There’s nothing mini about the entertainment in The MINI British Film Festival, there I said it. Woeful pun aside, it’s absolutely true. This is one festival I put in my diary as soon as it’s announced. I’ve been fortunate to check out a couple of films already so here are my tips.
Before I give you my picks here are two of the films I’ve seen. ROMANTIC ROAD The brief for this movie reads “the eccentric and adventurous road-trip documentary charting an elderly British couple’s ambitious journey across India in their 1936 Rolls Royce.” What it doesn’t warn you about is how much you’ll fall in love with, gentle, ex-hippy turned lawyer Rupert Grey, and his quietly spoken wife Jan, who he says “stops him from being foolish”. The real life couple travel across India for six months on there way to the Chiba Mela photo exhibition, which Rupert has been invited to attend. So we know why Rupert is doing the journey but what about Jan? Her answer is simply because Rupert wanted to. After a while she adds “to be exposed to demands we don’t know if we can face.” By the end I was completely envious of their adventurous spirit, but more so their relationship, especially when Rupert so lovingly states that their “relationship has been developing for 50 years”, and Jan reminds us that “time together is precious.” The movie shows their love affair with life and each other. It would be a perfect wedding present for a young couple. 4 stars.
HAPPY NEW YEAR COLIN BURSTEAD At the other end in terms of easy going relationships, is Happy New Year Colin Burstead. The movie boasts a fantastic ensemble cast including Neil Maskell as Colin who gathers his family for New Years Eve. This year he’s hired a lavish country manner. However as the family arrives,, and rooms are allocated it’s clear it will take more than a stunning setting to reunite this family. The four hour drive to the homestead has already annoyed several family members. His mother trips on the way in and threatens to sue the owner who just happens to be on site to help set up the party. Colin’s sister Gini (Squires) has invited their black-sheep brother David (Sam Riley) whom Colin hasn’t seen for five years. David arrives with his new wife. There’s the delightful Uncle Bertie (Charles Dance) who, given the family’s reaction, has obviously reclaimed his feminine side many years prior. We also met Sham who has gate crashed the party in the hope of winning back his ex-girlfriend Lainey who is doing the catering. The sense of watching an unavoidable train wreck will have you glued to the screen. Maskell is great to watch as things escalate. We learn the difference between what’s right versus what you want, that criticism isn’t action, action is action and that maybe your own family isn’t so bad. After such a great lead in the end does however the end falls a little flat. 3 stars.
TIPS for other movies in the festival are:
- Aside from the usual string of great British dramas, comedies and documentaries the 2019 MINI British Film Festival includes a retrospective on one of the most bankable actresses, Dame Helen Mirren. Amongst these is the highly anticipated film THE GOOD LIAR magnificent lead performances by Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Ian McKellen.
- FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS tells the true story of the part-time Cornish sea shanty group that hit the big time. It sounds like fun.
- LIAM GALLAGHER: AS IT WAS a revealing and entertaining expedition from the wilderness of booze and legal battles to his attempt to stage the greatest comeback in rock history.
- OFFICIAL SECRETS: A stellar cast lead by Keira Knightly feature in a superb true-life political thriller about an accused British whistle-blower who leaked information about the Iraqi invasion.
- THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN: Based on the worldwide best-selling novel by Simon Winchester, and starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn, this dramatic biopic is an extraordinary true tale of madness, genius, and obsession about two remarkable men who created history with the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary.
- OLD BOYS: A boarding school comedy set in the 1980s, where unspoken crushes and social battles rule supreme. Amberson, a gawky, arty boy who has been at the bottom of the social ladder of Caldermount school since he can recall. Unexpectedly, he finds himself playing matchmaker for Winchester, the school’s popular sporting hero, and the achingly cool Agnes.
For updates and more information, visit britishfilmfestival.com.au