Prismark10

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Reviews

Dial 999: The Mechanical Watchman
(1959)
Episode 14, Season 1

The Mechanical Watchman
There are thefts of highly priced fur coats in London, the ones that attract a lot of tax.

One unscrupulous trader is stealing his rivals fur coats, removing the identifying marks and replacing them with his own.

DI Maguire gets important clues when a silent alarm is triggered. He then sets one up with a rival fur trader that will soon be robbed.

There is an emphasis in new technology to thwart the baddies. A silent alarm, the use of ultra violet to look for marks that might have been cleaned.

A good episode, with thrills and twists. Look out for Arthur Lowe.

Baywatch
(2017)

Baywatch
Baywatch was never a series that could be taken seriously. It was pure titillation filled with eye candy for adolescents.

The movie version just goes for stupid fun with a few crude jokes. It even parodies some of the absurdities of the Baywatch television series.

Matt Brody (Zac Efron) is the arrogant Olympian with a few issues. He is forced to be a lifeguard as part of his probation.

Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) is the head lifeguard at Emerald Bay. He takes a dislike to Matt but both are forced to team to investigate arrogant businesswoman Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) who plans to buy up the local properties on the bay by paying off corrupt politicians.

Baywatch the movie never aims high. It is good looking people, a stupid plot, a few jokes and some action.

It is enjoyable for what it is but it knows it is not striving for high art.

Ordinary Love
(2019)

Ordinary Love
This would be the kind of movie the BBC might have once made under its Screen Two strand.

Both Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville appeared in Screen Two presentations.

For Neeson this is a break from those well paid action roles. A chance to seize into something more small scale and intimate.

Neeson is Tom, while Manville plays Joan. A long term married couple in Ireland who suffered the lost of their daughter some years earlier.

Their ordinary lives are disrupted when Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer. The film explores their relationship as Joan goes through her treatment.

Ordinary Love avoids being mawkish and overly sentimental. There is realism about the way the characters interact with other cancer sufferers.

It avoids the depressing side of many similar themed dramas without shying away from the gruelling side of chemotherapy.

It is oddly life affirming by concentrating on the ordinary and the mundane with a touch of humour. One character notes he never spent so much time watching bad television as his partner refused to undergo further treatment.

It is excellently acted by both the leads.

Maigret: The Lost Sailor
(1961)
Episode 6, Season 2

The Lost Sailor
Based on the novel, Death of a Harbour Master. Maigret comes across a confused man stumbling around Paris and stealing items from the front of a shop.

When confronted, Maigret notices a large recent scar on his head. It seems the man was shot on the head and the surgeon did some beautiful work to remove the bullet.

Although the man does not speak. They eventually trace him to be the harbourmaster from Honfleur.

Maigret and Lucas travel there to find out just who shot him and why. Some of the locals mistrust Maigret as they seem to be hiding something.

There is some good location filming in this one. It also has an interesting story. You can tell that the writer is trying to distil the complexities of Simenon's novel.

Maybe the injured man stumbled into a smuggling ring. It turns out to be complex family secrets.

I did think how the story developed at the end was a bit of an anti climax. Family betrayals and the search for a son that a cousin thought he never had.

Justice: Divorce
(1973)
Episode 6, Season 2

Divorce
Harriet's 24 year old son Michael who lives and works in Hong Kong shows up.

Despite being divorced for some years, the marriage broke up when he was a kid as his father went to jail. Michael wants his mother to reunite with his father.

He wants to be part of a proper family despite Michael living in Hong Kong.

Harriet gleans that Michael's father has been manipulating his son for some time.

Harriet is also dealing with the pending divorce of a well known entertainment couple. Lindy Carson caught her husband cheating and now she wants to take him to the cleaners.

Lindy thinks she can retire from showbiz and her former husband will keep her to the life she in accustomed to. She is in for a shock as the financial maintenance rules have changed.

This is not a strong episode. It is too talkative with no courtroom action.

Michael is rather charmless and a plonker. It is hard to feel any sympathy for him as Ian Moody tries to stay out of his way.

Morbius
(2022)

Morbius
Sony continues with its roster of Spiderman villains as it strives to create its own world of the Marvel Spiderverse.

Mobius immediately gets derailed with some shoddy storytelling that shows signs of continual reediting.

Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) has suffered from a blood disorder since childhood and has dedicated his life to finding a cure for himself and best friend Milo (Matt Smith.) He is a Nobel prizewinning chemist and a rebel.

Morbius stumbles onto a cure by splicing his blood and genes with Costa Rican bats. It turns Morbius into super strong vampire monster with maniacal tendencies.

The cure is unstable but when his friend Milo finds out about it, he takes the blood and is angry at Morbius for denying him the cure.

The batty Morbius finds himself in the frame for various deaths.

The movie is muddled. It has a flashback to 25 years ago at the beginning and never gets around to tell the audience that it is now back in the present.

The ethical side effects of Morbius's experiments are never adequately explored.

Both Leto and Smith are saddled with flat and hackneyed characterisation.

The whole thing lacks energy and is only connected to the Spiderverse with the mid credit sequences at the end of the movie and that too was befuddling.

Eraser: Reborn
(2022)

Eraser: Reborn
A reboot/remake of the 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

This is a low budget, straight pay tv action movie shot in South Africa.

US Marshall Mason Pollard (Dominic Sherwood) is the Eraser. He fakes witnesses deaths and puts them into hiding with new identities.

His latest assignment is to protect Rina Kimura who reluctantly turns informer against her later gangster husband.

Mason takes Rina into hiding in South Africa. However the mob has sent some assassins. Mason finds out that there are also dirty US Marshalls who want to kill Rina.

Dominic Sherwood lacks the presence, charisma and physicality of Schwarzenegger. Even his attempt at humour is misfired.

The 1996 movie had some dodgy CGI regarding the crocodile scenes. This one made over 25 years later has worse CGI.

It is basically a cheapy copy made for Warner Brothers streaming service.

After Henry: Romantic Complications
(1988)
Episode 5, Season 1

Romantic Complications
Sarah gets embroiled in both her daughter and her mother's love life.

Clare has been dumped by her boyfriend for a string of other women.

Meanwhile Eleanor is being wooed by elderly charmer Aubrey.

Both Clare and Eleanor are showered with roses. Clare's former boyfriend wants to start again.

Eleanor thinks that Aubrey is serious about their relationship but Sarah thinks that he is a two timing rat.

The only person not getting roses is Sarah.

Another genteel episode which is a slight improvement from the previous ones.

I thought the flowery delivery person was fun. He was played by Barry Killerby who is better known as Mr Blobby.

The Saint: The Effete Angler
(1962)
Episode 9, Season 1

The Effete Angler
The Saint is in Miami for some fishing but quickly rails in beautiful Gloria Uckrose (Shirley Eaton.)

However her older husband is upset and jealous. There is a dodgy Italian type hanging about with the husband.

Simon Templar is convinced that they are up to no good and reckons smuggling is involved.

There plenty of backlot footage that passes of for Miami and Bahamas. A lot of action is on a boat with prolonged scenes of The Saint fishing for a shark.

The Saint thinks everyone is defensive when they see him so he knows that they plan to do something awful.

Despite the 'exotic' locales it is not that exciting.

The Westerner: The Courting of Libby
(1960)
Episode 6, Season 1

The Courting of Libby
Another comedic episode as John Dehner returns as con man Burgundy Smith.

Both Smith and Dave fall for beautiful Libby and try to gain her hand for marriage.

It leads to plenty of hijinks and Smith getting blamed for the damage to the store that Dave's dog did as he chased some cats.

There is good interplay between Smith and Dave. You just know someone else will win Libby's affections though.

Sam Peckinpah shows the rowdy comedy that he brought to the movie Convoy.

Firestarter
(2022)

Firestarter
With Stephen King becoming box office gold again after the hit remake of It!

Hollywood has decided to remake his back catalogue. Firestarter is the retread of the 1984 film starring Drew Barrymore.

Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) are living a shadowy existence off grid with their young daughter Charlie who has powers of pyrokinesis which is triggered when she is angry.

Her parents also have special powers and when they were students they were experimented on by a sinister government agency. They know that one day they will come after Charlie.

This is a competent, cheap, no thrills rehash. The basic plot outline of King's novel remains. It is also dull and plodding. The special effects are better but it lacks imagination.

The Main Chance: Survival
(1975)
Episode 5, Season 4

Survival
What can a struck off solicitor do?

With a big tax bill looming. David Main needs to get back on a saddle and make a living.

Main gets an offer for lucrative work by a conveyancing firm that employs lawyers who no longer have practising certificate. The firm is slightly dodgy, cheap and willing to cheat its clients.

Meanwhile Main gets a better offer to manage the legitimate businesses of career crook Harry Kenton. He is standing trial for attempted robbery.

Kenton's right hand man is in no mood to see Main interfering.

I thought Main the businessman might have a nice ring to it but he seems to think Kenton's offer is not for him.

I did think that the police might be interested in the bent conveyancing firm that were always stretching the rules.

Crazy Like a Fox: Fox and the Wolf
(1986)
Episode 11, Season 2

Fox and the Wolf
Harry Fox has to babysit veteran film star Nicholas Roland (Gene Barry.)

Harrison is defending Roland who spends more money than he earns. His daughter and business manager plan to show that Roland is not competent to handle his affairs.

Roland proves to be a handful for Harry but when the business manager is found dead.

Roland becomes the main suspect. However Roland has serious side to his life and made investments that turn out to be a dud.

Gene Barry is no burke as he plays the dashing Roland. It is a frivolous fun episode.

Alcoa Theatre: The Perfectionist
(1958)
Episode 16, Season 1

The Perfectionist
Ken Morton (Robert Ryan) is a long time bank employee who has planned the perfect robbery from the bank he works at.

It does include working late at night, killing the guard and hiding himself in the bank vault.

However his ingenious plan to mailing the stolen money to himself causes issues.

The cop suspects him and getting hold of the envelope is not so easy.

An efficient thriller, Ryan gets more intense as the drama goes on.

You just know that Ken will never get away with it. He also wrongly assumed that he would never be a suspect.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: Children of the Comet
(2022)
Episode 2, Season 1

Children of the Comet
It looks like Strange New Worlds is striving to be old skool Star Trek.

The Enterprise notices that a comet is about to hit a M class planet with a developing civilisation.

When the crew try to destroy the comet, they discover that it is sentient.

The comet has a group of aliens called the Shepherds who protect it and regards the comet as a deity.

If the comet is going to hit the planet then it is predestined according to them.

The episode has a look at religious beliefs and dogma. As the crew discovers what was meant to be and what actually happened, might have been preordained.

It also establishes Captain Pike's easy going style but he also steely and determined when under pressure from the Shepherds.

I am not convinced that Pike pondering on his eventual fate needs to be explored so much.

The story concentrated on Uhura's communication skills.

Last of the Summer Wine: Will the Genuine Racer Please Stand Up?
(2008)
Episode 2, Season 29

Will the Genuine Racer Please Stand Up?
I do wonder if The Stig was an inspiration for this episode.

Howard has a brainwave to dress as a biker in a helmet. This way Pearl will never know especially as he gets Tom as a decoy.

Only for everyone to mistake Howard as Tom which includes Auntie Wainwright who takes him to deal with an aggressive customer who owes Auntie some money.

Meanwhile Glenda is stuck with a woman that she went on a trip with and she will not shut up.

I actually liked Glenda and Barry having to deal with the woman who talked non stop.

Howard's story is just another variation of a plot device that has already been done to death.

Sorry!: Does Your Mother Know You're Out?
(1981)
Episode 5, Season 1

Does Your Mother Know You're Out?
It is noticeable that Timothy's work colleague Victor is doggedly the antagonist along with Timothy's mother.

Not only did Victor gets one over Timothy by getting the flat that Timothy was interested in.

Now Victor bets Timothy that he will not get to see Gone with the Wind in the cinema with a new library assistant.

Going to the cinema is a tall order for Timothy. He ends up going with his parents that is a chaotic evening.

The date with the library assistant also does not go according to plan. Timothy ends up owning Victor a lot of money.

An amusing episode but by this time you tend to have little sympathy for Timothy. No wonder his friend Frank is aghast.

Midnight Caller: After It Happened
(1988)
Episode 3, Season 1

After It Happened
The third episode and it was this episode that set Midnight Caller apart from its contemporaries.

In hindsight it might look hokey. At the time it was both daring and provocative.

Tina Cassidy, Jack's former girlfriend returns and tells him that she has got AIDS.

Tina had a one night stand with a man who is deliberately going round and spreading it to both men and women.

Jack wants to track the man down but he seems to have vanished.

The radio show format allows the show to air diverse views, some of them ignorant.

This was a controversial episode when it was broadcast in the late 1980s.

Return of the Saint: Duel in Venice
(1978)
Episode 3, Season 1

Duel in Venice
More like Death in Venice as Simon Templar faces a race against the clock.

Jed Blacket (Maurice Colbourne) is a double crossing mercenary who wants revenge against Templar for betraying him some years ago.

Blacket has kidnapped a female friend of Templar and has left behind all sorts of booby traps.

Templar only has a female gondolier to help him out.

This is a well known episode. I watched this back in 1978 and still remember it.

It has a devilish unhinged performance from Maurice Colbourne who wants everything to be done his way.

Great location shots of Venice. You can tell a lot of money was spent on this.

The Lost City
(2022)

The Lost City
A rehash of Romancing the Stone.

Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is the reclusive widowed novelist on a book tour to promote her book 'The Lost City of D.'

Alan Caprisan (Channing Tatum) is the model who plays the fictional Dash McMahon, the heroic adventurer of her novels.

When Loretta is kidnapped by eccentric Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) because she used ancient hieroglyphics in her book that could lead to a real lost city.

Alan has to turn into a real life hero to rescue Loretta. However everyone else thinks that this is a tacky publicity stunt from her publicist Beth (Da'Vine Joy Randolph.)

This is a shallow, daft screwball comedy. It is entertaining enough as everyone knows this is a tongue in cheek homage to the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner movie. Radcliffe has the most fun as the villain.

Brad Pitt shows up as a real life hero who initially goes to rescue Loretta.

47 Meters Down: Uncaged
(2019)

47 Meters Down: Uncaged
A sequel starring the daughters of some famous actors.

Mia and stepsister Sasha have moved to a new town and a new high school. Mia gets relentlessly bullied by the popular it girl as Sasha just looks on.

Later Sasha with her two friends take Mia to an underwater exploration of an underground Mayan temple.

Only to find themselves trapped as sharks circle around them and they attack.

There is some tension and some good scares. Lots of cgi and rubber sharks.

However too much of the action is in the dark underwater where you cannot make out who is who.

The Last Detective: Dangerous Liaisons
(2007)
Episode 2, Season 4

Dangerous Liaisons
Like other police or detective shows. The Last Detective have done a story about old school friends with a dark secret. The rock star/group with a dirty past.

Now it is the one about the snuff video.

The police find the remains of Dominic Sylvester who has been lying dead for some time. They discover that he was a hermit like old man who was murdered.

Dangerous Davies discovers a 8mm film reel that appears to show a young woman being murdered.

Sylvester had an interest in taking photos and porngraphy. It leads Davies to the local porn underworld and to find out if the death on the screen was real.

Davies finds a lead when learns that the dead woman spoke Polish. Maybe the death of Sylvester was revenge.

Not an original idea but there is certainly a seedy atmosphere. There were some realistic nods to how people arrived from Eastern Europe in the 1970s and 80s for a better life but their families back home would lost contact.

Phoning abroad was almost impossible and letters would be monitored when the communist regimes frowned on people leaving.

It does have some clunky writing and I never really understood why Sylvester chose to murder his son's nanny.

Superman & Lois: The Eradicator
(2021)
Episode 14, Season 1

The Eradicator
The penultimate episode of the first season has some good action set pieces.

Morgan Edge is not finished and he becomes the Eradicator himself.

As Edge with his newly created Kryptonians wreak havoc in Metropolis.

Lois Lane is in danger as she reports live on television, with John Henry to the rescue.

There were quieter moments with Jordan and Jonathan being teenagers, going to a party and initially oblivious to the mayhem.

It does lead up to a good twist for the finale. This was a well paced episode but I did feel giving time to the kids bogged the pace down a little.

Inside No. 9: Nine Lives Kat
(2022)
Episode 3, Season 7

Nine Lives Kat
The story Death and the Compass and Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author looks like the inspiration for this episode.

Katrina is a cop who pours vodka on her coco pops, lives alone in her flat with a cat. She was kicked out of the police force and is obsessed by a missing child case.

Her former colleague Ezra (Steve Pemberton) flits in and out of the flat almost like a ghost.

Later a man called Barnabus (Reece Shearsmith) shows up but he seems to be living inside Ezra's head.

With such a cliched beginning, I kind of got the idea that these characters were not real. So it was not as original, cerebral or clever as intended.

Ian Rankin's Reichenbach Falls had a similar conceit.

Dear John: A Singular Man
(1986)
Episode 1, Season 1

A Singular Man
John Sullivan decided to do something different after Citizen Smith and Only Fools and Horses.

Dear John is a tragi-comedy of a man whose wife has left him for his best friend by writing a Dear John letter.

Now divorced, living in a bedsit and only seeing his son at weekends.

His friends think that he is having a swinging life as a single man. Nothing can be further from the truth. John is alone and drinking in the pub in the afternoons.

John Lacey (Ralph Bates) decides to rebuild his life by joining a singles club. On his first evening, he accidentally ends up in the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Despite the element of sadness underlying this comedy. John Sullivan created some memorable characters for this sitcom.

The 1-2-1 club had Louise the head of the club who was always interested in sexual problems. Ralph the nerdy type whose Polish wife ran off in their wedding day. The flamboyant and sexist Kirk St Moritz brilliantly played by Peter Blake.

The first episode quickly establishes the premise of the series and had some several funny moments such as people realising they were in the wrong meeting.

Sadly it is also apparent watching the first episode that several cast members left us rather too early. Ralph Bates died at the age of 51 in 1991.

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