Good Watch: Doctor Sleep #movie #horror#GoodWatch #QuarantineLife @DoctorSleepFilm @HBOMax

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I do not like most horror movies. Doctor Sleep was the kind of horror movie I like. There were no obviously stupid moves made by the characters, which means two things: 1) the writing was uncharacteristically tight; and 2) I wound up rooting for the good guys. When people do stupid things in movies, I always think to myself, “Well, I’m glad you’re going to die, dumb ass.” The movie serves as a sequel to 1980’s the Shining. In that story, a father, mother, and son were staying in a remote Colorado hotel during the off-season. Spirits were awakened and possessed the father, who tried to kill them both. Snowed in from the customary weather, the mother and son were left with few options, so they had to fight back. Doctor Sleep is the story of SPOILER ALERT the son, who survived along with his mother, and now faces a completely different threat. While he could continue to keep himself hidden, he connects with another like him — a young girl — and feels compelled to help her as someone once helped him (and still does).

As a sequel to the Shining, it also tugged on the nostalgia heartstrings quite a bit, which may mean nothing to you. I saw the Shining in the theater when I was 12 years old. That was a fantastic movie, and Doctor Sleep did a great job of lining up with the Shining while still carving out its own path. For what it’s worth, its scores on Rotton Tomatoes are 77% from the critics (who don’t matter to me; well, usually), and 89% from the audience. These aren’t as good as the 85%/93% the Shining received, but close enough for you to consider it.

Doctor Sleep is currently streaming on HBO. As always, YMMV.

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Good Watch: Penny Dreadful. Well, maybe a mediocre watch. @WesleyStudi #showtime #pennydreadful #goodwatch

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My latest binge target is Penny Dreadful. It’s a three-season Showtime/Sky Atlantic series that’s currently on Netflix. The seasons are 8, 10, and 9 episodes, each just under 60 minutes long. The series accomplishes what Universal Studios has been unsuccessfully trying to do on the big screen for some time: A shared monster universe. It’s brought together the legends of vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein’s monster, Dorian Gray, and others.

Some of the actors are new to me, but the show is anchored by veteran actors Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett (playing an ultimately sympathetic Ethan), David Warner, and Eva Green. Joining them is an actor that’s new to me, Harry Treadway. I was happy with him as the redeemed villain, Narek, in Star Trek: Picard. Another actor with which I’m familiar that will join the cast in season 3 is Wes Studi, who’s strangely the only actor I’ve mentioned that’s on Twitter. I was happy with most of the other actors, who are all new to me (as far as I can remember).

I find the show weird, but considering the subject matter, how could it not be? It’s also not for children, and not just because of the horror content. One interesting thing about this show is that it brings all the different supernatural creatures into the story very quickly. That is, you don’t need to wait very long to see your first vampire if that’s why you’re tuning in. Paradoxically, however, there are times in the middle of season one where everything slows to a crawl. Season 1, episode 7 (“Possession”) felt like it was two hours long. I had to look at the time stamp to verify it was a regular-length episode. It doesn’t speed up from there. With almost two seasons (of three) complete, I still don’t know who “the master” is. Satan or something? I don’t know. I’m having trouble focusing at this point. In any case, get on with it!

While this is not what I’d consider top tier television, it’s reasonably enjoyable. However, the only reason I’ll finish it is because I’m a compulsive completionist. There are better things to watch. As always, YMMV.

If you’re into the horror genre, unrealistic redemption among estranged family members, and over-the-top British courtesy, you may enjoy it more than I.

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