LA MANTE (2017)

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Creators: Alice Chegaray-Breugnot, Grégoire Demaison, Nicolas Jean

Cast: Carole Bouquet, Fred Testot, Jacques Weber

Jeanne Deber (Carole Bouquet)  La mante (a famous serial killer)  who terrorized France, has been imprisoned for more than 25 years. When a murder who is  identical of  the crime scenes of “La Mante”, Commissioner Ferracci (Pascal Demolon) decides to collaborate with Jeanne. However, the latter has only one request: to have as sole interlocutor her son (Fred Testot) that she has not seen since her arrest.

Scary maybe but well writing and directed here is an other series, well here is my problem they said it is a mini-series but there may be a second season so I will let you know as soon as I can. However let’s go back to the series shall we. In the series there is this balance between action and psychology trying to get inside the head of a killer. It is not going to be easy for Damien seen his mother since he is with his new girlfriend who has a kid from a previous relationship. Carole Bouquet does an outstanding job here to play this series killer even though she has played plenty of femme fatale before that. The game between her and her son and the manipulation begins. The fear of not finding the killer in time plus other thing is going to be in play. Here is a refreshing thriller that is nice and works well because of its great cast.

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EYEWITNESS (2014)

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Creators: Jarl Emsell Larsen

Cast: Axel Bøyum, Odin Waage, Anneke von der Lippe

Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy took the publishing industry by storm and everything since then  the Nordic noir is in business. Eyewitness is something slightly different, merging crime thriller and family drama.

When Philip (Axel Bøyum) and Henning (Odin Waage) witness a multiple-murder they stay quiet, fearing for their lives, normal reaction for teenagers. Philip has his foster-mother who is  the officer leading the investigation, Helen Sikkeland (Anneke von der Lippe). When the SRO are drafted in to deal with a drugs war involving The Sixers and a biker band called The Ferrymen, Sikkeland begins to see connections. However, without evidence and the gun that they can’t find she is at a halt and struggle to make progress.

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Here is a terrific Nordic Noir as I love them with some terrific actors and story telling. Henning, an alpha male motocross champion, seems more terrified by his family to discover who he is really. In keeping quiet Philip to protects him  but messes up  his already complicated relationship with his foster family. Thank god for trying to avoid the clichés. The performances of the actors are strong with some great sensitive writing to go with it. The Norwegian / Swedish nine series has 6 episodes that are dark and tense.

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THE PRINCIPAL (2015)

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Creators: Kristen Dunphy and Alice Addison

Cast: Alex Dimitriades, Mirrah Foulkes, Rahel Romahn

Here is a great TV series from Australia that is worth seeing. It is a bit of a complex story here which involves muslin kids at school. The old way is not working and the kids are miss treated. The boys in the school are almost all traumatized by violence and some of them don’t make it out alive. Every years there is one or two that died. There are in territory ghetto where the drug dealers are king and deals in school.

Enter Principal Bashir who comes from an all girls school as a teacher now is a step up as the principal and yes he has his own issues to deal with , don’t we all. The opening scene show us a murder happening we do not even know who did what and who is the victim then we jump to 2 weeks before. When the principal comes in the school he did not get the welcome he was hoping for. He has a new way of getting the kids around respect them they will respect you. But is not an easy task because the teacher here does not know how to teach and to react toward the kids. But slowly they will come around. The police on the other hand are trying to solve the murder. Well acted and written in only 4 episodes , do not miss this one.

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SHOW ME A HERO (2015)

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Creator: David Simon

Cast: Oscar Isaac, Peter Riegert, Natalie Paul 

David Simon has an incredible ability to tell stories populated with real people. Show Me a Hero, explores the long struggle of Yonkers, New York to comply with a court order to desegregate its public housing. Seven years over six episodes, the miniseries follows the city hall politics and politicians while also introducing viewers to the lives of the people they govern.This includes the residents of the existing public highrises and those who live on the side of town where new  housing will be built. The thing is this actually happen in the late 80’s in Yonkers.  And may the side-show begins.

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Nick Wasicsko, (oscar Issac)  a city council member who rises to mayor through his opposition to the Federal judge’s ruling. His election as the youngest mayor in the country (28 years old) is a trying experience as he must comply with the ruling, angering the community that put him in power, or face bankrupting the city through a series of increasing fines. the early episodes you will fall the political dynamics of city hall and the fervor held by opponents of desegregation. Yes there is scenes of backroom drama is the lives of community members most affected by the housing. plus we will follow the lives of 4 families that lives in the housing project and Nick Wasiscko’s homelife. I loved in the states so I know how the politics works over there I am learning how it is working in my country well because I kind of forgot. But the politicians and the people are frustrating with a tension that is rising fast enough. This is a terrific series from HBO Quality tv here and David Simon has done it again.

The cast is perfect here the great Oscar Isaac as Mayor Wasicsko and Carla Queveda as his wife, Nae, the city council opposition is led most vocally by Alfred Molina’s Hank Spallone. Saverio Guerra as city manager and Catherine Keener as an east side resident, LaTanya Richardson Jackson’s performance as a home health aid who is losing her sight due to her diabetes, and Paul Haggis has directed all of six episodes. Do not miss this one.

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GENERATION KILL (2008)

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Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone, Lee Tergesen

Generation Kill, a seven-part mini-series. The series was based on Wright’s book, which chronicled his time embedded with the First Reconnaissance Battalion of the United States Marine Corp during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In this mini-series there are no introduction to the characters none no background actually we know very little about them. We get right to it, right in the Iraqi war back in 2003. Wright I believe is a writer for the rolling stone and got on the front line with a group pf soldiers. Wright himself is a character in the show and once the marines meet him he gets sneer by them until he mention that he wrote for Hustler previously. Now the group in all ear and wright has respect from the soldiers. The Battalion’s Bravo Company is preparing  for the invasion of the country and finally to their daily patrols in Baghdad. They express themselves with dead honesty. Although they express their frustration with the bureaucracy of the military. And yes there is a lot of dialogue some combat as you can see that the soldier are eager to go to war and want to see some action as soon as possible. It is a all star cast here. They get lucky in not getting too many casualties. There you have it a raw and honest feel to the war in Iraq in 2003. An other great HBO mini-series.

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DANCING ON THE EDGE (2013)

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Creator: Stephen Poliakoff

Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew Goode, Joanna Vanderham

Dancing on the Edge takes place in the 1930s, exploring racial tensions in Europe when a jazz band, led by Louis (Chiwetel Ejiofor), begins to get attention in London, with help from journalist Stanley (Matthew Goode). There is also some problem with the booking of venues and immigration complications for one particular member, but Poliakoff wants to do something more with the story. The forbidding romance plus a dead body surfacing.

Here is a great mini-series from Britain where Jacquelin Bisset has won a golden globe for this one if I am not mistaken. It has 6 episodes of 1 hour and 30 minutes long. It is about this jazz nabs who is trying to make a name for themselves with the help of a journalist acting as the manager, but will encounter the difficulties of a black jazz band to make it big due to racism. There is a forbidding romance that will take in effects here well done by Poliakoff. There will be an incident that will set off a series of events.  Bisset’s performance is outstanding. The decor plus the music are great here it feels that you are really in the 30’s. An other British drama that kicks ass of course it is a period piece again but I love it.

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DISPARUE (2015)

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Creator: Charlotte Brandström

Cast: François-Xavier Demaison, Pierre-François Martin-Laval, Alix Poisson 

Leah Morel, 17, disappeared the evening of the Music Festival in Lyon. Her family is distraught Julien father sets out to find her while the mother Florence tries to hold on.  Thomas  her brother did not escort her like her mother asked of him. The commander Molina,  who just arrived in the city,well he got transfer to Lyon,  is responsible for finding the girl. He will discover that the investigation is going to be difficult than expected and discover that every family has secrets.

Here is a terrific mini-series that is well written and well acted, even the dialogue stand out. This mini-series is inspired of a Spanish series as well as the American series Without a Trace and Broadchurch. Here is a young girl who leaves to go with her friends at the music festival in Lyon. Her brother supposes to meet her in the morning to escort her home after all a young seventeen year old along in the city at the early hour of the morning any thing could happen but he didn’t , well a teenager is a teenager and wants their privacy plus they want to be on their own. The mother is in mode of panic almost and calls her cell phone numerous time. It is about the Morel family the two brother has a restaurant in Lyon. One of them is a widow he lost his wife now what he has left is his daughter. Molina the detective is transferred to Lyon, he is just settle in when the case is drop on his lap. He has an angry father who is looking for his daughter and does not think that the police is doing enough. on the other hand the mother is trying to old on and blaming her son for not meeting her later. Of course there is twist and turn and one of the parents will go to the extreme to get his daughter back. Secrets are surfacing and the police is frustrated as well in the family. Well casted, and well acted here also the director has brought to the table a lot of realism into it.

There is 8 episodes and all of them are directed by Charlotte Brandström. The cinematography is outstanding plus I was able to see the city of Lyon which I am going to visit soon.

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Disparue 2015