Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Sad Cypress (2003) – 7/10 period murder mystery detective drama TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: David Pirie
Elizabeth Dermot Walsh: Elinor Carlisle
Rupert Penry-Jones: Roddy Winter
Kelly Reilly: Mary Gerard
Paul McGann: Dr. Peter Lord
Phyllis Logan: Nurse Hopkins
Producer: Margaret Mitchell
Director: David Moore
Actor and Associate Producer: David Suchet

Agatha Christie’s Poirot Sad Cypress (2003)

A poison pen letter is brought to Poirot’s attention and though he takes it very seriously, it’s not enough to get a body exhumed for further investigation. Shortly thereafter, a murder is committed and Poirot returns only to fall short once more as a woman is sentenced to death for a crime only she had the means, motive and opportunity to commit. Yet the little grey cells refuse to settle.

7/10

"I am thirty-six times an idiot!" – Hercule Poirot

This is a nicely staged production with a good sense of atmosphere and a beautifully-judged pace. There is just enough information given to the audience for them to have worked out the mechanics of the murder themselves but no way for them to derive the motive. This isn’t a mystery where everywhere has means, motive and opportunity – only one has; Poirot’s challenge is to see that there was, in fact, another. The screenwriter’s challenge is to help the audience see that and what he does is quite interesting. Though the clues regarding the true murder are there, the audience is highly unlikely to perceive them. The only reason they will consider that Elinor Carlisle isn’t guilty is because whomever we are told is guilty in these murder mysteries is always innocent. And so, unlike Poirot, we don’t need to find another motive because we already presume that she is innocent.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains unexpectedly unpleasant nightmare scene

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Beyond Good & Evil (2003, 2011 PS3) – 8/10 action adventure game review

Cast / crew
Director, Game Designer and Story Writer: Michel Ancel
Producer: Yves Guillemot
Dialogue and Story Writer: Jacques Exertier
Game Designer: Sebastien Morin
Technical Manager: Christophe Beaudet

Beyond Good & Evil (2003)

Jade and her uncle Pey’j are looking after orphans in their lighthouse when it is attacked by the DomZ. After dealing with them, the cities’ Alpha Section show up and take all the credit but that’s not all they’re up to. Re-released in 2011 on HD platforms.

8/10

A fun, engrossing and charming adventure whose only shortcoming lies in a malevolently awkward camera. Beyond Good and Evil feels like it was crafted by a master craftsman, someone who knew what they were doing. There’s just enough challenge to get you to pay attention; there are just enough optional areas to make you feel like an explorer and, in gameplay it should be noted, just enough running away from explosions in slow motion to make you feel like a hero. This is a review of the highly welcome HD release.

This game contains violence, unpleasant scenes

R:Racing Evolution (2003, PS2 and Gamecube) – 6/10 racing game review

Cast / crew
Project Director: Hideo Teramoto

R:Racing Evolution (2003)

After rushing an injured racer and his manager to hospital, ambulance driver Rena Hayami finds herself being offered the chance to become a professional racing driver. She accepts but finds that the life of a driver can be more challenging than expected both on and off the track.

6/10

Good and extensive, if generally too easy, racing game with cute cleavage-heavy asian CG babes and reference-quality surround sound implementation. Once the agreeable career mode is complete, however, the game becomes increasingly less desirable to play due to a misjduged lack of challenge (but not to a lack of content, this game would take ages to finish). That said, it’s nice to see a racing game with a decent entry level of difficulty. Too many racing games are too hard for many people even on Easy (if there is an Easy level, a lot of racing games don’t have selectable difficulty).

This game contains mild swear words and excessive cleavage, mild female nudity.

Classified 12+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 12 or over.
Classified Bad Language by PEGI. Game contains bad language.

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Jonathan Creek 4.05 The Chequered Box (2003) – 6/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Julia Sawalha: Carla Borrego
Writer: David Renwick
Adrian Edmondson: Brendan Baxter
Colin McFarlane: Inspector Fell
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Sandy Johnson

Jonathan Creek 4.05 Chequered Box, The (2003)

As Adam Klaus tries to get in on the endurance magic craze, Creek ambles about his daily life and Carla is following a local police inspector around with her camera. Then Creek learns that a local journalist has taken photos of the inspector removing self-incriminating evidence from the scene of a murder.

6/10

This episode doesn’t start well with a broken gag involving a train vibrating a coffin with Adam Klaus inside and a macabre but lame joke involving decapitated motorcyclists. Macabre but clever, macabre but intriguing, macabre but funny are all fine. Macabre but lame is not. While the murder plots are clever, the contents of the chequered box are unconvincing and this episode appears to be where Renwick dumped all his weakest gags.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains mild swear words and extremely unpleasant scenes.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek s04e04 The Seer of the Sands (2003) – 7/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

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Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Carla Borrego: Julia Sawalha
Writer: David Renwick
Adrian Edmondson: Brendan Baxter
Lorelei King: Geraldine Vaccara
Jonathan Kydd: Mickey Daniels
Eve Polycarpou: Andonea
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Sandy Johnson

Jonathan Creek s04e04 The Seer of the Sands (2003)

(from official web site)

Justin Mallory – “ghost hunter” and investigator into the spirit world – is a man dedicated to exposing fraud and exploitation in all its forms. But when he dies in a tragic boating accident and his body mysteriously disappears, is it possible that he has been wrong, and that his spirit is desperately trying to communicate with his lover Geraldine? Once again, Jonathan Creek and Carla Borrego try to solve the mystery.

7/10

The plot and gags are fiendishly imaginative and unpredictable but one wonders why we had to have an F-word, courtesy of the inexplicable source of most of this series’ unpleasantness, Adam Klaus. Yet the mix of the incredibly macabre and the very funny is probably at it’s apex in this episode. The SPOILER dwarf bodyguard is a great gag in itself but it leads to a gag so macabre, so unexpected, so grimly funny, it really is awesome. Additionally, revelations about how street magicians do their business and the difference between the reality and the edited television presentation are enlightening.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains a single sexual swear word, bad language, unpleasant scenes, macabre scenes

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Links

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) – 8/10 science fiction action movie

Cast / crew
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Terminator
Nick Stahl: John Connor
Claire Danes: Kate Brewster
David Andrews: Robert Brewster
Kristanna Loken: TX
Producer: Hal Lieberman
Producer: Colin Wilson
Producer: Mario Kassar
Producer: Andrew Vajna
Producer: Joel B. Michaels
Writer (Story): John Brancato
Writer (Story): Michael Ferris
Writer (Story): Tedi Sarafian
Writer (Screenplay): John Brancato
Writer (Screenplay): Michael Ferris
Director: Jonathan Mostow

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Judgment Day averted, John Connor has grown up under the radar but the future is about to catch up with him again as two terminators are again sent back through time: one to terminate, one to protect.

8/10

Following up two all-time classics was never going to be easy but talented director Jonathan Mostow delivers a satisfying actioner that is far, far better than anyone could have hoped for. Spectacular and iconic action sequences and Arnie’s one-liners make the movie but the lovely Claire Danes is the cast stand-out. It even boasts a surprisingly unforgettable ending.

This movie contains sexual swear words and extreme violence, gory and unpleasant scenes, inferred extreme violence and non-sexual nudity.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Links

Red Lights aka Feux rouges (2003, French Thriller) – 6/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Producer: Patrick Godeau
Jean Pierre Darroussin: Antoine
Carole Bouquet: Hélène
Writer (Screenplay): Cédric Kahn
Writer (Screenplay): Laurence Ferreira-Barbosa
Writer (Additional): Gilles Marchand
Writer (Original Novel): Georges Simenon
Director: Cédric Kahn

Red Lights aka Feux rouges (2003)

As they travel to pick up their children from summer camp, Antoine and Hélène have a typical domestic argument about getting lost and him stopping off for sneaky drinks. Exasperated, Hélène leaves him when he stops for yet another ‘toilet break’ and catches a train. Failing to catch her at the train station, Antoine turns around and spies a bar and decides to have one or two more for the road. One argument is about to cause a night neither of them will ever forget.

6/10

Successfully keeping the attention through crisp scripting and directing, this is a low-key sold-as-a-thriller with none of the histrionics that would be required by Hollywood and all the better for it. Once the events of the night have unfolded for Antoine (Jean Pierre Darroussin), director / co-writer Cédric Kahn delivers an impressive sequence where the audience is as disoriented as Antoine himself is as he realises that his wife is missing. Simply by a fade-to-black in the previous, unresolved, scene, he puts the audience off balance and gets them more involved in the movie by questioning what exactly is going on. When all is resolved at the end, Red Lights has proven to be an neat little movie, definitely worth watching as an intriguing juxtaposition to similarly themed but completely differently presented Hollywood thrillers.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word and substance abuse and a single scene of strong violence, unpleasant and gory scene.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.