Wednesday, 27 December 2017


Our team wishes you in advance all the best for 2018.


The body of a young woman is found in the swimming pool of a luxury hotel in Saint-Paul de Vence. The local gendarmerie investigates but Captain Marie Jourdan, a police detective from Lyon, abruptly invites herself on the case for a very personal reason.

Directed by Emmanuel Rigaut, Le prix de la vérité (1) is a TV movie (and possible backdoor pilot?) which will air on French pubcaster France 3 on January 13, 2018. Mimie Mathy, who usually stars in the long-running TF1 hit Joséphine, ange gardien, plays the tenacious and quick-witted Captain Marie Jourdan.

Le prix de la vérité is written by crime drama expert scriptwriter Laurent Mondy (Commissaire Magellan, Les Cordier, juge et flic). On the whole, it's well crafted and it looks that Mimie Mathy enjoyed this opportunity to get away from her guardian angel character with a more dramatic role. Most fortunately, considering the first two episodes of the recent Crime parfaits (also on France 3), Capitaine Jourdan isn't a Capitaine Marleau copycat.

Fans of the channel's crime dramas will certainly want more of this new detective. Captain Marie Jourdan would definitely be a pleasant addition to France 3's  popular crime/mystery line-up. Also starring Mathieu Delarive (Paul Danceny), Philippe Caroit (Daniel Caron), Charles Clément (Luc Langevin), Selma Kouchy (Yasmine Labri), Cécile Pallas, Catherine Zavlav, etc. Produced by Episode Productions (JLA Groupe) with France Télévisions. Music by Fabien Nataf.

(1) Formerly Liens de sang.

[Update - January 10, 2018] Spoiler-free review here:

Thursday, 21 December 2017


[Spoiler-free] It's Christmas time. Commissaire Laurence (Samuel Labarthe) complains that there's no crime until he investigates the murder of... Santa Claus. And he must protect a very special witness.

Alice Avril (Blandine Bellavoir) returns to a sinister place.

On a Christmas market, Alice and Marlène Leroy (Élodie Frenck) meet a strange man dressed as Santa Claus who distributes banknotes. Two children, Louison Sauvage and her brother Baptiste, escape from the Sainte-Cécile orphanage during the night. In the empty market, the generous "Santa" appears in front of the kids when he's suddenly shot dead. Baptiste disappears while Laurence, Avril and Marlène find Louison in the street. The little girl stays at Swan's appartment for her own safety, much to the commissaire's annoyance. 

Regrettably for the love of singing (and for ears in general), Marlène is the member of a choir. Alice knows Sainte-Cécile too well and when she investigates inside the orphanage, disguised as a teacher, bad memories surface. Written by Thierry Debroux and directed by Rodolphe Tissot, Le Crime de Noël is the first Christmas special of the French hit series Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie. It's also the first time that the script is not based on a book of the famous English author. Though not a firework, this honorable Christmas celebration (tomorrow on France 2) is in line with the quality standards of the popular crime comedy-drama.

Samuel Labarthe gets once again the best of the episode, including great dialogues. Marlène's renditions of Douce nuit, sainte nuit and Mon beau sapin will stay as anthological moments thanks to the irresistible Élodie Frenck. And Cyril Gueï proves that the character of Timothée Glissant is one of the best things that happened to Les petits meurtres in recent years. Dominique Thomas (Tricard) has not much to do, not even Santa in the end. Although similar tricks were used in the past, Alice's encounter in the orphanage is a bit far-fetched. Le Crime de Noël lacks the sparks of the previous episode written by Debroux (L'homme au complet marron) but it's still a good Christmas treat. 

The excellent Christiane Millet plays Madame Hautin, the orphanage director who makes Roald Dahl's Miss Trunchbull (Matilda) look like an amateur. Also with Elina Solomon (Louison), Julien Bouanich (Gaston), Franck Andrieux (Max), Loïc Legendre (Geoffroy Dopagne), Zoé Schellenberg (Mireille Dopagne), Julien Ledet (Baptiste Sauvage), Merlin Delarivière (Rudy), Mathieu Maricau (Bouboule), Soizic Naeyaert (La petite fille), etc. Éric Beauchamp plays Agent Martin. Fans' favourite Bubulle (Marlène's goldfish) is mentioned in the end credits. Co-produced by Escazal Films and France Télévisions, with the support of Pictanovo and Région Hauts-de-France.

Produced with the participation of TV5 Monde and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Sophie Révil is the producer. Laurent Chiomento exec produces. Main characters created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. Music composed by Stéphane Moucha. Bertrand Mouly is the cinematographer. Production designed by Moundji Couture. Costumes by Sophie Dussaud. Cédric Le Maoût is the assistant director in charge of the children. Main title sequence designed by Romain Segaud. Like in Drame en trois actes, the end credits are accompanied by behind-the-scenes images. Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice.

(Amandine Attard contributed to this review) 

Thursday, 14 December 2017


Crime pays, crime sells. French television fiction is a huge police station, particularly on pubcaster France 3. People die more in their dramas than in Midsomer County. Anyway, France 3 airs Midsomer Murders

After Meurtres à... (the answer of the channel to Germany's Tatort) or Crime à, France 3 launches next tuesday a new collection called Crimes parfaits.

The bottom line: The France 3 Tuesday Mystery Movie.

In Crimes parfaits, which consists for now of 6 x 52-minute episodes, a murderer known from the beginning thinks he has committed the perfect crime. The detective on the case (different in every couple of episodes) proves the criminal wrong. It's an inverted detective story, a concept popularized by Columbo though created in literature many years before the famous lieutenant. France 3 happens to be the home of megahit Capitaine Marleau, starring Corinne Masiero as an offbeat, sharp-minded and quick-witted sleuth without a first name but with a chapka and a parka. Columbo is one of the acknowledged influences of the character.

Coincidentally (or not) Crimes parfaits starts on a very familiar territory. In its first two episodes, Isabelle Gélinas plays Agnès, an unconventional police captain dressed like Janis Joplin and wearing a "Nuclear Power? No Thanks" button. Agnès hates the GPS, cell phones, as well as high tech. She shares her life between two sympathetic men (perfectly aware of the situation). Just in case viewers didn't notice Captain Obvious, Agnès has an uptight and by-the-book sidekick named Thibaud, a kind of cousin of Marleau's Adjudant Brière. He's played by Arthur Mazet, who does the job very well.

In Un bon chanteur est un chanteur mort, the first episode, special guest star Gérard Darmon plays Frank Lopsis, a music producer whose glory days are way behind him. His only chance to re-emerge is Jibé (the excellent Elliot Jenicot of la Comédie-Française), a singer who made a new album with him. Except that Jibé wants to end their partnership, so Lopsis decides to murder him and he makes his crime look as a suicide. The second episode (Aux innocents les mains pleines) guest stars Frédéric Diefenthal as Nathan Joliez. The man viciously murders his business associate, who lives with his ex-wife.

Overall, the two cases of Capitaine Agnès burst with cliches and terrible dialogues. Aux innocents les mains pleines manages to be a little better than Un bon chanteur est un chanteur mort thanks to a (minor) plot twist and Frédéric Diefenthal's performance. Also starring Franck Adrien (Philippe), Laurent Fernandez (Micha), Thomas Walch (Max), etc. Written by Didier Le Pêcheur, who also directs, and Delphine Labouret. Un bon chanteur est un chanteur mort and Aux innocents les mains pleines are co-produced by Éléphant Story and France Télévisions, with R.T.B.F. (Télévision belge), RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse) and TV5 Monde

Produced by Guillaume Renouil, who exec produces with Gaëlle Cholet. Thierry Bizot and Emmanuel Chain are the associate producers. Filmed on location in Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur with its support.  Music by Jean-Pierre TaïebHopefully, the next four episodes will be more interesting. In one of them, Antoine Duléry plays the detective vs Samuel Labarthe, his successor in Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie.

[Update - October 2, 2020] Crimes parfaits will be available at the end of this month in the United States on the SVOD service MHZ Choice as Perfect Murders.

Friday, 8 December 2017


Al Dorsey is a private eye from Tahiti, where he thinks nothing serious ever happens. Until a priest  goes into his office.

The bottom line: Ted's Excellent Adventure.

« Al Dorsey, comme le musicien de jazz des années 50. Détective privé. »

Al Dorsey, détective privé is a 6 x 52-minute detective series from Polynésie française (French Polynesia) commissioned by the Outre-Mer 1ère French overseas public network. It is based on the first two Al Dorsey books written by lyricist and novelist Patrice Guirao: Crois-le! (2009) and Lyao-Ly (2011) (1). Alban Casterman plays Tahiti private investigator Al Dorsey, whose real name is Édouard Tudieu de la Valière. Always anxious, Al hates adventure and chose that job just because he found it "classe" when he watched movies of the 1950s. Anyway, the bumbling young man doesn't look like Humphrey Bogart. He drives a Renault 4L and he's frequently disturbed by his Vivaldi ringtone (Spring).

« Comment tu fais pour supporter ça?
-  Ben j'ai fait une école pour faire flic. Et toi t'as loué un local après avoir vu Dick Tracy. »

Desperately idle, Al Dorsey worries for the money he needs to marry his fiancee Lyao-Li (Chloé Folliot de Fierville). A shark ate her right forearm when she was 6 but she became a supermodel in demand. Dorsey's laid-back best friend Sandona "Sando" Philibert (Guillaume Ducreux) is a recently promoted commissaire de police who decided to convert to Judaism for his girlfriend of the moment. He likes to make stupid puns about the name "Al" (« Al... ouette, gentille alouette. ») Mamie Gyani (Dadou Paille) is Al's protective mother and an iconic figure of the island. "Doudou", as she calls her son, ignores most of her past. The building where Al Dorsey has his office belongs to the amazing Toti (Jean-Marc Leille), an old chinese self-made millionaire who lives as a tramp.

« Si tu les vendais tu serais le Chinois le plus riche de Tahiti.
- Je suis déjà... »

Al Dorsey, détective privé is produced by Big Band Story and Merapi Productions with Les Films du Pacifique. It was filmed in Tahiti and Moorea from June to August 2016 with the support of the Ministère de la Polynésie Française and the participation of France Télévisions. More than 200 persons from Polynesia worked in the cast and crew. Written by Sydélia Guirao & Nassim Ben Allal and directed by Thierry Bouteiller (RIS Police Scientifique), the first detective drama "made in Tahiti" aired on Polynésie 1ère each week from September to October 2017 and started in metropolitan France on December 5 on France Ô. Episodes 1 to 3 (each ends on a cliffhanger) are adapted from Crois-le!, the first Al Dorsey novel. Alas, France Ô showed them the same night.

Father Levret, a priest, asks Al Dorsey to find the owner of a briefcase he caught in the Tatakoto lagoon while fishing. Inside there's a draft notebook with "Help" written on the cover, a gold coin, a chain bracelet and a handkerchief. Al also discovers 5 million dollars hidden in the briefcase's false bottom! Later, Sando tells him a priest has been murdered. The office of the detective is robbed (« Oh, on dirait chez Toti. Copieur! »), his home is ransacked, one of his friends is assaulted and Lyao-Ly is in danger. Someone will stop at nothing to get the 5 millions back in this investigation with too many priests, some anarchists, gangsters, Bobby Ewing (well, not quite...) and an eye in a box.

« Bon, il arrête de jouer sur les mots Don Camillo! »

Past some minor defects (the inevitable split screens, surreal sequences), Al Dorsey, détective privé is a nice and fun pastiche/homage to the P.I. genre which gradually builds its own identity. A good cast gives life to the engaging characters created by Patrice Guirao (2). Hopefully there will be more of the local culture in the next three episodes. Produced by Thierry Bruant, Gilbert Di Nino, Benjamin Dupont-Jubien, Mehdi Sabbar, Clara Laplace and Frank Courvoisier. Hervé Boitelle exec produces. Olivia Delplace is the assistant director. Laurent Dhainaut is the cinematographer. Cyril Colbeau-Justin and Jean-Baptiste Dupont are the associate producers.

Song Terehe by Sabrina Laughlin. No composer is credited (unless we're mistaken) for the musical ambience between Trip hop, Jazz and the BBC series Hustle. Also starring Christophe Perrin (Lucien Levret), Christophe Cozet (Monseigneur Ibrahim Borenberg), Rarahu Raoulx (Julie), André Sablon (Secrétaire de l'évéché), Aito Pambrun (Vetea), Jean-Yves Jestin (Noël Levret), Gérald Mingo (Duchalier), Léonore Caneri (Toinette), Manuarii Bonnefin (Hiro), etc. French popular singer, navigator and traveler Antoine has a hilarious cameo in the second episode.

(1) Followed by Si tu nous regardes (2013) and Tu vois (to be released in January 2018).
(2) Toti is definitely our favourite.

(Amandine Attard contributed to this review) (Trailer) (The books)

Friday, 1 December 2017



Julie Depardieu is La légiste for France 3:

 Al Dorsey on France Ô in December:

Mongeville and Magellan: another crossover (France 3):

- Capitaine Marleau on French Region 2 DVD (LCJ Éditions):

- Darkman - Édition Ultime (L'Atelier d'images): (Review ASAP)

- Frankie Drake Mysteries (CBC): (Including a "mini review)


- L'Intégrale des Minichroniques de Goscinny (French Region 2 DVD):

- Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie: Drame en trois actes (France 2):