This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based on a Stephen Fry novel, the snappy wit in the dialogue zings with his specific brand of intelligent humour. This keeps the audience entertained as the story plays lightly with ideas of social privilege and deep-seated faith. The film is overcrowded, and the themes are all over the place, but it's often quite funny.
The story is told through the eyes inebriated curmudgeonly writer Ted (Roger Allam), a former poet who has just been sacked as a theatre critic. Thankfully, he has a distraction when he's asked to look into the rumours that his 16-year-old godson David (Tommy Knight) has some sort of mystical healing powers. So he heads to the manor house where David lives with his parents (Matthew Modine and Fiona Shaw) and older brother Simon (Dean Ridge). As Ted tries to get to the bottom of things, he speaks with a local playwright (Tim McInnerny) and his old flame Rebecca (Geraldine Somerville). But it's not easy to keep focussed on his task when he's drinking so much.
The film is very loosely directed by John Jencks (The Fold), which means that the tone is all over the place. Some scenes are played for slapstick value, while others are darkly pointed or intensely emotional. There are also so many characters that it's tricky to work out the connections between them, especially as their constant bickering reveals a labyrinth of past issues, and Ted never stops talking in the voiceover narration. All of this is amusing but noisily chaotic. So it's up to the actors to hold our interest. Allam is reliably entertaining as the likeably smug Ted, and his interaction with each of the others is energetic and sometimes funny. Amid the shameless scene-chompers in the cast, it's Knight who emerges as the most sympathetic figure even though, like everyone else, he's just using other people to get what he wants.
Continue reading: The Hippopotamus Review
Based on the true story of an unapologetic underdog who never won anything, this British comedy is a shameless crowd-pleaser. Eddie Edwards won the hearts of fans worldwide by coming in dead last at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and the cast and crew follow his journey with buckets of humour and emotion, plus some seriously exhilarating ski jumping. And like its central character, the film is awkward, good-hearted and impossible not to love.
Eddie (Taron Egerton) grew up obsessed with becoming an Olympian even though he has no talent for sport. He manages to become a regional downhill skiing champion, but is so annoying that the head of the British Olympics Team (Tim McInnerny) changes the rules to disqualify him. So at 22 he instead decides to become Britain's only ski jumper. He moves to Germany to train on his own, meeting the jaded ex-jumper Bronson (Hugh Jackman) and persistently convincing him to offer some coaching tips. And as the Olympics officials keep raising the bar for membership on the team, Eddie improves just enough to qualify. His father (Keith Allen) thinks he should give up, but his mother (Jo Hartley) quietly offers support. And it's Eddie's sheer tenacity that gets him to Calgary.
Director Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill) tells this story as a high-energy comedy centred on a dorky young man who simply won't take no for an answer. Egerton plays Eddie with perhaps too many physical tics, but exudes so much goofy charm that it's easy to see how he won over the people around him, and the global audience watching the Olympics. His interaction with everyone he meets on this journey is barbed and hilarious, and his joy at each small achievement is infections. Egerton also generates terrific chemistry with Jackman in one of his most enjoyable roles yet. It's hugely entertaining to watch this grouchy loser be begrudgingly coaxed out of his shell by Eddie's boundless enthusiasm.
Continue reading: Eddie The Eagle Review
Race follows the life of athlete Jesse Owens and more specifically his athletic career as he embarked on his journey to the 1936 Olympics. Jesse was fast on the track, he constantly beat his competition and when he began training with Ohio State University coach Larry Snyder, he was pinned to be the best of the best. One of the major problems that faced him was that the 1932 games were set to take place in Germany which was ruled by the Nazis.
Being a black athlete, Jesse often faced discrimination and when he finally gained a place on the Olympic field team, Jesse was put under pressure by some of the community to send a message to the Nazi regime and equally a message of support to show solidarity with the oppressed people of Germany.
Jesse had to find a way to fulfil his dream and represent himself, what he stands for and to also win a medal for the people of USA who are counting on him to 'beat those Nazis' who viewed African Americans as inferior beings.
Even when Michael Edwards was a small boy, he had huge ambition. Whenever the Olympics were on the TV Eddie would gleefully watch and admire the athletes and their abilities, it was the catalyst that drove Eddie to become a household name.
Though he was a strong skier, Eddie had zero knowledge or ability when it came to Ski jump, but the lack of competition was his in. Eddie decided that he too was going to become an Olympic athlete, HE would appear and represent his country at the winter games.
With no sponsors and everything working against him, Eddie begins training. Accident after accident, bad run after bad run - Eddie tirelessly continues with his quest to somehow reach his goal. Whatever the outcome of Eddie's journey, he's sure to change the sport and the winter Olympics forever.
Continue: Eddie The Eagle Trailer
Will Holloway is faced with not only the most critical event of his career as assistant to the head of counter-terrorism at MI5 Harry Pearce, but also what has been dubbed the biggest failure by the UK intelligence agency in history when a known terrorist by the name of Adem Qasim escapes from their clutches. Not only that, but Harry's disappearance soon follows, leaving behind few clues apart from a series of encrypted phonecalls. Other members of MI5 have worries of a much broader scale on their minds, that Qasim might be in the process of brainwashing their leader while the whole of London is facing enormous immediate threat. When he stumbles across a global conspiracy, however, Holloway begins to realise that this horror is broader than any of them could ever have imagined.
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Dark times are coming to the United Kingdom. During a handover to MI5 Counter-terrorism leader Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), one of the UK's number one most wanted terrorists, Adam Qasim (Elyes Gabel) devises a way to escape from custody. With a country-wide manhunt in progress, Pearce suddenly disappears, throwing MI5 into chaos. His protégé Will Crombie (Kit Harrington) undertakes the task of hunting down the missing terrorist and finding the lost leader before an attack on London can take place. As he delves deeper into the hidden mysteries surrounding the events, Crombie discovers a worldwide conspiracy with villainous intentions.
Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas) is working as an insurance agent for ROC Robotics Corporation in the dystopian world of 2044. In a world where human kind is served by robots, there are specific rules set in place to avoid uprising or attacks against mankind. These include robots not being able to harm any form of life and robots not being able to alter themselves. When an altered robot turns up without an owner, Vaucan must investigate the possibility of multiple robots altering themselves before a full scale uprising can begin. When he comes under attack from Wallace (Dylan McDermott), he is forced to live amongst conscious robots and learnt that they may not be all that different to human beings after all.
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The new drama's storyline has not been altered despite concerns over the plot.
Utopia, Channel 4's controversial new drama, aired last night amidst a furore over certain character depictions and concerns over plotlines. The second series of Dennis Kelly's controversial programme aired last night in the UK and has earned solid reviews for its conspiratorial look at the events of 1979, including the death of Airey Neave.
Utopia is "a daft, compelling, supremely well-characterised tale that exists so totally within its own crazy storytelling parameters there's no need to question it but just let yourself be pulled along by the fast-flowing dramatic tide," says The Telegraph's Gerard O'Donovan.
"Like all good conspiracy thrillers you could spend hours endlessly teasing out the labyrinthine twists of Dennis Kelly's mind-bending plot," the TV critic praises.
Continue reading: Channel 4's Utopia Airs Despite Furore Over Tory MP Murder Plot
After a disastrous mission in Mozambique, disgraced spy Johnny English (Atkinson) joined a Himalayan monastery. But MI7 boss Pegasus (Anderson) calls him back into service, and soon he stumbles into a nefarious plan to assassinate China's prime minister. But he's also of course causing havoc. Now the lead suspect, only the agency's sexy shrink Kate (Pike) and his sidekick Tucker (Kaluuya) still have faith in him. And as the murderous plot unfurls at a mountain-top Swiss hideaway, English makes a daring attempt to save the world and clear his name.
Continue reading: Johnny English Reborn Review
The deceptively simple plot begins when uber-famous film star Anna Scott (Roberts) winds up in William's (Grant) book shop on Notting Hill, something of a British cross between a pre-Disney Times Square and a Moroccan street market. After William accidentally dumps orange juice down Anna's front, an on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again, on-again love affair blossoms.
Continue reading: Notting Hill Review
This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...
Based on the true story of an unapologetic underdog who never won anything, this British...
Race follows the life of athlete Jesse Owens and more specifically his athletic career as...
Even when Michael Edwards was a small boy, he had huge ambition. Whenever the Olympics...
Will Holloway is faced with not only the most critical event of his career as...
Dark times are coming to the United Kingdom. During a handover to MI5 Counter-terrorism leader...
Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas) is working as an insurance agent for ROC Robotics Corporation in...
After the painfully unfunny 2003 original, a franchise was highly unlikely. And yet the spoof...
Julia Roberts is Julia Roberts - almost - in Notting Hill, a well-crafted romantic comedy...