Robin Laing

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Joyeux Noël Review


Good
Whoever was in charge of distribution for Christian Carion's Joyeux Noël should be shamed out of the business. The reason is simple: for a film almost strictly about the Christmas spirit and human connection, there's no way it will fare well since the audience has gotten over that feeling a solid 2 months ago. Where a film like The Family Stone could get away with being released at another time, part of Joyeux Noël's pull is that it taps into that united feeling we get at Christmas and New Year's. However, this is not to say that Carion doesn't know how to make a good movie.

It's the First World War, and the British, French, and Germans are all held up at a front in France, where the Brits and the French are determined to send the Germans home. Earlier, three brothers from Scotland are told that they will be going to Glasgow for military training. Palmer, the oldest and an Anglican priest (Gary Lewis), is apprehensive while his younger brothers, Jonathan and William (Steven Robertson and Robin Laing, respectively) can't wait to go out and defend their country. The French commander, Lieutenant Audebert (a great Guillame Canet), tries to keep his soldiers morale up after a small massacre in the trenches from a German gunner. Meanwhile, the German leader, Horstmayer (Daniel Brühl), attempts to find a way to get out of the fight with his honor intact.

Continue reading: Joyeux Noël Review

Borstal Boy Review


Excellent
Irish filmmaking has always resonated with an urgent sense of political forethought. Filmmaker Jim Sheridan diligently championed the determined spirit of tortured protagonists in gutsy pictures such as My Left Foot, The Boxer, and In the Name of the Father. In the uplifting Emerald Isle melodrama Borstal Boy, Jim's brother Peter Sheridan effectively explores the trials and tribulations of a 16-year old boy's exploits behind the unbearable confines of a British World War II borstal, a reformatory center for boys, based on charismatic Irish writer Brendan Behan's memoir. Provocative and resoundingly crafty, Borstal Boy is a solid and refined piece of moviemaking imbued with passion and attitude.

Thanks to his heavy involvement in IRA-related activities, the film opens with Brendan (Shawn Hatosy, Anywhere But Here, John Q) in jail in East Anglia, England. Among the prison-camp personalities that the overwhelmed Brendan encounters are a thieving gay sailor named Millwall (Danny Dyer), whom he eventually. He also finds a love interest in the lovely and supportive Liz (Eva Birthistle), who happens to be the daughter of the facility's presiding Governor (Michael York). Consequently, Brendan begins to shape his outlook on life, challenging what was once a rigid belief system entrenched in his conservative shell.

Continue reading: Borstal Boy Review

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Joyeux Noël Movie Review

Joyeux Noël Movie Review

Whoever was in charge of distribution for Christian Carion's Joyeux Noël should be shamed out...

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