About Time – Review

Written and directed by Richard Curtis

 Clever, funny and beautifully poignant

Richard Curtis is celebrated for his authentically British films, achieving previous acclaim for ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral,’ ‘Notting Hill’ and ‘Love Actually’. In his latest production he explores the complexity of human relationships with a uniquely charming and humorous story. A romantic comedy with time travel sounds risky. But it works. The characters are beautifully observed, the scenery inspiring (the film was shot in London and Cornwall) and script well written. In fact some of the lead characters lines are quite poetic. There are also some very potent moments which seem to dwell on the inevitability of life.

 

Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young man, struggling to adjust to life beyond his eccentric family and their Cornish home. Too tall, too thin, too orange. His father’s revelation that the men in their family can time travel offers him the chance to fix his life. But with his gift and a new life in the city, comes a host of difficult decisions and he soon realises that even time travel can’t fix life’s bigger problems.

Tim is a loveable character who shares his father’s (Bill Nighy) dry wit and good nature. The bond between them is immediately evident and this becomes the chief focus for much of the film. Nighy plays the father role with ease, soft spoken and humorous, his love for his family is evident.

‘Kit Kat’ Tim’s bohemian sister (played by Lydia Wilson), with her ‘Elfin eyes’ and ‘eternally bare feet’ seems unconcerned of the harsh realities of life, moving from job to job and settling for a toxic boyfriend. But problems lurk underneath her calm, spaced-out exterior.

Tom Hollander plays Tim’s dad’s playwright friend who Tim stays with in London. Bad tempered, foul mouthed and alcoholic, he proves a challenge to live with.

Uncle Desmond (played by Richard Cordery) provides the comic interlude during the more dramatic scenes. Scatty and forgetful, he spends most of the film unaware of the events unfolding around him. But his lines are beautifully placed and raise a smile in otherwise sad circumstances.

Mary (Rachel McAdams) is the shy, self conscious book reader, who Tim literally chases through time to meet. Putting others before himself, he misses out on opportunities for his own happiness, to a point where it’s almost too late. His effort to amend countless bad impressions and misunderstandings results in hilarious consequences. McAdams and Gleeson have a beautiful chemistry together.

The character interaction, as with all of Curtis’ films, is the key focus of the film. The mixture of known and unknown actors works well. The scenes are original and authentic, such as the dining in the dark experience where Tim first meets Mary. Also the wedding scene where guests become victim to typically British weather, and flee the church to the dramatic sounds of IL Mundo. This actually produced tears of laughter amongst the audience.

The soundtrack continues the British theme and includes a lot of 80’s/90’s music such as The cure ‘Friday I’m in Love,’ Sugarbabes ‘Push the Button’ and The Killers ‘Mr Bright Side’. But there are also some original songs such as Ellie Golding’s ‘How long will I love you’ and a special version of ‘The Luckiest’ by Ben folds.

Curits has, once again, given us a uniquely British feel good film, with laughter, tears and some magical moments. The audience will be challenged not to leave the cinema feeling uplifted and inspired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The World’s End – Film Review

The worlds End.

Director – Edgar Wright

Starring – Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Constantine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike.

 

Back in 2004 Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright teamed with Nick Frost created a new genre of spoof horror/sci fi about ordinary people. Shaun of the dead was smart, funny, entertaining and completely original to anything seen before. Followed by Hot Fuzz and then Paul with the same writers and lead actors, they soon became highly acclaimed by the critics.

 

They team up again in this story of a troubled forty something man, who dreams of completing the golden mile pub crawl that defeated his childhood friends in the 1990’s.  But it takes a lot for the Gary King to track down his old school friends and convince them to join him on his venture. Having moved on and saddled with full time jobs and family responsibilities, they struggle to see Gary’s lonely, jobless and alcoholic existence seriously. Everything about him seems reckless. But a few well placed words about his desperate situation, makes them see things differently.

Cut to four middle aged men outside a small town train station. As they begin to doubt their involvement, King pulls up in ‘the beast,’ his car from the 1990’s, complete with original mix tape and hilarity ensues.

 

The first part of the film focuses on the excitement of King getting his friends back together and completing the quest, with them reluctantly tagging along. Then after several drinks, tensions rise and arguments ensue. A visit to the gents results in a twist that completely throws the viewer, and all sense of normality. But it’s a Pegg and Frost film and it works perfectly. This group of middle aged misfits have to overcome their childhood problems and grow up in order to work together as humanity’s only hope for survival. Something which the Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz have both addressed previously.

The action is present, in several fights with the ‘locals’ and attempts to escape discovery and attack. The hot blonde/ female heroine is there in Oliver’s Sister Sam. The bromance between Nick and Frost steps up as they have each others backs against the robot generation of their home town.

There are several hilarious moments, including the overuse of the letters ‘W’ ‘T’ ‘F’ by the polite and well spoken Oliver, which eventually results in King yelling, ‘what the f*** does ‘W’ ‘T’ ‘F’ mean?’ and later, King’s attempt to demonstrate that he is human, by hitting his head repeatedly against a pillar. ‘You could have just shown us your tattoo’ Frost exclaims.

There are also clever references to previous films, such as in the final scene where Frost tells strangers of the devastation they have faced. ‘Some things we miss…’ he exclaims, cue a shot of him looking out through a mesh fence, and a Cornetto wrapper blows by in the wind, catches on the fence a moment, then gets snatched away. True fans will appreciate these moments.

A random appearance by a well known American actor towards the end of the film works well within it’s context. From here on it becomes a race to the last pub and inevitably ‘The World’s end.’

What works best about Wright, Pegg and Frost, is their ability to create a story which subverts several genres but still works on so many levels. The action is there, as is the humour, smart references and satisfying ending. Although this film is probably the strangest of the trio.

As for future projects…apparently Pegg and Frost used to work in a Mexican restaurant together. Now who would like to see that film??

by AJ Griffiths