BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Easter Parade ★★★★★
Now here’s a real treat: a glorious musical set at Easter time and featuring star-crossed lovers and numerous songs by Irving Berlin, most memorably A Couple of Swells performed by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. It’s a backstage story with not much of a plot, largely involving Astaire trying to turn the ingénue Garland into a star as a way of getting back at his former dancing partner and girlfriend Ann Miller, who has split up with him. A sort of lightweight Pygmalion, if you like, but none of that really matters because you’re carried away by the lively performances and all those great musical numbers. Garland loves Astaire but he doesn’t know whether he loves her and to complicate matters Astaire’s best mate Peter Lawford fancies both Garland and Miller. This is the only time Astaire and Garland appeared together, more’s the pity, and they were only paired here because the original star, Gene Kelly, broke his ankle.
Nanny McPhee ★★★
Most recently seen posing naked with a dead fish (don’t ask), Emma Thompson uglies up here to play the hideous, warty nanny who uses magic in a way that might trouble the more fragrant approach of Mary Poppins. A real delight
Identity Thief ★★
PREMIERE 9.00-11.15pm C4
Jason Bateman is the businessman confronting the con artist (Melissa McCarthy) who has stolen his identity in this broad and physical comedy. Mel’s character is apparently loud-mouthed and larger than life. That’s a stretch, then.
Dustin Hoffman’s delightful directorial debut sees feathers fly at a home for retired opera singers. Maggie Smith leads a cast that any other rookie could only dream about.
Hot Fuzz ★★★★
The US action flick meets English murder mystery when mismatched cops Simon Pegg and Nick Frost try to solve a string of grisly deaths out in the country in this terrific romp from the Shaun of the Dead crew.
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