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Nature Boy (2000)
No Matter Where I Roam, I Will Return To My English Rose
This is one of those BBC films you simply can't afford to lose.
The main character, David (superbly played by Lee Ingleby)is on a quest to find the father that left when he was a small child (Paul McGann, mostly in feedbacks). He ends up trekking the countryside under threat and the industrial areas who can't be bothered with ecology. But there's Jenny, there's a band of eco-guerrillas - full of good intentions but lacking David's lifelong experience in dealing with Nature.
The end is not predictable, certainly not from my point of view... The overall impact on one's emotions is overwhelming.
See this one!
Queer as Folk: Episode #2.1 (2000)
Can't imagine what went wrong. But it did. Badly!...
It's a shame this rating system doesn't allow for 0 stars - that'd be my first choice. Admittedly, I was not overwhelmingly impressed by Queer As Folk, but it was fun and its ending made more sense to me than QAF2's idiotic finale. If there's a soap cliche that hasn't been borrowed, I couldn't think of one. If there's a coherent storyline, I must have been distracted. If all 30 year olds (never mind gay or otherwise) behaved like these two (as there was no one else in the series but butch Hazel and camp Alex) the world would be in deep trouble. It's supposed to be just a TV show, right? But it encourages random violence, illegal use of weapons, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, borrowing whole bits from american z-films and internet slash-fiction with no credits due - thankfully. It's bad, worse than the Doctor as far as production values, worse than Coronation Street as far as dialogue & character development. I'm not being bitter. It's just I've rarely been so let down by a TV thing in many, many years. Oh, and I'm a 34 year-old gay man living in Amsterdam, so don't go thinking too badly of bastard homophobic me...
Alice Adams (1935)
Glimpses of Katharine Hepburn at her most luminous
This is an often under-rated film, and nowadays would certainly have been completely forgotten but for Katharine Hepburn's presence. As a satirical view of the 1920s filmed in the mid 1930s it feels somewhat dated. But not Hepburn's performance. This is is among the best of her RKO contract movies. Her innocence, her (modest) social pretension, her search for love, they all ring verosimilar - if not entirely true to life. And the celebrated window scene with tears and rain and sobs being one with Alice's feelings is far more than just 'clever'. Hepburn fans will like it. Others might very well follow along.
Queer as Folk (1999)
The most brilliant series ever!
I have been privileged to see this superb series on DVD, as our national TV channels have been somewhat reticent to air it. I thought it was a fascinating and realistic (to some extent) portrait of what it's like to be gay in this end of millennium Britain. But even though I'm bisexual myself, I felt that the characters sexual preferences were not the central issue. Relationships, love, coping with life's little petty annoyances & major issues was. And the acting was excellent, particularly Craig Kelly (an often under-rated actor), Denise Black and Aidan Gillen. It was a breakthrough drama as far as the portrayal of gay characters on mainstream TV is concerned. I'll admit to that. But more than anything it was a glimpse of televised fiction at its best. No one should miss it. And your (eventual) prejudices might be challenged. All TV drama should aim for similar goals, I think...
Spine-chilling AND intelligent
With no need for conspiracy theories, alien abductions or psychic forevision Dr. Samantha Waters manages to do a very fine job indeed. The photography is brilliant, particularly so when we're led into one of Jack-of-all-Trades' many lairs. The night scenes, too are shot in such a distinctive way that you couldn't possibly mistake this brilliant series for any other currently "out there". This may not yet be a 'realistic' portrayal of life in the bureau, but at least everyone concerned has a field of expertise and seems to excel in it.
Furthermore, this one is a genuine ensemble piece. Ally Walker is undoubtedly the star here, but all the other major characters can easily be defined as being in leading roles themselves.
There IS intelligent life in television after all. Just check out 'Profiler' and take the plunge...
Pat and Margaret (1994)
Northern England gloom vs. Hollywood glitz
Very funny and ultimately very moving portrait of long-lost sisters reuniting. Throw in dysfunctional families, daytime tv shows and pseudo-glamour "a la" California and you find yourself thoroughly engaged in this gently-paced made for tv movie. Julie Walters is superb, Victoria Wood delivers a surprisingly subtle performance, and Celia Imrie and Thora Hird are hilarious in their slightly eccentric roles. Don't miss this one!
Ladrão, Precisa-se!... (1946)
Happy mix of sophisticated high comedy, musical and screwball
Jorge Brum do Canto's film has often been accused of being too "Americanized" and there are certainly touches of little Hollywood in here. But it's rather a funny, fast-paced "universal" romantic comedy. With Maria da Graça at her sexiest, and a remarkable cast of supporting players.
O Pai Tirano (1941)
Probably the best portuguese comedy ever
The 1940s are often referred to as a golden era of portuguese comedies and escapism was really the key word in most of them. But "O Pai Tirano" goes further than that. Deeper than that. A whole slice of life of the aspiring working class, aspiring to be urban low-middle class and respectable. A farce within a farce to have you laughing out loud. And some brilliantly subtle technic devices (for a very low budget film).
And then the acting talent of Vasco Santana, Ribeirinho, Leonor Maia(which for many movie lovers will always be the seemingly unnatainable "Tatão")and a supporting cast of wonderful players.
Perhaps against contemporary expectations it has proven to be an enduring classic. A gem of the small things that make us a human...
Pure Film Poetry
Updating the myths is often done, but not with such absolute beauty. Maria Casares' character (Death) is haunting and alluring. The contemporary beat-generation/parisian café culture only adds to this work of art's unique charms. You may also want to check out "L'Eternel Retour"...
La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928)
Falconetti's face is sublimely human
I saw this film for the very first time last week and was so tremendously captivated by it that I needed to share this rapture. The innovative camera-angles, the close-ups revealing pain and spirituality. It elevates the human condition and the Art of film. I would love to be able to go on into the whys or hows or technicalities. But my words couldn't do the film justice for the imagery still overwhelms me.