David Copperfield (1999)

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Downton Abbey : A New Era (2022)

For fans of the show, this film will feel more like home than the first movie. The first one was fanfare, a way to pull the audiences into the cinemas. This one is unapologetically like the show, moving with a balance of its grace, urgency, mystery and flurry.

To say that it is entertaining won’t do justice to it. It is engaging, beautifully written and does justice all characters and their arcs.

To watch them on screen feels like we are privy to a family home video, such is the connection with the Crawley family.

Watch it to mark the end of the old era and welcome the new one!

5/5

Book Club (2018)

Finding your feet (2018)

There is a beauty about films which explore aging gracefully and embracing one’s life, ambitions, desires, needs and dreams just as in middle age or youth. The following two films were a poignant reminder to prepare for, and enjoy our later years.

Book club: A casting coup with the talented quartet of Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen raise different elements that may be missing in their lives and how they deal with it through literature and each other’s companionship.

2.5/5

Finding your feet: Imelda Staunton is faced with life changing circumstances, and is helped by her sister Celia Imrie and Timothy spall to embrace a new life.

3/5

Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf (2017)

National Theatre Live is an awesome concept, where you get to see a live recording from London of world class plays with leading actors in the comfort of a cinema seat. I was lucky to catch two screenings of stellar casts tackling enormous issues.

Who’s afraid of Virgina Woolf: A high energy exchange between a middle aged couple, who project the cracks in their marriage onto their guests. Imelda Staunton, known for a variety of brilliant work, notably Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter, is a tiny powerhouse of talent. She shrieks and screams throughout, berating her partner and her morality. Conleth Hill matches her every step of the way, as they play pat ball with the insults. Caught in the crossfire are a young couple, who also succumb to the pressures of pretending and reveal their own shortcomings.

3/5

Paddington (2014)

Created using computer generated imagery and animatronics, we have a very realistic bear family who have a learning episode from an English explorer. What ensues is a young bear coming to London in the hopes of finding a home.

Director Paul King has assembled a great English cast with Nicole Kidman playing a svelte villain. Shot in real life depicting sets as if they were animated, it creates a warm feeling where we wonder if our worlds could be magical too.

A children’s film, it has been described as a comedy. It is actually a far more simplistic fare for younger kids who can appreciate the situation and humour. Animated films are increasingly more deep and dark these days but this one has stuck to safe, neutral ground.

A marmalade watch.

3/5

Maleficent (2014)

Debut director Robert Stromberg presents us with the back story of the antagonist in ‘Sleeping Beauty’, portrayed by the multi-faceted Angelina Jolie.

It was a tricky role, she could have easily gone over the top or fallen flat. Angelina constantly walks the tight rope in this regard, slowly showing her journey from a loving trusting fairy to a heart broken, angry victim. Her vindictive actions are not evil for the sake of being evil, but clearly a result of hurt and pain. To achieve that balance was perhaps even more difficult than the brilliant special effects. Her minimal expressions and steely presence communicate volumes, her slight intonation of voice giving it the ‘fairy tale’ feel.

The story presents us with natural human emotions and the learning: ‘never say never’. True love, parenting, pursuit of power, being a guardian are all shown in a fresh, humane light.

Watch to see a new hero and a new villain in an old enchanting tale.

3/5