Thursday, 10 March 2011

Animal Kingdom And Funny Girl - An Unlikely Combination

We had a day out in Liverpool yesterday. We centered it around two visits to the wonderful FACT where you get to see the films that other cinemas don't show (plus all the latest releases of course). The first was Animal Kingdom an Australian film set in the present but with more than a hint of the wild west. It tells the story of Melbourne teenager Josh, who, finding himself orphaned, turns to his grandmother, the only relative he is aware of (although he has not seen her for donkeys' years). Gran turns out to be a bit of a Peggy Mitchell figure who dotes on three of her four grown up sons but keeps the psychopathic fourth son Pope at arms length. She takes Josh in and soon he is embroiled in the lawless life of his uncles who are lying low and, after a career of holding up banks, looking for safer options like drug dealing. 

The local police, who have Pope as Pubic Enemy Number One, are out of control, tending to shoot first and ask questions later and Josh - a basically decent kid - is faced with the dilemma that is a choice between a dangerous home or no home at all. I won't give the plot away but it is a tense, dark and brooding drama with an excellent cast and a tremendous performance from Ben Mendelsohn as the scary psycho Pope. It gets four stars from Marion and me.


After a trip to ASK for a bite to eat, it was back to FACT for Funny Girl. FACT are running a season of musicals on Wednesday evenings for the next four weeks and this was the first. Made in 1968, I don't need to tell you about this famous extravaganza but we had the real old 1960's cinema experience complete with the film breaking and causing an unplanned intermission and then an hour later a huge melting blob appearing on screen as it stopped again. The audience in the small screen (The Box) responded in a very upbeat manner and we were up and running again ten minutes later after each break. When we were kids, few films were complete without mishaps like this so the evening had a very authentic feel to it - something you don't get with digital projectors.

More treats for FACT customers in the next few weeks include Herzog's Cave Of Forgotten Dreams. We've booked to go to see the screening which includes a Q&A session by satellite with the great man himself (Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre Wrath Of God are two of my favourite films). Richard (of IT Crowd fame) Ayoade's directorial debut Submarine is due to be released on 18th March and, from the trailer,it looks great. I doubt that it will surface at Vue but you will certainly get the chance to see it at FACT.

If you are familiar with this blog you will know that I enjoy trawling through listings on eBay for interesting bits of pottery and porcelain. I spotted this large New Hall bone china (c1830) saucer dish for 99p. It wasn't worth a fortune - probably about £30 but it's worth nothing now. I really don't understand how sellers can ship ceramics with just one flimsy layer of bubble wrap and expect them to arrive in one piece. It happens all the time and that's why I drove miles the other week to pick a piece up.

We can never pass the super Waterstones store in Liverpool without going in and, although we ostensibly visited yesterday for a cup of coffee we still ended up with this lot to take with us on holiday next week. A nice selection to keep us busy if the weather is bad.