Sunday 4 June 2017

MAY 2017 - FILMS + TV

May's viewing brought........ a 40 year old classic I've never seen, a spooky horrorish film, a continuation of a superb British TV police drama, another British police drama, a harrowing 3 part TV drama concerning an infamous sexploitation case, a couple of old movies and a Netflix original based on a dark crime fiction tale I read years ago.  

Small Crimes (2017)
I read the Dave Zelterman book that this film is based on back in the late 2000s and the film does it justice. Gary Cole, Molly Parker and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister - the dirty sister diddler in Game of Thrones) - dark and funny and no happy endings!

A disgraced former cop, fresh off a six-year prison sentence for attempted murder - returns home looking for redemption but winds up trapped in the mess he left behind.

Line of  Duty series 2 (2014)
Series completion and another fascinating case concluded. I wish the dude currently holding Bedfordshire libraries series 3 DVD would hurry up and finish!

Line of Duty returns for a second series, featuring a new police corruption story told over six one-hour episodes. The series opens explosively with the ambush of a police convoy in which three police officers are killed and a protected witness seriously injured. The sole surviving police officer is Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes). Deputy Chief Constable Mike Dryden (Mark Bonnar) takes personal charge, assigning AC-12 to the case. Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), Detective Constable Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) are joined by newly-appointed Detective Constable Georgia Trotman (Jessica Raine) to investigate a complex case rich in unexpected twists and turns.

The Longest Yard (2005)
A re-watch here. I'm a bit of an Adam Sandler fan - he makes me laugh more often than not! I enjoyed seeing Eddie Bunker in a bit part role, but also felt a bit sad - RIP man! Burt Reynolds also features  - did he star in the 70s original?

Disgraced pro football quarterback Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) lands in jail, where manipulative Warden Hazen (James Cromwell) recruits him to advise the institution's team. This turns into a lead role quarterbacking a crew of inmates in a game against a team of prison guards. Aided by incarcerated ex-NFL coach Nate Scarborough (Burt Reynolds), Crewe and his team must overcome not only the bloodthirstiness of the opposition, but also the corrupt officials trying to fix the game against them.

Three Girls (2017)
A recently aired 3 part BBC Drama which is based on a real case of sexual grooming in Rochdale, a town in the north of England. Maxine Peake is amazing as the sexual health worker whose concerns and whistle-blowing were ignored by Councillors and the police. The young actresses playing the victims are incredible too. Hard-hitting, harrowing, painful viewing, but necessary.

Powerful drama based on the experiences of three of the vulnerable young girls who were groomed, sexually abused and trafficked by British Pakistani men in Rochdale and of the failure of the authorities to do anything about it.

A Simple Plan (1998)
I've had the book of this one a few years and never read it and always meant to get a copy of the film. Surprisingly enough it popped up on my small screen in May and I finally got to see it. Top banana viewing! The most enjoyable thing I watched all month. Kind of reminded me a bit of Fargo. Probably time I dug the book by Scott Smith out of the attic! Violence laced with humour.

While in the woods near their small town, upstanding local Hank Mitchell (Bill Paxton), his dim brother Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton) and their friend Lou (Brent Briscoe) discover a crashed plane with two things in it -- a dead pilot, and a stash of more than four million dollars. Although Hank is reluctant to keep the money, Jacob and Lou convince him otherwise, and they devise a plan to split the fortune. Things quickly go wrong, however, dramatically affecting the trio and those around them.

Shutter (2008)
Well my daughter made me do it again - watch something scary I didn't want to watch. An okay film enjoyable enough and not the most frightening thing I've ever seen. Still a bit disturbing though.

Photographer Ben (Joshua Jackson) and his new bride, Jane (Rachael Taylor), turn their honeymoon into a working vacation when he snags a prestigious assignment in Japan. As they make their way up a mountain road at night, they slam into a woman who suddenly appears in their path. Unable to find her body, Ben and Jane continue onward. Soon, eerie reminders of the accident emerge when Ben sees ghostly images in the photographs he develops.

Jaws (1975)
I've never seen this one before in my life. Back when it was all the rage in 1975, I managed to persuade my friends that we ought to go and see One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing instead. Jesus, I was an idiot back then. What the hell was I thinking? I have read Peter Benchley's book and I have seen clips from this over the years, but it was nice to finally watch it. I can still remember being a bit disturbed and disappointed when Brody's wife cheated on her husband with the marine expert (or did she only consider it?) Fun to see a young Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider. Don't think I'll be bothering with the sequels, I'd far rather watch Sharknado!

When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.

Inspector George Gently (2017)

The last series apparently, which will comprise two separate episodes. One of 90 minutes duration aired in May and sees Gently in conflict with his sulky protegee, Bacchus (Lee Ingleby). The last ever one airs later this year, I'll have to keep my eye out for it.   
In the first of the two episodes, Gently and Bacchus become involved in an investigation that may be a miscarriage of justice. Guest stars will include Maigret's Dead Man star Anamaria Marinca and Call the Midwife's Victoria Bewick.
Gently's final outing will see the DCI giving evidence at the Old Bailey against his old enemies, the corrupt police officers in the Met. Before the end of his career as a detective, he is then asked to take on one last job by the head of a new Special Investigations Squad.


  1. You've had some good viewing, Col. I rather like the George Gently series, myself. And right you are about The Longest Yard; Reynolds starred in the 1974 original film.

    1. Margot, I may see if I can find the original with Reynolds as it would be fun to watch it. I like the George Gently series and am still puzzled about my ignorance of it for so many years. At least one of our satellite channels airs episodes every so often, so I should be able to catch up on a few of the many I've missed.

  2. Good to hear you've filled a Jaws-shaped hole in your education. some other good watching there - I couldn't face Three Girls, though I agree it's a story that needs to be told.

    1. Re Three Girls - I've started Jimmy McGovern's Broken as well now which isn't for the faint-hearted either. Nice to finally catch up with the great white eventually!

  3. JAWS works every time. I saw it when it came out. The theater – one of those gigantic places we still had back then – was packed. At one shocking moment (you know the one) a thousand people came up off their seats. It was great. Dreyfuss and Scheider were terrific. And Robert Shaw was scarier than any shark.
    LINE OF DUTY is great. We’ve now see three seasons. And the third is even better than the first two. Hope the guy returns the discs soon so you can see it.

    1. Yeah, I missed out on that experience due to youthful stupidity. Shaw was compelling, particularly recounting his experiences in the Navy during the war.
      I've chased the library and the guy holding it is overdue on its return - typical I suppose!

  4. George Gently the Series is so unlike the calm Alan Hunter books (that I've read) that it seems a totally different entity. The books are very much of their era of writing and I only managed interest in the first TV series as I found Martin Shaw unconvincing in the role.

    1. I must admit I'm not Martin Shaw's biggest fan. I think he's a bit annoying as Judge Deed, but I don't mind him here. I do prefer Lee Ingleby though. I haven't crossed paths with the Alan Hunter books so don't have anything to compare or contrast the TV series to. I've never come across any of the books anywhere in all my years of browsing bookshops for crime fiction, not that I can recall anyway.

    2. Our library has lots of these books - I think they've been republished in the wake of the TV series - they are however very tame compared to the material you review here:)
      Lee Ingleby is very good in radio dramas too!

    3. Thanks, I've just checked Bedfordshire libraries and they have 40 books available across the county. I may try one next time I'm in there. I doubt I'll stretch to reading more from the series, but never say never. I can manage tame occasionally!

  5. I saw Jaws only once, in my twenties, and I did not like it then. I think I would enjoy watching it more now.

    We watched the first Inspector George Gently episode and liked it a lot (DVD from netflix) and we will be watching the rest of them.

    1. I would watch Jaws again in a few years if it repeats. I enjoy the Gently episodes but I don't feel the need to start at the beginning and work through the series, I like to catch the odd one when I can. I have too many other series I want to catch up on.