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nephihaha

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28 reviews in total 
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Monsterwolf (2010) (TV)
Eaten by greens, 26 April 2015
5/10

Fairly average low budget monster romp, with the Doctor actor from Star Trek Voyager (Robert Picardo) and some native American stuff thrown in.

Evil oilman wants to drill on Indian land, Indian spirit of giant wolf gets revenge. Woman gets saved etc.

The wolf effects are cheap, the environmental message is a bit trite, and the native Americans are cliché, but hey it's what you expect.

It's not worth buying on DVD, but if it's on the television and you have some time to kill (no pun intended), you might find it quite a fun way to spend an hour and a half.

I think my favourite bit is when the villain tells the Indian chief that his views are "unamerican"!

Lost in Relativity, 14 December 2014
8/10

This was actually for a pilot for a series by Gerry Anderson, around the same time he was making Space 1999. However, the idea was never taken up.

The premise is simple - a family (two men, a woman, a boy and a girl) are sent in the Earth's first faster than light ship to try and establish colonies in other parts of the galaxy. But "Lost in Space" this is not. They never leave the craft as such, but get to witness various scientific wonders, such as collapsing stars etc. There's a lot of exposition, especially from the boy, who seems to be some kind of child prodigy - which helps keep some scientific accuracy.

The characters are not well drawn (Although oddly Brian Blessed's one doesn't bellow or roar once), but this is more about spectacle than plot or characterisation etc. The music though is great, and really adds to the sense of excitement.

There are a few quirks. They never leave the craft as such. And though the craft has a cockpit, it seems to have no "leisure" space, or general living facilities for such a long journey.

There are some memorable scenes such as when "dad" has to fix the drive for the ship, and the finale, and this is well worth looking up. It's difficult to get hold of, but I believe that there are some badly synched copies around the net. I saw it as part of Brian Cox's night on BBC4. This was the first time it was shown on British television since the seventies...

"Vicious" (2013)
6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Malicious, 6 September 2013
8/10

Most of the energy and delight in this series comes from seeing Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi's characters laying into one another with bitchy queeny comments. They both loving hamming it up, and to an extent sending themselves up. Their forever thwarted female friend, played by Frances de la Tour, provides a nice counterpoint.

Most of the enjoyment comes from their delivery of the lines, rather than the script. For this reason, it will be loved by some folk, and hated by others.

McKellen's character is an aging actor, whose career is less than stellar (he was voted the twentieth most popular Dr Who villain - something like that). They have a decrepit dog, Balthazar, which is most of the way to death. They all live in a house that looks like something out of Rising Damp or a bad seventies sitcom in which the curtains are hardly ever opened. McKellen's mother seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that her son is a raging queen who lives with a man. It's fairly set bound, and doesn't move around much, but all of this, including the retro flavour, is deliberate.

On the downside, the theme music is totally inappropriate, and the Ash character is a stock in trade attempt to bring in a young guy. (He can't act either) He only really works when the older characters including Frances de la Tour, all get crushes on him.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
That's Your Lot In Life, 30 August 2013
7/10

It was inevitable that this programme would draw comparisons with "the Office" and "Vicious" (in which it appeared in a double bill.

The first scene has Russell Tovey's character Karl complaining that he has an Art degree, and that he "shouldn't be reduced to this". You think he's a job seeker, but in fact he's "reduced" to working in this sterile ugly job centre.

It's actually quite watchable, and better than the average ITV sitcom.

The most amusing characters are Trish, the neurotic, anxious manager (who has just been through a divorce, and tries to steal her chocolate labs Ferrero and Rocher back from her ex-husband) and the bitchy Angela, who works to rule, generally undermines the others, and throws her weight around. The security guards are laughable - one's a tiny woman, and the other's a nut with military pretensions. Then there are the bizarre job seekers, one of whom is like an English Rab C. Nesbitt, and an undercover agent who attempts to catch benefit cheats. Only trouble being that he's bearded and Asian, and sticks out like a sore thumb in many environments.

Yes, it's another sitcom about tedium, but it's quite fun. I think it suffered from being on too late at night and was overshadowed by its admittedly better sibling "Vicious", but it's worth a look.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Patchy - for completists only, 10 August 2013
6/10

I love the Alan Partridge series, but this was, well, patchy.

There are some good lines in it, but some elements are overplayed, e.g. the robot interviewer (Digital Dave), and "real life" interviewer Ray Woolard, who is clearly out of his depth and being manipulated by Partridge. There *are* a few laughs here, but not many compared to "Knowing Me, Knowing You", or "I'm Alan Partridge".

Also included are clips from Partridge's "Ramble in the Countryside", an attempt by Alan to show himself off as some kind of rural gentleman. (Presumably to help placate the farmers he annoyed on his radio show.)

The feature includes some clips from other Alan Partridge enterprises (including "The Day Today"), but it fails to impress overall.

"Shetland" (2013)
3 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
So So, 4 April 2013
4/10

And so the BBC decides to jump on the Scando crime bandwagon! What you get though is something a bit more British, and less ponderous.

The result is a reasonable crime drama set in Shetland. the actors turn in a reasonable performance, but the only Shetlander, and the only one with a Shetland-sounding accent - Steven Robertson - got put into a supporting role. He's a really good, underrated actor, and I would like to see more of him. Dougie Henshall is the lead, and works well on the small screen. But that's it - reasonable... not particularly good or bad, but "reasonable".

The story itself is okay, but it could have done with better pacing and direction. There's no real tension as such, although it's not too predictable.

As you might expect, the landscape (or should I say "seascape"?) is very much the real star. One thing though - this was set around about New Year, yet the days appear to be long and sunny... anyone who knows Shetland, knows that they're extremely short and dark at that time of year!!! Worth seeing if it's on TV, but not worth looking out for otherwise.

Doors Open (2012) (TV)
15 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Badly paced, and almost colonial, 29 December 2012
3/10

At least half of this badly paced and poorly written crime caper could have been cut. Most of the first hour drags... the "heist" is mildly entertaining, but doesn't make up for the rest.

All the educated, middle class people, apart from Douglas Henshall's character are English, or have English accents. And all the schemies/working class people have Glaswegian ones. (Apart from some Geordie criminals!) Edinburgh is not like that, and it seems all too reminiscent of the Alasdair Gray row. Is Scotland colonised? Well, watching this, you'd well think so. Apparently almost all Scots live in council house schemes, are football obsessed and don't get involved in the art world. The hegemony implicit in this is outrageous!

Mysterious Two (1982) (TV)
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Genuinely Spooky, 10 May 2012
7/10

I got the chance to watch this twice on an obscure cable channel. Otherwise it's very difficult to get hold of (it didn't appear on IMDb for a number of years).

It's by turns quite dated and cheesy, and oddly creepy and atmospheric. We never do really find out what's going on. In that sense, it's quite close to "Picnic at Hanging Rock". Two cult leaders start indoctrinating people, and one by one they start disappearing. The lesson here, perhaps is about giving yourself over to the unknown, particularly when you don't know what its intentions are.

Basically this film is a reaction to the various UFO sects that have sprung up over the years (especially in the decade or so before the film) - Heaven's Gate, Raelians, Share International ("Maitreya"), George Adamski, the Aetherius Society etc, and also some of the tragedies resulting from New Religious Movements in general, e.g. the Jonestown Massacre, the Manson Gang etc. As it turned out, the film demonstrates a real concern, as there have been many more such tragedies since then. It's also about the souring of the hippie/New Age ideal, about peace and love distorted and gone horribly wrong.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Hingin Aboot in Nyowcassell, 27 January 2012
7/10

This is an episode which doesn't really go anywhere in more ways than one. The lads spend their time in Newcastle, biding their time, and getting into trouble with the local radgies. It starts with the lads in passport control, and ends more or less the same way. There's a few cheap laughs in here e.g. Ally's gym.

We do catch a glimpse of another side of Wayne, but in the end, he just can't help himself. This and Barry's tap dancing and snooker skills just about bump this episode up one point for me.

All said and done though, this episode's a bit of a filler. "Marjorie Doesn't Live Here Anymore", at least dealt with Oz's trying to be a dad. This is just "hingin aboot the toon."

High Point: Barry's tap dancing... classic.

Low Point: The hairstyles in Cannibals. Certain things from the eighties don't deserve to be remembered.

Look out for: Barry's snooker trick shot. The fight in Cannibals – Moxey can certainly handle himself.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Mentioning the War, 27 January 2012
10/10

British TV has long had a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Hitler and the Second World War. It hardly ever faces up to the fact that most modern-day Germans weren't even born when it happened, that they sincerely regret what did happen, and that Germans are ordinary people, not just some kind of cut-out villains. It's inevitable that Auf Wiedersehen Pet, which revolves around a gang of English builders in Germany would have to run up against this at some point.

In this episode, the War is brought up by a couple of disconnected events. Neville, one of the Newcastle lads, makes friends with one of the German builders and gets to meet his family. At one point, Neville is left alone with an old man who can't speak English, and who turns out to have been on a U-boat which sank a ship that Neville's relative was in. Now in a lot of British comedies – let alone serious dramas – this situation would be dealt with cack-handedly, using sentimentality, making some kind of jingoistic British point, or exposing the old man as some kind of closet Nazi or mass murderer. Instead, AWP deals with this as a matter of fact, and doesn't use it for cheap laughs or point scoring.

A lot of British people remember "The Germans" episode of "Fawlty Towers" for all the wrong reasons. What most folk forget is that the German characters in it are actually Basil Fawlty's victims, and that it was mainly sending up his own bigotry and xenophobia... not making fun of the German tourists. Now if there's one character who's as stupid, blinkered and pig headed as Basil Fawlty in this episode, it's Oz whose stupid remarks constantly threaten relations between the English and Germans on site. However, unlike *that* episode of "Fawlty Towers", it's always clear who's being laughed at.

High Point: This is the first episode we get to see Moxey, and he's only allowed into the hut because he's got a darts board! Low Point: Oz's idiocy, although it is funny.

Look out for: The extra man in the hut who appears in several scenes. and appears to have had some extra dialogue; Neville on German TV.


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