To prove theres more to British cinema than stiff-upper-lip costume dramas and slapstick comedies starring Rowan Atkinson, Oklahoma City Museum of Art presents From Britain with Love. From Thursday to Sunday, the showcase screens six UK films each one time only, so consult the sidebar on the next page for times ranging from funny to sad, big to small, light to serious. Heres your sneak peek at half of them:
While Toast (pictured) is ostensibly a biopic of celebrity chef Nigel Slater, it doesnt follow that sub-genres standard template. For its first half, much of the focus is on Nigels fiery-tempered father (Ken Stott, Charlie Wilsons War), a complicated man with simple tastes too simple for Nigel (played by natural newcomer Oscar Kennedy as a youth and Freddie Highmore of The Spiderwick Chronicles later), who hungers for food tastier than his mother (Victoria Hamilton, Scoop) dare make.
If it doesnt come in a can, it doesnt enter the household. Dads palate is so unadventurous that hes baffled by Parmesan: What is this? It smells like sick! And so ferocious are Nigels desires that one night, Dad catches him moaning in bed as he gazes lustily at a cookbook. After Mom dies an early death, Dad allows a housekeeper into the home, Mrs. Potter (Helena Bonham Carter, The Kings Speech). She provides more spice on a number of levels, eventually becoming Nigels stepmother. The two battle it out in the kitchen, proto-Iron Chef style, attempting to court the patriarchs favor.
While a third-act revelation feels out-of-place, it remains true to Slaters life. For director S.J. Clarkson, who has helmed only television series up to this point (including Dexter and Heroes), the first-timers feature emerges as remarkably assured. Overall, Toast is a charmer and a heartbreaker that explores the connection between our stomachs and our hearts.
In Third Star, a middle-aged man dying of cancer takes a trip of a literal lifetime. James (Benedict Cumberbatch, TVs Sherlock) is the unfortunate soul about to be taken from this world too soon, so he and his three best buds (Hugh Bonneville, TVs Downton Abbey; Tom Burke, Chéri; and JJ Feild, Captain America: The First Avenger) head for the wild, in the form of West Wales Barafundle Bay.
Seeking escape, the members of the quartet smoke pot, talk about that thing called love, shoot fireworks and hunt
for a fabled treasure of lost Star Wars action figures. As is wont,
they start to clash after a while as they tackle lifes big questions,
confronting each other and clearing the air; quoth James, The sickness
may be mine, but the tragedys all theirs.
man versus man turns to man versus nature, so its like Deliverance,
minus the threat of hillbilly rape. Kidding Hattie Daltons feature
directorial debut is not like Deliverance at all, other than that its
good. Its nice to see Cumberbatch branch out into pure drama, and when
the inevitable happens, its gut-wrenching, no matter how well the
movie has prepared you.
harbors one of the most hateful protagonists of recent memory, yet the
drama remains start-to-finish affecting. In Peter Mullans third time at
bat as writer/ director, the busy actor (recently as Death Eater Yaxley
in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) draws upon his
upbringing in Glasgow, Scotland, to tell the 1970sset story of John
McGill, a nice boy turned neer-do-well.
John (strongly played by newcomers Greg Forrest at age 10 and Connor McCaron thereafter) is a
smart student stuck in a miserable family. His older brother, for
instance, was kicked out of school for assaulting two teachers. Try as
he might, John does his best to excel in the classroom in order to stay
out of the gang violence that pervades his surroundings, but its only a
matter of time before those bad influences of the Young Car D street
hooligans hook him.
Thats when our once-relatable main
character goes from congenial to craphead, unsettling the audiences
collective comfort level by pulling a point-of-view switcheroo. In these
days of cookie-cutter storytelling, the danger is a good thing. The
films titular acronym sort of says it all, standing for Non- Educated
of letters, prepare to hear the C-word more in 124 minutes than youve
likely heard in your life heretofore. In other words, leave the kids at
home for this one, but take older ones earlier in the day to the light,
boisterous, World Cup-centered comedy Africa United.
Moviegoers have only one opportunity to catch these films at OKCMOAs From Britain with Love showcase:
Toast, 7:30 p.m. Thursday
In Our Name, 5:30 p.m. Friday
Third Star, 8 p.m. Friday
Africa United, 5:30 p.m. Saturday
NEDS, 8 p.m. Saturday
A Boy Called Dad, 2 p.m. Sunday