31 December 2006

Nanny McPhee (starring Emma Thompson)

'Nanny McPhee' is one of those films that's highly rated on Amazon, and, for some reason, was recommended to me. Possibly it's because I was looking for 'Mary Poppins', the classic that seems to remain highly priced, or perhaps it's because I had rated films with Colin Firth or Emma Thompson.

Either way, I thought it looked interesting so added it to my wishlist, and received it for Christmas. We thought we would watch it as a family, despite not having any young children at home any more.

And, yes, it is a children's film. The beginning of the story is a bit like an updated version of Mary Poppins. Colin Firth is a rather bemused father of a large family, who has lost his wife. He employs nannies to look after the children while he is at work, but the children are so horrible that they manage to drive them all away.

Then the agency sends Nanny McPhee, played brilliantly by Emma Thompson, looking as she has never looked before - she is dressed as an ugly witch, covered in warts, speaking in a harsh, disciplinarian voice.

I'm not sure I liked her methods much, but then again, nothing else seemed to help. It becomes a bit predictable plot-wise, but the children are delightfully horrible, with some excellent acting by the younger ones in particular.

Brain-dead fun, nicely done, and entirely suitable for all the family. Recommended.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

25 December 2006

The Terminal (starring Tom Hanks)

I'm not sure that 'The Terminal' would really have appealed to me based on the reviews, which were decidedly mixed. Indeed, I'm not sure that I would even have heard of it, were it not for my older son - who was working abroad on a ship at the time - happened to see it, and told us it was brilliant.

So I put it on my wishlist, and received it for Christmas.

And yes, if you happen to spot the date of this review, we did indeed watch it on Christmas Day. Not that we were absolutely raring to take the film out of its wrapper and put it in the DVD player - it was more to give us something to do. We were all feeling a bit low, on our first Christmas without our older so at home.

What a wonderful movie it was, too. Tom Hanks is brilliant as Victor, the lost foreigner stuck in JFK airport. Due to a complex political situation that erupted after he left his home country, he is unable to enter the USA, but also is unable to fly back. So he is stuck in the airport for an unspecified length of time...

I have to admit that the plot is minimal, and becomes increasingly unlikely during the latter part of the film. But the humour is wonderful - much of it subtle, most of it very cleverly done. We all found ourselves enjoying it very much; I would recommend it to anyone.

I'm not usually a huge fan of extras, but we were all interested to know whether the real JFK airport was used for the filming... and found ourselves fascinated by the explanations, and other extras. If you like this kind of thing, make sure that you get an edition with extras on it.

'The Terminal' is rated 12 in the UK, PG-13 in the USA, due to some moderate bad language - though not inappropriate, given the situation - and some implied sexual references. Nothing extreme, however.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews