4 SEASONS IN HAVANA (2016- )

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Cast: Jorge Perugorría, Carlos Enrique Almirante, Luis Alberto GarcíaFour

We follows lieutenant Conde who solve crimes, sleep with beautiful women, drinks alcohol to forget his days, and the internal affair is breathing down his neck to top it all off his boss is watching him closely.

Seasons in Havana is a very stylish, well written crime series it has a fell Neo-noir to it. It is hot in Cuba you can sense the heat as you follow Conde where the landscape is dusty and the sun shine on th top of your head all the time. Conde the drinking smoking, having sex with beautiful women along the way is having a hell of the time to solve murder in Havana with the internal affair breathing down his neck along side his boss. It has 4 episodes of  one hour and a half. What I like about it is that Cuba is stuck in time so there is old cars from the 50’s 60’s and still a rotary phone. it is set in the 90’s so no computers yet nor cell phone. The drone shot here is fantastic and you will see the rich and the poor neighborhoods. The atmosphere is noir to the core, the bars, the night life, the crimes, the police corruption as well as the government. Is fun to see this series that is shot on location with the different decor and houses or apartments. The cast is perfect and stand out and so is this wonderful production. Do not miss this one. 

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ALTERED CARBON (2018 – )

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Creators: Laeta Kalogridis

Cast: Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy, Martha Higareda

Set in the near future A prisoner has a second chance after 250 years in jail sort of speak to go into an other body. As soon as he sees foot outside he is taken to where a rich man wants him to solve a murder in order to get full immunity.

In the new Netflix sci-fi  Altered Carbon, the human soul , its essence, is no longer contained in the body, but in a technological marvel called a “cortical stack” that is attached to the base of the neck. With the “stack,” people can change bodies regularly and live for decades, even centuries. The human body, called a “sleeve” can be changed as often as one can afford it . But if the cortical stack is damage it is the end of the road.

Altered Carbon is part Blade Runner, The Expanse, and Firefly, with a conceived mystery with action tossed in the mix.  And by god you will be hooked. Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) here has this life time sentence and after 250 years has a new body and find himself working for Bancroft (James Purefoy) so he can solve the murder Bancroft ’s own. There are quiet of colourful characters in this one it is like a sci-fi Neo-noir plus Altered Carbon takes us on quite the wild ride during its 10 episodes and there are twists and turns enough to keep you occupied. There is one character named Poe which runs the hotel where Kovacs reside. Poe here acts like is a security personal and his concierge as well. Joel Kinnaman does a great job incarnated his character which has plenty of demons. There it is on Netflix so don’t miss it. 

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OZARK (2017- )

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Creators: Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams

Cast: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz

Ozark, the new neo-noir series that Jason Bateman has directed a couple of episodes on Netflix is kicking some ass here.

Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) who’s best friends put him and his family in a bit aof a pickle has to relocate in Ozark Missouri. You see Marty  launders money for the drug dealer named Del (Esai Morales) great choice for a bad guy here. It seems that Marty best friend here has taken over a certain period of time 8 Million dollars which pissed off Del. In order to save his own ass Marty made him a deal to relocate to Ozark and to continue to launder Del’s money. So far so good. But once in Ozark Marty is going to walk on someone’s feet. 

Marty here has this sex less marriage and has two kids. He has an investment firm which is laundering the money of their drug lord. Marty is awesome at his job. Yes the series at first tries to settle but by the third episode shit is hitting the fan big time and does it takes off. The series is constant does not follow any time line and it is brilliant, and so I love it. The all characters are a joy to watch even they have great chemistry. Voila a must see and have fun. You will be hooked as I was.

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ACQUITTED (2015 – )

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Creators: Anna Bache-Wiig, Siv Rajendram Eliassen

Cast: Nicolai Cleve Broch, Lena Endre, Anne Marit Jacobsen

Coup de coeur  for the Norwegian series Acquitted by Siv Rajendram Eliassen and Anna Bache-Wiig. In the vein of these dark series and of very high quality coming from the North, Acquitted is an unexpected story that will have some twist and turn but at the end will reveal an exploding ending.

Twenty years after being acquitted of a murder, Aksel (Nilsen) Borgen (interpreted by Nicolai Cleve Broch), who had exiled in Asia where he made a fortune, returns to his hometown for business …

In 2013, the American channel broadcasts the series Rectify by Ray McKinnon whose starting point is the return home, 19 years later, of a former condemned to death who was released thanks to new evidence. In 2015, the Norwegians Siv Rajendram Eliassen and Anna Bache-Wiig do the same with this Aksel Borgen and question the reintegration of a man acquitted by the justice but whose innocence is not necessarily recognized by his community d ‘origin.But is he really innocent? Technically they rewrote  the story and made it their own, nothing wrong with that. This uncertainty will create tension in the community over the 10 episodes of 45 minutes of the first season.

Aksel Borgen returns to his area twenty years later to save a bankrupt company and  to avoid the  consequences on the rest of the city. This surprise return does not happen smoothly. Between rejections, physical violence and even fresh reunion with his family, everything does not go as planned. He is not expected as a savior by everyone and will face in particular the fierce opposition of the mother of the child for the murder of which he had been condemned. The beauty of this series the tension will rise slowly to the point it is going to blow at the last episode. Keep in mind and pay attention to the photography here that is so beautiful and yes Norway is a beautiful country. And yes there is a second season enjoy.

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SPOTLESS (2015 – )

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Creators: Corinne Marrinan, Ed McCardie

Cast: Marc-André Grondin, Denis Ménochet, Miranda Raison

Jean Bastiére is a crime scene cleaner. He is married has a beautiful wife as well as a beautiful house and two kids in London, basically he has a nice tidy life. When his brother comes to town uninvited with a dead girl in his van. Well you know that is distant for some kind of trouble and the boring married life turns into not so boring. But Jean wants his brother out of his life.

Here is a series Franco-British with two French actor in it who obviously speaks great english. Jean has his own business a crime scene cleaning business. His bother is running from some dudes who want their stuff back as in drugs plus his brother has his dead body on his hand. Little by little Jean’s brother Martin trying to see the drugs to some thugs but gets dipper and dipper into trouble with the organized crime. The first season deal with introduction of the characters. Jean’s wife who is looking for a job but is thinking to get her own business started. Jean’s business is struggling to top it all the cop that jean is dealing with to get some business is under investigation plus he is truing to get his brother out of his life. There is one thing one they were kids the thad some kind of trauma that happens to them little by little we find more about throughout the flashback. Terrific series here well written with some gruesome cinematography as well. Put that one your list. I can’t wait until season 2.

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PIGALLE LA NUIT (2009)

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Creators: Hervé Hadmar et Marc Herpoux

Cast: Jalil Lespert, Simon Abkarian, Armelle Deutsch 

English title:Pigalle at night 

Thomas works in the City of London. During a stay in Paris, he goes to a strip club and discovers that her sister, Emma, whom he has not seen for two years, is the star. He tries to talk to her, but she escapes him. Soon after, she mysteriously disappears without a trace. Thomas then began to explore the Pigalle district  to find her. It is then linked to a conflict between Zainoun Nadir, owner of the two main clubs of Pigalle, and the mysterious owner of a new club, Paradise. This rivalry will destabilize the small world of Pigalle where everyone knows…

Here is a cool series that lasted one year. It was popular in France and Canal plus decided to pull the plug. Now if you are not familiar With Pigalle is where the Moulin Rouge is plus there is sex shop and strip clubs also well some. Pigalle  at night is lively you can find everything there. The 2 creators lived in Pigalle and observed people there and there. They even interacted with them which one said to them I am looking for my sister. And so this is how the script started.

Nadir owes 2 strip club Plus a sex shop he does not like competition and a group of Russian has this club across the street called Paradise. In the mix there is Thomas who is French but works in New York. Plus Pigalle there is a lot of secrets going around. It was shot in Pigalle by the sex shop but the rest of it was done at Luc Besson Stidio a la cité of cinema. Do to  creative difference with the creators and the studio production stop. And that is a shame because it was so looking good.

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Simon Abkarian

Simon Abkarian