Saturday, February 08, 2014

Films - 1st to 8th February 2014

As in other European countries here in The Netherlands the Pathe Cinema chain runs an 'Unlimited Card' system. For the sum of 19 Euros (around £16.20) per month I can use my Unlimited Card to visit the cinema as many times as I like at no cost,. I do pay extra for 3D films... Had I selected Pathe's 'Unlimited Gold' card for 26 Euros per month I would also be able to attend 3D and 3D iMax films free.
I have had my card since December 2012 this has enabled me to see 72 films over the 12 months to December 2013. Obviously quality does not always go hand in hand with quantity.... I have seen some 'turkeys'....The Internship was about the worst! However I do try to be discerning and there are some films that I wouldn't countenance going to see, even free .... The Wolf of Wall Street however high its rating is one of these.
In addition to having 3 Pathe Multiplex Cinemas in The Hague we also are lucky to have an art-house cinema - The Filmhuis (The Film House) - this is great for those films which are not going to be blockbusters...
Not far away in Amsterdam and Rotterdam there are also great art-house cinemas.

Films seen 1-8 February 2014
Saturday 1st February - The Selfish Giant (2013 - dir Clio Barnard) at Filmhuis Den Haag
A strikingly human film. Very reminiscent of the gritty naturalistic UK  films and TV dramas from the 1960's and 1970's such as Ken Loach's Kes and Poor Cow.

The performances of the young lead actors is very honest and believable. Their interaction with the adults that they come into contact with are well observed. The film itself struck a cord with me, as it brought back memories of  a particular former pupil of mine who was very like 'Arbor'.... one of those kids that you suspect will either become a millionaire from living off his wits or will end his days in and out of prison.
The environs of the council estate were Arbor and Swifty live is brought to life vividly without any sentimentality. The denouement is shocking if not a surprise as the set up is predictable, if anything this is the Achilles heel of the film. It does not detract from the acting or atmosphere however.
I am full of praise for Clio Barnard and the cast and would recommend this film scoring it at a creditable 8.5 out of 10.

Monday 3rd February ( Pathe 50Plus) Night Train to Lisbon Pathe Buitenhof

I can't say that I have always been a fan of Jeremy Irons he does on occasions choose films which offer that little bit extra. The premise for the film requires one to suspend disbelief from the outset. A chance encounter on a bridge with a mysterious stranger leads the single, chess playing Classical Languages teacher to simply leave on the train which gives the film its title. Irons simply leaves his class and Switzerland where he lives with no luggage.... surprisingly he must have his passport with him! On arrival he seems with a small degree of research to uncover an intriguing and tragic story from the Portuguese civil war. There are interesting cameos from Tom Courtney, Christopher Lee  and Bruno Ganz.
If you are able to put up with the issues that I have alluded to above, you will find the settings and acting handled skillfully with Irons himself bringing  the professor to life with great skill.
My personal score would be 8.0 out of 10

Friday 7th February - American Hustle - Pathe Spuimarkt
I was concerned by reviews which portrayed American Hustle to be ultimately a film about wigs!  Having seen Parkland the previous week, where the world changing effects of  Dallas Texas on November 22, 1963 are well recreated for a film which ultimately is disappointing as it does not seem to go anywhere or discover anything other than the lives of those involved with the story on the day.
I am happy to report that this film is more than a film about wigs in my opinion.
Yes it does try its best to evoke the 1970's which it does well. For me the standout performances in the film come from the ladies in the cast - Amy Adams who portrays the vulnerability and drive of her character convincingly. While Jennifer Lawrence shows her acting versatility as the ' wronged wife' in a fine display of bravado. I can see why Adams has been elevated to an Oscar nomination - I for one believe that this deserved.
Bale, Cooper, Renner and the uncredited but menacing De Niro ably support the girls. Cooper being the least convincing of the whole cast for me.  The story is somewhat thin, and could leave the experience empty I think that the cast ultimately raise this above films such as Parkland....

From my 2013 statistics my favourite cinema is Pathe Buitenhof
 It is certainly a cinema with style....
both inside and out...
It does enhance the film experience.

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