1935. A group of elderly British women, who the Italians have named the Scorpioni, have chosen Italy, specifically Florence, as a place to live to blend their proper British sensibilities ... See full summary »
Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1993 at the time of the heaviest fighting between the two warring sides. Two soldiers from opposing sides in the conflict, Nino and Ciki, become trapped in no man's land, whilst a third soldier becomes a living booby trap.
September of 1944, a few days before Finland went out of the Second World War. A chained to a rock Finnish sniper-kamikadze Veikko managed to set himself free. Ivan, a captain of the Soviet... See full summary »
The story follows an underground weapons manufacturer in Belgrade during WWII and evolves into fairly surreal situations. A black marketeer who smuggles the weapons to partisans doesn't ... See full summary »
When the kinetic Rory moves into his room in the Carrigmore Residential Home for the Disabled, his effect on the home is immediate. Most telling is his friendship with Michael, a young man with cerebral palsy and nearly unintelligible speech. Somehow, Rory understands Michael, and encourages him to experience life outside the confines of home.
A fool and his money. In the 1930s, Adam Fenwick-Symes is part of the English idle class, wanting to marry the flighty Nina Blount. He's a novelist with a hundred-pound advance for a manuscript confiscated by English customs. He spends the next several years trying to get money and to set a wedding date: he trades in gossip, wins money on wagers then gives it to a drunken major who's suggested he bet on a horse in an upcoming race. Adam tries to get the money back, but can't find the major. Meanwhile, Nina needs security, friends drink too much, and general unhappiness spoils the party. Then war breaks out. Is Adam's bright youth dimming with the fall of an empire? Written by
A gramophone record of Noel Coward's "Nina" is played in the section before World War II breaks out. Coward didn't record the song until 1945. See more »
Let me introduce you. That's Mr What's-his-name, and over there in the corner, that's the major... that's an American judge, and there's the King of Pomerania.
King of Anatolia:
Anatolia, actually. But, alas, no more.
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Stephen Fry is such a prodigious polymath that it's no surprise what a good fist he's made of his directorial debut. That's not to say it's wholly successful; the characters are so shallow that it is hard to warm to them, although it should be pointed out that this is not necessarily a fault. Indeed, it's refreshing these days to find a film in which characters are not trying to ingratiate themselves. Emily Mortimer is exempt from this observation in any case, as she's just so adorable - and is it just me or does she look a dead spit for the young Mary Steenburgen?
I found not only the camerawork but the lighting extremely gaudy, sometimes offputtingly so. However, Fry is admirably adventurous in some of his camera sweeps, not playing it safe as some inexperienced directors do.
As to the performances, it is true that Simon Callow hams it up quite outrageously (although he still wrung a couple of chuckles out of me), and I found Michael Sheen's uber-camp queen rather wearing, until his scene at the end which I thought he handled well. I know I'm not the first person to say this, but it bears repetition: Fenella Woolgar is a revelation in this film, conveying the insouciance of the upper class effortlessly (and the scene after the "orgy" with the stern family is priceless). James McEvoy was excellent too.
Oh, and by the way, to whomever described Evelyn Waugh as "herself one of the beauties of the age" - you may have been joking, but in case not, Evelyn Waugh was in fact a curmudgeonly man who would no doubt have snorted to hear himself thus described!
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