Films around Cheltenham from 1/12/21

The Cineworlds

Cineworld, Cheltenham, has one potentially interesting film: The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. The Picturehouse chain showed it weeks ago. What a pity we don’t have one of those. It’s a period biopic about the Victorian photographer Louis Wain, who took somewhat psychedelic pictures of cats. As a result he was considered mentally ill and ‘treated’ by the crude application of electricity. What a good job we don’t do that any more, although Wotton Lawn hospital has at least one room reserved for the purpose, should it become fashionable again. The quotes on the trailer describe it as ‘British Cinema at its best’, and clearly no chances have been taken in making it fit that particular marketing niche, given that the cast starts with Ben Cummerbund (pictured above in his other guise, as Benedict Cumberbatch) and Claire ‘Phew, what a Royal’ Foy and includes Olivia Colman (who no longer cuts the mustard, IMHO), Toby Jones, Andrea Riseborough, Taika Waititi, and various other well-known faces. I’m sure they’re all fine, but really, there are other actors who might like occasionally to get their snouts in the trough. It’s an Amazon film that you can get on Prime Video, which you probably have, Amazon being the Fifth (or possibly sixth) Emergency Service for Anxious Modern Britain.

Meanwhile, every dull British actor who isn’t in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is in The King’s Man, the latest in a franchise that should have stopped when it was mildly interesting. From a comic book and directed by Mathew Vaughn, who pioneered the unlovely Britcrime genre before discovering the sweet smell of money. NB: it doesn’t give me a great deal of pleasure to slag off these wearisome wastes of talent, time and money, but somebody has to do it. Feel free to consider it a masterpiece.

Also, the latest Matrix retread: The Matrix Resurrections. This includes the reanimation of semi-comatose Keanu Reeves, who is a pretty good actor and used to do interesting stuff like appearing in Hamlet when most Hollywood stars would have been too gutless. I know a little bit about that episode. Ask me when I reenter the earthly realm from the metaverse, where I mostly hang out with my imaginary friends Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and their delightful consorts.

Gloucester Cineworld seems to have exactly the same stuff, with the added environmental pleasures of being in Gloucester. It would be nice if the two conurbations were treated differently, thereby doubling their commercial possibilities and bringing new life and business to both wrecked town centres. Maybe that’s something Marketing Gloucester could look in to? Oh, sorry, I forgot: that disappeared in a puff of fraud.

The Tivoli

Nothing of interest. Sad, really.

The Sherborne

The Sherborne is showing Encanto, House of Gucci and Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which is available at a special price of £5. What a waste of a really nice little venue.

The Guildhall

The Guildhall in Gloucester is also showing West Side Story, writes Pamela Weaver, and continues its screenings of Encanto, the Disney animation about a family who live in a magical house which blesses every child with a unique gift. At the end of the week it’s their turn for House of Gucci, 2 hours 38 minutes of Lady Gaga, fashion, decadence and murder. One new film creeps in: Blue Bayou, which starts on Jan 7th. Directed by and starring Justin Chon, it is the story of a man who was given up for adoption by his immigrant Korean mother and brought up by a white couple. After a somewhat rackety childhood and adolescence he settles down and in adulthood becomes stepfather to his wife’s first child. The child’s biological father takes exception to this and as he is also a cop realises that he can take revenge by trying to get the man deported from the only country in which he has ever lived. A sadly topical story of racism combined with a once casual approach to official paperwork.

The Roses

Preview by Pamela Weaver. The Roses in Tewkesbury kicks off the New Year with multiple screenings of the Spielberg remake of West Side Story. Perhaps the definitive analysis of this whole enterprise belongs to Neil Brand, sage of screen and stage musicals:  “It’s like re-painting the Sistine Chapel – what’s the point?” To Patrick’s credit though, they are showing the original version on Jan 16th. As an antidote to Spielberg there are three showings of C’mon C’mon, which was at the Tivoli a few weeks ago. Shot in black and white, it stars Joaquin Phoenix as a radio journalist who is suddenly and unexpectedly required to look after his young nephew. They embark on a road trip, interviewing young people about their lives and futures for an oral history project. Good to know the spirit of Studs Terkel lives on. Then at the end of the week there is Spider-Man: No Way Home, reviewed in a recent edition of this newsletter. Just a word of caution: occasionally there are last-minute changes of schedule at the Roses, so always best to check before setting off.

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