has a bunch of Shakespeare I would like.


                                            Is that the new Victoria, with the very flattering casting? the thing about all of these dramas about monarchy, is that if the people involved were as good looking as the actors portraying them, they'd probably have a very different outlook on life. (And the giant Henry VIII would probably never have taken a lance to the face, and suffered a serious brain injury if he was Jonathan Rhys Myers sized.)

                                            This is probably a much better series about Victoria. She was an absolute fucking maniac.
                                            Yeah, this one is more romantic. Jenna Coleman plays Victoria and Rufus Sewell plays Lord Melbourne. So far itís very similar to the film with Emily Blunt about Victoriaís early days, except this one makes it explicit that, in the imagination of the writers at least, Vicky wanted to fuck Melbourne and told him so.

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                                              It's cack — but we're watching it, naturally. Series two is even more cack than series one, as it slips comfortably into Downton Abbey territory.

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                                                The point in the show is that that guy, whose name I forget, and his Russian girlfriend, whose name I forget, are Trotskyists.

                                                Ah, but are they? ....Don't look away.

                                                That will no doubt get complicated as, I guess, there are Stalinist operatives in Germany at this time as well as, of course, the militarists who will evolve into the Nazis.

                                                The Stalinists are, of course the Soviet government, with an embassy and stuff. I don't want to get into spoiler territory but, one of the good things about the series is it shows that though there were loads of right wing groups, many with high contacts inside the government, the Nazis weren't a major factor in Berlin at that time (1929.) Nor was there much overt anti-semitism. It's really an eye-opener in showing how quickly things can turn in a volatile situation.

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                                                  Boycotting all the royal shit but am catching up with Fargo

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                                                    Originally posted by Amor de Cosmos View Post
                                                    The point in the show is that that guy, whose name I forget, and his Russian girlfriend, whose name I forget, are Trotskyists.

                                                    Ah, but are they? ....Don't look away.

                                                    That will no doubt get complicated as, I guess, there are Stalinist operatives in Germany at this time as well as, of course, the militarists who will evolve into the Nazis.

                                                    The Stalinists are, of course the Soviet government, with an embassy and stuff. I don't want to get into spoiler territory but, one of the good things about the series is it shows that though there were loads of right wing groups, many with high contacts inside the government, the Nazis weren't a major factor in Berlin at that time (1929.) Nor was there much overt anti-semitism. It's really an eye-opener in showing how quickly things can turn in a volatile situation.
                                                    She's working for the Soviets, I gather.

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