Monday, 2 May 2016


Reviews, news and a visit in Thailand.


- Captain America: Civil War:

Capitaine Marleau (France 3):

- I Want My Wife Back (BBC One):

- The Five (Sky 1):

- Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahn Polizeï (RTL):


- Partners in Crime (D8):

In Spain, La Embajada, the new series of Bambú Producciones (Bajo Sospecha, Velvet) started last monday on Antena 3. Circumstances didn't leave us some time to review the first episode, a tedious "Dallas-esque" visit in Thailand (thanks to some vfx wizardry). This said, the premiere caught 4.034.000 viewers (22.5%). Most regrettably, it was against the return of the second series of the excellent El Ministerio del Tiempo after a three-week break. 1.911.000 viewers (9.9%) for the Ministry. Ouch...

Thursday, 28 April 2016


[Spoiler-Free] Following the terrible impact of their latest mission, the Avengers superhero team is informed that the world wants their activities to be officially regulated. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are divided over the initiative. Soon, the events oblige each of the Avengers to take sides.

Released this week in France, Captain America: Civil War (2016) is the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). Based on the Marvel Comics character, it's the thirteenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: Civil War is loosely adapted from the Civil War comic book series (2006) by scriptwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, who did the screenplays of The First Avenger and The Winter Soldier. Brothers Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, helmers of the latter, direct again.

One of the reasons why Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the best films of the MCU is that it's a bona fide spy thriller movie. Beyond the acknowledged influence of classics like The Three Days of the Condor (1975), emphasized by the presence of Robert Redford, The Winter Soldier is the 24 motion picture Fox didn't make. With the Russos, Steve Rogers/Captain America is Jack Bauer or Mission: Impossible's Ethan Hunt. The brilliant Captain America: Civil War begins, after a scene in 1991, like an IMF mission. Rogers (Chris Evans), Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) are in Nigeria to prevent a group led by Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) from stealing a biological weapon.

Of course, as in the Tom Cruise franchise, the mission goes wrong. The team is held accountable for civil casualties, including relief aid workers from the African nation of Wakanda. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) announce to the Avengers that they will now operate under the control of the United Nations as established by the Sokovia Accords (an echo to Avengers: Age of Ultron). Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr) supports the act but Steve Rogers wants to defend humanity without government interference. The rift between them grows when Steve's best friend Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) appears to be the culprit of a terrorist bombing during the official signing in Vienna.

King T'Chaka of Wakanda (John Kani) is killed in the explosion. His son T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) swears vengeance. From Berlin to Siberia, friendship and loyalty collide with justice and revenge. Two factions of superheroes are driven to fight each other: Iron Man, Black Widow, James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany), newbie Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and T'Challa on one side. Captain America, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Bucky on the other. Their conflict is considered with interest by the mysterious Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl), the most interesting MCU villain to date.

Captain America: Civil War goes Jason Bourne with a chase involving Rogers, Falcon, Black Panther and the Winter Soldier. Poor Bucky does the Manchurian Candidate. There's a brawl between Iron Man's camp and the renegades at the Leipzig/Halle Airport. Ant-Man (with a surprise) and Spider-Man bring some comedy. The introduction of Black Panther is very effective and the inclusion of the rebooted Spider-Man in the MCU with a recruitment by Tony Stark himself is pure gold. The Avengers "family feud" reaches the point of tragedy for Cap and Iron Man in a secret Siberian installation.

The Russo brothers definitely know how to do great superhero thrillers. Captain America: Civil War is produced by Marvel Studios and distributed here by The Walt Disney Company France. Music by Henry Jackman. Trent Opaloch is the cinematographer. Martin Freeman (Sherlock) appears as Everett K. Ross. Emily VanCamp plays Sharon Carter.

Thursday, 21 April 2016


[Spoiler-Free] Manuela Lopez, a young Spanish woman, is found dead in an apparent suicide near a hotel where she stayed. Marleau thinks someone pushed her from the window of her room. A clue leads the capitaine to a benedictine abbey.

Directed by Josée Dayan, Les mystères de la foi is the third Capitaine Marleau after Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muir (the pilot) and Le domaine des soeurs Meyer. Belgian channel La Une aired it this week ahead of French pubcaster France 3. The fabulous Corinne Masiero returns as Capitaine Marleau (no first-name) of the Gendarmerie, an unconventional detective between Vera Stanhope, Columbo and French comedian Coluche. Spanish actress Victoria Abril guest stars as Mother Louise, an abbess haunted by her past.

This excellent episode, written by actor, scriptwriter and director Stéphan Guérin-Tillié, is a festival of great dialogues. Guérin-Tillié is also on screen as Father Vincent, a sympathetic priest. Capitaine Marleau investigates amongst the sisters of the abbey. The mother superior, from Spain like the victim, suffers from a serious guilt complex. The place has a big accounting issue and its gardener has an interesting criminal record. Marleau tries to speak Spanish and plays pinball.

The other guest stars are Irène Jacob (Sister Maryse), Agathe Natanson (Sister Françoise) and Catherine Ferran as the pathologist. Also starring Jeanne Cohendy (Sister Béatrice), Cathy Bernecker (Sister Célestine), Vincent Martin (Jean), Aymeric Demarigny (Brigadier Brière), the talented Philippe du Janerand as the hotel manager, etc. Capitaine Marleau is produced by Josée Dayan's company Passionfilms and Gaspard & Co with To Do Today Productions, R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge), RTS Radio Télévision Suisse and France Télévisions.  

Produced by Josée Dayan and Gaspard de Chavagnac. François Bennaceur is the associate producer. Music by Catherine Lara and Cyrille Lehn. Series created by Elsa Marpeau. Les mystères de la foi was filmed between November and December 2015 in Alsace (mainly in Saverne) with the support of Strasbourg Eurométropole and Région Alsace Champagne-Ardenne Lorraine. Production moved to Tournan-en-Brie, in the Région Île-de-France for the fifth Marleau, which guest stars Pierre Arditi (Blood of the Vine). 

See also:

Monday, 18 April 2016


Back to Brighton from another work trip, Murray learns that his beloved wife Bex left him on the day of her 40th birthday. Too bad for the surprise birthday party he has arranged...

The bottom line: What Richard Poole did next.

Writers Mark Bussell and Justin Sbresni and comedian/actor Ben Miller, who gave us The Worst Week Of My Life (2004-2006), team up again for I Want My Wife Back. This six-part BBC One sitcom is produced by Mainstreet Pictures, the indie prodco of former ITV drama execs Laura Mackie and Sally Haynes, with Bussell and Sbresni's Busby Productions.

Ben Miller is Murray, the hapless husband of Bex, played by Caroline Catz (DCI Banks, Doc Martin). I Want My Wife Back is supposed to be a "romantic comedy" though this first episode is neither funny nor humourous. Murray looks like a thinly disguised version of Miller's DI Richard Poole in Death in Paradise. Unfortunately, there's no trace of the extraordinary sense of social satire and comedic pace usually displayed by the actor in things like The Armstrong and Miller Show.

Also starring Priyanga Burford (Nereesha), Kenneth Collard (Grant), Susannah Fielding (Emma), Jan Francis (Paula), Cariad Lloyd, Abigail Thaw, etc. Music by Grant Olding. Co-produced by Guy de Glanville. Sally Haynes and Laura Mackie exec produce. Created, written and produced by Mark Bussell and Justin Sbresni. Directed by Paul Norton Walker.

Friday, 15 April 2016


[Spoiler-Free] When they were 12 years old, friends Mark, Pru, Danny and Slade were out together in the forest with Mark’s five-year-old brother Jesse. Bothered by the kid, they asked him to go home alone. 

Jesse was never seen again. 20 years later, Danny is a police officer on a murder case. The forensic report gives him quite a shock: Jesse's DNA has been found on the crime scene. 

The Five is a 10-part suspense/thriller drama created by American bestselling mystery writer Harlan Coben for British channel Sky 1 and written by English screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst (The Driver). It's Coben's first original TV series. Last year, the French 6-episode adaptation of his novel No Second Chance (Une chance de trop), triumphed on private channel TF1. The Five is produced by RED Production Company (Happy Valley, Scott and Bailey), which was founded by Nicola Schindler in 1998. It is set in the fictional English town of Westbridge and filmed in Liverpool.

Copper Danny, played by O-T Fagbenle (luckier than with The Interceptor) warns his friends Mark (Welsh actor Tom Cullen) and Slade (Lee Ingleby, also in The A Word) about the DNA results. Mark has become an inner city legal aid lawyer. Slade runs a city shelter that houses runaways and victims of domestic violence. The trio contacts Pru (Sarah Solemani), now a doctor married to an American businessman. Mark interrogates Jákob Marosi (the great Rade Sherbedgia), a convicted child killer who admitted the murder of Jesse but the body wasn't found.

Mark's parents, Julie and Alan (Geraldine James and Michael Maloney), try to cope with the news. A young woman who disappeared 5 years ago suddenly resurfaces. The phone of the murder victim leads Danny and his colleague Ally (Hannah Arterton) to a suspect who might be Jesse. Someone uses a silenced gun before throwing it into the lake. A music producer has a very sinister house... Harlan Coben's touch is recognizable. He even considered the idea for a novel. Nevertheless, there's no need to be a fan of his books to enjoy this gripping drama.

Sky 1 airs two back-to-back episodes of The Five every friday (from April 15). The first couple of hours give you exactly what you expect of the genre: a plot effective enough to divert attention from its possible flaws, multi-layered characters, questions and of course the mandatory twists and turns. The Five is masterfully directed by Mark Tonderai. Produced by Karen Lewis. Richard Fee is the story producer. Nicola Schindler, Harlan Coben and Danny Brocklehurst exec produce. Cameron Roach is the executive producer for Sky.

Music composed by Michael Jennings. Tico Poulakakis is the cinematographer. The cast also includes Honeysuckle Weeks as Laura and the amazing Don Warrington (Death in Paradise) as Danny's father Ray. The Five is distributed by Studiocanal, which owns Red Production Company. The series will start on Canal+ on April 28. Harlan Coben recently launched his own production company, Final Twist Productions, in partnership with Nicola Schindler. Studiocanal will distribute its original content.