Monday, August 21, 2017

Hamstead




Director: Joel Hopkins
Starring: Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson,James Norton, James Smythe

This is a gentle feel good love story based on a true story of Harry Hallowes and set in modern London. Emily Walters (Diane Keaton), is a widow struggling with debt after the demise of her philandering husband. Concerned friends and son (James Norton) try to help her but only after she meets Donald (Brendan Gleeson), a bad-tempered hermit living in a handmade shack on wooded Hampstead Heath, does her life change for the good. The mismatched pair bond as they work to protect Donald’s living quarters from being repossessed. Despite the on-screen chemistry between the two leading actors a weak script prevents this film from becoming a classic English comedy. At 103 minutes the movie is overlong, but a good support cast, particularly from James Smythe, as a creepy Lothario, makes it all worth watching.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Trip to Spain


Director: Michael Winterbottom

Starring: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon

Neither Steve Coogan nor Rob Bryson are my most favourite actors although I accept they are very good, but just not my cup of tea. I did enjoy ‘Philomena’, otherwise not been overly impressed with their body of work. Now, it is me and both these guys are undoubtedly talented and on their third ‘trip’ movie. Coogan, now a film star based in New York, teams up with the London based Bryson on a commissioned tour through rural Spain savouring the culinary delights of selective restaurants for their respective newspapers. Not much different from their previous adventures but their ability to continue a barrage of humorous self-deprecation within the simple plots which marry both truth and fiction brilliantly is truly engaging. Sometimes you imagine a punch up almost imminent, but the likeable companions keep it light, breezy and very amusing throughout. I defy you to tell when the two are acting or improvising. The travelogue is complemented by strikingly beautiful scenery and, of course, food to make your mouth water. I did enjoy this movie.