Simon and Mark’s best of 2017

Simon and Mark present highlights of the show in 2017 including guests Keanu Reeves, Emma Stone and Riz Ahmed, reviews of Blade Runner 2049, Moonlight and Paddington 2 and their favourite contributions from the Wittertainment congregation.


Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool brings an oddball May-September romance back to life

Chris Knight: There’s little that feels unseemly about the film, whose wish-fulfillment vibe is strengthened by the drab-chic look of 1980s Britain

There’s a lovely little subgenre, often British, in which a regular Johnny has a brush with A-list fame. Think of Eddie Redmayne and Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn; Zac Efron meeting (British-born) Christian McKay in Me and Orson Welles; or, in the realm of pure fiction, Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in Notting Hill.

The latest, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, is based on the book by British actor Peter Turner, and on the life of American film star Gloria Grahame, who died in 1981 – in New York, to be clear. You may remember her as the flirtatious Violet in 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life (“I only wear this when I don’t care how I look,” she says of a clingy, traffic-stopping dress) or from an Oscar-winning supporting role a few years later in The Bad and the Beautiful. [ . . . ] Read Full Review at: Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool brings an oddball May-September romance back to life

The Crown, Season 2: How True Is It?

It sure seems real, sumptuously produced and beautifully acted. But how much truth? How much fiction?

Season 2 of the successful Netflix series The Crown that premieres Friday, December 8,  kicks off with a taboo subject: the rumored infidelity of the British monarch’s husband, Prince Philip, with a fictional ballet dancer (which is based on rumors at the time of an affair with the actress Pat Kirkwood.)

At the same time, some biographers like Sarah Bradford in her book Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times, present his infidelity as a fact, adding that she talked with two women who had been romantically involved with the royal consort.

The answer about how close is The Crown to the real life of the British royals, though, is very nuanced. After all, throughout its history the royal family has become quite adept at keeping secrets.

“The series is incredibly accurate and true to the history,” Robert Lacey, a historical biographer and consultant for the series who just published his new book, The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill and the Making of a Young Queen (1947-1955), told royal correspondent Tom Sykes. “If you go into the Left Bank offices—Left Bank being the company producing the series for Netflix—the first thing you see is a huge newsroom with eight full-time researchers working away, and that’s just the start, the raw material.” | Read More at : The Crown, Season 2: How True Is It?

Review: Comfort and Joy


Bill Forsyth’s Comfort and Joy is full of cherishable moments.

Bill Forsyth’s Comfort and Joy underwhelmed at the box-office on its release in 1984 and has subsequently been out of circulation for many years, which partly explains why it has never achieved the acclaim and cult status enjoyed by his other early ’80s crowdpleasers Gregory’s Girl and Local Hero. Another reason, however, might be because this comedy-drama doesn’t feel as fully formed as those previous efforts, and it suffers from an underpowered narrative engine. Much of the charm and lightness of touch that defines Forsyth’s work is still evident, though [ . . . ] Read more at The Skinny

Goodbye Christopher Robin review – delightful take on the difficult birth of Winnie-the-Pooh


With its bittersweet interweaving of fact and fantasy, youthful innocence and adult trauma, this tale of the creation of a children’s classic could have been called Saving Mr Milne. Like Mary Poppins, Winnie-the-Pooh occupies a sacred space in our hearts and anyone wishing to co-opt some of that magic must tread very lightly indeed. Director Simon Curtis’s movie could easily have tripped (like Piglet) and burst its balloon as it evokes a dappled glade of happiness surrounded by the monstrous spectres of two world wars. Instead, it skips nimbly between light and dark, war and peace, like a young boy finding his way through an English wood, albeit one drenched with shafts of sugary, Spielbergian light.

Read full movie review at: Goodbye Christopher Robin review – delightful take on the difficult birth of Winnie-the-Pooh | Film | The Guardian