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About Time - 9/8/2013 12:19:57 PM   
Empire Admin


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- 9/8/2013 12:19:57 PM   


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Unusual for Empire to review a film that is a few weeks away from its release date. Can't wait for the film though.

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- 9/8/2013 4:20:14 PM   


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Is it me or is Rachel McAdams trying to corner the market in Romantic Time Travelling movies ??

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Richard Curtis? - 9/8/2013 6:52:42 PM   


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I haven't seen it and here's my review.

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RE: Richard Curtis? - 9/8/2013 8:33:13 PM   


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From: My House
Saw this a few weeks back when it was the "surprise movie" at the Edinburgh Film Festival. It's just your pretty typical Curtis thing. Awkward Posho with wealthy "eccentric" family and friends finds love with Pretty American Lady. Lots of embarrassing situations and soppiness ensue. Add to that a sci-fi device that only works so far as it tends to break its own rules which don't really make a lot of sense anyway. Not that it really matters as it is just a maguffin around which the awkward posh soppiness is built. There are a few good laughs to be had and a scene late on is touching but Curtis pretty much spoils it a few minutes later by adding a further similar scene that is pure schmalz. It's all very "nice" and does have likeable performances from Gleeson and McAdams and Bill Nighy is basically Bill Nighy. Fans of Four Weddings and Notting Hill will no doubt love it. Anyone else probably no so much.

I saw it with a friend and his Missus, he loved it, I thunk she did as well. I thought it was pretty much okay

2.5 stars from me

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Richard Curtis? - 10/8/2013 7:08:53 PM   


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I haven't seen it and here's my review...

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RE: Richard Curtis? - 19/8/2013 11:58:29 PM   

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Although I started off regretting my decision to see this ("Oh God Curtis, here we go again!"), this ended up turning into a really touching film about the relationship between a father and his son, and about letting go and moving on etc etc.

Finally Richard Curtis makes a film that matters!


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Post #: 7
Time-travel, Actually. - 20/8/2013 12:53:25 AM   

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From: Oxford, UK
About Time is to time-travel movies what Shaun of the Dead is to zombie flicks; it's not what it's about, but it's how the story happens. If you can forgive the duration, it's a funny, moving film that deserves a wider audience that it'll probably get. Although it also deserves a more ruthless editorÖ


More reviews and rambling like that ^^^ at: >>> <<<

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Post #: 8
RE: About Time - 5/9/2013 7:47:26 PM   


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It may seem odd at first that Richard Curtis was directing a time travel movie, considering the works heís done before are contemporary romantic comedies from Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill. However, in his third directorial feature and first rom-com since Love Actually, Curtisís approach to science-fiction is secondary to what he does best: make something sweet and funny.

At the age of 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he is the latest male member of his family to have the power of time travel. Following a few mentoring words from his father (Bill Nighy), Tim cannot change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life, so he decides to find himself a girlfriend to make his life complete.

At the very first frames of About Time, you feels like youíre in familiar territory as we have the bumbling male lead who is not great at chatting up girls and yet finds a way, and eventually falling in love with the American girl (in this case, Rachel McAdams). The McGuffin here is the use of time travel as Tim enters a dark room, clench his fists and he would arrive at his past time destination. Being that this is his first and perhaps only approach to sci-fi, Curtis doesnít stick true to the initial logistics established during the beginning, leading to plot holes and moments that couldíve been erased.

However, if you know anything about the works of Curtis, they are pure escapism which are sentimental and funny to those who are British. Whilst Iím not the biggest Richard Curtis fan, there were moments in About Time that were profound, particularly towards the maturity of Tim Lake whose goal in life is to find the love of his life, which he does before we even hit the halfway point.

As well as being a truly romantic movie as the romance between Tim and the American Mary is delightful, the true heart of the film could be seen through the father-son relationship as Timís dad (brilliantly played by Nighy) gives him advice for not only time travel, but life in general and re-doing oneís past is not only the solution, but can experience life without any tension.

With a non-appearance by Hugh Grant, Domhnall Gleeson seems to be stepping into Mr Grantís shoes, as he plays the bumbling hero who gets vocally lost when chatting girls leading to occasional swearing and a top joke about oral sex. With the inclusion of an American love interest which is a typical device in Curtisí scripts, Rachel McAdams has no corny lines to rival Andie MacDowell as McAdams has such a loveable screen presence thatís hard to resist. Another aspect we always see in Curtisí films are the comedic supporting cast, amongst them is standout Tom Hollander as the swear-tastic playwright who hates everything in life and steals some of the best laughs.

This is no Groundhog Day, but Richard Curtisís apparently final directorial feature is a funny, sweet rom-com with a time travel twist, but more importantly a story about maturity and relationships in general.

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Loved it. - 6/9/2013 1:21:15 AM   


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I'm not a big fan of Curtis. Love Actually is kinda fun, but this is leagues ahead of that. A really smart, cleverly done film. Becomes funnier as the movie progressives. Never feels saccharine, or forced. And Nighy is just perfect - *perfect*.

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Post #: 10
Disapointed! - 6/9/2013 8:20:49 AM   


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From: Bedfordshire
Great expectations stemming from what has gone before - love 4 weddings hill actually - but this just never seemed to take off for me. Not enough laugh out loud moments - some wry observational pieces were ok but in general with the calibre from previous this seems a little lite and disapointing

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Post #: 11
It's... - 7/9/2013 2:24:41 PM   


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About time for another Richard Curtis film. And this one does NOT disappoint. I had only heard good things before seeing the film and in turn I have only good things to say after seeing it. It made me laugh and it made me cry as a good rom com should, and I didn't feel the time travel was over complicated as most time travel related movies try and do. It lives up to Curtis' previous films and I feel is a good sign of, (though I'm still going to wish for more.) Overall must see, an uplifting feel good film that left me smiling for the rest of the night.

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Post #: 12
Why not 5 stars? - 9/9/2013 6:35:06 PM   


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I thought this was fantastic.

Mark's review does it justice and on the podcast it met with universal praise from the Empire team. My question is, why not 5 stars? Mark mentioned there was "plenty to criticise" but didn't really mention what that was....other than that his girlfriend hated it (assume she is now an ex-girlfriend?).

As far as I can tell it is the perfect rom-com-that-isn't-really-a-rom-com and it seemed like any criticisms you levelled at it were ones of personal taste rather than faults with the film itself?

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Post #: 13
About Time - 13/9/2013 3:18:40 PM   

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From: 30 minutes walk from Manchester city centre.
Really enjoyed this.

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Post #: 14
RE: About Time - 14/9/2013 11:13:32 PM   
Dr Lenera


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The night after another unsatisfactory New Year party, Tim Lakeís father tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim canít change history, but he can change what has happened in his own life. Tim immediately sets out to get himself a girlfriend but that turns out not to be as easy as you might think, with his attempts to woo a friend who is staying with his family, failing miserably. Moving from the Cornwall coast to London to train as a lawyer, Tim finally meets Mary. They are immediately attracted to each other, but when he tries to help his housemate an unfortunate time-travel incident means heís never met her at all. However, all Tom needs to do is travel back in time a little bit and rectify the situationÖ..

About Time will probably please fans of writer and director Richard Curtis greatly, as it has most of his tried and tested elements in spades, right from yet again taking place in a twee, cosy, middle-class version of England that seems divorced from the outside world and makes Curtis seem like some kind of tourist rep for gullible Americans. Thereís the awkward, slightly bumbling [yet who can still get laid on a first date] English hero who here may not be Hugh Grant but sounds and acts just like him [which is a huge problem when he narrates much of the thing] and woos an American girl. He has an eccentric family or group of friends. Thereís the [supposedly] funny housemate and the damaged close friend [here a sister]. Then thereís a montage when the seasons quickly pass by, lots of scenes where people say embarrassing things, constant pop songs, even a wedding and a funeral, andÖ..well, you get the idea. Fans will have fun ticking all this stuff off, but if youíre not a fan you may just as much get tired of seeing the same stuff yet again and even end up feeling rather ill.

Iíve always been of the opinion that his writing is very limited [even Blackadder is nowhere near as funny when revisited twenty years later], and that Love Actually, which was three quarters of a really good film, was some kind of aberration. About Time has a few good scenes and ideas, but is overall a really lazy exercise that showcases the worst aspects of Curtis in spades. It never becomes as excruciating as, say, Bridget Jonesís Diary [which he co-wrote], or as dull as Notting Hill, but itís a seriously flawed endeavour nonetheless. Take for example the comedy. In About Time, the so-called humour almost entirely consists of somebody swearing or saying something sexual, usually to more than one person, but sometimes not. I reckon the person who the audience is most supposed to laugh at is the heroís housemate Harry, whose character is basically that heís randomly rude to people. When Tim goes to stay with him for the first time, he is shown to his room and is almost immediately told he can f*** Harryís sister when Tim sees her picture. Mildly amusing I suppose if youíre in a certain mood, but juvenile and actually more disturbing than funny, especially if we are actually supposed to like this person. Itís nowhere near as disturbing though as Timís sister Kit Kat [!], who is almost incestuously touchy-feely with her family and even pounces on Mary when she first meets the family. I guess itís supposed to show how needy she is, but all it does is create frustration at Curtis hinting at something complex or disturbing but then backing away from it.

The opening immediately sets a bad tone when Tim, narrating [remember, Domhnall Gleeson sounds like Hugh Grant], describes his family, over images of them, in a way which is obviously supposed to be funny, but isnít. We do soon get into the story and things get going very quickly. Tim is informed by his dad that the male members of their family can travel back in time, and straight away starts to use his gift, though of course mostly for himself. The film quickly becomes a variant on Groundhog Day, but unlike the changes in emotion and variety of that filmís repeating of events, it basically stays on one level and soon becomes a bit tedious. Tim says something wrong? BingoÖ.he goes back in time to change what he said. Sometimes he helps other people with his gift, and the time travelling eventually leads to some quite moving scenes between father and son, with another fine Bill Nighy performance. However, the film repeatedly breaks its own rules regarding its fantasy aspect. Dad says to son that he canít change history, but later on does that very thing. He also says that itís just male family members who have this gift, but a female one later on goes back in time.

Of course time travel tales are full of paradoxes Ė itís part of what makes them such fun Ė but here it soon becomes apparent that itís all just a gimmick upon which to hang Curtisís view of the world, which is basically that itís all wonderful and everyoneís lovely. Thereís nothing wrong with saying that if thatís what you think, and Curtis managed this well at the beginning and end of Love Actually, where even I felt all happy and lovey-dovey and not only that but felt pleased that I had been manipulated to feel that way. The last twenty minutes of About Time though are thoroughly nauseating. For what seems like an eternity, we are fed images of people smiling, being nice and doing favours for others while Domhnall Gleeson [remember, he sounds like Hugh Grant] goes on and on in the narration ramming home points like how you have to appreciate each and every day. Frankly, all this could have been cut to about two minutes. Feeling warm inside? No way, I felt like throwing up and came out wanting to hit the nearest person. There are occasionally times where the act of emotional manipulation can go too far.

There is no doubt that About Time is a very personal film for Curtis, but it needed a lot of work in all its stages to actually make it a good one. There is one rather Ďdarkí moment involving a baby, but it doesnít fit with the rest of the film. His direction, which is mostly as smooth and unobtrusive as ever, uses extreme close-ups in a couple of scenes to good effect, but every now and again uses the dreaded [well, by me anyway, and hopefully by anybody who cares about cinema] Ďshakycamí technique [somebody following the cast members with a handheld camera shaking it about as if they are epileptic] for a few seconds. It jars incredibly and is pointless. Meanwhile, aside from the father and son scenes mentioned earlier, little convinces. Gleeson and Rachel McAdams [used to time travelling] donít help by having no chemistry whatsoever. Good points? Well, the coupleís first meeting is cute and original, it occurring in almost total darkness. There is a very funny bit where Tim uses his gift to make sex better. The soundtrack includes good stuff from the likes of The Cure, Amy Winehouse and Nick Cave, and the Cave song is cleverly used more than once, but as usual too often the songs just seem thrown in there and are too frequent.

Thereís probably a half-decent 90 min film that exists somewhere in About Time, but itís hard to locate amongst all the sludge and maudlin tedium, much of which actually feels like deleted scenes from The Time Travellerís Wife [which wasn't great in itself, but at least seemed like a fully realised project]. It may wear its heart on its sleeve, but here thatís nowhere near enough.

Rating: 4/10


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- 16/9/2013 9:31:28 PM   


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I am a huge fan of Richard Curtis in the tv world but not so much with his big screen writing . Really didn't like love actually . I thought this was a beautiful film . The time travel plot really being the background about the story of fathers and sons . Spellbinding .

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Touch of class - 18/9/2013 12:33:15 AM   
Jack Ryan


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Whilst by no means perfect (the flimsy time travel rules are often bent to suit the plot - and why can't Curtis throw in the odd northern accent?!) but I found the film to meet the expectations of the excellent trailer. Touching, moving (particularly the seens between fathers and their children) and impeccably acted, the 2 leads are outstanding. Highly recommended, as Empire says - hankies will be required.

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Enjoyed immensely... - 19/9/2013 4:12:44 PM   


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Really enjoyed it... as with all time travel movies it's best to take a leap of faith but the film as a whole made me smile. This review summed up my thoughts perfectly and is well worth a look.

Edit - personal links can go in sigs, but please don't advertise your own site in posts, ta

< Message edited by elab49 -- 19/9/2013 11:29:20 PM >

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RE: About Time - 3/10/2013 3:33:03 PM   


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Saw this last night, due to getting my timings wrong and not wanting to wait around for an hour. I was really pleasantly surprised. I admit I had very low expectations, but they ere well exceeded. It had its share of schmaltz of course, but not too much overdone. I certainly didn't need a hankie.
The performances of the main characters is what makes this enjoyable. I particularly liked the indiscreet uncle. Asking the bride-to-be who was the father of her unborn child was brilliant.
Not life-changing, but an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. The only disappointment was that it didn't start again at the end. Then we could all have felt like time-travellers.


If you can dodge traffic, you can dodge a ball

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Thanks Empire! - 11/11/2013 3:52:39 PM   


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I have to thank you Empire. Thank you for giving so much coverage to an indie little romantic comedy like this one. While reading the magazine, i was kind of intrigued. When "About Time" was finally out in my country, i gave it a shot... and really it's one of the best comedies i've seen recently. It was beautiful and moving, and immensely funny (the entire theatre laughed a lot throughout).

If you hadn't given "About Time" so much visibility, I would never have heard of it. So again a bit THANKS to you, thanks for doing your job so well in promoting new, original movies.

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Post #: 20
- 17/11/2013 12:17:37 AM   

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From: Sin City
Tim`s father tells him that the men in his family have a special gift: they can travel back in time (back in time, not to the future). Upon hearing this he has his doubts but once he has tried it he finds out that it has a lot of positive things. He gets to know the very pretty Mary (Rachel McAdams) and uses his gift to the max, of course not thinking of the fact that his gift has some downsides as well...
The new film from Richard Curtis (Love Actually) is a beautiful and entertaining romcom. With a cast full of well-known people, a leading man (Domnhall Gleeson) who is so perfect for the part and an in-sane-ly beautiful Rachel McAdams (for wich, as you can see, I have a MAJOR weak spot) on the screen for two hours there surely is a lot to enjoy. But there are some downsides to it, as in almost every single timetravel movie. The biggest problem here is, as the film goes on, the trick of the time traveling is overused. Time and again you hope that the story as it is at that time goes on instead of jumping back and forth in time. It takes the pace out of story too much.
Enough to enjoy here but it`s a pity Curtis didn`t get more out of this...


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RE: - 31/12/2013 10:02:43 AM   


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It's about time so it's a bit convoluted. It's too long but not a bad rom-com.

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About Time - Five Stars All Round - 7/1/2014 11:10:26 AM   


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From: Greece
One of the best films I've seen in a long time. An original "take" on time travel. Charming, bitter sweet, hilarious at times, 5 star acting all round, visually masterful & great music to boot - this is a film I could definitely watch again

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Lovely - 11/4/2014 12:10:21 AM   

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From: The last house on the left
Charming, funny and genuinely moving with great performances. Nothing wrong with that is there?

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