Sorry to Bother you

Yeah, go see.  But it is so different to what we’re used to.  On a second viewing, I’d probably laugh out loads at the satire of modern life, but first time around, I was working too hard to establish what might actually be real.  Living in a family home’s garage – yes; a call centre for selling encyclopaedias – no.

The film is a visual treat.  The story surprises.  Some aspects so ridiculous as to not be capable of being satire; others reminding us how ridiculous modern day entertainment can be whilst being accepted.  Perhaps some more obvious targets missed – e.g. the gig economy.  
(r:9.0; s:4, e:4: t:5).  TO BE REVIEWED
Sorry to Bother You” is described well in the Observer.  



I’m the wrong person to review this play, broadcast to the cinema as an as-live production.  I find Alan Bennett’s humour too twee and so I defer to reviews from The Guardian and the New Statesman.
Certainly interesting watching a focussed on geriatric wards Monday afternoon. shown in a theatre full of retired people.
(r:5; e:3; s:2; t:3)
The political messages are confused.  A smaller hospital is better because its local, but a major incident is discovered because no-one was looking for the right things.  Targets encourages inhumanity but having more performance data should have triggered a discovery.
The play misses the big issues.  Hospitals entering black status more frequently cos funding ain’t growing with the need of an older society, cuts in public health and social services, less regular work and proper pay for working class families leading to more problems at home.  And perhaps education not doing enough to set young people up for life.  100,000 posts in the NHS not filled cos of poor planning for training.

First Man

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Born in ’61, I was part of the generation who were the age to be inspired about just how much was going to be possible in the future.  We were the ones woken up in the middle of the night to watch the first moon walk on the black and white TVs.
Yet there is little joy in this giant leap for mankind.
It’s as if the astronauts were drilled not to enjoy the successes, so we aren’t allowed to either.
Space flight here is not bright and light, as portrayed in “Apollo 13”, but dark, with plenty of shake, rattle and roll; especially the rattle.
Compelling and convincing, the only technical moan is the inability to hear all the dialogue; this in a film that is the best so far in conveying what the moon looks like and what that crater that nearly aborted Apollo 11 looked like.
Another go see movie.
(r:9.2; e:4, s:5, t:4).

Asked what the missions will mean, Armstrong is shown to say that it may not be explorations for exploration’s sake, but for seeing things in a new way, because we now can.
Apollo 13 was to use its lunar module as a lifeboat; and to remind us that the earth doesn’t have one, so we have to look after the earth.  Yet the generation that was supposed to be inspired to do so much ought to reflect on just how many problems we are refusing to tackle.


For a country that loves period costume drama, a first movie of the Peterloo massacre the 200th anniversary of which falls in August next year.
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The production art and costumes are convincing.  The massacre itself, sickening – and how could it be anything else.
The interests of manufacturers, magistrates, government and royalty are shown and not to advantage.  The workers and campaigners are often shown making speeches – often extracts from speeches of the time – and the language can be challenging.  An introduction to Henry Hunt.  Overall, an education.
A more positive review from the Guardian, in essence the newspaper that was created because the massacre happened.
(r:6.7; e:2, s:3, t:4).

Les Gardiennes

The Guardians, or rather the female Guardians.
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Farming, farm management, tractors – all my forefathers’ occupations (save shepparding) – what’s not to love?
In this story of the Great War years, written in 1924, when the work is done by the women, partly because of the war, but noticeably because capable older men often seem to sit and watch.
Yet the major twist in this story sees a woman betray another.
The movie is long, invitng you to love watching the farm animals, the scenery, the long labour and the new technology.
Like Columbus, long and avoiding antagonism.
Guardian review.
(r:7.8; s:4, e:3, t:4).
Note, the author was to die during the Nazi occupation, harassed daily by the Gestapo.


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The story defies predictions of the usual end.  So different but still gives form to the preparation of children to be sent away from their parents.  Drilling kids to be independent – in some contrast to the modern phenomena of helicopter parents.
Here, evacuation from Nazi Germany in January 1939, and also British city kids in September . But might prompt thoughts of British kids being sent to Australia in the fifties.  Or perhaps imaginings of kids being separated from their kids at the Mexico / USA border – where I imagine there was very little preparation.


Shot in Columbus, Indiana. Viewed on Columbus Day.  And I had no idea.

Columbus is a very good film.  You’ll no doubt find the story slow.  And perhaps less entertaining than you’d hope.
But you gotta go see.
Great acting. Great ethos. Great shots. Great architecture and interior design.  Drawing on extraordinary hallmarks of other great directors.
(r:9.5.; s:4, e:4, t:7 (out of 5).)
So much so, I’ve broken my already broken rating system, but in a new way. 7 out of 5 for the technical aspects.

The core of the story is a high school (check) graduate who is mature beyond her years because of her love for her mother and the support she’s given to help the mother through a drug-addiction.  She loves cooking for her mum, her home city and loves its specialist architecture.  She’s bright but is choosing to stay home to help her Mum rather than break out.  Catalyst for the breaking out from this life is the son of an architect,  who’s come to the city cos his father has fallen seriously hill.  And they develop a bond cos they can talk with each other beyond her joy in telling stories of the local buildings. And with all the potential for “drama”, not one argument, not one strop.  Such an antidote to soap operas and many films.

Now, I didn’t know about Columbus, Indiana (population 44,000).  That it’s home to many exemplary modernist buildings cos of the vision of a wealthy couple and the husband who managed a successful local engine manufacturing company.
So beautiful buildings were commissioned, from the fifties on.
Now, the controversy – cos The Guardian in reviewing the film describes the beautiful buildings as brutalist.  With my limited knowledge of architecture drawn from membership of the planning committee, I don’t think they are brutal.  Not least cos of the massive space often available to these buildings – something Nottingham doesn’t have room for; nor does modern British capitalism (e.g. Station Street).
Yet the weaknesses of the buildings restarting to come through, even in the film; the weathering showing the buildings often don’t know how to manage the rain.
So architects and planners should also go see this film, if only to take in the success and the failings.