Mad Men (TV AMC 2007 – Present)

madmen 5 Kernels
 Nostalgia at Its Best
July 19, 2007 – Present
AMC Television

Stars:  Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones, and many others

Since I’ve exhausted many of the British television shows on Netflix, Mad Men caught my eye as soon as I read that it was set in the 1960’s.  Ah, the 1960’s. I was 10 in 1960; graduated from high school in 1968.  Watching this television show brings back not only my childhood, but my teenage years as well.  Everything from Selectric typewriters, to switchboards, phones with blinking buttons, eating raw hamburger, and living with parents that smoked and drank as a normal part of life.

Set in New York City in the heyday of advertising agencies in Manhattan, it’s an eclectic weave of husbands, housewives, mistresses, secretaries, office politics, and account executives.  It reminds me of those days when anything went.  Men made sexual innuendos to the female office staff, booze was in the offices, and everyone smoked like a chimney. My first time someone flirted with me at my second job in 1969, the bank manager came up and told me I had “great legs.”  Then in 1972 my boss had me stay late one night and came up behind me and grabbed my breasts.  Wow, I could have sued had that happened today.

On top of the outlandish days of sexual harassment in the office, it’s mixed with the occurrence of segregation where Negros couldn’t ride in the elevators with the working staff unless given permission.  Everyone in the company was white – no mixing of the races like our modern offices today.  Jewish people were treated like aliens that couldn’t be understood.  Everyone drank and smoked.  I can remember my first boss in 1968 having a bottle of booze stashed in his desk drawer.  Most of the day he smelled of alcohol.

Then there were the women who stayed home – the housewives.  Always with their hair in place, their bouncy little dresses, their kids clean, their houses spotless, and dinner waiting on the table when their husbands came home.  They knew their place, and they kept their place whether they were miserable or happy. It was their way of life, along with eating prime rib and butter for dinner.  The men, of course, lived doubled lives of carousing with other women and having mistresses on the side in or out of the office setting. Married women, who met a divorced woman with two children living alone, was an unthinkable state of affairs.

The characters are wonderful, with their own back story of how their childhood and family has molded them into the adults they have become.  Each have their own personal struggles, whether it be with self-worth, a family they wish to forget, a wife with whom they are estranged, an overbearing mother who filled their daughters with expectations, or a father who doesn’t support their son’s career choice.  The stories are rich in their own right and filled with everybody’s pursuit of happiness in the 60’s, in one way or the other. Rather than worrying about their smoking, drinking, or butter on their plates, the Communists are the threats, as well as the thought of having a Catholic president.

I can’t tell you how utterly entertaining this show is, at least for me.  If you didn’t grow up in that era, you’ll probably find it very strange.  If you did, it will be like walking down memory lane, remembering your childhood, and no doubt your parents.  I can still see my mother who wore a dress every day, had dinner on the table, who hadn’t worked out of the home since World War II.  Yes, we have evolved in many ways.  Discrimination and sexism in the office is a thing of the past.  Feminism has taken the women out of the homes and made them executives along side men.  However, a part of me misses the simplicity of those days when life had different complications than we face today.

One of my favorites are the girls in the office and how they share the gossip.  A particular scene that had me rolling on the floor happened to be when one lady pulled from her purse the novel, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” and the women started talking about it.  Of course, it’s strictly taboo to read such a book that uses the words no lady would utter and contain such graphic sexual scenes in a book!  One woman asks if she can borrow it to read, and the advice was priceless.  “Don’t read it on the train.  It will attract all the wrong elements.”  What a hoot!  Reminded me of today and women reading Fifty Shades of Grey in public.  Things never really change in some aspects.  We just color it in a different light.

Anyway, highly recommend the show.  After finishing five seasons on Netflix, I’d like to slap Don Draper in his unzipped pants.  Nevertheless, I love the characters.

Flashpoint (Canadian TV 2008-2012)

4 Kernels

Television 2008-2012

 Stars:  Enrico Colantoni, David Paetkau, Hugh Dillon, Sergio Di Zio, Michael Cram, Mark Taylor and Ruth Marshall. Amy Jo Johnson

I’ve been through quite a few series on Netflix, which I watch more than current television.  Probably it’s because I’m not bombarded with commercials and can get through an hour-long show in 40 minutes.   I had seen reruns of Flashpoint a few times, but never got into the series.  Once again, after the fact, I’m tuning in and enjoying the show.

Let me preface this article by saying that personally, I am not a stranger to law enforcement.  My first marriage happened to be with a Detroit Police Officer, and my last boyfriend happened to be a County Coroner in California who wore full uniform and carried a gun. I’m acquainted with weapons, uniforms, badges, and the difficulty of loving someone on the force and how that can effect a man who risks his life everyday to keep you safe. I’ve even spent hours ironing those damn police shirts, too!

Flashpoint, for me, resurrects some of those memories, but frankly I think I’m just drawn to men in uniforms, bald or not.  Enrico Colantoni, who plays Sgt. Parker looks very much like my Coroner friend, who broke my heart I might add, as well as my first husband.  Quite strange.  :slaps self back to reality:

Anyway, on with the show.  I’m giving this tune-in a four-star rating, because I find it enjoyable, enjoy the characters, and am enthralled with the suspense. Canadians do a good job, as well, with television drama. I’ll add to those four stars that I have skipped over some episodes because of the content, such as an abduction of a child, the rough and tough drug lords, and the mean and lean boys on the streets. I gravitate more to the stories, which frankly are so true to heart, of men and women who come to that “flashpoint,” if you will, where they lose it due to their own stress and heartaches in life.  The breaking point comes when injustice has occurred, their lives have been tragically altered by another crime, or their love for a family member drives them to desperation.  They all tug at your heart.  Of course, the stories we don’t like to hear, are the psychopaths, who like recently, have gone over the edge and selfishly killed the innocent young.  The reality of those situations is heartache enough, and I don’t need to watch it played out on screen.

The team, is a mixture of personalities.  They all have private sub-plots of their lives integrated into the show, whether it’s their family, love life, or past heartaches.  However, they are a team when it comes to work.  In spite of their existence off the job,  they are a cohesive force to be dealt with when entering into a situation that calls for police intervention.  They are trained to talk-down rationally the individual who has gone over the edge, rather than saying “Scorpio” and killing them because there is no alternative to the situation or another life is in immediate danger.  However, there are times the word is uttered and one of the team takes them down.  It’s not a moment they enjoy, which I think adds to the heartfelt theme of the show.

The show is set in Toronto and all of the actors are Canadian, except for Amy Jo Johnson.  They play their parts well, their skills on the set are pretty awesome, and the guys look great in uniforms. What can I say?  I’m a sucker.

All of the seasons are great, however, the last one was probably the most moving of all.  Frankly, I cried at the last episode.  It was hard saying goodbye to Team One.  I felt “neutralized” after it ended, if you get my drift.

If you’re looking for a police show, this is pretty good one that you might enjoy.  Now that it’s ended, I’ll be back to surfing Netflix for another program to get sucked into.  That’s my life on my green recliner with my Sony television and Comcast cable when I should be working on my next novel!

Olympus Has Fallen (2013 Movie)

3 Kernels

Stars: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Finley Jacobsen, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Morgan Freeman

My usual reviews, as you know, focus on older movies and television shows.  However, I just came back from eating half a bag of theater popcorn, without butter I might add, and thought I’d give you my two patriotic cents about Olympus Has Fallen.

Frankly, I avoid violent movies like the plague.  After seeing darling Gerard Butler in some not so great flicks these past few years, I thought I would see if he finally had a hit.  Though Gerard was one kick-ass American that literally saves the entire United States of America, I’m cautious to call this movie a blockbuster that will go down in history.

The premise begins with Banning, played by Gerard.  He’s the cool secret service man that talks into his wrist ordering those under him to protect the President of the United States.  He comes across as a serious dude, with a personality that blends well with the first family.  During Christmas at Camp David, a horrific car accident occurs and the President loses his wife.  Banning never forgives himself for not being able to save her, though the President holds no grudges.  However, as a result, he’s relegated to paper pushing with the Treasury as he broods over the past.

The story is somewhat one of redemption.  However, it takes a hostile take over by the Koreans to give Banning the opportunity to turn things around for himself personally.  He eventually becomes the hero of the day, through much kick-ass action, spot on shooting, and merciless killing of the enemy.  If that wasn’t bad enough, one of his comrades is a traitor, and he is faced with the awful realization he must kill him or be killed.

The movie is violent.  Terribly violent.  It could have been bloodier, but it tone down the gore factor overall.  However, as far as the number of rounds shot, picture the movie the Matrix.  Remember the scene in the lobby when the three heroes shoot the walls, pillars, and bad guys?  Multiple that about a thousand times, and I think you’ll have the number of shots fired.  There are also disturbing scenes of civilians and military killed, and also of torture and senseless hostage execution.  One beating scene of a woman is disturbing, but so is the psycho who beats her.

As far as the story goes, it’s action.  What can I say?  Could it really happen?  I thought a few things were quite impossible, such as the initial attack on the White House via air.  At least I hope it’s impossible, because if that’s all we got folks, we’re in trouble. Secret codes were given by the captives after the President ordered them to do so.  He didn’t have the stomach to watch his aides tortured or killed. Whatever happened to dying for your country? Why would the President encourage others to commit treason upon his orders?

:inserts spine chilling shudder over the thought: 

However, those scenes are necessary to set up the future catastrophe that lurks around the corner.

I also felt the timing of this movie was probably not the best, since North Korea has threatened us recently to nuke us off the face of the earth.  I sure hope they don’t rent the DVD and watch it, or it could tick them off, start a war, or give them ideas.  (Just kidding, of course.)

All in all, it was okay.  I found it exhausting, troubling, and patriotic.  Thank goodness we kicked ass and Banning saved us from annihilation.  Even though Gerry looks a bit bruised, cut, bloody, sweaty, and needs a shave, he’s still the man – toned and buffed. Where would we be, ladies, without Gerard Butler to save us?

Doomed.

And dearest Gerard, I would really like to see you in a romantic movie shaved, clean, in a suit, and dashingly handsome.  Pretty please? 

Gosford Park (2001 Movie)

4 Kernels

An Appetizer for Downton Abbey
 by Julian Fellowes

Stars:  Maggie Smith, Jeremy Northam, Michael Gambon,
Kristin Scott Thomas, Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, and Plenty of Others

All right, listen up all you Downton Abbey fans.  If you’re going through withdrawals, you need to head over to Netflix or Amazon and stream Gosford Park.  This is another goodie written by the author of Downton, none other than Julian Fellowes, who won an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for this tale of upstairs, downstairs, with a who-done-it murder.

I haven’t watched this movie probably in 10 years.  Recently, I clicked play and was amazed at the similarities to Downton Abbey.  Julian has really recycled quite of bit of wit and charm from his former work.  If you watched it ten years ago, you may wish to dust it off once more.  Otherwise, if you haven’t seen it, you’ll enjoy the story.

The drama is set in 1932 and centers around a party in a country house in England. In scene one all the aristocratic guests arrive, accompanied by their various valets and ladies maids.  The rich head upstairs; the servants head downstairs.  In the lower level you’ll be surprised at the similarities of running a grand house with the head housekeeper and butler keeping everyone in line hiding their own dirty secrets. The usual bantering, jealousies, complaining, and sneaks are just as interesting as Downton, only shoved into a two-hour movie.

The upstairs are the usual aristocrats, and wonderful Maggie Smith is among them playing almost the same characteristics as she does in Downton Abbey.  I’m not surprise that Julian Fellowes continued her character almost identically.  One of her lines, which sounds just like the Dowager on Downton, is, “Me?  I haven’t a snobbish bone in my body.” Her character of Countess Trentham is quite enjoyable and filled with the same witty banter.

Of course, the house is filled with multiple guests, servants, and a murder of the stuffy and grumpy old Sir William McCordle, who is married to the much younger and annoying Lady Syliva McCordle. Their children and their guests make up an eclectic group of snobby aristocrats, an actor, and a film maker from California. The servants gossip about their employers, and Countess Trentham asks her ladies maid to tell her what the scoop is downstairs.  Sir William has been enjoying sexual encounters with his multiple maids in the dark corners of downstairs, bearing all sorts of illegitimate children. After dinner one evening, someone stabs Sir William, and the movie turns into the usual who-done-it search for the killer with a less than capable investigator.

I have a few favorite scenes, one of which is Jeremy Northam, who plays Ivor Novello, the movie star.  He sits at the piano and sings a variety of songs to swoon by with his dreamy velvet voice, while the guests play a game of bridge, drink, and relax after dinner uninterested. The servants enjoy the entertainment more than the stuffy guests and linger closely by to hear him sing as if they are starved to hear beautiful music.

The film itself won quite a few awards and was nominated for best picture at the Oscars, but did not win, but won plenty of accolades worldwide.  I think it really is a noteworthy two hours to watch now that we’re so caught up in Downton Abbey as written by Julian Fellowes. You’ll no doubt enjoy the world downstairs and upstairs, including the estranged aristocratic family and eclectic mixture of servants.  Many of them had reason to do Sir William in with a knife in his chest, but you’ll probably not realize who did it until the end with the surprising little twist.

Call The Midwife (2012 to Present)

call-the-midwife-season-five5 Kernels

January 2012 – Present  

Stars: Miranda Hart, Jenny Agutter,Pam Ferris, Judy Parfitt,
Helen George, Bryony Hannah, Laura Main

Once again, British television triumphs. Why the executives and producers of Hollywood television don’t take points on story-telling, is beyond me. There is a reason we flock to Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife, plus many other wonderful shows on PBS.  It’s drama at its best, stories with heart, and actors who take us into the reality of other worlds.

Okay, I’ll confess.  I didn’t watch the first season until this past week when I discovered it on Netflix.  There was only one episode I picked up on my local PBS station.  Why, I didn’t sit down and watch each one is beyond me, but I’m glad to know Season 2 starts late March.  Thank goodness.
Call the Midwife is a moving series set in post-war early 1950’s about a group of nurses and nuns who deliver babies on the impoverished east side of London. (I was born in 1950, so I fit right in.) The series instantly reminds you of the scriptures that declare the poor will always live among us. It is what we do for the poor that matters the most.
The series is, of course, geared toward women. After all, babies are delivered every episode.  The old ways of enema, shaving, and odd delivery positions is quite amusing, but so are the variety of women who bear the children and their midwives.  If you are prone to PMS, bursts of crying, or are pregnant make sure you bring a box of tissues with you as you watch.  The stories will move you to tears as you are faced with the stark reality of birth, life, death, suffering, love, and survival.
Each episode focuses upon a main pregnancy ranging from the woman who is married and on her 24th pregnancy (yes, they birthed that many children), to the young 15 year old prostitute who sells her body to survive and becomes pregnant.  One breach birth will keep you on the edge of your seat, as you watch the new awkward nurse deliver the child successfully.  You see the devastation of women losing their babies, and women who lose their lives giving birth.  You’ll cry over the poor and the squalor in which they live.  At the end of each episode, you’ll be a better human being for watching the miracle of birth and no doubt be thankful for what you have.
Call the Midwife is once again why I love the Brits.  It’s drama, humor, life, and love all rolled into one.  It’s reality, not fantasy. Frankly, I think watching this series births within you a new appreciation of life and love through all of its struggles.  You’ll find empathy for the poor among us, and be thankful for what you have.  We shouldn’t abort the difficulties of life in television shows just because we don’t want to deal with the unpleasantness.  Frankly, I think viewers continually need excellent television such as Call the Midwife to deliver us out of our complacency.
UPDATE:  Bicycling into its 5th Season, it continues in excellence.

 

Eva (2010) – Foreign Film

 1 Kernel

Stars: Vincent Regan, Amy Beth Hayes, Patrick Bergin

Is it possible to write a story that has no soul?  Is it possible to have actors that have no heart?  Is it possible to sit and watch a movie and wonder the entire 90 minutes why don’t you just give it up?  Let me assure you that it is.

Eva.  Don’t run to Netflix to click play on this one.  Don’t look on Amazon to stream or buy it, you won’t find it.  It’s a boring tale of pre-mid-post World War II in Romania.   Apparently this film premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and was released in Hungary and Romania.  The movie was not dubbed, but is in English.  After release, it must have died shortly thereafter.

You know, I’m not really the type to write cruel movie reviews, so I’ll try and control my typing fingers.  Here is the synopsis of Eva.

The story begins with Eva saying goodbye to a man named Tudor at a train station.  It’s the usual, “Don’t go,” from a sad woman.  Then the usual reply, “I have to go,” from the serious man.  He goes, then the planes come, bomb the city, and she’s knocked out in the street.  Now it’s flashback time to when she’s 16 meeting the so-called love of her life, Tudor. (Push aside all the stupid sub-plots too about her mean uncle who she lives with.  I don’t even want to go there.)

Virgin Eva meets a man who lives on a mountain cutting timber. With no hesitation, and no remorse on his part, he beds her on their second meeting.  She’s 16, he looks as if he’s 35-40. Then a few days later, he tells her he must leave for America to take care of his ailing mother.  Okay, so he goes, but not before they both confess their undying love.  Hence, the revolving plot.  He goes, he comes, he goes, he comes, he goes, he comes, and she never knows why he goes and comes until the end. The periods of going and coming stretch for years at a time.

Between the coming and going she meets two decent men who love her dearly.  A Baron and a young doctor.  She marries the Baron, confesses she loves him, but on one of Tudor’s returns, she instantly dumps her husband and speeds off on a horse with her one-true love leaving the poor Baron in the dust.  Of course,again Tudor leaves, and her Baron husband comes back into the picture to pick up the pieces of Tudor’s next long absence.  She finds out she’s pregnant by Tudor.  She loses the baby.  She tries to commit suicide.  Her estranged husband finds her half dead and saves her life.

Tudor returns, again, and for once she tries to resist his temptation.  The Baron shoots him in the arm when he tries to see her, but she eventually breaks down and comes back to her crying boyfriend recovering from his gunshot wound.

She jumps back in bed with him for hot sex. She never tells him about the baby, or the suicide attempt, or what she’s been up to for the last three years.  All she knows is that she cannot love another man because for nine years of her life Tudor comes and goes at whim and she loves him still.

Finally, she wakes up out of her flashback coma and all is revealed.  Tudor was a secret agent, which you sort of guess since he disappears and can never tell her what he does.  The Baron, who had moved to Cario during the war gets murdered.  The young doctor who professed his love of beautiful Eva is killed in battle.  She searches for Tudor and believes he’s finally been killed, but doesn’t really know.  In the end, his cousin shows up and takes her away and they sail off into the sunset to America.

Oh, God, this movie was painful to watch.  The only reason I kept watching it was so I could write another review.  This review is probably just as bad! The sad violin music plays mournfully throughout in the background, and when that’s not playing, Eva plays mournful songs on the piano.

In summary, the movie was boring.  The plot dragged on.  I heard myself say multiple times, “This is really lame.”  The acting was dull. The love affair was sick.  And the movie had no life whatsoever.

End of review.  It’s too painful to write anything else about it.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

Prime Suspect (1991 – 2006)

4 Kernels

Intense British Drama

British Television (1991 – 2006)

Stars:  Helen Mirren
BAFTA TV Awards & Emmy Awards

British television once again sucks me into its clutches and won’t let me go an entire weekend on Netflix.  I’ve seen so many murder mysteries lately, I’m going to start writing my own one of these days.  Enter Prime Suspect – a British ITV television program that aired intermittently from 1991 – 2006.  It revolves around Jane Tennison, a strong-willed police detective that always gets her man.

Jane is smart as a whip, emotionally cut off in relationships, married to her job, drinks a bit too much, fights against discrimination as a woman in the workforce, and barks orders at men.  Her character is an interesting mix of emotions, and Helen Mirren is an award-winning actress who does well in keeping you interested.  Jane will not rest until she solves a case, and has been reprimanded, suspended, taken off the cases, and put back on almost every episode because of her unorthodox tactics that breaks every rule in the book.  Just when you think she’s going to get fired once and for all, she solves the murder and becomes the hero vindicating herself in front of her male counterparts.

The stories in Prime Suspect are very intense.  I’ll admit I was a bit emotionally drained after a few of them, but found myself glued to my green recliner.  The murders deal with real issues in areas that you don’t necessary wish to know about on the dark side of London.  Poverty, pimping, prostitutes, homelessness, transvestites, police corruption, pedophiles, childhood sexual abuse, and war criminals just to name a few topics.  If you’re sensitive, this is not the show for you.  Some episodes are disturbing in content and also visually as you look at the dead victims and become intimately acquainted with how they were murdered.

After saying all that, you probably wonder why I didn’t give it a five kernel rating.  As I stated, I found the show intense, sometimes disturbing, and the episodes a bit overly long.  Some story lines drag into two parts, and it’s just a time-consuming show to watch.  Be forewarned.  Also, as much as I loved Mirren in the role, she did such a great job that by the end, I was getting a little tired of Jane’s character. A few times I wanted to slap her face over her insubordination toward her peers. You’d think after years on the force, she’d learn a little.  Jane Tennison never does, but her salvation is that her character is so tenacious, she gets the murderer one way or the other.

Other than that, it’s a good show, if you like intense drama.  The British get to swear much more on television that our US counterparts, so be prepared for some pretty surprising language.  I really need to stop watching so much murder.  It’s taking it’s toll.  Nevertheless, I love British television because everything they do is top-notch.  They’ve known how to tell compelling stories from Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, and others.  It’s what they’re made of, and I rely much on my English ancestry to place drama in my own work.

Miss Potter (2006)

4 Kernels

Stars: Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor

I am probably the very last person who has ever been interested in children’s books.  Amazon Instant Video provided something to watch on an empty Saturday night, and I stumbled across this film about Beatrix Potter.  Of course, the name “Peter Rabbit” is recognized worldwide, but I knew nothing about the author behind the successful children’s stories.  It’s apparent that I’ve missed much in the area of children’s literature!

Being 32 and single in 1902 wins her the name of “spinster,” until Beatrix meets the man she falls in love with.  Played by Ewan McGregor, Norman Warne, is her first love who is in the family publishing business and works closely with her on her various releases.  They become engaged, but her family vehemently forbids the match due to the usual class system between the upper class and working tradesmen.  Nevertheless, Beatrix by now has become a self-supporting, rich woman from her royalties and spurns her parents’ advice.  Unfortunately, her beau sadly passes away before they can marry.

The story continues with her bid for freedom from her parents’ domination, and she relocates to the Lake District where she buys a farm, and neighboring farms, to keep them protected from development.  Another love interest enters her life, and once again she finally finds happiness as she continues to pen her children stories throughout the remainder of her life.

Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable film, with a sprinkle of fantasy.  The filmmaker allows her endearing animal characters to come alive on her pages  as she draws them.  She calls them her “friends” who are the only ones who really know and understand Beatrix Potter.  Though it seems odd that an artist/author should see her characters come to life on a page, I can attest from the muddled mind of my own stories, characters do tend to have a life of their own.

My only complaint was the casting of Beatrix. As much as I love Renee Zellweger in other roles, she makes a terrible English woman…no offense Renee.  She is quite toned down and a bit dowdy in appearance, but she has a horrible habit of facial expressions that look just plain painful and unnatural.  Picture a face after eating a sour pickle and that’s Renee as Miss Potter. As far as the other performers, I had no qualms, but Renee really did nothing for me in the role.  It appears, though, that Renee was also one of the Executive Producers of the film, which probably is why she played the part that should have been given to another.

All in all it was entertaining, informative, and cute.  As an author myself, I’m always intrigued about stories of authors and the creative gifts and expressions that guide their lives.

If you’re curious about the creator of Peter the Rabbit, it’s worth the watch. The scenery isn’t bad either.  For more detailed information about the life and writings of Beatrix Potter, visit the Peter Rabbit website.

Murder in Suburbia (2004-2005)

4 Kernels
British TV (2004-2005, 12 Episodes)
Stars:  Lisa Faulkner, Caroline Catz, and Jeremy Sheffield

Anything that puts a smile on my face and gives me a good laugh once in a while deserves four kernels. Though it seems this two-season British TV series was cancelled and doesn’t have that many rave reviews, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the Netflix streaming of Murder in Suburbia. Hey, as long as I’m entertained, I don’t care what the critics say.

Murder in Suburbia is about two detectives, DS Emma Scribbins (played by Lisa Faulkner) and DI Kate Ashurst (played your favorite Dr. Martin’s Caroline Catz), who are partners in the fight against murderous crimes.  Though the murder plots are par for the course, the bantering between Emma an Kate is far worth the watch. They complain about being single, they both have a crush on their boss – more so with Kate, and the boss is always on the edge of showing his interest in them as well.  Of course, it’s the work place and one must not cross the line.

There are subplots to each episode of murder, mostly made up of their dating escapades and looking for the right man.  Kate seems to always run off at the mouth at the wrong time in front of DCI Sullivan (Jeremy Sheffield), her boss. In one particular funny episode, she complains about needing sex and wouldn’t mind paying 500 pounds for a male prostitute.  After she yells that to Scribbins as she’s about to open the door to her apartment, she discovers her boss is on the other side.

Most of the encounters are humorous, but the last episode was frankly priceless.  I may watch that one again.  It’s too bad it got cancelled, because I would have loved to seen the story continue between Kate and Sullivan.

Nevertheless, each to their own. If you’re into a little humorous bantering between two women on the job, cold-blooded murders (most of which I got the who-done-it wrong), you might enjoy this lighthearted murder in the suburbs of the United Kingdom.

British TV…what can I say…priceless.

Any Human Heart (2010 Masterpiece Classic)

3 Kernels

Cast:  Sam Claflin, Matthew Macfadyen, Jim Broadbent

Another night surfing for something to watch brought me to this Masterpiece Classic on Netflix consisting of four episodes.  Any Human Heart is based on a novel written by William Boyd, which I have not read.  As far as how close the Masterpiece adaptation is to the written work, I have no idea.

It’s frankly an emotional journey about one man – Logan Mountstuart from his coming of age to his death.  The movie starts on his pursuit to lose his virginity, along with his college friends that he remains fairly close to throughout life.  Of course, like all young men, virginity is lost, and the boy grows into a man.  Warning: There are some very graphic sexual scenes that may offend.  They are boys in rut.

The story follows his pursuit to become a novelist, for which he accomplishes the writing of one book and never seems to come to a place of finishing another.  Life takes him through a loveless marriage, an affair with his one true love, his stint as a British naval intelligence officer during WWII, his rubbing elbows with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Edward VIII and his wife Wallis Simpson, and finally ending up a recruited, but clueless revolutionary.  Portions of his life are lived in opulent wealth, while toward the end of life he’s eating dog food to survive.

There are three actors who play Logan from young man to old – Sam Claflin, Matthew Macfadyen, Jim Broadbent.  I enjoyed Matthew fairly well, but I cannot say it was his best performance.  Logan, as a character, is interesting enough. He lives with the philosophy of his father, that life is merely about luck.  It’s either good luck or back luck.  There isn’t a God.  There’s only luck, and you hear that phrase until you’re tired of hearing that phrase.  The greatest heartache of his life revolves around his wife, daughter, and unborn child he loses during the war.  It’s a loss he never truly recovers from the remainder of his days.

Any Human Heart isn’t the best of series that I’ve watched.  It’s mildly engaging and a thoughtful look at the meaning of life from birth to death.  By the end you’re beginning to weigh the good and bad luck in your own life.  One part of the movie I did enjoy was the multiple times Logan sat down, rolled a piece of paper into the typewriter, and sat there waiting for his next book to come out of him.  He had writer’s block that lasted for a lifetime and a blank page that never got filled.

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