The Challenger (2013)

This TV movie, that is available on Netflix, is a truth based story on the investigation of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger that blew up very shortly after launch.

William Hurt plays Richard Feynman, an independent scientist who is assigned to the investigation committee.  Feynman is no ordinary scientist. He has a Nobel Peace Prize for his quantum physics work and was one of the original scientists on the Manhattan project (involved with the atom bomb).

The public, the Government and NASA all wanted a quick resolution on this. They wanted to get public trust and faith back in the Shuttle missions.  There was no cover-up or anything particularly under hand, just things were going a little quicker than they should have been.  

Feynman dug into areas he wasn’t technically suppose to, and with the help of a NASA whistle blower he discovers a whole area that needs further investigation and discovery.

Thoroughly enjoyable TV movie that presented its case without too much fuss or overstating of the facts.   No car chasers, no gun shoot outs, no fighting.  Just good clean drama.

#108 in the series


Viewing Date
Friday, 4th December 2015 (Richmond)


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Mr. Holmes (2015)

Now this is a wonderful premise.  Take a famous literary character, and let him live out his years and explore what would happen if a once world famous detective started to have dementia and amidst his failing health.   

Ian McKellen takes on Sherlock Holmes wrestling with a retirement that is not going terribly well as he is losing his memory and his once powers of deductiveness starts to fail him.

A reluctant house keeper with her young son take care of him, with his usual grumpiness and general impatience feeding into an atmosphere that doesn’t make him the easiest of people to live with.

We are told a story of a case, that has perplexed him in his final years, as he tries to piece together his memory to recall a clue he maybe missed.   Along side this he teaches the young boy all about bee keeping and the process of making honey.

The movie goes along at a very slow pace, but this lets us marvel at the great acting of McKellen.  While not a young man in real life, this movie has him looking 20 years older and very frail.  What is shocking, is the believable state he is in.

Now, the length of the movie could easily have had 30 minutes chopped out of it and not lost anything.  There was large pieces that just didn’t make any sense and you are left wondering if the director had cut maybe a crucial scene that made sense of what was left in.

Overall it was ‘ok’ nothing great and you could be forgiven for overlooking it.

#106 in the series


Viewing Date
Wednesday, 2nd December 2015 (Richmond)


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Lord of War (2005)

Our old friend Mr Cage takes on the major role of this tale about illegal arms dealer.  Based on a true story of the convicted gunrunner, Viktor Bout, it looks at the world of arming the various armies and uprisings around the world.  While you are watching this you have to keep reminding yourself this is a true story, with some of the more outlandish scenes based on actual events.  Staggering.

There is one scene where Cage is stood by a long line of Russian tanks he has bought and is about to ship.  It looks unbelievable to have that much military hardware in the hands of a private individual.  In reality, the scene was real, the tanks belonged to a Czech arms dealer who had to have them back sharpish as he had sold them to a country.

The opening credits of the movie is one of the most clever I have seen in a long time.  It follows the journey of a bullet being pressed and manufactured, through to being packed in a crate, shipped to a revolutionary war, being loaded into a gun, being fired and finding itself shooting a young soldier.  Very sobering.

There is amount of humor sprinkled into the story line that keeps it entertaining and interesting to keep watching.  Whether you have sympathy for our anti-hero here is something you have to decide for yourself.  He is no saint or angel, but does have a loose moral code he lives by, trying to support his family without giving away what he really does.

Overall, a good movie and worthy of a watch if you are a Cage fan.

#104 in the series


Viewing Date
Monday, 30th November 2015 (Richmond)


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Time Lapse (2014)

Three friends, who live and manage a real estate community of apartments, discover a machine from a recently deceased tenant that takes photos 24 hrs into the future and creates a Polaroid.  The machine is pointed at the living room of the friends, from across the yard.

After discovering this, they get to figure out what its all about, the boundaries and then feel they can use this for their own personal gain.   This includes placing large illicit bets with a local underground bookie.   Of course this is going to end in tears, particularly when he gets suspicious and comes over to rough them up a bit.

The premise for the movie is fantastic.  But it isn’t really explored terribly well.  The movie was obviously shot on a very tight budget, with character development and narrative being the main vehicles.  One of the biggest issues the film producers had was sourcing the necessary quantity of Polaroid, resorting to eBay to find them,

It drags on too long with a plot that once you twig you will see coming at you in a very predictable manner.  This is one of those movies that has that straight-to-Netflix written all over it.  Watch it once you have exhausted all other items in the Netflix library.

#103 in the series


Viewing Date
Sunday, 29th November 2015 (Orlando)


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The Runner (2015)

Here we have Nicolas Cage trying to prove he can be a serious actor by taking on the role of a politician who is trying to walk the line between personal and professional morality.

Set just after the BP oil spoil in the Gulf of Mexico, we have Cage playing a saintly congressman who is fighting the fight for the local businesses and people who’s lives have been destroyed by this disaster.   Lots of impassioned speeches and rousing cries to defeat the corporate machine.

However, all too good to be true, and even though he is under the shadow of his father’s political record as Mayor (played by the legend that is Peter Fonda), he has a few skeletons in his cupboard.

So it all spirals out of control and he is soon without office, without support.  But is prepared to pick up his cause and continue to fight for the people doing pro bono work.


Sadly this movie has no surprises at all.  Every single story line weaved here you have seen a hundred times before in every other political movie.  We even have

Connie Nielsen as the troubled wife, playing pretty much the same role she played in the HBO series,


This was one of those, Netflix what the hell lets try it, movie choices and after viewing it, one can see how it bypassed the cinema and went straight to Netflix.   ‘Straight to Netflix’ seems to be the new version of that derogatory term we used before ‘straight to video’; signal when a movie was just not worth spending the marketing money.

Move along, nothing to see here.

#97 in the series


Viewing Date
Monday, 23rd November 2015 (Richmond)


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Momentum (2015)

If I was to tell you that this movie took in a whopping £46 in its opening weekend in the UK, you would start to get a feel for the quality of this movie.  We have ex-Bond girl,

Olga Kurylenko playing the mouse to

James Purefoy cat, in a heist goes wrong sort of movie.

Set in South Africa, we have all the usual setups, corny and cliche as you could possibly make them.   Though in its defense there is no nudity here, which given they hit every other one, that is a small surprise.

What is even more horrendous and to be quite frank unforgivable is

Morgan Freeman making an appearance as a politician who is implicated in this disaster (on so many fronts).  Clearly though he was picking up a pay cheque here, because all of his scenes are at the end of a phone.  So hopefully that new kitchen he was decking out was worth it.

Purefoy has probably the worse ever haircut in any of his movies ever.  Surely he can’t look back on this and think, that’s one for the grandchildren?   It is a mess from start to finish.

I really don’t want to go on just how bad this movie is.  I have already wasted way more of my life on this one as it stands.  It gets my infamous 0 out of 10 rating.

#95 in the series


Viewing Date
Saturday, 21st November 2015 (Richmond)


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