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Evil Under the Sun (1982)
Still as good today.
It's one of those films I'd almost forgotten about after David Suchet's outing, but Ustinov's has a huge charm which can be overlooked no further.
The plot for some part is a little far fetched, but such is the quality of the writing and the mystery itself it doesn't matter in the slightest, for it to have worked the timings would have had to have been literally to the minute.
The characterisations are the strong point of the film. Ustinov made a brilliant debut in Death on the Nile, and he shows once again just how good he was in the role. Diana Rigg and Maggie Smith are wonderful in their respective roles in particular, both actually make their characters more interesting then they appear in the book, the interplay between the two is wonderful, so much fun. Nicholas Clay and Jane Birkin are fantastic also, her transformation is sensational, what a beauty!
It is a lavish looking film, the locations are sensational, and the costumes are superb, they really add a glamorous note to it, Rigg looks sensational in many scenes.
Overall 9/10 Great story, brilliantly acted, but the characters are just magical, entertaining!
Clunky, but enjoyable.
Poirot is on the tale of an infamous thief Marrascaud, young woman Lucinda is used as a snare, but an an elite gathering a priceless work of art 'The Labours of Hercules is stolen and Lucinda is brutally killed and her jewels stolen. Poirot is devastated after the events. After a short drive with driver Ted, Poirot hears the story of his lover Nita who's gone off to Switzerland with her employer Katrina. Poirot vows to return her to the arms of Ted and sets off to a Hotel in the Alps. The killer Marrascaud is also in Switzerland, along with Poirot's fascination The Countess Vera Rossakoff. A host of other wonderful guests are staying at the Hotel, including patient Katrina and her Doctor 'Lutz' and the daughter of the Countess, but is one of them Marrascaud?
Breathtakingly beautiful locations, the locations look sublime, the scenes in the Hotel are a visual feast, so wonderfully elaborate. The camera work only adds to the appeal, the episode is definitely a visual triumph.
A beautifully acted episode, Orla Brady is an enchanting individual, she comes up with the goods in the role of the Countess Rossakoff. It is no surprise that Tom Wlaschiha is in such high demand, he is brilliant. Fiona O'Shaughnessy also stands out, the final scene is very touching.
It's a good episode, rather then an excellent one, the story itself almost feels a little disjointed and tenuous, but there are enough good elements to make it pretty good overall. The ending is slightly drawn out, but the revelation is brilliant.
Spider's Web (1982)
An obscure shiny needle in the haystack.
Socialite Clarissa is busy entertaining guests and making ready for her husband's important guest. After joking with her friends about the consequences of finding a dead body the unthinkable happens, when she finds her step daughter's nasty stepfather Oliver dead in her sitting room.
A forgotten gem, this production of Spider's web plays out exactly like a stage production. You genuinely feel as if you're front row in a Theatre. It's fun, intriguing, and designed to keep you guessing.
Star of the show is definitely Penelope Keith, she is dazzling, so charismatic and dons the most wonderful red hair. It's really nicely acted, Waking the Dead fans will be surprised to learn young Pippa is Holly Aird. Robert Flemyng and Elizabeth Spriggs are especially delightful.
Deserving one day of a commercial release, hard to get hold of, but worth it. A great way to spend a cold, wet evening, curled up on the sofa. 9/10
Doctor Who: Heaven Sent (2015)
Surreal, dark, definitely one to divide opinion.
The Doctor is teleported to a castle, with his mind very much focused on Clara's death. There, he's stalked by an unknown figure, the dimensions of the building change, the Doctor's admissions of truth halt the figure's advance. The Doctor is there for hundreds of thousands of years, but where is he?
One of the only pre-season spoilers I clocked was the penultimate episode of Series 9 would be Capaldi alone, when I heard it my pre-conceived idea wasn't the most favourable, it takes an actor of a certain calibre to carry it off, Capaldi did a superb job.
Bold, brave, visually jaw dropping, a single hander is always a brave choice, I've tried thinking all day, one of the only ones I can think of is an episode of One foot in the Grave.
I loved the music score, it felt very 80's, if any of you have watched Poirot's adventure of the Egyptian Tomb it reminded me of that. The camera work was exceptional.
As I watched it raised lots of questions, Was the figure following him a future self of the Doctor, or somebody from his past? Was he trapped in his own Confession Dial? Was that Missy's garden he was digging in? Was he trapped in a Chronic Hysteresis Loop (a la Meglos.)
I'll admit I fall in the bracket that really did enjoy this episode for the most part, this is one I can see me watching of an evening. A very experimental episode, it's a format I don't think we'll see for many years to come, but I liked it, I applaud it for being different.
On the downside it did go on a bit on times, especially towards the end, the repetition loop didn't really need to go on as long as it did, it did lose my attention at one stage.
One to divide opinion down the middle, for me though I loved it 9/10
I'm quite enjoying it.
It's one of those shows that I am liking, but I'll be honest and say it's not the funniest thing I've seen on Earth, but it's good a few lighter moments.
Big fan of Josh Widdicomne, he's a superb stand up, it does feel a little like his talents are being slightly wasted, but there is something nice about the show, Elis James is another funny man, and i find him likable in the show too, Beattie Edmondson is fun, and Jack Dee is Jack Dee.
I'll continue watching, I'll admit it's not side splitting, but it's likable enough. 6/10
Toast of London: Over the Moon (2015)
So glad he's back
Toast has to do a live show for ITV, playing the lead role in the Scottish play, but just as he's set to go on to the stage he suffers with stage fright.
Favourite bit had to be his scene with Lorraine, how good was that, fair play to her she's a great sport!
I've waited impatiently for Toast of London to get back on our screens, and I am so glad he's back. Loved this opening episode of Series 3, so funny, wonderfully surreal as always, and well acted.
Matt Berry is just a joy as Toast, love his facial expression, love his brand of humour, Doon Mackichan and Robert Bathurst were as hilarious as always.
Loved the new opening credits, they were refreshing and in keeping with the show.
Death on the Nile (1978)
The best of the big movies of Agatha Christie.
Not taking into account the TV series of BBC and ITV I would class this as the best of the movies with Christie's name on.
A beautiful lavish film, which boasts sublime direction, a wonderful cast, a gorgeous accompanying score, and the perfect mix of story and drama. The scenery is fabulous, the whole movie is a true feast for the eyes, the Pyramids, the Nile, even the costumes. It comes as no surprise the movie won an Oscar for costume design, they were spot on.
The casting is impeccable, it is a flawless mix of people, Lois Chiles is incredibly beautiful, so believable. My favourite role of Mia Farrow's, I believe her all the way through. Simon MacCorkindale was perfect casting too, a great piece of casting with an enviable jawline. Too many wonderful performances to comment on them all, but Maggie Smith and Bette Davis win it for me, they made a sensational double act.
I loved Ustinov's characterisation of Poirot, for me he beats Finney, whom I did admire but found a little on the theatrical side, there was something more natural about Ustinov, albeit he's not exactly how I visualise the famous Belgian sleuth. I mentioned in my review of Murder on the Orient Express that I felt Finney suited the flavour of that movie, and I'll say the same for Ustinov here, somehow it fits him perfectly.
Often when I'm asked what my favourite movie of all time is I answer 'Death on the Nile,' it has so many incredibly good elements. It is a magnificent film, the story itself is one of my favourites. 10/10
The Last Kingdom: Episode #1.6 (2015)
Uhtred flies off the rails well and truly.
Uhtred is still reeling from Odda's betrayal, his marriage with Mildrith is decidedly prickly. Odda has announced plans to build a Church on the site of Ubba's death, complete with a golden altar. Uhtred, Leofric and a team set off to Cornwall for wealth, with Aethelwold tagging along. Uhtred agrees to take on a job for King Peredur, to free his fortress from Saxon Pillagers for 400 pieces of Silver, and his beautiful Shadown Queen Iseult. Peredur has lied and the aggressors are Danes not Saxons, led by War Lord Skorpa. For the mutual gain Uhtred's renegades join with the Danes and slaughter Peredur and his army. These events are all witnessed Brother Asser who reports his discoveries to King Alfred. Uhtred returns to Winchester with his new woman Iseult, but is charged with his crimes, Leophric intervenes and offers a fight to the death for justice.
Excellent once again, the events of Odda's betrayal and his humiliation have truly set Uhtred off the rails. He's become a much darker, more care free and wild character, some of his actions in this episode seemed quite shocking and at odds with his previous behaviour, but he is a man scorned.
Paul Ritter was very good, and almost unrecognisable as King Pededur, such a small role for someone so great, but it's what I've come to expect from the show. Jonas Malmsjö was awesome as Skorpa, what a brilliant performance from him.
The battle scene was incredibly well done, it looked very realistic, incredibly well shot, the blue skies made it look even better. The scenes in the Witan Council (King's Court) were tremendous, credit to all concerned it was an outstanding moment, Brian Vernel (Young Odda) was truly brilliant.
Excellent episode again! 9/10
Cuffs: Episode #1.5 (2015)
It gets better and better.
Jake is annoyed with his father's behaviour and can barely speak to him, a woman is kidnapped, and a video sent to her husband, a bank manager who's pinched the money from the vault, DI Kane is alerted. Moffat and Hawkins are sent to a Church where a Challis and money are stolen. Young Jamie is released from Prison and struggling with life on the outside, he's desperate to go back inside, and is prepared to go to any lengths. Jake's mum tells him she's not so green as he'd first thought, and his new fella Simon isn't all he makes out to be.
I thought Jamie's story was really interesting, it was one that doesn't get told quite a lot, how someone doesn't cope well with being released from Prison. Kola Bokinni was excellent as Jamie, as was Neil Bell as Vinny.
The kidnapping storyline was great too, and once again Paul Ready was really good. Very touching scene between Carl and Jo, Abbington and Dooley were spot on.
Ashley Walters character Ryan Draper is developing week on week and becoming more and more interesting, he's a big part of the series.
It really is coming together very well, 9/10
Cuffs: Episode #1.4 (2015)
Once again this was really good.
The Chief Super makes a plea to the team about risk and responsibility. Jake takes on a guy with a Samurai sword and then discovers a dead body in a beach hut, he and Draper are taken off the streets to carry out a stakeout, Jake gets the call to his attend his mother who's taken a turn for the worse, but his dad is in the arms of his mistress Jo. DC Hawkins daughter is pepper sprayed and attested by Moretti, much to her dad's anger. DI Kane sniffs out a house producing drugs, which leads to a trade at a Chinese Supermarket. Jake discovers his father's been lying.
I think what started off as an almost messy but willing drama has turned into something different, it's more coherent, easier to follow, the characterisations have improved ten fold, Cuffs has turned into must watch TV. The raid was great, and the story of The Chief Super's affair is getting more and more interesting.
Paul Ready is massively coming into his own as DI Kane, I found him a little anonymous in the first few episodes, but he's beginning to show the classy actor that he really is.
9/10 I loved it.