Hyde Park on Hudson – LFF Review

Hyde Park on Hudson

Hyde Park on Hudson is a little confused about what makes for an interesting film. It is convinced that we want to watch a romance between FDR (Bill Murray) and an annoying woman (Laura Linney) rather than enjoy the social awkwardness when King Bertie (Samuel West) and Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) come to stay. The story of this momentous visit from British royals is for some reason told through the eyes of FDR’s mistress who is mercifully absent from many of the scenes surrounding the visit. Linney’s Daisy is most fawning or crying over FDR – loitering around like a wet blanket with nothing better to do than hang around looking needy as FDR’s wife (Olivia Williams) looks on with all the contempt I myself was feeling.

Murray gives a routinely robust performance as FDR managing to be amusing without ever trying too hard. He plays a warm president with a slight weakness for women and an effortless charm. In contrast the royal couple are a socially awkward pair experiencing culture shock in their first trip to America. It helps that The King’s Speech has made us familiar with this pair but the never less than perfect Colman and the not-quite-Colin-Firth West play a stiff but friendly couple with a fear of hot dogs and a humanising vulnerability. These three combined with Williams make for a curious double date as the two couples gradually feel one another out and gradually become friends.

This could have easily been a very enjoyable, if slightly lightweight, period drama about international relations. There is plenty of meat here for a film dealing with a similar mix of humour and historical importance as The King’s Speech with which Hyde Park on Hudson would have made a perfect double bill. However… Laura Linney’s character stops this from happening. Whenever the film shift to focus on her dull affair with FDR the film veers away from anything interesting and ends up an inconsistent mess.

Hyde Park on Hudson is a promising film that has been sat on by Laura Linney. The film has been left flat and deformed and is no longer fit for use. What a waste.

Out Now – 1st February 2013

King's Speech on Hudson

Flight
After successfully landing a crash-bound plane Denzel Washington’s pilot is discovered to have been flying while intoxicated and turns from hero to pariah. Oscar nomination count: 2

Hyde Park on Hudson
Bill Murray stars as Franklin D. Roosevelt in a film that features too little Murray and far too much Laura Linney. Far, far too much.

Bullet to the Head
“After watching their respective partners die, a New Orleans hitman and a Washington D.C. detective form an alliance in order to bring down their common enemy.” Starring Sylvester Stallone. Obviously.

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (limited release)
Aerial acrobatics from the world’s most famous circus with some kind of romantic narrative tying things together.

Bullhead (limited release)
Dutch thriller about a young cattle farmer who falls in with the wrong sort and whose life spirals out of control. I’m sure there’s a joke to be made about getting involved with sheep here but I can’t quite find it.

The Punk Syndrome (limited release)
Documentary about “Finland’s most kick-ass punk rock band”. Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät are a band with a difference; each member is mentally handicapped. And now some sort of joke about a current band being mentally handicapped. Are Rizzle Kicks current?

Do Elephants Pray? (limited release)
Probably not.

Chained (limited release)
David Lynch’s daughter directs a horror about a boy brought up by a serial killer. Will he follow in his adopted father’s footsteps?

Antiviral (limited release)
David Cronenberg’s son directs a horror about a dystopian future in which diseases passed through a celebrity’s body are the new hot commodity. With a bit too much body horror without anyone to relate to I did not enjoy this film.

A Place in the Sun (limited re-release)
BFI re-release of the 1951 romantic drama in which a poor boy falls in love with two women. Oscar win count: 6

56th BFI London Film Festival

And we’re off! The 56th BFI London Film Festival is in full swing and as is tradition Mild Concern will be turning into full festival mode for at least the next week. Armed with a press pass, a week’s holiday, and a small amount of disposal income we will be watching as many films as we can in an effort to breach the 30 film mark having successfully reviewed over 20 films last year.

To help make this deluge of reviews more manageable links to all the films we’ve watched will be placed below in a beautiful wall of hyperlinked images. Have a click around, it does wonders for our stats.

Films reviewed:

The SessionsHyde Park on Hudson

56th BFI London Film Festival Line-up Announced

It’s that time of year again. Yesterday was the line-up for the 56th BFI London Film Festival was announced. The festival runs from 10th – 21st October 2012 and we will be covering it more than you could possibly want. I will be trying to beat my personal record of 20 festival films and living off Starbucks and quiet cinema snacks for a week.

The full list of films can be seen on the BFI website but who needs that when below is my initial pick of films that might be worth a look along with a five word summary for each. It may not be comprehensive but this list is at least alphabetical:

The Body Corpse goes missing. Hitchcockian thriller

Celeste and Jesse Forever Can exes become best friends?

Frankenweenie Tim Burton animation – re-animated dog

Hyde Park on Hudson Bill Murray is Franklin Roosevelt

Kelly + Victor Passionate and transgressive love affair

Kiss of the Damned Estranged contemporary vampire sisters reunite

Love Story Documentary/fiction blur for love

My Amityville Horror Exploring the truth about Amityville

Paradise: Love Middle-aged sex tourism in Kenya

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology Documentary essay on cinema’s ideologies

The Road: A Story of Life and Death Stories of London’s many immigrants

Robot and Frank Jewel thief and robot butler

Room 237 What does The Shining mean?

The Sessions Iron lung hires sex surrogate

Seven Psychopaths In Bruges in Los Angeles

Sightseers Perfect holiday: caravanning and murder

West of Memphis Documentary about teens killing kids

Hyde Park on Hudson – Trailer

While we are clearly all film connoisseurs here at Mild Concern and watch all films regardless of their outward appearance and marketing, sometimes seeing a certain bunch of actors in a trailer gets me all excited. (see Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)

To give you an insight into how my brain reacts to this sort of trailer, and the general inane chatter I have to put up with all day long from inside my own head, I have broken down my thought process while watching the trailer for Hyde Park on Hudson, embedded below.

My reaction to the trailer for Hyde Park on Hudson can be broken down as follows:

0:12 – Laura Linney! She’s normally really good in things (and I once saw her making out in Piccadilly Circus). Let’s hope this isn’t one of her annoying roles.
0:16 – Who’s that? I don’t recognise the voice.
0:20 – Bill Murray! I love him in every single film he’s done.
0:26 – Wow, he really doesn’t sound like Bill Murray. I will hopefully get over this soon.
0:40 – Was that Olivia Colman? It probably wasn’t but wouldn’t it be great if it was?
0:49 – King of England? I guess this is King Colin Firth. This is what you get for choosing Geography over History.
0:56 – Olivia Williams too! She was great even in Dollhouse.
1:00 – Nice fake teeth you’re wearing Olivia Williams.
1:04 – It certainly sounds like Olivia Colman. (At this point I start to look up the film on IMDb)
1:14 – It is Olivia Colman. I love Olivia Colman! (And IMDb gets closed)
1:25 – Fantastic awkward wave, very Roger & Val.
1:36 – I like cocktails.
1:40 – “Based on True Events” means I might actually learn something about history. Fantastic.
2:08 – I wonder what Bill Murray was Oscar nominated for?*
2:10 – Bill Murray and Olivia Colman in the same car. Amazing.
2:12 – I wonder what Laura Linney was Oscar nominated for? Presumably not Love Actually.**
2:23 – Excellent use of the film’s title in dialogue. Kudos.
2:29 – When is soon?

* Lost in Translation, of course.
** The Savages, Kinsey and You Can Count on Me. Steady on Linney.