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Markhoni

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13 reviews in total 
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Troy (2004)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Doesn't trust the source material as usual, 30 May 2004

Another Hollywood epic that spent zillions on getting the costumes, armour etc looking just right and nothing on the script. The dialogue was mostly banal and the British 'Epic Movie Repertory Company' (O'Toole, Cox, Shrapnel, Eve etc) were largely wasted as a result. The best lines were those that most closely echoed Homer e.g. 'There are no pacts between lions and men'and parts of the scene where Priam comes to plead for his son's body. Why won't filmmakers trust the source material more? Granted a film is different from an epic poem, but there are good reasons why the Iliad has survived for 3,000 years. Instead this film got rid of those pesky gods, killed off key characters who don't die in the original and reduced the women to simpering dolts. 'I've had a bad week' (Helen). Even the nods to some sort of knowledge of the original story were ham-fisted-when Paris hands his sword to Aeneas at the end he somehow fails to recognise his own brother-in-law!

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Charming comedy which did not outstay its welcome, 18 June 2003

A whimsical observational comedy from Victoria Wood. As another contributor said, not a million miles away from the works of Allan Bennett. It featured a mixture of Wood's 'repertory company', familiar from her other shows such as Duncan Preston and Celia Imrie and talented Northern English character actors such as Sue Devaney and Thelma Barlow (both veterans of the long-running soap 'Coronation Street') The main characters were richly detailed, the lesser ones caricatures, but very recognisable types. The one false note, I feel, was struck by the character of the heroine Bren's alcoholic, fantasist mother who made occasional raucous appearances. She was a grotesque figure, out of the wilder reaches of Charles Dickens, and seemed to have been included merely to give an opportunity for Wood's old pal Julie Walters to overact shamelessly. Victoria Wood bravely decided to end this popular show after only two series while it was still fresh (like the dinnerladies' bacon butties).

10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A Sunday Night Institution, 17 March 2003

'The Brothers' was a cut-price British precursor to 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' set in the glamorous, cut-throat world of...truck haulage. This family saga was a BBC Sunday night fixture in the 1970's and acquired cult status, in amongst other countries, the Netherlands and Israel (as confirmed by another contributor). In each run the Hammond brothers faced domestic crises and attempted takeovers from ruthless business rivals - in successive series an abrasive Aussie played by Mark 'Taggart' McManus; the slimey Paul Merrony played by Colin Baker and a bizarre aircraft hire outfit run by the sultry Kate O'Mara and the sozzled Mike Pratt. The Brothers survived losing its leading man, Glynn Owen , early on and the fact that his replacement in the role of Ted Hammond, Edward O'Connell was nothing like him in appearance or character. O'Connell subsequently tried to quit the show to become a painter but was lured back. The beautiful Gabrielle Drake, wife of one of the brothers, quit between series and was promptly bumped off in an off-screen car crash. The show was held together by the redoubtable matriarch Mary Hammond, played by Jean Anderson (later in 'Tenko'), who was an excellent actress and a close friend in real life of her arch-enemy on the show, Jennifer, formerly her late husband's mistress and now married to her eldest son. The show finished rather abruptly while it was still very popular and you got the impression that any other TV station would have flogged the concept for several more series. The BBC later made a sort of camped-up version for the 1980's called 'Howard's Way', set in a boatyard.

5 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
The sad decline of the Gerry Anderson franchise, 28 February 2003

Space:1999 marked the end of Gerry Anderson's ill-fated and ill-advised foray into live-action drama after the success of his puppet sci-fi epics like 'Thunderbirds'. This was po-faced tosh, poorly acted and scripted with a scientifically ludicrous premise. The tone of unrelieved misery was lightened a little in the second series with the introduction of characters such as a shape-shifting alien and more comic-book capers. However budgetary restraints were affecting the usually good Anderson special effects (the same shot of an Eagle transporter blowing up recurs in several episodes)and as with UFO the show would have benefitted from the advice of someone with even the most rudimentary scientific knowledge.

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Technically superior but lacks charm of 'Thunderbirds', 24 February 2003

Anderson's follow up to 'Thunderbirds' is far more brutal and pessimistic about the future. Virtually every episode begins with the Mysterons murdering someone to 'reconstruct' them under their control. The puppets are technically superior to ThunderBirds, Stingray etc and the special effects by Derek Meddings and co are excellent. There are some nice touches-the multi-racial, equal opportunity organisation 'Spectrum', the puppet 'guest stars',particularly the Robert Mitchum lookalike, and the fact that Colonel White, the Spectrum commander and the Mysterons share the same voice (is this symbolically significant as opposed to Anderson economising on actors?).However, overall it lacked the charm and innocent appeal of its predecessors. For pedants like me there were also some holes in the basic concept. It was quietly forgotten that Captain Scarlet himself was not the original but a Mysteron reconstruction. Was there no danger of him being taken over again? Like the workings of the Star Trek transporter the exact nature of his indestructibility was left vague. In the opening credits he is shown to be bullet proof, but in the series itself he just seems to be able to recover quickly from catastrophic injuries. Anyway, as far as I recall none of the other Mysteron agents were indestructible so why was he? Anderson is reputedly remaking the series as of 2003 so perhaps we'll learn some answers. Hope it's better than some of his latter day shows like 'Terrahawks' and the abysmal 'Space Precinct'

"UFO" (1969)
2 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Flawed Concept and execution, 24 February 2003

As another contributor said this was potentially a brilliant series with a premise years ahead of its time and a sophisticated, adult development from the Anderson puppet series. Unfortunately it suffered from some pretty ropey acting and scripts, comical costumes and at times the otherwise excellent special effects showed signs of cost-cutting, looking less sophisticated than e.g. Captain Scarlet. The decision to set the programme only 10 years in the future damaged its shelf life. There are numerous holes in the basic concept-e.g why do the Interceptors only have one missile and why are they streamlined when they only fly in space? Why do the aliens obligingly send their UFOs to earth only one at a time? How can SHADO cover the entire earth's surface with only one submarine? Sadly, as with 'Space 1999' the series is also let down by a lack of even basic scientific knowledge which makes some of the story premises (e.g. 'Close Up')utterly ludicrous. Ah well, at least there is the lovely Gabrielle Drake...

22 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Intelligent, moving epic, 22 February 2003

I first saw this series when it was repeated by the BBC in the early Seventies on Sunday afternoons. I watched several of the episodes with my grandmother whose beloved brother died at the Battle of the Somme. It is one of the main reasons that I am interested in the First World War, why I became a historian and why I take groups of schoolchildren to the battlefields every year. After years of claiming it was 'out of date' and 'unshowable' the BBC have released it on video/DVD and shown it on TV on Saturday evenings. As I started to watch the first episode the hairs on the back of my neck stood up-the portentous music,Sir Michael Redgrave's melifluous narratiion, the superbly literate script by John Terraine and Correlli ('Bill') Barnett, the archive footage (even if much of it is used out of context)-it was all as I remembered it. This series provided the blueprint for many others, especially 'The World at War'. It is a timeless classic which should be seen by anyone with the remotest interest in history or a moving story superbly told. Interestingly the series was masterminded by John Terraine and, as such, embodies the then unfashionable 'revisionist' view that not all the generals (especially Field Marshal Haig)were blundering idiots who sent men cruelly to their deaths but were limited by the available technology into fighting grim attrition battles as the only means of victory. This now pretty much the academic orthodoxy-40 years after this classic series was made!

"The Bill" (1984)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A good series spiralling into absurdity, 12 January 2003

'The Bill', along with the BBC's medical shows 'Holby City' and 'Casualty' has been transformed from a popular drama series into a straightforward soap opera. The clearest sign of this is the steady replacement of the old cast over recent years with refugees from 'East Enders', 'Coronation Street' and 'Brookside'. The problem with this is that instead of the old format where crimes would be investigated each week with characters' personal lives providing occasional subplots, the two have become merged. Each crime in Sun Hill now involves one of the regular's wife/lover/child/brother etc. Long lost friends and relatives appear out of the blue to be gunned down or abducted. Like Holby City in particular the plots have become ever more sensational and ludicrous. Several of the cast who were to be written out perished in a fire at the Police Station-started by one of the other characters!This character is still in the show and his crime has now been quietly forgotten. Another character was kidnapped and murdered by a female serial killer who was so over the top she practically foamed at the mouth.The Superintendent went mad and shot himself, but not before getting another of the characters pregnant. Every regular is having an affair with or secretly fancies one of the others. At least three of the regular characters are seriously deranged, one is a drug addict and another a complete crook. Some of the characters, including the new ones are engaging and well acted-my interest in the show always revives when Suprintendent Okaro, Inspector Gina Gold or DCI Jack Meadows are involved and actually carrying out police work. The Bill's revamp has apparently increased its audience significantly, but can it avoid sinking under the weight of its increasingly top-heavy and absurd plotlines?

"The Bill" (1984)
24 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
A good series spiralling into absurdity, 12 January 2003

'The Bill', along with the BBC's medical shows 'Holby City' and 'Casualty' has been transformed from a popular drama series into a straightforward soap opera. The clearest sign of this is the steady replacement of the old cast over recent years with refugees from 'East Enders', 'Coronation Street' and 'Brookside'. The problem with this is that instead of the old format where crimes would be investigated each week with characters' personal lives providing occasional subplots, the two have become merged. Each crime in Sun Hill now involves one of the regular's wife/lover/child/brother etc. Long lost friends and relatives appear out of the blue to be gunned down or abducted. Like Holby City in particular the plots have become ever more sensational and ludicrous. Several of the cast who were to be written out perished in a fire at the Police Station-started by one of the other characters!This character is still in the show and his crime has now been quietly forgotten. Another character was kidnapped and murdered by a female serial killer who was so over the top she practically foamed at the mouth.The Superintendent went mad and shot himself, but not before getting another of the characters pregnant. Every regular is having an affair with or secretly fancies one of the others. At least three of the regular characters are seriously deranged, one is a drug addict and another a complete crook. Some of the characters, including the new ones are engaging and well acted-my interest in the show always revives when Suprintendent Okaro, Inspector Gina Gold or DCI Jack Meadows are involved and actually carrying out police work. The Bill's revamp has apparently increased its audience significantly, but can it avoid sinking under the weight of its increasingly top-heavy and absurd plotlines?

19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
The forgotten Perry/Croft series, 25 October 2002

This was the follow up to the immortal 'Dad's Army'and while sharing a wartime setting and comedy based on character had a somewhat harder and cruder edge and was less reliant on whimsy. Perhaps as a result of this, despite the fact that it lasted several series it never gained a real place in the nation's affections to the same extent as Dad's Army. It also straddled a changing period in Britain's attitude to racial stereotyping. The 1970's had begun with the crude 'Love Thy Neighbour' but ended with the first sitcoms featuring more than token black casts (e.g 'The Fosters') and 'It Ain't Half...' was increasingly criticized for its attitude even though as another correspondent says, the Asian characters usually outwit their British 'masters'. Michael Bates as Ranji Ram is probably the last comical asian character to be played by a white actor in makeup a la Peter Sellers. (Bates had lived in India as a boy). Interestingly 'The Simpsons' contains an Indian family whose 'jolly good, sahib' voices and behaviour would be pretty much unacceptable on a British TV programmae today and is very similar to the portrayal of the asian characters in 'It ain't half hot...'. The pint size singer Don Estelle formed an unlikely duo with Sergeant Major Windsor Daies for a few UK hits. Sadly Don is now reduced to busking round Lancashire towns in his 'It Ain't Half...' costume these days.


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