In the late 80s, Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) was the most famous police detective on television, but fast-forward to the present day and he's balding, ungroomed and trying to convince himself that he is exactly where he needs to be in life with desperate daily positive affirmations. Fate does have one more adventure in store for the actor, however. A suspected serial killer named Paul Melly (Russell Tovey) has escaped from a secure unit at Darkmoor Hospital and is now taunting Isle of Man police that more will die unless he can speak to Detective Mindhorn. The police are well aware that Mindhorn is just a TV character, but they try their luck and enlist the help of the actor who plays him nonetheless. Unfortunately, Thorncroft turns out to be much less efficient than his onscreen persona, as much as he'd like to believe otherwise.
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Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored by a terrific performance from Jim Broadbent. With an unusually realistic depiction of London life, this an introspective story about finding closure, and it's nice that the filmmakers avoid ramping up the narrative to push a big emotional climax. Instead, it's in the small moments that the film rings true.
Broadbent plays Tony, a pensioner who runs a small camera shop as a hobby. His primary distraction is his single daughter Susie (Michelle Dockery), who is in the final stages of pregnancy. So Tony and his ex-wife Margaret (Harriet Walter) are providing whatever support they can. Then out of the blue he is notified of an inheritance from someone in his distant past. This sends him down memory lane, as he remembers his life as a university student (then Billy Howle), falling in love with Veronica (Freya Mavor) and feeling crushed when she fell for his best friend Adrian (Joe Alwyn) instead. So Tony tracks down Veronica (now Charlotte Rampling) in the present day to try to sort out their loose ends.
This is a complex story about how tricky it is to make sense of a messy past. The film refuses to simplify things in any way, leaving the audience to see themselves in the characters and situations as it flickers back and forth between the two timelines, dropping hints and details until the final piece falls into the puzzle. And the message is that you can't get closure until you accept even the more difficult elements of your story.
Continue reading: The Sense Of An Ending Review
Tony Webster is a retired man in his sixties whose past comes back to haunt him when he receives a strange letter in the post. It takes him back to his university days when he met the love of his life Veronica Ford. Though they have been estranged since then, she bequeaths him a diary in her will. Their separation was one of bitterness and heartbreak; his best friend Adrian Finn ended up stealing Veronica's heart, and Tony reacted by sending them a very angry letter in response to their partnership. Not long after, Adrian died in mysterious circumstances and with all the horror of those years brought up once again, Tony is forced to confront his guilt and innoncence in the whole saga - as well as other people's suspicions.
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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.
Continue: Man Up Trailer
During the Second World War, France was quickly and violently taken over by the German army. Now, under enemy occupation, the residents find themselves having to house and shelter their victorious enemies. Lucille Angellier (Michelle Williams) is one of these people, having to share her house with Commander Bruno von Falk (Matthias Schoenaerts). Despite being on two different sides of the conflict, the two find a strange attraction to one-another, and a romance begins to blossom. But Madame Angellier (Kristin Scott Thomas), Lucille's mother-in-law, distrusts the German officer, leading to a series of events that will test the strength of love and trust, in a time of war.
Continue: Suite Francaise Trailer
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In the late 80s, Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) was the most famous police detective on...
Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...
Tony Webster is a retired man in his sixties whose past comes back to haunt...
Truly enjoyable British romantic-comedies come along so rarely (Four Weddings and a Funeral was more...
A simple train journey can have incredibly far-reaching consequences. When Nancy (Lake Bell) meets Jessica...
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