• The Lie

    The Lie

    ★½

    This has no place being considered part of the PfT canon not least due to the anglo-European collaboration which is quite unlike any other PfT. What is more objectionable is how this staid and stilted drama about a marriage has been foisted upon what was a fresh and innovative series designed to showcase the work of new writers and established talents. Ingmar Bergman does not qualify in either category such was his global reputation at the time discounting him from…

  • Blooming Youth

    Blooming Youth

    ★★★

    Les Blair's devised piece about students living in Ospringe Road and attending one of the new Polytechnic universities in the area.
    Philip Jackson evokes the spirit of Lennon as the aloof and pragmatic Midlander Jeff, flatmate to the shy and socially paralysed Jim (Colin Higgins) who only exists through intellectual discourse and can only interact with other people through poetry.

    The improvised nature of the drama results in several high points; Jim and the mysterious drifter Bernie (played by Peter…

  • The Body Beneath

    The Body Beneath

    ★★

    Another London Milligan. I wonder if the owners of 23 West Heath Road know that they are living in cinema history?!

    The usual chaotically bizarre framing and camerawork is present, as usual, but the dialogue lacks some of the more fun aspects of his work.

    The vampire storyline is somehow more tired than some of the more personal touches he added to Jack The Ripper and Jekyll and Hyde.

  • Speech Day

    Speech Day

    ★★★

    Barry Hines the writer of Kes now focuses his ire with a pedagogical macro-takedown of the state as a school prepares for a visit from dignitaries and notable people.

    Hines shows Brian Glover's family (The Warboys) and their working class limitations in stark in contrast with the educational narrative being fed the children. Some of this messaging is rather blunt and scenes involving the Warboys grandad ranting about the tenets of Marxism are misplaced.

    The actual teacher-pupil interactions are where…

  • Motherless Brooklyn

    Motherless Brooklyn

    ★★★

    I always assumed that Edward Norton had directed several times. From the debated provenance of American History X to his extended hiatuses from regular work, he has all the hallmarks of someone with split allegiances. This is what makes it surprising that this perfectly acceptable but overlong mystery drama is his second directorial effort.

    The tale of city hall intrigue and Alec Baldwin's Machiavellian power plays is very familiar and without Norton's own Tourette laden character the whole thing would…

  • Gone Girl

    Gone Girl

    ★★★½

    The depiction of Amy and Nick's meet/cute and the subsequent whirlwind romance feels strangely nineties despite taking place in the noughties and being filmed in the teens.

    Affleck is always good when he is playing characters that are closer to his actual pseudo-intellectual jockish contradictory persona. Pike gets the showier role and does well with both the physicality and the emotional manipulation.

    The depiction of NPD or similar falls into the category of 'good but could do better'. Amy's organisational…

  • The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail

    The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail

    ★★★

    Had to watch this twice. Ken-Ichi Enomoto's gurning, giggling and guffawing makes the first 20 mins of this wartime critique of feudailty very hard to settle into. Once Denjiro Okochi takes the reigns, as the bodyguard tasked with protecting the fleeing brother, things settle down to something more akin to future Kurosawa.

    I appreciate that Enomoto's portrayal of the fool is a common and well received one but somehow dated comedy is harder to absorb than dated drama.

    The sets…

  • V: The Final Battle

    V: The Final Battle

    ★★★

    After Kenneth Johnson was ditched by Warners for wanting too good a product, this hurried and more cheaply made resolution to the original mini series was produced.

    Everyone is back and Michael Ironside is added for extra scowling and too add some more dramatic heft but despite Johnson bemoaning the new lack of attention to detail and the knock-off feel of some of the action and the dialogue, the difference is not hugely felt.

    The addition of the V kids…

  • Access to the Children

    Access to the Children

    ★★½

    Joss Ackland has an affair with a woman he meets on his commute. His wife allows him one day a week with this daughters and he takes them to London Zoo or to watch 101 Dalamatians.

    Several things happen in William Trevor's third PfT;
    Ackland's wife Mary Peach overacts horrifically as she screams her displeasure for him leaving her for Brian Blessed's wife (Hildegard Neil).

    The girls spend an inordinate amount of time looking at crocodiles and tigers then get…

  • The Operation

    The Operation

    ★★½

    George Lazenby lazenbys all over the joint in this proto neo-liberal tale of greed, lust and small town ambition. Throw in a key party, Maurice Roeves and some cool decor and you should have a heady blend but somehow the pacing and the length of this play undermines any tension that lurks within.

    Lazenby goes back to his home town giving the locals the appearance of a benevolent success story returning for nostalgic reasons. But after seducing Roeves eager young…

  • V

    V

    ★★★½

    I remember a friend of mine called Anthony Mitchell who was one of those kids that got Sky (cable) years before anyone else...not because he was wealthy or anything like that, but more that his dad just liked having nice things.

    Well, a few years before that he told anyone that would listen about this show. It had aired, as an event, over a weekend leaving audiences agape at the lizard antics of the incomers. Before X-Files, Lost or even…

  • Boiling Point

    Boiling Point

    ★★★★

    As someone with a mild nut allergy I am always surprised and pleased to see how seriously eateries take the issue because for decades allergy sufferers were treated as vegetarians were in the seventies:

    'Just get on with it and eat somewhere else.'
    'Doesn't leave you much choice?'
    'Tough. Get on with it!.'
    'Not my problem'.

    I had a mild reaction about ten years ago to a dish that I eaten dozens of times and when I explained to the…