CE Films - Part 18 - 2010-2011

12 Jun 2010
TV film | Dir. Edmund Coulthard | Wr. Robert Jones
Role: John Lennon.

"Thirty years after the death of John Lennon, Lennon Naked tells of the turbulent lifestyle of one of the twentieth centuries biggest icons. Christopher Eccleston stars as the enigmatic musician in a defining period of his life – a time of disillusion, self destruction, transformation, and ultimately, hope. John Lennon is one of the most enduring figures in musical and cultural history. One quarter of 'The Fab Four', peace activist, visual artist and author, he was a man whose personal life was characterised by drama, intrigue and eventually, conspiracy." [2entertain]

Alex: "I won't discuss how historically correct the whole thing is, yet I would like to say that this film is not really a biography. For example, you can make a film about "a character who is greedy", and you can make a film about "greed". 'Lennon Naked' is not as much the former as the latter, a film about "John Lennon". [...]

"'Lennon Naked' is enjoyable – and perhaps even more so if you, say, transfer certain sequences from narrative to poetic level for interpretation. It's a one-off role for Eccleston, and in that aspect 'Lennon Naked' is interesting." Read full review.

Conclusion: He doesn't wear jeans, not even once. Could have been, and should have been much better.

DVD Notes:
Info and review.

15 Nov 2010
TV series | Dir. David Blair | By Jimmy McGovern
Ep. 1: 'Willy's Story'
Role: Willy Houlihan (plumber).

ATBN page - Gallery - BBC site - IMDb - Get: Region 2 [also on Netflix, iTunes, Acorn TV]

"Lapsed Catholic plumber Willy Houlihan (Christopher Eccleston) is about to tell his wife Carmel (Pooky Quesnel) that he's been cheating on her when their daughter (Joanna Higson) announces she's getting married. Willy struggles with his secret and with the costs of the wedding and so he makes a pact with God that he'll give up his mistress, with whom he is still planning to run away with, if God will help him with his financial difficulties." [Acorn]

Alex: "The authors suggest that the driving force is that you don't know which crime it was that put Willy in the dock [...]. What added extra weight and poignancy to the film for me, was how by learning more about Willy, I started to understand better and better what it means for him to be in that situation, being the accused. [...] While there might be some issues with the story, it's a great portrayal of the character by Christopher Eccleston." Read full review: 'Once upon a time in the North West'

DVD Notes:
2011 "Acorn Media" Region 2. Extras: 'Behind the Scenes' (interviews with S. Williams, D. Blair, J. McGovern); cast filmographies; subtitles.

5 May 2011
TV series (seven parts) | By Hugo Blick
Role: Joseph Bede (criminal florist).

ATBN page - Gallery - BBC site - Isle of Man Film site - IMDb - Get: Region 2 [also on iTunes]

"Thriller drama about a murder investigated by both sides of the line, cops and criminals, and the opposing methods they use to solve it." [BBC]

This is a massive ego-trip by Hugo Blick, where questionable technical quality combines with some perfectly measured performances, resulting in a classic love it or hate it product. Eccleston's storyline is probably the strongest, and his performance is unparalleled in this decade.

More of Alex's thoughts: 'Bouquet of barbed wire'

Conclusion: Double gut-punch of it not being Bede's series and his actual tragedy.

DVD Notes:
2011 "2entertain" Region 2 & 4. Extras: 8 deleted scenes.

26 Dec 2011
TV film | Dir. Tom Harper | Wr. Mary Norton (book) & Ben Vanstone
Role: Pod Clock (heroine's father).

"Based on the Mary Norton novels that have delighted generations of children and adults alike, The Borrowers follows the adventures of Arrietty Clock (Aisling Loftus), a head-strong teenage Borrower whose parents, Pod (Christopher Eccleston) and Homily (Sharon Horgan) are terrified of the world of the 'Human Beans' who live above them. Desperate for freedom and adventure, Arrietty sneaks upstairs one night and befriends James (Charlie Hiscock), a lonely boy who lives with his father (Shaun Dooley) and Grandmother (Victoria Wood). But Arrietty's voyage of discovery inadvertently reveals her family's existence to the scheming scientist Professor Mildeye (Stephen Fry), forcing them to go on the run into the big bad world... Enlisting the help of Spiller (Robert Sheehan), a leather jacketed tearaway with a roguish glint in his eye, Arrietty embarks on a daring mission to outsmart Mildeye and return the Clock family to their home in time for Christmas." [Working Title]

Alex: "Only the second film for children that Eccleston has taken part in, and just like the first it's a mixed affair. 

"I absolutely love the realism that permeates the portrayal of the borrowers' lives (Eccleston creates here a fine kids-friendly version of his man's man characters). Sharon Horgan shines as Homily – together with Eccleston they're a great duo (priceless moments of her taking Pod down a peg or two, and the emotional words when they're in captivity). And then there are the human beans. I've nothing against Stephen Fry, but his side of the story is just a pointless cartoon. With a plot hole too.

"From the technical side, it's beautifully shot, set design is inspired, and the effects are mostly convincing. But the film is mellow all the way, like one great big strawberry cream. Even the action sequences didn't pull me out of the slumber."

Conclusion: For winter Sunday mornings.
DVD Notes:
2012 "Universal" Region 2, 4 & 5. Extras: 'The Making of The Borrowers' (CE featured).