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A few reviews
Great Canal Journeys - S02 - 2014 - 7/10

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Once again, Timothy West and wife Prunella Scales helm the narrow boat on four canal trips.
Four part documentary offers canal history, beautiful scenery, and a leisurely pace.
Prunella’s cognitive decline more pronounced in this series, especially the latter episodes.
This may distress Fawlty Towers buffs.
The couple are in their 80s and deal with her condition as best they can, but you feel for them.
Credit the filmmakers and stars for unflinching honesty.
She often drifts into a fog - he can get irritable.
Worth a watch, even if you have not viewed S01.
The Green Archer - 1940 - 6/10

Fairly early Columbia serial.  Younger brother is convicted of crime and sent to the slammer.
Meanwhile, the older brother, the cunning, sly one, inherits large manor home from where he spins his web of crime.
The huge estate has subterranean tunnels, trap doors, secret rooms, intercom, giant killer dogs (Great Danes), a car elevator (with full time elevator operator), even an underground garage!
The villainous brother masterminds a platoon of thugs and robbers.  Local police are hapless.
Squared off against evil doers is the masked ghost of the house - the Green Archer!
And an insurance agent named Spike!
Much of this serial is ridiculous and awful in a delightful way.
The crime lord is a preening fool.  He struts, gloats, brags about his big ole brain, then wails like Baby Huey when he loses a round.  Fortunately, his feeble brained flunkies more often than not bail him out.

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Female characters squeak when startled and stand still during fistfights, watching or wringing their hands.  One memorable scene, she keeps straightening her hair while Spike gets his ass kicked.  Guess it was windy.
The Green Archer communicates by shooting arrows with notes into stuffed furniture.  I started wondering if he did re-upholstery work during his day job.
Quality of chapter cliffhangers?  This serial has more cheats than a trailer park.
Caution - Children in 1940 were less shielded than those of today, as this serial is filled with killings.
Sex In Strange Places - 2015 - 5/10

Misleading title.  Sorry, no sex on the trampoline, hanging from the trapeze, or in hamster wheel.
Instead, our travelog takes us to Turkey, Brazil, and Russia.
Sex is the paid sort (prostitution), and we get the low end (refugees), transgenders, and the upper tier.
Presenter is over-eager, bright young thing.  By turns vacuous and idealistic.

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Part of me wonders if Miss Stacey’s clueless behaviour is a facade, a role she plays.
She whines throughout, and feels really, really bad for the way prostitutes are treated.
And yet, would she be so sympathetic if they set up shop in her same apartment?
(As someone who lived next to a drug dealer for two years, I would predict she would tire of midnight visitors pounding doors, gunfire, police raids, screaming, etc ...)
Many of her questions are refreshingly direct:  How much do you charge?  Do you pitch?  Receive?
Other times, ignores the obvious - such as clients who choose transgenders yet still declare they are 100% hetero.
E01 - Turkey, is a downer with refugees having to resort to sex to live.
E02 - Brazil, is Carnival and mostly trannies, broad jokes and more fun.
E03 - Russia, the high end.  Paradoxically, she is less sympathetic to successful call girls.

This hardly is a documentary in the usual sense of the word.  More like home travel movies.
Just like the presenter is not exactly a professional.
There is a great exchange where she confronts a club owner, telling, “You know, some of your girls are unhappy."
“Are all your fellow journalists happy?”  he retorts.  “Is every doctor happy?  Every mailman?”
A Night To Remember - 1958 - 7/10

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Classic British film of the Titanic’s maiden, and last, voyage.
Well cast ensemble of upper and lower class, crews and captains.
Unlike later productions, rather reserved, displaying impeccable British understatement.
Far less dramas and emotional outbursts.
I just heard that Director Ken Loach has put up many of his early films on his YouTube channel. Most you have to pay for but quite a few are free to view, and not short films, full-length stuff!

Thought it was the kinda thing that'd float your boat Vultural.

^ Sadly, I do not have full control of the remote.

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In mine own castle, Ken Loach movies are invariably selected by others,
and I am certainly not telling the ladies about your news.

Ken Loach marathon - what could be worse?
A Mike Leigh marathon, oh no!!!!

Update - From elsewhere (other members of their cabal, I suppose)
the ladies have discovered this Loach YouTube site.
Whiplash - 2014 - 7/10

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In your face character study of aspiring drummer and drill-sergeant, sadistic teacher.
Film has been surprising to many, though hardly to anyone who ever played in high school band or beyond.
That environment has always been extremely competitive, both within the ensemble itself and during contests with other bands.
The student is gifted and ambitious, which the teacher recognizes, but he pushes him harder.
Profanity, obscenity, bullying, physical violence escalate.
Acting over the top, yet totally in keeping with the tone.
Stellar soundtrack.
Basic familiarity with jazz might enhance enjoyment, though not necessary.
When Pop Went Epic - The Crazy World Of The Concept Album - 2016 - 7/10

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Documentary, hosted by a droll Rick Wakeman, explores concept albums.
From early steps to the heyday of the 60s and 70s to the excesses that led to parody.
Many “survivors” interviewed, all amused and chuckling at the loon within.
One of the more illuminating interviewees was artist Roger Dean, who explained his private concepts for his Yes covers.
Lots of music - sadly, I own almost every album on LP or CD.
Worse, there were two or three albums I did not have, which I now have to find.
Hopefully, they came out in gatefold.
Great companion to Prog Rock Britannia - An Observation In Three Movements.
^ Whiplash is an incredible film - an exercise in focus, in clear story-telling, and brilliant acting. One of the best films I've seen this year.
Les Beaux Jours - 2013 - 6/10
AKA - Bright Days Ahead

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Midlife crisis alert!
Woman drops her dental practice after dispute.
Too old for new career, too young for retirement, she investigates the senior center.
Tries acting class, pottery, painting, the lot.
Eventually, she begins an affair with one of the instructors, twenty years younger.
Her husband - yes, she is married - is blind, disinterested, tolerant.
Typical of too many French films, plot never really goes anywhere.

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