TV and Movies (#SFWApro)

Season Three of the BBC’s SHERLOCK has Benedict Cumberpatch return from the dead to find Watson about to get married to Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington). As he and Watson reconstruct their friendship (Watson is understandably unhappy Holmes neglected to mention staying alive), they take on the usual array of cases, but I think the personal interactions make for more fun than the mysteries. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Mary comes across as a fun character who likes Holmes and is open to him dragging Watson off on adventures; a good season, though I thought some of the elements in the final episode (His Last Vow) were too implausible.

After reading Picnic at Hanging Rock, I decided to check out the movie, which I’d watched years ago. PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975) improves on second viewing, though I’m still not as blown away with it as many people are. It’s much more narrowly focused on the ripple effects of the four girls’ disappearance than the book was, and comes off more openly supernatural. I think, though, that’s just the effect of seeing the events rather than reading about them. Worth a look. “Do your best to forbid any idle or morbid gossip about this wretched business.”
CAPTAIN AMERICA: The Winter Soldier (2014) is the sequel in which Captain America learns SHIELD under director Alexander Pearce (Robert Redford) is about to launch flying super-weapons for making pre-emptive strikes against America’s enemies. And no sooner does he suggest this is a seriously bad idea than he and Nick Fury find themselves in a world of trouble. A good thriller (though anyone who caught last week’s Agents of SHIELD first will get lots of spoilers) with plot elements that would qualify for my Screen Enemies of the American Way book; Scarlett Johansson plays the Black Widow and Anthony Mackie becomes the Falcon (though I’m curious if making him a VA counselor rather than the comics’ social worker is because social work is now regarded as People Who Hand Out Our Tax Money to Welfare Cheats). On the downside, turning the French mercenary Batroc of the comics into a murderous Algerian assassin feels like blatant anti-Arab stereotyping. Despite that, a very good film. “I’m sorry, did I step on your moment?”

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