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All reviews - Movies (3)

From Russia with Love (1963) review

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 2 May 2013 10:11 (A review of From Russia with Love (1963))

This second outing for Sean Connery as Bond sees him on his way to Istanbul to retrive a lekter machine from the beautiful Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) with the help of Kermin Bey.
There is the usual car chase sequenes we were getting accustomed to in the Bond films, a teriffic fight between two gypsy girls, and a thrilling fight sequence on the train between Connery and Robert Shaw.
The film was further enhanced by the title song sung by Matt Monroe which struck just about the right balance, after the credits and at the end of the film.
The boat chase sequence (which was used often in later films) was also thrilling for the 1963 audience.
I have a soft spot for all the early Baond films as against some of the later ones, mainly because of the under use of gadets. The early films seemed less reliant on the gadgets as later films.
The real villian of this film for me was Rosa Klebb - brilliantly played by Lotte Lenya - small and diminutive, but as tough as nails and ruthless to boot.
Another one of my favorites of the series.

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Dr. No review

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 30 April 2013 09:59 (A review of Dr. No)

As an avid Bond fan, and seeing this film when it was first released, it will always hold a special place in my heart.
The action starts when Bond is summoned from his late night at the Casino and women, to fly to Jamaica to sort out the the problems of missing British agents and staff.
He encounter an hostile reception especially from Dr No's co-horts who are trying to stop him reaching Dr No's island.
The story is a fairly simple on - get Dr No - and the pace and action of the film are supberb from Director Terence Young.
The atmoshere of Jamaica, the girls, the car chase sequence and the build up to the explotion of Dr No's Island base were to become the staple diet of a number of Bond films, and in particular, the Sean Connery and Roger Moore era of Bond.
This film set a winning formula for audiences and some, like me, were hooked from the very beginning and wanted more of the action as each film was released.
I cannot end the review without mentioning Usula Andress as Honey Ryder and her entrance into the story by walking out of the sea in the teriffic bikini she almost wore.
While the film lacked some of the finesse and cadgets of the later Bond films, I found the non-use of gadgets more appealing as brute force was needed more by Bond in this film than the later ones.
An enjoyable watch to anyone who has not seen this film.

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Winstanley review

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 30 April 2013 12:05 (A review of Winstanley)

This is a film I saw a long time ago and would recommend everyone to see it.
Set in 1649 against poverty and unrest sweeping England with the English Civil War drawing to an end and the failure of the Levellers to securing voting rights for non-landowners, a group of impoverished people, The Diggers, form a settlement on St George's Hill in Surrey under the leadership of General Winstanley.
The director, Kevin Brownlow, is better known as an historian than film Director, but he brought an historian's passion for authenticity and detail to the production of Winstanley.
Together with his excellent crew he was able to recreate a small patch of 17th Century England on which to stage the tragic drama of General Winstanley and his Diggers, a small band of Christian sommunists who farmed in common on St George's Hill in Surrey.
Though expert, the production was amateur. Unable to aquire funding, the film was shot over weekends over the course of a year, as and when the participants were available.
Miles Halliwell's performance as Winstanleyis otherworldly, balanced by steady meance projected by the sole professional actor, Jerome Willis, as General Fairfax.
Winstanley makes the most of informality and improvisation in scenes in the commune, while the words of Winstanley himself, taken verbatum from his tracts, are narrated by Halliwell.
Although Winstanley strips its literary source, David Caute's Comrade Jacob, of some of its reflectiveness, the film is also subject to contemporary influences.
The English Left has always remembered the English Civil War, and the noble but doomed struggle of the Diggers to establish a fair and equitable society had a particular appeal after the political and social upheavals of the 1960's. Sid Rawle who plays the leader of the radical religious dissenters, The Diggers, was in real life te leader of a hippy commune known as 'The New Diggers', the Ranters' violent ideological contempt for the Diggers practical communism (while accepting their hospitality) could also be seen as analogous to the relationship of hippies to the political movements of the 1960's and 1970's.
This film may have been an amateur production, but it certainly was not a naive film.
From the opening battle montage and the use of Prokofiev's score for Alexander Nevsky (USSR, 1938),it is a film steeped in cinema history as much as social history.
Winstanley was warmly received in many quarters.
Winstanley is not a product of the an experimental or avant-garde British cinema, but an extraordinary example of British mainstream cinema that never came into being.
A brilliant film for its times with all the disadvantages it had and the troubled production. 8/10

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