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The Crucifer of Blood (1991)
Shame about Sherlock
I agree that Charlton Heston wasn't the man for this role, I had "the advantage" of watching/having to watch the French version, as such I didn't have to listen to "American English English". On the other hand I found his disguises superb. The action and the "end game" both made the film well worth watching. There are many films where the "baddy" becomes obvious - this is not one of them!
Richard Johnson plays a believable John Watson. The Watson role is difficult to play in the sense that he is an educated man, so shouldn't appear stupid, just less capable of crime deduction. But we shouldn't forget that doctors are experts in deducing illnesses from the symptoms of their patients. Connie Booth is a lovely lady - a pleasure to see everything she's in!
Charlie's Angels (2011)
The best of the Angels
Having watched all of the Charlie's Angels series/films I find this one to be the best of all. Certainly, like the others, there are a whole load of contrived situations. They all seem to be able to find jobs overnight in the situation targeted - just like the previous Angels. I wonder how much of all three productions used body doubles/stand-ins. I noticed that Drew Barrimore (of Charlie's Angels from 2000 and its follow up - Full Throttle 2003) was executive producer for this series. Shame that there won't be a second series. Interesting too was the choice of "Bosley" (Ramon Rodriguez) - he seems to better fit the "job" than did David Doyle (1976 series).
Da Vinci's Demons (2013)
Wrong name right film
I saw the start of the series yesterday and immediately thought, "That's not Leonardo da Vinci". To be reasonable it should have had a different title that didn't refer to Leonardo, but to someone else. But... that wouldn't sell, would it? I found that action of the episodes to be good quality and good acting, except that Leonardo da Vinci wouldn't behave like that... A series that showed him as he really was would only interest historians. A major problem is that most studies conclude that he became celibate following an incident where he was nearly prosecuted the 9th April 1476 for a gay act while he was still at the workshop of Verrocchio. But that wouldn't sell either!
The Alphabet Murders (1965)
Not funny enough to be a comedy, too much fun to be serious
I watched all the way through, partially because Tony Randall's 'Hercule Poirot' was so different from others I've seen; Hastings played by Robert Morley too was not the 'standard character' for the role. Many times he mentioned his 'little grey cells' but didn't seem to be using them until... The whole of the film contained the odd 'funny bit' that took away the idea that it was a serious investigation. On the other hand there were not enough to keep the spectator laughing throughout. At one point there is a 'gun waving moment' where the way the gun's used doesn't really provide protection. So it was fun to watch but perhaps not for serious Hercule Poirot fans.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Could have done better
I found the film to be utter rubbish - the Sherlock Holmes character was more like a cross between Steven Seagal and McGyver, and unshaven! He didn't "look intelligent" when he was trying to solve problems. His pipe wasn't right and some of his shirts I wondered if they really existed before 1900. And, of course, his accent wasn't quite right the English accent or rather English accents can be difficult to achieve and ends up as a mishmash of different regional accents. I find myself trying to sort out which regions and that spoils the film for me As for Irene Adler, at first I thought the American accent incorrect, but then realised that Conan-Doyle had her born in New Jersey in 1858, so she would have been around 32 at the middle of the construction of Tower Bridge.
The French speaking thugs had a French-Canadian accent - strange.
I agree that the special effects seemed to have been bought from a charity shop. All the buildings scenes seemed not right, not real. If you can't get it right, don't put it in!
And all the chase scenes, not very Sherlock Holmes-esquire, were nothing to do with what I had expected, as were the "last second saves" in the pig abattoir. The amount of violence was far greater than ever seen before in previous renderings of the great detective. I concluded that it should have been given another name, e.g. Herlock Sholmes, the Parody invented by Maurice Leblanc in his Arsène Lupin books (Conan-Doyle was, apparently, annoyed).
That just about sums it up it wasn't Sherlock Holmes it was a parody.
I very much enjoyed Life, preferring "psychological" police series to the "shoot 'em up" ones.
I first watched it in French and enjoyed it very much (although I didn't catch all the episodes) and, knowing that Damian Lewis is British, I was interested in seeing how he managed an American accent; so I bought the DVDs of the two series. I was disappointed in the sense that his real voice has higher pitch than that of the French person who doubled him. Even so I watched the totality of the episodes over a couple of days (nights rather) - Charlie Crew's out of the box/deductive thinking; a corrupt F.B.I. unit; etc. were all positive aspects to the "interest" the series incited in the viewer.
From the end plot I guessed that series 3 was never on the cards - all items were tied up, leaving nothing for the start of a follow on, indeed it would mean the creation of a whole new independent plot.
The other "different" police series is "The Mentalist" that I like too.
L'un contre l'autre (1996)
Another typical Jean-Luc Azoulay Sit-Com
This series followed "Les Filles d'à Côté" and "Les Nouvelles Filles d'à Côté". Thierry Redler(from these two series) is joined by Rochelle Redfield (from another J-L Azoulay sitcom for adolescents). There are many things in common between "L'un contre l'autre" ("The one against the other) and "Les Filles d'à Côté". In "Les filles..." Marc (Thierry) shared an apartment with an American photographer Daniel (Bradley Cole) who created advertisements. In "L'un..." Jean (Thierry Redler) is married to an American photographer Gin (Rochelle Redfield) and he works for an advertising agency.
In the three series we see Thierry going from playing an utter loser in "Les filles...", to becoming a success with the ladies in "Les nouvelles..." and in this series he is happily married but with similar contrived situations occurring.
In all three series some characters "talk to the camera" (to comment on the on-going situation) - there is quite a lot of this in "L'un..."
Again in all three series no-one ever smokes, but alcohol is consumed - at times excessively if necessary for the story line of the episode concerned.
Some of the "bit-players" from "Les filles..." and "Les nouvelles.." appear also in "L'un..." but as different characters, e.g. Laure Sabardin who changes character name, but keeps the same sort of job.
The syllable "Red" in both their names is highlighted in the opening (series) credits. Three colours are used with "RED" being in red (Thierry REDler, Rochelle REDfield)
Second Skin (2000)
I enjoyed it
I found the twists and turns amusing right up to the very last one. Having seen it I feel that I shall have to watch it again to see if the chronology is right. For instance when you learn the truth about each character you would think that Crystal Ball should have already met Sam Kane. Another is the hit and run car having been stolen from... was it Cleveland, I'll have to see it again and do a pause on the driver as I have the impression that it was the "other woman". That would complicate no end the logic of the story.
I found the acting good overall - though it was a little contrived to prevent the public seeing "more" of Natasha Henstridge in the "love" scenes.
The DVD was sold here, a week ago, for 2euros, so the film company obviously didn't place much value in it.
Les filles d'à côté: Accident (1994)
"Jean-Pierre" (Pierre Deny) is a Hi-Fi salesman/installer - and is there (the apartment block) to install Marc's newly bought Hi-Fi. He is Magalie's husband and on arrival has a small accident with Vincent's skate-board. So Vincent's mother (Claire) goes down to arrange insurance - she invites him to her flat where he meets Fanny (Magalie is next door with Marc and Daniel). It is strange that they do not already know the husband of their best buddyess, especially as the husband of Claire had already seduced (prior to the first episode) both Fanny and Magalie. For the story line Magalie had left her husband, because of his infidelity, and had not given him her new address.
Les filles d'à côté (1993)
Very contrived but fun
This is a series about two bachelors (one French (Marc), one American (Daniel)) who live in a top floor (17th) duplex flat. The first episode has 3 ladies moving in to the flat next door ; they are all separated from their husbands. One (Claire) has a teenage son (Vincent), another (Fanny) has a young daughter (Wendy) and a baby son (David).
Marc immediately wants to try to seduce one of them and, as the series progresses, focalises on the third girl (Magalie). Daniel, on the other hand, wants nothing apart from a platonic relationship with the women as they are still married (only separated).
The flat is owned by Daniel, a successful commercial photographer, who allows Marc, an unemployed writer, to live in free. Daniel says that Marc's father looked after him during his first years in France so it's normal for him to look after Marc.
Each episode shows the egocentricity of Marc, with Daniel taking a lot of hassle. Marc uses Daniel's cheque book and credit card and occasionally forgets to tell Daniel when he loses them! Marc is always imagining different ways to seduce (mainly) Magalie, but loses out every time with Daniel "winning" (but not seducing the ladies). The three ladies have all fallen in love with Daniel and try to lure him at the same time as trying to avoid Marc.
The opening titles show the names and the part played by the leading actors - only the first name of the role is given - even if they are not in that episode. The closing credits show their names again, but not their parts, followed by "And" with the names only of the other actors (walk-ons and bit-parts are uncredited) Thus if there is more than 1 guest of the same sex it is impossible to determine who is who. The surname of Marc is shown to be Malloy in some episodes (e.g. when he launches his apartment block radio "Radio Marc Malloy" - and Daniel says that his surname is "Green" - however as it is never written (at least in episodes 1 - 100) the spelling is uncertain. The only other persons, apart from Marc's father, whose full name is known, are Georgette Bellefeuille (a very large lady who is always trying to seduce Marc) and Mme Villemarinet (whose first name is Magalie too).
Ages: Vincent is 12 in episode 2 and 13 in episode 6. In Episode 2 Wendy is 6 and the baby, David, is 8 months old. Daniel is said to be around 40 and Marc is assumed to have a similar age. The girls' ages are not mentioned except that Magalie is younger than Fanny and Claire.
The only person who stays on throughout the 170 episodes is Claire. Magalie disappears, to go to Peru, after four fifths of the series, Marc too (to try and tempt her back). His part is taken over by Charlie, who has paid him 3 months rent (even though Marc lived there for free). Marc returns later on in the series and then either both or one of them is present in each episode up until episode 164 (Adeline Revient). Brusquely in episode 165, la Fuite, Daniel disappears (said to have gone back to his ex-girlfriend, Cindy in New York). Charlie, too disappears, but nothing is mentioned. Marc then takes over as the male leading role. Luna replaces Magalie and Sabine replaces Fanny. Claire's 2 sisters appear on and off till the end of the series. The same actors are in "Les Nouvelles Filles d'à Côté", which follows on. The "Nouvelles Filles" (new girls, i.e. next door) are Adeline and Gérard, who move into an apartment together.