Friday 8 November 2019


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


  1. Some solid viewing, Col. I like De Niro very much, but I'd forgotten about that one. And Small Town Murder Songs sounds quite good. If it's anything like Fargo, that's enough to get me interested!

    1. Margot, I think you might enjoy Small Town Murder Songs. It's an interesting film, quite slow and considered in places. I'm a big fan of De Niro also. I did enjoy seein g him in Joker recently

  2. Small Town Murder Songs, Cop Car and Laundromat go on the list to find. Thanks, Col. And I agree, Noirish is a good site.

    1. I hope you enjoy them if you get to them Elgin. I do get a lot of hints and tip offs from both Noirish and yourself.

  3. I haven't seen any of these except the Harry Potter. I might watch that again someday because I finally read Book 7 in the series.

    Some of the other movies sound good, I will have to look into them.

    1. I think there's a few there you might enjoy, Tracy. I never got around to the books from Rowling, something that still kind of nags at me.