One Day (Netflix 2024 British television series.)

February 20, 2024 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TV SERIES |

If you can be bothered starting this listless series, we recommend that you binge watch all 14 (!) episodes because once you switch off, you’ll never bother going back. To start with, the plot is suspense-free. Rich golden rich boy Dexter meets socialist Emma (a girl from the wrong side of the tracks and of another race) at a posh university. They go their separate ways until..! Whatever could happen?! Even this hackneyed story could be worth watching – Leo Woodall (previously seen in White lotus 2) is terrific as the languid upper-class Dexter – although he could do with…

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My Brilliant Friend (by Elena Ferrante)

February 13, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Children of Naples

In a ragged post-war Neapolitan suburb, families send their children to school under sufferance. But two young pupils –  pointlessly enough, girls – exhibit well above-average intellectual ability.  But which one of the pair is the brilliant friend?  Studious, pragmatic Elena, or the mercurial, nihilistic Lila? The girls’ time and place is particularly dangerous.  “Our world was like that, full of words that killed: croup, tetanus, typhus, gas, war, lathe, rubble, work, bombardment, bomb, tuberculosis, infection.  With these words and those years I bring back the many fears that accompanied me all my life.” But then again, it is an all-too familiar child’s world of not quite-real, misunderstood…

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The Teacher (dir. Jan Hrebejk)

December 7, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Jan Hřebejk, written by Petr Jarchovský) (2016) Maria Drazdechova, a middle school teacher in Bratislava, requires each class of new students to tell her what their parents do. Czechoslovakia is under Soviet rule in the early eighties, and Maria has connections. Based on a real schoolteacher in the life of screenwriter Petr Jarchovský (an old school pal of the director), Maria proceeds, without secrecy or scruples, to require her pupils’ parents to do whatever she asks of them – including housework, hairdressing, smuggling and the provision of sexual favours. The children of parents who refuse to comply with her demands are marked down, bullied and excluded from favourite activities – in…

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The Good Terrorist

February 3, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |


(Doris Lessing) Once a vice is renounced, a delusion pricked, one looks back at it with second sight.  It took the 1956 Hungarian massacre, in which Soviets deployed tanks against civilians, to budge Doris Lessing to resign from the British Communist Party.  Fierce and radical, she could not resist casting some light on the leftish radicals of a new era – Thatcher’s Britain. It is to her credit that we are engaged by the story of the dreariest, most self-centred, whiniest, galactically feckless soft cell in the history of modern terrorism.  Their ‘earth mother’, Alice Mellings, a thirty-something going on…

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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

November 17, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. Martin Ritt) (1965) Agent Alec Leamas returns from Berlin, defeated and discouraged, and Control gives him a project: go back and set up his adversary for a big fall.  So far, so good, but nothing is what it seems in grand espionage… Great, grey, grim, cold war nasty. Dick Burton, et al, play for keeps with nary a hint of glamour.

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