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Spike Island (2012)
Another great British film...
The UK is good at this...creating great cinema. Some of the drivel Hollywood is churning out at the moment (constant re-boots because they have frankly run out of ideas), makes you realise how good the UK film industry is at this game. I enjoyed this film immensely. One reason- I remember the time and music-I was 25 when this film was set, and I remember the big furore around The Stone Roses. I didn't fall for it myself at the time. I was (and still am) a big fan of New Order, and they for me were the greatest Manchester band, but fair play to the fans of the Roses, everyone likes different things. The film is a bright, very watchable, and at times funny experience, each character played very well. The film doesn't always follow the rules of predictability-I won't spoil it, but certain aspects could have turned out differently, but the writers didn't go down that route, and I found it better for it. All in all, if you like The Stone Roses it's a no brainer-see this film. Music fan? See this film. Great soundtrack too. 8/10.
The real Laurel and Hardy story told at last...
A drama we have been waiting for, for so many years. A drama about the "real" Laurel and Hardy. As a fan of the comic duo for many years, I have waited with baited breath for a Hollywood movie of their lives-without any satisfaction. Not one. But then along comes a television drama to set the ball rolling, and hopefully, soon, Hollywood may just listen. This excellent drama, shown on the BBC in the UK, tells the story of Stan Laurel, visiting his friend Oliver Hardy in 1957, sadly on his death bed, having suffered a stroke some months previous. The story follows Stan and Ollie through flashbacks of their career highlights, and shows us the real duo-the ambitious Stan, an opposite of his screen persona, and Ollie, very close to the screen version we all love, eager at the end of the working day for his round of golf. All in all an absolute must for Laurel and Hardy fans worldwide-and Hollywood-we are waiting for the the big screen biopic.
Screen Two: The Firm (1989)
Gritty, violent, gripping....
Finally got to re-watch this British classic on the newly released DVD, and it's as good as I remember it in 1988. Football hooligans strive for power, trying to prove themselves before a venture with their teams into Europe. Gary Oldman showed what a talent he was as the lead character Bex Bissell, estate agent by day, Inter City Crew leader by night (and Saturday afternoons of course!).The film is relentless in it's progress, keeping you gripped, and you see the commitment the characters have with their commitment to the cause. All the actors play their part, and the only critisism of the film is at 67 minutes it's too short-you want it to go on longer, but all in all, it is a classic, and well worth watching. 8/10.
The Music Box (1932)
Unbeatable, classic, laugh out loud comedy...
Laurel & Hardy! Just the names alone brings to my mind the most talented comedy duo ever, bar none! And this, "The Music Box" is probably the finest of their work, though there are others that are very close! Too many to mention in fact.I've spent the last month or two having a Laurel and Hardy film season, and I watched around 35 of their films, and naturally I laughed many many times....theres nothing better to cheer you up. "The Music Box" itself stands out-it was the film that won them an oscar, wonderfully written, and marvellously filmed! Those steps would put most people off just to climb them on their own, but with a piano!!!Classic! If you haven't seen this movie, and there can't be many who haven't, see it as soon as you can, and when you want a good old fashioned laugh! 9.5/10
Thicker Than Water (1935)
"You gave it to him to give to me.....you're all nuts!"
Another fabulous short from Stan and Ollie, this time finding Ollie with money troubles, drawing his (and his wifes) savings from the bank to pay off their furniture! One thing leads to another, but I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it! Brilliant, and some of the lines in this movie are classic! 7.5/10
Ghost Dog....one of those movies you can watch again and again, and never tire of:well I think so anyway.Yes, it's better second time around, lots of films are, and it's a film that grows on you more and more.I suppose it's another of those movies we could call a "cult", though that seems to be a bit of an over-used phrase nowadays. Forest Whitaker, as ever, is outstanding in his role, and you can't help but smile to yourself at the rather comical small time crook family who believe they're running the show.All in all a fine movie to pass the time, and one I believe you will return to again. 7.5/10
The Time Machine (1960)
One of the first movies I ever saw....
I've just watched this again....and yes it's still as enchanting now as when I first saw it all those years ago!I remember seeing it when I was a boy, and being totally awe inspired by the concept of time travel.Since then I must have seen this movie 20 times or more, and it hasn't lost any of it's charm.Rod Taylor still shines as the victorian gent (though the movie is set in America as opposed to London, or so we're led to believe), and the entire storyline grabs you.My five year old daughter saw it for the first time the other day, and she loved the Morlocks, and she watched it constantly:another viewer hooked by the films charm.Sadly, the remake does nothing for this movie, though if you set the two apart, the remake is fairly good, but don't compare them together-in my mind the 2002 version isn't a remake at all but a new version of the original story by H.G.Wells.Anyway, in my mind a classic movie, one of my top 250 movies (if I could concievably make a list that is!), and one to be seen! 8.5/10
Lock, Stock... (2000)
Brilliance, a fine example of how a follow on TV series should be...
Well, the anticipation of this series was there when it was first aired in early 2000....and it paid off! I've just re-watched the seven episode set on DVD, and nothing has been lost in the 3 years since first release....in fact the whole series is very watchable all over again! If you like the two movies, "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch", you'll absolutely love this made for TV series, its a fine example of how a TV follow up to a movie should be.Fine acting from a very fine cast-the four "heroes" of the show, played brilliantly by Daniel Caltagirone, Scott Maslen, Shaun Parkes and Del Synnott, and the two classic bad guys played by Ralph Brown and Christopher Adamson, as Miami Vice and his faithfull right hand man Three Feet. Put together, these guys are unforgettable, a cult in the making, and it must be said this series should be bigger, more widespread, so a bigger audience can appreciate it.I personally hope a follow-up movie can come of this-Miami Vice is too good a character to lose on film, but then they all are to be honest! I can't to be honest think of any negative points about this collection of stories, other than there hasn't been a second series!So yes, if you enjoyed the movies, dig this out....you won't be dissapointed. 9/10 Classic