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Carry on Behind (1975)
Underrated Carry On which is immense fun!
In the Carry On canon, this film is severely overlooked and considered by some to be a poor version of 'Camping', but there are many great moments which always raise a laugh with me. Mainly those concerning the antics of Kenneth Williams and Elke Sommer as his randy Russian accomplice Anna Vooshka.
After this, the Carry On's took a downward spiral, ending with Columbus but as a last great helping of saucy fun, this one works!! Kenneth Williams is on top form and despite the lack of Sid, Babs, etc this films has plenty of great cast members including Joan Sims, Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth, Kenneth Connor, Jack Douglas and Windsor Davies.
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
So good I've seen it twice!!
Having not seen the musical before, and only being familiar with some of the well know songs I had no preconceptions, but was eager to see the film being a lover of all things musical. From the black and white opening scene I knew it was going to be visually splendid and from the atmosphere created knew I was in for something dramatic. Then the theatre turned to colour and all was sent spinning back in time and the busy backstage frolics of the cast at the Opera House were bought to life. It was not apparent who the leading lady would be for a while until the chorus girl Christine was encouraged forward to sing replacing the Diva and was transformed from rags to a Cinderella style dress and sang with a pure beautiful voice and made me feel all magical and warm inside especially when she hit that note at the end!! Anyway the film went on and she was re united with her childhood sweetheart who was very charming and although most say wet, I think was very caring and charming (any girl wants prince charming on a white horse) despite what they say :-) There were lots of dream like scenes to follow and the film heightened emotionally all the way to the end, I've heard the song "Wishing you were somehow here again" but never knew its context, but the song and scene merged beautifully together for a very sentimental moment in the film enhanced by the angel statues covered in misty snow and a very Tim Burton moment. The phantom was a mixture of anger/sadness/genius and you could understand why Christine was very weak willed in his presence. I loved it, saw it twice bought the soundtrack and rate it 9 out of 10. Karen (Freddies girlfriend) and he liked it too!
School for Scoundrels (1960)
Hard cheese! A jolly good show!
This fabulous film is available on DVD at last, twinned with another Alaister Sim classic, THE GREEN MAN. But, the star of this film is the dapper TERRY-THOMAS. Every scene he is in is superb. From the suave cad in the first half of the film to the flustered toff in the second, this is one of his finest performances and stands up to repeat viewings due to his expressive faces and masterful comic timing.
I hear there is going to be a Hollywood remake of this film, which will be a huge mistake as there has been no one like T-T since. I recommend anyone who is a fan of British comedy to see this classic or you will forever be crying 'hard cheese'!
MVP: Most Vertical Primate (2001)
AN Oscar FOR LOUIE!
Most films featuring animals use them as a prop for the human actors, but in true Planet of the Apes style, the reverse is true here. The actors are functional, not great, but the real stars are the chimps whose range of facial expressions and expert comic timing shine above anyone else in the film. The chimps do all their own skateboarding stunts and are pretty good at it. There are two other films in the series featuring chimps doing extreme sports and they are great in everyone. But the real star here is Louie, who has a true gift for comedy and can act most of the over-paid, wooden, Hollywood heart throbs off the screen. But does he get any whiff of an Oscar nomination? Naaah! It's simian prejudice! Watching the out-takes and behind the scenes features, it is apparent that a lot of the funny moments are ad-libbed by Louie himself who truly is a talent. He is apparently starring in a big budget simian Bond-style film called SPYMATE where he uses all his skills and does his own stunt. Louie should really be in the Walk of Fame and wiping the board at the Oscars. All I can say, is check out his films to see an all-round master at work.
The Ladykillers (2004)
Like a bad cartoon of the Mona Lisa
Why, oh why, oh why? If you have to rehash something as masterful as the original Ealing Studios version of The Ladykillers, at least do it with some style.
it's bound to be compared with the original, otherwise it would have a different title and be 'inspired by' the classic 1955 film. If you are going to remake a film starring the great Alec Guiness, then you need someone who at least has a small modicum of the talent and gravitas that the late Sir Alec brought to the screen and the woful Hanks is not even worthy of mentioning Guinness name, let alone trying to emulate a role played with such panache. This shoddy remake has angered UK fans of the Eailing Comedies for many reasons: * They tried to make it a bit "wacky" * It has been set in the US * It has one of the poorest set of actors to grace the screen * it soils the name of the original gem of a film
The only parallel I can think of is if a UK studio remade Goodfellas and set it in Milton Keynes with members of Westlife playing the leads. Atrocious. And to top things, Tom Hanks confessed in an interview he had never seen the original - great research for the role Tom! Lack of respect for the original film and treating it as a basic plot idea for a "wacky" story has made this a travesty that should never have been made. A rather expensive joke...
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
A remake with some style
Like most people, I was dismayed to hear that Hollywood were churning out another remake in their vain attempt to end the drought of ideas around at the moment. But unlike Get Carter, Oceans Eleven, etc this is not a stain on the originals reputation and is actually well shot with some great cinematography and has a storyline which takes the original and adds it's own style to it without diverting from the TCM feel.
Though the original has a very sinister, humid feed to it, partly due to it's low budget origins, this version lacks the same feel but still does a fine job and of course is far more gorier than the original.
It's amazing to think the director of the excreble Pearl Harbor can pull off such a respectable tribute to Tobe Hooper's classic and will pleasantly surprise hard-core fans of the original.