Tag Archives: Pierce Brosnan

The Love Punch

When Richard’s company gets bought out by a bigger company, he and his colleagues see their retirement fund disappear overnight. With the prospect of not being able to support his daughter just off to college, Richard (Pierce Brosnan) and his ex-wife, Kate (Emma Thompson) appeal to the young new director who – surprise! – doesn’t give a shit. So they hatch a little plan to steal their money back in the form of the very large diamond lately dangling from his fiancee’s neck.

the_love_punchRichard and Kate, who haven’t spoken much in years, now find themselves travelling to France together to the perfect cover to their crime: the high-society wedding between the director and his blushing bride. Kate gets relegated to some hen party high-jinks while Richard naps, but her intel is good: a foursome from Texas, business partners the director has not yet met in person, are expected to attend. All they need are two more accomplices. So they call up their good suburban neighbours Pen (Celia Imrie) and Jerry (Timothy Spall) who are for some reason pretty game to join in this merry heist.

Then follow the obligatory jokes about retirement-aged folks planning the perfect crime: weak bladders, low endurance, the need for naps, har har har. If you’ve always wanted to see Emma Thompson in Dallas-era hair and a twangy accent, this is your chance. A couple of James Bond references make the movie a little cheeky and the talent between the four leads means an awful lot of charisma. Emma Thompson shines in everything. But this material is beneath her, beneath them all and they can’t save a clunky, predictable scrip that is frankly a little insulting to anyone over the age of 60. And that’s too bad because I really enjoyed director Joel Hopkins’ Last Chance Harvey, also starring Thompson and Dustin Hoffman who enjoy a late-in-life romance. Watch that one instead.

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A Long Way Down

The movie’s opening line, uttered by Pierce Brosnan: “Anyway, to cut a long story short, I decided to kill myself.”

This is a New Year’s movie for everyone who isn’t as bright-eyed and optimistic about 2015 as your typical holiday movie forces you to be.

As a humiliated ex-talk show host recently disowned by his family because of his conviction of a sex crime with an underage girl, Pierce Brosnan’s character trudges resolutely up a very tall building in order to throw himself off but there encounters a pizza delivery man with cancer (Aaron Paul), an overwrought, emotional wreck (Imogen Poots) and an exhausted caregiver (Toni Collette) all with the same intention – to commit suicide.

Imogen Poots is young and upset but the others see quickly that hers is a temporary problem and they work together to stop her attempt and she pays them back by making everyone agree to stay alive until Valentine’s day. They agree but the next six weeks only make their lives more tumultuous as the press gets ahold of their pact and they get dragged into the worst kind of fame.

This movie has a really strong A Long Way Downcast so it’s hard to believe how bad it is. Nick Hornby is often golden at the cinema (About a Boy, High Fidelity), and Johnny Depp snatched up the rights to this novel before it was even published. Having read the book, I knew it didn’t stand up to his other work but still wasn’t prepared to be so underwhelmed by this film.  The movie ricochets between total bleakness and ooey gooey moments it doesn’t quite earn. The actors, to their credit, bring some moments of true emotion to this uneven film but aren’t really able to save it, not even the excellent, bar-raising Toni Collette and the surprisingly good Poots, who are over-directed and under-trusted to do what (it felt to me) their instincts were begging to do. Pascal Chaumeil directs this charmlessly and fails to breathe any life into this story that is about so much more than death.

A Christmas Star

A Christmas Star has some charms, I’ll admit to that.

MV5BMTU3NjQ1MzcwNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTk5NTg2NTE@__V1_UY1200_CR196,0,630,1200_AL_It’s made entirely in the north of Ireland, a Cinemagic project for young people to get experience in the film industry, the amateurs working alongside industry experts, training up the future of Irish film, which is a cool idea and a bit of a Christmas present in and of itself.

The script borrows heavily for typical holiday fare, so you won’t find originality in between the stilted dialogue, but there is a lot of heart.

The children of a small town take on capitalism when the primary industry – the manufacture of snow globes – is being threatened. Led by Noelle, a little girl born on Christmas day who believes she can “do miracles,” the cast of kids is surprisingly adept. James Stockdale, who plays Noelle’s best friend, is a particular stand-out for me. As you know, I am always happy to see different A_Christmas_Star_1_444_288abilities on-screen, especially when the disability is not treated as a novelty. His character just happens to be different but is still 100% part of the group. He isn’t there to be “the disabled one” and Stockdale is a bona fide actor. Christmas miracle? You tell me.

But it’s not just the cast that’s peppered with youth. Over 40 trainee crew aged 18 – 25 were mentored by industry professionals as they worked together on this film, gaining experience in all areas of filmmaking. Mentors included director Richard Elson (M.I. High, Steffi), award-winning film composer Patrick Doyle (Brave, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), music supervisor Maggie Rodford, (The King’s Speech, Anna Karenina), casting directors Hubbard Casting, (The Commitments, Dracula Untold), camera operator, Ian Fox, (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man), producer Iain Smith, (Children of Men, Mad Max: Fury Road) and production manager, Terry Bamber (The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Skyfall), who all took time away from their own shooting schedules to mentor the trainees.

eLib_3309377Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson show up in small roles to add a little credibility to the ensembles, with sprinkles of star power from the likes of Kylie Minogue.

Cinemagic is an international film and television festival for young people and counts Neeson and Brosnan among its patrons. It’s clearly putting its money where its mouth is in putting on productions like this, and I’ll be glad to see more from them in the future.

A Christmas Star will be playing on television this week:

Thurs 24th Dec 4.25pm: UTV Ireland: A Christmas Star
Fri 25th Dec 10.55am: UTV Ireland: A Christmas Star

And I found it on Netflix!