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Lorenzo's Oil (1992)
An adventure, of sorts - and a very good film
This true story is very interesting to watch. If you like adventure but don't normally go for medical films, you will like this.
Lorenzo's parents show great determination to investigate the disease and try to reduce its effects, with some success. When the film was made, Lorenzo had already outlived the doctors' predictions by four years. Although he died about two years ago, it is obvious that the effort was worth it.
The chemist who refined the rapeseed oil appeared as himself in this film. Peter Ustinov's performance as the doctor is also worthy of note.
See this film - you will find it sad at times but you will like it.
The Day After (1983)
Not as "weak" as some people would have you believe
Having just seen this film, for the first time, and read much criticism of it here, I have to say that whereas some of the criticism is justified, much of it is not. Easily as scary, if not more so, in the attack scenes than its UK counterpart "Threads", although with a somewhat weak aftermath which does make it look more like a soap opera, it still portrays the subject matter well. I have to say that the political plot appears rather confusing, but these films are often that way to keep the viewer thinking.
I still say "Threads" is better, and "Testament" far more subtle, but this is incredibly worthy nonetheless.
I only wish I had seen this sooner, but it was very difficult to obtain in the UK.
Beautiful Thing (1996)
This is one of those movies that should be required viewing for everyone. Set on a North Kent housing estate, the plot of two teenagers falling in love is nothing unusual, apart from the fact that it's two boys. The subject is handled with great sensitivity. We get the impression that Ste's family would not approve, but they do not seem to approve of him anyway. Sandra defends Jamie, and for that matter Ste, all the way. The injured drag queen in the Gloucester adds an interesting twist of realism.
The only thing that would have improved this film for me would have been for one of the boys to have a physical disability, preferably not through injury, as this would added focus to this difficult subject. In any case, the film scores top marks with me.
Zany and thought-provoking at the same time
I have seen this film on a number of occasions and have always found it entertaining. The unprovoked, paranoid actions of the commander who issues plan "R", and Kong's comments on the supply kit, are two of the most zany bits. I also like the rule about not fighting in the war room, a room which didn't exist, but Ronald Reagan asked where it was when he became President.
James Earl Jones, also seen in another similar film "By Dawn's Early Light", puts in an excellent performance. The multiple characters played by Peter Sellers, especially Strangelove himself, are also excellent.
Draining but worth it
This is one of those films that is very draining to watch, but worth it. It is a slightly more tame approach to the subject matter, but excellently done.
It is often compared with "Threads", which many people think is too graphic. Regardless, I like both films. I have to say that "Testament" will look more realistic to rural people, who may just die slowly as the characters in this film do, rather than be subjected to the immediate effects of the attack.
Rebecca De Mornay's appearance in this film, which I only saw after seeing "By Dawn's Early Light", makes a connection between these two films. Everyone should see both films at least once, as well. Excellent performances from Rossie Harris and Mako make this film stand out even further.
Having seen "The Day After" now, I prefer "Testament" but find both films excellent.
By Dawn's Early Light (1990)
When technology goes wrong...
This film is, in my mind, all about what could happen if terrorists got their hands on nuclear weapons and technology did not take account of it. Russia's automatic retaliation to the strike on Donetsk triggers utter political turmoil as Russia realise, too late, that they are victims of terrorism, rather than under US attack. The big mistake was not keeping China informed of what was happening.
The acting in this film is excellent. Most of it seems very plausible, but would anyone really agree to a limited retaliation? Of course, the Soviet Union probably could not have made much contribution to rebuilding back then, so maybe it would be more plausible for the time.
The mind battle between Condor and the real President is excellent. This is a "must see" film for anyone interested in world politics.
The War Game (1965)
Of its time
This film, originally made for but banned from British television, is very much of its time. Newsreel-footage-like in style, it shows, from the 1960s perspective, the possible consequences of war. It was banned from television until 20 years after it was made, when I saw it, the night before the second time I saw "Threads", a much more up-to-date film on the same subject. It was shocking, but compared to similar films of the 1980s, quite tame.
Brilliantly pulls no punches
I saw most of this film in colour on its first showing, and about a year later in black and white. The title refers to the "fabric" of society and how it might fall apart if the crucial "threads" are destroyed. To see places I knew so well undergoing such severe destruction was extremely harrowing and I hope it never happens anywhere. Great performances from both Reece Dinsdale and Karen Meagher (elsewhere heard sporting a Lancashire accent, but doing a good Yorkshire accent here), and one of Jane Hazlegrove's earliest appearances, make this worth seeing regardless of the subject matter. The escaping family (the Stothards) who get caught up in a blockade and are never heard of again show that there is no easy way out of a situation like this, the only thing to do is, in the words of the civil defence book, "Protect and Survive", and even that may not be easy given little time. The issues of disease, shortages and delayed death are tackled head-on, unlike in "The War Game", where there is comparitively little aftermath.
Last of the Summer Wine (1973)
Excellent, but will it survive?
I wonder just how much of this brilliant series the BBC have retained in their archives. I have seen a great many episodes over the years. That the series is as old as me is quite surprising. Another surprise, of course, is that most of the leading actors are from SE England, but speak in the series with Yorkshire accents even I as a Yorkshireman find highly convincing. The idea of three (although not always the same three) old men still yearning for that buzz of youth, and, to all intents and purposes, actually getting it, may seem a strange concept for comedy, but Roy Clarke has pulled off a master stroke here. I am not sure the later episodes are as good, without Bill Owen.
Sixth Happiness (1997)
Very touching portrayal of two controversial issues
Like "My Left Foot", this film is a moving story about a disabled child growing up. However, the setting in this instance is India, with its culture showing through. The family portrayed are Zoroastrian, with a love of all things British. Brit's parents had wildly differing attitudes towards his disability. Brit also had a reasonable share of lovers of both genders. I would recommend this film to anyone seeking a greater understanding of disability issues. The title, by the way, comes from a mention in the film of the 1958 film "The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness".