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The Shallows (2016)
Fine film with a fine actress leading, recommended for any viewer.
Blake Lively is a fine, sensitive, and powerful actress -- I thought this after Age Of Adeline, and I think it here. Her range of expression, calm and measured delivery even in explosive scenes -- even in scenes where she is exploding -- reach out to you and literally pull you in. Here, as in Adeline and even in her short-scenes in other films, I never felt the fatal distance and detachment developing which are so deadly for a beauty like this -- sure she is nice to look at, at first anyway, but quickly she becomes far more than that, and I think it is her voice and steady expression which are the keys to her success. She has short and powerful lines: obviously writers and directors have seen where this acting-power of hers lies -- Blake is a female Brando, drawing you in with both her looks and her delivery but then holding you there and speaking directly to you. And as to the fish: to some silly comments about shark behaviors I'll just reply that the "animal" here is not a shark but a force-of-nature -- the fears and powers of the victim herself, battling with her and which she must overcome -- no more a fish than Ahab's whale was a whale. This is a really well-done and interesting film, with a fine actress leading it -- recommended to any viewer.
Doctor Thorne (2016)
See this! Wonderful production...
The actors are wonderful, the writing is wonderful, the English countryside is very-green, Tom Hollander -- what a range of talent he has -- and, yes, Julian Fellowes, are wonderful, and new star Stefanie Martini is both very beautiful and very wonderful... You will enjoy this, everyone will, the direction and the overall production have a delicate, light, touch, even through some very dark scenes. I was taught long ago that Trollope was superficial, a 19th c. light-entertainment, but here Fellowes shows us the breadth and depth of understanding in the thought, sensitive critique, and great humor -- so now I'll take Trollope more seriously, also the Victorians with all their silly insecurities and dashing nobility. If you enjoy and value Jane Austen, you will enjoy and value Trollope, now, by discovering him here. So see this: online it is presented as a "Season 1" series of just 4 "episodes" -- 4 "acts", all viewed easily together in a single sitting.
Good S2, but sponge off the new makeup, & lighten back up a little
The more-serious makeover suits the series well -- character development -- I loved S.1 but glad we're not seeing just more-of-same. Other series get silly, stretching beyond credibility -- very glad Mme Secretary is staying with its high-seriousness.
One objection tho: Téa's new makeup makes her look like a tired TV news presenter -- pancaked-on, those lines, harpy-ish, a crabby DC hostess instead of a bouncy action hero -- please get rid of all that goup, let us have Téa back.
I have the impression, as well, that the "filming" -- what's the word, now -- is "dark", actually the lighting, also tho the light moments, also the tense ones. The issues dealt with here, tho, are so enormous, & so immediate -- all of us actually are worrying about them too, in real life, along with these actors -- so restore some lightness to the presentation, the lighting, more outdoor shots, tone up the brightness, let the humor moments last a little longer -- dial the tension & anger back a couple of notches to where it was in S.1. We still need that lighter touch for dealing with so many dark issues, or things will begin getting just-depressing.
Harry Brown (2009)
Fine film & acting, but many reviewers miss its point.
Fine film, fine acting, I lived there too, saw many of the same things Caine remembers and portrayed well -- housing estates, alienation, boredom, elderly, fears, frustration, desperation. Reviewers & critics here missed those points, often -- the cause was the conditions, not the people, the police not the gangs or the drugs or the rest, even Harry's bravery and training were products of a society which created that South London hell. I am glad about Harry's finale at the very end, but that was a Hollywood-ending and not the movie's -- the Enemy was that ambitious & cynical cop who was manipulating the situation for his own career ends, and the System which had created him and the rest of this.
The two leads have done great work -- I'll go see Caine in anything, again and again. The direction showed real talent -- I'll be looking for his work too, I hope again and again as well. This film unsettles me every time I see it, but that was its point.
Covert Affairs (2010)
Some fine acting here
An excellent Season 4 stretches the range of this already-fascinating series: with good writing, and some fine acting --
Perabo is great to look at and a very good actor -- I could watch her face for hours, as she works through her emotions, she has a really fine range.
Itzin too, though: he is by far the greatest entertainment in the show for me, after Perabo. From his initial entry to his latest scenes, Itzin's body carriage, gestures, and most of all the expressions in that fabulous face, then the wonderful voice and mellifluous accent -- villains require pathos, and Itzin's villain definitely provides that, his Richard III would be wonderful.
Teo Braga and Calder Michaels -- Cardona and Harper, like Itzin, are able to grab center-stage with their personas in every scene they do. Particularly Cardona, up against the spectacular Perabo, his dark furies complement her glamor and personality beautifully, you can feel both the strains and the warmth building between those two, dynamic tension, nothing in drama can be better than that. I hope there's much more done with them: Bring Teo Back!
The casting generally has been done really well, and I really like the acting. Joan and Arthur steady everything -- Braithwaite does a good job of being sinister, I can't wait for him to get the nose-punch he deserves, maybe from Auggie or even Annie? -- Oded Fehr is wonderful, he manages a sparkle which literally brings Annie to life when she and we need it, and I agree with the comment someone else made here that we need Eyal back for some Season 4 comic relief. Tony Curran would be great for that purpose too.
The only disappointment for me has been Dudek: her character and acting both were embarrassing and out-of-place -- I know she has her fans, and her role must too, but that flouncy dress she wore in Stockholm was nauseating, which I guess was the point there -- I'm glad that's over, tho.
The story is great. I never cared whether the Battlestar Galactica would find Earth, & I don't want to see an ending here, I'm just really enjoying the ride.