The Undoing (HBO 2020)

5 Kernels

I binged the first five episodes this weekend, and then topped it off with the newly released season finale. It did not disappoint.

Let me say that Hugh Grant ages well. He will be handsome until his dying day. However, I never thought him a great actor until seeing him in this production of The Undoing. Stellar performance along side Nicole Kidman, who ruins my self esteem as I see her skinny body at 53 years of age and beautiful hair. Besides the physical appearances of these two stars, they make a great couple in this thriller of a story of who done it.

Meet Dr. Johnathan Fraser, an oncologist, and Grace Fraser, his wife, the psychologist. They are a power couple, rich, happy, with a fine young son attending a private school for the rich. Then arrives Elena into Grace’s circle of friends helping with the annual fund raiser for their school. She’s not as classy or rich, because her son has a scholarship. She comes to their first meeting, with a baby in arms, and unashamedly breastfeeds her daughter in front of the women. Needless to say it’s easy to see she’s not from their class.

As Elena oddly greets and speaks with Grace, she becomes uneasy and tells her husband about it. He laughs it off, but unbeknown to Grace there is more to the story than meets the eye. When Elena ends up dead, cruelly bludgeoned to death, the truth seeps out in bits and pieces “undoing” their perfect family picture.

Rather than spoil the show for you, I’ll highly recommend this series as a must watch for those who love the thriller who-done-it type stories. I hope Hugh gets a nod of an award for this performance. It was fantastic.

The Crown (Netflix Season 4)

4-1/2 Kernels

It took me two days to get through season four of The Crown. The first three episodes gave me an emotional overload, and I had to step away from it for a good four hours before watching more later in the evening. Let me just say that the season was surprisingly different than I anticipated but did bring me to tears on many occasions, especially when it came to Diana. Emma Corrin did a wonderful job in portraying the late Princess, reminding us why she was the people’s Princess despite being unloved by her Prince.

I had thought that season four would contain more of Charles and Diana, but it was interspersed with others such as Margaret Thatcher’s eleven years in office, and continuing struggles of the royal family on many levels with all of the Queen’s children being introduced. If anything is to be taken away from this season is that poor Diana married into Queen’s kingdom of dysfunctional individuals, without a soul really caring for her at all.

You will spend a few good hours watching Gillian Anderson’s brilliant portrayal of the Iron Lady and her political policies that didn’t always sit well with the Queen. Charles Dance will have a short window of opportunity before his ill-fated trip as Lord Mountbatten. Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret will continue to struggle with her physical and mental health in the shadow of her sister. Erin Doherty plays the very monotone and unhappy Princess Anne, only one of four miserable children all bemoaning their existence of being an unhappy royal child. Emerald Fennel plays Camilla, who by the end of the season you want to slap. Josh O’Connor, whose hands are perpetually in his suitcoat pockets, plays the unhappy Prince of Wales. He is both childish and cruel to Diana on so many levels that you pray it really didn’t happen that way. It’s not a pretty picture.

The Queen is the Queen, and Oliva Colman is perfect being the monarch who cannot show emotion. She is unable to return a simple hug to poor Diana so much in need of acceptance and love. In one episode she is concerned about how her children have turned out and their lives as adults. Nevertheless, she continues to demand duty to the crown, especially where whining Charles is concerned about his marriage to Diana.

Prince Philip is well portrayed by Tobias Menzies, who comes across more of a father figure this season. In a family who doesn’t give much attention to Diana, he becomes her approver early on and adviser at the end, clearly making her understand where her place is when it comes to the royal scheme of life – that everyone’s existence revolves around one person – the Queen.

As stated, I wanted more about Charles and Diana, but what is portrayed is so emotional that we’ve been spared additional heartbreak. Supposedly in real life he only saw her thirteen times before they wed. Diana was approved because of her title to be his wife, but he never loved her. He longs for Camilla, married to another man, with an obsession that is unexplainable. You’ll see very little about the birth of William and Harry, although there are a few scenes with the young children with her individually or when Charles and Diana show up as a couple separately to cheer them on, and then leave in separate cars afterwards to go their own ways.

Season four is heartbreaking, astonishing, disturbing, and above all well acted. The ending will leave you feeling like the look on Diana’s face during the last scene – brokenhearted and trapped in a family of dysfunctional royals.

Season five will bring us all new actors as the years go by and the royal family ages. Unfortunately, it’s another year’s wait to watch the family saga continue.

‘The Crown’ Seasons 5 and 6: New Cast Members, Timeline and Everything We Know

With The Crown season 4 now streaming on Netflix, anticipation for the upcoming next two seasons of the Emmy-winning historical drama about the royal family is already ramping up. Over the past few months, the streaming platform announced some of the new stars taking over for the current cast in season 5 — prepare to say goodbye to Olivia Colman and hello to Imelda Staunton — and confirmed that season 6 will be its last. Per the tradition of the series, The Crown recasts the lead roles every two seasons, meaning that following seasons 3 and 4 audiences will get a whole new cast.

Source: ‘The Crown’ Seasons 5 and 6: New Cast Members, Timeline and Everything We Know

Rebecca (Netflix 2020)

3 Kernels

Last night I watched Rebecca. It was my first time being introduced to this story. Yes, I know it’s a classic. Yes, I know Alfred Hitchcock probably did it better in 1940. It’s a Gothic tale by Daphne du Maurier. (I tried to read the book but got buried alive in words.) Unfortunately, it’s got a rotten tomato attached to it with a big green splat on the website of the same name.

The second Mrs. DeWinters (Lilly James), Maxim DeWinter (Armie Hammer), Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) are the cast in this 2020 remake. The story revolves around a young lady, who is the companion of an older woman. While staying in Monte Carlo, they cross paths with Maxim DeWinter, a brooding widowed aristocrat. After a quick romance, he marries the the young lady, and brings her back to Manderly, his ancestral home.

Soon after the new Mrs. DeWinters arrives, it’s obvious that Rebecca, his former wife, had been the center of attention. Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, is obsessed with keeping her memory alive at the estate. The arrival of the new Mrs. DeWinters does not sit well with her, and she embarks on the task of undermining the new wife and driving her crazy.

Lilly James brings a lot of angst to the role, depicting the Mrs. DeWinters as a rather uptight, fragile, and far too gullible woman. Her new husband is aloof, secretive, and will not talk about Rebecca at all. Mrs. Danvers, makes it a point to talk about her all the time. She apparently tragically drowned, or so they say.

There are insinuations Rebecca haunts Manderly, but there is no haunting to speak of. Some of the story makes no sense to me — sorry, I see plot holes here and there, or perhaps it was how the 2020 film was presented. My gut feeling is that you really don’t get an in-depth look at the personalities of these people on a short film, comparing to the character development you find in a novel.

I cannot rave about it. You can keep it on hand for a psychological thriller on a rainy night, but I wouldn’t worry about being very spooked at this Gothic tale. The only crazy person you really need to worry about is the creepy Mrs. Danvers.

The Spanish Princess Season 2 Returning Cast & New Character Guide

The first episode was well worth the watch.  Fantastic costumes, well-acted, and a great start.

The Spanish Princess returns to Starz for its second and final season. Here’s who’s who in the cast led by Charlotte Hope as Catherine of Aragon.

Source: The Spanish Princess Season 2 Returning Cast & New Character Guide