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  1. Continuing my Mike Leigh strand: Vera Drake (2004) The film starts off with Vera generally helping out, visiting various homes cleaning and making sure people are okay. So when she visits the home of a young woman and performs an abortion in a similarly good-natured and disarming way it comes as something of a quiet shock. This is contrasted with the experience of an upper-middle class young woman's experience of having an abortion after being raped. Eventually Vera's secret comes out and has repercussions for her family. I remember hearing when this came out how much effort went into making this as authentic a slice of 1950 everyday life as possible, and it is very impressive. My parents got married not long after when this was set and would talk about the period. Watching this it was obvious just how close this came to that world described, from the dancehall to how home life was. Mind you this didn't have the feeling of life going on beyond the story like the other Leigh films I've seen, it felt almost self-contained. However, it did have the layers and complex interweaving of characters that make Leigh's films so engrossing. Whilst this didn't grab me as much as other more contemporary Mike Leigh films have, this is still a drama with real impact. No-one brings the hammer blow of consequences to a family quite like Mike Leigh, in this case Christmas 1950. 4.5/5
  2. What I want: Michael Knight is living off the grid after being wounded some 35 years ago. He is forced out of retirement when he finds out there has been a hostile takeover of Knight Industries by the Olakin Corporation, a technology firm owned by Marc Ellin, South African tech billionaire and awkward genius. Ellin has plans to replace the entire banking system with his own digital currency, using his fleet of thousands of semi-sentient cars as a roving seemingly indestructible network spanning the entire globe. Michael teams up with his old pal Bonnie to acquire KITT, who is locked away in a Knight Industries high security facility, before taking on the evil billionaire. But it's not only Michael who needs a huge update to modern life. KITT hasn't been touched in nearly 30 years. Can old-high-tech outwit new-high-tech and win back liberty? Featuring: KITT struggling to operate without internet access; Bonnie complaining about not being able to get the parts any more; scene where some kids comment about the "cool car!" to which Michael says "this was a really cool thing in the 80s but it's not what it used to be". What I'll get: Fast And Furious-inspired comedy action with an emphasis on driving, straight-man AI car paired with someone like Chris Evans or Ryan Reynolds, weak baddie with just enough evil to make him worth stopping, some nods towards the old show like the theme tune, cameo by Hasselhoff and the car making that swooshing sound, lines including "engage turbo boost, KITT!" And yet it never quite comes together, falls between satisfying all-out action and nostalgic nod to the past.
  3. Vimster

    Fall Guys

    Just bought this on Steam. Managed a few goes although takes ages to get enough players. I'm absolutely hopeless, I don't know what I'm doing wrong but despite running forwards at full speed everyone is about 50 feet in front pretty quickly. Finding it's better with a controller, using the mouse for camera makes me feel sick and I can't follow the action. I did shout cunt when some prick pushed me off a narrow platform though so I guess it's doing something right. Hopefully I'll not get eliminated otherwise this will go down to experience pretty quickly.
  4. Superhero films are far from dead, if anything the lack of them recently due to the pandemic has probably created an increased appetite for them. Personally I'd like to see a revolution similar to the one Hollywood saw in the late 60s/early 70s where the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and eventually George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would sweep away a bloated, stale establishment. Young film-makers, producers and actors who wanted to do something different, not just be a continuation of the establishment. I can't see that happening soon though whilst directors are happy to compromise their personal vision to be involved in something like the MCU, or play it safe with other franchises. Mind you, the sooner this idea of universes and interconnected franchises becomes unsustainable the better. It ruined series like Alien and John WIck (the first was a superb stand-alone film with a hint at a hidden world, should have left it there).
  5. Yes that's how I did it. All FreeMCBoot installs have ELFlauncher on there, a file manager, just copy it into the right folder.
  6. I remember seeing those Jonathan Ross shows at the time and just wanting to watch everything. He made it all seem so out-there and interesting, even the Russ Meyer stuff. Obviously living where I was and having no money or connections it remained a distant dream til I got to uni in 1997 and hooked up with a few film students who had all these films. It was amazing!
  7. Late-night Central ITV was the best, not just for films. The obvious ones were Prisoner Cell Block H, The Hit Man And Her and The James Whale Radio Show, but things like Sledgehammer, Married With Children, Pop Down The Pub, shitty talk shows like Donahue. Central Weekend! And don't get me started on 4Later. Those were the days.
  8. My parents were older than average and weren't interested in all the modern stuff, so we never had a video recorder until 1990 and so I only had limited access to video shops during the 80s. I made up for it by watching tons of films on TV late at night, especially Amicus/Hammer and the like. The great thing was you only had the very limited listing in the paper to go on. There was no IMDB, no easy way to get more information, so you'd just go "yeah I'll give that a go". Looking back I actually preferred it, it was exciting, you never knew what you were going to get. Plus it felt like you were discovering something, not like now where every idiot on Youtube has posted some awful "review"* of any old rubbish. Some of my horror favourites via late-night ITV included The Satanic Rights Of Dracula, Horror Express, Society (this was a bit later in the 90s). But lots of non-horror too, sat there feeling like I'd stumbled upon the greatest film ever when I caught Escape From New York in about 1989. I knew absolutely nothing about it, and it blew me away. * "review" being a complete plot synopsis and ever mistake and bit of bad production pointed out for you. Absolutely hate that.
  9. Read the superb Easy Riders Raging Bulls to find out why this film was such a huge influence on 70s Hollywood. It's giallo in a way, it demands more questions than answers, it was a groundbreaking film. I guess the fact it had full female nudity in it probably got it more recognition than it deserved though.
  10. See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) From the classic period of American comedy movies that frankly puts the modern shit to shame. The third and final Pryor/Wilder collaboration, this time with one guy being blind, the other deaf and only able to lip-read, both inadvertently getting involved in an admittedly limp criminal plot involving a murder and a coin, it's really just an excuse for the comedy really. Plenty of set pieces that make the most of the situation, the police photographer bit was my favourite. Joan Severance was at her hottest here, and you get to see Kevin Spacey getting punched in the face. I'm not sure how something like this would play today, the script does touch on how these guys came to acquire their disabilities which makes for some light pathos, and it never mocks them for it. 3.5/5
  11. Lethal Panther aka Deadly China Dolls (1990) What's this? A Godfrey Ho film without the word 'ninja' in the title, that's what. It's a pretty shallow affair, weak plot and characters taking a back seat to some intense, at times hyper-stylish action with plenty of arse-kicking and sub-Woo gun fetishism, backed up by the usual magpie-curated soundtrack. And nowhere is that gun-fetishism more prevalent than when the two female assassins (Maria Jo and Miyamoto Yoko) are handling weapons or engaging in slick, sexy fighting. Anyone who has seen a Godfrey Ho film will know they're largely style over substance with low production values, although it's no less exciting for it. Apart from the poor script the film is let down by some appalling dialogue and several super-sleazy gratuitous sex scenes that made me feel grubby. All in all though this is a rough yet stylish bit of nonsense, girls with guns blowing away hundreds of guys in suits and shades, basically. 3/5
  12. Waxwork (1988) Camp, tongue-in-cheek horror tale involving some college kids and a mysterious waxworks run by David Warner. You just know if this had been made 20 years previously it would have been Vincent Price in that role. Anyway, the exhibits need to be completed, cue several fun and gory vignettes based on classic horror topes including the mummy and vampires. Very much of that period of effects-heavy, irreverent horror films, the make-up and models do look good and there's plenty of blood in places although it never gets so graphic as to disrupt the tone. Zach Galligan stands out amongst the group of largely forgettable youngsters. David Warner and Patrick McNee ham it up suficiently. Generally good fun. 3/5
  13. Secrets And Lies (1996) Mike Leigh's drama about a black woman, Hortense, who seeks out her biological mother. The film takes its time to set up the complex web of characters and their lives: tragic single mother Cynthia just about holding things together with her adult daughter Roxanne; Cynthia's brother Maurice, a photographer leading a comfortable life with his wife Monica, having their own issues; and Hortense' reticence to connect with a mother she knows nothing about. Leigh draws the various strands together, building up to an intense, powerful family barbecue that starts out civil enough but releases the pent-up secrets and lies, perfectly timed for an immense hit of emotional release. Superb performances throughout, Brenda Blethyn's emotionally-fragile Cynthia, Tim Spall playing it straight and calm, building to a crescendo. It says a lot about what lies under the surface of family life, hidden until something, or someone, inadvertently stirs things up. Exceptional drama. 5/5
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