Now showing at Electric Picture House Market Street,Wotton-under-Edge,Gloucestershire GL12 7AE 01453 844601
- My Old Lady
- The Imitation Game
My Old Lady 3 stars
Mathias Gold abandons New York in dire financial straits bound for the French capital, where he intends to sell the apartment he has just inherited from his estranged father. Wandering around the extremely desirable abode, Mathias is shocked to find an old lady called Mathilde Girard living in the apartment with her spiky daughter Chloe. It transpires that Mathias cannot sell the apartment until Mathilde dies because of an ancient property rule of "viager".
- GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Romance
- CastKristin Scott Thomas, Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith.
- DirectorIsrael Horovitz.
- WriterIsrael Horovitz.
- Duration107 mins
- Official site
- Release21/11/2014 (selected cinemas)
Draconian French property law forces a fifty-something bachelor to renovate his plans for a financially stable future in Israel Horovitz's entertaining character study. Adapted by the writer-director from his own stage play, My Old Lady brings together strangers from opposite sides of the world and thrusts them together in a des res Parisian apartment.
The subsequent clash of personalities unlocks painful family secrets and salves deep wounds that have been festering for years. Savvy casting of Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas as the buyer and sellers in this comedy of manners is better than the film deserves.
The actors elevate a solid if unremarkable script, adding warmth, spikiness and roughly hewn charm to their hastily sketched characters as the plot engineers a couple of predictable twists.
Smith is in her element, armed with a fine array of withering putdowns that would surely meet the approval of the Dowager Countess, her imperious matriarch in Downton Abbey. "Englishness is so obvious," she opines at one point. So are some of Horovitz's intentions.
Mathias Gold (Kline) abandons New York in financial straits, bound for the French capital where he intends to sell an apartment he has just inherited from his estranged father. Wandering from room to room, Mathias is shocked to find a 92-year-old lady called Mathilde Girard (Smith) living in the apartment with her daughter Chloe (Scott Thomas).
It transpires that Mathias cannot sell the apartment until Mathilde, the sitting tenant, dies because of an ancient property rule of "viager", which also stipulates that he must pay her a monthly fee of 2,400 Euros. Unable to return to America, Mathias takes up residence in the apartment with the women and spies on Chloe and her current beau (Stephane De Groot).
The penniless American secretly sells off some of the contents to raise the money for Mathilde's fees. "How did you get to 57 and 11 months and have so little to show for it?" she asks with genuine bewilderment. As Mathias delves into his father's past, he discovers deep personal ties to the Girards that alter his desire to see Mathilde six feet under.
My Old Lady doesn't stray too far from its stage origins, unfolding largely as static conversations within different rooms of the apartment. Kline and Thomas are an attractive pairing while Smith trots out her bon mots with expert comic timing and a twinkle in her eye. "Precision is the key to long life. Precision... and wine!" she trills.
Horovitz keeps the tone brisk and light, even when skeletons are tumbling out of the family closet with alarming frequency.
Paddington 4 stars
A young Peruvian bear with a passion for the British heads to London in search of a new home. At Paddington train station, he meets a boy called Jonathan Brown and his parents, who offer the lovable creature, christened Paddington, a temporary haven. At large in a strange city, Paddington wreaks havoc in the Brown household. Then an evil museum taxidermist named Millicent glimpses the wondrous bear and realises that he would make the most perfect addition to her collection.
- GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Family, Family
- CastHugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw, Nicole Kidman, Imelda Staunton.
- DirectorPaul King.
- WriterPaul King.
- Duration95 mins
- Official sitewww.paddington.com
More than 50 years after he first appeared in print, author Michael Bond's beloved bear Paddington has finally arrived on the big screen in his first star-packed family adventure. Upcoming director Paul King's film lovingly weaves the traditional tenets of the duffel-coat wearing bear's story into a modern narrative.
Like the books, the film starts in deepest, darkest Peru, where a well-mannered three-foot bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) lives with his elderly Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and Uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon). In their youth, Lucy and Pastuzo were visited by a kindly English explorer who left his red hat with his furry friends.
When their home is threatened, Aunt Lucy packs her nephew off to the safety of London to track down the explorer, who has promised that there will always be a home for them in the capital.
Of course, after sailing the oceans in a boat filled with supplies of his treasured marmalade, the bear finds London isn't actually that friendly. In fact it's pretty miserable what with the drizzly weather and glum commuters pushing and shoving their way out of Paddington station and ignoring his pleas for a home.
"Sorry, we haven't got time for this," cries worrywart Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville), while his moody daughter Judy (Madeleine Harris) exclaims she's "embarrassed" to be near the small grisly, who has a 'Please look after this bear' sign around his neck.
Luckily, warm-hearted Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins) and son Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) vow to take the furry chap home for the night. Naming him Paddington after the station where they found him, the Browns introduce their guest to kindly housekeeper Mrs Bird (Julie Walters).
But disaster soon strikes when Paddington tries to freshen up in the bathroom, resulting in a flood, two earwax-stained toothbrushes and a sharp telling off. Determined to find the explorer, Mrs Brown takes Paddington to see her friend Mr Gruber (Jim Broadbent), an antiques dealer who might have clues to his existence.
In doing so, they attract the attention of cranky curtain twitcher Mr Curry (Peter Capaldi) and a slimy associate of villainous taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) who is hell-bent on "stuffing that bear". With Millicent determined to get her mitts on Paddington to display him in the Natural History Museum, the Browns find themselves on a humdinger of a cat and mouse chase to try and keep their furry friend safe.
As comforting and sweet as Paddington's beloved marmalade, King's delightful adaptation has heaps of heart and enough humour and carefully plotted cameos to ensure everyone more than grins and bears his adaptation.
The Imitation Game 4 stars
Socially awkward mathematician Alan Turing arrives at Bletchley Park where Commander Denniston presides over a group of the country's keenest minds in the hope that one of them can break the Enigma code. Turing ploughs his own furrow and raises eyebrows by recruiting Joan Clarke to the team. She is a beautiful mind like Turing, inspiring him to greatness by observing, "Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of that do the things people never imagine."
- GenreAdaptation, Biography, Drama, Gay, Thriller, War
- CastKeira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard.
- DirectorMorten Tyldum.
- WriterGraham Moore.
- Duration114 mins
- Official sitewww.theimitationgamemovie.com
In December 2013, The Queen granted a posthumous royal pardon to Alan Turing. The London-born mathematician had been prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952 - a criminal act at the time - and he undertook a treatment of chemical castration with oestrogen injections rather than serve time behind bars.
It was an undeservedly inglorious end for a brilliant man, who was instrumental in breaking the Enigma code and should have been feted by our battle-scarred nation as a hero. Based on a biography by Andrew Hodges, The Imitation Game relives that race against time to decipher German communications and bring the Second World War to a swift conclusion.
Morten Tyldum's masterful drama neither shies away from Turing's homosexuality nor lingers on it, framing nail-biting events at Bletchley Park with the mathematician's 1951 arrest in Manchester. "If you're not paying attention, you'll miss things," Turing teases us in voiceover.
Indeed, you'll miss impeccable production design, an unconventional yet touching romance, subterfuge and sterling performances including an Oscar-worthy portrayal of the socially awkward genius from Benedict Cumberbatch.
Alan Turing (Cumberbatch) sits in a police interrogation room with Detective Nock (Rory Kinnear), facing a charge of indecency with a 19-year-old unemployed man called Arnold Murray. "I think Turing's hiding something," Nick informs his Superintendent (Steven Waddington), who is keen to wrap up the conviction.
In flashback, we witness Alan's arrival at Bletchley Park where Commander Denniston (Charles Dance) and Major General Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong) preside over a group of the country's keenest minds in the hope that one of them can break Enigma.
Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), John Cairncross (Allen Leech) and Peter Hilton (Matthew Beard) work alongside Turing, but he ploughs his own furrow and raises eyebrows by recruiting Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) to the team.
She is a beautiful mind like Turing, inspiring him to greatness by observing, "Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of that do the things people never imagine."
Punctuated by school day scenes of the young Turing (Alex Lawther) and his first love, an older boy called Christopher (Jack Bannon), The Imitation Game is a beautifully crafted tribute to a prodigy, whose invaluable contribution to the war effort was unjustly besmirched by bigotry.
Cumberbatch is mesmerising, trampling over the egos of fellow code breakers without any concern for their feelings as he vows to solve "the most difficult problem in the world". It's a tour-de-force portrayal, complemented by strong supporting performances from Knightley, Goode et al as the close-knit team who note, "God didn't win the war. We did."
The pivotal Eureka moment sets our pulses racing, heightened by Alexandre Desplat's exquisite orchestral score. Director Tyldum navigates the fractured chronology with clarity and flair, ensuring that his heart-rending film doesn't itself become a perplexing puzzle.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Sunday 21st December 2014