Tube Tales (1999)
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However, my most favorite films are 'Bone' and 'Steal Away', because they can move me to tears. 'Bone' gives me the tears of joy and make me feel elated after seeing it. I thought what the guy does is one of the most beautiful and impressive ways to express feelings. It is one of the most heartfelt moment in cinema and affects me nearly as strongly as the ending of Eric Rohmer's 'The Green Ray.'
As for 'Steal Away,' I can't help crying when the criminal turns to wash the feet of the foot-washer. I think this moment in 'Steal Away' has something in common with that moment in 'Bone.' In these two moments, there is some deep communication between characters without using words. While words tend to be deceptive or inadequate to express what one thinks or feels, what these two characters in different films do is communication from their hearts, and that leads to real understanding. Though the ending of 'Steal Away' is a little bit predictable, its effectiveness is not lessened. While other films give me a lot of laugh, I feel these two films speak directly to my heart.
You don't have to, and are probably not intended to, like all the stories. There is no "eureka" moment.What you do get is idiosyncratic story telling by a distinguished cast. The dialogue is often sparse, placing great importance on acting, and space, which the film delivers in spades.
In an era of increasingly formulaic and homogeneous film making this dares to be different, and rewards the viewer accordingly.Perversely the fact that the tales are no longer than ten minutes makes the overall running time seem longer, as you mentally "rewind" after each short. And if one is losing your interest? Well you are only a few minutes away from your next one.
But at the end of the day. It's a pretty cool film. Hel! They even had that guy Richard Jobson, who used to interview people in Sky Movies.. Look at him now! He's directing films.. Nice one, man! 9 out 0f 10!
There are some well known actors involved in the project, both from film and (UK) TV. These include, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Simon Pegg, Sean Pertwee, Liz Smith, Denise Van Outen, Don Warrington, Rachel Weisz and Ray Winstone. I particularly liked the performances of Denise Van Outen in 'Horny', Don Warrington in 'Steal Away' and Ray Winstone in 'My Father the Liar'. Although all the performances were pretty good.
Over all I found this a bit hit and miss. Some stories were great whereas others just failed to hit the mark. It's still a very watchable piece, but, I suspect, one you'll only watch once. I should warn you that there are a few pretty gross things that go on down there, so I advise not watching during a meal. My two favourite segments were 'Rosebud' and 'Steal Away': Recommended, especially for these two.
My score: 6.2/10
As is often the case with anthology films, some stories work better than others. None are particularly bad and none are particularly great either. The best shorts were Armundo Ianucci's "MOUTH" segment that is hilarious and unexpected, Charles McDougall's "STEAL AWAY" which is great, but starts off telling one story and ends with another, Stephen 'Lost in Space' Hopkins "HORNY" which stretches one gag for about ten minutes but gets away with it and is quite funny, and Gaby Dellal's "ROSEBUD" which is quirky but visually stimulating but ends without an ending.
Overall, not a bad try, most of the stories work but don't have a punchline.
Tube Tales is a series of short, unconnected films set in and around London's Underground; with one exception (My Father The Liar, directed by the late Bob Hoskins), most are average, albeit with one or two flashes of inventiveness. Like the fleeting strangers you'll meet on your journey, you'll see them only once, before they're quickly forgotten.
What's more noteworthy is the roster of late 1990's talent involved - Kelly MacDonald (Trainspotting), Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock...), Frank Harper, Simon Pegg, a nice pairing of veterans Liz Smith and Tom Bell, Denise Van Outen, Dexter Fletcher, Daniella Nardini....plus directorial debutes from Ewen McGregor and Jude Law.
For all this, Tube Tales never really catches fire the way it ought to have done; still, if you want a few undemanding stories from the Underground, and a peek at late 1990s London, then this is the one for you. Now mind the gap....
PS. I see Sky Arts recently released a program of very good short films a few months ago, starring Sheridan Smith amongst others; does Tube Tales have a legacy of shorts after all?
I suspect it will serve a good piece of social history if you don't waste a lot of time worrying about the story lines.
If the DVD had been released with more confidence it might have been nice to have some literature in the packaging. Can you spot I was desperate for some clues here?
It gets a 3 because of the sterling efforts of Denise Van Outen and maybe Ray Winstone. I am a big fan of Armando Iannucci who I suspect had spotted the absence of direction and must have written his story in his coffee break?
Check it out and see what you think, but is it worth sitting through each tale just to see what the next one is like, in my opinion No. I think sitting on a real train would prove more entertaining than this film.