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The Rookie: Pilot (2018)
Nathan Fillion plays John Nolan. In his early 40s divorced and at a loose end.
When he unwittingly gets involved in a bank robbery taking place, Nolan decides to join the police force. The oldest rookie in the LA police force.
On his first day, he is one of three new rookies to be on the beat. Sergeant Wade Grey makes his displeasure known of having middle aged rookies on the force.
Nolan's first day is a real mixed bag, a domestic violence, a kid locked in a hot car and a fellow rookie is shot at with her training officer down.
It is a fast paced opening episode, slickly made including a sequence shot in Hollywood Boulevard.
Fillion looks too old to be someone in his early 40s. Most of the characters are a bit bland. Only training officer Tim Bradford shows edginess. Someone who is harsh, racist but underneath is more complex.
The ageist shtick from Sergeant Grey got old very quickly. I could do without that throughout the series. All Nolan has to do is secretly record him and Grey would be out of the force as soon as you can say old age pensioner.
Not really Masters of the Universe
There was a time in the 1980s, each evening my older brother would turn up with the latest pirated video he could get his hands on. Some of them had not yet been released in British cinemas.
Too often tended to be Cannon films, the latest Charles Bronson revenge flick. It would be an exploitation movie with violence, nudity and action.
Even then you realised that they were bad movies but Cannon churned them out on almost a monthly basis.
Israeli Go-Go Boys Golan and Globus were once described as the last movie moguls. Chancers who claimed to love cinema but found that nudity and sex put bums on seat.
When they came to Hollywood the quickly moved up the cinematic ladder thanks to pre sales and junk bonds. They made movies such as Superman IV, owned cinema chains and film studios around the world. It quickly came crashing down.
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is an highly enjoyable tongue in cheek documentary about Golan and Globus. In retrospect it is a good job the duo did not take part. It allowed actors who worked with them, former associates who made the movies to be more candid.
Only one contributor speaks directly to the camera that Golan and Globus faced sneering hostility from the Hollywood establishment because they were foreigners. To the rest, they were two men who had lots of ideas, bagful of energy but on rare occasions they would stumble into making a good movie.
The Cannon story was never going to end well. This documentary gives reasons why.
The Curse of the Claw
Palin and Jones make another spoof. A country house, a randy butler and a curse.
Sir Kevin Orr and the butler both miss his late wife. When an expedition to India that has lots its way knock on his door late one rainy night. Orr sees that as a sign, the tribe from Naga Hills in Burma could lift a curse.
Orr received the Sacred Claw as a child by his uncle Jack who warned that unless it is returned to the Naga Hills before his sixtieth birthday, the curse will kill him.
This instalment has repressive parents who see sex in everything. A mucky uncle who carries all the diseases known to man and a ship's mate who has two lumps of fat growing in his chest. She had no idea what they were!
A humorous edition but not outstanding. The crew of the ship who were all 'men' were easy on the eye. There was a nice timey wimey twist at the end.
Beware the Ides of March
Two rival sisters put up with each other as they front a psychic television shows.
When Julienne Fortby is injured in an onsite accident she calls in to see Frank and Lu.
Frank thinks all these psychics are fakes but Lu shows him that she might have a gift.
The case takes a turn when an elderly woman in the audience had earlier denounced Julienne and her sister Marcia as fakes. She accused them of using radio mikes to convey information and fleece the vulnerable.
This is another frothy episode made more enjoyable with Sebastian suddenly being hypnotised to become a football lout. He certainly seems to steal the scenes he is in.
The Alphabet Murders (1965)
Catch the red herrings
Tony Randall goes for a comedic interpretation of Inspector Poirot. In fact he is a bit too much Inspector Clouseau.
Poirot is is investigating murders where the victims names follow the alphabet. Albert Aachen is the first dead man the next victim is Betty Barnard.
The suspect is a beautiful blonde woman Amanda Beatrice Cross who suffers from schizophrenia. The initial of her names refers to ABC.
Along his investigations Poirot is hindered by both Inspector Japp and a Foreign Office official called Hastings ho thinks Poirot is in danger and need to leave the country.
Randall does well with the comedy but his accent keeps slipping. Robert Morley matches him as Japp always getting into trouble, even Margaret Rutherford shows up for a cameo as Miss Marple.
The film is not really much of a mystery, it is a loose meandering unfunny knockabout comedy.
Mrs. Wilson: Episode #1.3 (2018)
Coleman (Fiona Shaw) tells Alison that her husband was an habitual liar. He was sacked from the intelligence services as he embellished his translations.
Maybe Alison could not bear to believe her, especially as other of Alex's wife's pop out from nowhere with a child in tow.
Karim remains a true friend to Alex to the very end, always looking for some kind of excuse for his behaviour. Telling Alison that the security services were looking for any reason to get rid of him.
The third episode cannot shed much light on Alex, he remains an enigma. Someone who embellished his own persona.
Ruth Wilson gives a spirited performance as Alison her real life ancestor. However the show's portrayal of Alex as some kind of flawed patriot rang hollow to me.
The Trial of a Time Lord: Part Two
Those jokes are coming thick and fast from the Sixth Doctor. He is going through those Yard jokes fast such as calling the Valeyard, Graveyard. Only 12 more episodes of these types of jokes.
The Inquisitor reminds the Valeyard that it is up to her rather then the Valeyard as to the sentencing guidelines. The Doctor notes the Valeyard wants him dead, a rather personal motive.
The Doctor finds that the underground community is controlled by a robot called Drathro. To the inhabitants he is the Immortal one, a god. The Doctor decides he should stick around to help the human inhabitants.
Meanwhile Katryca tells Peri that there are so few females about she could have multiple husbands. She is locked up with space pirates Glitz and Dibber.
The switch to the trial scenes were not as grating as upon my initial viewing. However despite the location shooting this does look cheap in places. The corridor sets are plain and the costumes are pretty bad. The incidental music is ghastly.
Only the interplay between Glitz and Dibber stands out.
Fleabag: Episode #2.1 (2019)
I do believe Phoebe Waller-Bridge's experience in writing the first season of Killing Eve has helped the launch episode of the second series of Fleabag. It flowed so much better.
Fleabag rather out in the cold has been invited to a family dinner in a restaurant to to celebrate the engagement of her Godmother and father.
In attendance is her sister Claire and her husband Martin. Both abstaining from drinking as they plan to have a baby.
A catholic priest is also in attendance. He is new to the parish and will be conducting the wedding ceremony, his first ever.
Fleabag is intrigued by the priest (Andrew Scott.) He is one of those trendy types who swears a lot but it ism obvious he has family issues himself. His parents were alcoholics.
For Fleabag, family tensions are always ready to erupt at anytime.
There was always something rather amoral about the sex obsessed Fleabag, something she has in common with Villanelle, the hitwoman in Kiling Eve. In this episode Fleabag showed that she actually cares about what her sister has been going through.
The Professionals: Stopover (1979)
This is one of the episodes of The Professionals I can remember watching when it was first broadcast as it features Cowley in grave danger.
It also features a ruthless hitman played by the henchman in the octagonal glasses in the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only.
I did think the episode has shades of John le Carre. CI5 operative Meredith was presumed dead after being captured by the Khmer Rouge.
However he returns to Britain in dramatic fashion after being held by the Cambodians for several years. Meredith has information on a Russian agent called Radouk who plans to give valuable information to British secret service in exchange for a British passport and money.
However ace Russian assassin Kodai plans to silence Meredith. Bodie and Doyle need to keep him safe while Cowley decides if he can really trust Meredith.
There is certainly plenty of action scenes, car chases and double dealing. Just a thought, if you think your returning CI5 operative might be in danger, it would be better if you did not take a very long walk to your car in the docks. Anyone can take a potshot at you.
The Avengers: Death Dispatch (1962)
The Avengers now comes across as an International action adventure series. There is plenty of stock location footage as the action shifts from Jamaica to Columbia, Peru and Chile.
There are shades of James Bond about this adventure, particularly Dr No.
Honor Blackman joins as Cathy Gale, an attractive widow who gives the show some glamour. We even see just with her bra on in one shot.
Steed has been ordered to find out why a courier was killed in Jamaica. He was tasked to take the diplomatic pouch from Washington to Santiago but the contents of the pouch were not stolen.
Steed is joined by Cathy Gale who has flown over to assist him. They come across a group of plotters who plan to stage a coup in Chile.
There is nice interplay between Steed and Gale as well as Steed and the amiable foreign office diplomat Travers played by Gerald Harper.
White Gold: Episode #2.1 (2019)
White Gold returns after some protracted production issues when actor Ed Westwick had to deal with allegations of misconduct.
The second series moves to 1985. With gangster Ronnie in charge, the double glazing company is now called Cachet and they are making a killing making conservatories. Vincent is living in a palatial home but he owes Ronnie a lot of money.
Brian has marital problems. His wife went to a gym to lose weight and ended up having an affair with her female fitness instructor. Martin has joined one of these self development courses to become a better salesman.
Old boss Walshy has started a rival firm and begins to steal Cachet Windows clients. Vincent might have a fight in his hands. He has also upset his new neighbours with a dodgy conservatory.
Amoral Vincent is in his element here, double glazing was still the wild west back in the 1980s. The 1980s music gives it a nostalgic mood and the sarky banter between the three men was a welcome sight.
Uncle John (2015)
Never caught fire
Uncle John has two finely acted but contrasting storylines. It makes for a diverting but padded film that is also dull.
John is played by John Ashton of Beverley Hill's Cop fame. A respected well liked handyman in a small town. John might had killed a man called Dutch and certainly has disposed of his body. Dutch was the town bully who once dated John's sister who died in murky circumstances. Dutch's hot headed brother Danny thinks John might know more about his brother's disappearance.
In Chicago, Ben is a graphic designer at a media company. He becomes attracted to a new employee Kate, who he works with an campaign for a brand of yogurt. The trouble is Kate has a rule not to fraternise with fellow workers.
One day Ben makes an impromptu visit with Kate to his Uncle John. Ben hopes to romance Kate while John has unfinished business with Danny.
The movie's twin plot left me puzzled as I tried to figure out the connection. The film does not want to give much by way of exposition which also leaves it without substance.
Coroner: All's Well (2019)
Jenny's in laws visit for Thanksgiving dinner. They are not happy that she has moved their grandson to somewhere in the country, looks at dead people and their grandson has dropped out of school.
Among this turmoil Jenny and Liam find a body in the well.
If Jenny is having a bad day, she does sort of deserve it. As Detective McAvoy mentioned, a whole host of criminals plan to lodge appeals against their convictions when Jenny blurted out that her predecessor might had been less than satisfactory in his work.
I did think this was a poor episode. The pacing was slow as it decided to concentrate on personal and family issues rather than a crime of the week. It was almost inert at times like some of the dead corpses on display.
Warren: The Father Figure (2019)
The Father Figure
While taking part in a radio quiz. Warren is surprised to discover that Preston is a city and has been since 2002.
People from Preston watching this sitcom would be equally surprised that it is based in Preston. There is nothing much of the city that would look familiar to them.
Of course Warren observed to the city when he married Anne, so he might have missed that the Queen visited Preston to give it city status.
Warren ends up keeping chickens as it would mean a supply of eggs. However his next door neighbour dislikes chickens and makes a complaint.
When youngest stepson Danny likes a girl from school, Warren gives some fatherly advice to him about dating. Not to overreach himself and be prepared for disappointment.
This episode shows a more human side to Warren. The chickens were certainly well looked after by him.
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
The dark road ahead
If Beale Street Could Talk retains the eloquence and anger from James Baldwin's novel. The on screen narration wants to bring the novel arrive but the non linear construction of the film makes it foggy at times and the pace languid.
This is a tragic romantic drama about a young black couple. Tragic because the system is stacked against them, especially the justice system.
19 year old Tish (Kiki Lane) and 22 year old Fonny (Stephan James) are childhood friends who grew up together and who become lovers in early 1970s Harlem.
Any chance of future happiness is shattered when Fonny is wrongfully accused of rape mainly because a racist cop who Fonny had a run in with, sets him up as a suspect.
Both families band together to raise money for his legal defence and even trace the victim who has fled to Puerto Rico.
The most powerful scene in the film is when Fonny's religious mother gets slapped by her husband after she damns Tish for getting pregnant out of wedlock.
There is a bleak hopelessness about the movie as the pregnant Tish and Fonny talk to each other in prison. As the months drag on, Fonny realises that he might not escape from this nightmare and becomes less confident of his chances at trial which is consistently delayed.
The slow burn pace and confusing structure lets the film down. However writer/director Barry Jenkins brings an elegiac tone and carries an undercurrent of anger of Baldwin's writing.
In this episode truths emerge.
Kim Vogel leaves a message behind for her husband who is now grief stricken.
Edward Stratton needs to find his estranged wife and take her and her lover to safety. He gets an opportunity if the impact his daughter's death has had on both of them.
Martha confesses to her son Neils that Baptiste is his real father. Even Baptiste tells his wife that he fathered another son.
The ever weary Baptiste who has been near death, knows that he and Edward will never be free of Constantin and need to turn the tables on him.
An audacious plan by Baptiste and Genevieve does not eliminate the dangers that everyone faces.
We get to learn more about Genevieve and how a mistake she made led one man to have his life severely wrecked. As we approach the finale, it is now her, Baptiste and Edward who need to make an impact.
Shetland: Episode #5.5 (2019)
DI Jimmy Perez thinks he has got a break in locating Zezi by making a significant arrest.
Meanwhile Olivia Lennox has become increasingly desperate to find her daughter by going rogue again.
Zezi meanwhile is all out of luck. However hard she tries to escape, she is doomed for failure.
The action moves back to Shetland this week. Perez is testing his friendships. There is a disturbing scene at the end but I really did think that the story is now being stretched. It could had been wrapped up as a four part serial.
The Man in the Mist
Tommy is wearing the disguise of a priest in his latest investigation. However an old school friend introduces him to a glamorous actress Gilda Glen.
When she is found dead, there are several suspects who all say they have an alibi.
Tommy and Tuppence find that Gilda had been staying at her older sister's house. Gilda had changed her name, image and got rid of her first husband to find stardom.
A strangely static episode. It had wit and suspense but the police constable that keeps inexplicably appearing robs it off the mystery. The reveal when Tommy stages a reconstruction is actually very clever, in contrast with the earlier part of the episode.
Juliet Bravo: Oscar (1980)
I watched this episode with my wife, who thought it was a load of codswallop. She was astounded that it took them 50 minutes to tell the story.
Janice Coop is an eleven year old girl caught stealing lingerie from a launderette. She tells a story of a spaceman in the park. Her best friend is Walter who is a lodger in the house.
Janice's dad is a working class man, mum is housebound and disabled. Then there is young Auntie Vera.
It turns out that dad is weak willed, his marriage has fell apart years ago and he has been carrying on with Vera. He has been forced to arrange a wedding to Vera by both her and his wife. In this strange tumultuous relationship the adults have forgotten about young Janice.
As for the stolen lingerie, Inspector Jean Darblay thinks that it was for Walter who she suspects is a cross dresser.
Just a dreary episode, badly acted in parts. Paul Copley who plays the dad just repeats the last line someone just said.
Love is all around..... again
25 years after the release of Four Weddings and a Funeral. Here is the underwhelming mini sequel for Comic Relief.
Charles (Hugh Grant) is getting ready for his daughter Miranda's (Lily James) wedding to best friend and daughter of Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas), Faith (Alicia Vikander.)
Father Gerald (Rowan Atkinson) is inarticulately presiding his first same sex wedding. A lot of the characters from the first film make appearances with an acknowledgement to two characters that passed on. Even a very bad singer returns from the first movie, this time with Sam Smith.
This should had been a nostalgic frothy fun short. The characters are older and greyer, Carrie (Andie MacDowell) revisits her infamous line of not noticing it was raining with a twist. It was less of surprise that it would be a same sex wedding. However the whole thing was 'look we got most of the cast back together again for Comic Relief.' It had nostalgia but I did not feel the love.
Bergerac: Unlucky Dip (1981)
Almost a reunion of the Fawlty Towers cast with both Prunella Scales and Brian Hall appearing.
The producers are already thinking how can you make arriving to Jersey look exciting. In the first episode Jim arrives by plane. Here he is on the Jetfoil. I think anything is better than the Sealink ferry.
Jim is following a drug courier Raymond Dumoitier from Paris to Jersey. When he is arrested the police can find nothing on him.
Fate had it that Raymond was pick-pocketed on the boat by a young lad called Simon who plans to make money by selling the drugs.
Raymond though is in trouble with the man who he is working for. Ex-racing driver Bobby Carnegie whose henchman is looking for Simon having beaten up Raymond.
Charlie Hungerford in this episode knows both Bobby and Simon's mother. Jim requests Charlie's help knowing Simon might be in trouble.
This is clearly going to be a theme in Bergerac, Charlie Hungerford knows all the villains or their associates in each episode.
I did like the fight between Jim and Bobby. Both men with a dodgy leg. A handicap match.
The Avengers: The Sell-Out (1962)
There is an assassination attempt on a diplomat involved in peace talks. Steed is assigned to guard him during a security conference.
Steed and Dr King need to protect him but his superior One Twelve thinks there is a treacherous mole that might sabotage their efforts.
Steed is unaware that he might himself be viewed as the mole despite taking risks to protect the diplomat.
Another underwhelming episode after the Ian Hendry led first series. It seems the budget was cut leading to many interior set scenes.
The character of One Twelve was both interesting and potentially sinister. He was obviously replaced by the more idiosyncratic Mother in future episodes.
Juliet Bravo: The Runner (1980)
Johnny Duffield is a young tearaway who steals a disability Invacar, constantly runs away from his care home, he even runs away from the police.
Johnny cannot be arrested because he is under 10 years of age, despite being out of control. His mother died, his father cares less about him.
Inspector Jean Darblay works with social services to do something about young Johnny, if only they can keep hold off him. Her husband Tom now works for social services. One couple has shown an interest in taking in Johnny as they are good in dealing with difficult kids.
A local newspaper editor is pestering Jean as he thinks some kind of big IRA arrest is being planned and he wants to be in on it.
I think there was a serious social issue to explore here but it comes across as a silly knockabout farce as the police could never catch young Johnny.
Skin Trade (2014)
More of a revenge flick
Dolph Lundgren is listed as a co-writer of Skin Trade. I think he is genuinely concerned about sex trafficking particularly from South East Asia. As the film mentions not all the victims are kidnapped or lured with false promises. Some are sold by their parents.
Dolph plays Nick Cassidy, a no nonsense detective who is after Serb people trafficker Viktor Dragovic (Ron Perlman.) When Nick arrests him he should had killed Viktor.
Now Vicktor is after revenge as Nick also killed his youngest son. As payback Vicktor has his wife killed, his daughter is taken and Nick is left for dead but he survives.
Nick travels to Thailand looking t take down Vicktor's empire. However he is on a collision course with Thai detective, Tony Vitayakui (Tony Jaa.) Tony is also investigating the sex trade and is onto one of Vicktor's son who is running the south east asia end of the empire.
However Nick is blamed for killing Tony's police partner. Both men though have to reluctantly join forces to take down Vicktor.
The story is formulaic nonsense with wooden characters. Perlman is vicious as the bad guy and clearly makes the most of his despicable character.
Lundgren is now just too old for action films, he really should move on to do moody character parts as he showed in Creed II and other films, he might be a limited actor but he surely can do brooding and melancholy.
This leaves Jaa with the flashy martial arts scene. The direction though is far from competent.
The Greek Interpreter
However something does not quiet feel right with the adaptation because it might had departed some ways from the original story.
Mycroft calls for Sherlock at the Diogenes Club. Dr Watson is surprised that Sherlock has a brother.
The subject is Mr Melas who has an extraordinary tale to tell. A Greek interpreter who was well rewarded but taken blindfolded to a house where another Greek man was held captive and beaten. The sinister men wanted the man to sign something but he kept refusing. At one point his sister was bought in to see him.
Mr Melas is concerned with what he saw and used some subterfuge in his interpreting to find out more about the man.
Sherlock is fascinated with the story and feels both the Greek man and Mr Melas are in danger. Holmes manages to find out where Melas might have been taken to.
Although time is of the essence, getting a warrant causes interminable delays.
I did think it needed to be spelt out more why the man was being held captive and what was he supposed to have signed over. It was rather speculative in the episode.
The actress playing the sister seemed to have a rather blank stare, a bit of a letdown in comparison to George Costigan oozing evil as menacing Mr Kemp. Then there is the masterful Charles Gray. I could not wait for him to appear again as Mycroft.