A enjoyable mixed bag of viewing last month.... two seasons from a copycat UK crime drama, a serial killer mini-series with a factual follow-on, a couple of fast-paced action sci-fi films - one at home, one at the cinema and a rom-com.
Law and Order UK (2011) - ITV Drama (TV)
Great set-ups, great storylines, decent acting with on occasions a bit of irritation at some of the opinions and views held by some of the main players as a specific crime is investigated. Black and white, intransigent views, when we all know the world is grey. I suppose naivety is preferable to full-on world weary cynicism all the time.
From Wikipedia .....
Episode 1 "ID"
A pregnant woman is murdered in a car park, Devlin and Brooks believe it to be a crime of passion and suspect her ex-boyfriend. When the ex-boyfriend's alibi is confirmed they look to Joe Nash, the current boyfriend, who says he was with his psychiatric social worker, whom he sees for a severe sleeping disorder. Based on Joe's behaviour, Brooks believes him to be an ex-con who is hiding something. When Joe is arrested, he admits that his real name is Billy Wells and that his new identity was arranged by the Home Office because he is on a life licence for the murder of his teacher when he was eleven years old. When he recants the admission to being Billy Wells, attempts to verify his identity expose a conspiracy that involves high ranking government officials, including the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Home Secretary.
Episode 2 "Denial"
Brooks and Devlin investigate the shooting of Dame Rachel Callaghan (Juliet Stevenson), a well-known High Court judge, who is shot in the underground car park of her apartment building, in what looks like a carjacking gone wrong. They retrieve the car from a dupe who purchased it, and arrest the middleman in the sale. The middleman blames the crime on a man named Eddie. It becomes apparent that Eddie was hired to kill Callaghan, but his attempt went awry. The detectives believe that Callaghan's husband, Dan (John McArdle), was involved in the murder plot. However, Callaghan takes steps to defend her husband from prosecution, even when she is presented with evidence proving his guilt. Callaghan eventually has her medication withdrawn, prompting Steel to seek the court's permission to question her before she dies. When Callaghan tries to commit suicide, Steel seeks to have her declared mentally incompetent but Judge Mary Hall (Diana Quick) overrules Steel's motion. George is torn between friendship and respecting a person’s right to die as he tries to get Rachel to accept the truth of what has happened.
Episode 3 "Shaken"
An infant is found dead in his cot, it is suspected that the baby died of cot death. However, when it is revealed that the baby died as a result of being shaken, Brooks and Devlin initially suspect the live-in nanny, especially after she admits to being the only person around the baby in the 24 hours preceding his death. Things begin to get complicated, however, when it is discovered that other people were in the house that day. The live-in nanny's boyfriend soon falls under suspicion, as his rough attitude with his four-year-old nephew has come under suspicion from social services. However, it soon becomes clear that the nanny may have been having an off-day, and a quick reaction to a minor incident may have caused the fatal move.
Episode 4 "Duty Of Care"
A fire starts in a flat above a corner shop, a young mother is forced to leave her disabled 13-year-old son to die. Brooks and Devlin first suspect the shop owner, who has been renowned for insurance scam operations in the past. However, it later becomes clear that the fire was caused by the young boy's mother, who, after believing he had died from an epileptic seizure, decided to start the fire to kill herself. However, when her lawyer Dominic Peck (Oliver Dimsdale) appears to be bending the truth in an attempt to fool the jury, James and Alesha must deal with Peck, who is determined to win at all costs.
Episode 5 "Help"
Devlin and Brooks investigate the death of a Premiership footballer, Robbie Nicals, the evidence leads to a passer-by, Mike Jones (Lorcan Cranitch), who helped Nicals change a tyre. However, the man is about to get married, and forced to interrupt his nuptials, they interrogate him for details, which unveil a disturbing link to a gangster with connections in the police force and judiciary. Senior Crown prosecutor Steel must convince a man whose wedding was ruined by the investigation to give evidence in public against a renowned thug, whilst holding his own against the obsessive compulsive genius defence barrister Jason Peters (Eddie Marsan).
Episode 6 "Skeletons"
After a series of murders are committed across London with the same motive, it is suspected that Andrew Dillon, a serial killer from six years previous has returned to commit further crimes. However, Brooks and Devlin manage to track a new man down, and it seems that he was also responsible for the deaths Dillon supposedly committed. However, an alibi provided at the time by a deceased witness seemed to leave Dillon in the clear, despite the fact there is no evidence to back it up either way. It never reached court, however, so it would seem Steel apparently deleted the alibi and is accused of perverting the course of justice. Finding himself on the wrong side of the law, Steel battles for his career and his freedom.
Tenet (2020) - Cinema (Film)
A cracking sci-fi film which I'd actually struggle to describe or understand ........ with a helluva lot of backwards and forwards and backwards again - a total mind-fuck. I really enjoyed it. Wouldn't mind seeing it again and I reckon if I did I'd be none the wiser.
Over here, the film was tasked with saving cinema during Covid, post-Covid and pre-second wave Covid. A bit of a burden to carry in my opinion and an unfair one. I think we've had five cinema trips since it re-opened and probably the most people including ourselves in any of the screenings has been about a dozen. It just doesn't seem sustainable and it's incredibly sad for the people who rely on the medium for their livelihoods. One rival chain has already shut its doors. I hope it's temporary, time will tell. We'll keep supporting it as long as it's open.
From Wikipedia .....
Tenet is a 2020 action-thriller and science fiction film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who produced it with Emma Thomas. A co-production between the United Kingdom and United States, it stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh. The plot follows a secret agent (Washington) as he manipulates the flow of time to prevent World War III.
Nolan took more than five years to write the screenplay after deliberating about Tenet's central ideas for over a decade. Pre-production began in late 2018, casting in March 2019, and principal photography lasted three months in Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and United States, from May to November. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot on 70 mm and IMAX. Scenes of time manipulation were filmed both backwards and forwards. In excess of a hundred vessels and thousands of extras were used.
Delayed three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tenet was released in the United Kingdom on August 26, 2020, and United States on September 3, 2020, in IMAX, 35 mm, and 70 mm. It was the first Hollywood tent-pole to open in theaters after the pandemic shutdown, and has grossed $323 million worldwide, making it the third highest-grossing film of 2020. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances, production value, and visuals, though some criticized the complex plot and sound mixing.
Des (2020) - ITV Drama (TV mini series)
Three nights running with a TV dramatisation about a notorious serial killer, one that I can recall hitting the headlines during the 80s. David Tennant is chilling as the real-life monster who killed and disposed of up to 15 hapless victims. Daniel Mays is excellent as the lead detective trying to identify the victims (not an easy task by any means) and give some closure for the families.
Des is a British three-part television drama miniseries, based on the 1983 arrest of Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen, after the discovery of human remains causing the blockage of a drain near his home.The series premiered on 14 September 2020.
The Real 'Des' (2020) - ITV Documentary (TV)
The following night saw a documentary featuring some of the real life players and interviews and footage from the time
Dennis Nilsen is one of the most notorious serial killers in British criminal history. This documentary features exclusive interviews with those involved in his case.
Terminator Salvation (2009) - (TV Film)
I think I lost track of the Terminator films a long while ago and the various sequels, prequels, running order story arcs. I shan't beat myself up about it. I loved the originals with Arnie and never even knew this even existed until it popped up on TV last month. Hit record and bingo. I do like a bit of Christian Bale.
Terminator Salvation is a 2009 American military science fiction action film directed by McG and written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris. It is the fourth installment of the Terminator film series and serves as both a sequel to 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and a prequel to 1984's The Terminator. The film stars Christian Bale and Sam Worthington, with Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Michael Ironside, and Helena Bonham Carter in supporting roles. In a departure from the previous installments, Salvation is a post-apocalyptic film set in the year 2018. It focuses on the war between Skynet's machine network and humanity, as the remnants of the world's militaries have united to form the Resistance to fight against Skynet's killing machines. Bale portrays John Connor, a Resistance fighter and central character, while Worthington portrays cyborg Marcus Wright. Yelchin plays a young Kyle Reese, a character first introduced in The Terminator, and the film depicts the origins of the T-800 Terminator.
Law and Order UK Season 5 (2011) - ITV Drama (TV)
Still vibing this and continuing to work through the various series. Usually by now I've kind of gotten fed up and been side-tracked. I suppose it helps that each episode is only about 45 minutes long when you've fast-forwarded through the adverts. Sometimes you kind of wish for a bit more depth, but most of the stories are very good. A change of key cast members at various times throughout the seasons has perhaps helped it maintain its freshness.
Episode 1 "The Wrong Man"
18-year-old Suzanne Morton dies in unknown circumstances on a busy hospital ward, her father calls upon the help of Brooks and Devlin to find out just what caused her death. They discover that the A&E she was treated on has had three such untimely deaths within six months, and that her death may have been caused by a conflict between the drugs she was given and the medication she was taking at the time. Brooks and Devlin suspect Dr Grant, who was known to have treated her that evening. Things become complicated, however, when it is discovered that half of her medical notes have vanished, the report on the night in question has been doctored, and the suspect has bought a one-way ticket to Belgium. Brooks and Devlin catch up with their suspect, only to unravel a web of lies, involving a chiropodist who has been posing a doctor, a triage nurse who has been paid to keep silent, and a well respected doctor with a history of alcohol abuse who has been secretly addicted to codeine for three years. Senior Crown Prosecutor Jake Thorne must decide which one to prosecute in order to get justice for Suzanne's death.
Episode 2 "Safe"
When Kayla Stark reports that her two-year-old son, Ryan, has been taken from a high-street merry go round, Brooks and Devlin suspect that her ex-boyfriend, who is also the child's father, may be responsible. However, upon examination of the CCTV footage, the pair discover that the child was never on the merry-go-round, and that the buggy Kayla was pushing at the time was empty. Suspicion then turns to Kayla's current partner, and when the boy is found dead in the airing cupboard at his flat, Brooks and Devlin believe they have their man. However, without any evidence proving whether Kayla or her boyfriend killed Ryan, Thorne and Phillips must decide which guilty party to prosecute.
Episode 3 "Crush"
A Czech Escort Katerina Cizik is found stabbed to death in her hotel room, Brooks and Devlin immediately suspect a case of blackmail, when £4,000 and a log of payments are found in the woman's bedside table. Suspicion falls on the hotel porter, who was conveniently out of the building at the time - but a secret relationship between a respected male practitioner and the escort comes to light, and soon leads Thorne and Phillips to believe that the jealous wife of the practitioner is prepared to frame her husband, as his meetings with the escort have led to her son being born brain-damaged, caused by an STD which the husband contracted from the escort, and in turn gave to his wife.
Episode 4 "Tick Tock"
While investigating the shooting of two innocent bystanders in a local nightclub, Brooks and Devlin's night goes from bad to worse when they realize have a possible hostage situation in their hands. Then they are called to a third shooting of a local off-licence attendant by a pair of burglars wearing rubber face masks. When a fourth body is found - the owner of the nightclub - suspicion falls on a mentally unstable Iraq War veteran Andy Bishop - and when the team finally catch up with Andy, things take a terrible turn when he is shot by his girlfriend. When the case comes to trial, the court has to decide: Was she a terrified victim who killed her abuser, or a willing participant in the crimes?
Episode 5 "Intent"
A housekeeper arrives to find her employers dead, Brooks and Devlin begin an investigation into the murder of David and Elaine Lerner, who had only moved into the house six months ago, and had been doing it up as their dream home for when they retired. When they struggle to find a motive for the killing, their line of investigation soon turns to the previous owners of the house, ex-husband and wife Camilla Mallon (Anna Wilson-Jones) and Lucas Boyd (Samuel West) after discovering that they were part of a major hedge fund scam several years back. When CCTV footage puts Boyd in the area at the time of the killing, they discover that his fingerprints match the one found in Elaine's blood. Boyd, drunk at the wheel of his car, crashed the vehicle while turning a corner, banging his head, and mistakenly returned his old house - and brutally stabbed the Lerners. Thorne and Phillips press for a murder charge, while faced with Jake’s old mentor Margaret Rumsfield (Jill Baker), who argues that the accused should face only manslaughter charges.
Episode 6 "Deal"
Mother-of-one Lia Brown is found shot in her bed, suspicion immediately falls on to her boyfriend, who struggles with MS and has to take medicinal cannabis to help his condition. However, when it is discovered that the bullet was fired from over 100 metres away, Kaden Blake, the thirteen-year-old son of a known addict, comes into the firing line. He claims that he was told to kill his friend Chase Wade, and that when he first fired the gun, he missed Chase and the bullet flew through the air and into Lia's flat, killing her. When it is discovered he was under the instructions of Mark Ellis, a long time criminal and well-known drug dealer, who the police have previously failed to bring to justice, Jake and Alesha offer Kaden a reduced sentence in order to bring Ellis to justice. It soon transpires that Kaden's mother, who is addicted to crack, sold her son to Ellis in exchange for free drugs, and that Ellis had been torturing the boy and making him run illegal errands. Ellis is soon taken to court and found guilty of illegal imprisonment, possession of class A drugs and GBH. Kaden is also given a sentence in a young offender's institution, but after being released from court, he finds himself in the firing line of an armed man driving a 4x4. Devlin manages to spot the gunman, and in an attempt to save Kaden, takes a bullet for him...
The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020) - Cinema (Film)
The second of two cinema trips in the month and a quirky rom-com, which I quite enjoyed. Not rushing to get the DVD or anything when it comes out, but it kept my attention and I could relate to some of the pain.
Who hasn't ever had their heart-broken? No-one, well maybe Donald Trump but that's because he doesn't possess one.
What if you saved a souvenir from every relationship you've ever been in? The Broken Hearts Gallery follows the always unique Lucy, a 20-something art gallery assistant living in New York City, who also happens to be an emotional hoarder.