Film Review Round-up – BEAR ISLAND (1979) and WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAY (2014)

Bear-IslandBear Island (1979; Canada/UK; Colour; 118m) ∗∗∗  d. Don Sharp; w. David Butler, Don Sharp; ph. Alan Hume; m. Robert Farnon; ed. Tony Lower.  Cast: Donald Sutherland, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Barbara Parkins, Lloyd Bridges, Lawrence Dane, Patricia Collins, Michael J. Reynolds, Nicholas Cortland. A group of people converge on a barren Arctic island. They have their reasons for being there but when a series of mysterious accidents and murders take place, a whole lot of darker motives become apparent. Typical of its author this adaptation benefits from a strong cast who manfully struggle with poor dialogue. The pace remains lively and the action frequent making it something of a guilty pleasure. Based on the novel by Alistair MacLean. [PG]

download (1)What We Did on Our Holiday (2014; UK; Panalux; 95m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin; w. Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin; ph. Martin Hawkins; m. Alex Heffes; ed. Steve Tempia, Mark Williams.  Cast: Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Celia Imrie, Emilia Jones, Ben Miller, Amelia Bullmore, Bobby Smalldridge, Alexia Barlier, Imogen Toner, Kirstin Murray. A couple and their three children travel to the Scottish Highlands for the kids’ grandfather’s birthday party. It’s soon clear that when it comes to keeping a secret under wraps from the rest of the family, their children are their biggest liability. Beautifully observed comedy with a game cast and a charming performance from Connolly. Descends into predictability in its final act, but a winner nonetheless. [12]

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