Off-topic reviews 2017

<Editor’s Note: Aberdeen has a great range of Accessible cinemas. We’re sharing these reviews in the hope that by encouraging people to take advantage of these accessible screenings, the cinemas will expand the service even further. Check back often to see what our reviewers thought of the latest releases.>

 

Film Review;  Their Finest

I went to see  Their Finest on what is probably the very last day of public screening in Aberdeen. 

The film is set in the early dark days of WW2 around 1940 and the Blitz.

Gemma Arterton plays a Welsh woman living with her struggling artist “ husband” (or bidie –in as we might say in Aberdeen) resident in London.   She is invited to apply for a job by the Ministry of Film, based on her published skill of scripting cartoons.

The film progresses as a “film – within – a film” where the Ministry want to put out “ good solid British Information” – or propaganda about the War and its progress.   The Ministry are of Film are under pressure to provide morale –boosting films and information, whilst the Blitz is happening around the UK & London.

Mrs Cole ,as Arterton ’s character is called, proves herself to be an outstandingly creative and fast scriptwriter, which brings her into contact with the wonderful character  of Ambrose Hilliard played in a delightful way by Bill Nighy.

The frailty of life, is shown, but not emphasised, as every member of the film crew move to Devon and Pinewood to make the film “ The Nacy Starling” which started out as simple tale of two sisters who answer the call of the “ little boats” call to Dunkirk.  The truth of the story changes and develops as different political interests intervene, and demand input. 

My take on this film, was that every day should be taken as though it is your last.  In such precarious times, tragedy can & does strike regardless of the efforts of the Luftwaffe..

Themes that we regard as ‘modern’ are quietly running in the background, such as male bullying,  female roles in the workplace,  and girls who happen to just like girls.

An enjoyable gentle–humoured film, with teary moments,  filmed in a way that without flag –waving or emotionally dysfunctional displays of stiff upper lips, simply shows the quiet stoicism and acceptance of the situation that people found themselves in.

I spotted one blooper though; when an air raid was imminent, someone in the sound department got the sirens mixed –up.  The flat sounding one tone of the “All –Clear” was sounded as the bombs rained down.  The wavy up & down siren was the “Air Attack.”

 

Film Review : Lion

By: A.C.

The film starts with a boy of five ( Saroo–Sonny Pawar) ) his baby sister, older brother Goddu and his illiterate  mother who works in a quarry picking rocks in Ganesh Talai somewhere east of Delhi in India.

At the start of the film we see Saroo and his brother jump on the slow–moving  coal carrying trains to steal coal they can sell for food.  The railway becomes a vital player in this true story, when Saroo begs his brother to take him on a night –time “ work” expedition.  Left alone and told to stay on the platform,  Saroo take shelter in  empty carriages at  Khandwa Station, which is on the mainline East.  He wakes up hundreds of miles from Ganesh Talai, ( which he pronounces wrongly as Ganestalay) and over two days ends up in Kolkata (Calcutta) 1200 miles from his home.

 Long after the film, I was asking myself how terrifying such an ordeal must have been for such a young child of five years.  However, for Saroo  to survive in Kolkata and avoid the traffickers and exploiters, and then go on to be adopted in Australia is remarkable.   

Now a 25 year old Australian, ( Dev Patel) Saroo retains strong memories of his biological mother and the place where he stayed. Just that he has no idea where that is in India. So, using early versions of 1990’s Google Earth, logic and just a bit of luck or maybe Karma, he travels back to his village.

 I was convinced by the sound of snuffling and flashes of tissue that I saw being used at the end of this film, that there was not a dry eye in the house.

Lion was overlooked for an Oscar, but won many other awards and was nominated elsewhere in different categories.  

I thoroughly recommend the heart-warming and life –affirming  film  “ Lion”.  

 

Film Review: Logan

I was uncomfortable with the thread of brutal, extreme violence in Logan. Then again I missed the usual reviews that warned about that. In that sense then, I am glad I saw this film with no pre–formed opinion. 

For those who like the Marvel and X Men franchise, and have followed the various X-Men films over the years, then this one has a definite finality about it, which is very human. In the background is a more proper story, which is the problem of aging and approaching death. This sub–plot actually gave the film some thoughtful moments of what happens when even super–heroes reach very old age, or get sick.

Logan (Hugh Jackman) is an aging, hard drinking, and very ill super –hero, who is now driving a luxury limo for a living.  He has Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) tucked away in an abandoned mineral plant , somewhere on the USA/Mexico Border.

Xavier, who is suffering dementia, needs constant medication to keep him from causing destruction and mayhem when his mind becomes disturbed. He is tended by the albino “mutant tracker” Caliban, (Comedian Stephen Merchant) and the apparently gruff, moody, & uncaring Logan who provides the money & medication.

More or less from the outset, this film that uses the “Big –Genetic Technological Corporation, with Mad English scientist, ( Richard E Grant) who is in pursuit of his   genetic mutant child experiments who have escaped theme” and where seemingly endless volumes of SWAT type security people willing to have their lives ended prematurely by a genetically engineered Wolverine child. 

I was a bit disturbed by the violence, however, dedicated fans of Wolverine will know that is what he and two other Wolverines are doing what a Wolverine does, and having very big knives slide out from their knuckles kind of makes that obvious.

Caliban’s role as a “mutant tracker” is never really explained or outlined. That unfortunately happens a few times in the film, but the constant action pulls the audience along with no time for storytelling. That also leaves little time to spot holes in the continuity, or those moments of “how could that be done”.

I am sure this film is a bit like the Emperors New Clothes, and reviewers do not want to be over–critical, but Logan is for those folk who are real X-Men fans, and want exactly what the film says on the tin or comic book.   .  

Be aware that this film is the last that Jackman or Stewart will do for X -Men.

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