Peter Burton's daily log, covering Peter's personal interests, e.g. jazz, travel and general grumpiness plus (occasionally) the business of Isomatic and its associate companies.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Last Chance Harvey
This evening we went to the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking to see Last Chance Harvey
. This was an enjoyable romcom for oldies, with star performances from Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. Recommended for anyone who likes the genre.
At times we thought the film must be sponsored by the London tourist board. It shows the city as a rain-free sunny place where you can easily escape the crowds, even in the early autumn tourist season. It would be sad if many American visitors were to be hooked by the images and then disappointed.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
This evening we went to the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking to see Duplicity
. The plot was just too devious for words. Good acting from Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Tom Wilkinson, et al. Go to see it if you like to be kept guessing and then surprised at the end.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Gran Torino at the Ambassadors
This evening we saw Gran Torino
at the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking. Clint Eastwood still has what it takes, both as a director and an actor. He plays a grumpy veteran of the Korean war, living in a neighbourhood that has become dominated by immigrant communities. This is a role that suits his style perfectly; an ageing dirty Harry.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
We were surpised to see that a Woody Allen film was showing at our local Odeon Cinema in Guildford as such films rarely make it to mainstream cinema. As fans of Allen's great comedies (Annie Hall, Play It Again Sam, Sleeper, etc.), we dashed out to the next performance of this new film Vicky Cristina Barcelona
. We were somewhat disappointed as this is not a comedy and the story is rather pointless. It was becoming rather boring until Penelope Cruz burst on the scene as the mad ex-wife. She was far and away the best actor, making the most of the best role in the film. Our overall verdict is OK, but we have seen much better films in the last 6 weeks.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
This evening we went to the Ambassadors Cinema
in Woking to see Revolutionary Road
. The story is sad and rather depressing but it is well-told and the production and acting are excellent. Kate Winslet's performance was worthy of her Golden Globe although I still think her role in The Reader
, for which she has an Oscar nomination, was even more deserving.
There has been some internet chat line criticism of Zoe Kazan's body, fleetingly seen nearly naked. It looked OK to me.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Before Sunrise, film on TV
After a day out in Bournemouth we were too tired to do anything in the evening except watch television. We were pleased to find the film Before Sunrise
. This is a romantic story of a young couple meeting for the first time and spending the day and night in Vienna before going their separate ways. Julie Delpy plays the opposite role from the evil Dominique in the great film 'Three Colours, White'. It is also a very different role from Leni in an even greater film 'Europa, Europa'. The conclusion we must draw is that she is a very versatile actress who has played in some top films. It should be noted that we did not particulary like Colours Blue and Red, but that was not her fault.
We must now seek out the sequel 'Before Sunset'.
Labels: Film, Television
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Defiance at the Ambassadors Cinema
This evening we went to the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking to see the film Defiance
. This was a gripping story about survival in the forest of Belorussia during German occupation. Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber were very convincing in the lead roles and the true story was as believable as could be. After months of poor films we have seen two that we recommend in just two weeks.
One word of warning about the Peacocks multi-storey, multi-section car park. I have helped people who have lost their cars in the past so I know it is difficult. Despite this I made a tiny mistake on entry that led me to park in a section I don't know. We made a careful note of the colour code of the section and the alphanumeric floor code, plus the position of the car. It took still required some aimless wandering before we found it again.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
The Reader at the Ambassadors, Woking
This evening we went to the Ambassadors Cinema
in Woking to see The Reader
. This film deserves all the accolades and would win a few Oscars if they were awarded on merit. Kate Winslet
gives a sensational performance, the part starting at around her current age and finishing 30 years later. The 18 year old David Kross
from Germany is also excellent as the young Michael Berg. Ralph Fiennes has a much less meaty role as the older Michael Berg. The story is serious and thought-provoking with some harrowing scenes. There is also quite a lot of very convincing sex. We strongly recommend this film to all serious cinema enthusiasts.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The Last Seduction
This evening, there being no jazz locally and nothing of interest at the cinema, we watched a great film on BBC3. It was The Last Seduction
starring Linda Fiorentino. We have seen it at least twice before but it never disappoints. The plot is extremely devious but understandable and I continue to see no flaws. The acting is dominated by the star, who plays the evil scheming woman to perfection. This film was released in at least 14 countries and in at least 11 languages so its appeal is truly international.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Closer on pay per view
Having been out all day, we were too tired to do anything in the evening except flop in front of the television. There was nothing of interest on the broadcast channels so we browsed the list of films available from Virgin Media pay-per-view. We settled on Closer
, starring Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman and Julia Roberts. We are now sorry we missed it on the big screen; an excellent film with an unusual plot and fine acting performances. The big question is "what is the moral of this film ?", as one could extract several from it. I will settle for "Rid yourself of jealousy before settling down with someone !" If you cannot do that then you are too immature to proceed.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Easy Virtue at the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking
This evening we saw the film Easy Virtue
at the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking. This was billed as a comedy but is a rather sad story with a less than sad ending. Fine performances by Colin Firth and Kristin Scott-Thomas as we have come to expect.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Quantum of Solace
This evening we saw the new James Bond film Quantum of Solace
. Although we did not rate it a great film, it was a good example of the genre, as was Casino Royale. Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Sean Connery. Olga Kurylenko did not look as devastating as she did in Hitman
(see my post of 12 Sept.'07) but played her part convincingly. Judi Dench was as good as ever. Once again we disagree with Cosmo Landesman's verdict.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Burn After Reading
This evening we went to Guildford's Odeon cinema to see the new Cohen Brothers film Burn After Reading
. I thought it was the best Cohen effort since 'Fargo', my favourite still being 'Miller's Crossing'. Selina did not enjoy any of them; all too violent for her. This latest film introduces several story lines with different characters and gradually weaves them together in a mostly believable way. The exception is George Clooney meeting Frances McDormand; unlikely. Cosmo Landesman in the Sunday Times was very critical of 'Burn After Reading', proving again that this man's taste is completely opposite from mine. He was once married to Julie Burchill, which proves my point.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Righteous Kill at the Guildford Odeon
This evening we saw Righteous Kill
at the Guildford Odeon. Robert de Niro was great and Al Pacino was even better. However, as a film I am not so sure; it is a hard one to judge. It was never boring and suspended any disbelief but was vaguely unsatisfactory.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
This evening we went to Guildford's odeon cinema to see The Duchess
. This film features good acting, fine cinematography and plenty of period costumes. The plot does rather labour the theme that this was the period where rich aristocratic men ruled and women obeyed their husbands or else. How times have changed; we have the reversed situation now. A woman said recently, to her husband in our presence, "do as you are told or you will never see your daughter again." Despiccable !
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Film: The Edge Of Love
This evening we saw the film The Edge Of Love
at the Guildford Odeon. We rate it 6/10 on the basis that the story line is very weak. Acting and cinematography are fine; I was particularly impressed by Sienna Miller because one would never have thought she is from New York, USA.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Priceless at the Guildford Odeon
This evening we went to Guildfords Odeon cinema to see the film Priceless
. This is a rom-com / chick-flick with a good story line and good acting. Selina liked it very much. I would have liked the sex scenes to have been more explicit. Audrey Tautou looked good but Selina has better knees.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
In Bruges at the Guildford Odeon
This evening at Guildford's Odeon cinema we saw the so-called black comedy In Bruges
. It is well-known that the subject is two hit-men in hiding but there is much more to it than that. Selina thought there was too much violence for it to be a comedy. The picture shows Colin Farrell with the beautiful Clémence Poésy. Ralph Fiennes was brilliant as the hit-mens' evil boss.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Flashbacks of a Fool
This evening we saw Flashbacks of a Fool
at the Ambassadors cinema in Woking. This is an unusual film with a rather sad story. Good screenplay and excellent acting by the mainly British cast. Recommended.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Rolling Stones; Shine a Light
This evening we saw the Rolling Stones concert film Shine a Light
at Guildford's Odeon cinema. Unsurprisingly it was VERY loud and the Stones are as old as us, probably older in the case of Charlie Watts. Keith Jagger and Keith Richards just look older because of their ravaged faces. Nevertheless, they are amazingly slim and fit.
Guests were Jack White (OK), Buddy Guy (fine voice) and Christina Aguilera (just shouting). Overall the film is not worth the entrance fee.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
27 Dresses at the Ambassadors Cinema
This evening we saw the chick-flick 27 Dresses
at the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking. It was billed as a rom-com, which I suppose is accurate. OK for its genre.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
This evening we saw the film Vantage Point
at the Guildford Odeon. Much action was packed into just 90 minutes, with the same sequence repeated 6 times from different 'Vantage Points'. Even though it had a 12A certificate, Selina found it too violent.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
The Other Boleyn Girl
This evening we saw The Other Boleyn Girl
at the Guildford Odeon. This was a well-made film with good acting performances (especially Natalie Portman) so worth seeing on the basis of an enjoyable evening out. History buffs might not like the artistic licence taken with the known facts. Also some aspects were not explained.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
The Bank Job
This evening we went to the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking to see The Bank Job
. Based on a true story, supressed at the time, this was a gripping variant of an old theme. Good writing by the famous team of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and fine acting from the all-British cast. We recommend this film.
N.B. Why are the Oscars awarded to crap American films when there are such good ones coming from Britain, China, France and Germany. Is it another case of 'The World Series' when supposedly international awards are just for the USA.
Labels: Film, Grumpy
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Burford Bridge; Lust, Caution
For our 42nd wedding anniversary today we had lunch at the Burford Bridge Hotel
. The food was excellent, as was the service and the view (pictured). The Mercure Group has kept up the fine tradition inherited from the previous owners.
In the evening we saw Lust, Caution
at the David Lean cinema in Croydon's Clocktower arts centre. This is a truly great film by Ang Lee, with a believable plot that keeps the suspense going to the very end. Wei Tang is a fine young actress, switching effortlessly from poor innocent student with no make-up and baggy clothes to the painted seductress in beautiful Silk Cheongsams. The sex (and there is plenty of it) is very hot and features a wide range of positions. Don't miss it !
I have to ask myself why all the great cinema of the last 12 months has featured foreign language films: 'Tell No-one', 'The Lives of Others' and now 'Lust, Caution'. I suppose English Language cinema is just catering for the mass audience, AKA the great unwashed.
Labels: Eating out, Film
Sunday, January 20, 2008
No Country For Old Men
On Saturday evening we saw No
Country For Old Men
at theGuildford Odeon cinema. We chose
this film as it was a Cohen Brothers production and they have produced
great films in the past, e.g. 'Millers Crossing' and 'Fargo'. I am
sorry to report that 'No Country' was a great disappointment; it had no ending but just meandered into nothingness. We do not recommend this film.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
The Kite Runner
This evening we went to the Guildford Odeon to see The Kite Runner
. This film received very high marks (many 10s) from the amateur reviewers at IMDB.com so we had high expectations. Yes it is a great film but we did think the balance was uneven with too much of the boyhood period and not enough of the adult's return to Afganistan during the Taliban era.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
St Trinians at the Guildford Odeon
This evening we went to see St Trinians
at Guildford's Odeon cinema. This film received the complete range of marks (1 to 10) from the amateur reviewers at IMDB.com so you will need to make up your own minds. Our view is that this humour is rather dated but Tamsin Egerton looks great in stockings.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Hitman; Olga Kurylenko
On Saturday evening we went to see Hitman
at the Guildford Odeon. This film was unbelievable, unfathomable and uninteresting. The only reason to see it is to view Olga Kurylenko. Heterosexual women should avoid the film and read no further.
Anyone who has met my wife Selina will know that legs are my thing; Olga's are superb. She wears very short skirts / dresses / underwear throughout the film but the best moment is the long lingering view of her, front and back, wearing nothing but very skimpy knickers.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
The 40 Year Old Virgin
On Friday evening we stayed in and watched television again ! Two nights in one week must be a record for recent times. We watched our own video recording of The 40 Year Old Virgin
from a previous evening's TV programmes. We laughed a lot at the crude humour in this comedy. The first picture shows the scene where the hero's workmates persuade him to have his chest waxed. Each time the Chinese woman rips the hairs from his chest he hurls a stream of abuse at her. The look on her face is a joy to behold. The second picture is a main character played by Catherine Keener. I spent most of the film wondering where I had seen her before. The answers are:
1) very recently in 'Into the Wild'
2) a while back in a Seinfeld episode called 'The Letter', which we must now watch again.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
After our day out in Dorset / Hampshire we decided to stay in on Saturday evening, so looked through our VHS cassettes of old films. We watched Schindler's List, one of the great films of all time. However many times we see it, we never fail to be gripped by it.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Into The Wild at the Kingston Odeon
On Saturday evening we went to Kingston's Odeon Cinema to see Into The Wild
as it was not showing locally. It received rave amateur reviews on IMDB.com so we were more than hopeful. However, we found the film rather disappointing; perhaps it appeals more to the US market. In urban UK there is less desire to live in the wild, with all the horror that it involves. The scene we found particularly sickening was the hero's feverish butchering of the moose (or was it a caribou) before the flies laid their eggs in the fresh meat and ruined it. I had a strong desire to vomit !
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Elizabeth at the Guildford Odeon
On Saturday evening we saw Elizabeth: The Golden Age
at Guildford's Odeon cinema. Historically inaccurate but very moving.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Stardust at the cinema
On Saturday evening we saw Stardust
at Guidford's Odeon cinema. Fantasy is not my favourite film genre but this was good of its kind, with many great actors. Selina liked it !
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Mr Brooks at the Ambassadors cinema
On Saturday evening we saw the film Mr Brooks
at the Ambassadors cinema in Woking. This was a different approach to the serial killer genre that was worth watching for that reason alone. Kevin Costner and Demi Moore have limited acting skills but their parts suited them, particularly Moore with her 'wooden' role for a wooden actress. Not the greatest film of the year but by no means the worst.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Film Michael Clayton
On Saturday evening we went to Guildford's Odeon cinema to see the film Michael Clayton
. It took so long to get going, with nothing but confusion for the first half-hour, that I was falling asleep. Just after Selina poked me awake, the plot began and the film was OK, but not brilliant, after that. We did enjoy the way that lawyers were shown as generally evil, the one exception being considered a madman by his law firm.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Knocked Up at Guildford's cinema
On Saturday evening we saw Knocked Up
at Guildford's Odeon Cinema. This is a slightly-better-than-average comedy, particularly funny for us as one of the characters is reminiscent of someone we know. Aspects of behaviour that are very serious in real life can be amusing on screen.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Little Children; Film at Cranleigh Arts Centre
On Wednesday evening we went to Cranleigh Arts Centre
to see the film Little Children
. The quality of the videotape used by the centre was very poor but the film was excellent. The story was original and the acting was worthy of the awards it won and more. I despair of the UK film-going public that fill the cinemas for 'blockbusters' but relegate a film like this to just one week in mainstream cinema before it is relegated to art houses.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
On Saturday evening we saw the much-heralded film Atonement
. Brilliant cinematography and acting combined with a clever plot. Well worth seeing. To say any more about the plot would give too much away.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Film 'If Only' on ITV3
On Friday evening we did something unusual; stayed at home and watched a film on television. It was a British romantic comedy called If Only
, AKA 'The Man With Rain in His Shoes'. This is a light-weight film that we rather enjoyed. Victor gets the chance to go back in time to stop the failure of his relationship with Sylvia, who he still loves. We were amazed to see Penelope Cruz appear as a barmaid, with me shouting "forget Sylvia", this is the one for you !
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Breach at the cinema
On Saturday evening we saw the film Breach
at Guildford's Odeon cinema. Based on the true story of the USA's greatest traitor, it shows how he was eventually caught with the help of a young FBI man who was hoping to be promoted to agent. The essence of the film was in portraying the characters of the main people involved. It did this very well except that we still failed to understand the relationship between the traitor and his wife. As they are both portrayed as devout Roman Catholics, it was inevitably difficult for us as a confirmed irreligious couple. We wondered how the RC church will take to yet another film that draws attention to Opus Dei, implying that it is an evil influence.
On Sunday morning we browsed Chasing The Frog
, which compared the film with the truth. We have a better understanding now. It might be best to see the film before going frog chasing.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
The Bourne Ultimatum
On Saturday evening we saw The Bourne Ultimatum
at the Guildford Odeon. This was the first time we had seen a Jason Bourne film, although I did read one of Robert Ludlum's books featuring the same character. The film was an all-action blockbuster, the type that fills the biggest auditorium in the cinema complex. Good acting, good cinematography and a just-believable plot. We rated this OK.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Film 'The Black Dahlia' at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
On Saturday evening we went to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
to see the film The Black Dahlia
. We would categorise this as 'film noir' in the retrospective murder / mystery / thriller category, if that does not sound too pompous. At the superficial level it succeeds but it is best not to question the plot too deeply if you just want entertainment. Otherwise you will be left with 'why, why, why'.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Tell No One (Ne Le Dis A Personne) at Croydon
On Saturday evening we went to The David Lean cinema
at Croydon's Clocktower Arts centre to see the French film Tell No One
. Great plot in true Hitchcock style with twists and turns that kept me awake at night going over them in my mind. We need to see it again to clear up a few points. Everyone who likes mysteries should go and see this film.
Croydon is not the ideal venue unless you happen to live there. It is very vehicle-unfriendly with many access restrictions and car parks that cost more than you are ever likely to have in your pocket, so have credit card at the ready. The only car park close to the venue was closed.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
La Vie En Rose
On Friday evening we went to Guildford's Odeon cinema to see the film La Vie En Rose
. This was a biopic of the legendary Edith Piaf; a sad story with some marvellous songs. Too much flashback and forth in our view.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Magicians at the Ambassadors Cinema, Woking
On Saturday evening As we could see nothing of interest in Guildford we went to the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking to see Magicians
. This very British comedy received a very extreme mix of views from the amateur critics at IMDB.com so we needed to see for ourselves. We found it hilarious, laughing out loud at some of the bawdy and/or black humour. For me the funniest moments were the response by a waitress to a lewd suggestion from a lecherous magician and the description by a homosexual of the horror of a woman's approaching private parts. Use of the guillotine on a female assistant in a magician's trick features heavily throughout the film. If all this is your style of humour then go and see this film; otherwise avoid it.