BeneCumb

IMDb member since March 2012
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Reviews

Klassikokkutulek 3: Ristiisad
(2019)

Weaker vis-a-vis script, but still good performances
Comedies pointing out embarrassing moments and depicting failures are always a matter of taste and tend to gather more opponents than proponents. As we like to think that we are good, possess decent thoughts, have good inter-family relations, etc. Alas, real life is different and seeing this can be both embarrassing and painful...

As in No. 1 and No. 2, No. 3 shows again lots of distinct performances, with Ago Anderson spending most lengthy and intensive time on screen. The ending could have been more "explosive" as No. 3 is supposed to round up the trilogy. Nevertheless - more than 100,000 viewers (big percentage of Estonia´s population) mean than such approach and such rendering are needed.

Arctic Circle
(2018)

A pleasant locality-based crime series from Finland (with German participation)
Well, officially it is Finnish-German production, but most of performers come from Finland and most events take place there as well (more precisely, in Lapland near the Artic Circle), so you get, above all, a picture how life in those harsh conditions go on and what potential dangers and risks can appear.

If/when some virus is included, then it is always "food for thought", but in the modern fast developing technology - you never know; what was unimaginable a decade ago, can be a reality now, etc. All in all, as "pure crime stuff" was included, I had nothing against this inclusion (usually I am not into non-human death inducers).

As for the cast, all main performers were unknown to me, but there was a strong and nice team-work, no character "shining" above or at the expense of others. It is more to my liking than the use of same actors-actresses in similar series, causing confusion or reducing the thrill if they tend to play similar roles as well.

Based on the ending scenes, I am looking forward to the potential Season 2.

Hassel
(2017)

More than average, but not in the line of best Swedish series
As I have not read any Olav Svedelid´s books and see perhaps a couple of Hassel films, I do not have any special opinion or though how a series could or should be. But based on others works where Ola Rapace participated, e.g. Tusenbröder, Farang, I have noticed that he likes to dominate, often through intensive mindtwisting and violence - sometimes groundedly, but at times not, which is clearly visible in the series in question as well. So the logic of event would tarnish or create blah!/wtf! feelings (bearing in mind that it is Sweden, not a Latin-American or post-Socialist country where law is usually bendable), and the pseudo-political dimension becoming evident in last episodes is not too convincing.

On the other hand, this series is more UK- or US-like than most of Swedish ones, so the audience accustomed to them could "digest" it more easily and watch it less reluctantly than e.g. Beck or Wallander. But for me, it is not a series I would be definitely waiting for a sequel.

Wisting
(2019)

Pleasant and solid series from Norway - again
Compared to the Swedes and Danes, the Norwegians entered the world of distinct crime series somewhat later, this decade, but e.g. Øyevitne, Kodenavn Hunter, Frikjent were all catchy and worth watching. Now, Wisting has carried on in the field of international crime and related links, with FBI´s involvement, although the main venue is still Norway - with "tardy" people and beautiful landscape. Sven Nordin is really a good actor (I remembered him in Valkyrien, the concept of which was not so interesting), but the script here is skilfully prepared so that his character is always present/visible without unnecessary domination over supporting cast.

I wonder if other seasons are coming, but bearing in mind the present one´s big success, I would not be surprised. And I will be ready :)

Killing Eve
(2018)

Far better I could imagine
/refers to Seasons 1 and 2/

Well, I had heard that I was worth watching, but was busy some other crime series (British and Scandinavian, above all), but now, after watching all available 16 episodes in succession, and WOW! for 1st season and wow! for the 2nd one... Stylish, distinct, although not always smooth script (yet witty and with frequent suprising wtf! moments), but what a cast - where even most small parts are performed by big actors and actresses! Some of them I knew and have always appreciated (Shaw, Haig, Bodnia), the others I knew less (Oh, Lloyd-Hughes), and the rest I did know at all... In particular, Jodie Comer is the one worth remembering for the future. And of course, I am looking forward to the Season 3.

Advokaten
(2018)

Another good Swedish-Danish thriller series
As a fan of Scandinavian crime series, I try to watch them as much as possible (well, at some point I have acknowledged that I have watched faster than new ones appear :) ), thus it is natural that Advokaten caught my eye.

Well, its ad made be a bit cautious about potential relying on political correctness, but no - it was not an incumbrance here. The events were not always too smooth, but the logic of events was in place, there were some nice twists, and the cast was strong and distinct (Danes somehow better than Swedes, Thomas Bo Larsen in particular). The latter´s role was not too big, but when visible, he just outperformed the others - like in many other films and series with his participation.

True, it is not on the level of Bron/Broen, but for those fond of Scandinavian series - not a disappointment. Even e.g. Alex, coming to light about the same time, is somewhat weaker.

Distrito Salvaje
(2018)

Apparently my first familiarisation with Colombian series - and I am pleased
Being an admirer of BBC and Scandinavian crime series, from time to time, I am eager to widen my horizons and see what is going on in other countries. Well, I have seen many Spanish-language ones, including from Latin America, but still - the countries there are different vis-a-vis history and current issues. In spite of the fact that I had no awareness of the approach and performers (incl. Juan Pablo Raba - I have not seen Narcos yet), the Series seemed catchy from almost the beginning, and the flashbacks provided necessary background to realise what whas going on and why some characters thought and acted as they did.

All the cast seemed appropriate and with mutual chemistry, and the ending let some things open, so a sequel might be envisaged. Anyway, I will be looking to watch the possible next season as well.

Nero a metà
(2018)

Good, particularly for an Italian series
I am usually into Scandinavian and British crime series, but from time to time, for widening my horizon, I try to keep up with related productions from other countries. Nero a metà included no performer known to me and the focus was more on colleague relations than on solving crimes, but it was somehow pleasant, seemed realistic (features of Italians still on the surface though). The "racism issue" did not distract me at all.

True, the creators have evidently watched BBC Crime and not all cases were of even interest, but unless you think that only e.g. Bron/Broen and The Millennium series are worth watching, the series in question can be well recommended. At least, Rome seems a more realistic crime scene than a small English village...

O sabor das margaridas
(2018)

Not bad for a Galician series, but not bright-line in European terms
Well, considering the fact that Galicia is no big/known spot for crime dramas, it is more than average, but the plot has gaps, the thrill fades from time to time, plus it is hardly plausible to believe that all those events can happen in a small town where people tend to be nosy and observant. All the performers were unknown to me - no wonder - but I was unable to pick almost any of them whose "fate" to be followed later; perhaps Denis Gómez as Bernabé had a more versatile character to perform...

But still, for the sake of widening horizons and making comparisons, O sabor das margaridas was definitely no waste of time; 7/10 reveal just my rating after various Scandinavian, British or even French series when it is almost painful to long for the new episode.

Parfum
(2018)

Above average, but somewhat protracted and over-sophisticated
Well, the benchmark is interesting, there is some suspense, but the group of suspects is often difficult to follow, as there are flashbacks to the past, to their youth (for some reason, performed by young adults). As for "major" performers, no one really stood out, Friederike Becht as Nadja Simon distinct, but as the story progresses, her thoughts and deeds become more airy-fairy. The perfume stuff adds rather vagueness than clarity and - at least for me - becomes a disconcerting element in the crime story.

The ending is rather odd and it seems that a lot was left open for the viewers´ interpretation - apparently catchy, but really not my cup of tea as regards a crime series. On the other hand, I can see why Parfum has been generally well accepted.

4 Blocks
(2017)

Berlin inside out - with Germans outnumbered
I have visited Berlin several times - not too long, but still, walking around, seeing non-German inhabitants and tourists, but never reached the districts depicted in this Series and having only vague information on segregation and related problems (incl. no-go zones) in a Western society.

Well, as an outsider, I am unable to realise the full depth and reality of those characters and events (often you tend to forget that the Hamadys live in Germany), but due to smooth script, witty twists and good performances (all leading cast, I should stay) I followed the episodes with wide interest, both 2 seasons in a row, as a crime/gangster drama with immigrant main characters. Many chasing/fighting scenes are really catchy and distinct, but the mood is not totally depressive, there are several bright moments, attempts to move on from current situation, etc.

Can be juxtaposed with Dogs of Berlin - another meaty series on related topics.

You
(2018)

Not so good as it may seem from e.g. Critics' year-end lists
/Refers to Season 1/

Being a middled-aged man, without a Facebook account and with a very few social network memberships, the issues/stuff depicted in You have gone around me, but, at the same time, providing rather realistic overview of Generation X, of their views, way of living and things important to them. Well, people still are longing for feelings and recognition, where technology can be both of assistance and hindrance, but at times - as we see in this Series - even fatal. And contrary to what many people believe, smartphones are not for "vanity fair" only - even people who read books (so "old-fashioned" in the 21th century?) need them from time to time, to live a "fancier" life, not being stuck in inner space or in some imaginary world.

The characters seem realistic, the performances more than average (some male ones even good, e.g. Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg, Luca Padovan as Paco), but as for the script, the drawing power began to fade for me, with some eyebrows-raising scenes when I really started to question the US police´s acting and failure to acting; come on, the events take place in a big city, not in a distant sparsely-populated area! A certain private detective did not add convincingness too much either.

Well, I realize that I am not a member of the target group, so "only" 7 points from me. But you never know, I might even watch Season 2 when ready - as there is enough material for seguel.

Mammon
(2014)

More than okay political thriller, but not among Scandinavian´s best
As Norway is considered as one of the least corrupted countries in the world, crime rate is also low, so you see many scenes depicted in series like Mammon with certain limitations, they do not seem realistic in full... So some mystery is in place, but you have to concentrate on other elements still. The story goes with ups and downs, there are some catchy twists and turns, but when rounded up, you realise some loopholes or start to think: how come?

The performances are okay, with several famous Norwegian actors included, but, compared to other series, the main character performed by Jon Øigarden tended to be a bit arid... All in all, my apparent "mistake" was that I wachted it recently, not when it was first screened, as Norway has created several more interesting/versatile series after that.

Lady Bird
(2017)

Distinct performances, but undistinguished story
In spite of the fact that a lot of important issues-motives-expressions are approached, the narration in total was not a wow! thing to me, particularly the events leading to the ending and the ending itself. The things those late teens thought and did are not contrasting to many others in other countries (when living in a small place and/or with religious background) and the mood of the depiction varied a lot, sometimes too much.

Yes, the performances are catchy, with several famous performers from different generations (e.g. Metcalf/Letts, Hedges/Chalamet), but apparently I expected more - based on some reviews, and accolades. Thus, "only" 7 points from me, and a recommendation - If interested in coming-of-age stories, you better watch Scandinavian works.

Kapgang
(2014)

Really something in the modern "politically correct hush-hush world"
True, the events go back into the 1970ies, but the film is new, seems realistic, and both the characters and performances are really something. Apart from Villads Bøye as Martin, who is really wow!, the film features - even in tiny roles - many excellent Danish actors and actresses known internationally, e.g. Sidse Babett Knudsen, Pilou Asbæk, David Dencik... The main background of the events is sad, but the Danes living in a small town somehow cope with it in their own, sometimes crazy manner, with fresh sexual liberation whiff in and around their lives. In spite of cruel world and sometimes odd ideas, there is still warmness around, and life goes on with its different angles - all this giftedly directed and performed.

A good stuff, really. I can hardly imagine such a film made and screened e.g. in the USA...

Quicksand
(2019)

Intense, but with trivial ending
Well, some (not me) might be suprised that even Sweden has class differences and people with very different wealth level... Anyway, the narration goes on and develops, but "the-rich-cry-too" attitude dominates too much, and I personally would like to guess wrongdoer(s) until very end; pondering "why" rather than "whether" can be intriguing, but no in the course of 6 episodes when you basically know the framework from the very beginning (good that I have not read the novel with the same name).

The characters are not too elaborate, there are a few distinct performances (David Dencik as Peder Sander and Reuben Sallmander as Claes Fagerman), but as regards Swedish crime series (which I have seen several dozens), I can´t say that Störst av allt made a big impression on me. I rate it with 7 points only for the reason that I do not belong to its common target group :)

Requiem
(2018)

Watchable - but not among BBC´s finest
Encompassing the elements of both the supernatural and thriller genres is a challenge not fully accomplished here. It is often "either-or" and their melting is not smooth, slowing down the pace and including unnecessary scenes and characters. The ending is also vague, leaving a certain emptiness and vacuity... The performances are just above average as well, nothing special, only Welsh landscape is a distinct "supporting actor" - at least for those been to and/or fond of the UK.

So, no flop by any means, but I know dozens of BBC series that are more dynamic and more interesting.

Dirigenten
(2018)

Another stylish thriller in the spirit of new Russia-West antagonism
In spite of hopes and wishes from the 1990ies, Russia has not "westernised", but has somewhat imported its approaches and modus operandi into relations and dealings with the West. In Moscow Noir, most events take place in Russia, with most performers of non-Russian origin, enabling to develop events and scenes with additional thrill and appropriate mood.

Adam Pålsson is good as usual (perhaps his character is somewhat less interesting than in Innan vi dör), and he has many pleasant co-actors to side with him, enabling to wend his way through cruelty, greed and betrayal. True, this Series includes again some talks in horrible Russian and I figured the main wrongdoer out a bit too early, but as for entirety, the 8 episodes were pleasant to follow and are recommended to those not against of political elements in a thriller.

Partly to be juxtaposed with the BBC´s McMafia.

StartUp
(2016)

Mostly catchy, but different storylines not smoothly integrated
/refers to Seasons 1-3/

IT has fully occupied everybody´s life, but most of us are not interested in their development and background mechanisms. So you have to find other ways and angles to make this stuff "digestible" for wide audience. Alas, as usual, the creators have found that inclusion of all races-backgrounds-genders-sexual orientations is a good way... It may be as for viewer statistics, but in real it enhances the number of questionable scenes and impairs the logic of events. So the focus becomes more vague, some elements obtain lesser meaning, and there are events made just for "thrill". And - bearing in mind the location of Miami and the US role in combatting terrorism - the role of law enforcement is oddly inivisible and weak.

The characters and performances are not on the same page as well. It was apparently meant to depict the different members of a team in an integrated manner, but some characters obtain far more screen-time, hence the related disharmony. Edi Gathegi as Ronald and Martin Freeman as Phil Rask are the ones excelling here, plus there is some other supporting cast excelling the main one. Ron Perlman´s character was evidently included because of his producer funds.

So, all in all, not a bad series, but not among the finest ones. As for somewhat related topic, Mr. Robot is more holistic and less airy-fairy.

Portugal
(2018)

A creation of mediocre script, odd characters, yet good performances
Particulary this decade has produced a number of distinct Estonian films, but almost all of them are based on some good book or compilation, not on a self-written stuff about "complex" human relations. Nevertheless, Portugal has followed the latter, resulting with a slow and sometimes baffling story full of what-if reasoning. All major performers are well-known in Estonia, fulfill their tasks well, but I am not sure it is noticed by foreign viewers. This film was shown on a local TV-channel and apparently was seen by tens of thousands, but I wonder why and who should go to the cinema to see this.

Yeah, the wealthier cry too, but everyones knows that; long silent scenes do not necessarily add profundity, but often blah! feelings, etc. I was hoping the era of such Estonian films is over.

Disko ja tuumasõda
(2009)

An inside-out, yet realistic recognition of Soviet absurdity
I am sure that for many Westerners the events depicted may seem exaggerated and/or gloomy, but, in fact, so it was. I was young then, but I do still remember, all these broadcasts, transcripts and fuzz around Finnish TV... Due to the latter, escaping "Socialism" was faster and less painful for Estonians, and Finland has been a kind of example or pattern (before WWII, economic levels of Estonia and Finland were comparable). The presentation is witty, with several interviews and old clips that are not too long and profound. So, the ones fond of delving into would probably find it superficial, but it is a kind of compilation of an era, and otherwise those not familiar with these events would have blah! and wtf! feelings too soon.

McMafia
(2018)

Well captured environment due to authentic filming places and non-British performers
As British crime drama television series are to my liking, I tend to keep track of all new creations and watch them, if applicable. But as for ties with Russia, I am usually faltering, as Western understanding of people and circumstances tend to end with the 1990ies, when moving from pseudosocialism to raw capitalism was really "wild". In McMafia, we see all this a bit as well, but not in a tedious manner, and the inclusion of (Soviet) Russian actors irons out the deficiencies of the generally meaty script.

As for performances, male ones are stronger, particularly foreigners and those less appearing on screen: David Dencik as Boris Godman, Aleksey Serebryakov as Dimitri Godman, Karel Roden as Karel Benes, for example, whose dialogues with e.g. Alex Norton outshine the latter (James Norton). As for Norton, I have ambiguent opinions here: I liked in Happy Valley, but not too much in Grantchester. In this Series, his character is evidently less interesting and dynamic, so some of his transformations may seem questionable.

PS The title is a bit confusing as one might incline to think that at least someone-something is related to Scotland.

Deutschland 86
(2018)

Somewhat less interesting than 83, but still good
Apparently the script is still realistic and versatile (I have seen a documentary depicting GDR´s suspicious affairs in the theatre of global politics), but as all this is commonly less known and places of action are so far from one another, all this seems more arid and not so smooth.

The performances are still strong, with some additional cast excelling (e.g. Lavinia Wilson), and the hypocricy and absurdity of this society are yet clearly visible. Plus the staging work, background (incl. opening theme) -- all this stylish again.

PS I have read that Deutschland 89 is under way - looking forward to it.

Conspiracy of Silence
(2018)

Good, but not among the finest Swedish crime series
Sweden has always been a big producer and exporter of weapons, and with modern times and approaches, it is natural that there are many people opposing it or at leasy trying to find attenuating circumstances. All this is the leitmotif in Ingen utan skuld - sometime "outworked", but at times just preachy.

In spite of pleasant actors present, the characters are often arid (except one - see below) and try to develop a story with distant/cruel past and "painful" present; so the events are not always smooth and there are some excessive scenes and characters. The role of the police is oddly limited, enabling to depict the events hardly plausible in a modern and transparent society Sweden is. So, bearing in mind many other Swedish series (e.g. Innan vi dör, Springfloden), I can consider the series in question above average, but not too catchy.

PS At least one grade from me due to Krister Henriksson as Martin "Marianne" Lindhe; his character and performance is so different I used to know. Definitely the greatest actor in this series.

1983
(2018)

More than good "what-if" series
For me, it is the first series to watch dealing with events springing from the preservation of the Soviet bloc - I know some series-films dealing with the fictional results of WWII... And as a contemporary and still remembering how-what was it living under a so-called socialism, I could follow the events in "1983" with seemingly bigger understanding and those always living in a democratic country.

Yet, it is intriguing to combine oppression and spying with smartphones widespread among the population, and some other things related to technology, that is why the script includes some odd shifts and solutions. But as the performances are good (particularly the main male ones), the general story adds up, the mood is well captured and the country of origin is Poland (not some wealthy and known film-industy country), I can easily rate it with 8 points and recommend to all them fond of related topic.

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