Sunday, 11 December 2016

Pause in Advent #3

Possibly my favourite Christmas film - possibly. Dickens and Christmas, Cheese and Onion, Morecambe and Wise, red wine and a blinding headache. All these things go together perfectly for me, so the whole thing starts on a strong footing. You take A Christmas Carol and you add the Muppets, Michael Caine, songs and all this comes to its logical conclusion - Michael Caine singing Christmas songs. It is win/win on every conceivable level. 

I heard the revered film critic Peter Bradshaw name this as his favourite Christmas film, describing it as genuinely moving; which it is. 
A Christmas Carol may be Dickens' best known book - mainly because it captures something about the spirit of Christmas that people chase after. There is a warmth, a love of family and friends and a chance of redemption from whatever you have been before. This is the Christian gift of becoming who you are supposed to be that people are catching a glimpse of - even if, for the most part, they are unaware of it.
People are looking for something at Christmas. They are looking to capture that perfection that is sold to us on the telly and in magazines. They are looking for the warmth and security that they remember in Christmas childhoods - even though that memory may not even be real. A Christmas Carol tells the story of a man who found his way back.  
Having established that we have a corker of a story, we then add the hilariousness that is the Muppets. Particular attention is to be given to the awesome performances of Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat. "Light the lamp! Not the rat!". Michael Caine? Well, he has never been better.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

A Pause in Advent #2

This week's Christmas film isn't really a film at all but, as usual, I am refusing to be bound by anything as trivial as facts. It is a BBC series that was on a couple of years ago in the lead up to Christmas. As much as seems to be acceptable these days, it is as true as possible to the Biblical account. It tries to leave the door open to possible miraculous happenings without frightening the PC horses. I like it very much for lots of reasons.

It is stunningly shot with proper actors, rather than people from the Hallmark School of Christian Drama. I think you probably know what I am saying.

Joseph is actually quite hot. (Although this is obviously irrelevant)

The reality of the situation is front and centre here. Mary is betrothed to someone she really likes. Yet she is pregnant. Joseph is unimpressed by her story of angelic visitation. He stays with her, only to remove her from her local environment and thus save her life. She risks stoning if she stays. He is a man with a good heart. This proves my Sunday School teacher's point that the choice of Joseph as earthly father was as relevant as the choice of Mary. Another man may have left her to her fate. (I have never worked out why she was quite so vexed about this.) 

I love the way the wise men are looking for the star and the promise for years and years and their excitement when it eventually arrives.
I am sometimes a bit allergic to re-telling of the Nativity. It can seem a bit wishy-washy and I think Jesus' start in this life was tough. This has wonder combined with reality. It is excellent. Well done the BBC.

Image result for peter capaldi in the nativity

Can I just finish by drawing your attention to this photo of the Wise Men from the series? If you look closely, you will see the one on the left is actually Dr Who!!!! Am now a bit confused by concept of time travel. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Arrival - No, not the Abba Album

Just calling in to tell you about this film. It's called Arrival and it is utterly brilliant. I would go as far as to use the word profound. It's difficult to describe it without spoilers but I can tell you that these alien pods land all over the world. So far so the same as every alien invasion film ever made - er EVER. But no! Come back! They have things to tell us and they don't want to zap us with squirty guns or suck out our eyeballs. It is a slow, sad (sometimes almost unbearably sad) story with a whip smart twist that made me gasp. It also has a power to make you re-examine your own life. I haven't found anyone that didn't love it.

Before I leave, let me share with you one of the moments when I realised that old people will always be beyond me, 

Aged Parent *in more or less one breath* "So I said to Rose, I think she died this morning and Rose said that she hadn't heard and then Diane came to the flat and she said come and sit with me Beryl because she was really upset obviously. then Charlotte came upstairs but she had a shocking cold so I made her go back down but Diane is going to the Christmas meal with me and she is coming with me to have my hearing aids fitted although- like I said to Stan I don't feel deaf."

Me *taking advantage of a gasp for breath* "Mum - would you like to have a look at the new B and M next Saturday?"

Aged Parent "That would be very nice. I often go for days in this place without seeing or speaking to anyone."

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