Friday, March 4, 2011

What I've been watching:

A Certain Justice
P.D. James’ D.I. Adam Dalgliesh is on the case of a very successful and much hated female barrister found murdered in her office. There is no shortage of suspects in this intriguing case which is complicated by the barristers’ success in getting murderers off “not guilty.”

Downton Abbey
The Grantham family is in trouble. When their heir is lost and presumed dead in the sinking of the Titanic they must find a suitable match for their older daughter while introducing the new heir, a lowly solicitor, to his future estate. This is an upstairs/downstairs kind of drama which leaves you eager for more. Thankfully, the next season is now in production.

The Guilty
An attractive young woman goes to work for a prominent lawyer who, after an evening of celebration and inebriation, accompanies her to her apartment and rapes her. Being a very powerful man, he thinks of this affair as a drunken indiscretion; she thinks its rape. Meanwhile, a young man just released from prison sets out to find his biological father and ends up making a deal with horrific results. This is the beginning of the British psychological drama The Guilty starring Michael Kitchen who is fabulous as the supercilious lawyer. The two stories intertwine and intersect bringing the characters’ lives together effectively, producing a highly suspenseful and provocative film. Originally aired on television in the 1990s, The Guilty is exciting, intense and entertaining.

Heat of the Sun : Private Lives; Hide in Plain Sight; Sport of Kings
This is a great series! It takes place in Kenya when it was a British colony. Trevor Eve is fantastic as the police superintendent who was sent to Kenya as punishment for being a rogue Scotland Yard detective. Here he has to solve cases in the native and the British communities while dealing with his obnoxious boss.

Kinky Boots
When a young man inherits his fathers’ bankrupt shoe factory he discovers that the one thing he hates more than the shoe factory is laying people off (or making them redundant—this is British after all). Through a comedy of errors he decides that the way to keep the factory going is to find a niche market that’s not being served: boots for drag queens! This was a funny, sweet and very enjoyable film.

A corrupt politician (De Niro), rednecks, and just general bad guys are working with a major Mexican drug lord (Steven Seagal) to build an electric fence along the border of Texas which the drug lord will control. Fighting against these villains is Machete, a seemingly indestructible, mythical man who destroys anyone blocking his path. You need a strong stomach and a sense of humor for this film—it is blood-splattering, limb flying fun!

Man in a Suitcase
McGill is an intelligence agent wrongfully accused of treason and dismissed by the Americans, now working as an investigator for hire. As played by Richard Bradford, he is a very appealing persona: cynical but honest. His job takes him around Europe allowing for many international settings. The episodes vary from spy thrillers to straight detective jobs; some of the episodes giving mention to the Cold War. There is lots of action—McGill gets as good as he gives. The style is very 1960’s: the apartments, cars, clothes, hairstyles making it particularly fun to watch. The series debuted in 1968 in England but it has a timeless appeal and is wonderfully entertaining and a lot of fun to watch.

I’m not a big Angelina Jolie fan but I have to admit that this was a very exciting movie. I don’t know how probable the plot is—Salt was orphaned as a child and raised by the Russians to be a mole within the CIA. Director Noyce, in the interview in the special features, claims that it is very possible. All I know is that it was entertaining, exciting and you could pick out some Albany landmarks along 787.

Soul Kitchen
A young Greek man in Hamburg owns a restaurant which is basically a fast food joint. He loves it though because it’s his but the health inspectors and tax inspectors are both after him plus an unscrupulous real estate agent who wants to tear down the place. Through a comedy of errors he pays off the inspectors, loses the restaurant but then re-buys it, loses one girlfriend and gains another. This was a charming, enjoyable film.

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