Tuesday, 12 November 2019

JOHN DUNNING - BOOKED TO DIE (1992)


Synopsis/blurb.....

Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway may not always play by the book, but he is an avid collector of rare and first editions. After a local bookscout is killed on his turf, Janeway would like nothing better than to rearrange the suspect's spine. But the suspect, local lowlife Jackie Newton, is a master at eluding the law, and Janeway's wrathful brand of off-duty justice costs him his badge.

Turning to his lifelong passion, Janeway opens a small bookshop - all the while searching for evidence to put Newton away. But when prized volumes in a highly sought-after collection begin to appear so do dead bodies. Now Janeway's life is about to start a precarious new chapter as he attempts to find out who's dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains.

"A knockout... One of the most enjoyable books I've read in a long time." - The Denver Post

"A standout piece of crime fiction.... Compelling page-turning stuff." - The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Irresistible... An outstanding novel." - The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

Booked to Die is the first in John Dunning's series featuring Cliff Janeway. Janeway is a cop, then an ex-cop turned bookshop owner. This one's a fantastic read with lots going on..... a feud between a cop and a psychopath responsible for the deaths of some itinerants, but still a free man - Janeway frustrated by a combination of lack of evidence and some smart lawyers; our cop with a knowledge and a keen interest in books (a subject close to my own heart); a murder in the book world and a further coming together of our two combatants Cliff Janeway and head-case Jackie Newton; resulting in a career change, some new friends, some off the records investigating and an escalation in Janeway and Newton's ongoing private battle.

When a book is so enjoyable it's sometimes hard to articulate just exactly what it is that makes it just so memorable.

Without being able to do this one justice, we have.... character, pace, story, setting - time frame of 1986 and the locale - Denver and books, bookshops, bookscouts, book dealers, and collectors; a pair of combatants locked in a private battle, each unwilling to yield to the other, one a good guy, one the personification of evil; murder, rape, intimidation, an obsession, a career burned, a field day for the press, a dream turned reality, the book business - the highs and lows, the pitfalls and windfalls, the hunt, the chase, the connections, the rivalries, the friendships, the favours, the optimism......... not forgetting - a murder to solve and some unfinished business with a bit of romance chucked in along the way.

One of the front cover blurbs states its a "whodunit in the classic mode." I haven't read enough of these types of books to confirm whether the comparison is apt. I do know that I loved every page of this one. There's fisticuffs, violence and brutality present which may be at odds to the classic whodunit, which suggest a more genteel way of doing things, but they suit the book perfectly and are sporadic occurrences to suit the story, as opposed to a vehicle constantly propelling the tale forward. There are lulls in the action, but the book maintains its drive and momentum. Action blended with thought.

Ticks in every box. I'm off to track down the second in this five book series featuring Cliff Janeway.

*As an added source of pleasure, my 2001 edition published by Pocket Star Books has an entertaining introduction by the author chatting about his novel and it's early collectability as well as other bits and pieces about books, scarcity and his experience in the field of dealing and collecting.
Booked to Die won the Nero Award and was nominated for the 1993 Anthony Award in the "Best Novel" category

5 from 5

Read - November, 2019
Published - 1992
Page count - 432
Source - purchased copy
Format - paperback

Monday, 11 November 2019

2 BY IAN RANKIN

A couple from Scottish author and crime fiction heavyweight Ian Rankin.






















I've been reading in the genre 30 years give or take with most of the first 15-20 mainly concentrated on American crime fiction, but since gravitating to crime on my home shores I've never really got stuck into Rankin and Rebus. I'm pretty sure I read one of them way back before record keeping began, so it probably doesn't count.


Since 2010 I've read him twice and one of those was a Quick Read - A Cool Head (2009), the other - The Complaints (2009)

Maybe 2020 I'll repent and mend my ways. It's not like he hasn't written a few!


Tooth and Nail (1992)

They call him the Wolfman - because he takes a nip out of his victims and because they found the first victim in the East End's lonely Wolf Street. But there's no urban predator that Rebus fears. When Scotland Yard are anxious to find the last serial killer on their patch they look north and soon Rebus is on his way south from the chill of Edinburgh to the rain of London. A serial killerfrom Dr Liza Frazer is attractive in more ways than one and Rebus is happy to take her up on her offer of help. But in taking on one ally who doesn't think that everyone achilles heel in the fight against the Wolfman.







Exit Music (2007)

It's late autumn in Edinburgh and late autumn in the career of Detective Inspector John Rebus. As he tries to tie up some loose ends before retirement, a murder case intrudes. A dissident Russian poet has been found dead in what looks like a mugging gone wrong. By apparent coincidence a high-level delegation of Russian businessmen is in town, keen to bring business to Scotland. The politicians and bankers who run Edinburgh are determined that the case should be closed quickly and clinically. But the further they dig, the more Rebus and his colleague DS Siobhan Clarke become convinced that they are dealing with something more than a random attack - especially after a particularly nasty second killing. Meantime, a brutal and premeditated assault on local gangster 'Big Ger' Cafferty sees Rebus in the frame. Has the Inspector taken a step too far in tying up those loose ends? Only a few days shy of the end to his long, inglorious career, will Rebus even make it that far?





RUSSELL ROWLAND - COLD COUNTRY (2019)



Synopsis/blurb....

Montana, 1968: The small town of Paradise Valley is ripped open when popular rancher and notorious bachelor Tom Butcher is found murdered one morning, beaten to death by a baseball bat. Suspicion among the tight-knit community immediately falls on the outsider, Carl Logan, who recently moved in with his family and his troubled son Roger. What Carl doesn't realize is that there are plenty of people in Paradise Valley who have reason to kill Tom Butcher.

Complications arise when the investigating officers discover that Tom Butcher had a secret--a secret he kept even from Junior Kirby, a lifelong rancher and Butcher's best friend. As accusations fly and secrets are revealed one after another, the people of Paradise Valley learn how deeply Tom Butcher was embedded in their lives, and that they may not have known him at all.

With familiar mastery, Russell Rowland, the author of In Open Spaces and Fifty-Six Counties, returns to rural Montana to explore a small town torn apart by secrets and suspicions, and how the tenuous bonds of friendship struggle to hold against the differences that would sever us.

An enjoyable book which I fairly raced through and completed in just over a day. I do like small town mysteries, where the introduction of an outsider, or in this case the Logan family upsets the balance and harmony in the community.

Carl Logan is appointed as ranch manager by Peter Kenwood, an act which causes friction and resentment among Kenwood's other workers. Kenwood himself isn't fully accepted by the community in Paradise Valley. Rich and with a sense of entitlement and family connections, he's tolerated. He's also in competition with brash, arrogant and self confident rancher Tom Boucher. Boucher is the louder than loud dynamic personality, the one that fills a room all by himself. He's not universally popular, having upset more than one resident of the town in the past.

Logan is also trying to get his wife on board regarding the recent sea change. She's none too happy about the family upheaval and the new job, location and lifestyle having grownup on a ranch herself. Having successfully escaped it once, she isn't best pleased to be back where she began. To say there's some unresolved tensions in the family, might be an understatement.

Their son Roger also has trouble fitting in. A playground spat with another boy has the potential to leave him and his sister Julie, permanent outsiders among the younger members of the town. The knock on effect also resonates with some added friction for his father.

Boucher gets murdered and fingers are pointed.

Small town drama, murder, late 60s setting, Kennedy and Vietnam in the back drop, community friction, resentment, spite, greed, conflict over land, ambition, secrets, a possible affair, small town gossip, marital tensions, mistreatment of a child, a reliance on alcohol and other meds, a party or two, a reluctant workforce, a hard to please boss, friendship, support, abandonment and after a fairly frenetic 250-odd pages some answers.

I really liked the characters here, the friction, the tensions, the rivalries, I never quite knew which what the next little drama was going to be and in which direction the author was going to take the plot and how it would impact on the Logans - both adults and children. I was firmly rooting for the family throughout.

There's also another couple that feature strongly in the book, Junior Kirby and his wife. Both are wise, likeable, supportive and understanding and the glue on which small communities thrive. I think they were my favourite characters overall. They are the heartbeat of the town, almost universally trusted and respected and their interactions with most of the other townsfolk provides a window to getting to know some of the others, including the murder victim and his possible killer better. 

Great sense of place, interesting plot, one of the secrets which one of the residents harboured, I kind of found a bit of a stretch, credibility wise, but as they say it takes all sorts. Definitely not enough to bump me out of the book. I was satisfied with the outcome. Overall a very good book.

4.5 from 5

Russell Rowland has written a four other novels. This was my first time with his writing.

Read - November, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 248
Source - Edelweiss - Above the Treeline review site, courtesy of Dzanc Books
Format - ePub read on laptop

Sunday, 10 November 2019

OCTOBER 2019 - ADDITIONS TO THE LIBRARY - 6 OF THE BEST!

Another intriguing half a dozen books that look like the dog's doodahs......three from Amazon and three from very generous publishers/authors....

Doug Johnstone - Breakers (2019) - Amazon purchase 

An author I've enjoyed previously but not for a few years now - Smokeheads (2011) back in October, 2012.

Another Kindle offer on Amazon and secured for less than a pound. I have more from this author on the TBR pile, but never seem to remember him when planning my forthcoming reading.

Synopsis/blurb....

A pulsatingly tense, deeply moving psychological thriller from the number one best-selling Scottish author of Fault Lines.

A toxic family...a fight for survival...

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh's most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people's homes by his bullying older siblings, he's also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.

On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that's just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh's biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger's house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation...unless he drags her down too.

A pulsatingly tense psychological thriller, Breakers is also a breathtakingly brutal, beautiful and deeply moving story of a good kid in the wrong family, from one of Scotland's finest crime writers.


R.D. Sherrill - Red Dog Saloon (2013) - Amazon purchase

Not too sure how this one ended up on my radar, but it does sound good and it was a cheapo (possibly free) purchase. Another one with decent reviews to its name.

Synopsis/blurb.....

They thought they'd gotten away with their heinous crime, that their sins had been buried forever. Now, more than twenty years later, someone or something has come for vengeance for the deeds they committed at the old country tavern in the foolishness of their youth. The words Red Dog Saloon are written in their own blood at the scenes of the crimes, reading like writing on the wall to the guilty. They will do anything not to be the dark man's next victim, even if it means sacrificing an old friend to save their own skin. They discover that for some acts there is no redemption.



Will Carver - Good Samaritans (2018) - Amazon purchase

Billy bargain on Amazon - 99p at some point in the month. Great reviews, interesting premise. Hopefully I won't enjoy it too much otherwise I'll feel compelled to hoover up all his other books!

Synopsis/blurb....

Shortlisted for Best Independent Voice at the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Awards

Longlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize

THRILLER OF THE YEAR in GUARDIAN, TELEGRAPH AND DAILY EXPRESS

‘Totally addictive. Like Fight Club, only darker’ S.J. Watson

‘I loved this book. Dark and at times almost comical, a great blend of crime thriller and the darkest imaginable domestic noir’ Sarah Pinborough

Dark, deviant and disturbing domestic noir … one of the most entrancing, sophisticated and page-turning psychological thrillers of the year…

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach…

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.

But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.



Rob Pierce - Tommy Shakes (2019) - review copy from Chris @ All Due Respect Books

Love pretty much anything the guys at All Due Respect put out and I seem to be on their friend's list. Long may it continue.

Rob Pierce's Uncle Dust was enjoyed back in 2017 - thoughts here.

More sits on the TBR pile from the man (just never enough time is there?) ..... Vern in the Heat, The Things I Love Will Kill Me Yet and With the Right Enemies.


Synopsis/blurb....

Tommy Shakes is a career criminal, and not a very good one. He earned his name as a heroin addict. Now he’s just a drunk, drinking so much that he spends much of his time in bathrooms, exploding from one end or the other.

He’s in a marriage he wants to salvage. He convinces himself that his wife, Carla, will allow him to stay with her and their teenage son, Malik, if he can bring home enough money. She tells him that won’t do it, he needs to quit crime altogether, but Tommy gets a crack at a big heist and decides to pull the job.

The job is ripping off a popular restaurant that runs an illegal sports book in back. A lot of money gets paid out on football Sundays; the plan is to pull the robbery on Saturday night. The back room has armed guards but, according to Smallwood, Tommy’s contact on the job, there’s no gang protection.

Tommy recons the job and finds two problems: Smallwood’s plan will get them all killed or up on murder one, and one security guy works for a local gangster, Joey Lee. Tommy’s desperate for money and figures he can make his own plan. As to the gangster, there’s enough money that it’s worth the risk.

They pull the robbery but one gang member gets gun happy and it turns into a bloodbath, which includes killing Lee’s man. Now they’re wanted for murder, and the law is the least of their problems.

Praise for TOMMY SHAKES:

“With his pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, his knack for crisp pacing, and his unerring eye for what might be called the milieu of functional dissolution, Rob Pierce has revealed himself in story after story as a poet of the luckless, the bard of the misbegotten. In the hero of his latest and best, Tommy Shakes, he has found his Frankie Machine.” —David Corbett, award-winning author of The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday



Heleen Kist - Stay Mad, Sweetheart (2019) - review copy from publisher - Red Dog Press

A #MeToo drama - a bit of a slight divergence from my usual reading, but it seems a very intriguing book and I'm always bemoaning the fact I don't read enough female authors.


Synopsis/blurb....

THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.

Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.

Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.

Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up's annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.

As the women's paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who've wronged them.

But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?


A pacy and suspenseful novel with its feet firmly in the #MeToo era. 9 to 5 meets Suits with a dash of Black Mirror.



Janet Roger - Shamus Dust (2019) - review copy from author via publisher Troubador Publishing Ltd
One I have heard good things about and am looking forward to ....

HARD WINTER COLD WAR COOL MURDER ..... how could you not?


Synopsis/blurb.....

Two candles flaring at a Christmas crib. A nurse who steps inside a church to light them. A gunshot emptied in a man s head in the creaking stillness before dawn, that the nurse says she didn t hear. It s 1947 in the snowbound, war-scarred City of London, where Pandora s Box just got opened in the ruins, City Police has a vice killing on its hands, and a spooked councilor hires a shamus to help spare his blushes. Like the Buddha says, everything is connected. So it all can be explained. But that s a little cryptic when you happen to be the shamus, and you re standing over a corpse.



Saturday, 9 November 2019

SEPTEMBER 2019 - READING LIST AND PICK OF THE MONTH

September was a blinding month's reading, 19 books in total and no resorting to subterfuge or cheating by sneaking in short stories to bolster the numbers.


Pick of the month by a short head!
George V. Higgins and Cogan's Trade (1974)





















The number's were aided by a week late-August, early September being lazy on a beach in Malta. I'd read 11 books by the 8th of the month and then saw a drop off after returning to work.

No stand-out 5 STAR read - not this month

4.5 STAR READS - x 3 Dietrich Kalteis - Poughkeepsie Shuffle; George V. Higgins with Cogan's Trade and Harlin Hailey's East of Lincoln.

Pick of the month on the basis of which of the three 4.5 STAR READS I'd want to pick up for for a re-read is Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins. Re-reading would annoy my wife immensely, bearing in mind the amount of un-read books I have

4 STAR READS x 15 - Mike Knowles (twice) - Grinder and In Plain Sight; Bill Pronzini with John Lutz and The Eye;  Tom Pitts - Piggyback; L.A. Sykes - The Hard Cold Shoulder; George V. Higgins again - The Rat on Fire (a re-read); Lisa Gardner - Never Tell; Adrian McKinty - The Chain; Rob Parker - The Penny Black; A.K. Reynolds - Very Nearly Dead; Mark Rogers with Adam Rocke  and The Death Dealer; Harlan Coben - Run Away; Dan Hancox - Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime; Tony Drury - The Man Who Hated and another collaboration - In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland.

3 STAR READ x 1 - Lawrence Block (as Sheldon Lord) with Of Shame and Joy

I spent time in the company of .....

an ex-con selling cars, trying to dodge a gang war and keep his gun running boss happy

a loner sucked back into a mob investigation

a cop and a killer with a God complex stalking each other

a couple of friends hunting some missing drugs with a road trip

an ex-cop Manc PI looking for a girl

a take down and a judgement passed by the Boston underworld

more Boston shenanigans with a conspiracy to cause arson and an undercover op to nail them

our Canadian loner again, trying to keep the police off his back, by offering up a bigger prize

a murder, an investigation, a troubled history, secrets and an abuser - lots more besides

a missing daughter, family secrets and a murder

an on the run ex-Military vigilante causing mayhem in Norfolk

a gang of friends on an African safari with a difference

a girl discovering herself in New York half a century again

a murder amongst friends in LA

a dissection of the UK grime scene

an angry man exacting revenge on an impolite society

a coming of age tale with two brothers and an abusive father

Settings...... 

Toronto, Canada and Poughkeepsie, USA; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; New York and New Jersey; San Francisco, Chico, Rio Linda and Sacramento; Manchester, England; Boston, Massachusetts; Boston, Massachusetts again; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Florida, Cambridge, Boston, Winthrop - Massachusetts, the wilds of Maine; Plum Island, New York, Crete, New York, Boston and New Hampshire; New York; Norfolk, England; South London and Luton; New York, Harare - Zimbabwe: Provincetown, Massachusetts; Los Angeles; London; somewhere in the UK (not noted at time of reading) and rural North Carolina

The full 19 reads with links to my reviews below......

Dietrich Kalteis - Poughkeepsie Shuffle (2018) (4.5)

Mike Knowles - Grinder (2009) (4)

Bill Pronzini and John Lutz - The Eye (1984) (4)

Tom Pitts - Piggyback (2012) (4)

L.A. Sykes - The Hard Cold Shoulder (2013) (4)

George V. Higgins - Cogan's Trade (1974) (4.5)

George V. Higgins - The Rat on Fire (1981) (4)

Mike Knowles - In Plain Sight (2010) (4)

Lisa Gardner - Never Tell (2019) (4)

Adrian McKinty - The Chain (2019) (4)

Harlan Coben - Run Away (2019) (4)

Rob Parker - The Penny Black (2019) (4)

A.K. Reynolds - Very Nearly Dead (2019) (4)

Lawrence Block (as Sheldon Lord) - Of Shame and Joy (1960) (3)

Adam Rocke and Mark Rogers - The Death Dealer (2019) (4)

Harlin Hailey - East of Lincoln (2019) (4.5)

Dan Hancox - Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime (2018) (4)

Tony Drury - The Man Who Hated (2018) (4)

James Newman and Mark Steensland - In the Scrape (2019) (4)

Anal analysis time read on if you're an insomniac ......


New to me authors in the month - 8 - L.A. Sykes, Harlin Hailey, Tony Drury, Dan Hancox, James Newman and Mark Steensland, half of the A.K. Reynolds double act and Adam Rocke - half of team responsible for The Death Dealer

There's more on the TBR pile from James Newman and L.A. Sykes

Authors enjoyed before - 13 - Dietrich Kalteis, Mike Knowles, Bill Pronzini, John Lutz, Tom Pitts, George V. Higgins, Lisa Gardner, Adrian McKinty, Harlan Coben, Rob Parker, half of A.K. Reynolds (they're a husband and wife double act), Mark Rogers and Lawrence Block

There's more on the TBR pile from all of them.

19 reads from 21 authors. 19 of them different. 4 co-authored books, though only 3 would indicate that from the author's title on the book

4 were series books .....

Mike Knowles' Grinder and In Plain Sight are the 2nd and 3rd in his Wilson series. There are 6 in total

John Lutz wrote a 2nd Oxman and Tobin book - Shadowtown after his collaboration The Eye with Bill Pronzini

Rob Parker's The Penny Black is the 3rd in his Ben Bracken series

Lisa Gardner's Never Tell is the 10th book to feature Detective D.D. Warren

Series maybes....

Adam Rocke and Mark Rogers maybe collaborating on a prequel to The Death Dealer

Some of the characters in the Boston crime books from George V. Higgins crop up in passing in the books I've read.... Cogan for instance

Tony Drury's The Man Who Hated is part of his novella series inspired by film, but the books feature different people

Gender analysis -  1.5 female authors, 18.5 male. No further comment really necessary (copies and pastes last month's comments re gender)

Another poor attempt at diversity in my reading! Deja-vous.
It looks like I'll have to sort out another all-female reading month later in the year to address the imbalance. Blah, blah, blah...unlikely as we are running out of year


Of the 21 different authors read, 11 hail from the USA, 6 are English, 3 hail from Canada, 1 from Northern Ireland - as best I can tell.

All 20 of the reads were fiction, 1 non-fiction - Dan Hancox's Inner City Pressure

15 of the 9 books read were published this century - 14 from this decade

8 from 2019, 3 from 2018, 1 each from 2010, 2012 and 2013

1 from 2009

Of the four older books, 1 each from 1960, 1974, 1981, 1984

4 came from the man-cave blue tub stash in my garage.

Mike Knowles and George V. Higgins - two books from each, both in omnibus editions

Publishers -  ECW Press (x 3), Open Road Media, Snub Nose Press, Robinson Publishing (x 2), Lawrence Block, City Fiction, Near to the Knuckle, Mulholland (x 2), Arrow, Endeavour Media, Bloodhound Books, World Castle Publishing, Amazon Media, William Collins and Silver Shamrock Publishing 

9 of the 19 reads were pre-owned, 1 of the 9 had also been obtained via Net Galley, cheers ECW Press

4 other books were Net Galley reads - thanks to Open Road Media, City Fiction, Silver Shamrock Publishing and Mulholland

1 came via reviewer site Reedsy

1 was received directly from the publisher - cheers to Bloodhound Books

3 came from the authors - thanks to Rob Parker, Mark Rogers (and Adam Rocke) and Lawrence Block - his assistant actually in the form of an Audible download code - cheers to team Lawrence Block

1 was accessed at Edelweiss - Above the Treeline early reviewer site, but I had to download an Audible edition of Inner City Pressure as I never read it in the limited time allowed to me.


Favourite cover? Tom Pitts and Piggyback





Second favourite cover -  Harlin Hailey - East of Lincoln



My reads were this long 280 - 182 - 256 - 114 - 108 - 218 - 194 - 203 - 416 - 331 - 384 - 226 - 238 - 300 - 178 (or 4 hrs 48 mins) - 448 - 352 (or 10 hrs 51 mins) - 77 - 105

Total page count =  4610 (1893 in August) ....... an increase of 2717 pages

4610 or 4060 written pages and 15 hrs 39 ear-hole mins

3 were Kindle reads,  5 were ePub files read on the laptop, 1 was a Kindle Mobi file read on the laptop, 2 were Audible listening books, 8 were paperbacks - 4 of them in 2 x 3 book Omnibus editions of which the the 2nd and 3rd of each was consumed


0 < 50,
1 between 51 < 100,
6 between 101 < 200,
7 between 201 < 300,
3 between 301 < 400,
2 between 401 < 500
0 over 500 pages

Harlin Hailey's East of Lincoln was the longest read at 448 pages

Tony Drury's The Man Who Hated was the shortest at 77 pages long.

Friday, 8 November 2019

OCTOBER 2019 - FILMS +TV (HOME VIEWING)

A busy month out and about with the Cinema trips and caning the films and TV drama at home..... eight films and one 16 episode TV drama series watched in the month.



Manifest Season 1 (2018) - TV drama
Watched all 16 episodes in three separate bursts of bingeing.

I liked it, though kind of sensed early on (maybe when I heard that there was a second series in the offing) that we were destined for a cliffhanger ending and no real explanation for the freaky event - a plane taking off and according to the passengers landing in real time - four or five hours after they departed, and back in the world about five years later. I kind of got a LOST vibe from it.

I think I enjoyed the early episodes the most. The voices enabling the solving of several crimes and mysteries that were happening. I liked the paranoia present, especially when the FBI man was trying to get his hooks into our main character survivors. The thing kind of sagged a bit in the middle and towards the end. I got the feeling the team behind the series were longing it out. We could have got where we were going - somewhere which in fact is nowhere really, with the cliffhanger ending - a lot quicker.

Quite liked the actors involved, not that I knew any of them prior to this.
I expect I'll be tuning in for Season Two, whenever that might be.



From Wikipedia...

Manifest is an American supernatural drama television series, created by Jeff Rake, that premiered on September 24, 2018, on NBC. The series centers on the passengers and crew of a commercial airliner who suddenly reappear after being presumed dead for more than five years. It stars Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J. R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, and Parveen Kaur. In October 2018, NBC ordered an additional three episodes of the series, bringing the first season total up to 16 episodes. In April 2019, NBC renewed the series for a second season.

Premise

Montego Air Flight 828 from Jamaica to New York City experiences a brief period of severe turbulence. When they land, the passengers and crew learn that over five and a half years have passed while they were in the air, during which time they were presumed dead. As they reintegrate themselves into present-day society, the passengers begin to face the fact that their lives—and loved ones—are not the same as they were before, while they also begin to experience guiding voices and visions representing events yet to occur.



RoboCop (2014) - Netflix TV film

Browsing Netflix this popped up. I thought it was the original. I never even knew they remade the thing, not that I can recall too much about the first one anyway.

A decent hour and half's viewing. Didn't think much to Samuel L. Jackson. I usually like him, maybe it was the ultra-right wing persona of his character I disliked. Gary Oldman was very good. Isn't he always? Michael Keaton also features as well as RoboCop himself - Joel Kinnaman. You've got to feel for his family. I do think sometimes death is a lesser pain.

I would watch it again in another five years time.

From Wikipedia....

RoboCop is a 2014 American cyberpunk superhero film directed by José Padilha and written by Joshua Zetumer, Nick Schenk, Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. It is a remake of the 1987 film of the same name also written by Neumeier and Miner. The film stars Joel Kinnaman as the title character, with Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish and Jackie Earle Haley in supporting roles.

Screen Gems first announced a remake in 2005, but it was halted one year later. Darren Aronofsky and David Self were originally assigned to direct and write the film, respectively, for a tentative 2010 release. The film was delayed numerous times, and Padilha signed on in 2011. In March 2012, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (successor company to Orion Pictures until September 11, 2014, the studio that released the original film) announced an August 2013 release, but that was then changed to February 2014. The principal characters were cast from March to July 2012. Principal photography began in September 2012 in Toronto[6] and Vancouver in Canada,[7] with additional locations in Hamilton, in Canada, and Detroit in the United States.

The film was released in the United States on February 12, 2014. RoboCop received mixed reviews, with praise for the performances, action, updates, style and political/media satire, but criticism for its lack of violence, social satire and humor compared to the original film, and grossed $242 million against its $100 million budget.




Northfork (2003) - DVD film

A charity shop DVD buy, so not too much lost on this one. Only the couple of hours of my life I won't get back. Hmm.... I like James Woods, though I don't see him too often these days. Loved him as James Ellroy's Lloyd Hopkins in Cop many years ago. I love Nick Nolte and I used to have the hots for Darryl Hannah, probably 30 years ago - Splash era.

I didn't really expect the fantastical-supernatural type undertones with the freaky family of angels. I was expecting a more rooted in reality kind of tale. It had it moments, but overall a disappointment and one that will be heading back in the direction from which it came - el pronto. Weird AF. My wife wasn't impressed at all.


From Google......

As Northfork, Montana, is being evacuated in preparation for a new dam, young Irwin (Duel Farnes) lies dying in a local orphanage, with Father Harlan (Nick Nolte) by his side, taking care of him. Also yet to leave are Willis (Mark Polish) and his father, Walter (James Woods), who head up the evacuation team. In a comatose state, Irwin has four angelic visitors who hope to find a way for him to leave Northfork, as it faces its demise in the haunting shadow of the dam.

Initial release: 21 January 2003
Director: Michael Polish
Box office: 1.6 million USD
Initial DVD release: 30 December 2003
Screenplay: Mark Polish, Michael Polish



Small Town Murder Songs (2010) - DVD film

Another one my wife didn't think too much of, but I really liked. It kind of gave off a Fargo-like vibe which was a big plus for me.

A small town (obviously), a murder (obviously) and a cop battling his rage, through religion, while still holding a flame for his ex, who's shacked up with a rough-un, who our cop suspects of the murder. Powerful performances throughout. I'd watch it again in a year or two. Undoubtedly on my own, unless my wife was in a full-on body cast and planted in front of the telly.

John Grant at Noirish offers a more considered and meaningful piece on the film here.
Cheers squire for the tip-off. I got the DVD as a Christmas present after reading about it over at his.


From Wikipedia.....

Small Town Murder Songs is a 2010 Canadian crime-thriller directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 14, 2010. The film is written by Gass-Donnelly, produced by Gass-Donnelly and Lee Kim, and stars Peter Stormare, Jill Hennessy, and Martha Plimpton.






Cop Car (2015) - DVD film

I do like Kevin Bacon. It doesn't matter whether he's advertising a mobile phone network or throwing a few shapes in Footloose - I like him.

Kids, a stolen cop car, a body in the trunk, a dodgy cop with another body on his hands and a recovery mission. Funny, dark, violent, great acting, edge of the seat tension in places. What's not to like. Another keeper.

Thanks again to John Grant at Noirish for the heads-up. Again check out his more informative and considered piece here. Another Christmas DVD enjoyed.


From Google......

Two mischievous boys (James Freedson-Jackson, Hays Wellford) stumble upon a seemingly abandoned police cruiser and steal it, unaware that its murderous owner (Kevin Bacon) has stashed a hostage in the trunk.

Initial release: 24 January 2015
Director: Jon Watts
Budget: 5 million USD
Box office: 143,658 USD
Screenplay: Jon Watts, Christopher Ford



The Laundromat (2019) - Netflix TV film

Bit of a layman's explanation of the shenanigans the high and mighty get up. Practices brought into the light by the Panama Papers big reveal. A cool blend of fact, information, drama and comedy.

I liked this one......Gary Oldman (again), Meryl Streep and Antonio Banderas take us through the chicanery of high finance, tax evasion, avoidance and a helluva lot more. Greed fosters greed. Obscene and a scandal. Maybe the politicians should do something about it.

Oh wait a minute...... aren't they the fuckers taking advantage of it all?

Makes you feel very angry, but also impotent, powerless and extremely cynical.

From Wikipedia.......

The Laundromat is a 2019 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh, with a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns. It stars Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Jeffrey Wright, David Schwimmer, Matthias Schoenaerts, James Cromwell, and Sharon Stone.

The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 1, 2019. It was released theatrically on September 27, 2019, before being released for digital streaming on October 18, 2019, by Netflix. The film has received mixed reviews from critics.

Plot
The film follows Ellen Martin (Streep), whose dream vacation takes a wrong turn and leads her down a rabbit hole of shady dealings that can all be traced to one Panama City law firm, run by white collar criminals Jürgen Mossack (Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Banderas). In a shocking denouement she soon learns that her minor predicament is only a drop in the bucket of millions of files linking off-shore drug trafficking, tax evasion, bribery, and other illegal enterprises to the world's richest and most powerful political leaders.

The subplot of a wealthy man and his daughter bears strong reference to the events described in the April 2019 book, The Bouvier Affairs: A True Story, involving a network of trusts under a Russian oligarch's name in Cyprus. The book focuses on Dmitry Rybolovlev, his daughter, Ekaterina Rybolovleva, and his wife, Elena.




Fractured (2019) - Netflix TV film


Another very good film. I enjoyed Sam Worthington as the main lead. Fairly sure I have seen him in a few other things, though can't remember what for the life of me.

Tense with a healthy dose of paranoia throughout with Worthington either delusional or the victim of a conspiracy by a hospital involved in organ harvesting.


From Wikipedia...... (*spoiler alert - definitely do not read to the end of the plot summary if you want to watch the film in a state of happy ignorance)

Fractured is a 2019 American psychological thriller film directed by Brad Anderson from a screenplay by Alan B. McElroy. It stars Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe, Stephen Tobolowsky, Adjoa Andoh, and Lucy Capri.

The film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 22, 2019. It was released on October 11, 2019, by Netflix.

Filming took place from November 2018 to January 2019, in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) and in surrounding areas.

Plot
Ray, along with his wife Joanne and daughter Peri, drive on a road trip for Thanksgiving. They take a break at a rest stop, where Ray and Peri fall into an open construction site and are injured. After rushing to the hospital, Joanne accompanies Peri to the basement to obtain a CT scan, while Ray waits in waiting room.

Ray passes out from exhaustion. After awakening hours later, he asks the hospital staff if he can see his wife and daughter, but is told they were never brought to the hospital.

Ray argues with the hospital staff, who all deny that his wife and daughter were ever admitted. Ray enlists the assistance of two police officers, but the hospital staff and doctors convince them Ray came to the hospital alone, was treated for a head wound, and is confused.

Unable to convince the staff and police of his story, Ray searches for his family on his own and eventually finds them in the sub-basement, just before his daughter is about to have her organs harvested. Ray fights with the hospital staff, causing an explosion, and escapes with his family.

However, as Ray drives away it is revealed that he is experiencing visual hallucinations from psychological trauma resulting from the incident earlier that day. In reality, Peri died from the fall, and Ray accidentally killed Joanne after pushing her. The trauma of realizing he'd killed his family caused Ray's mind to construct a new reality in which both his wife and daughter are alive. Ray believes he is rescuing them, but it is revealed that he has kidnapped a random patient from surgery, while his wife and daughter are lying dead in the trunk of his car.




Midnight Run (1988) - TV film
A flukey lucky TV recording after seeing someone on Twitter advertise it was airing.

A great film which I loved just as much this time around as I did 30 years ago when I watched it. Robert DeNiro is young, fresh-faced, handsome and very good and I like the bounce-off factor he shares with Charles Grodin.

A bounty hunter, the mob, a dodgy accountant and a plane, train and automobile trek across the country for our double act - pursued by the mob, a fellow bounty hunter and the FBI. What's not to like?

From Wikipedia.... (* spoiler alert - old Wikipedia like to give a detailed plot summary!)

Midnight Run is a 1988 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Martin Brest and starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, and Philip Baker Hall play supporting roles.

A critical and commercial success, the film was followed by The Midnight Run Action Pack in 1994, three made for television sequels which did not feature any of the principal actors, although a few characters are carried over from the first film.

Plot
Bounty hunter Jack Walsh is enlisted by bail bondsman Eddie Moscone to bring accountant Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukas back to Los Angeles. The accountant had embezzled $15 million from Chicago mob boss Jimmy Serrano before skipping on the $450,000 bail Moscone had posted for him. Walsh must bring Mardukas back within five days, or Moscone defaults. Moscone says the job is easy, a "midnight run," but Walsh demands $100,000. Walsh is then approached by FBI Agent Alonzo Mosely, who wants Mardukas to be a witness against Serrano and orders Walsh to keep away from Mardukas. Walsh takes no notice of this and instead steals Mosely's ID, which he uses to pass himself off as an FBI agent along his journey. Serrano's henchmen Tony and Joey offer Walsh $1 million to turn Mardukas over to them, but he turns them down.

Walsh captures Mardukas in New York City and calls Moscone from the airport, not knowing that Moscone's line is tapped by the FBI and that his assistant Jerry is secretly tipping off Serrano's men. However, Mardukas fakes a panic attack on the plane, forcing the two men to travel via train. When Walsh and Mardukas fail to show up in Los Angeles on time, Moscone brings in rival bounty hunter Marvin Dorfler to find them. Dorfler tracks them to the train and attempts to take The Duke from Walsh, but Walsh gets the drop on him and leaves the train. However, he discovers when he attempts to purchase bus tickets with a credit card that Dorfler canceled the card.

Without funds, he is forced to rely on other means to get across the country, including stealing cars, borrowing his ex-wife's car in Chicago, and hitchhiking. Meanwhile, word of the skirmish on the train reaches Mosely's ears and he leads a task force to find Walsh and Mardukas.

Walsh eventually reveals that, 10 years before, he was an undercover officer in Chicago trying to get close to a drug dealer who had almost the entire police force on his payroll. Eventually, just as Jack was going to bust the dealer, he had heroin planted in his house by corrupt cops. In order to avoid either going to prison or working for the dealer, Walsh resigned from the force, left Chicago and became a bounty hunter, while his wife divorced him and married a corrupt lieutenant. Since then, however, Walsh has clung to the vain hope that he will one day be reunited with his ex-wife. Later, Mardukas learns that the drug dealer was Serrano, with Walsh not caring about the likelihood of Mardukas getting murdered by the man who ruined Walsh's life.

In Arizona, Dorfler takes Mardukas away from Walsh, who is later found by Mosely and arrested. In Mosley's custody, Walsh is allowed his right to make phone calls and while arguing with Moscone over the phone, Walsh realizes that Dorfler intends to turn Mardukas over to Serrano for $2 million. However, Dorfler accidentally reveals to Serrano's men where he is keeping Mardukas and is knocked unconscious by Serrano's men, who go after Mardukas themselves.

Walsh calls Serrano's men and bluffs that he has computer disks created by Mardukas with enough information to put Serrano away, but promises to hand the disks over if Serrano returns Mardukas to him unharmed. Jack arranges a deal with Mosely to frame Serrano in turn for his release and to allow him to deliver Mardukas to Moscone. He meets up with Serrano while wearing a wire and being watched by the FBI. Dorfler spots Mardukas and interrupts the exchange, unknowingly disabling the wire. After Serrano takes the disks, the FBI closes in, arresting Serrano and his henchmen.

Mosely turns Mardukas over to Walsh with enough time to return him to Los Angeles before midnight. However, Walsh calls Moscone to confirm he's made the deadline, then promptly lets Mardukas go. Before parting, Walsh gives Mardukas the watch his wife gave him before their marriage. In return, Mardukas gives Walsh $300,000 in a money belt he had been hiding, insisting that it is a 'gift' not a payoff--since Walsh had already chosen to let him go. Walsh accepts and flags down a taxi, asking the driver if he has change for a $1,000 bill, but the taxi drives away, so he heads home on foot.




Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) - DVD film
My daughter made me watch it. I think it's probably my favourite after the first instalment - not least because it brings the wearisome saga to a finish. Voldemort dies don't you know.

There's a ritual in our house - at least twice a year, my youngest daughter insists on watching them start to finish in a viewing binge of a few days. I was conscripted to watch and pay attention to the last, despite having seen it and its unholy siblings many times previously. I think it's called taking one for the team.

Love Snape (Alan Rickman - RIP), love Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), love Gary Oldman, the rest of the cast throughout the series probably features anyone who is anyone in British drama over the past 10-15 years. My favourite character or actor is Alan Rickman, followed by Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), probably followed by Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton)

Roll on next year....

From Wikipedia.......

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is a 2011 fantasy film directed by David Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the second of two cinematic parts based on J. K. Rowling's 2007 novel of the same name. The film, which is the eighth and final instalment in the Harry Potter series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman, David Barron, and Rowling. The story continues to follow Harry Potter's quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes in order to stop him once and for all.

The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Principal photography began on 19 February 2009, and was completed on 12 June 2010, with reshoots taking place in December 2010, more than ten years after filming started on the first instalment of the series. Part 2 was released in 2D, 3-D and IMAX cinemas worldwide from 13–15 July 2011, and is the only Harry Potter film to be released in 3-D.

The film became a commercial success and one of the best reviewed films of 2011, with praise for the acting, Yates's direction, musical score, visual effects, cinematography, action sequences, and the satisfying conclusion of the saga. At the box office, Part 2 claimed the worldwide opening weekend record, earning $483.2 million, as well as setting opening day and opening weekend records in various countries. Part 2 grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide and became the third-highest-grossing film of all time, as well as the highest-grossing film of 2011. As of 2019, it is the 12th-highest-grossing film of all time, the highest-grossing film in the Harry Potter series, as well as in the Wizarding World franchise, and the ninth film to gross over $1 billion. It is also the highest-grossing film of Warner Bros. and its parent company Warner Media.


Thursday, 7 November 2019

OCTOBER 2019 - FILMS (CINEMA)

A good time continued to be had by all with the cinema passes, 7 films in the month (and after a quick tot-up, a running total of 36 for the 6 months or so that we've had them.)

Wow, looking back it seems absolutely ages ago I saw some of these and in truth if I hadn't logged them down after watching them, I would struggle to remember some of them, which isn't to say I didn't enjoy them.



Hustlers (2019)


I don't know if this one is kind of based on a true story, I think I heard it was (from my daughter) or the closing credits might indicate as such, or I might be off my trolley and made it up.

Enjoyable overall. Jennifer Lopez looks a lot better than me at 50, say no more. 

I liked the film, but didn't feel the urge to see it again immediately afterwards and I haven't added the DVD to my Christmas list for Santa. Sometimes I kind of struggle to be convinced by nice girls as criminals or desperadoes. (Not in the case of The Kitchen, last month but definitely here.)

From Google.....

Working as a stripper to make ends meet, Destiny's life changes forever when she becomes friends with Ramona -- the club's top money earner. Ramona soon shows Destiny how to finagle her way around the wealthy Wall Street clientele who frequent the club. But when the 2008 economic collapse cuts into their profits, the gals and two other dancers devise a daring scheme to take their lives back.

Release date: 13 September 2019 (United Kingdom)
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Based on: "The Hustlers at Scores"; by Jessica Pressler
Producers: Jennifer Lopez, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Benny Medina, Jessica Elbaum, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas


The Goldfinch (2019)
Apparently panned by the critics, but I really liked it. I had kind of toyed in previous years with reading Donna Tartt's book but was always put off by the length of it. I don't feel the urge to now.

I did read a similar book of a missing stolen/saved painting and its journey through the centuries, with Deon Meyer's short novella - The Woman in the Blue Cloak. I don't know whether I feel like he copied her homework now after watching the film, or maybe it's a homage or hat-tip.

Quite long, I don't think I knew the main character actor, but he was very good. Quite sad in places. Maybe a bit of a stretch with the conclusion and the taking back of control of the painting, I wasn't entirely convinced by that element. I'd definitely watch it again in a couple of years when it makes an appearance on TV. I always enjoy Sarah Paulson on screen and I quite like Luke Wilson as well, though he usually plays a good guy.


From Wikipedia...

The Goldfinch is a 2019 American drama film directed by John Crowley and written by Peter Straughan, adapted from the 2013 novel of the same name by Donna Tartt. The film stars Ansel Elgort as a young man whose life is transformed after his mother dies in a terrorist bomb attack at a museum, from which he takes a famous painting called The Goldfinch. Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, and Nicole Kidman appear in supporting roles.

Film rights to the novel were sold to Warner Bros. and RatPac Entertainment with ICM Partners brokering the deal. Two years later, Crowley was hired to direct the film adaptation and Elgort was selected to portray the lead role of Theodore Decker; much of the rest of the cast joined from October 2017 to January 2018. Filming began in New York City in January 2018, before moving to Albuquerque in April 2018 for the rest of production.

The Goldfinch premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and was theatrically released in the United States on September 13, 2019, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film received generally negative reviews from critics and was a box-office bomb, with estimated losses for the studio as high as $50 million.




The Day Shall Come (2019)

Wasn't totally blown away by this one, though it certainly made me laugh in places. A bit weak and a bit flat overall though. Anna Kendrick plays an FBI agent trying to set up a poor preacher in a domestic terrorist sting. I liked the snidey competition and oneupmanship on display from the Bureau as well as the incompetence. And I quite liked the preacher man and his band of brothers, but the two together just didn't really gel for me.

From Google....

An impoverished preacher who brings hope to the Miami projects is offered cash to save his family from eviction. He has no idea his sponsor works for the FBI, and the FBI plans on turning him into a criminal by fuelling his revolutionary dreams.

Release date: 11 October 2019 (United Kingdom)
Director: Chris Morris
Music by: Chris Morris; Sebastian Rochford; Jonathan Whitehead
Box office: 26,972 USD
Screenplay: Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong



Abominable (2019)
Animation with a yeti, a mad scientist and a gang of teenagers. Enjoyable and I'm glad I was persuaded to watch it. Don't make me watch it again though, unless it with grandchildren in about 10 years time.

From Google...

After discovering a Yeti on the roof of her apartment building, teenage Yi and her two friends embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family. But to do so, they must stay one step ahead of a wealthy financier and a determined zoologist who want to capture the beast for their own gain.
Release date: 11 October 2019 (United Kingdom)
Director: Jill Culton
Budget: 75 million USD
Box office: $128.7 million

Music composed by: Rupert Gregson-Williams




A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019)

Another one which I liked and didn't threaten to fall asleep during, but of the two animated films in the month I'd definitely pick Abominable above this one.

From Google....

When an alien possessing strange powers crash-lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, Shaun the Sheep quickly makes a new friend. Together they must run from a dangerous organisation who wants to capture the intergalactic visitor.

Release date: 18 October 2019 (United Kingdom)
Directors: Will Becher, Richard Phelan
Music composed by: Tom Howe
Distributed by: StudioCanal
Producer: Paul Kewley



Joker (2019)

WOW, WOW, FUCKING WOW. Believe the hype, I really loved this one. Joaquin Phoenix is incredible, intense, manic and a skinny bastard - I could only dream my stomach was half that size! My wife said he lost 3 stone for the role. Time to find my motivation.

I loved Robert DeNiro as well. I always do.

Funny, sad, violent..... my kind of film.

I did disagree with my daughter over whether Arthur's (Joker's) dad was the man his mother thought he was, or whether she was was actually delusional and very ill and it wasn't a cover-up-cum-conspiracy to hoodwink her. Maybe a second viewing would put that one to rest.

From Google...

Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur wears two masks -- the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he's part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker.

Release date: 4 October 2019 (United Kingdom)
Director: Todd Phillips
Cinematography: Lawrence Sher
Box office: $776.7 million
Music composed by: Hildur Guðnadóttir



Terminator Dark Fate (2019)

Another one I had been looking forward to ever since the trailers started hitting the screen a while back. It didn't disappoint. I loved seeing Linda Hamilton back on the big screen and looking her age. I can't remember when I last saw her in anything. Arnie's back - obviously.

Another one with ticks in a lot of boxes. I liked the two young female leads, both of whom were unknown to me prior to this - Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes. I liked Mr Terminator - Gabriel Luna - as well, not that he got to display his full emotional range here

I had hope to catch up with some of if not all of the earlier films in the series, but apparently I don't have copies. Maybe I did on video and that format has long bitten the dust. Never mind.



From Google....

In Mexico City, a newly modified liquid Terminator -- the Rev-9 model -- arrives from the future to kill a young factory worker named Dani Ramos. Also sent back in time is Grace, a hybrid cyborg human who must protect Ramos from the seemingly indestructible robotic assassin. But the two women soon find some much-needed help from a pair of unexpected allies -- seasoned warrior Sarah Connor and the T-800 Terminator.
Release date: 25 October 2019 (United Kingdom)
Director: Tim Miller
Based on: Characters; by James Cameron; Gale Anne Hurd
Budget: $160–200 million
Production companies: Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, 20th Century Fox, Tencent Pictures, Lightstorm Entertainment



October League Table
1. Joker
2. Terminator Dark Fate
3. The Goldfinch
4. Abominable
5. The Day Shall Pass
6. Hustlers
7. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon


Another plus point in the month - we dodged the new Will Smith film. Saw the trailers and thought it looked like dog-shit - The Gemini Man if you're interested.