Much like my reading my viewing is firmly set in the crime and thriller zone rather than soaps and chick flicks. I can't remember too much from the month and I'm sure I watched more than this but the highlights were......

Father Brown (2013-2017)
Not to be confused with Father Ted, I really like this series. I'm probably coming to it a bit late, having previously dismissed it as a bit soft. It was airing weekday afternoons on BBC, but has since finished, but it pops up frequently on satellite channel Alibi. Based loosely, around G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown tales the setting is the early 50's. I'm a fan of Mark Williams ever since The Borrowers and The Fast Show. I enjoyed him in the Harry Potter films as well. Sorcha Cusack is excellent as is Hugo Speers as the bumbling cop, though his role seems short-lived as we kind of run through a few police chiefs in the episodes I've seen.

The series started in 2013 and has thus far run to 60 episodes, I haven't watched in any particular order and have a fair few more to catch up on.

The Way Back (2010)
Denounced by his wife as a possible spy in 1939, Janusz (Jim Sturgess) finds himself in a remote Siberian labor camp. Faced with brutal conditions inside and out, Janusz is determined to escape. A blizzard provides him with the perfect opportunity, and he and a small group of fellow prisoners make a break for it. Escape, however, is the easy part, for Janusz and his companions face a 4,000 mile trek on foot through the frozen Himalayas before they can truly be free.

I read the book this was based on many years ago - The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz - highly recommended if you get a chance to check it out. The film is good but not as compelling as the prose. I like Colin Farrell and Ed Harris. I'm not that familiar with Saoirse Ronan and I haven't seen too much of Jim Sturgess - only One Day a year or two ago.

Apple Tree Yard (2017)
A provocative thriller which sees an eminent scientist caught up in a damaging and compromising lie. Based on the novel by Louise Doughty.

My older daughter suggested watching this one and I'm not going to argue with the Princess. It was kind of uncomfortable viewing. Difficulties in a marriage, an affair, sex in public places, lies, secrets, deceit... and then it all goes wrong. Four episodes, so not too much of a commitment to keep up with it. I recognised a few of the leads in this by face, but not by name. I've not read the book and probably don't need to now.

Warrior (2011)
The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he's trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament - a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother.

I do like Tom Hardy and I'm enjoying seeing Nick Nolte acting as he gets older. My kind of film here......a few bruising punch-ups in an MMA tournament. Nolte is the recovering alcoholic who did his family multiple wrongs during his drinking days. Both his sons have serious issues with him and each other. Interesting back-story to both brothers - Hardy was an ex-Marine who went AWOL, but
saved some of his fellow Marines in an of extreme heroism. He's fighting to raise money for the family of one of his fallen comrades. Joel Edgerton - his estranged brother is a Physics teacher, who moonlights as a bouncer to try and stave off foreclosure on his house. He upsets his concerned wife by getting back in the cage. Another hit from Hardy in my book.

In a Lonely Place (1950)
Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) and his neighbor Laurel (Gloria Grahame) are just getting to know each other romantically when the police begin questioning Dixon about his involvement in the murder of a girl he met once. Certain her new love interest is innocent, Laurel stands by Dixon, but as the police continue pressing him, Dixon begins to act increasingly erratically. The blossoming love affair suffers as Laurel begins to wonder if Dixon really might be a killer.

I fancied this one when it popped up on TCM a while back, having read the book of the same title by Dorothy B. Hughes. Enjoyable enough, but is it just me or does the acting in these older films seem a bit hammy and OTT? I won't claim to be Humphrey Bogart's biggest fan. A surprise finish indeed.



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