Category Archives: Podcast Reviews

It made more money than James Bond!

British SitcomsNew Year, new exciting 101 Films feature! Lewis and I have come up with yet another 101 Films podcast.

We’re becoming like a crisp/chip company with all our various ‘flavours’. Joining our standard podcast (the Ready Salted, if we’re going to stick with the crisp flavour analogy), our Specials (Salt and Vinegar) and our Extras (Cheese and Onion) is the Movie Marathon (erm… BBQ?).

In the Movie Marathons Lewis and I will watch several films in one go all based around a theme. Our first is on a subject that has popped up surprisingly often on our podcasts – British sitcoms turned into films. After much debate, with so many to pick from (see here for a full list), we decided to work our way through Till Death Do Us Part, On The Buses, Dad’s Army, Are You Being Served? and The Likely Lads.

Now, I’ll be honest dear listener, a couple of these we didn’t make it through as they were so, so poor. But there were also some real gems, as well as a few surprises. Enjoy!

If our Movie Marathon has piqued your interest in these films, you can buy The British Comedy Collection on DVD (all 12 discs of it!) from Amazon by clicking on the link (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Movie Marathon 01 – British Sitcoms

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations and suggestions for future themes for Movie Marathons. Please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Till Death Do Us Part – Director: Norman Cohen  Year of release: 1969  Studio/Distributor: British Lion Film  Country: UK

On The Buses – Director: Harry Booth  Year of release: 1971  Studio/Distributor: Hammer Film Productions  Country: UK

Dad’s Army Director: Norman Cohen  Year of release: 1971  Studio/Distributor: Norcon Film Productions, Columbia Pictures  Country: UK

Are You Being Served? – Director: Bob Kellet  Year of release: 1977  Studio/Distributor: EMI  Country: UK

The Likely Lads – Director: Michael Tuchner  Year of release: 1976  Studio/Distributor: Anglo-EMI Productions Ltd  Country: UK

Advertisements

Christmas Special 2013: Scrooged Commentary

Scrooged_film_posterFor our third Christmas Special we thought we’d try something a little different. This year, rather than talk about Christmas films past and present, we decided to do a DVD commentary – something we’ve been talking about for ages but haven’t got round to doing until now. And what better film to ‘commentarize’ on than Scrooged?

We’re both huge fans of Bill Murray, and I make a point of watching Scrooged every year – watching old crater-face in action always brings a smile to my face and Christmas cheer to my heart. Actually, speaking of BM’s acne scars, I noticed they were conspicuously absent on the DVD cover – perhaps Paramount thought they might scare the children?

Anyway, I digress. Going back to the podcast, feel free to join in with us by watching the Scrooged DVD along to the podcast (we tell you when to start it),  but you don’t need to be watching the film to listen. To be honest we spend most of the podcast talking about random other stuff anyway. Highlights to look out for include us fawning over Karen Allen, a discussion about whether Bobcat is a popular name in the United States and Ian desperately covering for me as I nip off to the toilet.

Merry Christmas everyone, see you in 2014!

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Scrooged DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon by clicking on the links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Special 10 – Scrooged Commentary

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Richard Donner Year of release: 1988 Studio/Distributor: Paramount Country: USA

Room 237: 101 Films Extra #04

Room_237_(2012_film)Usually our ‘extra’ posts are about a film that’s currently in the cinema, but Room 237 actually came out several months ago. Still, it just about qualifies as current, and it certainly provides lots to talk about.

We both recently watched the DVD of this documentary, and we both came away slightly bemused but with plenty to think about. The film centres around various people giving their interpretations of the meaning behind The Shining, with all of them convinced that Stanley Kubrick was intent on placing carefully crafted hidden meanings in his work. There’s certainly scope to believe that Kubrick may have been at pains to portray a deeper message in the film, but some of the viewpoints are a bit more believable than others.

One interpretation that seems pretty solid is that Kubrick used the wreck of a red VW Beetle as a sort of way to stamp his authority on the project – in Stephen King’s novel, the car at the beginning is a red Beetle, but in Kubrick’s film it’s yellow… then later on we see a smashed red Beetle by the side of the road. It seems too deliberate to be coincidence, and more than likely it’s Stanley giving the ol’ one-fingered to salute to King.

Similarly, there’s a lot of Native American imagery in the film that seems too deliberate to be coincidence, and there’s no doubt that Kubrick wanted this to be noticed. But as for its meaning, well… one of the interviewees is convinced that the whole film is a metaphor for the genocide of Native Americans, which perhaps is going a bit far, but his argument certainly makes more sense than some of the others.

Probably the most outlandish theory is that The Shining was a way for Kubrick to ‘admit’ that he filmed the moon landings in a studio, but the various reasons given for this are too torturous and ludicrous to describe here, and I’ll admit I did laugh at this point. Still, the kid does wear that Apollo 11 jumper, which is a bit odd to say the least…

It’s fair to say that most of the conspiracy theories in Room 237 have little grounding in reality, but nevertheless they make for a fascinating documentary, which also has superb production values. If nothing else, it made me want to watch The Shining again.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the DVD from Amazon by clicking here (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Extra #04 – Room 237

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Rodney Ascher Year of release: 2012 Studio/Distributor: Highland Park Classics Country: USA

It got serious

A_SeparationIt’s been a long time coming but we finally, FINALLY, got round to watching A Separation. Back in 2012, when we were worrying about Mayan Calendars, London Olympics and Gangnam Style (what a year that was) young Philip Rose recommended we watch A Separation, the first Iranian film to win an Oscar and the critical darling of 2011.

Immeditately we sprang into action. After waiting only 6 months Lewis ordered the film off LoveFilm. Just 7 months later Lewis watched it. Barely two months went by and then I watched it. 101 Films at its most efficient!

Ok, so we were rubbish. The problem was that we just were never in the mood to watch a two hour (subtitled) Iranian film about divorce and the effect it has on the people around the couple. I watched and enjoyed the film and even now that description makes my heart sink a bit. I guess Lew and I are becoming shallow in our old age.

We did enjoy the film though, if finding it a bit hard going, and we hope you enjoy our podcast (we appreciate they can be hard going too).

Our Secret Sponsor for this week is David Hughes (@GroovyFokker). Check out his film reviews at groovyfokker.blogspot.co.uk.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy A Separation on DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon by clicking on the links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 068 – A Separation

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director:  Asghar Farhadi  Year of release: 2011  Studio/Distributor: Filmiran, Sony Pictures Classics  Country: Iran

One. Two. Three. Knock on the Wall

ElorfanatoFinally our terrifying journey through October, the spookiest month of all, comes to an end with our last  Halloween special podcast for 2013. After looking at horror in the 1950s with Night of the Demon and in the 1970s with The Wicker Man, we finish with what is considered a modern classic, 2007’s The Orphanage.

The thing that unites all three of the films we’ve watched for Halloween is the fact that the ‘horror’ or scary elements of the story don’t actually seem to be the point of the story. The Night of the Demon was a psychological thriller, whereas The Wicker Man was a, er, folk musical dark comedy. And The Orphanage? A story about how two people deal with the loss of a child.

The film follows Laura played by Belén Rueda. Laura grew up in the titular orphanage and has returned as an adult with her doctor husband Carlos and their adopted son Simón with plans to turn it into a home for children with special needs. Simón starts to talk to apparently invisible children, including one who wears a cloth sack over his face…

Neither Lewis nor I had seen the film before. Knowing it was produced by Guillermo del Toro and being fans of his work, we were looking forward to a beautiful looking film and, if we’re honest, slightly worried about being scared witless by weird, creepy-looking ghost kids. Although gorgeous to look at (and of course it’s the director J. A. Bayona who should get the credit for that), the film wasn’t as scary as we were expecting. Odd and creepy yes, but not exactly terrifying. More than anything the film made me sad, watching Laura trying to cope with the disappearance of Simón and her growing desperation.

We also ended up talking a lot about the plot holes of the film, so if you haven’t seen it, be warned: we spoil the film rotten!

Our Secret Sponsor for this week is Rhidian Davis (@rhidiandavis), who’s currently overseeing the BFI Gothic season (http://www.bfi.org.uk/gothic). There are loads of great screenings coming up over the next couple of months – we urge you to check out the programme.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy The Orphanage on DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon by clicking the links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 067 – The Orphanage

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director:  J. A. Bayona  Year of release: 2007  Studio/Distributor: Esta Vivo! Laboratorio de Nuevos Talentos, Grupo Rodar, Rodar y Rodar Cine y Televisión, Telecinco Cinema, Televisió de Catalunya (TV3), Warner Bros. Pictures de España, Wild Bunch  Country: Spain and Mexico

Come. It is time to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man.

Wicker-Man-Final-Cut-PosterIn the second of our Halloween horror podcasts, we look at The Wicker Man: The Final Cut, a newly restored version of the classic 1973 British film. We’ve slightly bent the rules this time around – usually we only review films that either one or both of us hasn’t seen before, but we’ve actually both seen The Wicker Man – several times in fact. However, this is a brand new version of the movie – The Final Cut – in which the whole film has been restored from a new-found print and director Robin Hardy has chopped out some scenes and inserted others. So neither of us had seen this version of the film before, which means we can include it on the list.

Hey, don’t give us that look, it’s our podcast, we can do what we like!

Anyway, Ian was lucky enough to see this at a screening a couple of months back, and I managed to get tickets for the premiere at the British Film Institute, which was a brilliant evening for a number of reasons. Mostly because Robin Hardy was there doing a Q&A after the film, and he very nearly rivalled the late, great Michael Winner in terms of anecdotes and bon mots, but also because of a certain incident in the foyer just before I went in. I won’t spoil it for you – just listen to the podcast.

To be honest, we both struggled a bit to work out what parts had been changed in the film compared to the ‘Director’s Cut’ version a few years back. The most obvious change was the removal of the scenes with Sergeant Howie on the mainland at the beginning, which Robin Hardy notes were superfluous, and I tend to agree with him. I’m fairly sure that Britt Ekland’s famous dance routine has been pushed back to the second night in the film as well, and we also get to see some copulating snails, for what it’s worth. Most importantly though, this new version of the film looks fantastic – a vast improvement over the previous one, which was patched together from various prints and VHS copies.

If you’ve never seen The Wicker Man, you’re in for a treat. It’s a bizarre, enticing film that draws you in with its weird, sometimes funny depiction of life on a remote Scottish island before knocking you down with a sensational ending. Famously, it’s almost impossible to categorise: perhaps the closest you could get is a comedy-musical whodunnit with a hint of horror. Whatever it is, it’s unmissable.

The Wicker Man: The Final Cut is in cinemas now and is released on Blu-ray on 14th October – you can buy the Blu-ray from Amazon by clicking here (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is Careless Whispers Podcast. They are on Twitter but they, um, haven’t actually tweeted yet so I suggest you take a look at their Facebook page.

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 066 – The Wicker Man The Final Cut

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Robin Hardy Year of release: 1973/2013 Studio/Distributor: British Lion/StudioCanal Country: UK

It’s in the trees! It’s coming!

Night of the Demon posterThis year, rather than do a Halloween special, we thought we’d dedicate the whole of October to doing scary movies, and in the first of these Halloween podcasts we review Night of the Demon (or Curse of the Demon as it was known in the United States, for no real reason).

Ian first saw this film as a kid, and he was keen to cover it for 101 Films as it really stuck in his mind. As luck would have it, the BFI were screening it as part of their Gothic season, so we excitedly trooped into London Town for a night of witchcraft and intrigue.

The screening was held outdoors in the courtyard of the British Museum – appropriate seeing as a key scene in the film takes place there – and immediately upon arriving, Ian ran into writer Kim Newman yet again. Ian swears that Newman did a double take on seeing him; he’s convinced that Kim thinks he’s a stalker, as they keep running into each other at various events like this one, yet have never spoken. I tried to convince Ian to reach out to Kim on Twitter, perhaps to explain that he doesn’t want to kidnap him and make him the centrepiece of his Kim Newman altar, but he was having none of it. (Incidentally, if you’ve never heard of Kim Newman, go out and buy one of his excellent books immediately – Ian thoroughly recommends the Anno Dracula series.)

As an unexpected treat, Peggy Cummins, who plays schoolteacher Joanna Harrington in the film, appeared before the screening, leading to rapturous applause from the audience. She’s in her eighties now, and she seemed pretty overwhelmed by the response, bless her. A chap from the BFI was also on hand to pontificate about the film before the showing, noting in particular that Prof. Julian Karswell (played brilliantly by Niall MacGinnis) is a middle-aged man who lives alone with his mother hint hint nudge nudge saynomore. It reminded me of a screening of Gilda I saw a while back, in which the introducer announced that according to modern interpretations of the film, everyone in it is clearly a rampant homosexual. This interpretation certainly made the film’s odd ending much more understandable, but ever since watching The Onion Looks Back At Jaws, I can’t help but suppress a smirk whenever an academic tells me that someone in an old movie was obviously gay.

Anyway, I found myself totally entranced by Night of the Demon, and I’d highly recommend it. It’s unlikely to be considered ‘scary’ by today’s standards, and the ‘Demon’ special effects have aged badly, but it’s an undeniably creepy film. There’s a long-running debate (which we touch on in the podcast) about whether the demon should have appeared at the beginning of the film – the director purposely only wanted the demon to appear at the very end, or not at all, in order to keep the audience guessing as to whether it actually existed, but the producer decided to edit in footage of the titular beast right at the start in order to draw the audience in. Basically it comes down to whether you’re a fan of Columbo or Poirot – do you prefer to see the killer at the beginning or just at the end?

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is @ObsoleteGamer (http://obsoletegamer.com), where you can read some of our old posts from 101 Video Games That Made My Life Slightly Better.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Night of the Demon DVD from Amazon by clicking here (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 065 – Night of the Demon

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Jacques Tourneur Year of release: 1957 Studio/Distributor: Associated British Picture Studios Country: UK

Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling?

Hannah_and_her_sisters_posterThis week we watched Hannah and Her Sisters, which is the second Woody Allen film to make it onto our list after Annie Hall way back in podcast number two.

When editing the podcast, I realised we made a bit of an error – we call Michael Caine’s character Harry all the way through, but he’s actually called Elliot. Whoops! Obviously we were thinking of Harry Palmer – it’s easy to get a downbeat spy and a philandering financial adviser mixed up. For us, at least.

Still, speaking of Harry… I mean, Elliot, we were impressed with Michael Caine’s portrayal of the character, who’s both manipulating and pathetic, scheming yet weak. It’s hard to know whether to hate him or pity him at times. But the most impressive thing about the film is that the love triangle at the centre of it all isn’t allowed to dominate – above all it’s an ensemble piece, a mixture of interlinked stories that are all equally intriguing. The interactions between Holly (Dianne Wiest) and Hannah (Mia Farrow) are brilliantly complex and well acted, and Max von Sydow puts in a towering performance as the ageing artist afraid to lose his younger girlfriend, a woman who he feels is the only person that keeps him connected to the world. Woody has a great storyline too with some brilliantly funny moments, but he’s not the centre of attention like in his earlier films: here he’s put more in the role of comic relief, with a bit of soul searching thrown in for good measure.

It’s a truly wonderful, clever and thought-provoking film that’s easily one of Allen’s best, and it’s one of his most popular too: until recently it was his most successful films at the box office. If you’ve never seen a Woody Allen film before, here would be an excellent place to start.

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is @SFXmagazine (website at http://www.sfx.co.uk/). Naturally we chose a sci-fi magazine as the sponsor of a Woody Allen film about three sisters. I suppose he did do Sleeper...

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy Hannah and Her Sisters from Amazon on DVD or Blu-ray (or better still, get the box set) by clicking on the links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 064 – Hannah and Her Sisters

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Woody Allen Year of release: 1986 Studio/Distributor: Orion Pictures Country: USA

Alpha Papa: 101 Films Extra #03

Alan Partridge Alpha Papa posterWe’ve been looking forward to Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa for a very, very long time. It’s been a nervous wait though: judging by the pedigree of previous attempts to turn British sitcoms into feature films, there was a high chance that it could turn out to be absolute bobbins. For every In The Loop, there’s a Kevin and Perry go Large.

Thankfully, it turned out to be brilliant.

The writers wisely decided to avoid the cliched route of just sending the characters on holiday and instead went for the inspired option of having a siege take place at Alan’s radio station (now renamed Shape thanks to a cringeworthy rebrand by the station’s new corporate owners). It’s clever because it keeps all of the characters in their usual environment but provides the scope and action needed for a feature film.

We were pleased to see ample space allocated to Alan’s assistant Lynn (played by Felicity Montagu), and it was interesting to see how her character has developed into becoming Alan’s moral compass – as much as he belittles her, there’s also a sense that he needs her to keep his ballooning ego in check. It was great to see Michael (Simon Greenall) make an appearance too, now in his new job as an erratic security guard for the radio station.

There were a few strange missteps – it was odd to see Sean Pertwee introduced and then barely used again, and likewise the police officers handling the siege were built up but then had very little to do. Still, it meant more time on screen for Alan, and that’s a GOOD THING.

Oh, and “I am siege face” has quickly become one of my favourite Alan Partridge quotes. Along with the bit with the gull at the end, which I won’t spoil here.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can pre-order Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa on DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon by clicking on the links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Extras #03 Alpha Papa

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Declan Lowney Year of release: 2013 Studio/Distributor: Baby Cow Productions/StudioCanal Country: UK

Here’s the story of Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie_and_ClydeIf you were looking for a film that perfectly encapsulated the 1960s then you’d struggle to find a better one than Bonnie and Clyde. Often described as the start of ‘New Hollywood’, Bonnie and Clyde feels, even now, exciting and rule defying. Its stars are young and fresh faced (indeed, Warren Beatty looks almost impossibly young, although Gene Hackman just looks like Gene Hackman), and its anarchic sense of humour is combined with a healthy disrespect for authority. There’s a real sense that anything could happen, that the film was creating something very different to what had gone before.

The film also predicts the souring of the 60s. In 1967, the year the film was released, you could still believe that the world would be changed by cocksure youths who thumbed their collective noses at the man and lived the way THEY wanted to live. Then 1968 comes along and with it assassinations, an ever-worsening Vietnam War, the start of the modern ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland and riots in Paris. The optimism came to a violent end, just like our title characters do in the film…

I’d never seen Bonnie and Clyde before and wasn’t really sure what to expect, but as you’ll hear on the podcast, we both enjoyed it immensely. I should warn you that the podcast was recorded in two halves: when we first started recording I wasn’t feeling too good, and we actually had to stop the recording. We then picked it up a week later. Can you spot the join?

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is The Movie Waffler (@themoviewaffler). Check out the website at http://www.themoviewaffler.com/.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy Bonnie and Clyde from Amazon on DVD or Blu-ray by clicking these links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance),

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 063 – Bonnie and Clyde

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Arthur Penn Year of release: 1967 Studio/Distributor: Warner Bros Country: USA