Sunday 10 March 2019


A pretty derisory return for February's viewing with three and a half films watched, with two trips to the cinema, a trip to the theatre enjoyed and nothing that really stuck in the memory from the month's TV viewing.

Les Miserables (2018/19) - BBC Drama
I did cast a late eye over the second episode of Les Miserables which my wife and daughter were watching and fear I may have missed a trick by being a bit of a bah humbug when dismissing the chance to get involved at the start. I do like Dominic West as an actor. I loved him in what I've watched thus far of The Wire.  I'm not usually a fan of people in fancy dress i.e. historic dramas either in film or on the small screen, but it ain't Hugh Jackman or Russell Crowe knocking out a few tunes and it looks really good. If they haven't deleted the first two episodes I may play catch up, or check the BBC iPlayer doodah.

From Wikipedia.....

An adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel: an extraordinary cast of characters struggle to survive in war-torn France. A story of love, injustice, redemption and hope.
First episode date: 30 December 2018
Final episode date: 3 February 2019
Number of episodes: 6

The Hunter's Prayer (2017)

A film that only came to my attention after reading Kevin Wignall's novel, For the Dogs back in September of last year. I loved the book and thought I ought to see what the film was like. A Saturday night watch with my wife, before tiredness overcame us both about halfway through. We've not got back to it yet. I don't think my better half would be too fussed if we didn't finish it. Me? I was enjoying it without being totally amazed and enthralled. Pretty sure I've seen Sam Worthington in other stuff, though I can't think what. I'll mull it over for a while, then cheat and Google him.

From Wikipedia.....

The Hunter's Prayer is a 2017 American-German-Spanish action thriller film directed by Jonathan Mostow, based on the 2004 novel For the Dogs by Kevin Wignall. The film tells about the murderer, helping the young woman to avenge the death of her family. The film stars Sam Worthington, Odeya Rush, Allen Leech, and Amy Landecker. Filming began on August 12, 2014 in Yorkshire, England.

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

Cinema trip number one in the month with my better half on Valentine's Night, which was kind of appropriate as you could class this one as a love story and more. It was nominated on this year's Oscars for a few categories and won one.

Based on the 1974 James Baldwin novel of the same name, if I'm being honest I enjoyed it, but found the pace a bit pedestrian at times. Complicated issues ...... childhood friendship, young love, teenage pregnancy, conflicting reactions from the two extended families, a rape, a vindictive cop, a fit-up, an unsuccessful quest for justice, race, the US justice system and a lot more.

The power of the couple's love for each other shines through. I would have preferred some definition for the sentence handed down to Fonny rather the open-endedness of what we got. I could have better envisaged a better future for the family when their lives might not have been so blighted by separation.

Overall - very powerful with some amazing acting especially the young couple in love. (KiKi Layne and Stephan James.) I did enjoy Regina King's performance. (Oscar Winner as Best Supporting Actress) She was last seen by me in The Cinderella Story which my daughter insisted on watching - I had my head in a book - recently.

Best bit of the film - the two families conflab when the pregnancy is revealed and discussed - very tense, very funny.

From Google....

In early 1970s Harlem, daughter and wife-to-be Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny. Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together, but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.

9 to 5 - Savoy Theatre, London
A trip to London to visit number one son for lunch. An afternoon matinee, a stroll through Covent Garden and Leicester Square, a bite to eat and home on the train. A banging day out. 
I can't claim to be a massive Dolly Parton fan and I've never seen the film of this but I laughed like a drain at this one and really enjoyed every minute. Brian Conley and Bonnie Langford are amazing as is all the cast. Miss Parton plays a role view screen cameos. Well worth a look if you're up in London and get the chance to catch this.
From the show's website.......


9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL is getting down to business - with a strictly limited season at the West End's Savoy Theatre.

Starring Louise Redknapp*, Caroline Sheen^, Amber Davies, Natalie McQueen, Bonnie Langford and Brian Conley, the smash-hit musical features a book by the iconic movie’s original screenwriter Patricia Resnick and an Oscar, Grammy and Tony award-nominated score by the Queen of Country herself, Dolly Parton.

9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy - three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. Concocting a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor, will the girls manage to reform their office - or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit?

Inspired by the cult film and brought to you by Dolly herself, this hilarious new West End production is about teaming up, standing up and taking care of business!

Based on the 20th Century Fox Picture. Originally produced on Broadway by Robert Greenblatt, April 2009. Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited.

*Due to injury, Louise Redknapp will be joining the show from late March 2019.

Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

Another cinema trip with friends, one of whom booked it (it wouldn't have been my choice TBH). Powerful drama, a couple of strong women undoubtedly, some amazing performances - Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, but it almost felt a bit like being back at school and studying history. It was gripping and tense, but I can't say I cared. Let's be honest, we all know how it ends. I liked seeing Martin Compston (Line of Duty) and David Tennant again on screen,

From Wikipedia....

Mary Queen of Scots is a 2018 historical drama film directed by Josie Rourke and written by Beau Willimon, based on John Guy's biography Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots and Margot Robbie as her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, and chronicles the 1569 conflict between their two countries. Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, David Tennant, and Guy Pearce also star in supporting roles.

Mary Queen of Scots had its world premiere on closing night of AFI Fest on 15 November 2018, was released in the United States on 7 December 2018, and was released in the United Kingdom on 18 January 2019. The film received mixed reviews, with praise for the performances (particularly Ronan and Robbie) and costumes, but was criticised for the screenplay and several historical inaccuracies. The film received three nominations at the 72nd British Academy Film Awards, and two nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 91st Academy Awards. For her performance, Robbie earned nominations for a SAG Award and BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress, respectively.

The Dinner (2017)

I've had the book by Herman Koch on the TBR pile for more than a few years now. My daughter was flicking through Netflix and we settled on this. I hadn't even known it had been adapted TBH. I'm not too sure how faithful the film is to the book, bearing in mind the action here takes place in the US and the book is set in Amsterdam.

Not an easy watch. I felt physically uncomfortable at the numerous interruptions to the dinner, when Richard Gere's assistant keeps cutting in. The two families have a dilemna indeed, a consequence of the actions of their disgusting sons. Their response to the situation isn't one I could really stomach - pretty vile people the lot of them. Gere had my vote for his proposed solution. The ending is very abrupt and kind of leaves you hanging, whether it mirrors the book I don't know. A bit of a Debbie Downer film overall. Laura Linney, Richard Gere and Steve Coogan are all very good, but not very likeable.

From Wikipedia......

The Dinner is an American drama film directed and written by Oren Moverman, based on the Dutch novel of the same name by Herman Koch. It is the third film adaptation of the novel, following the 2013 original Dutch version Het Diner by Menno Meyjes and the 2014 Italian film I nostri ragazzi by Ivano De Matteo. The film stars Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall, Chloë Sevigny, Charlie Plummer, Miles J. Harvey and Adepero Oduye.


  1. Ah, that's The Dinner for you, Col. Good story, but the characters aren't sympathetic, and the story does make the reader uncomfortable. I'm glad you've found some good things to watch.

    1. I'm still looking forward to the book Margot, at some point. Not an easy watch and I'm guessing not an easy read.

  2. I guess I ought to keep an eye out for The Hunter's Prayer, although I can't say I'm really in the mood for it, to judge by the blurb.

    Herman Koch's novel The Dinner seems to be a bit of a marmite book: I enjoyed it a very great deal, even as I squirmed, and am far from alone in that judgement, yet plenty of other readers have abominated it. It's quite short, so you might find it worth the gamble. I found the movie less intriguing, but might watch it again.

    1. I'll hopefully finish this month and see whether it gets more compelling as it goes.

      Re The Dinner, I have the book on the pile somewhere. I usually enjoy a book more than the film equivalent, so we'll see. I could hardly enjoy this one less I think.

  3. Col – I will check out HUNTER’S PRAYER. Thanks. (Just now catching up with your recent posts. Tough week last week. But you don't want to hear about how I zapped my knee.)