The Bodyguard – Review

The long awaited sequel to the 1992 smash hit starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner has finally come to Netflix. Kevin Costner reprises his role as the bodyguard as he goes on the rampage against street drugs. Cillian Murphy takes on the role of Bobby Brown in a highly controversial piece of casting, while modern technology continues to wow us as Whitney herself is brought back to life through holograms and CGI. Disclaimer: none of that is true and I apologoise to any Whitney fans who take offense.

Bodyguard aired originally on BBC One earlier this year to rave reviews. Richard Madden of Game of Thrones fame is PS David Budd, an ex-soldier suffering from PTSD who foils a suicide bomb attack on board a London-bound train. He is promoted to be a Personal Protection Officer for Julia Montague, Home Secretary and a politician who promotes the very war that ailed his mental health. She is attempting to introduce a new bill that allows the British armies to go on the offensive against countries deemed a threat of terrorism. Or something like that. I don’t pay attention to all the intricate bills and laws in tv shows. My minds on other things, like food and football.

There is an uproar in the public due to this forthcoming bill and as a result, several attempts are made on the Home Secretary’s life. Buds foils a few of these, drawing him closer to Montague and adding a romantic, dangerous element to their professional relationship. However, not is all as it seems. Montague seems to be involved in several dodgy dealings, some including her bodyguard, while Budd himself seems to be tied to these assassination attempts. Every character is in danger and most characters are suspects.

I won’t give away any major plot points. I do highly recommend the show. It is only six episodes long at around an hour apiece, with the final episode running at an hour and fifteen. From the very first scene the tension is palpable and it doesn’t really let up at all. After Budd and Montague become involved in the second episode we see the extent of the main characters acting abilities. Madden is exceptional throughout as the suffering veteran who struggles to decide whether he can stick to his job of protecting the secretary or if he should care what happens to her at all. Montague is played by Keeley Hawes. She is probably best known for her role on Ashes to Ashes, but she is fantastic here. At times charming and warm and at other times cold and calculated, she is always brilliant, even when she struggles to cope with a fresh attempt on her life.Sophie Rundle, of Peaky Blinders game, plays Budd’s estranged wife Vicky, and although she doesn’t get a hell of a lot of screen time she does well as the confused but heroic love interest.

My only problem with the show is the ending. Amidst all the twists and turns the writers seem to have gone with a bit of a cop out. I didn’t see it coming but I wasn’t impressed. I still thought the show was amazing but the final reveal is a let down. Be warned but have a watch anyways. It is on American Netflix!

The Doorman’s Daytime – Week 3

The one constant thing in a night shift doorman’s daytime is the easy access to programs on every streaming device, as well as movies, podcasts and articles. The odd sleep schedule that accompanies the job is a tad annoying. The reduced time you get to spend with friends is another grievance but once you are engrossed in a new show you stop feeling sorry for yourself and continue to vegetate. Episode after episode is consumed. Season after season is watched through increasingly aching eyes. You should really take a break, or at least use your phone for something more productive, but that’s too much effort. The only time legs are used are to swing your arse from the couch to the other part of the couch so your back doesn’t hurt anymore. Enough about my Tuesdays!
This week, I started going to the gym again. All summer long I used the excuse of the GAA season to not stay active. I played a handful of games and skipped the rest for work. So I decided that enough was enough and that I would eat healthier and cut out the eating out. The drawback to this increase in activity is the lack of time for binge-watching T.V. shows and movies. I can’t concentrate on podcasts when I exercise so I listened to Eminem’s new album.Let me tell you, that guy is angry! I didn’t watch as much this week because of this. I also didn’t read as much because I left my bag with all the books I’m currently reading in a friend’s house after an almighty session. I did use my night shifts to binge a few things instead of working. So let’s have a look.

Bojack Horseman (Season 5)

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I couldn’t remember much of the specifics of the first four seasons of Bojack because I binged them all separately and never together. I loved the show before and remembered the basics; Bojack is an asshole who sometimes redeems himself but always manages to ruin his life and other people’s lives; Diane is the book smart friend who may or may not have feelings for Bojack while being with someone else; Todd is the zany, typical comic relief who slowly develops into a rounded character; Princess Carolyn is the unlucky in love agent turned manager who can’t have kids while always batting for Bojack. I was not prepared for how much of their awful, sad lives that I couldn’t remember would come flooding back as I watched.
It is a truly fantastic show that is tough to watch because each episode packs a lot of jokes and comedy around a seismic gut-punch of emotional growth or regression in a character. The fourth season especially dives into Bojack’s childhood and his mother’s reasons for being cold and unloving. It was tough to binge that season because, while the episodes were marvellous and some are ranked in the top echelons of IMDbs top rated episodes, each one left me feeling emotionally drained.
Season 5 is no different. I’ll have to watch it through again to fully appreciate the season. The writers pull no punches, really plumming the depths to which we, the viewer, are willing to go to keep rooting for Bojack. He is plagued by demons even more so in this fifth outing and his past indiscretions are coming back to the surface.
Princess Carolyn spends the season putting out more fires and trying to adopt a baby. Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter have split up and are trying to wade through life without each other. Todd, now crashing on Princess Carolyn’s couch, finds himself in another wacky adventure as one of the top dogs at a website that tells people the time. This show is just fantastic.
Special mention goes to Episode 6, “Free Churro”. The entire twenty-five minutes is just Bojack delivering a heart-wrenching eulogy at his mother’s funeral. Television gold.

Crazy Rich Asians

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I do love a good rom-com. I enjoy the comedy, the always over the top endings and the soundtracks. Movies like About Time, Me Before You and Love, Rosie are some of my favourite movies of all time. They have interesting plots and are just the right amount of corny and cringy. That’s why I was surprised that I didn’t like this movie. The cast are all generically handsome or beautiful; there were sad English songs sang in Mandarin/Chinese; one of the climactic scenes was so over the top it as surreal. Despite all that, it just wasn’t good. The dialogue was clunky, the plot kind of raced along without a whole heap of context and the conflict between the two leads seemed forced. That being said, the aforementioned over the top scene was absolutely fantastic.
Funnily enough, I used to watch Glee, up until the fourth season when the show about an unbelievably diverse group of teenagers running around and singing and dancing in public became unbelievable. Harry Shum grew into one of the main characters. I had seen he was going to be in this movie and he was promoting it pretty heavily online. The prick wasn’t in the actual movie, only a mid-credits scene that apparently sets up two sequels. I was fully sure I just hadn’t seen him on screen.*
So, anyways, the movie is not bad but it is not a great rom-com. I do think it is important for movies of other cultures to be seen in the Western World and I am probably in love with Gemma Chan so that was a plus. But I wouldn’t pay $14 again to just enjoy a wedding scene.
*Disclaimer: I was high as a kite watching this movie so it very well could be an absolute masterpiece hahahahaha

Following up on last week, I didn’t finish Jack Ryan. It just got too much for me. They kept going on about a second 9/11 and I thought there would be more of John Krasinsky and less troubled military guys. I’ll try and finish it this week. We’ll see. I might let ye know. Happy watching!

The Doorman’s Daytime – Week 2

The Emmys took place this past Monday and it seems that streaming services have definitely taken the crown for television viewing. Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO swept the awards, the only awards for actual network television coming from late night talk shows and reality TV. Although SNL got a few awards which I am happy about.
There can be no real argument against this rise of streaming. Fantastic shows such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (haven’t watched it), Barry (haven’t watched it) and Godless (didn’t finish it) garnered multiple awards through their acting talent. In fact, if you look through the list of winners from the night you will see that most shows, nominees and winners are an “Original” from a webite or streaming service. Actors are getting drawn to the quality projects that sites such as Netflix, Hulu and Prime produce. They’re probably getting compensated pretty well for it at the same time.
The irony of it all is that broadcast television just aired their biggest loss of the war yet. Despite shows such as Game of Thrones, Westworld and Succession garnering viewers in real time as the show is first aired, a la broadcast television, the majority of users view the shows on demand. There are even plenty of Irish shows on these sites also. I’ll review these next week.
Anyways, after that diatribe, let me tell ye what I’ve been watching this week. Yes, they were all through streaming services.

The Good Place

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This comedy offering had been sitting in my Netflix list for months. I didn’t see the appeal based on the twenty seconds I watched of the trailer. Nothing was tickling my fancy one day so I threw it on and binged the two seasons in two days. It is nothing short of a masterpiece. Created by Michael Schur, who wrote episodes of the Office, Parks and Rec and Brooklyn 99, it blends drama, philosophical questions, mad fantasy and superb comedy into one unreal show.
It stars Kristin Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who wakes up in ‘the good place’, ie ‘Heaven”. The only thing is, she has been mixed up with another woman of the same name who was of much purer character. Hilarity ensues. The show stars Ted Danson as an ‘architect’, or angel, and he is definitely the funniest character in the show.
The rest of the cast are impeccable. Adam Scott, Dax Shepard and Maya Rudolph appear in guest roles throughout the series. Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, William Jackson Harper and D’Arcy Carden make up the rest of the main cast and while you may have not heard of most of them, they are all hilarious and perfect for their roles.
I would recommend watching this as soon as possible because season 3 premieres on Netflix the 27th of this month. Get to watchin’ and don’t be chillin’ while doin’ it ya sick pervs.

Jack Ryan

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Amazon Prime has been advertising the hell out of this eight part thriller based on Tom Clancy’s novel of the same name. It seems to have made its mark with over 140 countries around the world streaming the show. The show focuses on CIA analyst Jack Ryan who is drawn into the world of active anti-terrorism, showing he is much more than a desk-jockey.
John Krasinsky plays the titular character. He directed and starred in the horror hit of the year, A Quiet Place, but is better known by millions around the world for his role as Jim in the American Office.
The show itself is action packed with many twists and turns, but that is to be expected. It’s not as action packed as I’d like, however. The dialogue that takes place whenever the terrorist leader Suliman is on screen is brilliant and the tension is palpable. Krasinsky doesn’t feature half as much as we were led to believe in the trailers, a lot of screen time being given to the villain’s story.
This show is bound to draw criticism for apparent Islamophobia and inciting hatred given the subject matter. I would disagree, given that it paints the Americans and Europeans in just as bad a light. The world can no longer be painted in black or white as everybody’s motives are drawn into question.
Jack Ryan is worth a watch but I wouldn’t go subscribing to Amazon Prime just because of the show.

White Boy Rick

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White Boy Rick tells the story of Rick Wershey Jr., a teenage drug kingpin in Detroit in the mid 1980s. The film charts his rise from a gang associate to drug lord between the ages of 14 to 17, as well as the FBI coaching him on how to drugdeal and snitch while paying him. The film depicts the hard and cold nature of Detroit in that decade, especially for Rick, who must deal with his runaway drug addict sister, his father who wastes his time selling guns and thinking of his video-store business, the FBI who keep hounding him to sell drugs and obtain information for them and an increasingly suspicious gang leader who may have it in for our titular character.
Hollywood heavyweights Matthew McConnaughey, Bruce Dern and Jennifer Jason Leigh lend the star power to this one but Richie Merritt, who plays Rick, is a future star and is definitely a new force to be reckoned with.
It is a very good movie that could have used a bit more action in the final third, but well worth the money for a watch.

The Doorman’s Daytime – Week 1

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am going to up the effort on the blogs. I enjoy writing them but I’ve gotten lazy over the summer. The weather in New York has recently taken a turn for the wet but it was a mighty three months that was full of booze, craic and the odd bit of exercise. Plenty of time for writing but have I done much? Not in the grand scheme of things! With the move home fast approaching and what promises to be a tough academic year following fast in its stead, I realised that I better get the finger out.
The beauty of the night shift is that throughout the morning and early afternoon, when the lads are gone to work and before I go to sleep, I have the freedom of the T.V. and the house. This means that I can watch what I want and do what I want, which usually consists of Netflix and Playstation. Pornhub blasts solidly in the background. Lol. Kinda JK.
Anyways, the doorman’s daytime is just a fun little play on words. Look at us all having fun. We’re just a regular bunch of rascals! Daytime was literally the only word beginning with the letter ‘d’ that I could think of that related to this weekly series on my recommendations of movies, books and T.V. shows. We’ll see how consistent I am.

Eighth Grade

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Bo Burnham has been one of my favourite comedians and performers for the past…12 years? Jesus. Time is a bitch. He first arrived on the scene when YouTube was still somewhat of a fledgling website. He sang funny, crude songs and was a flamboyant performer. He graduated to comedy shows and bit parts in movies, but his Netflix specials were a joy to behold. His blend of choreographed intros, hilarious and thought-provoking songs and almost alarming self-deprecation was his crowning glory. That is, until his directorial debut came out.
Eighth Grade tells the story of a shy, self-conscious girl named Kayla during her last week of eighth grade. She is awkward, an introvert and has a sever lack of confidence. In short, she is all of us at one point or another in our lives. She slowly grows in confidence throughout the movie but it ultimately almost all comes crashing down. An indie movie if I ever saw one, the flick is not for everyone, but there is a profound connection that I think almost everyone will feel to the main character or to a number of side characters. It also deals with a number of serious issues, not least sexual harassment and gaslighting. It will be on Itunes Movies in the coming weeks, I believe.

Dennis Lehane

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Boston-born author Dennis Lehane is a writer who I didn’t know that I knew. His novels, Shutter Island, and Gone Baby, Gone are two of my favourite films of all time. Shutter Island rocked me in the cinema when it first came out, the ending being one of the first times a twist had struck me to my core. I watched Gone Baby, Gone, for the first time about a month ago. I was speechless at the end. I couldn’t believe it.
I am a massive fan of IMDB and love going down the rabbit hole and spending hours trawling through actors and trivia of different films. It just so happens that both films were based on novels written by Lehane, so I bit the bullet and ordered the two novels from Amazon. I got them on the Monday and they were finished by the Friday. Both novels are gripping and the twists and turns are numerous. Shutter Island is a bit more faithful to the book than the Casey Affleck led film but both books have that tiny bit more that makes them a slight superior to the big screen. I have always been a fan of both literature and film and I couldn’t recommend both forms for these fantastic pieces of work. Dennis Lehane is well worth a look for all of his work.

Psych

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Unfortunately, I have been slacking on my television binges. I still have to watch Ozark season 2 and I am currently rewatching the Office for the fourth time. I have a long list on netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime respectively to get through but at least I will have plenty of material for this series of blogs. However, a not so hidden gem called Psych, a show revolving around a young man with a good eye for detail and a skill for noticing obscure things pretends to be a psychic for the local police department, is in all its eight season glory on Amazon Prime*. The show was shown periodically for a while on RTE 2, but that was late at night or early in the afternoon, and it wasn’t always in order either. Like, what is the actual sense in that? RTE mess up so many shows.
The dynamic between the main cast of the show is brilliant and the show which is literally about a guy petending to be a psychic, doesn’t get old or tacky. There is a fresh storyline in each episode and there’s almost always a fairly attractive female guest star. She almost alwaays turns out to be a villain or an accessory to a villain, which is odd. But she’s hot so it’s all good. Right?

*Is Amazon Prime a thing in Ireland? It’s fecking class, lads.