Film Four & Film Four +1 11-06-08.
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Film Four SID8335 VPID2312 APID2313 Eng
Film Four +1 SID8330 VPID2332 APID2333 Eng
The Dark Corner
(1946) Quality film noir from Henry Hathaway, cunningly plotted and ominously atmospheric.Lucille Ball stars in this quality film noir. Cunningly plotted and ominously atmospheric, a down-at-heel private eye finds himself accused of a murder he didn't commit
Long before she found fame as the dizzy wannabe starlet in sitcom 'I Love Lucy', Lucille Ball had a reputation for brightening up even the dullest studio-made drama. The Dark Corner catches her just before she entered the big league and the result is a highly accomplished thriller, undeservedly eclipsed by her later achievements. Here she plays the secretary to private investigator Bradford Galt (Stevens). Having already done time for manslaughter, Galt's looking for a fresh start. But before long he's being trailed by a mysterious white-suited thug (Bendix) and sucked into a nightmarish frame-up while Kathleen (Ball) looks on helpless.
With its wheels-within-wheels plot it's a film that grows increasingly compelling and Stevens and Ball generate some tension of their own, he with his flirty little asides, she by tugging seductively at her nylons. A bluesy score emphasises the seedy vibe and though the film doesn't have the scope of, say, The Maltese Falcon, it's still a deadly thriller laced with style and pitch-black wit.
(1953) Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper and Anthony Quinn star in Hugo Fregonese's all-action movie set in Mexico's oilfields of the 30s.Passions run high in this sizzling Gary Cooper vehicle, a contemporary western set in the dangerous frontier of the Mexican oil business, co-starring Barbara Stanwyck and Anthony Quinn
Blowing Wild Gary Cooper was top dog in 1953. His performance as Will Kane in High Noon saw him ride off with the year's Oscar to go along with the coveted title of 'Photoplay' magazine's 'Most Popular Male Star'. Here he brings the iconic character's manly morality to the role of Jeff Dawson, an oil-rigger who's struck nothing but bad luck in the Mexican oil rush of the 1930s. Stuck in Mexico City, broke Dawson and partner Dutch Peterson (Bond) will do almost anything to earn their passage back home. They even take on the near-suicidal job of ferrying nitroglycerin across bandit country, only to be ripped off by shady boss Mr Jackson (MacDonald who played High Noon's arch villain, Frank Miller). So when Jeff bumps into old mucker Ward 'Paco' Conway (Quinn), he naturally asks him for work.
Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell
(1968) Carla Campbell plays a glamorous Italian who, during the war, had affairs with three members of the US Army Air Force.A trio of GIs discover that a woman they 'met' in Italy has them each convinced that they're the father of her child. Comedy starring Gina Lollobrigida, Shelley Winters, Peter Lawford, Phil Silvers and Telly Savalas
If you're one of those people who's old enough to remember 'It'll Be Alright On The Night', you could be forgiven for thinking Denis Norden spent his entire working life carrying a clipboard and introducing cock-ups. Long before he wondered why mishaps isn't pronounced 'mishups', the Hackney-born Norden was a hugely successful comedy writer. Often working in tandem with the late, great Frank Muir, Our Den wrote gags for 'The Frost Report', Frankie Howard, Kenneth Horn and Marty Feldman. He also enjoyed a brief stint as a screenwriter, during which time he penned The Bliss Of Mrs Blossom for Shirley McLaine and Richard Attenborough and co-wrote the Gina Lollobrigida vehicle Buona Sera, Mrs Campbell. 'La Lollo' is Carla Campbell, a woman who enjoyed the company of three GIs during the Second World War. When the officers (Savalas, Lawford and Silvers) hold a 20th anniversary reunion, they discover that they have all been sending maintenance money to Carla as each is convinced that they're the father of her daughter. With their pride injured and their wallets light, the trio set out to retrieve what's theirs, a mission that's anything but straightforward since i) they're now all happily married, and ii) they're determined not to upset young Gia (Margolin).
With a plot that bares an uncanny resemblance to the ABBA musical 'Mamma Mia!', Buona Sera is a movie steeped in the 1960s that's also very similar to the romantic-comedies of today. Ridiculous if analyzed for even a nanosecond, the day is carried by a raft of winning performances (Winters and Silvers are particularly good) and by Ms Lollobrigida's fabulous beauty- seriously, if you thought Sophia Loren was attractive in her heyday, she had nothing on the woman christened the 'Mona Lisa of the Twentieth Century' by a canny promotions department.)
A fine example of the form, Buona Sera was nominated for a trio of Golden Globes. It also snagged a prestigious WGA nomination. Add this honour to his British Comedy gong and his well-deserved CBE and you'll see why Denis Norden - the original HRG - deserves better than to be remembered as the only man in Britain who didn't fast-forward through his 'IBAOTN' monologues.
Flight Of The Phoenix
(2004) Frank Towns crash lands his plane in the Gobi desert with a mixed package of passengers and no hope of rescue. Edited for language and violence.A plane crash strands a group of survivors in the desert, their only hope to build a new aircraft from the wreckage. Remake of Robert Aldrich's 1965 action-adventure, starring Dennis Quaid
Flight Of The Phoenix review to comeOther than relocating from the Sahara to the Gobi desert and adding a pack of threatening nomad smugglers who come and go as befits the script, director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines) and his screenwriters - Scott Frank (Out Of Sight) and, bizarrely, actor-filmmaker Edward Burns - stay surprisingly faithful to the 1965 film The Flight Of The Phoenix for this remake. Frank Towns (Quaid) and AJ (Tyrese), two pilots of a cargo plane, touch down in Mongolia to sweep up the "garbage" - that is, the crew - of an unsuccessful oil excavation, along with one unannounced passenger, an aloof, mysterious young man called Elliott (Ribisi). A fearsome sandstorm causes the plane to crash and three men are immediately lost. The survivors, low on water, short on hope, are torn between waiting for a rescue that may never come, or following a potentially even crazier plan. Elliott eventually reveals himself to be an aeroplane designer and swears he can guide them to build a new aircraft from the wreckage, enabling Towns to fly them out.
In many ways it's refreshing to see a solid, professional B-movie with nothing more on its mind than to entertain the audience without unduly patronising them. An opening set to Johnny Cash's jaunty 'I've Been Everywhere' is indicative of the tongue-in-cheek genre tone to follow. The inherent drama of the situation - thirst, heatstroke, personality clashes - is broadly, but clearly outlined. There's a nice variety of character, from white-collar company man Ian (Laurie) to fervently religious Mexican cook (Vargas). Quaid, while no James Stewart - who played the pilot in Aldrich's original - is always dependable. Naturally a few players get lost in the shuffle, notably Tyrese's AJ, and the addition of a female character, rig chief Kelly (Otto), is scarcely capitalised on.
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.
Dead Man's Shoes
(2004) Paddy Considine returns to find out what happened to his dim brother, who latched on to the local drugs cartel and became the butt of their cruelty.Shane Meadows returns with a dark tale of violence and retribution, starring Paddy Considine
Shane Meadows hinted at a darker side with his second feature A Room For Romeo Brass, but he gives full vent to the potentially violent impulses that lurk within all of us with this latest effort, a supremely efficient, brutal, stripped-down work of vigilante cinema. Paddy Considine (who co-wrote the screenplay with Meadows) plays Richard, a taciturn army veteran newly returned to his hometown and on a mission to make a group of low-level criminals pay for abusing his mildly retarded younger brother, Anthony (Kebbel). To these miscreants Richard's name alone elicits a palpable sense of dread, so when he shows up on their doorsteps wearing a gas mask and carrying an axe they go into full-on panic mode.
(2002) Nicolas Cage's directorial debut stars James Franco as Sonny who, following his discharge from the army, returns to New Orleans to resume his desultory life as a gigolo at the bordello run by his mother Jewel (Brenda Blethyn).Nicolas Cage directs this drama about a young man trapped in a life of prostitution by his manipulative mother. James Franco and Brenda Blethyn star
On its release in the US in 2002 (it went straight to disc in the UK), Sonny was pretty much mauled by the critics. They said it was "aimless and awkward... emotionally incoherent" and "An instant candidate for worst movie of the year". In retrospect, the reaction seems disproportionate - it's as if critics had been saving up their bile after years of wayward performances by Nicolas Cage, here making his first (and quite possibly last) stab at directing. The film is undeniably rambling, but it's not without nuance, both at the hands of Cage and lead actor James Franco, who plays the title role. The most problematic element for critics seemed to be Brenda Blethyn's performance. She plays Sonny's mum, Jewel - a blowsy Jocasta to Sonny's Oedipus - with absolute abandon, delivering "her dialogue in a mutant drawl as if it were so much tequila-agitated-ulcer blood," in the words of one critic. Certainly for Americans, the British actress's New Orleans accent could be an understandable issue, but they missed the point that Jewel was supposed to be a larger-than-life character and, in her control over Sonny's life, a complete monster.
It's 1981, and 26-year-old Sonny is newly discharged from the army. When he returns to New Orleans, his mother Jewel immediately pounces on him (figuratively speaking), insisting he go back to work in his former job: as a gigolo, or "whore" as he refers to it.
He was, she says, "The best there ever was," adding, "I know because I trained him myself." But no, he has a plan to go straight, head to Texas and meet an army buddy whose father has a bookshop. "Selling books? You? What the hell do you know about books? You ain't never read nuthin'," spits Jewel. But he has read something now - we're shown him unpacking Hemmingway and other classics from his duffel.