Two Films and a Musical

Posted by Lou. The time is 9.18pm here in London, UK.

While we're doing review round-ups I may as well throw some in...

On my flight to Montreal I decided to go with Last Chance Harvey, a film I had been meaning to see ever since I saw them shooting a pick-up outside my work last year [the scene pictured left]. It spent a fair whack of time in my local hood (Southbank) so I wasn't disappointed on that front, though did find it frankly bizarre that they depict Paddington to Southbank via Piccadilly Circus as a light stroll. Anyhoo, the bonus is that it was actually a really sweet little film - intimate (just right for a small screen), unconventional (a romance between two people in the second half of their life? shock! horror!*), and starring one of the best performances I have ever seen from Dustin Hoffman.

I absolutely loved his portrayal of the pitiable Harvey - it moved to tears at times, and transcended the somewhat familiar territory it was carved in. Emma Thompson (who I will always love for her Sense and Sensibility) is also excellent, giving a very empathetic portrayal of a woman who has been disappointed to the point of not trying. Aside from one hideous scene - a cliche montage lifted straight from Four Weddings and a Funeral (and it was terrible in that too) - I thought it was a pretty sweet little film, perfect for a snuggly sofa night in.

*oh my god, I just looked up Dustin Hoffman's age and he is - would you believe it?? - SEVENTY ONE YEARS OLD! Fuuuck! I hope I age as well as him! (this prompted a flat "guess the age" competition - the most shocking one is that Gene Hackman is 79!! (and cripes is Meryl Streep ageing well at 60!!))

The other week I obtained some free tickets to Sister Act - the musical (yes, I know) - and hey, guess what? It was really good! It helped that I'd had a couple of pints before and a couple more during, but honestly, after a bit of a slow start it really got kicking and was a bundle of fun! Which, in retrospect, shouldn't have surprised me - I caught a bit of the movie on tv not long after and was reminded that that was a heck of a fun movie too.

It is an entirely new soundtrack, but the storyline varies little (other than a romantic sub-plot) and the nun characters are basically the same. The performers were all brilliant, and hilarious. But I must particularly single out the staging - during the slow start I was concerned that it was pointless showing off with bits moving here and there unneccessarily, but once they got to the convent and cathedral the staging really excelled. Go see it!

I was staging a "cheer up" weekend for a broken-hearted friend, which included going to the cinema (my first time in far too long). We nixed Sunshine Cleaning (but by god I will get there!) for a Swedish vampire film (I know!) called Let The Right One In (Låt Den Rätte Komma In), and so found ourselves sitting in a cinema on a Sunday afternoon loaded up with chocolate-sauce-covered-ice-cream ready and waiting for an hilarious Scandinavian vampire romp. Errr... which it wasn't.

So turns out that Let The Right One In is a genre-bending vampire-horror-crossed-with-melancholy-drama kinda film. Brilliant - except if the point of going was to cheer up a friend. Thankfully there are some delicious genre elements from the vampire side, but for the most part it is atmospheric and sombre, strangely beautiful and sweet. Particularly notable for the classical elements, a fantastic cameo from my favourite animals, and an unsettlingly brilliant performance by the young girl. I would definitely recommend this for a dark and wintery night, when you feel like some "serious" cinema.

One thought on “Two Films and a Musical”

  1. Oh dear - that is too hilarious about the cheer up fail. But at least it was a good movie...? Um?

    Last Chance Harvey sounds like a winner - for Dustin Hoffman at keeping up the pace, if nothing else!