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Click on  IMDB  below, for details from the Internet Movie Database
24th September


THE QUEEN   (2006)  [12A] - 1 hour 43 mins

Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Helen McCrory, Helen Mirren, James Cromwell, Michael Sheen, Sylvia Syms

Helen Mirren brilliantly captures the Queen's physicality without ever descending into caricature. Unable to comprehend the scale of the public mood, the Queen retreats behind the walls of Balmoral in an attempt to keep the family's grief private, whilst the Prime Minister [Michael Sheen], in increasingly desperate telephone calls, attempts to persuade her to make a statement. A humorous critique of a stuffy Royal Family becomes an unexpectedly sympathetic portrait of the woman who carries the weight of the nation on her shoulders. The fact that we know the final outcome in no way detracts from the enjoyment of this excellent film.

"It is intelligent, hilariously funny and, ultimately, rather moving" (Philip French - Guardian)

15th October

magic flute

THE MAGIC FLUTE   (2006)   [PG] - 2 hour 15 mins

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Joseph Kaiser, Benjamin Jay Davis, Amy Carson, Rene Pape, Lyubov Petrova, Tom Randle, Silvia Moi, Liz Smith

Kenneth Branagh sets Mozart's phantasmagorical opera on the battlefields of the First World War. He turns the opera into a metaphor for the struggle between dark and light in a Europe undergoing a loss of innocence, although it is also in many ways a pantomime, albeit a very fine and lofty one, it makes for a very entertaining film. The new libretto, in rhyming couplets, is by Stephen Fry and generally closely follows the original plot. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe under the baton of James Conlon play the score faultlessly.

"I can't remember the last time I was so engrossed by Mozart's opera" (Dave Paxton - Music OMH)

19th November


COCO BEFORE CHANEL   (2009)   [12A] (sub-titles) - 1 hour 45 mins

Director: Anne Fontaine
Cast: Alessandro Nivola, Audrey Tautou, Benoit Poelvoorde, Emmanuelle Devos, Marie Gillain, Regis Royer

Telling of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's troubled early years before she became the Grande Dame of Parisian haute couture and her life until around the end of WW1, when she was in her mid 20's. A wilful, manipulative and increasingly confident woman, Chanel revolted against the exploitation of women and the restrictive fashion of the time, considering it uncomfortable and cumbersome and designed primarily to please men

"Brought alive by the magnetic performance of Tautou" (Sarah Boslaugh - Playback)

3rd December

gosford park

GOSFORD PARK   (2001)   [15] - 2 hour 17 mins

Director: Robert Altman
Cast: Alan Bates, Derek Jacobi, Emily Watson, Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith

Applying Agatha Christie's murder mystery format to a rigorous analysis of British Society in the early 1930's, a stellar cast of 48 portray a sharply satirical view of the British class system. Set on a magnificent estate (Gosford Park) in 1932 showing a society and way of life on the verge of extinction. Completely oblivious to any outside political reality family and guests are obsessed by their own petty greed, personal agendas and sexual obsessions

"Altman works to a muscular, ambitious script, crammed with sparkling lines and terrific cameo turns for a star-studded cast" (Peter Bradshaw - Guardian)

28th January

me & orson welles

ME & ORSON WELLES   (2008)   [12A] - 1 hour 54 mins

Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ben Chaplin, Christian McKay, Claire Danes, Eddie Marsan, Kelly Reilly, Zac Efron, Zoe Kazan

With its wonderful period details, strong performances and a witty and fast-paced script this is a highly enjoyable film. The story centres on a high school student, who, while strolling the streets of New York, happens upon the yet to open Mercury theatre and is noticed by its mercurial founder, Orson Welles. He lands a bit part in Julius Caesar, the 1937 groundbreaking production that secured Orson Welles' reputation, and spends the next week learning about love and life.
The sheer dynamism of Welles in full flight - an exasperating but awe inspiring figure - is brought to life with an incredible performance from British actor Christian McKay.

"A sublime adaptation of Robert Kaplow's book" (Philip French - Guardian)

25th February

last station

THE LAST STATION   (2009)   [15] - 1 hour 52 mins

Director: Michael Hoffman
Cast: Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer, Anne-Marie Duff, Paul Giamatti

This well acted, handsomely designed and, at times, surprisingly comic film, depicts the final months of 82 year old Leo Tolstoy's life. Driven from his home by the hysterical jealousy of his wife Sofya, it concludes with his very public death at a remote Russian railway station in 1919. Sofya battles for her husband's soul and the copyright of his most valuable works with Tolstoy's manipulative disciple Vladimir Chertkov. Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren convincingly play the couple whose relationship constantly alternates between benevolence and bickering.

"Impressively directed and finely acted, this film gives real insight into the life of a fascinating man" (Film Link)

18th March

NOWHERE BOY   (2009)   [15] - 1 hour 38 mins

Director: Sam Taylor-Wood
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas Anne-Marie Duff, David Threlfall and Alex Ambrose.

John Lennon's childhood as a spirited teenager, curious, sharp and funny, as he grew up in the shattered city of Liverpool. Two sisters tussle for his love, Mimi, the aunt who raised him from the age of 5 and Julia, his mother, who gave him up to Mimi's care. Yearning for a normal family, John escapes into art and the new music from the USA. His fledgling genius finds a kindred spirit in the young Paul McCartney.

"This is a handsome film made with real flair" (Peter Bradshaw - Guardian)

8th April

THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES   In Spanish/Subtitled   (2009)   [18] - 2 hour 9 mins

Director: Juan José Campanella
Cast: Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Carla Quevedo and Javier Godino

Unpredictable and rich with symbolism, this Argentinian murder mystery lives up to its Oscar with an engrossing plot. Juan Jose Campanella's assured direction draws mesmerizing performances from the cast. A retired legal counsellor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love for his superior. Both still haunt him decades later.

"An emotionally absorbing thriller with a terrific central performance from Ricardo Darin" (ViewLondon)

13th May

MADE IN DAGENHAM   (2010)  [15] - 1 hour 53 mins

Director: Nigel Cole
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Rosamund Pike and Miranda Richardson

This breezy feelgood drama tells the story of the 1968 strike by women at Ford's Dagenham motor plant.
They walked out in protest over being "declassified" as skilled workers and being paid less than their male counterparts, and their strike paved the way for the 1970 equal Pay Act. It is a fast-paced populist style of film making but no less enjoyable for that.

"Inspiring, Uplifting. Genuinely Feel-Good" (Mark Kermode - BBC)

24th June
another day

ANOTHER YEAR   (2010)   [12] - 2 hour 9 mins

Director: Mike Leigh
Cast: David Bradley, Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville, Oliver Maltman, Ruth Sheen

This latest film by Mike Leigh follows a year in the life of a contented sixty-something couple and the struggles of the other characters are seen from their patient and kindly perspective, mainly from around their kitchen table. It is an acutely well-observed study of needy and unhappy people desperately trying to make sense of their lives.

"A deeply involving, intelligent drama of the sort only Mike Leigh can create" (Peter Bradshaw - Guardian)

22nd July

MONSOON WEDDING  (2001)  [15] - 1 hour 54 mins

Director: Mira Nair
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey and Shefali Shetty

This hugely enjoyable film is set in the heat and humidity of pre-monsoon Delhi where the upper middle-class Verma family is preparing for the lavish arranged marriage of one of their daughters.
Much of the fun of the film comes from acute little observations and clever set pieces involving the extended family  and other wedding guests, but gradually some of the more serious issues of modern Indian life are introduced.

"The acting and interacting of the ensemble cast is exemplary" (Phillip French - The Observer)

19th August

TAMARA DREWE   (2010)   [15] - 1 hour 51 mins

Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Luke Evans and Dominic Cooper

The delightful Posy Simmonds cartoon strip, that reflects British life and character, has been converted by Stephen Frears into a fantastically mad and entertaining bucolic romp.
When the ambitious and alluring Tamara returns to her native West Country village to do up the house and write a raunchy best seller it causes a stir in the neighbourhood that results in tragedy as well as some hilarious moments.

"It is extremely amusing and acutely observed" (Phillip French - The Observer)