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6 reviews in total 
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Ultimately unsatisfying, 5 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The problem with this show is that the main character is so unsympathetic. He's a hubristic and conniving murderer, suffering from satyriasis. And none of the other characters are particularly appealing except, maybe, Ivy, who'll do anything for love. But can anyone enlighten me on Melanie? Did she murder her drunken husband? What was the meaning of the flies in her house - to show that she was actually poor or to show that she was actually brewing up some typhoid? And did she frame the doctor merely to redirect any suspicion away from her or because she was a psychopath? The production values were first-class and the acting good, though the lead actor lacks charisma and we're never quite sure why so many women want to have an illicit affair with him. And, as one other reviewer here pointed out, how did he and his wife end up together in the first place? Was he just a gold-digger? And, if she was such a snob, why did she marry him?

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Better than the British version, 20 August 2010

This is a rare example where the American version of a TV show is better than the British original. The original was merely frustrating in its Sisyphean contrivances whereas the American is more sweet-natured and the actors are more likable. I particularly loved the scene where a stunned budgie is mistaken for a growing erection in the hapless hero's pants while he watches his fiancée's sister breastfeeding – it's more complicated than that of course but still hilarious! The fiancée's father is played by Kurtwood Smith from Dead Poets' Society and many other good movies. Unfortunately Channel 10 in Australia gave up on the show after a few episodes because of poor ratings.

16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
James I depicted as nothing more than venal and repulsive, 23 November 2004

From the script and from Robert Carlyle's performance, you'd have no inkling that James I was anything other than a degenerate, evil homosexual. Therefore you lose interest in watching the show because his character has no redeeming qualities. Contrast this portrayal with a quote from an historical website: "Along with Alfred the Great, James is considered to have been one of the most intellectual and learned individuals ever to sit on the English or Scottish Throne. Under him, much of the cultural flourishing of Elizabethan England continued; individuals such as Sir Francis Bacon (afterwards Viscount St Albans) and William Shakespeare flourished during the reign. James himself was a talented scholar, writing works such as Daemonologie (1597), The True Law of Free Monarchies (1598), Basilikon Doron (1599) and A Counterblast to Tobacco (1604)." ( There was absolutely no evidence of anything but venality and repulsiveness in the depiction of James I in this TV show.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Fellini is "il Stupendo"!, 24 October 2004

I've finally seen "La Dolce Vita" after wanting to see it for many years. Coming to a masterpiece this late brings out a strange mixture of emotions: you feel a little stupid to have taken this long to acquaint yourself with something so great (I felt the same when I finally heard Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue" in 1988 and Love's "Forever Changes" in 2000) but you feel fantastic because you've had that first rush, which would have faded if you'd seen it 30 years ago, that comes with discovering a great work. "La Dolce Vita" is like Antonioni's "L'Avventura" in that it's a compelling view of something that shouldn't be compelling: the idle rich, people whose lives are empty, the modern world's anomie. It's hard to say whether Fellini was trying to make a bold statement about the state of modern Italian society (he later made 'Satyricon': Rome, before Christ/After Fellini), or whether he was just trying to exorcise some of the demons of doubt that may have been tormenting him – whatever … he knows how to make something magical happen with cinema. There are bold juxtapositions of chaos and reverie, decadence and spirituality, ennui and innocence, all against the tableau of the Eternal City in all its glory and corruption and the unifying thread is Marcello, played by Marcello himself in all his glorious handsomeness. He's lost in this inchoate world – he's an impotent romantic and an idealist surrounded by cynics and finally he too is corrupted. But does any attempt to place a moral underpinning on this great movie make any real sense? Probably not – Fellini doesn't even really tell a story but there's so much great theatre in each of the set pieces: the pursuit of the buxom movie star, ending in the waters of the fountain; the children's vision of the Madonna and the madness that ensues; the journey to Rome's poor outskirts and the flooded apartment; the Jesus statue and the helicopter; the night out with Marcello's father; the little girl at the café; the weird fish; the striptease; the echoing room and Marcello's pathetic attempt to express love; the fight with the girlfriend; and so much more, that you're dazzled by this great artist at the height of his powers.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Lermontov based partly on Hitler?, 13 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are lots of great things about this movie: the passion of all the characters (though there's not much real sexual passion), the colour, the music and, of course, the dancing. The script could have been tighter (couldn't there have been some other way of getting Anton to work for Lermontov without all that exposition?); Vicky's transformation from chirpy English rose to suicidal maniac doesn't ring true, even after we see her as the ballet dancer who just can't stop dancing in the Red Shoes ballet; and are we to believe that Lermontov is in love with Vicky or just obsessed with her as a dancer? (he comes across as too camp to create any sexual tension between the characters). Also when Anton Walbrook announces that "the performance will not go on (SPOILER ALERT! because Vicky's carked it), he looks and sounds exactly like Hitler: the hair, the moustache, the shrieking voice -- was that intentional? I mean, the guy who plays Walbrook was Austrian and the movie was made in England just after the war -- were the film-makers labouring the point about Lermontov's fanaticism?

"Frasier" (1993)
Fill me in on Frasier, 25 April 2002

I've been watching "Frasier" for a couple of weeks and usually I find it very enjoyable. I think David Hyde-Pierce is excellent but Kelsy is good as well (the timbre of his voice is wonderful -- almost Wellesian). Can anyone tell me something that's been puzzling me: How did Frasier and Niles end up being such snobs when their father is such a blue-collar guy? I thought it might be because they went to Harvard (I assume it was Harvard) but every now and then you get clues that they were like that even as children. Was it their mother who inculcated their exclusiveness?? Thanks if you can enlighten me.