United Kingdom

Terry Jones – Life of Brian [+Extras] (1979)

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Synopsis
“allmovie” wrote:
On a midnight clear 2,000 years ago, three wise men enter a manger where a babe is wrapped in swaddling clothes. It is an infant called Brian…and the three wise men are in the wrong manger. For the rest of his life, Brian (Graham Chapman) finds himself regarded as something of a messiah — yet he’s always in the shadow of this other guy from Galilee. Brian is witness to the Sermon of the Mount, but his seat is in such a bad location that he can’t hear any of it (“Blessed are the cheesemakers?”). Ultimately, he is brought before Pontius Pilate and sentenced to crucifixion, which takes place at that crowded, nonexclusive execution site a few blocks shy of Calvary. Rather than utter the Last Six Words, Brian leads his fellow crucifixees in a spirited rendition of a British music-hall cheer-up song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” The whole Monty Python gang (Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, and Terry Gilliam) are on hand in multiple roles, playing such sacred characters as Stan Called Loretta, Biggus Dickus, Deadly Dirk, Casts the First Stone, and Intensely Dull Youth; also showing up are Goon Show veteran Spike Milligan and a Liverpool musician named George Harrison. Read More »

Richard Attenborough – Oh! What a Lovely War [+Extras] (1969)

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Quote:
The film, a thoroughly enjoyable ‘odd duck’, with a typical quasi-political artistic stance on the follies of war. Highly entertaining and, at times, touching.

Quote:
WHEN Joan Littlewood’s London improvisation, “Oh! What a Lovely War,” opened on Broadway five years ago, it had a cast of 18 men and women dressed as Pierrots and Columbines. In the pit was an orchestra that managed to recreate the nostalgic musical sounds of World War I and to comment on them—sometimes simultaneously.

The show itself, described as “a musical entertainment,” was a jolly satire on the madness of the First World War, done mostly in period songs and sketches in which the Pierrots and Columbines slipped in and out of almost invisible disguises as emperors, generals, nurses, music hall stars, Tommies, wives, nurses and spectators, some appalled, some bored. Read More »

Scott Barley – Polytechnique (2014)

Polytechnique is an audio-visual collaboration between Italian ambient/drone musician, Easychord and UK filmmaker, Scott Barley.
The film is best viewed in a dark room with a quality sound system or headphones.
Guided by Easychord’s haunting, bodily piece, the visuals attempt to explore and invoke the concepts of prisoner’s cinema, stream of consciousness, repetition, the primordial body, fundamental entities, and astral planes. Read More »

Julien Temple – Never Mind the Baubles Xmas ’77 With The Sex Pistols (2013)

The Sex Pistols’ last UK gig – a benefit for the children of striking firefighters at Ivanhoe’s nightclub in Huddersfield on Christmas Day 1977 – remains their most implausible.

“It’s footage I filmed on a big old crappy U-matic low-band camera,” explains director Julien Temple, who dodged flying cake and pogoing punks to record the two performances (an afternoon children’s matinee and an adult evening show) from 25 December 1977. “But it’s right in their face. I’m right up there with them. It’s probably the best footage of the Pistols on film but it’s never been seen.”

This aired on the BBC on Boxing Day 2013 – more at the guardian. Done in the Temple style, with lots of wacky old footage from the 70’s. Read More »

David Cronenberg – Eastern Promises [+Extras] (2007)

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Plot Summary :
The mysterious and charismatic Russian-born Nikolai Luzhin is a driver for one of London’s most notorious organized crime families of Eastern European origin. The family itself is part of the Vory V Zakone criminal brotherhood. Headed by Semyon, whose courtly charm as the welcoming proprietor of the plush Trans-Siberian restaurant impeccably masks a cold and brutal core, the family’s fortunes are tested by Semyon’s volatile son and enforcer, Kirill, who is more tightly bound to Nikolai than to his own father.

But Nikolai’s carefully maintained existence is jarred once he crosses paths at Christmastime with Anna Khitrova, a midwife at a North London hospital. Anna is deeply affected by the desperate situation of a young teenager who dies while giving birth to a baby. Anna resolves to try to trace the baby’s lineage and relatives. The girl’s personal diary also survives her; it is written in Russian, and Anna seeks answers in it. Anna’s mother Helen does not discourage her, but Anna’s irascible Russian-born uncle Stepan urges caution. Read More »

Terry Gilliam – Brazil (1985)

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SYNOPSIS
Brazil constitutes Terry Gilliam’s enormously ambitious follow-up to his 1981 Time Bandits. It also represents the second installment in a trilogy of Gilliam films on imagination versus reality, that began with Bandits and ended in 1989 with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. To create this wild, visually audacious satire, Gilliam combines dystopian elements from Orwell, Huxley and Kafka (plus a central character who mirrors Walter Mitty) with his own trademark, Monty Python-esque, jet black British humor and his gift for extraordinary visual invention. The results are thoroughly unprecedented in the cinema. Read More »

Bill Condon – Gods and Monsters (1998)

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Set in 1957, James Whale, the director of Show Boat (1936), The Invisible Man (1933), Frankenstein (1931), and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), had long since stepped back from the glamor and glitz of Hollywood. A stroke triggers once buried flashes of memory of his life in Dudley, his film career, and, most influentially, the trenches during the Great War. Haunted and lonely, he recounts many of his experiences to his musclebound gardener, Clay Boone. Despite the divide that exists between them, their friendship develops. Read More »