In one door, out the other

Diamonds, boxers and old favorites.

By
March 16, 2016 19:40
3 minute read.
'The Last Panthers'

'The Last Panthers'. (photo credit: PR)

 
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 What would you do to get your hands on diamonds worth 15 million euros? That’s the question that the suspenseful six-part series The Last Panthers poses. It will air on HOT Xtra VOD starting on March 30.

If you tend to associate jewel thieves with Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief or Inspector Clouseau and his targets in The Pink Panther movies, you may be surprised that this is a gritty, violent series. The Last Panthers is about a gang of Serbian thieves who rob a bank in Marseilles to get hold of the diamonds. In the course of the robbery, a little girl is killed. The thieves are pursued by the French police (INTERPOL) and Naomi, a dogged insurance investigator from Britain, played by Samantha Morton (Minority Report). John Hurt has the role of her witty, grumpy mentor. She seems tough at first, but in flashbacks it is revealed that she had a traumatic experience while serving in the Balkans in the military and is reluctant to have to head back to that part of the world.

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Tahar Rahim, who starred in A Prophet and Samba, plays a French detective whose only concern is solving the murder of the child. He and Naomi come into conflict because the objectives of their investigations are so different, as her focus is recovering the diamonds.

The leader of the thieves is played by Goran Bogdan, who is quite stunning. He has made few films outside the various countries of the former Yugoslavia, among them Peter Greenaway’s Goltzius and The Pelican Company.

The series moves from France to a Gypsy camp in Hungary to Serbia, and the story illustrates the adage “There is no honor among thieves.”

Only some of the dialogue is in English, so if you don’t speak Serbian and French, you will have to read some of the Hebrew subtitles. It’s often, although not always, possible to figure out what is going on from watching the action.

David Bowie composed the rather bewildering song that plays over the opening credits.

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Part of the outrage that all Oscar acting nominees were white this year centered on the fact that Michael B. Jordan did not receive a nod for Creed, which begins airing on YES VOD starting on March 21.

Creed, in which Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as Rocky Balboa and Jordan plays the son of Rocky’s first opponent, Apollo Creed, is not a great movie, but it is fun in the way that the first few Rocky movies were.

It’s a great showcase for Jordan, a young actor so confident and talented that he does not get confused with the basketball great. Jordan first made an impression as Wallace on The Wire.

Since then, he has been brilliant even in roles that are quite ordinary, such as the boyfriend of one of the main characters in Parenthood.

Steve Jobs, with a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), is the rare movie that may play better on the small screen than at the movies, since it’s talky and set mostly at Apple product launches.

It will start on YES VOD on March 27.

In recent weeks, there have been announcements about the fates of several series that have been popular for years. Perhaps the most heartbreaking development is that it was confirmed that the current season of The Good Wife, its seventh, will be its last, with the final episode slated to air in early May. Many have said this was an inevitable consequence of the decision by husband-and-wife duo Robert and Michelle King, who created, wrote and produced the show, to step down at the end of this season.

I suspect that this is one of those shows that will go on and on in syndication, since its quality and cast appeal to so many demographics.

Girls will have one more season after the current one ends, while the following series have all been renewed for another season: Homeland, The Affair, Fargo, Blackish, Fresh Off the Boat, Empire, Orange Is the New Black, American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, The Muppets, Quantico, Extant, Royal Pains, Episodes and Tyrant (which is co-produced by the Israeli company.

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