Category: Reviews

Mystery Road (Acorn TV 2018)

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My first thought at seeing the landscape in this Australian outback setting brought a question to mind.  How do people live in such a harsh environment? Wonderfully shot with some stellar overhead views of the vast scenery comes a crime mystery about two missing men on an outback cattle station.

Judy Davis plays a sassy middle-aged policewoman (Emma James) who is reluctantly paired with Aaron Pedersen (Jay Swan), an over-zealous detective.  Emma is quirky and knows the town/area like the back of her hand, while Jay saunters in as the gun-slinging Aussie cowboy type in boots and a hat ready to get dirty and solve the crime.

The six episodes of what happened and who-done-its keep audiences well engaged in a mystery that unfolds bit by bit.  Like a slow peel of an onion, the more layers stripped away in this mystery down a dusty road, the stinkier the core becomes. It’s a great show, well acted, and engaging.  The Aussies are giving the Brits a good run for their money on this outstanding series.

Interspersed between the main crime are the sideline stories of father and daughter problems, as well as a drinking estranged wife. Add that to the brother and sister relationship and secrets from centuries past regarding their ancestors who settled the land before them, you have some good side plots.

Check out the series but bring bottled water.  After a few hours of the dry Outback, you may get thirsty along the way or need a dish of ice cream to cool off.

 

 

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Netflix 2018)

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I have been overdue for a good period drama and waiting patiently for the release of this film. In anticipation, I ordered the book but found it to be a compilation of letters and not written like a regular novel so I put it aside.

After seeing the trailer for the movie version, I’m so thankful it’s finally out.  There’s no disappointment whatsoever in this touching story staring Lily James.  As usual, I find her adorable, and her performance goes well in this sometimes heartbreaking story that eventually has a happy ever after.

The story is about Juliet Ashton, an author from London, who receives a letter after the war in 1946 from a peculiar group of people who calls themselves The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society.  They are a book club that was formed on the Isle of Guernsey (a British island in the Channel), during the German occupation.  Curious about the group, Juliet travels to the location to meet those who make up the book club. In doing so, she learns of the years of occupation in which they endured and a very sad story about one of their members.

The story jumps back and forth from the present to the war, giving insight as to what actually happened to the characters now speaking to her in 1946.  Juliet wants to write about their experiences, but the club would prefer that she does not because of the pain it represents in their lives.

The others who star in the movie are some of your favorites, such as Tom Courtenay, Katherine Parkinson, and Penelope Wilton who does a wonderful job in her role. Add to the cast is Matthew Goode, and you have a well-rounded, experienced group of seasoned actors.

Though you may find the movie a bit slow in parts, it’s worth the scenes to take the slow walk on the beach or run around the pig pen to get the feel of the location and its people.  If you’re a period drama junkie or enjoy WW2 stories, check it out on Netflix.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

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This past weekend, and a few weeks late, I finally went to the theater to see the newest Jurassic World movie along with my son and five-year-old grandson.  He was a brave soul during dino chomping episodes.

I will say that I enjoyed it but something was missing. The last movie, in my opinion, was much better.  As my big toenail taps against the floor like Blue’s, attempting to figure out why, I’ve decided to blame it on one word — predictability.  The movie needed more teeth.

Instead of the plot thickening, the plotline stayed thin.  The bad guys were not out to save the dinos from another extinction event.  They were out to save their pocketbooks and line them with untold millions, selling off the dino livestock to evil dudes in black suits.  In the next war, rather than nukes, a horde of dinos will be unleashed on enemies.

Regardless of its shortfalls, the latest franchise version will take its place in the lineup of dino movies.  Our fascination with these creatures hasn’t ended.  Remember, we have new generations seeing them.  My son was eight the first time Jurassic Park came out.  His son sat next to him at the age of five and saw the dinos for the first time on the big screen.  No doubt, these roaring movies will continue like the ones that take us to the stars.  Apparently, some moviegoers want to travel the universe, while the rest of us want to return to the earth’s origins when these creatures roamed the planet.

Nevertheless, our favorite stars returned this time around — T-Rex and Blue. (Yeah, I know, Chris Pratt … insert swoon.) They are always the staple of Jurassic movies since the first time T-Rex and those raptors scared the crap out of us in 1993.  Who doesn’t love the roar of the T-Rex or the call-call-call of the raptors?  Blue has such lovely teeth too, while T-Rex has a big mouth.

Naturally, a new bad-dude dino has been cooked up in the test tube thanks to the mad scientist.  I will admit, this dino got on my nerves!  He was relentless, but thankfully Blue saved the day.  Oh, Blue, Blue. I love you too. Your dino teeth, your color, your chew.  (Gee, I didn’t know I was such a poet!)

The breaking news is mankind is not going to die from an asteroid, World War III, or some ghastly plague.  Instead, we’re all going to get eaten in the end.  If I had my choice, I guess T-Rex would make it a quick kill.  A raptor would probably just chew on me like an appetizer.

My hero…

Hero

 

 

 

SAFE (Canal+ and Netflix 2018)

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How does one feel safe in a neighborhood? Does fencing in the community help keep the boogie-man out or does it actually keep the boogie-man safe within? It’s a question that comes up in this interesting series entitled SAFE, which was done by Netflix and Canal+. It’s a pretty intriguing mystery with a surprising twist at the end. Just don’t Google the answer if a certain character makes it or dies before you finish all eight episodes. You are liable to read the spoiler about the end. Ruined it for me!  Dang-it.

The series is set in England and involves an English doctor with two daughters, one of which goes missing after a wild house party she attends. The daughter of one of the parents in the fenced neighborhood has a wild drinking and drug party while her parents are away. Unfortunately, when the host steps outside for a breath of fresh air, she finds a dead body of one of the male attendees floating in the swimming pool.

The deceased is the boyfriend of Tom Delaney’s elder daughter, who hasn’t come home from the night before. As the police deal with the who-done-it questions about the dead boy, Tom is out searching frantically for his daughter.

His search uncovers all sorts of mysteries surrounding his deceased wife, and everything become very convoluted as the web of neighborhood deceit becomes stickier than ever. There are a few subplots along the way regarding others neighbors, and a huge secret that answers all the questions is glossed over early in the series.

It’s a good mystery.  Worth the watch.

 

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