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
Nathan Filer still works on mental health wards, as well as teaching creative writing.
Nathan Filer, a mental health nurse who has worked on psychiatric wards for more than a decade, was the shock winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award on Tuesday evening (January 28, 2014) beating the bookies favourite Kate Atkinson with his debut novel The Shock of the Fall.
Nathan Filer With His Costa Winning Book, The Shock of the Fall
The book, narrated by a Bristol boy named Matthew from the age of five to his early 20s, is a gripping account of his descent into schizophrenia following the death of his youjnger brother.
Continue reading: Mental Health Nurse Marries Saturday, Wins Costa Book Award on Tuesday
The 'Californication' actress will take on Glenn Close's formidable 1987 role.
Natascha McElhone has been cast in a staged adaptation of 1987 thriller Fatal Attraction that will play in London this coming March. The Californication actress has won the iconic lead role of Alex Forrest, who was played most famously in the movie by Glenn Close in one of her Oscar-nominated performances.
Natascha McElhone To Play "Bunny Boiler" Alex Forrest In A Staged Version Of 'Fatal Attraction."
The classically trained British actress will take to the boards for her portrayal of the spurned, psychotic mistress of Dan Gallagher's nightmares. Adrian Lyne's film placed Behind The Candelebra's Michael Douglas in the role of cheating attorney alongside Close. Of course, who could forget the movie's most ominous yet memorable scene during which Forrest simmers Gallagher's daughter's pet rabbit on the stove?
Continue reading: Natascha McElhone Lands 'Fatal Attraction' Lead In Stage Production
Kevin Lewis (Miller, Prew, then Friend) was born in South London into a violent home in which his sharp wit sparks extra physical abuse from his mother (McElhone), while his drunken father (O'Neill) either watches helplessly or is bullied into taking part. But along the way Kevin finds compassion from a care home manager (Hill), an alert teacher (Gruffudd), a compassionate foster father (Fox) and a supportive girlfriend (Whittaker). But all of this could be undone by his dodgy business decisions.
Continue reading: The Kid Review
Every year, millions get sucked into this vortex and all we get out of it are surgically enhanced chest shots of women who have just been bumped up from doing soft core. Of the three dozen odd action flicks that come out in any given year, only ten are worth viewing again. Of those ten, only two or three are actually good films. Ronin was actually good.
Continue reading: Ronin Review
Kenneth Branagh's latest Shakespearean opus, Love's Labour's Lost, falls into the category of an ingenious experiment gone horrible wrong. Like a bartender with one too many vodka-tonics on his breath, Branagh mixes one of Shakespeare's lesser-known comedies with the music of Cole Porter and Irving Berlin and places everything in 1939 France. Think the Rat Pack in some bad 1960s film.
Continue reading: Love's Labour's Lost Review
FearDotCom is easily in the running for worst film of the year. The whole mess is a painfully dull ripoff of much better films - namely Poltergeist, Videodrome, and 8MM (okay, so that one's not much better). Full of grotesque imagery of sadistic tortures and killings and a plethora of asinine characters and pathetic attempts at acting, FearDotCom is a prime example of just how bad a bad movie can be.
Continue reading: Feardotcom Review
Unfortunately, that's about all you'll learn, as Merchant-Ivory's latest exercise in excess sheds little light on the great artiste and leaves the viewer with even less of an understanding as to why Picasso was the man he was.
Continue reading: Surviving Picasso Review