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Hunting The Gauleiter - 2012 - 6/10
AKA - Okhota na Gaulyaytera  //  Охота Hа Rауляйтера

Nazi occupied Minsk during the early days of WWII.
The Wehrmacht overwhelms the territory causing the populace to flee to the wilderness (where they are never found!) or stay in the city to work as labor.

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The plot is cynical and wise.
The regional commander, the gauleiter, is at odds with the SS commander.
The latter wants to kill as much of the population as he can, the former wants them alive as forced labor.
Likewise with the Soviet resistance, under orders to assassinate the gauleiter.
They would prefer to destroy a supply train (more damage, less reprisals), but one does not disobey Moscow.
Nice production values in this ten parter offset by hammy, melodramatic acting.
Specifically from the women, who were apparently directed this way, which I cannot fathom.
They gush, swoon, over-emote.
Or they can-can to entertain German officers.

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In Russian and German, though the German is hideously overdubbed in monotone Russian.
Generally useful to view another take on history.

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Posted

Love In Memory - 2013 - 6/10
AKA - 러브 인 메모리

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Bittersweet K-drama of the lingering ghost.
Female has been in steady relationship with her dependable, analytical consort for seven years.
At times, however, she recalls the other boyfriend, her first love, whom she abandoned.
They were too different, she reminds herself.
She was ambitious, career driven, while he was an artist, head in the clouds.
Then she catches sight of him, and memories, accurate or nostalgic, gnaw her heart.
Refreshing to see how emotions of regret, hope and fondness are elaborated.
At one point I imagined a Hollywood remake - - and cringed.

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Posted

Spies - 2017 - 6/10

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Four part "reality" series put fifteen contestants (candidates) though training paces.
Surveillance, how to elude surveillance, acquiring information, betrayal.
Disappointingly similar to "and then there were none" type contests.
At four episodes, none of the competitors stand out, and tips and tactics lightweight.
OK for the curious, yet as entertainment - disposable.

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Posted

The Avengers: S02 - 1962 - 6/10

Interesting season, this, and under-appreciated by the Emma Peel contingent.
Stories range in quality and style, as producers rebooted the series after one season.
This model of Steed is more ruthless than in later years, prone to fistfights, gunplay and manipulation.
Predating Goldfinger, he even drives an Aston Martin DB5 in E09 "The Sell-Out."
There are infrequent meetings with spy bosses, One-Ten or One-Twelve, and he works with three partners.
Dr Martin King only lasts three episodes.
Singer Venus Smith is in six, and she seems the road not taken.

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Miss Smith is a light jazz singer (think Beverly Kenney) engaged by Steed from time to time.
Light duty work.  Take photos, eavesdrop.  She reminds one of a Doctor Who companion.
Steed casually puts her in dangerous situations, never telling her what is ongoing.
These episodes are more playful, and while I have a fondness for Venus, her character is hardly suitable.
Besides, she pales in comparison with the third character, badass Cathy Gale.

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Cathy Gale is an anthropologist, martial arts expert, artistic and culturally astute.
She is fearless, shrewd, capable, even deadly at times.  One can see why many intimidated males dislike her.
Gale would have made a great Bond.

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Audio miking varies from episode, one was particularly difficult to understand.
Shooting was on videotape so the image was soft.
Camerawork is often clumsy.  In E23, "Conspiracy Of Silence," the camera visibly bumps into furniture, though the players take that in stride, as they do offscreen crashes and noises.

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Posted

Neko Zamurai - 2013 - 6/10
AKA - Samurai Cat

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An impoverished Ronin is approached for an assassination job.
Kill a family cat.
The anxious servant believes his master has been bewitched by a goblin cat!
Such a lowly assignment is beneath a master of the Muso sword technique.
Nevertheless, when one is starving and facing eviction ... needs must.
12 half hour episodes of the proud, unemployed warrior and his pure white, household guest.
Brief swordplay, wry humor throughout, in a series aimed squarely at fans of felines.

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Posted

Le Chalet - 2018 - 7/10

Three couples head to remote, isolated village in French mountains for wedding event.
Just as they cross the boundary, the lone bridge is destroyed.

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The village apparently has a dark history, and that story begins to interlayer this one.
Brutal French thriller, in the manner of And Then There Were None.
Traps and snares unleash memories in the older residents.
Well plotted and diabolically structured series, with characters you hope are honorable.
Great suspense in gorgeous settings.

" ... the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin
than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.” - S Holmes

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Posted

Počivali U Miru - 2013 - 7/10
AKA - Rest In Peace

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The state prison at Zagreb is closed, scheduled for demolition.
Local reporter, doing a story on this, runs across the plot of unclaimed graves.
Why did no one want them?  What were their stories?
And why, inside the first coffin, was there no body?  Only a straw effigy.
What follows is a "story of the week."  A low rent Lothario, amateur bank robbers, a rube left holding the Ponzi scheme, and darker tales of vengeance, blood and murder.
Since most of their histories took place in the recent past, especially during the Yugoslav Wars of the 90s, there are numerous flashbacks throughout.
Also, the reporter, Lucia, needs an inside guide and finds one in retired guard, Martin.
Martin is crafty, secretive, helpful, corrupt, guilt ridden.  Truth does not come easy.
While we watch each corpse's life, there is an ongoing arc of the man who was the straw effigy.

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Well told and nicely structured series from Croatia.
The show is steeped in the vendettas and atrocities of the Balkan conflicts.
A working knowledge of that history is not mandatory, but it will certainly help.

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Posted

Tunes For Tyrants: Music And Power - 2017 - 6/10

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Three part series of music / composers appropriated / exploited by despots.
Specifically, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, circa 1930s and 40s.
Living composers = R Strauss, Prokofiev, Shostakovich.  RIP = Beethoven, Wagner.
Doc references banned Jazz music, Vichy France, concentration camp bands, British composers.
Hit n miss, with the first two episodes the best.  Stalin disappears by E03.
No mention of Mussolini (Respighi), nor Mao Zedong and the spirited sing-alongs relished by happy cohorts.
Fine concept, weakened by lack of follow-through and insufficient material.

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Posted

Wooden Overcoats: S01 - 2015 - 7/10

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Goings on at the small isle of Piffling Vale.
Rudyard Funn owns the island's lone funeral home.
Contemptuous, short tempered, scornful, he gets away with shoddy people skills because there is no competition.
Until Chapman appears, starts his own funeral business with the slogan,  "Let's put the fun in funerals!"
Cocktails, gaiety, sing alongs.  Business soars, at the expense of Funn Funerals.
Rudyard, who could be Basil Fawlty's long lost nephew, concocts schemes to undermine or destroy Chapman.
With about as much success as the Torquay proprietor would have.
Season One of this radio comedy is eight parts, with high production values.

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Posted

The City And The City - 2018 - 7/10

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Inspired, tech-noir adaptation of China Miéville's novel.
A murder is committed in Ul Qoma, the body is dumped in Besźel.
Very tricky situation this, as both cities occupy the same geographical space, though in different dimensions / realities / planes.
Inhabitants of Besźel are forbidden to view Ul Qoma, and vice versa.
Anyone caught "seeing" will be dealt with brutally.  Both cities are police states, maintaining rocky order.
A Besźel inspector is assigned the murder case, and he must navigate around politicians, extremist groups, archaeologists, capitalists, and the secretive, ever-present Control agency, Breach.
This recalls divided cities such as Berlin or Jerusalem, as well as nebulous worlds of Kafka and PK Dick.
Challenging and intellectually superior to countless copper programs.

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Posted

Killing Eve: S01 - 2018 - 6/10

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Had no interest in this series, but someone else started and, slag that I am, I found myself watching.
And enjoying ... at first.
Eve is a quirky investigator soon toiling for a clandestine offshoot of MI5.
The group is seeking Villanelle, a smiling assassin working for mysterious higher-ups.
Initial episodes combine humor with lethal discipline.
Villanelle is nothing if not resourceful, with an impish, giggling streak.
Later episodes foolishly start to dissipate the mystery of the assassin.
Akin to the fourth date when you realize your hot date picks their teeth, bites their nails, and has oral hygiene issues.
Too late, producers grasp they have a hit show.  Pace slows dramatically and it grows very talky.
First four episodes = 7/10.  Last four episodes = 5/10.

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Delicious: S01 - 2016 - 6/10

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I think ... I was expecting more food.
Four part series of philandering chef, female dalliances, cash flow difficulties.
Indeed, most of the cooking in this seems related to accounts payable.
The chef has been playing hide the sausage, yet he has caught himself in several snares.
Ploys to evade, avoid, explain, edge him deeper into quicksand.
There could be a way out.  Well, it's never wise to let the little head run the game.
Seems aimed at women wise to dodgy male behavior.

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Posted

Ghoul - 2018 - 6/10

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Grisly horror set in the near future of India.
Tensions with Muslim inhabitants have escalated dramatically and the nation has become a police state.
Potential terrorists could be anywhere - or anyone.
Terrorists, dissidents, forbidden book types, are rounded up and suffer enhanced interrogation.
Dark, brutal series follows guards and prisoners in an underground fortress, cut off from an outside world that is perpetual night, endless rain.
First episode is probably the best, establishing the narrative, though truth to tell, the gloom and dread never let up.
Oh yes, one of the prisoners had summoned darkness from beyond.

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Posted

Shakespeare & Hathaway: S01 - 2018 - 6/10

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Daytime detective series, set in Stratford-upon-Avon, with male/female partners.
Stories are one-offs.  Robberies, sabotage, a bit of murder.
Police are involved, but TV detectives are always smarter than TV authorities.
Cheerful throughout, with wisecracks and light humor.
On par with the Agatha Raisin series, lacks the polish of Miss Fisher, superior to any Hallmark drivel.
Season 2 has been announced and I have been informed I will be watching it.  Resistance is futile.

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Posted

Hmmm let me check my planner of binger guy...

From the older to the most recent, more or less,
what I have seen, what's ongoing and what I have planned to see these weeks :

  • The City and The City (still have to see the last episode, shame on me)
  • The Affair - S04 - Done
  • Casual - S04 finale - Done
  • Insatiable - S01 - Done
  • Disenchantement - S1 - Done
  • The Innoncents - S1 - Done
  • Quantico - S03 finale (binge)
  • Killjoys - S04 (binge binge)
  • Who's America - S01 - One episode, when I need some distraction.
  • Lodge 49 - S01 - Done
  • Castle Rock - S01 - Done
  • Mr Mercedes - S02
  • The Sinner - S02 - Done
  • Bite Club - S01 - Waiting all episodes for a binge.
  • Preacher - S03 - Done
  • Animals - S03
  • Jack Ryan - S01 - Done
  • Ozark - S02 - Done
  • Wanderlust - S01
  • Maniac - S01 - Done
  • The First - S01 - Done
  • Amercian Vandal - S02 - Done
  • The Good Doctor - S02
  • Kidding - S01
  • American Horror Story - S08
  • This is Us - S03
  • The Good Place - S03
  • You - S01
  • Mr Inbetween - S01
  • The Cry - S01
  • The Man in the High Castle - S03 - Binge planned for next Friday night ^.^

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Posted

Monster - 2017 - 7/10

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Another teenage girl disappears in remote north of Norway.
Local authorities receive unasked for help from Oslo.
Big city cops, with heavy handed technique.
Eventually, they find a body - the first of many - in an open field.
Soon more corpses are unearthed in the same expanse, revealing a large maze-like pattern filled with bodies and bones going back hundreds of years.
Multiple threads quilt this series:  A religious sect, going back to early Christian roots, a smuggling gang, the town's history of incinerations and infidelities.  Most of the characters bear secrets.
Being a TV show, secrets are to be exposed.
Not all, however, as there are many elements that remain baffling, at least to this outsider.
I imagine Scandinavians would shrug and say, "Oh, polar night, sure," along with other curiosities.
At seven episodes (that conclude!) this is easy to watch without a major time commitment.

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