Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Much Ado About Nothing (1984)
Shows Branagh how it's done!
This remains, for me, one of the best of this superb BBC series & certainly the best version of this particular play. This production saw no need to dress up the actors in ridiculous fake-military costumes (a vice Branagh shows off in all his productions, I know not why) or cut those parts which it didn't like (either do Shakespeare as he wrote it or write your own play!). Robert Lindsay reveals previously unsuspected Shakespearian talent & I would dearly love to see him take on some other such roles. He is superb in this, using his comic ability to bring out the humorous essence of Benedick & the beautiful Cherie Lunghi (who has never shown me a poor performance, be it in Shakespeare, Hornblower or even "A Touch of Frost") is a perfect partner, being both cuttingly witty & enticing -- enough to make any Benedick risk her barbs to chase her! Admittedly, Jon Finch isn't as good as Denzil Washington, who also showed untapped Shakespearian talent (a future Othello or even Iargo, maybe?) but he isn't actually bad. All in all, a joy to watch & a great introduction to Shakespeare's lighter works. Sincerely recommended.
The Path to 9/11 (2006)
If you're seeking 100% accuracy, maybe Hollywood's the wrong place to look! Just enjoy the film, OK?
First off, let me say I'm not a Republican or a Democrat -- I'm not even an American, so I consider myself neutral. Anyway, the main thing I noticed following my reading of the anti-film reviews shown in the Comments section is that whereas so many Republican viewers complained about inaccuracies & mistakes in this film, there were very, very few errors reported in the 'Goofs' section. Strange, no? Could it be that the inaccuracies were those that disagreed with the opinions of the writers rather than reality? Anyway, anyone expecting ANY film to be 100% accurate is born to be constantly disappointed. Was 'Tora Tora Tora' (another film dealing with wasted chances to prevent a disaster) completely accurate? Was even 'Flags of our Fathers' infallible? No, & not even Mr. Eastwood would claim otherwise. If you want 100% accuracy (which might also disagree with previously held opinions), use an encyclopaedia -- though even these might upset the more politically chauvinist readers. Personally, I found this film interesting, provocative & providing plenty of food for thought. Well worth the watching.
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
When filmmakers had courage & didn't rely on remakes!
Having sat through the 2004 version (which had even less right to the original title than the remade 'Italian Job') made me appreciate this fine film even more. Watching it again does nothing to reduce one's enjoyment. The power, originality & courage of this script, the fine acting (especially by Harvey & Lansbury) & the 'what if' thoughts this story inspires all make it one of those films that viewers are very unlikely to forget. OK, Sinatra was not a great actor -- but if acting ability was the criteria for being in films, the profession would be a lot less crowded! The best thing about this film is the lack of hysteria, the total calm, almost matter of fact way it plays. Being in black & white also adds to the impact. To summarise: if you haven't seen either the '62 or '04 version, watch this one first -- & stop there! If you've already seen the latest one, rent this classic & see how good things could have been!
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Shares the title but not the quality of the '62 classic (possible spoiler)
Just like the 'new' "Italian Job", this film's makers first took a trusty, classic film title & then struggled to find a way to use it in the modern world. Suddenly, a patrol brainwashed as Korean PoWs becomes a patrol brainwashed by an American company surely hard for even die-hard conspiracy theorists to swallow. Just looking at the cast list tells you who the hero is, as Denzel Washington is so averse to playing bad guys (though he usually does a good job of doing so when he dares to try). Similarly, the bad guy, in line with well-accepted Hollywood tradition, has to be a foreigner, in this case a South African scientist with no trace of South African accent. Similarly, why does a large American private equity company choose to name itself after a Chinese region Manchuria? To summarise, the original 1962 film was a brave, worrying & compelling production, whereas this makes Oliver Stone's "JFK" seem like a documentary! Rent the original & skip this one.
Running Wild (1998)
If you want baby elephants, watch 'Dumbo' -- it's more realistic!
Let me start by saying that I grew up in Zimbabwe not just in Zim but in the bush, & so I welcomed the chance to see the beautiful scenery of my homeland.
That said, let me add that I didn't finish this film, as it was made 'Bambi' look like the 'Dirty Dozen', for at least Bambi was reasonably accurate the deer didn't get a job with NASA or solve the troubles of the world! The Zim scenery was beautiful, but then even Hollywood can't change that. However, the price the filmmakers paid to use that scenery (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here) was too high. For example:
1. The way that the bad guys were mostly white. Yes, there are some whites at the top of poaching but there are damn'd few at the 'coalface' end, in the field! Racism is bad whichever way it goes.
2. I'm sorry to disillusion you, folks, but there are precious few North Americans even in African cities, let alone in the middle of the bush. The fact that the only 2 white folk in the district are both from across the Atlantic is pushing coincidence towards fantasy. That's like showing a film about a Mexican game park & the only 'gringos' are a Brit & a Norwegian! Not very plausible.
3. The facilities in the bush were all like some a safari holiday arranged by Abercrombe and Kent. I know they were too much like roughing it for the kids but in reality, anyone working in the bush has to put up with a lot less comfort than these guys did.
Poaching is a blight upon the face of civilisation & anyone who buys or uses ivory should be forced to work on an anti-poaching patrol for a while, as many of my school friends (black & white) did. Therefore, anything that publicises this evil should be welcomed. However, this film wasted the opportunity to do that, preferring instead a scenario whereby a modern day (& suitably PC) John Wayne type figure comes in & saves Africa.
A few well-chosen changes & a writer that had least spent time in the outer suburbs of Harare, if not into the bush itself, could have made this a worthwhile film. As it is, the Eurovision Song Contest would be preferable if that's possible!
NCS Manhunt (2002)
The BBC lays another egg!
The BBC has made many great dramas, & David Suchet has given us some fine performances. Sadly, neither is true of this contrived TV series. The fact that no 'Technical adviser'is listed says a lot, as there is no UK police unit like the one featured in this series -- & hopefully never will be! The writers seem to have tried to transplant 'Hawaii 5-0' to the UK, but sadly, there are no sunny beaches or exotic ladies to distract us from the weak plot, paper thin characters, & total lack of realism. I watched this on BBC Prime in Thailand but after tolerating a couple of oh so predictable episodes, I would prefer to watch a Thai drama -- even though I don't understand a word! Do yourself a favour -- avoid this series & keep your fingers crossed that the BBC learns from its mistakes.
Red Cap (2001)
Good idea but spoilt by the 'trendies'
I agree that the idea of a cop series involving Military Police is a good one, & it must be said that when compared with other similar programmes, like the truly awful 'JAG', this isn't bad. I also admit that my own experience with the Red Caps was a while ago. However, I cannot believe that the MPs have relaxed that much. Military detectives with long, permed hair? Sergeants speaking to a Warrant Officer with their tie undone & their hands in their pockets? Basically, everyone on almost first name terms, regardless of rank. Sorry, but this seems to be an obvious case of someone who dreamed up a regular cop show & was then told to change it to a military setting. The interplay between the characters would work in a regular detective series, but not with the RMP. Some of the stories are good, the basic plot is sound, but this series needs to get more in touch with military reality.
Where the Spies Are (1966)
Not bad enough to be funny
I happened across this film whilst channel surfing late at night. At first, I thought it was a parody, a bit like 'Casino Royale' -- which Niven must be a lot more proud of! Sadly, I soon came to the realisation that this was not playing for laughs but wanted to be taken seriously. I will concede that Niven, Davenport & others do their best, but the wooden plot, corny lines & truly terribly dated music ruin any efforts by them. This film came out just a couple of years after "From Russia with Love" & is obviously trying to compete with the Bond series. Sadly, it fails miserably. Watch it if you have trouble sleeping, but only if you tire of watching the paint dry!
A film that gave me a general feeling of 'That's nice'.
This really is a classic Lemmon/Wilder film, officially a comedy but also very touching. One of the best things in this film is Clive Revill, who reveals an otherwise well hidden talent for comedy as the hotel manager. OK, I'm sure his performance is stage Italian & possibly (just possibly) rather exaggerated, but he underplays it nicely & is certainly the lynchpin of the film. In some ways, Lemmon's role in this reminds me of 'Missing', in which he brilliantly portrayed a man who slowly changes as he finds his old preconceived notions proved wrong. So it is here, as a very strait-laced, self-important and parochial American slowly finds himself becoming infused with the Italian spirit. All in all, a delightful film, both funny and tender, and one that gave me a general feeling of 'That's nice'.
And the Temple of rubbish might be a better name!
Spielberg is undeniably a great director but this film is so awful that almost any film by any director would look good in comparison. The plot crosses the line from good yarn into fantasy, the mistakes they make whilst revealing their lack of knowledge about South Asia would horrify anyone less geographically challenged, & the naive way they make a Shanghai street urchin (whose language would make him more at home in Hong Kong) so devoted to American culture. barely acceptable in a kids picture but in a film whose rating makes it unviewable to most kids, no. The fact that Kate Capshaw had to beat over 100 other actresses to get this role makes me dread to think what the others were like! (I still remember her fake-fluent Japanese in 'Black Rain'!) However, even the best of directors have their weaknesses; Clint Eastwood had Sandra Locke & this film 'introdcuced us to the future Mrs Spielberg. I read that she had to learn how to scream for this film, but as she does very little else, what did she do for her screen test -- or maybe I don't want to know! If it's this or a film about paint drying, toss a coin!