Newtown Film Appreciation
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Members of U3A are all welcome to join the activities of the groups. Contact details of leaders are given in the Programme of Events.
The last meeting was at Anne's house on 27 July. The
film shown was 'Going in Style' - a 2017 American heist comedy .
Joe, Al and Willie are 3 senior citizens, their previous employers - a huge Steel Company, decide to move their works to Asia and to stop paying all pensions. Joe visits his bank for a talk with its manager regarding rent arrears as he is soon to lose his house.Whilst there, a robbery takes place, quickly and smoothly with no violence. This gives Joe and idea and together with his two friends, plans to rob the local bank of just enough money to cover them for the rest of their lives.
The robbery does not go smoothly as Willie briefly
collapses (he is in desperate need of a kidney transplant). They hide
the stolen money whilst the FBI agent (Matt Dillon) tries desperately to prove their guilt.
The last meeting was held on 29th June at Nick's home.
The Film shown was 'Atonement' - a 2007 romantic war drama. Keira Knightly
(Cecilia) James McAvoy (Robbie) Saoirse Ronan (Briony)
May's film was 'The Shawshank Redemption'
The main characters:-: Morgan Freenman as 'Red'; Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Bob Gunton as Warden Norton.
This 1994 oscar nominated film is an American drama written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on a Stephen King novella.
Andy Dufresne, a successful banker, is wrongfully arrested for the murder of his wife and her lover and is sentenced to life imprisonment at the maximum security Shawshank prison where he becomes the most unconventional prisoner. He spends 19 years in prison in 1950's Maine and shows the other inmates perseverance and provides a sense of hope and optimism in the bleakest of places and under the most difficult circumstances.
The gritty world of Shawshank prison is populated with
sadistic guards, a corrupt warden and predatory fellow inmates. Prison
rape, while not graphically shown, is very strongly implied. Guards beat
and kill an inmate and a prisoner is shot and killed. There is also
frequent profanity. However, the film also shows inmates forming a loving
community of friends and support despite oppressive conditions and a sense of
maintaining perseverance and hope in the darkest of hours. Robbins brings about
reform and great change during his 19 years - he escapes so this very intense
film has a happy ending!!
The last meeting was on Wednesday 26 May at Anne's house. The film shown was 'Green Book'.
This is a deftly scripted film with a message about overcoming prejudice. Anchored by two outstanding performances, this true story of an unlikely friendship centres on a goofy, lovable white Italian-American from the Bronx who learns to be less racist after spending time with a cultured black man who
he is hired to drive and protect on a concert tour through the deep South. It's often funny, with some poignant moments.
Yet the Green Book itself doesn't play much of a role in the film. Mortensen's character Tony, takes it on the trip and leafs through it several times. Early on he briefly explains its purpse to his wife Delores : to provide black travellers with information about 'safe' places to stay and eat while they travel. He'll need to refer to it to do his job, getting Shirley from gig to gig safely throughout the musician's 8 week tour. He has to get Shirley out of a tight spot on many occasions. But after that, the book is not mentioned by name , even as the pair encounter the full gamut of racism during the trip - ranging from casual remarks to 'genteel' discrimination to violent hostility from civilians, bar patrons and police. Indeed, we typically see it only when Tony quietly picks it up to find motels in which Shirley can safely stay.
We enjoyed the film very much but needed the lighter moments to counteract the dark racism which threaded its way throughout.
We last met at Nick's house on Wednesday 23 February
In 1939 Suffolk, landowner and widow Edith Pretty hires
local self-taught archaeologist-excavator Basil Brown to investigate the large
burial mounds at her rural estate in Sutton Hoo near Woodbridge. Brown's
former employers from the Ipswich Museum try unsuccessfully to persuade him to
work on a Roman villa they deem more important. They ignore Brown, who
left school aged 12, when he suggests the mounds could be Anglo-Saxon rather
then the more common Viking era.
We met this month at Anne's house in Tregynon to watch the heart warming 2009 film 'Invictus' directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge and Adjoa Andoh.
It tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) recently elected President of South Africa, joined forces with the captain - Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies S.A's underdog rugby team - the Springboks and they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup's championship match - they win and for one day at least, 43 million South Africans are united.
A very inspiring film with wonderful performances especially
by Morgan Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as Pienaar.
The last meeting was on 27 October at Nick's house. 4 members attended.
The film shown was 'The Devil Wears Prada' - a 2006 American
comedy/drama directed by David Frankel. The main characters were played
by Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.
29 September we last met at Ralph's for the showing of 'Witness for the Prosecution', written by Agatha Christie - not previously known for her courtroom dramas, but the film has since become one of her most adapted and best known. It was directed by Billy Wilder in 1957 in black and white and was nominated for 6 oscars. The main characters were played by Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich and Elsa Lanchester.
Eminent barrister Sir Wilfred Robarts (Laughton) returning to his Chambers after illness, with strict instructions from his doctor not to take on any strenuous criminal cases cannot resist the prospect of defending the affable Leonard Vole (Powers) who is being tried for the murder of a wealthy widow. The film twists this way and that and contains many surprises, especially towards the end. An interesting and enjoyable film with fine performances from all the cast.
We met yesterday 26th February at Sally's home, battling through the flood water! The film was 'The Children Act' written by Ian McEwan, based on his 2014 novel of the same name. It stars Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci and Fionn Whitehead.
Fiona Maye (Emma Thompson) is an eminent high court judge in London presiding with wisdom and compassion over ethically complex cases of family law. But she has paid a heavy personal price for her work-load and her marriage to American professor Jack (Stanley Tucci) is at breaking point.
In this moment of personal crisis, Fiona is asked to rule on the case of Adam (Fionn Whitehead) a brilliant boy who is refusing(for religious reasons) a blood transfusion which will save his life. Adam is three months from his 18th birthday and still legally a child. Should Fiona force him to live? Fiona visits Adam in hospital and their meeting has a profound impact on them both, stirring strong new emotions in the boy and long-buried longings in her.
The whole cast give wonderful performances but Emma Thompson carries the whole film. A must see!!
We met twice in January as Christmas got in the way in December!
8 January - we met at Nick's home to watch 'Mrs Lowry and Son' starring
Timothy Spall and Vanessa Redgrave and hardly anyone else. It is a biographical drama set in Pendlebury, Greater Manchester chronicling the life of the renowned artist L.S.Lowry and considers the relationship between him and his overbearing, bed-ridden and bitter mother Elizabeth who has reservations over her son's career in painting. She tries to dissuade him from pursuing his passion whilst never failing to voice her opinion at her disappointment in him. The two leads gave a masterclass in acting but on the whole it was an inert and dismal film and considering the life he endured, it was surprising how Lowry produced the work he did.
29 January - We met at Anne's home to watch 'The Monuments Men' This was directed by George Clooney and written and produced by Clooney and Grant Heslov. The film has many star actors including George Clooney -
Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh
Bonneville and Cate Blanchett. It is a fact-based World War 11 drama about a platoon who are sent to Germany in order to rescue creative masterpieces - including statues and paintings from Nazi thieves and return them to their legal owners. The film makes a profound point in a subtle way - that the Fuhrer's ambition if left unchecked would have been world-altering, in the most unsettling of ways. The hunting down of the treasures mostly hidden in mines was exciting and fast-moving but we were reminded of the atrocities of war by the huge containers filled with gold fillings from the teeth of prisoners. Many treasures were recovered, but many destroyed by the retreating Germans. There was a very short time-slot for recovery as the Russians were advancing and they too wanted the globally important cultural artifacts.
last meeting was on Wednesday 27th November at Ralph's
home. He chose the film 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen'.
The last meeting took place at 2 pm. on Wednesday 25 September at Anne's house. The film was 'Hampstead' starring Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson as the main characters but also starred James Norton, Lesley Manville, Phil Davis and Simon Callow. It was listed as being 'funny, uplifting and full of heart' although all of us agreed that it lacked comedy. Inspired by true events, Hampstead tells the story of an American widow who, one day when exploring the gorgeous area surrounding her home in Hampstead Village, meets a man who lives off-grid in his own private paradise on the Heath and the two strike up an unexpected romance. However, when unscrupulous property developers threaten to uproot the man, destroy his home and build luxury flats in its place, the widow is determined to fight back to defend the Heath as well as the man she loves.
We last met on Wednesday 28 August at Nick's home. The film we watched was 'About Schmidt' starring Jack Nicholson. It was a winner of 2 Golden Globe Awards and whilst it was entertaining it was one of those slowwww films. He was a completely joyless man who had arrived at several of life's crossroads all at the same time. To begin with, he retired from a lifetime of service with an Insurance Company and he felt utterly adrift. His wife of 42 years dies suddenly and he is lost without her unable to do anything for himself. He then discovers his ex boss and wife had an affair many years ago. Schmidt feels that his soon to be married daughter (who lives some distance away) could do better. He sets out on a journey of self-discovery,
exploring his roots across Nebraska in the 35-foot motor home in which he had planned to drive around the country with his late wife.
Nothing much interests him along the way. He spends the night before the wedding at his future son-in-law's house, whose mother is a happy free spirit who gives him some medication for an aching neck - this results in Schmidt spending the wedding day in a doped haze. He then returns to an empty home. On retiring, Schmidt decided to send 22$ a month to Africa to adopt a little
orphaned 6 year old boy to help with his upbringing. He would write to him at regular intervals telling him how mad he was at everyone, how his wife and daughter were annoying him and anything he could think of at the time of writing - really unburdening himself and saying how he had not made a difference to anyone in his life. The little boy's letter was the first he had received and was written by a nun who said she read all Schmidt's letters to his foster son as he was unable to read or write. The little boy had sent a drawing of 2 figures, one tall, one short, holding hands. Schmidt burst into tears - he HAD made a difference to someone.
The last meeting was on Wednesday 31st at Sally's home. The film shown was 'The Aviator'. The film was a 2004 American epic biographical film directed by Martin Scorsese. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Kate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner.
Billionaire Howard Hughes is a successful public figure, a director of big budget films, a passionate lover of Hollywood leading ladies and an aviation pioneer who helps build TWA into a major airline. But, in private, he remains tormented suffering from paralysing phobias and depression.
The film is 10 minutes short of 3 hours and on the whole we did not enjoy the first 3/4 of the story - it almost became a farce - the setting was 1920's and 1930's with a great many parties with very loud music and people shouting at each other in a attempt to be heard above the entertainment. In fact everyone shouted throughout the film. The last quarter of the film was more bearable but sad as the health of Hughes deteriorated and he became more obsessed with his phobias. There is no doubt that he was a brilliant aviator but that couldn't save the film as far as we were concerned!
We met on Wednesday 26 June at Ralph's home in Berriew. The film was 'The Descendants' starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller and Nick Crause.
The last meeting was on Wednesday 29th May at Anne's house in Tregynon.The film shown was a Merchant Ivory film 'Before The Rains', a bold, intensely beautiful tale of romance torn between two worlds.
Southern India in the 1930's: against the tumultuous backdrop of growing national unrest an idealistic young man T.K. finds himself torn between his ambitions for the future and his loyalty to the past when people in his village learn of an affair between his British boss Moores (Linus Roache) and local village girl Sanjani. As he struggles with the new found freedom that revolution threatens to bring to a culture steeped in tradition, loyalty and honour, T.K.witnesses first-hand the tragedy, betrayal and intense passion which are ignited in a country teetering on the brink of history.
last meeting took place at Nick's home in Abermule on Wednesday 24
April. The film shown was 'Memoirs of a Geisha' Winner of 3
Oscars in 2006
and starring Suzuka Ohgo and Togo Igawa.
The last meeting was on Wednesday 27th March at Sally's home near Shrewsbury.The film 'LOVING' starred Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga.
In 1958 in the state of Virginia, the idea of interracial marriage was not only considered to be immoral to many, it was also illegal. When Richard and Mildred fall in love, they are aware of the eyes staring at them and the words said behind their backs. It is when they get married, however, that words and looks become actions, and the two are arrested. The couple decide to take their case all the way to the Supreme Court in order to fight for their love .
New laws were passed and they won their case.
If you want action and a fast-moving film - this is not for you, but it is a true story of just an ordinary couple who wanted to live together as husband and wife. It was interesting to see how accepted Joel was by the black community and how unacceptable Mildred was to the white community. Shame on us!
|We meet on the last Wednesday in the month at each
The films chosen are those that do NOT regularly appear on the various television channels and which have a decent story and/or have an innovative content.
A number of films are chosen by the host, the one shown is selected by the attendees.
The next meeting will be announced shortly.
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