Film Friday #179

Pompeii (2014)

Gladiator, Milo (Kit Harington) was sold into slavery after the murder of his people at the hands of the Romans during the crushing of the Celtic rebellion. Now he is brought to Pompeii to compete in a tournament where he will fight the legendary, Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Also traveling to Pompeii is Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of a wealthy property developer (Jared Harris) who is returning home after a season in Rome where she attracted the unwanted attention of Senator Corvus (Keiffer Sutherland). When these two cross paths on their journey there is an instant attraction, which is only intensified when Milo saves Cassia’s beloved horse. Of course a relationship between a slave and a posh bird is completely forbidden and to make matters worse Corvus has rocked up for a bit of blackmail and general being a bellend. In between all this Atticus, who believes he will fight for his freedom, realises he is being used and he and Milo band together to defy Covus, ultimately enraging him and putting both of them and Cassia in peril. If that wasn’t enough, the mountain has decided it ain’t got time for no puny humans and is going to spew its guts at any minute. Let’s be perfectly honest here… Pompeii is cheesy and predictable, the dialogue and a some of the acting (*cough* Keiffer) is a bit dodgy, Milo’s resilience borders on the absurd and really the two stars of the film are Kit Harington’s abs and the giant CGI volcano but it does have some pretty epic fight scenes, Atticus is hard not to love and Milo is all lovely and brooding if you like that kind of thing. I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much on a small 2D screen but in the cinema it was a pretty good popcorn flick if you just let yourself go with it. 3/5

Hot enough to melt Snow... the more time he spends with his Kit off, the better

Hot enough to melt Snow… the more time he spends with his Kit off, the better

Populaire (2012)

Rose Pamphyle (Déborah François) is the daughter of a provincial shop owner, but she dreams of being a secretary so she heads off to the city and applies for a job at an insurance firm, working for Louis Échard (Romain Duris). Rose is a pretty rubbish secretary but she is an incredibly fast typist and Louis decides to train her for the world typewriting championships… which were apparently a thing in 1959. Predictably Rose initially thinks Louis is a bit of a knob and he thinks she is a bit of a klutz but as they spend more time together and attraction starts to grow. Unfortunately the course of true love never did run smooth and Louis’ post war survivor’s guilt makes it really hard for him to connect with anyone. As Rose becomes a star and moves on to training with typewriter manufacturers, Japy and with the world champs looming will these two find their way back to each other? There’s no doubt that Populaire is a relatively typical rom com but the chemistry between François and Duris (still the hottest man in France) is electric and both characters, as well as the whole supporting cast are charming. Added to this the 50’s setting allows for a glorious candy colour palette, beautiful frocks and a sense of style and flair that’s often missing from similar mainstream English language films. Who would have thought competitive typing could be so exciting. 3.5/5


Rose was finding typing up Nigel Farage’s party manifesto hard to complete without vomiting

Ginger & Rosa (2012)

Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Engelert) were born on the same day at the same time and have been inseparable even since. As they turn sixteen in London in the shadow of the Cuban Missile Crisis, things start to change. Ginger directs her concerns about her parents’, Natalie (Christina Hendricks) and Rolands’ (Alessandro Nivola), marital problems into an obsession with the nuclear war she believes is imminent, while Rosa deals with the absence of her father by seeking out a new father figure. Soon the two are on a collision course that could destroy their friendship. Although Fanning gives an impressive performance, playing sixteen at the tender age of thirteen, I found Ginger & Rosa a bit slow. There’s no question that it’s atmospheric and the instability of the time is reflected in the instability of the characters’ lives, I just couldn’t quite connect with them. 3/5

I thought we were going to throw out these fishing macs...

I thought we were going to throw out these fishing macs…

Sightseers (2012)

Tina’s (Alice Lowe) life has been pretty boring up until now so when her new beau, Chris (Steve Oram) suggests that they go on a camping holiday, she jumps at the chance despite her mother’s insistence (Eileen Davis) that it’s a bad idea. Not long into the holiday Chris runs over an annoying fellow holiday maker, killing him. This leads to murder after murder with Tina realising that dispatching with anyone who
irritates her (or stealing their pets) is actually rather liberating. It’s hard to describe this black comedy. It’s as much about Chris and Tina’s brutal kills, as it is about the minutiae of their burgeoning relationship and their weird personalities and I couldn’t quite decide if Chris was perfect for Tina or the worst thing that had ever happened to her. Whatever you end up focusing on, I can tell you that hubby and I laughed out loud all the way through. Sightseers won’t be for everyone though. It’s in equal parts bonkers and incredibly twee and if you’re a fan of glossy Hollywood cinema, you might find it a chore. 4/5

Go on holiday, they said. It'll be fun, they said.

Go on holiday, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.


  1. Great write-up! I haven’t seen any of these so now I have lots to add to my watch list. 🙂

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I hope you get to see a few of them. I’d love to know what you thought.

  2. Nice mix. Sightseers did take a while to get going, but your last line sums it up well 🙂

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I think it would be a love/hate movie depending on your taste. I loved it.

    1. Abbi

      Why, thank-you!

  3. Four I’ve not seen again! I’m not watching enough movies lately. I like the sound of Populaire. I’ve wondered about Sightseers but, yeah – afraid I could possibly hate it. Or love it – not sure. Not heard of Ginger & Rosa but that & Pompeii sound like things I’d maybe check out on TV someday. Those are quite the abs in that picture! : )

    1. Abbi

      I think you’d love Populaire. Have you seen L’Arnacoeur? Also a romcom with Romain Duris in it. He leaves Hollywood romantic leading men in the dust. Sightseers is very British deadpan surreal humour so if you’re into that kind of thing you’ll love it and if you’re not you won’t.

    2. Abbi

      Oh and the abs are bordering on unnatural. Man looks like he’s been carved from stone. Would suggest it’s worth seeing in mouth watering 3D.

  4. I loved Sightseers! Thought that was a fantastically weird little film 🙂

    1. Abbi

      It’s utterly bizarre but I just thought Alice Lowe was wonderful as someone discovering and embracing their dark side.

  5. MIB

    Glad you liked “Populaire”! Like you said it does the impossible and makes touch typing into a gripping spectator sport! 🙂

    I was in the middle with “Sightseers” after all the hype but it gets a nod purely for the great line “He’s not a person, he’s a Daily Mail reader”!! 😀

    1. Abbi

      I think Populaire works so well because it’s got that incredible French flair and charm. I think in the hands of Hollywood it would have been painful but then I am a bit of a Romain Duris fangirl.

      That was my husband’s favourite line of the film.

  6. I really agree on Ginger and Rosa. I wanted to love it as I adore Elle Fanning, but it just didn’t happen. There really was no connection. I haven’t seen the rest here, though, so I’ll definitely keep an eye out for them — especially Sightseers because that sounds just insane. 😀

    1. Abbi

      I’m glad it wasn’t just me. It got some great reviews so I was worried I was missing something. Maybe it’s just been too long since I was a 16 year old girl… although [SPOILER ALERT] as far as I know none of my friends slept with my dad.

  7. I was cracking up on your Kit Harrington comment, those abs good lord! Are they real? That would be my only reason to see that movie. Populaire sounds cute I am going to look for that one. Good reviews, I like reading these quick snapshot takes about films. 🙂

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I’m not a great one for writing long reviews. I don’t have any of the technical knowledge so I come from the layman’s perspective. It really started as recommendations for my friends. Populaire is really lovely. Not just for Romain Duris.

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