FILM OF THE WEEK
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 3
The original 2003 film, written and starred by Nia Vardalos, was a genuine crowd pleaser and lured back to the cinemas a mass audience including the older immigrant Greek population. The second wedding was also enjoyable, but now Vardalos not only plays Toula, but also writes and directs, which is probably not such a good idea.
The premise is fun – the Portokalos family leave Chicago and travel to Greece for a long overdue reunion with friends and relatives in honour of the late Mr Portokalos. Toula believes it is her duty to fulfil her father’s wishes and find his childhood friends, whom he hadn’t seen since he left his island all those years ago…
All the lovable stereotypes are back in this enjoyable but lame sequel. The pacing is all over the place, there are no climactic sequences and the previously winning set pieces are feebly attempted for a repetition. On the plus side the locations are stunning with breathtaking vistas superbly photographed by Barry Peterson – the cinematographer of the recent blockbuster DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: HONOUR AMONG THIEVES.
The wedding this time involves peripheral characters, while the two editors struggle to piece this poorly conceived project together and whenever in doubt, they cut to an enthusiastic rooster waking up everybody at each dawn. A mixed bag!
Writer/director Koji Fukada delivers one of the most sensitive and moving films currently on release. The story, which is inspired by a Japanese song of the same title, follows the life of Taeko (Fumiko Kimura), with her recent husband Jiro (Kento Nagayama) and her young son Keita (Tetta Shimada), a smart and loving boy from Taeko’s previous relationship. Life is good until a tragic accident shatters their lives…
It is a lovely film – the kind that the less one knows about the plot’s development the better. It is warm-hearted and beautifully performed by an excellent ensemble of actors, particularly by Kimura, as the kind-hearted protagonist.
It is screening at the BFI Southbank along with three of Fukada’s earlier films HOSPITALITE, AU REVOOIR L’ETE and HARMONIUM. Do yourself a favour and see this film!
A LIFE ON THE FARM
This eccentric documentary marks the debut of British director Oscar Harding, who, after he revisits his childhood home of Huish Champflower in Somerset, he begins to examine the world according to Charles Carson his grandfather’s neighbour.
Carson was a farmer, and a true pioneer in making video tapes about any subject that affected his life – from the death of his parents and his wife. He was true loner who had no one to talk to, but his chicken, cats, and cows…
Harding is clearly fascinated by his subject and injects enough energy in telling the story of this unique individual.
THE EQUALIZER 3
Denzel Washington returns as the moody protagonist in this violent revenge franchise. It is long since Robert McCall has given up his government assassin days – his new enemy is now the Italian mafia in Southern Italy. Following a deadly attack at a remote villa Robert gets wounded but a local, sympathetic doctor soon takes him under his wing. While he is recuperating, he gets to know the charming villages and decides to come out of retirement once again, when the local crime bosses begin to harass their small community…
Another strong collaboration between director Antoine Fuqua and Washington with strong production values and exciting set pieces.
THE ENGLISH SURGEON
This terrific documentary by Georffrey Smith, which was made back in 2007, follows the celebrated British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh at work in Ukraine, a country he has grown to love and care throughout the years. He flies regularly to Kiev where he treats patients, who queue round the block hoping to get his expert advice on their predicament. He has an amazing relationship with his patients and their families, especially with his colleague Igor, who acts not only as his translator but also as his messenger of news, whether they are good or bad.
It is a powerful, deeply moving, and honourable film about a man’s determination to provide the best care possible to his desperate patients. It is not an easy watch but an essential one! (Blu-ray from Second Run)
This brilliant short film from Iceland is written and directed by Hlynur Palmason, who photographs the action right outside his house over a period of 18 months. He recruits his three children, while his static camera captures their movements as they begin to build a tree house over a period of a year. The seasons pass by but the children are still there standing in the rain and snow determined to finish their goal.
A magnetic experience and one of the best shorts of the year! (MUBI)
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