Films around Cheltenham from 18/12/21

[Big picture: the Spider-Man we liked, from Sam Raimi’s 2002 original. Boy, could Toby Maguire wear a sweater.]

I really have a lot on this week, so you’ll have to see what sense you can make of the various websites yourself. The only really interesting film event is my Cool Yule show and party, at the Cheltenham Spa Bowls Club on Saturday, from 4pm till 10pm, but I’ve banged on about that enough.

I do have this contribution from an anonymous correspondent, who, I can guarantee, has seen more films and continues to see more films than anybody in Gloucestershire, if not Britain.

Dziewczyny z Dubaju was pretty bad but at least it was moderately watchable. Next day I went to see West Side Story in the last of only 5 days in the IMAX. When I first heard of the project, I wondered why anyone would choose to remake it, but assumed Spielberg knew what he was doing. Unfortunately, a waste of time for anyone who has seen the 1961 film, so bland it became a test of endurance, and having to wear a mask did not help. I find the songs in the 1961 film very moving. This lot did not move me in the slightest. They have made a great deal about the casting of a Latin American actress. Of course, the 1961 version benefited from the brilliant decision to cast Natalie Wood! It had been rumoured that Elvis [Presley] might have been in it. That seems unlikely, but it is not impossible as the producer was responsible for Elvis’s Follow That Dream, made in 1961. I have been reading a near 400-page book on the making of Follow That Dream and the producers hoped to follow their successes with the likes of Some Like It Hot and The Apartment, but it was not a great success. I read recently that the producers of the 1960 film The Fugitive Kind had wanted Elvis, but the Colonel would not let him do it, so they had to be content with Marlon Brando.

Spider-Man: No Way Home seems to be about the only new film this week. I loved the Spider-Man films of 20 years ago. They proved superhero films could be thrilling and engaging. So sad they have become part of the Marvel universe and as unendurable as most of their product.

[Editor’s note: West Side Story (2021) has been a resounding flop. You probably won’t read that anywhere else.]

The Cineworlds

The Tivoli

The Sherborne

The Guildhall

The Roses

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