Category Archives: Film

Mamma Mia! for mother

I’m continuing my trend of jumping into the middle of films. This evening Swedish television very suitably screened Mamma Mia! which was a good end to Mother’s Day. Not that I celebrate it, but any excuse will do.

Came in about halfway, which is good enough for me. Even the Resident IT Consultant seemed to enjoy it for a few minutes. What’s not to like about James Bond getting down on one knee and singing ABBA?

That’s the thing, really. We had Mrs Kramer singing with Dr Hofstadter on one side and Mrs Weasley on the other. Agent 007 has to share a third of a daughter with Mr Darcy and Bombi Bitt. And their offspring is in love with a History Boy.

My own Daughter/Offspring was so keen to see the film the first time that we were in the cinema hours after her returning from her Swiss school trip. And Switzerland continues to be on the agenda.

Anyway, nice treat for all mammas.

The end of Apollo

Not all films are good enough to tempt you away from emptying the dishwasher. Last night I had a kitchen to prepare for workmen coming today, and I was already late for bed (i.e. dead tired), and I had lots to do.

But I discovered that Daughter was watching Apollo 13 again. Not all of it, as she was simply channel surfing. And when I stuck my head in, there was perhaps ten minutes left.

I sat down to watch. Obviously. You can’t ignore a film like Apollo 13.

I just wished I hadn’t put the serviceable ‘napkins’ we’d used for the Indian takeaway in the laundry. Could have used something to mop tears with.

Woman in Gold

What surprised me the most about Woman in Gold was how much it was about the war. That might sound stupid, but I’d mainly thought about the process of getting a stolen work of art back now, long after the war. And the trailer had been mostly lighthearted, with clever and amusing lines.

Woman in Gold

Don’t misunderstand me; I believe the film was better for all its background, reminding us – and in the case of Daughter, showing for the first time – of what went on in Austria not only during the war, but before it as well. Without it, Maria Altmann could have seemed to be simply greedy and grabbing. In a way this was one of those occasions when you feel that both sides are both right and wrong. Were it not for the fact that Austria took away Maria’s right to the life she was living, when they pulled the rug out from under her feet. As I think she said, it wasn’t so much getting the painting of her aunt back, as getting some recompense for what they did to her family, breaking it up, and killing most of them.

Woman in Gold

I had looked forward to seeing more of Vienna, but in the end it was almost painful. I appreciated seeing the old Vienna, as Maria knew it when she grew up. I’m not Austrian, nor quite that old, but I could recognise some of the life she lived.

Had not realised that Daughter didn’t know what the outcome was going to be, but then it had been some years since we read about Maria and her Klimt painting in the news.

Woman in Gold

I enjoyed Woman in Gold, and more so for it being so European, and not just Hollywood gloss. Helen Mirren can do anything she puts her mind to, and Ryan Reynolds was a lovely Randol Schoenberg. Good to see so many actors employed who are not necessarily English language household names, but who were able to portray Austrians in a believable way.

X + Y

This was a film that looked a lot more fun in the trailer than it actually was capable of delivering. That’s nothing new or unusual, but disappointing, nevertheless. We need good films about Asperger Syndrome, and a comedy about a maths prodigy seemed like a good place to start.

And yes, it was funny, and it was sort of good from an aspie point of view. But only so far. The scriptwriters knew what to put in, and then they went and did what so many films and shows do; in order for it to satisfy our neurotypical demands, the poor aspie occasionally becomes almost ‘cured’ of their affliction. If the plot needs them to. Then they can go on and be weird again.

I loved Sally Hawkins in Paddington. Here she was a loving and sometimes perfect mother to an aspie child, while at times she was so clueless you couldn’t believe it. The woman who knows her son needs seven prawn balls, or else, would have learned a few other things as well over the 14 years that she’s been her son’s mother.

According to my own maths specialist, the maths chosen to do tricks with was pretty good. Short enough to fit in, but mostly correct. Thank you for that, a least.

X + Y

Teaching yourself to speak Chinese in a few weeks, with the help of a book, even for a child prodigy… Well, it’s possible. Maybe.

Alex Lawther [who played the young Alan Turing] was another maths genius, but this time as a neurotypical one, which suited him better, but made for more upsetting viewing.

Nathan’s poor room mate in China was the real victim of the story. An almost maths genius who didn’t make the grade, and who actually doesn’t like maths very much. That’s sad.

Whereas Nathan found love and friendship and [almost] gave up on his maths. Which is possible, but less likely.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

What can I say? Well, not the title of this film, obviously. I stumbled over the words for the first one, and add a second film and I’ll have to call it Marigold 2. But to get back to the saying; Marigold 2 is as fun and entertaining as Marigold 1 was. I worried in case the usual thing about a sequel not having the surprise element to offer, would mean it suffered.

But I reckon that a film that makes someone like me laugh out loud in the cinema, can’t be bad. (I’ve been informed that Daughter’s peers are not Marigold fans. They didn’t see No. 1 and don’t plan to see No. 2. That’s their loss.) Us oldies deserve more films featuring old people, even if we are delusional when we believe we are Richard Gere or Lillete Dubey.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Maggie Smith still gets most of the good lines, whether she’s in India or at Downton. Here we have two women aged 79, who start new jobs and enjoy them. One of them finds new love, and so do quite a few others, even when it takes them a while to realise where true love is to be found.

And inevitably there is sadness, although it is dealt with off screen. It’s as with nudity and sex; more powerful when not seen. Sooner or later we all have to check out, and far better we didn’t waste time dunking a teabag into lukewarm water before we do.

Sonny might be an impossible optimist, and he might get a lot of things wrong, but he also gets things right. After all, whose idea was any of this Marigold stuff?

And I’ll have a beautifully lit up courtyard like this, please.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Imitation Game

I was glad to see they still offered screenings of The Imitation Game this week. I’d stopped being too busy and I’d also decided to temporarily pause my Keira Knightley boycott and actually go and see this film about Alan Turing. I was a afraid it’d be as upsetting as the television programme a while back, but it was more uplifting than depressing, despite poor Turing’s fate.

The Imitation Game

There were things about Bletchley and Enigma I hadn’t actually known before, and it was good to see the story in a different light from the last ones. Benedict Cumberbatch was spot on as Alan Turing. Most of the time. They’d done a fine job of getting the aspie aspects of his personality right, except for when they hadn’t.

You don’t have someone as literal as that, and then make them reply to a heavy bit of sarcasm as though they are neurotypical. I also suspect that Benedict is a capable dancer, and I wouldn’t expect Turing to have been. He was reluctant for a reason. And all that hugging!

The Imitation Game

Nice to have both Allen Leech and Matthew Goode in there, but making them mathematical geniuses is stretching credibility somewhat. Even KK made for a likelier mathematician.

The Imitation Game

Alex Lawther was fabulous as the young Turing; giving us a perfect background to understand where he was coming from.

Very touching, and the kind of film I would see again.

(Just don’t get me started on the train rolling stock…)

The Lunchbox

We needed to find a film to watch with our New Year’s Eve Indian buffet meal. I’d never heard of The Lunchbox until then, but it looked good, and seemed appropriate to watch with Indian food.

The plot hinges around the Mumbai system of lunchbox deliveries from homes and restaurants to the workplaces of family members. After watching the film, I still don’t get how it works, but it does.

The Lunchbox

Except here, when young housewife Ila works out that her husband can’t have got her lunchbox that day. So who did? This someone clearly enjoyed her cooking, as he finished it all. Saajan, who is about to retire from his office job, is surprised to find his lunchbox restaurant suddenly delivering really nice meals.

On the advice from Auntie, Ila’s neighbour, she writes her eater a note. He replies, and their exchange of food and letters begins. Ila works out that her husband is unfaithful, and Saajan finds a friend in his replacement at work.

The Lunchbox

Eventually the two letter-writers decide to meet, and things don’t go quite as you’d expect.

This is very slow, very sweet, very Indian.

(Someone please send me a lunchbox like Ila’s!)