Archive for category Gracepoint

Battle Lines are Drawn in Season 2 Premiere of ‘Broadchurch’

Olivia Colman and David Tennant reprise their roles in season 2 of

Olivia Colman and David Tennant reprise their roles in season 2 of “Broadchurch.” Credit: ITV.

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

“Broadchurch” made a stunning return last night for season 2. Skipping forward, the series picks up a few months after the murder of Danny Latimer. Everyone expects Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) to plead guilty and then receive his sentence. However, he stuns the entire courtroom, including his legal representative, by pleading not guilty. Joe doesn’t want to go to prison, but he also seems intent on dragging down all of Broadchurch by exposing the town’s secrets through the trial. The lead-in to the courtroom scene was shot brilliantly, alternating between Ellie’s hurried approach and the slower pace of townspeople and officials into court, befitting the gravity of the upcoming moments.

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Why ‘Broadchurch’ Gets a New Season and ‘Gracepoint’ Flounders Miserably

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

In my previous reviews of “Gracepoint,” I made sure to emphasize that I had not yet seen the ITV original drama, “Broadchurch.” Still, I was puzzled why FOX would pursue a remake with nearly the same plot and even the same lead actor (David Tennant). Both shows follow the investigation of a young boy’s murder in a sleepy coastal town. I finally had the opportunity to stream the first season “Broadchurch” on Netflix and I must say, I’m relieved that I feel the same way about “Gracepoint,” which peaked briefly (and far too late) with Tom Miller’s disappearance. There are many reasons as to why “Gracepoint” flopped and “Broadchurch” gets another season. Let’s go through a few comparisons: Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Gracepoint’ Season Finale: Danny Solano’s Killer is [Spoiler]

Caution: This post contains major spoilers on the season finale of “Gracepoint.”

Danny Solano’s killer is finally revealed on the “Gracepoint” finale. It’s also Carver’s (David Tennant) last day on the case; what’s another another eight hours of daylight? Well, it’s enough for a couple of final pieces of evidence to fall into place, at a quicker pace than the rest of the investigation. While the previous episode focused a lot of attention on Vince (Stephen Louis Grush) and Susan (Jacki Weaver), there are a lot of points that foreshadow the outcome in tonight’s episode. Read the rest of this entry »

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TV Review: ‘Gracepoint’ is ‘Broadchurch’ Again, Too Late with Sparks?

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

I have yet to see the “Broadchurch” series, but last week really felt like a breath of fresh air as “Gracepoint” ventured off the beaten path with an original storyline. Tom Miller (Jack Irvine) went missing on the way to school, pulling the community together as a search party went out. The police (led by Ellie) and community team (led by Mark Solano) came across the boy’s bike in the woods nearing the property of Lars Pierson (Brendan Fletcher), a person of interest in the Danny Solano case. Read the rest of this entry »

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TV Review: Anyone Could Have Killed Danny as ‘Gracepoint’ Crawls Along

Caution: This review contains spoilers.

As the town reels from the death of Danny Solano, Detectives Emmett Carver (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn) are gathering more information on the case. Secrets are abound and slowly coming out about many of the characters. Why does the wildlife recorder (Nick Nolte) only now recall seeing Danny? Then there’s the housekeeper (Susan Wright) who tends the activity house on the beach: why does she have a skateboard in her RV?

It’s no surprise that the Solanos themselves have a lot of issues. Ellie discovers cocaine from Chloe’s (Madalyn Horcher) room. Beth (Virginia Kull) reveals she is pregnant to the local priest. And Carver and Ellie find out through security camera footage that Mark (Michael Pena) was lying about his whereabouts on the night of the murder. Mark looks to be a suspect for sure, as Ellie finds that the activity house on the beach has been scrubbed clean. Only Mark’s prints are in the building. Or is someone trying to frame him?

Ellie is still frustrated with Carver from his running list of questions (you can’t interrupt him), selfishness, and rude demeanor. There’s still a lot more to uncover about Carver. Why does he get sick in the police station? According to reporter Renee Clemons (Jessica Lucas), Carver dropped the ball on the case of three missing children in Rosemont. Could that fact jeopardize the outcome of the Solano investigation?

Thus far, I would say that Tennant and Gunn only had one moment of chemistry: their discussion about the burrito and moral codes. It’s the only time that I’ve laughed at the show.

“Are there beans in it?” Carver asks.

“Yes, it’s a burrito,” Ellie replies.

One wonders about Ellie’s inexperience and naiveté in trusting the townspeople too much, as Carver points out repeatedly in their exchanges. At least she isn’t pulled in by the claims of the “reluctant psychic,” Sam, who claims to be getting messages from Danny.

As with last week, the pace on “Gracepoint” feels painfully slow. The slow motion sequences feel awkward rather than adding to the gravity of the situation. Rather, the best cinematic trick comes with the POV (point of view) shot of Carver as he stares at the cliff painting in his hotel suite; subsequently, the painted cliffs shift into a shot of the real cliffs. Cinematic touches should add to the plot instead of dragging it down.

“Gracepoint” airs on Thursday evenings at 9|8c on FOX.

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TV Review: ‘Gracepoint’ Series Premiere Suffers Slow Pace and Lackluster Cast

Caution: This review contains spoilers on the premiere of “Gracepoint.”

Not even fifteen minutes into the first episode of “Gracepoint,” I found myself wondering why FOX would create a remake of “Broadchurch.” Other publications like the Washington Post have debated the point ever since the announcement came out. However, others like NPR argue that the viewing experience would probably be more enjoyable for those who are new to the series and have not yet seen the U.K. counterpart. I have not seen “Broadchurch,” yet I have heard of the popularity of the show overseas, where a second season (or series) is expected to be released in the coming year.

Young Danny Solano (Nikolas Filipovic) is found dead on a beach in Gracepoint, a coastal town in California. The case is being handled by Detectives Ellie Miller (Anna Gunn) and Emmett Carver (David Tennant), who start their working relationship in a tense way. Ellie was promised a promotion, but Chief Morgan (Tom Butler) gave the post to Carver. It’s certainly not the best news to receive on your first day back from vacation! Though experienced, it’s later mentioned that Carver was fully exonerated for a problem that will probably come to light later. He also seems to spend a lot of time being gruff and brooding, a demeanor that doesn’t sit well with the locals.

Chloe (Madalyn Horcher), Danny’s older sister, visits the beach to lay down a stuffed animal, which arouses the curiosity of Owen (Kevin Zegers), a reporter for Gracepoint Journal. He posts his discovery in a tweet, causing more trouble for Ellie. Much of the episode is devoted to uncovering a little more about Danny’s activity from that morning and the previous night, of which there is little to reveal so far. Forensics indicate that Danny did not jump and was in fact murdered. Video footage also shows him skateboarding into town late at night. Only viewers know that Tom Miller (Jack Irvine), Ellie’s son, might be a good source of information, because he deleted a lot of messages from both his cell phone and computer.

It may come as a surprise for some viewers to see David Tennant without a British or Scottish accent, especially those who have seen him in “Doctor Who.” However, it’s a little hard to place the American accent. It actually distracted me a little, because it seemed like the accent took away some of the energy of his performance. It didn’t quite work in the same fashion that say, an American accent did for Hugh Laurie in “House, M.D.”

This potential difficulty also begs the question, why a remake with the same lead actor? Typically, an American remake of a U.K. show brings over the same plot (or opening scripts), but has an entirely new cast of American actors. One obvious example is “The Office.” In addition, it’s not like anyone is clamoring for an American remake of the hit period drama, “Downton Abbey.” Another problem is the rest of the cast on “Gracepoint.” Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad”) seems miscast as Ellie Miller, exhibiting an awkward stance at times. It almost appears as though she’s making quite the effort to get into certain positions; such conscious positioning seems plausible if the shots in “Gracepoint” are framed to match those in “Broadchurch.” Nick Nolte pops up as a wildlife recorder and he may have more to offer as the season progresses. (Remember, I have not seen “Broadchurch.”) Cast issues aside, I wonder if the pace of the episode was too slow (too many slow motion sequences), but I would prefer to wait and see if that changes in upcoming installments.

Much of the buzz from FOX revolves around changes that come later in the season. Time blocking will allow for two additional episodes. There will be a different conclusion for the first season. However, where exactly will the plot diverge? Would it feel similar to viewing alternate scenes (as an afterthought) on a Special Edition DVD for a series?

So far I’m not convinced that “Gracepoint” was a necessary endeavor. At the same time, I hope that FOX has something brilliant coming along in the season.

“Gracepoint” airs Thursday evenings on FOX at 9/8c.

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