Alan Dee’s movie preview: Loopy love story is more farce than fantasy

If there are three words that turn me away from a film faster than the prospect of sitting in front of someone chowing down on a binful of popcorn, ‘enchanting romantic fantasy’ is only beaten by a short head by overall champion ‘starring Adam Sandler.’

A New York Winter's Tale
A New York Winter's Tale

A New York Winter’s Tale is packed with the distressing warning signs of a date movie which might appear to have something to offer but falls flat on its face.

It’s adapted from an acclaimed novel, there are lots of star names wearing elegant period costumes, but there is a baffling storyline which struggles to convince.

And it’s also first time out as director for Akiva Goldsman, who may have an impressive pedigree as a writer and a producer but has never called the shots before.

A New York Winter's Tale

So what’s it all about? We’re in New York half way through the First World War – oh, sorry, we were half way through but the Yanks had yet to rock up on the front line – and burglar Colin Farrell breaks into a posh pad.

There he comes across frail young beauty Jessica Brown Findlay, her off Downton Abbey, and they begin to hit it off. Hold on, she’s suffering from TB and not long for this world.

But Colin, who at the same time is being pursued by sinister gangster Russell Crowe, then discovers that he is able to hop through time and is determined to use his gift to both dodge Russell’s attentions and save the love of his life.

Sounds absolutely ludicrous, doesn’t it? It’s possible to be carried away by flights of fancy, but not when they are as heavy-handed as this. Catch it while you can, it won’t be around for long.

Another big budget release laden with stars which has failed to convince the critics is Monuments Men.

George Clooney directs and takes a lead role, along with the likes of John Goodman, Matt Damon, and Bill Murray in this sort of true tale about a hand-picked group of arty warriors tasked with rescuing priceless paintings and the like before the retreating Nazis torched them in the dying days of the Second World War.

Watch the video to see what the stars had to say in advance of the London premiere.