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11 reviews in total 
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3 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
uninspired, 18 June 2013

This episode of the Poirot series featuring Ariadne Oliver begins interestingly enough and serves up an excellent cast of character actors, but utterly fails to live up to its promise, the denouement taking up almost the last quarter of it, during which the protagonists arouse all the empathy of a case of herrings, Vanessa Kirby in particular. Despite its usual Christie Byzaneity whodunnit is apparent almost from the first, and even to a large degree, why, as is almost always the case where an author introduces an inexplicable character. But as usual Poirot keeps all of it to himself. Suchet is, tho, rather remarkable, in other roles looking and acting nothing like he does here.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
better than avg, 10 June 2013

George Gently is from several perspectives one of the best of the British detectives series, but seeing Warren Clarke immediately arouses suspicions he will be the culprit, first because of his prominence, and second because he appears to enjoy playing villains when he isn't playing detectives himself. The shows are well-plotted and acted, and, since I was in college myself at this time, the '60s atmosphere, while a bit overdone, is nevertheless very well done, except, I noticed, for the Venetian blinds. And although the topics are handled well, their anachronism is still a bit too obvious, if not in something like the Irene Huss class. This episode reflects on the observation that love, like it or not, infrequently breeds war, as much as, on feminism and homosexuality. But what sets this series apart from many others is that not everything which happens is made into a smoking gun or a morality play. Sgt Bacchus' father-in-law is inexplicably replaced, and I think could just as well have been omitted, or retired, etc. Myanna Buring is a great vamp, as small girls often are, and whom I fully expected John to fall for, reminding me she did nude modeling at that age, if I'm not mistaken.

0 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
hackneyed and could use subtitles, 14 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Broadchurch is obviously a rip-off of the first Forbrydelsen, a 20-hour Danish mystery, which aired in 2007, involving the murder of a teenage girl. It has the same episode structure and musical score, and appears to have not only the same plot, but, it would seem, the same conclusion. In that one the culprit turns out to be the family's best friend. As well as following the police, both shows spend an inordinate amount of time on the victims, and the falsely accused. And they similarly drag. They make similar statements about the press, too. And the detective's personal problems and previous shortcomings. It needs English subtitles for those not accustomed to a variety of British working class accents and slang, if it is ever to air in the US.

8 out of 62 people found the following review useful:
no stars, 28 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoiled, perhaps, tho not by me. Some of the episodes of Downton Abbey are so gruesomely tedious you want to fast forward through them, but this one is proof, if any really were needed, the thing is genuine trash - a regurgitated Winds of War - if deference duly paid, nevertheless, to newsworthy liberal shibboleths and Tory Democracy. Churchill's father opined that the British upper-crust and the rabble shared a common immorality, and who better than the Churchills exemplify it? The "abbey," itself, incidentally, being a mid-19th century pile reminiscent of "Mad" King Ludwig, erected by the fellow who did the Houses of Parliament, and of little more breeding, its lineage dating only to Henry VIII's mendacity. And little more respect for facticity is evinced here than in the perennial Midsomer Murders, whose writers appear to have all flunked grade school science. Is it really necessary, too, for paranoia to stalk these stories like a special forces detachment behind enemy lines? Fellowes clearly had no more use for Sybil so her demise is understandable, and Matthew appears to have proved so dull and smarmy he obviously would never make a Crawley. Tho, like J.R. we will have to wait until next season to know for sure. Or rather we would had it not already been announced. But will Edith's newspaperman become Chancellor of the Exchequer and pitch the world over the fiscal cliff? Will Branson move to New Zealand and save Rose from the Nips, or become a Nazi sympathizer? And does Matthew's son grow up to marry his daughter and march off to defend Egypt, or, God forbid, pilot a Hurricane in the Battle of Britain? Does Mrs Hughes have cancer or not? Will Elizabeth McGovern EVER acquire an English accent? Stay tuned. Were it possible to give it no stars, I would have, for it doesn't have any bright spots except for the new grocer.

6 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
disgusting political correctness, 21 July 2012

Midsomer Murders has long been known for its lampooning of British mystery writing, such as Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. I was pleased to see it returning to the formula in 15th season, and Dudgeon IMHO plays it perfectly. Much better than his predecessor, and certainly more audibly. But his inaugural season, of which this is the third episode features some of the worst plotting I've ever come across, and this particular episode is just a politically correct rant on "puritanical" and obsessive males, with gratuitous violence in flashbacks for those with no imagination. The actors should have turned the script down flat, though I suppose, thanks to the previous decade of Labour rule, they couldn't afford to. Liberals believe ppl do bad things, such as murder, because they are repressed. The prescription for such hate thus has to be love, and so they patronize others, which not infrequently turns out to be very remunerative, as Mandeville pointed out some centuries ago.

1 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A lot better than Downton Abbey, 18 May 2012

I understand the Duke of Kent was bisexual, and no doubt many women were, too, or lesbian, but I see little point in pandering to it, except to concede that the series is, in fact, slanted towards to a feminine audience. I think tho that largely underestimates its value, because, soap opera or not, Upstairs Downstairs is better conceived, better plotted, better written, better cast, better directed, better acted, better staged, better filmed, better everything, than Downton Abbey, the latter's four Emmys and 9.0 IMDb rating IMHO furnishing any additional proof needed. I see little point, tho, in regurgitating either world war, except, again, to pander to British pride and liberal sentiment.

Since the six episodes of "Season 2" have not yet aired in the US, some many not understand what I'm saying, or why, and I won't therefore enlighten them further, except to say I told you so.

14 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
A BBC Dallas, 14 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Downton Abbey is sort of Jane Austen meets Upstairs, Downstairs, with hints of Brideshead Revisited, a smidgen of Henry James and a dash of Jackie Collins thrown in. You could say it is a kind of BBC Dallas, tho it is done much better than that. Yet, while it does have great "production values," it has plot gyrations that would spin the head of even the average American soap opera maven. It moves very fast, covering two years in one season, with little to suggest the period omitted. As a result there is little in the way of character development. There are inconsistencies, too, such as a staff way smaller than would be needed for such an establishment, somewhat like The Love Boat's five-man crew. Some things just make no sense, for instance, how the maid managed to learn typing without being instantly detected. The acting and casting on the whole is very good, with the exception of Elizabeth McGovern, who even as an American, seems out of place. Maggie Smith, however, steals every scene she is in. One can fairly easily see at the outset, even if they do not, that the protagonists were made for each other, and it is a minor mystery at the end of the first season why they aren't already married. But the overall impression I have is that this production was intended, above all, and despite its extravagance, to make money and employ people. The American PBS presentation, incidentally, appears to have been cut, as well as, the episodes redistributed.

6 out of 45 people found the following review useful:
no mystery, 4 January 2010

This is not a detective mystery to any great extent, but a police procedural of the type written in the hundreds by John Creasey under a variety of pseudonyms. The end is never in doubt, and indeed, is replayed over and over during the course of dozens of confusing flashbacks. Only halfway through the five hours does it dawn on the detective, assigned in a totally contrived way to the handling of a highway pileup, that something may be out of the ordinary. And indeed everyone involved is hiding something, in good red herring fashion, but the only question is whether that had anything at all to do with causing the accident. Unless you are a transportation safety board employee this is probably not for you, and the money spent on it might have been more fruitfully spent on having the producers' heads examined.

10 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
trite, 17 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a movie about a young girl called Pippa, in a family with five brothers, her mother hooked on amphetamines, who grows up, in her words, to be a "f**k-up." She is redeemed by an older man attracted to young women, and when Pippa becomes older, turns her in for a newer model. But it is never clear whether the reason for Pippa's condition is nature or nurture. And her husband, the boy next door, her lesbian aunt and girlfriend, her ugly children, and the rest of the characters in the milieu are all superficial and trite, with no apparent bearing on the issue, while the casting and acting is largely poor, and many of the scenes gratuitous, as if the author could not figure out what else to say. The cinematography is good, particularly the time transitions, but all in all, another pointless film that says more about Hollywood, or suburban New York, where it is set, than about real people. It was genuinely painful to watch, tho that may have been the intent. In Italian hands it would have been a very funny sex farce.

8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
really awful, 24 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is a film about jealousy, rather crudely sexual, and has the quality of a fado about it none of which I think audiences in non-Latin countries will appreciate. (I am not sure that includes the US.) It is also yet another movie about movie makers. The plot centers on a now blind playwright, Harry Caine, who is asked by the drug-addicted, homosexual son of a recently deceased millionaire financier, Ernesto Martel, to write a script about his father's relationship with him to be made into a film which he'll produce. Cruz was Martel's secretary, Lena, whose own father was mistreated by the health service, causing her to return to prostitution to get money for private treatment. It turns out her boss is the madam's best client, who not only knows all about her previous career, but wants to screw her, which she initially refused. However her father turning worse, she turned to him for help, eventually becoming his mistress. The son's offer is refused once his identity is revealed, since Caine was involved years earlier in a venture with his father, and Caine's production manager believes the boy is mad. While she is away Caine and her son, Diego embark on the script for a vampire film. If at this point the viewer is inclined to think Broken Embraces is all plot, he is right. This, unfortunately, seems to be a sign of the times, especially, it seems, in Latin countries.

Diego, it turns out, works as a DJ in a club with the son, who calls himself Ray-X, where, grabbing the wrong laced drink, he collapses. In bed he gets Caine to tell him Ray-X's story. Fourteen years previously, wanting to be an actress, Cruz auditioned for the then-sighted Caine's first comedy, 19-year-old Ernesto Jr in tow, unnerving both him and Martel, who, in order to retain control of the situation bankrolled the film. Caine, known then as Mateo Blanco, proceeds to fall in love with her while Diego's mother, Judit Garcia, and Ernesto Sr become jealous. Ernesto Jr is asked by Ernesto Sr to make a documentary about the making of the film as a means of spying on them. Their love scene occurs no less than 51 mins in, followed immediately by another with the financier cleverly wrapped in a sheet. Courtesy of a lip reader the documentary reveals her true feelings about the latter episode to him. The contrived appearance of a tripod while he films a tryst gives Cruz the opportunity for a Hitchcockian moment, and another follows in its footsteps, as Ernesto pushes her down the staircase, resulting in a totally unbelievable injury, which was as painful to watch as it might have been to the stunt double.

She could at this point have accused him of attempted murder, but instead she uses the opportunity to bribe him to finish the film. He agrees thinking perhaps that her love for the director is limited to that, but he continues to abuse her, and she and Caine disappear for a month together in improbable scenery on the Canary Islands, while he attempts to pressure them to reveal their whereabouts by completing the film without them. Caine needed a better contract, I guess. Caine reveals his new name and phone number to the hitherto trusted Judit, who refuses to talk with him and he decides to return to Madrid, leaving Cruz on the island, but they are followed to the aeropuerto by Ernesto Jr, and their car struck by a large SUV at a roundabout killing her and blinding him. Entering their hotel room Judit finds all the pictures of the pair ripped to shreds. The scene shifting back to the present, Judit fesses up, to what is surely obvious (at least to me, who am writing this as I'm watching for the first time). Along with jealousy, there must be some kind of thing about confession in the Latin character. She does not, however, confess to knowing anything about the SUV nor to role her feelings for him played. But the next morning she tells Diego that Caine is his father, which should have been obvious, but is really extraneous except perhaps to absolve her of jealousy and end the film on a positive note.

Americans would expect to develop sympathy with some character, and it seems that the director intended it, but there is no room for that here, and it is not that they are all objectionable, altho one could make a case for it, but that they are simply shallow and unsympathetic. The only sympathy I had was for the good-looking blonde at the beginning of the film, who would not allow her breasts to be shown in the same frame as her face. Possibly intended is a statement on people whose only means of obtaining love is by charity and its inevitably neurotic character. If so there would be some merit in it, but it is swamped by the unnecessary action and imagery, and above all by the boring confession. If there is some other symbolism or autobiographical connection to be made, such as with Godard, Chabrol or other directors who have taken up with their leading ladies, I missed it, altho perhaps the film reflects Cruz's own relationship with Almodovar. In all, IMHO this a really terrible film and I give it far fewer stars than the IMDb average. The average European TV detective show is better.

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