May 7th, 2005

South Park

Seeing Red

Yesterday's entries excluded, I haven't written for a while due to a combination of tiredeness and conjunctivitis, the latter keeping me off work for a few days last week, while I glared balefully at the world through reddened eyes.

A trip to the doctor yielded a diagnosis and some antibiotic goop to squirt in my eyes, which has resulted in me looking this week as close to human as I ever do. There is a slight side-effect though. The gunk causes a disconcerting blurring of my vision, which persists annoyingly until I put my glasses back on.
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Churchill - The Hollywood Years

Another in my continuing, occasional series of reviews of films you may have had the discrimination to miss.

I watched this film a couple of weeks ago, when I wasn't feeling like writing, and I wasn't sure it would make it onto LJ as a result. However, after The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy I felt I had to come back to it.

In this exposé of Britain's greatest wartime cover-up, Christian Slater is Winston Churchill, a GI who's been sent across the Atlantic to win the war. That old bulldog-faced bloke you thought was Churchill is actually Roy Bubbles, an actor. The real Churchill, with his (self-described) token black sidekick Denzil Eisenhower (Romany Malco) deliver the Enigma machine they've captured to British Intelligence, led by Lord W'ruff (Leslie Phillips). Of course, L. Phillips being a well-loved British actor, you'll have spotted already who the bad guy is...

Lord W'ruff has invited Hitler (Anthony Sher) to the King's Palace (curiously, never referred to as Buck. House) with the nefarious aim of subjugating Britain to the Third Reich.

Churchill, Eisenhower and Churchill's WAAF girlfriend, Princess Elizabeth (Neve Campbell) must save the day.

I was never a big fan of the Comic Strip films, the best-known previous work of director Peter Richardson, but I did enjoy this one. It pokes sorely-needed fun at Hollywood's hijacking of history for the United States - especially recent films such as U-571 - without, I think, being anti-American. A lot is owed to Christian Slater and Romany Malco for their good sportsmanship in taking part. Although she's Canadian rather than American, kudos must also go to Neve Campbell for her enjoyable portrayal of Princess Elizabeth.

Apart from the main leads, the film is a roll-call of British comedy stars, but for me I think Harry Enfield is most effective as a crusty old King George VI. Honourable mention goes to Mackenzie Crook as the Irish Cockney from Ye Olde Dick van Dyke Street, Jim: Jim Cheroo.

There's not much point going into this movie in greater depth, as it would only be to blow some of the gags. However, if you want a satire on Hollywood movie-making which also stands up fairly well as a comedy action movie with a plot in its own right, give Churchill - The Hollywood Years a try.