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9/10
A fine family film that makes you think.....
30 July 2014
A film that perhaps was overlooked by many, People Like Us is a great movie that has its mixture of moving and humorous moments, all entwined with wonderful imagery and a dense musical score. It's a film detailing the trials and tribulations of a fractured family life and how perhaps everyone has a "skeleton in the closet" as the saying goes. And as it's inspired by true events on behalf of the director Alex Kurtzman, he shows the viewer the emotional aspects of broken families and strained relationships with admirable tenacity; it makes you wonder what goes on behind closed doors.

The performances in this film were second to none, with Elizabeth Banks the stand out in my mind. Banks delivers an alert and moving execution of her role as Frankie, and she shares a wonderful chemistry with Chris Pine, who also proves he is more than just a pretty face. While Pine's character of Sam may at first appear to be a bit pompous and big headed, Pine is able to show how he actually is not so bad after all; the touching moments he shares with (still stunning) mom Michelle Pfeiffer, the eventual truth regarding his true relationship with Frankie, as well as the conclusion to the film prove this.

People Like Us is simply a movie that packs a huge emotional punch about love and how life is not always as simple as it could be. We do make mistakes after all; but when those mistakes cause pain and suffering to those around us, it's time to take a step back and re-evaluate that life, and that is what makes People Like Us one of those films that instantly touches you. 9/10
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Gran Turismo 6 (2013 Video Game)
7/10
A worthy game in the franchise
23 February 2014
GT6 has proved (at least for me) to be an acceptable game and a definite improvement over GT5, which had been seen to be a little fussy and complicated. However, I was intrigued to discover this game was not a Playstation 4 title, but nevertheless the excellent graphics certainly prove the astute attention to detail; up to a point. There are still some missed opportunities such as 'standard' vehicles having straightforward black interiors and the lack of windscreen wipers for example. There are other imperfections; the AI - as with GT6's predecessors - leave a lot to be desired, and if using a car up to the newly introduced PP limit, winning races really isn't that difficult. In other words, it's not challenging enough.

The inclusion of 1200 cars is obviously a winner, although from what I've seen, many vehicles seem to be from the 1990s and early 2000s, so the vast majority are nothing new to me. I appreciate the game makers are Japanese, but the bias towards cars from that part of the world (as with the earlier games) is annoying; how many Mistubishi Lancers, Subaru Imprezas and Nissan Skylines do we need?! There are also some interesting omissions from the line up; a list of cars I could mention is endless so I won't do that here.

Nevertheless, in a nutshell, I enjoy GT6; I prefer it to GT5. Then again I sense the GT franchise is beginning to lose its edge to other games of a similar nature, such as Forza, Ridge Racer and so on. It may have been the class leader in the car racing genre, but time has moved on. However, as a major fan of the Gran Turismo franchise since the series began in 1998, GT6 is a game that cannot be ignored from someone like myself, and is worth having in my collection.
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Gravity (2013)
6/10
Gravity did grab my attention
23 February 2014
With all the hype surrounding this movie, and being a fan of Sandra Bullock in the process, I simply had to see what it was all about; needless to say I liked it well enough but can't help but wonder if all that hype is misguided.

Alfonso Cuaron directs a 90 minute film in fine style; the spectacular cinematography and effects are conducted with such tenacity you can't help but feel you're actually in space! It really is astounding work, that alone marks a 10/10!

The casting of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney is an interesting aspect; in my opinion, Clooney is bordering on the annoying side but Bullock adds a real sense of sensitivity and emotion to the part of Ryan Stone (even if she is just talking to herself nearly all of the time), while any dramatic scenes add a sense of urgency and feeling to the viewer to want to stick with the story and find out what happens next. It is these characteristics to Gravity that make it stand on its own two feet well enough.

However, although Gravity proved an amiable enough film to me (perhaps due to the technical complexity surrounding it), too much emphasis has been placed on this. In the not so near future it may be seen to be a slightly - if not highly - overrated movie. 6/10
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Crimewatch UK (1984– )
Important crime fighting series
5 January 2013
An important tool in the fight against crime in the UK since it began in June 1984, Crimewatch has detailed thousands of serious cases involving murder, robbery and rape amongst others. Continually supported by police forces across the country along with detailed reconstructions as well as CCTV footage of incidents, it simply puts into perspective the enormous good there is in people who phone in with vital information that can help convict those responsible: at least one-in-three cases featured on Crimewatch are solved thanks to viewers; a pretty good statistic.

Broadcast once a month on BBC1 (although in more recent times, a little less frequently), Crimewatch has had numerous presenters over the years. Of course its most prolific is Nick Ross; hosting the show for 23 years until 2007 ranks him as one of the longest serving presenters of the same series in TV history (working alongside female broadcasters Sue Cook, Jill Dando and Fiona Bruce in the process).

Ironically, Crimewatch in itself would be the victim of a terrible crime when Dando was murdered outside her house in London on 26 April 1999; sadly one of Britain's most infamous murders that remains unsolved.

Admittedly, I have to say the look and feel of the programme has diminished in quality in recent years, what with overzealous acting and unnecessary background music during reconstructions in what could be said to be "dumbing down"; what happened to just giving us the facts without resorting to the superfluous?

My point of "dumbing down" seems to be strengthened by the fact that in October 2017 the BBC announced their decision to axe Crimewatch after 33 years; a ridiculous move highlighting the declining standards of British television. A public service programme removed from the schedules due to "falling viewing figures" is a rather lame excuse in my eyes. Nevertheless, Crimewatch has been responsible for bringing many dangerous and prolific criminals to justice over the years thanks to viewers' responses; it's just a shame it will no longer aid the authorities and victims any longer.
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Gran Turismo 5 (2010 Video Game)
7/10
A worthy successor
29 April 2011
There's no doubt the GT series redefined the car racing genre. GT5 certainly ups the ante compared to its excellent predecessors. Although admittedly, the objective of GT mode is pretty much the same (win races to unlock new vehicles and so on), the inclusion of just over 1000 cars will in no doubt please the most devoted fans.

What is disappointing is the lack of "cockpit" views in "standard" vehicles and their 'less attention to detail' graphics wise - look closely and you can see where the game-makers have cut corners. The newly introduced damage model makes little difference to a vehicle's handling (you would expect some differences); sounding the horn and flashing the headlights seems pointless, and the AI leaves a lot to be desired. This is what lets the game down.

Nevertheless, the plus points of GT5 - namely the astute attention to detail regarding the "premium" vehicles and their interiors and the welcome return of old track favourites - outweigh the negative aspects of the game, and there is no doubt that GT5 will be adored by the masses all over the world; just like its predecessors! But then again, if gamers find this new GT game a little too complex for their liking (as it can be frustrating at times), there is always the previous editions to enjoy.
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Settle the Score (1989 TV Movie)
6/10
An intriguing TV film
29 April 2011
As a fan of Jaclyn Smith, this was one of her films I hadn't seen, and I have to say that it was one of the most intriguing. Settle The Score is not a melodramatic film as such; it details very deep and disturbing facts that may leave viewers surprised.

Jaclyn Smith gives out a believable (if slightly flat) performance as Kathy in a role where she simply wants to take her revenge for an unforgivable event that happened to her years previously. However, the supporting cast - namely Richard Masur and Howard Duff - steal the show with their worthy performances.

A dark and brooding Jaclyn Smith TVM that stands out from other roles she has done in her career. 6/10
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The Jackal (1997)
5/10
So-so thriller
30 July 2010
The Jackal is certainly not the best film ever made perhaps due to its lack of subtlety if compared to 1973's The Day of the Jackal, which is used as its main inspiration. I think what lets it down a fair degree is the casting of Richard Gere as an IRA henchman (although it is hilarious having to listen to his character Mulqueen's accent though)! On the other side of the spectacle, Bruce Willis as The Jackal is convincing enough - although the many disguises he uses are quite laughable - and Sidney Poitier is always a class act.

The action jumps from one place to another perhaps a little too quickly, one scene focusing on the Jackal's preparations, the next we're seeing the authorities planning their own next move. The supporting cast - including Diane Venora and JK Simmons - perform well although Jack Black's inclusion is a bit mellow.

In a nutshell, The Jackal is a (very) loud and brash sort of action thriller that is good enough to pass the time with a bucket of popcorn with your friends, but it certainly won't go down as a memorable movie of its type. 5/10
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Shoot to Kill (1988)
8/10
A first-class thriller
30 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed this film very much upon first viewing and I've must have watched it hundreds of times since and never get bored! Deadly Pursuit is a nail-biting, intelligently thought out action thriller made all the more stronger with its excellent cast and mountainous settings. It is certainly a welcome return for the legendary Sidney Poitier after a decade away from the screen.

The intrigue regarding which of the five members of Kirstie Alley's (as Sarah) hiking group is a deranged jewel thief and killer is there in abundance; perhaps all have something to hide, you just don't know! This point is heightened thanks to the casting of actors well known for portraying bad guys, namely Andrew Robinson and Clancy Brown. When we do find out who the killer is, the cat-and-mouse game reaches new heights.

Deadly Pursuit is a simple title for a simple film, but it does move along at a good pace, and adds full-on tension and interest to keep the viewer entertained; for example the turbulent yet vital relationship between Poitier's Stanton and Tom Berenger's Knox, two very different individuals coming together for one and the same purpose; the sometimes humorous moments (Stantin's struggles with a horse, a scene where he and Knox have to shelter from a snowstorm as well as their encounter with a grizzly bear), mixed with great action that doesn't go over-the-top as proved with other similar movies.

Sidney Poitier and Tom Berenger are a pleasure to watch together. Despite their character's sometimes volatile relationship, the two actors do share a certain chemistry, while Kirstie Alley performs well despite limitations to her character.

I enjoyed Deadly Pursuit to the full. Roger Spottiswoode directs a well crafted action thriller that can be watched again and again. 8/10
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A Touch of Frost: If Dogs Run Free: Part 2 (2010)
Season 15, Episode 2
8/10
The Frost chapter comes to a close.....
14 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'm quite certain many people were trying to guess the fate of D.I. Frost; does he meet his maker or simply retire peacefully and live happily ever after? There were three different endings filmed to mark the end of show, and even the cast members themselves had no clue as to which 'ending' was going to be broadcast.

I was personally satisfied with the conclusion; I wonder what other people thought of it? An alternate ending was shown on the internet immediately after the show was broadcast, and the DVD release also includes this.

The end of A Touch of Frost certainly brings to a close to one of the most popular drama series on British TV, which in no doubt kept us viewers hooked with its superb story lines - which sometimes dealt with difficult subjects such as paedophilia and racism - strong and believable acting, and its mixture of humour and versatility. The show will be greatly missed, but I hope to see Sir David Jason in other worthwhile roles in the future. 8/10
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A Touch of Frost: If Dogs Run Free: Part 1 (2010)
Season 15, Episode 1
8/10
The beginning of the end
14 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
If Dogs Run Free sees Frost having difficulty in trying to convict criminal Gerry Berland, who masquerades in drugs and illegal dog fighting. Berland's son believes a former friend of his was responsible for tipping off the police in the first place and takes matters into his own hands. However, he doesn't take into account that there is a witness to his crime. There is also the case of unsolved crimes coming back to haunt Frost, which he soon realises is putting his life at risk.

Of course there was much hype surrounding this two-part edition of A Touch of Frost, as we all know that it was finally coming to an end after nearly 18 years. David Jason, at age 70, had to come to the conclusion that this excellent series could not go on forever, and that his advancing years was becoming a major concern. Nevertheless, Part 1 of If Dogs Run Free certainly keeps the twists and turns and strong acting usually associated with the show, and should not disappoint viewers.
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The Bourne Identity (1988– )
7/10
Nailbiting spy thriller
9 June 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed this I must admit, but I can't help but wonder why it wasn't made for the big screen instead of being shown on television. What makes this Bourne Identity completely nonidentical to the 2002 theatrical release is that Richard Chamberlain's character is totally in line with Robert Ludlum's book. The big screen version may have featured more dramatic car chase sequences and fighting scenes etc, but it just seemed to focus away from the original plot.

Richard Chamberlain performs Bourne to a very high standard - with strong performances from the supporting cast - and makes the role his own. Primarily, I watched The Bourne Identity just to see Jaclyn Smith if I'm honest; I've always been a fan of Jaclyn, and she gives out a believable performance as Marie St. Jacques. This movie in no doubt sealed Jaclyn's crown as the "Queen of mini-series".

I don't think film and TV buffs should be put off by the film's three hour length; the plot and any questions that may arise when viewing The Bourne Identity are answered extremely thoroughly come the end of the film, and should not disappoint fans of espionage/spy thrillers. It was a great effort from all concerned, certainly strengthened thanks to the wonderful imagery and intrigue of the many different cities involved. 7/10
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Columbo: It's All in the Game (1993)
Season 12, Episode 1
9/10
Certainly one of the best Columbo stories
16 January 2009
It's All In The Game is most definitely one of my all-time favourite Columbo episodes, and it is arguably the strongest of the 'later' series. What makes this work is the delicious chemistry between Faye Dunaway and Peter Falk, where both are playing a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse, with our Lt. tagging along to Lauren Staton's romantic gestures and gifts while trying hard to get to the truth of the murder of her sneaky younger boyfriend. Its the charming aspect of their interaction that makes It's All In The Game so divine to watch! Twists and turns, the usual humorous moments and the intriguing relationship between Dunaway's Staton and Claudia Christian's Lisa keeps the viewer guessing, with an admirable conclusion to the story that makes you realise the sympathy you have for the killer more than for the actual victim!

It's All In The Game is certainly an episode of Columbo that deviates away from its usual formula, and proved to be taken very seriously with an Emmy Award win for 'Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series' for Faye Dunaway in 1994, and a total of three Golden Globe nominations. An excellent edition in the series that will perhaps stand out more than any other episode. 9/10
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Memento (2000)
10/10
Ingenious film-making
15 January 2009
Its most likely many viewers will think that filming a motion picture in reverse order makes it either ridiculous or over-the-top, but taking one look at Memento makes you realise that it actually works so well. I, for one, thought this cannot work in any shape or form. Upon viewing this movie, I believed I would be able to read through the plot and have everything (and anything) worked out in a flash, thus strengthening my notion that this 'back-to-front' concept is nonsense. How wrong was I? Memento is a film that makes you to go into the difficult and turbulent mind of a man trying his damnedest to seek revenge upon his wife's killer, but because of a condition which prevents him for remembering very recent events, finds it extremely difficult to do so; Guy Pearce is nothing short of brilliant as Lenoard, and certainly proves how versatile an actor he is. The perception of Memento is such, after only a few minutes of watching a particular scene, we are forced to reevaluate events witnessed. Its this strong aspect of the film that makes it so groundbreaking and legendary.

The final scene in Memento will leave the viewer trying hard to think what situation was what and how a certain situation occurred. Personally, I'm not sure why a certain event happened, but then again that is the whole point. Recording a film in reverse would normally be a complete waste of time, but watching Memento certainly discourages that thought. Excellent.
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A Touch of Frost: In the Public Interest (2008)
Season 14, Episode 3
7/10
A faithful conclusion to another Frost series
7 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In The Public Interest marks the end of the 14th series of A Touch of Frost, and sees the detective on the case of possible satanic rituals, with the discovery of three bodies found positioned in the shape of a triangle. But the case may have a completely different explanation.

There is also the case of a woman's death in a houseboat fire. But in his quest to find out what happened, Frost realises that there could be a personal vendetta against him.

The featured storyline comes to quite a graphic conclusion, where damning secrets are forced out into the open and not everything is as it seems. Alert responses from David Jason and the supporting cast make this episode another fine edition with interesting twists to the tale.
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A Touch of Frost: Dead End (2008)
Season 14, Episode 2
8/10
A good edition
7 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A bus driver and his conductress are kidnapped, and a clown is found dead in the street. As well as these cases to solve, Jack is forced to work with a former colleague whom he has a very frosty relationship with, DS Annie Marsh.

There is certainly some great argumentative dialogue between David Jason and Cherie Lunghi as Marsh, but can they put behind their differences and work together to solve these mysteries or will Jack's temper get the better of him?

Dead End arrives at a sensible enough conclusion, where the aspects of revenge and payback for someone's past mistakes comes to the fore. But as viewers will see, Jack and Annie's attempts to save a life will be even more life threatening than they think. 8/10
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A Touch of Frost: Mind Games (2008)
Season 14, Episode 1
8/10
A welcome return for the detective
23 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
David Jason returns as Frost for the first time since 2006 which sees the detective reeling at the release of a man suspected of murdering two teenage girls 20 years previously. There is also the case of an amusing prank that leads to the death of a local businessman.

With friends, family and the local community disgusted by the fact that convicted killer Carl Meyer has been released from jail, they are desperate to discover the remains of the second victim, whose body was never found. However, there will be a surprise in store, especially when forensic evidence seems to point out rather disturbing facts that leave Frost questioning his previous judgement.....

Interesting twists to the tale certainly keeps the viewer enthralled, and we are left wondering whether or not Meyer's conviction was perhaps a miscarriage of justice with the real killer still on the streets or the fact that the quiet and subdued suspect really is guilty. Actor Jonathan Slinger's portrayal as Meyer certainly raises those questions.

Mind Games is a welcome return for what is now the 14th series of A Touch of Frost, and it continues the wonderful trend we've come to expect from the series. 8/10
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The Hearse (1980)
5/10
Not too bad a movie
15 August 2008
I admit The Hearse is not the last word in brilliance, but there seems to be something about it that kept me hooked. A simple plot centres around 30-something Jane recovering from a bitter divorce and the death of her father by deciding to stay at her aunt's house, which unbeknown to her, is haunted. Strange phenomena starts as soon as she settles in: lights going on and off, windows suddenly opening and closing, and (the main point) a suspicious looking Hearse appearing at her door.....

You obviously wonder what is going to happen next: is the Hearse simply a matter of imagination on Jane's part or is it something a lot more serious? The Hearse as a whole contains very little in the way of gory, blood dripping scenes; it is in fact a movie where the viewer has to go into the mind of the central characters and try and discover their motives as to why certain events happen. Why are the local people against Jane; what is the suspicious nature surrounding a nice young man called Tom that she unexpectedly meets? Many questions arise that are quite (albeit QUITE) addressed come the end of the film.

Lead star Trish Van Devere sets a good example of a strong-minded woman who is understandably spooked and scared by the unusual goings on. You actually feel for Jane! Her co-stars, however, can't be so easily forgiven - atrocious acting in some parts.

What makes this film work in some respect is the sense of coldness and eeriness surrounding the Hearse (despite the driver's constant smiling), and the strange goings on in this house; it is very reminiscent (as another reviewer mentioned) of the 2001 movie The Others. Admittedly, the final 15 minutes or so of The Hearse is a let down; I obviously don't want to give it away, but I'm sure for viewers who have witnessed the film, it could have been done with a lot more style and a lot more vigour. Then again, The Hearse was never meant to be this big budget horror movie in the first place - a typical B-movie flick that does recommend a slightly better IMDb rating than the current 3.3 I feel. 5/10
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Columbo: Columbo Likes the Nightlife (2003)
Season 13, Episode 5
7/10
Forget Peter's age, just enjoy the usual Columbo formula!
10 August 2007
I suppose the main reaction when watching this particular episode is the fact that it is very hard to ignore Peter Falk's age. He was 75 when this edition was recorded in 2002 (broadcast in January 2003), but he simply threw himself into his legendary role comfortably and easily. This is a fun episode to watch! It's certainly a more 'modernised' interpretation than previous editions, with fast directing and electric-style music in the background during some scenes.

When Vanessa Farrow (played expertly by Jennifer Sky) accidentally kills her ex-husband, it's down to nightclub owner Justin Price (Matthew Rhys) to dispose of the body. But a surprising twist to the story will certainly keep viewers hooked! In steps our favourite Lt and the fun begins! Columbo Likes the Nightlife still contains the legendary trademarks that make the series so popular, including the "just one more thing" phrase, the talk of his wife, as well as his ageless car, but I do fear that it may be ignored by many viewers simply because of Peter's age. He may have been in his mid 70s at the time, but Lt. Columbo doesn't have to be! It's not the best by any means, but is certainly watchable.

This edition marks a satisfactory enough conclusion to a brilliant detective drama that I've had the privilege to watch every single episode of! Peter has kept millions of viewers entertained as Columbo for nearly 40 years, and the shabby Lt will sure be missed! Nevertheless, Columbo will in no doubt be adored by the masses for many many years to come! 7/10
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A Touch of Frost: Quarry (1995)
Season 3, Episode 2
9/10
Another interesting case for Jack Frost
19 April 2007
When a local hunt saboteur is murdered, Frost must pit his wits against the local hunt organisers in order to find out the truth....However, he soon comes to realise that someone very close to home may know what happened....

Jack is reunited with old sidekick DC Barnard, but their working relationship slowly begins to turn sour.... However, when a horrifying accident leaves one person dead and another seriously injured, they soon reconcile their differences.

Quarry is another fine edition in the Frost franchise combining the usual serious drama with a dash of humour, just to keep the viewer entertained. A round-the-clock investigation finally leads to the suspects in which no doubt may leave viewers surprised. A well-acted story with fine performances. 9/10
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Ordinary Miracles (2005 TV Movie)
6/10
A fine family movie with great performances
5 April 2007
Recently broadcast for the first time on British TV, I was rather pleased with this film which simply details the trials and tribulations of growing up without stability in a family home. When Judge Kay Woodbury takes in troubled 16-year-old Sally Powell, they get off to a bad start, but gradually start to respect one another....

Young actress Lyndsy Fonseca is very convincing as Sally, an understandably angry (and also sad) teenager who finds it difficult to fit in. Jaclyn Smith also makes light of her role as caring Judge Woodbury, who apart for upholding the law, is a woman who leads a solitary existence....

Ordinary Miracles is not a unique story in any way, but the taut direction and beautiful settings make it more than just a typical television film. The attention to detail is immense, and viewers can certainly imagine the emotions of the characters. Great interaction between Jaclyn and C. Thomas Howell too, who portrays a seemingly ordinary man who must face up to his past. It was a pleasure to watch them together, and Jaclyn has certainly kept her beauty - hard to believe she was pushing 60 at the time!

This is a fine film and certainly one of Jaclyn's best TVMs in recent years (indeed, her first tele-movie since 2000's Navigating the Heart), even if the ending is pretty predictable. A good effort from all concerned.
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Inspector Morse: The Remorseful Day (2000)
Season 12, Episode 1
10/10
The end of an era
7 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
After 13 years and 33 episodes, Inspector Morse finally came to an end in November 2000 with The Remorseful Day. It was certainly the end of an era with the legendary Oxford detective meeting his maker, as writer Colin Dexter thought Morse had run his course....

The year long investigation into the death of wealthy business woman Yvonne Harrison is sparked into life with the promise of new evidence.....Morse finds himself back on duty and learns that Lewis is in charge of the case....Will he agree to this situation? There is also the case of Morse's deteriorating health....

The very poignant image of Lewis kissing his mentor's forehead, and uttering the words "Goodbye, Sir" at the end, no doubt struck a chord with the millions of TV viewers who grew fond of this detective drama. Well done to Kevin Whately for that memorable performance.

Sadly, it wouldn't only be the demise of Inspector Morse the public would have to get used to. The untimely death of John Thaw from cancer in February 2002 not only left a big hole in the legacy of British television, but also in the lives of his many long-time fans. Suffice to say he will be fondly remembered for the many roles he played in his long career as an award-winning actor, including the classic Inspector Morse. The Remorseful Day is 10/10.
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Inspector Morse: Service of All the Dead (1987)
Season 1, Episode 3
6/10
A weak end to the first series
1 March 2007
When a church warden is found dead under suspicious circumstances, Morse has a race against time to catch a serial killer....There are a total of six murders to solve, although Morse's prime suspect is one of the victims who meets a rather sticky end....The only connection between the victims was that they all attended the same church service....Could a seemingly innocent woman Morse takes a liking to be involved? Service of all the Dead is a rather ridiculous story that doesn't seem to have the thrill of most of the Morse franchise, even if the conclusion to the case is rather good.

As usual, John Thaw and Kevin Whately put in cherished performances, but it isn't enough to take away from the fact that Service of all the Dead is a slightly weak and over the top edition of this legendary police drama.

This was a rather subdued final episode for the first series. 6/10
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Dark Water (2002)
8/10
Hideo Nakata does it again!
13 February 2007
Dark Water is another creepy Japanese horror movie from the man who brought us the equally scary Ring. Yoshimi Matsubara is a young mother going through a tough divorce, and moves into a run-down block of flats that appears to be haunted by the mysterious disappearance of a schoolgirl many years before....Director Hideo Nakata does not shower the film with special effects and stomach-churning scenes, instead he lets the viewer imagine the terror that is to come, along with capturing the eerie and isolated atmosphere surrounding this run-down building....

Hitomi Kuroki portrays the paranoid and worried Yoshimi with wonderful agility, while Rio Kanno is equally remarkable as her cute five year old daughter. Dark Water equals Ring for its shocking and intriguing scenes, as we are taken on a frightening journey of discovery as to why and how this mysterious schoolgirl disappeared. It certainly raises some tough questions that are comfortably addressed come the end of the film....

Fans of Japanese horror films (and of course Ring) will not be disappointed with Dark Water. It's another winner from a now legendary director, which is sure to send shivers down the spine to those who have not witnessed this as of yet....Great!
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Columbo: Butterfly in Shades of Grey (1994)
Season 12, Episode 2
7/10
Fine Columbo story
13 February 2007
William Shatner and Molly Hagan are reunited with Peter Falk for a second Columbo mystery, which is rather entertaining. Radio presenter Fielding Chase is very controlling of his adopted daughter Victoria (who is in the midst of writing a novel) thus killing her close friend Gerry Winters, who simply wanted her to branch out and lead her own life away from Chase. Actress Hagan is great as Victoria, a naive young woman who wants nothing but to please her murderous father. Shatner on the other hand has given better performances in his long career, and seems confused and over the top.

Peter Falk can portray the legendary Lt. with his eyes shut, and he simply (as always) brightens up the whole scenario. Funny gaffes include our Lt being mistaken for a homeless person, and mostly his beat up old (but also lovable) car continually backfiring! The case comes to a satisfying conclusion featuring many cunning tricks from our Lt....As usual Columbo outwits the murderer!

Butterfly In Shades of Grey is another enjoyable Columbo mystery and it's one I've seen many times, but there are stronger films in the Columbo franchise that eclipse this good but slightly weak 1993 edition. It's definitely not the best in the series. 7/10
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Layer Cake (2004)
8/10
A must-see British thriller
12 February 2007
A stylish and tautly directed crime caper showcasing how us Brits can make just as strong movies as the class-leading Americans. I like Layer Cake immensely, although upon first viewing I was expecting your typical drugged-up and sordid sex scenes: it's anything but! The perfect vehicle for the current 007 Daniel Craig as we are drawn into a perhaps unlikely tale of Craig's character XXXX locating the missing daughter of his boss' friend. Standing in the way are millions of pounds worth of Ecstasy and a violent Serbian gang....This ain't going to be as simple as XXXX likes to think....

Craig and Michael Gambon are the purveyors of strong acting, while Sienna Miller adds a touch of glamour to a seemingly seedy and gloomy underground world, where nothing is what it seems....

Follow a plot full of intriguing twists and smart, strong performances, and the story arrives at an extremely powerful and (at the same time) ominous conclusion. But can XXXX leave the high-life of being a successful drug dealer that easily? This is the question that is very abruptly answered in the climax of the stylishly executed Layer Cake, which has become an instant classic in its own right. Wonderful!
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