Posts tagged “Buckinghamshire

Dad’s Army: The Movie / End of a (Whisky) Era


Dad's Army: The Movie  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release

Captain Mainwaring and his men create comedy mayhem when they go on manoeuvres with other military companies under the eyes of a real Major-General.  The result is disaster after disaster…   After the shambles, the Walmington-On-Sea defenders return home just as a German scout plane crashes near their town.  Its crew captures the church hall and holds the vicar and mayor as hostages.  The Major-General sends for the Army, the Army sends for the Navy, the Navy sends for the Marines, the Marines call in the police, and the police call the fire brigade.  While this is going on, the irrepressible irregulars of Dad’s Army hilariously demonstrate that they really can do the job they were organised for…

1971  –  Certificate: U  –  British Film
7.0 out of 10

Last week saw the end of an era in Cactus World.  About 15 years ago I became the owner of a 1L bottle of Bell’s Whisky.  I think it came from a duty-free shop at an airport somewhere, although its exact heritage is now lost in the mists of time.  Last week I finished it.  I’d decided I wanted a drink one evening, but fancied something a bit different, so I ended up messing about with different whisky mixers; and suddenly it was empty.  It’s strange to think that Cactus World didn’t even exist when I first had that bottle.  (Along with most things from the era when Cactus World first came into existence, it was handed over by its evil predecessor, The Real World.)  And I had some sort of life and ambitions in those days too.  Then again, my Internet connection is now over 2,000 times faster, I’ve got a bigger TV and China Drum has reformed.  I’m probably not the world’s biggest whisky/whiskey/bourbon drinker.  To be honest I’m not sure I even like the taste very much, but feel I ought to make the effort.  So now I’m down to my last four and a half bottles of the stuff.    These include a bottle of Bladnoch 18-year-old single malt.  This is most expensive booze I’ve ever purchased (I think it was about £60) and came from Scotland’s most southerly distillery.  (This has sadly just gone into administration).  A bottle of Jack Daniels Old No. 7 and a bottle of Bushmills 10-year-old single malt.  And finally, a bottle of Amrut Indian single malt, which is the strongest alcohol I own at 61.9%.  I’ve never opened any of these.  Then again, I’ve never opened my bottle of Tesco Organic Vodka, which is even older and has spent nearly its whole life in my freezer.  Tesco stopped selling it in 2006.  Dad’s Army is even older than this bottle of vodka and most of it’s episodes predate punk, yet it still lots of fun; like whisky.

I don’t just watch films.  No, I’m far more multidimensional than that.  Far less documented is the fact that as well as watching films, I also have a TV series on the go at the same time too.  Watched between the films when I don’t have the time or inclination to watch anything longer.  I rarely binge on these, preferring instead to view a few episodes a week.  Over the past few years I’ve made my way through “Andromeda” (five seasons), “The Likely Lads” / “Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads” (five series and a film, although loads of episodes are missing) and “Red Dwarf” (nine series, as there was at the time I watched them).  Dad’s Army (on TV) ran for nine series, plus a film and three Christmas Specials, from 1968 to 1977.  A few early episodes are missing, but most are still around.  I’m now near the end of series 8, so I thought I ought to take a look at the film, which was made between series 3 and 4.  Chronologically it sits near the start of the whole story, so I guess I should have watched it earlier on, although as it sort of overlaps the TV episodes doing so would probably have confused me greatly.  The film is really like watching three episodes back to back and I suspect that’s how the script was developed originally.  Although it has most of the continuing cast/characters in it and the same writers, it was filmed in widescreen and doesn’t have a laughter track, so it feels a bit weird watching it.  It just doesn’t ‘feel’ quite right.  But it’s still a lot of fun and has the gentle humour that characterised the TV series.  Essential viewing if you liked it on television.  Part of the fourth best British sitcom of all time.

There’re small musical elements in the movie that aren’t generally in the TV series, but really, they don’t make a lot of difference.  If anything, they make it sound a bit like one of those 50s black and white Hollywood movies, that used to be shown on Saturday afternoons on BBC2 when I was young.

This is one of these films that doesn’t seem to have an official trailer.  Weird.

Recommended for old soldiers, the patriotic and heroes.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Pompous he may have been, but never a coward, Captain George Mainwaring rarely came face-to-face with any Nazis in the TV series.  However, this film provides his greatest moment and for a brief few minutes he really is the hero that in his own mind he always was.  Captain Mainwaring, the hero that Britain both deserved and needed.  Badass.

Dad’s Army: The Movie at IMDB (6.7 / 10)
Dad’s Army: The Movie at Wikipedia

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Eden Lake: 3.5 Stars


Eden Lake  -  Front Blu-ray CoverWorking in the ‘environmental sector’ as I do, I frequently find myself watching films and noticing ‘environmental errors’.  This one has a classic.  Most of the movie appears to have been shot towards the end of the summer, given the condition and size of the Bracken that’s seen growing everywhere.  However, the aerial shots appear to have been filmed in mid winter, given the totally dead appearance of the Bracken and the lack of leaves on many of the trees.  I know, I know, I should ignore this stuff, but it’s hard to!  Talking of big mistakes, Jenny and Steve made one or two in this movie.

2008  –  Certificate: 18  –  United Kingdom
Rating Details:  Strong bloody violence and sustained terrorisation

Eden Lake is what the director happily calls a “genre film”.  Group go somewhere isolated, group piss someone off, group get chased, group suffer the consequences; in this case it’s a young couple and some local kids, who spend most of the movie chasing each other around the woods.  Having said that, it is a really good example of this type of horror/thriller, with decent acting, good photography/effects and well thought-out characters.  The latter do actually manage to act in a reasonably realistic way most of the time, even if there were just a few too many coincidences used to push the plot along.  I’ve slept in a tent ‘in the middle of nowhere’ lots of times and I’ve always had a slight fear that one night some weirdo is going to come and ‘disturb’ me.  This film did nothing to allay my fears.  I did struggle to relate to the couple (Jenny and Steve) a little.  They were nice enough, but God were they boring; and he was also an irritating yuppie too.  His attempts to be the ‘alpha male’ were somewhat pathetic as well, if sadly realistic.  They were the classic, “what a shame they’re going to build all over this nice bit of land, so let’s go and enjoy it first by driving there in our 4×4, just to use as much fuel as we can doing so” middle-class couple.  Very light green ‘greens’ if you ask me.  I bet she uses a reusable shopping bag to buy her organic veg each time she goes to the shops in said vehicle.  It was quite a while before I started to feel sorry for them.  Not that the kids were any better; rural delinquents with equally crappy parents.  The ending is pretty brutal too.  And finally, a quick note for horror script writers.  If you’re running around in the woods in England (and probably most other places too) trying to avoid others, (like in this film), it’s really not that hard to hide.  Two intelligent adults trying escape from a group of thick kids in an area that probably covers 100s of acres, really shouldn’t be that difficult. The place was full of tall Bracken.  Just! Don’t! Walk! Along! The! Paths!

Recommended for fans of classic modern horror.  (Can you actually have classic modern anything?)

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Well all the kids were thick plebs, (and my thanks to the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Member of Parliament for Sutton Coldfield and Government Chief Whip, for reminding me of that one).  Steve was simply an annoying yuppie, too full of his own importance for anything he could ever do to be considered badass.  So this only leaves Jenny really.  She never totally got into full bad-bitch-from-hell mode, but for a primary school teacher she didn’t do too badly.  That makeshift dagger was very effective!  Considering the trying circumstances, her efforts probably should be considered badass.

Eden Lake at IMDB (6.9/10)


Thunderbirds: 3.5 Stars


Thunderbirds  -  Front DVD coverI took down my birthday cards today, all three of them; (thank-you Jacob, Rebecca and Laurel).  My birthday was almost two months ago; and yes, I do realise that’s it’s a little bit pathetic to leave your cards up for that long.  On my birthday I went to see a band at a venue in north London, the New Town Kings; a great ska band and the 12th best band on the planet at present.  Then I did something I’ve not done in 33 years of going to see gigs.  The set finished late, 00:10.  No problem I thought to myself, I’ll just walk down to the Underground station and get the Tube to Paddington in time for the last train to Reading at 01:00.  Oh…shit.  It’s that one night of the year when the clocks get put forward an hour.  So three night buses later and I’m contemplating spending the next six hours at Paddington Station; it was bloody freezing and nothing in the area was open.  The only people who seemed to be around were pimps and prostitutes, drunks and druggies; the last two groups of whom seem to be mostly lying about on the pavement outside the station.  Oblivious to the cold and their surroundings, I came to envy them.  I spent the night standing by the entrance to the Underground, where a slightly warm breeze of air was blowing out from the tunnels and passageways below.  Now I generally don’t mind my own company, but on my birthday, in the freezing cold, all night, in the world’s most boring location, when I’m tired and knackered from dancing at a gig which is rapidly becoming a dim and distance memory thanks to my semi-conscious state, I was not on best form.  I must have read the notices and adverts around the Underground entrance 100 times, as I endlessly paced slowly up and down the eight, small strides between the two ends of the locked gate, attempting to warm one side of myself followed by the other; I even learnt to do this with my eyes closed and get it right almost every time.  I read all the print on the screen of the Kindle in the Kindle advert that was shown for a few seconds every now and again, in one of those high-tech advertisement boards that show a revolving series of different ads; (it wasn’t a very interesting story, something about a big storm in London in the middle ages.)  I attempted a conversation with the rail maintenance guy who came and stood with me for around an hour, but my question suggesting that perhaps he ought to be out “repairing the track or something” didn’t get me very far; I guess that’s how he wastes some of his time each night.  I mused at great length on the fact that of all the people I’d heard on the night buses, not one was speaking English; (well except a group of Americans but that doesn’t count).  I considered the value of having ‘live’ indicator boards at bus stops, especially the one at the stop which said I had 20 minutes to wait and just as I was about to go off into some bushes to answer the call of nature, my bus came along, so I nearly missed it.  Of course, in my half awake, hypothermic condition, I’d forgotten that they’re actually special London Transport Minutes, which are only vaguely related to normal ones; so I’d forgotten to convert them; silly me.  At 06:45 I got the first train, along with a group of equally bedraggled and zombie-like others, who had all crawled out of various holes after spending equally miserable nights enjoying the concept of European Summer Time.  I even had the indignity of having to travel part of the journey back on the dreaded rail replacement bus service.  It’s a shame International Rescue weren’t having a bit of a quiet night too, I could have done with being rescued.      

2004 – Certificate: PG  –  USA
Rating Details: Mild violence, peril and language

Why are so many people so mean about this film?  I grew up watching Thunderbirds on TV; in fact it’s probably my most vivid TV memory from my youth.  I know this movie is full of plot holes, spends most of its time focusing on three kids (rather than the Thunderbirds) and comes across like “Spy Kids” on speed; but it’s still a fun and breathless watch.  It has a villain who’s basically a bad Captain Picard, it was directed by Commander Riker, has a big scene in it set in Jubilee Gardens in London (where I saw the Undertones play in 2003) and a cute scene with a puppet hand.  I even like the theme tune by “Busted”.  It’s also almost wall-to-wall action too.  Did you know that Thunderbird 1 can travel at up to 15,000mph?  That’s nearly seven times faster than the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest aircraft ever.  So don’t tell me that’s not cool.  That Brains dude, he’s one awesome genius.

Recommended for anyone who’s not going to bore me senseless by saying something along the lines of, “but that’s not how it was in the 60’s TV series”.  Get a life; even I realise its not 1965  now.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Nearly 40 years after the original TV series, seeing Thunderbirds 1 and 2 in action again in the opening scenes is most definitely badass.

Thunderbirds on IMDB