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Update Film Four & Film Four +1 08-06-08.
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Update Film Four & Film Four +1 08-06-08. - 08-June-2008, 12:30

Film Four & Film Four +1 08-06-08.

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

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FILM4 08 Jun 2008

War Games
(1983) Matthew Broderick stars in John Badham's thriller as a high school student who accidentally infiltrates a military computer.Sharply scripted by Walter F Parkes and Lawrence Lasker (who also penned hacker fest Sneakers), WarGames might be aimed primarily at young boys but it never for a moment excludes either girls or adults - it's as if Badham realised that the machines at the heart of his story could benefit all mankind, and not just the members who were shy around the opposite sex. The unstarry cast also helps keep attention focused on the frankly terrifying story. Both Broderick and love interest Ally Sheedy are very natural while, among the adults, Dabney Coleman, Barry Corbin and John Wood excel as military top brass, bonkers General and enigmatic scientist respectively. And be sure to keep an eye out for a young Michael Madsen as one of the guys in the silo in the opening scene.
Admittedly, there's none of the bleakness and little of the black comedy of, say, Dr Strangelove. But compare WarGames with much of what passes for teen entertainment today and you wish that more filmmakers would download its winning formula.

The Gentle Sex
(1943) Second World War documentary-style drama following the fortunes of seven very different women through the war years.Leslie Howard's WWII propaganda piece follows the experiences of a group of women as they sign up to the war effort
Gentle Sex Taking the (then) very modern format of a documentary-drama, The Gentle Sex (produced, directed and narrated by Leslie Howard) welcomes seven new female recruits to an Auxiliary Territorial Service base. The women are a mixed bunch from all walks of life. Gwen (Gates) is a cheery ****ney. Foxy Anne (Howard) is an officer's daughter and a bit of a know-it-all. Then there's Joan (Waring). She's a bit shy. Finds it hard to join in. Their natural leader is Maggie (John), a good-humoured Scot who can't stop eating. There's even a Polish refugee amongst them, excitable Erna (Palmer). The women each have their own reasons for joining up - the Nazis killed Erna's family and she wants revenge; good time girl Dot (Gillie) just wants a change of scene - but all of them are eager to do their bit for Blighty.
The film listens to their stories, asks them what it is about Britain that's worth fighting for and what their hopes are for the nation's future, all the while following them through basic army and specialist auxiliary training, before packing them off to their posts as truck drivers, telephonists and orderlies around the country. The youngest of the seven, Betty (Greenwood), even gets to operate an anti-aircraft gun.
If the film sounds like a recruitment advert, that's because it was. Its very purpose was to encourage women to join the ATS, to free up able-bodied men from the jobs back home so that they could be sent to the front.

The Four Feathers
(1939) Alexander Korda's spectacular production of A E W Mason's action-adventure novel, starring John Clements.
Fourth cinema adaptation of AEW Mason's popular novel set at the height of the British Empire. An early Technicolor celebration of the British stiff-upper lip and the North African landscape
After watching The Four Feathers it's no surprise to learn that its Hungarian born producer, Zoltan Korda, was so ardent an anglophile that he once refused to make a film of the novel 'The Bridge On The River Kwai' on the grounds that it showed British officers collaborating with the enemy (regardless of the circumstances). The Four Feathers is a passionate celebration of colonial British values and the rigours of Victorian military society. The good old days when men were men and didn't like to talk about it much. When their manners were as stiff as their meticulously starched shirts and the "natives" they did battle with (specifically, the "cruel dervishes" and "fuzzie-wuzzies") wore ridiculous wigs, did funny dances and communicated by shouting "Ugga-ugga". It's offensively jingoistic, but nonetheless entertaining - and even surprisingly touching at times.
Harry Faversham (Clements) receives the four feathers of the film's title for an act of cowardice. He resigns his commission the day before his regiment embarks to regain the lost stonghold of Khartoum. He justifies his actions on the grounds that he's got to look after his estate. However, thanks to an amusing scene at the opening, where the 15 year old Harry quails as he's forced to listen to the horrific tales of his father's doddering ex-military colleagues (a battlefield coward is "shot to pieces - no more than he deserved," a hero "lost his arm - ruined his cricket") the audience is left in no doubt about the real cause. Harry is terrified. When he receives the feathers from his three closest regiment friends and, most hurtful of all, his betrothed, he's spurred to overcome his fear. In due course he sets off after his regiment, intending to return his colleagues' feathers in the thick of battle.

Addams Family Values
(1993) Barry Sonnenfeld brings the Addams Family back to the screen for this similarly excellent sequel.Barry Sonnenfeld brings the Addams Family back to the screen for this similarly excellent sequel. The perverse but loving Addams must contend with a gold-digger, in the form of Joan Cusack
Addams Family Values Sonnenfeld's screen version of Charles Addams' long-running comic-strip in 'The New Yorker', The Addams Family, was so successful that a sequel was inevitable.Unusually for a sequel, Addams Family Values is possibly even better than the first film, possibly because, now the (exceedingly, lovably odd) characters are established, Sonnenfeld and screenwriter Paul Rudnick can get on with telling stories.
This time around there's romance in the air, between Uncle Fester (Lloyd), and Debbie Jellinsky, who is employed by the Addams as nanny (Cusack) to new baby Pubert (who takes after his dad right down to the pencil mustache). However, ulterior motives become clear - she's after the family fortune.
As before, it's the macabre humour which shines through, most of it arising from the Addams' children's trip to summer camp, and the curiously touching relationship between Gomez and Morticia (the perfectly cast Julia and Huston). Christina Ricci - still aged only 13 - is inevitably wonderful in her part as the deadpan sadist Wednesday Addams.

(1999) Matt Damon and Ben Affleck star as an unlikely pair of fallen angels whose scheme for re-admission to heaven threatens all creation.The apocalypse as anticipated by high Catholicism comes to 90s New Jersey mall culture. And makes a few fundamentalists bridle
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck star as unlikely fallen angels Loki and Bartleby. Bored of Earth, they are trying to trick their way back into heaven on a theological technicality - the only problem with their plan is that if they succeed, all creation will end. It's up to lapsed Catholic abortion clinic worker Bethany (Fiorentino) to save the world - being a distant descendent of Jesus it's her destiny, according to the angel Metatron (Rickman). She's aided in her mission by the forgotten thirteenth apostle, Rufus (Rock), muse-turned-stripper Seredipity (Hayek) and Smith's regulars Jay (Mewes) and Silent Bob (the writer-director himself).
The mixture of religion, swearing, drugs and abortion was enough to outrage American fundamentalist Catholics. It's doubtlful whether any of those foaming at the mouth actually watched the film - as Smith himself is a Catholic, and the film itself is actually thoughtful and basically faithful, poking fun at institutional stuffiness and abuses rather than attacking sacred tenets.

Three Days of the Condor
(1975) Robert Redford is Joseph Turner, a lowly CIA employee who is the survivor of an unexplained massacre of his equally lowly colleagues.Exciting but frequently incomprehensible conspiracy thriller starring Robert Redford as a low-level CIA worker caught up in a dangerous plpt and Faye Dunaway as the love interest
Nothing can top the impact of the opening scene when Joe Turner (Redford), who works in a minor capacity for the CIA in Washington (as a reader), returns to his office from lunch to find all his colleagues have been assassinated. From then on, the thriller becomes more and more complex (ie incomprehensible) and conventional, but with some redeeming Hitch****ian moments, as Turner flees mysterious forces who want to destroy him. The action is punctuated by a romance with Kathy Hale (Dunaway), with whom he holes up.
Although Sydney Pollack's film (written for the screen by Semple Jr, who was also wrote the similarly paranoid The Parallax View, and Rayfiel) presents an intelligence institution unable to understand the past and wreaking havoc in the present with its war-gaming projections of future crisis, it has diluted much of the politics of its source, James Grady's novel. Thankfully, the novel's title - 'Six Days Of The Condor' - was changed, so the running time was subsequently reduced. Von Sydow, Robertson and Houseman are effective as shady figures.

The League of Gentlemen
(1960) Jack Hawkins stars as an embittered army officer who recruits a shady bunch of ex-servicemen to help him pull off a million pound bank robbery.Ex-soldiers use their expertise in a new career - as gentlemen bank robbers. A witty, cool comedy starring a young Richard Attenborough
The League Of Gentlemen The clue is in the title: gentlemen, would-be thieves who are no ordinary crooks but officers and either their equals or their lackeys. Lt Col Hyde is the mastermind and is decidedly narked by being forced out of the military. He recruits seven dodgy, equally dissatisfied colleagues to execute a bank robbery with military precision. As we know, the best-laid plans... But the enjoyment here is in the plan, the training and the heist, carried out by a stereotypical cross-section of humanity. The story, wittily adapted and briskly directed, is played out by the cast with total conviction.


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