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You've Been Trumped (2011)
If Trump were a country we'd all be concerned by his empire-building
I've been following developments on this blight on the landscape from the beginning. Scotland has more than enough golf courses and not one of them is more beautiful than the natural landscape it replaces. Scotland may be the home of golf but that doesn't mean it should be covered in courses.
Trump cares only about money (hey, he's a hugely successful businessman) and has no concept of other people's right to feel differently from himself. His comments about the residents, in particular his vitriolic description of Michael Forbes and his property (which looks no more an eyesore than any working farmland) are vile and despicable. The man is so out of touch with what Scotland wants and is so ignorant about the country that he actually thinks his course will be on the west coast! If he had his way though, it would probably stretch between both coasts.
It's always quite sickening to see sycophantic pandering to guests on chat shows at the best of times, but to witness David Letterman's fawning and ignorance (no doubt down to zero research and not wanting to risk the sensitive Mr Trump - after all, he could be a future President!) was cringe-worthy.
Michael Forbes comes across as a decent, down-to-earth individual, not the near-Neanderthal Trump would have you believe him to be. In fact, he is clearly quite eloquent for a "simple" out-of-towner.
To lose such a unique and significant Site of Scientific Interest all to help line the pockets of Trump is shameful in the extreme, and the Scottish Government should hang it's head for bowing to this megalomaniac of the business world. They also appear to have highly influenced the Police handling of the situation. I'm not one to shout "Police state" or "1984" but it's hard not to feel Grampian Police are failing in their remit to protect the public's interests.
It's already an emotive issue but the documentary was very moving and had me switching from anger to disbelief and not so very far from tears, partly due to my love of Scotland and also to the human spirit on show in defiance of Trump's continued empire building.
The Silent City (2006)
Disappointing for the public, good advert for the director
I feel the majority of the people leaving views on this short film (in the message boards) are missing the point. Projects like this are not made so much to entertain an audience (though it's an advantage to do so), but to showcase a director or film-making team's talents and abilities in the hope of being signed up to a full scale project.
As with so many such short films we are shown on the UK's Channel 4, I am left disappointed at the resolution of the film, thinking, "Is that all there is?". But as a showcase of what the writer/director can do (and that he can interest a known actor such as Cillian Murphy into working with him), I'd say it was a success.
I often feel cheated when there's no resolution to a short like this, even though I have seen many great movies where the viewer is left to ponder what the final result or outcome was, but I realise it was intended to interest a production company or perhaps a more established director looking for someone to handle second unit duties.
In short (excuse the pun) this was an advert for Robinson, not necessarily entertainment for a regular audience, and in that sense it was successful in leaving people wanting more.
I certainly wanted to know what the threat was to the soldiers, what was going to happen to them in the minutes following the end credits, but (even assuming Robinson himself knew) it was better for his purposes to leave things open-ended so that the aforementioned companies and directors would be intrigued enough to see what else Robinson can do.
All the elements were well executed, assuming this was relatively low budget, from the opening moment where you wonder who the character is going to be, to the end where you wonder what is approaching, the lighting, decent CGI and SFX, and good camera work. this is one short where, although I am annoyed that I am left unsatisfied - confused even - I can appreciate it succeeded in its ultimate task - to create interest in the director.
My score is based on what I believe the film's target was, rather than how much it satisfied me personally (for which it would have scored lower due to the "Is that it?" factor).
Reggie Perrin (2009)
Reginald Perrin should never have risen again
As soon as I saw this was to be made, I cringed. Not even the fact it was to star the usually entertaining Martin Clunes got my hopes up. All the same, I was determined to sit down and try to judge it at face value. Sadly, I was still disappointed.
I watched the original as a child and I suppose, on looking back, that maybe I appreciated it for a similar reason without knowing it. It has remained in my heart since then as a classic piece of television - not just of situation comedy, which is almost a degrading term for such wonderful television. It is also a prized possession in my DVD collection.
On watching this version, I nearly laughed. Nearly. Once.
I did appreciate the nod to the original with Sunshine Desserts being shown but the updating of several elements left me cold. Some examples: 1) Much as I love Martin Clunes (and Men Behaving Badly, even the rickety Is It Legal, both by Simon Nye), he is not truly suited to the role. Leonard Rossiter could play world-weary but with the ability to instantly demonstrate it with a sharp wit that was at odds with his demeanor. Yet it worked because he was so good at that style of acting. That's something Martin Clunes doesn't have, nor do the vast majority of comic actors.
2) His object of affection. Sue Nichols, in my opinion, has never been the most obvious glamour figure, and that's what worked. Reggie was used to her, but suddenly his frustration with his life drove him to quite ridiculous fantasies revolving around her. That was what was funny - he didn't go for the glamour, he went for the safest risky option he could think of, his rather ordinary looking secretary.
There's no doubting Lucy Liemann is far more pleasing on the eye but it's just too easy to have him fall for a beautiful (and crucially NEW) girl on the block. With Rossiter's Perrin, he went for the stability of a known woman, which was at odds with wanting to change his whole existence.
3) The train journeys. The humour was in Perrin always being in the same coach, with the same passengers and the same dull (non) conversation. That's been lost.
4) "Great!", "Super!" has been replaced by 2 horrendously tedious nerds who offer nothing to the humour.
5) CJ. I didn't get where I am today by thinking a younger CJ with more arrogance than pomposity or childish humour (whooppee chairs) would be funny. Yes, the chairs were a nod to the more basic concept of humour but they worked! I presume they intend giving this a 2 or 3 series run but on the basis of this first of 6 episodes, I really can't see a recommissioning being a good idea.
2 stars. It's not worthy of just one because there are so many "comedy" shows out there nowadays that are far worse, but not worthy of more than 2 because it's messing with an original classic. Were it an original itself, it may have made 3 stars.