FRIEND REQUEST PENDING is a short comedy drama about the mature generation dating in our modern social networking world. It's a tale of love but more importantly life long friendship. The ... See full summary »
In the 1840s, Cranford is ruled by the ladies. They adore good gossip; and romance and change is in the air, as the unwelcome grasp of the Industrial Revolution rapidly approaches their beloved rural market-town.
It is 90 AD, and the Roman Empire is being run by the Emperor Domitian, who has declared himself to be God and ruler over heaven and earth. The Christians, who do not recognize his divinity... See full summary »
Armadillo is a great book and this is a great adaptation.
I read some comments about an abbreviated version and was fortunate to get a VHS of the BBC original. Not having seen the shortened copy, I don't think I will want to. When the BBC get it right, one can find gems like this production. A cast of little-known actors and all the better for it. Stephen Rea, so often portraying IRA terrorists, is a revelation playing against character. His Hogg is perfect - a kooky, paranoid nutcase. He plays the employer of Lorimer Black, the central character, with an over the top performance. Hugh Bonneville is the quintessence of the chinless wonder who manages to elicit sympathy whilst he abuses almost everybody with whom he come in touch. The social asides are caught perfectly and the gypsy family that Lorimer conceals from his smart associates is sympathetically portrayed, without resorting to pastiche. I wouldn't attempt to write a synopsis of this clever story. William Boyd is one of the best writers about today and Armadillo is one of his best novels. So often a great story is destroyed by directors who want to put their own stamp on the film - or Hollywood moguls who insist on miscasting. One has only to think of Andy McDowell in "4 Weddings" or Bruce Willis - as an Englishman - in "Bonfire of the Vanities". Or the absurdity of casting Michael Caine to reprise the role of David Niven (Bedtime Story) in the boring remake ("Dirty Rotten Bores") as a gentleman. Not so here. William Boyd wrote the screenplay and keeps exactly to his novel; and the BBC were wise enough to stay on the sidelines. For anyone wanting to see great cinema, look no further. At 3 hours, it might seem long (it went out on air in 3 one hour installments). But I never felt that it could benefit from cutting. It is riveting and reminds me of another great TV production (now on DVD) "A Very British Coup", which also ran for almost three hours. Compared with some of the pap that has been offered as cinema in recent years, this is an oasis in the wilderness. Maybe Boyd would now tackle "Any Human Heart" and, even better, "Restless". I could see Kristin Scott-Thomas up there as Eva. Question is when. One quibble. The music score drowns a lot of key dialogue. I am unsure if Boyd sanctioned this, but it is a common fault in the UK (particularly the comedies of the 1950s, where Stanley Black was used to emphasise a doorbell!) &, more pertinently, in films from the USA - where a deafening soundtrack seems to be mandatory. Or the prats who think that a voice over adds to our enjoyment of the Laurel & Hardy silent films. Watch "When Comedy Was King" - and cringe - as Hollywood wrecks your enjoyment of L+H in "Big Business". One has only to watch films from Europe to notice the effects of footsteps; a gasp or laughter. An orgasm does not need the Mantovani orchestra to tell us it might be exciting. That apart, I have just watched Armadillo again and it is truly a knock-out - and the music is totally unnecessary. The actors and the screenplay say it all. Thank you William Boyd. I am now going to fish out my hardback edition and read you again.
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