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Charité at War

Lots to digest in a one season story
But the task is well executed. While there is some telescoping of historical events, I have a degree in history and the story line I found to be artistically effective. Acting, pacing and production values exceed expectations. And to disagree with one reviewer, the Russians were barbaric in their ending of the war. If anything, that was downplayed.

The Asphalt Jungle

7.9? Surely you jest
Sorry, but this is as good as noir gets. Gritty, beautifully shot on location. Crisp and dead level-written dialogue. Not a dead spot in the fast moving story. And Huston's direction underlines this classic.

El ministerio del tiempo

Suspend Your Disbelief and Sit Back
A series of clever episodes with extremely good acting and subtle situational humor. I liken it to Mission Impossible except you must travel thru time to pull off the caper. That adds the novel ability to take any historical incident , major or minor, and expand your historical appreciation of the event. And the movement back and forth thru time demands your attention to the story, because your disbelief is always just below the surface, crying to be listened to. And it does improve your Spanish.

If Beale Street Could Talk

Painful - the Test of its Strength
More of these stories need to be told, as they help explain the feelings which impede normalcy in interracial relationships- why whites can't fully grasp the anguished past blacks carry as almost an hereditary memory. But these are sad, painful stories and not run-of-mill Hollywood fodder, so you won't see many of them. See this one.

Green Book

Uniformly Presented Period Piece Marred w/minor Errors.
Most of the favorable responses accurately capsule this film and don't justify repeating. But such care in producing a fine effort is always diminished when annoyingly full of historical error. Aretha Franklin (referenced) was not a well-known performer in 62. A black police officer on the Macon force in 62? Hummm. Maybe. Lawrence of Arabia (background marquee) not released until a year after the setting. And always, wrong vintage cars being used. And would someone fact check whether Bobby Kennedy convinced George Wallace in 62 to order a small-town police chief to spring both guys within hours after what was, technically, a righteous detention? Come on, two years later he couldn't get a black in 'Bama without Federal Marshalls. Millions spent on such productions are routinely skimped when it comes to due diligence.


Labyrinth of a Mystery
Masterfully written, terrifically told, and beautifully acted. I'm amazed at the shallow criticism 'had the murderer tagged by episode 3.' Maybe so, but this story was the unravelling of what the complicated crime was about and even had the killer been guessed early (which I doubt) it was problematic to what this series delivered - buyable plot twists and turns featuring complex characters. Get on board. One to binge with.


Recipe for Tasty Entertainment
How do you take a fairly preposterous premise - two innocent strangers kidnapped together and escaped, wrongly charged with capital crimes, chased for three seasons over multiple continents by honest and dishonest authorities and the latter's affiliated underworld characters - and make it work beautifully? Im unsure, but this series works so nicely that it is worth the travelogue journey with them.

Dogs of Berlin

Well Worth Watching
As is usual with complex story lines and a plethora of characters from disparate groups ( cops with different agendas, three sets of criminal elements, and a far-right nationalist sect) it takes some viewer patience while the story builds. That probably accounts for some of the misplaced criticism of script and characters by those requiring a quick entertainment fix. The murder mystery which is the seed of the story sustains it's suspense and it all neatly ties together in the end. The Turkish/German immigration conflict is fairly played. My only complaint with this type of show is the near miraculous recovery from severe beatings, bullet wounds and scary falls by main characters -it strains my ability to suspend disbelief. But that's the movies!

Mary Queen of Scots

A Turgid Mess
Look, the problem with such spectacles is telling an historically correct drama in two hours via a script that does justice to the true, soap-opera reality of its story. This plodding script, politically corrected for the 21st century, is an innate lie no matter how you define suspended reality. It quickly puts you half asleep and wondering who's dumber- the idiots who green-lighted this or you for wasting $30 on tickets and refreshments. This kind of stuff needs to be left to The BBC and 10 episode treatments, where the retelling of such a unique historical page is much more compelling and done straight forward with the time necessary to develop characters who can be believed.

Without Honor

What Were They Thinking
I saw this when I was 10, when movies were double features and the fare changed weekly. I only remembered it because I loved Day, not because of being an actress, but because she was Leo Durocher's wife and I was a Baseball nut. I saw it again recently on TCM. This movie defies a reason for being, except that the studios needed constant fodder and this film proves the point that it was often volume over content. We are still being crammed with movies that ask the same question, What Were They Thinking, but lack the old excuse.

Day's acting, consisting primarily from 'reacting', is an embarrassment on the same footing as the unlikely dialogue given to the rest of the cast. Her opening scene with Clark makes for great comedy as she goes thru a 360 degree range of reactions to his 25 or so separate avenues of dialogue, mostly questions she never answers. And he's oblivious to the strangeness of her conduct. From there it only gets worse.

It's hard to believe it's the same Day who shown so brilliantly in Mr. Lucky or a movie with such confusing plot turns, but unlike The Big Sleep, where you didn't notice or care.

The Asphalt Jungle

7.9? Surely you jest
Sorry, but this is as good as noir gets. Gritty, beautifully shot on location. Crisp and dead level-written dialogue. Not a dead spot in the fast moving story. And Huston's direction underlines this classic.

The House of Eliott

So much of excellent British drama from this period has been eclipsed by the quality of current international productions. This series stands the test of time: great writing, acting and production values, especially the fashion.

Yellow Sky

Classic late 40's film noir western
Easily overlooked gem with great cast and direction with a Death Valley location. Though they churned them out in the 40's and this was a lo-cost B flick, the kind that played at the neighborhood theaters as part of a double bill, it delivered the whole package. While the role played by Anne Baxter was a bit against type (as a tom-boy grand-daughter of a crusty, ghost town prospector), she filled out a pair of jeans nicely. The others were perfectly cast: Widmark, deliciously venal, and the others in the gang; Peck, as the conflicted 'bad' man. The scenes as the gang stumbles across the desert, slowly succumbing to probably death from thirst, are just as good as Peter O'Toole's trek across the Negev in Lawrence. You see the difference a director like Wellman can make in a formula flick like Yellow Sky.

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