What’s On: Films in January – chosen by Jan Gilbert
The King’s Speech (12A) – opens 7 January
Public speaking is not something most people relish. As comedian Jerry Seinfeld joked, ‘to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.’
So imagine the fear experienced by a man with a nervous stutter who’s tasked with speaking not just to a room full of people, but to an entire nation.
That man was King George VI, who reluctantly became monarch after his brother abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Starring Colin Firth as George VI, The King’s Speech is based on the true story of the King’s battle to overcome a stammer aided by an unconventional speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush.
Firth missed out on the Best Actor Oscar for last year’s A Single Man, but is a shoo-in for the golden gong next month. And Rush deserves a place among the Best Supporting Actor nominees.
David Seidler’s warm and witty script, fine direction by Tom Hooper (The Damned United), and great performances all lend a very human touch to the story of the King who was never meant to be. Expect to be moved, amused, and absorbed.
Morning Glory (12A) – opens 21 January
When local news producer Becky Fuller takes over the reins of national morning TV show Daybreak, she thinks it’s the big break she’s been waiting for.
But turning her new show from a fat flop into a big hit is tougher than she imagined, especially with gruff anchorman Mike Pomeroy determined to stand in her way. Cue a battle of wits which could either be the end or the making of her career.
Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes) finally gets the starring vehicle she deserves. As TV producer Fuller, she brings bucketfuls of charm and comic timing to the table in this genuinely laugh-out-loud comedy from The Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna.
And Harrison Ford is hilarious as seasoned grouch Pomeroy, described by his colleagues as ‘the third worst person in the world’.
British audiences will chuckle at the unintentional similarity between the names and flagging fortunes of ITV’s and this film’s breakfast shows. But the film’s real humour comes from a well-observed script and finely judged performances.
Tangled (PG) – opens 28 January
For their 50th animated feature, Disney give a fresh twist to the Brothers Grimm classic, Rapunzel.
Kidnapped from royal parents as a baby, Rapunzel is locked in a tower and raised by a scheming woman she thinks is her mother.
For years she’s cut off from the world, with only 70 feet of golden hair and a pet chameleon to keep her entertained.
So when handsome bandit Flynn Rider stumbles upon her tower, they make a deal to escape. But is Rapunzel prepared for life in the outside world?
Tangled moves between classic fairytale storytelling and the knowingness of DreamWorks-fare like Shrek and Disney’s own superb Enchanted.
With its gorgeous animation, score by Disney veteran Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast), plus plenty of humour and action, Tangled makes for entertaining family viewing.
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