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    December/Januarys Pick of the Flicks and Theatre


Don't miss GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING (cert. 12A 1hr. 39 mins.) is a film that is like some lovely Vermeer painting. As it is about one of the artist's greatest and most enigmatic paintings, that is hardly surprising!

Girl with a pearl earing

Giving a possible story to the mystery of the identity of the sitter, the film is based on Tracy Chevalier's best-selling novel. Seventeen year-old Griet (Scarlett Johansson) is forced by family tragedy to become a maid for the Vermeer family. As intimacy grows between master (Colin Firth as Vermeer) and servant, disruption and jealousy spread within the ordered household and beyond, fuelling a scandal which threatens to ruin them all

Peter Webber directs with a real feel for the light and colour of Holland in 1665 and there are most sensitive performances from Johansson and Firth who do little and convey a great deal.

SCHOOL OF ROCK (1 hr. 50 mins.), directed by Richard Linklater is a jolly caper about a hell-raising guitarist who becomes a substitute teacher and transforms a class of 10 year olds into a rock band. Loud and boisterous there is an in-your-face tour de force from Jack Black and a lively mixed race group of kids play music and act appealingly, without being obnoxious!

Carlie Newman    

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (cert.12A, 3 hours 21 mins.) must be the film to see this month!

Although I'm a Lord of the Rings fan I seriously doubted that I could be so entertained, have my emotions stirred and be thrilled and awed by the sheer sweep of the action of this film. Peter Jackson (Director) has done it again!!

The acting is sincere and believable, the major players are all terrific:- Elijah Wood - Frodo Baggins our Hobbitt hero and his three Hobbitt friends and companions,

The Lord of the Rings (Return of the King)
  • Ian Mckellen - Gandalf the Wizard
  • Liv Tyler - Arwen- Princess of the Elves
  • Viggo Mortensen - Strider (Aragorn) the human warrior
  • Cate Blanchette - Galadriel - Elf Queen.
  • John Rhys- Davies - Gimli the dwarf warrior
  • Bernard Hill - Theodan King of Rohan
  • Miranda Otto - Eowyn Princess of Rohan
  • Orlando Bloom- Legolas Elf Warrior

and last and most loathsome----
Andy Serkis - Gollum/ Smeagol , the evil creature transformed cruelly by the power of the Ring who pretends to guide Frodo whilst trying to steal the Ring for himself.

The film opens with a rustic sequence showing two friends fishing from a small boat. One of them falls into the water and discovers the Ring. Its power seduces both of them and they fight to the death for it, Gollum emerging victorious. We then see how possession of the Ring changes him into the monster he finally becomes.

Peter Jackson uses the extraordinary scenery of his native New Zealand to wonderful effect throughout the film. Idyllic countryside, majestic snow-capped mountains, vast plains all help him paint with the most stunning filmic palette of colours to enhance the action.

Gollum, my precioussssssss

The battle scenes are as vivid and spectacularly exciting as in the two previous films, the mixture of computer generated images and human actors magical.

There is a scene where beacons are lit across the land to call the humans and their allies together to fight the forces of Sauron the Dark Lord, which catches at your heart with its vivid images and wonderful music. The one to one situations whether frightening, tender, intimate or emotional are beautifully directed.

The scenes in the caves of the mountains of Mordor, the dark horror of the attack by a giant spider on Frodo, made me want to look away - but I couldn't!

So to sum up, I laughed, I cried a little, I saw fine acting and amazing spectacle. Some of the speeches by the human warrior leaders before set- piece battles were almost Churchillian. It may have been a fantasy, a fable, but I wanted to believe in it.

Three hours and twenty one minutes and I wished it would go on. If you saw parts One and Two, you must see this Third one. If you didn't - what a treat you have in store !!

Stephen Newman    


JUMPERS at the Piccadilly Theatre is a great experience: it exercises the brain while providing a vista of great acting, interesting staging and, of course, an aural feast!

Written by Tom Stoppard it is excellently acted by an extraordinary cast. Simon Russell Beale is just right as the Professor of Moral Philosophy as is Essie Davis as his wife, a former musical comedy star. The corpse on their bed provides the start of the writer, Tom Stoppard's amazing use of words. His verbal acrobatics are reflected in the jumping acrobats who take over the stage from time to time.

Go see and be impressed!

Jumpers at the Piccadilly
Carlie Newman    
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