Wednesday, 19 February 2014

"About Time". A Review Of The 2013 Film Now On A 2014 BLU RAY.

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ABOUT TIME the 2013 Movie on on BLU RAY

"…Big Cupboards Are Very Useful…"

Richard Curtis' Sixth Film "About Time" (2012) opens with a killer monologue that establishes Tim’s largely crackpot family living out an all weathers idealized existence in a house by the sea in Cornwall. Book-loving table-tennis playing Father and unsentimental solid Mum are portrayed by the formidable British talent of Bill Nighy and Lindsay Duncan - while Tim’s scatological but adorable sister Catherine (nicknamed Kit Kat) kisses her equally absent-minded Uncle Desmond on the cheeks at every possible opportunity (lovely work by Lydia Wilson and Richard Cordery). But then Tim ("too skinny…too ginger…") gets called into Dad’s library on his 21st birthday to be told the big secret – all the males in the family can travel back in time to their own past and alter/relive it (you can’t shag Helen of Troy unfortunately – too far back - damn). All you need to do is to find a dark place somewhere (dialogue above), clench your fists, think about the time and place you want to be – and boom - you’re suddenly there.

At first Tim uses this newfound tool to fix his nerd-like behaviour with Polly in a New Year’s Eve Party blunder (a midnight kiss he should have engaged in first time around) and second - he deftly rubs suntan lotion into the bikinied-back of the visiting American lustbucket Charlotte (the stunning Margot Robbie) instead of spilling it all over her like a twat. But then Tim twigs that he can use his cupboard jaunts to get to his real quest – the 'motherlode' – love. And after he meets the magical American girl Mary (Rachel McAdams) in the London cellar of a blind person's cafĂ© – Tim (Brendan Gleeson’s son Domhnall Gleeson) realizes that this woman is his future and must bend all things (including time) to that purpose. And on it goes to moving in, marriage, children, car-crash scares with sister Kit Kat and medical problems with a father who can manipulate the clock too but not outrun it…

This is Richard Curtis so when "About Time" is funny – it’s blindingly so. Tom Hollander’s character Harry gets the lion’s share of great lines. Blocked writer and perpetual curmudgeon Harry points to a picture - "This is my daughter. Would you like to have sex with her? Apparently everyone else has…" As his new much-anticipated West End Play bombs because two huge stage actors go dry – Tim nips back in time and 'does' both so that they remember their lines and 'genius' appears in the newspaper reviews instead of 'disaster of Titanic proportions' (short but priceless cameos from Richard Griffiths and Richard E Grant). And of course there's the music score with beautifully chosen songs by Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile and members of The Waterboys busking on the London underground. All seems well – all the boxes are ticked - but then there are those one-too-many 1 to 4 star reviews for this movie – some even loathing it from a height.

“About Time” has its problems for sure…about half way through - the endless ducking back in time starts to become tedious (more than a passing resemblance to "Groundhog Day") and the story gets darker to a point where it doesn’t seem to know what it is anymore. And all too many scenes feature tea by the beach and skimming stones and pretty London locations that no mere mortal can afford. Worse – its hard to believe the dweeb lead would ever score a babe like Mary or Charlotte in the real world (so credibility is stretched throughout) and all those clunky nerd mannerisms that once seemed so endearing start to irritate instead of please. But – and this is again a Richard Curtis film – there’s truly beautiful and touching scenes in amongst all the forced madcap – moments with his sister and father – moments with his children – moments with his friend Rory (Joshua McGuire) where he savours life and all that surrounds them instead of being too busy to notice it…

Defaulted to 1080p Widescreen 2.40:1 - there are bars above and below – but even stretched the picture quality is really lovely - especially on the coastal home scenes and the night locations in the West End. Audio channels are English DTS-HD 5.1, French, Italian, German, Spanish DTS Surround 5.1 and finally English Audio Description 2.0. Subtitles include English SDH, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish and Arabic.

The extras are impressive and very enjoyable:
1. Four Deleted Scenes with introductions by Richard Curtis
2. Blooper Reels: Making Movies Is A Serious Business
3. About Tim and Time Travel
4. The World Of Richard Curtis
5. "The Luckiest" Music (a short piece about Ben Folds and his new version of the song)
6. Ellie Goulding “How Long Will I Love You” Video
7. Feature-length commentary with Director Richard Curtis and Actors Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy, Vanessa Kirby (who plays Joanna – Mary’s friend), Lydia Wilson and Tom Hollander

"Four Weddings And A Funeral", "Notting Hill", "Bridget Jone's Diary", "The Boat That Rocked" and especially "Love Actually" – I'd say that’s a pretty impressive run. I don’t know if "About Time" will get the repeated viewings those illustrious predecessors do – but it has more real charm in it than most trite rom-coms and the theme of his father's love and loss moved me more than I care to admit to.

There are some who see Richard Curtis and his writing as a Great British National Treasure. Well I'm Irish and I'd be one of them. Spend a few hours with "About Time" – it will reward you for doing so…

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