Tag Archives: Film

Film Critic – And Why Not

Hello Dear Reader

Film Critic – And Why Not

As soon as, ‘I wish I knew how it would feel to be free’ started, I knew I was in for a treat. That was the chosen theme music for the BBC Film series, hosted by the late Barry Norman.

Barry Norman became someone who, for me, helped expand my love of films, not just the mainstream, but why I should want to watch a certain movie. He took up the role after years as a journalist in 1972. I was not immediately taken with him I must say, but his down to earth manners and simple explaining won through.

Like many others, I wanted to know what films were due for release, was I going to be interested, would they be worth rushing to the cinema. Unlike today, there was no internet, no pushing of trailers on television. There was a rival on the other channel, aimed more at children. It was ok but Barry Norman just went those steps further.

He seemed to talk to me, not many presenters could that, just make you feel he was just telling me to watch this film or avoid that one. He had one overriding criteria, whether a film was going to last; whether new generations of cinema goers would want to watch it in 20 years time. If you look at the films he recommended in 2013, you can see the reasoning.

It became something of a need to listen to his reviews and there are a few, in particular, that stand out for me. Of course, my favorite has to be Star Wars. I knew of the film briefly from odd comic magazines but it was Barry Norman’s review that sealed. H e described it as “Two hours of sheer bliss, the ultimate in space-age fairy tales,”. Now some might have dismissed this ‘new’ space-age film as childish, Norman did not. He knew what the film business had to do, entertain.

He did this without ever speaking down to his audience, taking them into his confidence. If Barry Norman said it was good, it was good. He was not one to duck away from telling actors, producers, and the likes his views about their work. He nearly got punched by John Wayne and had Robert De Niro leave, over a comment about Tom Hanks.

Barry Norman wrote a number of books, giving his reviews on the 100 greatest films and his autobiography, ‘And Why Not’. I had the great pleasure of listening to him at the New Victoria Theatre one evening. He still held that easy-going, simple style that had the audience wanting more. Asked about his reviewing style Norman said: “I always knew that nobody’s right and nobody’s wrong in criticism. The only thing I could do was to make sure that whatever I said was what I really believed”.

Tagline:’And Why Not – That Star Wars moment. (Add the theme as well)’

The Imitation Game – Review

Dear Readers

The Imitation Game.

Film Released 2014.

Cast Includes: Benedict Cumberbatch (Alan Turing ), Keira Knightley (Joan Clarke),  Matthew Goode (Hugh Alexander), Mark Strong (Stewart Menzies), Charles Dance (Commander Denniston), Rory Kinnear (Detective Nock)

There are many films that come with the title ‘must see’, of which very few live up to that media generated excitement. Once in a while, a true gem of film hits the screen and really does earn the right to be a ‘really must see’. The Imitation Game is one of those films.

Many of my prior reviews concentrate on big budget, big action, big blockbuster which is fine. Here in this film, is an example of pure balance. From the beautiful tranquil scenes in the countryside to the bleak cold waters of the Atlantic, this film captures many life stories. Some of them are never shown, yet by the virtue of one man and his drive, they are there.

The Imitation Game tells the story of Alan Turing and his fellow mathematicians as they attempt to break the torturous enigma code during World War II. The film has a time-travel feel to it, as it shows how Turing became interested in codes from an early age. The film is based on the book by Andrew Hodges – ‘Alan Turing:The Enigma’. I have not read the book myself, however after watching the film I may well have to read it.

The story is well constructed, showing just how easy a good film can be made. The pace is perfect, the ‘time-travelling’ does not distract from the story telling. Despite some reviews, I could not find fault with anyone’s performance. Cumberbatch throws off the Holmes character and makes you belive in the torture of the genius. The rest of the main cast can’t be considered as anything other than equal in how they portrayed their respective characters. I am aware there are some short cuts in the movie, but then to tell anything of length you might as well make it a television soap. At that point you would lose the grandeur of the film.

It did have me griped from the start. The movie told a difficult story of spying and code breaking wonderfully without the need to be abrasive. It also gave the background to the major character Alan Turing. What makes a film work for me, is believable people. There was the hint of more that just kept you watching. Building of the code breaker itself was unique, it was in effect one of the first computers. Others will tell you that the Poles did have some success cracking some of the code. However, as with many break through’s there is that element of luck. That luck was very simple but it made the difference.

What made this film have an added touch, was with the discovery of the code, the responsibility that came with it. I won’t give that part away. This secret was kept for over 50 years and that had its own destructive consequences. There was a sad element to the film, yet it never saddened the film until the end. For those of you who did not know, this was a film based on true events and true people. Thos people were kept hidden from many and this is a part of their story. As a rating, I would give this 5/5.

Tagline ‘next time you do that special crossword, just be ready for advantage.’