11 February 2019
Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Vice. Films about history and especially political history are by very definition part fact, part fiction. Nobody can know what goes on in a person’s head, and very few people reveal what is said behind closed doors. The public is told only the facts they want you to know and yet films of this ilk are regularly produced and we go and sit through them. As a film this offering was ok. It was compelling to watch and the cast, especially Christian Bale took on the persona of their characters extremely well. I took a look at a Dick Cheney interview and think he must have spent a lot of hours studying his mannerisms because to me they seemed spot on. This film is the story of Dick Cheney’s rise to the position of Vice President of the United States of America and how he gathered a team around him to be the kind of man he was. A superb performance from Amy Adams as his wife Lynne, and Steve Carell playing Donald Rumsfeld, but my hat goes off to Sam Rockwell for his portrayal of George W Bush. He nailed it 100%. If you like films about the political history of the USA this is an interesting watch. I thoroughly recommend you give it a go.
11 February 2019
First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – How To Train Your Dragon – The Hidden World. Another outing in the extremely successful franchise finds Toothless and Hiccup trying to save the people and the dragons from a ruthless Grimmel who is out to destroy or control all dragons, throw in a dragon shaped love interest for Toothless and there is a lot to fight for. It is amazing the passion and emotion you can get from an animated character, especially one that cannot speak. The amount of communication derived from the eyes of a dragon alone is outstanding, combine that with noises, music and movement and you have a whole range of character that bring a story to life. The Viking characters we have known and loved from before return and bring with them a whole range of endearing and extremes of themselves, annoying is very annoying, stupid is vastly stupid and large is excessively large but you love them all, and the dragons too. Once again we have an animated film that has such emotional moments that it can make you shed a tear.
4 January 2019
Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Green Book. I thought it was a strange title for a film then I realised as the film progressed that the Green Book was a thing, and as I sat captivated throughout this entire film I found that it never ceases to amaze and sadden me how humans treat fellow humans based on colour alone. This is a story inspired by the true friendship that developed between Tony Lip, a working-class American Italian from New York and Dr Don Shirley, a black pianist who employs Tony to be his driver for a tour of the Deep South where racial prejudice is right at the forefront of their whole existence. This film was exquisite, a tale of two men who are as far apart as can possibly be, one street smart, rough and ready, the other a highly educated and cultured person. They began as boss and employee and slowly formed a true and lasting friendship. Viggo Mortensen played Tony Lip and delivered a quite amazing performance. He combined the brash Italian character, with someone who had strong family values and a deep sense of good about him, even though he took the job just for the money he developed as a character as the film went along. Mahershala Ali, who played Dr Shirley was elegant and dignified throughout. This is a film I would happily watch again and again.
4 January 2019
First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – The Favourite. Watching The Favourite was like reading a book of short stories, you just find yourself absorbed in one scene and then it ends. I think that was possibly the weirdest film I’ve ever seen and I have no idea if it bore any resemblance to true historical facts, but I found it strangely compelling. Olivia Coleman is a supreme actress and played the part of Queen Anne with a flair that was quite remarkable. I’m not sure if I would watch it again but with a distinct air of disbelief I found myself completely entranced by the shenanigans taking place in the screen. Rachel Weiss was stunning as Lady Sarah and Nicholas Hoult was quite dashing as the foppish Harley, who grew more ridiculous as the film progressed. One thing to note, there were a vast number of wigs in this film, quite large and quite ridiculous, and it makes you wonder how many wigmakers went out of business as fashions changed back in the day. An interesting outing and an odd way to spend a couple of hours.
31 January 2019
Film of Choice at The Plaza this afternoon – The Mule. Clint Eastwood stars as Earl, veteran, lover of his award winning lilies, divorced, broke and estranged from all of his family except his granddaughter. Picked on by an opportunist at a party he finds himself with a new job, a Mule for a Mexican drug Cartel. At first he is unaware of the cargo he is carrying in his old truck but as the film progresses events unfold to put him in danger for his life. This film was an excellent vehicle for Eastwood, he plays a guy who is at rock bottom but still very much a feisty old codger not willing to give up. We have three threads running throughout the film, Earl’s story, his family, and thirdly Bradley Cooper’s character Colin Bates, a DEA agent who wants to bring down the Cartel. We didn’t have to sit through high contain car chases, and big gunfights, this film was a lot gentler than that, and even those necessary antagonistic scenes that come in all drug cartel movies were handled almost sympathetically. A great performance by Eastwood, and a great bit of directing by him too. Incidentally, keep an ear out for the soundtrack, a good selection of country music including the beautiful Don’t Let The Old Man In, by Toby Keith. A great watch.
Sunday 23 December 2018
Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Mary Poppins Returns. This is just what Christmas needs, a well made, well written and well timed sequel to a decades old family favourite. Mary Poppins Returns was a joy to watch in every way. Emily Blunt brought a lot of herself to the title role but also sympathetically recreated Julie Andrews’ originally portrayal. There was no attempt to reuse the old classic songs yet the score incorporated many bars of familiar music. The new songs were all pleasant to listen to and the words and melodies lingered after hearing them just once. The character of Jack was a recreation of Burt but in no way trying to be the same character. Look out for some famous names like Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury, Meryl Streep and even Dick Van Dyke. This sequel was like watching a new film in your old pyjamas, and should be watched many times. Treat yourself to a present and enjoy a fanciful couple of hours with the Banks Family and Mary Poppins this Christmas, you won’t regret it.
Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Robin Hood. I’m sure he would hate me for saying this but Taron Egerton is turning into a nice little actor. He was good in Kingsman, he was excellent as Eddie the Eagle, and he now stars in the latest version of Robin Hood. This version comes at the much loved and much represented folklore character from an alternative direction. Watching this film I felt I was part in history and part in current times. The costumes would not have been out of place on the High Street, and the set although very Hollywood, was gritty and well suited to the plot. This latest episode of the popular story tackled things from a different angle. Robin does not have a ‘band of merry outlaws’ and we get an explanation of the history of Robin’s time in the crusades. Each individual character is shown very differently from the usual stereotypical image that we are used to. The Sheriff of Nottingham would not have been out of place in The Matrix, and although very much made to find its niche on the silver screen, this latest version of one of my favourite film characters is refreshing and quite exciting to watch. With Jamie Foxx as his trusted ally of course Robin manages to outwit all he comes up against, but beware this film does not always go in the direction you expect. It is very watchable, very compelling and I thoroughly recommend it.