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The Grand Tour (2016)
Grand Tour has delivered the goods!
So there was nothing to worry about after all! After the kerfuffle surrounding the end of the three presenting TG at the Beeb, I honestly thought that wherever they went nothing would be the same again in the motor show universe.
Well I am happy to report here that I was wrong, sorry let me write that again properly. I was WRONG! Yep it needed the capitals.
Amazon threw a lot of money at GT, probably 10 times the budget that TG enjoyed and today there must be some very happy execs in that organisation. The show is at once familiar and different, Richard Hammond's boyish charm (my wife is happy), James May's nerdy appeal and Jezza's sardonic take on everything - all is as it was, but there is also an excitement to GT that TG lacked, a production value that exceeds anything that has gone before as far as a magazine show is concerned.
I'm not going to go into any details, no spoilers here, but the whole show is spectacular, great cars, great music, great scenery and most importantly of all - great presenters. If you liked TG you are going to love GT!
Planet Earth II (2016)
At once awe-inspiring and terrifying!
I have just finished watching the first episode on BBC 1 and I am amazed to find that Planet Earth II appears to have bettered the original! The photography is perfect and Attenborough's narration, both content and delivery, is unparalleled.
This initial outing is titled "Islands" and whilst I don't want to dwell on the individual segments, the Racer Snakes vs baby Iguanas is probably the most terrifying piece of natural history film I have ever witnessed, not for the fainthearted or squeamish!
The "making of segment at the end of the documentary proper was particularly enjoyable and informative.
This is what the BBC does best and long may it last.
I thought I'd seen them all, Sixties comedy westerns that is!
This movie is a real gem. It has the quality of actors and the enjoyment of the of "The Sting" (with which you can compare it with), without the complication demanded of the Seventies.
To watch this film for the first time in 2002 was a real eye-opener, how did I manage to miss it!
With excellent actors (Henry Fonda, Joanne Wooodward, Jason Robards, Burgess Meredith and more) I found myself immersed in thoroughly enjoyable hokum.
The scenes involving Paul Ford (Colonel Hall of "Bilko" fame) are especially gratifying.
Sunday afternoon family viewing of the very highest quality, with a twist in the end to boot!
Until They Sail (1957)
In all respects unusual.
Unusual setting for an American wartime movie, New Zealand.
Unusual subject matter, four sisters and their relationships with American soldiers, from one bearing the illegitimate child of the dead son of a Senator, to another living with seven Marines (one at a time) before being murdered by her returning POW New Zealander husband.
Unusual to see Paul Newman deliver such a poor performance so soon after his unforgettable role as Rocky Graziano in the brilliant "Somebody Up There Loves Me".
Unusual for two fine "Stars" Joan Fontaine and Jean Simmons, to leave so little of themselves on a movie.
Unusual that I could be bothered to write a review of such a poor film, give it a miss!
Bargain Hunt (2000)
Amateur collectors try their luck.
Two teams (of two) have a limited budget and an hour at an antiques fair to acquire the best bargains. These are then sold at a real auction and the team with the greatest profit, or smallest loss as is often the case, wins the game.
Enjoyable afternoon viewing, with the host in fine form.
A pale imitation.
Having thoroughly enjoyed four seasons of "Robot Wars" on UK TV, I watched with some expectation "BattleBots" advertised as the US equivalent, I think not!
It was wandering, disjointed, full of irrelevancies and, get this, the episode I watched had only TWO fights. A normal "Wars" would have 4 battles each with 3 robots for openers, followed by 7 more 2 "bot" battles to deliver a show champion to progress to the semi-finals.
I really expected more!
Tiger Bay (1997)
The same location as the movie....but
But the plan to create an "Eastenders" transplanted to Cardiff was a failure. While the multi-ethnic and socio-economic variety portrayed was accurate and at times laudable, the storylines were unconvincing and ultimately boring. The initial 13 episode run was confidently predicted by all concerned to blossom into a full blown soap. but this was not to be. Good riddance! At this point I would like to comment on the plot summary by Martin Smith in which he states that "Tiger Bay" is set in a Welsh seaside town. Cardiff is the capital city of Wales with a population of 300,000+ hardly a town! To all Americans (you are more likely than any to read this) referring to Washington D.C. as a hamlet gives you the right idea. Anyway spleen vented and I can assure you that you will not be able to see this anywhere ever, no matter how many channels you end up with.