Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance in its true story about an outcast who takes on the system in a leafy corner of London. While the script is too thin to make much of the premise, the film at least benefits from the likeable presence of Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson in the lead roles, plus a lively supporting cast.
Keaton plays Emily, an American widow living in the posh village on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Her late husband left her with a lot of debt, which her grown son Philip (James Norton) is helping her sort through. And her neighbour Fiona (Lesley Manville) is trying to set her up with an accountant (Jason Watkins) who has romantic inclinations. But Emily is much more intrigued by the homeless Irishman Donald (Gleeson) living in the lushly overgrown grounds of an abandoned hospital. And when she realises that developers want to build a glassy block of expensive flats there, she kicks into action with the help of a quirky young friend (Hugh Skinner).
Director Joel Hopkins keeps everything picturesque and twinkly as the story gently tips into a courtroom drama with an accompanying romance. Despite its basis in fact, there's little about this film that's remotely believable, not that it will matter to the core audience in search of some warm escapism. They'll enjoy the squeaky clean story and the stylised version of an England furnished with impeccably matching antiques and huge bouquets of flowers. And the cast makes it watchable. Keaton does her usual kooky thing, smart but clumsy, with perfect timing in her interaction with everyone around her. There may not be much chemistry with Gleeson, but he gives the tetchy Donald plenty of scruffy charm.
Continue reading: Hampstead Review
Cleese hasn't starred in a BBC sitcom since 'Fawlty Towers' ended in 1979.
Comedy legend John Cleese is set to star in his first BBC sitcom in nearly four decades, having once vowed never to work with the British national broadcaster again.
The 77 year old former ‘Monty Python’ star is set to appear alongside Alison Steadman in the upcoming comedy series ‘Edith’, a six-part series that will also feature BAFTA-winning actor Jason Watkins, the BBC announced in a statement on Tuesday (April 11th).
As such, it will be the first time that Cleese has held down such a prominent role in a Beeb sitcom since the classic ‘Fawlty Towers’ finished in 1979.
Continue reading: John Cleese To Return To BBC For First Sitcom In Nearly 40 Years
It's been one year since Emily's husband Charles passed away, but she has very mixed feelings towards his memory. There are good things in her life too; a loving grown-up son named Philip and a lovely home in Hampstead Heath, but her life is far more complicated than that. After one date with a fiddle-player named James Smythe, she struggles to shake him off. She'd love to find love again but she's desperate not to settle for anyone. One day though, she espies a bearded old man washing in the ponds across from her house. Curiosity gets the better of her and she follows him home to a quaint but run-down old shack in the middle of the woods. Charmed by his wit and his amusingly grumpy temperament, she decides to help him save his home when he is given an eviction notice by land owners who wish to build on his property. His unshakeable pride works against his cause, but Emily refuses to give up saving the man she's falling deeply in love with.
Continue: Hampstead Trailer
Benedict Cumberbatch and James Nesbitt head 'Leading Actors'.
The BAFTA Television Award nominations for 2015 have finally been announced, including the usual entertainment favourites, some easily predictable names and a few surprises along the way that represent the very best of British television.
James Nesbitt's 'The Missing' leads the nominations
We're never tired of hearing his name at awards ceremonies; 'Sherlock' star Benedict Cumberbatch is once again nominated for his exceptional performance as the modern-day sleuth on a show that the public has also put up to receive the Radio Times Audience Award. More Leading Actor nominations feature Toby Jones in 'Marvellous', which is also in the Single Drama category and Best Supporting Actress with Gemma Jones.
Continue reading: BAFTA TV Nominations Announced! The Missing Gets The Most Nods For 2015
There are so many plot holes in this silly British holiday sequel that the script hardly seems to exist at all. As in the previous two Nativity! movies, the emphasis is on Christmas wackiness, with inane set pieces designed only to keep small children giggling. Writer-director Debbie Isitt clearly isn't interested in connecting these scenes together into something more than vaguely coherent, asking us to just go with it. And if you can do that, you might have some fun with this.
Once again, it's all change at St. Bernadette's School in Coventry. This time there's a new headmistress in the humourless, astonishingly unobservant Mrs Keen (Celia Imrie). She sensibly sacks the dopey teaching assistant Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton) and instead hires "super-teacher" Mr Shepherd (Martin Clunes), who immediately gets rid of Poppy's donkey, the class mascot. In the process though, Shepherd takes a blow to the head and loses his memory, which is a problem because he's due to get married to Sophie (Catherine Tate) in New York. So Shepherd's daughter Lauren (Lauren Hobbs) teams up with Poppy to get the kids into a flashmob competition that culminates with a final round in, of course, Manhattan. The problem is that the competition is being organised by Sophie's preening ex Bradley (Adam Garcia), who wants her back.
Issitt keeps the film moving at such a hyperactive pace that there's barely time to notice that nothing about this story makes any sense. But before we can say, "Wait a minute!" the film has already lurched into a corny slapstick sequence or a big musical number performed with screechy karaoke-style authenticity. Although the songs are packed with clever hooks and repeated so many times that they're impossible to get out of our heads. Oddly, the children are sidelined in this movie, appearing at random for a bit of cacophonous mayhem or another pastiche holiday number. Only Hobbs registers as a character.
Continue reading: Nativity 3: Dude Where's My Donkey?! Review
Mr. Shepherd is the new teacher at St Bernadette's Catholic School in Coventry who is eager to propose to his friend Sophie, to the delight of his young daughter who wants so badly to have a new mother by Christmas. Meanwhile, the school has also gained a new headmistress, Mrs. Keen, who deeply disapproves of the school's favourite teacher - the ever child-like Mr. Poppy - and their pet donkey Archie. The latter pet-peeve is probably for a good reason as soon enough, Mr. Shepherd finds himself deeply concussed after being kicked by Archie, completely forgetting who he is, where he is, where Archie is and, more importantly, that he's soon to be married on Christmas Eve in New York. Mr. Poppy and the class decide to band together to get him to his bride by joining a flash mob, where the top prize is a trip to the Big Apple. Will the class succeed in their latest endeavour and make this Christmas the best yet?
After 2009's inane comedy Nativity, no one was clamouring for a sequel, but at least this one tips the scales into sublime silliness. If you can suspend your disbelief, this might even be a guilty pleasure, complete with stars behaving stupidly, adorable children and a series of hilariously corny pastiche Christmas songs.
Things continue to be rather chaotic at St Bernadette's Primary School in Coventry, mainly because the headmistress (Ferris) is still employing her idiotic nephew Mr Poppy (Wootton) as a classroom assistant. He's just scared off another applicant for the teaching job when the tenacious Mr Peterson (Tennant) arrives with his pregnant wife (Page), determined to stick it out. Somehow Poppy convinces Peterson to take the kids on an illicit cross-country journey to a Song for Christmas competition in Wales, at which the kids will face competition from school rival Mr Shakespeare (Watkins) as well as Peterson's estranged twin brother Roderick (also Tennant), a snooty composer with a professional choir.
The plot is utterly preposterous, and as the wacky events progress, writer-director Isitt never even tries to ground the movie in realism. In fact, there's a point about halfway through where it becomes pure fantasy, so complaints about believability don't really apply. The only way to survive watching it is to sit back and enjoy the inane plot and goofy slapstick. And by doing so, we're surprised that the film is actually rather enjoyably ridiculous.
Continue reading: Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! Review
Mr. Poppy, an immature classroom assistant at a St. Bernadette's Primary School, returns with ideas for a new Christmas performance with his class following the success of their Nativity play in 2009's 'Nativity!' He wishes to organise the pupils for the National 'Song for Christmas' Competition where the prize is a massive o10,000. However, being only an assistant, he cannot enter the class until their new teacher arrives. Donald Peterson is that teacher; a restless and stressed out man who struggles to deal with the pregnancy of his wife, the pressure on him to become like his talented composer twin brother and, of course, the unruly Class 7. Mr. Poppy wastes no time in getting Donald to agree to get the competition performance underway but the new teacher soon finds himself out of his depth and struggling to control the behaviour of his teaching assistant who insists on using a real baby and a donkey in the show. However, when Donald discovers that his perfect, daddy's boy brother is also competing alongside the upperclass choir of St Cuthbert's College, he finds himself determined to put on a world-class performance.
'Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger' is the most perfect sequel to its 2009 predecessor. It sees the return of Debbie Isitt as writer and director and most of your favourite characters and is set to be released well in time for the festive season on November 23rd 2012.
Director: Debbie Isitt
Continue: Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger Trailer
Paul (Freeman) is a loser who teaches at a primary school in the Midlands. It's been five years since his girlfriend Jennifer (Jensen) left to pursue a Hollywood career and best pal Gordon (Watkins) took a job in a posh school that puts on the most acclaimed Christmas shows in the city. This year, a moronic teacher's assistant Mr Poppy (Wootton) and a desperate-for-fame headmistress (Ferris) have put Paul in charge of the nativity play once again. And a little lie turns Paul's show into the talk of the town.
Continue reading: Nativity! Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.
Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...
It's been one year since Emily's husband Charles passed away, but she has very mixed...
There are so many plot holes in this silly British holiday sequel that the script...
Mr. Shepherd is the new teacher at St Bernadette's Catholic School in Coventry who is...
After 2009's inane comedy Nativity, no one was clamouring for a sequel, but at least...
Mr. Poppy, an immature classroom assistant at a St. Bernadette's Primary School, returns with ideas...
Clumsily constructed and not very funny, this scruffy British Christmas comedy almost redeems itself with...
Watch the trailer for Nativity. Paul Maddens is a teacher at St. Bernadettes, he's a...