Sunday, 6 March 2016

Dad's Army - Phil's Five Words for Films

Dad's Army Nostalgia is not often a good enough reason to make a film of, or bring back, a much-loved classic. Re-inventing the 1970s TV series for the big screen was never going to be received well enough to work for older fans. Mess that up and you're doomed. For the younger audiences however, the nostalgia of the original characters holds absolutely no weight. So, stick to the tried and tested formula of the television comedy and hope for the best. This new version is basically a series of well-intentioned impressions of the beloved predecessors. Effort and attention being lovingly spent there, rather than developing new characters or a convincing plot line. Even though the cast seem to be loving their involvement, it all seems a little unnecessary. There is loads of British talent on show throughout, Toby Jones, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Bill Nighy taking centre stage. New characters are also a-plenty but mostly underdeveloped. 'Dad's Army' lovers will probably enjoy the film if they can get past the new versions of the previous cast - if not, they could find it too distracting. It is likeable enough but lightweight. There are some chuckles to be had but for me, there isn't enough laughter or emotion mixed in to the nostalgia. Younger and new audiences will struggle to find enough plot, humour or character to make it a lasting or worthwhile piece. The Home Guard bumble through with a stiff upper lip but there's not much fighting spirit here.

5 out of 10
Cert PG (UK)
1hr 40mins. 2016.

American Hustle - Phil's Five Words for Films

American Hustle There's loads of great performances in this con artist, FBI shakedown but it looks and feels like a drug-fuelled party held in a 1970s costume department. There's just too much 'Wig' going on. Like Christian Bale's character, Irving Rosenfeld, it is hard working, entertaining but a little bit bloated. The colour and energy of the film distracts from the main characters and plot, meaning I was left not really caring for any of the main players. Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and especially Jennifer Laurence all shine and they play off each other with hyperactive intensity. For all their effort and that of the props department, it is a movie that doesn't quite match the sum of its considerable parts. The main problem with that being that it seems quite a long film to leave you feeling so empty. Enjoyable, high energy, fluffy and a distraction from anything there to get your teeth in to. Like candyfloss.

7.5 out of 10
Cert 15 (UK)
135mins. 2013.