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First Tuesday current affairs discussion - Tuesday 5 December 7:00pm start

Tuesday 5th Dec: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss two topical subjects

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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester film reviews

Inside Job

Inside Job at Cornerhouse

Reviewed by Anne Ryan March 2011

In praise of the documentary

Documentaries did not begin with Michael Moore – he is only the most high profile of a growing number of predominantly American film-makers, who are tackling the big issues of today, in an incisive and even entertaining way.

 

Despite the success of Moore's work and Morgan Spurlock's 'Supersize Me' – it is not always easy to get access to these films. In Manchester we are fortunate to have the Cornerhouse, though even these documentaries do not always get a long run. 'Inside Job', is the second film by former academic Charles Ferguson, and deals with the collapse of the US financial system and its subsequent 'rescue'.

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Manchester film reviews

Howl Film Poster

Howl - on general release

Reviewed by Denis Joe March 2011

Starring: James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Jeff Daniels and Treat Williams. Director(s) and Writers: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Animation: Eric Drooker.


Mary Murphy;  “What are you rebelling against ?
Johnny:  “Waddiya got?”
    [The Wild One László Benedek 1954]

Art doesn’t change society it can only reflect it. If Whitman gave voice to the American Dream in Leaves of Grass, then Ginsberg’s Howl! announced the nightmare.

 

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness" is the most famous opening line of any 20th Century poem. It was delivered by Allen Ginffsberg, during a now-legendary group reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco on Oct. 7, 1955, to an audience of around fifty people.

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Manchester film reviews

Pete PostlethwaiteBrassed Off at Liverpool Philharmonic

Director: Mark Herman; Starring: Pete Postlethwaite, Ewan McGregor, Tara Fitzgerald

Reviewed by Charlotte Starkey January 2011

This is not so much a review as an acknowledgment of a memorable event last week. The screening of Brassed Off at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on Tuesday 25th January was particularly appropriate and poignant, a fitting tribute to the much admired Pete Postlethwaite who died on 2nd January 2011.

 

He began his acting career just a few yards from the Philharmonic Hall, at the Everyman in the 1970s. Since then he has touched almost everyone in theatre and film both here and abroad as well as gathering a huge following among audiences. He enriched any scene with his presence. He was a wonderful teacher, actor and northerner born just down the road in Warrington sixty four short years ago. He played in Alan Bleasdale’s The Muscle Market (1981), a separate ‘addition’ to the rest of Boys from the Blackstuff episodes. He has played most major theatres, Bristol Old Vic, Manchester’s Royal Exchange among them, and he has been a lead actor in memorable Shakespearean performances.

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Manchester film reviews

The King's Speech

The King's Speech at Cornerhouse

Director, Tom Hooper; with Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, at various venues around Manchester including Cornerhouse.

Reviewed by Anne Ryan January 2011

'The King's Speech' is one of the first big films of the year and is already a hot tip for the Oscars – it's triumph is to make you forget that this is a British costume drama and appreciate it as the story of a profoundly damaged man, who achieves private happiness through his wife and children, and finally public success with the help of his first real friend.

 

British actors, trained in a theatrical tradition, are celebrated for their use of language – Colin Firth here is an actor and a man robbed of his voice.

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Manchester film reviews

The Social Network

The Social Network viewed at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviews by Anne Ryan, Simon Belt and Fat Roland October 2010

Directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker David Fincher (Se7en and Fight Club) and written by The West Wing’s creator Aaron Sorkin, this absorbing drama chronicles the rise and fall of the three founders of the social-networking phenomenon Facebook, following them to the heights of their success and the depths of jealousy and greed.

 

Anne Ryan's view...

So what do you do if you're a nerdy kid at college and looking to get laid? Well if you're a girl you might dye your hair, lose weight, have a makeover – even consider getting implants – but if you're a boy, and specifically if you're Mark Zuckerberg – you invent Facebook.

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Manchester film reviews

Salt with Angelina Jolie

Salt and Salander - Heroines on film

reviewed by Anne Ryan in August 2010

 

In the last week film-goers in Manchester have had the opportunity to see two contrasting views of heroic female protagonists on the screen.

 

The eponymous Salt – as played by Angelina Jolie and the return of Stieg Larsson's damaged computer geek – Lizbeth Salander in 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' – the second part of his best-selling trilogy.

 

Fans of the Swedish productions may view the forthcoming Hollywood adaptation with apprehension and gain some lessons from 'Salt'. Originally written for Tom Cruise – the inhumanly beautiful Jolie is a new super-heroine. If watching 'Superman' we believed a man could fly – 'Salt 'will convince us that a woman can out-run police chases, jump from the tops of trucks hurtling down the freeway and finally, indeed, fly from a helicopter. And all this while continually looking more desirable than any human being should.

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Manchester film reviews

The Illusionist directed by Sylvain Chomet

The Illusionist directed by Sylvain Chomet

Reviewed by Dave Porter August 2010

Adapted from a script by Jacques Tati, this movingly affectionate portrait of vaudeville life during the inter-war period can lay claim to be an animation masterpiece.

 

Chomet has lovingly created a nostalgic homage to the sad and lonely lives of stage performers who drift from one rundown theatre and boarding house to the next, and for whom in the end the magic has literally gone.

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Manchester film reviews

Coco Chanel

Coco - Two views of Chanel

Reviewed by Anne Ryan

 

Last year saw the sumptuous biopic 'Coco – Avant Chanel' – in which the designer was portrayed by Audrey Tautou – this year's offering is 'Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky' – directed by Jan Kounen and starring Mars Mikkelsen and the current Chanel muse Anna Mouglalis.

 

The first film concentrated on Chanel's early career, her affair with Arthur 'Boy' Capel shown for its importance in backing her work, rather than as a grand passion. And the work, written and directed by Anne Fontaine, showed Chanel as an innovator both artistically and socially – her designs based on her rejection of the role which society had assigned to her – as a poor woman.

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Manchester film reviews

Skeletons

Skeletons

Reviewed by Dave Porter August 2010

 

Skeletons is a darkly comic debut from young talent Nick Whitfield with lineage straight from the European school of film making.

 

Shot with a meticulous eye for detail, the film has a rural setting which recalls Jean De Florette in its rustic charms. Avowedly set in the present, the feel is distinctly of a bygone era – the two central characters carry leather briefcases, use antiquated equipment and travel in train carriages dusted with nostalgia.

 

Davis and Bennett visit people’s homes to metaphorically clean out their closets of skeletons: hidden and often dirty secrets which they are too weak to disclose themselves. The duo is played with Pinter-esque menace by Andrew Buckley and Ed Gaughan, social misfits who work for the mysterious Colonel.

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Manchester film reviews

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Film

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Director – Niels Arden Oplev
Starring - Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist

reviewed by Anne Ryan

 

Having very much enjoyed Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, I was keen to catch the film, before the inevitable Hollywood remake (latest rumour is that it will be directed by David Fincher of Seven fame and star Kirsten (Twilight) Stewart!). This fulfilled all my expectations – although it was a little too long, two and a half hours of Swedish subtitles can be heavy going. Reminiscent of television's Wallander with its sombre depiction of the underbelly of Swedish society.

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