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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Crime > Gangster > War > Literature > Love > Satire > Fantasy > British > Bunny And The Bull (2009/IFC/MPI DVD) + Handmade Films Collection: Bob Hoskins (w/Raggedy Rawney + Lonely Passion Of Judith Hearne) + Michael Palin (w/The Missionary/Image DVD Sets)

Bunny And The Bull (2009/IFC/MPI DVD) + Handmade Films Collection: Bob Hoskins (w/Raggedy Rawney + Lonely Passion Of Judith Hearne) + Michael Palin (w/The Missionary/Image DVD Sets)


Picture: C+ (Handmade: C)     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Films: C (Friday/Lisa: B-)



Sometimes influences can produce interesting films, but that does not guarantee a good film, even when talented people are involved.


Paul King was the director of the very successful The Mighty Boosh (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and his new film Bunny And The Bull (2009) is very much trying to imitate the specific quirky style and feel of the more off-beat films made by Handmade Films.  We have some of those films to look at in a minute, but I give King and company credit for doing a good job of making a film in the mode of the likes of a Withnail & I among others.


Steven (Edward Hogg) has been living inside his home for a very long time until necessity (mice have eaten all of his long supply of ready-made meals for weeks in no time) forces him to get back together with annoying old friend Bunny (Simon Farnaby) who he used to travel with and gets drawn into yet another wacky road trip with.  Though I never laughed out loud hard, this is at least consistent and amusing, plus some people might find this a laugh riot, but I was not one of them.  There are also some good supporting actors (Boosh co-star Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade, both co-stars on the highly underrated IT Crowd (reviewed elsewhere on this site) are among them.  Nice try and the leads have comic talent.


Now to the two Handmade Films Collection sets being issued on DVD.  First we have the Bob Hoskins set that includes the following films:


The Long Good Friday Blu-ray


U.S. DVD (Anchor Bay)


Region 4 PAL Import DVD



Mona Lisa Blu-ray


U.S. DVD (Anchor Bay)



Raggedy Rawney (1988) was actually directed by Hoskins who has a supporting role in this film about a young man (Dexter Fletcher) who goes AWOL when he cannot stand the results of an attack that almost kills him and introduces him to the horrors of war, so he disguises himself as a woman to avoid returning to service and gets involved with a group of gypsies in the process.  Ambitious idea that has mixed results, but at least it is ambitious and different.


The Lonely Passion Of Judith Hearne (1987) turns out to be another solid showcase for Maggie Smith, who plays an older woman with no hopes of love in her future until a man (Hoskins) turns up in her life and might offer new companionship.  Jack Clayton does a decent job directing, but the film is uneven and might rely too much on Smith’s performance.  Plusses include Wendy Hiller in the supporting cast, Director of Photography Peter Hannah B.S.C./A.S.C. delivering a good-looking film and a solid score by Georges Delerue.



The Michael Palin set includes…


The Missionary (1982) has Palin as the title character in the early 20th Century back in England and assigned to help hookers in trouble, which backfires when they try everything to get him to abandon his vows of celibacy.  Maggie Smith, David Suchet, Trevor Howard and Denholm Elliott are among the strong supporting cast, but the film is uneven when all is said and done, quirky at best and maybe worth a look like all Handmade releases.


A Private Function Region 4 PAL Import DVD



Time Bandits Blu-ray


U.S. DiviMax DVD


Region 4 PAL Import DVD




The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Bull is a little better than the transfers of all the older Handmade films despite being so much newer, offering a consistent image that can be soft at times.  Color can be good, but some of it is about how it is stylized.  The rest of the films are anamorphically enhanced 1.78 to 1.85 X 1 (Missionary is 2.35 X 1, but is only that way in the credits before being cut up to fit 1.78 X 1!) includes titles we have seen looking at least a little better on Blu-ray (see the links above) and at least the equal of previous DVD versions.  All have Dolby Digital sound, with Bull offering a 5.1 mix that is not bad for a low-budget production, but can be too much towards the center channel for dialogue and front speakers to the detriment of the soundfield somewhat.  Bandits, Friday and Lisa are also 5.1, but that is really pushing it.  Function, Raggedy and Missionary are 2.0 Stereo, leaving Judith 2.0 Mono, but they are all about evenly matched.  Extras in all cases include trailers, including for other films on some of the Handmade titles.  Bull adds a behind the scenes featurette and interviews.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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