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Innocent, original & fun.
This is undeniably silly. It's meant to be. I giggled through every episode. Matt Lucas is already a favourite actor of mine from previous TV shows & films. Hove and the dog interact brilliantly with him. While this series has been billed as "silent"; in actual fact all the characters speak. It's just in their own special "gibb-lish." The plots are easy to follow and full of comic visuals. Some of these are surreal. There is no crudity in the humour. Pompidou is an innocent who inadvertently causes trouble for everyone around him, especially Hove. He endears himself to the audience, occasionally breaking the 4th wall. This is evidently a project that Matt put his whole heart into and I hope he can make more. There's nothing wrong with SILLY, providing that's what you're looking for. And there's a special surprise for Little Britain fans. (Ep 5.)
Not now, Silent Singer! (A dark delirium of delight.)
I discovered this after enjoying Inside No 9. (Not a fan of The League.) Psychoville has twisted and memorable characters. The plot is gripping and successfully combines horror with humour. Also, Reece and Steve constantly homage their favourite films. One episode is set entirely in one location, reminding me of how No 9 works. Their commentaries on the DVDs are entertaining and informative. It is a shame Series 3 didn't go ahead, but there aren't any loose ends. I especially loved Reece's characters which include a bitter clown and an obsessive librarian. Dawn French is fabulous. Steve's best character is the man-child, David. There are no weak performances. The music adds to the atmosphere perfectly. Nothing is predictable. The Halloween Special is certainly the best I've seen. For the whole, Psychoville is a delicious treat at any time of the year!
Mumfie's Quest: The Movie (2014)
Cheerful adventure with catchy songs. Shame about cuts.
I'm delighted to discover my favourite animated TV series has re-surfaced. Mumfie possesses optimism and bravery. He meets lovable characters, each with a unique characteristic, and helps to re-inspire them. In return, they give him the friendship he's been looking for. There is plenty of adventure, mystery, danger and especially, hope. The songs are catchy and I love the quirky dialogue/narration. It's also in refreshing 2d. I enjoyed the story as much as ever. It's just a shame that for reasons of length and flow, certain songs/scenes were cut. This will only be jarring for the biggest fans though. I strongly recommend the movie to everyone of any age. It's full of absolute charm and heart.
Jolie perfect for re-imagined tale. Some flaws.
While there are nods to the original classic, the story and characters have been re-imagined. The narrator explains this at the beginning. This leads to various strengths and weaknesses.
Angelina Jolie is excellent as Maleficent, who is given greater motivation for her actions. The costume is perfect.
My favourite character is Diaval (Sam Riley), the raven-familiar. He shape-shifts as required.
Aurora (Elle Fanning) a.k.a. "Beastie" has a sweet relationship with both of them.
Maleficent's magical forest subjects are delightful also.
Exciting action scenes are well balanced by tenderer sequences.
This was my first 3D experience. No cheesy FX or discomfort.
The 3 Good Fairies have thankfully been re-named. They are of no use whatsoever and are simply annoying. They are insults to the originals.
Prince Philip is not developed at all and is barely seen.
King Stefan has more to do, but he is no longer gentle.
Both the animation and live-action versions have their faults, but they are both equally entertaining. Maleficent is always a treat.
Modern Ferngully. Fantastic animation. Funny characters.
I love Blue Sky's "Ice Age" series and I was delighted to see Scrat in the logo. This leads to a beautiful and energetic opening sequence. Epic has just the right mix of action, emotional scenes and humour. Perhaps the main characters are generic, but I cared about them and their quest. While it does have "Ferngully" plot elements, especially the shrinking & the destructive evil power against the benign forces of nature; these are much bigger and exciting. No preaching involved. The comic relief snail & slug are amusing and have an essential role in the plot. The scene stealer is often Ozzy the dog, who also has his part. Watch out for one of the villain's guards too. I enjoyed the creativity of the background flower, mushroom, twig population. Also the armour worn by the evil forces. The animation for the action sequences is especially impressive. The voice talent is excellent.
Alpha and Omega (2010)
I suspected from the trailer that this wouldn't be good. Being a fan of wolves & animation though; I gave it a chance. First, the good. There are sweet moments for B couple, Lilly & Garth. Also, there are beautiful backgrounds. A cuddly bear cub scene-steals. Unfortunately these are over- shadowed by the BAD. The attempts at humour are dreadful. Too much "bathroom" for a start. The golfing goose & his duck companion just don't work as comic relief. Instead their presence reminds us of a better wolf film - BALTO. The big names are wasted in this poor fodder. The plot could have been interesting, but was too much old ground. The log sledging & Kate's acrobatics get repeated over & over. Maybe not a problem for younger children. Adults will get bored. I certainly won't be watching the sequels.
Inside No. 9 (2014)
Dark & twisty. Love Reece.
While I'm not a "League of Gentlemen" fan; I loved Reece's performance in "A Field in England." Therefore I was prepared to give "No 9." a go. This series has an impressive line up of guest stars from Katherine Parkinson to Tamsin Greig. Each episode is a mini-play set in a different location. I especially liked the creepy mansion in the final one. The stories contain twists, humour & horror. Only one of them ("The Last Gasp") disappointed me. The make-up and costumes for Reece & Steve are great. "Sardines" has a terrific end to hook viewers in. "A Quiet Night In" is full of surprises. "Tom & Gerri", my favourite, is a compelling moral tale. "The Understudy" examines the price of success. "The Harrowing" is traditional horror with a scene stealing role for Reece. I look forward to a second series.
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.