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Gentlemen of Spain
Nigel Davenport is Don Miguel de Cervantes who one day will write a famous story.
Until then he is in Turkey, helping westerners captured as slaves by the Barbary pirates to escape.
When a relative of Queen Elizabeth is captured by the pirates in Wales. Francis Drake is despatched to find him.
It is his crew member Martin who is aware of Cervantes. They once spent time in a Turkish prison.
It is not a positive spin on Muslim Turkey. Queen Elizabeth is loathed to ally with the Turks and turn against Spain together.
It also conveniently forgets that both Britain and Spain were also involved in the slave trade.
What If... Thor Were an Only Child?
The What If... series has gone to some dark places. This episode is almost light hearted.
It imagines an Asgard where Thor and Loki were not rivals. It is a universe where Thor is a party animal.
Earth is the destination and someone needs to clean up the mess.
Enter Captain Marvel but what Thor really needs is a mother whom is about to scold him.
The humorous take is borrowed a lot from Thor: Ragnarok. It is a colourful humorous ride.
It does have a few too many cameos, some being very brief.
Dial 999: Missing Persons (1958)
Peter Anderson is a serial killer on the loose.
He kills young women and dumps them in the river. Revenge for being jilted when he was younger.
DI Maguire looks for a lead. It could just be Toni Miller who has left home after constant rows with her mother.
She does cabaret in London. Now she has a job with an escort agency. Her first client is Peter Anderson and he is obsessed with the River Thames.
It is a race against time for Maguire as Miller has a date with destiny. It is just a surprise that Anderson wants to kill in broad daylight when there are a lot of people and police about.
Citizen Smith: Prisoners (1980)
Wolfie is preparing to defend Speed who has been jailed again.
However there is no need to go to court. Speed decides come to him. He has escaped prison with the violent Mactaggart.
Holed up in Charlie's house. Wolfie, Ken and Tucker are forced to go to Tooting Bec park to dig for some hidden loot for Mactaggart.
Mactaggart is a character who is certainly not played for laughs. However John Sullivan still gets some laughs.
Mum thinks Charlie is forcing her upstairs to get frisky. Speed wonders what X signifies in Mactaggart's map.
When the money is found. Wolfie is forced by the others to give it to Speed in the hope that he will get a leniency by the judge. Speed goes off to the casino.
Disney's Newsies: The Broadway Musical
Essentially this is the filmed version of the Broadway musical of Newsies.
The newsboys strikes in New York in 1899 over their pay and work conditions.
This production has several alumni from the Broadway production reprising their roles. In that sense it marks it out more than the 1992 filmed version of Newsies that starred Christian Bale.
Having watched the filmed Broadway version of Hamilton in 2020. I felt less invested in Newsies. It might be because I saw Hamilton live at the London West End.
I liked the story how these little guys who are basically kids stand up to the press barons like Hearst and Pulitzer.
There are highlights with a few energetic dance sequences. I just felt that as with many musicals, it had too many songs and dances that were fillers.
Fans of the musical will enjoy it more than others.
Flight of the Phoenix
There is a computer virus introduced by the Cylons that has been reactivated.
It disrupts the systems in Galactica and is a prelude to a Cylon attack.
Moral is also low among the crew. For Chief Tyrol and Helo. They had to deal with the fallout and distrust for being in a relationship with Boomer.
Ultimately the episode is about trust and building morale. Adama has to trust Boomer to help deal with the virus. A big risk.
Maybe it is a bit too neat that the crew rallied together so easily.
The Lost Symbol: The Araf (2021)
The Araf is a state between heaven and hell.
This is where Peter Solomon is even though he thought he was escaping.
Robert Langdon does what he is good at. Decipher clues and meets some shifty masons with their own agendas. This includes keeping ancient knowledge hidden.
With the FBI in pursuit, Langdon has to shift Katherine out of the way.
Flashbacks show just what a monster Peter Solomon was when his son was arrested in Turkey. He did little to save his son who later died in a Turkish prison.
Unfortunately, if you have seen the movie adaptations of of other Dan Brown novels. You can sort of guess an important plot twist and it is only the second episode.
The Haunted U-Boat
Herr Bautmann is an unrepentant Nazi travelling on a U Boat.
The second world war is nearing its end. Germany faces defeat and news comes that Hitler has died.
Bautmann is having none of it. As the boat is attacked, he does not want the crew to surrender.
Yet Bautmann is being driven mad by the incessant banging noise each time he is on deck. He is losing his sanity.
The captain eventually realises that the noise only happens when Bautmann is around.
Maybe it shows that the Nazi zealots were mad. They could not silence the voice of hate inside their heads.
At the end John Newland gives a possible explanation to this interesting story. The ghost of a worker who was trapped inside the hull of the U Boat when it was constructed.
Black Friday (2021)
Black Friday is a passable B movie horror led largely by the grouchy charm of Bruce Campbell.
An extra terrestrial organism has infected the staff and shoppers of a shop mart as it prepares for the Black Friday sale at midnight.
The staff have to band together but some of them need to keep the till register ticking over. Staff safety comes a distant second.
Apart from Campbell, the rest of the misfits are a forgettable bunch.
It would had been a better movie if it included some satirical commentary about consumerism.
The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary
It is a racy opening. Arlene Dowling is presumed to be sun bathing in the nude and her trailer is stolen.
With just a bath towel, she manages to phone Perry Mason. Arlene wants her trailer back she even pays for it.
Arlene is trying to clear her father's name. He was a guard who is implicated in a bank robbery as an inside man.
Arlene and her dad's fellow employee Ballard is trying to clear his name.
When Ballard dies. Hamilton Burger goes after Perry Mason as someone similar to him was seen leaving the house.
Arlene's boyfriend is a doctor who did the medicals for the bank employees. He acts rather suspiciously.
There are a lot of flaws to the story but it was silly and enjoyable. I never did fathom as to the motive why Ballard was killed.
I guessed that the doctor might have been a red herring. The real culprit was a little out of the blue.
Powers of Darkness
Jenny and her university friends have a séance and contact a spirit named Effie. A witch that was once burned to death.
Her boyfriend has a breakdown and ends up in the same hospital as Tom's brother and mutters strange things. Later he burns to death.
Jenny also gets accidentally hypnotised and regresses to Effie's past life.
Tom comes across Jenny and both of them see a vision that is linked with Drexel. Jenny and her friends are also linked to Roy Martindale.
This should had been a much better episode but again it is so uneven. The viewer are ahead of Tom regarding the links with Martindale.
There is some dark stuff with the spontaneous combustion and witchcraft. It should had been more spookier.
Big Momma's House 2 (2006)
Big Momma's House 2
Big Momma's House 2 is an unfunny and and unimaginative sequel.
Martin Lawrence now adds Robin William's Mrs Doubtfire as his inspiration.
FBI agent Malcolm Turner (Lawrence) is married with a desk job which involves dressing up like a bird and teaching safety to school kids.
When his former partner is killed. Turner takes out his Big Momma disguise to go undercover to the family of software programmer Tom Fuller who might be providing backdoor access to government databases to hackers.
While doing his investigations. Turner has to look after Fuller's three kids and be a full time maid. This includes having to cook and clean.
The comedy is almost non existent. The story is weak.
Limetown: A Simple Life (2019)
A Simple Life
A simple episode mainly because it provides exposition. Lots and lots of it.
Lia is invited to talk to Dr Max Finlayson who claims to be the true pioneer of Limetown.
He developed the path to mind to mind communication. Oskar Totem tried to take credit.
However Finlayson lost his wife in the process.
The episode sheds more light to the story. Lia shows her persistence, her producer just came across as a clod.
Close to Me: Episode #1.3 (2021)
Half way through the series. Jo's daughter Sash comes to visit at last with her husband.
The husband has tattoos the ones Jo has flashbacks of. She has been having an affair with her daughter's husband.
Meanwhile Rob is pressuring Jo for money to salvage his estate agency business. He is also acting in a passive-aggressive manner.
To keep the Scandi atmosphere going. There are references to tales about mermaids and Jo goes to see her father. It all looks like padding.
The show needed to introduce more suspects, but the introduction of the daughter and son in law was rather late in the day.
I still think Rob is in pole position as to have injured Jo. He is just too slimy and spins too many lies.
Roy Rogers comes to the rescue of an old prospector who is getting a beating and is left blind.
Doc Harrington treats the old man and Bullet acts as his guide dog. The man is attacked again and later falls of a cliff and dies.
Bullet is injured and is taken to be treated by Doc Harrington.
It seems there are people who wanted to get access to the old man's mines and the Doc is one of the bad guys.
It was rather a shock to see the old man die. Bullet really likes to get his teeth into the baddies.
Chapter Six: The Vanquishers
Did Chris Chibnall stick the landing? I think so.
It was always going to be a sprawling cinematic epic as the Doctor is split into three.
This is not a show you could watch and text on your mobile phone at the same time. I know many people do this as they later go online stating they were confused.
If you have a show that can travel in both time and space, then it can and should be sprawling. I can always watch Star Trek: Discovery if I want to see minor characters have their little moments.
There were nods to previous Doctor Who stories such as The Three Doctors.
It looked great, there was fun, action and tragedy. The Sontarans had a plan to conquer the universe and vanquish the Daleks and the Cybermen. They also had a weakness for chocolate.
So long to the Lupari and Jericho. Karvanista was once the Doctor's companion.
The Princess and the Paupers
A groovy episode as a pop singer is kidnapped and his wealthy father has to pay a ransom for his son's release.
Honey and Sam are hired to deliver the ransom but it goes wrong. The kidnappers demand another sum.
Honey suspects that the kidnapping is an inside job, maybe to get the band publicity.
However somewhere along the line there is a double cross.
There is a lot of action and Honey West gets involved in a rather lot of it too including getting a knock on the head.
Notable for an early appearance for cult actor Michael J Pollard who plays one of the band members.
Made in Italy (2020)
Made in Italy
It is hard to believe that Liam Neeson had acting chops before late in life he snuck into Charles Bronson's shoes.
Made in Italy is set Chiantishire. Tuscany with beautiful views of the vineyards.
This is where burnt out Bohemian artist Robert (Liam Neeson) arrives with his estranged son Jack (Micheál Richardson) to sell their house that was left to them by their wife and mother.
She died some years earlier in a car accident. It was a traumatic time for Robert who packed his son off to boarding school.
Now Jack wants to sell the house so he can use the proceeds to buy out an art gallery from his wife who is divorcing him.
The house is falling apart and both of them need to fix it up. Jack gets romantic with a local lady as Robert deals with an uptight British estate agent who brings round prospective buyers.
Of course both men reconnect and confront the events of their past. They also fall in love with the local Italian landscape.
This is actor James D'Arcy's directorial debut. It is too cliched and conventional. The tone is uneven, maybe he should had been more of a romantic comedy.
Instead it is a mawkish hybrid that delves too much in grief with lovely views of Tuscany. It might be because real life father and son Liam and Micheál suffered a real life tragedy some years earlier.
Interpol Calling: The Heiress (1960)
Ronald Millais is a playboy who woos and marries young heiresses. Once the money is spent he discards them and goes after the next victim.
The father of Louisa calls in Interpol claiming his daughter has been kidnapped. She has eloped and plans to marry Millais when she comes of age.
Inspector Duval thinks that there might be something murky in Millais's past. He discovers that he had previously been married twice. His first wife died in a mysterious car crash.
The Heiress is basically a hilarious episode for all the wrong reasons. The rich father could had easily got a few heavies to do serious damage to Millais but he brings in Interpol.
There is Millais second wife now working as a hostess since she got fleeced by him. She is only 23 but looks 43 as being married to him visibly aged her.
The climax has Millais taking out Louisa to a cliff top and he suddenly finds a truck to get away from the police.
Also how could he kill Louisa until she gets her inheritance?
Zeros and Ones (2021)
Zeros and Ones
Abel Ferrara's Zeros and Ones is an empty conceptual mess.
A guerrilla filmmaker who is running on empty but who still manages to persuade pseudo intellectual film critics that he is making art.
Ethan Hawke speaks to the camera that this is a movie about the world today.
The film has a plot where Hawke plays a mercenary in Rome trying to thwart a plot to blow up the Vatican. He is also trying to get news of his imprisoned revolutionary brother.
The film told me nothing about the world today. Nothing about Covid, terrorism, the gulf between the haves and the have nots or corrupt politicians.
If you want to see dark moody shots of Rome at night. A movie that is the opposite of conventional spy thrillers then the movie might have some merit. To me it was a fail.
When Did You First Feel the Pain?
Harriet very quickly gets a love interest in Dr Moody. He is pursuing her a few weeks after giving her a rough time as an expert medical witness.
While wining and dining her. Dr Moody is blamed for the death of a patient. He prescribed Penicillin to a man who was allergic to it.
Harriet also has a client, a well to do businessman who is loath to pay alimony to his wife.
After losing his case, the man claims he was never legally married to her. He is a bigamist and his wife knew about it.
The bigamy story could had worked better as a dark comedy. A couple who really should really deserved each other. At least the husband felt guilty when she ended up with nothing. He realised that his actions left her destitute.
The romance story seemed rushed and the doctor seemed a tad creepy with the way he pursued Harriet.
Close to Me: Episode #1.2 (2021)
Things are thawing slower than a Scandinavian winter in the second episode.
The most excitement is Jo coming up against a mugger as she visits a support group for those with head injuries.
She is still trying to put pieces of her memory together. Husband Rob is still acting shady, he has had money troubles and asked Jo for a loan.
The biggest bombshell was that their son Finn abandoned university and revealed to the family that he is gay.
Despite a few new characters popping up, a nightmare about Jo's dog. It was all just too slow and moody.
I still think all roads lead to Rob but it is going to be a slog.
Choose to Live
Did anybody make sense of the Adira/Gray story?
Gray is dead but his consciousness managed to be picked up by Adira.
Now Discovery's holographic technology has somehow managed to place his consciousness into a newly created synthetic body.
It is outlandish technobabble for even Star Trek. If the show wanted to talk about Trans rights, they could had done it much more elegantly.
This was a very old school Trek episode. Only that the time for old school trek has moved on.
If you are going for a shorter series with a main arc. It needs to be more exciting and action packed.
I had little time for Book's continuing sense of loss, Tilly wanting to do something challenging and the Adira/Gray story.
The Ninja Space Nuns should had been the main story and be tied up with the anomaly somehow.
Even that landed with a thud as it was all to help an alien species in danger. Although it did deftly deal with the diplomatic machinations between the Federation and the Vulcans.
Angela Black: Episode #1.6 (2021)
It takes some cojones to start off the finale and make it a wholesale homage to Strangers on a Train.
Angela escapes to a caravan park in Wales. Somehow you just knew that the kids will use her phone and Olivier will track her down.
You would think she would get a basic burner phone and a payg sim card.
Then again the drama relied on this type of lazy writing.
It was difficult to swallow that the person who would help Angela is Theo. The same person who teamed up with her husband to make her life a misery.
Unless her gambit is that Theo really gets off in seeing the world burn.
Both Angela and Theo manage to turn the tables on Olivier. Angela also manages to scare Theo.
It was a daft but an entertaining and an implausible finale. Did the caravan park owner did not go to the police after being beaten up by Olivier?
Full House: And Mother Came Too (1985)
And Mother Came Too
As the foursome try to make the house arrangements work.
Paul wants everyone to do their share of the housework. Something the laddish Murray is not keen on.
Paul is also aghast to see Diana naked in the bathroom.
The biggest issue is that Paul's mother keeps popping around. She lends them the money so Paul and Marsha could buy a bed.
It does not stop there. His mother wants to get them to redecorate the house as to how she likes it.
Murray has a plan to stop her coming down. Of course he will make out that he fancies the mature woman but it something that could backfire.
Murray has the tables turned on him but it all sorts itself fine rather conveniently.
It is all rather average and rather lazy. Conveyor belt sitcom writing.