Sunday 4 October 2020


A bit less watched in August than July, but on the up-side we did manage to get to the cinema again after it re-opened in the month. 

We had....... 4 films, 3 at home and 1 out and a couple of seasons of a UK crime drama I missed first time around as well as some nostalgia viewing 

                                   Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) - Film - Netflix

My son recommended this and we really liked it. I do enjoy Will Ferrell films for the most part and this one is no exception. Funny stupid and just what's needed to lift the mood at the minute. Rachel McAdams and Pierce Brosnan also star. 

From Wikipedia....

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a 2020 American musical comedy film directed by David Dobkin and written by Will Ferrell and Andrew Steele. The film follows Icelandic singers Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdóttir (Ferrell and Rachel McAdams) as they are given the chance to represent their country at the Eurovision Song Contest. Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, and Demi Lovato also star.

The Story of Fire Saga was initially scheduled for a May 2020 release to coincide with the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. However, after the 2020 Eurovision contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film was released a month later, on June 26, on Netflix. It received mixed reviews from critics.

                                                 Columbo (1968 - 2003) - US TV Drama

My dad, long gone bless him didn't really like a lot of television, but one exception for him was Columbo. I think I've always enjoyed it myself - because of him or because it's brilliant entertainment , who knows. Whenever I do catch an old episode or two, it reminds me of him and that never fails to make me smile.

While away for a few nights with my wife, our host's TV service offered up some obscure satellite channel which aired Columbo amongst other classic shows. We caught a couple, undoubtedly seen before and you know what, I don't think I could ever tire of watching them.

Peter Falk is fantastic. I must dig out his autobiography which I have on the pile somewhere.

From Wikipedia.....

Columbo is an American crime drama television series starring Peter Falk as Columbo, a homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. After two pilot episodes in 1968 and 1971, the show originally aired on NBC from 1971 to 1978 as one of the rotating programs of The NBC Mystery Movie. Columbo then aired less frequently on ABC from 1989 to 2003.

The character and show, created by Richard Levinson and William Link, popularized the inverted detective story format, which begins by showing the commission of the crime and its perpetrator; the plot therefore usually has no "whodunit" element, and instead revolves around how a perpetrator known to the audience will finally be caught and exposed (sometimes referred to as a "howcatchem").

Columbo is a shrewd but inelegant blue-collar homicide detective whose trademarks include his rumpled beige raincoat, unassuming demeanor, cigar smoking, old Peugeot 403, unseen wife (whom he mentions regularly), and catchphrase "Just one more thing." His suspects are often affluent members of high society who try to carefully cover their tracks. Initially dismissive of Columbo's circumstantial speech and apparent ineptitude, they become increasingly unsettled as his pestering behavior teases out incriminating evidence. His relentless approach often leads to self-incrimination or outright confession.

Episodes of Columbo are between 70 and 98 minutes long, and have been broadcast in 44 countries. The 1971 episode "Murder by the Book", directed by Steven Spielberg, was ranked No. 16 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time and in 1999, the magazine ranked Lt. Columbo No. 7 on its 50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time list. In 2012, the program was ranked the third-best cop or legal show on Best in TV: The Greatest TV Shows of Our Time. In 2013, TV Guide included it in its list of The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time and ranked it 33rd on its list of the 60 Best Series. Also in 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked it 57th on its list of 101 Best Written TV Series.

                                                     Unhinged (2020) - Film - Cinema

First outing to the cinema for a few months and a cracker to get us going again. Unhinged...... tense, violent and edge of the seat stuff. I think Russell Crowe is MENACE personified, threat and danger oozing from every pore. One I'd happily watch again.

From Wikipedia....

Unhinged is a 2020 American thriller film directed by Derrick Borte, from a screenplay by Carl Ellsworth. The film stars Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson and Austin P. McKenzie. It tells the story of a young woman who is terrorized by a seemingly unstable stranger following a road rage incident.

Unhinged was theatrically released by Solstice Studios in Germany on July 16, 2020, and in the United States on August 21, 2020. The film was notable for being the first wide theatrical release in several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has grossed $32 million worldwide. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Crowe's performance but felt the film did not take full advantage of its premise.

                                                      Sweet Country (2017) Film - TV

One I spotted on late at night so recorded it for a watch at a more convenient time. Dark, unsettling, disturbing. Great performances throughout. I do abhor racism. A very powerful film. 

From Wikipedia...

Sweet Country is a 2017 Australian meat pie Western drama film, directed by Warwick Thornton. Set in 1929 in the sparsely populated outback of the Northern Territory and based on a series of true events, it tells a harsh story against the backdrop of a divided society (between the European settlers and Aboriginal Australians) in the interwar period in Australia.

It was first screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival in September 2017 and after winning the Special Jury Prize award there, went on to win several awards internationally.

                                  Law and Order UK Season 2 (2010) - ITV Drama (TV)

A continued viewing of cracking UK copycat series. Great storylines, some upsetting and difficult to watch, decent acting, what's not to like?

From IMDB.....

Samaritan - S2, Ep1
A police officer is killed in a shoot out with a drug dealer. Based on the testimony of another dealer, Brooks and Devlin must determine whether back up was slow to arrive and left the officer to die because he was gay.

Hidden - S2, Ep2

A young girl goes missing on the way to her guitar lesson. A week later, she is found murdered, and CCTV footage leads detectives to a viable suspect for the kidnapping.
Community Service - S2, Ep3

A bipolar homeless man is found beaten unconscious. An angry resident of the neighborhood is charged with the premeditated attack.
Sacrifice - S2, Ep4

When a man is found lying on the ground with a kidney surgically removed, Brooks and Devlin have a case that they believed fell more into the category of urban myth than real-life crime. They quickly focus on finding the intended recipient of the stolen organ. Transplantation is highly controlled and centralized to prevent queue jumping but they soon find a recent transplantation that was completed from outside the system. They soon uncover a tale of a sick woman, a concerned parent and a greedy, disgruntled surgeon. For James Steel, the question becomes one of which ...
Love and Loss - S2, Ep5

A teen-aged girl returning from vacation with her friends dies from a heroin overdose. Devlin and Brooks must find the man who hired her to smuggle the drugs.
Honour Bound - S2, Ep6

Following the DPS investigation of the shooting of an informant by a detective, Devlin looks into the detective's past which leads to an investigation of Brooks for stealing drugs six years earlier.

                                         Law and Order Season 3 (2010) - ITV Drama (TV)

Ditto, season 2!

From IMDB.....

Broken - S3, Ep1

Five-year-old Connor Reid is strangled and security cameras show the two little girls who baby-sit him, Paige and prostitute's daughter Rose, take him into the empty flat where his corpse was found. In interview Paige breaks down and names Rose as the killer, though, in court, Rose's brief Kim Sharkey invites the court to accept Paige as the guilty party and forensics seem to implicate her as the murderess. Then Alesha finds evidence to nail Rose as the killer and the prosecution, pleading the girl's abusive upbringing as grounds for diminished responsibility, seek sychiatric care for her. However Sharkey, after professional glory, wants an all-or-nothing verdict. James puts Rose's vile mother in the witness box to prove the prosecution point and save Rose from a murder charge.
Hounded - S3, Ep2

Convicted serial rapist Paul Darnell is released on parole and,three months later, young Ashanti Walker, who lives in the same area as Darnell, is killed after sex. He is the perfect parolee with a loyal girlfriend but he has no alibi and Steel is convinced he is the murderer. He is arrested but his barrister claims persecution and, at his trial, is credible and sympathetic whilst Steel does himself no favors with his bigotry and zeal, with obvious results. However, that is not the end of the matter.
Defence - S3, Ep3

Two workers and a customer in a vintage clothes shop are brutally murdered with a bayonet. The fourth,surviving,victim identifies the killer as John Smith,an educated but homeless ex-military man,who is arrested with the weapon on him. It is found out that he was previously charged with stalking a young woman but sloppy prosecution led to the case's collapse. He is also a law graduate and defends himself,despite a history of mental instability vouched for by his sister,Patricia. In court he claims that he was not himself that day and therefore not the killer. Steel brings in Patricia and uses Smith's paranoia to get his conviction.
Confession - S3, Ep4

Matt Devlin takes it badly when his old friend and fellow cop,Pete Garvey is found dead,an apparent suicide. Garvey's widow says that he had recently been plagued by nightmares and was seeing Jonathan Nugent,a former priest and pillar of the community but in reality an undetected paedophile,who had molested Garvey and others when they were boys. The prosecution build their case on the fact that Nugent's abuse so unbalanced Garvey that he killed himself as a result but Nugent's claim that Garvey was blackmailing him tips the jury on his side and Steel must do a deal  with the Catholic church if he is to get a conviction.

Survivor- S3, Ep5

Prison officer Charlie Tyner is found, shot dead, on a Hackney council estate. Prime suspect, recently released pedophile Ellis Bevan, has an alibi and the police later learn that Tyner dealt in heroin. A connection is made with Tamika Vincent, a drugs mule serving time in the prison where Tyner last worked who ran drugs for scary gangster Jackson Marshall, a man the Police and Prosecutors have long sought to bring down. The prosecution believe Tamika put Marshall up to killing Tyner and Alesha plays on her own rape and roots in Hackney to get Tamika to confirm this.
Masquerade - S3, Ep6

After a student is found stabbed, the police have to deal with counter-allegations of murder and rape. Facing angry parents, lurid media headlines, and mixed feelings among police and prosecutors, this case proves a hard one to handle.
Anonymous - S3, Ep7

For two years Stephanie Blake has been pestered by a cyber-stalker who knows every detail of her private life. Conceited ladies' man Russell Lowry tried to contact her from prison but,after being pushed downstairs, Stephanie fails to recognize him - and then she is murdered. Lowry slowly moves into the frame on the discovery that Stephanie subscribed by standing order to an animal charity for which he worked,so he knows her purchasing details. A cell-mate also reveals that Lowry used a computer in prison. The prosecution case is, however, flimsy as Ronnie recorded his view that Stephanie faked the fall downstairs as a cry for help. He determines not to let her down again, bringing his evidence at Lowry's trial into conflict with Matt's view. Up against fearsome defending brief Evelyn Wyndham,James must discredit Matt for a result. 

                                          Murder Mystery (2019) - Film - Netflix

A bit of comedy fun. Aniston and Sandler I've enjoyed together previously in the hilarious Just Go With It. Not quite as funny this time around but it was enjoyable enough for a night in family film.

From Wikipedia......

Murder Mystery is a 2019 American comedy mystery film directed by Kyle Newacheck and written by James Vanderbilt. The film stars Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, and Luke Evans, and follows a married couple who is caught up in a murder investigation on a billionaire's yacht. It was released on June 14, 2019, by Netflix.


Nick Spitz is a New York police officer, and his wife Audrey is a hairdresser. Audrey wants to visit Europe, as Nick had promised at their wedding, but thinks they never will. After their 15th-anniversary dinner, Audrey confronts Nick, who lies that he has in fact booked the trip, and they set off to Europe. On the plane, Audrey meets billionaire Charles Cavendish, who invites the couple to join him on his family yacht for a party celebrating his elderly uncle's upcoming wedding to Charles's former fiancée. After seeing how crowded their previously planned bus tour would be, Nick agrees.

Aboard the yacht, Nick and Audrey meet Cavendish's ex-fiancée Suzi Nakamura, his cousin Tobey, actress Grace Ballard, Colonel Ulenga, his bodyguard Sergei, Maharajah, race car driver Juan Carlos, and their host Malcolm Quince, Cavendish's uncle. Quince announces that his new wife Suzi will be the only one to receive his inheritance, believing the others only feign interest in him because of his money. Before he can sign his new will, the lights go out and come back on to reveal Quince dead, stabbed with his own dagger.

Nick, who has lied to Audrey about recently becoming an NYPD detective, orders the room locked, and the guests return to their rooms. Later that night, the guests find Tobey, Quince's only son, dead from an apparent suicide. Upon arriving in Monte Carlo, the guests are questioned by Inspector de la Croix, who believes that Nick and Audrey, "the Americans", are guilty of the murders.

At the Monaco Grand Prix, Nick and Audrey question the guests. That night, Sergei summons them to his room, where he reveals Quince had married the Colonel's fiancée while the Colonel was in a coma, which ended with her death and a child who was allegedly stillborn. The couple hide when someone knocks on the door, and come out to find Sergei has been murdered. Bravely, they climb out the window and edge along the ledge, high above the ground. In the process, they see the Colonel flossing his teeth vigorously and Maharajah and Grace kissing, ruling out the chances of any of them being the murderer and killing Sergei. While fleeing, they see on the news that de la Croix has issued a warrant for their arrest. Audrey is furious to learn Nick is not actually a detective and lied about booking the trip in advance, and she leaves with Cavendish.

Nick follows Suzi to a library where he finds Audrey, who reveals Cavendish is in the building as well. They realize Cavendish and Suzi are still in love and, presumably, the murderers. The couple are forced to flee from a hidden gunman and run into Carlos. They soon are confronted by Suzi, who is killed by a masked person. Nick and Carlos try to chase the killer but fail. Nick and Audrey go to Quince's mansion to confront Cavendish, but find him dead by poisoning.

The couple summons de la Croix and the remaining guests, Colonel, Grace, Maharajah, and Juan Carlos, who all have alibis. Nick and Audrey deduce that Grace is the murderer; she was helped by Tobey, then killed him. Grace reveals that she is Quince's child that “died” and that his money truly belongs to her, though she denies being the killer. However, Audrey proves her guilt (she was hiding a cut Nick gave her as the masked killer under a conspicuous hat) and she is arrested.

While celebrating, Nick and Audrey learn that Grace's alibi still stands and there must be another conspirator who could've killed Sergei. They realize Carlos is the second murderer, who blamed Quince for an accident his father had where he had lost both of his legs. Carlos holds de la Croix hostage and leads Nick and Audrey in a car chase, but they force his car to crash and rescue de la Croix. Rivera holds them all at gunpoint, but is killed by the chaotic tour bus, which Nick and Audrey would have initially boarded at the start of their trip.

De la Croix thanks the couple and offers to help get Nick promoted to detective back home. The movie ends with Nick and Audrey continuing their vacation aboard the fabled Orient Express courtesy of Interpol.


  1. I couldn't agree with you more about Columbo, Col. And for me, Peter Falk's portrayal is/was outstanding. I could easily watch those episodes, even though I've seen them. And I heard that Unhinged is very good. I want to see it when I'm ready for an unsettling film like that. Oh, and I noticed that Izzo's Total Chaos is on your TBR list. I really hope you'll be glad you read that; it's the first of a trilogy, so if you get completely drawn in, it's only three books. It's not a light, fun read, but it's very well done, I think.

    1. Margot, Columbo is a real favourite even if I've seen a lot of the episodes before. I really liked Unhinged as well. Russell Crowe is terrifying. Re Izzo, I've been meaning to read this one for far too long.

  2. We have all the seasons of Columbo on disc, Col, and have watched all of them at least twice, maybe three times. We have our favorites, and re-watch those even more often.

    I don't think I would like Sweet Country, but I love Sam Neill.

    1. Lucky you having all of Columbo at your fingertips. Sweet Country was an uncomfortable watch in places.

  3. COLUMBO was a great show. SWEET COUNTRY is one I will be looking for. I need to find the UK LAW & ORDER series over here.

    1. Elgin, everyone's a Columbo fan it seems. I think you would enjoy both of the other two you mentioned.

  4. I really fancy the Eurovision film - my offspring recommended it to me too. Will get round to it.

    1. Moira, it's a silly film and we all could do with some more of that in our lives.