Triple Tuesday: True Blood, Upstairs Downstairs and The Grand Budapest Hotel

Hey!  Today you get three bits in one post!

True Blood:  FIRE IN THE HOLE

SPOILERS!

Season 7, Episode 3

square "my take"They should title the season, THE LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNING CAST MEMBERS
It looks like they are killing off one or two cast members each week. It’s like a game of musical chairs.

We discover Sarah Newlin, now a brunette, taking yoga (and the guru) at an institute in California.  She’s not the most popular woman in the world right now since she was behind the Hep-V scheme.

Eric tells Pam he’s been sick for a month.  He’s giving up because “The world’s been his oyster for a thousand years” and he’s lost his taste for oysters.  The writers bring in yet ANOTHER story line, Eric has given up his fight because of Godric and Nora, but also because of Sylvie, a French woman he loved in the 1980s.  Nan Flanagan comes back in a flashback castigating Pam and Eric for not registering, not handing over their tithe.  The two need to straighten up and fly right as a Japanese pharmaceutical company has gotten involved, developing True Blood and they won’t mess around.  Later the  Yakuza from the pharma company come and make Eric choose between killing Pam or Sylvie.  He chooses to let Pam live.
Eric convinces Pam to leave him and let him die.  As she turns tough she says Jason had let Sarah Newlin live and Eric gets some fire back to go get her.

The Hep-V vampires have to go hunting again.  in the cellar Holly is leading a chant to the goddess to help and they are discovered.  She is chosen to be the hunting trail mix or to go out with them.

Sookie is trying to act as vampire bait. To what end I do not know, but she and Bill drive off to the woods to bait the vamps to her. In the car has her take his blood because when he fed all the vampires his fae imbued blood he lost his ability to sense her.  What their going to do with one human and a vampire I don’t know.

Andy and Jessica rescue Wade and Adilyn from the Jail where the vigilante group has locked them up.  Andy and Jessica take them over to Violet’s and Eric’s where he’s been saying he wants to adopt a baby with her. She tells him he’s gone all soft and mushy.  Andy wants to leave the kids at Eric’s while they hunt vigiantes.  They tell Eric that the vigilantes are probably after Sookie.  Violet and Jessica agree to a truce for now.

While Sam is with the Reverend talking about the state of affairs, WIlla comes in with a whacked out Lettie May. Sam and his vampire leave.  They are stopped en route and Sam’s vampire gets killed. The guy Sam beat in the election says he’s mayor now.  They go to shoot Sam, but he flies off as a hawk or owl.

James drops over to Lafayette’s to smoke weed, but LaFayette is out.   James is complaining about how Jessica is not really with him even though they live together and occasionally have sex. Lafayette has a bunch of pills he combines to duplicate some drug James took as a human.  He will take it and then James can drink and get a contact high. Later they are sitting around listening to music and fall asleep. When James wakes up he thinks LaFayette has OD’d but he hasn’t.  James needs to leave and goes to seal up Lafayette’s bite marks.  Lafayette asks James if he is “grooving” on hm.  James says he is.  It’s no where near dawn so why is James leaving his assigned human.

The  Reverend  comes out from settling Lettie Mae tells Willa that while everyone thinks he saved Lettie Mae, she saved him too,  He says she is an addict and now with V won’t be able to leave Willa alone.  He rescinds Willa’s invitation.

Jason, Violet, Jessica and Andy are out looking for Sookie.  They are stopped by the vigilantes.  Maxine says that Jason and Jessica are hers. She shoots Jess but only nicks her.  Violet rips out Maxine’s heart.  Jessica is not healing.

Meanwhile back in the Yoga institiute the guru and Sarah finish up a sexual encounter. He sends Sarah to the cellar for red wine  The Yakuza come for Sarah and the guru won;’t say where she is so they kill him while she hides in the wine cellar.

 

In the clearing they have found, Sookie and Bill are talking.  She reveals that she loves Alcide but not as much as he loves her. Holly stumbles in. Then the hep V vampires. They attack and are about to stake Bill when Sam and Alcide as Sam’s dog form and Alcide as a wolf come in and grap attack.  then Andy, Eric and Jessica come. They all shoot the vampires who explode on Sookie. Violet helps wash her off.  Another ambush occurs and Alcide is killed.  The vigilantes are all shot too and Andy refuses to call an ambulance for the kid who nearly shot him in the first episode telling him that he told him life wouldn’t be the same. Jessica offers to turn Alcide but Sookie says no.

This episode was SOOOOOOO flawed.

What do Sookie and Bill think they are going to do out in a field, her sitting on the ground and he’s sitting in a tree as if he is Puck?  Her fairy magic cannot destroy a lot of vampires at once is she planning to acquire ninja fighting skills? And Bill is just one vampire — easy to overpower.

They have brought in two story lines with no preamble; as if they didn’t have enough story lines already. RIDICULOUS.  The upshot is that Eric is now after Sarah Newlin who the big bad Yakuza are after. Holly was saved but they don’t really show her after the ambush and Andy isn’t all excited about it. Alcide is dead.  The town’s people are going to all kill each other before the vamps can eat them.
This is possibly even dumber than last season.
CHECK OUT PICTURES, clips and HBOs synopsis HERE

 

UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS (2010 & 2012)

 

Title caption for Upstairs, Downstairs
Title caption for Upstairs, Downstairs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Creator: Heidi Thomas
Produced by BBC Cymru/Wales and Masterpiece (WEBSITE PAGE)

Stars:  Keeley Hawes, Ed Stoppard, Adrian Scarborough, Art Malik, Eileen Atkins, Jean Marsh, Anne Reid, and more

 

The freshly polished silver sparkles in the light of the chandelier; the fragrance of fresh flowers fills the air; as the hustle and bustle of service sweeps through the rooms, the staff prepare for the long anticipated return of the Master and Lady of the house…

Set in the year preceding the Second World War, 165 Eaton Place reopens its doors and welcomes viewers back into the enrapturing lives of its inhabitants, both upstairs and down.

Now a well established and thriving household in the heart of London, life in Eaton Place has moved on: Lady Agnes (Keeley Hawes) and Sir Hallam’s (Ed Stoppard) family is complete with the addition of two small children and London has settled into an uneasy peace with the apparent aversion of war.

But all is not quite what is seems… unwilling to dismiss the threat of Hitler and driven by a crusading compulsion to protect his country and save the vulnerable, Sir Hallam is drawn into dangerous waters which threatens all that he holds dear. Lady Agnes, with her family complete, and her husband increasingly otherwise engaged, begins to question her position and look for a more fulfilling role in life. And as Sir Hallam’s forthright aunt, Dr Blanche Mottershead (Alex Kingston), makes herself comfortable in 165, her progressive views and unconventional lifestyle lead to a revelation which shakes Eaton Place to its very core…

Meanwhile, as life downstairs adjusts to the absence of Rose, the introduction of spirited new nursery maid Beryl (Laura Haddock) sees changes spiral further than anticipated. And when a pivotal revelation about another member of staff comes to light, the consequences have a far reaching and heart breaking impact…

There may be two families living in 165 – one upstairs and one down – but their fates are intimately linked. With both upstairs and down harbouring life changing secrets and the menace of war creeping ever closer, the smooth running of Eaton Place threatens to come crashing to shattering halt. However, as romance, heartbreak and intrigue engulf the household, its inhabitants are to discover that the real threat to 165 is closer to home…

The original series of Upstairs Downstairs was a worldwide sensation, and the show is still known and loved in 70 different countries. Its countless awards include seven Emmys, two BAFTAs and a Golden Globe. BBCOne

 

 

square "my take"The original U/D on Masterpiece Theater back in the 1970s was the Downton Abbey of its day and chronicled the lives of the Bellamy family at 165 Eaton Place.  Jean Marsh played Rose the ladies maid from 1905 to 1930, including the Titanic and WWI. And in 2010 Marsh brings the series back with a new titled family headed by  Sir Halam Holland is in the Foreign Service.  It’s 1936 and Halam and his Welsh wife, Agnes, Lady Holland are left the house by his father who bought it at some point after the Bellamy’s, the original family of the first series, left around 1930.

When they move in the house is a mess and they set about refinishing it. At some point Halam’s mother shows up, returned from India and eccentric as hell,  and moves in with her Sikh servant Mr. Amanjit Singh,  and her monkey. She had not previously met Agnes.
Extending the family further is Agnes’ poison pill of a sister Persephone.  She is an unwilling, ungrateful and petulant debutant.
Rose has a business service to find domestic help for the aristocracy.  She ends up as their housekeeper.  The cook is a woman of social airs, the Butler is formerly a cruise ship steward. They hire a variety of maids, a footman and a chauffeur.

Halam is busy trying to prevent Hitler from taking over the world. And the diplomatic events of preventing fascism, the death of George V, and the abdication of King Edward for Wallis Simpson are part of the story both inside the house and outside.  It’s fascinating and made me very interested in the events as well as the real characters who are part of the story.

It’s often well acted too, although it seems Keely Hawes’ and Ed Stoppard’s performances are either limited by the character’s range or their own abilities.  All the upstairsish, British men come off as rather effete, while the German’s are all quite manly.  There is a terrible disconnect between seasons with huge personnel changes or defections. Alex Kingston from ER and Dr. Who appears, as do new maids. It gets a bit silly as there are too many events to deal with Upstairs, Downstairs and in the real world.  When the three sphere;s collide it is with a bang.

We watched this on Amazon Instant video – free for Prime members.

 

 GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Photo credit: theglobalpanorama)

 

Watched via Amazon Streaming Rental

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Stefan Zweig (inspired by the writings of), Wes Anderson (story), 2 more credits »
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalricand a lot of cameos by Bill Murray, Ed Norton., and more. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2278388/

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent. http://www.foxsearchlight.com/TheGrandBudapestHotel/

 

Short TakeThis surreal satire about a hidden and naive period in history when the rich or impoverished genteel stayed in Grand Hotels. Then there were wars, economic and poltical changes and the world was completely different. It is also a satire about movies, I think.  It reminded me of an early Woody Allen, and MY DINNER WITH ANDRE mixed with a THE GREAT RACE vibe with lots of slapstick and many stars making cameo appearances.  It’s a pretty big list.

While the atmosphere and behavior of the characters always feels funny, as if it should be funny, despite the occasional laugh I thought it was more a drama or maybe, a dark comedy.  I failed to see the point of half of the movie and didn’t really enjoy it, outside of the excellent performances by Fiennes, Abraham and Jude Law. And the actor playing young Moustafa, Tony Revolori, in the picture below, did an excellent job as the lobby boy and friend.  He had more presence than most of the big names.  My husband liked it but I felt it was trying  to be art and came off as simply trying too hard.