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Johnny Jarvis (1983)
A very important series of the early 1980s- never repeated or feted by the BBC but remembered by all who saw it. Compulsive viewing to find out the contrasting fates of Johnny and Alan.
Check out the clips on Youtube, particularly Johnny in short-lived skinhead phase and the catchy theme tune.
Excellent acting throughout by the leads who were seldom seen again on TV. Their portrayal of growing from youths to men grew ever more realistic as he series went on, Mark Farmer delivering a tour de force of the tragedy of growing up young in Thatcher's Britain looking for work, direction , anything !
Starter for 10 (2006)
Like the fictional Bristol University Challenge team, so much potential recklessly thrown away ! So many interesting characters undeveloped, unexplored, unexploited from ice cream man Des and Brian's bizarre flatmates to Lucy Chang (why did she alone run up to comfort obnoxious Tristram ?) Instead, a captivating introduction ended abruptly in a tagged on, rushed ending of unbelievable banality and unashamed cliché as Brian (wonderfully portrayed throughout by McAvoy)ran into the arms of sweet, quirky Jewess, Rebecca, rejecting shallow, vain gentile Alice (Is this anti-gentile racism? Would it be anti-semitic if the roles were reversed ?). Alice's promiscuity is portrayed with heavy reference to Andie McDowall's 'Four Weddings...' list of entries which can be stomached were it not for rushed manner of her ultimate denouement.
Yes, so what's new, student romances are rushed, clumsy affairs but this does not mean this film should have so lost confidence and ended that way,too.
The most interesting aspect, the University Challenge quiz had no satisfactory conclusion- what about the team member's fortunes both during and after the quiz ? Their -especially Tristram's (forget shallow Alice's) -, the university's, the TV company's, his family's and Bamber's reaction to Brian betrayal of his principals and his team was far far more an interesting core than the usual plot 'device' of the ultimate identity of Brian's girlfriend (yawn). This could have been Quiz Show with laughs- British laughs, at that ! This is a film that promised much , introducing wonderful characters but lost confidence so dramatically, the ending seemed nothing more than a tacked- on afterthought.
A waste of money at the high prices West End cinemas are asking these days- wait for it on TV to catch the excellent acting and build-up then switch off and make the tea when the University Challenge scenes end.
I would give it more than 4/10 but the bitterness of my disappointment is such, it deserves less for promising more
L'ami de mon amie (1987)
I recall my first watching this on TV in my early twenties alone on a Friday night and thinking it would pass the time...little did I know that I would slowly fall in love with this film.
The convincing performances of all those involved in particular, the tenderness of the romance between Blanche and Fabien is truly wonderful, mimicking true love with uncanny accuracy -something no film anywhere has achieved so authentically. Their scenes on the towpath are so well played , one feels a voyeur intruding upon what should be a private moment. No other film maker could have made this without exploiting it -only Rohmer has the respect for romance to leave things to the imagination.
To my surprise, I found myself living the film myself a couple of years later and Rohmer's authenticity was confirmed. Watching this takes me back to being a young man again and the wonder of love.
From this start , I developed an affection for Rohmer's work, enjoying Rendez-Vous A Paris and A Summer's Tale but for me, this is THE ONE.
Sotto dieci bandiere (1960)
A superior war film
Rarely seen like it's subject matter, a film whose story is well told and a world away from the child-like American war epics released later in that decade. The surface raider Atlantis was perhaps the most successful of it's type preying upon merchant shipping destined for Great Britain and her allies. The performances top-to-bottom are splendid although the silent scenes at the German Atlantic Naval Headquarters in Paris ratchet up the tension like little else on celluloid-more so because of it's being based on truth. Superior to naval films both those that came before and after it because it's story is so compelling, true and hardly known. There are no sides to be taken and yet one wishes both sides well in this game of naval chess. Indeed, the captain of the merchant ship Abdullah who -in war circumstances would be considered a hero- comes out as the only villain of the piece. That the Germans mostly all speak with American accents is forgotten easily in the action and minor characters are well-sketched by their players. There is none of the John Wayne -machismo and black and white simplicity that makes most war films loud but laughable but rather admiring the quiet professionalism of sailors at war- highly recommended, indeed !
Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead? (1973)
my name is Francis Lloyd ...
...and i play rukka. This was one of first appearances of someone who was not white on a kids TV programme in the 1970s and to me this was important as i could see other children joining in the fun of the native population. Francis, a fellow of Afro-Caribbean descent, walked around tapping a beat out on various inanimate objects before showing his purpose was in perfecting his rukka (a sort of drum) playing. This he did at a concert complete with flashing disco lights with his friends of all races dancing away happily to his rukka. A tubby but tall boy, dressed if i remember in a shirt, blue jumper and black trousers, Francis was a mould breaker. I hope you are well and where are you and what are you doing?
johnny be good
My sister appeared as a reviewer on the show THREE-count 'em- times and so i love Moviewatch... But we were watching Moviewatch long before my sister reviewed Casino, Nixon, Toy Story etc and why ? Because Johnny Vaughn loves his film and his guests and puts them and the audience first ....If TV introduced people into your living room that you would never ever allow in your house then Vaughn was an exception to the rule. His opinion was never on show unlike all presenters on arts programmes, he did not take himself too seriously but simply let his love of subject shine out ...and for that we thanks him ! Nothing he's been on since has quite matched his winning debut, the Big Breakfast came close but, while still a popular presenter, he has not found a comparable vehicle for his talents. Is it because his talent is that he gets on well with the general public and makes them feel special and important yet in a dignified way but over-exposure to celebrity has him too starry-eyed ? judge for yourself....