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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 11/8/2010 2:11:52 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
125
 

 
A Matter of Loaf and Death (Park, 2008)
SPOILERS

The final (so far) short film starring our intrepid heroes has them running their own bakery and getting involved in a mystery after twelve bakers are murdered in strange circumstances. While out on a delivery for their new business, Wallace and Gromit save the life of Piella Bakewell and her dog, Fluffles. Wallace remembers Piella from her younger days when she was a model for Bake-O-Lite bread and he is immediately smitten with her. Gromit is suspicious of her intentions and eventually discovers that she is the murderer and is looking to kill Wallace in order to complete her baker's dozen of deaths. The rest of the short seems Gromit battle to save the life of the oblivious and lovestruck Wallace from the insane Piella. As funny and inventive as ever, with some entertaining new characters, including the adorable Fluffles, Wallace and Gromit remain not only Aardman's greatest creations, but two of the greatest British comedy characters of all time.

One of the most interesting things about A Matter of Life and Death is how it's not afraid to address more adult concerns. You can argue that the storylines have been getter darker in content (From an innocent trip to the moon to an evil penguin to sheep rustling to a horror character to finally a serial murderer) but one of the sub-plots of A Matter of Loaf and Death shows a difficult subject handled with great sensitivity. The relationship between Piella and Fluffles is obviously abusive, far more so than you might expect in a cartoon aimed at family viewing, and Fluffles is obviously traumatised. You wouldn't expect Wallace & Gromit to deal with domestic violence but the fact that they do, and they manage to make it understandable to children while still making it a disturbing undercurrent is a great testament to the talents of the fine people at Aardman.
Rawlinson


< Message edited by elab49 -- 11/8/2010 2:22:50 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 61
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 11/8/2010 2:12:38 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
124
 


Somers Town (Meadows, 2008)
 
"Somers Town”, the 2008 film from Brit director Shane Meadows, tells the story of two unlikely new friends, Marek (Piotr Jagiello) and Tomo (Thomas Turgoose), who both happen to fancy the same girl (Elisa Lasowski). Marek is a Polish immigrant living with his alcoholic father, Mariusz (Irenuesz Czop), and Tomo is a northern lad who has come down, all alone with no one to support or help him, to apparently see the sights of London. I'm a fan of Shane Meadows, particularly of "A Room for Romeo Brass” and "This Is England”, both of which are two of the best British films of the new century, and it wasn't a huge surprise to find that "Somers Town” is a breath of fresh air for modern cinema. It discusses themes such as immigration, alcoholism, and neglect, but it's by no means as depressing or drab as some of Meadows' previous creations. More than anything else, "Somers Town” is about friendship, and the bonds that can form out of the unlikeliest of places. Using some gentile but well chosen music to highlight the minimalist relationships that can be as touching as any grandiose displays of passion, "Somers Town” lives and dies on the relationship between its two leads, and the performances of the two child actors. Turgoose, who we all know from his fantastic performance in "This is England”, is equally as impressive, but here he's matched blow for blow by Jagiello. It's certainly not a perfect film. The film could have done with being fifteen minutes longer, the final conversation between Marek and Tomo – overlooking the train station – feels slightly forced, and the explosion of colour in the epilogue is slightly contrived, but other than these flaws "Somers Town” is a triumph, and nowhere near the step-down in quality that it could've been from the sublime – and high profile – one-two punch of "This is England” and "Dead Man's Shoes”.
Piles


< Message edited by elab49 -- 11/8/2010 2:22:55 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 62
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 11/8/2010 2:13:52 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
122 =
 

 
Boy A (Crowley, 2007) SPOILERS
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWrzBT0rKMQ&has_verified=1
 
Uploaded by Channel 4 on youtube.
 
Boy A is an astonishingly powerful consideration of the possibility of rehabilitation focussing on the very topical release of a child murder with a changed name and a new life.
 
Jack Burridge arrives in a new town, gets a job, a friend a girlfriend – even becomes a local hero. Shy and unsure, we learn fairly quickly that Jack has a problematic background – convicted of murder as a boy he has only recently been released with rehabilitation worker Terry as his lifeline.
 
The brilliant lead performances from Mullan and a tour de force from the previously unknown Andrew Garfield draw us into an intelligent, questioning piece of drama – we get to know the new Jack, we see the life he can lead if given the chance. Do we give him the option of rehabilitation? Or are some crimes so evil that the perpetrator should be locked up and the key thrown away? In some ways the story does construct the response it expects – this isn't a straight replication of the Bulger crime it makes the viewer think of. The victim is older and Eric is not presented as equally culpable, but weak and bullied and needy. We also have the bolted on story of Terry's homelife and the comparison between his relationship with his disappointing own son and the one he develops with Eric. But none of this diminishes the power of the film. The image we are left with is of Garfield falling apart repeating 'I ain't that boy' and we are left at the end almost with a 'what happens next, you decide' scenario.
 
A brilliant and thought-provoking piece of drama that also looks pretty great as well – cameraman Rob Hardy and director Crowley give us a fantastic looking and intelligently shot film (like Jack escaping down a series of alleys that look like they are coming together into a trap at the end).

Elab49
 
 

 
 
Chariots of Fire (Hudson, 1981)
 
'The British are Coming'!  Paul Revere's warning reiterated by Colin Welland accepting his Oscar.
 
Chariots of Fire is the story of 2 very different but equally formidable athletes, both of whom have to overcome problems caused by their religion or  attitudes to it – Abrahams the prejudice he suffers for his Judaism, and Liddell the conflict between his fundamental brand of Christianity and both his desire to run and Sunday racing. Although both athletes clash before the 1924 Olympics, the scheduling of the 100m sprint in Paris causes problems.
 
Colin Welland is better known as an actor than a writer (including a role in Blue Remembered Hills, just a couple of entries below this). The story he and Hudson put on screen isn't the standard glossy structured biopic and it works more effectively as an examination of conscience. In some ways it feels like very old-fashioned story-telling for its time, but it is backed up by some wonderful cinematography from David Watkin including that wonderful scene as they run along the beach at St Andrews backed by one of the most memorable scores in cinema, Vangelis's Oscar winner.
 
The late Ian Charleson and Ben Cross were plucked from the stage and in film terms were unknown before taking on the leads here – both excelled, ably backed by, in particular Ian Holm, Oscar nominated as Abrahams trainer. Chariots is one of those odd films that split Oscar over Film/Director nods – but homeboy favourite Beatty won the day in the latter category.
 
An uplifting and well told tale, it's out of time style and period conviction ensures it still doesn't look out of date. To be seen, if only for that wonderful music.  
Elab49
 


< Message edited by elab49 -- 11/8/2010 2:23:02 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 63
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 11/8/2010 2:14:56 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
121
 
 
 
The Meaning of Life (Jones, 1983)
 
The last Monty Python feature has the reputation of being their worst, which is probably fair. That's not to say it's a bad film, it just larks the spark of the others. But for the last fling of a great comedy group, it's far better than it has any right to be, and some parts of it have rightly taken their place among the Python's most iconic moments. The Meaning of Life harks back to the group's roots by taking the form of a series of loose-linked sketches, instead of trying to tell a more coherent narrative. While the 'Fighting Each Other' segment is incredibly poor, other sketches ('Every Sperm is Sacred', 'Death', 'Mr Creosote') capture the same feel of anarchy and joy in being silly as the series. The film's crowning glory is the Terry Gilliam short that opens the feature, The Crimson Permanent Assurance, which I would rank as of Gilliam's finest directorial offerings. The Meaning of Life is a flawed but entertaining goodbye from one of the most influential comedy groups in history.
Rawlinson


< Message edited by elab49 -- 11/8/2010 2:23:07 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 64
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 11/8/2010 2:15:30 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
120
 

 
Hedd Wyn (Turner, 1992)
 
SPOILERS AHEAD

Synopsis: The poet Hedd Wyn is forced to enlist in the army during WWI

Hedd Wyn won the Bafta for best foreign language film in its year and it was nominated for the Oscar, which makes its relatively unknown status even more of a shock and a shame. The film is a biopic of legendary Welsh poet Ellis Evans, who used the Bardic name of Hedd Wyn (Garmon) Hedd Wyn contrasts Evans' peaceful life on his farm home in Trawsfynydd with his time in the trenches, leading up to his death at the battle of Passchendaele in World War One. The film opens with Evans lying dying in no man's land, using flashbacks to show his pre-war life. Evans loved women and poetry and spent his days dreaming of winning a Chair in the National Eisteddfod, and seeking inspiration from his muse, Arianrhod, the Celtic moon Goddess. Evans desires to stay out of the war and not even accusations of cowardice can convince him to enlist, but eventually the draft board forces his parents to send one of the children to the army and he is the oldest son. While in the trenches, suffering through the dehumanisation of the army, he uses his every free moment to work on his poem, Yr Arwr, begging his unwilling commander to submit the poem to the Eisteddfod for him.

It's no great spoiler, it's a historical fact, to reveal that Evans won the Chair posthumously, one of the film's most heart-rending moments is the delivery of the black clothed chair to his parents. The film isn't about suspense or surprises, even if you're unfamiliar with the man, the film opens with Evans dying in a battlefield. What it's about is contrasts in life. Contrasts between the Welsh and the English, between war and peace, between farm life and the trenches. It's also about the human spirit and how we're able to create great beauty even in the harshest of times and the most despairing of places. The film is beautiful to look at, there's no flashy cinematography, but it helps create the kind of quiet grace that the tale deserves. Huw Garmon is superb as Evans, he should have been an Oscar nominee and he should have had a more successful career than he has.

Compare Hedd Wyn to a film like Atonement and it exposes what a shallow and overpraised director Joe Wright really is. Hedd Wyn deserves to take its place among not just the great war films, but among the great tributes to the human spirit.

Rawlinson


< Message edited by elab49 -- 11/8/2010 2:23:13 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 65
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 11/8/2010 2:18:52 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
119
 
 

Screen Two – The Firm (Clarke, 1989)
 
Alan Clarke takes on another social evil here, football hooliganism. Unlike later football hooligan related films, this makes no attempt to make it seem attractive. The thugs are unpleasant and it's difficult to imagine wanting to know any of these people, let alone wanting to stand and fight beside them. Gary Oldman plays Bexy, estate agent and family man by day, hooligan by weekend. The film follows the run-ins between Oldman's crew and a rival firm run by Phil Davis. Despite the destructive effects that Bexy's weekend activities have on his home life, he refuses to give it up, relishing the buzz too much. It's a good film, but it falls short of the greatness of some of Clarke's films. The major flaw is in Oldman's performance. A sensitive actor when the mood takes him, his approach to Bexy is to scream each line. It's fitting that one of Eastenders' Mitchell Brothers plays another member of his firm as they appear to have lifted their acting style directly from Oldman's performance here. He carries no real sense of threat and the film suffers as a result. Much better is Phil Davis as the leader of the rival firm, Davis is an actor who understands how to project real menace and he acts Oldman off the screen every time they meet.
Rawlinson


< Message edited by elab49 -- 11/8/2010 2:23:17 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 66
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 11/8/2010 2:19:51 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
118
 

 
Sleep Furiously(Koppel, 2009)

"Sleep Furiously” is a documentary about rural farm life in a small, sleepy, aging village somewhere in Wales. It chronicles the lives of the inhabitants, the farmers, the animals, and the countryside as the community comes under threat from the closure of the local school. This documentary is not interested in narrative or social commentary, instead meandering on the ordinary, displaying everyday Welsh situations alongside extraordinary insight into these people's lives.

Koppel's film, shot in a rural village where his parents (as refugees) found a home, is a moving and quite beautiful one that begins slow and doesn't really pick up much pace through its slender runtime. Koppel uses his camera like a bystander, positioning it – completely still – and simply letting the action (I didn't think I'd use the word action to describe this film) unfold in front of it. This, along with the amiable lack of narration, creates the effect that we are outsiders, looking in on a lifestyle that most of us will never fully appreciate or understand. We are given snippets of real life rather than propaganda or opinion, and it's something quite wonderful to watch. Nowadays, most documentaries feel the need to say something big about art, war, or humanity, whilst a film like "Sleep Furiously” can say something big about life and people without ever needing to load up on cliché or self-important opinion.

The film is at its best when it simply captures the landscapes and the people of the small village. There's certainly an influence of Abbas Kiarostami, particularly his films "Where Is the Friend's Home?” and "The Wind Will Carry Us”, in the shots of the rolling hills, the standstill camera, and the gentile humour. There's something strangely hypnotic about watching a van slowly run up the side of one of Wales' beautiful hills, and the film is full of such shots. The most hypnotic and moving moment in the whole film is certainly one of these shots, accompanied by an inspiring performance from the village's own choir. The film's general message is that there is no need to rush, and that happiness can occur when you let life swallow you up and pass you by. In this village, they leave the fighting to the animals, and the only time when they look even close to sorrowful is when they're confronted by unavoidable conflict.

What can be mistook for pretentiousness, and actually is mistook for it on a few IMDB user comments and myself on first viewing, is actually the very point of the film.. I can forgive his cloud shots, because they do serve a purpose in showing how the world will pass us by, with us having little to no effect on the landscape in the grand scheme of things. The final shot of the farmhouse's unused materials being put to auction as they become antics, and the sequence involving the stuffed owl, serve a purpose in that they show that everything has a death but nothing ever becomes obsolete, even if they become simply aesthetic artefacts of times gone by. Sometimes a beautiful shot of a van trawling up a rural village hillside can stray for a couple of seconds too long, but most of the time Koppel gets it bang on, and the resulting film is beautiful, moving, poetic, and lyrical, and one of the very best of the year. 
Piles


< Message edited by elab49 -- 11/8/2010 10:49:43 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 67
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 11/8/2010 2:20:53 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
117
 

 
Performance (Cammell/Roeg, 1970)
 
Nicolas Roeg was one of the finest directors of the 70s, despite his decline of recent years, there were few other film-makers as original, as daring, and as brilliant as Roeg. With Performance, his directorial debut, he would share directing duties with Donald Cammell, a director who would never live up to his early promise, even with the underrated little gem, White of the Eye. It's difficult to know who provided more of the inspiration for this drugged-up, loss-of-identity psychodrama, but I like to think of it as a real collaborative project. Heavily influenced by figures as diverse as Bergman, Anger, Warhol and Borges .The directors take a simple story and make it complicated through jump-cuts and elliptical editing. The visual imagery is manipulated to such an extent that it becomes impossible to find the line between reality and fantasy. The psychedelia may seem a little dated now, but the film itself is as fresh and energetic as ever.

The film begins as a straight thriller, Fox plays Chas, an enforcer for some London gangsters. He gets involved in an unauthorised murder and has to hide out in order to escape payback. He stays at a strange guesthouse while waiting to flee the country and becomes involved with a reclusive singer, Turner (Jagger) who feels he has lost his creativity and the two women he shares a sexual relationship with. The singer recognises something of himself in Chas and some of his creative power lurking in the violence of the gangster. He decides to push his boundaries with sex and drugs in order to reach some of that creativity. Turner manipulates Chas and undermines his sense of identity, head-trips and mind-fucks abound until personalities and sexualities merge to the extent that Chas even begins cross-dressing and admits an attraction to Turner.

It's not difficult to see this film as an allegory for the death of the 60s, the casting of Jagger plays a large part of this considering the role of The Rolling Stones in Altamont. But even with other casting, the idea of music and art being subverted by violence and the shared links between aggression and creativity speaks to the death of the 60s ideal. The insulated world that Turner has retreated to can be seen as a metaphor for the bubble that so many in the artistic world live in, in the late 60s that bubble was burst by Hells Angels, here it's burst by Chas. Much like Roeg would later do with David Bowie, here he takes Mick Jagger and draws out that otherness that made him such a charismatic figure.

The film is filled with ideas about the nature of power, creativity and identity. Both Turner and Chas have lost their way somehow. Chas's love of violence meant he didn't when to stop, while Jagger has lost the madness that informed his creativity and can no longer find a way to begin his music. Turner wants to subvert Chas's ideas about his own 'manliness' and hopefully find his own creativity in him.

Warner Bros were reportedly disgusted by the film and didn't have a clue how to market it. There are even stories they wanted the negative destroyed. So the film pretty much disappeared from view, only becoming a hit on the underground scene until getting a critical reappraisal years later and being hailed as a classic of British cinema.

Performance really is one of the great films of British cinema, our answer to Persona, and for those of you who still need convincing, there's even the added bonus of Memo From Turner.  

Rawlinson


< Message edited by elab49 -- 11/8/2010 2:23:41 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 68
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 11/8/2010 2:21:31 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005

116
 

 
The Leather Boys (Furie, 1964)

"The Leather Boys” stars Colin Campbell as Reggie, a young biker who marries Dot (Rita Tushingham), a young girl about to finish school. Needless to say, they have rushed into things, and soon enough the flaws and troubles of their short-lived relationship begin to rear their ugly heads. Reggie meets Pete (Dudley Sutton), another biker with an off-kilter sense of humour, who becomes his best friend and confidant. Much of the strength of "The Leather Boys” comes from this relationship between Reggie and Pete, despite the fact that Tushingham gets top billing. All three of the leads play their parts perfectly, but it doesn't take long until the relationship between Tushingham's Dot and Campbell's Reggie becomes a tiny bit one note, with the two constantly shouting at each other about the same thing. Obviously, that's the point, because they keep going back to each other for the wrong reasons and end up back at square one, but the film certainly needs something more to bolster its runtime. That comes in the form of Pete, a man with obvious homosexual tendencies which quickly turns into admiration for his friend. The film spends most of its time with this hidden love and the potential affair that threatens to come from it. For its time (or for any time, I guess), the film is a consummately sensitive and thought provoking study of taboo love, as well as a riveting tale of that unrequited. The film may constantly play off the clichés and situations associated with British kitchen-sink realism, but the fact that there aren't a huge amount of these films made in the sixties makes this perfectly forgivable. Throw in some fantastic performances (Tushingham is brilliantly quirky and equally as fiery, Campbell seems suitably repressed and uneasy, Sutton struggles somewhat with the comedy but delivers some incredibly tender and powerful scenes in the film's dying moments) and some perfectly able direction (the bike scenes are often exquisitely shot), and what you have is one of the finest examples of this somewhat short lived sub-genre.
Piles
 


< Message edited by elab49 -- 11/8/2010 2:23:55 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 69
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:30:28 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
115
 

 
Goldeneye (Campbell. 1995)
 
Not with a bang, but with, well maybe not a whimper, but a silent, breathtaking bungee jump off a dam:  Bond has reached the 1990s. After a six year hiatus, and the Cold War, um, cold for some four years, Bond needed a new threat. And what a threat. Bringing things as close to home as they can get, we see 006 (Sean Bean), aka Alex Trevelyn, presumed killed in 1986 and a close friend of Bond's, become his most able villain yet.

Gone are the over-stylised villain's lairs which made Ken Adams' name, and in its place is a revitalised series which manages to get the balance just right. Brosnan has Moore's quips, but Connery's strength with a soupcon of Dalton's grit. He has his own trademark move (straightening his tie during high-stress situations) and makes the role entirely his. We have a new M (it must be the 90s, M's a lady, Judi Dench) who makes her stance clear early on: there is no love lost between her and Bond, even if there is a grudging respect. Q (Desmond Llewelyn) is still fighting strong, relishing his old catchphrases ('now pay attention') along with nice riffs on established expectancies ('don't touch that!..... That's my lunch!).

There is a definite 'cooling Cold War' feel to it, with the pre-credits sequence and the Russian element (listen to Alan Cumming rolling those Russian consonants around), but one gets the impression that this is Bond on a very personal mission, albeit one sanctioned by MI6 this time. Joe Don Baker returns as a good guy (Jack Wade, CIA contact, because presumably Felix Leiter took early retirement having only one leg) and we have Bond girls in the shapely forms of Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp and Isabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova.

As a return to the screen, GoldenEye is a blistering action-packed spectacle with enough heart, humour and, erm, hotties to excite all those who might have been about to give Bond up as frozen by the Cold War. Brosnan shows he is more than capable (he had been selected in the 80s as the next Bond but contractual difficulties on Remington Steele prevented him from taking up the role, thus it passed to Dalton). All he needs are a few great films, and he could be the Bond to beat them all... Common opinion would have you believe that in this respect he was failed. This reviewer believes there is still much fun to be had in all Brosnan's Bond films, as I hope to demonstrate in the next three reviews.

HomerSimpsonEsq


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 70
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:32:07 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
114
 

 
Straw Dogs (Peckinpah, 1971)

Straw Dogs sees David (Dustin Hoffman) and his young wife, Amy (Susan George), moving to the small Cornish village where she grew up. Hoffman appears to be fleeing the chaos over Vietnam in America. Once in their new home, David buries himself in his work, ignoring Amy and leaving her to rekindle old flirtations. David finds himself taunted by the local builders who are working on his home and his refusal to stand up to them further alienates Amy. Things come to a head when David decides to protect a child-like villager who has accidentally killed a local girl.

Straw Dogs is probably most famous for its brutality, not just the violence of the siege finale, but also for the rape of Amy by two of the workmen. The rape scene, and Amy's reactions, saw the film attacked for what was seen to be as Peckinpah condoning rape, or saying that women enjoy being raped. While there can be said to be some ambiguity around the way the first rape is filmed, the second rape, plus Amy's reactions afterwards clearly show how traumatic an experience it was.

There's a lot of reasons why Straw Dogs shouldn't have been considered for a British list. In many ways, Straw Dogs is Sam Peckinpah's attempt to bring his brutal take on the western genre to Britain. It feels like the work of the auteur, it mines many of his recurring themes and it has a lead who is one of the most defining American actors of his generation.  So why is it included? Because despite all of the obviously American influences, it's too British to ignore. It speaks to our fear of the countryside, of those strange, isolated little communities in exactly the same way that The Wicker Man does. It also fits neatly into that cycle of ultra-bleak British horror films that were surfacing in the late 60s/early 70s, from the work of Michael Reeves to The Wicker Man, Don't Look Now, Blood on Satan's Claw, even non-horror offerings like Get Carter. All those films exude an atmosphere that tells you that everything is hopeless, pre-dating the punk ethos of 'no future' by 5 - 10 years.  
Rawlinson


< Message edited by elab49 -- 13/8/2010 2:47:58 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 71
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:34:15 PM   
elab49


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A Child's Christmas in Wales (McBrearty, 1987)

SPOILERS AHEAD

Synopsis: An old man shares memories of Christmas with his grandson on Christmas Eve.
A Child's Christmas in Wales is one of the greatest works from one of the greatest of all writers, Dylan Thomas. It's a beautiful, profound, stirring, heartfelt piece of prose about our childhood Christmas's and the way we tend to create myths around them. I'll start by saying this isn't as good as Dylan's famous Caedmon reading. It couldn't be. Few things in life are that good.

There's been a wrap-around story added for this one. Denholm Elliott plays an old man telling stories to his grandson on Christmas eve. His grandson's excitement leads to him remembering his own childhood and sharing his memories with his grandchild. And that's basically it, the beauty of the story is in the depiction of this childhood christmas with all the nostalgia, mythologising and deceptions of memory that go along with it. The film is basically a series of lyical vignettes, mostly humourous, about the family, the presents, the fun, the neighbours, and one strangely unsettling incident that occurs when the boys go carol singing. But like all of Thomas's writing, this is done without lapsing into fake sentimentality. What this film captures best of all is the music and soul of Christmas.

Denholm Elliott is wonderful as the grandfather/narrator. I can think of few people who would have been better cast in the role. The rest of the cast acquit themselves well, if not reaching the heights of Elliott's performance. They don't really need to though, the beauty of the piece is in Dylan's words and even with the slight alterations to the text, that magical prose is largely retained through the narration.

There are problems with the film, the wrap-around story itself is sentimental, something that seems slightly out of place and the location footage wasn't shot in Mumbles, or anywhere in Swansea. (What idiot made that decision?) But these are largely superficial complaints. The film may not work for everyone and maybe it's growing up in Wales that makes this film all the more personal for me, but I'd certainly recommend everyone try this film one Christmas Eve.

Rawlinson


< Message edited by elab49 -- 13/8/2010 2:47:53 PM >


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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 72
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:34:20 PM   
elab49


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The Dambusters (Anderson, 1955)

Another entry with a score almost as famous as the film itself.

Dambusters tells the true story of the 617 Squadron, Barnes Wallis's bouncing bomb, and the raid on the Mohne dam in Germany to severely hamper the heavy industry of Germany's efficient war machine. It follows Barnes Wallis's frustrating development of the bomb itself, through the creation of the special bombing squadron under Guy Gibson, to the raids and then the return home.

As mentioned earlier in The Cruel Sea blurb, the war film cycle in the UK in the 50s was hugely commercially popular but didn't do as well with critics with a couple of key exceptions – Dambusters was the other one. Among many other factors, I think the understatement may have appealed to them – for me one of the most impressive parts of the film comes at the end when they return home and start going about their normal activity. The board is updated with the missing just as the newsreader finishes detailing the success of the raid, and as the report finishes on the missing planes the soundtrack goes quiet – the camera pans to an empty table and empty rooms before finding a final meeting between the boffin and the airman to explain that only 2 were lost in the raid itself.

Anderson's work on the raids themselves is also noteworthy (with the exception of some of the effects – although the painted on flak is reasonably done, the art work with each bomb explosion looks terribly fake – the model of the dam breaking is rather good though). The film spends a lot of real time with the bombers on the raids and the build up as the bombs don't quite work, one by one, run by run, is almost unbearably tense – after each fail the message goes back to the war room and the bombers themselves come under increasing threat. I think it's a combination of genuinely good, considered filmmaking and also a tribute to the men who went on the raid as it makes clear the risk they took hanging around to keep having another go, determined to see it through.

Along with 633 Squadron, Dambusters is another one of the films that seems to have fed into Star Wars, although it is far superior to both and works equally well as a tribute to bravery and as a damned good film.
Elab49


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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 73
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:34:24 PM   
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Four Weddings and a Funeral (Newell, 1994)

Hapless Charles follows flighty Carrie through a series of weddings, including their own, in a multi-level love story that contains more swearing than your average borstal documentary. With his back-up team – the superior Fiona (and Scott-Thomas certainly is) who sadly has a crush on the silly little man who is nowhere near good enough for her, the even more useless Tom, perky Scarlet and the only couple, Gareth and Matthew – he bounces round a certain kind of upper middle-class fairytale landscape of excruciating embarrassment, odd vicars (wonderful performance from Atkinson) and flouncy brides – it's hardly surprising the US bought into it so heavily given the stereotypes it provides.

It's also Curtis's first major film hit, after the relatively low key The Tall Guy, featuring the said trademark humour of the very sweary variety along with some rather credible stronger emotions – irrespective of the writing, Callow's overblown Gareth and partner Matthew (John Hannah) provide a pretty strong emotional core to the film and Hannah's excellent performance of an oratory, that has become commonplace at funerals everywhere, and his presentation of grief grounds the film against a mawkishness that some of the writing might seem to prefer.

Four Weddings is still often very funny, particularly when it avoids the central love story. The supports in general work particularly well but most of the careers on show here got quite a boost from the film although, sadly for Grant, it did very much trap him into a caricature he still finds it pretty hard to break out of.
Elab49


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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 74
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:34:28 PM   
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Made in Britain (Clarke, 1982)
 
Trevor (Tim Roth) is a teenage boy, he's highly intelligent and could have a good future ahead of him, if he wasn't a violent and repellent racist. The film undermines the stereotype of British skinheads being mindless thugs. Trevor is obviously highly intelligent, but he's in a pattern of repeat offending, frustrating the social workers and parole officers who try to help him and unable to focus himself into anything except hatred and finger pointing. Clarke was one of British cinema's great observers of society and he isn't interested in giving us easy answers here. He shows us the vicious circle that keeps someone like Trevor in this state of aggression and lets us know there's many others out there like him. Roth is brilliant in the lead, he's a fine actor in general but he would never do work this good again. American History X has nothing on this.
Rawlinson


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:38:31 PM   
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Remains of the Day (Ivory, 1993)
 
Stevens (Hopkins) is butler to prominent aristocrat Lord Darlington at a time that this deeply gullible and not particularly bright man is getting caught up in the appeasement movement and, most disturbingly, with Mosely and his blackshirts. Stevens is the perfect Butler – never questions his master, never falters in his duty even in the face of his father's death and the possibility of losing Miss Kenton (Thompson), a love that never spoke its name.

Although on the surface, Ishiguro's tale of the life of a butler in a grand English house, a tale of class and emotional repression, might seem a perfect fit to Merchant Ivory, it really isn't. There is a real depth of passion in many of the Merchant Ivory works, but Ishiguro doesn't have that depth – most of his characters seem emotionally repressed because, as a writer, Ishiguro handles it so badly and with a good degree of superficiality – which is why, I think, Never Let You Go works best, because that is more in tune with the characters he creates. But Jhabvala, their regular script writer, makes the best of the source novel here, giving greater depth of feeling to the characters and helping produce a film that is superior to the source novel. Framed round an older post-war Stevens heading off to persuade Miss Kenton to return to her job (in the most gorgeous blue Daimler), she revisits the progress of the appeasers, incorporating many of the arguments of the day (Germans stepping into their own backyard in the Sudetenland), e.g.) and the concern over the politicking of aristocrats, variously naive, anti-semitic and uncaring. Two scenes are particularly disturbing – as Darlington orders 2 Jewish refugees be dismissed having met with Mosely and read the distasteful support for their views, and when the weak man allows Stevens to be humiliated by guests who have issues with the general franchise.

The film also serves as a reminder that Hopkins could actually act before he headed off to sell-out in bad Hollywood films. He handles well the aging of his character, particularly physically, as well as the difficult job of suggesting a human being beneath Stevens's almost immobile exterior.  

Elab49.


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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 76
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:38:35 PM   
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Hue and Cry (Crichton, 1947)

The 'first' Ealing comedy is a brilliant boy's own adventure as a gang of post-war kids stumble across a criminal gang using the thrilling stories of a comic book to pass on information.

Just as Wilder used A Foreign Affair to give document the state of post-war Berlin Hue and Cry is more than just a great adventure story (as watchable for kids and adults alike today as it was 60 years ago). It acts as a document of the immediate post-war period (as did most of Ealing's distinctly subversive takes on post-war life). Hundreds of thousands of kids now in one-parent families, playing in the rubble of the bombed out parts of London – in particular playing at war, knocking over what's left standing, and taking rather macabre turns playing the dead ones under stacks of stones, dealing with the years of violence just passed. We also have the gloriously arcane market language used by Jack Warner, passing on orders in the market and a reminder of the late US presence with a Kilroy in the fun graffitied title sequence.

Crichton plays with the film, creating on screen the exciting stories the kids are reading in The Trump - on the visit to Wilkerson he dispenses with music entirely and lets Sim sonorous, threatening voice drift down a staircase lit like the best in noir as the kids persuade themselves to keep on going, and with the final cat and mouse through the blown-up building brilliantly shot and more tense than most serious thrillers. He and Clarke (whose name is little known but who, as staff writer at Ealing, wrote some of the greatest films made in Britain) provide inventive and funny set pieces (when the kids first try to trap the crooks they end up on a speak your weight machine, the tone calling out increasing weight, breaking the silence as the kids come out of hiding to jump the bad guy, before it gives up the ghost completely). And he also gives us those final unforgettable scenes as literally hundreds of kids stream across the Thames and into the Battle of Ballard's Wharf to give the bad guys a good kicking – if that doesn't have a subtext I don't know what does.

This film does belong to the boys (and single girl in the gang) with all acquitting themselves well particularly Harry Fowler as gang leader Jo and Douglas Barr (whose hysterics in the sewer were surely the model for Shuey MacPhee's last outburst in The Great Escape!). But the adults give great value – Jack Warner is excellent and then there is the great Alistair Sim as the writer whose work is being abused. Locked away in his turret, thrilled to meet his public, but appalled and cowardly at the suggestion he should put himself at risk by approaching the police.

Elab49.
 


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Post #: 77
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:39:20 PM   
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The Man Who Would Be King (John Huston, 1975)
 
Based on a Kipling story, this is an imperial adventure in the tradition of The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, Gunga Din and The Four Feathers, but grander and more cynical. Told in flashback to Kipling himself (played by Christopher Plummer), the story sees scoundrels Michael Caine and Sean Connery resign from the British colonial forces and travel in search of adventure – eventually setting themselves up as gods in Kafiristan. That Caine is recalling the story whilst dressed in rags and looking close to death suggests that all may not end happily. The film has echoes of the director's 1948 classic, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, with its attractive rogues destroyed by greed, but it's lighter in tone for the most part, with deliciously tongue-in-cheek performances by the stars. This delightful film offers top-grade entertainment, along with a "be careful what you wish for" moral that's certainly dissuaded me from trying to colonise land-locked countries in south central Asia.

Favourite bit: The haunting opening, in which Northern Star journalist Kipling is visited by a filthy vagrant. As the man begins to speak, his identity becomes clear...

See also: Gunga Din, the 1939 classic based on Kipling's poem, with Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Victor McLaglen as boozing, brawling soldiers putting down a Thuggish cult. Incredible action scenes and wonderful comic playing make it pure fun. I wish I could have included it in the list proper. The Four Feathers is more straight-faced, but similarly wonderful, while Soldiers Three – a largely unknown early-'50s effort – offers more of the same, with an extra layer of farce.

Rick 7


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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:43:50 PM   
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Repulsion (Polanski, 1965)
 
Repulsion takes place within a woman's fractured mind. Deneuve plays Carol, a beautiful but sexually repressed young Belgian woman living in London. Deneuve shares an apartment with her sister, when her sister goes on holiday, Deneuve lives in isolation and begins to suffer a murderous nervous breakdown.

Carol is repulsed by men and the reasons are never really explained. A background of childhood sexual abuse is hinted at, through the focus on photos of Carol as a child, but not fully explored. The fantasies that all the men in her life are trying to rape her would suggest some previous attack. She's certainly unable to understand there are degrees of sexual interest and not all of it is threatening. She also appears to be suffering some form of PTSD. She frequently loses herself in her mind, drifting away for periods, she also has an obsession with brushing and rubbing things.

Polanski's first film in the west was also the start of his 'Apartment trilogy', that also consists of Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant, where you're never sure if the dangers to the lead are external or internal. It's an unsettling film, Carol's visual and audio hallucinations are jarring. The environment cracks and decays around her as we sink deeper into her mental decline. Throughout the film you get the idea that Polanski is playing with us. We're constantly kept in the dark regarding what is real and what isn't. Carol's perception of the world is distorted something reflected in the way Polanski films the environment. Carol sees a sexual threat from every man, so when that threat does become real, how can we know? Polanski plays with this ambiguity to raise the tension in Repulsion. And that's ultimately what the film is about, it's not a narrative piece, it's a mood piece about a deteriorating mind and what horrors can exist inside it.

It's a brilliant and provocative piece of work, the finest achievement of Polanski's career, but it would all fall apart without a superb lead performance. Luckily he cast Catherine Deneuve. Deneuve does amazing work, the focus is almost always on Carol so she has to carry the film against a series of increasingly bizarre events. Deneuve has a brittle and haunted quality in Repulsion that keeps you sympathetic to Carol, even when she becomes a killer. Repulsion is the perfect meeting between a director and star at the height of their powers, and neither would top this work.

Rawlinson.
 
 
 

 
 
The Thief of Bagdad (Powell and Various, 1940)
 
Ahmad, The King of Bagdad is convinced by his Grand Vizier to go into the city in disguise in order to become closer to his subjects. The Vizier, Jaffar, then has him thrown in prison and he takes control of the city. Abu the Thief is also in prison, and Abu enables them to escape. Ahmad and Abu head for Basra, where Ahmad falls in love with the Princess. Jaffar also loves the princess and casts a magical curse on both Ahmad and Abu. There follows a series of fantastical adventures as Ahmad tries to not only break the curse, but save his kingdom and his love. A truly magical fairytale and one of the greatest adventure films ever made, Thief... benefits from some wonderful performances (especially Conrad Veidt as Jaffar) and a fine screenplay from Brit horror regular Miles Malleson. Bagdad is everything cinematic fantasy should be. 
Rawlinson


< Message edited by elab49 -- 13/8/2010 2:47:22 PM >


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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 79
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:44:18 PM   
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Oh, Mr Porter! (Varnel, 1937)
 
 
Will Hay's greatest contribution to the world of comedy came in this loose remake of Arnold Ridley's The Ghost Train.  Hay plays William Porter, a railway worker. He's fairly inept at the job, but he has family ties who decide to put him where he can't do any damage - as station master of Buggleskelly, a remote Irish station. On his arrival he meets a decrepit deputy (Moore Marriott) and a cheeky porter (Graham Moffatt) To make matters worse, the station is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of One-Eyed Joe and the previous station masters have all died or disappeared, supposedly the work of the ghostly Joe.

Porter has a deserved reputation of being one of the funniest British films of all time. How much you enjoy Porter is going to depend on how much you enjoy the work of Will Hay as the humour thrives on his persona. Hay, Marriott and Moffatt worked together often, forming one of the most recognisable and popular comedy acts of the period, their roots were in music-hall and the banter between the trio is so polished and easy that it feels like they've been performing the routines night after night for decades. Porter may not hold any real surprises in the narrative, but it remains a hilarious and exciting piece of cinema.  

Rawlinson


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Post #: 80
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:44:40 PM   
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The Italian Job (Collinson, 1969)
 
Italian Job is a British caper movie – written by the great Troy Kennedy Martin (his first feature film coming a few years after one of his best known creations Z Cars and over a decade before he wrote the greatest TV show ever made (TM)), scored by Quincy Jones and the only place outside of rather odd dreams that you'll find Noel Coward, of the sophisticated British wit, and Benny Hill, of the not so, on the same bill. The stylistic flourishes – the racing minis, the ending – and the quotability of the script filtered the way into popular culture in a way that many better known films did not, although the film remains marmite to some
 
Breaking into prison to meet kingpin Bridger (Coward), Charlie Croker (Caine) intends to steal a gold shipment under the noses of both the police and the Italian mafia. With the gang in place (including Benny Hill – computer expert!), they use the minis to circumvent the traffic mess they've created in Turin, and escape. The film ends on a literal cliff-hanger that in various tales was supposed to set-up a never filmed sequel, but has even generated a science competition to provide a solution.
 
Italian Job is simply a fun film. The stars on screen seem to be enjoying themselves, there's a good deal of energy and inventiveness on screen and the script balances wit and action with quite some skill and on top of that there's a great car chase. So switch off and enjoy.
 
On a side-note, I always assumed Toad in Flushed Away was a spiritual successor to Mr Bridger, given Bridger's own royal obsession.
Elab49


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:45:24 PM   
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THE DESCENT (Marshall, 2005)

Not to annoy the great Rawlinson (go on – why not? Editor), but this is the second Neil Marshall film to grace this chart but do not worry, Doomsday is not at Number One.   Yes it's The Descent, a great British horror that does everything you need in the genre.  Slow build up, a great looking cast and then BANG!!!! A trip into nightmare land.  A gang of women go caving and then get trapped.....and they are not alone.  A simple basic plot that gives off a claustrophobic atmosphere that fills the room full of dread.  Yet to do a full review on my thread, so keep it simple and say sod what Rawlinson says....this is ace! 
HughesRoss
 
Descent is Marshall's follow-up to the brilliant comedy horror Dog Soldiers, although this time he keeps the horror, drops the comedy, and shows Tarantino how to bring together a group of women you actually want to watch.
 
After an earlier tragedy, Sarah joins her friends in the Appalachians to go caving, the latest in a group of friend's regular activity holidays. After a night spent having some fun they head up the mountain to the cave entrance, none of them aware that Juno hasn't been strictly honest about the cave system they are going to explore,
 
Descent is another film of two halves, and it is arguable which is the more terrifying. In the first the group become trapped and try to work their way through the claustrophobic system to an exit. The second, a rather more active threat appears and the women, who you've gotten to know quite well by now, face a far more present danger.
 
In a rather screwed up way, after filming the Scottish set Dog Soldiers in Lithuania, the US set Descent was made in Scotland. As well as Marshall's excellent direction, high praise should go to Simon Bowles's set designs, the creation of that maze of caves and, in particular, Sam McCurdy's Oscar worthy camerawork – the use of light sources for shots within the cave system brilliantly contributed to the oppressive mood of the whole.
 
Descent is at times a terrifying film and to its great credit that is as true before the monsters turn up as it is after – in particular, whether or not you yourself have a problem with enclosed spaces, I don't, there is at least one scene where you'll be left sweating and hyper-ventilating at what goes on on screen.
 
If you do take the chance to give this a go, and I highly recommend that you do, then make sure you watch the British DVD. For no justifiable reason the US release tacked on an immensely dumb different ending. Avoid.
Elab49
 
 
 
 
Sense And Sensibility (Lee, 1995)
 
Following the death of Mr. Dashwood, his wife and daughters find themselves with just a small allowance a year to live on. They're forced to move from their estate home into a small cottage. Elder daughters Marianne and Elinor find themselves soon thrown into the world of romantic affairs, dashed expectations and heartaches.

Possibly the greatest compliment I can pay Sense and Sensibility is to say that it doesn't feel like an Ang Lee film. Which is to say that you'd expect a director who deals mainly in repressed emotions to have a field day with this kind of material, stripping any energy out of it and turning it into a dull and obvious period piece where everyone involved is Tewwibly Tewwibly English. What saves the film from becoming that is Emma Thompson's witty and wonderful screenplay. Thompson started her career in a revue with Fry & Laurie, she understands comedy, and she brings out that humour in her writing.

Sense and Sensibility is a joy to watch. Thompson and Kate Winslet excel as Marianne and Elinor, while as the various men in their live, Alan Rickman, Greg Wise and even Hugh Grant all turn in some of their finest performances. But then the entire cast is a delight, especially Hugh Laurie in a small but scene-stealing performance.  The film belongs to Thompson and Winslet though, there are several reasons why Emma Thompson was considered one of the greatest actresses in the world in the 1990s and Sense and Sensibility is one of them. It's true that Elinor is no Suzie Kettles, but she still ranks among the finest performances from this multi-talented woman. Both Winslet and Thompson were nominated for Oscars for their acting, missing out to one make-up award and one fluke. But Thompson did get to take home a well-deserved award for best Adapted Screenplay and the Baftas would make up for both acting snubs.

Rawlinson


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RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 13/8/2010 2:45:43 PM   
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The Happiest Days of your Life (Launder, 1950)
 
First day of term at Nutbourne College is a little odd this year – thanks to a Ministry cock-up, the decidedly minor boys school is going to play host to St Swithins – a girls' school. With both sets of staff initially completely unsuspecting and then desperate to ensure none of the parents find out (or, in headmaster Pond's case, his prospective employers), a perfect farce ensues.

Happiest Days is one of the most popular British films ever made. It comes from the successful team of Launder and Gilliatt, with John Dighton (who contributed to the likes of  Went the Day Well and Kind Hearts and Coronets at Ealing) helping to transfer his play to screen (after 2 previous outings on TV). The creative team would shortly take most of the cast on to a series seen as something of a sequel from the film a couple of years later, as they returned to school with St Trinians (Searle helped produce the animation for the titles for this film as well). Apparently keeping fairly close to the play, the quality of the one-liners, visual comedy and performances have made this a perennial favourite.

Credit should be given, particularly, to Richard Wattis as the dryly cynical maths master who first introduces us to the staff and goes the extra mile in his determination to ensure Sim moves on to greater things, just for the sake of him actually moving on. Wattis was one of the best known faces in British cinema in the 50s and 60s, often playing clerks and public servants including a man from the Ministry when St Trinians trundled round.

The great joy, of course, is the pairing of two of Britain's finest actors and, arguably, its greatest comic actors – Alistair Sim as head of Nutbourne, Wetherby Pond, and Margaret Rutherford leading St Swithins into the fray. The perfect timing of both is a master class in comedy, with the clashing visits that makes up the final 20 minutes of the film providing some of their greatest work when they finally decide to collude, and you just watch Sim, so lately quoting Knox's views of the regiment of women, falling back on impeccable manners as he leads Rutherford and Grenfell to the common room and the reactions and ingenuity as the competing tours desperately try to stay apart.

Elab49.


< Message edited by elab49 -- 13/8/2010 2:47:03 PM >


_____________________________

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 83
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 15/8/2010 4:50:56 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
99
 

 
Green for Danger (GIlliat, 1946)
 
And so, in just a few short entries, we reach the final film from the great Alistair Sim – Sydney Gilliatt's Green for Danger (no Frank Launder on this solo flight except as an uncredited producer).
 
I know that a lot of the voters for this list have seen a good deal of the British New Wave and I sometimes think there is something of a dismissal of a lot of cinema that went before that. That Powell and Pressburger are great and Ealing is to some tastes, and there's some decent noir in there – but a lot of the rest is just cosy and old (that's certainly the impression my course book gives). I think the RP accents are part of the reason for it. But people like the Boulting Bros and Launder and Gilliatt were writing scripts with subtle wit or flagrant satire and using some of our most gifted performers to put them on screen. L&G came back time and time again to Sim – our greatest comic actor, and so much more.
 
Sim had known Launder and Gilliatt for years – one of his earlier hits was as the bumbling sergeant in the Inspector Hornleigh series starring Gordon Harker and L&G together and apart helped write later entries in the series (working with a young Val Guest on one of them). And as the war ended Sim seemed to become their actor of choice working on another10 or so films with them, together and apart, and not one, IMHO, a dud. Outside of that Sim proved his range with a chilling turn in An Inspector Calls and giving us cinema's greatest Scrooge.
 
Green For Danger is set in a hospital in wartime – a police Inspector is called in after some mysterious deaths, on the operating table and off. The situation is complicated by the rivalries and jealousies of the hospital staff with Trevor Howard and Leo Genn at loggerheads. It's a darker comedy than many of the L&G collaborations, enhanced by the claustrophobic setting of this hospital set out in the country, full of young sexually-frustrated men and women with the bombs flying overhead and the threat of death eerily present. More than comedy though –Gilliatt gives us realistic and highly tense times in the operating theatre itself and a twisting and turning murder mystery of very high quality and a harsh and quite grisly twist of an ending. Of the two, I'd peg Gilliatt as the best director on this alone.
 
Green for Danger is one of my favourite Sim films – his droll seemingly competent Inspector is a perfectly pitched cat amongst these pigeons. The film is available on Criterion DVD – they don't always get it right but they do have a very admirable fondness for the work of Launder and Gilliatt over there. But it's one of the films I double-dipped with – the UK version has a cover that has a nice touch of the old fashioned book cover (and I'd recommend Brand's original story if you get the chance too).
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 15/8/2010 5:08:40 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 84
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 15/8/2010 4:50:59 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
98
 


Whisky Galore! (Mackendrick, 1949)
 
In 1941 the SS Politician grounded off Eriskay. On board – a cargo of several thousands cases of whisky. Well, on board till the locals got wind of it that is.
 
Wartime rationing has run Great and Little Todday dry. One foggy night the SS Cabinet Minister carrying 50000 crates of whisky runs aground and, overpowering a willing sergeant, the locals manage to appropriate a good proportion of them before the ship sinks. With 2 local romances forming a backdrop, Basil Radford (Charters sadly san Caldicott) stars as a stuffy local official (not entirely supported by his wife) who leads the chase against the islanders in a grand game of hide and seek and 'car chases' as the wily locals refuse to give the alcohol up.  
 
Mackendrick's feature debut is a barnstormer of a film – the pace zings along bringing to life a script that is often amongst Ealing's funniest – Compton MacKenzie adapts his own novel with the help of Angus MacPhail, who'd not only written for Hitchcock (and may have coined the term MacGuffin), but also helped script Ealing's best non-comedic work of the period, Went the Day Well. As well as Radford, the stars include James Robertson Justice as the local Dr and Gordon Jackson as the initially timid bridegroom-to-be George Campbell.
 
It has always saddened me that Mackendrick didn't have a 'bigger' career. The impression given was that he didn't really have the backbone for the business and more or less gave up after the reception given to the superb Sweet Smell of Success. He ended up teaching filmmaking rather than making them – but surely of all such people, he's the one of whom it definitely can't be said 'those that can't, teach'?
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 15/8/2010 5:08:46 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 85
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 15/8/2010 4:51:05 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
97
 

 
A Man For All Seasons (Zinneman, 1966)
 
Written by Robert Bolt and based on his own play, A Man for All Seasons tells the tale of the later sanctified Thomas More, beginning near the end of the marriage of his king, Henry VIII, to his seemingly 'barren' catholic wife Katherine of Aragon. England is still bound to the 'true' religion and Henry recently lauded as a Defender of the Faith. But that faith binds him in ways he is no longer content with – he now wants Protestant Anne and demands that Thomas find a solution. When Henry finally marries Anne, More stands with his conscience and becomes a traitor in Henry's eyes with the film ending on More's trial then execution.
 
The play is a story of one man's conscience. It's odd in a way -  More is arguing he has a right to his church and the state can't interfere, when the very basis of the confrontation between church and state throughout Europe was the manner in which the church actively undermined sovereign authority. But only one point of view is presented here with More a man of complete and stubborn faith, and a good and honest man and the film genuinely doesn't suffer from the bias. Mostly because of the powerful central performance from Paul Schofield. While he gets some excellent support from Robert Shaw as Henry, Leo McKern as Thomas Cromwell and Wendy Hiller as More's wife, it is Schofield's More, a compelling and humane presence, proud, stubborn and decent, that commands the attention and took home a deserved Oscar.
 
Word of advice – be careful not to confuse this with Charlton Heston's desperate remake in his attempt to pretend he can act. It's awful.
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 15/8/2010 5:08:50 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 86
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 15/8/2010 4:51:11 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
96
 
 


Shakespeare in Love (Madden,1998)
 
Possibly influenced by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Stoppard returns Shakespeare, weaving a fantasy of his life and inspiration for his work out of coincidence and relationships.
 
Maverick playwright Will Shakespeare encounters an attractive young man when auditioning for the lead in his new play – newly reformed as a tragedy on the discovery of his current bed partner's lack of fidelity. Discovering an odd yearning for the youth, he discovers he is actually a she – a big no-no on the Elizabethan stage where female characters are played by young men. Not only that, but Viola is shortly to be married into the aristocracy and has been noticed by the queen herself.
 
If nothing else, the film provides a great game of spot the play and after we spend so long on Shakespeare's worst at the core of the film, it's good to see it end on the rather more amusing Twelfth Night. Although it contains two of the oddest Oscar winning performances of the last couple of decades – great actress though Dench is, and her Elizabeth is better although not entirely different from her Bracknell and her De Bourgh, it is barely a few minutes of screen time. It's a toss up whether Paltrow's performance here or on receipt of her Oscar is the worst, though. But there are some wonderful and really quite winning support performances that often make the film a joy to watch – Geoffrey Rush as the theatre manager in debt to the great Tom Wilkinson. Even Ben Affleck bursts into the theatre with an energy and charisma that is quite unexpected giving his usual acting turns. Madden is also quite effective at creating the atmosphere of the Elizabethan theatre world, with its quarrels and shallowness, and especially the energy of the audience on the night.
Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 15/8/2010 5:08:57 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 87
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 15/8/2010 4:56:15 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
95
 

 
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Cuaron, 2004)
 
The first two Harry Potter films are fairly workmanlike affairs – an absolute faithfulness to the books combined with fairly rudimentary direction from Chris Columbus simply served to remind us that the first 2 books in the series were for children. But as with the 3rd book, the 3rd film grew up and remains by a very clear margin the best in the series.

There are a variety of reasons for this. First and foremost, the impressive Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron was brought on board to replace Columbus. In place of workmanlike transition from book to screen we actually believed there was a creative and visionary mind converting the words onto film – from the brilliant creation and filming of the dementor's sending chills down your spine from their first appearance on the train to the terrifying mass attack at the end, to the world of London zooming past on the Knight Bus, it was clear a director confident of his craft was at the helm.
 
Secondly, and equally important, after the more generally comic guest turns in the first two films from Ian Hart and Kenneth Branagh, we were given two quite tragic characters played by two of our best actors – the sad outcast Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), and the damaged and desperate Sirius Black (Gary Oldman). In a children's film still, both among the good guys, yet neither gets a happy ending and irrespective of the simplicity of the script at times, the towering presence of the actors and the sheer quality of their performances, helped in no small part by a couple of face-offs with Alan Rickman, make this a very good film – not just a very good Potter film. Potter has grown up just a little and the problems become just that bit more complex – for non-readers the outcome for Wormtail at the hands of his vengeful former friends isn't as obvious as it might be.
 
The rest continues to serve as a pension plan for many of our better actors. Jason Isaacs gets a bit more to do when Buckbeak deservedly gives Draco a whack and Rickman, who had so much fun sparking off Branagh, gets to do the same here with Thewlis. If nothing else, the film has to be seen to see Neville's boggart (Rickman really is a good sport!).Elab49


< Message edited by elab49 -- 15/8/2010 5:09:03 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 88
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 15/8/2010 4:56:18 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
94
 

 
BREAKING THE WAVES (Von Trier, 1996)

Emily Watson is probably the closest thing modern screen acting has to a genius. That is, a performer of "extraordinary creative power". And I'd say she's on a par with Lillian Gish as the flat-out best actress that we've seen. As with another genius of the cinema, Orson Welles, Watson's reputation rests largely on a remarkable, bravura debut. Her turn in Breaking the Waves, as a repressed, religious Scotswoman seeking a miracle through sexual degradation, is the most audacious, original, unspeakably sad characterisation put on screen since the movies learned to talk. It really is that good.

Favourite bit: Watson's telephone call with her husband, with whom she's utterly besotted. Woken from her slumber in the phone box, she tells him: "Everyone says I love you too much…"

Rick_7
 


< Message edited by elab49 -- 15/8/2010 5:09:11 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 89
RE: Top 250 British Films as chosen by Empire posters - 15/8/2010 4:56:24 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
93
 

 
Oliver Twist (Lean, 1948)
 
Before David Lean became best known for his vast epics, he had a good line in literary adaptations. The story of Oliver Twist should be famous enough by now, orphan goes to workhouse, gets sold as an apprentice, falls in with a pickpocket gang, finds redemption. If you're really unlucky then you'll have suffered through Carol Reed's fall from grace with Oliver! That Oscar winning that brought the viewer one superfluous exclamation mark and several superfluous songs. If you're lucky then you'll have seen Lean's polished and entertaining take on the material.

It's visually stunning and when you have Alec Guinness as Fagin and Anthony Newley as the Artful Dodger, you know you're getting a superior cast. Fagin is a problem and always will be. Guinness based the look of the character on the Cruikshank illustrations, meaning that accusations of anti-semitism were a given. Discomfort aside, the performance is a strong one. It's the best filmed version of Oliver Twist. Lean's Twist isn't on the same level as his Great Expectations, but it's still a superb piece of cinema and one of Lean's most accomplished films. 

Rawlinson
 


< Message edited by elab49 -- 15/8/2010 5:08:30 PM >


_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 90
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