TV Review: The Tunnel

The Tunnel TV review

From the makers of Broadchurch comes The Tunnel a smart, stylish and thoroughly European take on the murder mystery. When a body is discovered in the service tunnels of the Channel Tunnel a Anglo-French investigation begins into to the person later dubbed the “Truth Terrorist” or the “Terroriste Vérité” depending on which side of the channel we are on. This cleverly constructed crime thriller effortlessly spans the 21-mile stretch of water with subtitled passages running smoothly alongside the English-speaking scenes.

Elise (Clémence Poésy) and Karl (Stephen Dillane), the French and English officers on the case, are thrown together in difficult circumstances and have an uneasy relationship, but predictably his wise cracking English personality somewhat melts her icy, almost sociopathic, front to build an unlikely friendship. So far so predictable, but this slow moving drama builds cleverly with each episode always leaving you wanting just a little more information. The controlled pace allows mysteries to build and unfurl over several episodes rather than granting the quick gratification and neat endings we often expect from a police drama.

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With star turns from the likes of Keeley Hawes and Joseph Mawle it is needless to say that the level of acting talent is very high, however sometimes the dialogue can be a little clunky. This is a shame as is distracts from the fairly sophisticated plot, but the intriguing nature of the “Truth Terrorist” and the slow coming together of disparate plotlines is enough to keep you watching over the 10, 45-minute episodes.

Read more at: TQS Magazine 

DVD released: 13th January.

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SHERLOCK IS BACK!!!

Ok so before my review proper I need to have a little fan girl moment to say “Arghhhhhhhhhhhh Sherlock is back!!!!” . . . OK overexcited moment over on to the professional bit.

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**Spoilers**

Sherlock’s back in with a bang in the first episode of this the third and much awaited series of the BBC drama. Everything we once loved about the great detective has returned to our screens, seemingly empowered by his 2 year break Sherlock bursts into our living rooms in a whirlwind of fan theories and swishing overcoats. Embracing the MANY theories as to how Sherlock survived his “Reichenbach” fall “The Empty Hearse” tantalizes audiences by dramatizing a diverse cross section of the theories from the plausible to the more outlandish, fan-fiction inspired but never really revealing the truth about his fall.

This device of drawing the audience into a theory before trashing it is used through out the episode and never gets old, each time the audience willing it to be the big reveal. Writer Stephen Moffat cleverly avoids disappointing anyone by letting the fans dictate what might have happened; he has said in many an interview that the fan theories are far more elaborate and interesting than the truth – so why not embrace that creativity!

The writers of “The Empty Hearse” have us wait a full 10 minutes to see that face, but when we do that little smile of his is enough to wipe away the last 2 years of waiting, wondering and theorizing.

Of course Sherlock is not only returning to us but to John Watson, having grown a grief moustache and moved on with his life Watson is not as pleased as Sherlock would have had him at his triumphant return. In a nice slapstick routine Sherlock dressed as a waiter reveals himself to John only to have John not recognize him. This is followed by a brilliant sequence in which Sherlock is attacked by John in multiple restaurants of descending quality; each of which they are thrown out of before ending up in the street, Sherlock with a broken nose.

Having decided to return to his previous position as Sherlock’s medical consultant/sidekick Watson returns to Baker Street only to be thrown in at the deep end as he is kidnapped and placed in a burning bonfire. Based around Bonfire Night, “The Empty Hearse” features an attack on Parliament and a lot of explosives. 5th November, now known as Bonfire Night is the night in 1605 when Guy Fawkes, a Catholic member of the Gunpowder Plot, placed explosives under parliament in an attempt to kill the Protestant King James I. To celebrate the capture of the terrorists people lit bonfires around London, and so people around Britain still light bonfires and set of fireworks on 5th November. The more sinister use of the bonfire as a live funerary pyre is sure to scar some kids at next year’s celebrations!

The quickly unraveling plot is full of the brilliant stylistic markers we have come to expect from the previous 2 series, the sharp editing, use of overlapping images and above all the fantastic transitionally pieces. The plot is fast paced and moves between emotion, pathos and action effortlessly, a brilliant return for the famous detective.

The 2-year wait has more than paid off; the plot, characters and music all seem like old friends that have been given a new lease of life. The franchise seems reanimated and refocused, and even though the whole thing will be over again in 17 days it’s sure to be a rollercoaster ride of a series with many a new mystery to obsess over.

TV Review: Hello Ladies

Hello-Ladies-PilotAs one half of multi-award winning writing team behind Extras and (the original) The Office Stephen Merchant is well known in the UK as the on-screen simpleton sidekick of Ricky Gervais. Now in HBO’sHello Ladies Merchant takes the lead as unlucky in love Stuart, a web designer living in LA.

Based on Marchant’s first ever stand-up tour of the same name, an experience which he apparently didn’t enjoy as much as writing, Merchant has settled into something much more familiar – penning a sit-com.

Read Review

American Hustle Trailer

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Con-man helps FBI uncover serial “Bad Guys”. Sounds like a pretty average idea for a movie . . . but then you add in Bradley Cooper, Christen Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence AND Jeremy Renner and you may just have a great movie going!

Not to mention the aura of David O. Russel surrounding the whole production; THEN you might have an award contender!

UK release date set as Boxing Day this year.

Captivating New Drama From The BBC

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The BBC’s The Fall is one of the most instantly engaging dramas I have seen in a long time. The sometimes troublesome conceit that the audience knows the killer from the off does nothing to slow the build up of suspense through the first episode and the total immersion in ALL the characters.

We enter the action with DSI Stella Gibon (Gillian Anderson) called from the Met. to carry out a 28 day review on the unsolved murder of a young professional woman. As the episode progresses we meet her killer and watch as he puts the pieces in place for his next murder. All the while Gibon is busy trying to figure out where the case went wrong and what they missed, not so easy when faced with the highly political world of Irish policing.

Written by Alan Cubitt (Murphy’s Law) and set in Belfast The Fall taps into something very raw about the Irish cityscape that suits perfectly this kind of gritty, dark drama.

The visuals are innovative and fresh; adding something new to what is a particularly well-worn genre. With long tracking shots, and brilliant point-of-view camera work The Fall is simple captivating.

Definitely something to watch from the beginning, but for those of you who missed last nights, Episode 1 of 5 is available on BBC iPlayer.

Side Effects

UK release date: 8th March 2013

“From the makers of Contagion” is always going to catch my eye. That was a brilliant film, and this one looks just as interesting an idea. Confusion and uncertainty seem to be specialities of theirs, heres hoping Side Effects stands up next to it’s big brother.