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This is a great film review show that offers very trust-worthy reviews.
It also offers great interviews, on set previews, polls, competitions,
exclusive clips, trailers and gossip from the world of film as well as
everything else you would expect to find.
It reports on all aspects of film making from production to Hollywood trends and everything in between.
It is superbly presented by Jonathan Ross who took over from the equally great Barry Norman. Ross is particular in his more than adequate film knowledge and speaks passionately and honestly about a films pros and cons.
This show is British (I don't know if it airs in America) and is a must see for any movie fans.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You will notice that I did not title this review 'And why not?'. And
why not, I hear you ask? Well, because it is a quote attributed to
Barry Norman by the ex-comedian turned political commentator Rory
Bremner, never at any time uttered ( well, maybe once or twice ) by the
real Bazza. Funny why he should use it as the title of his
autobiography though. Oh well...
'Film 72' began, you will be surprised to learn, in 1972, and was presented originally by novelist Jacky Gillatt. I never saw her ( for reasons I will come to later ), but a clip on an anniversary show in the early 1990's told me she was very beautiful, if somewhat uncomfortable on television ( she sadly later took her own life ). Barry, son of director Leslie and a former film critic for 'The Daily Maul' ( sorry, Mail ), made the show his own.
Down here in the Welsh valleys, it was an unknown quantity until 1978. Those nice B.B.C. programme planners must thought of us Taffies as having no interest in films, save for those set in doomed mining communities and starring coal-dust covered men with operatic voices and names like 'Ianto' and 'Dai'. Common sense finally prevailed and it crept onto Sunday nights, competing against re-runs of 'Police Surgeon' ( a U.S. import starring Sam Groom ) over on the other channel. That theme tune - 'I Wish I Knew How It Felt To Be Free' - got me hooked.
Barry earned my undying admiration by reviewing a Clint Eastwood picture - 'Every Which Way But Loose' - and favourably comparing the acting skills of Clint's simian co-star - Clyde the orangutan - with those of then teen-sensation John Travolta ( in those days we had only seen J.T. in 'Saturday Night Fever' and 'Grease' and were ignorant of his true abilities ). From then on, I watched Barry in order to see him bash the latest 'blockbusters'.
His reviews were like great works of art; the words just came flowing out of his mouth, all well-chosen and aimed with the accuracy of an Exocet missile. He could take the most mundane picture and rip it to shreds in a few seconds. For instance, he said that 'Table For Five' ( 1983 ) screenwriter David Seltzer "lacked the fizz of his better-known brother Alka". John Lydon ( better known as 'Johnny Rotten' of The Sex Pistols ) made a film called 'Copkiller' and Barry said he "sounded like a speak-your-weight machine that had been programmed by E.L. Wisty" ( a comic character created by Peter Cook who spoke only in monotone ). Sylvester Stallone came in for a Bazza bruising when the 'Rambo' films went on release. The film director Cecil B. De Mille had, according to Barry, "parted The Red Sea twice ( he had made two versions of 'The Ten Commandments ). Not even God managed that!".
I did not agree with all his opinions - he was much too kind to Peter Greenaway for instance, and overpraised the work of Robert Altman and Woody Allen, yet came down hard on horror films. He raved about Brian De Palma's 'Dressed To Kill' when it opened, yet later recanted, describing it as 'luridly distasteful'. Ah well, we have all changed our minds at one time or other.
In addition to the reviews, there was a regular competition, such as 'Spot The Film This Snatch Of Dialogue Came From', the lucky winner receiving the latest copy of Halliwell's Film Guide. And interviews galore.
One problem I had with the show had nothing to do with Barry. Some of the flicks he raved about were nowhere to be found outside of London, and by the time they made it here I had forgotten what they were about, and what he thought of them, and went to see 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' instead.
Barry quit in 1982 to front the arts show 'Omnibus' and in his place we got various celebrities such as future 'Vanity Fair' editor Tina Brown, actress Maria Aitken, Michael Parkinson, the late Glyn Worsnip, and Iain Johnstone. But none could hold a clapperboard to Barry and it came as a relief to see him back a year or so later.
In 1998, he left the B.B.C. to move to Sky T.V. It turned out to be the worst change of channels made by anyone since Simon Dee defected to L.W.T. in 1969. The new show was a pale shadow of his old one, and was annoyingly interrupted by commercials. Sky eventually dropped it. The B.B.C. replaced Barry with Jonathan Ross and he has been there ever since.
Barry continues to write for 'The Radio Times', but it is a shame that he is no longer to be seen on the box, sitting in that comfortable-looking chair, talking about a subject he both knows and cares about.
This is a Great series for information on up an coming Films(shown late
night U.K). Although it's rating does dip quite a way with Johnathan
Ross as host.
Johnathan Ross doesn't have the same relaxing attitude and knowledge about films that the great Barry Norman seemed to have.
Just like his chat show Johnathan Ross's interviewing seems to rely on his guest laughing with or at him. The laughing is not usually about films either, its about Slippers(ask Tom Cruise). If the guest doesn't laugh he seems to just keep on trying. Like the interview in which Harrison Ford was shown a photograph without his hair. This was really embarrassing.
To be fair to him he does have charisma and his not a bad host. He is no Barry Norman though.
I just hope the BBC realise this and try the programme with someone different. In the great words attributed to Barry Norman "And why not?" (Sorry no spell checker).
Now before I go any further, I have to point out that I actually don't
mind Claudia Winkleman, I've always thought she seems like a laugh and
although you would most certainly have to tell to slow down and shut up
a bit, she has that, she'd be a laugh to go out on the lash with, air
Now having been a longtime Film watcher, (well Barry norman years is when I started, I'm only 33) I can safely say that this current run is utterly dreadful, Why oh why oh why, or should that be how oh how oh how the sweet jebus did Claudia Winkleman get this job, her knowledge and from what I've seen so far, taste in movies is pretty dire, in fact I hate the new run so much I've actually stopped watching it, and unless I hear of a biblical style epic turn around, I wont be watching again (until a new presenter is found at least). This upsets me, because for the most part there is very little on telly for me worth watching, I just watch DVD's most of the time and for a long time one of the only highlights to an otherwise terrible week on telly, used to be Film.
I cant help but think, there were so many other better choices for presenter of Film, Mark Kermode being a personal favourite, or Kim Newman, even James King who I hate more than third world poverty could do a better job.
Oh well looks like my only source of Film news and reviews now, besides the printed pages, are podcasts, at least BBC radio 5 live see fit to give me a brilliant movie review podcast every week, and so they should, since they've destroyed Film
Film used to be the best program on TV if you wanted to find out about
what movies were at the pictures, It didn't even matter if you didn't
want to go to seem them because it was presented in such a nice relaxed
way with host Barry Norman sitting in his chair, realizing that the
show was going to be on about 11:30, Monday night, he made sure the
pace of the show resembled this. Since he left/got fired in 1999 and
Jonathan Ross took over, the show has sadly gone downhill and has
become more like a chat show rather than a movie review program. It
seems that each week he has someone on there trying to plug their God
awful film and it works, if you do give an interview to Mr. Ross he
will then, with out fail give the film that his interviewee was in a
glowing review and recommend it to the viewers.
Because of this he has often flogged a few turkeys, like when he said 50 cents movie 'Get Rich or Die Trying' was a good movie and should be seen, while only 2 minutes earlier he was criticizing the other well-worth seeing movies. This was no coincidence that he had 50 Cent on his chat show that week, anyone who has seen Friday Night With knows that he will never EVER say a bad thing about an actor or their movie, even if the actor/actress admits that they was in a box office bomb. He will often boost their ego with the phrase "Ok, the movie wasn't that good but I thought that you was great in it." I don't have any problem with his sucking up as I don't watch his dreadful chat show anyway, but I do watch Film because of how much of a good job Barry Norman did with the show, like visiting a grave yard so to speak just to show my respects.
Another thing that I liked about Barry Norman was how he wasn't afraid to review the lesser known film of that week, even if you didn't agree with what he said he did at least show you something different, and then let you make the choice not to watch it. Ross only seems to go with films that have won awards, been nominated or got good/bad reviews from other critics. I remember seeing him review an African made film (The Title Slips My Mind Sorry) about a boy who steals a woman's car and then finds that her baby is in the back, leaving him to look after it. The movie has subtitles and didn't really fit in with the films that he reviewed normally, i.e. The Romantic Comedy or The Action Blockbusters. That is probably why it still sticks in my mind that he reviewed it, until about three days later, when I found out that it have won or been nominated for countless awards, including a BAFTA.
The last point I want to make was how much in this show Jonathan Ross complains about the state of British movies and their lack of funding, which is kind of a slap in the face when it was leaked to the press about how much his three year contract with the BBC (One of Britons film makers) is costing the licence payer. I can't remember how much it was but it was so high that they didn't want anyone to find out as they were worried that they (The BBC) would be accused of wasting money on one person who does about 5 jobs, when it would be cheaper to hire 5 individual people and have more that enough to make a good British movie. Since this information came public he has stopped moaning about the state of the British film industries funding and started about the amateur way they are made.
The strangest thing about Ross is that it was found out that he doesn't see all the films that he reviews??? Why do they have someone who hasn't got the passion about films to go and see them?
This has always been a good show. Barry Norman was informative, but I
found I could not rely on his recommendations. If he said a film was
bad that seemed to be a good indication that I might like it.
When Jonathan Ross took over I fully expected the show to take a turn for the worse because up until then I'd only seen Wossy playing the fool. However when it comes to Film, Jonathan clearly takes the subject very seriously and has such a professional delivery it's as if he becomes a different person.
Jonathan is very knowledgeable and passionate about film and gives useful and thorough reviews and behind the scenes info. Most importantly he makes recommendations you can rely on. If Jonathan says a film is good, you can bet it will be. Except maybe when it comes to Japanese monster movies ;)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had always seen tiny bits of this programme when a break of another was on, and Leigh Francis did his impression on Bo' Selecta!, and when I got to watching the whole thing, I was most interested. Jonathan Ross since 1999 has presented this programme where he gives his professional, critical and sometimes humorous (both in the good and bad way) review of the latest films at the cinemas, released and due for. Of course he also gets the chance to go behind the scenes on some of them, and talk to many numerous and much loved stars, young and old. The programme also features a few little extras such as DVD reviews, and short information about latest film subjects, e.g. sequels, torture porn, etc. A most interesting show for me, particularly as I want to be like Ross, a film critic (possibly with my own show). It has been nominated the BAFTA for Best Graphic Design. Very good!
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