Wednesday 26 April 2017


A fairly light month's crime-mystery-horror viewing in February numbers-wise anyway.

Friend Request (2016)

I find it hard to believe this is a 15 rating, or it could be that I'm just a scaredy-cat and have too nervous a disposition to sit through films like this. I lost count of the number of times my legs shot out while watching this - enough to suffer from RSI by the time the film was over. I don't like films like this and the more I protest the more my youngest daughter insists on a fright night!
When a college student unfriends a mysterious girl online, she finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends.

Inspector George Gently (2007 - 2017)
I was unaware of this series until catching up with a few episodes on the Alibi channel during the month. I'm puzzled that I didn't even know of its existence when it has just entered it's eighth season. (And it was aired on BBC1!) It's a series set in the 60s by the looks of things and stars Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby. I like Ingleby, but I'm not a massive fan of Martin Shaw - still unable to forgive him for the faux-pas curly perm back when he was on The Professionals with Lewis Collins and Gordon Jackson. Shaw give him his due, is starting to grow on me though.

The show derives from a series of crime fiction books penned by Alan Hunter in the 50s and set in East Anglia.

Inspector George Gently (also known as George Gently for the pilot and first series) is a British television crime drama series produced by Company Pictures for BBC One, set in the 1960s and loosely based on some of the Inspector Gently novels written by Alan Hunter. The series features Martin Shaw as the eponymous Inspector, Lee Ingleby as Detective Sergeant John Bacchus, and Simon Hubbard and Lisa McGrillis in supporting roles as police constables for the fictitious North East Police Constabulary.
The series is notable for moving the setting of the stories to North East England, centering on Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland and County Durham, as opposed to the Norfolk, as portrayed in the books. As the series begins, the death penalty is still in effect in Britain, and is used as a plot feature in some early episodes. The abolishment of the penalty in 1965 is a change that is noted in the series. The earliest episodes are set in 1964, and the series progresses in approximately real time, with the closing scenes of the seventh series taking place in January 1970.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

I picked this film up just before Christmas for a pound. It's a film I have heard of but never seen. I had seen the book years ago by Patrick Mann but never read it. Looking up a bit of detail for this post, I find an article that tells me its based on a true story. I always thought it was fiction. See here. Interesting seeing Al Pacino from 40 years ago. An enjoyable film, but a bit slow in places. Hard to see any bank robbery-hostage-siege situations playing out like this these days.
When inexperienced criminal Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino) leads a bank robbery in Brooklyn, things quickly go wrong, and a hostage situation develops. As Sonny and his accomplice, Sal Naturile (John Cazale), try desperately to remain in control, a media circus develops and the FBI arrives, creating even more tension. Gradually, Sonny's surprising motivations behind the robbery are revealed, and his standoff with law enforcement moves toward its inevitable end.

Santa Clarita Diet (2017)
Another new series my son, got us into - 10 half hour episodes and I've watched maybe half. I'm a big fan of Drew Barrymore and I love Timothy Olyphant in Justified. Comedy and horror, as Barrymore morphs into a flesh-eater while still living a fairly normal suburban life as a mum, wife and realtor. Husband Olyphant tries to find a cure for her affliction-cum-predeliction while she is trying to satisfy her appetite for fresh meat.

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star in this Netflix-original series as married realtors, Sheila and Joel, who are living a quiet life, raising their teenage daughter in Santa Clarita, Calif. Their world unexpectedly changes when Sheila goes through a dramatic transformation that sends her down a road of death and destruction -- but leaves her looking and feeling better than ever. Barrymore and Olyphant also serve as executive producers, alongside showrunner and creator Victor Fresco ("Better Off Ted").

Revenant (2015)
Second time around for me, this time watching on the small screen at home. I enjoyed it (again), but I'm still not a massive fan of Leo. I didn't realise until second time around that his nemesis in this film is played by Tom Hardy. I do like Mr Hardy. He's up there with Jason Statham as one of my favourite actors at the minute.

While exploring the uncharted wilderness in 1823, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) sustains life-threatening injuries from a brutal bear attack. When a member (Tom Hardy) of his hunting team kills his young son (Forrest Goodluck) and leaves him for dead, Glass must utilize his survival skills to find a way back to civilization. Grief-stricken and fueled by vengeance, the legendary fur trapper treks through the snowy terrain to track down the man who betrayed him.


  1. I'm with you, Col: just not a 'fright night' person. Thanks for the reminder of the George Gently series. I saw a couple of episodes and liked them, but haven't gotten back to it.

    1. I'm a bit annoyed with myself for only just discovering George Gently - when it has been running for about eight seasons or more! It wasn't even tucked away on an obscure channel - but aired on the flagship of British television broadcasting!
      When digging, I was also intrigued to learn a bit about the books. Hunter wrote over 40 in all, but I've never seen a copy of one anywhere, nor have I ever seen mention of them on a blog or a review or anything. I like the 60s setting in the show - the cars, the clothes, the habitat - its a different world, but one I can just about recall from my own childhood, without the crime obviously!

  2. Now I am going to have to try the George Gently TV series. I do have a couple of the books, one written in 1957, the other in 1970. I knew about the series but I did not realize they set it at the same time it was written, which makes it more attractive to me.

    I am a scaredy-cat about movies like that and I would not be able to stay in the room.

    1. Tracy, I think you would like the series to be honest. You're the only person I know who has a couple of the books - any chance you will read one soon, as I'm curious to hear about them.

      It's funny about the horror films, I can watch a film a few times - DRAG ME TO HELL springs to mind and I know something is about to happen, I know it is because I've seen it before - but I still react when it does.

  3. I'm astonished that you missed out on Gently - he was a peak time detective, and they've been repeated. I don't want them myself, but they are watched in my house! I always like Martin Shaw though - didn't he do Judge John Deed a while back?
    You're right though - you never see the books around or hear about them. When the series first came out it said 'based on books' and I was utterly mystified, because I'd never heard of them.

    1. The only thing I can think is that it must have clashed with something else. I've watched a few Judge Deed's and he isn't too annoying in that one either.

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