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Murder, She Wrote: J.B.. as in Jailbird
Episode 1, Season 5

Totally Engaging
This episode is totally engaging from the word go. Could have been a little film. From the start Jessica is accused of a murder she had just witnessed and soon she finds herself in jail. A place where she is secure because all sorts try to find her not knowing who is the real villian. There is a comedic subplot which I thoroughly enjoyed involving her nephew, his girlfriend and a mysterious journalist.


Breaking the Stigma
From the moment Sibel (Damla Sönmez)makes her appearance on screen, she captivates us through her beautiful expressive eyes and launches us into here world. She is a mute communicating only through whistling, ostracized by her fellow women tea plantation workers (and even her younger sister) for she is considered a bad omen - whether for someone getting pregnant or getting engaged. Only a half mad woman Nairn, who she visits occasionally seem to accept her. Sibel tries to break this vicious stigma and tries to gain acceptance by her community by killing a wolf which apparently is foraging the mountains and the whereabouts. She is armed with a rifle which her father has given her and she sets traps for the wolf. Despite her efforts the wolf never appears, but she manages to capture an army deserter (and hence a traitor to the locals) through one of her traps. Eventually this cascades to a tragic/dramatic turn of events where her relationship with her family and the villagers is tested and turned on its head. I found this film to be a powerful film, that is visually breathtaking at times, cruel, intense and captivating in its core issues. What happens when a foreigner is trying to raise an awareness which we cannot even comprehend because of our closed outlook, superstitions, religion maybe, culture etc? A dramatic turn of events, help Sibel (who in reality is somewhat free because of her handicap. She goes around without wearing a scarf and with a rifle like a man) to break the Silence that her stigma put her in, becoming a person in her own right. No longer a slave to her culture or community/familial ties, when several truths sink in, she is willing to pay the price to become her own person and obtain true freedom. This film almost deserves a second watching

Vox Lux

The film soars and soars
Before watching the film I did not have any high expectations of it (since film seemed to pass unnoticed), neither knew the subject matter. What I knew was that Natalie Portman stars in it and gave a great performance I was in for a surprise. The film opens with a shocking massacre that is dealt so matter of fact that I could not fathom exactly what happened. The tragedy and its effects on the characters sink in as the film develops (as well as the characters but especially the main character of Celeste).. It has a documentary kind of feel in its first 20 mins or so. But then enters Natalie Portman in the title role as an adult and she lifts the film, soars and gives the film wings. Wow what a character. Infact this film can be seen as a character study of a victim of violence and how she and the music industry surrounding her respond to the circumstances and manipulate the situation. The script especially as the film progresses is sharp and needs paying attention to.

Well worth watching if you like challenging and stimulating films but definitely not a popcorn movie. It remained with me days after watching it.

Anni felici

Essentially boring with some touching moments
This film is about a 70s liberal artist, the art he creates, his family, which in essence is part of his creation and his wife who is continously running after him. He comes across as selfish and unsympathetic and to a lesser degree also his children The whole premise feels false and despite trying to like it, I couldn't care less about the characters.


Entertaining film to while the time away
I had a good time watching this film and found it pretty entertaining, silly, not deep, no worries and loads of fun. A typical popcorn movie. I felt there was chemistry between the ladies with Kristen Wiig having the meatiest role though not much of it. The special effects and situations our heroines find themselves in are over the top, but this is very much in tone with the spirit of the film. A comedy which kept a continuous smile on my face (though no guffaws).


Colossal Film
This film was recommended to me so I did not have any information or watched anything about it beforehand. It proved to be an amazing film which grows on you if you give it chance. A bit like Birdman (if you liked that film you would like this one and probably if you hated it, this film is not for you) in scope with a surreal story but down to earth execution of it. Admittedly the characters could have been written in a more sympathetic or at least more rounded but I never felt the film boring. This film is drama and comedy intertwined, with drama becoming more pronounced as the film nears its end. The story concerns the falling down of an alcoholic woman (Anne Hathaway) with her boyfriend and a childhood friend. But it also about our untold stories or our stories/deep experience others refuse to hear or do not pay attention to. At the end it is a film to be savoured.

Fracchia la belva umana

Good Italian comedy
Paolo Villaggio plays a toned down version of Fantozzi in this film about a looser Fracchia working in a chocolate factory and his doppel ganger La Belva Umana (played by the same actor ) who is a crime boss. The police mix them up and comic situations arise As noted elsewhere this comedy has a better story line than the usual Fantozzi films, the timing is perfect and all comic actors do a fine turn without resorting to their usual exaggerated and annoying over the top antics (usually Banfi and Salvi). Anna Mezzomauro is spot on and hilarious as usual, as the totally uninterested egoistic lover and counterpart to Fracchia.

The Pioneer Woman

A Warm Home and Welcome
I started watching the Pioneer Woman by accident and haven't stopped watching ever since. I found the whole series being as cooking for a Southern American Ranching family for all situations perfect as my antidote to life's stresses especially after a hard day at work and returning to an empty home. Ree comes across as a very warm person, available and motherly always smiling even when cooking multiple meals. Similarly her family, her house any invited persons all come across as affable. I know that this is fairy tale like to the actual circumstances, but hey I buy this, preferring it to some police/violent or scandal driven drama as presented daily on tv. Personally I wouldn't try half the recipes as presented by Ree as these are laden with fats or sugar. I do remember the episode when she was trying to lure back her husband from taking his breakfast, by frying a fatty breakfast and cooking cinnamon buns in loads of butter and sugar. It was so wrong from a healthy point of view but so sweet of her in her intentions. The way she repeatedly voices her concerns and they way she would solve them through her baking makes me feel so soothed. There is something magical about her programmes Ree is actually selling a make believe lifestyle that some of us dream of. I like this gal :)

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

Yuck is the best way to describe fat people gorging on oil fatty food whilst trying to look bright and shiny in those tropical clothes. I also don't like the frantic editing style, but hey it goes well with this programme to obliterate consciousness from viewers


Age Inducing Boredom
This must be one of Nolan's most boring films despite its high intentions. Matthew McConaughey seemed as fake as ever in this movie and hated his accent (my subjective opinion) and the dialogue was as real as mickey mouse. When the time came to watch footage of his aging children, from his spaceshp, and he cried profusely, I took the hint and stopped watching. There were a couple effects to behold and initially the story seemed intriguing. However after one hour of watching this drivel I really felt like I was wasting my time. Also felt there was no chemistry between actors as well, nothing to hold the film together not even the spaceship.

Vanity Fair

Missed Opportunity with Visual Fair
I didn't read the book before watching this film. Still after going through the 2 hours I can say that this film looks beautiful with exquisite period costumes and settings but the main characters don't come to life. The film concentrates on the exploits of Becky, a girl coming from a poor family climbs her way through the social ladder. As interpreted by Reese Witherspoon or as written on script, Becky's character feels flat and unnatural and so much is hinged on this character in the film. Either Reese was out of her depths in this or the director/script writers didn't get the feel of how a conniving, calculating but bewitching person could be. or feel. Rosella O Hara in Gone with the Wind springs to mind and VIvian Leigh nailed down the part. That made the whole film spring to life despite the many goings and comings of different characters. Unfortunately Vanity Fair fails in this and most of the characters have a disposable feel to them with a few exceptions The film still stuns in the visual department with the rich costumes, interiors, colours and delightful gardens being shown. That I enjoyed

Stranger Things

Loved season 1, not so much season 2
Much as I loved season 1, I began to hate season 2. The latter is more sprawling than the demogorgon tunnel which infests Hawkins. In season 2, irritating or violent or both type of characters are introduced, in my opinion just to plump up the story line to 9 episodes that in reality add nothing to the story. In fact the story arcs seem shallow and over the place. The introduction of Max and her troubled family, the total and unnecessary whole episode of Eleven's sister ( and bad acting), the treatment of Hawkins laboratory guards and scientist as easy fodder etc. Even the kids swear more profusely than season 1 (the first episode of season 2 mainly, probably was restrained in later episodes), the lame love story involving Nancy and Steve got even lamer and the parents of the kids with the sole exception of Joyce are shown as totally inept and bored. The characters have evolved into a single dimensional cardboard characters What I liked could have easily been screened into 4 episodes and that is mainly the story lines of Joyce, Jim Hopper, and the four main children protagonists and eleven. I think I will skip season 3

Murder, She Wrote: Something Borrowed, Someone Blue
Episode 9, Season 5

Something happened on the way to the wedding
This episode was one of the most hilarious I have seen in the whole series, almost a black comedy. The domineering housekeeper Harriet who serves the Mayberry family gets killed with a roast thermometer firmly in her back soon after the first guests arrive on the day of the wedding of Mrs Fletcher nephew Grady to the rich Donna Mayberry. The juxtaposition of the dialogue of some of the guests with what is actually happening makes for some irony and laughs especially when everyone is searching for the missing Harriet. At the same time Grady and Donna are bickering over Donna's father (Franklin) hold on their lives while Harriet's body is being moved from one place to another and Maisie (Donna's mother) is trying to keep her head high in this mayhem It falls to Mrs Fletcher to solve this whodunit so that the wedding can continue. In my opinion this episode could have been blown to a full feature film/farce while fleshing out more the characters, it is that good.

Alien: Covenant

Good entertainment
Having seen only the first Alien and Aliens and missed the rest, I came directly to this wondering about the hype but not having read the critics. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed this outing which had instances reminiscent of the first two films, like the opening of the alien eggs and people staring in, the stomach scene, captain vs mother alien fight in space, which I enjoyed. The opening scene starts brilliantly with a bit of philosophy thrown in. This thread of thought gets lost during the proceedings especially when show time begins and the horror of who's next to get the chop starts. This is later regained and the film ends suggestively, indicating where the future is pointing to (which is reminiscent of our human past of the first half of the 20th century). The film does feel at times as if it is trying to fill certain obligations or ticking some boxes, like the death by numbers, obligatory explosions from incidental apparently lesser mishaps, people slipping as they are being chased etc which dumbs down the film . Still I enjoyed the film and the whole concept of it re creation and its manipulation,and thought the way the film wraps up the proceedings remains true to its theme, though I would have preferred a different ending. The acting was very good especially that of Michael Fassbinder who dominates the film with his persona, despite as an android he had to convey a certain rigidity. His (apparent) self kissing is the weirdest scene in the film which also sticks to mind, it sums up what the whole process of creation manipulation is about. I recommend this film, though with an open mind

Wicker Park

A thriller with romance, twists and mystery
This film is a very good adaption of the French film L Appartement. Actually the Hollywood version is an improvement of the original. In Wicker Park the main characters as played by Josh Hartnett, Diane Krueger, Rose Byrne and Matthew Lillard are likable despite their double life or shortcomings which they might be harbouring. One actually cares about the characters and the intriguing story which is told partially in flashback, unlike the French film where the characters all seemed to be Jerks. The way the film progresses, reflects the disjointed mind of the main protagonists as some sort of misfortune seems to keep the two main lovers apart whilst a second romance continuously fails to materialize. This film and the original French one apparently are a loose adaption of the Shakespeare comedy a Midsummer's Night dream. The French film is certainly not a comedy but this one is imbued with a certain lightheartedness despite the proceedings, that makes it very palpable. A recommended watch, characters continue to live on after the film ends


A film not to be missed
Jess, a mother of a child with special needs is invited to go on a yachting holiday together with another five. However she looks and behaves in a creepy manner, tense and always on the lookout over her shoulder. We get to see why as the film progresses. The beauty of this film is that it does not get repetitive and stores surprises till the very end without it being forceful. Jess character ably played by Melissa George continues to develop in the film, till the very end. The film is a good blend of drama, horror, mystery and thriller

The name of the ship which comes to the rescue of the shipwrecked is called Aeolus. (Aeolus, äccording to Wikipedia,is a character in Greek mythology, lived on the floating island of Aeolia and was visited by Odysseus and his crew in the Odyssey. He gave hospitality for a month and provided for a west wind to carry them home. He also provided a gift of a bag containing all winds but the west, which Odysseus's crew members unwittingly opened just before they were to reach Ithaca. Unfortunately, they were blown back to Aeolia - and this is the modus operandi of the film) After the arrival of the film Groundhog Day,there has been a plethora of films where the time frame is revisited by the main character/s until redemption. Triangle is one of the best films there is up there with Source Code, The Machinist and Jacob's ladder to name a few and which spring to mind after having seen Triangle

The Revenant

Boring film with good cinematography.
I had high hopes for this film given fuss about it and Leonardo's turn. I was not impressed by either especially the film. The film is BORING and if one enjoys seeing Leonardo grunting and crawling from one scene to another than that is another matter. There was almost zero development of the characters and much style and good cinematography to hide this. Style and cinematography which we have seen before - think True Grit, some Tarantino films The director tried to elevate it to something spiritual at some point by superimposing some Indian chants, wisdom over a flickering night sky and some goings on. It was so derivative and predictable especially if one had seen the film Gladiator, a much superior film which was truly about the journey of a tortured soul physically, mentally and spiritually that managed to be engaging on all fronts. This film tries hard to be that but fails. The Revenant tried to be 'factual' and real (laughable) and showing the horrors of hunt or be hunted by being in the midst of action without being engaging. In doing this it impinges one of the worst horrors on the viewer - Boredom.

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