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Tatort: Das kalte Haus
Episode 1,203, Season 1

House of bored rich people
This Tatort episode was a disappoinment. Following a "tip", the two female inspectors survey the scene at a villa, a seemingly endless task. A scene like that shouldn't run on and on and on. From there the plot runs no faster, with several contrived twists.

The Dresden team has never been so unpleasant and weak. The constant sexism exhibited by the male authority figures, and the utterly repulsive behavior of the main suspect (who for some never explained reason was so important that he was "to be touched with kid gloves") was a bit much. The scene with the "search party" organized by the missing woman's husband looks like something from a zombie movie or a story about a religious cult. No explanation is offered where the people came from, or why they were so enthusiastically playing along.

The main theme of domestic abuse and/or obsessive love is turned into a psycho thriller with too many crazies. In the end, we're not sure if anyone of the guest stars was playing with a full deck. Something so confusing just does not happen in real life.

I have seen excellent Dresden Tatort episodes, but this one is not one of them. Take it from a ground-zero Tatort fan: This one is a dud!


A friend in need is a friend in deed
With minimal optics and only two characters, a story of friendship, love and a lifetime of hopes and dreams is told with warmth and humor. Two men in the autumn of their years are looking back on their youth, and Anja, the woman between them. Anja was Malte's girl-friend, but ended up marrying Patrick. Some 35 years have passed, since Malte took off to "see the world", leaving his best friend Patrick behind. Both men, back in the day, wanted to break out of the small town cycle with all of rules and ideas their parents had predetermined for them. -

On the very day of Anja's funeral, Malte reappears. Why now? Was it fate that sent him to visit his old best friend? This bitter sweet story tells of more than an old love triangle. It gives the audience a look into the timeless mystery of true friendship, and how it can withstand many transgressions and unwittingly inflicted pain. The time invested in viewing is well spent, delivering many feel-good moments and a satisfying conclusion.

Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Everybody loves somebody (sometimes)
Everybody falls in love somehow. No matter our age, gender, or other identifying features. Whether it's just a flirt, a casual encounter or a lifelong commitment. Humans are social animals with a need to be around other people, and to have someone special in one's life.

Here are many scenes of people in various relations to one another. In a hectic world where so many other factors preoccupy us, it is rare to find the one thing that would bring us more joy than all others combined: To find and share our life with a soulmate. For some that magic moment never comes. For others it's just a fleeting blink of an eye. Do we want children? Will we stay committed or want to escape the relationship? Are there some, who feel the only way to be close to a partner is by paying for the privilege? There are many ways to decide and agree or disagree. This film shows a handful of situations, touching almost all the bases.

Look for some familiar faces of "working actors" before they became household names in much bigger roles (i.e. "Downton Abbey", "Doc Martin", Bridgerton"). That alone is worth watching this entertaining look into goings-on at a public park outside of London.

The Silencers

Ultra-Technicolor James Bond Parody
The James Bond Fever had already captured movie goers worldwide when Vegas Headliner "Dino" gave it a go as super-spy Matt Helm. The seemingly endless parade of beautiful women in the life of this womanizing secret agent are, of course, very easy on the eye, and the Elmer Bernstein Jazz score won't easily vacate your ear channels long after viewing this colorful bombardment of action and romance scenes. - The above are worth the 6 points given by this avid reviewer. This is nonetheless a very dated fantasy with a forgettable script and often silly over-the top situations reminiscent of cheesy 60s Sci-Fi TV series or even B-movies produced for Saturday Matinees. I would recommend the outstanding Soundtrack for listening pleasure, but suggest you see some of the much better Dean Martin films out there. "Kiss Me, Stupid" (1964) or "Bells Are Ringing" (1960) may be romantic comedies, but certainly a much better entertainment value. All of the actors portraying the actual agent 007 have nothing to fear, because Matt Helm ain't no James Bond.

Deck the Halls

When "star power" is the only ingredient
Take a ridiculous premise, a forgettable script, a few sophomoric "special" effects, toss in a handful of recognizable Hollywood has-beens, and call it this season's "must-see" Christmas Movie. Sorry, Santa, but this one would make any Christmas Stocking smell.

None of the so-called stars have done themselves any favors by partaking in this rotten Christmas feast. Danny DeVito's special brand of humor is wasted, and Matthew Broderick comes across as an unlikeable spoiled (middle aged) brat not even Ferris Beuller could approve of. The very attractive wives didn't bother changing from their former characters in "Wicked" and "Sex and the City", respectively. All of the adults in this film are acting like children; not so much in a innocent way, but rather in a childish one.

I only hope everyone involved in this nonsense got paid well, because anyone who actually paid money to see this film at the theater was duped. If there's only ONE Christmas Movie on your list to skip, make it this one! I wish I had.

Tatort: Aus der Traum
Episode 182, Season 1

Diamond's are a girl's best friend
The formula plot (Mafia-style money laundering) in this 1986 Saarbrucken Tatort episode is somewhat dated, reminiscent of the turbo-action stories starring Dortmund's legendary Kommissar Schimanski. - The opening scene shows Police woman Katie impersonating Marilyn Monroe in her famous performance of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President", in honor of Kommissar Stefan (Birthday Boy), who was also expected to imminently be promoted to Hauptkommissar. Katie is found murdered in her apartment the next morning. Who had so much hate for the young and beautiful Katie to violently end her life?

The best part of this story is the introduction of a new Hauptkommissar, who's having a rough start (cold shoulder treatment), but by the end of the episode is embraced as a welcome boss. - As a big fan of the Tatort franchise, I also enjoyed the fact that at least 3 of the principal characters have all played leading roles in the Classic 1980s Comedy Series "Familie Heinz Becker".

I've followed the Tatort Series since it first arrived in 1970. Somehow this particular episode was sill new to me. I'm surprised at the rather low viewer ratings. I can recommend it nonetheless, as I was very much entertained and enjoyed seeing so many of my favorite "working actors" again. Thumbs up!

Tatort: Hubertys Rache
Episode 1,195, Season 1

Twisted Hostage Drama aboard a Party Boat
A familiar story with a "bad guy" who has been wronged by society, suddenly seeing himself at the end of his road, desperate to be taken seriously just once before he can put an end to his miserable life. Enter a few convenient coincidences and some unconventional decisions made by our Cologne Tatort Team, and we have a very palatable psycho thriller, complete with time-bomb and hostages.

As a huge fan of this Series, I want to point to the humanity shown by the detectives time and again. They clearly value the life and dignity of each person, innocent or guilty of crimes. When a dangerous psychopath becomes a menace to society, the aim is not to "kill on sight", but rather to use deadly force only as a last resort. When Kommissar Ballauf's "cover" is blown, and the gunman realizes the deception, he still recognizes the decency with which Ballauf has treated the situtation. When even a violent criminal has to admit "You may be a cop, but you're allright!", we can rest assured that "to serve and protect" is still an ideal law enforcement personnel overwhelmingly adhere to.

The last few minutes will be quite a surprise for the audience. It's one of those "wow" moments that keep going all the way to the end credits. Extra points for that twist! Yes, the story is somewhat far fetched, the action exaggerated, but I was thoroughly entertained and give this episodes thumbs up!

Tatort: Propheteus
Episode 1,192, Season 1

Timely subject matter given the silly-treatment
In the age of Q-Anon and similar doomsday prophesies, the anti-authority, all-questioning movement of tin-foil hat wearing, paranoid maniacs, the Muenster Tatort Team is dragged to new low standards of murder investigations. Kommissar Thiel, and Professor Boerne are at their usual, exchanging clever lines of humorous wit, but the two "characters" sent by the "Verfassungs-Schutz" are utterly ridiculous in their "alien costumes", looking, acting and even speaking like they are visitors from another galaxy. Sorry, but that's Kindergarten level, requiring ultimate suspense of disbelief. As a long-time Tatort fan, with high regards for this particular team, I think that the handling of this (although timely) subject matter is beneath them.

At least 2 of the points go the 4 legged guest star "Banana", the stray dog who seems to have taken a liking to Kommissar Thiel, and in the end vanishes like "E. T." A cute little distraction from the otherwise completely forgettable "crime story". To anyone who hasn't already spent an hour and a half watching this, I suggest you skip it.

Tatort: Das Herz der Schlange
Episode 1,187, Season 1

Sadistic father's desperate final act of evil
The third installment of the new Saarbruecken Tatort Team is the culmination of a bizarre family drama involving one of the Detectives Adam and his team member Leo, who are childhood friends. Adam is summoned under false pretenses by his estranged father, an abusive career criminal who is the embodiment of evil. This seemingly desperate call "to sit down and talk" is a trap of diabolical and insane proportions.

The twists in the plot give a view into a mind of a truly evil man, who seems to enjoy nothing more than inflicting pain and suffering on those around him. The ending is somewhat predictable, yet lets the viewer expect a more hopeful continuation to the theme; the drama of Adam and Leo, two men living with the wounds and nightmares of the past. This is the best of the 3 films thus far, and I look forward to what comes next!

Tatort: Preis des Lebens
Episode 959, Season 1

An eye for an eye would leave us all blind
The Stuttgart Team of detectives are dealing with the parents of a teenage daughter who was victimized by sadistic rapists who tormented and killed the girl. Only one of two killers was convicted and sentenced to a lengthy prison term. When the convict is found dead on the very day he was released from prison, the Kommissars Bootz and Lannert are quickly focused on the still grieving parents as prime suspects. Complicating matters is the strong suspicion, that the accomplice in the rape/murder from years ago is now known to the revenge seeking parents.

The pain of a grieving parent for their child is unknowable to anyone who is spared such a fate. Add to this inner torment the knowledge that said child had to suffer unspeakable torture makes the pain much worse. Would this justify taking law and order in one's own hands to rid the world of monsters who commit such unspeakable evil? The mid-story plot twist puts the theory to the test.

The story told here may be somewhat outlandish, but touches on some universal themes. A parent will save the life of their child before their own. When their child is taken, many simply can not go on living. The ending will bring a tear to viewers' eyes, and the big question: How will everyone go on from here?

This is one of the stronger Stuttgart Tatort episodes. Highly recommended!

Tales of Halloween

This is what happens when nobody bothered to bring a script
A series of idiotic Halloween stories, aimlessly stringing together uninspired violent scenes and nonsensical dialog. The final product is a jumbled mess. This movie is neither entertaining nor "scary", just stupid. It's very difficult to imagine anyone wanting to see this sorry excuse for a "Creep Show", much less pay the price of admission. The intro by Adrienne Barbeau (of actual Creep Show fame) promises something that just wasn't delivered. Save yourself some precious time by skipping this Halloween Turkey!

Tatort: Alles kommt zurück
Episode 1,183, Season 1

More "Sci-Fi" than Krime Drama
The Charlotte Lindholm Saga continues. The Kommissar has had her struggles on the job, and is already on "probation" for repeated behavior "unbecoming of a police officer". Today could be the worst situation she has ever gotten herself into: The mysterious "blind date", arranged through a dating app, turns out to be a freshly murdered corpse. With bloody hands and delirious, Lindholm is a prime suspect in this murder case in another juristiction. - Is someone trying to frame Lindholm? Who could "have it in" for her?

The premise up to that point is still OK. The story takes too many ridiculous turns from here. The inclusion of legendary Hamburg Jazz-Pop Star Udo Lindenberg adds a few of his nostalgic classics love songs to illustrate the live action, even if his persona's ability to assist in solving the murder is outlandishly contrived. A repeated visit to Hamburg's notorious "Red Light District" may be intended for lighthearted humor, but it somehow adds to the silliness of the plot.

If one can look past the extremely obnoxious characters of a police woman and her lesbian lover medical examiner who work as a team to corrupt crime scenes and cover-up crimes (in exchange for lucrative bribes), Lindholm's chronic promiscuity, and the far fetched general story line, this episode still manages to continue the very intriguing personal story of Kommissar Charlotte Lindholm, single mom to a now teenage son, and the only child of a supportive widowed mother. Over the years, she's been through a lot of personal challenges, and at this point in her life she fears that "nothing exciting will ever happen again". - Today something VERY exciting happend, even if it's not the kind of excitement Lindholm had been looking for, and for a die-hard Tatort fan like myself, it could have come with a better plot.

Extra points for the beautiful Udo Lindenberg ballads! There aren't many superstras like that still with us. Udo is definitely in a small circle on the very top!

Die Heiden von Kummerow und ihre lustigen Streiche

Once upon a time in an enchanting village community...
He who is kind to his animals has God's favor. This is one of the basic themes in this beautiful story set in an early 1900's German village. The cow herder known as Krishan, regularly comes back each spring, causing great excitement among the school children, who adore the man for his many wild stories about traveling the world, and the wisdom within his experiences.

The strict ways of this tight knit God fearing community frown upon any heathen elements or free thinking ideas. Likewise, law and order are taken very seriously. When the chronically malcontent Miller, who exhibits all characteristics of a profoundly flawed human being persists in harassing the kind and gentle Krishan, something must be done about it. The villagers shun the grumpy Miller, while the children unite in many amusing plots to rid the village of this tyrant. Karma never loses an address!

Many popular German actors are featured in this film. Theo Lingen is the best known of them all, and seems to be getting some practice for the series of "Lummel aus der ersten Bank" camp films produced in the late 1960s to early 1970s, where he plays a recurring lead role as Principal of a prestigious High School, where one particular Class of students is prone to playing pranks on the faculty. The role of the village Pastor, played by Paul Dahlke is another delight. The innocence and honesty of the many child actors, most of them uncredited, only add to the magic of this gem of a movie.

A Thousand Clowns

Life is just a bowl of LIVE and laugh at it all!
Perfectly cast and acted, even if it's obviously a stage play brought to the big screen. A middle aged man (Jason Robards), temporarily defying the norms of working class society by slowly "turning into a bum", is suddenly confronted with a choice: Return to conformity (holding a job and being a productive member of civil society), or lose custody of his pre-teen nephew.

The "play" is a somewhat dated social commentary, but remains a very entertaining "dramedy". A young Barry Gordon (from Kiddie Christmas Novelty record fame) makes a strong film debut as the 12 year old Nick. Small budget, but cheerful sound track and many likable characters. Look for a supporting part as social worker played by William Daniels, who later gains national fame on TV's "St. Elsewhere". The bitter sweet ending alone is well worth the "ticket price" for this gem!

Tatort: Es lebe der Tod
Episode 1,001, Season 1

Another multi-layered Tatort Psycho Drama
Kommissar Murot and the Wiesbaden Team are once again dealing with a mentally disturbed serial-killer. The brilliant extended opening sequence sets the stage for a long and twisted story that pays off big time in the end!

This is one of the most cleverly written Tatort episodes with brilliant visual fantasy scenes, superb acting and an overall thrilling story. I've been a devoted fan of the series from the beginning, and can recommend this episode without reservation. It's well deserving of the International film-awards bestowed on it!

Tatort: Aus der Tiefe der Zeit
Episode 884, Season 1

Digging deep into the sordid past of a troubled family
The Munich Team is following the tracks of a missing man who was apparently found months after his suspicious death. The victim was a member of a well-to do family, headed by an eccentric matriarch. As the Kommissars investigate, deep family secrets come to light, dating back to post-War Nazi Germany. Several layers are added to the plot, touching on the impact of Russians on post-War struggles, as well as the East/West issues and more recent struggles for independence of Croatia. In the end, it's always about money, security and social status, not mere survival.

Once gain, Tatort includes socially relevant topics; this time the ever-present struggle for affordable housing. Greedy developers have monopolized property acquisition for the purpose of profitable new housing, caring little or not at all about the struggling working class population, who are squeezed out of their homes to make space for "luxury living" of the affluent few. This remains one of Germany's great challenges.

Surprised at the relatively low viewer ratings, I found this episode to be far above average. As a lifelong fan of the series, the Batic/Leitmeier Team from Munich has always been among my favorites. Highly recommended!

Tatort: Borowski und der gute Mensch
Episode 1,173, Season 1

Last and BEST part of "Der Stille Gast" Trilogy
Klaus Borowski leads the Kiel Team in the legendary Tatort Series. His cases tend to deal with psychotic murderers. The "quiet guest" is easily the most bizarre specimen of mentally ill serial killers any Tatort Team ever had to investigate. "Kai" wrestles with the realization that he is evil, yet insists he's "not a bad person". Capable of compassion and kindness, he just can't help himself; he kills again and again and again.

Borowski's unique ability to view the world from the killer's perspective once again helps him track down his "old friend Kai" who escaped from the high security institution for the criminally insane. This, the third and final episode in the Trilogy has many dramatic highlights, culminating in a very satisfactory ending. -- Look for a delightful minor "Mary Poppins" character, a cleaning lady Borowski hired to return order to his messy apartment. This would be a wonderful new regular character to join the show!

I've been a Tatort fan since it all began back in 1970. Very few of them are truly worthy of a perfect 10 star rating. I dare say, this is one of those very few!


A family's journey on the long road to marriage equality
A family's story spreading over some 40 years begins in the 1980's, with a gay teen's struggle not so much with his sexuality, but with the social obstacles, discrimination and general disapproval. Although homophobia is still omnipresent in 1980's France, the newly elected socialist Prime Minister Francois Mitterrand brings with him progressive and inclusive policies, even if marriage equality would still be a long way's off.

The protagonist defies societal norms, and his own disapproving father, and leaves home on his 18th birthday to live with a more mature man he had recently met while cruising. Will the rift between father and son be healed? - This 3 part story jumps ahead in time, showing how each generation becomes more progressive and less homophobic. The conclusion is not only hopeful, but a beautiful signal that things are getting better. Perhaps one day soon, it won't even be an issue, and love will be the only measure for happiness, no matter what .

Tatort: Wer zögert, ist tot
Episode 1,171, Season 1

Not your ordinary kidnapping case
The kidnapping of the estranged, spoiled and rotten son of a wealthy real estate mogul soon proves to be a lot more complicated. The father/son relationship has clearly been strained, but there are several strange persons of interest that leave the police to investigate in multiple directions. -

The character of the state prosecuting attorney comes across as biased, even corrupt. The Kommissar Team is visibly put off by that (as was I as audience). Usually the law and order characters in Tatort episodes are straight-laced and unimpeachable. Perhaps it adds realism, but it's still disappointing to include recurring main characters who don't deserve our full respect. On a much more pleasant note, look for the delightful regular character of Fanny, who can always be counted on to assist, even in dangerous situations. It's a sign that good will always triumph over the bad.

This episode is perhaps a little bit too ambitious. We weren't looking for a James Bond adventure, but somehow this story is spread on rather thick with coincidences and extremely clever crime planning. Points lost for the excesses. There is a satisfying (if predictable) big "bonus" at the very end. Still an enjoyable show.

Tatort: Tschiller: Off Duty
Episode 1,062, Season 1

For any man who has a daughter...
Far-fetched, Action-overloaded, still VERY entertaining "Tatort" - This is not your typical Tatort episode. Considering the moderate budgets allocated for a German TV movie, there were an overwhelming number of action-scenes offering respectable special effects. It did make the plot very far fetched, bordering on the absurd. Something like this just does not happen in the life of a German police officer, not in ten thousand lifetimes!

International mafia operations with various exotic locations add to the intrigue. Nick Tschiller's rebellious teenage daughter looks like she would herself be an excellent police officer one day. Perhaps this episode is an indicator of things to come. It would be OK to tone down the action just a little, and allow for more realism. Too much of a good thing can spoil the end result. James Bond is a fantasy, not based on real life. Tschiller doesn't have to be a Bond to be cool.

The Perfect Host

Utterly ridiculous story. Not in a trillion years!
Injured fugitive from the law ends up seeking refuge in the luxurious house of a lunatic. What happens next is rather far fetched, yet keeps building beyond the ridiculous. The last 20 minutes (if you last that long) offer so many crazy plot twists, that the cliche "one in a million chance" no longer fits. One or two things may be a coincidence, but when these coincidences can no longer be counted on two hands, it's no longer a comedy, mystery or thriller, but has created a genre of it's own. Some credit for keeping my attention, but lots of points lost for endless shaking of my head. Calling Frazier Crane: Your brother finally flipped!


News without facts is garbage
A true news anchor will never accept viewer ratings over honest and fact based journalism. When members of the struggling Argon news team are tempted to bow to pressure from the executive office, their anchor man refuses to abandon his integrity and fights the obvious shadiness and corruption even if it should cost him his job. The climactic ending of the pilot episode will bring a tear to viewers' eyes.

This is a refreshing look at the world of TV news in the fast paced era of iphones and instant reporting, where the success of a news program correlates with the "bottom line" of popularity and generated profits. As stated during an after hours team gathering at a pub, we should always remind ourselves that "news without facts is garbage!" - Argon delivers facts when they report the news. To this viewer, they've delivered binge-worthy entertainment!

The Trial of the Chicago 7

...only because the whole world was watching
A more detailed look at the trial of an era, that ultimately turned the American People and the entire world against the Vietnam War. The injustices perpetrated at will by authority figures against anyone viewed as "different", particularly African Americans, homosexuals and "hippies" was clearly recognized, yet routinely ignored by onlookers. The courtroom scenes show in the expressions of the audience, that the procedures were recognized as politically motivated "railroading" of the accused. The judge (brilliantly played by Frank Longella) could not have been more biased, yet appeared to have respect for the former Attorney General (very effectively portrayed by Michael Keen), at one point begging him not to "make me hold you in contempt". -- Screenplay, performances and direction deservedly received critical acclaim. This is a timely history lesson, even if it has been given the Hollywood touch. A spellbinding 2 hours+ of viewing, with a most satisfying climax. The course of history may have been altered by these 7 defendants, but most of all by the fact that...the whole world was watching.

Tatort: Heile Welt
Episode 1,157, Season 1

Strong debut by the new Dortmund Tatort Team member Rosa Herzog
One of my favorite Tatort Teams are the Kommissars of the Dortmund chapter. Hauptkommissar Peter Faber and his college Hauptkommissarin Martina Boenis are both experienced police officers, and are both dealing with insecurities and relationship issues. Enter "the new one", Hauptkommissarin Rosa Herzog. Frau Herzog right away shows competence and readiness to join the Homicide Squad in Dortmund, a population center filled with political tensions and violent crime. Facing potential stress situations, Herzog appears shaken and tense, clearly indicating past personal trauma related to her work. Another capable team member, Hauptkommissar Jan Pawlak is also dealing with problems at home, as his wife, a recovering drug addict, has disappeared, leaving their young daughter unattended.

All of this ongoing internal drama is perfectly interwoven with the story line of this episode. A fire in a low rent apartment complex reveals a covered-up murder of a young woman. The main theme is the racially charged "Twitter War" between organized right wing extremist groups, rebellious young immigrants, their left-wing counter-activists and the heroes/villains caught in the middle. When Hauptkommissarin Boenis is falsely accused of being a "Nazi", with "doctored" Internet videos offered as evidence, the new team member, Hauptkommissarin Rita Herzog takes the initiative to "fix this" unfair smear.

The handling of the socially relevant subject matter in this Tatort episode is gritty and unflinching, but also fair and balanced, showing all sides of the anti-immigrant and racist underbelly of current (German) society. The call to resist extremism responsible for a "splitting of society" is genuine, and I believe an effective counter weight to the forces that prefer to tear down bridges, rather than building them. One very touching side plot is the mellowing of Hauptlkommissar Faber, who is (for the first time) showing a deeply caring and compassionate side, and is so obviously struggling to show his romantic feelings toward Hauptkommissarin Boenig (who, of course, is presently otherwise attached). With each new episode in the Dortmund Tatort Saga, the audience wants the emotionally "broken" Hauptkommissar Faber to heal and find happiness. We can only keep watching...and keep hoping!

Der Kommissar: Ende eines Tanzvergnügens
Episode 3, Season 3

Self-adoring nymph drives mesmerized men to murder
This episode of the ground-breaking German TV Classic "Der Kommissar" shows up some of the shallow mores of "Wirtschaftswunder Era" Germany: Social status, i.e. material means are viewed as more important that love; a man with money is always Mr. Right. It also degrades the role of women as either plain yet useful, or stunningly beautiful while lacking any other measurable quality as a person. In the chauvinist world of the 1960s and 70s, that was "the way it was". Sad but true. - With those dated ideas in mind, the story is predictable. For a fan of the legendary series, it's still a nostalgic hour of reminiscing about "the way things were" back in the old days...of television. Seeing The Kommissar Eric Ode crack another case makes it all worth the while.

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