- Purchase any product from the Film and TV Store sold by Amazon.co.uk and receive £1 to use on any music download in our MP3 Store. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
The popular children's books by Mary Norton have been filmed before, but never with as much imagination and ingenuity as you'll find on display in this delightful fantasy film released to critical praise in 1998. The "Borrowers" of the title are a family of tiny people who live in the walls and under the floorboards in the homes of "normal-sized" humans; they earn their by "borrowing" the household items (string, food crumbs, buttons, etc.) needed to furnish their tiny hiding places and provide their meals. The little Clock family lives happily undisturbed in the home of an aged aunt, but when the aunt dies and her will is stolen by an unscrupulous lawyer (John Goodman), the Clocks face eviction and the frightening hazards of the outside world.
Under the ingenious direction of Peter Hewitt, this simple, straightforward movie mixes comedy, adventure, and suspense with some of the cleverest special effects you've ever seen, taking full advantage of effects technologies to immerse you in the world of the tiny people. A climactic chase scene in a milk-bottling plant is a visual tour de force, and the movie's smart and dazzling enough to entertain parents and children alike. After its modest success in theaters, The Borrowers stands a good chance of becoming a home-video favorite. --Jeff Shannon
With hairy warts, a stern-looking unibrow and one extremely protruding buck-tooth, Nanny McPhee is a wonderfully comedic substitute for Mary Poppins in this entertaining family fantasy. By loosely adapting Christianna Brand's Nurse Matilda children's books of the 1960s, Oscar®-winning screenwriter Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility) has also given herself the plum role of Nanny McPhee, who can tame even the most unruly children with a tap of her magic walking stick. Her latest challenge is the bratty brood of a recent widower Mr. Brown (Colin Firth), who's under pressure to find a new wife or lose his much-needed allowance from wealthy Aunt Adelaide (a tailor-made role for Angela Lansbury).
His love for scullery maid Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald) remains unspoken as he wincingly woos the eagerly merry widow Mrs. Quickly (Celia Imrie), but Brown's raucous rugrats have a plan to make things right, especially after they've come under the benevolent influence of Nanny McPhee, whose peculiar brand of discipline works wonders for everyone involved. Both quintessentially British and universally appealing, this wildly colorful comedy (thanks to a bold palette of costume and production design) was capably directed by Kirk Jones, whose appreciation for comic actors was equally apparent in his critically acclaimed 1998 comedy Waking Ned Devine. With just a hint of darkness to offset the whimsy, Nanny McPhee offers a splendid match of director, cast and material, guaranteed to please Wallace & Gromit fans and anyone else with a taste for British zaniness. --Jeff Shannon