Film Four & Film Four +1 16-07-08.

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Millions Like Us
(1943) Warmhearted vintage British drama about the fortunes of a family who are split up during World War Two.Vintage WWII propaganda vehicle from Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat which packs off Patricia Roc reality TV-style to a munitions factory
Millions Like Us is one of the best in its breed. It was made in 1943 as part entertainment/part propaganda following guidelines suggested by the Ministry of Information. The film's chief tactical purpose was to help recruit women to the war effort, specifically to the unglamorous factories that kept the British war machine running. Like the title suggests, it also acted as a group hug for the nation's audience, celebrating as it does the never-say-die spirit of a population keeping it together in challenging circumstances. Written and directed by Gainsborough's leading duo Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, the film concentrates on the wartime experience of Celia Crowson (Roc). Eldest daughter of moaning widower Jim (Marriott), shy Celia leaves home when she's called up to work on an all-girl assembly line in a munitions factory. As ever in the genre, our heroine's co-workers come in all shapes and sizes including working-class Gwen (Jenkins) and posh totty Jenny (Crawford). The film watches how, under the friendly eye of Northern foreman Charlie (Portman), the women learn to bury their differences for the greater cause and, in modern parlance, be there for each other. Without ever raising its voice, the film's message rings out loud and clear - that working in a munitions factory isn't so bad after all and that only if the whole nation pulls together will Britain win.

The Raid
(1954) Van Heflin stars as Major Neal Benton, leader of a group of Confederate soldiers who escape from a Union prison in New York and take refuge in Canada.Based on a little-known true life story, The Raid stars Van Heflin as the leader of a group of Confederate soldiers who escape from a Union prison in New York and take refuge in Canada. He then comes up with the daring plan of crossing the border to take a small American town and therefore divert the North's attention from the south and their resources to the 'second front'.

Call Me Madam
(1953) Walter Lang's lively musical, scored by Irving Berlin, stars Ethel Merman as American ambassador to the European duchy of Lichtenberg.Repeating her stage role in the hit show, Merman devours everything and everybody around her as the Washington 'hostess with the mostest' who becomes US ambassador to a small (fictional) European country. It was one of the first reasonably faithful transpositions of a Broadway musical to the screen, not only preserving Merman's dynamic performance (hardly toned down for the camera), but most of the gags and the full Irving Berlin score. Added to which, there was some exhilarating dancing from O'Connor and Vera-Ellen, and a rare chance to hear suave Sanders singing in a pleasant baritone voice.

(1985) Three kids are obsessed with aliens and science fiction. Inspired by some strange dreams, they manage to build their own spaceship.Teenage friends Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix and Jason Presson are mysteriously provided with the technology needed for space travel. Junior science fiction from Joe Dante
Explorers Alongside The Goonies, also from 1985, Explorers is very much a teenage wish-fulfilment film. Kids dream of adventures involving pirate ships, treasure, space ships and aliens - and filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante knew just how to realise such dreams, writ-large on the 1980s big screen.This novel little yarn features 14-year-old Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix, both appearing in a feature film for the first time. They play friends Ben Crandall and Wolfgang Müller, a science-fiction buff and a tech-head respectively. Ben has been having mysterious dreams in which he is flying over what looks like a giant circuit board. Together with Darren (Presson), they take the imagery from the dream, use an Apple II computer and a battery and find themselves with a weird sphere of energy that's not only controllable but can travel through solids at extreme speeds.
Using material from a junk-yard, the boys build a scrappy-looking craft to see if they can use the sphere to fly. They can. Testing it, they are chased by the Air Force, and head out of the atmosphere - where they're suddenly intercepted by aliens who whisk them off into space.

Austin Powers - The Spy Who Shagged Me
(1999) Dr Evil has invented a time machine and gone back in time to steal Austin Powers' sexual powers, leaving our hero lacking the ability to perform.The second of Mike Myers' groovy espionage pastiches. Travelling back through time in search of his mojo, Mr. Powers again takes on Dr Evil, this time with the help of Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham)
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Making more in its opening weekend than its predecessor did in its entire run, The Spy Who Shagged Me contains all the elements that made the first film so great. Inevitably some of the novelty is gone but this is still a slick, quick and highly enjoyable mix of slapstick, satire and self-referential asides. Yellow of tooth and velvet of suit, Austin (Myers) returns to 1969 where, with the help of Shagwell, he retrieves his lost libido and confounds Dr Evil. As ever, it's the baddie who steals the show and Evil's comic arsenal includes a penis-shaped rocket, plus pint-sized protégé Mini-Me (Troyer).
Cameos include Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, Jerry Springer and Willie Nelson. Tim Robbins pops up as the President and Michael York is again Basil Exposition. However Myers' curious determination to play as many roles as possible gives rise to the film's single glaring flaw. Turd-obsessed Scottish assassin Fat Bastard really doesn't work and the gross-out gags (Powers sipping from a mug of shit) don't smell too good either. Nevertheless the ace one-liners, ridiculous stunts and Myers's own irrepressible vigour are a winning combination and rightly consolidated Austin Powers as one of the 1990s' foremost comic creations.

The Libertine
(2005) Johnny Depp plays Restoration writer and rogue the Earl of Rochester.Johnny Depp plays Restoration writer and rogue the Earl of Rochester. Commercial director Laurence Dunmore's feature debut is a very grown-up biopic
Libertine John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, was a poet, playwright and rebel whose appetite for wine and women scandalised Restoration England. In Laurence Dunmore's The Libertine, Johnny Depp gives a stunning performance as a man who does not feel alive unless he exceeds every limit. Skip Channel4 main Navigation
"You will not like me," Rochester promises in his prologue, laying down a challenge. "I do not want you to like me." Depp plays him as a prototype rock star, and as he stumbles from bar to brothel, deflating hypocrisy and declaiming pornographic poetry, he is, if not likeable, then utterly mesmerising.
The script - adapted by Stephen Jeffreys from his own play - sparkles like Tom Stoppard's for Shakespeare In Love, but has more substance. While Rochester's clashes with Charles II begin as a joke, with his friend Etheridge drolly asking, "Why did he banish you this time?", it becomes clear he is running out of chances. When the King requests that he produce a major work of literature, he needs to deliver ("When would you like it? Friday?" Depp deadpans). Unfortunately, Rochester is squandering his genius on booze, whores, and, most dangerously, love for the actress Elizabeth Barry (Morton).

The Trench
(1999) Paul Nicholls stars as a raw recruit in an equally raw platoon preparing for the assault on the German lines at the Somme in 1916.In the trenches of World War One, a small group of soldiers prepare for the big push. Paul Nicholls and Daniel Craig star in William Boyd's gritty drama
The Trench William Boyd's low-budget war drama has all the right liberal anti-war sentiments, but lets itself down with an unconvincing set, a simplistic a and a plot arc that moves towards an ending that's so predictable you may as well stop watching after the first five minutes. You're distanced from events from the kick off by the obvious studio set but given the right cast the film could still have overcome its wonky, made-for-TV feel. Sadly this isn't the right cast.
Content to slip into an off-the-shelf selection of soldiering stereotypes, the likes of Danny Dyer and 'EastEnders' graduate Paul Nicholls bring no zip to proceedings. They feel like mouth-pieces for Boyd, furthering the plot but never actually coming to life. As a cosequence, when they're threatened with death, it's difficult to care about them
The exception is the always fine Daniel Craig who makes his sergeant Winter into a haunted and rather disturbed figure. It's an eye-catching turn, but it's not enough to breath life into the film as a whole.