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Now I may have led a singularly sheltered life, being born in 1952, I have seen my share of war films, and lately post-war films. I like something that tells a story, I do not like 'block buster' or big bang movies, so this series, which is as riveting as Un Village Francais in its own way, was telling the story of a small town which wakes up the morning after WWII is ended and has to deal with the repercussions. First the Americans claim them, then the Russians, then they are divided down the centre. It's fascinating, appalling and brilliant at the same time. It's realistic in that the good guys don't necessarily do the right thing all the time, and the bad guys don't necessarily get their come-uppance. In some ways it's horrific, and the horror of the post war situation contrasts strongly with the beautiful peaceful scenery of the untouched countryside and farm buildings. If you are interested in history, then this is worth a watch, purely from a different perspective - it's easy to forget that ordinary people were on all sides of the conflict and suffered., loved and lost.
Picket Fences (1992)
The problem with a much-loved TV series is that it tends to become so formulaic that you can pretty well predict the outcome of nearly all episodes. I used to watch this when it came on TV, but I don't know how many series or episodes. However, now that i have the chance to revisit the town (city?) of Rome via DVD I am doing so. Let's start with Rome, is it a town or a city? In one episode, the then-mayor calls it a city, and they certainly seem to have all the facilities of a city, with a seemingly large hospital - doing transplants no less - and scores of cops with a sheriff and two deputies. I don't know how these things run in rural USA but in many countries that would point to a city. The sheriff and his wife seem to have no conflict of interest issues, even when she storms into the jail and demands the key to release her father following his arrest. I can't stand the woman, so I'm biased, although I recognise good acting, but surely at some point the sheriff could say no? Fyvesh Finkel is the star in my eyes, he is "a character" and lifts the mood considerably. The family are pretty mediocre, and although the middle son is obviously headed for a juvenile facility at some point in his life, (if not jail), they act a good family life. The little boy, with the ears, appears to have gone out of acting now, which is a pity because he would have done well. The two deputies are pretty well rogue, doing what they want, with whom and where it pleases them. It gives some concern about the standard of law and order in small town USA. The stories are for the most part good, with some unusual quirks thrown in - a dwarf running away with an elephant comes to mind. The cast is sterling, they play their parts so well, you cannot tell they're acting, which is probably why some are so irritating. On the whole, in my personal opinion, it's a good series, holds the attention, and draws the viewer back again and again. If I want to slap some of the characters, that's tribute to the acting ability and the writing, not the actors. I know it's some 25 years old, and apart from the shoulder pads, it has stood the test of time well.
The Dresser (1983)
I don't give tens easily, but this film just grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go. Next morning and I'm still with them. Right, let's put something right - I see review after review talking about the Blitz in London. This is based in Yorkshire - nowhere near London, but still receiving bombs, right? The accents are different, the architecture is different and the whole point of the story is that it's a touring Shakespearian company, not based in London. They are taking the bard to those in the rest of the country who are also suffering. Really!! The cast is stellar, not a dud among them. The two leads, Finney and Courtney have long been among the gods in British Acting, since the 60s I believe, and can do no wrong. They fit their roles like handmade kid gloves. Contrary to one review, I didn't catch them 'acting' at all, I felt they lived and breathed every second, and any exaggeration was totally in keeping with the character. Devoted dressers are the stuff of legends in theatre lore, and Courtney's character captures that perfectly. Finney is the epitome of the Knight of the theatre and even his poor wife doesn't wait for him following the harrowing, nail- biting cliffhanger of a performance. The SM who has quietly yearned for him for 20 years is perfect. I'm not going to list names and credits, to me the film was beautiful and of a quality that we see all too rarely nowadays, as making a huge profit takes priority to fine, delicate and gripping acting.
Bride Flight (2008)
I am not good at watching movies at the moment, my concentration is shot - I hope, temporarily. However, this is 2 hrs something and I was glued to it. It was light enough to be enjoyable and of enough substance to hold the attention. I don't know how close to the historical facts it runs, but it didn't do New Zealand's tourism hopes any harm with breathtaking views and a good plug for the wine industry. The story is mostly predictable but runs smoothly, the main actors are great with a nice touch of drama here and there. My only gripe is that some of the smaller parts were played by Australian actors, with noticeable accents. Really? Couldn't find any NZers? Apart from that, sweet as.
quirky and funny
I have just finished watching the first season on DVD, and am glad I resisted it on TV, broken up by adverts, this would not shine the way it does uninterrupted. The characters are brilliantly played, each a caricature, and thoroughly enjoyable. The background music is terrific, and I don't usually enjoy back ground music, if I even notice it. The parts of Melbourne shown to us in this series, are tempting and alluring. i don't see the problem with babies being born (although some are a little on the large size) as it's an obstetric ward in a hospital, so that makes sense. Maybe the story-line is a little over the top, but this is entertainment as the Australians do so well. As a previous reviewer has said, I've laughed and cried at this first series, and I see there are five more. Can't wait.
The Paradise (2012)
slightly less than paradise
I finished reading the book "the ladies paradise" not long ago and a friend and I were discussing it, and found a TV version on Ebay. Well of course it's nothing like the book, except it's an innovative department store in a large city - can't actually work out where it's supposed to be as everyone seems to be from Northern areas, if not Scotland - and the lead girl is called Denise. After that,the story changes radically and becomes, dare I say it, nearly as trite as Downton. Not having finished watching season one, I can only wait and see, but while the theme of the story is similar (no Miss Audrey in the book, with or without hot flushes) I would like to have seen a French version, as I don't think they would have dumbed down the story as much. I am enjoying the series so something is working. What happened to the brilliant series that the BBC used to produce?
Parade's End (2012)
I have not enjoyed a mini series or anything (come to think of it) as well as I have enjoyed this. Thoroughly addictive, with absorbing characters and compelling plot, I could not stop watching it. Our hero was one to make women of his era swoon, and his honourable behaviour was obviously too much for some viewers to comprehend. His wife, charming, manipulative and adorable, was so beautiful and so naughty that it was impossible to take one's eyes off her. The young would-be mistress was a joy. The other characters are too numerous to name, but there was not a weak link in the whole production. (For those who found accents hard to understand: try harder. We have listened to accents with difficulty from all over the American states, but without subtitles. You really must get out more.) the language was perfect for the era, as opposed to certain other series where it has been dumbed down and modernised for today's viewers. This is the authentic stuff, and is lovely and ... I could go on for hours. Loved every second.
Vanity Fair (1998)
a splendid mini series
I much prefer this version to the film, which naturally has its limitation of time to be considered. The cast I believe to be perfect, so much is said without words and the story plays along beautifully. It's been some years since I read the book, it's always on my list but gets pushed back because I have read it before, but perhaps this year? Becky is a delicious minx and Amelia is gullible and sweet. I loved Josh Sedley, adored Dobbin and Rawdon. There are so many brilliantly drawn characters, too many to mention. It's absorbing and entertaining, funny and heart wrenching. I have watched and enjoyed this before and no doubt will do so again.
Indian Summers (2015)
sparkling Indian summers
I wondered if I would enjoy this series, as of late I've found TV drama to be dire - for example the dialogue in Downton turned me right off, and I've not managed to watch an entire episode. This is different, it's a classier production, obviously there are inaccuracies and mistakes, and that's a shame, but the historical aspects are intriguing and the acting is a cut above anything else on TV today. The characters are well drawn and one gets the atmosphere of the day if not the actual situation and language. I take the points made in other comments. BUT the story is compelling, the characters and their mistakes and their pathways hold one to the screen until the episode ends and a wail goes up - not the end!!! Absolutely fabulous, it's a story, right? Based on facts perhaps, inaccurately portrayed - maybe, but it's a class drama and wonderfully done. I love it, and I didn't expect to do so.
Surgical Spirit (1989)
really very funny
I remember this series when it first aired on TV, and I'm pretty sure that NZ TV did not buy all of them. Recently I was lucky enough to obtain the complete boxed set of all eight series and I've been laughing out loud ever since.
The characters are well drawn, the dialogue is pithy and well written - no dreadful downton dialogue here - and the stories/episodes are believable and entertaining. There is consistency and humour in each episode, really I can't praise it too highly. The characters are believable and it's a really top class funny comedy series. You can't say that about many. This ten line rule is ridiculous and just opens the site to too much wordy and meaningless babble.