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|18 reviews in total|
The "Inspector Lewis" series is an excellent "spin off" of the
Inspector Morse episode. Based upon the characters created by Colin
Dexter, the producers of this series, taking up after the inimitable
Morse died, literarily and literally, this is a welcomed "next step" in
British police procedural filmed mysteries (no one does it better).
The Morse episodes were always filled with a certain amount of class, certainly of the intellectual variety, and the Lewis series keeps the same motif. In "And the Moonbeams Kissed the Sea," the mystery (murder) involves, once again, the Oxford University academics, this time concerning some long lost letters by the Romantic Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley ("and the other members of the band" as Hathaway quips). What better (more academic) setting could one ask for than Oxford U, with scenes from the Bodelian Library. The plot line is complicated, but not impossible, and viewers are quickly caught up in the story. Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox are excellent as the detectives from the Thames Valley Police in the entire series and cameo performances by some of the top British actors (who seem to vie for a role!)add to the excitement, the entertainment, and the overall excellence. The periodic quips (comic relief) are well paced and well done. "Lewis" continues to work hard to stay up with the Morse episodes and so far, they get an A for their work.
Oh my. "A cult classic," I'm told. Oh my. Where does one begin? The acting? The directing? The screenplay? The cinematography? Basically, this looks like a film out of Film 101. Unconvincing, not funny (when it's supposed to be), unrealistic (when it's supposed to be), melodramatic (who WROTE these scenes?). It is easy to see Brad Pitt and gang (and Pitt probably belonged in this version anyway--sigh. What's with the bogus Hollywood accents of Southern folks!) But in this version, verisimilitude is out the window (does ANYBODY believe this is "France, about 50 miles from Switzerland? Pul-eeze. It's a Sergio Leone setting for a World War II "scene"! One could go on and on. Back to the "cult classic" label--always identified by the "literary" and "intellectual" crowd--like they do with the book "Finnegans Wake"! ONe can see where Bo Svenson's career didn't leap forward after this film and can anyone identify anyone else, save Ian Bannon, with another dreadful British "version" of American lingo. But I won't keep beating a dead horse. My time would have been better spent trying to read "Finnegan's Wake"!
Interesting, this at least the third filmed version of Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express." Clearly,the director (and Suchet himself) sought to distance themselves from the two earlier versions--for after all, the original source was the same. In this version, great effort to make it more socially significant (a term Christie rarely considered)--beginning with the stoning of a woman for adultery in a Muslim country without benefit of "Western" justice by jury. This justice theme is carried out, in the extremes, of course, in the main course of the film: it is a question that confronts Poirot (as always, brilliantly played by David Suchet); a man is murdered on the post Istanbul Express. The perpetrators claim "just cause," and in the book and certainly in the earlier films, this "frontier justice" seems to be upheld. Here, though, a more philosophic Poirot wages a larger debate. When is taking the law into one's own hands justified. That said, this film departs from Christie's intent, clearly. In so doing,however, it makes the film more viable in terms of "meaningfulness." Suchet stars, as usual, and the cameos (so many characters in so little time!)are run of the mill. Still, worth watching. The Brits do a great job, on just about anything serious they film.
Watching "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" again after a number of years
reminds me just how well done the film (and the John LeCarre book) was
done. It has stood the test of time, for certain. It's the Cold War
(over and over again) and British "family" is in its usual turmoil(the
"Days of Cambridge" are never far behind, it seems with British
espionage history)--a mole is suspected and the out-to-pasture (for
past sins and indiscretions) George Smiley (Alec Guinness) is called in
to uncover him (or her).
Amazingly, the film (the mini-series) seems to capture the pacing,the nuance, the landscape and atmosphere of that time and that place. The Cold War--which lasted, it seems, almost as long as our own Afghanistan War--and all its ramifications (fabricated or not) is on the line. This is a sophisticated spy story; Smiley is James Bond--not. LeCarre's books always deal with the cerebral, even when he's uncovering treason in the ranks. The subtle (even understated) dialog speaks volumes and the ensemble cast (Patrick Stewart gives us a mystifying Karla performance) make this mini-series a credit to the genre.
It's good to see the Cold War (in literature!) again. How we've missed you!
That Franco Zeffirelli is a genius when it comes to directing films is
a given. In "Tea with Mussolini," not only does he present his genius
at directing, but he manages to use a score of what must have been a
maven of egos with the assembled cast. Apparently he's good at this as
well. This ensemble of actors would make ANY film worth seeing. Set in
Italy (primarily in Florence), this "bio-pic" captures the eternal
beauty of the country yet at the same time presents the macabre, the
unacceptable, the dis-ingenuousness of the political system
(Mussolini--what more needs to be said in terms of relegating him to
"ogre" status, the little creep!).
It is 1935 when we meet "the ladies" (the Scorpioni, they're called, "because they bit," Lily Tomlin says. A group of ex-patriot English women (and two Americans) are living "la dolce vita" in la belle Italia and then the war comes along. Zeffirelli's portrayal of the times, the scene, the inter-dynamics make this a movie that is one not to miss.
"A Certain Justice" was a long-awaited novel release by Dame P.D. James
and it was worth the wait. Even more worthwhile was the wait for the
Roy Marsden's Adam Dalgliesh is simply superb: cerebral yet human, captivating, mesmerizing, never a dull moment. James is considered the "queen of the modern mystery novel" and who can argue? In this episode, the irony of the title is not missed, as the film touches on more themes than just murder. A judge is found dead, murdered, with a number of bizarre clues and incidents that relate to the case and it takes Dalgleish (and his team) a while to piece together the puzzle. But viewers need not worry. Every scene is worth watching and never slows down, as it approaches an incredibly suspenseful climax. An A-plus for sure.
P.D. James' Dalgliesh novels are simply the best and those responsible
for transposing these books to the screen do an outstanding job. As
Dame James told me a couple of years ago in London, she is very proud
of Roy Marsden's Dalgliesh and of the adaptation of her books into
"A Mind to Murder" captures (and reflects) the intensity of the plot's expectations. It's more than just "cerebral," it's captivating and mesmerizing, in the acting as well as the representation of the book. I've read all the James books and seen all the cinematic versions. All are well done and not disappointing, especially so with Marsden as Adam.
"Supernova" is a refreshing series, filled with excellent (and
intelligent) witty lines. I never knew "astronomy" could be so
enlightening! The cast is quite well suited for the situations and
their relationships with each other is at times intriguing and at other
times amazing--all in all, an excellent series, but, alas, it didn't
seem to catch on enough for it to continue. Perhaps there is something
especially intriguing about Australia. Certainly, the show not only
shows a few "Aussie stereotypes" but the witty satire takes care of all
this. At the same time, it doesn't revert to dialogue that only
Australians can understand. This is almost a "Monty Python" meets
"2001: A Space Odyssey" with Max substituting for Hal. The innuendos
also score a hit!
PBS does a credit by showing it (and re-showing!).
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