Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Foyle's War (2002)
The terrors of nightly bombing raids are only matched by the fear and hysteria of the population at the prospect of the seemingly inevitable German invasion...???
Positively the worst and most misleading summary I have yet seen on IMDb! (Unless I have been completely hoodwinked - I was born just after the war!) According to my knowledge gleaned from various sources and what I have been told over the years, there may have been concerns at the individual level, but there was certainly no mass terror or hysteria displayed as a result of bombings or the prospect of an invasion of the UK, during the darkest days of WW2!
In fact, one thing that is unfailingly depicted throughout the whole, excellent series of Foyles War is the calm control and sangfroid of the main characters that was typical back then, even if it seems to have disappeared somewhat these days. This was exemplified in the way that Foyle managed to winkle out the truth in the various situations he encountered by means of shrewd observation and reasoned deduction, without any trace of unnecessary drama, raised voices or arm-waving and the series is all the better for it - the modern trend in TV/movies that portrays police work as panicky, fraught and highly-charged emotionally is unrealistic (certainly unBritish) and, thankfully, absent in this excellent series.
Anyone who enjoyed tapping into the lost, old-worlde charm of this UK series set during WW2 may well enjoy the equally good (but far funnier) lighthearted but soulful comedy series 'Dad's Army'!
The Haunted Airman (2006)
The art of going Nowhere very slowly...
Yet another reminder that the Dennis Wheatley novels may well be a very good read (or they were, many years ago) but that they invariably make (or are made into) pretty crappy movies. I don't even remember if I actually read "The Haunting Of Toby Jugg" myself or just have an awareness of it and think I did, so I can't compare in this case and just took the movie on its own merits.
It was ostensibly very well made (props, camera-work, location, lighting &c.) and the acting is difficult to fault, in fairness, but disappointingly the storyline was not entirely free of some fairly well-worn clichés and dragged on without going anywhere much for so damn long I was ready for just about any ending just to get it over with. Which is just as well - the ending was such a mess it was almost a case of 'Times's up, please hurry up and vacate the lot, we need it for someone else!' and it was neither particularly satisfying or shocking when it did finally arrive....
The whole thing was pretty much a letdown like a sandwich with little or no filling - a pity really, it could have been so much better if it had tried a little less hard to be weird and suspenseful!
Hell Drivers (1957)
What do you want to know? I was there!!
When this film was made I was 10 years old and my father was a truck driver in a small (by today's standards) Bedford truck almost identical to the Dodge trucks used in the film and was operating in the very area the film was made. He and his colleagues witnessed much of the film making and apparently had quite a laugh at some of the antics of the actors trying to move the trucks about! (If they had realised what the actors' pay was in relation to their own and what the future held for the likes of Sean Connery and Patrick McGoohan perhaps they would have laughed a little less!!)
As a lad my greatest delight was to accompany my father for the day and on odd occasions I got to drive the truck about in pits and quarries just like in the film and we would occasionally stop off in one of the numerous transport 'caffs' that existed in those days - with biscuits in glass jars, menus written in chalk, Coca Cola and jukeboxes in every one!! What I can tell you is that, disregarding the 'storyline' with its necessarily exaggerated drama and the near-psychotic behaviour of some of the characters, the atmosphere, scenery and setting of the story is spot on.
The film picks up nicely on the period that I witnessed myself at the time in the UK, when the bleak, post-war drabness was gradually being turned round by hard work and long hours put in by just the sort of drifting, diverse workforce (including ex-POWs) that was portrayed with some pretty fine character studies. The grittiness of their existence and the way they coped with the pressures of the day was depicted very well - pubs sold a lot more ale and a lot less 'chicken in the basket' in those days! It was a time when 'black & white' Britain was becoming 'Technicolour' and little black cars (like the Austin 7 in the film that keeps popping all over the place) were slowly being eased out by the arrival of smart new models which could even be had in *different colours*!! (Ten years from the time this film was made colour was everywhere and Britain had become 'psychedelic'!!)
Obviously the events depicted in the film would not have been allowed to go on long before they attracted the attention of the police but it may interest you to know that, for a brief while, some of the ex-military, petrol-engined trucks that were in use just after the war could be made to run faster than the police cars of the day and if you could get away from them, they couldn't 'nick' you!! Also, one small thing that doesn't seem to be picked up on by any of the comments I have read is that the trucks seemed to be running an awful lot of material into a building site that would have struggled to use it all!!
I have been delighted to read through some of the favourable comments here and agree that this film is an underrated gem - it obviously touched me as it was all like yesterday for me, but it also stands in its own right as a superb 'modern melodrama' with a star-studded cast, action, humour, a love angle, violence, death, road chases and the bad guys *getting it* in the end!!
(And it's now almost *50* years old...!!)
Ten out of ten - for a lot of reasons.....
The Fog (2005)
What on earth is all the fuss about?
We have just seen this movie and thought is was quite excellent in many respects. I then came to read the comments to see why it had such a low score and have never seen such a whinefest on IMDb before.
The original was very good and had some very creepy moments - the fog scene enveloping the town and radio station was better, but in all other respects this version beats it into a cocked hat.
The acting, camera-work, soundtrack and action was first class and the storyline was far better. With the possible exception of the clergyman, the characters were fairly convincing and the costumes and make-up well done. The special effects also worked well enough and managed to avoid the usual sense of the ludicrous which very often creeps in at some point and spoils many similar horror films.
All these sort of movies need their own quirky sort of logic to be able to work at all and this one was, at least, no worse than most - the events and action presented us with no particular problems and required no more than the usual 'suspension of disbelief'!!
The burning scene on board the ship was up there with any action movie I would care to name and the last minute twist ending made a refreshing change from all the 'good guys' making it safely through the nightmare.
8 out of 10 for taking a well respected, existing movie and daring to do it better.
La fille sur le pont (1999)
Monotonous monochrome mystery...???
We enjoyed this film, but I am mystified as to why it was made in black and white...???
Apart from possibly conferring a dubious, instant 'world cinema/art movie' status it did absolutely nothing for the plot in my opinion and wasted some superb location and costume opportunities.
It wasn't even executed particularly well, as most of the direction seemed to be in the modern style involving camera angles and sweeping movement and it had none of the classic 'set pieces' and static shots (panoramas, buildings etc.) of the earlier masters like the Japanese greats (Ozu, Kurosawa et al) The storyline, characters and acting should (and would) have been enough to lift this flic from the average - it simply does not benefit from being shot in black and white.
Top honours must go to Vanessa Pardis for a superbly consistent performance which captured the (my) attention every time she was on the screen. I always have a little trouble with Daniel Auteil (it's the blank stare) but even he did very well despite signs of his advancing years making him look a little old for his leading lady - he is 22 years older than her after all!!
Don't let all this put you off though - I rate this movie 8 out of 10 for still being refreshingly different in its treatment of unusual subjects and for carrying a story that was both engaging and entertaining.
Saints and Soldiers (2003)
I can't really rate this movie.....
...because I haven't seen all of it.
I lasted about 30 minutes before I had to pack it in. A pity because so much of it seemed to be well done - kit, costumes, weapons, scenery (with real snow) were fine and I suspect the vehicles would have been good if I had seen more of it, but the wooden acting (with the possible exception of the Sergeant, played by Peter Holden) and shambling action made it hard to watch. When the character with the ludicrous 'posh RAF English' accent (and I *do* mean ludicrous) arrived, I started to lose it - fast!
The last straw for me was the (almost ubiquitous, nowadays) Sixth Sense rip-off when a ghostly figure flitted across the screen accompanied by the obligatory, scary **chong** sound. After that I really started to look for the flaws and lasted only another 5 minutes or so before I crapped out.
Three out of ten for making an effort with the hardware and scenery and because I have never given a movie with so low a score before - I couldn't go lower without feeling bad towards the people who made it and, no doubt, mostly meant well!!
Diarios de motocicleta (2004)
Deduct one point for subtitles?
Often I have thought that IMDb 'scores' for films in a *foreign language* (ie not English) with subtitles seemed to be one point lower than I would have given them...??
I watched Motorcycle Diaries some while back, enjoyed it immensely and readily gave it a score of 9 out of 10 - pretty much my 'top mark'. (A film would have to be exceptional to gain full marks from me.) Since then, I have often thought about it and the events and characters in it - which is the mark of a very good film in my book!
Thinking about it now and remembering it again, it is hard to fault this film which was quite excellent in all respects. In its own way, it was in fact 'quite exceptional'..
Did I also 'deduct one point for subtitles'...???
Anyway - highly recommended for anyone who likes quiet adventure based on a real life story with fascinating character studies set in a superb landscape and scenery.
Mibu gishi den (2002)
Possibly not one to enjoy as such, but definitely one to watch!
One acid test for a movie is that of whether or not you find yourself caring for (any of) the characters as you watch it. This superb study of human personality and of self-sacrifice, honour and duty in difficult circumstances passes that test like almost no other film I've seen.
I've read many of the comments here that want to split this film into good parts and bad parts and would only say that I, for one, cannot see the join - from start to finish the film is well-paced with a series of events that will make you laugh at times and may well make you cry at other times. For me, it was uncomfortable a lot of the time, as I wasn't much pleased with the way the story unfolded and the direction the events took - with just about everything going against the way I would have liked it to! (Risk of a spoiler prevents me being too specific here!) Too many personal chords were being struck for me to actually *enjoy* the film at times but it maintained an unusual integrity in sticking to its own uncomfortable/unsatisfying course and reaching its own rather superb conclusion in a way that many movies seem unable to do without pandering to their audience's expectations in some way.
Technicalities were mostly excellent: The acting (possibly because of the non-familiar faces) was impeccable, the soundtrack was excellent and all other aspects were most satisfactory despite a slight air of claustrophobia with much of the film taking place in a somewhat shut-in environment with only the briefest picture-postcard views of Japan. Also, with the copy I saw, the colour could have been better at times, as could the lighting of the interiors...
The temptation to say avoid this film and any disquiet it might bring you is strong, but instead I say watch it and I have no qualms in giving it 9 out of 10 - it's worth it!!
Sotto dieci bandiere (1960)
A cracking good story all the better for being based on real events.
A thoroughly enjoyable movie with real ships and lots of original wartime footage, which make it a refreshing change from some of the slick but unconvincing modern offerings. More than a few of the usual, expected stereotypes are depicted, but the plot chunters along at a cracking pace, interspersing furious naval action with some well-observed 'stiff upper lip' screenplay, some nerve-wracking espionage work and any number of amusing little character studies.
Honour, death, determination, courage, childbirth, duplicity, fear and humour are dealt with in turn and all acted out in a thoroughly workmanlike manner. Van Heflin is superb as the captain of the German ship and the unutterably delectable Mylene Demongeot is stunning as a perky nymphette who, obviously fearing her looks would fade before the end of the film, seemed desperate to hook a guy (any guy) before the end credits! As might be expected, the entirely dependable Charles Laughton did a sterling job of playing Charles Laughton - in a Sailor Suit! Without exception the rest of the supporting cast were top notch - all the way down to the brave little kids being winched aboard ship in a cargo net!!
As it is based on true events, this movie is all the more worth watching by anyone who enjoys naval warfare stories and is heartily recommended!
An 8 out of 10 without hesitation for me....
Great Expectations (1946)
Never read the book, loved the film....
I came to watch this film with no knowledge of the book, having never read it and only the vaguest knowledge of a couple of the characters - Magwitch the escaped convict and the jilted Miss Haversham. I had absolutely no idea how events would turn out or what would happen to the characters involved. Good for me - no baggage!!
Taken, then, in its own right I can say that I was quite staggered at the overall quality of this film in every respect and from the very opening shots: The acting, cinematography, costumes, sets, lighting, effects etc. etc. were all perfect and gave no hint of the film's vintage. Surprise surprise (or maybe no surprise), the storyline was quite superb - the ripe 'Dickensian' dialogue was a pleasure to hear and the plot was intelligent and interesting while maintaining a steady pace throughout.
All in all, a very pleasant experience for me and I'm glad it eventually found its way onto my radar!
So - a timeless masterpiece in my opinion and well worth watching by anyone looking for a break from modern CGI-laden disaster/action movies or who do not want to see yet another instance of the Americans saving the world from extra-terrestrial menace.
Nine out of ten without a moment's hesitation....