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#21 Opale

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:05 AM

I really liked Another year but I think its much less "Leighty". It seems more plastic and the actor play is more theatral than his other films that are more Neo-realists-like IMO

#22 Izo

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:48 AM

We've (very briefly) talked about this in this thread, but can anyone tell me a bit about the UK BBC box set that Opale posted earlier in the thread? I am just about to go on a Leigh buying spree and that set seems superior to the US sets that cover the same material.

#23 Lawrence

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:13 PM

We've (very briefly) talked about this in this thread, but can anyone tell me a bit about the UK BBC box set that Opale posted earlier in the thread? I am just about to go on a Leigh buying spree and that set seems superior to the US sets that cover the same material.


I own it and love it, it collects all of Leigh's BBC work with the exception of Knock for Knock which in typical BBC fashion has been wiped and no longer exists in their archive. The films are rough and ready compared to Leigh's later cinematic efforts and some titles have aged better than others. Both Nuts in May and Abigail’s Party are stone classics. Both are favourites of mine and are really funny, especially Nuts in May. Four Days in July is hard work and feels a bit forced and doesn't really work. Of the films that are left all are watchable and well worth a look.

I'm really happy with the set but would say grab a copy of Meantime too in order to have all his TV films. Meantime is up there with his best work. I'd say buying the BBC set was a no brainer.

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#24 Izo

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:23 PM

Quick follow-up: Does the set have any features to speak of?

#25 Lawrence

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:49 PM

^
There are a few audio commentary's by the man himself if I remember correctly, the God awful Will Self interview that is on the Criterion Naked set, The Five Minute Films which are quite fun. Abigail’s Party comes with all the extras that were on the stand alone disc, all of which are pretty good.

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#26 cfkane

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:04 AM

I am thinking of getting that set, too. Read a while back that Nuts in May and Abigail’s Party were on a list of greatest TV shows in Britain ever. Lawrence, off topic, but do you have the Ken Loach At The BBC set? I have seen, (and LOVE), Cathy Come Home and Up The Junction, but wondered if the set was worth getting. It will be a double dip of Cathy Come Home, as it is on the CC Kes, but wondered about the rest of that set.
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#27 Lawrence

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:34 AM

^
I don't own it, but do have plans to pick it up at some point in the future. I've seen most of the films before and don't rate it quite as highly as his cinematic output. Good solid stuff but not so essential.

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#28 Lawrence

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:51 AM

Thanks to you I've now ordered a copy of the Loach set. :D

I just couldn't help myself, there's a lot if stuff on there that I haven't seen for years and some things I haven't seen. Cheers for that cfKane.

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#29 cfkane

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:53 PM

LOL! Glad to have been of service! Felt a little guilty, so I ordered it too. :) Will order the Leigh one in about a week.
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#30 Lawrence

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:50 PM

LOL! Glad to have been of service! Felt a little guilty, so I ordered it too. :) Will order the Leigh one in about a week.


Ha ha. I'm sure the Loach set is great, it's just that I prefer his films from after comeback in the late 80s.

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#31 Izo

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:51 PM

Bleak Moments is about what you'd expect: a strong first film from a brilliant director still working on finding his voice. It's uncomfortable, sad, unexpectedly funny. In short, a Mike Leigh film. Most of the film's problems are technical, primarily with the sound. The actors are so understated, speak in such hushed tones, that they are often difficult or impossible to hear. And yet there are scenes, like the dinner date or the bedroom scene after it that are as good as anything else that I've seen from Leigh. The performances aren't quite to the caliber that Leigh would cultivate in his later films, and there's still a slight, almost imperceptible awkwardness to the dialogue and situations, but on the whole we have a Mike Leigh film, fully formed, from the outset. Very impressive.

#32 Lawrence

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:20 AM

^
I've always found it interesting that after Bleak Moments he didn't attempt to make another film until 1988!! That's such a strange career path for such a big voice in cinema. Obviously he made films for TV, but that's not quite the same thing. It was like he tried it, didn't enjoy it and ran to Auntie Beeb for comfort. I have to grab a copy of Bleak Moments now preferably one with subtitles.

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#33 Izo

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:30 AM

The subtitle issue was exacerbated by the fact that I wasn't having a great time with the London accents.

Why the gap between films. I know the British film industry had a rough time in the '70s, which probably didn't help.

#34 Lawrence

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:03 AM

^
I'm not too sure really. I know the BBC back then was considered a great place to work, lots of freedom to develop ideas that would never manage to get funding for a traditional film. Maybe it was that which drew him back to the fold? Did you know Albert Finney provided most of the money to get Bleak Moments made by the way?

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#35 Izo

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:11 PM

I had heard that, actually. What made him do that, I wonder?


Another Year is a gentler, softer film than we're used to from Leigh, primarily because of its hub couple of Tom and Gerry Hepple, flawlessly portrayed by Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen. The Hepples are very even-keeled, very content despite being surrounded by miserable friends, and are oddly unchanging through the seasons. The film follows a year in the lives of the long-married duo, but it's not really about them in as much as its about their unchanging nature compared to the wildly fluctuating lives of their friends and family. Virtually stealing the film here is Leslie Manville as Mary, Tom and Gerry's most frequent guest and dropper-in. Her performance is pretty brilliant, offering a biting portrayal of a woman obviously suffering from intense loneliness and possibly (or rather, probably) clinical depression. We cycle through co-workers, family, and old friends visiting the couple, and all of them confide in, drink with, and in a way take advantage of the Hepples and their strange constancy.

One thing I love about Mike Leigh's films are his little asides that often have nothing to do with the film's plots, but are nevertheless full of honesty and truth. There was the encounter with the homeless man in Happy-Go-Lucky, the Night Watchman in [i}Naked[/i], the mad ranting of Gilbert's father in Topsy-Turvy. Here we have an opening scene, full of heartbreak, with Imelda Staunton as a woman unable to sleep, desperately unhappy and horribly depressed. I won't say more, but the two scenes she is in are absolutely heartbreaking.

Dick Pope's cinematography deserves special mention due to the very effective use of different film stocks and a shifting color palate to simulate the changing of the seasons.




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