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#1 Izo

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 12:34 PM

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WORK IN PROGRESS



Criterion Releases:

Naked - Also includes short film "The Short and Curlies"

Topsy-Turvy - Also includes short film "A Sense of History"

#2 Izo

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 12:35 PM

With the release of Topsy-Turvy and upcoming reissue of Naked on Blu, I've been thinking a lot about Mike Leigh lately. Specifically, I'm wondering if any of his television work is available on DVD, or even better yet any of his plays. Does anyone know if the plays were even filmed?

#3 Opale

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 01:19 PM

http://www.amazon.co...03931893&sr=8-1

#4 Izo

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 01:30 PM

Good catch, Opale. It also seems superior to the two boxsets of Leigh's TV work found on Amazon US.

#5 Izo

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 03:12 PM

Have you seen any of those, by the way?

#6 Lawrence

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 10:14 PM

I've seen pretty much everything Leigh has made, and would say the TV stuff looks dated but is up there with his best work. I've never heard of any of his plays being filmed. I don't think it work anyway to do such a thing. I can add to this thread later, but right now I'm off to work. :)

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#7 Izo

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 10:21 AM

I don't think it work anyway to do such a thing.


What do you mean? I've seen several filmed stage productions and, while they do take some work to get into, they have all been very worthwhile.

#8 Lawrence

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 10:11 PM

Are we talking about filming an actual stage show? Or using that script to make a film? I meant the former, but if we're talking about the later then agree handled well it can bring home the bacon. As far as I know though Leigh has always kept film/stage separate, he does use the same actors for both though.

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#9 Izo

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 10:16 PM

Are we talking about filming an actual stage show? Or using that script to make a film? I meant the former, but if we're talking about the later then agree handled well it can bring home the bacon. As far as I know though Leigh has always kept film/stage separate, he does use the same actors for both though.


I was referring to filming the actual stage production, not an adaptation. I've seen them done quite well. Several of Sondheim's musicals, for instance.

#10 Lawrence

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 07:18 AM

I was referring to filming the actual stage production, not an adaptation. I've seen them done quite well. Several of Sondheim's musicals, for instance.


I can't imagine it working with a Leigh stage play in quite the same way though. They feel quite intimate. I'd love to have seen something but I never did. Grr.

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#11 Izo

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 05:35 PM

Boy, I really need to finish this thread...

All or Nothing

This is a sad, gentle, sometimes very funny movie about three families in a London apartment building. Saying none of them are well off is perhaps a bit of an understatement. The film's emotional core is Timothy Spall, who plays a cab driver and mumbles his way through a small emotional breakdown in a brilliant performance. Otherwise, I confess that I found the film to be a bit of an unfocused chore, but when Spall is on-screen it really comes alive. Several of the film's subplots feel underdeveloped and unnecessary, but even so they do ring with truth. I suppose I'm having a bit of a conflict, because while I think that the film is full of beauty in a lot of ways, I also can't help that I didn't find it very engaging most of the time. I think I need to come back to it in a few months.

#12 Izo

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 10:40 PM

Happy-Go-Lucky

What a wonderful, infectious character Poppy is, and how great is Sally Hawkins in that role!? How easily it would have been for the character to feel phony, or worse: annoying. But she never stops wrong, and I'm glad she got that Oscar nomination. One of the things I'm finding in Leigh's films are just brilliant, brilliant performances. The driving instructor in this film is every bit as flawlessly played as Poppy, always seething with a barely-hidden rage and paranoia that really becomes terrifying. I loved this movie, mostly. If the stuff with the pregnant sister and the meet cute with the child therapist was a bit contrived (and then immediately forgotten), it was all quickly forgiven in the wonderful flamenco scenes and driving instructor scenes and, well, everything else. The scene with the homeless man is particularly troubling, out-of-place, and oddly, also particularly perfect. That single scene (and the final climax of the driving instructor subplot) says more about Poppy, and really lets us into her head more than any of the others. It's really a wonderful little movie. I still think the film has a few problems, particularly Leigh's tendency to make a 90-minute feature stretch over 2 hours long, but this is a problem I have with a lot of modern films.

#13 Izo

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 08:19 AM

Vera Drake

Another great, sad film from Mike Leigh filled with great performances and a lot of emotional truth. The thing about this film that is so impressive is that it feels so authentic and real. Compare the family unit here to that found in All or Nothing, another Mike Leigh film I've seen for the first time recently. Throw aside the fact that he family in Vera Drake is functional and loving - even traditional - and the family headed by Timothy Spall in All or Nothing is anything but. In that film there is a character played by the obese son who is simply too over-the-top to ever fall into absolute believability, and as a result it kind of hampered the film's emotional climax for me. In Vera Drake we have a family with the kind, helpful mother as the masthead leading the way, doting on her family and the people who live around her, and working her hardest to keep it together. It is interesting that both families feature a nearly silent daughter, though I doubt there's much of significance to be read from that.

Vera never tells her family that she performs abortions, but why would she? She knows very well that people would disapprove, and the politics of the issue are delicately and impressively avoided by Leigh and his actors for the most part. This isn't a "message" film. It's about a woman who has a different view than the men around her - her daughter significantly never voices her opinion. There is one woman who we cannot help but hate. She is Vera's sister-in-law by marriage, she is prissy and forceful and judgmental. When Vera's son offers his disgust with his mother's actions we understand him and can sympathize with his emotions, even if we don't necessarily agree with his words. The woman, though, seems as if she's just been looking for an excuse to feel superior to Vera and her family, and her she goes from simply rude to outright mean.

While Leigh remains more-or-less unpolitical through the film, he does significantly point out a glaring hypocrisy. A rich girl, played by Happy-Go-Lucky's Sally Hawkins is raped by a young man she's seeing. With one hundred pounds, she is able to legally obtain an abortion from her doctor. It's no coincidence that after she is approved for the procedure, she disappears from the film entirely. Leigh's point is made.

#14 Opale

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 12:18 PM

I saw Vera drake earlier this week and liked it pretty much. Leigh is just great I don't know what else I could say about him. :P

#15 Izo

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 05:59 PM

I saw Vera drake earlier this week and liked it pretty much. Leigh is just great I don't know what else I could say about him. :P


I sympathize. I've loved nearly all the films of his I've seen, and yet I still feel like I don't have much to say about them or him.

#16 Opale

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 10:21 PM

Just finished All or nothing! One of my favorite! (well they are all "one of my favorite" :P)

If you happen to make a recommendation list like those in the other topics here's my list:

Highly recommended (to start with):
Naked
All or nothing
Another Year

Recommended for fans:
Vera Drake
Happy go lucky

I'll try to watch more in the next weeks.

#17 Izo

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:16 AM

Another Year is on my watch soon list. I'd easily recommend Vera Drake and Happy-Go-Lucky, though! I was much less enthusiastic about All or Nothing.

Have you seen Naked or Topsy-Turvy, Opale?

#18 Opale

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 01:48 PM

I've seen and loved Naked (probably my favorite yet) but I haven't seen Topsy-Turvy yet...

I'd recommend Vera Drake and Happy go lucky too, I liked them but I would not recommend them to someone who hasn't seen any Leigh yet...

#19 Izo

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 05:40 PM

See, I'm exactly the opposite. I think that those two, along with Topsy-Turvy, are ideal starting points.

#20 clydefro

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:21 PM

Saw Another Year and, despite Leigh's mastery in developing scenes with dialogue being very much in play here, I was a little turned off by it. The film is so ridiculously harsh on Lesley Manville's character that any awkwardness caused by her actions are soon replaced by sympathy, either caused by the treatment from the other characters or, most often, the screenplay. Sure there are real people like that, to some extent, but I question whether all of the elements included would really be present. Perhaps Manville played her too well. Otherwise, very watchable if not as accomplished as either Happy-Go-Lucky or Vera Drake.

Naked remains my favorite Leigh picture.




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