Tag Archives: Judi Dench


Thank god for some good quality, brand new entertainment!

We’ve not been up to watching just anything, and Disney & Co will only take you so far.

But Staged on BBC One was like discovering diamonds when all you were looking for was limp, used, teabags. We were feeling grotty, but trying to make the best of things with Indian food delivered to the doorstep, when our smiles grew wider and wider as we watched David Tennant and Michael Sheen quarrelling in their respective locked-down homes.

It’s a rare thing when both the audience and the performers are in the same – albeit different – boat. They got to see how the other actors lived, and we got to see how they live, and we – almost – met Michael’s neighbour, and we wouldn’t dream of trying to hide our empty wine bottles. Not that we have any, of course.

David and Michael, ably assisted, or not, by their director and their finance woman, their respective spouses, and sister, and three heavy-weight actors in some great cameo roles. I can just about see myself writing a drama and casting Judi Dench. Although I realise she’d have to turn me down.

All three of us would have said we’d want to watch it very soon again, were it not for the fact that the Resident IT Consultant never says stuff like that, so it was just Daughter and me. But we will. It was like medicine. For the virus.

And their hair grew as we watched. Or so it seemed.

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


We can’t all make it to see the new James Bond on the first night. But we could do without the spoilers friends provided from the word go. When people on facebook talk about something that was on television just now, but which I couldn’t watch, I tend to read cautiously, in case they give things away. But they are usually good.

So what went wrong with Skyfall? I saw it two weeks late, knowing the two main bits of news already. It didn’t ruin the film, but why can’t people shut up and use some discretion?

The other surprising element this time round was the universal approval of Skyfall. Didn’t hear anyone saying it was a bit rubbish. Or I didn’t until I read Adrian McKinty’s blog post after I’d seen the film. He thought it was boring, and whereas I don’t totally agree with him, I had allowed the thought that they could easily have made it 20 minutes shorter, to cross my mind. Sitting for nearly two and a half hours is a pain.

But, let’s not be too grumpy. It was entertaining. I don’t particularly like Daniel Craig (I’m more of a Brosnan lady), and I didn’t care for the woman who … but who am I to decide these things?


Bérénice Marlohe did well, which surprised me as I don’t always go for the beautiful Bond girls they come up with.

I love our national treasure, or Judi Dench as I believe she’s called. She was good in this one. She’s always good, but it felt like she might have been better still this time. And I knew that she … You know.


Ralph Fiennes was another one who would have come across differently if I hadn’t already been aware of some aspects of his character. Nice man. Not so Ola Rapace, who annoys me. (Is this turning into a list of Witch Hates?) I kept looking at him, feeling he looked familiar, and annoying. Couldn’t place him at first, but saw enough to remind me I don’t like him.

Q was fine. (See, I don’t hate everyone.)


On the other hand, there is Javier Bardem, who is no favourite of mine. Although he is preferable as a baddie than as the love interest. Horrible though it was, I could see the funny side when the tube train … No, no, mustn’t say anything.

Apparently Scotland doesn’t look like it did in Skyfall, according to my Resident IT Consultant, who knows about Scotland. I thought it was nicely bleak, in a satisfying sort of way.

Some good humorous dialogue, and obviously all the action you take for granted these days. Not bad. Not marvellous, since I have no wish to immediately see it again, or anything, but I didn’t suffer. Apart from the vertigo inducing scenes, which made me feel sick.

Nice to see the cinema full, for once. I mean, I prefer it to be half empty for my comfort, but it’s good to know the cinema can fill up when it wants to. Although it was  a Wednesday.

The Best Exotic Marigold film ever

Better late than never. We were afraid we’d be too late (although not in the meaning of being dead) for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but I suppose it’s a sign of its popularity that it’s still hanging on in cinemas, and even ones near us.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I often find films amusing, but according to Daughter I’ve not laughed this much for a very long time. So thank you to Dev Patel for his inept hotel manager, and to Maggie Smith and Co for being such marvellous old people, and airing their prejudices and overcoming a few. (The thing is I am beginning to feel very close to needing an Exotic Marigold myself.)

In the early days someone described this film in not terribly flattering words, but conceded it would probably be popular with old people. I’m thinking it must have been along the lines of those (men) who reckoned Mamma Mia! the movie was a bit of a loser. Marigold (as I’ve been calling it for some time) is a tremendously wonderful film!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Almost found myself wanting a hip replacement if I could have Maggie Smith’s lovely doctor. Not sure you’d be in a wheelchair for that amount of time afterwards, however. Being able to tell a call centre where they are going wrong strikes me as irresistible.

Wrinkly oldies are attractive. Almost dropping dead, or actually dying isn’t so nice, but better this way than through needless violence. Going abroad for your old age is not necessarily a good idea, but then staying put in the UK didn’t appear to be much better.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

As others have said before me, this is a film that is near perfect.

Jane Eyre

That’s more like it! Whereas Daughter inexplicably preferred the television series from a few years ago, I have to say that she is so wrong, and the new Jane Eyre film is far superior. It actually has a Jane Eyre who feels real. There are far too many recent, far too modern, adaptations of classic novels and half of them have that Keira Knightley in them. There was not a KK in sight here.

Beginning the film with Jane leaving Thornfield Hall also felt fresh, and it worked much better than the traditional linear story. Giving us Jane’s background through a few flashbacks was good, and there was just the right amount of the past to tell anyone visiting from Mars, what had made her who she was.

Mia Wasikowska makes a believable Jane, and Michael Fassbender is not a bad Rochester. However, the older I get, the more I feel that Mr Rochester is actually a far creepier man than the young witch thought on first reading Charlotte Brontë’s novel. Then it was ‘natural’ that the young governess would always snare the older man, and that it was a good thing. I’m not so sure. Would quite like to lock Rochester away. Possibly up in the attic with Mrs Rochester.

Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre

Nice scenery, suitably moody landscapes and a wonderful performance from Judi Dench. And Romy Settbon Moore is the first Adèle I’ve seen who feels real. She could even speak French.

Although, how they could do away with ‘Reader, I married him.’ is beyond me. In fact, the whole last scene was feeble. Maybe that’s why Daughter came out feeling the film was wanting.

(On at Cornerhouse now.)

Some Diamond!

There’s a reason I don’t often watch ‘entertainment’ on ITV. Films and the odd series; yes. But music and other stuff; very rarely. I suffered a bout of hopefulness on Saturday afternoon, so decided to watch the Audience with Neil Diamond yesterday evening. I used to like Neil quite a bit. Seeing as I actually bought a number of singles and LPs back at the beginning of time, when I was young and poor, should be an indication that I really did like him.

So, it could be nice to hear him sing on television, couldn’t it? Even if it was a repeat. But nine songs in one hour! Plus an awful lot of awful advertisements for corn, non-smelly toilets and ice cream. And a really tasteless watch.

I cringed. But I stayed. Mainly out of curiosity, because I wanted to see quite how bad it could get. So, they invite celebrities to sit in the audience. Eastenders and such like, and the fact that Judi Dench was there is an indication of the importance of Neil Diamond. Germaine Greer smiled in a strained sort of way. Tim Rice even allowed himself to be one of the questioners. The questions were vaguely interesting. But I’d rather have had them in a chat show.

How do you get a roomful of celebrities to come and fake standing ovations and impromptu cheering and clapping and things? And how do you get your performer to put up with it? I’d prefer to think of Neil as someone who doesn’t take the fawning for granted. Maybe they all get to meet at a party afterwards, for mutual fame admiration?

Nine songs. Some were disappointing, but perhaps only because I didn’t know them. I felt that Neil’s great voice had gone, though it re-appeared briefly in Cracklin’ Rosie, and in Sweet Caroline. But that’s only two songs.

Quantum of Solace

This was probably my second after Live and Let Die, a few years ago. Not my second James Bond, but my second in the cinema. Not being the greatest of fans, I have mostly watched them when they are old enough to turn up on television.

Quantum of Solace was OK. It was not very “Bondy”, but perfectly passable as an action film. And however good Daniel Craig is, to me he is not James Bond. I’m not one for blonds, much, and prefer Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan.

Judi Dench was excellent as usual, and I don’t think the film would have been anywhere near as good without her.

Take care with axes, by the way.