Reviews written by registered user

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905 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Realistic and sorrowful narration of a GDR kinfolk and people close to them, 22 June 2017

/refers to all seasons/

The German Democratic Republic was a country that remained stagnant almost until its termination, even when other socialist camp dealt with winds of change in the late 1980ies. And as it turned out later, it was one of the best internally controlled and snooped country in Europe, and Stasi's traces are still visible in people's minds.

In Weissensee, we get a comprehensive picture of an integrated East- Berlin family belonging to the elite vis-a-vis opportunities, influence and domicile, where personal love-related issues, accompanied by outside changes and access to wider information, start to crumble the relations both inside the family and with colleagues. The events are realistic and motivated, the thrill is maintained, and some hesitations I had regarding the convincingness of some characters were later explained by subsequent scenes or dialogues. There were several interesting twists I could never guess (e.g. a death of a leading character in the middle of the series), and the background and venues provide an additional mood for the "framed" life under Stasi's control and lies... The performances are at least good as well; for me, the older the characters, the more interesting they were, e.g. Dunja Hausmann and Hans Kupfer. Also, the latter showed convincingly what were the compromises/abasement the people with free mind had to do for a long period and how a pleasant idea of freedom and equality had lost its contents and form.

Weissensee is definitely on the par with e.g. Tannbach and Deutschland '83, both in terms of performances and enthrallment. And to them who have lived under socialism, nothing is overstated. Hopefully, the viewers would understand that there is no such thing as Socialism with a human face - in spite of Hans Kupfer's intentions...

PS Our national TV broadcast this series with the title "Love in Berlin", giving a false impression of being an insipid soap opera, and probably deterring thousands of potential viewers...

Arrival (2016/II)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A been-there-seen-that movie with substantial flaws, 15 June 2017

This decade has made happen dozens of sci-fi movies with activities in a limited space and time, with slow pace and lengthy speculations about mankind's present and future. On the usual line, I am not into similar productions, but the reputation of the movie and it awards "urged" us in a group to pick the one in question.

We all watched the movie in full, but all of us had several misunderstandings and indistinct places solved only afterwards, when reading about its plot... Vague flashbacks, strange behavior of characters in clear situations, and settlements based on Western approaches made this a topsy-turvy watch, with trivial ending and naive conclusions. And as a linguist, I know that one is unable to figure out a totally different language/pictograph in a way we see in this movie. Bringing the Western wishful thinking into the minds of non-human aliens may flatter some part of respective audience, but it is neither scientific nor logical approach... And if the basics is totally odd, then the following events do not make any good sense, particularly when bearing in mind a sci-fi movie.

Therefore, for me, Arrival is above mediocrity due to the direction and leading performances only (Amy Adams as Louise Banks and Forest Whitaker as Colonel Weber, above all). The overall concept is unreasoned and necessitates to refer to its plot description later on for some of its angles and ideas.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Some French in the very Northland, 12 June 2017

This century has seen dozens of fine examples of Nordic Noir, particularly from Denmark and Sweden, but its wings have spread and presently many other countries are eager to shine or at least participate in the glory - like France here; on the other hand, for the sake of wider audiences and localities, the Nordics themselves need views and characters from aside.

Midnattssol has giftedly combined the opportunities based on above, and the result is an intriguing narration with interesting references to the past, versatile twists, beautiful nature, and maintenance of tension and thrill to almost the very end. The leading performances are not the finest - plus pity that a wonderful actor, Peter Stormare, was cut out so early - but, on the other hand, it enhances realism and pays attention to team efforts rather than a single solo (although the French lady is very keen on pursuing this :)). And last but not least - magnificent landscape, with daily life and difficulties of small Sami people, with what most viewers are not aware of.

Well, perhaps the wrongdoer was not too charismatic and the French connection remained somehow incomplete, but still, the series is worth watching - unless you are inured to fast action, lots of chases and betrayals. Life beyond the Polar circle has its own pace and angles...

0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Not so indispensable sequel for a series with a "final" closure, 10 June 2017

Sometimes it happens that even a series rounded-up so well continues to be popular on and on, tempting the producers and performers to exploit its fame and reputation even more. Evidently, it is the case here as well, with additional amount of sophistication and the inclusion of all previous main characters who yet have no more absolutely necessary part to play (e.g. Fernando Sucre and Paul Kellerman). The thrill and pace are in place, Michael and Sara both still pleasant, but the localities and settlement of problems bring forth several clichés and predictive events on the account of convincingness, particularly the ones taking place in Yemen.

Well, most of them who enjoyed all the first 4 season episodes in sequence, would breeze through this sequel without any major frustration, but those who began their first familiarization here would probably be surprised why this series has been praised so much. Being still above average, one can not fully enjoy it as a separate series (vis-à-vis 24, for example).

"Oz" (1997)
A gloomy locality-based drama that somehow draws you in, 6 June 2017

/refers to all seasons/

In general, I am not into long prison series; it is difficult to find opportunities to watch them (as they are hardly for entire family), and the conditions and background of prisoners differ greatly from the ones in the EU. But due to the Oz' fame and high score at IMDb, I decided to go for it and watch all episodes in sequence.

Well, at first I was not too impressed, had some thoughts of call it quits (lots of misery, flagrancy, incomprehensible punishment and imprisonment arrangements), but then I realized that several characters excited my interest, both among guards and prisoners. In short, all the main characters are somewhat special, and so are most recurring ones, often "hiding" the script's shortcomings or inconsistencies - evidently because of multiple screenwriters... At times, it was difficult to keep records who was punished or killed and why and what were the consequences (the number of flashbacks is limited), and the inclusion of serenity and religious stuff did often contradict with the rest of events. Sometimes I felt confused because many non-White performers had similar roles in other gang or police series I have seen in recent years (e.g. The Wire, The Shield).

The setup of the series is distinct, with Augustus Hill as the show's main narrator, providing witty observations and background information about the US legal system and local habits, and the main crime of most Oz' inhabitants. I often felt that the creators were against death penalty, but, on the other hand, the viewers were often deprived of the views of the people whose people close to them were brutally murdered or raped... But still, after dozens of hours of watch, I have to agree that it seems to be a realistic overview of US penitentiary scene, and to recognize that the concept of uniform US citizen is a myth as the color of skin and religion have too much impact on people's lives.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Pleasant and balanced approach of an era not known too well, 7 May 2017

/refers to Seasons 1-8/

There are lots of films-series about war, battles, sieges, etc., but how welfare and consumer services are organised and occur during a war in a country not under occupation, is not a too well depicted chapter in history. That is why Foyle's War is of double importance and interest: apart from nicely constructed and grounded crime stories, the series provides a good overview of England for more than a decade, starting late 1930ies, with a breath of World War I still present; it is obvious that war does not create miseries to all; for some, it is a window of new, often illegal opportunities, time to clear off old scores, muddle through chaos and make plans how to survive and move on after the battles are over - notwithstanding who wins.

Within all this and crimes related to this, there are honest officials, such as Christopher Foyle and Samantha Stewart (pleasantly and distinctively performed by Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks, respectively), who attempt to find any solution and result depending on time and circumstances. Performing their duties, they come into contract with people with very different motives and backgrounds, nature and temper; quite often, those characters are performed by actors/actresses then or later known in other crime series (e.g. Poirot, Frost, Lewis). True, not all cases and their solutions are equally catchy and coherent, but the whole atmosphere provides a balanced structure, enabling to go the pace of integral narration. Fortunately, many cases moved beyond the small Hastings, often into London as well, otherwise it would be difficult to believe that a town or county has a high crime rate - often present in other detective series...

As I watched all the seasons and episodes in sequence, I missed some thrill in the very end of some seasons, and had to grasp 2 "different" Foyles within a short period - one as a policeman and the other as an intelligence officer. Although the latter had to deal with more intensive and thrilling cases, I still prefer Seasons 1-6; true, the "spy seasons" brought along more sophisticated supporting characters. All in all, I spent lots of pleasant hours in front of screen (28 episodes, ca. 1.5 hours each) and I am definitely willing to see more seasons if ever produced.

Wild Tales (2014)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Wildly crazy, witty, entertaining..., 4 May 2017

I was recommended to watch Relatos salvajes some time ago, but was busy with some series and postponed it, plus I had no clear idea what it was about and how was it structured. But when the 1st tale was approaching its climax, it became evident that many catchy moments would be waiting me... Some parts are less realistic than others, but definitely not airy-fairy, and smart dialogues with distinct performances paved the way for lots of giggling, moments with black humour, and some grisly recognition how easily a rampage can occur...

"El más fuerte" and "Bombita" are the tales I enjoyed most, they seem most sustained and elaborate, the final one - "Hasta que la muerte nos separe" - gave me mixed feelings and I found that its pace was somewhat uneven, rounding up the all bunch in less interesting manner, but still, after some delay time and considering the film comes from Argentina, I have decided to give 9 points - the film in question is highly recommended to all fond of dissimilar productions and approaches.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not too fine imitation of Scandinavian noir, 3 May 2017

If considered separately, particularly, then Disparue is definitely not bad - the story is in place, tensions and twists available, most of performances and characters sustained... But, having comprehensive knowledge of similar Scandinavian creation, then you might want to declare that the final solution is too trivial, there are several scenes providing no additional value to the course of events, and that the French-specific qualities (e.g. friskiness, inconsistency, fast talking) do not fully fit in the background, requiring more balanced and reasoned approaches and actions (instead of Lyon - although a fine place - the location could have been a city in Northern France where Belgian/British "calmness" is more visible). Moreover, female performances excel the male ones, and as for some suspects, it was evident right away that they cannot be offenders in this case, event taking into account the past actions.

But still, if you have not seen e.g. Forbrydelsen, then Disparue is a unquestionably a worth-watch, preferably within short interval, in order to main the thrill between the episodes.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Above average, but uneven at the expense of profundity, 17 April 2017

It is natural that Australia, having lengthy (dependent) ties with the UK, aspires to imitate/repeat the latter's success in the field of crime thrillers, stocking it with local nature and habits, sometimes without having any influence to the course of events or effect on scenes. A lot of is also visible in Deep Water where tautness and smoothness are overshadowed by personal issues with references to the past and leisure activities on the beach.

Well, the beginning is intriguing, but the motives and many suspects are revealed too soon, the characters are somewhat arid, the police has seemingly no ranking order in place, and the background of the principal wrongdoer is too trivial and vague for the offences he committed. So the 4 episodes a' 50 minutes are too long and hectic; moreover, I was not pleased with the final events and events leading up to them. In the wide world of English-speaking crime drama series, Deep Water is hardly the one to be classified as "must-watch".

0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Slightly over-sophisticated and -moralizing, yet with nice twists and good performances, 10 April 2017

I was not too eager to start watching this series - I am not into sci- fi too much, I am not a huge fan of Nolan Bros., and I have not seen the 1973 film of the same name. But, on the other hand, one should widen your horizons and names like Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Sidse Babett Knudsen, and some others were solid and convincing.

Well, the first episodes were not too promising - the pace was slow, the scenes and ideas confusing, and I did not know what to expect or what was really going on (as mentioned, I was totally unaware of the subject matter). But then, gradually, when some issues were clarified and constant references to the past and reps started make sense, I began to "live and feel" together with both main characters and the ideas of this series, not paying so much attention on the sci-fi portion. The performances were at least good, if not more, and the criminal features and angles (what I always like) started to override the other nuances and aspects. The settlement, however, did not correspond to my taste fully, and pondering on and over human significance, fate, etc. has been expressed and "dissected" in many more dynamic and even works before.

Thus, that is why "only" 7 points from me. I could name tens of series more "mellowed" and catchy, with less blunt reasoning on mankind's place in the world.

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