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It's always remarkable to note how one particular weapon can change the balance of power within a continent and some weapons even change the course of history - at least to a degree. With regard to the Longbowmen of England, I think that when they were captured by the French they often had their forefinger and middle-finger cut off in order that were they to escape they would be rendered useless as soldiers (at least with regards to being able to fire a bow and arrow.) And it was due to this that before battles the English archers used to tauntingly display their fingers to the French lines as much as to say, 'Look, I still have the means to do your army harm,', hence the use of the two fingers in the 'V'-sign became a way to insult someone. A very interesting drama-documentary from Cromwell Productions who made a veritable plethora of them during the 1990s.
Outpost: Black Sun (2012)
Bring on Outpost 3...
Exceptionally well-made piece of work with top-notch production values all round. Fantastic acting from the leads down to the small parts, great use of sound, excellent dramatic lighting and powerful, gripping camera-work especially in the action sequences. Some truly shocking moments and great plot-twists and surprises. My favourite parts of this film were actually not the battle-scenes but some of the dialogue scenes particularly the final one with the two men. Extremely good casting and some great performances from not just the leads who were uniformly great but all the tiny roles as well since it's essential to ensure every actor (no matter how small the role is) is great in a film like this otherwise cracks would start to show.
Revealing and fascinating.
An exceptionally engaging drama-documentary on all counts. Many people will have heard of Joe McCarthy most probably by the term 'McCarthy Witch- hunts' but will not know anything much about him. It was revealing in many fundamental ways (which I obviously won't mention here) and a fascinating insight into politics and the way human beings can manipulate each other and the media. Excellent production values throughout and extremely good performances from the whole cast. John sessions is excellent in the leading role proving himself a dramatic actor of real quality. His American accent is superb as well especially considering that he's actually (so i understand), Scottish. Philip Bulcock appears in a small to medium sized role and gives an excellent performance as does Peter Brooke and Ryan McClusky. These actors have worked together on a number of drama- documentary films previously.
Land of the Blind (2006)
Deserves more praise that it received
This was an extremely powerful film in so many ways and I'm somewhat surprised it wasn't hailed more than it was and that it didn't get the extent of theatrical releases that it actually deserved. Fundamentally about the fact that power can certainly corrupt and absolutely power even more so, Land of the Blind is often a very bleak vision of how humans will feel perfectly justified in going to extreme lengths to ensure that their end-goals are realised and that the means to achieve those ends become immaterial. Ralph Fiennes is a brave an excellent actor who I've seen astound me on stage on many occasions (let alone his excellent film-work) and he doesn't disappoint at all in this hugely powerful role. Tom Hollander once again probably steals the show with his psychotic portrayal - a truly frightening character and a marvellously brave performance yet again from this amazing actor who seems able to be brilliant in every single role he ever does and all the roles are so hugely different.
A Changed Man (2003)
Good direction of crowd scenes
Normally I wouldn't spend a great deal of time (if any) remarking about how the Supporting Artists and extras come over in a film. However, with regards to the scenes in A Changed Man there are scenes aplenty (due to the fact that it all takes place at a big party) in which the natural behaviour of a crowd is paramount and the Supporting Artists in this film must surely be commended as must the director's handling of them. They blend in beautifully and effortlessly and the reactions to the dramatic events are excellent. Next time I watch it I'll do so and perhaps air my thoughts about the main action more but it's not that often Extras get mentioned or favourably remarked upon hence my comments here.
Human Traffic (1999)
Moments of quality
Patchy but had its moments of quality without a doubt. Very good, released and quite brave performance from the lead John Simms who was well cast in this role of a somewhat unlikely kind of romantic hero managing in the end to overcome his sexual worries. The scene he has with Koop towards the latter part of the film is especially good as they stare, drug-addled and fascinated looking down at a table. The film did have its cringe-worthy moments (perhaps the Alternative National Anthem being one) but it's saved by other moments of clever insight into Human interaction such as the scene where Jip has to talk to a guy who he admits isn't actually an unpleasant person but he just doesn't like him and the dialogue, direction and performances perfectly convey the thoughts that have run through everyone's head at some stage in life when we are desperate to extricate ourselves from a strained conversation which we wish we hadn't had to enter into in the first place. Justin Kerrigan pops up again (as is his way) in the role of Ziggy Marlon and gives one of the best cameo performances in the whole film.
Urban Ghost Story (1998)
This film manages to hold the attention well and is genuinely disturbing and frightening at times as well. Good performances from the cast and good direction. Obviously, the budget was pretty low but they make good use of it. One of the well-performed medium-sized roles is played by an actress who ended up doing truly astonishingly great work in The Office as an irritating and self-obsessed co-worker of Tim's. Great to see actors careers progressing especially when so well-deserved. Perhaps Urban Ghost Story did suffer slightly from a somewhat bland title. Jason Connery inhabits the role well. It did achieve a theatrical release in the UK though not of immense proportions.
Pig in a Poke (1998)
the only way i could see...
...anyone finding the premise of this film funny would be if they were a Sun-reader who'd perhaps had their brains removed (or is that actually a contradiction in terms bearing in mind the fact that the readers of said tome may not have intellectual faculty in the first place)? However, I digress. The 'hilarious' plot of this short sees an overweight and over-sized gent who has got stuck in his loft and the hapless authorities are doing their best to free him. Cue many a fart-gag and other such side-splitting fare. The character who ends up stuck like a 'pig in a poke' spends much of his time (not surprisingly) stuck, and to save the actor the physical discomfort of having to literally be stuck there for hours on end, the actor's bottom half has been replaced for these sections by a (terrible) body double in the form of a pair of legs attached to a very sizable midriff (at least that's what it looked like to me). However, the director must have forgotten that a normal human being would be struggling and audibly moaning all this time they were stuck not simply dangling there in utter stillness for hours on end. Having said that, the film does have it's compensations in the form of some good performances so the director must be commended on his casting and his ability to get good work out of a not-incredible script. Good use of music too to evoke the 'feel' of certain moments. A broad comedy with over-sized emphasis on 'broad' with a capital 'B'.
Making a drama out of a crisis...
Perhaps if there was ever a subject in which the 'drama' side of a drama- documentary was not only unnecessary but positively unhelpful would be in a self-help video about what to bear in mind when getting divorced. Why anybody would want to actually sit down and watch through the 'dramatic' sequences displaying the break-up of a fictional marriage is anybody's guess. The sequences with the real-life lawyer/solicitor would perhaps have been better simply as delivered straight to camera with the information on the screen which needed to be digested by the viewer. Hopefully if anyone did actually buy this title then the factual information would have been helpful to them but that's all that this piece has to offer.
Tight Trousers (1990)
A reasonable first film
I can't say that I found this 'comedy' amusing at all though that's not to say the cast and crew were without talent. The director Metin Huseyin has gone on to direct a string of good-quality projects and the lead actor, Vas Blackwood was excellent in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I suppose i just find the thought of a young black man dressed as Margaret Thatcher on his way to a party not the funniest thing I've ever seen in my whole life. Fairly decent production values unsurprisingly enough (since the film is from the best film school in Europe, the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield) at least alongside Prague Film School which is also excellent.