Category Archives: Mystery Movies

Death in Paradise: Season 1 (2011) Review

Death in Paradise: Season 1

TV Review by Debbie Winkler

Watch Season 1 Full Episodes on YouTube!

Series: Death in Paradise Season 1, Episodes 1 – 8
Starring: Ben Miller, Sara Martins, Danny John-Jules, Gary Carr, Don Warrington
Director: Various
Release Date: 2011
Language: English
Length: 466 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: DVD
My Rating: image_thumb86_thumb1_thumb[4]

Synopsis:

“Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Richard Poole (Ben Miller) is sent to the Caribbean island of Sainte Marie to solve a fellow policeman’s (Hugo Speer) murder.  Having done so, he finds himself seconded to the local police force as the dead man’s replacement.” — Netflix.com

Review:

I fell in love with the Death in Paradise series from the first episode!  I love a good crime drama series and this one not only has some great crimes, but it is funny, which is an increasingly rare combination.  In Season 1, Ben Miller stars as Detective Inspector Richard Poole.  He is Death in Paradisea brilliant detective, but very exacting and not very well liked.  In fact, his office throws a party to celebrate his absence when he is transferred to the Caribbean.  Poole hates the Caribbean.  He insists on wearing his British suits complete with tie and formal lace-up shoes.  This leaves him sweating in the heat, refusing to walk on the sand and trying to avoid the laid-back hobbies of the Islanders at all costs.  Poole can’t stand seafood, has no love for the French, who colonized the island generations ago, and is frustrated by his inability to find a proper cup of tea.  So, of course, the gorgeous Caribbean island of Sainte Marie holds no appeal for him.  I found it very entertaining to see Poole try to adapt to his new surroundings.  Everything that tourists know and love about beach life is available to Poole, but he doesn’t enjoy any of it!

The supporting cast here in Season 1 ably supports Ben Miller and his character.  Sara Martins plays Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey.  She is a beautiful female officer with French roots who never understands Poole.  Camille is bright and a little bitter that she is constantly passed over for promotions based on her sex.  There is a hint of romance that Death in Paradise Crewdevelops between Poole and Camille, but I am not sure that it will ever come to anything as these two have nothing in common outside of their jobs.  Danny John-Jules plays Officer Dwayne Meyers.  He is an experienced policeman who likes to have a good time.  Dwayne knows all of the bad guys on the island and is a fount of information about local music and religion.  Officer Fidel Best (Gary Carr) is the newbie.  He is eager and willing to prove that he has what it takes to be a great policeman.  I was charmed by Gary Carr’s portrayal of a young person starting out in a tough profession.  He tries so hard to impress Poole and to become a great investigator.  These four form the core of the first season and really worked well together in a full believable, organic unit.

The first season of Death in Paradise features a lot of gorgeous Sainte Marie scenery and plenty of tidbits about the local culture and island life.  There are 8 episodes in this season and they are each about 1 hour-long (about 56 – 57 minutes each).  Each episode is fully encapsulated Death in Paradise Two Leadsand can be watched as a standalone unit, which is a refreshing change in a crime drama series.  All of the mysteries are varied and unexpected.  I rarely was able to guess who the murderer was, which was wonderful!  I was delighted to learn about everything from voodoo, destination weddings, the local music scene, smuggling, real estate scams, tropical fever, and more!  It was nice to have a touch of the exotic added to the crimes and I liked learning about the less-attractive side of paradise.  My favorite was the third episode where the group is investigating the death of a voodoo priestess who daughter disappeared 15 years earlier.  It was wonderful to see Poole put together the pieces to solve an unsolvable crime!

If you enjoy crime dramas, you will be sure to enjoy Death in Paradise.  It is definitely lighter fare and Poole reminded me quite a bit of Monk, but in a good way.  Poole always manages to solve the crimes by putting together seemingly insignificant details that everyone else overlooks.  My favorite part about the series is that Poole finally finds a place where he is accepted and belongs, even though he doesn’t realize it.  Poole is fully accepted by the Sainte Marie team and they not only respect his process, but are fascinated by it.  The cinematography is gorgeous and the mysteries are interesting.  Death in Paradise is another great series put out by BBC.

Content:

This series contains murders in every episode.  The victims’ bodies are shown briefly.  The police discuss forensic details, methods, means and motives for murder, etc. in regards to each crime.  The characters drink and hang out in a local bar.  Other characters have extramarital affairs, illegitimate children, smuggle people/drugs/diamonds/weapons, participate in crimes such as murder for hire, money laundering, blackmail, etc.  Nothing is too salacious or inappropriate for younger viewers.  The series is relatively clean in comparison to other crime dramas.  There is no bad language.  Recommended for ages 8 and up.

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My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Hundred Acre Wood Haunt (2008) Movie Review

My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Hundred Acre Wood Haunt (2008)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Series: My Friends Tigger & Pooh
Starring: Kimberlea Berg, Jim Cummings, Ken Sansom, Travis Oates, Peter Cullen
Director: David Hartman, Don MacKinnon
Release Date: 2 September 2008
Language: English
Length: 72 minutes
Movie Rating: G
View Format: DVD
My Rating: image_thumb82_thumb1_thumb1

Related Reviews: My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Bedtime with Pooh; My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Super Duper Super Sleuths

Synopsis:

Join Pooh, Tigger, Darby and the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood on six fun-filled adventures!  Use your own super sleuthing skills to answer the questions and pick up on the clues to help the gang and solve the mystery.

Review:

“Super-Sized Darby” – When Darby (voice by Kimberlea Berg ) accidentally gets sprayed with Rabbit’s (voice by Ken Sansom) new Insta-Go Grow Potion, she Super Sized Darbygrows so big that she is taller than the trees!  At first, Darby’s height and super speed help the sleuths solve cases, but she soon learns that she can’t play with her friends, eat enough food to not be hungry or lots of other normal activities because she is too big!  This cartoon should help children appreciate their small size, even though they may not always like being the shortest in the room!  It will also be fun for them to imagine what it would be like to be huge like Darby!

“Piglet’s Lightning Frightening” – Piglet (voice by Travis Oates) makes a picnic lunch for the Super Sleuths to say thank you for all of the nice things they do, Piglet Frightenedbut a sudden rainstorm drives them inside.  When it starts thundering and the lightning slashes across the sky, Piglet is so scared that he hides under the bed!  Can the Super Sleuths help Piglet have fun during the storm?  This is the perfect cartoon to show to little ones who get a bit nervous during loud storms.  There is a clever little song about the cool percussion sounds that thunder makes and a fun game with silly faces to play during the lightning flashes.  Ultimately, we learn that friends can help you through your biggest fears.

“Eeyore’s Trip to the Moon” – Eeyore (voice by Peter Cullen) has always wanted to try rolling around in moon clover, but he doesn’t know how to get up to the Looking at the Moonmoon!  When Darby finds a moon-shaped rock on the ground and the rest of the Super Sleuths decide that they must find a way to return the rock to the moon so that it is whole again.  Now Eeyore can tag along inside the moon rocket and fulfill his dream while Darby and Tigger (voice by Jim Cummings) repair the moon!  This cartoon was one of my favorites on the DVD and it was just so cute!  Eeyore doesn’t often get a good story in the Winnie the Pooh series so it was really fun to see him so happy and excited to roll around in moon clover.  Children will get a giggle out of the antics of Pooh (voice by Jim Cummings)trying to act as mission control on the ground and Tigger trying to justify that the Hundred Acre Wood is now the moon.  This cartoon is very clever and a joy to watch – just keep an eye out for the sneaky moon woosels!

“The Incredible Shrinking Roo” – Roo (voice by Max Burkholder) is so excited to be measured after summer is over!  Roo is positive that he is taller now, but when they measure him against the same sunflower, it shows that Roo is actually shorter than the beginning of summer – he’s not growing, he’s shrinking!  Roo drinks a whole honey pot full of milk, stretches, wears one of Tigger’s shirts so he has plenty of room to grow, and lays out in the sun and has water sprinkled Incredible Shrinking Rooover him like a plant, but nothing works.  When Darby starts thinking about it, she realizes that it isn’t Roo that is getting smaller – the sunflower is getting taller!  This is a cute cartoon about getting taller and all of the things that everyone encourages you to do to make it happen: Eat your fruits and vegetables, drink your milk, exercise, stretch, buy clothes a little big so you can grow into them, etc.  Children will definitely be familiar with all of these recommendations as all of the adults in their lives are constantly reminding them what to do to grow bigger!  The ending was a cute surprise and should help children realize that there is really not much you can do to grow taller – just be healthy and happy with the size you are!

“Eeyore’s Home Sweet Home” – When Eeyore’s house is accidentally squashed during a game of Pooh Kicks, the Super Sleuths make helping Eeyore their task for the day.  They decide that, instead of repairing Eeyore’s old house, they will Eeyore Discusses His Home with Poohfind something brand new – and better!  Children will definitely find something to laugh at as they see Eeyore try to fit into all of the homes that the Super Sleuths find for him!  This cartoon teaches children the valuable lesson that different types of homes work for different types of people.  Not everyone likes the same things or has the same skills so we have to accept people as they are and help them find where they belong.

“Rabbit’s Prized Pumpkin” – Rabbit is concerned that something will damage his perfect pumpkin so he asks the Super Sleuths to take care of his valuable Rabbit's Prized Pumpkinvegetable.  But what is the best way to protect a pumpkin?  They can’t stand around in Rabbit’s pumpkin patch all day and all night so they have to come up with a way to keep the pumpkin safe, yet still let it grow!  This cartoon helps children develop critical thinking skills to solve problems.  There are many ways that you could protect Rabbit’s pumpkin and the Sleuths go through most of the obvious solutions, but these solutions will only be obvious to adults, not necessarily to children.  This one is not quite as cute or funny, but it does have some great lessons in it!

Bonus Episode:
“Handy Manny: Halloween” – Victor needs help fixing his sewing machine at the costume shop so Manny and his tools put their Halloween preparation plans on Handy Manny's Halloweenhold to go and help out!  When Manny can’t get the part that he needs to fix the sewing machine, the tools help Mr. Lopard make a costume with the extras around the shop.  The best part about this episode is that Manny takes the time to teach the tools a little bit about why we dress up in costumes (to scare the ghosts who come out on that night) and about the Hispanic equivalent to Halloween or El Dia de los Muertos (Spanish holiday around Halloween where you celebrate your dead relatives).  I also loved how they put together a creative, fun costume out of odds and ends that you can find around the house.  A costume doesn’t need to be expensive or store-bought to be great!

“Handy Manny: Squeeze’s Magic Show” – Magic Marty needs Manny’s help to fix Handy Mannyhis magic box. Squeeze is a huge fan of magic and thinks that she can do magic just like Marty does!  She talks Rusty into handcuffing himself to a handle and then can’t get him out!  Even though this episode is about magic, Manny turns it into a lesson on asking for help when you don’t know how to do something.  This is a lesson that adults need to learn, too – I hate asking for help when I don’t know how to do something!

I was hoping for a bit more from this DVD collection than I got.  I found the title to be very misleading.  It is called “Hundred Acre Wood Haunt” and the cover is My Friends Tigger & Pooh Hundred Acre Wood Hauntpretty spooky looking so I thought that there were going to be some Halloween-themed episodes on the disc, but there aren’t!  The only episode that has a Halloween theme is the Handy Manny bonus episode at the end of the DVD!  All of the My Friends Tigger & Pooh episodes take place in the spring, two of them take place when it is dark (“Piglet’s Lightning Frightening,” which starts out sunny and then turns dark & stormy and “Eeyore’s Trip to the Moon,” which takes place at nighttime, but is still pretty light due to the light of the moon), but the rest are bright and sunny, not at all Octobery or autumnal.  I think that there are going to be a lot of disappointed viewers when they discover that there are no Halloween treats on this DVD – just tricks!

Aside from the misleading packaging and title, this is a cute collection of Winnie the Pooh cartoons for little children.  Toddlers can learn and grow with Pooh and friends as they journey along new adventures in the Hundred Acre Woods.  I prefer the hand-drawn animation style, but the computer-generated format of Super Sleuthsthese cartoons grows on you after a while.  I love that they kept the personality of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Roo and more intact for this series!  They are still just as fun and just as loveable!  My Friends Tigger & Pooh is a great choice for those of us who enjoyed watching Pooh growing up (like me) so that you can pass on the fun and create new memories.  Unfortunately, there is not much in this series for older children or adults.  Sure, they are still cute and fun, but they are definitely geared towards a very young group of children.  If you have children that are ages 1 – 3 and are looking for something short, fun, and educational, then you should give this series a try!

Content:

This DVD is appropriate for viewers of all ages.  Very young children who are not quite sure what thunder and lightning are might need a buddy to watch “Piglet’s Lightning Frightening.”  Recommended for ages 1 and up.

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Thirteen at Dinner (1985) Movie Review

Thirteen at Dinner (1985)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Thirteen at Dinner

Series: an Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Collection movie; a Hercule Poirot movie
Starring: Peter Ustinov, Faye Dunaway, David Suchet, Jonathan Cecil, Bill Nighy
Director: Lou Antonio
Release Date: 19 September 1985
Language: English
Length: 94 minutes
Movie Rating: not rated
View Format: DVD
My Rating: image_thumb84_thumb1

Synopsis:

When famous actress Jane Wilkinson (Faye Dunaway) is accused of murdering her estranged husband, Lord Edgeware (John Barron), Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov) quickly gets involved to prove the beautiful actress’s innocence.  Inspector Japp (David Suchet) is convinced that Jane is guilty, but Poirot quickly comes up with a host of other suspects who have equally strong motives to want Lord Edgeware dead.  Will the brilliant Belgian detective be up to the task of investigating a crime involving professional actors and actresses?

Review:

I had a very difficult time watching Peter Ustinov in the role of Hercule Poirot at first, but I have grown to thoroughly enjoy his portrayal of the Ustinov as Poirotfastidious Belgian detective.  Peter Ustinov’s Hercule Poirot is much more humorous than any of the others I have seen and I quite enjoy this.  Hercule Poirot is always so serious.  He is extremely fastidious and demands that his life follow a routine with everything just-so.  This aspect of Poirot’s character is shown in Thirteen at Dinner, but it is more light-hearted and Peter Ustinov seems to be gently poking fun at Poirot or himself.  There is a sense of wry self-awareness that shines through Peter Ustinov’s acting in this movie.  It is like he is on the joke with all of his viewers and finds Poirot’s character just as funny as we do.

Peter Ustinov is really able to shine in this movie because of the wonderful supporting actors.   I particularly enjoyed seeing Ustinov interact with David Suchet, whom I immediately recognized as Hercule Poirot in the most current Poirot series.  In this film, David Suchet plays Inspector Japp, however, and it was a real jolt to see him in such a different role though in the same Poirot universe!  Now David Suchet is sloppy, hungry and speaks with a marked Cockney accent – and he Jane and Inspector Jappdoesn’t have a mustache!  I loved seeing these two very different actors in the same scenes and particularly enjoyed Poirot informing Inspector Japp that he will be accompanying him wherever he goes on the case.  Japp tries to shake Poirot off his tail, but Poirot just smilingly declares “it’s on my way” and follows him anyway.  Jonathan Cecil as Poirot’s foil, Captain Hastings, is hilariously incompetent and completely unobservant.  These two seem to have nothing in common, but Hastings is so very British and so clueless that Poirot appears even more brilliant than usual.  Faye Dunaway shines as a ditzy, blonde, American actress with her over-the-top gestures and hammy acting.  Lee Horsley is entertaining as an American action-star currently filming in London.  There is even a small part for Bill Nighy in this movie as a drunk, useless playboy who briefly becomes the main suspect.

Though Thirteen at Dinner is a bit dated in that it was filmed in the 1980s, there is still so much to enjoy!  Most of the acting is over-the-top and overdone, but in a delightful way.  The Hollywood scene in London is full of “love you babies” and “lets do lunch” and other cliché Jonathan Cecil as Captain Hastingsstatements.  All of the actors playing professional actors in the movie seemed to delight in purposefully performing as badly as they could, which made me smile.  I watched the movie because I always enjoy movies that are inspired by Agatha Christie books, but I rewatched it several times because the movie always brought a smile to my face.  There are several zingy one-liners that characters deliver throughout the film that are so clever and funny that I could not help but think that I was watching a comedy drama rather than a serious murder mystery.  If you enjoy older movies, you will be sure to have fun with the Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Collection, as I did.

Content:

This movie contains multiple murders and a few of the victims are shown after they were killed.  Victims are poisoned, shot and bludgeoned, but the bodies are always very clean and show very little signs of how they are killed.  There are some scenes of drinking and smoking.  One character seems to be drunk all of the time.  There is some mild sensuality in a fashion scene, but it is very brief and more suggested than anything else.  Extramarital affairs, divorces and other relationships are discussed and investigated.  Recommended for ages 10 and up.

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Murder with Mirrors (1985) Movie Review

Murder with Mirrors (1985)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Murder with Mirrors

Series: an Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Collection movie; a Miss Marple movie
Starring: Helen Hayes, Bette Davis, John Mills, Leo McKern, Liane Langland, Tim Roth
Director: Dick Lowry
Release Date: 20 February 1985
Language: English
Length: 93 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: DVD
My Rating: image_thumb83_thumb1_thumb

Synopsis:

Christian Gilbranson (John Woodvine), Miss Marple’s (Helen Hayes) lawyer, persuades her to go visit his stepmother and her childhood friend, Carrie Louise Serrocold (Bette Davis), at her country estate.  Carrie Louise’s husband, Lewis Serrocold (John Mills), is convinced that someone is slowly poisoning his beloved wife with arsenic.  But who would want to kill such a kind woman?  Is it one of the family, a trusted employee or one of the dozens of juvenile delinquents living on the estate as a kind of halfway house and social experiment?  When someone murders Christian, the case becomes even more complicated and Miss Marple will have her hands full trying to keep Carrie Louise alive while solving the murder.

Review:

I thoroughly enjoy Helen Hayes’s portrayal of Miss Marple.  She looks and acts like Agatha Christie’s iconic character, but adds a real sense of humor to her that I never noticed before.  There is a twinkle in Helen Hayes’s eyes and a kind of wry self awareness that enables her to see the humor in many situations.  She has several witty one-liners that Helen Hayes and Bette Davisbrought a smile to my face, but you have to listen carefully or you will miss most of them!  My favorite part of the movie was that Miss Marple is not able to slide under the radar as a dithering, elderly spinster.  Inspector Curry (Leo McKern) is on hand to investigate the murder of Christian Gilbranson (John Woodvine) and he has heard all about Miss Marple from a friend and fellow inspector who works in the St. Mary Mead area (Miss Marple’s home village).  His description of Miss Marple as “deceptively cooperative” is just perfect!   John Woodvine is a wonderful counterpart to Helen Hayes and the scenes that they have together, though few, are really the highlights of the film for me.

I usually get a kick out of Miss Marple’s little tales that she shares with people to weasel information out of them and this movie was no exception, particularly since everyone in the house is used to Miss Marple’s tricks.  Gina Markham (Liane Langland) in particular gives as The First Murder Victimgood as she gets when Miss Marple tries to encourage her to drive slower, be faithful to her husband, etc.  Gina has Miss Marple believing that one of the juvenile delinquents was imprisoned for mugging little old ladies and has Miss Marple looking over her shoulder the entire time she is on the estate!  The other character to look out for is a young Tim Roth playing Edgar Lawson, a young man who was imprisoned for claiming to be the son of famous men to get what he wanted.  Tim Roth is super over-the-top in his role and unintentionally brought a great deal of humor to the movie.  Bette Davis seems to have received a great deal of criticism in her role as Carrie Louise Serrocold, but I did not have any complaints with her or her abilities.  Bette Davis appears to be at death’s door as she is super thin, very frail and speaks with a bit of a slur, but she is supposed to be an elderly woman who is slowly dying so it looked fine to me!

Murder with Mirrors is supposed to be a serious movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s book, but it has not aged gracefully.  It was released in 1985 and the hair, makeup and clothing reflect the popular trends of the time period.  I have to admit that I did get a bit of a giggle out of the styling and costumes in the movie, but this added to my enjoyment rather than detracted from it.  A lot of the acting is cheesy and overdone, but, again, I found this more entertaining than anything else.  There is a great deal to enjoy in this movie and the mystery is solid and interesting.  With a houseful of suspects (all of whom act extremely suspiciously and have very good motives), several murders and a hint of romance, Murder with Mirrors will be sure to appeal to older Agatha Christie fans.

Content:

This movie contains multiple murders.  Victims die from gunshot wounds, car accidents and drowning.  Bodies are shown briefly, if at all, and show very little blood.  There are hints of an affair and flirtations between married women and unmarried men.  There are several juvenile delinquents in the film so many different crimes are mentioned (public nudity, mugging, false representation, theft, etc.).  There is some mild language and scenes of drinking.  Recommended for ages 10 and up.

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A Caribbean Mystery (1983) Movie Review

A Caribbean Mystery (1983)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

A Caribbean Mystery 1983

Series: an Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Collection movie; a Miss Marple movie
Starring: Helen Hayes, Barnard Hughes, Jameson Parker, Season Hubley, Swoosie Kurtz
Director: Robert Michael Lewis
Release Date: 22 October 1983
Language: English
Length: 93 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: DVD
My Rating: image_thumb84_thumb1

Synopsis:

No one is surprised when Major Palgrave (Maurice Evans) dies in his sleep at the Caribbean resort he vacationed at every year, but Miss Jane Marple (Helen Hayes) suspects that it is murder.  Major Palgrave seemed to have recognized someone at the resort, someone who had successfully murdered in the past.  But who was it?  Was it a female Lucretia Borgia who had poisoned her husband and then pushed him off the balcony?  Or was it a grieving husband who buried two wives who committed suicide?  With no assistance, no proof and a hotel full of suspects, will Miss Marple be able to solve the crime?

Review:

A Caribbean Mystery is a delightful adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Caribbean Resort Ownersnovel.  It was filmed for TV during the 1980s so the styling and fashion is worth a bit of a giggle, but the story is still fascinating.  Everyone seems suspicious as all of the actors cast sidelong glances at each other, make guilty-sounding remarks and seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I had absolutely no idea who the murderer was until the very end of the film and then is seemed super obvious, just like all good mystery stories!  The setting is touristy and appropriately tropical, with added touches in the music to remind us that we are no longer in Jolly Old England.

The acting is a bit over the top, but solid enough, anchored by Helen Hayes as Miss Marple and Barnard Hughes as a wealthy, wheelchair-bound guest who helps her solve the case.  These two characters really made the film for me. Miss Marple Just Arrives Helen Hayes was marvelous in portraying Miss Marple as a fish out of water.  She shows up at the swimming pool and the beach with her bag of knitting, attired in her comfortable dresses with sensible shoes.  Her only concession to being on vacation is a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off of her face.  Mr. Rafiel delights in complaining and seems to take great pleasure in ruining other people’s vacation.  Miss Marple spends most of her vacation investigating the murder, but the rest of it dodging all of the activities that the resort tries to offer its guests.  She claims to have a trick knee to get out of shuffleboard, ducks out of sight during the darts tournament, refuses to participate in charades as they cause her heart palpitations and begrudgingly plays croquet with one of the suspects to get information.  When Mr. Picture No. 10305532Rafiel signs her up for the darts tournament, Miss Marple exclaims “Why would you do such a hateful thing?!”  Miss Marple even refuses to return on an all-expenses paid vacation the following year so she can get some rest!  I couldn’t stop laughing at the huge effort Miss Marple had to make to just spend some time relaxing in nice weather.  I love to sit and read outside when I am on vacation and everyone always feels like I must be bored out of my mind and keep trying to thrust activities on me.  I come home more tired from my vacations than when I left so I could definitely sympathize with Miss Marple in this one!

At first, I did not care for A Caribbean Mystery and couldn’t understand why Agatha Christie took Jane Marple out of her native land, but I have grown to love the different film adaptations.  They all offer a slightly different perspective on the famous sleuth, but I will say that this 1983 version holds a special place in my heart.  I enjoy rewatching it whenever I see it on TV and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery!

Content:

This movie contains multiple murders.  Bodies are shown, but there is no blood and nothing too gory.  One of the victims is shown being hit on the head, but the body is not shown afterwards.  Two other bodies are shown after the victims are murdered and the movie shows their eyes open with vacant expressions.  There are scenes of drinking.  Extramarital affairs, work scandals and other secrets are exposed during the course of the investigation.  Verbal abuse and arguments are shown.  Recommended for ages 10 and up.

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The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1986) Movie Review

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Starring: George C. Scott, Rebecca De Mornay, Ian McShane, Val Kilmer, Neil Dickson
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Release Date: 7 December 1986
Language: English
Length: 100 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: Online Streaming
My Rating: image_thumb82_thumb1_thumb1

Synopsis:

Two women are brutally murdered in their home in the mid-1800s.  The doors were locked from the inside, the windows were nailed shut and the police are completely baffled as to how the murderer gained entry and why he left a fortune in gold behind.  Recently retired Detective Dupin (George C. Scott) refuses to get involved in the case until his daughter’s fiancé, Adolphe (Neil Dickson), is arrested for the crime.  Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of the same title.

Review:

This made-for-TV movie stays relatively true to the short story written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1841.  The screenwriters fleshed out the characters a bit and added some drama to enhance the story, but the details of the crime and the George C Scott as Dupinconcept of an observant, introspective detective remain the same.  “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” may seem a bit dated and unbelievable in regards to what we expect out of mysteries today, but the tale would have been exotic and horrifying when it was first printed.  Widely regarded as the first true detective story ever printed, Poe created the iconic personality traits of famous detectives like Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot.  Dupin notices the smallest details in the crime scene, is completely obsessed with his cases, rubs most other people (particularly his fellow detectives) the wrong way and can be difficult to live with.  If you take the time to watch this movie or read the short story, it is pretty amazing to think how this one tale changed the way that we read and watch mysteries today!

Though this story is supposed to take place in Paris, France, I had a tough time believing that it took place anywhere other than England.  The only thing that gave the movie a French feel was the pencil-thin mustaches many of the men were sporting!  None of the leads appeared to make any attempt to have a French accent except for Ian McShane, leaving the bulk of the French Daughter and Her New Suitoratmosphere to come from the supporting characters, sets and costumes.  Though relatively well crafted, the movie was clearly on a lower budget than most theatrical releases and it shows.  Fortunately, the acting was solid and a cut above most made-for-TV movies.  George C. Scott plays Dupin as a crusty curmudgeon with a heart of gold.  You will find yourself rooting for him from your first meeting and believe that he can solve the mystery when no one else can.  Rebecca De Mornay was a bit disappointing in her role as Dupin’s daughter, Claire.  She is a bit stiff in her acting and a weird mixture of naive young lady and demanding shrew.  Ian McShane plays villain effortlessly and it was wonderful to see a skillful counterpoint to George C. Scott who easily dominated all the other actors.  This is one of Val Kilmer’s first roles and it shows.  He plays Phillipe Huron, Dupin’s young protégé, and gamely follows George C. Scott around, asking pertinent questions to move the plot along.

I love a good mystery so I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books that fall into that category.  This made The Murders in the Rue Morgue easy to follow and relatively easy to solve – once Dupin pointed out a few critical pieces of evidence, of course!  The movie is solidly made and the leads perform well in their roles, but there is just something missing.  I could not find any spark or true feeling in the movie and cannot recommend it as anything above average.  If you enjoy mystery movies, you will surely find something to enjoy in this one, but there are many better movies out there to choose from.

Content:

This movie contains descriptions of several brutal murders including decapitation, strangulation and more.  Bodies are shown briefly and includes blood, open eyes and rooms that are trashed.  Most of the details are shared with the viewer verbally rather than visually.  There are some mentions of prostitution and scenes that show smoking and people drinking alcohol.  The movie was made-for-TV and so most scenes are fairly tame and appropriate for younger audiences.  Recommended for ages 8 and up.

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The Kennel Murder Case (1933) Movie Review

The Kennel Murder Case (1933)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Series: a Philo Vance movie
Starring: William Powell, Mary Astor, Eugene Pallette, Ralph Morgan, Robert McWade
Director: Michael Curtiz
Release Date: 28 January 1933
Language: English
Length: 73 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: Online Streaming
My Rating: image_thumb83_thumb1_thumb

Synopsis:

Millionaire Archer Coe (Robert Barrat) has been found dead in a locked room.  The police believe his death was suicide, but private investigator Philo Vance (William Powell) is sure that it was murder.  When the coroner discovers that Archer was struck on the head with a blunt object, stabbed and then shot, it is pretty obvious that Archer did not commit suicide.  There is no shortage of suspects who wanted Archer dead, but how did they lock the room from the inside?

Review:

Philo Vance (William Powell) is a suave, sophisticated private investigator with a keen eye for observation.  Surprisingly enough, Vance is well-liked and William Powell as Philo Vancerespected by the police force.  Detective Heath (Eugene Pallette) doesn’t make a move without checking with Vance first.  This may be because Vance is wealthier and smarter, but they actually made a pretty good team together.  Heath spends most of the movie jumping to the wrong conclusion, but Vance is always on hand to set him straight.  The mystery that these two are trying to solve is absolutely fascinating.  First of all, there is the question of how the murderer gotDead in a Locked Room into the room with Archer when the door is locked from the inside.  Secondly, who tried to murder Archer first?  Was the blow to the head, the knife wound or the bullet that killed him?  Thirdly, how do dogs and a priceless Chinese collection tie into the murder?  There are a lot of details, a lot of suspects and some great clues laid out for the viewer.  I thoroughly enjoyed trying to solve the case along with Vance, but I would not have been able to do it without him!

Eugene Pallette was a delight to watch as the detective in charge of investigation. Eugene Pallette as Detective Heath He is a good-old-boy who accepts everything at face value, but was really likeable.  Eugene Pallette really disappears into his role so I can see why he starred in so many movies as a character actor!  William Powell was absolutely charming as Philo Vance.  Handsome, wealthy and single, I was a bit surprised to see that no women in the movie were hitting on him.  Granted, Scottie Dogmost of the women in the movie seemed to have boyfriends, fiancés, spouses or all of the above, but still, where was the flirtation?!  The rest of the cast got a bit jumbled up for me.  There are a lot of suspects and they all have different movies.  In addition to the humans, we also get to see their dogs, which was great!  Philo Vance has an adorable Scottie dog as his show dog and there are many other breeds featured in the movie.  One of the dogs even helps solve the mystery!

This is a classic black-and-white movie shot in an older style, but it is still very Butler Looking Suspicious (Arthur Hohl)enjoyable.  I am really impressed that the director and writers were able to squeeze such a complicated plot into such a short time frame and am wondering when we lost the art of making movies like this?  I know that Hollywood says that viewers aren’t interesting in thinking or solving complicated mysteries while they are watching movies, but I A Group of Suspectsdisagree.  I think that people enjoy being involved in mysteries that have an actual solution, not some mystical open-ended fade-into-the-sunset ending like we see these days.  Not sure if you will like it? – check out the entire movie by watching the video above.  Be advised that the film is a little grainy and the sound quality isn’t the best, but the story sucked me in and I couldn’t wait to see whodunnit!

One of the other aspects I enjoyed about the movie was the old-fashioned investigating.  You get to see telephone operators connecting lines with their manual plugs, rotary phones, books being searched for information, etc.  I am sure that most younger viewers (if you can persuade them to watch a black-and-white movie with you) will have no idea what half of this stuff is!  This was a real blast from the past to see old-fashioned detective work and it really added to the enjoyment factor.  If you are looking for a concise mystery that will test your mettle to solve a classic locked-room mystery, The Kennel Murder Case is the one for you.  I am definitely looking forward to watching and reading more about private investigator Philo Vance!

Content:

This movie contains a couple of murders and victims are shot, stabbed, hit over the head and attacked by dogs.  Characters cheat on spouses and boyfriends/girlfriends.  There are scenes of alcohol drinking and smoking.  There are some scenes with fighting and verbal arguments.  A dog is murdered and found in the alley.  Recommended for ages 10 and up.

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A Touch of Frost: Conclusions (1992) Movie Review

A Touch of Frost: Conclusions (1992)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

A Touch of Frost Conclusions

Series: A Touch of Frost #3 (Season 1, Episode 3)
Starring: David Jason, Bruce Alexander, George Anton, Neil Phillips, Vincent Regan
Director: Anthony Simmons
Release Date: 20 December 1992
Language: English
Length: 103 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: Online Streaming
My Rating: image_thumb84_thumb1_thumb

Related Reviews: A Touch of Frost #1 – Care and Protection; A Touch of Frost #2 – Not With Kindness

Synopsis:

Detective Inspector Frost (David Jason) is delighted to have the chance to investigate Roger Massie (Ben Daniels), snotty son of a Parliament member (Norma West), who manages to slip through the police’s fingers time and time again.  This time, Massie apparently was involved in a hit-and-run accident that turned into a fatality.  But Massie claims that his car was stolen and his girlfriend corroborates his story.  Superintendent Mullett (Bruce Alexander) warns Frost to keep his nose clean, but Frost presses forward on the investigation.  Another case Frost is in charge of is the robbery of a casino run by Phyllis Bowman (Sue Johnston).  Phyllis is determined to handle the investigation and punishment of the thieves herself, but Frost is equally determined to find them first.  Meanwhile, Frost’s new assistant, Detective Constable Webster (George Anton) seems to have something weighing on his mind.  Whatever it is, Webster isn’t sharing with Frost, but he has already requested a transfer.  Matters are further complicated when one of their own, PC Shelby (Vincent Regan) is found murdered on his rounds.  All hands are on deck to solve the murder of their fellow policeman and Frost must scramble to find enough evidence to solve his other crimes.

Review:

This last movie in Season 1 of A Touch of Frost finds Frost still struggling to find a personal life and meaning outside of his work as a policeman.  Frost is ably played by David Jason, who in a very short time has managed to create an iconic Frost with DC Webstercharacter.  I thoroughly enjoy watching Frost investigate crimes in his role as a Detective Inspector.  Frost has his own unique method of finding clues and interviewing witnesses.  He doesn’t mind bending a few rules now and again and has no problem spinning lies to wheedle the truth out of suspects.  For the first time, someone other than his superiors call him on it.  Frost’s new partner, Detective Constable Webster (George Anton) is a real straight arrow who plays everything by the book.  Webster constantly questions Frost’s methods, but cannot argue with his results.  It is interesting to see Webster’s progression as a character in this movie as he starts out following the absolute letter of the law and then slowly starts to manipulate the law into something that serves his own Vincent Regan as PC Shelbymeans.  PC Shelby (Vincent Regan) is another interesting new member of the police force.  A handsome charmer, he fancies himself as a real ladies man and even keeps an album of polaroids featuring his many girlfriends in various states of undress and suggestive poses.  When Shelby turns up dead, his murder is blamed on a failed bank robber, but something about the crime seems too personal.  No one else on the force really knows about Shelby’s hobby, but it was clear that he wasn’t the upstanding policeman that he presented himself to be.  Superintendent Mullet (Bruce Alexander) is still rigidly following his own book of rules and resenting Frost’s very presence on his force.  Detective Chief Inspector Allen (Neil Phillips) has returned after surgery and provides a welcome bridge between Frost and Mullet.  Allen appears to be a very capable investigator who manages to balance the law with being politically correct.  He offers some good words of advice to Frost about not letting the Massie case get too personal  and Frost appears to listen to him more than anyone else around the station so he must be a good investigator!

The villains in this piece were quite interesting, as well.  Phyllis Bowman (Sue Johnston) runs a very successful gambling casino after her husband conveniently died.  She rules her business with an iron fist and everyone seems to be afraid of her.  So who would have had the guts to steal from Phyllis’s Casino Theftcasino?  Frost enjoys some witty repartee with Phyllis and it was quite entertaining to see these two face off on opposite sides of the law.  Phyllis clearly sees no point in using the police’s services and would not have contacted them about the theft at all, were it not mandatory for her insurance claim.  The robbery is a bit of a puzzle, but most of the focus remains of the hit-and-run turned murder case.  Frost is extremely frustrated to have the spoiled son of a Parliament member escape justice time and time again.  Just because he was born into an upper crust family doesn’t mean that he isn’t a criminal, after all.  At Ben Danielsfirst, I thought Frost was targeting Roger Massie (Ben Daniels) out of revenge, but then I realized that Frost’s instincts were spot on and there was something fishy about Massie.  Massie is a tall, blond, fair young man who seems to be quite popular with the ladies.  There was something about him that rubbed me the wrong way almost from the start, though I certainly didn’t see how he fit into any of the crimes being investigated until the very end of the movie!

There are three cases being worked on in this particular episode and a couple of other cases that are related to the cases being worked.  There are a ton of new characters being dealt with so you need to pay careful attention to the dialogue or you will be completely lost!  The acting is solid in this movie and the basic, PD*346188everyday at the precinct appears to be fairly realistic.  It is true that most of the cases Frost investigates are pretty sensational, as is the case in A Touch of Frost: Conclusions, but the storyline is very interesting and definitely complicated!  It is not always easy to tell who the criminals are in this series and I don’t always agree with Frost’s methods, but you cannot argue with his results.  The setting is quite dismal and there is not much featured to show off England in its best, travel-inspiring light, so A Touch of Frost can be rather depressing at times.  Most locations are in poorer areas.  The colors are muted and rather muddy.  Still, if you enjoy thoughtful, intriguing investigations that don’t always have happy endings (though they do always have solutions!), you should definitely check out the A Touch of Frost series.

Content:

This movie shows pictures of women in varying stages of nudity and in some suggestive poses.  Reflections of the light off of the pictures blur some of the more revealing full-frontal poses.  Extramarital affairs and sexual innuendo play a big part in one of the crimes.  A body is show shot full on in the face with a shotgun, leaving a lot of blood and little to recognize.  This body is featured briefly, but is kind of graphic.  One of the murder victims is a policeman.  Another man is shot and killed by a police sniper and is shown slowly falling down the wall as he dies with a huge patch of blood behind him.  A hit-and-run driver kills an elderly man.  Political cover ups and government pressure to force the police to back off take place.  Bending the law to investigate is a big part of Frost’s standard operating procedure and he cleverly stages a tip off to the police to get entry into a suspect’s home, as well as make other questionable moves.  Gambling, drinking alcohol and smoking take place in some scenes.  There is some strong language, though it is in British terms so not as offensive to US viewers.  A robbery at the casino leaves one of the security guards with scars around his eyes from an acidic substance thrown at him.  Rooms are ransacked and damaged during searches.  Recommended for ages 15 and up.

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A Touch of Frost: Not with Kindness (1992) Movie Review

A Touch of Frost: Not with Kindness (1992)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

A Touch of Frost

Series: A Touch of Frost #2 (Season 1, Episode 2)
Starring: David Jason, Bruce Alexander, Tony Haygarth, Diane Bull, Charles Dale
Director: David Reynolds
Release Date: 13 December 1992
Language: English
Length: 103 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: Online Streaming
My Rating: image_thumb84_thumb1_thumb

Related Reviews: A Touch of Frost #1 – Care and Protection; A Touch of Frost #3 – Conclusions

Synopsis:

Detective Inspector Frost (David Jason) has buried his wife and now has to put up with the well-meaning, extremely irritating interference of his sister-in-law.  With more incentive than ever to stay late at work, Frost focuses intently on the case of a missing teenage girl.  Of lesser importance, yet also extremely irritating, are the escalating threats Mrs. Compton (Amanda Elwes) is receiving at her new home.  Frost dutifully trots out to the countryside to take Mrs. Compton’s statement at her husband’s (Dominic Jephcott) insistence, but when the missing girl’s body is found in a church crypt, he switches his focus to solving the murder.  Now if only he could come up with a way to get his sister-in-law to fly home to America…

Review:

Detective Inspector Frost is still struggling with his guilt over his wife’s death.  He feels guilty because he didn’t love her any more and was only staying with her out of a sense of duty.  Frost’s wife always tried to push him to excel more Detective Inspector Frostand to become something extraordinary, but Frost was content to be a beat cop.  The best day in his late wife’s life was the day that Frost received a special medal at Buckingham Palace, a medal that Frost keeps in a desk drawer hidden out sight.  No one knows that Frost risked his life because he was trapped in his relationship with his wife and didn’t care if he lived or died.  It was quite entertaining to see Frost trying to get along with his sister-in-law, but I did feel rather sorry for him.  He just wanted to go home and collapse in comfort and relative squalor while she wanted him to eat more healthily, clean up after himself and enjoy pleasant chats over dinner.  I knew that it couldn’t last for long, but Frost surprised me with how much patience he had until he snapped at her and threw her out.  This was mostly due to following up leads at all times of the day or night to get out of her way, but it still counts!

Frost is still played by the irascible David Jason who delights in needling Superintendent Mullett (Bruce Alexander).  The Police Commissioner’s nephew has moved on and Frost is now paired with Detective Sergeant Gilmore (Tony Haygarth), on loan from another district,  who cheerfully drives Frost to Tony Haygarth as DI Frost's Assistantdistraction with tales of his loving family, anecdotes about pop culture and movies and horrible driving skills.  It was pretty funny to see these two interact as neither one of them understood anything about the other!  The rest of the police force is rather thin on the ground as most of them are out sick with some type of flu.  Those who are still healthy are run ragged trying to follow-up all of the clues and leads in regards to the missing teenager.  All they know is that the fifteen-year-old girl had a huge fight with her mother, hates her mother’s new boyfriend and disappeared sometime during her paper route.  She was in contact with so many suspicious people that the police are spoiled for choice when it comes to suspects!  Was it the dodgy shopkeeper who employed her, her mother’s new boyfriend (who is quite a bit younger than her mother), the violent couple with a Missing Teen's Mom and Her Boyfriendhistory of assaulting teenage girls, the mourning widower, Satanists defiling the churchyard or a stranger with opportunity?  I must say that this neighborhood really gave me the creeps and I wouldn’t have wanted any child of mine to spend any time outside at all!  Watching movies like these always makes me nervous and looking over my shoulder as I look at seemingly normal, innocent people around me and wonder what secrets they are hiding.  Even the tamer mystery of the threatening phone calls ends up escalating into murder and insurance fraud.  It just goes to show that you can never take anything anyone says at face value!

Again, the acting was solid, with a few standouts.  David Jason has definitely carved out a piece of TV history with his portrayal of Detective Inspector Frost.  He wears a rumpled trench coat, a gray fedora and a series of tired look tweed suit coats and reminds me very much of Columbo with a British accent and Arsonrather more aggression.  There are many other actors who do a fine job carrying the story along and it is rather fun to see Frost deal with a different assistant on each case.  The setting is still lacking in color and primarily urban.  There are no vistas of charming country cottages or beautiful British landscapes in this series.  Instead, we are left with muddy colors and depressing locations so the focus is solidly on the dialogue and the actors themselves.  If you enjoy complex mysteries presented by able actors in a long-term series, you will not want to miss out the A Touch of Frost series!  Just remember that the stories can be pretty depressing and there are no happy endings here.

Content:

This movie focuses on the rape and murder of a teenage girl, whose body is found in a church crypt.  Teenage sexuality is discussed and commented on.  Threatening phone calls, dead fish and other stalkerish behavior are found in this movie.  There is a scene of arson.  Some newspapers and magazines with racy photos of partially nude women are shown briefly on screen.  There are some scenes of drinking and smoking.  There is some strong language, though most of it is British and not as offensive to US viewers.  Nothing is shown in too much detail so as to be offensive or overly gory.  Recommended for ages 15 and up.

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A Touch of Frost: Care and Protection (1992) Movie Review

A Touch of Frost: Care and Protection (1992)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Series: A Touch of Frost #1 (Season 1, Episode 1)
Starring: David Jason, Bruce Alexander, Matt Bardock, Claire Hackett, Ralph Nossek
Director: Don Leaver
Release Date: 6 December 1992
Language: English
Length: 102 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: Online Streaming
My Rating: image_thumb84_thumb1_thumb

Related Reviews: A Touch of Frost #2 – Not With Kindness; A Touch of Frost #3 – Conclusions

Synopsis:

Detective Inspector Frost (David Jason) enjoys bucking the system and pushing the envelope in his investigations.  Frost has a knack for attracting trouble, particularly as he enjoys needling his superior, Superintendent Mullett (Bruce Alexander).  With his wife dying at home from cancer, Frost puts in as much overtime at work as he can so he doesn’t have to think about it.  When a young girl, Tracy Uphill (Rebecca Ricketts), goes missing after her mother (Claire Hackett) was late collecting her from the community center, the whole force is on the case.  They turn up no sign of her in the local woods, but they do uncover a 30-year old skeleton with a lockbox handcuffed to his wrist.

Review:

David Jason is wonderful as Detective Inspector Frost.  He reminds me very much of a British Columbo.  Frost is rumpled, untidy and doesn’t appear to be very bright, but is extremely sharp and occasionally lucky.  Frost’s home life is fairly nonexistent.  His wife is dying from cancer, but Frost doesn’t seem to want to spend any time with her.  Frost’s work is his life.  He spends all of his time at work and expects all of his co-workers to be equally diligent.  The truth is that Frost just doesn’t want to go home.  Fortunately, he has two very involved cases to research.  At first, Frost devotes the bulk of his time to locating the Frost with Wife's Caretakermissing girl, Tracy Uphill (Rebecca Ricketts).  Several promising leads send the police into the woods to search for the girl’s remains, but they find a skeleton instead.  The skeleton case then takes up the bulk of Frost’s time.  I was a bit surprised to see Frost focus his attention on such an old case rather than a missing girl, but it makes sense when you think about where all of the evidence was turning up.  The police have fairly limited resources and have to spend their time where they can make a difference or have the best chance of solving cases.  Though the skeleton case involves a 30-year-old bank robbery, Frost is able to make significant progress towards solving the case while the case of the missing girl has stalled out.  The police force knows that the chances of finding a missing girl after the first 24 hours are slim and soon focus on looking for a body rather than trying to find the mysterious kidnapper.  A couple of red herrings muddy up the waters and make the investigations even more complicated.  You will really have to be on your toes to guess who the guilty parties are in this mystery!

A Touch of Frost portrays the police force in a realistic fashion.  We forget that the police force is made up of regular people just like you and I.  We expect them to be incorruptible, tireless and capable of solving impossible crimes.  In A Touch of Frost: Care and Protection, we see a group of hardworking men and women who look forward to break time, try to keep a low profile with their superiors, and make inappropriate jokes at crime scenes.  Frost’s desk is piled high with papers, he misses important messages and he looks a mess.  In contrast, his new Detective Constable, DC Barnard (Matt Bardock), the nephew of the Police Commissioner, is turned out in sharp suits, is fairly disgusted with Frost and cannot believe what his superior gets up to!  It is really fun to see how Frost's Boss, Mullettdifferent characters react to Frost’s presence.  Some of his fellow officers respect him, others think he is an idiot.  Witnesses and suspects are sometimes disgusted and offended, then hopeful and trusting that Frost can bring them good news or closure.  Bruce Alexander plays Superintendent Mullett, Frost’s straitlaced superior officer.  It is a delight to watch these two interact.  Mullett tries to hide his disregard of Frost, but Frost doesn’t even attempt to respect Mullett and is always making sarcastic little comments that brought a smile to my face.

The acting in A Touch of Frost: Care and Protection is quite good and the storyline was complex and fascinating.  Unfortunately, the setting is dreary with muddy colors and rather depressing city views.  The investigations expose the Frost Interviewing Witnessdirty underbelly of even the most innocent of people involved in the crimes and this was a bit depressing.  The sun never seems to shine and no one smiles or appears to have a happy moment.  While this is probably more realistic and true to life, it doesn’t make uplifting television.  Indeed, it makes you want to double-check your doors and windows to make sure you are locked up tight in your safe home at night!  Keep in mind that this series can be a bit of a downer to watch.  Even when cases are solved, there is no happiness for the survivors.  There was a glimmer of a happy ending at the very tail end of A Touch of Frost: Care and Protection, but it was snatched away and we were left with realism instead.

If you enjoy British mysteries, especially ones featuring police detectives rather than amateur sleuths, you will certainly want to give A Touch of Frost a go.

Content:

This movie contains a brief glimpse of full-frontal female nudity.  Characters are involved in prostitution and underage sex.  There is some strong language (mostly in British terms though understandable due to tone and context) and scenes of drinking and smoking.  There are several murders in the movie and, while most of the bodies are not shown, you do hear gunshots, etc. and then are left to imagine the rest.  A skeleton is found in the woods.  A young girl is kidnapped.  A woman is assaulted and robbed.  Some cats are burned on a bonfire, though they are clearly not alive (not sure if they are stuffed or fake, but they did not look real).  There is some fighting and verbal arguments.  Recommended for ages 15 and up.

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