BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Notting Hill ★★★★
This should have ended with the Savoy Hotel press conference and the mutual declaration of love by diffident bookseller Hugh Grant and humongously famous movie star Julia Roberts. The rest we could have filled in for ourselves. It could also have done with less of Rhys Ifans as Grant’s wildly improbable flatmate. That apart there’s little to complain about in writer Richard Curtis’s old-fashioned but likeable romantic comedy. (Well, there is that clunking line from Roberts — “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her” — but let’s forgive that.) In the tradition of romantic comedy, the question here is not whether two people from disparate worlds will end up together, but how, and with warmth, wit and a few spiky sideswipes at stardom and the movie business, Notting Hill reaches this desirable conclusion in style.
Superman II ★★★★
Is it a bird, is it a…oh, you know who it is: Christopher Reeve dons the superhero cape for a second outing that retains the might of the original. This time around, he has to overcome a trio of Kryptonian criminals.
Iron Man 2 ★★★
PREMIERE 9.00-11.30pm C4
Suits you, sir. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) slips back into some shiny clobber to take on Russian inventor Ivan Venko (Mickey Rourke) in a cracking (if occasionally creaking) action adventure.
The Hurt Locker ★★★★
There were six Oscars for Kathryn Bigelow’s raw and truly hair-raising story of a bomb-disposal squad in Iraq. These are the real-life superheroes but Oscar-nominated Jeremy Renner reveals the human foibles, too.
Jake Gyllenhaal leads the charge in director Sam Mendes’s fresh look at the Gulf War, as seen through the eyes of the restless marines who served there. It’s all itchy trigger fingers and misfiring testosterone.