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Spot the Spelling Mistake

I took the photo below well before our trip to The Netherlands. It’s of a poster advertising a production of Sunset Song at the Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy.

Spot the spelling mistake.

I notice the “schools £9 age 12+” concession rate. I hope that in future exams none of the scholars attribute the book incorrectly.

The Angels’€™ Share

Sixteen Films, Why Not Productions and Wild Bunch. Directed by Ken Loach.

I saw this on one of my occasional jaunts to the local part-time cinema, which is a theatre most of the time.

This apparently won the Jury Prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

This reminded me a lot of Christopher Brookmyre’s books. Comedy is mixed in with violence but here the violence isn’€™t overplayed. It starts off with a very funny scene set on a railway platform where a remote Station Master berates a drunken would-be passenger over the tannoy to stand back as there’€™s a train coming. The bemused recipient of this warning behaves as you might expect but it‒s very well played. This character, Albert, is the butt of a lot of the humour in the film as he is presented as incredibly thick.

The plot revolves around a group of four convicts on community pay-back sentences being introduced to the arcane delights of whisky tasting by their overseer, Harry, a somewhat unbelievably sympathetic character. One of their number, Robbie, has just become a father and wishes to leave behind his life of brushes with the law and make a stable home for his girlfriend and child. He turns out to have an excellent nose for whisky and hatches a scheme to (ahem) spirit away – the angels’€™ share is a whisky industry term for the portion of a barrel which evaporates between it being laid down and finally tapped off so the phrase seems apposite – some of a recently discovered barrel of an extremely rare and well regarded whisky.

The movie does trade a lot in Scottish cliché – whisky, kilts, Irn Bru, violence -€“ but is very entertaining. A knowledge of West of Scotland demotic and a tolerance for expletives are necessary for full appreciation, though.

Midnight In Paris

At the local “Art Cinema”, the Adam Smith Theatre. Whoopee! No round trip to Dunfermline just to see a film. (Still on tonight, 14/2/12, if anyone wants to go.)

This is a Woody Allen film and many of his tropes are present. The lead character, Gil, is typically Allenish with his verbal mannerisms, we have the fascination with the past (Zelig; Broadway Danny Rose) and an intrusion of the fantastic (Play It Again, Sam; Broadway Danny Rose.)

Gil is a writer on a trip to Paris with his fiancee and her awful parents; a moneyed couple, snobbish and intolerant, with no redeeming features. But none of these four are really sympathetic. There is a fine cameo by Michael Sheen as a friend of the fiancee, with just the right degree of irritating know-allness.

To escape this lot, Gil walks through Paris and gets lost. At midnight he is invited into an old car cruising the streets. He is taken to a party where he encounters Cole Porter, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. On subsequent nights he meets Gertrude Stein (Alice B Toklas has a small name check,) Pablo Picasso and his mistress, Salvador Dali, Louis Buňuel and Man Ray. Gil is delighted as he is fascinated by the 1920s, his perfect time. He is also much taken with Picasso’s mistress who thinks the Belle Époque was the best era to be alive.

If at times this all seemed a bit too overloaded it is the sort of stuff with which Allen can have a bit of fun, as when Gil suggests a film scenario to Buňuel.

Stein agrees to read Gil’s novel manuscript. At one point she describes it as Science Fiction (it is set in her future.) I was dubious at this usage and checked; the term apparently wasn’t in common use until 1929.

Gil is drawn more and more into the 1920s milieu and strolling with Picasso’s mistress one night they are invited into a horse-drawn cab and end up in the Belle Époque. Cue Toulouse Lautrec, Degas and Gauguin. Here Gil realises that no-one likes their own time and the past isn’t necessarily a better place.

But he determines to stay in (present day) Paris and chucks his girlfriend.

It was the fantastic element that I found most satisfying, the going into the past aspect is the sort of thing that makes Altered History (or Alternative/Alternate History if you must) so intriguing, but the present day characters were just so crass; apart from Carla Bruni as a tour guide and a female seller of old records Gil bumps into on a shopping trip.

This was minor Allen but entertaining enough, with quite a few laughs. I enjoyed it.

Tamara Drewe

We don’t go to the flicks much, especially since the last local outlet dedicated to cinema was closed and it required a trip to Dunfermline to ogle the silver screen but the good lady fancied seeing this so we hied ourselves off to the local part time not-flea pit otherwise known as the Adam Smith Theatre.

Tamara Drewe started out as a serialised graphic novel written by Posy Simmonds which appeared weekly in the Guardian a good few years back now. As far as I can remember that original, the film closely follows its plot.

The story concerns the disruption to the lives of the succesful author Nicholas Hardiment and his much more competent and business-like wife, who together run a writers’ retreat in Devon, plus their handyman Andy when successful journalist and former village resident Tamara Drewe returns – complete with nose job – to her earlier home in the farm next door.

The goings on are witnessed and affected by a pair of local schoolgirls who hang about the local bus shelter – the buses have long since been withdrawn – and moon over pop stars’ pictures in magazines.

Their boredom is transformed when Tamara takes up with – and brings to live in the village – the very drummer whom one of them finds so attractive.

There were excellent performances all round, with occasional cartoon moments from Dominic Cooper as the drummer, but especially good ones from the two youngsters and from Tamsin Greig as the much put upon wife of Hardiment.

The film starts off comedically – there are plenty laugh out loud moments – but becomes darker as the plot unfolds. The conventions of fiction are followed to the extent that the “baddy” gets his come-uppance.

The film has a 15 certificate and that obviously means you can include people swearing and even show them having sex; as long as there’s no full frontal nudity.

The film isn’t profound, not saying much that hasn’t been said before, but it is entertaining.

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