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Bunny and the Bull (2009)
Unique adventure with hope and melancholy.
I love surreal films and this was one I overlooked. I'm glad I finally gave it a chance. The trailer doesn't really do it justice. My favourite cameo actor was Julian Barratt of the Boosh. (I was disappointed with Noel's scene though.) Also pleased to see Richard Ayoade. While these two provide light relief, the main story-line is dark and traumatic. It is accompanied by bizarre animated sequences and an excellent soundtrack by the Ralfe Band. Stephen and Bunny's loyal and tortured relationship is at the heart of this film though. Their adventure is revealed through Stephen's memories stored up in his flat. They are imaginatively linked. The conclusion is perfect.
Les revenants (2012)
Eerie, compelling viewing.
This is the best creepy drama I've seen this year. I was gripped every second. The title sequence is full of mysteries. Disturbing and yet beautiful imagery. The music is by Mogwai and it stirs the soul. It is the very heart of the series. All the cast are excellent. The "Returned" characters, especially the young Vincent, are both sympathetic and scary by turns. Some are seeking love and acceptance. All are hungry and confused. They are not your typical horror monster. They are just people who happen to have been given a new chance at life. The plot-line unfolds slowly and subtly. Some scenes are left to the imagination, but there are still shocks. Certainly lots of questions which lead to questions, but that did not bother me. I was simply drawn further in. I am excited about the 2nd series.
A Field in England (2013)
Incredible Cast. Mesmerising Movie. Fantastic surrealism.
Excited by the trailer, I chose to order the DVD. I was not disappointed. The cast includes a favourite actor of mine, Julian Barratt. He's only in a single scene, but he is memorable. All the casting is marvellous, especially for O'Neill and Whitehead, the main adversaries. The black and white imagery is astounding. There is intimacy and violence, humour and surreal beauty. It's a unique experience and I was mesmerised. While I am usually slow to watch commentaries and extras, for this film, I devoured them. There's also a Masterclass available on the internet. This is definitely my Film of the Year and I would encourage you to see it. It's impossible to describe and will no doubt divide, but it's certainly a triumph for all cast and crew. A full 10 from me certainly.
Family Tree (2013)
Chris O'Dowd is an extremely lovable actor and simply perfect for the role of Tom. He carries each episode well, being charming to almost everyone, even when embarrassed. He shows enthusiasm for each new branch discovered and participates willingly in all family activities. The scene stealer, however, is Monk, the constant puppet companion of Tom's eccentric sister, Bea. Nina Conti is delightful. I also enjoyed Tom Bennett as his daft best friend, Pete. The show gently mocks the "Who am I?" documentaries, plus other genres via characters' televisions. The script-less format means there is some miss, but mainly it works well. The actors are creative and are having fun with each other. The relationships between everyone, especially Tom and Bea, are touching. I hope this can get renewed.
The Secret of Crickley Hall (2012)
James Herbert Done Right
I have read the book and this is the best adaptation of a James Herbert novel yet. The first episode is the scariest - lots of ghost story clichés, but they are effective. The music, the darkness, the doors, the well & the cane especially. The casting is perfect, especially Douglas Henshall as the insane Augustus & Sarah Smart as his cruel sister, Magda. There is a change to the ending. (Stefan dies horribly in the book, but in a way that is too offensive to show.)The couple coping with the loss of their child are sympathetic and your heart goes out to every young victim and their champions. While the cruelty and child loss scenes have been handled with care, some viewers may be upset. Be warned that there is a lot more of it in the book, plus nudity.
Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)
Scrat Steals Again. Fuzzy. Funny. Crowded.
I'm a huge fan of the Ice Age Series, thanks to it being consistently warm & fuzzy. My ratings so far have been Original(10), Meltdown(7) & Dinosaurs(9)This latest installment introduces a large amount of new characters, including Sid's grandma, a gang of pirates, a new rodent tribe & Lewis, best friend of Peaches. The film does seem rather crowded as a result, but there are less comments from the general, background animals. If you watch carefully you'll see cameos from Buck, Rudi & Scratte. The star of the film is of course Scrat, who is still on the eternal acorn quest. (With even funnier results, especially under water.)It has the feel of a grand finale, especially when it shows the actors over the end credits. I wouldn't object to more though. I just wonder what happened to all the humans.
Tom Conti's brilliant, but okay show.
I chose to watch this show because it has two actors out of Miranda (Sally Phillips & Tom Conti) and I was curious to see them in new roles. The premise seems a good one and it tries, but somehow fails. Tom steals every scene he's in, but Sally's character is unsympathetic, as is her dumb husband. The children were underused, but easy to like. The humour was in the main forced or didn't quite work. They're aiming for heartwarming and quirky, but compared to "Miranda" or "Starlings", it falls far short. If the leads are repellent, the show is not going to live up to potential. (Nothing against Sally. She's a good actress in a poor role.) I will continue watching for sake of the supporting characters, but would not buy on DVD.
The Ricky Gervais Show (2010)
Irresistibly funny. I love Karl.
There's something so irresistible about Karl Pilkington. I discovered him through the books first. Then I enjoyed watching An Idiot Abroad. I'm not a fan of Ricky Gervais usually, but that doesn't matter here. Karl takes all the teasing in his stride and can give as good as he gets. He's not a victim, although it may come across that way to some viewers. Ricky & Steve both love him and if Karl wasn't happy, he wouldn't keep on working with them. The animation is brilliant. The title sequence alone pulls you in. I don't believe there's that much acting involved. Karl is a unique person and his outlook is refreshing. His Diary is always a highlight. One of the funniest series ever, whether or not you heard the original podcasts.
Quirky & Heartwarming
With the exception of the needlessly vindictive Bell, all the characters are likable from the very first scene. Everyone will have their own favourites, for me - Gravy, Fergie & Loz. The relationship between the latter two (played by the writers) is sweet and builds nicely. They're a brilliant odd couple. I was disappointed when they were separated for one episode & sometimes Gravy has been almost forgotten. (Always a danger with a large cast.) The humour is gentle, sometimes original, and there is a lot of warmth. There are a couple of weak episodes, but as a whole the series is highly enjoyable and you'll want to spend time with this family.
This is genius! A real work of love.
While this show certainly isn't for everyone, if you love Noel & his artwork/writing/acting/stand up; then it's pure genius. And he is well supported by Mike, Tom & Dolly, who were previously in Boosh, as are most of the cameos. However the two shows aren't to be compared.
Luxury is a sketch show, allowing Noel's imagination to run free and to share his unique brain with us. If you own a copy of his Art Book - "Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton", then you can see some of his creations brought to life, most notably The Jelly Fox. (Episode 2.) There's a lot of love & hard work gone into this and I have been laughing throughout. Luxurious indeed.