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Dad Savage (1998)
I have to say that I wasn't looking forward to watching Dad Savage, having read some fairly bad reviews of it. But I rented it out anyway. The result was one of shock. I was amazed at some of fantastic talent in front of and behind the camera and was stunned that such a film could go un-noticed for such a long time.
The closest films to compare this to are certainly not US films. The nearest comparison is Trainspotting or The Acid House, both of which have raw and realistic characters and settings. Dad Savage has both of these, being set in the North of England and centering around a few normal friends who all have something to do with Dad himself. It all goes wrong when Dad reveals his secret stash of dosh hidden out in the woods and slowly everyone conspires against each other to get the money.
This film, in my own opinion, is one of the greatest films to come of the UK in recent years. I think that it is sad that it has not been given any credit and the only way to get it on video is to import it from the US.
The writer deserves credit for trying something simple and trying to push into the boundrys of cinema. The fact that this film is so down to Earth and raw is what makes it so realistic and gut wrenching, not to mention appealing.
The director used to wonderful ways of getting the script across in a superb way, the car crash at the beginning in slow motion, for example. There are numerous other shots and scenes that I could witter on about but would bore you here!
I cannot write about Dad Savage without mentioning Patrick Stewart. There are two sides to this one. Does he suck? Unable to escape the mold of Star Trek? OR is he a bloody good actor? Well, Stewart not only escapes Trek, but also brings to life a character who you grow to love as well as hate. The rest of actors are superb and deserve just as much credit, if not more for surviving in Stewarts lime-light.
This film does have its bad points, being very uncomfortable to watch and being a bit confusing on first viewing. But open your mind and you will find that DS is a great film.
The first film was stunning. The second was a joke and despite the story being better, the third was disappointing. Why, I ask, did they even consider making a TV series of such a slowly deminishing series of films? You can read my review of Paul Verhovens original masterpiece and in addition to that I can only say that the 1987 classic should be left alone. The series, as entertaining as it may be to people who don't understand Verhoven's sophisticated messages in the first film, this series ruins the initial aspects of R1. I am saddened to see that even good films are turned into money spinners after a while.
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
Explosion of FX
Star Trek Generations was a mistake, Star Trek First Contact was several steps forward and with this latest installment we step a couple back as the story line in once again missing from yet another Hollywood film. As far as Star Trek films go, this is certainly better than the majority of the Trek films, although Trek 1 was a complete disaster. The acting, however is restricted simply by the fact that only three or four people in the film could act. Frakes continues to be impressive as director as the film contains a rhythmic feel to it as each scene nicely blends into the next but it still is no more than just an over rated/budgeted Trek episode. Still extremely entertaining as part of the series but there is no character development (as with all TNG films) and you have to be a major fan to admire the films anyway. However, this does contains stunning FX and some tongue in cheek humour which we haven't seen since Star Trek 6.
Lost in Space (1998)
Where was the plot??
Well, with all that money involved and the talents of Gary Oldman, you would have thought that there would have been something worth watching about this film. Unfortunately not. There seems to be a missing plot which is extremely important when delving with the concepts of time travel and the likes. But, Hopkins does well with the poor handling that he has to deal with, the visuals are stunning with smooth directing and a nice rhythmic editing pattern which keeps the film alive. The special effects rule the show (when they are used) and Gary Oldman and William Hurt are the only two actors that actually "act" in the film to keep it going. If you want to watch a film which amazing special effects up to the standards of "Starship Troopers" and a plot which compares with "Showgirls" then this is a mindless special effects blockbuster for the younger generation.