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19 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A comedy?, 20 October 2006

This film is advertised as a comedy, and that is the biggest joke of all. It is dull, flat, routine, uninspired and full of boring characters and equally uninteresting actors. Funny it it not, embarrassing it most certainly is. The humour falls flat on its face and the sentimental episodes are toe-curlingly cringe-making. It falls into the "what were they thinking of when they made this" category. Pity the poor projectionist (me) who had to run this waste of film. And it seems now that you cannot see a movie without Michael Douglas popping up somewhere. Is he really so short of money that he has to appear in dross like this? Or is he trying to prove something? Perhaps the latter - it goes with the cosmetic surgery. Talking of which, as I said in my notes on The Sentinel, the most interesting part of a Michael Douglas film is trying to spot the face-lift scars.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Trite and formulaic, 30 September 2006

A critic recently described modern films as overpaid people running away from explosions. With, he could have added, a liberal dose of helicopters and swarms of armed response police teams. The basic story line of "The Sentinel" is so trite and has featured in so many movies that you wonder why anyone would ever want to trot it out again. Presumably, it is just a cynical means of lining the pockets of all concerned. The direction is uninspired, unimaginative and strictly formulaic. The film is far too long and could easily lose half an hour. And, as with so many modern movies, the music score is as overblown as it is dull. As one of the previous reviewers stated, this should have gone straight to television or video. You know you are watching a bad film when you are spending more time trying to spot Michael Douglas's cosmetic surgery scars than you are following the plot.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Dated but very "sixties", 12 June 2006

Despite the hype at the time of its release, this musical offering was never particularly good and, if you are expecting to hear any classic sixties tracks, then go and buy a CD. For the most part the music consists of numbers which you would be disappointed to find on the 'B' side of a single. The dancing is similarly uninspired - the usual (for the time) jumping up and down and from side to side with arms outstretched, rather like a manic aerobics session. The love triangle and older versus younger generation plot is simplistic. The acting is variable with stalwarts such as Ron Moody, Liz Fraser and Michael Ripper there to balance the less able pop artistes. However, as a piece of sixties nostalgia,particularly with its holiday camp setting, the film is well worth a look and Freddie and the Dreamers are always value for money.

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
One for the British nostalgia buffs, 7 April 2006

"It's A Great Day" was based on an early British television series, "The Grove Family", first transmitted in 1954 and apparently named after the BBC's Lime Grove Studio where it was filmed. The script for the film was written by Roland and Michael Pertwee, father and brother of Jon Pertwee, a stalwart of British cinema, television and radio, now best remembered as one of the many incarnations of Dr. Who. The film features all the original television cast members.

The film is a typical quota quickie spin-off from a television series. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "quota quickie", a word of explanation. After the War, Britain was an economic mess. In order to stem the flow of box office takings to Hollywood and to encourage the production of home-made pictures, a quota system was introduced under which a fixed percentage of footage shown in every cinema had to be British. Unfortunately, this rather backfired and the market was flooded with cheap and poorly made films which, despite being frequently unwatchable, were virtually guaranteed a showing. The quota was strictly enforced and many cinemas ended up in court for failure to meet its requirements. It is reported that some of the more prestigious cinemas partly fulfilled the requirements by showing these films to the cleaners first thing in the morning! Despite its humble origins and low budget, an effort was made to instil some drama, suspense and humour into the film and it would no doubt have appealed to that quarter of the British population, who regularly watched the series on television.

The story revolves around the patriarch of the family, building contractor Bob Grove, who is desperately trying to find floor tiles to complete the council housing estate, which is shortly to be opened by Princess Margaret. He is particularly keen to finish the job, as he and his family are on the guest list to meet the Princess. Although the film was made a decade after the war finished, it was only in that year that all restrictions on building materials were finally lifted and many materials were still in short supply. In his innocence Bob buys stolen tiles from crook Charlie Mead, an acquaintance of his son Jack.

The Borough Surveyor does not like Bob and, when he suspects that the tiles were stolen, he sets the police on Bob and rescinds the invitation to meet the Princess. Although Bob is finally exonerated, it is too late to get back on the guest list – but then – guess whose house Princess Margaret's representative has chosen for her to visit for afternoon tea? So, all ends well.

Along the way, we are treated to son Jack's and daughter Pat's romantic interludes, young Lennie's dangerous escapade on some unstable scaffolding and numerous acerbic, and very humorous, asides from Gran, played admirably by Nancy Roberts.

Nowadays, the film is of more interest as a nostalgic piece of 1950's family life – the extended family with the crotchety old granny sitting in the corner making critical comments; the parents in their forties, who look a ten years older; the somewhat stiff and respectful relationship between parents and children; the reverence in which the royal family was held; and, of course, the décor, furnishings, clothes, cars etc.

This film is one for the nostalgia buffs and those interested in early British television. Like many of the quota quickies, it is very parochial, and would be unlikely to travel well. It turns up from time to time in one of the lesser satellite channels and is certainly much more entertaining than the majority of the other quota quickies shown.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
You know it's a bad film when all you want is for the aliens to kill off one of the leading characters, 16 March 2006

In the film "Ed Wood", producer George Weiss admits he is not interested in making classy films, just cheap crap. Ed Wood tells him that he can get him a real star for one of his pictures to which George Weiss replies "So, you've got crap with a star".

The remake of "War of the Worlds" falls pretty much into this category, but as well as stars it has tens of millions of dollars worth of CGI effects.

Perhaps it is supposed to reflect the times with divorce rates going through the roof and one parent families mushrooming, but I am at a loss to see the relevance of this to the story. All I can say is that, in Tom Cruise's shoes, I certainly would have fought tooth and nail NOT to have custody of Dakota Fanning. Within a couple of minutes of her first opening her mouth, I was hoping against hope that this whining petulant brat would fall victim to the Martians' heat ray - and I mean Dakota Fanning, not the character she plays.

And when will film makers realise that, no matter how seamless the special effects, it's the story that counts? Only when suckers like me stop spending good money going to see their limp offerings, I suppose.

I saw the film at the cinema and was later given the DVD as a Christmas present. I haven't bothered to watch it yet. Life's too short.

The Spider (1958)
30 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Some modern directors could take a leaf out of Bert Gordon's book., 16 March 2006

OK, so the special effects are not always that special, though better than many of the period, the story line is routine, though again no worse than that of similar films, and the acting is as one would expect for a film of this type. But, ask yourself, were you bored by it? At least Bert Gordon kept the action going and there were very few dull spots in his films. A lot of modern directors could learn how to pace their films from some of the old B movie directors.

Compare that to the overblown, overlong, CGI laden sci-fi "epics" to which we are currently subjected - and I know which I would prefer.

At the end of the day which is the better film - one made on a shoestring which entertains, or one costing a hundred million dollars which has you looking forward to the end credits?

Overlord (1975)
37 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
A superb evocation of a soldier's life in the weeks preceding D-Day, 12 August 2005

"Overlord" follows the experience of a young soldier from his induction into the army up to his participation in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings.

Beautifully photographed in black and white, the film weaves archive footage seamlessly into the fabric of the story and captures, not only the look, but the very essence of the period.

Until the closing moments, the protagonist is not involved in any fighting. What we see are the minutiae of life for a young soldier being trained and waiting to go into battle – the marching and military exercises; a trip to the cinema and the local village dance, where he meets his first girlfriend; the eve of battle, when he writes his last letter home, fills in the standard army issue will form, and burns all the private papers which he is not permitted to take into battle lest they fall into enemy hands and give away some information of use to the enemy. These small personal details give the film an emotional depth and a feeling for the times, which most war films made in the post war period fail to do.

6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Great clips, poor presentation., 12 September 2004

When voting for this film, it is necessary to distinguish between the wonderful clips, which are the work of others, and the way in which they are presented, which is the work of the producer and director of "That's Dancing".

The majority of clips are excellent, although they do not always represent the stars' best work, presumably because certain excerpts had been used before or were not available for copyright or other reasons. For example the Nicholas Brothers' routine in "Orchestra Wives" is infinitely better than their appearance here.

The same cannot be said for the presentation. One expects to have to watch various presenters spouting a certain amount of bland dialogue, but do they really have to keep up the commentaries during the dances? Some are fairly unintrusive, but others, such as the one which punctuates "42nd Street", completely ruin the routines.

Film clips - 9, presentation -4.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A celluloid record of famous British variety acts of the 1930s., 12 January 2004

"Variety Parade" is simply a filmed record of British variety (vaudeville) acts of the 1930s. As such it gives a fascinating and nostalgic glimpse, not only of the performers, but of a way of life and style of entertainment from a byegone era.

U-571 (2000)
6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Stalin rewrote history, but at least no-one believed it., 11 July 2003

As a Brit, I have to confess to being miffed about this movie showing the Americans capturing the enigma machine. Film is a powerful medium and there must be many out there who believe what they saw on the screen - that is, if they were able to sit through two hours of appalling drivel. What next - the Americans sinking the Bismarck and winning the battle of Britain even before they entered World War II? But the question remains - Why?

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