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Homecoming (Amazon Prime)

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Matt Hough, Nov 5, 2018.

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  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I started watching this today. The first episode is unsettling, but it's going to take a few to get my bearings.

    The episodes are only 30 minutes if the first one is any indication. I don't know why I assumed they'd each be closer to an hour.
     
  2. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    What is this series about?
     
  3. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Interesting question. In the first episode, there were two timelines: Julia Roberts as a psychologist trying to help soldiers readjust to civilian life and then Julia Roberts as a waitress in a diner being asked questions about her time at the institute by a fed. But there seemed to be something else rather murky going on than these obvious set-ups. I'll know more when I've seen more than one episode.
     
  4. sleroi

    sleroi Second Unit

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    I tried to watch this yesterday and turned it off after the job interview role playing, about 20 minutes in. It felt like an hour. I was bored. None of the characters were interesting, the mystery wasn't particularly engrossing. I couldn't tell you what this was about, and really have no desire to find out.

    The promos for this looked intriguing, but it just didn't work for me at all.
     
  5. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    Tremendous show: every minute was compelling and engrossing. Sam Esmail and Noah Hawley are in a league of their own. The way this show is shot (and how Mr. Robot, and Hawley's Legion are shot) makes almost every other show on television look like amateur hour.

    The music reinforces each scene in a way that never feels manipulative (or at least not manipulative in the pejorative sense).

    Bobby Cannavale is always great, as is Shea Whigham. I'm not usually a fan of Julia Roberts, but she rises to the level demanded by an Esmail show.

    I am a fan of the podcast source material, so I was glad to see the adaption was in good hands.
     
  6. sleroi

    sleroi Second Unit

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    So I finished episode 1 and started episode 2. I got to the end of the Titanic rising story. Not that great nor funny a story, and Julia Roberts was way overlaughing/acting.

    I tried. I really did. But ive got plenty of other stuff to watch. Just not my cup of tea.
     
  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I don't binge these shows, so it'll take me a week or more to make it through enough of the show to have an honest opinion one way or the other. I am sufficiently intrigued to continue, and I like the lead actors enough to go all the way with it.
     
  8. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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  9. John Macri

    John Macri Stunt Coordinator

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    Watched the first two episodes and I'm done.
    Bizarre, artsy focus effects, and screen matting quickly became annoying. My wife may stay with it (probably for Julia Roberts) but I found the show pretentious and boring. Switched to the The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and now I'm hooked.
     
  10. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    Definitely quirky and mostly talk; you can see why this was an effective podcast, but I'm in for the short haul which is only 10 30-minute episodes. And the use of that soundtrack music is like an Easter egg hunt of spot the cues. It's funny how they are so good they add suspense to a scene or transition that essentially would have none, otherwise. But that's the power of music.

    The acting is also good, but I'll hold off overall critique until I see how this pays off. The director sure loves those directly overhead shots.
     
  11. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer

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  12. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    Great piece, David. Thanks for the link!

    To retread what I wrote above, Esmail's visual style is a league of its own (and joined with Noah Hawley). Some may say the look is bizarre or artsy. It's certainly artsy and even a tad pretentious at times. However, I would also say that it's deliberate: you know that each and every frame is precisely how Esmail wants it. Each shot, each camera move, each lighting choice--all done on purpose and with a purpose.

    Contrast this with almost (it seems...) every show on network TV, and a great many shows on cable. Sure, each shot is planned in that the director (or DP) plan "coverage." However, the shots are merely serviceable: boring and uninspired. You could say that, at least in some cases, the intent is stay out of the way of the dialogue--a good director knows when to stick to basic shots and let the actors and dialogue take centre stage. I agree that is appropriate in some circumstances; however, most shows with boring directing also have bland writing, so it's not like the directing is getting out of the way of anything.

    In Homecoming and Mr. Robot (and Hawley's Legion), the directing (like a good score) reinforces the story, its themes, and its dialogue.

    Some of the sequences in Homecoming are beautiful.
     
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  13. Matt Hough

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    To each his own, but I finished episode six tonight, and it is having no trouble holding my interest completely.
     
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  14. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Ok show. My rating: "B". The music was the best part for me.
     
  15. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    The one annoying thing about Esmails' directing, which he mostly avoids here, but is a standard in Mr. Robot, is framing the person facing a direction with their face almost up against the side frame and all the space behind them instead of leading them. This is like a direct violation of sensible framing or cinematography rules, which is obviously deliberate, but it comes off as too much a gimmick to me and draws too much attention to it being against norm.
     
  16. John Macri

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    Interesting stuff. No mention of the odd effects used in several scenes in the 2 episodes I watched where a subject's face was in focus but everything else (even close proximity areas like an arm or clothing) was misfocused into an ugly bokeh. Reminded me of effects from the 60's Outer Limits TV series, but on a large hi-res display I found this difficult to view and distracting.
     
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  17. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I finished episode seven last night, and I believe I see now where the series is going and what's actually happening. I'm hoping there will be some other kind of twist in the last three episodes, but I should know by the end of the weekend.
     
  18. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    The music spent on clearances for those classic film suspense cues was well spent because they are far superior to the overall material they are supporting here. Without it, I think this series falls flat and overextends its welcome (by four out of five hours).

    Anyone who grew up watching The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits has seen equal or better premises and twists. But this is populated with top tier actors, a big budget, quirky but effective directing, and those awesome music cues. It's worth sitting through to hear those cues again even as they add gravitas and suspense to sequences that really don't deserve them.

    But here's a real problem with the overall premise...

    Heidi's memory of her time at Geist has been wiped.... but not her mother's, who she goes to live with. In fact, in Episode 9, after Heidi's memory has finally been restored, her mother reminds her that the job was always fishy and she knew something was wrong about it. Okay, so how did it never come up in the time Heidi began living with her mother again? Was her mother part of the conspiracy? No. But it just never comes up while Heidi is now a waittress at Fat Morgan's? To me that's a big mistake in the premise that she has no memory of her former career. Surely her mother would have gone on about it. That's Spacek's character in this.

    But the payoff is good and Colin gets his comeuppance. Carrasco's left back in his cubicle, though. And it's a satisfying ending for Heidi seeing Walter reset and not re-deploying. But man, what would this show have been without those weighty cues? A so-so episode of Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone.
     
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  19. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I finished this today. I thought the series petered out a little bit in intensity in the last two episodes. Bittersweet ending was OK, but I guess I wanted more.
     

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