The Farewell

“The story is based on an actual lie.”
Seems there’s a tradition not to tell a cancer victim about their prognosis (until close to the very end) in China, or some parts.
In this story, a wedding is contrived to bring the family together to meet the victim.
This seemed the most extraordinary thing – and it kinda felt like a forced marriage. (They. couldn’t have had an engagement party instead?).
Bit of a risk too with the notion of – look how funny the foreigners are. But the intentions are benign and the film entertains.
Instead, perhaps reflect that it wasn’t long ago that not telling cancer patients about the true reality of their condition was more widespread and. not limited to that funny former. most powerful country of the world.
Wiki. Guardian review – 4 stars.)



So what if the way to outdo a believer of an authoritarian ideology and regime is to make them realise that what they believe is ridiculous by showing them the outcome of their believes and make them unbelief?
Not that we have any need for that kind of approach, clearly.

Neat play in the studio at the Lace Market Theatre. Go see – before tickets for Saturday sell out.

Mrs Lowry & Son

L S Lowry was a rent collector. A former colleague on the city council was too and would talk about the insights into life the job gave.
In this film, one of the insights is that it’s one of Mrs Lowry’s disappointment in her son. Other insights, that Lowry doted on his mother, that his dotage was an aspect (or cause) of a repression, that his mother was wrapped up in ideas of middle class respectability (a theme Orwell explored, as well as ’30s poverty in the north-west).
The revelations include that Lowry had a range of style over his life (yet again, I don’t know enough), and the men, children, cats and dogs were not matchstick (even if they were thinner then). And that the exteriors of buildings were much more interesting then.
The movie hasn’t been rated that highly, but it’s made me want to learn more and perhaps the movie might have been a bit more successful if it had done a tad more about the painting, the paintings and the triumph. (I also wanted more on the Labour Party Councillor who lived next door – la de da.)
Wiki. Guardian.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s 9th movie is a go see, but it is worth knowing about the murder of actress Sharon Tate and her friends in 1969 before you go.
Cos the film tells an alternate story to that history, I can report that the audience at the screening I saw, like me, laughed at the denouement, enjoying the heroics of the dog, and the gratification of killing baddies in very extreme ways, in part a response to the genuine sense of danger in the build-up.

Opinions on the movie are divided – one BBC Radio 5 reviewer took over 15 minutes to describe how wonderful it all was, and another took under 4 minutes to describe it as undisciplined, with bits that should have been put straight into the DVD extras. I side with the latter.
But my thirst for understanding. the movie better led me to spend over an hour listening to YouTube explanations of the ending and of all the characters; so who’s being undisciplined?

Wiki. Guardian. Youtube reviews:-
Explaining the characters:
Explaining the ending:
Critical Radio 5 review:
Uncritical Radio 5 review:

Woman at War

Annoyingly, the projection machine for the 6pm showing broke down, so we had to come back for the 8:30 showing. That’s nothing you say – what was it like to suffer cos 2 power stations tripped at roughly the same time recently, especially if travelling in the south-east by train?
So what to make of a film where the hero is destroying power supply networks?

A 50-year old woman resents an economic superpower sticking its nose into Iceland’s economy, smelting aluminium and covering the beautiful island with electricity supply pylons. So she destroys parts of the electricity supply network in the remote locations. A mission that prompts difficult choices as an opportunity to adopt a 4 year old girl appears and as the state’s determined use of new technology makes it clear that this woman, living anonymously in the mainstream, can very well get caught.

The film has rich characters, celebrations of neighbourhood and of living, dramatic chases. As in most films, the hero’s mood and awareness brought out by music – but in this movie, the musicians appear in shot. The film is full of Iceland, suspense and surprise. It’s an action movie – with a fantastic twist towards the end.

What it is not is a comedy – as so many pundits have proclaimed it. Not even a dry comedy. It’s pleasant. And you smile and maybe laugh at scenes of ordinary life, and the surprises. But there’s no jokes – and hallelujah to that.

The quality of the story is such, that Jodie Foster wants to star in and direct an American re-make. I’d say go see, but it might be too late. Wiki. Observer.

Vita and Virginia

Went cos I thought I ought to know more about Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, writers and part of Britain’s radical and feminist history.
Knew the film had lukewarm reviews, but thought it was important to go.
The movie covers the period of their love affair, and the writing of a resultant novel called “Orlando“.
Radical maybe, but also posh (terribly so), and dealing with literature at a level I don’t know about, so yeah, I’m lukewarm about the film too.
But no regrets about going. Too long for some, but there’s a lot to cover.
And beyond the story and the themes covered, great sets, fashion, locations and motor cars. Wiki. Guardian.


Booksmart is so unreal. Where do they get all these 18 year olds with huge talent and very developed personas? Like Mean Girls, they all show capability for meanness, but unlike Mean Girls they all have a chance to shine. And the valedictory speech is human. Some great comedy – and in particular, the animation piece (feminists punished by becoming Barbie dolls) and the karaoke (teens singing Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know”). I laughed even though I don’t care about the teen melodramas and I don’t get school graduation ceremonies. Go see. Wiki. Guardian review.