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10/10
A Great Show
23 July 2018
Obviously if you don't like Abba, there is no point in going to see this.

If you DO like ABBA, they go looking for the hidden jems, the less well known but still perfectly gorgeous songs like 'Why did it have to be me?' and 'Andante Andante'.

There was never any hope of finding a young fella who looked like a singing /dancing Remington Steel or any of the other 'fathers' but there is lots of eye candy.

'Chiquitita' kept echoing through the score and I expected a number but it didn't materalize. We even waited to the end of the credits to see if there was another number but no.

Reality has no place in this and so Cher being Merlys mother, Andy Garcia being her father are strange casting choices.

Bring the hankys if you're a sensitive soul like most of the women at the showing I went to, and there is no harm in going again and again and again (Singing and Dancing at each one)
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Dunkirk (2017)
8/10
A WW2 movie with a new ambiance
25 July 2017
The basic story need not be recounted. The movie trys to capture the reality of the situation, in the same way 'Saving Private Ryan' brought the carnage in Normandy to the screens. It was very different to the old Ealing films.

The silence on the long strand, the desperation of those taking any chance to escape is done well in the 110 minutes allocated.

While I only watch drama's where women earn 50% of the money, I made an exception for this film.

The German air-force don't come out of this well, bombing hospital ships etc.

Perhaps the UK needs this, with the upcoming Brexit drama.

The young actors were exceptional, particularly Barry Keoghan and Jack Lowden. To stand out in this cast was commendable. Harry Styles seems to have a disproportionate number of lines but judging from the cinema, no One Direction fans followed him to buy tickets.

Certainly Winston Churhill wrote the best lines in the movie and possibly, most of them!
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Table 19 (2017)
10/10
Breakfast Club (but at a wedding)
7 April 2017
I confess I find weddings tedious at the best of times but we always go with a sense of optimism.

Anna Kendrick's character was clearly on the fence about attending but decided to be brave and attend. She is seated at the table of people who were surprised to get an invitation and we learn that she is the best man's ex-girlfriend and former Maid of Honour for this event.

Nobody beautiful, rich or influential is at table 19. It turns out they are all at a turning point in their lives and the story evolves about their various crisis.

These people are all amazing in their on right and their stories are interesting (far more interesting than any the beautiful people have).#

The soundtrack is well chosen and the spark of sensuality provided when Huck and Eloise dance is well done.

The wedding isn't dressed up as a great event - its an ordinary American wedding and thankfully, there is a limited amount of it.

I can't recommend it highly enough, in a time when films have no script at all
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Miss Sloane (2016)
9/10
Movies staring women are not promoted
25 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is the first big movie about lobbiests I've come across. Jessica Chastain plays a tough part but unfortunately her personality isn't examined in depth during the 2 hours. The film explores the ways men are treated differently from women. For example she hires a male escort and while men would overlook this in a male lobbyist ('cos it would be far from the worst thing they do), for a woman it would end her socially. The escort is the perfect combination of sleazy and possibly entertaining.

I don't imagine the notion that background checks before the purchase of a firearm is a seriously debatable point and so the film doesn't get into some pointless debate. Perhaps the proposed 'Registry of Muslims' is to allow crazy WASP's buy a surface to air missile but prevent sane Muslims from buying a 22.

This movie was under promoted, like most films staring women. If you look at the posters for 'Arrival' you'll see that the female star got the same billing as her male co-stars who have a fraction of the lines.

This was a movie about a strong woman, not unwilling to be disliked by men. Its funny at the start when the NRA man who thinks women are best spending time in the kitchen, is nervous about meeting her. He doesn't know if he should shake hands with a woman in the business world.

Political movies where good triumphs (such as 'The Ides of March') didn't don't get much support despite the great cast and script. Instead tragic films like the new 'King Kong' or the recently lame 'Jurassic Park'offering are the only things in the cinema.

My totally biased opinion is that some stupid men (like the committee Ms Chastain refers to) make choices about movies. They make testosterone fueled choices and go for expensive pointless non- scripts like 'Gods of Egypt' instead of low budget films that have a genuine script.

Obviously - I'm with Her!
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9/10
Hidden Gem
18 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The story of Otto and Anna Quangel is unfortunately, new to me. In a time when there are so few movies with fresh stories, it is disappointing this didn't get a larger promotional budget.

They were an ordinary, working class couple with one child who died in action, early in WW2. While not members of the Nazi party and personally opposed to Hitler regime, they did nothing until their only child died. In their grief and anger, they could remain silent nolonger but tried to voice their opposition in a way that would not get them killed.

Their characters have quiet dignity and while the 'speaking with a German accent' is strange both Thompson and Gleeson are great. I can't help compare but 'Live by Night' with this film and the one with the large advertising budget suffers. Even the violence in this film is better because it is understated and more threatening.

Daniel Brühl plays the police officer charged with the capture of the person responsible for the messages. While his character is less defined, his role in the story is interesting.

There is a cast of supporting older actors who add great texture to the story as neighbours, co-workers and each contribute fresh layers of tragedy.

The films release, just before the inauguration of Trump, reminds us of the consequences of silence.
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Arrival (II) (2016)
9/10
A quiet triumph
14 November 2016
I've watched Amy Adams since 'Junebug' and once again, she gives a great performance.

Its a quiet sc-fi and I didn't know the story before hand, beyond the very basics. If we needed further proof that a good script makes spending on CGI unnecessary - this is it.

For some strange reason Amy Adams didn't get top billing, with her supporting cast listed further down or in smaller font. What does a woman have to do to get top billing? Be the only face on screen for the duration of the film??

Sure there are twists in the story, but they happen quietly, without Dolby Surround Sound or 3D glasses.

It was 2 hours well spent and no doubt I'll catch it again.

I can't recommend it highly enough - although I have no respect for the movie or advertising executives (presumably men) who think that a woman doesn't deserve top billing.

I don't pay to see films where men hog the script / budget dollars. If women are 51% of the planet - we deserve to be 51% of actors with 51% of the lines and 51% of the budget.

If movie executives want my money - they'll have to learn to respect women.
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9/10
A Ireland / UN Story that needed to be told !
9 October 2016
The Irish army is often discounted because of its unusual rules (for example, soldiers volunteer to serve abroad) and small budget. This is a story of one of the many UN actions the Irish army were involved in and perhaps the most dramatic.

The story has echos of 'Zulu' but with a different outcome.

The cast are good looking, but not too good looking to pass as Irish lads.

Irish people mock Tom Cruise for his 'worst accent of all time' but Jamie Doran was persuaded to try a Kerry accent and it didn't work out. I'm not sure many people would have noticed what county the CO was from. Mark Strong managed well as Conor Cruise.

Conor Cruise O'Brien, who was never far from the media for the rest of his life, is no doubt in his grave arguing that he has been misrepresented as the bad guy. I confess I never knew he had been a civil servant with the Dept. of Foreign Affairs or with the UN.

Like most dramas based on a book, much was omitted and I recommend the book and the film.
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10/10
How did I miss the first one? Up with this sort of thing!
3 May 2016
I saw this in Nextflix (which has a limited service in Ireland but charges the same money) and am surprised to learn I missed the first film.

Thanks to the ladies for telling the truth and putting it on film. I've tweeted and posted on FB that people should watch this.

I guess, its easy to assume that beautiful people have it easy and that's not necessarily the case. (A casting director would perhaps class me as straight woman who looks like an Irish lesbian nun). Excellent point about tax deductions wrt beauty treatments! Why hasn't SAG lobbied for that??

I'm a lawyer and we get type cast as well. Women often do property and probate which is the tougher work, involving client hand holding but also suject to ups and downs. While men often do litigation, which has a longer time frame and more stable. Most lawyers nowadays are women but those running the firms are men. There is nothing creepier than a man who encourages the younger, female staff to massage his ego (ok there are some things creepier but not in an open office). If I'm tough, people call me a 'bitch' but if a male colleague is tough 'he's negotiating'.

In politics, getting women to vote for women is hard work and we need to encourage all women to jump the rail. Why don't we support women? Women do most of the work on this planet and have little of the power.

When it comes to the money I spend, I try to target women - even my mechanic is a woman (in business with her brother). Books by female writers. Music by female artists. The radio and TV I catch, I only listen to female hosts.

As women, we have a responsibility to say 'I will support other women with every dollar I spend'. Then women will have 54% of the roles!
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The Hollow Crown (2012– )
10/10
Can Shakespeare get any better?
30 March 2016
If my father was alive I think he would be giddy to see this because he enjoyed Shakespeare and WW2 movies almost equally. Few household include Shakespeare plays as everyday topics, Marc Anthony's speech when drying dishes and we were fortunate. When Shakespeare questions are asked on 'University Challenge' I find myself screaming at the confused teenagers who were not so lucky.

Granted, 'Coriolanus' was a favorite, but almost all of Shakespeare plays have blood pumping through them and deserve the full treatment of location, mud, costume and conflict so we can absorb the poetry of the script.

This production is likely to open the door to Shakespeare for people who were not given a friendly introduction. As with Opera, some experiences open a door to appreciation and understanding. (mine was the £5 ticket to Covent Garden in 1996 because you only understand what the fuss is about when experiencing a quality, live performance)

To the original audiences, the death of a king was a shocking as the JFK assassination is to us. They enjoyed the glamor, the insight and the drama inherent in power struggles, ambition, just as we do today.

Season 1 - looks at how Henry IV took power, his difficulties with his son and how his son (Henry V) adjusted. Is there anything more timeless than one generation attempting to guide and train the younger? Youthful rejection of everything offered? Recognition too late that the parent was heroic and worthy of admiration?

For some reason, the character of Sir John, penetrated my understanding more when watching this, than ever before. This is likely as a result of my deeper understand as a result of the passage of time.

Season 2 - The third generation (Henry VI) raised without paternal guidance, struggles to keep the crown. The War of the Roses leading to bloody battle. Richard III, was to say the least, ambitious.

The Hollow Crown has an excellent cast.
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A Perfect Day (I) (2015)
8/10
Last of the Summer Wine in Bosnia
18 January 2016
Benicio del Torro and Tim Robbins are two long time aid workers in post war Bosnia. On this day they are joined by a bright eyed first timer and an experience woman (who is also an old flame of Del Torros).

Along with their interpreter and a young boy, the main goal on this day is to remove a body from a well. To achieve this they must over come practice and organisational hurdles.

In a country where the natives have lost so much, it must be difficult for the volunteers to stick to it but the comedy is tender and refreshing.

Whoever chose the music has great taste and it lightens the mood at times. This isn't a film for people waiting for the next superhero flic. It deals with a topic nobody is in a rush to examine.
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45 Years (2015)
Smoke gets in your eyes
4 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay play a retired husband and wife who lead a quiet life with their dog and friends.

Katya died, falling into a ficher in the Swiss mountains in 1962 as they spent 6-7 weeks exploring in their late 20s, living in various houses. Her body has just been discovered, frozen in the ice. Kate married Jeff in 1970 and they are about to celebrate with a large party.

Most marriages have the ghosts of earlier relationships at the start but we expect those to fade over time. Jeff mentioned the relationship once while they were courting but clearly it wasn't fully discussed, partly because for Kate it was too painful to hear. A wise husband will never mention anything about previous relationships and wives assume that all ex-girlfriends have been beaten. In this relationship, we come to realise that it is Kate who cares most.

Much of the film is spent watching Kate digest the new truths about her husband and come to a new truth about the relationship on which her life is based.

Kate + Jeff had no children and you wonder about that dynamic, how Kate's life was changed by that one accident.
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The Big Short (2015)
9/10
Nothing scarier than the truth !
3 January 2016
The story is simple - a few guys knew the housing market and banks were going to crash and each wondered how to profit from this information before the market reacted.

Christian Bale plays the mathematician who figured it out first and over time others caught wind of his research.

The financial instruments and definitions are explained outside the story with humour. Some parts of the story (like the trip to Florida) are made more shocking because of the casual nature of those involved.

In fairness - if you have money invested in the stock market, after watching this you may seriously consider digging a hole in the garden to bury your treasure or investing in something you understand and control more.

I honestly didn't recognise Brad Pitt until his final scene, he was so transformed. Rafe Spall, who seems to be everywhere all of a sudden, has a decent American accent. Marisa Tomei, who is great in everything she does, could have had a bigger part rather than all of the Steve Carell energy.

It has a great script and directing but the acting was not extraordinary, perhaps because the story is so gripping. It isn't a thriller in the way 'Margin Call' was because the badie here is the system, 'going along to get along' and a lack of consequences.

I suspect more than one person will buy seeds after seeing this film!!
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Versailles (2015–2018)
9/10
More than just your average costume drama
29 December 2015
This drama is about the rise of Louis xiv, the Sun King, Louis the Great, who moved the executive from Paris, the centre of the known world to Versailles, a great bog.

With his father long dead, his mother recently dead, he was alone except for his brother and those he trusted. His political marriage to a Spanish princess was not happy.

He is primarily concerned with how to rule a growing French Empire. This French court evolved into something strange - where dancing and etiquette were critical politically.

This is made in English (to ease it commercially) but by the French so it is made with taste. There are attractive actors, lavish costumes, special effects (to pretend it was shot in the Palace itself) and of course scenes of violence and sex. After all, its good to be the King.

Looking forward to Season 2 !
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Trumbo (2015)
9/10
If my father was alive, I'd see this movie with him
28 December 2015
This film is about a period in modern history when ignorance triumphed and fears about 'Redz under Bedz' took hold and people were tried, convicted and sentenced to be excluded from society based on their political convictions, often by people with little understanding of politics.

The Committee investigating 'Un American Activities' was not the only organisation judging people for their political beliefs but it was the most infamous. Living in the US, it is still scary how few people know the difference between communism, socialism and circumstances leading to the development of both in the 20th Century. I'm not sure many will understand the story or the implications today.

This story is about one blacklisted screen writer and his friends. Bryan Cranston relishes the role. Diane Lane is gifted but always gets cast as the housewife. John Goodman once again is larger than life in a supporting role, only he can do justice to. Dean O'Gorman is perhaps hotter than Kirk Douglas was but without the jawline. Louis CK plays Arnel Hird, the Jimminey Cricket to Trumbo's scheming. Helen Mirren, for once, plays somebody few can like.

The story is one of injustice but injected with humour and humanity. The scriptwriters had some fun and I often found myself clapping at a joke nobody else in the room got (not for the first time). Ronald Reagan began his political career, destroying the lives of others and when people say that LooLaa was a good President I always feel tempted to begin a debate on the spot.

The obvious parallel in today's US is that ignorant people want to judge based on religious beliefs. Trump is in the running for the White House and if it was the 1950 or 1960's, he'd be ranting about Redz, not Muslims.

Unfortunately, one film is just a drop in the ocean. What is really needed is education because, everybody's vote has equal weight, even Trump supporters.
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Spotlight (I) (2015)
9/10
In the tradition of 'All the Presidents Men'
24 December 2015
The story begins when a new editor, who isn't Boston Catholic, joins the Boston Globe and suggests looking deeper into one case of child rape. Indeed he is reading up the Red Sox, which is perhaps the second religious organisation in Boston. The culture is not to question authority figures - not the Church, not the lawyers who colluded, not judges who helped suppress information, not the police who didn't resist and the journalists hesitate to make enemies. The intimidation is sinister because these men have been confident in their seat of power.

'Spotlight' is the title of a 4 person team of investigative reporters in the Globe and perhaps beyond the basic story, the movie underlines the importance of the Fourth Estate. If all reporting was based on Twitter or Instagram, important news that people want under the carpet will never see the light of day. This kind of reporting is expensive but is a social good we NEED.

Once the team began to really investigate, the scale of the problem was slowly revealed. 6% of priests abuse children. People who knew (nurses, physicians, police etc) kept their families safe but it was the children of innocent parents, who couldn't imagine depravity, who suffered. The story looks at the pathology and the system the church employed.

These characters are not fleshed out, partly because there are 6+ while we felt we knew Woodsein and Ben Bradley after 'All the Presidents Men'. The story also addresses how the journalists might rebuild relationships with friends, family, their church, their confidence as professionals, having missed the story for so long. Stanley Tucci has perhaps the best lines 'The Church thinks in centuries' and that's right. In Ireland the even argued they were in the right, based on Cannon Law !!!

Richard O'Rourke has a small but significant role as a shockingly, disturbed and creepy priest. Great casting! He takes his few lines and turns them into gold, demonstrating the horror, without actual graphics.

This movie is not a thriller - there are no meetings in garages, no fear that the CIA or FBI would take them out (although there is a concern about other papers getting a scoop). The church didn't need to resort to those excesses. They knew the threats to reputations and financial security carried weight.

The Catholic Church has establishments all over the world and what happened in Boston was one of hundreds of stories. 'Mea Culpa' is the documentary that looks deeper into the Vatican. Nobody is fooled - these priests are now in Haiti and other countries where children are vulnerable.
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8/10
A beautiful film about a difficult subject
23 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The story is based on a husband and wife, both of whom paint. Einar does landscapes and Gerda, portraits.

They seem to have a happy life together in their 20s but Einar begins to explore his sexuality. At first Gerda goes along with it for entertainment but is shocked to find her husband is attracted to men. Enter the very busy, Ben Whishaw. His new persona, Lilly, takes over quickly and Gerda is as supportive as a spouse could be.

It is shocking how cruel the medical profession were - almost as though torturing somebody would create a positive change?! but it was really punishment, thinly veiled.

In fairness to Eddie R., few men can pull it off but his features are not so broad and masculine. He begins to become Lily, who favours sensual fabrics, like silk and velvet.

Looking for a more understanding society, they move to Paris where her portraits of Lilly bring Gerda success, which she enjoys. Enter Matthias Schoenaerts as a friend to both.

This film was beautifully shot and didn't need special effects or a huge cast to be engaging.
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4/10
More Overhype - QT is running on empty
22 December 2015
Is it necessary for Tarantino to write his own scripts?

He has jumped on the 'Frontier' bandwagon and seems to have taken '8 little n*****s' up a mountain. Why does he have to use that word so often? and he bought fake blood in barrels. I almost long for the subtle violence of 'Reservior Dogs'.

It has been years since I've been able to make it to the end of one of his films (probably Kill Bill) and I guess we're just lucky he hasn't cast Depp, to make the experience worse.

The best part of the film is the Roy Orbison song 'There Won't be Many' at the very end.

Where did the $60m go?? At least 'The Revenant' had an excuse but there was one set in use for most of the show here.

QT had a great cast and lord knows what he used to tempt them - fulfilling childhood fantasies of dressing in cowboy outfits? (those hats stayed on much longer than necessary). I had the feeling that they were barely containing their laughter when the camera was recording, and why should they take it seriously?

Anyway - QT has joined M Night S(whatever his name was). He'd be better of not wasting our time with more of this but if he is compelled, make it the minimum 90 minutes.
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7/10
Still rooting for the Whale
22 December 2015
When I saw the trailer I was fully rooting for the whale but the first hour of the movie introduces you to the men of the whaler.

Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson (in a movie that doesn't feature his son) are telling the story on which 'Moby Dick' is based.

Chris Helmsworth plays a man who enjoys the whaling life and culture. Cillian Murphy is his best friend and Benjamin Walker is the 'Rupert'whose hunger to prove himself unsettles those who have worked their way up.

The whale is portrayed as vengeful although in fairness, nobody could blame him. The CGI looked great although the scenes set in the fishing village were darker than necessary.

This is the season for 'Frontier' stories along with 'Hateful 8' and 'The Revenant'. The drama and characters in this film are better and I cared whether the people survived in the end.

Its a solid movie but I wonder if these movies are a reaction against the 'strong female lead' films that have triumphed recently.
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The Revenant (2015)
6/10
Would be great without any actors at all - just scenery
21 December 2015
The stars of the movie is the scenery and the cinematography (even though I'd never want to go to any of those sites). It was beautiful in a way 'Dr Zhivago' was but the Russian epic had other things going for it too.

The story was 'Tarantiono does Grisley Adams'. The violent opening scene is an echo of the starting scenes to 'Saving Private Ryan' - shocking violence, retelling what were once portrayed as bloodless. While this was an action movie it was no thriller. Knowing the running time and that some of the main characters had to die, was my guide but I wasn't invested in the outcome. The end came as a welcome relief and if they are editing for a shorter version - less DiCaprio would be my preference.

The bears were beautiful and almost too believable with every hair distinguishable. I confess, I was rooting for the bear! Right was certainly on her side.

Tom Hardy has had a hell of a few years from 'Loche', 'Peaky Blinders' and 'Legend'. He was easy to watch because his character clearly didn't give a '*&%$'.

D Gleeson was almost unrecognizable in 'Star Wars Ep VII' and is the new hope for gingers everywhere.

Some people think the movie will have trouble making back the budget because the handsome stars keep their clothes on but in fairness, depressing doesn't sell. Look at 'The Road'! I say - imagine it without the woeful drama and just enjoy the majesty on the big screen

For those of us who don't lead a charmed life like DiCaprio, we don't need to pay €6 -10 for another 3 hours of it. That's why Christmas is so popular - its an invitation to be happy.
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8/10
The New 'Love Actually'
12 December 2015
Its a story of a family on Christmas Eve. Diane Keaton and John Goodman are married with an adult son (Ed Helms) and daughter (Olivia Wilde).

Alan Arkin is Diane Keaton and Marisa Tomi's father (thought the ages are clearly off there). June Squibb is Goodman's aunt.

Like most families who have moved on with their lives, they dislike spending time together. Dealing with expectations, facing their own inadequacies, long buried resentments and everything else that come with human relationships, they are individually dreading the time together.

The jokes are subtle with no slapstick crassness. They are contextual and many perhaps you need life experience to appreciate.

The music is great, there are many dogs and the set design gives an idealized Americana that town could hope to match. In fairness, many women see a cute soldier alone in an airport and let their minds wander. Nothing hotter than a man in uniform!

My 10 yo nephew chose the film (I wanted to see Snoopy) but in the end he had to keep telling his mother and I to keep our laughter down (and we hadn't even been drinking). Apparently the trailer lead people to believe it would be funnier but I loved it.

Its happier than 'The Family Stone', less romantic than 'Love Actually' and with more dogs than 'Macbeth'.
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Cuffs (2015)
8/10
Good show but not 'Hill Street Blues'
26 November 2015
The best 'cop' drama of all time for my money is 'Hill Street Blues' and while others attempt to reach that zen area of real, crazy and funny, none succeeds. I never got into 'The Bill' but 'Prime Suspect' was perhaps the best UK cop drama but 'Scott & Bailey' is well written.

This show has a great cast, alright script and makes Brighton appealing (which is difficult in itself) but it is mostly a star vehicle for the very cute, Jacob Ifan. Episode 1 is his first day on the job.

The other characters have perhaps more interesting stories and more talent and experience but get far less camera time. Each episode is centred on four beat cops who have different lives. 3 men, 1 woman.

Based on the poster, Amanda Abbington, who holds her own on Sherlock, should be the main star but it hasn't worked out that way. They dress her in colours that don't suit her to make her look as though she is on chimo. Her story is a cliché, unworthy of the BBC. She is in a no- win sexual relationship with her boss but nobody knows. The writers fail her and us. Changing the cat to a dog is the only creative move made here.

Why can so few writers write middle aged women? We are tough, experienced, own our own homes, survived having lived with men, in a world ruled by men and taken responsibility for all the difficult things in day-to-day life, take care of elderly parents, avoid siblings, change careers, survived over 1000 periods and I could go on. The writers failure here is to rely on a man's stereotypical view of women as needy when most people know that by the time a woman reaches 40 we don't care what you're thinking anymore.

Having said all that - it was very watchable and I immediately tweeted my LGBT friends to alert them to the show. It makes a good nights viewing with 'London Spy'.
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Capital (2015)
8/10
Very Promising after a few minutes
24 November 2015
I confess I missed the first few minutes of the first episode but I was hooked in a few minutes.

In all the houses are people whose stories are relateable but the acting, casting, script make it compelling. They could be clichés but are not.

Toby Jones is married to a woman he could only get because of his high salary. They have 2 small boys and both parents exhausted in their respective roles. (goof when his FT moves from his left to right)

Gemma Jones is a widow whose daughter and grandson would spend more time with her, if their own lives were not so geographically distant. Over time her relationship with both has petered off but Christmas is approaching.

Wunmi Mosaku? plays a very sympathetic Nigerian refugee. She does her best to keep her spirits up, despite the 'no-win' situation her character is in. The ever increasing property prices on the street have nothing to do with her.

A single guy is sharing a flat with a couple. Enough said.

A large Indian family run the corner shop.

When the postcards begin to come to each house saying 'We Want What you Have', some report it to the police. An officer calmly investigates what could be anything from a marketing prank to something scary and deals with everybody's assumptions about police prejudice.

It continues to escalate. Can't wait for Ep 2 !!!
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6/10
It needed music? better editing?
23 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
With a great cast and a decent script - why was I not captivated by this from the start?

Thrillers in cinemas over the past few years have been so lame that I didn't expect a twist at the end. 'Sicario' was perhaps the only film this year that left me breathless (last year it was '71). If I want a thrill now, I watch 'Homeland' or some other well written TV series.

It must have been the lack of music in this film to tempt my mind towards the expectation of something exciting to happen. Possibly the editing could have been better.

Some elements of the script were strange - they went out for ice- cream? Normal guys in their 20s would have ordered pizza or sandwiches at a local deli. All 4 guys appeared to be equally thick and poorly prepared and for what they have gotten themselves into. We feel no empathy for them at all. Right from the start - high in a car with people you know nothing about but willing to throw everything in the pot - there is only disaster in their future.

Granted when the gun was fired in the end, I did get a surprise but there had been no emotional build up.

It was when I learn that 'Poodle' had been in the army I knew there was going to be a reveal 'cos the character on show, couldn't have survived 1 tour. Hell - he wouldn't have gotten a tattoo!

I don't know if a re-edit or a re-release with a bump could turn this into a minor hit. The possibilities existed
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10/10
Best Comedy in Years!
19 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
There are few decent films released now and a good comedy is like a unicorn but here's one - for adults only. The jokes are funny in a way only an Aussie can do. It leaps over the line of what many might consider acceptable and goes the extra yard. A bit like 'Clerks' did in the 90's but more subtle.

On one street a number of couples are experiencing problems that are funny in that they can arise in many relationships. Peppered through this, the new neighbour is introducing himself for the first time.

As soon as I finished watching, I contacted friends to recommend it. I actually got brain freeze for the first time from a movie while watching the 'action' scene.

The writing was great. The acting outstanding and the whole combination was a recipe for magic!

The unfortunate thing about a comedy is that you can't rewatch it and get the same kick as you might with 'Bourne'. It's the reveal!

Can't recommend it highly enough but naturally, its not suitable for those under 18 or people with delicate sensibilities. Part of the sweetness is about the give and take in relationships.
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Burnt (I) (2015)
7/10
A Great Supporting Cast
7 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
We meet Adam after he has emerged from his own self imposed punishment for all the damage he did to his friends in Paris when he was a drugs/ booze/ sex addict. His goal is to open a restaurant and get 3 Michelin stars but everybody in the cooking world hates him. Even in London he can't walk down the street without somebody chasing him.

Surprisingly enough, he is able to round up some talented friends in a way that is reminiscent of Jake and Elwood.

He knows that to meet his goal, he has to stay away from things he is addicted to so he insists on hiring Sienna Miller (who would be perfect for him except for his commitment to celibacy).

A stellar supporting cast including Emma Thompson, adorable Daniel Brühl, Omar Sy, Matthew Rhys, Sarah Greene were fun, all on their own.

Bradley Coopers costumes were mainly T-shirts but he changed them so frequently that it was like he was competing with one (or all) of the Helmsworth brothers - not that I'm objecting. His French accent wasn't bad either!

Like most women, I find a man throwing a tantrum unpleasant so I don't watch those cooking shows. Even when Bradley Cooper does it, I congratulate myself on never having to deal with that again. Those are the only unpleasant parts of the film.

The big questions - can Adam Jones learn how to make it through the day without throwing a tantrum like a teenage girl getting her period? Will he realise that it doesn't matter what a review says about his work? Does Adam become a grown-up?

I liked it partly because it was NOT a typical American or British rom-com although all the ingredients were there. It was better for it.
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