Reviews To Look Out For On Here

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Just a quick update. I recently purchased a large batch of DVD’s and with the help of Netflix, have many fine movies and television to watch. Here’s a heads up of what you can expect to see in the coming months.

  • The reviews of the penultimate and final series of Party of Five( which I’m so behind on.)
  •  More Carry On Reviews
  • She-Devil
  • Blue Steel
  • The Devils
  • The kitchen sink dramas everyone recommended
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Cat People
  • Broken Lance
  • The Lady Eve
  • Requiem for a Dream
  • Crooks in Cloisters
  • The River Wild
  • White Oleander
  • Georgy Girl
  • Our Kind of Traitor

There are of course many more, but these were the ones that came to mind.

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Carry On Cruising

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Film Title

Carry On Cruising

Director

Gerald Thomas

Starring

  • Sid James as Captain Crowther
  • Kenneth Williams as First Officer Leonard Majoribanks
  • Kenneth Connor as Doctor Arthur Binn
  • Lance Percival as Wilfred Haines
  • Liz Fraser as Glad Trimble
  • Dilys Laye as Flo Castle
  • Esma Cannon as Bridget Madderley
  • Jimmy Thompson as Sam Turner

The sixth movie in the long running comedy series, Carry On Cruising is the first on colour too. And it adds to the summery, breezy charms of this venture as a cruise ship is beset by calamities and romantic chases in typically amusing fashion.

On the cruise ship ‘The S.S. Happy Wanderer’ seasoned Captain Crowther is hoping for a smooth sea journey before he takes a prestigious job on another liner. His wish for seeming stability is thwarted when he sees that a number of his usual, loyal crew have been replaced either through illness or other things. What he gets is gossip First Officer Leonard, timid Doctor Arthur Binn, dopey, seasick chef Wilfred Haines and Barman Sam Turner , who can’t mix the Captain’s favourite cocktail. Everyone is dying to impress the Captain, in the hopes that they get to become staff on his other vocation. Trouble is as hard as they try, trouble seems to follow them everywhere they go. And the passengers on the cruise are also a spirited and eventful bunch too. Blonde beauties Glad and Flo are friends and sometimes rivals when it comes to being on the lookout for a man, though Glad can’t see that Doctor Binn is clearly infatuated with her. And Bridget Madderley is a sprightly, amazingly spirited old woman who can show the young ones just how to have some outrageous fun. With the crew and passengers all at sea quite literally and zany catastrophes afoot, it’s a high time at sea for Captain Crowther and his new crew.

After the less than stellar Carry On Regardless, Gerald Thomas finds himself on summery, jolly form with a delightful outcome for us the audience. I adore how the humour is both from the dialogue and of the physical variety; an array of great faces and movements are once again the real crux of the humour here. And add in the colour for good measure, and it all feels so frightfully romantic. There’s still room for innuendo and double entendres, but they are buttressed by the sweetly innocently amorous adventures of the ship that stay on the right side of cheeky. Importantly, Carry On Cruising would be the last of the series to feature a script by Norman Hudis, who had previously scribed every entry to this point. His nudge wink humour and feeling of group camaraderie in hilarious circumstances can not be underestimated in the history of the film’s and he goes out in fine style. The antics and comedic acts that go on in Cruising have laughs written all over them for your enjoyment. From an a,using ping-pong game to clueless whipping up a frankly revolting cake that he somehow thinks is world-class, there’s no shortage of hilarity to be had with Carry On Cruising. When you go into a Carry On, it’s the laughs you want. Yes there is a story, but it’s the efforts of the cast that you most treasure and the familiarity of it all makes it cosy. You can accuse the Carry On movies of repeating the same formula, but the fact that you know what you’ll get actually causes them to be very satisfying as a result. Not every joke hots the mark, but the antics and farce are in high supply and move Cruising on at a quick and pleasing pace. One notable absence in Cruising is that of Charles Hawtrey, who had a disagreement with production after wanting top billing. He is missed in this film, as are Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques. Yet despite their absences, Cruising doesn’t fall apart and continues on in greatly comic tradition with the rest of the regulars. A tropical and tongue in cheek score provides just the ticket for this entry.

Sid James heads proceedings in a somewhat serious role, that still gets humour under the belt. As the beleaguered, grizzled captain who is beset by problems, James clearly has fun playing the long frustrated man wanting to sign off in style, but seeing it is far from steady water ahead. The hilarious Kenneth Williams is here as agony aunt, who has a tendency to meddle and on more than one occasion, use his loquacious ways to endear himself and others to the Captain. With his usual array of catty one liners and hysterical facial expressions, its happy sailing for Williams. Also in great spirits and good form is Kenneth Connor, bringing out the shyness and permanently unlucky in love aspects of his part in the way he always does. Both Kenneth’s have some dazzling scenes together, obviously bouncing off the other with ease. Getting a lot of the laughs is Lance Percival; him of the dumbfounded yet childlike expression. He is a hoot as the chef on the cruise, at times completely oblivious to his shortcomings and causing a near riot in the process. Dilys Laye and Liz Fraser are on hand for the loveliness and flirtatious banter and looking ravishing while doing it too. Liz Fraser stands out the most out of the two women, being both cheeky and warm. And one can’t forget the immensely humorous showing from Esma Cannon, who gets up to all manner of mischief during her time at sea in an impish way. Given the least to do is Jimmy Thompson as the wet behind the ears barman, though he has his fair share of moments.

A generally sweet and somewhat more romantic Carry On, Cruising ticks the required boxes and joyously delivers the comedy goods with an abundance of energy.

Their Finest

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Film Title

Their Finest

Director

Lone Scherfig

Starring

  • Gemma Arterton as Catrin Cole
  • Sam Claflin as Tom Buckley
  • Bill Nighy as Ambrose Hilliard
  • Jack Huston as Ellis Cole
  • Paul Ritter as Raymond Parfitt
  • Jake Lacy as Carl Lundbeck
  • Richard E. Grant as Roger Swain
  • Rachael Stirling as Phyl Moore
  • Helen McCrory as Sophie Smith
  • Jeremy Irons as Secretary of War

A splendidly engaging and unexpected ode to cinema, women and doing what needs to be done in World War II, Their Finest captures your attention and heart with the story it has to tell. A crowd pleaser with a most knowing touch is an apt way to describe the delightful Their Finest.

It is 1940, London, and the Blitz is at its height. Catrin Cole is a Welsh girl, living in an apartment with her artist husband Ellis, whose more than a bit moody and not exactly a supportive presence. A copywriter, she is called specifically the film division. Her knack for good dialogue is realised, even though it is said that she will be writing what many call the slop( women’s dialogue). She is hired for work on movies and partnered with snide and cynical Tom Buckley and older, more understanding Raymond Parfitt in the screenwriting process. Though paid less than the men and frequently questioned about her capabilities, Catrin emerges as a talented addition to the team. Being one of only a few women in a male dominated game, the odds are stacked against Catrin. But she is no wilting flower and can gradually in the story, easily handle herself against sexism and attitudes towards her doing a profession such as hers. With the War raging on, cinema provides an escape for those at home. The Ministry of Information is hoping that a new propaganda film will blend both authenticity and optimism into one, enabling audiences to feel comforted and with a rousing feeling. The film takes its basis from a newspaper article of two twin sisters using their father’s boat to rescue men from Dunkirk. Upon researching it further, Catrin discovers that the story has been exaggerated a lot. Though knowing this, she helps form a scenario around the events that will boost morale. And being that it is a propaganda film, the embellishment of facts is inevitable anyway. Catrin shows how indispensable she is with her flair for writing and her emerging determination to be taken seriously. Soon production is under way, yet various issues are present. The over the hill Ambrose Hilliard, who has a big opinion of himself, is perturbed that he is playing an old role. This is amusing because he is in his 60’s, yet can’t quite accept his glory days are far behind him. In order to appeal to American audiences and hoping to coax them into joining the war, the big wigs of production and Secretary of War employ former pilot Carl Lundbeck to be in the picture. The problem is, while handsome and projecting the right image, he is a hopeless actor. Most of all, it’s nearly a battle itself between Buckley and Catrin Through it all, Catrin manages to let her voice be heard and earn the respect and love of the initially standoffish Buckley as the unpredictable war continues. With luck, they hope their movie can be a rousing success and ignite the public imagination to a feeling of hope in a time of darkness.

Lone Scherfig, who previously demonstrated her greatness at tapping into the past in An Education, showcases that again with Their Finest. She finely discovers humour, pathos and inspiration in the story and knows exactly when to incorporate seriousness into the largely amiable proceedings. It’s a tightrope walk that could have gone wrong, but humour and maturity go hand in hand here, and highly benefits the overall product. Plus, Scherfig’s greatest asset is shooting a movie concerning World War II from a female perspective. I personally feel that there are not enough movies about World War II focus on the women who played a part, thankfully Their Finest corrects that in style and a displays a fervent female overcoming the obstacles to gain respect. The film itself is blessed with a sincere and funny screenplay, that has humour in the making of the propaganda film and the emotional undertones of the terror that war brings. It also has a great usage of wordplay, particularly between Catrin and Buckley, whose growing attraction becomes more obvious, despite the constant sniping and disagreements. You may be forgiven for thinking that Their Finest is simply cosy whimsy, but while it is charming and full of vitality, it never skirts around the tragedies or hardships of the war. And while at first you may be inclined to believe you know the outcome of the film, it throws in a surprising curve ball that changes a lot. Believe me, I never saw it coming at all, which is a credit to how the movie knows when to blind side you and show its dramatic muscle. This very instance of shock brings with it a heft of moving moments that add another string to the movie’s bow. Very much like the movie being made in the story, Their Finest knows how to please the crowd, being rousing yet never forgetting the devastation of World War II. You can’t get be wrapped up in the inspiring story, both of Catrin asserting herself more and the behind the scenes look at the propaganda movie. Comedy ensues in the brightest way in the beginning the scenes stretches, with various techniques and mishaps proving how the experience of a film is trying but usually worth it. A lovingly flowing score from Rachel Portman highlights the optimism and change of the time with deft assurance and emotional touches.

A beautifully judged performance from Gemma Arterton is one of the main joys of Their Finest. A nicely employed subtlety is evident in her keen and plucky portrayal, finding emotion and growing feistiness in the role of Catrin that is a great showcase for the actress.  Lovely, genuine and boasting a backbone of steel that comes in handy when asserting her talents, Arterton makes Catrin an arresting heroine who you immediately warm too and want to watch succeed. For my money, this is one of the best parts Gemma Arterton has had in a movie and goof for her I say, as I’ve always been a fan of hers. Sam Claflin, behind small glasses and a moustache, has the stinging sarcasm and attitudes for a man of the time; while delving into the inferiority complex he has and why he acts like a jerk. He shares a nice chemistry with Arterton, that starts flinty and evolves into a mutual understanding that is lovely. Being the scene stealer that he is, Bill Nighy sinks his teeth into the part of has-been actor who still thinks of himself as the biggest star in the world. It’s a funny, self-mocking part, that also makes time for Nighy to display a caring and inspiring side to what at first appears to be a very difficult. Nighy is the one who gets most of the laughs in Their Finest. Jack Huston is left with the least engaging part of Catrin’s inattentive husband, while Paul Ritter quietly thumps away at the typewriter as the mediator in the screenwriting process. Also getting laughs is Jake Lacy, whose all American appeal and square-jawed features are handsomely used to play a charming but not very talented star thrown into the propaganda film. Richard E. Grant, Rachael Stirling and Helen McCrory provides great support, as does a cameo from Jeremy Irons as the Secretary of War.

Charming, spirited yet grounded in seriousness when it needs to be, Their Finest is wonderful movie making that celebrates the powers of cinema and inspiring women.

Blogs You Should Follow Part 18

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I’m feeling especially generous and giving today so here’s another roundup of blogs that you simply must see and read.

Jason’s Movie Blog – Jason is a fine fellow blessed with a cinematic brain and killer sense of humour. If you want a great discussion as well as review to read, cool Jason is certainly your man.

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films – Like the title says, Maddy is a student and disciple of Old School Hollywood and movie making. For in-depth knowledge on a golden period of movies, the delightful Maddy is awaiting you.

Blogs You Should Follow Part 17

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Time for another round of giving back to the blogging community by spreading the word of two fabulous blogs that are worth your time.

Mike Lando. Com – The hilarious and pleasure to converse with Mike is the man to go to if you want to know about music. Add in there his wit and rib-tickling humour and it’s a sheer delight of a site.

Assholes Watching Movies– Jay, Matt and Sean run this incredible movie blog that practically overflows with keen insight and observation. With a tongue in cheek writing style as well as deep understanding of cinema, their amiability is what truly makes their blog a special place.

Funny Girl

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Film Title

Funny Girl

Director

William Wyler

Starring

  • Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice
  • Omar Sharif as Nick Arnstein
  • Kay Medford as Rose Brice
  • Walter Pidgeon as Florenz Ziegfeld

A colourful and well mounted movie version of the hit play, itself loosely based on the life of comedienne Fanny Brice, Funny Girl launched Barbra Streisand to movie stardom in her debut role( which garnered her an Oscar.) It’s a wonderful showcase for her and despite a lengthy running time, has more than enough virtues, wonderful music and moments of excellence to entrance.

It is the early part of the 20th Century and in New York, Fanny Brice is Jewish girl of modest means but massive dreams to be a star. No matter who tells her that her nose is too big or her legs are too skinny, Fanny strives to attain life on stage with all she’s got. Initially she starts as a bit player on the vaudeville stage, where her lack of classical beauty and awkward movements stand out a lot, but her determination perseveres. Thankfully, during one particular show, her coltish mien and clumsy mannerisms actually endear her to the audience, and she is a resounding hit. Around this time, she also encounters the dashing gambler and businessman Nick Arnstein, who will play an important role in her life in the years to come. With her act growing more popular, she is shocked and excited when she is hired by the legendary Impresario Florenz Ziegfeld. Fanny can’t believe her luck at being given the opportunity to become a big star as a Ziegfeld girl. Yet with her comedic timing and need to be funny, she at first rubs Ziegfeld up the wrong way. Later, she takes to stage and re-invents a number in her own cheeky way. Ziegfeld is perturbed but seeing how talented she is, encourages her comedienne act. The attention then turns back to Fanny’s relationship with Nick Arnstein, who sweeps her off her feet after years of brief encounters, resulting in marriage. Passionately in love with Nick, Fanny leaves the Follies to concentrate on her love. Yet the ensuing years reveal cracks in their union as Nick becomes resentful of his run of bad luck and Fanny’s continued success. Getting back into performing yet slowly growing unhappy with events, Fanny sees that life is not always as funny as her act.

William Wyler, a most experienced and versatile director, ably and admirably directs Funny Girl; finely judging the funny and light first half and the later bittersweet and dramatic stages. Wyler finds both happiness and sadness in the tale of Fanny Brice, while allowing the production and acting take the biggest chunk of the pie. Superb production design and simply gorgeous costumes are featured, with all the gloss of an Old Hollywood production. One can see that Funny Girl was definitely a prestige project, owing to its luscious photography, dazzling choreography and of course the music. Though the story can feel like standard rise to the top stuff that’s been done dozens of times, the fact that some of it has basis in reality adds and it carries an emotional undercurrent throughout. Now Funny Girl is by no means flawless, as the midsection drags and starts to strain in comparison with the rest of the story. A tad of editing and trimming may have benefited this half of the movie. Luckily, there are many elements that compensate for those niggles and keep you watching the largely engrossing movie. Chief among these are the delightful musical numbers, performed with gusto and depth largely by Barbra Streisand. She gets into the songs so much, fully living them to the highest degree. From an amusing roller skate sequence to the moving ‘People’ and defiantly show stopping ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’, the musical sections are gorgeous and filled with vitality.

What really makes Funny Girl that something special is the outstanding Barbra Streisand. It’s hard to believe that this was her movie debut because of the confidence and ease with which she plays Fanny Brice. Sure she had played the part on stage and was a legit music star, but cinema is a totally different ball game that Streisand rose to, with Oscar-winning results. Embodying a cheeky, gauche charm that later morphs into sadness and disillusionment as her marriage falls apart and it becomes more difficult to put on a smiley face, Streisand’s commitment and exuberant talent announces itself loud and clear. Expertly funny, unwaveringly purposeful, heartbreaking and with a gorgeously soulful voice, Barbra Streisand earned her Oscar with this stunning performance. Omar Sharif has the required smoothness and ultimate desperation for Nick Arnstein, whose serious gambling problem causes his anger at the way things have turned out. Streisand and Sharif share a very good chemistry, going from charmed and loving to torn apart with conviction. Kay Medford is observant and wise as Fanny’s movie, while the role of Ziegfeld is acted with proper aristocratic ability by Walter Pidgeon. The supporting players do well in their parts, but the film belongs to Barbra Streisand.

A splendidly told musical full of glamour, heart and pangs of sadness, Funny Girl is a bravura film that announces the talents of a legend. It can get long-winded, but the overall dedication of those involved makes Funny Girl a sublime film to enjoy.

Carry On Regardless

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Film Title

Carry On Regardless

Director

Gerald Thomas

Starring

  • Sid James as Bert Handy
  • Kenneth Connor as Sam Twist
  • Charles Hawtrey as Gabriel Dimple
  • Joan Sims as Lily Duveen
  • Kenneth Williams as Francis Courtenay
  • Bill Owen as Mike Weston
  • Liz Fraser as Delia King
  • Terence Longdon as Montgomery Infield-Hopping
  • Esma Cannon as Miss Cooling
  • Stanley Unwin as Landlord
  • Joan Hickson as Matron
  • Hattie Jacques as Nurse

The fifth entry in the franchise, Carry On Regardless for me hits a stumbling block. While it’s still funny, the focus on too many individual incidents gets laborious and it feels like there is too much going on and not all of it good. Suffice to say, Carry On Regardless is my least favourite entry so far in the long running series.

A group of disgruntled individuals meet in the Labour Exchange, moaning about the severe lack of jobs. They are perpetually unlucky Sam Twist, clumsy and harmless Gabriel Dimple, amiable Lily Duveen, snotty language expert Francis Courtenay, gruff chap Mike Weston, gorgeous blonde Delia King and well-groomed Montgomery Infield-Hopping. On the very same day, a discovery in the paper for an agency known as ‘Helping Hands’ is found. Given the lack of jobs, the motley crew races to the office to get work there. The agency is run by the crafty Bert Handy, who along with his secretary Miss Cooling, hopes the business of ‘Helping Hands’ can be successful. Hiring the group, he awaits greatness. At first, business is pretty slow for all involved. Yet eventually, given that the agency has advertised that they will take whatever job there is, offers flood in for the staff. Which of course means that unusual and kooky antics are bound to follow, especially with this group of misfits taking part. And when the new order system that assigns jobs for everyone is mixed up, much mayhem ensues.

While Gerald Thomas knows what he’s doing to get laughs, his direction is as uneven as the stories at play. Nothing bad by any stretch, just a feeling of being too thrown together and forced. While other Carry On Movies have been episodic, they at least had more of a clear thread running through them. Regardless just feels like an overload of ideas that could have been rendered with more efficiency. Part of the fun in a Carry On is the camaraderie and group effort of the thing; Regardless keeps them apart for much too long. Now there’s still humour to be gleaned, with more innuendo peppered in there in budding fashion. Owing to the scattershot narrative, some vignettes stand out more than others. Joan Sims getting sozzled at a high society is hilarious, as is Kenneth Williams walking and entertaining a Chimpanzee for the day. Kenneth Connor’s story of a misunderstood message that leads to what he thinks is a spy operation is probably the funniest of the lot, especially as it really plays up the fact that he’s such a hapless chap. While these areas of Carry On Regardless are fun and get laughs, the rest of it somehow grinds to a halt. I feel that the talents of some members of the cast where not given great stuff to work with, which is a shame considering their talents. While the score is eventful, it isn’t the finest example of music in Carry On.

Sid James, with his trademark grin and dirty laugh, is clearly having fun as the boss of the agency, who everything seems to link back to. There’s something about James that really keeps you watching, even when the stories get to be a bit of a bore. Kenneth Connor, so far a firm favourite in the Carry On team, once more plays the underdog to the hilt. Connor just knows how to gain laughs from you with his brand of hapless enthusiasm and performance. I’ve grown to love Charles Hawtrey and his comedic talents, and though he gets one particularly funny scene, I was a bit disheartened that he wasn’t given a whole lot to do. The delightful Joan Sims shines in her main scenes with her comic timing and personality, making up for some of the less assured vignettes. And of course a Carry On wouldn’t be one without the inimitable Kenneth Williams. That vocal style, mannerisms and facial expressions are just too hilarious, Williams is a masterful comedian. Bill Owen is sadly given scant to do in this venture, while the gorgeous Liz Fraser provides ample sex appeal in her debut Carry On. Terence Longdon makes his last appearance, which sadly is one that is few and far between as he feels a little shoe-horned into the mix. Providing splendid support is the sweet and pixie-like Esma Cannon, whose pretty fun and endearing as a daffy secretary. Stanley Unwin appears, along with his trademark gobbledygook style of speaking to play a Landlord, that no one can understand. In a funny reversal of fortune from Carry On Nurse, Joan Hickson plays a hospital matron while Hattie Jacques is the put-upon nurse.

Not a bad movie, it has its moments that raise a laugh, but Carry On Regardless feels hit and miss in regards to the rest of the films.

Tremors

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Film Title

Tremors

Director

Ron Underwood

Starring

  • Kevin Bacon as Val McKee
  • Fred Ward as Earl Bassett
  • Finn Carter as Rhonda LeBeck
  • Michael Gross as Burt Gummer
  • Reba McEntrie as Heather Gummer
  • Bobby Jacoby as Melvin
  • Victor Wong as Walter Chang

A fine horror comedy that lovingly sends up and celebrates 50’s monster movies, Tremors is a fun ride and a film that has you laughing just as much as biting your nails.

Handy men Val McKee and Earl Bassett are growing bored with their lives in the desert town of Perfection, Nevada. Val is the younger of the men and more than a bit jocular, Earl is the older and more pragmatic of the two. While neither are the sharpest or brightest, they know that they can’t just doing menial jobs for their lives. Deciding to pack up and leave, their short-lived exit from town is cut short by the discovery of a dead body. The man in question is found up a pylon, dehydrated after being too afraid to climb down. Shortly following this is more gruesome discoveries and the men encounter seismologist Rhonda LeBeck, who has been investigating unusual activity in the desert area. It transpires that worm like creatures have emerged from beneath the ground and been attacking the residents, taking them underground for sustenance. With help from Rhonda, it is deduced that vibration and noise is what attracts them, leading the survivors to think up ways to communicate without being caught and plot some form of break from the growing onslaught . Holed up back in the dusty town, Val and Earl take residence in the convenience store with some of the other residents. But these creatures are getting smarter and more vicious, leading more frequent attacks .It’s now up to the group to come up with some way to escape being the next meal of these ferocious creatures.

Ron Underwood has a knowing sheen to his direction; gladly combining the humorous and shocking into one big ride. His efficient pacing makes certain that no flab is found and we get straight into the action, while still allowing the characters to take centre stage. The small community all have their respective quirks and foibles, which is pretty fun to see as they slowly band together to survive and defend themselves against the creatures. It’s a simple story, but Tremors knows this and with a winking eye to the audience, acknowledges what you’d expect from a 50’s creature feature and adds its own brand of things to the mix. Things especially hit a high point when the residents are forced onto the roof, while still attempting to conjure a plan of escape as well as keeping noise to a minimum. Having to be extremely careful not to alert the creatures of their presence The design of the worm like critters is through practical effects, and it looks well-worn by now, yet this adds something else to Tremors. What Tremors most has going for it is the humour, which is delivered in spades. The running gag of Val and Earl being unable to leave town, at first because of trivial things and soon quite deadly events, is hilariously done and plays throughout the darkly comic heart of Tremors. Horror and comedy is sometimes a difficult tightrope to walk, but Tremors does it extremely well. It ensures that the laughs are very present, but that it can ratchet up suspense and deliver the horror goods when required. Through quick point of view shots, the nasty creatures attack and we are thrown into the fray as they wage war on the residents. It’s a slice of entertainment of the highest order, complimented by a tongue-in-cheek and jaunty score that fits just right with the tone of the movie.

Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward lead the way as the two unlikely heroes of the piece. They are likable guys who while not the smartest people ever, have enough gumption and attitude to take on the terror in front of them. They are bungling, prone to disaster ,funny yet nifty when it comes to being practical and using what they have at their disposal.  A lot of the effectiveness comes from the chemistry between both actors, who clearly are having a blast and enjoy working with each other as the amusing and heroic duo. It wouldn’t be the same without Bacon and Ward in these roles, adding a goofy and irresistible charm to it. Smarts are provided by Finn Carter’s scientist, who is the real brains of the piece and a woman who can take action effectively too when the occasion calls for it. Stealing a lot of the show however is Michael Gross; portraying the war-obsessed and tooled up Burt Gummer with a boisterous personality and wicked gleam in his eye. His attitude and presence are both funny and hopeful, because at first his paranoid antics regarding a new war are laughed at, before coming in extremely useful as the horror rises. Reba McEntrie is his wife, who shares his obsession and love of firearms, while there is Bobby Jacoby as the town brat and Victor Wong as the convenience store owner whose place becomes a shelter.

An excellent pastiche of B-movies mixed with more of contemporary sensibility, it’s hard not to enjoy Tremors for just how much of a blast it is. Never taking itself too seriously, Tremors is an all round good time for horror fans who like their movies with humour.

Carry On Constable

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Film Title

Carry On Constable

Director

Gerald Thomas

Starring

  • Sid James as Sergeant Frank Wilkins
  • Kenneth Connor as Constable Charlie Constable
  • Leslie Phillips as PC Tom Potter
  • Kenneth Williams as PC Stanley Benson
  • Charles Hawtrey as Special Constable Timothy Gorse
  • Joan Sims as PC Gloria Passworthy
  • Hattie Jacques as Sergeant Laura Moon
  • Eric Barker as Inspector Mills
  • Shirley Eaton as Sally
  • Terence Longdon as Herbert Hall
  • Joan Hickson as Mrs May

A wacky fourth entry into the comedy series, Carry On Constable spoofs the police force with humour and eventfulness. Sid James joins the cast here and while it’s not classic Carry On, Constable has a lot of things to recommend.

A busy police station is struck by flu, leaving many of the staff unable to work. As the station is already understaffed, it’s difficult to find temporary replacements. They eventually come in the form of fresh out the academy; snobbish and sardonic Stanley Benson, society Lothario Tom Potter and highly superstitious Charlie Constable . Also joining them is the harmless and clumsy Special Constable Timothy Gorse and overly efficient Policewoman Gloria Passworthy. Yet even before the day has really begun, the main trio inadvertently aid robbers in getting away, setting in motion the rest of the day. Assigned to watch them is experienced Sergeant Frank Wilkins, who is under pressure from his superior due to the conditions of the place and repeatedly threatened with a transfer. His hope for something good to happen quickly goes south when the stand ins reveal that they are hopelessly inept and prone to mistakes. Nevertheless, Wilkins perseveres with them as he feels something for them and wants anything to rub the Inspector’s nose in it, yet avoid a transfer. But dealing with this quartet is no easy task as he soon discovers. Let’s just say there’s a whole abundance of mishaps along the way for the stand in coppers, with chaos seeming to happen everywhere they go. But can they all pull together and show some backbone in order for Wilkins to stay at the station?

Gerald Thomas makes the lively events and humour shine through with his customary gift for moving the story along at a riotous pace. Carry On Constable is quite similar to Sergeant, in that the batch of recruits are bumbling and prone to folly. Their antics are comedic and eventful. A few interludes don’t do much and lag, but the overall escapades are in high abundance and ready to gain the laughs from you. Some of the highlights include Charlie bursting into an apartment, only to discover that what he believes to be a murder is actually a radio program, Gorse attempting to rescue a cat from a bell tower and funniest of all, Gorse and snobby Benson dressed in drag to stop criminals, yet cause a lot more trouble when their harebrained idea goes to pot. The double entendres and sauciness is upped, with some fine play on words and the first instance of nudity( shown when the quartet experience a freezing shower and end up stumbling into the cells, much to the dismay of a drunken lady). A rollicking score plays well in time with the comedic occurrences that are around every corner of Carry On Constable.

We get the first appearance of the beloved Sid James. Playing a largely serious man who has to witness the chaos ensuing, James gets in some great laughs as he chafes at his superior and it exasperated by the ineptitude of his new recruits( though warms to them). He’s an authority figure, but a funny one that James plays well in his first outing in the Carry On series. The hilarious Kenneth Connor is on hand to be spooked and a bundle of nervous energy waiting to erupt, when playing the most timid and omen obsessed member of the team. We also have Leslie Phillips, him of the posh voice and wicked smile, as the charming dandy with only ladies on the mind throughout. Kenneth Williams is a right delight; outrageously and amusingly playing the pretentious member of the group, who believes he can spot a criminal from just a look. Such delusions of grandeur and sarcasm are embodied wonderfully by the great gifts of Williams. And of course there is the playful, almost childlike giddiness or Charles Hawtrey to recommend to everyone. Relating to Connor, Phillips, Williams and Hawtrey, you can really feel how comfortable they are in these roles and it shows a lot on screen. I think however that the female cast members are pretty underused in Constable; Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques are both gifted comic actresses, but neither of their roles allows for much of that to come through. It was nice seeing Eric Barker do a gruff and smarmy act as the chief Inspector, who no one has much time for because he doesn’t seem to have a clue about running the station. Shirley Eaton pops up briefly for the glamour and sex appeal, though her and Terence Longdon are not given nearly enough to do to make a dent on the film. Look out for Joan Hickson as a boozy society lady who seems to enjoy getting arrested on a daily basis.

Not vintage Carry On but still a riot of laughter, Carry On Constable has enough comedy and outrageous things to have a ball with.

More To Come

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Lately as you’ve noticed, the Carry On Movies have become the main thing I’ve spoken about here. But I wholeheartedly promise that there will be other content on here. Never fear my friends:

  • There are reviews of the movies I listed that I really should have watched by now.
  • Kitchen sink dramas have not been forgotten.
  • And following a recent trend, my personal posts will be here too

So if you’re not a Carry On fan, there’s still plenty to enjoy.