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Summer in February (2013)
no oil painting, but 5.3 out of 10????
Okay so this is no masterpiece but 5.3 out of 10 is rather harsh, the story is what it is (based on book around true events), its not shot or acted overly badly (although I must admit I'm not totally convinced by Emily Browning) and the scenery and paintings are attractive which in turn means, I think at least, its not a bad way to spend just under two hours of your time.
Why has is been so badly review then, I have no idea I happen to quite like it not because its monumental, makes me cry with sadness or leap with joy, but because it quietly and affectively tells a story worth being told. Perhaps the bad reviews reflect more of disaffection with the story rather than the vehicle of its portrayal. Either way if you like period dramas and have the time on your hands give a go and see what you think.
Run for Your Wife (2012)
I'm still slightly wondering what I just watched
So I've given it two stars, because to be honest there is a bit of enjoyment at look at all the familiar faces in the extras in this film, its like a who's who of British stage and screen actors/actresses from the 60-70s.
However that was as far as any enjoyment went. The four leads were all a long way from their best (which in fairness probably isn't saying much for most of them). There was absolute no enjoyment in the storyline, the comedy was rushed and simply not funny and the only reason I stick with it to the end was because I wanted to see if Judi Dench pitched up again. At the end I wasn't left feeling angry or upset, just simply bewildered how in this day and age anyone can make such a bad feature film.
In essence unless you don't have to pay to watch it AND you like actor spotting, don't bother wasting your time!
Eternal Law (2012)
okay so a bit of a weird concept but actually i think it may fly
Okay so I watched the first one of these because I thought with this cast it deserved a look. Was a bit strange and not you traditional law drama but thought I'd watch it again this week (second episode) and I think it's actually quite good. Sure there will be people for whom the concept doesn't fit but I think if you can get you head around it and accept it it's actually a good drama, none the least because of the acting, all the main cast are good and Sam West is superb, that and the random but cool songs they seem to like playing in the end credits for me means it deserves a lot more than the 4.8 its currently rated at on here! If your open minded and like a your drama well-acted give it a try.
Okay so it's not great, but i think it is worth watching...
I pondered for a long time about whether or not I should watch this sequel (or prequel, or whatever it is). My problem was that I had read the book and loved it, seen the original TV series and liked that, and having read its mixed (mostly bad) reviews and a little bit about the story I wondered whether this show would firstly be any good, and secondly alter my perception of the original and the book. In the end I gave in and decided to watch it.
Viewed on its own, this show is okay. Without knowing the back story it may well be hard to pick up large chunks of the storyline but I suspect with no previous knowledge of the original or book, the story, characters and acting are all reasonable. The production although (with nothing to compare to) is also reasonable, with the end result being a reasonable flashy and slightly over sentimental melodrama that was indicative of American television in the mid nineties. Indeed the only real drawback to this for a first timer would be the somewhat unsatisfying end.
However compared to the original and the book at first glance it falls flat on its face. It is a complete fabrication and alteration of the original story. It takes most of the original relationships between the different characters, rips them up and makes completely different ones (in doing so making many of the characters look stupid and spineless). The beautifully simple original score has a vulgar nineties up date. And the original sets and location that were so really and simplistic (in the way the arid Drogheda of the novel is meant to be) are replaced by cardboard looking sets and glitzy looking locations that remind me of something out of Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, not the original novel! And to top it off the scene when Dan is surrounded by all the animals and birds at the watering hole looks so fake that it could have been taken form a Disney cartoon!
Rather ironically though none of the above really matter, because at the end of the day the whole thing really boils down to Richard Chamberlain's part it in all. In a strange way he is both the show's saviour and its undoing at the same time. The original TV series was brought out so soon after the book and as a consequence their fates and memories kind of got all mixed together. Unlike other historical novels or classics whose stories and characters where known in their own right before TV and film producers started to implant visual images of them into the public conscious, with the Thorn Birds the TV show created indelible visual realisations of the story's places and characters in Colleen McCullough's novel. Mr Darcys, Robin Hoods and Sherlock Holmes may come and go, but to many Ralph De Bricassart is Richard Chamberlain. The fact than that despite all the other mediocre things mentioned above that this show had him resume his role no doubt saved it from utter panning. However, having said all of that him being their causes three large problems: Firstly it highlights the absent of pretty much all of the rest of the original cast. Secondly it asks viewers to tear up the chemistry that was built up between the two leads over seven and a bit hours in the original and replace it with a totally different one. Finally, and for me most importantly, it asks you change that imagine of Ralph that you have in your head, because although it is still Richard Chamberlain, it is not the same Richard Chamberlain. In truth he was probably not ridiculously far of the age that Ralph was meant to be in 1942/3 when they filmed this, but the problem is that he aged naturally totally differently to how he was aged artificially in the original, the end result being in this show a rather older a fuller figured looking Ralph than what the original suggests turns up on Drogheda a decade after this show is meant to be set.
So do I regret watching it. No. Because despite all its pitfalls and tackiness (and out and out crimes against the book) this adaption offers (with a little stretch of the imagination and tinkering with the ending) something that neither the novel of original series does. An option of a happy ending. The beautiful novel despite all the surroundings of Drogheda, the Clearys and the Roman Catholic Church is essentially about a man's struggles against himself and coming to terms with them too late. This adaptation offers a conduit to the answer to that age old question, what if.
Robin Hood (2010)
A good start to what will hopefully be a great series!
Just come back from watching this at the cinema, and I was pleasantly surprised. For a child of the nineties who grew up on watching Prince of Thieves I was hoping for something completely different, and I was disappointed.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this film is it predecessors, because together with it they provide an interesting chronicle into the development of film over the last 70 odd years. Indeed Hollywood has come a long way within the last 20 years alone. This film may lack a lot of that nineties over sentimentality, an evil witch, half buttoned pristine white shirts, a cameo from the then god Sean Connery and a Canadian with and electric guitar in the credits, but that doesn't mean it is better or indeed worse.
What this film provides for me is a more realistic and in many ways subtler feel to this very English legend. I think the casting of such an internationally flavoured cast with a sprinkling of some genuine English talent was a master stroke. I liked the cinematography, especially the battle scenes which seemed chaotic and rushed, which to me makes for a more realistic experience. The script was a script but did not drop the ball, and the sets and locations were all very convincing.
Most importantly though I think that Crowe pulls of Robin. Unlike KC attempt he does and gets the English accent well. He brings just the right levels of drama and humour to the role and most important of all, and perhaps something the previous occupants of the metaphorical green tights did not have, he looks like the sort of chap who would have been on and survived the crusades, could command a group of unruly men, and doesn't mind slumming it in a forest for a bit. It is strange because I never use to rate him that highly, but I think that this and some of his other recent work is starting to really show how he is maturing into one of the bes actors of his generation.
In summary then this is a good film, definitely warranting the price of the cinema ticket. I look forward to a sequel, if there is one which the end would suggest there might. But don't try and compare it to Prince of Thieves because they're two different genres of film. At its heart this film is an action drama, but a small sprinkling of romantic and comedy sub plots turns it away from a Gladiatoresk hard core mans man film into something that everyone (over 12) can enjoy.
N.B. just as an aside he may have only had a small role but once again Douglas Hodge really shone out for me in this film, it amazes me why he does not get more film roles, perhaps he is too busy with theatre?
Heat of the Sun (1998)
A depressingly short run for one of the few British detectives that was refreshingly not clinically depressed (or psychotic)!
It is hard for me to think of a TV program which I considered to have finished at the right time, the majority no matter how good they are out stay their welcome, while a few go too quickly. However I can honestly say that Heat of the Sun is the most depressing example of the later I have come across in a long time.
This series has its faults: Historical and continuity inaccuracies that only the nick picking would notice, an over sentimental last episode and a few wayward performances. But at its heart this is a decently written and well acted period detective drama. Not only that, compared to almost all of British television's recent detective dramas it is refreshing, both in its unique period setting and the fact that it's detective is for all intense purposes mentally stable.
And so it is for the above reasons that I believe this series deserved more than three episodes. It had places to go and stories still to tell and it is just another example of some of the poor decision making that has been going on at ITV over the last couple of decades! For at the end of the day Waking the Dead is a great series (as to lesser extents so are some of its ITV replicas) but I would have much preferred to have swap a few series of Boyd for a handful or so more episodes of Tyburn and this forgotten and under-appreciated gem of a show.
The Accidental Husband (2008)
A waste of time
Okay so to quickly sum up, because I have no wish to waste anymore of my time on this movie, it's boring, predictable and at times painful to watch.
The best bit about this film was Firth, however it is just down right depressing to have to watch such a good actor reduced to such a poor a role. Indeed I spent the majority of the film lamenting the fact that he is not used better.
The worse part (ignoring the storyline) was Thurman. Not so much because her performance was painful to watch at times, but more that I have always moderately rated her as and actress, and this film just totally blew away any of those delusions.
Not waste you time and money on this one!
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
Had such potential but end the ending let this film down.
This film in many ways is a wonderful little gem. The two leads were two of the most underrated actors of their time in my view. I want so much to love it, and in many ways I do, it is just such a shame that the end is so uninspiring.
I'm not saying that i would have preferred the characters to end up together at the end (I think that would have slightly missed the point of the film!) but a little more closure would not have hurt!
All in all though definitely worth a watch, especially if like me you think that film history has somewhat unfairly passed over Robert Mitchum.
The West Wing (1999)
One of the best TV shows ever!
I know very few (intellengent) people who do not rate the West Wing, it is an excellent program that not only gave an insight into politics but also showed the world's leaders how it should be done. Great story lines after another, wonderful acting, i can think of many shows that can equal this let alone beat it. Its a wonderful way to spend an hour (or more) the journey you take through the series with the characters is wonderful. But for my money it will always be the end of series three that stays with me. Perhaps it is Jeff Buckley in the back ground that sends me over but i cry every time i see it, and it is that that i think back to when i watch CJ walk off from the white house st the end of season 7, only a truly great show can have that longevity!
Fool's Gold (2008)
Fool is one word for it.....
Seriously so i can think of worse ways to spend an hour or two, but they mostly involve some sort of bodily harm. The best thing you can say about this film is that it is really insult (except to you powers of perception and intelligence). nothing really good about it, why i spent money to see it i don't know, perhaps was swayed by promise of Sutherland and Winston, but when both we revealed with shocking ascents i knew it was going to be a long old haul. seriously don't bother. i went to see made of honour last week too, it currently has a lower rating than this on IMDb. i would have infinitely preferred to sit through that again (and lets face it MOH not exactly Oscar worthy) than to have spend my money on this watery disaster, if only i had known!!!