Monday 5 April 2021


 15 different films or shows, it's a wonder I managed to read anything in the month...

                                                           Big Fish (2003) - Film

Another family favourite re-visited during lockdown. Absolutely fantastic. I love Albert Finney in this and always enjoy watching Steve Buscemi.

From Google....

Will Bloom returns home to care for his dying father, who had a penchant for telling unbelievable stories. After he passes away, Will tries to find out if his tales were really true.

                                         Finding Alice (2021) - ITV Drama/comedy Series

Last couple of episodes watched and things kind of end with a few questions still unanswered. Not totally satisfying, not totally frustrating. I guess we're heading towards a second series.

From Google ....

For Alice, Harry and their daughter, Charlotte, moving into their new home should have been a dream come true, but it quickly turns into a nightmare when Alice discovers Harry dead at the bottom of the stairs. Harry designed the smart house, so it's weird and wonderful, and one more disorientation for Alice on top of her sense of loss and abandonment. Alice's beloved partner is no more, and now she can't find the fridge.

                                               You (2018) - TV Drama Series (Netflix)

One I started watching with my wife and daughter. Really enjoyed the first episode, but my interest has waned over the the next two or three episodes watched. Just a bit too slow for my liking. Undecided on whether to keep going or not. I must admit I had hoped it was set around the book by Zoran Drvenkar, but I got that wrong.

You is an American psychological thriller television series developed by Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble. Produced by Warner Horizon Television, in association with Alloy Entertainment and A&E Studios, the first season is based on the 2014 novel by Caroline Kepnes and follows Joe Goldberg, a New York bookstore manager and serial killer who falls in love with a customer named Guinevere Beck and quickly develops an extreme, toxic, and delusional obsession. The second season follows Joe as he moves to Los Angeles and falls in love with local heiress Love Quinn. The first season, which was released in 2018, stars Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Luca Padovan, Zach Cherry, and Shay Mitchell. For the second season, Ambyr Childers was upgraded to a series regular, joining newly cast Victoria Pedretti, James Scully, Jenna Ortega, and Carmela Zumbado.

The series premiered on Lifetime on September 9, 2018, in the United States and streaming on Netflix internationally on December 26, 2018. The series attracted a limited audience on Lifetime before becoming more popular and a critical success for Netflix, with over 43 million viewers having streamed the first season after its debut on the streaming service. Lifetime announced that You had been renewed for a second season based on Kepnes' follow-up novel Hidden Bodies, on July 26, 2018, ahead of the series premiere. In December 2018, it was announced that the series would move to Netflix as a Netflix Original title. The second season was released exclusively on Netflix on December 26, 2019. In January 2020, the series was renewed for a third season by Netflix, which is set to be released in 2021, with Badgley and Pedretti both reprising their roles.

                                                  Escape From Pretoria (2020) - Film

I do like a prison break film. Even better if it based on a true story. Daniel Radcliffe is very good as one of the main leads. So is the rest of the cast, though I'm not quite so familiar with them.

From Google ....

Two white South Africans, imprisoned for working on behalf of the African National Congress, are determined to escape from the notorious Pretoria Prison.

                                     Unbelievable (2019) - TV Drama Miniseries (Netflix)

Probably one of the most powerful, affecting dramas I've seen in a good while. Some fantastic police work links a series of previously unconnected rapes to one likely predator. We follow the detectives and some of the victim's stories. One of the victim's lives prior to her rape was pretty crap anyway. A life in care, bounced from one foster family to another, with limited support. She is targeted and raped and incredibly, the police refuse to believe her and she is prosecuted for making up false allegations. A charge she has to plead guilty to because of the jeopardy she might find herself in should she choose to fight it. Absolutely heart-breaking what she went through. The other victim's stories are tough to follow as well. I was amazed at their strength and resilience to see things through to their day in court.

Fantastic performances throughout. In particular the cops - Toni Collette and Merritt Wever and two of the victims portrayed by Kaitlyn Dever and Danielle Macdonald

From Wikipedia ...

Unbelievable is an American true crime television miniseries starring Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, and Kaitlyn Dever. It is about a series of rapes in Washington State and Colorado. The show was co-created by Susannah Grant, Ayelet Waldman, and Michael Chabon. All three co-creators and Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, and Katie Couric were executive producers. It was released on September 13, 2019, on Netflix.

The miniseries is based on the 2015 news article "An Unbelievable Story of Rape", written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, and their 2018 book A False Report based on the same research. The series received critical acclaim.

                                                              Hope Gap (2019) - Film

Strife in an older couple's marriage as he falls out of love, tired of being taken for granted and treated pretty abysmally by his wife. She might want to repent, but the horse has bolted. Bill Nighy and Annette Bening. I quite enjoyed it. The two leads were very good, as was the son, previously seen in The Durrells - Josh O'Connor.

From Google ....

Grace lives an idyllic life in a British seaside town, but her world soon comes crashing down when her husband of 29 years tells her he's leaving her for another woman. Through stages of shock, disbelief and anger -- and with support from her son -- Grace ultimately regains her footing while learning it's never too late to be happy.

                                         Unforgotten Season 4 (2021) - ITV Drama Series

Bloody hell. Four episodes in out of six total. Cops investigating cops. When this one is done I'll be trying to track down the first three series.

From Wikipedia....

Unforgotten is a British crime drama television series, which initially aired on ITV on 8 October 2015. It is written by creator Chris Lang and directed by Andy Wilson. The programme follows two London detectives, DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), as they solve cold cases of disappearance and murder.

Each series consists of six episodes. Series 1 to 4 were broadcast in the UK in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2021 respectively. On 30 March 2021, ITV announced that there will be a fifth series and that actor Sanjeev Bhaskar has already been reconfirmed to appear.

Each series deals with a new case, introducing seemingly unconnected characters who are gradually revealed to have some relationship with the victim. As the murder mystery unfolds, the emotional ramifications of the crime are also explored in the lives of those affected.

Unforgotten has received critical acclaim, with Tom Courtenay winning the 2016 BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actor for the first series and Mark Bonnar winning the 2017 BAFTA Scotland for Best Actor in Television for the second series

                                                               Us (2019) - Film

An ok horror film, as the shadows rise up from the darkness under the earth and battle their normal above ground doppelgangers. All the fall out from an incident at a funfair-cum-carnival years ago.

From Google...

Adelaide Wilson and her family are attacked by mysterious figures dressed in red. Upon closer inspection, the Wilsons realise that the intruders are exact lookalikes of them.

                                                        Saving Zoe (2019) - Film

Enjoyable thriller about a girl trying to come to terms with her sister's suspicious death.

From Google ....

One year after the murder of her sister, a freshman in high school uncovers the truth about her secret life by reading her diary.

                                                       Deadly Illusions (2021) - Film

And another enjoyable thriller which truth be told was slightly confusing. I had a hard time deciding what was real and what was a delusion. I do like Kristin Davis though.

From Google....

Deadly Illusions is a 2021 American thriller drama film written and directed by Anna Elizabeth James and starring Kristin Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Greer Grammer, and Shanola Hampton.

                                                      Hearts in Atlantis (2001) - Film

Cracking film, and one that must have passed me by 20 years ago. Anthony Hopkins is excellent as are the young cast. Off to track down the Stephen King book.

From Wikipedia ....

Hearts in Atlantis is a 2001 mystery drama film directed by Scott Hicks and starring Anthony Hopkins and Anton Yelchin. It is loosely adapted from Stephen King's Dark Tower tie-in Low Men in Yellow Coats, a novella in the 1999 collection Hearts in Atlantis after which the film was named.

The film is dedicated to cinematographer Piotr Sobociński, who died of a heart attack a few months before the release.

*Spoiler alert 


Middle-aged photographer and businessman Robert "Bobby" Garfield returns to his old hometown upon learning that his best friend, decorated soldier John "Sully" Sullivan has died in a traffic accident and begins recollecting his past when he visits an abandoned house where he used to live. During a summer in the 1960s, an eleven-year old Bobby lives with his widowed mother, self-centered Liz Garfield, and has two friends, Carol Gerber and Sully. They experienced many things together, the most mysterious of which was meeting an older gentleman named Ted Brautigan, whom Liz takes in as a boarder.

Ted takes the lonely Bobby under his wing, while his mother is busy with her job . The two form a paternal father-son bond, and it slowly becomes evident that Ted has some psychic and telekinetic powers. These same powers are the reason that Brautigan has come to this sleepy town. In due course Ted entrusts Bobby with the knowledge that he has escaped the grasp of the "Low Men", strange people who would stop at nothing to get him back in their control.

After reading Bobby's mind and realizing that the boy dreams of owning a bicycle; Ted kindly offers Bobby $1 a week in exchange for his reading a newspaper out loud. Bobby quickly figures out that Ted has some other purpose in mind. Mysteriously, Ted asks Bobby to keep an eye on the neighborhood looking for any signs of the "low men", like announcements about missing pets. Bobby sees one, but does not tell Ted, afraid to lose his new friend.

Bobby, Carol and John have frequent conflicts with the local town bully, Harry Doolin, whom Ted is able to scare away by looking into his mind and finding out that his violence is used to cover up the fact that he is secretly a cross-dresser. However, at one point, Harry harasses and injures Carol, and when Ted manipulates her dislocated shoulder into place, Liz arrives, after being raped by her boss, and mistakenly believes that Ted is a child molester. She is confronted by Ted's ability to tell her the truth about what she has been through, and how her behavior is affecting her relationship with her son, providing another reason that Ted must leave. That and the "low men" are closing in on him.

Ted is eventually captured with the help of a tip from Liz. As some form of closure, Ted yells to Bobby as he is being driven away that he wouldn't have missed a moment "not for all the world", and later Bobby mirrors the same feelings. Bobby is later confronted by Harry but Bobby grabs the latter's baseball bat and beats him with it. Liz later finds a new job in Boston and moves the family there. Before he leaves, Bobby and Carol say their goodbyes and share a final kiss.

Returning to the present, Bobby turns to leave his old home wherein he meets a young girl named Molly. The two strike up a conversation wherein Molly reveals that she is Carol's daughter and that Carol died in recent years. Bobby gives Molly a photograph of a young Carol and the two become friends.

                                                 Conspiracy Theory (1997) - DVD Film

One I watched years ago and enjoyed. I could only vaguely remember bits as they were happening, second time around. Tense, exciting, good fun. It was enjoyable watching Mel Gibson, back in the days before he felt he had to irritate everyone. Julia Roberts is pretty damn good - quelle surprise!

From Rotten Tomatoes ...

New York City cabbie Jerry Fletcher (Mel Gibson) is an expert on paranoid conspiracy theories. He is also infatuated with government lawyer Alice Sutton (Julia Roberts), who permits his attention because he once rescued her from a mugging. However, when Jerry is captured and put through psychotic tests by Dr. Jonas (Patrick Stewart), he realizes there is an actual conspiracy. After escaping, Jerry enlists Alice's help, but she wonders whether he has uncovered a real threat or is just insane.

                                                           Grace (2021) - ITV Drama

Really enjoyable, one-off episode. Apparently there is a second coming at some point. I think I read the first in Peter James' Grace series years ago - so long ago it probably doesn't count. I ought to re-visit it. I do like John Simm ...... The Lakes, Life on Mars, Mad Dogs

From Google ...

Written by the critically-acclaimed screenwriter, Russell Lewis, this adaptation of the bestseller by Peter James stars John Simm. Following the Brighton-based Detective Roy Grace who has hit rock-bottom in his life. His wife Sandy disappeared 6 years ago and he spends all his time investigating cold cases. Meanwhile, his different ways of working are being questioned by his bosses, risking his job. Things change when his colleague Detective Glenn Branson asks for his help on a difficult case.

                                        Murder on the Orient Express (2017) - DVD Film

A first time for me, third I think for my wife. Never watched any of the previous adaptations before, nor read the book so it was a surprise. I quite enjoyed it. A stellar cast. I'm looking forward to Death on the Nile whenever it's released and assuming we get back to a post-Covid kind of normal.

From Wikipedia ....

Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 American mystery thriller film directed by Kenneth Branagh with a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The film stars Branagh as Hercule Poirot, with Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley in supporting roles. The film is the fourth screen adaptation of Christie's novel, following the 1974 film, a 2001 TV film version, and a 2010 episode of the television series Agatha Christie's Poirot. The plot follows Poirot, a world-renowned detective, as he investigates a murder on the luxury Orient Express train service in the 1930s.

                                             Briarpatch (2019) - TV Drama Series

Halfway through this 10 episode series and I'm a bit puzzled as to where it's going. At least I can read the book of the same name if I get to the end and I'm still confused. Hopefully it all becomes clearer in the second half of the series. It probably has inspired me to tap into a Ross Thomas book soon.

From Wikipedia ...

Briarpatch is an American television series starring Rosario Dawson based on the 1984 Ross Thomas novel of the same name. The series was picked up in late January 2019 by USA Network, after being ordered to pilot in April 2018.

In advance of its broadcast premiere, several episodes of the series received a preview screening in the Primetime program of the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

The series premiered on February 6, 2020. On July 17, 2020, the series was canceled after one season.


When Detective Felicity Dill is killed in a car bombing, her sister Allegra Dill, an investigator working for a senator, returns home to San Bonifacio to find her killer. In the process of her investigation, she uncovers a web of corruption in the small Texas town.


  1. I like Anthony Hopkins very much, Col, although I confess I've not seen that particular film (I ought to). And I, too, remember watching Conspiracy Theory a number of years ago and thinking it was quite good. I have to say, I'm not much of a Mel Gibson fan, but still, he was good in that one. Glad you had some decent views.

    1. Margot thanks. I really enjoyed Conspiracy Theory and Hearts in Atlantis. Hopkins is very good - and enduring. He's just won the best actor Oscar.

  2. Oh, man, quit watching the fourth season of Unforgotten and go back and watch the first three seasons first - and DO NOT read anything about the fourth season.

  3. Thanks for the tips on Pretoria, Unbelievable, Hope Gap, Unforgotten, Deadly Illusions, and Hearts in Atlantis. They are now on our Must Watch list.

    1. A few good ones there to enjoy, Elgin. Unbelievable will break your heart.