Archive for the ‘England’ Category

The Crown: Season 2 drops

December 8, 2017

A reminder the lavish British monarchy series, The Crown drops Season 2 today on Netflix. Looking forward to new cast members Michael C. Hall and Jodi Balfour as Jack and Jackie Kennedy, and Matthew Goode as Lord Snowdon as we careen into the 1960’s. Who’s binging this weekend?

Read Reel Charlie’s review of The Crown: Season 1.
Watch the trailer for The Crown: Season 2 on YouTube.

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Broadchurch: Season 3

December 7, 2017

My love of Broadchurch and has waxed and waned. I gave Season 1 a 5 out of 5. Then I gave Season 2 a 3.5 out of 5. Season 3 redeemed itself solving yet another crime and finally making peace with Danny’s murder from Season 1. David Tennant and Olivia Colman are back and in top form. Colman is a force to be reckoned with. I look forward to watching her career post-Broadchurch. This time, Season 3 investigates a rape. Because of the nature of the crime, the series focuses most of its attention on gender and a woman’s place in the world. There are lots to digest and consider. And in the middle of it all, Danny’s murder from Season 1 finally finds, if not some closure, a bit of peace for his parents and siblings. Jodie Whittaker (the new Doctor Who) and Andrew Buchan share outstanding acting moments as Danny’s estranged parents Beth and Mark Latimer. Heavy stuff. The beauty of the landscape helps temper the seriousness of this crime drama. I’m leaving Broadchurch with a 4 out of 5 for Season 3.

Read Reel Charlie’s review of Broadchurch: Season 1.
Read Reel Charlie’s review of Broadchurch: Season 2.

Murder on the Orient Express (2010)

November 14, 2017

In anticipation of the new Branagh 2017 Murder on the Orient Express, I ordered the British television 2010 version for the library. I had a blast watching this adaptation. It stars David Suchet as Poirot and includes a strong supporting cast featuring Eileen Atkins, Jessica Chastain, Barbara Hershey, Hugh Bonneville, David Morrissey, Brian J. Smith, and Samuel West. Without even seeing the remake, I know it’s a simpler film than Branagh’s big budget release. As a result, the film relies on the talents of the director, writer, and cast. Murder on the Orient Express offers real comfort food whodunit excitement. 4 out of 5 for this Agatha Christie classic adaptation.

The Collection: Season 1

November 11, 2017

Spoiler alerts: Amazon Studios produced the UK/French production of The Collection, a romance drama set in post-WWII Paris centered around the mystery and intrigue of a young couture house and its founder Paul Sabine. I watched two episodes. The first didn’t sway me but I wanted to give it a second chance, so I watched episode 2. The production design and acting are first-rate – a mix of British, French, and American actors. The story lags however despite the best efforts of the cast and design crew. Characters feel more like caricatures than real people. They lack depth. The gay character only attracts men prone to violence and when it becomes clear in a later episode who the father of the child given up for adoption by the young, innocent seamstress is, of course it’s the gay brother. Hello paging Dynasty, your icky stereotype is ready for a redux. 2.5 out of 5 for The Collection. Next.

Shakespeare Wallah at The Quad (NYC) with James Ivory and Madhur Jaffrey

November 8, 2017

Exciting news for Merchant Ivory fans in the metropolitan NYC area. The Quad is screening a restored version of Shakespeare Wallah this week with director/screenwriter James Ivory and star Madhur Jaffrey. I went to the city a few months ago and was honored to catch Ivory for the screening of Maurice. It was a magical evening. Loved hearing stories from one of my favorite film partners of all-time.

Shakespeare Wallah
1965, 120m, DCP, UK/India

Opens Friday—North American theatrical premiere engagement of 2K restoration
The second feature uniting director/screenwriter James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant—known then and forever as Merchant Ivory—with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and actor Shashi Kapoor secured the world cinema reputations of all concerned. Based in part on the diaries that Geoffrey Kendal kept while performing Shakespeare all across India with his wife Laura Liddell, the film introduced audiences to their daughter Felicity Kendal, who stars as the UK theatrical troupe’s ingenue, caught in a love triangle with an Indian playboy (Kapoor) and a Bollywood film actress (Madhur Jaffrey, named Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival). The Merchant Ivory tenets of literate wit, heartbreak, and cultural collision all take center stage.

With Madhur Jaffrey & James Ivory in person at 6.30pm on Fri November 10

Purchase tickets online at The Quad.

Tin Star

October 20, 2017

Amazon Prime airs the British-Canadian crime series, Tin Star featuring Tim Roth and Christina Hendricks. I love the play between the family members. The bad guys creep me out and not in a good way. Over the years I have enjoyed many inappropriate laughs from bad guys doing bad things ala Fargo. For some reason, the back and forth between good and evil in Tin Star doesn’t work for me. 2 out of 5. Yes, I stuck around for the big death. I still wasn’t convinced. Next.

The Five

September 30, 2017

Honestly enjoyed the U.K. mystery series, The Five created by Harlan Coben. The 10-episode story features solid performances from O-T Fagbenle (Looking), Tom Cullen (Weekend, Downton Abbey), Sarah Solemani, and Lee Ingleby. The four play childhood friends facing the resurrection of a sibling gone missing case from 20 years ago. Although the middle of the story veers into several non-realistic plot turns, I hung in there and was rewarded with an exciting story filled with extremely satisfying characters. Normally I’d give something like this a 3.5 out of 5. But the addition of a librarian character with the major discovery scene taking place in a public library, the beautiful use of pop music, and the way each episode ends on a nail-biting question left me no excuse but to give The Five a 4 out of 5.

White Gold

September 9, 2017

Watched the first episode of the new 80’s era British Netflix show, White Gold. It’s got really amazing music selections and a break with the fourth wall for those of you who like your television fiction confessional. But my interest waned early on. Didn’t grab me like I wanted it to. Never saw an episode of Gossip Girls, so I can’t say I know anything about White Gold‘s star Ed Westwick. But he didn’t make me sit up and pay attention. Too bad because I loved the music. 2 out of 5. Next.

The Crown: Season 2 (trailer)

August 16, 2017

The magnificent Netflix British television series, The Crown continues into the 1960’s with the reign of Elizabeth II. Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Read Reel Charlie’s review of The Crown: Season 1.

The Level

August 14, 2017

Tried watching The Level, a British crime drama featuring a flawed female detective. Great cast including Noel Clarke (Metrosexuality) and Robert James-Collier (Downton Abbey). In the end, I just couldn’t commit. The story didn’t seem particularly realistic to me. Too far-fetched that a cop would be at the scene of a crime, then be assigned to the case and the clock counts down to when she gets caught. She wasn’t a bad cop, so I suppose there is redemption somewhere. I didn’t stick around long enough to find out. 2 out of 5. Next.


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