Week 1: 1st – 7th Jan

lalalandSherlock: The Six Thatchers

I’m very much one of those happy to go along with the bonkers, arc-driven ride that is Moffat and Gatiss’s Sherlock – I’ve no more interest in seeing this Holmes solve a different crime each week than I have Saga Noren. The first episode of Series 4 was gorgeous-looking thanks to the inventive directing of Rachel Talalay, and my suspicion is that nothing much was at it seemed. [SPOILERS NOW!] Mary dead? I suspect not. John unfaithful? Again, seems unlikely. As for Sherrinford, a third brother would demand A-list casting, and I’m not sure that would be kept under wraps. Is it Mary herself? Mycroft always knows more than he lets on.

La La Land

Perhaps not quite the five star masterpiece I’ve seen it hailed as, this is absolutely a beautifully romantic, uplifting movie, pleasingly obsessed with the golden age of Hollywood. Ryan Gosling (a much more interesting comedy actor than he is a straight one in my opinion – do see The Nice Guys) and Emma Stone are as winningly watchable as ever, but while having B+ singers and dancers as the leads is a compromise worth making when it means you get these two in your movie, it is, nevertheless, a compromise. 100% recommended though, and a perfectly sunny antidote to dreary winter nights.

In the Heights

I was very happy to see this just before it leaves London, if only so I can reach peak-indie once Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rather better known Hamilton reaches the West End in November and I can say “yeah, I preferred his early stuff”. Set in a largely  Dominican-American community in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, its greatest achievement is Miranda’s brilliant fusion of hip hop and r&b with the salsa rhythms of its residents’ home countries. The story is pretty basic, but it’s dynamic, involving, and says insightful, considered things about the struggles and successes of starting out life in a new country.

Uncle: Series 3, Episode 1

Consistently funny and surprisingly sweet, Uncle has returned with one of its best episodes, in which Andy wrestles with the idea of being a father. It’s a shame that this is the last series, as the show has really benefited from evolving from a two-man show into a real ensemble piece, with a lovely gang of characters. The best sitcom around at the mo.