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Archive for February 26th, 2011

by Allan Fish

(UK 2010 130m) DVD1/2

Allotment blues

p  Georgina Lowe  d/w  Mike Leigh  ph  Dick Pope  ed  Jon Gregory  m  Gary Yershon  art  Simon Beresford

Jim Broadbent (Tom), Ruth Sheen (Gerri), Lesley Manville (Mary), Oliver Maltman (Joe), Peter Wight (Ken), Phil Davis (Jack), Imelda Staunton (Janet), Martin Savage (Carl), David Bradley (Ronnie), Karina Fernandez (Katie), Ralph Ineson, Edna Doré,

There’s much to be read into that title; another year, same old same old.  Seasons come and go, nothing changes.  There’s always been a sense of that to Mike Leigh’s world, his own little microcosm of middle class suburbia.  Another year, another film.  In some ways it was a brave new world for Leigh, after the premature death of his long-time producer collaborator Simon Channing-Williams and it was his first in ‘Scope format.  In all other respects, it’s Leigh as we know and love him, but as he grows older, we grow older with him, and as I do so one is left as disappointed as his characters. 

            These characters are familiar, the husband and wife happy with each other but not with those around them; he works studying clay around the world, she as a counsellor at a local practice.  Their son Joe is a solicitor and keeps himself to himself, but finally brings round his girlfriend Katie.  Gerri’s work colleague Mary, increasingly clingy, upsets the apple cart when it becomes clear that, despite her being old enough to be his mother, she has a ridiculous attachment to Joe.  Then there’s Tom’s brother, Ronnie, who’s stricken with grief after the death of his wife, and Ken, an overweight single man who, lonely himself, won’t retire because it’s all he has in life. (more…)

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By Bob Clark

When Masamune Shirow first produced the manga Mobile Armored Riot Police in 1989, it must have seemed at least somewhat familiar to several of his prior comics works and anime adaptations thereof. Like Dominion: Tank Police, it followed an expert unit of paramilitary officers maintaining law and order in a future Japan with dystopian overtones. Like Appleseed, it explored relations between human, cyborg and robotic intelligences, and the ways in which new advances in technology continue to shape civilization’s progress. Finally, like both of those works, and pretty much everything he’s done since, it also managed to include enough T&A to damn near qualify itself as pornography, especially when it came to portraying the lesbian tendencies of his heroine military officer, who just happened to find herself disrobed on a regular basis as a part of her espionage-related duties. But if you’ve never heard of this manga and find yourself all but salivating at the prospect of a work which could easily double as lofty action-adventure science fiction and softcore hentai smut, then allow me to burst your dotcom bubble. Because in all likelihood you’re probably at least nominally aware of Mobile Armored Riot Police, though that’s not the name you know it by. Odds are you know it as Ghost in the Shell, and as directed in its animated adaptations by Mamoru Oshii may know it best as some of the most widely seen and respected anime works of the past twenty years. But if that’s all you know, then you still haven’t availed yourself a decent view of the full scope of the franchise’s awesome potential.

(more…)

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