I, Daniel Blake, Gate Picturehouse, 23 October 2016

Superb movie, this.  I, Daniel Blake – click here for IMDb entry.

Janie and I had both been tracking this one for a few weeks. Our original plan was to see it at the Curzon, but the nifty timing of 15:20 at The Gate, together with the chance to pop in to the flat afterwards to pick up one or two things, won it for the Gate Picturehouse.

What we didn’t know when we bought the tickets online was that the heating in the Gate had broken down, making the experience doubly bleak.

I mean, you don’t go to a Ken Loach film for heartwarming, do you? You go for bleak. Still, you don’t actually need to feel physically cold and experience personal suffering to empathise with victims of our country’s heartless benefits system, in chilly Newcastle.

So, Janie and I suffered for our art, but it was worth it.

The movie especially highlights how inflexible our state bureaucratic systems are, so if you fall foul of them or make a mistake or have a mistake made about you when you are in an especially vulnerable position, matters can spiral out of control and out of hand so easily.

It also highlights how very dispossessed are those people who do not have ready access to on-line facilities and/or do not have the skills to use information systems.

Ken Loach has previous at highlighting big social issues and making things happen about them; Cathy Come Home being perhaps the most memorable example. I hope there is a reaction and some social change on the back of I, Daniel Blake.

Not as relentlessly grim as some Ken Loach films, as there were glimpses of humanity throughout the film. The kindly job centre employee being reprimanded by her boss for trying to help Daniel…”I’ve told you before, it might set a precedent…” was especially chilling. A scene at a food bank was heartbreaking.

I don’t often implore people to see stuff, but this really is one of those films that ought to be seen by as many people as possible. The film is also an excellent piece of drama. Go see it.

Julieta, Curzon Mayfair, 10 September 2016

After my first international representative appearance for the MCC against the visiting Australians at Lord’s, Janie and I went on to the Curzon Mayfair to see the new Almodóvar movie, Julieta.

We thought it was an absolutely excellent movie; interesting story, beautiful cinematography, fine acting, the lot.

If you want to know all about it, here is the IMDb entry for the movie.

It has received very good reviews on the whole:

I guess Almodóvar movies aren’t everyone’s style, but when he’s on form we love his movies. This one was just the ticket for us that evening, rounding off a thoroughly enjoyable day.


Meet the Patels, Curzon Bloomsbury, 2 January 2016

You could be forgiven for assuming that we spend half our lives at the cinema (indeed the Curzon Bloomsbury) if you simply look at the recent posts on this blog.  Four of the last five things we have done being visits to movies at that place.

In reality, we haven’t tended to go to the movies all that much, but over the festive season we usually go at least a couple of times.  Not least, to catch up on the handful of art house films to our taste that come out over the autumn which we don’t get around to seeing until Christmastime.

The difference this year is that the new Curzon Bloomsbury really is specialising in such films and is very convenient for us to visit at holiday time.

This movie, Meet The Patels, is well documented on IMDb (and indeed elsewhere) so really doesn’t need our two-penneth. Suffice it to say that you learn more about ethnic arranged marriages/parental pressures and the like in 90 minutes than most people in the west get to experience in a lifetime. It is a heart-warming and genuinely funny movie.  Just what Janie and I needed towards the end of another traumatic “mother in hospital over the festive season” variety.

Could next year be a hat trick of those for us?  Who knows, but for 90 minutes we could laugh and cry with the young Patel siblings and their parentally-challenged search for love. Highly recommended.

Listen To Me Marlon, Curzon Bloomsbury, 1 January 2016

We’re back at the Curzon Bloomsbury again today, our first cinema visit of the year and I am now a proud member of the Curzon for 2016. I would have saved a bob or two had I joined before we started this season’s film feast.  Never mind.

This documentary is well explained on IMDb, so I won’t repeat the stuff that is so comprehensively reported there.  Suffice it to say that this film is long but fascinating throughout and well worth seeing.

Janie and I both subscribe to the camp that believes Brando to have been a fine actor. We neither of us realised how many lemons he made along with the great performances. We also didn’t realise quite what a mess he made of his life, despite (or perhaps because of) the fame and riches. He did support and work hard for many good causes, however, which is always a redeeming feature in our eyes.



Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, Curzon Bloomsbury, 27 December 2015

Straight back to the Curzon Bloomsbury (we’re going to have to join this darned thing) to see Peggy Guggenheim: Art Critic – IMDb will describe it better than I could.

Word seems to have got out that it was easy to navigate London yesterday afternoon – far more traffic this afternoon.  Still, free holiday parking and that Bloomsbury neighbourhood is quiet, quiet, quiet.

Fascinating film, especially as Janie loves those 20th Century art movements and several of her clients move(d) in those circles. So lots to talk about afterwards.

I liked the stuff about Peggy’s eccentricities and her “rich but bonkers” family as much, if not more, than the trail of great artists which she (in her inimitable styles) patronised.

Taxi Tehran, Curzon Bloomsbury, 26 December 2015

What an exceptional, yet strange movie this is.  We both loved it.  You can read all about it on IMDb – you don’t need me for that.

We also really liked the Curzon Bloomsbury this time.  Last time we went to that place, it was still the Renoir and looked a little sad.  Curzon have given it quite a makeover, so Daisy’s slight reluctance turned to joy.

Not that we had a choice of venue for this movie.  This Christmas season, most of the art house movie theatres we like are trying to cash in on Star Wars.  So our habit of catching up on limited release movies over Christmas is somewhat impeded this year.

Still, we hope to see one or two other limited release movies over the season, not least at the Curzon Bloomsbury which now has a lot of, mostly quite small, screening rooms, ideal for those “less-glam movies” we tend to like.

Allen Jones RA, Royal Academy, 1 January 2015

We were having a pretty shitty Christmas break, with mum in hospital since just before Crimble (and, as it turned out, never to come out). Our main respite had been some reasonable weather that at least enabled us to play tennis in the mornings, as reported on Facebook at the time – see below:

At the end of that long weekend (the Sunday I think) we went to the Park Royal Vue to see Paddington- click here for the IMDb resource on that movie. Janie warned me that I would probably blub at the scene where Paddington loses his old uncle and moves on from his family – she was right as usual.

Still, lots of laughs and fun in Paddington. I loved the way that there was a calypso band on every street corner in this version of Notting Hill, in contrast with the ubiquitously pale look of the neighbourhood in the eponymous movie.

Yet we craved some high culture and had been eyeing up the Allen Jones as high on our list for the holiday season, so we took some respite on New Year’s Day and went to see the Allen Jones in the afternoon.

The excellent Royal Academy resource with videos, pictures and information can be accessed by clicking here.

We really enjoyed this exhibition. Allen Jones’s work is colourful, accessible, fun, sometimes shocking…it was just the ticket for us that day.

Nuff said.

Searching For Sugar Man, Riverside Studios, 10 May 2014

I’m not sure quite what put us on to this superb movie, but we booked an all-too-rare showing of it weeks in advance at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith. I suspect this was our last visit there before the closure for major redevelopment of the site.

It is a most unusual, true story. The American singer-songwriter, Rodriguez, was for some time billed as “the next Dylan” (the kiss of death for many a career) but vanished into obscurity.

Unbeknown to him, he was a cult, underground figure in South Africa where his music was extremely well-known and where he was believed to have died. After South Africa emerged from the apartheid era, some fans tried to track down Rodriguez’s story, discovered that he was still alive and the rest is history.

Here is a link to plenty of resources on the film and Rodriguez’s story.

Here is the IMDb item on this movie.

And below is the official YouTube trailer for the movie:

I also bought the soundtrack album, which Janie and I have enjoyed listening too quite a lot.

It isn’t often that a movie sticks in our thoughts for a long while after we saw the movie, but this one really did. Highly recommended.

The Savages, Unspecified Cinema, 16 February 2008

We don’t go to the cinema all that much. On the rare occasions we do go, it tends to be on an impulse. So most of our visits to the cinema prior to my live blogging (i.e. prior to December 2015) will be lost in the mists of time.

However, my diary for this day reads:

John and Mandy?  Savages

I was a little perturbed by this entry at first. Surely I wasn’t cross with John and Mandy for postponing our get together for a few weeks, especially as it had been put in the diary with a question mark. In any case, I would never describe our friends as savages.

Then I remembered seeing a film named The Savages and discovered that the film had indeed come out around that time. Mystery solved.

Here’s the IMDb entry for that film.

I remember that we both really liked the idea of it – I was just getting used to the idea of having a dependent parent at the time, some 6 months after my father’s death. I suspect that Newsnight Review put us on to it (we do miss that arts programme) and we both would have liked the thought of Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman heading up the cast.

We weren’t disappointed. It was both very amusing and touching. A bit long for the slightness of the story, but an enjoyable couple of hours nonetheless.

No idea which cinema we went to – probably the Vue Acton or whatever it was called back then – still the nearest/quickest to get to at the weekend, even since the move from Janie’s maisonette to the house. Might have stayed at mine and seen this one at The Gate – that’s the other thing we often did back then.

If you haven’t seen it, well worth looking out for when it comes around on the box or through whatever Prime/Netflix type service you use if you are a movie-fiend.