Film Review: MY GENERATION (UK 2017) ***

My Generation Poster
Trailer

The cultural revolution that occurred in the 1960s England is explored in this documentary.

Director:

David Batty

“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”  These are the unmistakable words that belong to actor Michael Caine, made more famous by Steve Coogan when he does his Michael Caine impersonation in Michael Winterbottom’s films THE TRIP and THE TRIP TO SPAIN.  These words are uttered and shown with the clip from Peter Collinson’s 1969 heist movie THE ITALIAN JOB the film MY GENERATION in this very entertaining documentary narrated by Caine himself begins.

The good old days.  This is a phrase many use but are these really the good old days.  Michael Cain questions the period of the 60’s – the period after the War, after the blitz and when food rations took effect.  With poverty, unemployment, are these really the good old times?  It takes the then generation, as Caine narrates to make a change.  Caine claims himself at the age of 33 then, to be the grandfather of that generation.

The title MY GENERATION is taken from the song by the English rock band The Who, which became a hit and one of their most recognizable songs.  The song was released in 1965 has been said to have “encapsulated the angst of being a teenager,” and has been characterized as a “nod to the mod counterculture”.

The doc is extremely watchable and entertaining for several reason, the foremost being the film references.  Everyone loves the movies, especially in the 60’s.  But as Caine narrates, the films were made on Dukes and Duchesses and the upper class, followed by a clip of a David Niven film with him wearing a top hat.  The film goes on to the David Lean’s classic BRIEF ENCOUNTER where the characters now speak as the working class English do.  This is the love story of the last meeting between Trevor Howard and Cilia Johnson, a film most film aficionados are familiar with.

Doc is revealed in acts.  Act 1: Something in the Air.  The song says it.  “We all have to get it together now!”  Act 2: I Feel Free. and Act 3: Always not what it Seems

The film’s best segment is the collection of montages of what is wrong with the world (the riots, the atomic bomb, the Vietnam War) played on screen to the tune of the Rolling Stones song “I can Get No satisfaction”.  Caine emphasizes the influence of bands of the 60’s – the Stones, the WHO and of course, the Beatles.

This is typical British school boy mentality.  When the old guard tells the boys not to do it, the boys always find away to do it.

MY GENERATION are the young of the 60’s.  They are the pop stars, the models, the photographers and Cockney at that.  Models given screen time include Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy shot by photographers like David Bailey.  The film attacks the class system particularly the upper classes.  While celebrating the young, Caine makes his point against drug use, that became rampant in the 60’s particularly marijuana and LSD.

Overall, MY GENERATION offers a good nostalgic look at the 60’s, particularly 60’s London.  Wonder if there would be making docs on the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and if they do, who would be narrating?

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFxwkToatSg

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Film Review: THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (UK 2017)

 

The Time of Their Lives Poster
A former Hollywood star enlists the help of a new friend in order to journey from London to France for her ex-lover’s funeral, with the various mishaps en route making the trip unforgettable.

Director:

Roger Goldby

Writer:

Roger Goldby

THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES is a road trip comedy starring Golden Globe-winner Joan Collins, Academy Award-nominee Pauline Collins and Italian film star Franco Nero.  Cineastes should be pleased to see there stars of the 70’s and 80’s now in their golden years.

 

Joan Collins plays a character reminiscent of one of her better known films THE BITCH while Pauline Collins one reminiscent of SHIRLEY VALENTINE. 

 

This is a film about escaping and breaking free – and how it’s never too late to have another chance at life.  Determined to gatecrash her ex-lover’s funeral on the glamorous French hideaway of Île de Ré, former Hollywood siren Helen (Joan Collins) escapes her London retirement home with the help of Priscilla (Pauline Collins), a repressed English housewife stuck in a dwindling marriage.  Helen is not shy to remind everyone she encounters that she used to be a famous star.  And she is bitchy at that and especially even more bitchy that no one remembers who she is.  Priscilla, like her SHIRLEY VALENTINE (she was in both the one-woman Scottish play at London’s west-end and in the film – both of which I and seen) character is one who has spent her entire life as a housewife looking after her husband,  She finally decides enough is enough and she has to take sometime for herself.  The plot of that film is incorporated in Goldby’s script. 

 

  In THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES Helen and Priscilla pool their limited resources, they hit the road like a senior THELMA AND LOUISE in a race to get to Île de Ré, becoming entangled in a love triangle with a reclusive Italian millionaire, Alberto (the still dashing Franco Nero, real life husband of Vanessa Redgrave) along the way.  On this journey, they find true friendship in one another – and of course, have the time of their lives.

 

If all this sounds exciting, the film is not.  It is ridden and bogged down by cliches of similar countless films centred on old people.  While it is tedious to watch a re-hash of the Shirley Valentine, Pauline Collins almost pulls it off.  She is one of my and many others’ favourite actresses and she still manages to elicit sympathy, respect and admiration for a familiar character.  On the other hand, Joan Collins’ Helen character is annoying and as said, bitchy. 

 

Goldby’s script includes two subplots – one involving Helen seeking her daughter and the other Priscilla’s drowned son that gets too sentimental.  The Hollywood ending is too far-fetched for credibility.

 

Writer/director Goldby falls into all the traps of films about senior where they think too much of their glorious past youth and think that they are always pretty enough.  Worst still, these films always bring the embarrassing topic of sex into the equation.  Helen and Priscilla act like teenagers most of the time, creating mischief.  Both women want Antonio, just as teens want the handsome young hunk.

 

THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES despite having three famous older stars ends up as another old farts movie.

Trailer: https://www.theguardian.com/film/video/2017/jan/27/joan-collins-the-time-of-their-lives-trailer-video

THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES

Happy Birthday: Joan Collins

joancollins.jpgHappy Birthday actor Joan Collins

Born: Joan Henrietta Collins
May 23, 1933 in Paddington, London, England, UK

Married: Percy Gibson (17 February 2002 – present)

Peter Holm (3 November 1985 – 25 August 1987) (divorced)

Ronald S. Kass (11 March 1972 – 1984) (divorced) (1 child)

Anthony Newley (27 May 1963 – 13 August 1971) (divorced) (2 children)

Maxwell Reed (24 May 1952 – 8 July 1957) (divorced)

Quotes:

[1984] I enjoyed being an adulteress… taking a certain vengeance for the fact that my husband was not being faithful.

The unfortunate statistics are that there are far more available and fabulous over-40 women than there are available and fabulous over-40 men.
The secret of having a personal life is not answering too many questions about it.

It is unseemly to undress on stage. I won’t do that.

I have always tried to live my life with enthusiasm and pleasure.

I’ve never chased fame. I came into this business to be a theatre actress.

I was nine when I first appeared on stage. But I can’t say I would turn my back on fortune. I’m someone who enjoys the benefits of money. I created a lifestyle for myself. Nobody else did it for me. Everything I have I’ve bought with my own money.