Jack Smith

Jack Smith

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Believe Review


Very Good

With its heart in the right place, this charming British football drama overcomes a script that frequently drifts into sentimentality and corny plotting. But the story is involving, and the cast is particularly good. So even though it has a tendency to drift into cuteness, a fresh sense of humour and sympathetic characters help build up a swell of honest emotion as it approaches the final whistle.

It's set in 1984 Manchester, where the legendary Manchester United manager Matt Busby (Brian Cox) is still haunted by the Munich plane crash in 1958 that took the lives of several of his dream-team players. In search of something to give meaning to his retirement years, he runs across a street-smart 10-year-old named Georgie (Jack Smith), who has his own issues. Georgie lives with his working-class single mum Erica (Natascha McElhone), who worries about his future and leaps at the chance of a scholarship to send him to a posh private school. Georgie isn't thrilled about studying for the entrance exam with snooty professor Farquar (Toby Stephens); he'd rather be out kicking a ball with his friends, and is secretly plotting to enter a youth competition with them. But they need an adult sponsor, so Matt and his friend Bob (Philip Jackson) agree to take them on. And the kids have no idea that they're being trained by a national icon.

Director David Scheinmann shoots the film with sundrenched charm, grounding the goofier moments by encouraging the cast to give deeply felt performances. At the centre, Cox and Jackson are an entertaining double act as old pals kickstarting their lives by taking on this young team overflowing with raw talent but no discipline. McElhone is essentially playing the standard movie mother who's too busy with the pressures of everyday life to notice much of anything that her tearaway son is doing, but she gives the role a sharp emotional centre. Stephens has more trouble in his rather wacky role, which drifts from callous nastiness to physical slapstick.

Continue reading: Believe Review

Roy Cohn/Jack Smith Review


Weak
Roy Cohn/Jack Smith executive producer Jonathan Demme is no stranger to the monologue on film. Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia (which he directed) is one of the best of the genre.

You'd think Demme would know what he's doing. At best, Roy Cohn/Jack Smith is a cinematic oddity, rambling and barely coherent -- a common problem with films in which there are few diversions aside from moving lips (see The Designated Mourner for a prime example of this).

Continue reading: Roy Cohn/Jack Smith Review

What's Underground About Marshmallows? Review


Weak
I didn't like it at 40 minutes, and I didn't like it at an hour, either.

What's Underground About Marshmallows is the last half of the performance previously documented in Roy Cohn/Jack Smith -- the Jack Smith part -- only thankfully it has been restored to its start-to-finish narrative format, without any jump cuts that take you out of the monologue and into nonsenseland.

Continue reading: What's Underground About Marshmallows? Review

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Believe Movie Review

Believe Movie Review

With its heart in the right place, this charming British football drama overcomes a script...

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