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Endeavour: Oracle (2020)
Morse Meets ESP
When a young woman dies, pushed off a footbridge on New Year's Eve, Thursday is called to investigate. Morse has been on holiday in Venice where he has had a tryst with a sultry Italian woman. Our attention moves back and forth from the investigation to a research lab, dealing with ESP and other paranormal sciences. The men who run the lab are sexist and an attractive young graduate student receives the brunt of their chauvinism. Thursday continues expressing his pain from the work he does--dead and mutilated bodies and the worst of humanity. For some time, he has seen Morse as a threat to his position in the police, even though they are partners. Other than being a bit slow moving at times, this is an excellent offering of this series.
Downton Abbey: Episode #3.5 (2012)
Mr. Know It All Meets Mr. Pompous
This is one of the most memorable hours of television. As women's rights become an issue, a couple men argue about a life or death situation. A third man who knows what he is doing is trumped by their titles. Sibyl is going to give birth, but she seems in significant distress. Robert calls in an esteemed specialist, pushing aside the family doctor. The results are horrible. In another significant development, Anna has uncovered evidence of Bates's innocence but must get a hostile woman to testify. Two men, a guard and a prisoner, seem out to get Bates and are orchestrating his destruction.
Downton Abbey: Episode #3.4 (2012)
The Times They Are A-Changin'
There are many significant events in this episode. Some of them show that the comfort level of the Crawley's is being diminished. We know that Matthew, who is now half of the partnership, is a real businessman. Robert has been slipshod and almost lost the Abbey and Matthew has saved his bacon. Still, he is used to being in command. Bates is still in prison and has to resort to some dramatic means. Edith, after being encouraged by Violet, is going to begin to embrace women's issues. Sybil and Branson have gotten themselves in hot water over the revolution in Ireland, much to the dismay of everyone. Ethel must see to the fate of her little boy at great cost. Also, some new faces appear downstairs now that things have settled down financially. This is real "set-up" episode and is very well done. Sparks are going to be flying soon.
Downton Abbey: Episode #3.3 (2012)
Edith Dominates an Episode--But!
There are several issues here. Matthew continues to refuse to aid Downton with the fortunate inheritance. He knows money is coming but insists that it is not his.
Edith and Anthony finally set a wedding date. Thomas plays a cruel practical joke and may have to pay a big price. Mrs Hughe awaits the news of her potential breast cancer results. Anna persists in her efforts to prove Bates innocent.
Downton Abbey: Episode #3.2 (2012)
Granny and Mary/In Cahoots
As Downton is up for grabs, even though Matthew refuses to do anything about it with his inheritance. Mrs. Hughes begins to deal with a serious health issue. Bates, already wise to the way of prisons begins to look out for himself. Thomas and O'Brien seem to have a bit of a battle. Edith wants to consider marriage to the old guy, causing a bit of stir.
Downton Abbey: Episode #3.1 (2012)
Big and Little Clashes
The centerpiece of this first episode of the third season is the marriage of Lady Mary and Matthew. But there is a kicker. Robert gets some bad news from his lawyer concerning his prewar investments. Sibyl and Tom Branson have made their ways to Downton and there are sparks whenever Tom opens his mouth. Bates has visits from Anna. We also have the arrival of Cora's mother from America, played by Shirley MacLaine. I find her to be boorish (even more-so than the Britishers). She is insensitive and can't say a kind word. And, finally, the wedding itself which goes on despite some very contentious moments. Off we go.
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Some Editing Would Help
I am a huge James Baldwin fan. The books that is. My suggestion is to stop making movies of them and push the books. This is another talky representation with excess verbiage and endless scenes. While there is some interesting dialogue and a couple of decent performances, it never clicked with me. The year of the black director and performer at the Academy Awards presented some decent stuff. This one really fells short.
Black Panther (2018)
I don't have a comic book background (well I did sixty years ago), so I go into these films without predispositions. This was highly touted because of the title black superhero. And so I embraced it because I like it when barriers are broken. The problem was that the thing was convoluted and endless. I stayed with it to the bitter end but found little to make it unique among its Marvel brotherhood. If anything, it pulled in every cliche one could think of, having a black hero. Maybe the producers will learn from this and bring the guy back. By the way, it didn't deserve all those "One" ratings. There were some incredible scenes. It just didn't meld.
Got Over Inaccuracies and Enjoyed It
This movie flies on the fact that this was taken from actual events that took place. I know that a movie is not a book, but one has to be aware of major changes in the movie's plotting. What I did was ignore the possible inconsistencies and watched the movie as if it had an original script. I found the premise intriguing and enjoyed the portrayal of an element that I would never engage with.
So Well Done In Every Way!
So many shows throw aside their quality when they do holiday episodes. I thought this would happen here. However, it turns out to be one of the best, iif not the best, episodes so far. We have Carlisle (Iain Glenn at his best) being a bigger ass than ever, pushing Mary around and threatening her. He has the deep dark secret. I appreciated that some people finally opened up in this episode and started to move on. We were introduced to a couple of other new characters that provide a subplot. Daisy has an epiphany. It's time for her to have some focus. Of course, Matthew and Mary continue to remain at arm's length through most of the episode. And Bates gets some "good" news, setting up the third season. I'm seeing this series for the second time and I am as captivated by it as I was in its infancy.
Usually I don't read reviews before seeing a film. This one, however, I did, and happily so. First of all, it was good to know what cinema in Korea is all about. We need to shed our cultural biases, including "how" to make films. This had a very clever plot and an engaging group of characters. The title, I assume, means the principle figures have managed to infest a body and then use it to sustain themselves. I hope to see more from this director in the future.
I don't know what to say about the plot. It meandered but it didn't matter to me. At some point I begin to hone in on the two principle characters. Watching Pitt and DiCaprio ply their trade was masterful to watch. Neither of them is admirable. DiCaprio's character is sullen and selfish and has no self esteem. Pitt is the mad man whose skills as a stunt man have held him in reasonable stead for a long time. He is so loyal and never wavers, even when his friend has no use for him. The whole Manson thing is interesting because we get a picture of the Spahn ranch and the activities going on there. I know there is little plot but it is episodic, focusing on the two men and their crazy world.
Downton Abbey: Episode #2.8 (2011)
I won't begin to try to deal with everything. First, we have an answer of sorts to the triangle that is Lavinia-Matthew-Mary. Ethel meets the awful parents of her paramour and things don't go well. Thomas has a new coat of slime which he engages when Carson goes down with the flu. There is a big time confrontation between Sibyl and her father over her impending marriage to Branson. Then we have illness all over the place (quite stunning watching this during the corona virus). But the harshest thing here involves the love affair between Anna and Bates, and the dark future that may await them. This is a remarkable episode.
Downton Abbey: Episode #2.7 (2011)
So Much Tension
We have several plot elements going on. Lavinia is a true soldier, but Matthew loves Mary. Lord Grantham gets together with Jane. Will more happen? Branson and Sybil begin to fulfill their mission. Thomas begins what could be a criminal career, but fate takes him on. Mr. Bates comes to realize that the death of his estranged wife is going to lead to trouble for him. This episode is rife with possibilities and is skillfully done.
Downton Abbey: Episode #2.6 (2011)
Not Quite There
One of the main plot elements here is a badly disfigured man who claims to be the heir to Downton. Edith takes a shine to him (any man who will give her a sideways look). Meanwhile we have the appearance of Ethel, this time with a child, sired by that jerk who was in the hospital. Lord Grantham is starting to feel under-appreciated and has eyes for a pretty new maid. Sibyl and Branson are beginning to make serious plans.
Shades of Apocalypse Now. This film is a flawless integration of music, tension, cinematography, and an allegorical story. There are physical and intellectual labyrinths that this poor soldier must meander through. The two men are the usual cannon fodder used to manage a nearly hopeless task. When one is lost, the other cannot hold back. There are many close calls which teach us that at times one must chuck aside fear and endure. The trenches of World War I were like mazes, with death running through them. I have a hard time with war movies. I think this film will be remembered as we move forward in time.
Cry of the Banshee (1970)
Not Very Good
This is one of those films where the bad guys torture and maim and get away with it. It is about witchcraft but it bounces all over the place. Women are stripped to the waist several times and abused. The problem is that it never seems to go any place and even the ending requires on to wonder exactly what happened. I loved Vincent Price, but he comes off as a silly caricature of twenty other roles he has played.
Downton Abbey: Episode #2.5 (2011)
The main focus is the critical situations of Matthew and William and Daisy's betrothal. Matthew is a real mess and has to deal with something that no man wants to. Thomas and O'Brien may have gone too far. Bates's wife is still around but now her focus is only on Bates. There are some tender moments here and the episode is rife with pain. Sibyl and Branson are starting to plan ahead. Meanwhile, a soup kitchen is being set up in Isobel's home and O'Brien's efforts to tell on other people aren't all that effective.
Downton Abbey: Episode #2.4 (2011)
There are several significant plot developments. Since the two Crawley women are considered equals, Cora gets the upper hand in the Alpha female battle. Matthew and William are missing for a time but what will happen next. Mary sense possible compromise as her one bad night seems to haunt her. Bates and Anna start to feel safe, but we know how tenuous their situation probably is.
Du skal ære din hustru (1925)
Revenge Is Sweetest
This is a nicely done Dreyer offering, though a less serious one. A man who has fallen on hard times when he loses his business, takes it out daily on his family, mostly on his poor wife. We see his stern, demanding personality in the first half until her mother tells her to leave him and teach him a lesson. Things are very predictable but the film is nicely done and the main character Viktor becomes hateful to us. There is a sad scene where in order to appease his demand for more butter, the wife scrapes what little she has from her own bread as well as her children's.
Downton Abbey: Episode #2.3 (2011)
A Whole New Ballgame
As soldiers arrive, there is more conniving from Barrow and O'Brien. Mary continues to show real integrity as she gets to know Lavinia, who is no villain though treated like one. Branson continues to stir the pot with his socialist views, looking for trouble. Meanwhile, Grantham's new valet who has replaced Bates, Lang, is a shell shock victim and there are many moments of pain for him. Mrs. Pathmore gets some really sad news. And Anna also finds out something that will lead to a good deal of future drama.
Downton Abbey: Episode #2.2 (2011)
Convalescence Comes to Downtown
When Mrs. Crawley realizes that the wounded troops have few options in their rehabilitation, and proposes that Downton be turned into a recovery facility. There is more tension as Cora foolishly insists that Thomas (who was responsible for the wound that got him away from the front) take a position of authority. Meanwhile,, Edith goes to help a farmer and begins a short relationship with him. Also, we get to know more about Lavinia, Matthew's fiancee.
Downton Abbey: Episode #2.1 (2011)
War Intrudes on Everyone
There are so many plot elements that it would take way too long to describe them all. There are, however, tensions everywhere. It begins with the war in the trenches, where Matthew is dealing with hell. Thomas makes a reappearance and, of course, dramatically moves forward. Sybil shows her colors, deciding to put her blue blood aside and work in a convalescent hospital. Bates crazy wife appears and begins her campaign of extortion. Excellent beginning to Season 2.
Downton Abbey: Episode #1.7 (2010)
Mary finds out that Edith betrayed her and fashions a quid pro quo. The country begins to move toward war. Matthew and Mary reach an impasse. Stubbornness trumps honor. Thomas and O'Brien continue to plot against Bates. Cora sinks into sadness over O'Brien's vicious act. Mrs. Patmore faces a serious demon. Well done completion to the first season.
Downton Abbey: Episode #1.6 (2010)
Characters Feel Their Oats
Sibyl begins her drive toward politics, with Branson as her confidante. But she gets in over her head. Meanwhile, Bates is again victimized by Thomas and O'Brien, accused of theft. But Bates has a reason for not blowing the whistle. Mary must face the results of her fatal dalliance with the Turkish guy. She has been betrayed by her own sister who despises her. There will be a lot to sort out.