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Peeled Grapes and Pedicures
The comparison with Blackadder are more evident in the last episode of the first series.
Helen Atkinson Wood was Mrs Miggins in the former appears as Functio's Wife.
Aulus reminiscences about some Roman traditions such as orgies. He decides to have the festival of Saturnalia to England.
This means choosing an idiot to be king for a day. Badvoc is chosen but Grasientus has plans for Badvoc to be king for more than just 24 hours.
Aulus now has to plan to get his kingdom back.
It's pretty silly.. What was Grasientus's motive for Badvoc to be king? Where was the Roman army? I am sure someone in Rome planned to be king for more than a day back in Rome.
It is still a generally amusing episode. Angus Deayton is in his element as a cynical and greedy lawyer.
Five Go Mad on Mescalin
It's the second series and it is also a sequel to Five Go Mad in Dorset.
The Famous Five and their big appetites go to stay at Mrs French's farm. A rich American and his spoilt son makes the tone vulgar as they seek to buy everything up.
The Famous Five receive news that queer old Uncle Quentin has escaped from prison.
Dick meets a beautiful temptress. Then they figure that something odd is happening in Love Island, it seems to be full of the beautiful people searching for the summer of love.
However the Famous Five are shocked to see a few familiar faces.
Back in 1983, most people would not know what Mecasline was was.
It was nice to see The Comic Strip revisit the parody of Enid Blyton's characters. It was not as funny as the first adventure.
This one lacked freshness but it does come with added dope.
Episode 5 benefits from a witty script as it works on several levels.
Jack Donaghy wants to integrate product placement on the show. The staff are against it while all the time plug Snapple.
Liz persuades Jack to appear in a skit only to later find out that Jack cannot act.
There was more on the nose stuff as Liz thinks Tarcy might be illiterate. Only for Tracy to take advantage of the situation by skiving work.
Jenna tries to make the most of her feminine charms to get what she wants. Only to hit some extra issues.
Donovan Quick (2000)
Donovan Quick is a modern day reworking of Cervantes Don Quixote.
It also happens to be a critique of the Tory governments privatisation policies of public transport. In short council led bus services being replaced by private monopolies who stifle competition. They also gets millions of pounds in government subsidies.
Colin Firth is the haunted stranger Donovan Quick who enters the life of alcoholic Lucy Pannick (Kate Murphy) in Scotland. Donivan rents a room from her and is generous with the rent.
Lucy has a intellectually disabled younger brother Sandy, a senile mother who is always wandering around in her underwear, a tearaway teenage son and an abusive married boyfriend who is always sponging off her.
When Sandy cannot get public transport to his learning centre because services are cut by Windmill Transport.
Donovan and Sandy team up to start their own bus company. This provokes the ire of Windmill transport who wants to quickly put them under.
Donovan is polite, generous and slightly eccentric or maybe just mad. He is also hiding something and has flashbacks to a time when he was not so nice.
This is a small scale gritty fantasy. You have to ignore that maybe Donovan Quick might have been more easily identifiable.
Effectively Donovan is the catalyst for the Pannicks, a marginalised family in a rough working class district. They gain something as the little guys who take on the bigwigs.
An interesting and a dark tinged reworking of Don Quixote.
Gideon's Way: Subway to Revenge (1965)
Subway to Revenge
James Lane is a meek man working in the accounts department of a chemical company.
He is besotted with Ellen Winters who works in personnel but cannot summon up the courage to talk with her.
However Ellen saves his life as a stranger attempt to push James into the path of a subway train. Ellen thinks it was attempted murder. James thinks he just slipped and does not want to make a fuss.
Gideon investigates after Ellen barges into his home. No idea where she got his address from.
It seems someone is taking revenge after the death of a woman caught embezzling her employer, the chemical company.
The episode is made lively by Anne Lawson who plays Ellen. She even manages to thaw the uptight James. Lawson was married to Alexander Davion who plays DCI Keen.
It turns out to be an episode of lost people finding romance. The murderer (Bryan Pringle) was a lonely man who found romance but became unhinged when happiness was snatched away from him.
With Intent: Episode #1.4 (2021)
Given that Charlie Brooks is famous for her role as Janine Butcher in Eastenders. She is not someone who is going to invite sympathy from the audience as Anna.
Maybe that was the point. Anna is a wronged woman in this series. She is planning to take revenge on her husband and his lover.
This means Anna has murder in her mind and frame Becky for it.
The result is the audience will care little for the main characters involved and have little sympathy for Anna.
This was just a low brow schlocky series. Even the risque scenes were laughably bad.
Maybe Anna should had considered some advice from Hercule Poirot. Murder is wrong. She had enough evidence on Jake and Becky to put them on a sticky wicket.
Baptiste: Episode #2.1 (2021)
Baptiste is back just a few months after the death of his daughter and his newly found son locked up in jail.
He decides to help out the British ambassador in Hungary Emma Chambers. Her husband and two teenage sons disappear while they were staying in a hotel. The husband is later found dead.
The action is split into two timelines.
Fourteen month after the disappearance. Emma is in a wheelchair. Baptiste's life has also hit a downward spiral. His wife wants a divorce, he has a bushy beard and rants drunkenly.
The episode sets up a dense mystery leaving a lot of questions asked. Baptiste seems to be a broken man and the failure to find Emma's boys has hit him hard.
The episode ends with a dark twist due to Emma Chambers.
Strong performances from Fiona Shaw and Tchéky Karyo.
Rumpole and the Family Pride
The Rumpoles go up north to visit the country set.
A relative of Hilda who has married into the gentry invites the Rumpoles to the castle of Lord Richard Sackbut.
However there is a motive. An elderly vagrant was found dead in a pond within the grounds of the castle.
The coroner who is jealous of Lord Sackbut thinks death was due to foul play. The dead woman might be his long lost mother, who ran of with an Italian and is thought to be long dead.
Rumpole also has another case where someone has ideas above their station. A tramp who confesses to triple murder. He is treated like aristocracy by the police.
Writer John Mortimer liked to prick the pomposity of the nobility in the various dramas he wrote. This is no different.
It is not a strong episode but Mortimer wanted to make a point about snobbery.
The crime must have taken place in a remote spot. Wycliffe arrives in style, in a helicopter.
A dead body is found in an archaeological site and it was placed there in the 1960s.
A couple of locals behave in a shifty manner.
An aristocrat called Gilbert Rawle is very good at remembering names and faces. He just cannot recall a black US serviceman who might have had a dalliance with his daughter in the 1960s.
Wycliffe tackles racism in the community that spans a generation.
A much better episode where the police do some detecting and not rely on a confession at the end. Still it was handy that there were those shifty locals about.
Prodigal Son: Stranger Beside You (2020)
Stranger Beside You
An interesting murder of the week.
The dead man called Ezra is stabbed in the neck with a broken champagne bottle. They threw a party for their newborn daughter.
Malcolm thinks that the nanny might have more answers. She certainly seems to have something to hide.
However it is Malcolm's relationship with Eve that is intriguing. Malcolm suspects Eve has something to hide.
Eve certainly has links with the woman in the box.
A better episode of the week, it also allowed Malcolm to discuss aspects of the case with his father.
Although Prodigal Son needs to ramp it up now it's heading towards the final few episodes.
Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Live-action/animated comedies fall into two camps.
For every Who Framed Roger Rabbit there is a Cool World.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is a belated sequel to Space Jam which was released in 1996.
The story line is LeBron James is a great basketball player but a dumb dad. He wants his son Dom to follow in his footsteps even though he is too short to be a basketball player.
Dom wants to have fun and be a games designer. LeBron wants to just drill his sons to be the best like him, all work and no play.
Al G Rhythm (Don West) is a rogue artificial intelligence program that abducts Dom leaving LeBron and the Warner Brothers cartoon characters playing an epic and upgraded basketball game.
The story is for Bugs, Daffy and Co to come on the scene as LeBron tries to get a team together. He was hoping to get Superman and Batman. Instead it's Tweety, Taz and Foghorn Leghorn.
It's an exercise on WB using its intellectual property to show Disney that it too has assets. So you have Harry Potter, Hanna Barbera cartoon characters, Justice League to Looney Tunes. Incongruously for a movie aimed at kids. It also has characters from Game of Thrones, It, The Devils and Clockwork Orange.
It is frenetic and colourful. I found myself laughing a few times and I watched this movie with low expectations given the bad reviews this movie has had. The film is a little too long and the plot makes little sense. I wonder if LeBron James banned his kids from playing games consoles in real life!
The Too Many Rembrandts Job
Leverage was always a fun show, although too much like an American version of the BBC show, Hustle.
It could had gone on for a few more years but it ended in 2012. So no more easter eggs on Star Trek and Doctor Who.
Now it's back as Leverage: Redemption. There are a few changes, the major one being Timothy Hutton is absent as Nathan Ford. I always liked how Hutton would turn up the dial every now and then just to let the audience know that he is an Oscar winning actor.
As Hutton's legal problems are over there is always next season. They just need to bring Nate back from the dead!
Harry Wilson (Noah Wyle) is the corporate lawyer who believes he has done wrong. He sided with a pharmaceutical billionaire Fletcher Maxwell who sold dodgy drugs but wants people to think highly of him because he donates millions in artwork to museums.
Wilson wants to make amends. Sophie needs to get over Nate's death. The rest of the team help Wilson find redemption. They want to break Maxwell's reputation as a philanthropist an lighten his bank account.
A few of the actors are older. I cannot believe that Aldis Hodge was only in his early 20s when Leverage started.
Despite the cast change, it was comforting to see the crew get back together using their charm and skills. Maybe it made things look a little too easy.
Callan: None of Your Business (1972)
None of Your Business
Callan has to get used to life as an ex Hunter. He has lost the trappings of power, Lonely cannot drive him around anymore.
Callan has been put on special leave but he cannot go anywhere as Section has retained his passport.
It leaves Callan looking around for a forged passport and meets the disreputable Mr Lucas (Tony Selby.)
It turns out he is just an office boy with a few heavies and a lot of greed. As the pathetic Reeves (Brian Murphy) realises when he finds out that he is being ripped off for a fake passport.
Coincidentally Meres is also looking for a lead regarding faked papers when a Russian agent suddenly dies.
Both Callan and Meres end up travelling the same road.
There are some clumsy coincidences and convenient deaths. Callan is so desperate to go to Spain that he would head underground to get a forged passport.
At least Callan gets to meet the new Hunter and it's a familiar face.
The Return of the Seven: Part 1
After the blockbuster success of the first series.
It was a matter of when rather than if when it came to the second series. Although the route to the screen was far from easy given one of the main actor died during filming.
The first episode was a set up to get the gang back together. It was Barry who is the catalyst, he is engaged to get married and needs help to get his house refurbished.
The best bit was based in the Falklands involving a few of the lads racing across a field filled with landmines.
The rest was a tad disappointing. It was to much seeing how the characters were doing after their stint in Germany and setting up the reunion.
Dennis should had stayed with Dagmar. He has separated from his wife again and now works as a driver for shady Scot Ally Fraser.
The second series will have an arc and it will involve Fraser.
Future Man: A Riphole in Time (2017)
A Riphole in Time
There is a lot to enjoy but I felt it is straying to much into The Terminator type territory when it should be a goofy Back to the Future homage.
There is some backstory about Tiger and Wolf as they originally embarked on their mission.
Josh realises that murdering Dr Kronish for what he might do is not so easy. He also notices the time ripples changing things bit by bit such as the Blapple.
I did like the low budget vibe. It reminded me a little of those cheap New World sci fi movies of the 1980s.
The writers need to concentrate more on the comedy.
ZeroZeroZero: Same Blood (2020)
Maybe I'm not easily pleased. I thought Zero Zero Zero tried hard to have substance. It felt like an under nourishing meal.
The final episode was underwhelming. Manuel has carved his empire. The price is loneliness and the betrayal of his faith.
Don Minu had to kill another family member for betrayal. His grasp on his empire is still solid, he just lacks a few close relatives.
Emma is also now alone. She has lost her father and brother.
For all of them the business of drugs will keep the wheels spinning.
There was a lot of money spent on the series with a multinational cast and international locations. At the end it did not amount to much.
It's better to watch the 1989 UK Channel 4 series of Traffik or the Steven Soderbergh film version Traffic.
Days of Glory (1944)
Days of Glory
Jacques Tourneur directs this stodgy World War 2 propaganda film highlighting the contribution made by communist Russia.
Gregory Peck makes his debut as a local guerrilla leader Vladimir who falls for dancer Nina Ivanova (Tamara Toumanova) who ends up being stranded with them.
Set in 1941, the Russian guerrillas taken on the Nazis through sabotage.
Soon they have to undertake a mission to halt the German invasion of Russia
It is an unusual Hollywood movie as it promotes communist Russia although politics is kept on the backburner.
Peck has a brooding presence but the movie is so earnest and starchy.
The Sweeney: May (1976)
Regan comes to the aid of young Davey Holmes (Karl Howman) who has been arrested for beating up a moneylender.
Davey's mother is an old friend of Regan and he has never been in trouble with the police before. His dad has though.
Davey seems to be rather cagey about his alibi. It turns out that Davey is involved with a married woman and playing with fire.
It is good to see a more caring side of Regan. Two other coppers are left with the rough stuff that includes a chase sequence involving Davey that conveniently ends up in a scrapyard.
It is an unfocussed episode where largely not much happens.
Peter Gunn: Image of Sally (1958)
Image of Sally
Si Robbin has just been released from prison for armed robbery but some people are after him in a dark street.
When Si is attacked he defends himself but now finds himself arrested for murder.
Peter Gunn is hired to find Si's girlfriend Sally. It seems Si took the rap for the heist job and now he wants his share of the proceeds.
The beatnik Wilbur was the most memorable person in this story and he was unintentionally funny.
Some of the characters do some really stupid things in this episode. They were lucky that they did not get killed.
Inside No. 9: Hurry Up and Wait (2021)
Hurry Up and Wait
I was surprised Jeff Pope did not get a co writing credit for this one.
James is a bit part actor who is waiting to get on the set of the latest true crime drama written by Jeff Pope for ITV.
However he ends up in a trailer of a real life family who seems to know rather a lot more about the disappearance of baby Ryan.
Adrian Dunbar guest stars as himself, an actor who knows just when to steal someone else's line.
The episode gets right just what it is to be a supporting artist. The early starts, the waiting around, playing second fiddle to the main actors. The production assistant who thinks that you are invisible and disposable.
It is a case of whether the family were involved in the kidnapping of baby Ryan. I am not sure I bought the twist although someone else I talked to rather liked the macabre ending.
It has taken a while for The Pact to get going.
The penultimate episode sets up a surprise. Maybe Jack had a shady dalliance with someone.
Until then it is Nancy who is the main suspect as far as the police are concerned.
The rest decide to stick to their stories but Max is suspicious of his wife and her colleagues.
It is a shame that it has taken a while for the pace to have picked up.
Johnny Ringo: East Is East (1960)
East Is East
Johnny Ringo gets a taste of gutter journalism.
Agnes St. John is the only survivor of a stagecoach attack.
She also plans to write a book on the brutal violence that the pioneers face in the west.
Unwittingly she is also at risk. Being the only survivor she could be a valuable witness.
Johnny Ringo finds out more about Agnes. She has reasons to dislike the pioneer spirit. A victim of her own past.
A perfunctory episode and Agnes is dislikeable but she has good grounds.
Do you remember the days when the UK was in the Common Market that morphed to the European Union.
Any change could be blamed on them especially if it had no logic.
I wonder if Shelley would had voted Leave. He certainly does not seem happy with the new colour coded wiring for plugs.
Shelley is rewiring the house. In those days you got a book to tell you how to do it. None of these Google stuff and YouTube videos.
Then there is the problem of dry rot. Every expert who comes to check it out has the same expression. It could be an expensive business.
This is an episode where it is mainly chatting. Shelley seems to be jealous of some of Fran's ex boyfriends.
Dr Elizabeth Merrill has disappeared and Mark goes to search for her.
Merrill has joined some other abducted scientists and been brainwashed by a water bath with magical properties.
The dastardly scheme is hatched by Dr Mary Smith.
She is building a space ark and seeks a new golden age away from Earth.
That last of the television movies has a brisker pace with a shorter running time.
It was still slowly paced. Very camp with all those shirtless bodybuilder types. The story was goofy and it is only carried by Patrick Duffy's charisma.
Trial & Retribution II - Part One
Lynda La Plante has been regarded for the pioneering work she did in Widows and Prime Suspect.
I found this to be a troubling episode. In some ways it reminded me of these torture porn films, where a woman is brutalised for well over a hour but the whole thing is an ode to feminism. She kills her rapists at the end.
Walker and North investigate some brutal killings of prostitutes. It then leads to the murders of a non prostitute but one person survives and gives some kind of a description.
Walker finds a van that was described by the survivor. It belongs to Damon Morton but other men confess to the killings.
It seems Damon is somehow controlling these men.
Maybe the graphic murders was inspired by the Ripper murders. I found little about Damon Morton to be convinced in the first episode that he was some kind of a charismatic psychopath.
It also has the lazy trope of the young black father who wants little to do with his daughter.