Film Review – CARRY ON HENRY (1971)

Carry On Henry (1971) | Ian FarringtonCARRY ON HENRY (1971, UK) ***½
Comedy
dist. J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors; pr co. The Rank Organisation / Peter Rogers Productions; d. Gerald Thomas; w. Talbot Rothwell; pr. Peter Rogers; ph. Alan Hume (Colour. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); m. Eric Rogers; ed. Alfred Roome; ad. Lionel Couch; cos. Courtenay Elliott; m/up. Geoffrey Rodway, Stella Rivers; sd. Ken Barker, Danny Daniel (Mono); rel. 3 June 1971 (UK), 17 March 1972 (USA); cert: PG; r/t. 89m.

cast: Sidney James (King Henry VIII), Kenneth Williams (Thomas Cromwell), Charles Hawtrey (Sir Roger de Lodgerley), Joan Sims (Queen Marie), Terry Scott (Cardinal Wolsey), Barbara Windsor (Bettina), Kenneth Connor (Lord Hampton of Wick), Julian Holloway (Sir Thomas), Peter Gilmore (King Francis of France), Julian Orchard (Duc de Poncenay), Gertan Klauber (Bidet), David Davenport (Major Domo), Margaret Nolan (Buxom Lass), William Mervyn (Physician), Norman Chappell (First Plotter), Derek Francis (Farmer), Bill Maynard (Guy Fawkes), Douglas Ridley (Second Plotter), David Prowse (Bearded Torturer), Monika Dietrich (Katherine Howard), Marjie Lawrence (Serving Maid), Patsy Rowlands (Queen), Billy Cornelius (Guard), Alan Curtis (Conte di Pisa), Leon Greene (Torturer), Peter Butterworth (Charles, Earl of Bristol (uncredited)).

Henry VIII (James) has just married Marie of Normandy (Sims) and is eager to consummate their marriage. Unfortunately for Henry, she is always eating garlic, and refuses to stop. Deciding to get rid of her in his usual manner, Henry has to find some way of doing it without provoking war with Marie’s cousin, the King of France (Gilmore). The perfect casting of James as Henry VIII and a script that has some genuinely funny one-liners alongside the usual double-entendres makes this historical farce is one of the best of the series. Sims, as Henry’s the garlic eating French wife, and Williams, as Cromwell, offer excellent support. Hawtrey also gives one of his most memorable turns as the king’s taster. Good production values through use of wardrobe from ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS.

Film Review – CARRY ON ABROAD (1972)

Carry On Abroad (movie poster).jpgCARRY ON ABROAD (1972, UK) **½
Comedy
dist. J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors; pr co. The Rank Organisation / Peter Rogers Productions; d. Gerald Thomas; w. Talbot Rothwell; pr. Peter Rogers; ph. Alan Hume (Colour. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); m. Eric Rogers; ed. Alfred Roome; ad. Lionel Couch; cos. Courtenay Elliott; m/up. Geoffrey Rodway, Stella Rivers; sd. Ken Barker, Taffy Haines (Mono); rel. 15 December 1972 (UK), 8 December 1973 (USA); cert: PG; r/t. 88m.

cast: Sidney James (Vic Flange), Kenneth Williams (Stuart Farquhar), Charles Hawtrey (Eustace Tuttle), Joan Sims (Cora Flange), Bernard Bresslaw (Brother Bernard), Barbara Windsor (Sadie Tomkins), Kenneth Connor (Stanley Blunt), Peter Butterworth (Pepe), Jimmy Logan (Bert Conway), June Whitfield (Evelyn Blunt), Hattie Jacques (Floella), Derek Francis (Brother Martin), Sally Geeson (Lily), Ray Brooks (Georgio), Carol Hawkins (Marge), John Clive (Robin), Jack Douglas (Harry), Patsy Rowlands (Miss Dobbs), Gail Grainger (Moira Plunkett), David Kernan (Nicholas), Amelia Bayntun (Mrs. Tuttle), Alan Curtis (Police Chief), Gertan Klauber (Postcard Seller), Brian Osborne (Stall-Holder), Hugh Futcher (Jailer), Olga Lowe (Madame Fifi).

A group of holiday-makers head for the Spanish resort of Elsbels for a 4-day visit. When they get there, they find the Hotel still hasn’t been finished being built, and the weather is awful. And there is something strange about the staff. They all look very similar. To top it all off, the weather seems to be having an adverse affect on the Hotel’s foundations. The usual array of smutty jokes and slapstick humour is trotted out as the crew embark on a disastrous packaged holiday. Strong points are James’ permanent cheerfulness and Jacques’ temperamental Spanish hotel chef. Entertaining if it catches you in the right mood, but not up with the series’ best. The last film in the series to feature regular Hawtrey.

Film Review – CARRY ON CAMPING (1969)

Carry On Camping - WikipediaCARRY ON CAMPING (1969, UK) ***
Comedy
dist. J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors; pr co. The Rank Organisation / Peter Rogers Productions; d. Gerald Thomas; w. Talbot Rothwell; pr. Peter Rogers; ph. Ernest Steward (Eastmancolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); m. Eric Rogers; ed. Alfred Roome; ad. Lionel Couch; cos. Yvonne Caffin; m/up. Geoffrey Rodway, Stella Rivers; sd. Ken Barker, Bill Daniels (Mono); rel. 29 May 1969 (UK), 20 June 1969 (USA); cert: PG; r/t. 88m.

cast: Sidney James (Sid Boggle), Charles Hawtrey (Charlie Muggins), Joan Sims (Joan Fussey), Kenneth Williams (Doctor Kenneth Soaper), Terry Scott (Peter Potter), Barbara Windsor (Babs), Hattie Jacques (Miss Haggard), Bernard Bresslaw (Bernie Lugg), Julian Holloway (Jim Tanner), Dilys Laye (Anthea Meeks), Peter Butterworth (Josh Fiddler), Betty Marsden (Harriet Potter), Trisha Noble (Sally), Brian Oulton (Mr. Short), Derek Francis (Farmer), Elizabeth Knight (Jane), Sandra Caron (Fanny), Georgina Moon (Joy), Jennifer Pyle (Hilda), Jackie Poole (Betty), Sally Kemp (Girl with Cow), Amelia Bayntun (Mrs. Fussey), Patricia Franklin (Farmer’s Daughter), Michael Nightingale (Man in Cinema), George Moon (Scrawny Man), Valerie Shute (Pat), Vivien Lloyd (Verna), Lesley Duff (Norma), Anna Karen (Hefty Girl), Valerie Leon (Miss Dobbin).

Sid (James) and Bernie (Bresslaw) keep having their amorous intentions snubbed by their girlfriends Joan (Sims) and Anthea (Laye). The boys suggest a camping holiday, secretly intending to take them to a nudist camp. Of course, they end up in the wrong place. Packed with the usual jokes, mostly double entendre, this series entry benefits from the enthusiastic performances of its cast, which still manages to shine through, despite the late Autumn shoot and modest budget. All the regulars adopt their familiar personas and the film is great fun alternating laughs and groans. Memorable for Windsor losing her top through the morning stretch exercises and Jacques’ pursuit of Williams. Last series appearance of Laye.

Film Review – DECK THE HALLS (2006)

Deck The Halls Review | Movie - EmpireDECK THE HALLS (2006, USA) **
Comedy, Family
dist. Twentieth Century Fox; pr co. New Regency Productions (/ Corduroy Films / All Lit Up Productions; d. John Whitesell; w. Matt Corman, Chris Ord, Don Rhymer; exec pr. Jeremiah Samuels; pr. Michael Costigan, Arnon Milchan, John Whitesell; ph. Mark Irwin (DeLuxe. 35mm. Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Super 35 (3-perf) (source format). 1.85:1); m. George S. Clinton; m sup. Patrick Houlihan; ed. Paul Hirsch, James Start; pd. Bill Brzeski; ad. Dan Hermansen; set d. Tedd Kuchera; cos. Carol Ramsey; m/up. Lisa Love, Anji Bemben; sd. Jon Johnson (Dolby Digital | DTS); sfx. Chris Sturges; vfx. Thomas F. Ford IV, Matthew Gratzner, Bob Hurrie, Michael Joyce, Ray McIntyre Jr., David Sanger; st. Charles Croughwell, Danny Virtue; rel. 22 November 2006 (USA), 1 December 2006 (UK); cert: PG; r/t. 93m.

cast: Danny DeVito (Buddy Hall), Matthew Broderick (Steve Finch), Kristin Davis (Kelly Finch), Kristin Chenoweth (Tia Hall), Alia Shawkat (Madison Finch), Dylan Blue (Carter Finch), Kelly Aldridge (Ashley Hall), Sabrina Aldridge (Emily Hall), Jorge Garcia (Wallace), Fred Armisen (Gustave), Gillian Vigman (Gerta), Ryan Devlin (Bob Murray), Sean O’Bryan (Mayor Young), SuChin Pak (Self), Jackie Burroughs (Mrs. Ryor), Garry Chalk (Sheriff Dave), Nicola Peltz (Mackenzie), Zak Santiago (Fireworks Guy), David Lewis (Ted), Daniel Bacon (Ed).

DeVito and Broderick have it out after one of them decorates his house for the holidays so brightly that it can be seen from space. This is an often painfully unfunny and mean-spirited movie that falls flat with most of its intended gags. A threadbare script, unsubtle direction and unlikeable character performances from both male leads drag this seasonal film down. Occasional glimpses of a better movie do emerge from time to time, notably in Chenoweth’s nicely judged performance as DeVito’s wife, but these moments are dwarfed by the unsubtle and heavily manufactured tit-for-tat comedy that can look no further than trying to generate big laughs through increasingly exaggerated scenarios.

Film Review – SMALL TIME CROOKS (2000)

Small Time Crooks (2000) - Photo Gallery - IMDbSMALL TIME CROOKS (2000, USA) ***½
Comedy, Crime
dist. DreamWorks Distribution (USA), FilmFour (UK); pr co. Dreamworks Pictures / Sweetland Films / Magnolia Productions; d. Woody Allen; w. Woody Allen; exec pr. J.E. Beaucaire; pr. Jean Doumanian, Helen Robin; ph. Fei Zhao (Technicolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); ed. Alisa Lepselter; pd. Santo Loquasto; ad. Tom Warren; set d. Jessica Lanier; cos. Suzanne McCabe; m/up. Rosemary Zurlo, Werner Sherer; sd. Robert Hein, Gary Alper (DTS (Mono) | Dolby Digital (Mono)); sfx. John Ottesen, Ron Ottesen; rel. 19 May 2000 (USA), 1 December 2000 (UK); cert: PG; r/t. 94m.

cast: Woody Allen (Ray), Tracey Ullman (Frenchy), Hugh Grant (David), Elaine May (May), Tony Darrow (Tommy), George Grizzard (George Blint), Jon Lovitz (Benny), Michael Rapaport (Denny), Elaine Stritch (Chi Chi Potter), Steve Kroft (Steve Kroft), Brian McConnachie (Paul Milton), Kristine Nielsen (Emily Bailey), Larry Pine (Charles Bailey), Julie Lund (Linda Rhinelander), Maurice Sonnenberg (Garth Steinway), Richard Mawe (Anthony Gwynne), Frank Wood (Oliver), Howard Erskine (Langston Potter), Marvin Chatinover (Dr. Henske), Dana Tyler (TV News Reporter), Carolyn Saxon (Candy Salesperson), Sam Josepher (Real Estate Agent), Lawrence Howard Levy (Dynamite Dealer), Diane Bradley (Cookie Store Customer), Crystal Field (Cookie Store Customer), Cindy Carver (Cookie Store Customer), Ray Garvey (Cookie Store Customer), Bill Gerber (Cookie Store Customer), Olivia Hayman (Cookie Store Customer), Laurine Towler (Cookie Store Customer), Fanda Nikic (Cookie Store Customer), Brian Markinson (Cop), Riccardo Bertoni (Winklers’ Butler), Isaac Mizrahi (Winklers’ Chef), Teri Black (Winkler Party Guest), John Doumanian (Winkler Party Guest), Phyllis Burdoe (Winkler Party Guest), Karla Wolfangle (Modern Dance Performer), Rob Besserer (Modern Dance Performer), Ruth Laredo (Concert Pianist), Julie Halston (Concert Party Guest), Anthony Sinopoli (Frenchy’s Chauffeur), Jesse Levy (Church Cellist), Josephine Calabrese (Churchgoer), Cindy Wilks (Churchgoer), Trevor Moran (Churchgoer), Peter McRobbie (Frenchy’s Lawyer), Douglas McGrath (Frenchy’s Lawyer), Christine Pipgras (Potter Party Guest), Nick Garfinkle (Potter Party Guest), Kenneth Edelson (Potter Party Guest), Ira Wheeler (Potter Party Guest), William Hill (Potter Party Guest), Ramsey Faragallah (Potter’s Waiter), Scotty Bloch (Edgar’s Wife).

Dishwasher and small-fry criminal Ray (Allen) hits on a plan with his partners in crime to re-open a local pizza place and dig through to the bank down the street. As his wife (Ullman) can’t cook pizza but does great cookies, that’s what they sell. While the no-hope tunnellers get lost underground, the cookie operation really takes off and the team find themselves rich business people. But the other local money isn’t quite ready to accept them.  The first half of this movie sees Allen in top form interacting with his bumbling team of bank robbers and sparring amusingly with the excellent Ullman as his cookie baking wife. Then there is a shift in gear and theme as Allen’s tale becomes more concerned in its message that class cannot be bought or stolen. Here, Grant is brought in as an art dealer seizing on the opportunity to educate Ullman and Allen in return for them funding his business plans. May is also on hand as Ullman’s dim-witted hired help and produces a very funny performance. Whilst disjointed, with some of the characters from the first two acts disappearing in the final act, there are great comedic moments, and it is nice to see Allen looking for a change of pace with a broader approach in this film. For the most part it pays off.

Film Review – ANNIE HALL (1977)

Pulling Focus: Annie Hall (1977) | Taste Of Cinema - Movie Reviews and  Classic Movie ListsANNIE HALL (1977, USA) *****
Comedy, Drama, Romance
dist. United Artists; pr co. Rollins-Joffe Productions; d. Woody Allen; w. Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman; exec pr. Fred T. Gallo, Robert Greenhut; pr. Jack Rollins, Charles H. Joffe; assoc pr. Fred T. Gallo; ph. Gordon Willis (DeLuxe. 35mm. Spherical. 1.85:1); ed. Wendy Greene Bricmont, Ralph Rosenblum; ad. Mel Bourne; set d. Robert Drumheller, Justin Scoppa Jr.; cos. Ruth Morley; m/up. Fern Buchner, John Inzerella, Romaine Greene, Vivienne Walker; sd. Dan Sable, Jack Higgins, James Pilcher, James Sabat (Mono); anim seq. Chris K. Ishii; rel. 27 March 1977 (USA), 21 August 1977 (UK); cert: 15; r/t. 93m.

cast: Woody Allen (Alvy Singer), Diane Keaton (Annie Hall), Tony Roberts (Rob), Carol Kane (Allison), Paul Simon (Tony Lacey), Shelley Duvall (Pam), Janet Margolin (Robin), Colleen Dewhurst (Mom Hall), Christopher Walken (Duane Hall), Donald Symington (Dad Hall), Helen Ludlam (Grammy Hall), Mordecai Lawner (Alvy’s Dad), Joan Neuman (Alvy’s Mom), Jonathan Munk (Alvy – Age 9), Ruth Volner (Alvy’s Aunt), Martin Rosenblatt (Alvy’s Uncle), Hy Anzell (Joey Nichols), Rashel Novikoff (Aunt Tessie), Russell Horton (Man in Theatre Line), Marshall McLuhan (Marshall McLuhan), Christine Jones (Dorrie), Mary Boylan (Miss Reed), Wendy Girard (Janet), John Doumanian (Coke Fiend), Bob Maroff (Man #1 Outside Theatre), Rick Petrucelli (Man #2 Outside Theatre), Lee Callahan (Ticket Seller at Theatre), Chris Gampel (Doctor).

Jewish comedy writer Alvy Singer (Allen) ponders the modern quest for love and his past romance with tightly-wound WASP singer Annie Hall (Diane Keaton, née Diane Hall). Allen is at the top of his game with this painfully accurate and funny look at the break-up of a relationship. The movie caught everyone by surprise on release, following a string of hilarious joke fests, but the seeds had been sown with his acting role in Martin Ritt’s THE FRONT and his willingness to explore bigger themes in LOVE AND DEATH. Keaton as Annie is exceptional and exudes charm and personality as well as a neurosis equalling that of Allen. It is the couple’s inner-most insecurities that doom their relationship to failure. This is eloquently expressed through the non-linear narrative, frequent breaking of the fourth wall and the use of flashback to childhood influences. The move also has some very touching moments amongst the brilliant one-liners. Of note are Keaton’s rendition of “Seems Like Old Times” in  a nightclub and the Allen’s use of montage to frame the rose-tinted nostalgia for his lost love. One of the greatest films of the 1970s and a huge inspiration to other filmmakers. Watch out for brief early appearances from Jeff Goldblum, Shelley Hack, Beverly D’Angelo and Sigourney Weaver. Truman Capote cameos as the Truman Capote Look-Alike.

AA: Best Picture; Best Actress in a Leading Role (Diane Keaton); Best Director (Woody Allen); Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman)
AAN: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Woody Allen)

Film Review – THE LIKELY LADS (1976)

The Likely Lads writers on lost episodes rediscovered, and why the ...THE LIKELY LADS (1976, UK) ***
Comedy
dist. Anglo-EMI Film Distributors; pr co. Anglo-EMI Productions; d. Michael Tuchner; w. Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais; exec pr. Nat Cohen, Philip Collins; pr. Aida Young; ph. Tony Imi (Technicolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.66:1); m. Mike Hugg; ed. Ralph Sheldon; ad. Robert Jones; cos. Emma Porteous; m/up. Neville Smallwood, Jan Dorman; sd. Kevin Sutton (Mono); rel. 2 April 1976 (UK); cert: PG; r/t. 90m.

cast: Rodney Bewes (Bob Ferris), James Bolam (Terry Collier), Brigit Forsyth (Thelma Ferris), Mary Tamm (Christina), Sheila Fearn (Audrey Collier), Zena Walker (Laura Windsor), Anulka Dziubinska (Dawn Windsor), Alun Armstrong (Tommy – Milkman), Judy Buxton (Iris), Vicki Michelle (Glenys), Penny Irving (Sandy), Michelle Newell (Alice), Susan Tracy (Edith Collier), Gordon Griffin (Cyril Collier), Edward Wilson (Les Ferris), Roger Avon (Joe the Landlord), Ronald Lacey (Ernie), Elizabeth Lax (Wendy – Bob’s Secretary), Linda Robson (Marsha), Ian McDiarmid (Vicar).

This spin-off from the successful TV series sees childhood pals Bewes and Bolam (as Bob and Terry) at their bickering best as Bewes attempts to come to terms with some form of mid-life crisis. Forsyth is also excellent as Bewes’ manipulative wife, Thelma, striving to find a long-term partner for Bolam. The film is episodic and allows room for the lead characters’ witty philosophical reflections on life. However, it gets caught between two stools by trying to capture the intimacy of its TV roots whilst expanding the setting with a mid-story disastrous caravan holiday. That said there is always a laugh around the corner. Attempts at broader bedroom farce are beneath the rest of the material and seem merely included to appeal to fans of many of the British sex comedies of the day. The film is at its best in its moments of nostalgia. Patchy but entertaining.

Film Review – A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK (2019)

Elle Fanning and Timothée Chalamet in A Rainy Day in New York (2019)A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK (USA, 2019) **½
      Distributor: Signature Entertainment (UK); Production Company: Gravier Productions / Perdido Productions; Release Date: 26 July 2019 (Poland), 5 June 2020 (UK – internet); Filming Dates: began 11 September 2017; Running Time: 92m; Colour: Colour; Sound Mix: DTS (DTS: X) | Dolby Atmos | Dolby Digital; Film Format: D-Cinema; Film Process: Digital Intermediate (4K) (master format), F65 RAW (4K) (source format); Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1; BBFC Cert: 12.
      Director: Woody Allen; Writer: Woody Allen; Executive Producer: Ronald L. Chez, Howard E. Fischer, Adam B. Stern; Producer: Erika Aronson, Letty Aronson; Director of Photography: Vittorio Storaro; Film Editor: Alisa Lepselter; Casting Director: Patricia DiCerto; Production Designer: Santo Loquasto; Set Decorator: Sarah Dennis; Costumes: Suzy Benzinger; Make-up: Stacey Panepinto; Sound: Robert Hein.
      Cast: Timothée Chalamet (Gatsby), Elle Fanning (Ashleigh), Selena Gomez (Chan), Jude Law (Ted Davidoff), Liev Schreiber (Roland Pollard), Diego Luna (Francisco Vega), Suzanne Smith (Roland’s Assistant), Olivia Boreham-Wing (Roland’s Assistant), Ben Warheit (Alvin Troller), Griffin Newman (Josh), Gus Birney (Student Film Crew), Elijah Boothe (Student Film Crew), Will Rogers (Hunter), Annaleigh Ashford (Lily), Frank Marzullo (Screening Room Tech), Kirby Mitchell (Bartender), Rebecca Hall (Connie), Mary Boyer (Aunt Grace), Ted Neustadt (Uncle Tyler), Dylan Prince (Studio Guard).
      Synopsis: Two young people arrive in New York for a weekend where they are met with bad weather and a series of adventures.
      Comment: Allen returns to modern-day New York for his latest romantic comedy, but the setting and the characters are at odds. The movie plays like it should be set in the 1940s or 1950s, with its references to the great American songbook and the ideals expressed an anachronism coming from its college student lead characters. The themes explored are nothing new for Allen, who looks at self-obsessed individuals trying to find a romantic pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The story fails to come alive as we cannot buy into the characters as anything but a contrivance to work on their angsts. Along the way, there are witty lines and Fanning has the charm of a Diane Keaton. Chalamet also does his best to breathe life into his character, but we can never really buy into his emotional baggage. At 84 years old and with more than 50 movies under his belt maybe Allen has likely said all he has to say and therefore repetition of themes and stories is inevitable. Here, however, in his attempt to freshen up his approach his use of young characters is a mistake. Allen cannot write dialogue that feels authentic spoken by the modern generation. He would be best to stick to either using older characters or choosing a period setting.

Film Review – THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (2015)

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' Begins the New WFS SeasonTHE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (UK/USA, 2015) ***
      Distributor: 20th Century Fox (UK) / Fox Searchlight Pictures (USA); Production Company: Blueprint Pictures; Release Date: 26 February 2015 (UK), 6 March 2015 (USA); Filming Dates: began 10 January 2014; Running Time: 122m; Colour: Colour; Sound Mix: Dolby Digital; Film Format: 35 mm (anamorphic) (Kodak Vision 2383), D-Cinema; Film Process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), F65 RAW (4K) (source format); Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; BBFC Cert: PG.
      Director: John Madden; Writer: Ol Parker (based on a story by Ol Parker and John Madden); Executive Producer: Michael Dreyer, Jonathan King, John Madden, Jeff Skoll; Producer: Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin; Associate Producer: Tabrez Noorani; Director of Photography: Ben Smithard; Music Composer: Thomas Newman; Film Editor: Victoria Boydell; Casting Director: Michelle Guish, Seher Latif; Production Designer: Martin Childs; Art Director: Dilip More; Set Decorator: Ed Turner; Costumes: Alison Lewis, Riyaz Ali Merchant; Make-up: Daniel Phillips; Sound: Ian Wilson; Visual Effects: Fay McConkey, Thomas Proctor, Emma Moffat.
      Cast: Judi Dench (Evelyn Greenslade), Maggie Smith (Muriel Donnelly), Bill Nighy (Douglas Ainslie), Dev Patel (Sonny Kapoor), Richard Gere (Guy Chambers), Celia Imrie (Madge Hardcastle), Ronald Pickup (Norman Cousins), Penelope Wilton (Jean Ainslie), Diana Hardcastle (Carol Parr), Tina Desai (Sunaina), Claire Price (Laura Ainslie), Lillete Dubey (Mrs. Kapoor), David Strathairn (Ty Burley), Tamsin Greig (Lavinia Beech), Shazad Latif (Kushal), Rajesh Tailang (Babul), Denzil Smith (Mr. Dharuna), Sid Makkar (Jay), Avijit Dutt (Nimish), Seema Azmi (Anokhi).
      Synopsis: As the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has only a single remaining vacancy – posing a rooming predicament for two fresh arrivals – Sonny pursues his expansionist dream of opening a second hotel.
      Comment: A more-of-the-same sequel, which coasts on the charm and skills of its excellent cast and vibrant locations. The plot lacks originality and veers too far toward a sit-com approach at the expense of depth in characterisation, but the vibe is good. Patel and Smith are looking to expand their hotel business and look for sponsorship from the US. When Gere arrives, Patel believes he is an inspector charged with assessing the business and he goes out of his way to charm him – echoes of Fawlty Towers. The cast is in good form again but has less to get their teeth into here and the film comes across as both unnecessary yet still entertaining.

Film Review – THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (2011)

The-best-exotic-marigold-hotel.jpgTHE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (UK/USA/UAE, 2011) ****
      Distributor: 20th Century Fox; Production Company: Blueprint Pictures; Release Date: 30 November 2011 (Italy), 17 February 2012 (UK), 25 May 2012 (USA); Filming Dates: began 10 October 2010; Running Time: 124m; Colour: DeLuxe; Sound Mix: Dolby | SDDS; Film Format: 35 mm (anamorphic) (Fuji Eterna-CP 3514DI), D-Cinema; Film Process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Super 35 (source format); Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; BBFC Cert: PG-13/12.
      Director: John Madden; Writer: Ol Parker (based on the novel “These Foolish Things” by Deborah Moggach); Executive Producer: Jonathan King, Jeff Skoll, Ricky Strauss; Producer: Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin; Director of Photography: Ben Davis; Music Composer: Thomas Newman; Film Editor: Chris Gill; Casting Director: Michelle Guish, Seher Latif; Production Designer: Alan Macdonald; Art Director: Peter Francis; Set Decorator: Tina Jones; Costumes: Louise Stjernsward; Make-up: Beverley Binda; Sound: Ian Wilson; Special Effects: Shiva Nanda; Visual Effects: Karen Clarke, Fay McConkey.
      Cast: Judi Dench (Evelyn Greenslade), Bill Nighy (Douglas Ainslie), Dev Patel (Sonny Kapoor), Tom Wilkinson (Graham Dashwood), Maggie Smith (Muriel Donnelly), Penelope Wilton (Jean Ainslie), Ronald Pickup (Norman Cousins), Celia Imrie (Madge Hardcastle), Tina Desai (Sunaina), Sid Makkar (Jay), Lillete Dubey (Mrs. Kapoor), Diana Hardcastle (Carol), Seema Azmi (Anokhi), Paul Bhattacharjee (Dr. Ghujarapartidar), Liza Tarbuck (Staff Nurse), Denzil Smith (Viceroy Club Secretary), Honey Chhaya (Young Wasim), Bhuvnesh Shetty (Muriel’s Physiotherapist), Rajendra Gupta (Manoj), Jay Villiers (Evelyn’s Son).
      Synopsis: British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
      Comment: The top-notch cast is the big draw to this adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel “These Foolish Things”. They are helped by a witty script, which manages to navigate the more predictable and familiar elements of the story. A group of elderly Brits each have their own reason for the late-in-the-day change to their lives when they decide to stay at a residential hotel for the elderly in Jaipur, India. the hotel is run by Patel’s dreamer. Once there, each of the residents finds their own way to come to terms with what they had been looking for in the later years of their lives. It is a charming and winning film which coasts on the supremely talented cast and the exotic location. Those looking for more depth, will not find it in abundance here despite the occasional moment of poignancy, but what they will find is an entertainment that has more than enough attraction to win them over. Followed by THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (2015).