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Thunderpussy wrote:

Any fans of Death in Paradise it's back on Thursday night at 9pm after the new BBC hit starting with an S
Pooch Perfect  ajb007/rolleyes   on BBC 1

They've reworked the theme tune ..... I don't like it, Bring back the old version with the heavier Bass line.

I love Death In Paradise, I hope  the new series turns up on BritBox soon  ajb007/smile

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

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I'm watching a documentary where Thormund Giantsbane (actually the actor Kristoffer Hivju, but I think the lines are blurred  ajb007/lol ) about the viking king Olav II Haraldson/Olav Digre/Olav the Holy. It's unlikely any of you will get to see it, but I'm enjoying it so much I'm posting about it anyway.

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chrisno1 wrote:
chrisno1 wrote:

THE SERPENT
Not sure if this is good or bad yet. Certainly intriguing.

Second episode: Still not sure...

Third episode.
They seem to be presenting a different character's version of events in each episode. This is very tiring as I have to watch every incident twice (or three times at one point, I think) without any explanation. There is an awful lot of detail not being presented to the audience. I do hope they clear it all up at the end. It all looks good and has sterling acting, quite authentic too - apparently the BBC has received complaints about the glamorisation of smoking. It's also a bit slow.

Last edited by chrisno1 (13th Jan 2021 01:31)

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Chasing Shadows (2014).

Reece Shearsmith stars as a socially awkward DS investigating missing persons. His lack of social manners makes him unpopular. It’s a short 4 episode season which leaves on a cliffhanger never to be solved as it seems that season 2 is never made  ajb007/crap

I presume Inside No. 9 took up too much of Shearsmith’s time - I’m going to rewatch Inside No. 9 soon, it’s a brilliant series of half hour episodes with a plot twist at the end.

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

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THE NIGHT MANAGER

I'm not going to spend ages on this.

A very well received 6 part series based on John Le Carre's novel. I missed it first time around. It wasn't as good as everybody kept telling me it was. It was good, just not that good.

It covered similar ground, plot wise, to the government / drug company cover-up the author utilised for The Constant Gardner. This time his accidental undercover investigator is an ex-soldier, which helps with the rough stuff, of which there is some. It also explains Jonathon Pine's straight backed exterior. I can see why bets started being laid on Tom Hiddlestone becoming 007. He spends the first four episodes doing his best Daniel Craig impression, even down to the slightly knowing half-smile. When forced to impersonate an arms dealer, Tom morphs into Loki from Marvel's Avengers, all big grins and smarmy attitude. It's an interesting portrayal. I was bemused by his ability to always be watching when something significant happens. This, I suppose, was meant to be a nod to his former job as a night manager in exclusive flashy hotels. I've not ever stayed in a really exclusive hotel, but I'm fairly certain the night manager doesn't get involved in half the exploits Pine does.

Hugh Laurie stood out as the sickening and rather slick illegal arms trader Richard Roper. His mistress, Jed, played by Elizabeth Debicki, was good looking but eminently forgettable. Tom Hollander chipped in as a nasty henchman.

Olivia Coleman I simply don't like, so she did nothing for me. I found her character - the insignificant sidelined crusading agent Angela Burr - to be tiresome.

The story progressed at a sedate pace, occasionally enlivened by some violence or dramatic tension. It's all about character and personality. Most of Le Carre's books are, so the adaptations tend to be the same. Lots of chit-chat over drinks (the alcohol consumption was enormous) and lots of hidden meanings behind the caustic lines and delicate smiles.

It resolves itself in a robust manner.

My main issue, aside form the length of the thing - I could probably have read the book in six hours - was the number of inconsistencies which kept happening. For instance: it was never properly explained how Burr's team manged to wangle a fake job for Pine at Roper's favourite restaurant; and no one investigates this properly; lots of mobile phone use, except when they really should; an alarm is set off and no one ever checks the alarm log, or the monitoring service never calls; Jed goes nude swimming and leaves her dinner dress in the sea - the party isn't even half-over at this point so what's she wear later?; why does Jed visit Pine in his beach cottage?; inquiries at  government level occur faster than I can snap my fingers - no they don't; the arms dealers perform a weapons display barely a few hundred yards from a refugee camp; Pine never returns a phone he's stolen and no one mentions it's never been found; mobiles were banned at Roper's place, but several people have them and use them; there's a whole episode set in Devon which is meant to provide Pine with a fabricated history, but given it's only one or two incidents and Burr creates a whole fresh background for Pine anyway, why did they bother? I could go on.

It didn't hinder my enjoyment. It's a well made show. Well written, nice music, photography, very Bond-like credit sequence. In fact I almost felt the director was trying to make this into some kind of surrogate Bond movie. A few car chases and a couple of nifty gadgets and they could almost say it was.

Good marks, but I'm not going overboard. It's a lot better than that bore-fest The Little Drummer Girl the Beeb did a couple of years later.

Maybe I should have watched it the first time.

Last edited by chrisno1 (13th Jan 2021 02:22)

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It also basically follows the plot of Licence To Kill.

I caught the first episode of Netflix's Lupin, which should appeal to Bond fans as it's all about a gentleman thief in modern Paris; lots of swanky suits and posh cars and a supercool lead.

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If that's not ChrisNo1 spending ages on a review, I hate to see the unedited version!  ajb007/biggrin

He has slightly rained on my parade, but there are some good critical points. My view is - now that NTTD is going to be delayed yet again, The Night Manager is a damn fine stop-gap until that time comes. I'd say I enjoyed it more than most Bond films of the last 20 years (not hard, I admit) and it riffs on a number of plot points and scenes you'll find in past Bonds.

The term 'night manager' refers to a hotel's night staff receptionist or rather maitre'd who knows the secrets and has to deal with all sorts of eventualities, almost like a party chief whip. It's ironic because in the early Bonds for sure our hero was always checking in to hotels and the receptionist would have no real role except to eye up Bond.

What I liked best was how great it looked. The location work is terrific, the photography and the various places on view are for more enjoyable than what you see in the Bonds, which frankly can seem a bit depressing. In LTK, Bond checks in to a hotel and, looking around, declares it 'adequate' in one of those awkward moments of humour for Dalton. Okay, it had a kind of restrained opulence but it just didn't do much for me. And. you can apply that to so many of his venues - the hotel room in Qos, maybe even in CR and then that place in TWINE where he spends the night with Elektra. All these places may be quite nice but in retrospect a bit depressing. Even when you go back to OHMSS, the whole Piz Gloria thing is a bit chintzy and Bond going from one hotel room to another is all rather claustrophobic.

You don't get that with TNM  ajb007/smile  The venues look like where you might get some great sex on offer if you took the missus, the other places you'd spend checking out the plasma TV functions. They look sexy, chic, modern, boutique. They make you really want to be rich so you could afford this stuff, you see the point of it.
To be fair, the makers are trying to show how the arms dealers get to enjoy the fruits of their immoral trade, almost a bit like the fine lifestyle of the drug traffickers in The French Connection. In contrast, you sometimes feel the Bond producers are a bit shy about showing Bond enjoying the high life at the taxpayers' expense.

I'll put the rest in spoilers because if you haven't seen it, you'll enjoy picking up the Bond connections.

Spoiler Yes, it owes a lot to LTK as the hero seems to help out the villain who feels indebted to him and asks him to tag along. From thereon Bond starts to play off the main players against themselves, throwing to the wolves any on the team who appear flakey or unreliable. Admittedly this is a more underhand way of playing than we are used to with Bond - it's very hard to imagine Connery doing this stuff, it's kind of bitchy. As with LTK, the air of menace is scored early on so there is a real sense of fear at being found out.
But it's like other Bonds too - of course, he's sort of recruited in GF, after trying and failing the same ploy to get in with Auric - see, a craftier Bond would have tried to endear himself, but Connery has to beat him at golf!
And it's like OHMSS too - again, that's Bond undercover, offering to help the villain while actually trying to bring him down. Some scenes are like that in TNM - in particular, where he has to leave the arms traffickers abode and needs an excuse, while he's under suspicion.
By the end there are so many nods to Bond it becomes a game to notice, but imo it's done so much better, with real elan. I'm missing out Hugh Laurie's depiction as Roper, the arms dealer, which is a revelation. He is a real piece of work who seems able to look right through a person. Right from the off, he's noticing things that might put you on guard. Tom Hollander is the bitchy little snitch who is jealous of the new guy on the scene. He's also great and yet it's odd that they are all British, not like foreigners in the Bonds. Yet again maybe it isn't as so many of the early villains were either English really or dubbed by the English - Kronsteen, No maybe, Shaw's Red Grant, Goldfinger and Largo dubbed by the same English actor then Donald Pleasance and Charles Grey as the supposedly foreign Blofeld, then Lee as Scaramanga and we can go on. Not that many villains who aren't played by English or American actors. So Roper and his gang fit in better than you'd expect, they're like old-style Bond villains, who always seemed to tap into the public school fear of a certain kind of authority.

The actress who played Jed is genuinely sexually attractive, which seems a rarity on TV these days. I like Olivia Colman's role too, you couldn't be sure how much she was taking advantage of the situation. But she's almost in the role of Leiter spying on Bond in GF.

Yes, there are plot holes though I enjoyed it enough to ignore them. The whole phoney set up of infiltration I bought into totally because the British State is brilliant at that, you can hardly set up a campaign group without it being infiltrated, be it the Republican movement in Ireland or the Met's SpyCops scandal. Shillls are commonplace - people who profess bogus solidarity so you confide in them and tell you everything you've found out about State corruption.
How did Pine's Dorset murder get past the local police? They'd have to be in on it and they're dead leaky. I thought nobody but nobody was supposed to know about this plan.
The 'money shot' where one character gets the better of another is sublime, little I've seen better.

The above is redacted. You can only see it by permission of a court order.

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

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But re the whole Tom Hiddlestone as Bond thing - he does really well on this and has a touch of the Ian Fleming about him, not least because he's posh. That said, despite all the Bond touches, The Night Manager is not a typically Bond vehicle and it could be argued that the Bond films it imitates as noted in my previous post are not ones that really made it big at the box office, though they're loved by fans. Bond often lacks his usual swagger in them, and seems less comfortable in his own skin, and Hiddlestone plays that well here. I suppose you could say the same of Craig however.
It does seem that when you pick a new Bond actor from now on, you have to pick a narrative to go with it. You really have to think ahead, you can't just say, well, would this actor work well in GF or TSWLM. I think they did that a bit with Brosnan. You have to think, what kind of movies, what kind of universe do we want to create with this?
The Night Manager benefits from that sense of 'what happens next?' suspense but Bond isn't too much like that, it's not meant to be edge of seat stuff as a rule, just some of the time.

One final note. I understand if you look up the resume of the main three actors in The Night Manager, Hugh Laurie, Tom Hollander and Hiddlestone, they all went to the same public school and all went on to Eton/Oxford/Cambridge. This does rather tap into the notion that we Brits are all run by a posh elite.  ajb007/crap

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

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Hugh Laurie is so awesome as a villain, by far the best thing about the Night Manager. I think maybe he's just doing Bertie Wooster with a deeper voice and more brains and really scary. Similar mannerisms otherwise.

Theres another film from about the same period, called Tomorrowland where he also plays a Bondvillain type, if you like this performance. Slightly sillier but similar characterization.

Spoilerwhen he meets his ironic Bondvillain type demise, as his evil machinery falls on him, his last words are "oh... bollocks"

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It's funny how Hugh Laurie has made a career out of playing English idiots and American smart guys.

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I could never get into House, but am impressed by Laurie's performance: an incredible transformation. What I really like is his early British comedy: Black Adder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and Jeeves and Wooster.

He has written a novel called  The Gun Seller, and I gather its a spy thriller, involving arms dealers(!) which should certainly qualify him for the role of Dickie Roper. Has anybody read The Gun Seller? recommend it?

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His British comedies are great! I've read The Gun Seller many years ago. I don't remember much, but I thought it was competent.

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I shall have to look for this book when it feels safe to go into bookstores again.

another item in Hugh Laurie's resume that surely must have qualified him for a role in this spy thriller:
a recurring sketch in A Bit of Fry and Laurie about two secret agents called Control and Tony that seems be based on more typical le Carre plots. Difference is he's playing one of the good guys in this one.

another example
and another
yet another
here's one more

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I'm going to laugh now
ajb007/lol

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caractacus potts wrote:

I could never get into House, but am impressed by Laurie's performance: an incredible transformation. What I really like is his early British comedy: Black Adder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and Jeeves and Wooster.

He has written a novel called  The Gun Seller, and I gather its a spy thriller, involving arms dealers(!) which should certainly qualify him for the role of Dickie Roper. Has anybody read The Gun Seller? recommend it?

I read it years ago, it's good spy fun, yes. It's not a comedy at all, but a good action thriller. Well worth a read.

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I’m watching Gerry Anderson’s little seen series The Secret Service (1969). It’s an odd mixture of puppetry and real life action but very enjoyable. Well worth a look, it’s on BritBox along with virtually everything else the Anderson’s produced.

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.