Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I’ve been watching:

George Gently
George Gently is a Commander with the Scotland Yard and is about to retire when his wife is killed. In Northumberland for some time off following her death he becomes involved with a local murder investigation. Pairing up with a young, ambitious Sergeant they become an interesting pair of police, with Gently as the teacher and the Sergeant as the sometimes unwilling student. The stories take place in the 1960’s and strongly reflect the era as a time of much social change making for a particularly fascinating British police procedural.

My Dog Tulip
This animated film based on the memoir of J.R. Ackerley was a wonderfully honest yet unsentimental look at a man and his best friend, Tulip the unruly Alsatian. The animation was terrific (I particularly liked when Tulip was in heat she appeared as a girl dog in a dress), the colors beautiful, and the story simply great. Ackerley seemed to understand and to respect dog activities and behavior and it was clear that Tulip was indeed Ackerley’s best friend and the source of the best years of his life.

Queen to Play
I wondered if it was possible to make a movie about chess that would be enjoyable to a non-chess player. The answer is—yes! Helene is a cleaning lady for a hotel and for a local retired American doctor. She becomes interested in learning to play chess and it soon takes over her life. The doctor becomes her chess teacher and soon she is good enough to compete. What is really interesting about this film is that Helene and her husband, who paints boats, are a lower class family while the game of chess is not traditionally a lower class game. Her husband and friends don’t understand her but her daughter, who is a budding feminist, supports her all the way: that it is important for a woman to have something in her life besides being a good wife and mother to make her feel a little bit special. Filmed in Corsica, the scenery was also an armchair travelers’ delight!

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