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I knit, I sew, I run, I look after children and hamsters, I take truly terrible pictures, I cook, I complain.  Sometimes all at the same time.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Film reviews with Julia

A film review for a Tuesday morning.  Why not?

Over the weekend, Simon went out to Shoreditch, and as I don't do East London by night, I stayed at home to babysit.  By the way, it totally is babysitting when you are sitting on the sofa drinking tea, eating biscuits and watching television, even it is your own biscuits and your own children upstairs asleep.  As part of my ongoing massive crush on Benedict Cumberbatch, I'd recorded Starter for Ten, David Nicholls' film of his own book.  Love knows no limits.

I've written before about my love of David Nicholls' work, and this one was well up to his usual standard.  Take an interesting idea, fill it with cardboard stereotypes, fail to round any characters out, and generally waste a stellar cast on an ultimately very poor film.  If you haven't seen it, the plot is roughly: boy from Southend dreams of being "clever" and goes to Bristol University, leaving behind his mates from childhood; meets beautiful girl, meets another beautiful girl, is utterly useless with both, joins quiz team, makes a massive mistake, finds self, goes back to University, first beautiful girl accepts his behaviour as part of him, kiss , the end.

All the interesting bits are surrounded by marshmallow - he's the first in his family to ever go to University, he's always wanted to know STUFF so has a fabulous general knowledge, and he's a real asset to a quiz team, but of course the quiz team captain is a massive snob and a stupid, know nothing Tory.  Of course, the first beautiful girl is an anti-apartheid campaigner, screaming to ban the bomb; how else would we know it is set in the EIGHTIES?  Of course his mate from back home, the really rather good Dominic Cooper, is on the dole and working for cash at the same time.  Of course the beautiful posh blonde is from Hampstead.

Actually, there was one good bit that genuinely made me laugh out loud.  Dear Brian (the hero) is becoming politically active, and writes a letter home to his best friend filled with things about FATCHER'S BRITAIN and how difficult things are for the WORKING CLASS, which his friend reads while working at his grim job in a badly lit arcade.  It's the lack of response that makes it funny; it doesn't sound that promising written down.

I watched Death Comes to Pemberley a few weekends ago, and I guessed what would happen within 15 minutes; same thing here.  DULL.  CLICHED.  BORING.  The cast is absolutely cracking, however, really, really good actors, and Mark Gatiss pops up as Bamber Gascoigne at one point.  I've read other reviews, and other people seem to think it was quite good, even "a spirited coming of age tale that remains charming and witty even as it veers into darker territory", so either I am far more intelligent than the average reviewer or I missed quite a bit because knitting a twisty cable is far more demanding than I thought it would be.  Take your pick.  

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