Monday, 28 March 2016

MAIGRET SETS A TRAP (ITV)

[March 30, 2016] Paris, 1955. Four women are murdered on the streets of Montmartre in a spree of seemingly unconnected attacks. Chief Inspector Maigret must find the killer before he strikes again.

Maigret Sets A Trap is the first of ITV's two new TV movies with Rowan Atkinson as Maigret.

The bottom line: Raymond Fowler in an episode of The Inspector minus the humour.

Created by Belgian author Georges Simenon, Commissaire Jules Maigret appeared in 75 novels and 28 short stories published between 1931 and 1972. Popular worldwide, these stories have been adapted many times in various countries, essentially for the cinema (with Pierre Renoir, Albert Préjean, Jean Gabin...) and television. Rupert Davies portrayed "Inspector Maigret" in Maigret for the BBC from 1960 to 1963. In France, Les enquêtes du commissaire Maigret, with Jean Richard, ran from 1967 to 1990 with 88 episodes until France 2 (then Antenne 2 ) replaced it by Maigret, starring movie, stage and TV actor Bruno Cremer.

Cremer played the iconic role in 54 episodes from 1991 to 2005 and his Maigret, filmed primarily in Prague, is still considered as the definitive adaptation of Simenon's character. Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, Granada aired its own Maigret (with Michael Gambon) between 1992 and 1993. And last year, ITV announced the return of Jules Maigret to British TV with two films for television starring English comedian and actor Rowan Atkinson. Maigret Sets A Trap is adapted from Maigret tend un piège by Stewart Harcourt (Agatha Raisin, Agatha Christie's Marple) and directed by Ashley Pearce. Harcourt also adapted the second TV movie, Maigret's Dead Man (from Maigret et son mort), directed by Jon East.

In France, the reaction to ITV's announcement was "Mr Bean to play Maigret", regardless of the fact that Jean Richard, who played the commissaire for 23 years, was mainly known as a "funnyman" before his TV series. Actually the most regrettable thing with the casting of Rowan Atkinson is that the channel had the ideal Jules Maigret on hand with Roger Allam, who plays DI Thursday in Endeavour since 2012. Atkinson just can't capture the presence and the authority of the detective. Worse, he looks like he's trying hard not to have an expression which contributed to make him a revered comedian.

At least there's solace in the excellent supporting cast: Lucy Cohu (Madame Maigret), Shaun Dingwall (Inspector Janvier), Aidan McArdle (Judge Comeliau), Leo Staar (Inspector Lapointe), Colin Mace (Inspector Lognon), Mark Heap (Moers), Rebecca Night (Yvonne Moncin), Rufus Wright (Morel), Fiona Shaw (Madame  Moncin), the amazing David Dawson (Marcel Moncin), etc. Budapest doubles as Paris, like in the Granada series. The Hungarian capital does it rather well but in case of doubt there's a gargoyle, French flags here and there, plus some cryptic lyrics on a beautiful theme composed by Samuel Sim (Home Fires).

Maigret is produced by Ealing Studios with Maigret Productions Ltd (a Peters Fraser Dunlop Group company) and distributed by BBC Worldwide. Jeremy Gwylt is the producer. Barnaby Thompson, John Simenon (Georges Simenon's son) and Stewart Harcourt are the executive producers. Rowan Atkinson is famous all over the world and those ITV/BBC feature-length crime dramas usually work more than well. Ask France 3, where the new chief inspector will join Midsomer Murders, Endeavour or Vera. Maigret sets a trap caught 5.7m viewers (28%). Maigret's Dead Man will be shown later in the year.

http://www.trussel.com/f_maig.htm
http://jy.depoix.free.fr/commisse.htm

See also: 

http://tattard2.blogspot.fr/2016/03/maigret-on-itv.html 

EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO - SERIES 2, EPISODE 6: TIEMPO DE MAGIA (LA 1)

[Spoiler-Free] Madrid, 1924. The Marquis of Santa Cara, introduces his son, Joaquín Argamasilla, to his friends. He wants Joaquín to demonstrate them his metapsychic powers as he pretends that his son can see through things ("the incredible man with X-Ray in his eyes").

The demonstration is convincing and Gromek, a circus impresario, wants to bring Joaquin Argamasilla to America. Except that the young man is a top agent of the Ministry, which suspects that Argamasilla wants to tell its secrets to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

A patrol goes undercover to meet the Marquis and his son: Amelia as a journalist, Alonso as her photograph and Pacino as... The Great Benito, a psychic. The presence of Josefa, a hairdresser, gives him the opportunity to shine with his knowledge of a criminal case from the era. The "powers" of the Great Benito allow the team to travel with Joaquín Argamasilla to New York. Some familiar adversaries are already there and the legendary magician Houdini helps Amelia, Alonso and Pacino to avoid an assasination.

Irene recovers a bit of dignity and the annoying Susanna Torres is unmasked in this brilliant episode. The story is based on a real-life 1924 controversy when Joaquín Argamasilla got the attention of Harry Houdini, who decided to expose the Spaniard as a fraud. The Great Benito/Pacino remembers a famous 1924 criminal case, the disappearance of three little girls of the Hilarión Eslava Street in Madrid. Other references include the Marx Brothers, Grease (an hilarious nod) or Mission: Impossible. The sets, visual effects and costumes are first class. The episode is directed by Paco Plaza ([Rec]).

Starring Hugo Silva (Pacino), Aura Garrido (Amelia Folch), Nacho Fresneda (Alonso de Entrerríos), Cayetana Guillén Cuervo (Irene Larra), Juan Gea (Ernesto Jiménez), Francesca Piñón (Angustias Vázquez) and Jaime Blanch (Salvador Martí). Guest starring  Miki Esparbé (Joaquín Argamasilla), Glasgow-born actor Gary Piquer as Houdini, Marcos Marín (Bennett), Rick Zingale (Gromek), Mari Carmen Sánchez (Josefa), Miguel Hermoso (J. Edgar Hoover), Mar Saura (Susanna Torres), Natalia Millán (Lola Mendieta), etc.

Created by Pablo Olivares & Javier Olivares (Victor Ros, Isabel). Produced by Cliffhanger TV, Onza Entertainment and RTVE. María Roy & Maite L. Pisonero (TVE), José María Irisarri & Gonzalo Sagardía (Onza Entertainment) and Javier Olivares (Cliffhanger TV) exec produce. Anaïs Schaff and Abigail Schaff are the content coordinators for Cliffhanger TV. Music composed by Dario González Valderrama. El Ministerio del Tiempo is distributed by Onza Distribution.

http://www.rtve.es/television/ministerio-del-tiempo/

See also:

https://www.escepticos.es/repositorio/elesceptico/articulos_pdf/ee_11/ee_11_harry_houdini:_un_capitulo_de_su_lucha_contra_el_fraude.pdf
http://www.abc.es/20110324/archivo/abci-houdini-argamasilla-201103241300.html
http://www.abc.es/espana/20150705/abci-crimen-historia-tres-ninas-201507041609.html

Saturday, 26 March 2016

BLOOD ON THE DOCKS: VISA POUR L'ENFER (FRANCE 2)

Nicolas Vanot, an ER doctor from a well-off family, is found dead. He was tortured and shot in the neck. Later it's Victor Barnier, an ex-international reporter, who's discovered apparently drowned in the waters of the harbour.

Those two deaths lead to a case of human trafficking involving a Russian mobster.
 
Deux flics sur les docks (Blood on the Docks), the excellent French crime drama launched in 2011, is adapted from the Portsmouth based Joe Faraday novels by English crime fiction writer Graham Hurley. Le Havre police detectives Capitaine Richard Faraday (Jean-Marc Barr) and Capitaine Paul Winckler (Bruno Solo) returned last week on pubcaster France 2 for a fifth series of two feature-length episodes.

Directed by Edwin Baily, Visa pour l'enfer is an original story loosely based on Graham Hurley's work and written by Marc-Antoine Laurent with Jean-Marc Taba & Bernard Marié (Night Squad, Maigret). Winckler is worrying about Fabian (Liza Manili). She doesn't take Paul's concerns too well and asks Commissaire divisionnaire Dardenne (Mata Gabin) the permission to team up with Richard. Faraday finds out that his son Lulu (Jean-Marie Hall) knew Vanot, the first victim.

Bazza Swaty (Emmanuel Salinger) tries to play golf and he's basically Winckler's Huggy Bear in this episode. Visa pour l'enfer has a very good first hour with some quality material for the characters of Fabian, Lulu and Bill (Guillaume Viry). There's even a shootout scene. But the last half-hour loses momentum in spite of the great direction of Edwin Baily and a nice ending.

With Julien Boulenguiez as Bazza's henchman Jimmy, Michel Scotto Di Carlo (Michel), Xavier Schliwanski (Braquo) as Grigor Nevski, Aymeric Lecerf (Ange Tessardi), Laetitia Pembele Kandi (Leila Manouf), Corinne Belet (Pathologist), etc. This series was filmed from February to April 2015. Deux flics sur les docks is produced by Gétévé with France Télévisions and the support of Région Haute-Normandie. It is distributed by Zodiak Rights.

Jacques Salles and Christian Charret are the producers. Muriel Paradis exec produces. Music by Canadian composer Pierre-Philippe Côté. The song The Calling is from his Peter Henry Phillips project. Alex Arcoleo composed Antimatter, the collection's theme music. Title sequence designed by David Fernandes. Visa pour l'enfer caught 3.827.000 viewers (16.3 %) against a football match on TF1. The next series will be filmed between May and July 2016.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

THE A WORD - EPISODE 1 (BBC ONE)

A Cumbrian extended family is confronted with the autism diagnosis of their youngest member in this six-part drama which started this week.

The A Word is based on פלפלים צהובים (Pilpelim Tsehubim = "Yellow Peppers"), a 2010-2014 Israeli hit series about a family of farmers in an isolated rural village of the Arava desert who copes with the diagnosis of their 5-year old son with autism. Created by Keren Margalit, the 26 X 35-minute drama, aired in Israel on Channel 2, was produced by July August Productions with Keshet Broadcasting.

Yellow Peppers is distributed under the title The A Word by Keshet International. In April 2011, two episodes were presented as a part to the World Autism Awareness Day at the United Nations in the presence of Keren Margalit. The BBC bought the rights for a British adaptation in 2014 and Keshet asked scriptwriter Peter Bowker (Monroe, Occupation, Blackpool) to do his own version. He put his experience as a former teacher of children with learning disabilities in this 6 X 60-minute series.

Paul and Alison Hughes live in Cumbria's Lake district with their two children: teenage daughter Rebecca (from Alison’s first marriage) and five-year-old son Joe. Paul works at the brewery owned by his father-in-law, Maurice, a widower. He wants to open a gastropub with his wife, who runs a diner. The young Joe is music obsessed, non-communicative and he doesn't play with other children. When Alison's brother Eddie and his wife Nicola return to the family home to rebuild their broken marriage they suggest that the boy's problems run deeper. Maurice expresses his own concerns for his grandson.

Alison and Paul bring Joe to a specialist and their son is finally diagnosed with autism. The A Word is directed by Peter Cattaneo (Rev, The Full Monty), Dominic Leclerc and Susan Tully. There's a fine cast: Morven Christie (Grantchester) as Alison Hughes, Lee Ingleby (Our Zoo, Inspector George Gently) as Paul, Greg McHugh (Eddie Scott), Vinette Robinson (Nicola Daniels), 6-year old newcomer Max Vento as Joe Hughes and Molly Right (Rebecca). The great Christopher Eccleston is back in Cumbria (where ITV's Safe House was filmed too) to play Maurice Scott, his first grandfather role.

This premiere is good, though overwhelmed by the postcard scenery and the soundtrack (Arctic Monkeys, The Mekons, etc...) As the episode gets stronger towards the end, The A Word should be more interesting next week. Definitely done with intelligence and sensitivity (through the perspective of the family), this drama is a commendable contribution to raise awareness about autism. And hopefully it will draw a new attention on the Israeli original version beyond its format sales. The A Word is a production of Tiger Aspect's Fifty Fathoms (part of Endemol Shine UK) and Keshet Productions UK for the BBC. It is licensed by Keshet International.

Produced by Marcus Wilson (Doctor Who). Keren Margalit, Peter Bowker and Patrick Spence exec produce. Jenny Frayn is the co-executive producer. Music composed by Rob Lane. Ruairí O'Brien (The Fall, Line of Duty) is the cinematographer. On March 30, French pubcaster France 2 will air a special evening about autism starting with Presque comme les autres, a TV movie adapted from Louis, pas à pas, a book written by Gersende & Francis Perrin. World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2.

http://www.thecustardtv.com/2016/03/chat-with-peter-bowker-on-translating-a.html
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/autism-drama-writer-talks-bbc-877286
http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/word-writer-hopes-autism-drama-7591836

About autism:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3glLNk6hDHv6xr9Bfk6XQGC/information-and-support
https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/
http://www.autism.org.uk/
http://www.scottishautism.org/

Monday, 21 March 2016

BLOOD ON THE DOCKS: LONGUE DISTANCE (FRANCE 2)

Deux flics sur les docks (Blood on the Docks), the excellent French crime drama launched in 2011, is adapted from the Portsmouth based Joe Faraday novels by English crime fiction writer Graham Hurley

Le Havre police detectives Capitaine Richard Faraday (Jean-Marc Barr) and Capitaine Paul Winckler (Bruno Solo) returned last week on pubcaster France 2 for a fifth series of two feature-length episodes.

« C'est quoi ça?
- Un flingue. Avec un flic derrière. »
 
Xavier Gallat, a kitesurf instructor, drives his vehicle on the beach when he's shot in the head from a long distance. The only witness is his young son, strapped into the rear child seat. Paul Winckler interrogates Kevin Bontemps, Xavier's assistant and also a small drug dealer, while Richard Faraday talks to a neighbour of Gallat. Later, Tony Bataille, a particularly odious trafficker of almost everything, is shot in front of his home from the Tancarville Bridge. Faraday, who's an expert in long range shooting, concludes that Gallat and Bataille were both killed with an Ultima Ratio military rifle used by a sniper. 

Serge Cabanier, a person of interest, leads the police to a hostel for ex-military personnel run by Capitaine Myriam Meriles. Cabanier's lawyer normally works only for local entrepreneur and mob boss Bazza Swaty, Winckler's childhood pal. The case sparks painful memories for Richard, whose father was a soldier. A third victim, a tree surgeon, is found shot  in a park. An ex-army sniper is on the loose in Le Havre and Winckler puts his own life in danger when he sets a trap with Bazza's help.

« C'est pas très règlementaire ça, commissaire. On dirait que je commence à déteindre sur cette brigade.
- Je sais. Croyez bien que je le vis atrocement, Winckler.  »  

Directed by Edwin Baily, the absolutely superb Longue distance is adapted by Olivier Prieur from the novel Touching Distance (2013), which is actually a book from Graham Hurley's Jimmy Suttle series and not a Faraday. With Mata Gabin as Commissaire divisionnaire Lucie Dardenne, the French answer to Law & Order's Lieutenant Van Buren, Liza Manili (Lieutenant Julie Fabian), Emmanuel Salinger (Bazza Swaty), Guillaume Viry (Bill Gates), Jean-Marie Hall (Lulu Faraday) and Michel Scotto Di Carlo as Michel, a role formerly played by Daniel Carraz.

The guest cast includes Nicolas Woirion (Benoit Janin), Antoine Basler (Cassard), Ariane Séguillon (Myriam Meriles), Haris Resic (Pageski), Karine Belly (Erika Maïer), Valérie Keruzore (Lila Suard), Luc-Antoine Diquero (Kevin Bontemps), etc. Deux flics sur les docks is produced by Gétévé with France Télévisions and the support of Région Haute-Normandie. Jacques Salles and Christian Charret are the producers. Muriel Paradis exec produces. Music by Canadian composer Pierre-Philippe Côté. The songs Bloom and Henry are from his Peter Henry Phillips project. Alex Arcoleo composed Antimatter, the collection's theme music. Title sequence designed by David Fernandes.

« Je vais appeler mon avocat.
- Bon réflexe.  »  

This series was filmed from February to April 2015. Until now Deux flics sur les docks was aired in Autumn.  This Friday's episode is Visa pour l'enfer, an original story. The next series will be filmed between May and July 2016. Blood on the Docks is distributed by Zodiak Rights. Curiously, you can find it on DVD in the United States with English subs but not in France.

EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO - SERIES 2, EPISODE 5: UN VIRUS DE OSTRO TIEMPO (LA 1)

[Spoiler-Free] Irene Larra catches the Spanish flu during a mission in 1918 with Dr. Vargas, the boss of the Ministry's medical staff.

Vargas prefers to leave her behind given the risks of contagion but Susanna Torres orders him to bring her back. Her decision threatens the civil servants of the Ministerio del Tiempo and the History of Spain itself.

Amelia, Pacino and Alonso cannot go to the Seville April Fair in 1991 because all the missions are cancelled. The Ministry is quarantined and two agents are trapped in the Cave of Altamira during the Upper Palaeolithic era. The great Velázquez, Alonso and Germán (the Ministry's beadle) are infected. Ernesto informs Salvador of the situation.  

Galician heroine Maria Pita, who prevented the soldiers of English pirate Francis Drake from invading La Coruña in 1589, appears in 2016 because of a door glitch, which forces Ernesto to give a History lecture to Susanna ("Fish and chips in Sangenjo"). Angustias helps as a nurse. Pacino convinces Amelia and Ernesto that Dr. Vargas hides something.

A great episode punctuated by some moving flashbacks about Velázquez, Alonso and Germán. The scenes with Mariano and Pepe, the two agents of the Ministry stucked in 15000 BC, will stay as some of the best moments of this series. Starring Hugo Silva (Pacino), Aura Garrido (Amelia Folch), Nacho Fresneda (Alonso de Entrerríos), Cayetana Guillén Cuervo (Irene Larra), Juan Gea (Ernesto Jiménez) and Francesca Piñón (Angustias Vázquez). 

With Jaime Blanch (Salvador Martí). Guest starring José Luis Torrijo (Vargas), José Ramón Iglesias (Germán),  Tania Villamarín (Maria Pita), Mar Saura (Susanna Torres), Julián Villagrán (Diego Velázquez), etc. Created by Pablo Olivares & Javier Olivares (Victor Ros, Isabel).   Produced by Cliffhanger TV, Onza Entertainment and RTVE.  

María Roy & Maite L. Pisonero (TVE), José María Irisarri & Gonzalo Sagardía (Onza Entertainment) and Javier Olivares (Cliffhanger TV) exec produce. Anaïs Schaff and Abigail Schaff are the content coordinators for Cliffhanger TV. Music composed by Dario González Valderrama. El Ministerio del Tiempo is distributed by Onza Distribution.

Friday, 18 March 2016

BLOG ADVISORY

Flu-like symptoms. My favourites are fever and headache, particularly helpful for reviews.

Never give up, never surrender!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

THE SECOND SERIES OF BAJO SOSPECHA ENDS TONIGHT ON ANTENA 3

Series 2 of Bajo Sospecha, the excellent Spanish crime/mystery drama from Bambú Producciones, concludes tonight on private channel Antena 3 with Episode 10.

This second series didn't disappoint, it was even better than the first one. But a renewal is less than guaranteed given the rating decline, particularly significant since mid-February. The move of Bajo Sospecha from Tuesday to Thursday and a clash against the Spanish equivalent of Celebrity Big Brother didn't help. 

The first teasers of La Embajada, the new series of Bambú Producciones for Antena 3, are now available. The channel also recently commissioned a series about narco-business called Fariña to the same producers. Two actresses of Bambú's Gran Hotel are amongst the cast of La Embajada: Amaia Salamanca and Megan Montaner.



See also:

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

MAIGRET ON ITV

ITV has confirmed that Maigret Sets A Trap, the first of the channel's two new TV movies with Rowan Atkinson as Maigret, will be aired on Monday, March 28, 2016

Created by Belgian author Georges Simenon, Commissaire Jules Maigret appeared in 75 novels and 28 short stories published between 1931 and 1972. Popular worldwide, these stories have been adapted many times in various countries, essentially for the cinema (with Pierre Renoir, Albert Préjean, Jean Gabin, etc...) and television.

From 1960 to 1963, Rupert Davies starred as "Inspector Maigret" in Maigret for the BBC. On French TV, Les enquêtes du commissaire Maigret, starring Jean Richard, ran from 1967 to 1990 with 88 episodes until pubcaster Antenne 2 decided to give its familiar figure the axe. Though with the intention to give him a fresh start as Richard was then 70. Then, English producer Steve Hawes and French producers Eve Vercel and Robert Nador (of Dune Production), devised its successor: Maigret.

Movie, stage and TV actor Bruno Cremer accepted the iconic role after due reflection. To radically differ from the previous version, the producers decided to set theirs in the Fifties with a cinematic feel, hence a budget that required co-production with Swiss and Belgian televisions, French private channel La 5 and EC Télévision Paris. But also filming in Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic (which became an essential production partner) or Finland. Even South Africa and Cuba for some later entries.

Bruno Cremer played the commissaire in 54 episodes from 1991 to 2005. Sadly, he had to be dubbed by Vincent Grass in the finale episode (Maigret et l'Étoile du nord) because of some health issues. Cremer died in 2010 and his Maigret is still considered as the definitive adaptation of Simenon's character. Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, Granada aired its own Maigret (with Michael Gambon) from 1992 to 1993. BBC Four shortly aired the Bruno Cremer series in 2008. And last year, ITV announced the return of Jules Maigret to British TV with two films for television starring English comedian and actor Rowan Atkinson.

In France, where Maigret is sacred, the initial reaction was "Mr Bean to play Maigret", regardless of the fact that Jean Richard, who performed the role for 23 years, was mainly known as a "funnyman" before his TV series. Actually the most regrettable thing with the choice of Atkinson is that ITV had the ideal Jules Maigret on hand with Roger Allam, who plays DI Fred Thursday in Endeavour since 2012. Maigret Sets A Trap is adapted from Maigret tend un piège by Stewart Harcourt (Agatha Raisin, Agatha Christie's Marple) and directed by Ashley Pearce. Harcourt also adapted the second TV movie, Maigret's Dead Man (from Maigret et son mort), directed by Jon East

Set in the 1950’s in Paris, and filmed in Budapest, those two new Maigret are produced by Ealing Studios and Maigret Productions Ltd (a Peters Fraser Dunlop Group company). Maigret is distributed by BBC Worldwide and France 3 will air it in France. It's the French home of Midsomer Murders, Endeavour, Vera, etc. The ITV recent video promotional material seems to indicate that the legacy of the Bruno Cremer version will remain intact. His Maigret is available in France on DVD from Koba Films.

http://www.trussel.com/f_maig.htm
http://jy.depoix.free.fr/commisse.htm

[Update - March 31, 2016] Review:

http://tattard2.blogspot.fr/2016/03/maigret-sets-trap-itv.html

Saturday, 12 March 2016

CAPITAINE MARLEAU: LE DOMAINE DES SOEURS MEYER (FRANCE 3)

[Spoiler-Free] Capitaine Marleau is called to the Meyer Brewery when the accountant of the company is found dead the very same day of the visit of Dimitri Nobécourt, who's about to buy the establishment. Later, a prominent figure of the venerable Meyer beer business is murdered.

Following an excellent pilot aired in 2015 by French pubcaster France 3, the crime drama Capitaine Marleau will return with two new episodes: Le domaine des soeurs Meyer and Les mystères de la foi. Belgian channel La Une aired the former on Friday, March 11, ahead of French TV.

« Vous savez pourquoi on dit de moi que j'suis moche comme un pou? 
- Pardon?
- Pourquoi on dit de moi que j'suis moche comme un pou. Parce que c'est vrai. Quand je m'accroche comme ça, j'leur ressemble. »

Revealed by the film Louise Wimmer (2012), the amazing Corinne Masiero is back as Capitaine Marleau (no first-name) of the Gendarmerie. An unconventional detective between Vera Stanhope, Columbo (« Ah non mais j'voulais vous demander un truc. ») and French comedian Coluche. The colourful captain wears a cap with ear flaps which reminds of Frances McDormand in Fargo and she drives a Range Rover. Marleau's abrupt ways and her peculiar sense of humour hide a sharp mind and a profound knowledge of the human nature. She can also be poetically charming in unexpected circumstances.

Corinne Masiero first played Capitaine Marleau as a secondary character in the France 3 miniseries Entre vents et marées (2014), directed by Josée Dayan and written by Philippe Besson & Daniel Tonachella (Blood of the vine, Maigret). In 2015, Dayan and novelist/scriptwriter Elsa Marpeau (Blood on the Docks) gave the offbeat cop her own pilot for France 3, Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muirwith Gérard Depardieu as a special guest star. In Le domaine des soeurs Meyer, written by Elsa Marpeau and directed by Josée Dayan, Marleau investigates when death strikes inside and around an Alsacian brewery owned by the Meyer family. 

« Moi je crois rien. Moi en fait j'me poste et puis j'attends. Et les gens ils sont tellement tordus, il y en a ils viennent me répondre à des questions que j'ai même pas posé. »
 
The company raised the interest of Dimitri Nobécourt, a young and dashing businessman. Frantz, the Meyer patriarch, can't figure out why Dimitri looks so familiar to him. Katel Meyer, his wife, has Alzheimer's and Augustine, their eldest daughter, is her carer while her sister Clara runs the brewery. Petra, the youngest, is the black sheep of the family. Marleau's shrewdness and some assistance from Oscar Langevin, a sympathetic pathologist (and latinist), will reveal the truth behind the secrets and lies of the Meyers.

After Philippe Muir, Dayan, Marpeau and Corinne Masiero convert the try with an absolute brilliance. Once again, Josée Dayan gets the best of her guest actors: the excellent Sagamore Stévenin (Falco) as Dimitri, the great Bulle Ogier (Katel Meyer), French national treasure Jean-Pierre Marielle (Frantz), Sophie Cattani (Clara), Christine Brücher (Augustine), Sophie Verbeeck (very good as Petra) and Marius Colucci (Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie) as Oscar (1). Too bad that Marleau never stays in the same precinct for long because he could be a perfect regular.

« J'suis pas aussi con que j'en ai l'air.
- Et pourtant vous partez de loin. »

Stage legend, movie and TV actress Catherine Samie appears in a moving flashback scene. Valéry Schatz, who guest starred in an episode of Death in Paradise aired by BBC One in January, plays Rodolphe. 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. Le domaine des soeurs Meyer was filmed between October and November 2015 with the support of Strasbourg Eurométropole and Région Alsace Champagne-Ardenne Lorraine.

Produced by Josée Dayan and Gaspard de Chavagnac. François Bennaceur is the associate producer.  Music by Catherine Lara and Cyrille Lehn (2). Series created by Elsa Marpeau, who also co-wrote TF1's hit Le secret d'Élise, based on David Schulner and Stephen Greehorn's Fox pilot The Oaks (adapted by ITV as Marchlands). A fourth Marleau, Brouillard en thalasso, is currently filmed in the Alsace region. The fifth episode will guest star Blood of the vine's Pierre Arditi

(1) Marius Colucci is the son of the aforementioned Coluche.
(2) There's a nod to Catherine Lara in the dialogues. Other references include Hitchcock and Jacques Deray's film On ne meurt que deux fois.

http://www.elsamarpeau.com/  
http://www.lalsace.fr/actualite/2016/03/04/trois-episodes-tournes-en-alsace

Friday, 11 March 2016

EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO - SERIES 2, EPISODE 4: EL MONASTERIO DEL TIEMPO (LA 1)

[Spoiler-Free "mini review"] 1808. Napoleon is about to spend Christmas at the convent of Santa Clara in Tordesillas. Salvador Marti must send there a team to save Rodolfo Suárez, an ancestor of Adolfo Suárez (the father of Spain's democratic transition) from an execution by the Emperor's troops.

Rodolfo and two other men are accused of espionage and the abbess of Santa Clara died before pleading their case before Napoleon. Salvador Marti needs someone who has the "profile" of the abbess so he chooses Angustias, his secretary, to go with Amelia and Pacino. Alonso has a couple of days off to adjust to his new situation with a little help of Ernesto. Irene understands that Salvador has a way to contact Julián. The scheming Susanna Torres manages to push her agenda one step ahead, at the expenses of the boss of the Ministerio.

Pacino must pass as a priest and gets too much attention from Marshal Ney. Angustias can't sing and her mastery of the French language is not quite what's in her resume. A very funny "lighter" episode including a short reappearance of Rodolfo Sancho as Julián Martínez (come on, the intro spoils it anyway...) Julian is absent of most of the second series due to the commitments of the very busy Rodolfo Sancho on the Antena 3 crime drama Mar de Plastico.

Also starring Aura Garrido (Amelia Folch), Nacho Fresneda (Alonso de Entrerríos), Cayetana Guillén Cuervo (Irene Larra), Juan Gea (Ernesto Jiménez), Francesca Piñón (Angustias Vázquez). With Jaime Blanch (Salvador Martí) and Hugo Silva (Pacino). Guest starring Fernando Cayo (Napoleon), Ismael Martínez (Rodolfo Suárez), Jordi Martínez (Marshal Ney), Mar Saura (Susanna Torres), etc.

Created by Pablo Olivares & Javier Olivares (Victor Ros, Isabel). Produced by Cliffhanger TV, Onza Entertainment and RTVE. María Roy & Maite L. Pisonero (TVE), José María Irisarri & Gonzalo Sagardía (Onza Entertainment) and Javier Olivares (Cliffhanger TV) exec produce. Anaïs Schaff and Abigail Schaff are the content coordinators for Cliffhanger TV. Music composed by Dario González Valderrama. El Ministerio del Tiempo is distributed by Onza Distribution.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

INSPECTOR MONTALBANO: LA PIRAMIDE DI FANGO (RAI 1)

[Spoiler-Free "mini review"] RAI 1 concluded on Monday the tenth series of Il commissario Montalbano (two feature-length episodes) with La piramide di fango.

La piramide di fango was adapted by Francesco Bruni with author Andrea Camilleri from his namesake novel  (2014). On a stormy night, a man who had no time to get dressed properly flees on a bicycle with blood on his back. Exhausted and despaired, he arrives on a construction site and finds refuge inside a huge pipe. He's found dead there the morning after and it appears he was shot with a firearm.

Salvo quickly understands that this homicide is linked to a "pyramid of mud", a criminal operation controlled from one of those luxury villas overlooking the city. Lucia Gambardella, a journalist, investigates on another aspect of the case. There's some action, a secret safe and Galluzzo speaks German. An excellent episode (again) with an atmospheric award-worthy direction by Montalbano regular helmer Alberto Sironi.

With Luca Zingaretti (Montalbano), Cesare Bocci (Mimì Augello), Peppino Mazzotta (Giuseppe Fazio) Angelo Russo as Agatino Catarella, Sonia Bergamasco (Livia), Davide Lo Verde (Galluzzo), etc. Il commissario Montalbano is produced by Palomar and RAI Fiction. Produced by Carlo Degli Esposti, founder and president of Palomar, and Nora Barbieri with Max Gusberti. Marco Camilli is the producer for Palomar and Erica Pellegrini produces for RAI. Music composed and conducted by Franco Piersanti. Franco Lecca is the cinematographer.

Aired on February 29, Una faccenda delicata, the previous episode, drew 10.862.000 viewers (39.6%). 10.334.000 viewers (40.95%) watched La piramide di fango. Il commissario Montalbano is distributed by Rai Com. Launched in 1999, it is aired in the UK by BBC Four as Inspector Montalbano and in France on France 3 as Commissaire Montalbano.

http://www.carlopalomar.it/ (The blog of Carlo Degli Esposti)

See also:

http://tattard2.blogspot.fr/2016/03/inspector-montalbano-una-faccenda.html (Spoiler-Free "mini review" of Una faccenda delicata)

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

DVD REVIEWS UPDATE

Our review of the French Region 2 DVD of Nancherrow (1999) is now available here:

http://tattard2.blogspot.fr/2016/02/nancherrow-french-region-2-dvd.html

Coming ASAP:

- Grand Hôtel 5 ("Grand Hôtel - Saison 5"). Released in January, actually the second half of the third and final series of Grand Hotel.

- Femmes & filles (Wives and Daughters, 1999). Adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell (North & South).

- Bonne nuit, Monsieur Tom! (Goodnight Mister Tom, 1998). Starring the great John Thaw.

Not necessarily in that order.

http://www.kobafilms.fr/

Friday, 4 March 2016

WITNESSES SERIES 2

Filming of the second series of Witnesses (Les Témoins), French pubcaster France 2's excellent crime drama, is due to start on March 28. Marie Dompnier will return as police detective Sandra Winckler but not Thierry Lhermitte, who played Paul Maisonneuve in the first series.
 
It's Audrey Fleurot (A French Village, Spiral) who'll be alongside Marie Dompnier. She will play Catherine Keemer, a mysterious amnesiac discovered in her car. The day before, 15 men were found dead, frozen and seated in a bus along a country road near the coast. Each of these men was no stranger to Catherine.

Les Témoins was created by Hervé Hadmar & Marc Herpoux (Pigalle, la nuit, Signature). The first series (6 one-hour episodes), written by its creators and directed by Hadmar, aired on France 2 from March to April 2015 with an average of 4.3m viewers (17.4%). The 8-part second series, written once again by the duo Hadmar/Herpoux and helmed by Hervé Hadmar, will be filmed at Mont Saint-Michel and in the Lille region.  

Witnesses is produced by Cinétévé and Pictanovo (Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie) and is distributed by Newen Distribution (Spiral). Series 1 of Les Témoins was sold to Germany, Belgium, Norway, Australia, Poland or the United Kingdom (Channel 4). It is shown in Italy since yesterday on FoxCrime. Les Témoins is available in France on DVD from Koba Films.

See also:

http://tattard2.blogspot.fr/2015/04/witnesses-les-temoins-french-region-2.html (Series 1 DVD review). 

Thursday, 3 March 2016

CAPITAINE MARLEAU RETURNS

Following an excellent pilot aired last year by French pubcaster France 3, the crime drama Capitaine Marleau returns with two new episodes: Le domaine des soeurs Meyer and Les mystères de la foi.

Corinne Masiero is back as the unconventional Capitaine Marleau (no first-name) of the Gendarmerie. Belgian channel La Une will air Le domaine des soeurs Meyer on March 11, ahead of French television.  

« Cap'taine Marleau, Homicide. »

Corinne Masiero first played Capitaine Marleau in the France 3 miniseries Entre vents et marées (2014). Directed by Josée Dayan and written by Philippe Besson & Daniel Tonachella (Blood of the vine, Maigret), it starred Nicole Garcia and Muriel Robin and Marleau was actually a secondary character. In 2015, Dayan and novelist/scriptwriter Elsa Marpeau (Blood on the Docks) gave the offbeat detective her own pilot for France 3, Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muirwith Gérard Depardieu as a special guest star (though first credited).

On September 15, 2015, Philippe Muir drew 3.731.000 viewers (15.3%). For the anecdote, a primetime repeat of Entre vents et marées did very well last month. Filmed between October and November 2015 in the Alsace region (1)Le domaine des soeurs Meyer is directed by Josée Dayan and written by Elsa Marpeau. Marpeau also co-wrote TF1's recent hit Le secret d'Élise, based on David Schulner and Stephen Greehorn's Fox pilot The Oaks (adapted in the U.K. by ITV as Marchlands).

Sagamore Stévenin (formerly Falco on TF1), Bulle Ogier, the great Jean-Pierre Marielle and Marius Colucci (Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie) are amongst the guest stars of Le domaine des soeurs Meyer. Filmed between November and December 2015, also in Alsace, Les mystères de la foi is directed by Josée Dayan and written by actor, scriptwriter and director Stéphan Guérin-Tillié. A fourth Marleau, Brouillard en thalasso, is currently filmed in Alsace. Written by Guerin-Tillié, it's helmed by Dayan. Muriel Robin guest stars. 

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.

(1) Capitaine Marleau: Philippe Muir was filmed in Languedoc-Roussillon.

http://www.elsamarpeau.com/
http://www.guerin-tillie.com/

See also:

EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO - SERIES 2, EPISODE 3: TIEMPO DE HIDALGOS (LA 1)

[Spoiler-Free "mini review"] The Ministry of Time has a big problem: Spain has lost Don Quixote! Pacino (Hugo Silva), Amelia (Aura Garrido) and Alonso (Nacho Fresneda) try to save Cervantes' masterwork with the assistance of Gil Pérez (Miguel Rellán), while the author is eager to fulfil his ambition as a playwright.

The impressive Jimmy Shaw returns as Paul Walcott, the American time traveller who first appeared last year to threaten another Spanish national treasure (Guernica). Miguel de Cervantes is performed by Pere Ponce in this wonderful Tiempo de hidalgos (aired on Monday) which includes a charming and elegant tribute to Vincent and the Doctor, the tenth episode of the fifth series of 2005's Doctor Who. There are shades of The Shakespeare Code too.

Victor Clavijo is back as Lope de Vega and the legendary Manuel de Blas also appears in this episode packed with talent. We have not finished yet with Lola Mendieta (Natalia Millán), the adversaries of the Ministry travel Star Trek-style and does the Darrow Ltd Co. really plan to "build a better future"?

Also starring Cayetana Guillén Cuervo (Irene Larra), Juan Gea (Ernesto Jiménez), Francesca Piñón (Angustias Vázquez) and Jaime Blanch (Salvador Martí). Created by Pablo Olivares & Javier Olivares (Victor Ros, Isabel) and directed by Marc Vigil. Produced by Cliffhanger TV, Onza Entertainment and RTVE.

María Roy & Maite L. Pisonero (TVE), José María Irisarri & Gonzalo Sagardía (Onza Entertainment) and Javier Olivares (Cliffhanger TV) exec produce. Anaïs Schaff and Abigail Schaff are the content coordinators for Cliffhanger TV. Music composed by Dario González Valderrama. El Ministerio del Tiempo is distributed by Onza Distribution.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

LAST MONTH ON THIS BLOG

Reviews, "mini reviews" and news.

REVIEWS AND "MINI REVIEWS"

- Death in Paradise (BBC One, Series 5):


- El Ministerio del Tiempo (La 1, Series 2):


- The Night Manager (BBC One):


- Midsomer Murders (ITV, Series 18):


- Lucifer (Fox):


NEWS

- Inspector Montalbano (RAI 1, Series 10):


- Blood on the Docks/Deux flics sur les docks (France 2, Series 5):


- Unforgotten:


- Doctor Who:

INSPECTOR MONTALBANO: UNA FACCENDA DELICATA (RAI 1)

[Spoiler-Free "mini review"] Il commissario Montalbano, the Italian detective drama launched in 1999 and starring Luca Zingaretti as the character created by author Andrea Camilleri, returned yesterday on RAI 1 for two new feature-length episodes: Una faccenda delicata and La piramide di fango (aired next week).

Una faccenda delicata was adapted by Francesco Bruni, Andrea Camilleri and Leonardo Marini from a short story of the collection Un mese con Montalbano (1998) and from La povira Maria Castellino, a short story of the collection Gli arancini di Montalbano (1999). Salvo Montalbano investigates the murder of Maria Castellino, a prostitute strangled with a belt in the studio where she worked.

The episode is excellent though we have to get used to another "new Livia". Livia Burlando, Salvo's long-suffering fiancee performed by Katharina Böhm from series 1 to 8 and by Lina Perned in series 9, is now played by Sonia Bergamasco. They should better try to keep her in future episodes as it's now quite complicated to relate to the Montalbano/Livia story if she regenerates like a Time Lady. 

Thankfully, Cesare Bocci (Mimì Augello), Peppino Mazzotta (Giuseppe Fazio) and Angelo Russo as the beloved Agatino Catarella are back. As well as Roberto Nobile (Nicolò Zito), Marcello Perracchio (Doctor Pasquano), Davide Lo Verde (Galluzzo), etc. Una faccenda delicata is directed by Montalbano regular helmer Alberto Sironi.

Inspector Montalbano is produced by Palomar and RAI Fiction. Produced by Carlo Degli Esposti, founder and president of Palomar, and Nora Barbieri with Max Gusberti. Marco Camilli is the producer for Palomar and Erica Pellegrini produces for RAI. Music composed and conducted by Franco Piersanti. Franco Lecca is the cinematographer. Il commissario Montalbano is distributed by Rai Com.

http://www.carlopalomar.it/ (The blog of Carlo Degli Esposti)

See also: 

http://tattard2.blogspot.fr/2016/02/two-new-episodes-of-inspector.html (Two new episodes of Inspector Montalbano on RAI 1)