England is Mine owes the viewers more

For a fan, who loves The Smiths and has watched the documentaries, this is a great film.
It shows a young man who is very different, who lives for words and for pop, and receives encouragement from his Mother who sees a special talent.  His chosen circle are confident in art, words and music.  His unchosen circle are not, but he tries to avoid conflict with varying degrees of success.  Problem is, the difference and avoiding conflict can come across of lack of care, concern and gratitude.
And I’m not sure that those who don’t know enough of the Morrissey story can enjoy the film enough.  Something more is needed to be done for those who are not on the inside.
Except, no doubt, that would be very un-Morrissey.

Pirates of Penzance by People’s Theatre (Nottingham)

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The simple pleasure of just hearing music being played live and watching people sing and perform.
Bags of enthusiasm and some songs I recognise – including one from the football terraces.
The trick is not so much as to not take the plot too seriously, but to realise Gilbert and Sullivan probably didn’t either.
Put on by local artists and musicians at the Nottingham Arts Theatre.

The Journey, a modern parable

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A terrific movie that rehearses the big arguments that we should appreciate as two sworn enemies brokered the St.Andrew’s Agreement in 2006.
The Journey” takes the trip Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness made for an urgent flight after the agreement was reached.
Here, critics appear to have a wobble. For one Northern Ireland correspondent, too much disregard for the facts; the characters not sufficiently captured. For one film critic, the dramatic device of the journey being monitored by all the other key participants not adding drama. Too harsh.
A parable has been created that entertains and illuminates, and reminds us well of just what a political journey these leaders took.

Line of Duty series 4

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Another excellent series (broadcast on BBC tv).
The theme of this series was (institutional) sexism, kinda reinforced by public criticism of Thandie Newton’s performance as a bit reserved when that was the nature of the character she was playing.
Other characteristics of the series remains –
– masking what’s really going on until the finale; so even though it’s always about the fight against highly organised crime, viewers seem to forget;
– AC12, the anti-corruption unit, around which the series is based, again continue to not be good enough in their duties;
– compelling witness interview scenes;
– hands always get hurt.
As in other drama series there are bits that seem implausible (e.g. main characters back at work very quickly after suffering very serious injuries) and plenty has been left unresolved for another series.

Their finest

A celebration of cinema and when Britain and its empire stood alone against the Nazis.
A reminder of the sexist nature of the world of work.
An entertainment.

And how the screenwriters must have enjoyed writing a screenplay where the screenwriter is the hero in a war film.
(No doubt learning from journalists who make themselves the hero in a political story.)
One bigger quibble – the female lead makes strides for women and without any real reason, falls for the boss at work (having fallen previously for an artist who didn’t champion her) without any kind of narratve to suggest there had been real warmth.  Surely the screenwriters should have spotted that.

Selma and Pentrich

I missed Selma on its release (and have only just seen it on BBC 2 tv).  The film brings some stunning moments from the past to life – of government spying & brutality, of racism, of fear, of defiance.
Some controversy over the portrayal of President Johnson’s politics and actions – a shame the film couldn’t be more positive about him.
Still the big story – people denied political rights, people putting themselves at some risk from government sides and brutality.
Similar to the Hampden clubs / Luddites of 200 years ago who started marches on London, including the one from the industrial villages in Derbyshire such as Pentrich, who marched 200 years ago this June.
There would have been the same discussions over the problems life presents, how they have no power to get things changed, and how the actions they might be taking will be dangerous.  Even discussions when they’d realised they were being spied upon.
There are limits to the parallels.  Unlike the Southern Christrian Leadership Confrence, the rebels from 200 years ago were not non-violent, although their weapons were basic and not significant enough to make them do anything but run when they saw government forces ahead.
There are books and plays on the movements of the day – but not films.  Just don’t give such a movie to Mel Gibson.