Film Four & Film Four +1 24-06-08.
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 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.
The Madness of King George
(1994) Deservedly acclaimed film adaptation of Alan Bennett's play about the 18th century royal who lost his marbles.Deservedly acclaimed film adaptation of Alan Bennett's play about the 18th century royal who lost his marbles.
England in the 1780s. King George III (Hawthorne) has gone gaga. His family and his courtiers have different ideas about what to do for the best. Queen Charlotte (Mirren) remains loyal and supportive. Her lady in waiting (Donohoe) is embarrassed, particularly by the King's desire for her, which his illness has unleashed.The Prime Minister, Pitt (Wadham) tries to pretend that there is nothing wrong. Meanwhile, the conniving, disaffected Prince of Wales (Everett) joins forces with Fox (Carter), the leader of the opposition in an attempt to claim the throne. While the court doctors squabble over the most effective course of action, loyal equerry Greville (Graves) brings in unconventional doctor Willis (Holm), whose methods prove harsh but potentially effective.
This is terrific stuff from Bennett, who wrote the original hit play. There is much to admire: the relationship between king and queen is touching and believable; the medical practices are bizarre and the political intrigue is palpable. All these are conveyed with some priceless dialogue ("To be Prince of Wales is not a position - it is a predicament") and fine acting all round, from Hawthorne's leaps between a raving and a lucid king, to Everett's desperate and duplicitous prince, to Holm's frightening disciplinarian Willis. A great among costume dramas and among British films.
(1971) Movie spin-off from the popular TV sitcom in which teacher Bernard Hedges takes troublesome class 5C to a holiday camp.Thirtysomething school kids raise hell at their local comp. 1970s sitcom spin-off starring John Alderton, Joan Sanderson and Deryck Guyler
Please Sir! To the casual observer, it must seem that every sitcom made in the 1970s was adapted for the big screen. Quality certainly wasn't an obstacle when it came to taking the prime time triumphs and stretching them - often beyond breaking point - to feature length. For while only the hard-hearted would begrudge great shows such as Porridge and The Likely Lads a run at the local Odeon, it's amazing to think that garbage such as On The Buses - Hammer Studios' biggest box-office success, folks - and race "comedy" Love Thy Neighbour were also granted cinema stays.While it wasn't a true telly classic, 'Please Sir!' was a cut above the ITV sitcoms of its time. Thanks to some strong performers and solid writing from Bob Larbey and John Esmonde (who'd later create 'The Good Life' and 'Ever Decreasing Circles'), 'Please Sir!' was always watchable and often very amusing.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
(2004) The world is under threat from giant robots that arrive from the air, crushing anything in their path.Gwyneth Paltrow stars as a journalist investigating the disappearance of scientists in a retro-futuristic 1930s world, with Jude Law as an aerial ace. Innovative CGI movie from debut director Kerry Conran
Somewhere between a masterpiece and a folly, Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow has met with a mixed reception. It's no wonder, as it's genuinely something different and new - in technological terms. However, its story is old and familiar - namely a pulp action adventure that plays earnest homage to older films and serials. As such it has a whiff of Lucas' original Star Wars, which thrilled 1970s children with its invoking of 1930s and 1940s Saturday matinee thrills. Given that almost the entire film was created with computer animation, the actors shot against blue screens and minimal sets, it connects with Lucas' less innocent, less endearing modern trilogy, which many feel is an airless, soulless exercise in exploiting new technologies. Conran's work has a similar danger of placing its human elements in a cold vacuum of technological gimmickry. Unlike Lucas, however, he avoids this thanks to the sheer stylish aplomb of his on-screen world, a magnificent evocation of an era that was expected to come about by the early 20th century imagination, but was instead thrown out by the realities of unviable technologies and World War II. Conran encapsulates this world-that-never-was with his compelling opening sequence involving the Hindenberg III airship mooring on the mast on top of the Empire State Building, its smart, be-hatted passengers disembarking into a world of wood-panelled interiors, nouveau fittings and bakelite hardware.
One of the residents of Conran's NYC, evocatively created using CI-augmented old photographs, is Polly Perkins (Paltrow), a reporter in the Lois Lane mode - she's independent, she's sassy, she's determined. When she receives a cryptic note and meets Dr Walter Jennings (Baxter) she starts investigating the disappearances of top scientists from around the world. All of them were connected with a "secret facility outside of Berlin before World War I" where they did "terrible things", according to Jennings. The most enigmatic clue he gives Perkins is a name: "Totenkopf".
(2003) Chow Yun-Fat stars as an ageless Tibetan monk whose task is to guard the mystical The Scroll of the Ultimate from modern-day Nazis.Lightweight American martial arts action-adventure distinguished by being produced by John Woo and starring Chow Yun-Fat. And American Pie's Seann William Scott
Bulletproof Monk Although John Woo only produces here (with regular collaborator Terence Young and two Hollywood types), Bulletproof Monk opens an interesting chapter in his career. If moving to the American film industry bastardised his stylish action thrillers, this latest film reworks his aesthetic further, to the point where it appeals to pubescent boys.Chow Yun-Fat stars as a Tibetan monk and martial artist who, in 1943, took up his tenure as guardian of "the Scroll of the Ultimate", an artifact so powerful its possessor could abuse it and "become ruler of the world".
For 60 years, nasty Nazi Struker (Roden) has been pursuing the Monk to get his hands on the scroll. The Monk (he gave up his name. And hasn't aged) arrives in America, barely one step ahead of the wizened Struker and his Nazi stooges - who are masquerading as the Human Rights Organisation, run by his posh bitch granddaughter Nina (Smurfitt). While eluding the Nazis, the Monk encounters Kar (Scott), a pickpocket who has learned martial arts from working at a Chinese fleapit cinema and emulating the moves after hours! As the Monk's time as guardian is almost up, he's looking for a successor - could it be Kar? With the help of mysterious Bad Girl (King), the Monk and Kar must foil the Nazi plan and safeguard the scroll.
(1997) Russell Crowe stars as a tough LA cop working alongside cynical Kevin Spacey and promotion-hungry Guy Pearce in Curtis Hanson's Oscar-winning film.Brilliant adaptation of James Ellroy's detective novel about three cops confronting corrupt businessmen, sleazy journalists and assorted trash in 1950s LA
LA Confidential James Ellroy's complex, multi-layered novel looked untranslatable to the screen. Director Curits Hanson and screenplay-writer Brian Helgeland simplified the story, stripping down the involved narrative, removing several sub-plots along the way, to create a slick, still-complex tale of Tinseltown sordidness that somehow remains completely faithful to the spirit of Ellroy.The film is a procession of little miracles. Antipodeans Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe adopt faultless accents to play cops of varying moral rectitude. Crowe's tough guy Bud White falls hard for Kim Basinger's femme fatale, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Veronica Lake. The film is immersed in the real fantasy world of Hollywood, and the characters rub shoulders with movie stars and lookalike hookers.
(1990) The Coen brothers present a complex gangster drama set during the Prohibition era in an unnamed American city.The Coen brothers present a complex gangster drama set during the Prohibition era in an unnamed American city. Albert Finney, Gabriel Byrne and Marcia Gay Harden star
Miller's Crossing "A handsome film about men in hats" was how Joel and Ethan Coen described their third film, this beautifully-crafted 1929-set gangster film that takes great pains to resurrect the genre. Full of double-crosses, dense plotting and razor-sharp dialogue ("Nobody knows anybody. Not that well," we're told), you'll need to have your wits about you for this one, as gang bosses Leo (Finney) and Casper (Polito) go to war. Pulling the strings behind Leo is his right-hand man Tom (Byrne); intervening between both is Verna (Harden), who packs a mean right hook. Loosely inspired by Dashiell Hammett's classic novel 'The Glass Key', Miller's Crossing contains some fabulous set-pieces, notably a surprisingly athletic Leo defending himself against two assailants to the strains of 'Danny Boy'. There is also some terrific acting, namely John Turturro as the whiney Bernie Bernbaum, the bookie who acts as the catalyst for the gang war. His 'Look Into Your Heart' speech, as he begs for his worthless life at the feet of Tom in the eponymous patch of woodlands, still ranks as one of the finest moments in any film by the Coen brothers.
As ever, the minor support roles are just as detailed. Check out Steve Buscemi as the fast-talking rat-fink Mink, for a delivery that would make Quentin Tarantino look like a man with a stutter. With regular Coen composer Carter Burwell offering his best score to date, and the design and photography all unified towards a luscious green/brown colour scheme, this is indeed a handsome movie.