Category Archives: Film

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!)

Paddington

Paddington

It’s a fun concept to have the Earl from Downton fighting Mrs Coulter over a bear, with some assistance from the Doctor. Paddington was lovely. I’d heard he would be, but you still want to make sure.

Going to see Paddington was our New Year’s Eve treat, and it was (shock, horror) our first cinema outing after moving. We will be back soon again, and as the car parking has been paid until tomorrow lunch time, perhaps we should hurry.

I don’t know the book about Paddington as well as I ought to, but on the plus side that meant I didn’t have to sit there wondering why they left things out or why they put new things in. It was all rather sweet, and I now feel I have a deeper understanding of the background to the marmalade.

The bear jokes were funny and obvious, and so much better for it. ‘Bear left!’

There is something deliciously scary having Nicole Kidman looking like a sweet, young thing, and being so truly bad. And Hugh Bonneville didn’t really have to alter his Downton personality. The Earl would also disapprove of a bear moving in, until he saw the light and changed his mind and started loving the bear.

Mrs Brown was perfectly cast, and I’d love for Sally Hawkins to be my mummy, too. London looked great (if fairly romantically portrayed), and little Paddington was a charming young man. Bear, sorry.

Peter Capaldi was fantastic, and I’m only pointing that out because I’ve not seen him in much. And when I move to London, I’ll go and live in that street, too. Please?

Paddington

Not so noir

Saltkråkan with corpses, is how we saw Maria Lang’s Crimes of Passion series start. Death of a Loved One was quite enjoyable, with – for me – surprisingly few cringey moments. I will never forgive them for ruining ‘my’ Christer Wijk, however. Just imagine putting Wickham in Poirot as Hastings, say. I can’t stand Ola Rapace, although he did a good job (if one wanted Christer Wijk to be that kind of a man) of looking handsome and cool.

Crimes of Passion, Death of a Loved One

Not dark enough, was the online verdict. But it is high time people realise Sweden can be both sweet and retro. Too. They love Midsomer Murders, for god’s sake. This was a normal, and period, Swedish set-up, albeit with murderers everywhere. And as the Swedish title suggests; everyone is lying. Not just the murderer.

I loved the books in my early teens, along with Agatha Christie. That’s what you need to expect, not The Killing on any Bridge whatsoever. Not even moody Wallander. Just lovely retro settings with gruesome murders.

Nothing wrong with that. Sit back and enjoy the clothes and the 1950s houses, and forget about the level of nicotine and alcohol. I’m surprised the detective was sober enough to deduce much at all. But then, it was really his unintended sidekick Puck who proved she had brains.

Goodbye to two greats

To begin with I only knew Robin Williams as the funny man in Sesame Street. I think he counted shoes, or some such thing. When I encountered him in a film later, I naively thought he’d made the jump to ‘bigger’ things. When Mork & Mindy was on television, we didn’t have one. So I never watched.

Thus I never knew him all that well. OK, I’ve seen Good Morning Vietnam, and Mrs Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting. He was good, but I don’t believe I found him enjoyable. At least not after Sesame Street. Actually, I did catch some Mork & Mindy episodes more recently, and they were fun.

Robin’s death came too soon and for the wrong reasons. Let’s hope depression will be seen in a new light from now on.

Lauren Bacall, on the other hand, lived a long life. As the Resident IT Consultant said, he was surprised to hear she was still alive. I knew that, but somehow I mainly thought of her as the young actress in To Have and Have Not, and as Mrs Humphrey Bogart. I was a great fan of hers and Humphrey’s back then. These days you don’t watch the old films anywhere near as much as they deserve.

Younger people – like Daughter – are most likely to have seen Lauren in Murder on the Orient Express.

I hope Lauren was happier than Robin was. It’s astounding to consider that she was Humphrey Bogart’s widow for virtually all of my life. Back then she was an adult and as such ‘old’ to me. It’s more recently that I’ve thought about her age and the age gap.

But enough about unimportant details. Thanks for all those marvellous films with Humphrey. I loved you both.