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.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016


Partners in Crime, the 2015 BBC series based on the Beresford series of books by Agatha Christie, arrives on French channel D8 at the end of the month as Les petits crimes d'Agatha Christie. [Update - April 14, 2016] Oh dear! Someone has murdered the French title of Partners in Crime. Now it will be Associés contre le crime.

Two years ago the BBC announced that they would be the new TV home of English crime writer Agatha Christie in the UK for the 125th anniversary of her birth, thanks to a major deal with her estate. Their first two commissions were the latest adaptation of And Then There Were None and Partners in Crime

The latter is based on a collection of short stories written by Christie between 1922 and 1973 and featuring crime-fighting duo Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. Francesca Annis and James Warwick played the Beresfords in a 1983-1984 series for LWT. In France, André Dussollier and Catherine Frot were the sleuth couple in three movies from 2005 to 2012. The comedian and actor David Walliams and Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife) star in this six-part version adapted from The Secret Adversary and N or M?.

In 1952, husband and wife Tommy and Tuppence Beresford stumble into the shadowy world of espionage because of a strange encounter on a Paris train and Tuppence's curiosity. They're enlisted by Tommy's uncle, Major Anthony Carter (James Fleet), the head of a secretive Military Intelligence department. Tommy and Tuppence are assisted by Albert Pemberton (Matthew Steer), a chemistry teacher and part-time agent for Carter. David Walliams pleasantly surprises out of his comfort zone. Jessica Raine is excellent as usual.

Partners in Crime is charming, fun and gorgeously produced. Most regrettably, BBC One aired it in July/August 2015 and then axed it. In France, where Agatha Christie is very popular, the series will premiere on D8 on April 30. "Les petits crimes d'Agatha Christie" is an obvious echo to France 2's hit Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie, adapted from the author's work with French detectives and aired since 2009. Too obvious?  So in French, Partners in Crime becomes Associés contre le crime. It's also the title of the second French collection of the Beresford short stories, one of the French titles of the LWT series and the title of the third Dussolier/Frot movie. Partners in Crime is produced by Endor Productions and Agatha Christie Productions for the BBC. It is distributed by All3Media.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


[Spoiler-Free] Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahn Polizeï, the German long-running action/crime drama aired by RTL and produced by action concept (Hermann Joha's company) launched its spring season last week with a 90-minute premiere

Although the show started in 1996, Cobra, übernehmen Sie!, actually opens its 39th season because Alarm für Cobra 11 is aired in two halves during autumn and spring.

Written by Frank Koopmann, Janet Pfitzer & Roland Heep and directed by Franco Tozza, the "Pilotfilm" (as these feature-length openers are called) marks officially the 20th anniversary of the series. The title of this very special episode is a nod to Kobra, übernehmen Sie, the German title of Mission: Impossible (the 1966-1973 TV series). Cobra, übernehmen sie! introduces the new partner of veteran motorway cop Semir Gerkhan (Erdogan Atalay): Paul Renner, played by Daniel Roesner. Before this episode, the actor appeared twice in Cobra 11 (in 2010 and 2011) as another character, Andreas "Tacho" Tachinski, alongside Axel Stein as Kai "Turbo" Schröder. In 2013, action concept and RTL tried to give the duo their spinoff series with a terrible pilot called Turbo & Tacho.

Paul Renner first met Semir long before he joined the police forces, when he was a young boy. After a "flashback" scene with Erdogan Atalay and his 1996 hairdo, we literally jump into a "routine mission" of Gerkhan and the (not so) newcomer. Of course, in Alarm für Cobra 11 "routine" means chaos on the motorway. Someone who speaks French wants to recover a hard drive at any price. While Semir worries for his health, his colleagues and his ex-boss Anna Engelhardt (Charlotte Schwab) celebrate his 20 years in the Kripo Autobahn. Some tenacious Russian agents are after Gideon Link (Thomas Heinze), a high-tech mogul and friend of forensic police whiz Hartmut (Niels Kurvin) who says he who wants to make the world a better place.

Krüger (Katja Woywood) and Dorn (Katrin Heß) do their own take on the Charlie's Angels movies and secretary Susanne (Daniela Wutte) is going to have her baby. Cobra 11 returns to pure bonkers after the "darker" Alex Brandt era (1) and goes James Bond once again, thanks to a villain who wants to Hugo Drax the planet on a budget. Daniel Roesner's new character is one of the pleasant surprises of the episode. Another one is the excellent French actor Jean-Yves Berteloot as Dufourquet. The expiration date of Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahn Polizeï exploded a while ago but Hermann Joha and the production team sure know how to organize a birthday party.

(1) Semir Gerkhan's former partner, played by Vincenz Kiefer

Friday, 8 April 2016


[Spoiler-Free] The Philippines in 1898. Julián travels from Manila, the capital city, to Baler. In 2016, Salvador must face an audit from a supervisor of the Ministry. He asks the team to check the files and the doors,

In June 1898, during the Spanish-American War, 57 soldiers of the Spanish troops in the Philippines fortified the church of the isolated town of Baler to protect themselves from Filipino insurgents. They held the place for 337 days until June 1899. Cut off from communications, the defenders of Baler ignored that the war ended officially in December with the Treaty of Paris, in which Spain transferred the sovereignty over the Philippines to the United States. The story of these men, known as "Los Últimos de Filipinas" ("The Last of the Philippines"), is the basis of this epic and moving two-parter written by Carlos de Pando & Anaïs Schaaff with Javier Olivares, and directed by Marc Vigil

Absent of most of the second series of El Ministerio del Tiempo because of his commitments on the Antena 3 crime drama Mar de Plastico, Rodolfo Sancho returns as Julián Martínez. While Julián shares the destiny of the Last of the Philippines, Ernesto deals with personal matters. Alonso meets someone whose face is familiar and he accepts a very special mission. Pacino gets closer with Amelia but he takes an important decision. Tiempo de Valientes guest stars Pedro Alonso (Bajo Sospecha, Gran Hotel) in an award-worthy performance as Lieutenant Cerezo, Paco Marin (Dr Vigil), Aitor Merino (Menache), Susana Córdoba, Nieve de Medina (Marisa), etc. The cinematic treatment and the emotion leave some room for nice touches of humour and the usual references.

The series watched by Amelia and Pacino in the first part is Historias para no dormir (1966-1982), an excellent anthology created for TVE by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador and hosted by himself a la Alfred Hitchcock or Rod Serling. This week it was announced that the second series of El Ministerio del Tiempo will take a break after the second part of this decisive double episode (5 episodes remain to be aired). The format has been sold recently by Onza Distribution to Guan Yue International for a Chinese version. There are discussions about adaptations with several other territories like France or Germany.

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). 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.

Sunday, 3 April 2016


Undercover is a six-part political thriller drama. It is centered on a female black barrister who's the favourite for an important position in the British judicial system when the hidden past of her husband threatens to destroy her world.

Passionate barrister Maya Cobbina is happily married to Nick Johnson, a man dedicated to his wife and three children. She's in Louisiana as her client Rudy Jones must be executed. The execution is botched and she gets an appeal. Back in London, Maya learns that she's headhunted to become the new Director of Public Prosecutions.

The position might allow her to finally bring to justice the death of her friend Michael Antwi, an anti-racism campaigner. Soon, a figure from her husband's past asks Nick to do something he did 20 years ago when he met his wife: then she was a civil rights activist and he was an undercover police officer whose mission was to spy on her.

Created and written by Peter Moffat (The Village, Silk), Undercover is inspired by the real-life cases of women tricked into long-term relationships by undercover police officers. It stars Sophie Okonedo (Maya), Adrian Lester (Hustle) as Nick, American actor Dennis Haysbert (24) as Rudy Jones, Derek Ridell (Paul Brightman), Tamara Lawrance, Daniel Ezra, Shannon Hayes, Phil Davis, Vincent Regan, etc.

The new BBC One drama is not without assets. You need some when you take a time slot left by The Night Manager. The subject is interesting, the cast is great, the performances from Sophie Okonedo and Adrian Lester are splendid. But sadly it takes an eternity to put the plot in place after what looks like a repeat of one of these US films/TV movies about Death Row.

Directed by James Hawes. Co-produced by BBC Drama Production London and BBC America. Produced by Richard Stokes. Hilary Salmon and Peter Moffat exec produce. The premiere of Undercover drew 5.2m viewers (24.1%).

Friday, 1 April 2016


Reviews, "mini reviews" and news.


- Maigret (ITV):

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

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

- The A Word (BBC One):

- Capitaine Marleau (France 3):


- Bajo Sospecha (Antena 3, Series 2):

- Maigret (ITV):

- DVD reviews update:

- Witnesses (Les Témoins, Series 2):