Time to cancel Netflix?

Compound these pratfalls and shortcomings with another poorly timed price hike — it’s now over fifteen quid for the top tier membership — instated just as we’re starting to feel the fiscal bite of the cost of living crisis, and suddenly, murmurs of Netflix cancellation are getting louder. What doesn’t help the ‘flix argument is the sudden groundswell of quality content coming by way of its increasingly emboldened competitors: Apple TV+ has boasted a conveyor belt of strong series’ and films (including, to Netflix’s great dismay, their first Best Picture winner in CODA). Critics are increasingly arguing that Apple’s offer is now, in fact, the preeminent choice… More here.

Is it coincidence that I have been considering dropping Netflix? With Amazon Prime (postage as well etc), Disney+ and Apple TV+, Netflix is starting to look a bit dated and it is expensive by comparison.

Torn

When world renowned climber Alex Lowe was tragically lost in a deadly avalanche, his best friend and climbing partner went on to marry his widow and help raise his three sons. This profoundly intimate film from eldest son Max, captures the family’s intense personal journey toward understanding as they finally lay him to rest.

A really good documentary. It feels like the family should have had some of the conversations years before, but the fact they were captured on film is riveting.

Last Night In Soho

I watched Last Night In Soho a few days back and was somewhat perplexed by what I saw. It initially felt contrived and unoriginal, but I thought about the film and, strangely for me, watched it again the next day.

At this point, and specifically the ending, it all came together and I decided that it was magnificent. A very good story which almost gets lost in the visuals, but I am glad it didn’t.

Do you use Apple TV+?

Tom Hanks’ “Greyhound” and Billie Eilish’s documentary were well received, and when Apple debuted the first season of “Ted Lasso,” things started changing for the service. Even though the company still doesn’t share how many subscribers it has – rather, it only gives an idea of its best TV shows.

To The Information, a “person with known of the numbers” said that Apple TV+ had around 40 million subscribers in the summer of 2021. Approximately half of those subscribers are paying for the service, while the other half are on free trials of some sort… More here.

Apple TV+ remains a curiosity to me. Ted Lasso is excellent, Swan Song was a great film and the Billie Eilish documentary was revealing, but for whatever reason I have not watched much else.

I only use TV+ on a Fire TV Stick and would likely not pay for it were it not part of Apple One, but it does seem to be improving… slowly.

Tobias Zachary Ziegler

Sometimes it is hard to boil down the essence of what makes a character indelible. At other times though the depth of a character is clear. From his very first scene in the pilot all the way through to his last scene in the penultimate episode (“Institutional Memory”), Tobias Zachary Ziegler is irascible, uncompromising, and constantly on the edge of being overwhelmed. He is also funny, lovable, and self-effacing. There is something about the essence of Toby Ziegler, and of Richard Schiff’s performance, that is deeply affecting and speaks deeply to the viewer, and this makes the character one of the most compelling on The West Wing, and in the history of television… More here.

My favourite character from any TV series or film ever. Brilliantly complex, hilarious and so sullen it hurts. The human equivalent of Eeyore.

There is ‘nothing’ wrong with Love Actually

It is the festive romcom that gets millions of viewers into the Christmas spirit every year.

But now Richard Curtis’s star-studded film Love Actually has been attacked in a volley of hate comments from young, woke critics who have lambasted it as creepy, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic and even fat-shaming.

They accuse the writers of being offensive in a number of the 2003 film’s storylines, particularly those featuring actresses Keira Knightley and Martine McCutcheon… More here.

I hate the use of the terms ‘snowflakes’ and ‘woke’, and I hate linking to the Daily Mail, but I also hate that a film from 2003 is criticised for simply being of its time.

I am what this newspaper would call woke, but I am not a snowflake. Ironically the snowflakes tend to be on the right of politics because they get upset about literally everything and I suspect that this is just an attempt at a publication to make something a much bigger and louder deal than it actually is. They have often magnified single incidents to make it sound as though the country is turning left-wing and woke, and that is no doubt happening here, but…

If we start objecting to humour and comments from less than 20 years ago as being hateful and if we then do not see these films aired again what would we be left with?

We would have no history at all and almost everything from more than a decade ago could be off limits. Just imagine that.

As it happens, we watched Love Actually on Christmas Eve and it is one of only two Christmas films we watch each year with the other being Die Hard. Love Actually has one of the best casts ever seen in a film, a series of interlinked stories flowing through it and more iconic moments than almost any other film. It is joyful, uplifting and at times the humour is blunt, but the world would be poorer without it.

The moral of the story is to not read the Daily Mail, watch Love Actually and enjoy the humour, and to understand that Die Hard is a Christmas film.

PS. If you get a chance please watch Don’t Look Up on Netflix. Hilarious, brilliant cast and some interesting similarities to the Covid / Trump / Biden era.

Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen

“Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song” is a documentary about the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah,” and if that sounds like a lot of movie to devote to one song — well, “Hallelujah” is a lot of song. The way we think of it now, it’s epic and lovely and trancelike: a hymn cast in a pop idiom. You might call it a feel-good hymn for a secular society, because the word “hallelujah” has obvious religious connotations, and part of the reason that people feel so good listening to “Hallelujah,” or singing along with it in oversize stadiums, is that the song says to its audience: If you find this beautiful (and really, who doesn’t?), then you’re a spiritual person… More here. Thanks to Bob.

Looking forward to this!

Birds of Paradise

Share the wonder of the extraordinary place we call home. From exotic jungles to the deepest seas, open your eyes to the connections we all share. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

I know I sometimes say that you should watch things, but boy is this a must watch. It is just over 4 minutes and it is incredible! PLEASE WATCH IT!