The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little attempt to do anything clever with it aside from A-list casting. There are some terrific gags in Hamish McColl's script, but director Oliver Parker (Johnny English Reborn) fails to find the comical potential in the material. So the film feels clumsy and muted, which is certainly not going to attract a new generation of fans to the premise.
It's 1944 in the small village of Walmington on the southern English coast, where the men who were unfit to serve in the regular army have volunteered for the Home Guard when they're not working their normal jobs. The platoon's captain is bank manager Mainwaring (Toby Jones), who leads a ragtag group of retirees (Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon and Bill Paterson) and younger army rejects (Daniel Mays and Blake Harrison) through a series of exercises along the seaside cliffs. They've been tipped off that there's a Nazi spy in the area, but they're all so smitten by the curvy visiting journalist Rose (Catherine Zeta-Jones) that they fail to notice that she's up to something nefarious.
The material is ripe for political-edged comedy, which the script touches on in between the relentless double entendre. And the cast is definitely up for it, delivering solid performances that bring out character details while playing up the goofy interaction between them. But Parker leaves them looking adrift on-screen, never cranking up either a sense of pace or a spark of life. Each set-piece falls utterly flat, starting with the movie's opening scene in which the gang is chased around afield by a supposedly angry bull. And everything that follows feels half-hearted, which means that the Carry On-style innuendo, physical slapstick and nutty action all fall flat.
Continue reading: Dad's Army Review
Everybody's favourite British regiment is back in the new version of Dad's Army. Director Oliver Parker has recruited the much loved classic British TV Show with the help of some of the UK's best known actors. Like the TV show, the movie is set in 1944 and World War II is almost at its peak. The Home Guard is patrolling the streets of Walmington-on-Sea and their spirits are rather dampened by the thought of the imminent invasion. Their only light relief comes from a visit from a beautiful journalist going by the name of Rose Winters. Rose soon has all the men on their best behaviour and all the ladies of the town attempting to up their game. However it's soon 'back to work' for the men when they find out there's a spy living amidst the residents in their small seaside town.
Continue: Dad's Army Trailer
And they're back! The hilarious band of men that put their lives on the line for their country return in an all new adventure on the big screen. World War II is at its very peak during the 1940s and the Home Guard at Walmington-on-Sea are about to have an unusually eventful episode. Hours of patrolling the army base at Dover - trying to keep spirits up on the eve of the soldiers' impending journey to France to take on the Germans - are over for now, because UK intelligence have just uncovered a mysterious secret signal over the radio - apparently someone has been sending messages from Walmington to Berlin, and now nobody can be trusted. The Home Guard aid the mission to uncover the spy - though nobody dares put too much faith in this bumbling lot.
Continue: Dad's Army Trailer
Brit John McKay's debut feature, based on his play, is a real girl's club, U.K. style. MacDowell plays Kate, an American living in an idyllic British country home, working as headmistress at a stuffy-looking school. Molly (Rachel Ward look-alike Anna Chancellor, from TV's Longitude) is a tough, sexy doctor, and Janine (Imelda Staunton of Rat and Chicken Run) is a sympathetic divorced Mom and a top police inspector. The three women, all single and in their early forties, stick together like bonding glue.
Continue reading: Crush Review
"Bright Young Things" is a terribly witty romp through 1930s pre-war London with a pack of idle young swells who live scrumptious but superficial lives of joyous gossip-page decadence and complacent scandal that has the potential to ruin them.
Very cleverly adapted (from Evelyn Waugh's novel "Vile Bodies") and directed by the gifted comedic actor Stephen Fry ("Wilde," "Peter's Friends"), our surrogate in this world is Adam Symes (newcomer Stephen Campbell Moore), a well-connected but flat broke novelist and fringe member of this society who is railroaded into writing an anonymous gossip column about his pals -- although he's soon inventing entirely fictional members of the circle just to keep his readers amused.
An ironic failure at schemes to get rich quick so he can ask the "frantically bored" and beautiful but secretly vulnerable and melancholy Nina (subtly heartbreaking and simply wonderful Emily Mortimer) to marry him, Adam's fortunes -- which practically fluctuate with the tides -- are just one source of endless humor. But director Fry furtively hints at shades of compunction and misfortune under the film's carefree surface that bubble up as world events encroach on these lives of leisure, eventually taking the film to an unexpected level of empathy, nuance and humanity.
Continue reading: Bright Young Things Review
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