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
The BBC have commissioned a new sitcom, starring pensioners.
Acting veteran Russ Abbot has been confirmed to join the cast of an upcoming BBC One comedy, provisionally titled Grey Mates, will also star June Whitfield and Stephanie Beacham, rounding out a trio of pensioners living out their twilight years on the Norfolk coast. The premise is that each of the seniors faces his or her golden years in a different way. And OK, it might not sound that exciting, but let’s all think back to the original premise of Downton Abbey. There might still be some potential here too.
Alison Steadman, Philip Jackson, Paula Wilcox and James Smith will join Abbot to complete the principal cast of the series. Controller of BBC One Charlotte Moore said for BBC News: "Comedy has a unique ability to make the ordinary extraordinary and Grey Mates delivers that with a big hit of characters."
She added that the onset of retirement is "hilariously brought to life by a stellar cast whose relationships are tested in a multitude of ways."
Gary (aka Tits) and his friends Dodge, Zippy, Little Gaz and Penfold are an ambitious amateur indie band from Manchester with an unshakeable adoration for The Stone Roses. As a once in a lifetime major gig for the legendary group approaches, the friends are determined to watch musical history unfold as they set out to gatecrash the show on Spike Island. Their plan? Break into the venue without tickets and hand over their precious demo tape to the lead singer with the hope that it will shape their musical futures. However, things aren't as easy as they sound with school and girls as constant distractions, and no initial way of getting to the Island. Not to mention the swarming security and high fences they'll have to pass to get in. Their determined mission will no doubt test their friendship and the way they view the future as they are about to face hard facts about life and dreams.
Continue: Spike Island Trailer
When Sarah (Janet McTeer) and her surveyor fiancee Hamish (JJ Feild) arrive in the jungle, they assume great things are on the way. But no sooner has Hamish completed his first expedition than they find the rules changing and the sad little village getting more and more disturbing. Money is withheld, sickness is contracted, murders are committed. Before long, Sarah is pathetically turning to prostitution to earn a little cash -- or even to get back the money that was stolen from her.
Continue reading: The Intended Review
Continue reading: Little Voice Review
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