|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|Index||23 reviews in total|
I started following Marcus Markou on Twitter when he was getting ready
to film Papadopoulos and Sons and was going to be tweeting about it
along the way. As an aspiring filmmaker, I thought this would be an
interesting feed to follow. And indeed it was. Here we are one year and
a couple months later and Marcus has taken the film to a few film
festivals, screened it a couple times in London and lord knows what
else. Since I don't live in a city where any of these screenings were,
Marcus sent me a screener copy of the film. And these are my thoughts
In a word, I LOVED it!
I had a feeling from the trailers and teasers that Marcus released, that I would like Uncle Spiros and I absolutely adored him. I've checked out George Corraface's IMDb page and I've not seen a single thing he was in, so he was "all new" to me and he was wonderful (the character as well as the actor).
My friend and I noted how much we liked Marcus' script as well. He's a great writer. Nothing ever felt awkward or forced. Very fluid and coherent dialogue throughout. And VERY funny! We had some good laughs, at the dialogue as well as some of the reactions or expressions pulled by some of the actors.
Marcus was very lucky to get a cast of some superb actors. It was about 50/50 on actors I was familiar with, and (most of) those who I wasn't familiar with did a great job. Ed Stoppard was campy and funny. Georgia Groome was snarky and fabulous. Thomas Underhill was a RIOT. And Stephen Dillane.... seriously... seeing him in a comedic role (as well as a couple of VERY moving scenes), just solidifies how multifaceted he really is.
The one that I was most impressed by (which, really, shouldn't shock me at all, given who his dad is), was Frank Dillane (who I'd never seen before). His character was so sweet and charming, and he never missed a beat. More than delivering the lines... he succeeded in delivering the feeling. Just really, really well done, Frank! I hope he's continuing on this track, because that kid definitely has the gene.
I can see why Papadopoulos and Sons won the Audience Choice Award at the Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece. Everyone should be very proud of that. It really is a delightful film. It's honest and beautiful. It's a story everyone should see.
Despite not being anywhere near the league of great film, still it is
one of the better British films of recent times, in the sense that we
get to escape from the council estates and the thugs they supposedly
breed as well as the horrible language that makes one wanting to have a
shower after a screening.
We follow the story of two brothers who migrated from Cyprus to England, one of whom became a millionaire and fully embraced the British ways whilst the other did not do so well and remained faithful to his routes and culture.
There is real warmth conveyed in this film and the importance of family is never underestimated, again a non-entry in many British films. In a short space of time we undergo a journey of emotions, hopes, aspirations and sadness that is a part in an immigrant's life.
A man goes from top to bottom and struggles to come to terms with the new reality of both the situation and the fact that he has to give up his ultra posh life and move to a lower middle class neighbourhood. Whilst we can rush to assume him as a snob, the truth is that he isn't; the issue he has is not so much encountering his brother and the old life, but the fact that as far as he was concerned all this was left behind him and simply moved on to a different place.
Despite the presence of elements that could potentially have made this a gem of a film, somehow it is rather corny (or simply not aimed high enough) and that reduces it to a warming, charming family comedy.
"If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;"
(from 'If' by Rudyard Kipling)
This is a drama, not a comedy. I repeat, this is not a comedy.
This film is a film of our times. Just as is the recent 'Arbitrage' that starred Richard Gere. It could be billed as 'Arbitrage II'. This film though is not a film about the process of a fall but is rather about the aftermath.
Film opens at a very expensive house. The owner of the house also has a very expensive car, and so he should, because he is 'The European Entrepreneur of the Year'. He is Harry Papadopoulos, played by lead male Stephen Dillane. He is a self-made man who has built up his business from small beginnings. He owns popular Greek food brands but as the film opens he is on the verge of his biggest deal yet, a huge property deal. Harry has put a huge amount of borrowed money into this deal. The stock-market crashes, Harry is overextended, the business goes into administration.
Harry has a plan to borrow money to buy back his company but before that can happen his assets are seized. Rather than going through the turmoil of down-sizing, Harry ends up even worse off with no house and no car. The only asset left is his share of a chip-shop. Harry wants to sell this to start to rebuild his business empire. To do this he needs to get his brother to agree to the sale. This chip-shop is disused.
So much for the plot, but this film is not about big business, it's about people, and what people! These people are really not very nice. Harry himself is a pretty miserable, unhappy and unsympathetic figure. His children too are not very nice. There is no warmth here with these characters. They are all cold. Who cares what happens to these people? The film itself seems to be filmed rather darkly, it is not bright or light. The acting too in these early scenes seems wooden and characters seem exaggerated stereotypes.
All this changes with the entrance of Georges Corraface playing the brother Spiros Papadopolous. Now the film comes alive. Spiros is larger-than-life and a complete contrast to his bland brother Harry. While we dislike the miserable Harry, Spiros we love.
Harry is unhappy that the family has to live in the flat above the disused chip shop, while he tries to refinance his business empire. Harry is unhappy because after losing his heap of winnings, he has to start again at his beginnings, and this he does, but he does not remain silent about it.
This film is set in London, a melting-pot of immigrants. Harry with his cockney accent, is, like his brother Spiros, Greek. Now Harry has returned to the working-class area of his youth and he hates it. The themes of ethnicity, immigration and assimilation are explored as are those of being middle-class and working-class. This is a dysfunctional family with problems, now newly thrust into an old environment. Aspects of these themes are shown, sometimes with very little touches, that illustrate the changes in lifestyles. Film locations were perfect.
As said, in the earlier scenes the acting was rather wooden. The corporate figures exaggerated. This though is not important, as what this film is about, is the family. The cold air of earlier warms up. Some nice Greek music is introduced. The two brothers are played well by the two actors. Dillane playing the cold Harry has perhaps the hardest role. Corraface playing Spiros gives a tremendous performance. The children, who start this film doing some of the most irritating scenes, end up doing some rather poignant ones. All three did well.
This film is rated 15 in the UK. This is due to the bad language. Apart from children, this film with its themes of class, family and ethnicity will appeal to all. No laughs, but it is touching and thoughtful. A good film, thus 8/10.
I saw a preview during Dinard Festival. Didn't know the movie before
entering the theater, and was here mostly for the after party. Well,
the movie was - way - better than the cocktail.
It's a conventional movie about change of fortune, and joy in small things. With good writing, perfect acting from Stephen Dillane and the supporting cast (great George Corraface !) and good editing, it turns a well known theme into a great movie.
The script is well written, offering many scenes where Dillane and Corraface can express their talent. I thought about "We bought a Zoo" after watching "Papadopoulos&Sons". I might think Papadoulos was better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What do Papadopoulos & Sons and Movie 43 have in common? They provoke
exactly the same number of laughs i.e. none!
I'm not going to dress it up; Papadopoulos & Sons is a terrible film. Yes, it improves on Movie 43 in that it does at least have a plot and it isn't horrible, but that's hardly a selling point.
Harry Papadoploulos (Stephen Dillane) is a Greek, self-made millionaire. The economy crumbles, the bank calls in a £300 million (!) loan and five minutes later he's lost his food company, his mansion and his assets; everything, except a derelict fish and chip shop that he co-owns with his estranged, wayward brother, Spiros (Georges Corraface). Guess what the penniless man and his polar-opposite brother do next? Guess which life lessons we are be bashed about the head with in the process? Can you spot the subtlety? Nope. Neither can I!
Everything is played out in the most obvious manner, it is entirely predictable, almost entirely implausible and frequently possible to predict the next lines. There is no sense of realty and the criminal responsible, writer/director/producer/actor Markus Markou (director of The Last Temptation of Christ no, not that one, just a short with a stolen title) appears to have no idea either how to salvage this mess, or that he has a mess in dire need of salvaging.
What the hell is Stephen Dillane doing in this? He isn't Greek and he doesn't look or sound Greek. For that matter neither do either of Harry's sons. And as we are told that Harry's late wife was English, why does his daughter look Greek? Did Markou forget to tell us Harry's wife shacked up with Spiros? The only two family members who look even vaguely similar are Harry and eldest son, Frank (James Dillane yes, well spotted!), and, funnily enough, they are the only actors who emerge with any dignity.
Dillane is a fine actor with a body of work that includes the excellent Welcome to Sarajevo and Zero Dark Thirty, so what is he doing in this mess? Was it the only opportunity to work with his son? Both Dillanes try hard but they're paddling up stream. Everybody else seems to be acting in completely different films with varying degrees of panto-style performances. Corraface is so horribly over the top that most of the audience (all seven of us) cringed every time he laughed falsely or, worse still, attempted sincerity. As for the youngest son, Theo (Thomas Underhill), he was clearly bred in a petri dish in Hogwarts and has evolved into a horrible pastiche of Harry Potter decked out in dickie bow and a please-slap-me-repeatedly persona. Ghastly!
Virtually every character is written as a joke or inflated so heavily they bounce around the film smashing everything of decency around them. A supposedly hysterical gay couple charged with repossessing the mansion sets gay equality back thirty years, while the reason we know Sophie (Cosima Shaw) is the accountant with integrity is nothing to do with her acting (she can't), but purely because her boss, Rob (Ed Stoppard), is such a gargantuan prick. Oh, the pain.
Markou is clueless and, even if has worked out his screenplay stinks, he is powerless to do anything about it. You know when a director is out of his/her depth when s/he resorts to an elongated montage. In Papadopoulos & Sons Markous gives us two!
At 109 minutes, we feel every single one of them. There is no pace. The fault of both director and editor, there are pauses the size of small countries, rendering any hope of comedy through timing utterly futile.
When the mind wanders and you look along the floor for rats in the cinema to spice up the experience, all hope is gone and every error upon the screen is so jarring it might just as well be highlighted in neon and underscored with a comedy drumroll:
The sound mix in one scene is so poor the entire audience (six of us by this time) leant forward to hear better.
The stock footage of St Thomas' hospital is a completely different colour to the rest of the film!
The tax disc on the van expires in September 2010. Either it's illegal or, more likely, it took three years to get this film on the screens, which tells you a great deal.
The auction sign is nailed to the front door instead of the lawn at the front of the long drive.
The gardener is chastised to using the front entrance but his wellies are spotless, not a speck of mud on them nor a smudge of dirt on the floor and yet he's been working all day.
Where are the food factories? Did they cease trading and evaporate on one day? What about the actual production of fish and chips? We are meant to believe the shop has been running for months but only in the final 15 minutes do we see any evidence of this. When Markou finally does get around to showing us the hugely successful business, there are twice as many staff members as there are customers (4:2).
Not even the end is a relief. Markou has clearly attempted something rousing along the lines of Slumdog Millionaire but instead produces a scene that embarrasses (some) actors and audience alike. As with virtually every other scene, he doesn't know when to edit. Hell, he doesn't know how to stop and relies on the credits to finally put us out of our misery.
Oh, there is some good music.
Mystifyingly, Papadopoulos & Sons won the audience award at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. I can only assume it was up against Movie 43 and the audience consisted of Markou's mum.
For more reviews from The Squiss, subscribe to my blog and like the Facebook page.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was invited to a preview screening of Papadopoulos & Sons and went
without any expectations one way or the other. The narrative is
deceptively simple but hides a surprising number of subtexts that
reveal themselves through the compact running time.
One one level, it's a straightforward recession era story of a family's struggle in dramatically reduced economic circumstances. The Greek diaspora background adds poignancy given that country's particularly fragile position within the economic crisis, but also adds a more mythological framework as a particularly ancient Greek style familial tragicomedy plays out with an onlooking comic chorus of London types from Kebab shop owners to asset stripping loss adjusters.
Deep down it is a warm hearted and unashamedly sentimental British family drama, albeit distinctively shot through with a Mediterranean sense of fable. A likable ensemble cast and an unobtrusive camera guide you through with a smile on your face.
I thoroughly enjoyed this life affirming, heart warming, very funny film. Great to see someone broaching big subjects (financial collapse, Greece/Turkey, business competition vs co-operation) with humor, warmth and compassion. A clever story too. Stephen Dillane is pitch perfect and eminently watchable. Great performances all round, actually. I hope that this gets a major release in this country. Too many of these low budget gems never get proper distribution. I saw another great film Hassan and Morcos at the London Film Festival a few years back and that hasn't been released here as far as I know and that was also excellent. How can we get more quality comedies like this into our high street cinemas?
Nice camera-work but the lack of storyline severely limits this film's
potential. Although it looks good the story never really develops and
there are huge leaps of both imagination and plot.
At times there is a strong flavour of the work of Mike Leigh but this cannot detract from the fact that the film itself is so boring. It is so slowly paced, there is so little in the story for one to feel empathy for the characters and the story itself is so stilted that you are left checking how much more of the film there is to endure barely half an hour into it.
Very unsatisfying fare. Like cutting into crispy batter to find no fish inside.
I have been told I am the worst person to watch a film at the cinema with, I have a movie watching attention span and patience of a nat, constantly clarifying what's going on and regularly leaving half way through as I have just not been captivated enough. Imagine my surprise when I watched a movie that I viewed in its entirety, with very little clarification and on finishing watching the film, wanted to watch it again and again! The goofy feel good feeling you get on watching the film is something you want to experience again and want others to experience. The message you take away from it have never been more important. I am eagerly awaiting the production of the DVD so I can send it to everyone who I've been raving about the film to! Its pure magic.
Greetings again from the darkness. There is always a risk in stamping a
movie with a particular label ... "Greek" in this case. It can limit
the audience to which it appeals, if there are too many in-jokes or
cultural references. Writer/director Marcus Markou offers up a terrific
little story that most can enjoy. It's certainly not at the level of
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding", but it's charming and entertaining enough.
Stephen Dillane stars as Harry, a self-made millionaire who loses everything during a financial market collapse. You will recognize Mr. Dillane as Thomas Jefferson from the HBO mini-series "John Adams". Here he plays a single dad to 3 kids: a stuttering plant loving son, a pop star-wannabe teenager daughter, and nerdy young son with a penchant for picking stock trends. Joining them is screen veteran Selina Cadell as the housekeeper/nanny. The crisis sends the family back into the life of Harry's brother Spiros, and they proceed to re-build the old family business ... Three Brother Fish & Chips.
Sure, it's a formulaic story, but the characters are interesting enough and Uncle Spiros is so full of life and spirit that he can't help but get you excited for this second chance. Watching the family re-connect with each other and their past is not just pleasant, but also well presented. Mr. Dillane is wonderful as the uppity millionaire type, however, when he gives his hospital soliloquy regarding never feeling "so alive", I do wish we had actually seen more proof of that.
While I most enjoyed the interactions between Harry and Spiros, the two musical/photo medleys seemed to interfere with the flow ... rather than shortcuts, they proved a bit annoying. However, it's always refreshing to see a movie where a family bonds together, and puts the past where it belongs.
|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|External reviews||Parents Guide||Official site|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|