FDR and his first ladies: Laura Linney, Bill Murray and Olivia Williams
Never meet your heroes, they say. An addition to this adage should be: never watch bad films about your heroes’ private lives.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of the most inspiring human beings to have lived in the past 100 years, but Hyde Park on Hudson’s sin is not that it paints him as a layabout or a womaniser, but worse, it paints him as terribly, terribly boring.
Set in the later years of the Great Depression, the film finds the wheelchair-bound president, played here by Bill Murray, escaping the pressures of office for regular visits to his mother’s estate in rural New York, where he begins a pedestrian affair with his distant cousin, Margaret Suckley (Laura Linney), known as Daisy. The film is based on her private diaries, which were not discovered until her death in the early 1990s and, as it turns out, were not particularly interesting.
Despite the film’s passionate narration by an elderly Daisy, the style of which owes far too much to the old lady in Titanic, the affair with FDR is mundane and soulless. The two enjoy drives across fields of flowers before parking and, like a pair of awkward teenagers, engage in some mutual masturbation. The narration continues to insist that Daisy is falling in love with FDR, but Linney’s purse-lipped, shifty-eyed performance makes her out to be more of an obsessive stalker. FDR indulges her more sexual favours – the film repeatedly implies his wife, Eleanor (Olivia Williams), was a lesbian.
Because the FDR/Daisy storyline is so inherently weak, the film shifts its focus to the preposterous notion that a visit to Hyde Park by the King and Queen of Britain in 1939 secured the freedom of the world by making firm allies of the USA and Great Britain. This is despite the fact the war had not yet begun and would rage for two years before the USA sent anything more than a few supplies.
There is simply no way to get across how inane Richard Nelson’s script is, except to clarify that the emotional crux of the movie is King George VI eating a hotdog. On that note, many of the film’s most desperate attempts at humour revolve around the late Queen Mother’s continued pronunciation of hotdog as if it were two words. The narration, which the film practically drowns in, manages to be both pathetic and patronising. “She was one of mother’s spies,” older Daisy tells us. “Mother had her spies too.” Yes Daisy, we gathered as much from your previous statement.
Linney gets lost with where to go with her role, uncertain whether to play it as wide-eyed love-struck girl or smalltown simpleton – either way, neither suits her. Bill Murray tries to act as FDR, but struggles even with the accent, occasionally lapsing in a Colonel Sanders-style drawl, and fails to find any romance or compassion in this lazy demonisation of the great man.
A royal affair: FDR (Bill Murray) greets the Queen and King of Britain (Olivia Colman and Samuel West)
Samuel West does a fine impression of Colin Firth doing a fine impression of George VI, while Olivia Colman is reduced to portraying Queen Elizabeth as every uptight posh English woman in film history rolled into one. Their scenes together are excruciating, and yet the highlight of the film.
Featuring a lengthy debate about whether or not the moon shining one night is indeed full, Hyde Park on Hudson is an astonishing work, in that it ever got made. Director Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Venus), shows a fine eye for landscape imagery and historical set design, but even he can’t convince these actually great actors to drag any life from this stillborn script.
I promise you this, if you go to see Hyde Park on Hudson, you will want to leave, and if you don’t leave, you will regret after that you didn’t.
On the plus side, be thankful that it is only February and the worst film of the year is already behind us. It is only uphill from here.
The BAFTAs are now over so it is officially time to go into Oscar-mania overdrive. A fortnight from this moment fever pitch will have been reached, and four hours of so-so entertainment will begin. As someone switching onAround the World in 80 Days for the first time will think: with this many stars it has to be amazing, right?! Eh, it’s fine. The Oscars will be too.
As many have noted the problem with the Academy these days is that, coming in rapid succession after the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and VAGs (Various Assorted Guilds), the word Oscar is now synonymous with predictable. But somehow I am holding out hope for a few surprises this year. I’m also holding out hope that hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway don’t suck – a boy can dream, right?
And the nominees for Best Picture are…
The King’s Speech
Leading the pack with an impressive, perhaps surprising twelve nominations, The King’s Speech is certainly a forerunner, though hardly anointed. It has the Hurt Locker edge, having won the BAFTA while the curiously unprescient Globes* gave their top nod to The Social Network (the Globes embarrassingly whored themselves out to Avatar in 2010). It also has a slew of top talent at next-to the height of their game – Colin Firth is a very difficult one to challenge for Best Actor, while Geoffrey Rush has lost none of his Shine (not apologising, you can’t make me) and would be a shoe-in for Best Supporting in other years. But the film has everything an Academy favourite needs: costumes and colour, wit and drama, happily-ever-after love, a WWII setting and of course a triumph-over-adversity tale that would make it this year’s Rocky if Rocky weren’t already nominated this year (see The Fighter, below).
Don’t expect a clean sweep, but if it starts one, it’ll nail Best Picture.
The Coen brothers have been Academy favourites for some time now, and in the rare position that the film-going public at large love them also. True Grit is a spectacle alright, put together with all the flair the Coens can manage, but is it enough? Jeff Bridges could dethrone Firth (pun noticed, but unintended) for Best Actor, but despite their shared alcoholism the role is more The Dude than Bad Blake – his Oscar-winning role from last year’s Crazy Heart, and unlikely to steal the Academy voters’ hearts in quite the same manipulative way. The film’s breakthrough star, Hailee Steinfeld, has a much greater chance of taking home the Best Supporting Actress gong, although the Academy has been destructively patronising in not granting the youth a nomination in the leading category.
With ten nominations, most positively Art Direction, Costume Design and Cinematography, it may not win big, but it’d be a shock if it walked away empty-handed.
So The Dark Knight is held solely responsible for there being ten nominees in the Best Picture category now. Christopher Nolan is one of the most talented filmmakers alive today, but damn his fans are more terrifyingly devout than a Jihadi horde! So with an extra five spaces there would be further outrage/terror campaigns if his first film since The Dark Knight did not make the cut. And rightly so, Inception was one of the best films of 2010, but it is still the token audience-panderer, and has no chance of taking the big prize. The big coup would be for it to win Best Original Screenplay, but against The King’s Speech, Another Year and The Kids are All Right it seems to hold only a small chance. But technical awards should abound, and its music stands a fighting chance as the bombastic epic score against The King’s Speech‘s more traditional and The Social Network‘s more experimental nominees.
The Nolanistas will be disappointed.
The Social Network
Until recently this appeared unchallengeable to take Best Picture, but that seems uncertain now. Fincher’s drama has a lot to say for itself; it’s modern, character-driven, dripping in style. Outside of the director’s traditional thriller zone, he’s produced a mighty impressive movie. But it’s one that is greater than the sum of its parts (unlike The King’s Speech, which is simply a collection of great parts), so it will likely not clean up on the awards, which may affect its Best Picture chances. Jesse Eisenberg stands almost no chance at Best Actor, but if it loses out on Best Picture a win for David Fincher would be a great runner-up prize. Aaron Sorkin, a master of dialogue, seems destined to win a writing Oscar some day. Taking Best Original Screenplay this year is a strong possibility.
If it doesn’t win Best Picture, it could easily cut into The King’s Speech‘s spoils. It’s not out of the race yet.
Ah bless, how we struggle against adversity. And not just one adversity, but two! Two characters, struggling against two adversities! Why the fighter of the title could refer as easily to the struggles of the main characters as it could to the fact that the film is about boxing! OK, I’m being far meaner than this strong film deserves. The Fighter would be a superb film if it weren’t so darn familiar. With no chance at the big awards and unlikely to receive many technicals, The Fighter‘s strongest suit is in its supporting stars. Christian Bale will have little competition for Best Supporting Actor, given a superb turn as a crack-addicted former “star” boxer, unless the Academy decides to effectively dry hump The King’s Speech and throw this to Geoffrey Rush. Amy Adams, always the supporting bridesmaid, never the supporting bride, has already lost this to her co-star Melissa Leo, who is Hailee Steinfeld’s big competition. That will be a fun one to watch…
In another year it’d have had a crack at the title. All it can hope for now is a supporting sweep.
Danny Boyle is clearly still riding high on Slumdog Millionaire, as the same film made by any other director (not that it could have been, this well) would never have gotten a nod here. Still, it’s good to see this terrific film getting a chance at the big award – no ‘arm in that now, is there? (sorry) It’s biggest chance at an award is in the editing category, which it is undoubtedly deserving, but may be a touch too experimental for the Academy’s liking. James Franco deserves his Best Actor nomination in a role that showed the performer reveal a more mature side to himself, although the show’s host will no doubt be left a little red-faced when his name is not announced on the night. This is a problem the Academy should have foreseen and never allowed to happen.
Maybe editing, maybe nothing.
Quite the nail-biter (OK, I’ll stop), Black Swan looked like a major contender when its trailer first hit the internet last year, but I suspect it will be too much of a horror for the voters to make it Best Picture. A Best Director trophy for Aronofsky seems similarly unlikely, but the film will likely escape with an enviable Best Actress award in a very competitive year – Natalie Portman’s mesmerising physical presence in the film is worth a nomination before she even opens her mouth. Cinematography could go Black Swan‘s way, but competing with True Grit, Inception, The King’s Speech and The Social Network, I wouldn’t hold out hope for it.
Too gruesome to take anything more than a well-deserved Best Actress award.
Toy Story 3
Last year, Up‘s nomination in the Best Picture category made a bold statement about what a remarkable animated achievement that film was. While Toy Story 3 is also a triumph for Pixar, it is not one on the same level as Up, and its nomination in the Best Picture category only serves to give it an unfair advantage in the Best Animated Feature category, where it is up against superb (and arguably superior) competition in the form of The Illusionist and How to Drain Your Dragon. A shame really.
Pixar win another gong, but it should not have been the anointed animated victor the Academy has made it.
The Kids Are All Right
The token indie drama, this pleasant but confused little film never stood a chance at Best Picture. Mark Ruffalo, nominated Best Supporting Actor for his hardly outstanding role, needn’t bother turning up on the night, while Annette Bening is standing in for Meryl Streep this year. Its only hope is Best Original Screenplay, but even that seems far out of reach.
The Awards Are All Lost
A curious addition, more comfortable triumphing at Sundance than in Hollywood, Winter’s Bone has few hopes of victory, though the nominations will boost its profile (and particularly that of its star). Despite its bleak setting and social commentary, it’s a surprisingly straightforward tale – perhaps why it sat well with the Academy voters – so it hasn’t really got the narrative punch to get it much of a look-in for Best Picture. Jennifer Lawrence would be a deserving Best Actress winner, but to steal it would be almost impossible; this is Natalie’s year. John Hawkes, star of several films previously but practically unknown to most, can expect a surge of interest after his turn here, but with Rush almost guaranteed the Supporting Actor gong if Bale somehow fails to take it home, he doesn’t stand much of a chance.
A miracle, albeit a happy one, is needed to get this a single gong.
As for the rest of the awards, nothing is too certain. Certainly a win for Banksy with Exit Through the Gift Shop would be a turn-up for the books, and perhaps lead to the most memorable acceptance… speech?… in Academy Award history. Biutiful has Javier Bardem behind it for Best Foreign Language Film, but after last year’s frankly insane spurning of The White Ribbon and A Prophet (as well as the noticeable absence this year of the heart-wrenching Of Gods and Men) anything could happen. Dogtooth could win the damn thing!
The real winners or losers on the night will be the show’s producers, however. They’ve taken a huge gamble on their hosts that could backfire enormously. We’ll have to wait and see.
See you in two weeks.
* Since 2004 the Golden Globes have only awarded their Best Motion Picture – Drama award to the eventual Oscar winner once; Slumdog Millionaire in 2009.
My return to the blogosphere has been nicely timed to coincide with this year’s Oscars. As I did last year, I will be keeping my thoughts rolled out here as the night develops. Hopefully it will be a fun one, there’s definitely more room for controversy than last year. The double hosting act of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin is an interesting one; Baldwin is at the top of his comedic game right now and Martin has managed to stay away from bad comedies sufficiently of late to be forgiven his trespasses. Although one can’t help but feel they may have missed a big chance to win a larger audience for their modestly received It’s Complicated, released a few months back.
My money is unfortunately on Avatar to take Best Picture, although there is still hope that The Hurt Locker might unseat it. Other worthy contenders such as Up, A Serious Man and Up in the Air, and indeed District 9 (hardly amazing but certainly a more worthy winner than Avatar) seem to have hardly any hope at all of winning the top award. That said, if Kathryn Bigelow can at least take Best Director the night will not be a complete disaster should Avatar win Best Picture and prove you can just fire as much money as possible at the screen and eventually people will give you prizes.
Indeed, a contest of similar intrigue has emerged in the Best Foreign Language category, where the frankly haunting The White Ribbon goes up against the outstanding A Prophet. While Hollywood may not care, it will be the big one for cinéastes to watch, aside from the battle of the mainstream behemoth and the indie upstart waged by exes James Cameron and Bigelow.
Up has Animated Feature in the bag, and will hopefully at the very least take home Best Score. The beautiful and charming film’s five nominations very much speak for themselves.
As for actors, Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Mo’Nique and Christoph Waltz seem to have their four categories all cornered. Only a surprise upset in Best Actress looks at all probable, and not very at that.
Proper commentary will resume later this evening, in the meantime I must feed and prepare for the all-night event.
In the meantime, bask in the glory of this wonderful pisstake trailer for every Oscar-winning film ever from Cracked.com…
The following takes place between 3.30pm and 9pm
Events occur in real Pacific Standard Time.
3.38pm – James Cameron is selling his wife’s dress as “Na’vi blue”. Wonder what colour Kathryn Bigelow is wearing…?
3.39pm – Vera Farminga looks amazing, although her dress looks like it might come alive an devour her.
3.44pm – E! Entertainment TV are carrying considerably less obnoxious coverage of the red carpet than Sky, so looks like I’ll be following them for the next 90 minutes or so. Just in case you needed a point of reference.
3.49pm – Is Sigourney Weaver wearing a blood-red toga?
3.51pm – Lots of nice dresses, nothing mind-blowingly stunning or godawful yet though. And no outlandish variations on the tux either. The next hour could well be hell. Why am I even live-blogging the red carpet at all?
3.57pm – For the record, the following films are the main contenders tonight that, for a number reasons (including at least one that has yet to come out in Ireland) I have yet to see: Precious…, The Blind Side, An Education, The Last Station, A Single Man, Julie and Julia, Invictus. Just so that we’re on the level here.
4.01pm – A part of me is hopeful for Sandra Bullock, as she’s one of those actresses who has always been likeable but you just assumed she would never win an Oscar. I mean The Net, Two Weeks Notice, All About Steve. She’s so feisty that no matter what trash she makes you can’t quite bring yourself to hate her.
4.03pm – Amanda Seyfried is still the perfect woman. I know I said it last year, but seriously, who in the last year has challenged her crown?
4.05pm – So what, Crazy Heart gets a few nominations and suddenly every country/western singer gets an Oscar invite?
4.06pm – Miley Cyrus’s dress appears to be made out of bra.
4.08pm – Antonio Banderas appears to be preparing for his role as Saddam Hussein. In… a film I just made up?
4.13pm – Who the hell is Elizabeth Banks? Why am I only discovering Elizabeth Banks this evening? And by this evening, I mean it’s long after midnight…
4.15pm – Sarah Jessica Parker is wearing a beautiful silk… sack. It’s a sack.
4.17pm – How tall is Kathryn Bigelow? As a talentless male I like to think that an Oscar-nominated director would be as unattractive as she is talented. But nope, she’s just a bit yummy. There, I said it.
4.19pm – Charlize Theron looks like a delicious frosted cake. Her dress invites far too many suggestive jokes. I’ll keep quiet.
4.25pm – I wonder was Nelson Mandela invited… and what did he RSVP?
4.28pm – Damn you Colin Firth, so darn charming!
4.29pm – Can someone clear this up for me, is George Clooney grey or not? He looks like he’s half-dyed his hair sandy.
4.31pm – Meryl Streep’s dress looks like it’s made out of cream, smoothly flowing cream. It’s good.
4.39pm – Poor Keanu Reeves, he’ll never win an Oscar. Tonight Sandra Bullock leaves him behind.
4.43pm – Robert Downey Jr is the first major black-tie breaker, wearing a teal bowtie. Yes, that’s right, I know the colour teal!
4.52pm – As ever, Kate Winslet looks enchanting. Nothing I say here can add to how wonderful she looks in that dress.
4.58pm – Ha! Remember Cameron Diaz.
5.09pm – Anna Kendrick looks like a pink Grecian goddess. Where did she come from this past year? And how our lives have been made better. Well, not counting that Twilight nonsense.
5.12pm – Zoe Saldana’s dress looks like someone ate a Na’vi then threw it back up on her.
5.27pm – Good lord who let Nicole Richie in?
5.30pm – And we’re off! So the last two hours were pointless then?
5.32pm – Eugh, the stars are a bit pointlessly on display here. Why are the Oscars always looking for new means to make sales pitches?
5.33pm – Yay! Neil Patrick Harris!
5.34pm – Singing a solo number about the need for duets. Irony!
5.35pm – Jeff Bridges does not look impressed.
5.35pm – Here come the boys…
5.36pm – A few light stabs at Hollywood now. Fun times.
5.38pm – Meryl Streep threesome gag, they’re totally going for an It’s Complicated DVD push.
5.39pm – Alec Baldwin’s delivery is way off. Not a good start.
5.40pm – Martin and Baldwin are harassed by Avatar forest creatures. What is this, Family Guy?
5.44pm – Penelope Cruz presents the first award. My those two were quite embarrassing. Penelope’s dress looks like fire. In all the best ways.
5.46pm – Christoph Waltz came from nowhere this year with knowing but a broad knowledge of languages and a knife and fork with which to devour scenery. If he doesn’t win, then this whole night could go in any direction.
5.48pm – Phew. Thought we were going to have a night of surprises there.
5.49pm – That’s an über-bingo.
5.52pm – Wow, ads already? We’ve only had one award. Have I missed something, what’s will all this (fake?) animosity between the hosts and George Clooney?
5.56pm – Cameron Diaz and Steve Carrell, make a mess of it all. Ouch. Animated characters talk about being nominated. Fun stuff!
5.58pm – Yay! Dug is licking the camera. I love the Oscars!
5.59pm – Up wins! Thank goodness. My word that film was sheer delight.
6.00pm – Pete Docter makes a very quick but pleasant speech. Is it just me or is his head tiny?
6.01pm – Seyfried and Cyrus present the nominees for Best Original Song and slip over their lines again. A lot of teething pains this year.
6.03pm – Could a Colin Farrell-sung song win the prize?
6.04pm – Yes, ‘The Weary Kind’ takes it – first win for Crazy Heart.
6.06pm – Ouch, Chris Pine has to introduce District 9, which essentially nabbed the nomination from Star Trek. Who on earth thought that was a fair idea?!
6.11pm – Best Original Screenplay could call the rest of the night. Hurt Locker seems a lock, but Inglourious Basterds is a contender.
6.12pm – “Great movies begin with great writing,” says Tina Fey. So why is Avatar not in this category again…?
6.15pm – The Hurt Locker takes it. Interesting…
6.17pm – Mark Boal’s speech was simple but to the point. Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick talk about John Hughes. Don’t they usually do all the obituaries en masse?
6.19pm – This seems like an odd way to make the Oscars seem more mainstream. He made some fun films though.
6.22pm – And the stars of his films all come out. I wonder who else will get an homage like this?
6.23pm – Samuel L Jackson presents Up – no, don’t show the sad bits, I’ll cry!
6.28pm – Zoe Saldana and Carey Mulligan to present Best Animated Short Film.
6.31pm – No Pixar this year, though the fun Irish short Granny O’Grimm is worth a mention.
6.32pm – French short Logorama wins. Looks fun. Hope it’s up on YouTube…
6.33pm – Documentary Short now. I said it last year, I’ll say it again: where the hell can one see these?!
6.35pm – Music By Prudence get shuffled off stage by the orchestra pit. Poor them.
6.37pm – Danish short The new Tennants wins Best Short. That’s those three knocked down swiftly…
6.38pm – Ben Stiller as a Na’vi. Better idea than last year.
6.39pm – Best Makeup; here’s hoping for Il Divo. And Ben Stiller is rapidly becoming unfunny.
6.41pm – Na’vi tail joke = win! Win for Star Trek too. Guess it was deserved.
6.43pm – Jeff Bridges introduces A Serious Man. It is oddly under-represented at this year’s awards.
6.47pm – Best Adapted Screenplay. Lot of options. Up in the Air is the likely winner. In the Loop would be fun though.
6.48pm – Thank god they keep calling Precious just Precious. That is one exhausting title.
6.50pm – Precious (which I believe is based on the novel Push by Sapphire) wins.
6.52pm – Queen Latifah and Steve Martin have a bit of a flirt.
It’s been a funny couple of years for the Hollywood musical. Moulin Rouge! was the film that made the change, in that it made mainstream pop music usable in musicals, as well as making it acceptable for famous actors who don’t have strong singing voices to give it a try without being dubbed over. Both of these things are debatably good.
But for all its silliness Moulin Rouge! took itself far too seriously. As did Across the Universe, Dreamgirls and the abominable Chicago. Hairspray did also, perhaps, but had the talent and style behind it to make it work. Mamma Mia! on the other hand is something entirely different.
No film has revelled in its own preposterousness as much as Mamma Mia! since Crank. It is absurd, it is silly and it is camp as can be, but it is entertaining as hell from start to finish.
The setting is a Greek island. A young woman, raised by her single parent workaholic mother, is getting married, somewhat in defiance of her strong-willed mother, and invites the three men from her mother’s past who could be her father to the wedding. When they get there, situation comedy breaks out, with music and lyrics by Abba.
Meryl Streep is on typical likable diva form as Donna, now a struggling entrepreneur, formerly of a suspiciously Abba-esque pop band: Donna and the Dynamos. Her two former back up singers, played by the odd but amusing pairing of Julie Walters and Christine Baranski, bring the fun and plenty of sexual innuendo. Walters has the time of her life with the role of Rosie, while Baranski’s Tanya is the best she’s been onscreen since Cybill ended, playing admittedly a similar role to her Maryanne.
Meanwhile the three men, played with excessive energy by Colin Firth (formerly rebellious, now prim and prissy), Stellan Skarsgård (formerly mysterious, still mysterious) and Pierce Brosnan (formerly dreamy, now perfect) steal the whole show.
Amanda Seyfried, who played the borderline brain-dead Karen in Meangirls, radiates here (perhaps easy in the gorgeous Grecian sunlight) as bride-to-be Sophie, an unrecognisably different character. She is sweet and lovable as one would expect from the female lead of a romantic musical (take note, Nicole Kidman). Her fiancé, named Sky (a name, apparently), is played by Dominic Cooper, most memorable from The History Boys and here little more than handsome young padding.
The eye-catching Greek backdrop is all very pleasant, but what about the music. Well, Abba really are pop personified. A pure shot of liquid pop would no doubt cause spontaneous outbursts of ‘Dancing Queen’. While I could imagine someone preferring countless bands to Abba, to genuinely dislike Abba would require a Scroogean heart of stone. Since the lyrics are more or less unchanged from their original forms, they only barely make sense half the time, but that is some of the fun, catching when a song is likely to be played.
Some don’t quite work. The first full number, ‘Honey, Honey’, falls a tad flat, as Sophie and her generic girlie friends discuss her mother’s sex life. Apparently ellipses are synonymous with intercourse. I’m not sure what I’m implying by this sentence then…
‘Lay All Your Love On Me’ is a touch too Madonna video, as Sky and Sophie roll in the sand before a macho brigade of lads perform a flamboyant dance on a jetty – easily the film’s most heterosexually alienating sequence.
Streep’s power ballad delivery of ‘The Winner Takes It All’ is simply too much, and pales in comparison to her blind duet with Brosnan of ‘S.O.S.’, where the two sing to one another without the other hearing them singing as well – providing a smart irony to the lyrics “So when you’re near me darling can’t you hear me?”
‘Money, Money, Money’ just about works, but a puerile fantasy sequence in the middle of it nearly kills it. It’s up to songs like ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Take a Chance On Me’ to really up the ante, which admittedly they do. Tanya’s version of ‘Does Your Mother Know’, to a much younger suitor, includes one of the cleverest fellatio jokes you’re likely to see this year.
The camp cannot be contained, and this film is rolling in it. Brosnan relishes the chance to ham it up in a non-Bond-like role, Firth gets the film’s best and gayest line, while Skarsgård, who would normally be more at a home in a hard-hitting drama about a woman whose addiction to Abba music was slowly killing her and estranging her from her family, slips into this silly role perfectly.
If musicals aren’t your thing then of course this will not be for you, but this much unbridled fun rarely makes its way into cinema screens. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have once again struck gold producing a camptastic stage show for the big screen. Even if it is more flamboyant than an Orlando gay pride festival, Mamma Mia! is the most harmless film that is utterly self-aware of its ridiculousness that you will see for some time. The (unmissable) performances over the end credits really do say it all – this looks like it was even more fun to make than it is to watch.