Joanna Lurie's Oscar shortlisted and rather beautiful animated short The Silence Beneath The Bark is available to watch on Vimeo. Ten minutes of your time that you'll find very well spent.
In the harsh and impoverished Ozark mountains, 17-year old Ree has put her life on hold to look after her younger siblings and mentally ill mother. But when it looks like her drug-dealing father may have skipped bail, risking their home and land in the process, Ree resolves to hunt him down herself.
Like its setting, Winter's Bone is harsh but beautiful - a film that coolly nurtures your emotional engagement even while maintaining a tense air of menace and distrust.
"Did you notice... Barry. He sounded a little flaky."
"Now that you mention it... yeah."
The monsters have
overtaken the city.
I'm still alive..."
"The end of Umbrella is just a question of time. But..."
"Get yourself together! Wake up! Jill Valentine!"
When thugs make off with the head of Ong-Bak - the cherished Buddha statue of a simple rural village - naive local Ting (Tony Jaa) is dispatched to track it down. Following the trail to bustling Bangkok, Ting quickly gets mixed up in drugs, gangs and an illegal fight club. It's a good thing he's a consummate practitioner of Muay Thai...
Although the weak characterisation and plot are on a par with plenty of other martial arts films, director Prachya Pinkaew's Ong-Bak is beautifully shot, often surprisingly atmospheric, and Jaa's physical prowess is a sight to see in itself.
So I thought that ITV's Primeval flailed a bit in its third season, struggling to recentre itself around the gaping absence of Douglas Henshell's solid performance as monomaniacal Nick Cutter. Cheeky Danny was a likeable replacement, but he didn't really seem to have a very good reason to be there. And then ITV tried to put the show out of its misery altogether. Perhaps, I pondered sadly, none too soon.
Fortunately, the world knew that civilisation without Primeval is no civilisation at all. A semi-international team of TV studios banded together to bring at least two more seasons to our screens. But was it all for nought? Watching the first episode of series four, I was disappointed to see that the team leader is now this Matt fellow (above, middle, played by Ciarán McMenamin) who seems a bit too much of a bland everyman. If he's the show's heart, I thought, it's barely started beating again.
And I thought that because, when it comes to television at least, I am a jaded, cynical, judgemental fool. Pretty quickly it becomes clear that Matt has a Secret with a capital S, something tied deeply into the show's mythology. His ordinariness is a carefully constructed façade over a passionate, conflicted, potentially dangerous core. Oh, and there's a doomed romance in there as well. Basically, Matt is my new favourite character, and his key scene in the season finale had me welling up.
Or it would have done if I was prepared to admit blubbing over what is always, at its heart, a dodgy-CGI-creature of the week show.