Truly enjoyable British romantic-comedies come along so rarely (Four Weddings and a Funeral was more than 20 years ago) that there's cause to celebrate this smart, likeable romp. Director Ben Palmer and writer Tess Morris never try to obscure the predictable plot, but they pack every scene with sharp characters, snappy dialogue and riotous set-pieces. As a result, we're laughing so much that we barely notice that we're also being reeled in emotionally.
The story centres on Nancy (Lake Bell), who is feeling particularly alone while travelling to London and a 40th anniversary party for her parents (Ken Stott and Harriet Walter). Whinging to her sister (Sharon Horgan) on the phone, she is challenged to be more spontaneous. So when she arrives at Waterloo Station and meets Jack (Simon Pegg), who mistakes her for his blind date, she decides to go along with it, assuming the identity of 24-year-old triathlete Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond). As the afternoon and evening roll out, Nancy and Jack get along surprisingly well until they run into both his bitter ex (Olivia Williams) and one of her old school friends (Kinnear), who sees this as his chance to win her over.
While there are plenty of farcical moments on this drunken night out, the filmmakers never play up the slapstick, acknowledging every over-the-top moment with an eye-roll and a pithy comment. Pegg and Bell are simply perfect for these roles: smart, witty, likeable people with questionable social skills. Both characters are a bit beaten down, but they're also open to what life throws at them, so the rather messy journey they take is thoroughly engaging. They also leave much of the crazier comedy to expert supporting players like Williams and especially Kinnear, whose character very nearly steals the movie with his goofy stalker-like antics.
Continue reading: Man Up Review
A simple train journey can have incredibly far-reaching consequences. When Nancy (Lake Bell) meets Jessica (Ophelia Lovibond) on a train, she notices the book she is reading is designed to help with relationship success. Jessica tells her that the book itself is not to be leant, as she is using it to meet up with her blind date. Nancy steals the book, believing that it will work as a serious self-help guide, however she ends up running into Jack (Simon Pegg), who was Jessica's blind date. When Nancy chooses to pose as Jessica, she has the perfect date - only he doesn't know she's lying.
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Peter Quill runs into some trouble when he discovers an unusual looking orb that happens to be hunted by the merciless admiral Ronan and his army of miscreants. He is an Earthling; an unusual race within his neighbourhood in which he grew up after being removed for his home planet as a child. Naming himself the Star-Lord, he likes to think he's one heck of a superhero - but he's about to meet his match (or should we say 'matches'?). After being arrested by Ronan's people, he is greeted by four other alien outlaws. First there is the enormous Drax the Destroyer who is determined to use his supernatural strength to avenge his murdered family; then there's cyborg Gamora, the daughter of Thanos (an even bigger villain in this story); Rocket, a psychotic gun-toting raccoon; and half-man half-tree Groot. They may be distrustful of each other, but they've got to stick together if they want to save the universe from certain annihilation.
Since when did superhero films have to be serious? Marvel apply comedy to comics with 'Guardians Of The Galaxy', which is based on the original comics by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. The movie has been directed by James Gunn ('Super', 'Slither', 'PG Porn') and co-written by Nicole Perlman and is due for UK release on July 31st 2014.
Peter Quill is a fearless Earthling pilot who rather proudly proclaims himself to be an outlaw, going by the nickname Star-Lord. As a child, he was taken from his home planet and forced to live around various alien races, but even he is in for a surprise when he is captured by merciless hunters led by the evil admiral Ronan after he tries to make off with an extraordinary orb. It is during his imprisonment that he meets four other intrepid outlaws. There’s Drax the Destroyer, a man of muscle hellbent on avenging the tragic murders of his family; Gamora, a green-skinned cyborg who is the rebellious daughter of Ronan’s boss Thanos; Rocket, a genetically modified raccoon with incredible firearm dexterity; and Groot, a half-man half-tree creature who knows little about the technological world. Despite their reluctance, the five must join together to save the universe from Thanos’ dastardly plans.
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Peter Quill is a tenacious pilot who was taken away from his home planet Earth as a child to grow up around alien races. Arrogantly nicknaming himself Star-Lord, he finds himself captured by the evil admiral Ronan's ruthless hunters during the attempted theft of a powerful orb. On his arrest, he meets four other criminal eccentrics: muscle man Drax the Destroyer, who is searching for vengeance after the brutal death of his family; the rebellious cyborg Gamora, whose father is Ronan's boss Thanos; a weapon toting, genetically modified racoon named Rocket with better gun skills than most humans; and, the latter's accomplice, tree man Groot. Soon, the group decide to band together in order to protect their galaxy after discovering what the orb is really about to be used for.
Continue: Guardians Of The Galaxy - Teaser Trailer
British filmmaker Martin Simon Hewis uses dark humour and visual trickery to overcome what is clearly a very small budget. So even if the comedy feels low-key and uneven, it continually catches us off-guard with inventive touches that bring out deeper themes. It's also strongly reminiscent of that time of life when youthful carelessness has to give way to grown-up responsibilities. And the characters are hilariously realistic.
Set in a Bristol call centre, the story focuses on Dan (Hughes), a hapless guy who has just been thrown out of his house by his angry mother (Haywood), who's sure he let his drunken dad (Kaye) steal her winning lottery ticket. With nowhere to live, Dan takes his cat and camps out in the office without telling his colleagues, a gang of bored phone operators (including Thomas, Ashton and Ladwa) who liven things up with pranks and after-hours partying. But his life gets even more complicated when his maneating boss (Lombard) tells him to sack Teri (Lovibond), the coworker he has a secret crush on.
In other words, amid all of the workplace antics, Dan needs to grow up and sort out his life. But it's a lot more fun to hang out with his goofy colleagues and let someone else take responsibility. The script nicely captures this time of life without ever getting heavy-handed about it, focussing on the colourful characters and situations as well as the internal fantasies that torment Dan. Hughes plays him as one of those standard British protagonists who can't quite get anything right, and yet we root for him. Lovibond is a feisty foil for him, although their rom-com subplot remains in the film's margins. And the surrounding cast bring all kinds of sparky wit to their roles.
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Fortunately, it's also rather good fun.
Tom Popper (Carrey) is a high-powered Manhattan developer trying to earn a partnership in his firm by buying the iconic Tavern on the Green from its elderly owner (Lansbury). Like his intrepid explorer dad, he barely keeps up with his kids (Carroll and Cotton) from his marriage to Amanda (Gugino), whom he clearly still cares for. Then his father dies and leaves him six mischievous penguins, and all of Tom's careful plans fall apart. First, the birds make a mess of his immaculately minimalist bachelor pad, then they teach him Important Life Lessons.
Continue reading: Mr. Popper's Penguins Review
Four pals go their separate ways for a fateful weekend. Shannon (Lovibond) is struggling with dark emotions as her parents split up, but her friends seem too busy to listen. Cass (Egerton) is flying to New York for an important audition and also to lose her virginity to an internet friend, but neither go as planned. Kerrys (Warren-Markland) is the loudest member of her boisterous family, clashing with her brother (Chillin) while her girlfriend (Fielding) cheers her on. And Jo (Roberts) is stuck working in the family shop through two eventful nights.
Continue reading: 22.214.171.124 Review
Date of birth
19th February, 1986
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