A dud, an oddity and a hero called Jane

One of the best things about unlimited viewing at Cineworld is not being annoyed for wasting money on some rubbish film, time maybe but not money, hey, I’d have probably frittered the time away anyway! The film on this occasion was Black Adam, boy was it bad. I should have paid attention that it’s part of the DC Extended Universe, even with Dwayne Johnson in it I would have thought twice about bothering. For me Black Adam was dull, oh there’s lots of action scenes but they do get tedious and boring when there’s no decent story between them, no interesting characters, no sparkling wit. The few attempts at humour were obvious, sad or cringey, or all three (like some Radio 4 comedies).

The shazam thing had me a tad puzzled, was this the same as in Shazam!? Actually that’s a DCEU movie that I did enjoy. What really bugged me were the sanctimonious Justice gang, were they meant to be nice guys? I really couldn’t tell, and that locking him away ’cause they didn’t like his attitude, next minute, please, please break out of that prison we put you in and save the world. Come on!

I also went to see The Banshees of Inisherin this week, a definite go-see for me as its written and directed by the chap who did In Bruges which also starred Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson (that film truly blew me away). Banshees is a quiet, oddly compelling film; I really felt for Pádraic (Colin Farrell), his bafflement and sorrow at the sudden end of a long friendship, his attempts to try to put things right, always making the situation worse. Oh, there’s lots of dark humour in there and so many little absurdities scattered around along with just a little violence (well, this is a Martin McDonagh film, there was definitely going to be at least a bit of violence somewhere). The slow pace of it won’t be to everyone’s taste but it’s got more going for it in one of Colm’s (Brendan Gleeson) cut off fingers than the whole of Black Adam.

In between seeing The Banshees of Inisherin and Black Adam I went to see Call Jane, a completely different kettle of fish again. I knew it was a fact-based film about abortions in America in the late 1960s, sounds heavy, but with Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver in it, I was fine when a friend asked if I’d chum her along to it. Wow, yes, a heavy subject but here it’s tackled so well, it’s written with a lightness and positivity, showing women joining together being proactive, helping each other; a very welcome change from how this subject is usually portrayed on screens according to my friend.

Bet I wasn’t the only one who got home afterwards and immediately went on Google – there’s plenty about The Janes and their background (the Smithsonian Magazine had one of the better pieces). Call Jane may be set just over fifty years ago but it is a very relevant film, especially with the overturning of Roe v. Wade by America’s Supreme Court in June this year.

It is a very human trait to want to have superheroes of one kind or another, enjoy watching films where cities are smashed to smithereens by great hulking chaps, superheroes who will return again in our hour of need. Then there’s real folk who go about under the radar helping others even when it puts themselves in danger, doing the right thing just because.

Goodnight all.

Paddington: The Fringe Show.

I just went back to see Paddington 2 for a second time, almost seven weeks after I first went to see it – I guess it’s a success, not many films stay on the big screen that long these days. Once back home I did that thing folk like to do these days, looked up the film on IMDb to see who’s done what where. But what! What! Tim Fitzhigham and Dan Antopolski were both in it and I missed them? Oh, and Cal McCrystal had a cameo besides being the Physical Comedy Consultant. FYI all Fringe favourites of mine.

Justin Edwards and Richard Ayoade were also in it, didn’t miss them, well it would be hard not to spot Richard Ayoade, who, incidentally, was being directed by Paul King (director of both Paddington films) in Garth Marenghi’s Netherhead the first time I saw him at the Fringe many years ago! One last tentative Fringe connection Tom Conti, well, I’ve seen him in town in August – up to see Nina?

In fact the first evening I saw Paddington 2, I saw Justin Edwards twice as he also had a part in The Death of Stalin (oh yes, two films in one evening with a trip to Nando’s sandwiched between them, well, I do have an unlimited viewings card). At the Fringe Justin Edwards had a magnificent creation the children’s entertainer Jeremy Lion, possibly one of my Desert Island Fringe Shows! More on him another time.

It is great when I see folk who I’ve seen in small, sweaty venues on the big screen, guess it reflects how long I’ve been fringing. Both Paddington films are excellent, having all the elements in the right proportions to make cinematic classics, and they came from a guy who first directed at the Fringe. What an inspiration! Crikey, I’ll be singing Circle Of Life next!

Next film I’ll go see may well be Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Martin McDonagh, who also wrote the bloodiest play I’ve ever seen, or will probably ever see again, at the Fringe,  The Lieutenant Of Inishmore. See another Fringe connection!