Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

Garden Roof Cinema

October 12, 2016

Garden Roof Cinema is breathtaking.

Up two flights of stairs, one side a stunning  view of The Acropolis, rows of director’s chairs, an open air cinema.

It was the last night.

Film The Girl on the Train, an adaptation of the book of the same name.

Previous night I had seen people leaving in stunned silence. It was easy to see why.

Previous night it had been warm. Not tonight, cold.


German occupation in Prague

March 29, 2016
vintage cars

vintage cars

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague 21

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

German occupation in Prague

Saturday, a little over a week ago, St Joseph’s Day, I wandered down to the river, to then walk along to Charles Bridge.

I cut down a side street which I thought would take me in the right direction.

I found a van spraying the street. A murder scene, cleaning off the blood?

Then I  thought I had encountered a vintage car rally, then a man in a German uniform, Nazi insignia.

What was going on?

Had I entered a time warp?

It appears I had walked onto a film set.

13 Shades of Romanian

January 19, 2016

Life of Romanians living in England.


filming at pre-production party

13 shades of Romanian, excellent, well produced documentary of thirteen Romanians living in England.

My main criticism, is how skewed a representation of Romanians in England?

The Romanians featured appeared to be the educated, intelligent, cultural elite. All spoke excellent English, better than 90% of the native population.

For the first two, can watch for £1 each, which is reasonable. Get to the third, and they want £3 to watch all three, and restricted to 72 hours.

I would expect unlimited streaming for £3. I would expect to be able to buy on DVD for £3.

I would have chopped the footballer in Part III, found a more interesting Romanian, for example talented singer-songwriter Jewelia.

13 Shades of Romanian was funded through crowdfunding.

Can I Stay

January 5, 2016

Animation by Onyee Lo, Paige Carter and Katie Knudson,

The Wall

January 4, 2016

A film by Roger Waters, The Wall.

Frank Waters, father of Roger Waters, was posted missing in Italy, presumed dead, at the end of WWII. Roger Waters was five months old.  As a child, he wanted to go to Italy and bring back his father.

The Wall is The Wall of 1979 revisited.

The Blind Man

November 26, 2015

Set in 1961, narrated by Alfred Hitchcock, The Blind Man, a Hitchcock movie Alfred Hitchcock never made.

World première, using the original script, dramatised for radio and broadcast BBC Radio 4 on Halloween.

A blind jazz pianist is given a set off eyes.

What if, a dramatic event, as the man dies, is seared into his retina? What if, the last sight was of the man who killed him?

BBC only retains for 30 days.

The Blind Man was intended to be the follow-up to North by Northwest.

The Blind Man is part of Unmade Movies, a season of radio adaptations of unproduced screenplays by the major authors of the 20th century – including Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman.

Another unmade movie, was Orson Welles’ Heart of Darkness. Excellent. I got half way through, now it has gone.

BBC must re-broadcast, but why, oh why, do they not retain on-line?

This Changes Everything

August 5, 2015

As Naomi Klein describes in This Changes Everything, Paul Mason in PostCapitalism, Russell Brand in Revolution and Charles Eisenstein in Sacred Economics, the neo-liberal agenda has failed. If the system worked we would not have had to bail out the banks. If the system worked, we would not be seeing the collapse at the fringes, at Blockadia.

To address climate change, we cannot tinkle with the system, we cannot continue burning fossil fuels, with exponential growth on a finite planet.

To address climate change, we have to change everything. If we are going to change everything then we have an opportunity to move to a more equatable, fairer world.

This evening saw the premier of the film This Changes Everything.

Vue Cinema Farnborough signs of desperation

July 9, 2015
Vue Cinema Farnborough flyer

Vue Cinema Farnborough flyer

A couple of years ago a cinema opened in Wastegate in Aldershot. A couple of months ago a Vue Cinema opened in Farnborough.

Anecdotal evidence is the Vue Cinema is failing. It is not attracting the bums on seats. A late night YoYo bus running to serve the cinema, drives around empty. The chain restaurants that were to cluster around the cinema are non-existent (though may be no bad thing as take business away from local restaurants).

The Farnborough cinema empty is of no surprise. There are not enough bums on seats to go round to support a cinema in Aldershot and Farnborough. The best case scenario, it halves the number of bums on seats in Aldershot. The likely scenarios, one or both close, as no longer viable.

Signs of desperation, together with the junk food offers, the estate agents, now a flyer for Vue Cinema Farnborough being pushed through letterboxes.

Special deals, special offers, but looking at the unappealing programme, I would not wish to go even if free.

If this is the best films this summer, I hate to think what rubbish the worst.

There is an alternative cinema in Farnborough and it has far better offerings.

The cinema has not been without cost. The grotty Kingsmead shopping centre has been gutted, retailers kicked out or forced to the dead end, dead being a relative term as the entire shopping centre is dead. Matters made worse by closing one of the entrances.

How much money has the local council ploughed into this cinema?

Yet another example of crass planning decisions by the local council.

13 Shades of Romanian Party

April 27, 2015






Luckily, from Trew Era Cafe, it was not too hard to find Queen of Hoxton, where the 13 Shades of Romanian Party was being hosted. Head off down the road and keep walking.

Queen of Hoxton something of a dump, I have been to better squatted buildings. Its one redeeming feature a rooftop terrace.

On coming down from the terrace, the party I found was in the basement, with its own ticket office. I had assumed it was the party as I walked in.

Filming was taking place of the party for the film 13 Shades of Romanian. I assume some sort of crowd scene.

The music was awful.

A somewhat aggressive Romanaian wanted to know why I was taking photos.

I did not stay long.

Outside, I chatted to an attractive Romanain called Gabriela who told me she was studying architecture and was helping out with the filming.

She enjoyed the music of Jewelia (who has provided the sound track of 13 Shades of Romanian) and enjoys reading Paulo Coelho (and has read about half of his books).

Gabriela directed me to Liverpool Street Station. I could have caught No 26 bus direct to Waterloo Station, but I had no idea from where to catch and neither had anyone else.

The Emperor’s New Clothes Premier

April 21, 2015

Tonight, The Emperor’s New Clothes had its  Premier at the Hackney Picture House followed by a live question and answer session with Russell Brand.

The film was shown at selected cinemas nationwide, with a satellite link for the live question and answer session.

Cineworld Aldershot was one of the cinemas nationwide. A pity they could not even be bothered to stick up a poster.

The preamble was screenshots of basic facts, then into the film.

The Emperor’s New Clothes starts with the Lord Mayor of London, and the reading of the fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, until a boy in the crowd shouts out he ain’t wearing anything.

This sums up the Lord Mayor of London. Who does he represent?

Then Grays, a very depressing town in Essex. This is not to single out Grays, it is where Russell Brand grew up. It is a metaphor for many similar run down towns, it could have been Aldershot, boarded-up shops, fast food takeaways, pound shops, gambling joints.

The bankers caused the crash. Why are none in prison? Contrast that with the London riots, fast track, prison.

Russell Brand tried to find out.

Remarkably shy lot bankers. Shifty too. They do not wish to talk.

People on benefits, low wages, struggling.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s pay such low wages, these wages have to be subsidised by the tax payer.

If we wish to cut social payments, pay higher wages.

A cleaner, up at five o’clock, travel to work, work from six in the morning until eight at night. Another cleaner, works the night shift in  bank, then an early morning shift in a pub.

Outsourced council workers given a 17.5% pay cut. Now expected to take the same pay cut again.

If we supported local businesses, the money we spend, gets recycled in our local economy. If we spend in chain stores, that money gets drained out of the local economy. If we buy from Amazon, no taxes are paid, the money we spend gets sucked out to a tax haven.

Football clubs owned by wealthy owners, operated and controlled from tax havens, the fans ripped off.

It does not have to be.

In Germany, major football clubs are owned and controlled by fans not by dodgy tax dodgers from offshore tax havens.

VAT in 1979 was 8%, now it is 20%.

We are all in it together.

Tax cuts for the rich, tax hikes for the poor.

Apple rakes in $1 billion a week. The Chinese workers who make their devices paid a pittance, fall asleep whilst working, commit suicide. Apple Inc, has to borrow money to pay its dividend, as it profits are off-shored to a tax haven.

Is it fair that some people, rich people, have a special tax status, non-domiciled, to avoid paying tax?

Is it fair that disabled people are to have their Independent Living Fund abolished, that the care support they receive is being cut?

In the 1960s, the rich were paying over 90% tax. According to Harold MacMillan, we had never had it so good.

Thatcher brought in the neo-liberal idea from the Chicago School. Not set in stone, we can change.

Austerity has not cut the deficit. But is has been used as an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of publish services, cuts to welfare payments.

How about a  tax on bankers?

The ratio between what the top and bottom earn has grown. It used to be about ten times. Now it is over 300 times.

If we look at wealth, the disparity is even greater.

85 of the richest people in the world, who would fit in two buses, own as much as the poorests half of the world population. And most have not earned it.

Lord Rothermere who owns and controls the Daily Mail through off-shore tax havens, inherited his wealth.

As did the Wal-Mart family. Their workers are paid so low, they have to rely on state handouts.

What did the wife of the late Steve Jobs do to earn her wealth?

Why do we tolerate it? Why do we not act?

Much of The Emperor’s New Clothes will have been familiar to those who have read Revolution or who watch The Trews.

Note: Waterstone’s are selling Revolution at £10 (half price). Even better bargain at Amazon at £4. Buy three, avoid the postage, give extra copies away to your friends.

The Emperor’s New Clothes is a very powerful and well researched documentary.

If it does not make you angry, then it should do.

If sufficient people watched, it would swing the election.

If you want a showing near you, then demand one.

In the question and answer session, Russell Brand started by praising Caroline Lucas and Tom Watson, both former Members of Parliament.

New Era Estate fought their landlords and won. Now they are helping tenants facing eviction on other estates.

There has of late, been a move to get people to vote. Even silly little surveys for people to complete to help them decide how to vote.

To what end?

Done my civic duty, then what? What happens on 8 May? We have to forget Parliament, that is old politics, we have to start acting ourselves, organising our own affairs.

The Emperor’s New Clothes is far more lucid, informative, than any of the political debates in the run up to the General Election.

Oxfam estimate that in a few year’s time, the top 1% will own more than the rest of the world.

We have to as Russell Brand said in his summing up, work together, collaborate, cooperate, share, create social enterprises, open co-ops, open commons, networks.

Russell Brand was voted by readers of Prospect as the fourth most influential thinker in the world, a poll put him second after David Cameron as the most influential political person in UK. The Emperor’s New Clothes illustrates why.