Made in Italy: Film Review

Made in Italy

Liam Neeson and his son Micheal Richardson have teamed up to play an onscreen father-son duo grieving a profound loss in this pleasant yet unoriginal comedy-drama.

Richardson plays Jack, who is about to lose the London art gallery he runs unless he can find some cash to pay off the owners, his estranged wife’s parents. The easiest solution, so he thinks, is to do up his family’s villa in Tuscany, Italy, and sell it, so he recruits his father, the acclaimed artist Robert Foster (Neeson), and they head to Italy to restore the former family home – but the villa, which has stood empty for 20 years, has fallen into disrepair and they soon realise it’s going to take much longer and require much more manpower to bring the dilapidated home back to its former glory than they expected. During the restoration project, they confront and grieve the loss of Jack’s mum/Robert’s wife, who died when Jack was only seven.

The film, written and directed by actor James D’Arcy in his feature directorial debut, is a perfectly pleasant movie that would work well for an afternoon on the sofa with your mum. It tells a very familiar, overly sentimental, and predictable story – you can call the ending from miles away – but it’s still a lovely, easy, inoffensive watch, with a handful of laugh-out-moments and enough beautiful shots of Italy to give me envy. I also love a good old house makeover show so I enjoyed seeing the villa come back to life.

Richardson plays Jack as this likeable, down-on-his-luck guy who just needs to catch a break amid his separation from his wife, something which he feels unable to discuss with his father as they have a strained relationship and haven’t spoken for two months. They have always avoided talking about Jack’s mother’s death, something which Robert thought would save Jack from his pain but it has just led to resentment. The trip forces the duo to examine where they’re at in their lives and reconsider their priorities.

The film has a personal resonance for the lead stars as they have grieved the exact same loss in real-life with Natasha Richardson (who died in different circumstances). You can’t help but think of that towards the end when the actors address their grief head-on. They both did well with the material they were given. I also enjoyed Lindsay Duncan as their no-nonsense British estate agent Kate Lewis, who monitors the progress of the restoration, and Valeria Bilello as Natasha, a charming local Italian chef.

Made in Italy is very flawed but there’s no denying it’s quite a comforting watch.

On Amazon Prime Video from Friday 26th March

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Men in Black: International – Film Review

I loved the original Men in Black and I’m a huge fan of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson so I figured Men in Black: International was onto a winner. Sadly I have to report that it’s a bland, forgettable action movie. What a shame.

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Cold Pursuit: Film Review

I’m surprised Cold Pursuit is still coming out following Liam Neeson‘s controversial comments on the film’s press tour, and I would have been fine with that happening as a consequence of his words. However, ignoring his comments and taking the film on its own, I must admit that it was surprisingly funny and different compared to his usual revenge outings.

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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: Film Review

I don’t love everything Joel and Ethan Coen make. They are extremely hit and miss with me, and that’s the perfect way to describe The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – an anthology western movie telling six tales which are wildly inconsistent in tone and entertainment value.

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Widows: Film Review

I’m a big fan of Steve McQueen‘s previous films – like Hunger, Shame and 12 Years A Slave – so I was excited to see him take on more mainstream, blockbuster fare, and the incredible cast he recruited for Widows was another big plus. Thankfully, Widows is just what I hoped it would be – a thrilling heist drama.

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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: Venice Film Review

I don’t love everything Joel and Ethan Coen make. They are extremely hit and miss with me, and that’s the perfect way to describe The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – an anthology western movie telling six tales which are wildly inconsistent in tone and entertainment value.

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The Commuter: Film Review

Liam Neeson has become synonymous with kickass action films since the success of Taken, and The Commuter is exactly what you would expect from Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra, who previously teamed up on Non-Stop and Unknown.

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A Monster Calls: Film Review

I had heard from friends who saw A Monster Calls at the London Film Festival that it was a tearjerker so I was prepared and brought tissues, which was 100% needed. If I hadn’t been in a press screening environment I would have ugly cried like a baby but I managed to keep my dignity. Anyone who doesn’t cry at this beautiful film are cold-hearted sods.

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Silence: Film Review

silence

I wasn’t really sure what to make of Silence ahead of watching it and I felt the same afterwards. It is a heavy, intense slog that requires a fair bit of processing. It won’t appeal to everyone, in fact, I’m not really sure who it will appeal to and I’ll be amazed if it makes its money back, which is a shame because it is good, well-made film and features a terrific performance by Andrew Garfield.

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Sam Neill & Liam Neeson at the Hunt for the Wilderpeople premiere

sam-crop

Last tonight I met Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Liam Neeson and Charles Dance at the Hunt for the Wilderpeople ‘special screening’ which is pretty much a premiere without a big, red carpet and usually held inside. Click inside for more…

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