29 January 2018
Second fIlm of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. After her daughter is raped and murdered and there have been no suspects arrested Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) takes the bold step of renting three billboards and publicly asking the police chief why! This film should have been depressing given the subject matter, and in parts it was sad, poignant and moving, but it was also a very funny film. This was due largely to Frances McDormand, who is very skilled in her craft, Woody Harrelson who brings good leadership and great compassion to the role of the Police Chief and Sam Rockwell who produced an amazing piece of acting to give us the character of Jason Dixon, a man who should never have graduated the Police Academy. I enjoyed this from the very moment it began until the very moment it finished and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who wants to see some good film making, undertaken by good actors, performing a good story.
29 January 2018
First Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – The Post. This is the first time Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep have worked together on the film – they should do it more often. The post is another from the Spielberg stable, based on a true story this film benefits from a continued interest in American political history. Set in the 70s we are introduced to Kay Graham (Streep) owner of The Washington Post and Editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) in a story of leaked documents regarding the Governments dealings in the ongoing Vietnam War and and the battle between the Washington Post and their rival newspaper, The New York Times to publish them all. I often find a film of this type slightly tricky to get into, but once I’m hooked, I’m in to the finish. Lots of dialogue and intrigue as we follow a story that covers at least four presidential terms. There was a good supporting cast both at the paper and those surrounding Kay Graham, all of whom were pushing her to to make decisions she wasn’t comfortable with. Being a film set in the 70s we are presented with the usual treats of bad hairstyles, bad fashion, and rooms with a fuggy layer of cigarette smoke resting about a foot from the ceiling. Very well filmed and a good watch.
26 January 2018
Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester This Morning – 12 Strong. This is the true story of the first special forces unit inserted deep into enemy territory in Afghanistan after the events of 9-11. Forced to work with an Afghan Warlord who is part of the Northern Alliance, Captain Mitch Nelson leads his team into hell. Superbly shot this film tells us of the soldiers on horses who fight against tanks and rocket launchers in a desperate tale of defence, attack and revenge. Once again I’m drawn into thinking about the role the horse plays in societies around the world and through the ages. This wasn’t War Horse, these horses didn’t even have names, but you have to admire the way they gallop headlong down mountains on the roughest terrain into battles not of their making, yet time and time again they give their all. A superb cast led by Chris Hemsworth as Mitch, this is not a story of any one hero, this is a team of 12 who went into combat determined to return home together. This kind of action film is the best, because it’s based on a true story it makes you think more about the images you see on the screen. War is cold, dirty, painful, emotional and gut wrenching and yet it goes on every day. Well done to all involved in this film for not making it bland and mushy.
22 January 2018
Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Darkest Hour. Darkest hour indeed. This biopic of Winston Churchill showcases his rise to Prime Minister and the battles he faced whilst in office during some of the darkest days of the history of Great Britain. Now, my knowledge of history is not very comprehensive so I came into this film with an open mind and a trust that what I was being shown was fairly close to the truth as far as historical accuracy was concerned. That being so, I was quite surprised to learn how he was being undercut by members of parliament and being pushed into making decisions he wasn’t ready to make. Politics is another area which often eludes me but this film drew me in and I was gripped right from the start. Gary Oldman was outstanding in his role as Winston, he brought a vulnerability to the man, whilst portraying his immense strength, and massive credit must be given to the make up department for his transformation. If you looked into his eyes you could see it was him, and a side profile of his mouth also gave him away but apart from that we were looking at Churchill the whole time. The glorious Kristin Scott Thomas played the long suffering Clemmie and brought her usual dazzling pizazz to the character. Amongst the superb remaining supporting cast I must mention Ben Mendelsohn who was cleverly cast as King George VI, he brought a believability to the role which showed a man fearful for his country and steadfast in his support for those he felt would do their best for him. A great, bleak, dark, powerful film, I believe we may be looking at the winner of this year’s Best Actor at the Oscars.
8 January 2018
Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – The Greatest Showman. Wow, I can say from the outset I loved this film. Hugh Grant and Zac Ephron combine with many other talents to bring this all singing, all dancing, all judgemental, all emotional, all round entertaining film to the screen. This film tells the story of Phineous Taylor Barnum, the man who brought together a very special collection of people to enable him to bring his ‘freak show’ to the public. Shunned by society in life this group of people become a family and the circus becomes their home. However some so called normal members of society cannot accept this and they are challenged at every level, from the working man up to the rich and powerful. At the heart of this film is the story of a man trying to do the best for his family, the love he has for his wife and his children is what spurs him on and even when he makes bad judgement calls you know that he is always trying to do the right thing by them. There are some great song and dance scenes and the soundtrack is loud and catchy. The characters draw you into the film and the bright colours of the circus clash gloriously with the sometimes drab city around. If you don’t like musicals then this film is not for you but if you love a good old theatrical performance with singing and dancing then this is definitely is one to see. I need to see it again!!!!
8 January 2018
First Film of the year and first Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight – Pitch Perfect 3. So I hadn’t seen the first two, I thought I better catch up, one mega acapella binge watching session later I’m fully caught up and ready for the third instalment. It didn’t really matter much about the plot which was probably just as well, as long as the music entertained……..and I reckon they didn’t do too bad. This instalment sees the Bellas all grown up and beginning to make their way in the world, only it seems they can’t make it without their acapella sisters. A little regret on parts of each of the girls makes them jump at the chance to take part in entertaining troops on the USO European tour. It’s all the old crew with Beca and Fat Amy leading the way, add some competition in the form of a lean mean girl band, a rock/country group and put them slap bang among aircraft and helicopters on a selection of US naval bases and you have a fun light-hearted film which is guaranteed to keep your feet tapping throughout. Rebel Wilson is gloriously unfazed by all she says, sings and does and the whole film is once more led graciously by Anna Kendrick from disaster to singing magnificence as the film reaches its crescendo. You can almost keep your eyes closed throughout as the music is bouncy and easy to listen to, and ever so slightly leaves you wanting more. Aca-enjoyable.
28 December 2017
Second Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Today – Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I have heard rumours of people campaigning to get this latest instalment removed from the whole Star Wars franchise…….why people, why???? This film deserves its place in the telling of the Jedi story. True the beginning is a little bitty, but we need to be reminded of where all the characters have got to on their journey through this well loved collection of tales brought from the far reaches of the Galaxy. We have travelled long and far from that young man on Tatooine fixing moisture vaporators for his aunt and uncle, indeed our cinema going experiences have changed much in the ensuing years and it goes without saying that the latest episode of a franchise like Star Wars has to become updated both with the times and the technology. The Last Jedi is edge of your seat stuff, bigger battles, bigger losses, bigger egos and some really cute critters. The story zigzags all over the place and at times you have no idea where it is going to lead. We are introduced to some new faces but it’s reassuring to see the likes of Chewbacca, R2D2 and even the infuriating C3PO back on our screens. The effects, as always were outstanding, and once again you are left with questions at the end of the film. I always sit and watch the credits and the list of people involved in making this film was staggering, all necessary and all deserving our thanks for making it possible.