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Unfortunately this is only available second hand and on video. Bob Mills takes us through the heroes and villains who have littered world cup adventures since 1966 (because the world cup didn't really matter until then).
Hilarious throughout, Mills takes us back to the 1974 World Cup Final, Ronald Koeman's free kick or more importantly Seaman's illogical positioning and of course Terry Fenwick's failure to boot Maradona into the stands.
Mills is always on the mark and this is a thoroughly entertaining piece of TV that has been rarely seen.
Lacks the emotional intensity of The English Patient
Not quite as bad as I thought it was going to be, given what I'd heard and read here and there but still very much The English Patient for the Heat Magazine crowd. Like Pride And Prejudice the direction is strong, probably a bit earnest and the Dunkirk scene was pretty amazing if striving a bit too hard. I thought the story was interesting but the problem was the two leads who were out of their depth. Funnily enough I felt that it was McAvoy who was the weaker of the two as Knightley did manage to generate a couple of acting moments but all too often it felt a bit Harry Enfield when they were trying to deliver their meaningful dialogue. In comparison to The English Patient where it felt completely natural for the characters to talk in that stylised luvvie dialogue, here it just wasn't working and as a consequence it was difficult to feel the characters' emotions so much so that when the emotional wrench does come it falls a bit flat. If they'd have gone with leads that were a bit more mature and had a bit more presence it might have worked but I still think there'd be a bit of a issue with the source material.
Fast Food Nation (2006)
Continuing the tradition of fine Linklater films
Richard Linklater's adaptation is a fictional dramatisation of the non-fiction novel. Playing out more as a narrative on the fast food industry than a critique, the film stops short of being an anti-capitalist diatribe in favour of a simple presentation of the concerns that society shares about such an industry. Following along similar lines to many of Linklater's other works it mixes his traditional free-flowing conversations with tinges of Maria Full Of Grace and Dazed And Confused. Containing some gruesome images the film's strength lies in the free-flowing conversations and the all too familiar ethical choices that the characters face and it's to Linklater's credit that he places more emphasis on the difficultly of these ethical choices than on the emotional impact they have on the characters. It is simple, there's little exploration of the bigger picture and there has been criticism that the character arcs don't interlink which I don't think matters, because the characters are just as much the meat going into the machine as the beef itself. Harshly underrated by the critics it could have been a three hour multi-layered epic that might have failed, instead it's a tight, empathic little film that's definitely worth a watch.
Fascinating documentary about a US underground cartoonist, Robert Crumb. Although I'd heard of Crumb (mainly through American Splendour I wasn't that aware of his work although some of his cartoons were images that I'd seen before. Basically the guy did an assortment of freaky and surreal images straight out of the darker recesses of his mind. Criticised for his portrayal of women in his comics by some, the film delves into what can only be described as a unique family background, where his brothers appear to be as divorced from reality as his comics are. It was good enough to get me to go and check out some of his stuff.
Not as good as Remains Of The Day
After being very impressed with Remains Of The Day I was more than keen to watch this, after hearing a lot of good things about it. After a good start I lost interest about forty five minutes in and upon reflection, felt that the film needed a little bit more character development before plunging into the start of a relationship between writer CS Lewis and a married American woman. I don't know why this didn't grab me because it started well and had a good feel about it, but I think that for me there was too big a leap taken between a cursory relationship to one of great love. I couldn't get into the feelings being presented on screen in the end.
Padenie dinastii Romanovykh (1927)
Exposing some of the myths of the Russian Revolution
Fascinating collection of footage from the years 1913-17 focusing on the Russian Revolution. With an introduction by a Russian historian and cultural expert, it exposed a number of myths about the revolution and in particular, the Bolsheviks.
With this gentleman providing a commentary over the footage that's happening and explaining the propaganda behind not only this film, but the three films that I'd seen by Eisentein, presenting them in a completely different light. Filmwise it wasn't anything special, however the informed commentary was riveting and helps you to understand a bit more about what actually happened, even if it only touches the surface.
Watched in conjunction with Eisenstein's October 1917, Strike and Battleship Potemkin, these are essential viewing.
Lola rennt (1998)
20 minutes of mayhem
I liked this a lot. Franke Potente in the lead role and I can see why she got a couple of Hollywood films after this but the real star of the show is the direction which is superb. Based on a twenty minute period in the main characters' lives it's stretched out for considerably longer with repetitive shots done differently almost each time. There are small twists and turns that take you in a direction you weren't expecting as well as ones that are ludicrous, but they work. The film is played with a real edge of the seat feel to it and doesn't stray away from the central love story too much. The music wasn't great but it played the film perfectly and I think anyone who's enjoyed the likes of Trainspotting or Human Traffic would enjoy this film.
Bande à part (1964)
Interesting but not essential
I found this to be more of a film about film-making than a great piece of cinema in its own right. It started fairly slowly and was unlike anything that I'd seen before but at the same time it wasn't really going anywhere. I watched some of the extras with the DVD and I'm glad I did because it highlighted the camera work and score which is really all that I'd really picked up watching it. The dance scene was brilliant but aside from that I didn't really find much in the characters to hook me in. I understand from the extras that there was no script which I know isn't uncommon with other directors but it did play like that. There was some good interaction between the characters at times but overall the only real spark inside the film itself was the dance. More technical for me than anything else.
One for the Road (2003)
Another overlooked decent Brit film
A black comedy about alcohol addiction. If that makes you think twice about watching it then don't. As you can imagine, a film dealing with such a subject will be pretty dark and this definitely is. Disjointed at times with a plot that doesn't really cover the relationships that the characters are ruining through their own addiction lets this film down. The acting performances are competent and there is some empathy that you develop occasionally. At times it is very, very funny and the film is done in a mix of The Office style documentary and fly-on-the-wall film which works very well. Not the greatest but again significantly better than most of the guff that Hollywood turfs out. 7.5/10.
Sex Lives of the Potato Men (2004)
For British working class males aged 28-40, funnier than you may think
I'm certainly not hailing this as a classic but it is far from the worst film of the year that it was tainted as. Some terrible jokes for sure but some genuine laugh out loud moments as well turned this into a pleasant surprise. My warning is that if you don't like films or television programmes that are done in bad taste then this is not for you. A number of the jokes are cringe-worthy and embarrassingly unfunny yet it's not there where I think the film's gotten the reputation that it has.
When I say that some of the jokes are bad taste I am thinking of the most excruciatingly bad taste jokes that you can possibly think of. It's there were the film is a big hit and miss. Generally the real bad taste jokes are terrible and in some cases I was struggling to watch. I don't mean because it was so unfunny, I mean because they really were not watchable. However I have great constitution when it comes to films and soldier on I did to witness a film that eventually fell apart in the last half hour.
If you're a male of the Gregory's Girl generation, liked early 80s British music i.e. punk, Dexy's, ska and the like I am sure you will be able to appreciate more parts of this film than others who haven't been fortunate enough to be raised with credibility in artistic interpretation as an innate ability. This is closer to the comedy in which I think most males of a similar age to myself will have experienced growing up through school and whilst it is crass and smutty at times it does have enough funny moments to justify it's rental.
Don't expect anything stylish, classy or respectful but this is closer to the England I know and live in than the tired Brit-gangster flicks that get turfed out year after year. Much funnier than Dodgeball and it's only the lack of a real story that stop this being a point higher.. 6/10.