Film Four & Film Four +1 02-06-08.
Astra 2D at 28.2E 10729 V SYM:22000 FEC 5/6
Film Four SID8335 VPID2312 APID2313 Eng
Film Four +1 SID8330 VPID2332 APID2333 Eng
The Four Feathers
(1939) Alexander Korda's spectacular production of A E W Mason's action-adventure novel, starring John Clements.Fourth cinema adaptation of AEW Mason's popular novel set at the height of the British Empire. An early Technicolor celebration of the British stiff-upper lip and the North African landscape
After watching The Four Feathers it's no surprise to learn that its Hungarian born producer, Zoltan Korda, was so ardent an anglophile that he once refused to make a film of the novel 'The Bridge On The River Kwai' on the grounds that it showed British officers collaborating with the enemy (regardless of the circumstances). The Four Feathers is a passionate celebration of colonial British values and the rigours of Victorian military society. The good old days when men were men and didn't like to talk about it much. When their manners were as stiff as their meticulously starched shirts and the "natives" they did battle with (specifically, the "cruel dervishes" and "fuzzie-wuzzies") wore ridiculous wigs, did funny dances and communicated by shouting "Ugga-ugga". It's offensively jingoistic, but nonetheless entertaining - and even surprisingly touching at times.
Harry Faversham (Clements) receives the four feathers of the film's title for an act of cowardice. He resigns his commission the day before his regiment embarks to regain the lost stonghold of Khartoum. He justifies his actions on the grounds that he's got to look after his estate. However, thanks to an amusing scene at the opening, where the 15 year old Harry quails as he's forced to listen to the horrific tales of his father's doddering ex-military colleagues (a battlefield coward is "shot to pieces - no more than he deserved," a hero "lost his arm - ruined his cricket") the audience is left in no doubt about the real cause. Harry is terrified. When he receives the feathers from his three closest regiment friends and, most hurtful of all, his betrothed, he's spurred to overcome his fear. In due course he sets off after his regiment, intending to return his colleagues' feathers in the thick of battle.
Days of Heaven
(1978) Director Terrence Malick's exquisitely-shot film traces a savage love triangle set in the Midwest of America."Your eyes... Your ears... Your senses... will be overwhelmed" says the tagline and for once, you can believe it. Terrence Malick's beautifully filmed ode to rural America stars the ravishing Richard Gere and Brooke Adams
Days Of Heaven Malick's poetic hymn to rural America at the turn of the century is a sensual delight. The fragile plot is held together by Linda Manz's narrator, and concerns two lovers, Bill and Abby (Gere and Adams) travelling from Chicago, who pass as brother and sister while working on a Texan farm. When the harvest is over, the wealthy landowner insists they stay, and asks the girl to marry him. The pair discover that the landowner is ill and may soon die, and see an opportunity to leave poverty behind forever. Frustration creeps in when the landowner stays alive longer than they anticipated.
Famed for its 'magic hour' cinematography (Malick insisted that filming took place at dusk or dawn, when the sky would be white and there would be no sight of the sun), Days Of Heaven is a feast for the eyes and ears - the locust plague climax a stunning and magical piece of cinema imagery.
(2003) Dreamy fable about the fate of a Montana town, set to be drowned with the activation of a new dam.Dreamy fable about the fate of a Montana town, set to be drowned with the activation of a new dam. American indie from the Polish brothers, starring Nick Nolte, James Woods and Daryl Hannah
Northfork is a film so obsessed with a sepia-tinged vision of a vintage, mythic America that even the red, white and blue of the stars and stripes appear as yellow and brown on the screen. The film is set on the plains of Montana, where buffalo (and stranger beasts) still roam, the horizon marked by snowy mountains with rolling grasslands beneath. It's a dramatic, striking environment as imagined and captured by the Polish brothers, Michael and Mark, who co-scripted and co-produced the film.While Michael directs, Mark appears in the film's well-stocked ensemble cast. Mark plays Willis, son to James Woods' Walter O'Brien. It's 1955, and the O'Briens are two of six black-clad, Ford-driving men whose job it is to coerce the final few stubborn residents of Northfork out of their homes. Why? Because the whole area is to be flooded within days, to create the reservoir for a hydroelectric power station.
Among the remaining residents are the community's spiritual leader Father Harlan (Nolte) and his young orphan charge Irwin (Farnes). Irwin is very ill, and will not survive relocation. While in bed, he fantasises about being a member of a race of angels; these visions blur with the (slightly) more realistic action involving the work of the evacuation agents. Even among the agents there are reservations about leaving the town - Walter, for example, has left to exhume his dead wife from the local cemetery ("This is wrong in every way," says Willis). It's not a happy matter ushering in the death of a whole town.
Addams Family Values
(1993) Barry Sonnenfeld brings the Addams Family back to the screen for this similarly excellent sequel.Barry Sonnenfeld brings the Addams Family back to the screen for this similarly excellent sequel. The perverse but loving Addams must contend with a gold-digger, in the form of Joan Cusack
Addams Family Values Sonnenfeld's screen version of Charles Addams' long-running comic-strip in 'The New Yorker', The Addams Family, was so successfulUnusually for a sequel, Addams Family Values is possibly even better than the first film, possibly because, now the (exceedingly, lovably odd) characters are established, Sonnenfeld and screenwriter Paul Rudnick can get on with telling stories.
This time around there's romance in the air, between Uncle Fester (Lloyd), and Debbie Jellinsky, who is employed by the Addams as nanny (Cusack) to new baby Pubert (who takes after his dad right down to the pencil mustache). However, ulterior motives become clear - she's after the family fortune.
As before, it's the macabre humour which shines through, most of it arising from the Addams' children's trip to summer camp, and the curiously touching relationship between Gomez and Morticia (the perfectly cast Julia and Huston). Christina Ricci - still aged only 13 - is inevitably wonderful in her part as the deadpan sadist Wednesday Addams.
This Is England
(2006) Shane Meadows' film is set in early 80s Grimsby, where 13-year-old Shaun has lost his father in the Falklands War.Twelve-year-old Shaun hooks up with a bunch of fun-loving skinheads during the long hot summer of 1983, until the spectre of racism drives the group apart. Shane Meadows' most personal film to date
At 12-years-old, and young-looking even for his age, Shaun Fields (Turgoose) looks hardly capable of breaking and entering a boiled egg. As elder skinhead Combo (Graham) jokes, he looks like "he came out of a box, like an Action Man, or Barbie doll". Shaun's loss of innocence is at the heart of Shane Meadows' most autobiographical work to date (notice how 'Shaun Fields' deliberately echoes 'Shane Meadows'), along with ever-relevant subjects like absent and surrogate fathers, Western imperialism and white working-class marginalisation, particularly in the post-industrial suburbs. Right on time, the film also addresses the biggest flashpoint issue of the day; an incipient racism virtually legitimised under recent governments and in sections of the press, stoking anti-Muslim sentiment. This Is England packs a lot into its 100 minutes, but never feels hectoring. Therein lies its power. Not to mention a terrific, danceable soundtrack, laid down with love.
After the Sunset
(2004) Pierce Brosnan plays top jewel thief Max Burdett, Salma Hayek his accomplice and moll Lola Cirillo, in Brett Ratner's smart comedy caper movie.Retired jewel thief Pierce Brosnan is tempted to attempt one last heist involving a cruise liner and a priceless diamond. Crime comedy directed by Brett Ratner
Pierce Brosnan's first outing since officially hanging up 007's Walther PPK finds him on well-worn ground, playing a slightly more grizzled version of his Thomas Crown character in a lacklustre crime caper that feels like something Elmore Leonard might have knocked out on an off-day. No film in which Salma Hayek spends almost all of her screen time in a skimpy swimsuit can be considered a total dead loss, however, and Rush Hour's Brett Ratner directs with enough style and snap to mask the threadbare material. But everyone involved seems to be treading water here, desperately hoping the audience won't notice it's all been done before. (Not least by Alfred Hitchcock, a DVD of whose To Catch A Thief pops up ostentatiously in one scene.)
The film opens with an improbable heist that sees ageing jewel thief Max Burdett (Brosnan) and his partner Lola (Hayek) stealing a diamond from under the nose of FBI agent Stan Lloyd (Harrelson). Months later, the couple are still living off the proceeds at a luxury resort in the Bahamas. But Max is bored, tired of domesticity and itching to get back in the game.
Guilty by Suspicion
(1990) Robert De Niro plays a film director falsely accused of Communist leanings during the McCarthy investigation into 'un-American' activities.Robert De Niro plays a 1950s film director falsely accused of Communist leanings during the McCarthy investigation into "un-American" activities
The effects of the McCarthy-led House UnAmerican Activities Committee, and subsequent blacklist of Hollywood actors, writers, producers and directors suspected of being communist once again enter the spotlight. Producer Winkler makes his directorial debut with this worthy effort. De Niro is a director falsely accused of being a filthy pinko and whose career and marriage consequently go down the chute. He refuses to name any of his communist friends but comes under pressure from his slimy lawyer (Wannamaker) and film-studio bosses.
Its heart is in the right place though the acting and direction are often mundane.