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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.
It's deliciously vicious, this "Vicious" series from the Brits. And no
one does "camp" like the Brits. Between Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek
Jacobi, we have "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe" meeting "Will and
Grace," with the former coming out better, higher, funnier.
Sharp, very sharp, screenplay and the biting, scathing retorts to these who longtime partners is at once horrifying yet all this ends up in an "ab fab" understatement: they really are more than partners; they are friends. Kudos to them for chancing such roles and kudos to the writers for being so "spot on." (And what's NOT to like about Ash!)
Here's to a continuation of this series.
"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.
Not Inspector Morse. But nearly. The "Inspector Lewis" series continues
at a strong pace. The duo of Kevin Whateley and Laurence Fox as the two
detectives of the Thames Valley Police in Oxford is a winning
combination. Like the Morse series, the producers/directors of the
films go for the cerebral, the literary, the intellectual communities
(no poor folks here!), but all this adds a certain class to the art (or
science) of murder. In this episode, the writers drew heavily from both
religious and mythological sources. Set in/around/about Oxford
University doesn't hurt either (although one begins to wonder if there
is any one to be left alive in the city after this series finishes!).
In this episode, too, the "Is Hathaway Gay" question comes to the front and the issue is handled well (you have to see the episode to know the answer!). The relationship between the two policemen and within their police ensemble makes the series move along with continuity, excitement, and curiosity. We've only seen the first couple of seasons, but apparently there are plenty yet to be aired. It's a good series and it seems no one does a police procedural with the air and the class that the Brits do! Rule Britannia!
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.
"Ruby in the Smoke" really has lots of potential. It certainly has set the stage for future episodes. It's a Victorian suspense story (with excellent settings and scenery)based upon the original novel. PBS does its usual good job of making this one available. Alas, it has some serious shortcomings, especially for American audiences. Understanding the fast-paced "English" dialect was quite difficult, thus taking away from not only the plot and story line, but adding some confusion as well. Perhaps it's just fine for our friends in England, but the fact that I could not understand all the dialog was a disappointment. In addition. the characters just didn't come across as fully developed; Sally oftentimes was the weepy whiny Victorian woman and at other times, leaping into the 20th century with some of her "liberations." Greater interaction between the "good" characters would enhance the story (and hold viewers' interest more). Mrs. Holland comes across truly as the wicked woman she is and is perhaps the most convincing of the entire cast. Still, there are possibilities here and I, for one, am hoping to see this story developed into a more convincing series.
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.
While this is a welcomed continuation of a good (excellent) Tom Selleck
series (I don't care for "Blue Bloods"), I was a bit disappointed in
"Innocents Lost." For one, it clearly,clearly plays to Selleck's vanity
as he lays (not so cleverly) the decided foundation for the next
episode. While that is good, this one was too incomplete for my liking.
Second, the pacing of "Innocents Lost" seemed to be out in the
netherworld--slow at times, possibly to make sure that the full two
hours time slot was completed yet not forgetting to set the stage for
the next episode, when? In six months' time? A year? New viewers could
easily have been baffled by the "inside" story, events and characters
based upon previous episodes (which really isn't fair to new viewers,
that is, if new viewers were wanted). Character development lagged
(we've a new police chief and we know we don't like him and we know
that he's bound to be "gone" in another episode, but, please, don't
tease us to the extent that it did. And, Jesse, forget about your
ex-wife. Pul-eeze. Enough whining. Move on. Please.
All this said, though, I didn't regret watching "Innocents Lost"--but was quite let down by its "incompleteness."
"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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