Inspired by the genius comic, Stewart Lee, I’ve decided to keep a record of all of my TV, film and cinema viewing throughout 2022. Plus, I will write a micro review for each one and list where I watched it in case you’re at a loose end with recommendations.
by Darren Caveney
If you’re like me you’re always on the hunt for a quality watch in and amongst some very average fayre.
So, these recs and ratings might be useful to you.
Here goes for February (and yes I do watch a fair bit. I’m really good at TV! 😄)
The Invisible Man (Netflix)
This routine thriller isn’t really lifted by Elizabeth Moss. I couldn’t really see the point (boom boom) 4/10
Black Butterfly (Amazon Prime)
Another very routine thriller but this was takes a sudden whopping turn which improves it a little 5.5/10
The Escapist (BritBox)
Found this one on a rare mooch on BritBox – because, to be honest, I feel like I have ran out of decent films to watch on Netflix. And what a great find it was. Brian Cox, as long-term prisoner Perry, and Damian Lewis as nick kingpin, Rizzo, star in this taut thriller. Well you can guess from the title, there’s a planned escape. I won’t give anything away but it’s very well done and with a couple of good plot changes 7.5/10
Rio Bravo (iPlayer)
Classic westerns always remind me of Sunday afternoons back in the day. So a storm-torn February afternoon seemed like a good time to reminisce with one. This one from 1959 and starring John Wayne (obvs) and Dean Martin hadn’t aged brilliantly but was entertaining in its own way. The 135 minute running time felt more like 8 hours but I kind of enjoyed the whole thing whilst making dinner 5.5/10
21 grams (Amazon Prime)
Naomi Watts, Sean Penna and Benicio del Toro star in this award winner from 2004 and what must have been one of the earlier examples to use the method of repeat jumping backwards and forwards in the story throughout and bit-by-bit put all of the jigsaw pieces together into a single joined story. I found it slightly annoying at first but I stuck with it and then it began to make sense. Good performances 7/10
The Meyerowitz Stories (Netflix)
Great cast in this one – from a bearded Dustin Hoffman to a drunken Emma Thompson – this was quite heart-warming in its own unconventional way. An intergenerational story set around artist Harold Meyerowitz, played by a grumpy Hoffman, and his family re-forming around him when he is taken ill. Even Adam Sandler is pretty good 7/10
The Sinner – Season 4 (Netflix)
Bill Pullman plays troubled and gnarly ex copy, Harry Ambrose, who is finding retirement difficult and gets himself embroiled in solving the unexplained death of a young woman on a remote west coast community whilst on vacation. Some vacation! Bill Pullman is very good. It doesn’t hit the heights of season one but is still a decent watch 6/10
Reacher (Amazon Prime)
I’m a huge fan of the Reacher book series – I’ve read 17 of them so far. If you don’t know the character he’s an ex US military police inspector and purple heart medal recipiant. Oh and he’s famously 6 feet 5 inches tall and 250lb. So when Tom Cruise got the film part 10 years ago I refused on principle to watch it, given that Cruise is shorter than me! I was equally sceptical about this one having watched the trailer. But I was laid low in bed with man flu so decided to dive in and try it. It was a bit Hollywood (the books are quite dark) and there were some lines in here that the real Reacher just wouldn’t say, but it grew on me and was pretty entertaining. And yes the Reacher actor (Alan Ritchson) is pretty massive 7/10
The Tindler Swindler (Netflix)
Wow. The story seems so far-fetched to be beyond believability. Except the whole thing is totally true. It was a compulsive watch and, in between feeling horribly sorry for the swindled women, I found myself thinking this bloke had the most insane time management skills. If only he had put his talents to a legal and just use 6/10
Four Lives (iPlayer)
Of course I knew the horrific story of serial killer Stephen Port but I wanted to know more about the detail and of the multiple failings by the police, not least in linking what were clearly incredibly similar murders. It’s a hard watch and Stephen Merchant is excellent and unnerving as the killer. Sheridan Smith, as mom of the first victim, is the star of the show. A good quality documentary which helped me understand the full story and so makes this an important watch 7/10.
Death on the Nile
Kenneth Brannagh directs and stars in the classic Agatha Christie who done it? No real surprises here, although the Poirot back story at the start is a nice touch. We went to see it on a wet Sunday afternoon and that was the best way to watch it and enjoy it for what it is 6/10
Darren Caveney is creator and owner of comms2point0 and creative communicators ltd
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Image via The Library of Congress