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ianlouisiana

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821 reviews in total 
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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Passes rapidly from cliché to parody. "It's grim oop north", 12 August 2014
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

20 years of strong,brave,loyal and smart women in our soaps and TV dramas combined with frankly cardboard male characters who are either weak,vain,thick,violent or criminal(and sometimes all five things in one)has rather taken the edge off what at one time might have been considered a "challenging" concept,i.e. the intertwining stories of five women(and the obligatory teenage girl who doesn't know she's pregnant)and their relationships with each other and their partners of whatever persuasion. I can hear the pitch now.."These women transcend the racial,sexual and social barriers and quickly bond against their stupid insensitive,feckless men whose brains nestle somewhere in their pants" You can see the TV executives salivating,can't you? Yes,I know only women bleed,and I know only women give birth but there is quite often a male involved somewhere along the line,however briefly. "Very briefly",I hear echoing from a thousand female stand - ups. Miss K.Mellor has taken us there before and clearly has no intention of letting us forget her opinion of the whole matter. For me,the tragedy of "In the club" is that it completely wastes four of our best actors - Miss J Halfpenny,Miss K.Parkinson,Miss T.Fitzgerald and Miss H.Norris all of whom perform far better than the material deserves,but making their characters believable is beyond even their considerable talents. I must mention Mr W.Mellor,not,i must admit,a favourite of mine,but who does a great job of making Rick,Miss Halfpenny's husband, a sympathetic character right up until the time he robs a bank because he can't afford to pay for his daughters' pizzas(well,I never said he was clever). Because of the fore-mentioned cast,"In the club" is just about watchable,but,sadly,it is nowhere near believable.

31 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful writing,great performances.TV drama at its best., 13 May 2014
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One day Mr S.Pemberton will be recognised for the superb actor that he is.In "Benidorm" he plays the outwardly crass Garvey paterfamilias as a completely believable bloody - minded Manc,but his performance slowly reveals him to be a loving husband and father frustrated by his inability to articulate his emotions. From "The League of Gentlemen" to "Inside No.9" he has displayed the ability to act and perform comedy outside the box and in "Happy Valley" he has reached a new level as an embittered accountant who conceives a plan to hold his boss's daughter for ransom after being refused a pay rise.He passes the plan on to a local villain then finds his boss has changed his mind. Horror - stricken,he goes to the local nick where he meets sympathetic Sgt Cawood(the equally inspired Miss S.Lancashire),but runs off before she can get the truth out of him. Sgt Cawood has what you might call "issues" as her daughter committed suicide after giving birth to a child as a result of rape.Incidentally,she is buried in a graveyard near Sylvia Plath.Not surprisingly the child has "issues" too as does Sgt Cawood's sister(The mighty Miss S Finneran - Mrs Garvey in "Benidorm" -who is a recovering heroin addict. But please don't think that "Happy Valley" is a drama that disappears up it's own self - pitying bottom because all the women are too tough for that particular cliché to apply. Instead they front it out as the rapist is released from prison,gets a job with the local bad guy who is engineering the kidnapping and proceeds to rape the victim. Miss Lancashire is the best,toughest and cleverest female cop since Miss Frances McDormand in "Fargo".It would never surprise me if in the end she didn't feed the rapist into a woodchipper.I certainly don't fancy his chances of staying alive,let alone free. What with "Happy Valley" and the female - led "The Crimson Field",the BBC are leading TV drama out of its male - dominated somewhat patriarchal comfort - zone and giving us some real warts and all portraits of women who are not content to make tea and cakes while hubby rides home on the 4.55.from Victoria.

A "Guess who's coming to dinner?" for the 21st century., 6 May 2014
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Worthy rather than outstanding.Well - made,well - acted and with little apart from the subject matter to set it above many other well - made and well - acted films of the last decade. Nobody in their right mind would suggest that slavery was anything but evil - that's a given.Perhaps a younger generation who have never heard of Little Rock or Rosa Parks need a reminder that equality and freedom having been painfully gained must never be surrendered,and it may be those people to whom "12 years a slave" has the most resonance in much the same way that "Schindler's List" brought the horrors of the holocaust to those to whom it had been merely an historic event. To sum up,you could say that "12 years a slave" is a triumph of substance over style in much the same way as Fifty years back "Guess who's coming to dinner?",another worthy,well - made and well - acted film was a minor sensation but is now remembered only for its social message and not for its merits per se. Perhaps in 2063 the critics will be saying something similar about "12 years a slave".

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
World War One as seen on TV.................., 6 May 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well - meaning and worthy might be two terms to describe "The Crimson Field",which has gradually improved as the series has progressed. Episode 5 on Sunday night has been the best so far,less soapy in feel and giving the excellent Miss S.Jones a chance to stretch her acting chops which had previously been confined to a lot of desperate grinning and kissing her German fiancé's engagement ring which she keeps on a chain round her neck.Oh,and riding her motor - bike with a most un - nurse - like disregard for the patients stumbling round the Field Hospital. However,Miss H.Norris is the undoubted star of the show as Matron Carter,a woman with a lot of secrets. The cast of Other Ranks is as usual filled with chirpy cockneys,canny Geordies,dour Northerners etc that could have been drawn from any war film from the last 100 years. The junior officers are no more interesting,and only Mr K.Doyle as the Lt.Colonel I/c makes any impact. But mainly this is a study of women at war at a time when smoking a cigarette was considered by many a step too far for "The Ladies - bless 'em". Miss Jones is the only working - class representative amongst them,the rest being comfortably middle - class and above. The junior nurses are well - meaning but totally inexperienced,as reflects the actuality of the time. Necessarily the true bloody picture of the horrific experience it must have been for them all has been watered down,but "The Crimson Field" succeeds in its remit to present such of the appalling reality of life for both the soldiers and the medical staff dedicated to looking after them in 1915. Some of it struggles to escape from the tried and true formula seen on our screens since "Emergency - Ward 10" nearly fifty years ago and currently perpetuated by such as "Casualty"(suffered brainstem death about 15 years ago but kept going by audience - figure incubation). But on balance it should inform a wider audience that The Hippocratic Oath does not include a clause that demands that every doctor should have sex at least once every 60 minute episode and that nurses' uniforms are more than an aid to jaded lovers.

"W1A" (2014)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Too true to be good................, 26 March 2014
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No doubt about it,the BBC wants to be loved,wants to be "Auntie" and "The Beeb",wants to be known as the home of "Children in Need" and "Sports Relief" where its favoured entertainers and presenters are given endless opportunities to show their caring side whilst simultaneously promoting themselves and their BBC programmes whilst engaging in emotional blackmail. In reality,the national broadcaster is smug,self - regarding,self - regulating,incestuous,and exerts far too powerful an influence on its audience whom it regards as a malleable amorphous mass who blindly pay out their licence fee in order to be patronised,ignored and have their intelligence insulted at regular intervals. Thus with "W1A"they may appear to be mocking their own excesses but in fact they are showing them off - demonstrating to us viewers that the organisation will always be an Oxbridge talking shop producing whatever it decides will be good for us and spending our money however it sees fit with no possibility of redress. Too many clever - clever people at the BBC may chortle at the in - jokes and applaud the "sporting" way celebrities appear as themselves(don't think Miss C.Vorderman should give up her day job - whatever it may be) but have failed to consider that this programme's predecessor,"2012", was centred on a specific once - in - a - lifetime event that for the previous two years had occupied the news media almost non - stop.It was very much of its time. The BBC's Olympic Legacy seems to consist of re - cycled scripts and hackneyed ideas,I'm afraid.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The daddy of TV forensic cop series, 26 February 2014
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Now 14 years old,"Waking the dead" continues to reign supreme in what has become a very overcrowded field - the TV forensic/cop show. It has always had a terrific ensemble cast and despite losing actors of the quality of Miss Claire Goose and Miss Holly Aird around the halfway mark it has maintained its momentum in a way few long - running TV series have managed. It benefits greatly from a superb double- act from the leads,Miss Sue Johnston and Mr Trevor Eve as the forensic psychologist and the boss cop,ostensibly a chalk and cheese combination,but one in which each one complements the other although they often violently disagree. As Peter Boyd Mr Eve is passionate and eager to pursue justice sometimes careless of the rules of evidence and procedure in doing so. As Grace Foley,Miss Johnston is more analytical,takes a step back to see the bigger picture and reins Boyd in when he threatens to get out of control. We know nothing of Dr Foley's personal life,but Boyd's is,predictably, disastrous with a son who goes missing from home and,as the series develops,begins to play a big part in his father's professional life,causing him to have more sympathy with disaffected young people than he might otherwise have had. Over the seasons many fine and well - known performers have appeared to much advantage,but the core of the programme remains Boyd's squad of sometimes disparate but always intuitive and dedicated people. The only caveat I have is that sometimes the camera dwells with lipsmacking relish a little too long at the bodies of Boyd's clients,particularly in the later episodes.Apart from that,"Waking the dead" is ,for me,a completely positive experience and still the one to beat for the many similar shows that have followed it.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"Old Mother Riley" with extra added swearing., 24 February 2014
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Back in the 1930s Mr Arthur Lucan and his wife Miss Kitty McShane created a variety act called "Old Mother Riley" which was hugely successful and spawned 20 quickie movies and a career that lasted until Lucan's death in 1954.Subsequently other performers played the part at least up until the 1970's when Mr Danny LaRue played Kitty. Mrs Riley was an Irish widow woman whilst clearly a man in a dress with no feminine attributes whatsoever.Miss Mcshane played his pretty daughter despite being his wife in real life. If this is all beginning to sound bit familiar it is hardly surprising. "Mrs Brown's boys" is merely Old Mother Riley with her dirty laundry on display. "F**k off Dermot","F***k off Buster","F***k off Winnie".......well,no one could ever accuse it of being subtle. Mrs Brown's habit of deliberately "corpsing" her family members is obviously far more amusing to them thant to the audience and her stepping out of her persona from time to time to address the crew another affectation that is merely irritating. It is hardly surprising that us so called "uptight" Brits love "Mrs Brown's Boys" with it's potty-mouthed star and I have no prudish objection to the "F" word per se,but rather like banging your head against a brick wall,it's a relief when it stops. As a child I was once taken to "Old Mother Riley" in pantomime and even at aged 12 I could see under the harsh stage lighting a tired,sunken - eyed old man gurning desperately under his thick make - up and a skinny thin - lippped woman muttering to him under her breath,quite possibly feeding him his lines.Mr O'Carroll will never be reduced to these straits,but I hope he sometimes spares a thought for a fellow artiste whose talent singularly failed to make him rich and famous.

8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
"Benidorm" minus the wit and humanity.,, 23 February 2014
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Edge of heaven" is thin stuff.It is simply not enough to have two gay men,an alpha female,a feisty grannie and a family of "characters" and expect unrestrained laughter as they tackle the uninspired script with growing desperation. Set for some - as yet unclear - reason in an eighties - themed guesthouse in Margate, a town that has been in a zombie state since the last mods and rockers kicked lumps off each other half a century ago,I doubt seriously that it will do much to improve the profile of this hapless resort. Margate's boom years were in the early 50s when "Dreamland" was in its pomp and a week in Cliftonville was all most Brits could afford. Perhaps "Edge of Heaven" might have been funnier if it had been set in that time with bald dads rolling up their trousers and putting handkerchiefs on their heads before going for a paddle then sneaking a bottle of brown ale past the eagle - eyed landlady. But somehow,in 2014,the very concept of a boarding house seems anachronistic,and filling it with a determinedly diverse and 21st century family merely irritating.a device that,frankly,does not work. Weak casting does not help,there is no central role to grab your attention. The first episode opened with the prospect of a wedding that obviously was not going to happen from the very start as the none - too - bright affianced couple were wildly unsuited.A far better bet for him was her best friend who was giving him cows' eyes as soon as he walked into her salon. His gay uncle Gary has a partner called Gary (Oh how I laughed) who is a ringer for, Liam in Benidorm,a programme whose influence looms large over "Edge of Heaven" a comparison that does it absolutely no favours at all. The Garvey family are the strand that binds "Benidorm" together and there is nothing remotely as human,tragic and funny as their familial dynamic in the whole of ITV's newest sitcom. Just off the coast of Margate lie The Goodwin Sands.It might be kinder to assign the rest if the series to their treacherous quicksands and let the cast and crew put it all behind them.

Sweet William.Fiery Mary., 10 February 2014
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Don't be deceived by the presence of that fine comic actor Mr M.Clunes in "William and Mary",this is not a comedy series although it does have its wry moments. Mr Clunes plays Wm. Shawcross,a widowed undertaker with two teenage daughters.A sweet - natured and perhaps slightly ingenuous man who meets Mary,a midwife,through an internet dating agency.Mary has two teenage sons and a clinging mother living with her. So,in fact,the series has all the ingredients of a typical British TV sitcom,but manages to confound and exceed such expectations by some distance. This is due not only to the performances by Mr Clunes and Miss J.Graham as the eponymous pair,but the refusal of the writers to don rose - coloured spectacles and present the path of true love as running so smoothly. Mary is a proudly independent woman,and,although she may love William,she does not envisage a future of cosy domesticity with both families blending into one happy unit. She is as brilliant and unorthodox at her job as William is at his. Bringing new life into the world with the same care and compassion as he deals with the other end of the spectrum. It may be a case of opposites attracting,but compromise does not seem to be in Mary's lexicon.Frankly if I were her I'd jump at the chance of a new life with such a really nice,loving guy - but what do I know? Whatever happens,I am involved enough in "William and Mary" to care about what happens to both of them,and that is something that doesn't happen to often in my experience.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A story of friendship between two women who happen to be coppers, 7 February 2014
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

But they could be supermarket workers or computer operators and the dynamic would be the same,just rather less bloody,I guess. They watch each other's back,slate each other's men and get drunk together - because it's what friends do. In the police environment both are empowered and use their position to advantage themselves on occasions,and that's what real coppers do,even female ones,because they are only like the rest of us except they can stop us doing what we want to and make us do what we don't want to. It's part of the contract we have with them.The other part is they help us when we need them,and this also is what Scott and Bailey do.Perhaps rather more than supermarket workers and computer operators. They are surrounded by men none of whom are worthy of lacing their shoes,some of whom may well be incapable of lacing their own shoes as it happens. Neither Scott nor Bailey is an angel.Both they are both profoundly human with all our frailties(and Bailey has added frailties,I must say). Because of that "Scott and Bailey" is compelling television.


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