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Nick and Audrey (Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston) are headed to Europe for a cheap anniversary holiday when they are invited to spend their holiday aboard a luxury yacht, courtesy of Viscount Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans).. While on the yacht, Charle’s rich uncle is murdered and Nick and Audrey find themselves in the middle of a murder mystery. There were limited guests on the yacht, and one of them is a killer. And when others start turning up dead, it’s clear that all of their lives are in danger! It sounds like an Agatha Christie novel, and this movie definitely plays homage to Christie, but it’s played strictly for laughs. I personally find Adam Sandler very hit and miss (more miss than hit) but I really enjoyed this film.

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Year of release: 2019

Director: Kyle Newacheck

Writers: James Vanderbilt

Main cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Luke Evans, Gemma Arterton, David Walliams, Dany Boon, John Kani, Adeel Akhtar, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Luis Gerardo Mendez, Shioli Kutsana, Terence Stamp

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Genre: Comedy, mystery

Highlights: Jennifer Aniston, a great ensemble cast

Lowlights: None

Overall: If you like wacky comedies and mystery stories, give this a whirl. It’s never really tense, but always entertaining

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Tom Logan (Robert Redford) is a successful prosecuting attorney, who is about to promoted to DA.  However, antagonistic defence lawyer Laura Kelly (Debra Winger) asks him to help her on a case involving Chelsea Deardon (Darryl Hannah), a young woman who has been accused of stealing a valuable piece of art.  As Tom and Laura delve further into the case, they discover that it involves fraud and murder….and Tom’s chances of making DA are looking slimmer and slimmer…

When this film was released, it opened to mixed reviews.  Neither Redford nor Winger were happy with it, and at times it does seem as though it doesn’t know whether it’s a frothy romantic comedy, or a semi-serious legal thriller.  There are also some fairly obvious plot inconsistencies.

Despite this, I really enjoyed the film…it has a definite charm, and certainly made me laugh.  Whether it’s true that Redford and Winger did not get on off-screen or not (as has been rumoured), they do have chemistry together, and bounced off each other well.  There were some lovely scenes – the scene where both Tom and Laura, both in their own homes, are unable to sleep, was one of my favourite parts.  Most of the supporting cast – including Terence Stamp as a shady art dealer, and Brian Dennehy as a police officer with his own agenda – were great too, although Darryl Hannah was practically catatonic.  I imagine she was picked for the role at least partly for her looks, and in other films she has been great, but she was the definite weak link in the cast for this.

Still, as mentioned earlier, despite all the obvious flaws of this film, I liked it a lot.  It’s a good watch if you want something amusing and not too demanding, and I would definitely see it again.  I can imagine that people might find it annoying, for legitimate reasons, but for some reason, it worked for me.

(Interestingly, this film started out as a documentary about the legal wrangling over the estate of artist Mark Rothko.  Somewhere along the line, it took a very different turn!)

Year of release: 1986

Director: Ivan Reitman

Producers: Ivan Reitman, Michael C. Gross, Joe Medjuck, Arne Glimcher, Sheldon Kahn

Writers: Ivan Reitman, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr

Main cast: Robert Redford, Debra Winger, Darryl Hannah, Terence Stamp, Brian Dennehy

 

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Marion (Vanessa Redgrave) and Arthur (Terence Stamp) play a married couple, who love each other very much, despite being very different.  She is outgoing, cheerful – and terminally ill.  He is reserved, unable to show his feelings, and well…grumpy.  She is a member of a choir of pensioners known as the OAPz (with a ‘z’ to make it street, as explained by the choir leader Elizabeth, played by Gemma Arterton), which Arthur adamantly refuses to get involved with.  Is it too late for Arthur to change his mind and honour his wife’s wishes by becoming involved with the choir, and mend his relationship with their son James (Christopher Eccleston)?  Time will tell in this sad, but ultimately uplifting film.

I saw this on a whim, and expected to quite enjoy it – but I absolutely loved it.  It is by turns hilarious (the free concert in the park where the choir showcase their talents to the locals is so funny that I was crying with laughter) and heartbreaking (Stamp conveys so much feeling with just one look or one small gesture).

With a cast that includes Stamp, Redgrave and Eccleston, it will come as no surprise that the acting is truly excellent.  I was not familiar with any other films featuring Gemma Arterton, so I was not sure what to expect, but she was actually lovely as the young lady who is much more able to connect with the pensioners than people her own age.

People will sometimes describe a film as unbelievably sad, but this is better than that – it is believably sad.  Stamp and Eccleston are truly marvellous as the devastated husband and son of Marion.  Their heartbreak manifests itself as resentment, withdrawal and anger, and you just can’t help rooting for these people to find some relief.

I cried several times throughout, but the comical scenes complemented the sad ones perfectly, and as mentioned above, despite the subject matter, the film is really very uplifting.  Totally, definitely recommended.

Year of release: 2012

Director: Paul Andrew Williams

Producers: Christian Angermayer, Marc Hansell, Sean Kelly, Tara Moross, Alistair Ross, Ricky Sans, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Ken Marshall, Philip Moross, Christopher Billows, Rachel Dargavel, Caroline Levy, Jens Meurer, Jona Wirbeleit

Writer: Paul Andrew Williams

Main cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Terence Stamp, Christopher Eccleston, Gemma Arterton

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