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Inspector Morse: Masonic Mysteries (1990)
Season 4, Episode 4
5/10
Just too daft!
31 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This episode is far and away the daftest episode in the aeries. Morse accused of murder? Found with a knife in his hand? As if! The acting is over the top with certain actors. Fortunately Morse and Lewis manage to keep a straight face and bravely ensure that the show goes on! Still enjoyable tosh but the worst episode in the series.
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Comanche Moon (2008)
6/10
Oh for reality!
8 March 2017
The event opens episode two and it is obvious what is going to happen. It happens in nearly every western. There is a raid on a town by outlaws or Indians and all the townsfolk run out into the street and get shot or chopped down. Why not stay inside under cover? Use your gun to fire at the targets in the street and possibly survive! It is risible!

Other than that annoying incident it is worth a watch but not as good as 'Lonesone Dove.'
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Dad's Army (2016)
3/10
The Politically Correct Version
9 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The omens were not good when I saw the trailer. 'It is 1944 and Britain is on the brink of defeat!' intoned the announcer. Really, in 1944? Who was their historical consultant? Then during the film Mainwaring and his wife head for bed in an Anderson shelter. The chances of them being bombed in 1944 in a sleepy seaside village are as likely as George W Bush winning Mastermind! This particular incident gives rise to a joke that was old when Max Miller was telling it back in nineteen thirty something! The film is served by an excellent ensemble cast but badly let down by a dire script. The film is called Dad's Army. But in this age of political correctness we need the ATS, sisters, aunts, mothers. In fact enough females to equal the men. Pathetic! The part played by Catherine Zeta- Jones exits so that you can see the actress called Catherine Zeta-Jones. She must be hard pushed for parts if she accepted this role. Money talks I guess. The film is a pale shadow of the television series. Save your money. Treat yourself to the box set and you will have a really good laugh!
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Trumbo (2015)
7/10
American Paranoia
5 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
It is hard to believe this actually happened. Just for speaking out in favour of film workers rights the whole Federal machine came bearing down on the hapless writers and numerous other film workers. I am at a loss just what Hedda Hopper (A great performance from Helen Mirren!) and John Wayne thought these film worker were going to do to 'overthrow the government?' They were never convicted of any crime but were charged with 'contempt of Congress' and jailed. Madness! Wayne and his fascist friends do not come out of this well. There is a great moment when Trumbo confronts Wayne and points out that he and a few other writers were in the war zones during the Second World War. ' Where were you Duke,' asks Trumbo, 'On a film set in Hollywood?' Quite so. Bryan Cranston is superb as Trumbo and a good cast make this a film worth seeing. My usual bugbear about true stories adapted for film. Why do they not stick to the truth? Here we have Trumbo out of jail and rushing around L.A speaking to the movers and shakers and being visited by Kirk Douglas among others. The reality is that Trumbo and his family decamped to Mexico City! They were there for a number of years. So any communication with Hollywood would have been by letter or telephone. Still ignore that and enjoy seeing American paranoia of the late forties and early fifties in all its awful glory.
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5/10
And the story was about...what?
30 January 2016
This film has the usual Tarantino ingredients. Same old ensemble cast, lots of needless violence, buckets of blood and gore. Dialogue that reaches the odd humorous level but really is trite for most of the film. Excellent cinematography of the Wyoming winter. Clever camera work and faultless direction. Much has been said about the language and a number of gratuitous scenes. All valid arguments but that is Tarantino I guess. I think comedians who resort to obscene language and jokes are talentless and earning their money on the cheap. Ditto film directors. The film is so long! There is an interval (If you were paying homage to the history of cinema Mr T I would have called it an intermission? But there you go.) In the second half we have a narrator and that trick of many a poor TV script the flashback! I think the film could have been reduced by an hour easily. But as the credits rolled and Roy Orbison sang his song I thought, 'And the story was about...what?' Disappointing.
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The Revenant (2015)
3/10
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!
30 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is the story of Hugh Glass, or rather this is the story of the Hollywood version of Hugh Glass. Glass never married a Pawnee Indian and he most certainly never had a son which reduces the plot somewhat! The cinematography is superb and the locations cold and unrelenting. Mr De Caprio is required to look glum and cold and occasionally grunt with pain. An Oscar winning performance it is not! One can only assume Academy members were impressed with his ability to survive on such cold locations? The revenge mission in the film is completely at odds with the accepted version of events. Tom Hardy is the outstanding actor and certainly deserves recognition. The scene where his character Fitzgerald on hearing that Glass is returning decides to rob the payroll safe and abscond with the money. Untrue. Fitzgerald had left the fort weeks before the story of Glass become public knowledge. Glass had to head south to find him. When he succeeded in finding Fitzgerald he discovered that Fitzgerald was now employed by the U.S Cavalry and was therefore a government official. Shooting him would have meant the death penalty for Glass. He had hoped to call him out in a gunfight but in the end relented, retrieved his rifle and headed north to carry on trapping. A disappointing film. With the budget they have why not tell the true story and cover the whole of the life of Hugh Glass?
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The Gathering Storm (1974 TV Movie)
5/10
Pedestrian Burton
24 January 2015
Burton gets the speeches but it is another case of him going through the motions for the most part and collecting the fee. By 1974 he had been warned to stop drinking but failed to follow doctor's orders. Alcohol rules all his performances after 1974. If you want to see an actor play Churchill watch Albert Finney in 'The Gathering Storm.' He takes the role seriously. Virginia McKenna is the saving grace of this film and the other supporting actors play their parts well. Burton could have given a defining performance here but as usual in his final years all ambition had long gone. Compare this with his performances in his earlier work and it makes for depressing viewing. Robert Hardy who has played the most Churchill roles on TV has a supporting part here. How he must have cringed during the recording!
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10/10
Outstanding
19 November 2014
This has to be one of the best films of this or any other year. It features a performance from Benedict Cumberbatch that will surely win him an Oscar. He is supported by an outstanding cast and a story line that if it were not true would be hard to believe! As a tribute to Alan Turing this fine film fits the bill. The story will be familiar to most but still manages to have a few twists and turns along the way as Turing's personality clashes with those above and below him. Benedict Cumberbatch presents Turing as someone who is just too intelligent for normal society. His obsession with cracking the code leads to tension within his team and a lack of support from those above him. His sexuality is touched upon at the end of the film and his post-war years viewed from 2014 seem to be from another different world of social acceptability. A must see film!
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Interstellar (2014)
7/10
Worth a look but...
19 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
After all the hype I expected more from this film. One particular website claims it is one of the greatest films of all time! How many films has the writer seen? The film is worth a look. The ideas and the plot pose interesting questions. Some of the ideas stretch credulity just a little too far. However a film that makes you think is worth seeing. The photography and special effects are outstanding. However the so-called background music takes over in some places and the dialogue is difficult to hear. Out there in the vastness of space why is it necessary to have such intrusive music? The acting is competent but certainly not Oscar winning standard. McConaughay and Hathaway don't really have to try too hard and McConaughay's mumbling at times is a little annoying. Michael Caine is probably the best actor in the film. The disappointment for me in the film is that it moves from sci-fi to fantasy without any real explanation.
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