Friday, 10 June 2011

Chalk And Cheese

Our two visits to the cinema this week were to see films that were as different as chalk and cheese. Johnny Depp's pirate blockbuster was all special effects and corny jokes whereas "Win Win" was a beautifully observed family drama. The latest of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise had a entertaining story to tell and Depp did his usual comic turn as Jack Sparrow but I felt that the film suffered from being over long and too dark (in terms of screen brightness). I know that this is a criticism often levelled at 3D films but so many sequences took place either at night or in gloomy places that I was yearning a dash of colour which only really surfaced at the very end of the film.

The swashbuckler is a bit of fun but there was really no need for 2 hours 16 minutes of it and Tom McCarthy admirably demonstrated how to direct more sparingly in "Win Win" which, at 1 hour 46 minutes, flies by. This is a tale of human nature starring Paul Giamatti as an unsuccessful lawyer who lets his financial worries cloud his judgement and get the better of his morals. I won't spoil the story for you by going into detail but the love of his life (apart from his happy family) is wrestling. He coaches the local high school team and when Kyle ,a hugely talented kid with a difficult past, turns up in town, things look up for the team. Giamatti is perfect in the role as too is newcomer Alex Shaffer as Kyle and with the strong supporting cast of Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor and Burt Young, McCarthy has put together a wonderful group of actors who make this a poignant, funny and highly enjoyable movie which is well worth making a journey to see as, yet again, it's not very likely to hit any but the biggest of the multiplexes.

Another reader responded to my call for those old black and white photo booth snaps that were so popular with young couples in the sixties and seventies. Here is young Peter Eglin together with his sweetheart Christine in 1970. Like me, they used to work in the catering equipment industry. The couple married but tragically Christine died far too young leaving Peter unable to send me an updated snap of them together today. It's stories like Peter's  that make me appreciate how lucky we are to be sharing our retirement and it's a spur to make sure that we make the very most of every day.

Whilst on our way to FACT in Liverpool yesterday we walked past The Playhouse which reminded us about the production of The Ladykillers that is being staged there in November. I am a big fan of Graham Linehan who is adapting the classic Ealing comedy and it should be great fun. So we popped in and bought a couple of tickets. Tickets only went on sale on Monday and the box office staff told us that it is their fastest selling production ever. We managed to get some decent seats but it's highly likely that the sold out signs will be going up on this one in the very near future.

Advertising a stage production of a completely different nature we came across this enormous statue in Liverpool One yesterday. We were arguing about who it was supposed to be from seeing it in the distance up to the point of reaching it when it became obvious (as there was a sign advertising the Queen musical We Will Rock You). Without that hint we would never have guessed it was Freddie Mercury  as, apart from the stance, the statue looks nothing like him or is it a statue of the actor who plays him perhaps?

With films at the top of today's blog, I'll leave you with a funny and well made little movie about temptation.