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They rob the audience....and that's it!
17 April 1999
Focus seems to be strictly on style rather than substance with Plunkett & Macleane, a British costume-drama cum comedy swashbuckler set in the 18th century. Tagline for the film says 'They rob the rich...and that's it', which pretty much sums up the film - and its gung-ho, tongue-in-cheek attitude.

Anyway, Robert Carlyle is Plunkett - a poor thief, who has now developed into something of an expert highwayman. Jonny Lee Miller is Macleane - an upper-class socialite who has now been castigated from the elite. Their paths cross one night when they end up in prison for grave digging, resulting in a new found partnership-in-crime. With the use of Plunkett's criminal know how, and Macleane's links with the rich and famous, a profitable future can be made in robbing the rich and having a good laugh while doing so. Plunkett's poor background means the money is going towards a ticket and a way out to America, while Macleane sees it as one long adventure.

Along the way, a little romance is added to the melting pot when Macleane falls in love with Lady Rebecca (Liv Tyler) whose family is under threat from tough law enforcer Ken Stott, a kind of thief-finder general who is also hunting the illustrious P&M. Flashy and stylish it may be, the film doesn't grab much attention, even with dazzling shots of people running through blazing fireworks while shooting off flintlocks. Not being able to generate any excitement from the hold-ups, the film constantly resorts to using crass jokes about certain parts of the body and how they are affected by disease. On the up-side, performances are good - including Tyler, but it's Alan Cumming who gets all the best lines as a gay aristocrat, camping it up big time.
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Roswell (1994 TV Movie)
Conspiracy or fact? This film doesn't tell you.
17 April 1999
Interesting, but rarely exciting look at the events surrounding Roswell - a New Mexican town plagued with rumour and notoriety ever since an apparent U.F.O. crashed there in 1947. Of course, this above-par TV movie plays around with the myths and conspiracy theory's put forward by crackpots and officials ever since.

Story is told from Jesse Marcel's (MacLachlan) point of view, a soldier with the U.S. Army back in '47 when the incident happened. Story also takes place in 1977, where Jesse (with his tired wife Kim Griest and sceptical son Doug Wert) is still searching for the truth.

Film uses intriguing and long flashback sequences to explain the events of '47. In these flashbacks, we are told how Jesse is with the team that finds the wreckage of a craft. He takes some of the material home, and finds it is nothing like anything made on Earth, but soon enough, he finds there has been a cover-up, and then finds out he has been made the scapegoat. The army come out with the explanation that is was a weather balloon, various reports go missing and people are unwilling to talk. Jesse's search for the truth starts here. Jump forward to '77 again, and Jesse is regarded as a crackpot as well - with even his own son is beginning to think he should give it up. However, Jesse manages to track down old soldiers, doctors and officials, who 30 years on, may now be willing to speak.

Roswell never really answers the questions it and many others have raised, but it is still an intriguing insight in to a significant incident that still raises arguments today. A top notch cast - including Martin Sheen as a government official - also helps.
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Black Ice (1992)
The Secret Agent, Her Lover, Her Boss and her Taxi Driver!
17 April 1999
Considering this is supposed to be something of an intriguing mystery thriller, it raises little in the way of suspense. So, it's a little surprising that the film has the capacity to hold your interest until the end, which is disappointedly bland.

Anyway, the film stars Joanna Pacula as an undercover agent of some sort, who contrives to accidentally kill her target after having sex with him. Hitching a ride in Nick Mancuso's taxi, she arrives at the airport only to find her boss (Michael Ironside) has received orders to kill her, as to leave no trace of the crime.

This TV movie hangs on the fact that Mancuso doesn't know who or what Pacula is until late on, although the viewer knows fairly quickly. Still, performances are more than adequate and Ironside gets to repeat his cold-hearted bad guy routine once again.
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