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Gulliver's Travels (2010)
Gosh, aren't we all being a little too serious in these reviews
Gulliver's Travels is fun, a fantasy, not taking itself seriously light comedy. You won't learn anything, you won't cry, you won't witness historic cinema in the making. You will spend an hour and a half watching an enjoyable family film that doesn't pretend to be anything more than a fun adaptation of an age old tale by Jonathan Swift.
I marked the film 7 because I enjoyed watching it, isn't that enough? Must everything be critiqued so much that we lose enchanting family films that just cheer us up momentarily.
Sometimes; Now this might upset the media studies students who seem to be taking over IMDb, sometimes I don't want to have to concentrate on plots and sub plots, sometimes I just want watch a film and escape for a bit, is that OK with you, must everything be Cannes fodder? If you want to have fun and watch a dumb romantic comedy watch Gulliver's Travels, if you're an over serious sneering sceptic... don't. It's that simple.
Frieda, stands up today as it did in 1947
Phew, that was a tough watch.. Not the production, Frieda is well made, but makes us all face up to our own prejudice and fear. I have no idea how this must have felt to the audience in 1947, I am sure many struggled to sympathise with Frieda, the enemy.
Today hatred is still rife, we live in a world that is still drawing dividing lines, for what.. where has it got us. Frieda tries to make us examine irrational fears and blind hatred. The film pushes us to see people as individuals.
I often look back at old cinema as a little simple, corny even, it is not often I sit in silence at the end and contemplate what I have seen, Frieda made me do this.
Should you watch this, yes if you like cinema that takes you somewhere and you like to empathise with tough subject matter. It is not an arty film and is extremely watchable.. But if you need whizzbangs and CGI this might not be the film for you.
All I can say to finish, I am glad I finally sat down to watch Frieda.
What Goes Up (2009)
A great drama, recommended
I thought it was the British who did Social Realism, but this film shows that Hollywood 'gets' it too. Steve Coogan is sturdy and the other actors also very believable.
I can see why some people just wont 'get' this film at all, why some will wish to be offended by the side story of Challenger, nothing I can say will help you see the parallel yet opposite story that runs through the piece.
I don't often go for this genre of American drama (sorry, but I generally prefer European drama), but I do like Steve Coogan so thought I would give this film a go. Within 10 minutes I was hooked and embroiled into this little world that is so different and at times uncomfortable.
I gave an 8, it would have been 9 but I was a bit confused by the newspaper cuttings Campbell Babbitt took from the pin board in Sam's flat, they were important to the story but flashed past too quickly for me to understand the relevance. I look forward to seeing it again to clear this up.
After You've Gone (2007)
Too many punches
I really wanted to like this, but I just feel they have made the character of Diana (Celia Imrie) too unlikeable. She has been written as one of those that must try to put everyone down every time she opens her mouth.
After a short time I found myself hating the woman. This is written by the same guy who wrote my family, another comedy I found too uncomfortable. You have to make characters believable.
I believe this is one of the main differences between an American and European comedy, the Americans try to cram gags in where as the Europeans tend to build up a plot and a fall. This is of course an American writer.
In the great scheme it is not so important, many sit-comes come and go, this one will, in my opinion just go.
Not Forgotten (2005)
lest we forget
Spoilers, but it is a factual documentary.
Ian Hislop, Private Eye editor and team captain from the UK TV show Have I Got News from you, broadens his usual cynical and comic outlook to present a touching and excellent four part documentary following selected human stories from the Great War.
The series is based upon the fact that many have stopped seeing the more than 37,000 World War One memorials found around the UK. Ian tries to make us stop and look at them, remember that all those names we just see were actually sons, brothers, fathers, daughters and now Grandfathers, Great grandfathers.
The program recounts personal stories rather than the usual battles or history from the media or historian. We see how war affects those at home, how families are destroyed rather than just the fallen.
The last episode focuses on those who actually survived and came home. We are shown how Lloyd George's promise of a land fit for heroes was only true for a very few returning soldiers, in many cases; poverty, illness and mental problems were common but terrifying realities.
Ian Hislop shows great compassion and knowledge, we do not feel we are sitting through a lecture, but listening to a man who really feels this pain. He once again shows that beyond the funny man, a fascinating and intelligent historian lurks.
Well worth watching, show the children, never forget.
The Wrong Man (1956)
I was the wrong man
In almost an eerie coincidence I have been through exactly what this man (Fonda) went through. In my case I happened to get onto a railway carriage and sit opposite the victim of a crime a few weeks earlier.
For over a year, I like Fonda, watched with no control as people questioned, was it me? For me it was like watching a story of my own experience, the line ups, the very polite police, which they were, Hitchcock got that right, he did not try to make them monsters like many other directors would. The scared victims I saw at the line up. Going to court, the friendly lawyer, who at the same time made me feel I was doing all the legwork. I would also tell him things I felt important which he would brush off, similar to how Fonda was treated.
I am sure others who have had this happen to them will understand how scared you feel and as an honest person, I never have fully recovered from my experience.
Hats off to Hitch, he really did his homework on this one, nothing was out of place, all this really does happen and still happens, just because one person mistakes your face for a criminal's.
Are You Being Served? (1972)
I have never understood the Americans fascination
On my two visits to the USA I have always been bemused that Are You Being Served is always on one of the channels, OK, it may only be on one channel, but the perception that it seems to be looped.
As a kid I had to sit through episode after episode as we only had three channels and this was Sunday night comedy I think. I just didn't get it, I have never got it. I have browsed through the comments here and noticed our American cousins are all rolling around just thinking about it, never mind actually watching it, maybe it will prove to much and cause the odd coronary.
The comedy is slapstick and playground innuendo. I have no problem with escapism and sometimes I don't want to relate to characters, but when as an 8 year old child I feel pity and superiority something is wrong.
Maybe it was written with export in mind, British comedy is more often subtle, character assassination. It is not even that American comedy does not cross over into Britain (though you do tend to kill it dead by making 7,000 episodes, dead horses and flogging).
But, hey, you like it, it very rarely gets played in the UK now, so on behalf of the UK public, you can keep this dull, ridiculous, not funny, boring rubbish just for yourselves.
I also need to know how they managed to stay open without ever selling anything? Sorry, but this needed a reality check!
Dreadful and cringe-worthy
Maybe it is being European or above 16 years old, but I actually found the stereotypes uncomfortable and not funny.
The basic plot, boy damages on on line relationship by sending off an email while drunk telling his German pen pal to leave him alone. His German pen pal turns out not to be a man but a gorgeous young nubile, what else! His only way to fix this is to travel to Berlin to find her and apologise. Which he does with much side splitting hilarity on the way, well not really, but that is the hope of this movie.
A child goose stepping with a Hitler moustache in Germany, football hooligans in Britain, Casanovas in France etc etc they are all there.
If you want to write a spoof make it funny, this seems to be an easy rule to follow. I think this film shows where the USA still is regarding it's opinions of Europe.
Sorry not funny and not worth wasting time watching. The saddest day will be when they release Eurotrip two, just to show how bad the first one really was. Nothing good at all to say about this painful film.