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1917 (2019)
8/10
Smooth and dynamic depiction for an account of realistic events
26 January 2020
As to war dramas, the war itself can be in the foreground (battles, campaigns) or in the background, where small units or individuals are meaningful and their minds and evolvement are dominated by war/military. 1917 is mainly about the latter, with war spinning around personal destinies. The events start running promptly and the journey of 2/1 soldiers is versatile, full of hope and misery, with distress all the time still.

All this is captured via talented directing, camerawork, and defined performances, both leading and supporting ones. There are several character actors performing small yet important roles, plus I am sure George MacKay (Lance Corporal William Schofield) will get more significant roles in the future. But, in my vexation, several "individual" scenes with Germans involved appeared not to be realistic, they were apparently meant for the twist paving the way for the next steps in the journey (in particular, I have in mind a certain stabbing, a certain shooting and a certain pursuit which "normally" could not have taken place). Thus, when rating this film, I should assert that the script includes almost only weaknesses here.
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Informer (2018)
7/10
Distinct, but somewhat over-sophisticated
26 January 2020
The concept and the modus of flashbacks are intriguing, but the pace is not duly maintained, and the person and motives of a certain shooter remain vague an unrealistic. So the ending scenes are rather trivial and may pave the way for Season 2, but not necessarily either.

The inclusion of DS Gabe Waters´s past undercover period does not provide a big value to the course of main events, and the mistakes he made dealing with it are at variance with his experience and skills. The character of the Informer is rather static, and even a pleasant actor like Nabhaan Rizwan is unable to forward it to a real leading role. Here, the catchiest is Bel Powley as DC Holly Morten.

So, bearing in mind that this is a BBC series, and in comparison with its counterparts, I would not rate it with more than 7 points - definitively above average, but not a must-see.
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8/10
Pleasant nature-based non-religious December film
23 January 2020
In spite of its mood, venue and timing, this film has no direct focus on Xmas, most of events take place after this and include New Year´s Eve... The events are realistic, contemporary, including some topics often depicted in (Estonian) media: intergenerational issues, nature preservation, forest economy and management...

The approach is educational, yet versatile and pleasant, through the eyes of an bright girl with her heart and mind in the right place... Performances and camerawork are good, beautiful landscape is clearly visible (hopefully nobody thinks that birds-animals were created using computer!) and at present, with no snow at all, it is pleasant to acknowledge that winters in Estonia tend to include lots of snow and whiteness.
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MI-5 (2015)
7/10
Not bad, but why it was necessary?
22 January 2020
Well, after the long duration of the Spooks series and "normal" closure in its last season...? Nothing was really left untold or open so that some sequel was required to clarify matters or to link loose ends. Peter Firth as Harry Pearce is still the pillar of the production, but the events-characters around are not so distinctive as terrorists-bombers were widely seen in the Series as well (sometimes too often, overlaps and replays).

The evident wish to include younger generation does not beat the target in full as the domination of "cute looks" over character acting is too big, plus the depiction of events may remain intricate to them not having seen the Spooks series. Thus, I can fully understand if their reviews are more critical than mine.
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The Alienist (2018)
8/10
Intense narration with good performance team
22 January 2020
In general, I am not into movies-series about serial killers with mental problems as I tend to watch "meaningful" crimes and violence where a wrongdoer has personal gain in mind. But having heard of favorable reviews and its past timing, I took my time to watch - and I liked it.

First, the venue, environment and background, language is well captured - at least based on my knowledge of that time. When slums were dominating and the gaps between the rich and the poor were more visible than now.

The story is also thrilling, the course of events and discussions enabling closing in on the finding and hunting down the killer. Dialogs are witty and instructive, the characters develop, plus we obtain information about the past which is important for comprehension. Perhaps the number of episodes could be a bit smaller (e.g. 8) and there could be more twists regarding the killer, but these are minor issues.

The cast, performances seem very realistic and are often bold as well. There is some sex and nudity (but not for their sake), and many (pre-)teens have parts to play that are very controversial based to standards and morals of today. Apart from versatile leading characters (to me, Daniel Brühl as Dr. Laszlo Kreizler excels here), there are some distinct supporting roles played by character actors (e.g. Ted Levine or Michael Ironside).

Thus, it is logical that I look forward to Season 2.
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Beat (2018)
8/10
German "Mr. Robot" trying to be a spy in a clubbing environment
19 January 2020
Well, so could be a bit twisted synopsis of this rather peculiar series, where the biggest strengths are thorough depiction of mood and different venues as well as distinct interchange of paces. All this creates a kind of troubling atmosphere where "odd" characters operate, creating confusions, seeking for truth and living double life...

The leading (male) characters are versatile and different, the City of Berlin is a "right" venue, and there are some nice twists and turns; well, the ending leaves somewhat to be desired, I would have hoped something with a twist, but still - Beat is a good series, although I am not sure whether contemporary Berlin includes such a violent crime in a broad daylight outside of "ghetto" areas...
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9/10
A bright-line and versatile Estonian film
15 January 2020
The novel behind the script is old and famous in Estonia, but most of depictions of these hard times in Estonian rural history have been traditional, like dramatic plays on screen. Tanel Toom, using his talent and know-how obtained from UK, has created a really Western film, with smart angles and frames, making all performers (regardless of their age, track record, etc.) act skilfully and convincingly. Unlike in most Estonian films, even tragic and sad events are not totally burdensome - they are part of life and life goes on / one has to move on, particularly if having a family.... This film was an Estonian candidate for Academy Award, but it did not reach Top5, alas. Nevertheless, it is a good film (having the biggest No. of viewers in Estonia last year), and many local foreigners who saw it told that now they understand Estonian "spirit" more than before. Besides, the film includes e.g. several Shakespearian motives and observations, so it is not very country-based, enabling to understand it by those without Estonian connections.
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8/10
An out-of-line Xmas story
27 December 2019
There are too many cheesy films on Christmas out there... But I - (un)fortunately - tend to see the things that lie beneath, always when people with different generations/genders get together in a limited time and space, whether relatives or not, plus alcohol included... Den tid på året shows different attitudes and aspects in a witty and smooth manner, nothing is really over the top, perhaps all those elements do not occur within a day during one celebration.

And the cast is wonderful, incl. several of my favourite Danish performers (Gråbøl, Steen, Brygmann) who have really versatile characters to play. Additional point from me for the ending scenes where reality and common Xmas feeling (through weather, soundtrack) are astutely combined.

Definitely my 2nd favourite Xmas film - after Bad Santa.
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7/10
Profundity at the expense of extent
26 December 2019
TM is a leading singer in Estonia, with wide specialisation, but this documentary depicts a small share of his talent. Family, home, nature and inner peace are his benchmarks - his local admirers know that - but I doubt that non-Estonian viewers would obtain a picture how diversified Tõnis Mägi really is. Moreover, his wife is a talented musician, but the interpretation of TM´s famous songs by their daughters leaves to be desired - due to the reasons unknown.

I watched this running narration, created using respect and liking, but who is supposed to form its target audience remains unclear to me. As mentioned, TM is not just a ballad singer, even if his recent concerts and CDs are prevailed by this style.
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7/10
A rather tardy work where the performances excelling the script
26 December 2019
Võta või jäta is supposed to be - and is - a household drama dealing with several pain spots in the society (single parents, parenthood/parenting, impacts of working abroad, generation gaps, etc.), but, evidently for the sake of reality, the film lacks scenes and twists enhancing catchiness. So the progression is rather arid, many good actors have static characters to play, with often too much focus on Erik´s development... True, Reimo Sagor performs well and convincingly, but sometimes it is not enough for creation a film you would like to see again. All in all, another more-than-average Estonian film - problably not speaking to many other nations. It was selected as the Estonian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.

My opinion: 8 points for performances, 6 for script.
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Leverage (2008–2012)
8/10
Entertaining depiction of pluses and minuses of team work
9 December 2019
/refers to all Seasons in a sequence/

Although I have my hesitations regarding how realistic those events and characters are (well, organising such scams and cons in a country of multiple and high-level security organisations), the idea behind is good and the process well explained - whether during a con or later, using flashbacks. When at first, Timothy Hutton seemed to excel his counterparts, then as the episodes progressed, one could see more virtues in others as they appeared more often on screen than Hutton. True, there were moments when some recurring or supporting cast provided stronger and/or funnier elements (e.g. Skerritt, Stormare), but holistically, it made the Series more interesting and intense.

I can´t say that the seasons became weaker or so, but as modern technology enables to watch as much episodes as and when you wish, you seem to "become exhausted" as the main characters become part of your family and daily routines. Luckily, the creators knew when and how to stop - and the very final episode is interesting and resourceful.
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7/10
Weaker vis-a-vis script, but still good performances
6 October 2019
Comedies pointing out embarrassing moments and depicting failures are always a matter of taste and tend to gather more opponents than proponents. As we like to think that we are good, possess decent thoughts, have good inter-family relations, etc. Alas, real life is different and seeing this can be both embarrassing and painful...

As in No. 1 and No. 2, No. 3 shows again lots of distinct performances, with Ago Anderson spending most lengthy and intensive time on screen. The ending could have been more "explosive" as No. 3 is supposed to round up the trilogy. Nevertheless - more than 100,000 viewers (big percentage of Estonia´s population) mean than such approach and such rendering are needed.
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Arctic Circle (2018– )
8/10
A pleasant locality-based crime series from Finland (with German participation)
23 September 2019
Well, officially it is Finnish-German production, but most of performers come from Finland and most events take place there as well (more precisely, in Lapland near the Artic Circle), so you get, above all, a picture how life in those harsh conditions go on and what potential dangers and risks can appear.

If/when some virus is included, then it is always "food for thought", but in the modern fast developing technology - you never know; what was unimaginable a decade ago, can be a reality now, etc. All in all, as "pure crime stuff" was included, I had nothing against this inclusion (usually I am not into non-human death inducers).

As for the cast, all main performers were unknown to me, but there was a strong and nice team-work, no character "shining" above or at the expense of others. It is more to my liking than the use of same actors-actresses in similar series, causing confusion or reducing the thrill if they tend to play similar roles as well.

Based on the ending scenes, I am looking forward to the potential Season 2.
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Hassel (2017– )
7/10
More than average, but not in the line of best Swedish series
23 September 2019
As I have not read any Olav Svedelid´s books and see perhaps a couple of Hassel films, I do not have any special opinion or though how a series could or should be. But based on others works where Ola Rapace participated, e.g. Tusenbröder, Farang, I have noticed that he likes to dominate, often through intensive mindtwisting and violence - sometimes groundedly, but at times not, which is clearly visible in the series in question as well. So the logic of event would tarnish or create blah!/wtf! feelings (bearing in mind that it is Sweden, not a Latin-American or post-Socialist country where law is usually bendable), and the pseudo-political dimension becoming evident in last episodes is not too convincing.

On the other hand, this series is more UK- or US-like than most of Swedish ones, so the audience accustomed to them could "digest" it more easily and watch it less reluctantly than e.g. Beck or Wallander. But for me, it is not a series I would be definitely waiting for a sequel.
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Wisting (2019– )
8/10
Pleasant and solid series from Norway - again
23 September 2019
Compared to the Swedes and Danes, the Norwegians entered the world of distinct crime series somewhat later, this decade, but e.g. Øyevitne, Kodenavn Hunter, Frikjent were all catchy and worth watching. Now, Wisting has carried on in the field of international crime and related links, with FBI´s involvement, although the main venue is still Norway - with "tardy" people and beautiful landscape. Sven Nordin is really a good actor (I remembered him in Valkyrien, the concept of which was not so interesting), but the script here is skilfully prepared so that his character is always present/visible without unnecessary domination over supporting cast.

I wonder if other seasons are coming, but bearing in mind the present one´s big success, I would not be surprised. And I will be ready :)
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Killing Eve (2018– )
9/10
Far better I could imagine
22 September 2019
/refers to Seasons 1 and 2/

Well, I had heard that I was worth watching, but was busy some other crime series (British and Scandinavian, above all), but now, after watching all available 16 episodes in succession, and WOW! for 1st season and wow! for the 2nd one... Stylish, distinct, although not always smooth script (yet witty and with frequent suprising wtf! moments), but what a cast - where even most small parts are performed by big actors and actresses! Some of them I knew and have always appreciated (Shaw, Haig, Bodnia), the others I knew less (Oh, Lloyd-Hughes), and the rest I did know at all... In particular, Jodie Comer is the one worth remembering for the future. And of course, I am looking forward to the Season 3.
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The Lawyer (2018– )
8/10
Another good Swedish-Danish thriller series
7 July 2019
As a fan of Scandinavian crime series, I try to watch them as much as possible (well, at some point I have acknowledged that I have watched faster than new ones appear :) ), thus it is natural that Advokaten caught my eye.

Well, its ad made be a bit cautious about potential relying on political correctness, but no - it was not an incumbrance here. The events were not always too smooth, but the logic of events was in place, there were some nice twists, and the cast was strong and distinct (Danes somehow better than Swedes, Thomas Bo Larsen in particular). The latter´s role was not too big, but when visible, he just outperformed the others - like in many other films and series with his participation.

True, it is not on the level of Bron/Broen, but for those fond of Scandinavian series - not a disappointment. Even e.g. Alex, coming to light about the same time, is somewhat weaker.
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Wild District (2018– )
8/10
Apparently my first familiarisation with Colombian series - and I am pleased
7 July 2019
Being an admirer of BBC and Scandinavian crime series, from time to time, I am eager to widen my horizons and see what is going on in other countries. Well, I have seen many Spanish-language ones, including from Latin America, but still - the countries there are different vis-a-vis history and current issues. In spite of the fact that I had no awareness of the approach and performers (incl. Juan Pablo Raba - I have not seen Narcos yet), the Series seemed catchy from almost the beginning, and the flashbacks provided necessary background to realise what whas going on and why some characters thought and acted as they did.

All the cast seemed appropriate and with mutual chemistry, and the ending let some things open, so a sequel might be envisaged. Anyway, I will be looking to watch the possible next season as well.
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Carlo & Malik (2018– )
8/10
Good, particularly for an Italian series
20 June 2019
I am usually into Scandinavian and British crime series, but from time to time, for widening my horizon, I try to keep up with related productions from other countries. Nero a metà included no performer known to me and the focus was more on colleague relations than on solving crimes, but it was somehow pleasant, seemed realistic (features of Italians still on the surface though). The "racism issue" did not distract me at all.

True, the creators have evidently watched BBC Crime and not all cases were of even interest, but unless you think that only e.g. Bron/Broen and The Millennium series are worth watching, the series in question can be well recommended. At least, Rome seems a more realistic crime scene than a small English village...
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7/10
Not bad for a Galician series, but not bright-line in European terms
11 June 2019
Well, considering the fact that Galicia is no big/known spot for crime dramas, it is more than average, but the plot has gaps, the thrill fades from time to time, plus it is hardly plausible to believe that all those events can happen in a small town where people tend to be nosy and observant. All the performers were unknown to me - no wonder - but I was unable to pick almost any of them whose "fate" to be followed later; perhaps Denis Gómez as Bernabé had a more versatile character to perform...

But still, for the sake of widening horizons and making comparisons, O sabor das margaridas was definitely no waste of time; 7/10 reveal just my rating after various Scandinavian, British or even French series when it is almost painful to long for the new episode.
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Parfum (2018– )
7/10
Above average, but somewhat protracted and over-sophisticated
9 June 2019
Well, the benchmark is interesting, there is some suspense, but the group of suspects is often difficult to follow, as there are flashbacks to the past, to their youth (for some reason, performed by young adults). As for "major" performers, no one really stood out, Friederike Becht as Nadja Simon distinct, but as the story progresses, her thoughts and deeds become more airy-fairy. The perfume stuff adds rather vagueness than clarity and - at least for me - becomes a disconcerting element in the crime story.

The ending is rather odd and it seems that a lot was left open for the viewers´ interpretation - apparently catchy, but really not my cup of tea as regards a crime series. On the other hand, I can see why Parfum has been generally well accepted.
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4 Blocks (2017– )
8/10
Berlin inside out - with Germans outnumbered
20 May 2019
I have visited Berlin several times - not too long, but still, walking around, seeing non-German inhabitants and tourists, but never reached the districts depicted in this Series and having only vague information on segregation and related problems (incl. no-go zones) in a Western society.

Well, as an outsider, I am unable to realise the full depth and reality of those characters and events (often you tend to forget that the Hamadys live in Germany), but due to smooth script, witty twists and good performances (all leading cast, I should stay) I followed the episodes with wide interest, both 2 seasons in a row, as a crime/gangster drama with immigrant main characters. Many chasing/fighting scenes are really catchy and distinct, but the mood is not totally depressive, there are several bright moments, attempts to move on from current situation, etc.

Can be juxtaposed with Dogs of Berlin - another meaty series on related topics.
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You (2018– )
7/10
Not so good as it may seem from e.g. Critics' year-end lists
20 May 2019
/Refers to Season 1/

Being a middled-aged man, without a Facebook account and with a very few social network memberships, the issues/stuff depicted in You have gone around me, but, at the same time, providing rather realistic overview of Generation X, of their views, way of living and things important to them. Well, people still are longing for feelings and recognition, where technology can be both of assistance and hindrance, but at times - as we see in this Series - even fatal. And contrary to what many people believe, smartphones are not for "vanity fair" only - even people who read books (so "old-fashioned" in the 21th century?) need them from time to time, to live a "fancier" life, not being stuck in inner space or in some imaginary world.

The characters seem realistic, the performances more than average (some male ones even good, e.g. Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg, Luca Padovan as Paco), but as for the script, the drawing power began to fade for me, with some eyebrows-raising scenes when I really started to question the US police´s acting and failure to acting; come on, the events take place in a big city, not in a distant sparsely-populated area! A certain private detective did not add convincingness too much either.

Well, I realize that I am not a member of the target group, so "only" 7 points from me. But you never know, I might even watch Season 2 when ready - as there is enough material for seguel.
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Mammon (2014– )
7/10
More than okay political thriller, but not among Scandinavian´s best
15 May 2019
As Norway is considered as one of the least corrupted countries in the world, crime rate is also low, so you see many scenes depicted in series like Mammon with certain limitations, they do not seem realistic in full... So some mystery is in place, but you have to concentrate on other elements still. The story goes with ups and downs, there are some catchy twists and turns, but when rounded up, you realise some loopholes or start to think: how come?

The performances are okay, with several famous Norwegian actors included, but, compared to other series, the main character performed by Jon Øigarden tended to be a bit arid... All in all, my apparent "mistake" was that I wachted it recently, not when it was first screened, as Norway has created several more interesting/versatile series after that.
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Lady Bird (2017)
7/10
Distinct performances, but undistinguished story
15 May 2019
In spite of the fact that a lot of important issues-motives-expressions are approached, the narration in total was not a wow! thing to me, particularly the events leading to the ending and the ending itself. The things those late teens thought and did are not contrasting to many others in other countries (when living in a small place and/or with religious background) and the mood of the depiction varied a lot, sometimes too much.

Yes, the performances are catchy, with several famous performers from different generations (e.g. Metcalf/Letts, Hedges/Chalamet), but apparently I expected more - based on some reviews, and accolades. Thus, "only" 7 points from me, and a recommendation - If interested in coming-of-age stories, you better watch Scandinavian works.
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