celticman's blog

Documentary of 2020: Once Upon a Time in Iraq, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, Narrator Andy Serkis and Director James Bluemel

Once Upon a Time in Iraq, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, Narrator Andy Serkis and Director James Bluemel. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000kxwq/once-upon-a-time-in-iraq-series-1-1-war https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000l43w/once-upon-a-time-in-iraq-series-1-2-insurgency https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08kr4ws/once-upon-a-time-in-iraq-series-1-3-fallujah https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08kr52c/once-upon-a-time-in-iraq-series-1-...

The Death of Stalin, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer directed by Armando Iannucci.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000qrrc/the-death-of-stalin I’ve read a couple of books on Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore. I get who he is, or was. Armando Iannucci concentrates on Stalin’s death and the scramble for power among his henchmen of torturers and mass murderers. It’s played out as farce. For example, in the opening scenes Stalin, who loved music (and books) rings a studio in Moscow and tells the presenter of the radio...

Best film of 2020, Lynn + Lucy, BBC iPlayer, written and directed by Fyzal Boulifa.

Lynn + Lucy (Roxanne Scrimshaw + Nichola Burley) wasn’t the kind of film I usually watch. It seemed like Brookside transported to Harlow, Essex. Yeh, I’m snobby that way. ‘You alright? Yeh, I’m alright. You alright?’ Lynn + Lucy went to school together, best mates, forever. Lynn has been married to Paul (Shaq B Grant) for ten years and they have a daughter Lola (Tia Nelson). They got married when she was sixteen and pregnant. He’s off sick from...

Stieg Larsson (2010) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland.

When Mikael Blomkvist is holed up in cottage in the Vanger estate and can’t think he reads detective novels. I do that too. Hence The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (and the first 100 pages of The Girl Who Kicks the Hornets’ Nest ). Blomkvist namechecks Val McDermid The Mermaids Singing and some other—to me—obscure Scandinavian detective novels. In short, Blomkvist was behaving like a real person. He was behaving like me, which might have been you...

The Mercy, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, director James Marsh.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000q5z3/the-mercy Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds star in the story of serial British bungler Boris Johnson’s attempt to circumnavigate EEC regulation, buoyed by jingoistic support at home, while sending out false reports of his typical British derring-do, circling the globe far quicker than his competitors from his sinking ship anchored near the Portuguese coast. Based on a true story.

Lauren Groff (2008) the Monsters of Templeton.

I was surprised a panegyric to the Monsters of Templetown by Stephen King was on the back cover and not the front. I’d describe that as bad marketing, but perhaps this was not to confuse the reader, because despite the title there are no real monsters. Lorrie Moore describes the Monsters of Templeton on the front cover as, ‘A bold hybrid of a book’. What she means by that is the stories are factional, and it’s a love story of place as much as...

Will you take the Covid-19 vaccine(s)?

Will you take the Covid-19 vaccine(s)? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/06/the-vaccine-miracle-how-scientists-waged-the-battle-against-covid-19 Around 20% of us are unlikely to take the Covid-19 vaccine (there are more than one type of vaccine, but it is highly unlikely you’ll get a choice—unless you’re rich—which propriety brand you will get inoculated with). These are a vocal minority, let’s call them I’d-rather- smear-my-face-with-...

Flint, BBC Scotland, BBC iPlayer, narrator Alec Baldwin, writer Richard Phinney, director and editor Anthony Baxter.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000q1km/flint I fiound it strange that a crew from BBC Scotland led by Anthony Baxter should spend five years from 2014 filming a documentary about water pollution in Flint Michigan, the former home of General Motors, and the narrator is Alec Baldwin. We’re far from home. Remember around 25 years ago when John Gummer, the then Tory agricultural minister, fed his four-year-old daughter a burgher to prove the...

Dirty God, BBC2, BBC iPlayer, written by Susanne Farrell and Sacha Polak and directed by Sacha Polak.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000q5vv/dirty-god I expected this to begin with the acid attack. Instead Jade (Vicky Knight) is returning home, but still wearing a see-through face mask until her face settles. Her hopes are pinned on a miracle, that reconstructive facial surgery can return her to the fresh-faced girl she was before the attack. And not this ‘dog’s dinner,’ as she calls it. Hospital staff are supportive but warn her that...

Leo Tolstoy, Childhood, translated by C.J. Hogarth.

After reading War and Peace I felt that someone should gallop up and hang a medal around my neck. I’m easily confused and Russian names are Russian to me. Childhood is a much easier beast. Short pen-portraits of, for example, ‘The Tutor, Karl Ivanitch,’ ‘Mama,’ ‘Papa,’ ‘Lessons,’ ‘The Idiot’. His is a very structured life. Papa is a little god, all bow before him. He runs the estate with an iron grip. No rouble unaccounted for. Yet, he can lose...

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