Reviews written by registered user
ianlouisiana

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924 reviews in total 
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"SS-GB" (2017)
10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Parallel Universe?Hardly,Mr Deighton doesn't do fantasy...., 20 February 2017
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"SS-GB" features the father of Bernard Archer,Mr Deighton's long - running S.I.S.hero of Cold War Europe. Starting with "Winter" and moving through to "Spy Sinker",Archer pere et fils have occupied a lot of the author's time. These are tales of betrayal,loyalty,familial relationships and,somewhere in the mix,espionage. They are of course imaginative stories but no one could call them fantasies. To market this new TV series as a "Parallel Universe" tale is a huge mistake as it will not meet from approval of Fantasy fans nor will it satisfy lovers of mystery stories. As an average Sunday night TV show it is adequate,if derivative. I almost expected Orson Welles to appear spotlit in a doorway. And a voice-over to say "Meanwhile,over at the cafe Rene....". The BBC's preoccupation with sexing up existing material is exhibited as you might have expected and adds nothing of advantage to the original narrative. The fashion for 1940s retro alone will ensure it draws reasonable figures,but it lacks the tightness and verisimilitude of the original. Mr Deighton has been on record for years as refusing to allow movie production of his masterpiece "Bomber"(once available as a taped book from a BBC radio broadcast and well worth seeking out). I hope he can resist any future blandishments from the BBC to present it as a clumsy mish - mash with vague references to the original - like they have done to "SS - GB". Comic book Germans and stoical Brits might have been OK in 1957 but we have come on a bit since then - or so I would have hoped.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Miss A.Redman rescues this limp drama, 13 February 2017
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Indomitably she takes on the task of pulling this up by its bootstraps,ably assisted by fellow seniors Mr N.Morrisey and Miss P. Logan and together they rescue "The good karma hospital" from being a sunny version of "Casualty". Without them it would be a dreary thing indeed. Hospital soaps and documentaries abound on television and on any given night we can be in A&E,on a children's ward or more likely lying on a stretcher in some appalling corridor in conditions that if they occurred in some developing country we would protest about. Or we could be treated by Charlie Fairhead - surely the most boring character in soaps - in which case we might welcome the Grim Reaper. So to set a hospital soap in India - currently the "go to" place for TV programme makers - was hardly cutting edge. We have some nice looking young actors doing their earnest best not to laugh at the dire dialogue they are given and the old pros doing their stuff with gusto and every sign of enjoyment. Instead of spending her time castigating old coppers,Miss Redman now spends it castigating young doctors and generally has a lot of fun. It's predictable by - the - numbers stuff but just when you might doze off Miss Redman explodes and we are reminded what a fine actress she is. Mr Morrisey makes his mark as a beach bum and Miss Logan as a patient with terminal cancer.Not on the face of it a particularly cheerful part but her character remains positive and believable. Is this going to be a Sunday night staple? Possibly on the back of the success of "Best Marigold" franchise it will prosper. But if they let go of Redman,Morrisey and Logan it won't be worth watching.

"Taboo" (2017)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
"Jack's Return Home", 10 February 2017
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A familiar theme - man thought dead returns to claim his inheritance - is given a stunning twist by the BBC's oft - maligned Drama Dept. It is London,1814.The year before the Battle of Waterloo will destroy Napoleon's empire and shape Europe for the next century. The Prince Regent,a vain and fleshly man,is ruling England.Britain is shamelessly extending it's dominion over what we might now call developing countries by direct or vicarious means such as The Honourable East India Company who once employed James Delaney(Mr T.Hardy) as a cadet. Delaney's father has left him a small piece of land which lies between the warring nations America and Britain. Both the H.E.I.C. and Americans lay claim to it. Mr Delaney does not wish to sell. During his stay in Africa at the behest of the H.E.I.C. Delaney has to a certain extent "gone native"to use an expression of the time. Believed to have been lost at sea when a slave ship went down, he gets back ten years later in time for his father's funeral. This is the bare bones of "Taboo",a chilling,beautifully lit and I dare say rather more realistic look at early 19th century England than those endless Jane Austen clones we are usually served up with. The people are grubby,the streets filthy,living conditions vile. In the cast there is a refreshing lack of the "usual suspects" culture that benights our TV channels. Everyone seems to belong to the era - it's not just a case of dressing up but carrying on as if you were living in the 21st century as is too often the case. The Regency was an age of violence and sexual licentiousness and this is reflected in the programme and may offend but it is rather more matter of fact than frenzied as in "Apple Tree Yard" which is being run in tandem rather less successfully in my view. One of the characters says"I'd f**k her but i wouldn't masturbate to her" apropos of an attractive actress of the day;a sentiment I'm sure would relieve the lady concerned. "Taboo" is the most atmospheric and naturalistic production since "Wolf Hall" and deserves to be lauded in the same manner.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Tried hard to put a positive spin on a bad situation, 8 February 2017
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This sad episode is perhaps too recent to view objectively. The deeply flawed Karen Matthews was nobody's idea of a paragon of the maternal virtues but surely she could not have been as stupid as this production has portrayed her.Nor can her friends have been so sheep - like,just ready for someone - anyone - to tell them what to do. Obligingly along comes Miss S.Smith as a gobby advocate for the Moorside who sees the opportunity for what she sees as being helpful as well as seizing her 15 minutes at the same time as winding up the Old Bill and bullying her neighbours into doing her wishes without really thinking about the possibility that she might be harming the child's chance of being found alive. Puffy eyed and heavy of face,Miss Smith is a stranger to restraint as the single mother brow - beating and threatening her way to a TV spot as the hunt for the child grows wider. Only her friend Natalie(excellent Miss S.Brooke) is willing to stand up to her. As we all know the outcome of this incident there was no tension,merely a vague anxiety about what Miss Smith might do when she finds out that she(and all the others)has been played for a mug. Best performance by far is by Miss S.Finneran as this Detective who is unfortunate enough to be Family Liaison. The guy who plays Karen Matthews' partner looked so much like Radar O' Reilly that I giggled every time he came on screen.Presumably not the affect he was supposed to create. I understand the intention of "The Moorside" was to present a more positive image for the residents,but I'm afraid that in that it has not succeeded.

6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
"I want to make you wet"..push her in a puddle pal you'll be better off, 26 January 2017
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Any series that starts with the main character handcuffed in a prison van on the way to court is cheating the viewers.Sure,flashback is a legitimate device,but in this case it's a cheap shot,hoping to grab the audience for what is in evidently going to end up as a courtroom drama albeit one preceded with a fair amount of knee - trembling in various alleyways and lascivious texting(see above). There is also a graphic and gratuitous rape scene to end episode one which can only have been included to make the obvious point that whilst a woman may enjoy rough sex with a lover it doesn't make her game for a drunken workmate. I wouldn't have thought that in 2017 it was necessary to make that statement but presumably the BBC hopes it will do wonders for the viewing figures. "Apple Tree Yard" - the location of one of the lovers' trysting places if grunting up against a brick wall can be called trysting - is made for the chattering classes about the chattering classes. It is a revealing look at how they regard marriage. Obviously it is no impediment against casual and brutal sex with complete strangers and the main characters are dismissive of middle class morality. "Having sex with you is like being eaten by a wolf" texts the 50 - odd year old Geneticist (Miss E.Watson) to her beau (Mr B.Chaplin). Well,I was once bitten by my aunt's Pekinese and I was unable to see the co - relation. Mr Chaplin is something at the Palace of Westminster and is proof it were needed that most of its denizens would be immeasurably improved by death. Apart from establishing his heroic libido,episode one tells us nothing about him. MIiss Watson is married to an apparently cheating husband just so we won't feel so bad. Hopefully episode two will go easier on the cast's knees and backs and give us something to get our teeth into.(Ooops!)

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
I can respect it,but not enjoy it., 20 January 2017
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After all the hype I expected to be overwhelmed by "The Revenant" but sadly I wasn't. Yes the scenery was awesome,nature was red and raw in tooth and claw,it was obviously jolly cold and Mr di Caprio struggled manfully wrapped up in a bearskin and spent the night inside a horse and generally suffered for his art but somehow he didn't inspire much sympathy from me. I suspect the film has a more appreciative audience in the United States and Canada where the term "frontier" still has some meaning. Regrettably it made me think of the New Christie Minstrels' song "Four wheels on my wagon" in a lot of places. Somehow all that snow and freezing water,all that suffering and brutality and "nature is pure - only man is evil" stuff whilst not exactly passing me by did leave me unaffected. Yes it was crisply shot,well - lit and the sound was excellent,but the unrelenting evil on display eventually got to me and made me more or less indifferent to Mr Glass's fate. Perhaps I am too sensitive. Whatever,"The Revenant" is obviously worthy of the viewers' respect but it did not induce in me the slightest desire to watch it again.

There is a serious point hidden amongst the nonsense,honest!, 17 January 2017
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Simply put,the audience is expected to condemn the torture of a Woman soldier by Jihadists but accept if not actually encourage the torture of a woman politician in a "good" cause. All the rest is pretty dreadful with countless plot holes and laughable performances from nearly everybody. Only Mr I.Lavendar puts a shift in and he pops his clogs(to no purpose as far as I could see) early on. Then again if you're looking for purpose you're at the wrong shop. Miss H.Peace who has appeared as an SAS soldier on telly several times has the thousand yard stare that programme makers appear to think is mandatory. Trouble is she wears it even when in a bar with her boyfriend. The PM who appears to be a ghastly amalgam of Gordon Brown John Prescott is arguably the worst performance I have ever had the pleasure of laughing at. I believe wholeheartedly that any Prime Minister in the 21st century would condemn a whole regiment of soldiers to death to get his hands on £80 billion of Oil money,but the rest of of 31 north 62 east is nonsense.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Behind every great man is a great woman....., 17 January 2017
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

....in Bobby Moore's case,a formidable woman,his first wife Tina Dean who apparently wore the trousers - to use a phrase from the era - in their marriage.At least in this re-imagination of it. I must confess right away that I was a regular at Upton Park during Bobby's pomp and consider him to have been West Ham's greatest ever player and thus may be considered to be biased in his favour. Based on Tina's account,she appears to be the driving force and he a mere cipher as portrayed in this series. Was he really so meek?Was he so different from the authoritative figure he cut on the football pitch? Here is is presented as a man with serious need of a personality implant. If that was the case one wonders what Miss Dean saw in him in the first place. But perhaps she saw his potential and brought it out. After the first episode one is still waiting for "Bobby Moore" to appear. What we have had so far is an amiable lad anxious to offend nobody and a bit of a shrinking violet. Although he has declared that football is his life we don't see much evidence of it. Ron Greenwood - known to all at Upton Park as "The reverend Ron" is also subjugated by Mrs Moore who tells him off over his treatment of her husband as though all his years in the professional game have taught him nothing about man - management. I think the clue is in the title - surely a series about England's World Cup icon and the first true Celebrity Footballer should have been called "Bobby and Tina"? Instead,so far we have seen the usual 21st century take on a strong woman in a man's world,which is fine but I would hazard a guess that many viewers are scratching their heads and waiting for "Bobby Moore" to put a shift in.

9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Strong - jawed Yanks,chinless aristos,scarlet women,intrigue...., 4 January 2017
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

....welcome to the world of 1950's British movies. Those of us old enough to remember the when we made "programmers",60 minute pictures shot on a shoestring with token American second - raters and chesty English gals who sang in night clubs while foreign - looking types(Eric Pohlman or Marne Maitland usually)followed them with hooded eyes,will gaze fondly at "The Halcyon",a new series starting on ITV this week. Watch it and immediately you are wafted back to the red plush seats at "The Odeon" with your Kia - Ora and Senior Service comfortably to hand casually scouting out "The Talent"(omg can I still say that?) and waiting for "Rebel without a cause" to start. But back on planet Earth in 2017(I don't have to believe it if I don't want to)we are seeing 1940 as a time of certainties,uniting against Germany(sorry,Nazism), the ever - so - slight cracking of the social barriers of the thirties and a time when women were just beginning to find a voice. So "The Halcyon" potentially has a lot going for it,aided no end by energetic performances by all concerned who have the look of actors who believe they are on to a winner. The basic premise is familiar enough;- a family -run business adapting to changes of manners and mores during wartime. We have all been here many times before but seldom with so much musical and visual enjoyment . The music is a clever pastiche of 30's styles by Jamie Cullum and is played onstage by a sextet but often sounds like like the Duke Ellington band with Cat Anderson playing the trumpet an octave above everybody else. Butlers,boot boys,chambermaids,concierges and major - domos proliferate and the hotel manager is satisfyingly menacing,mysterious and melliflous at the same time. With nine more episodes to go I look forward to a winter of content.

4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
"I brush up quite nicely" grubby Victorian Lothario to "heroine"......., 12 December 2016
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Carelessly written (viz above) monotonously depressing,permanently gloomy piece that I have read elsewhere as being presented as a portrait of a "Strong Woman"in an overwhelmingly male - dominated society. Don't you believe it. "Dark Angel" allegedly tells the story of reputedly the first woman serial killer, a vicious yet pathetic creature who murders at will despite knowing she will assuredly hang( or because,possibly). Starting with a jolly scene in the Death Cell things go downhill quickly as the Dark Angel murders baby and adult alike until even the Victorian plod begin to suspect something about her is amiss. I daresay today she would plead childhood abuse and have any surviving children returned to her and be awarded a full - time team of social workers. Everybody overacts like mad and the Lothario gets a knee - trembler in the first reel before he even knows her name as far as I can make out. It has been said that Victorian working - class women either sold their bodies or sewed shirts ( a contemporary painting "The song of the shirt" offers the clues snapped up by eager middle - class Gallery - goers)The Dark Angel showed there was a "Third Way" with a result that was only too predictable.


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