“Hidden Figures,” directed by Theodore Melfi

Movie, 2016 The story of the struggle and contribution of black women to the NASA space programme, concentrating on the early 1960s, when Soviet supremacy was putting pressure on the Americans. A well-paced story, which blends its three strands in well and plays elements and nods to the civil rights and segregation issues prevalent at the time. The period detail and space centre shots feel … Continue reading “Hidden Figures,” directed by Theodore Melfi

“You Can Drum But You Can’t Hide,” by Simon Wolstencroft

Non-fiction, 2014 Memoir of ex-Fall drummer, and his life in Manchester, almost joining The Stone Roses and The Smiths along the way. A fast-paced book and pretty easy to read, in which Wolstencroft covers but doesn’t drill too much on the ups and downs and so isn’t too self-indulgent or miserable. A good balance and chipper overall. Potential readers who don’t have an interest in … Continue reading “You Can Drum But You Can’t Hide,” by Simon Wolstencroft

“The Disaster Artist,” directed by James Franco

Movie, 2017 Dramatisation of Greg Sestoro‘s partnership with Tommy Wiseau which brought The Room to cult cinema screens, The Disaster Artist plays for and often delivers laughs, though not always doing it in a way which adds to the head in hand ham of The Room itself. A film, then, which brings an outsider’s attempt to get into to Hollywood right into the middle of … Continue reading “The Disaster Artist,” directed by James Franco

“The Program”, directed by Stephen Frears

Movie, 2015 Account of the tragic rise and fall of American cyclist Lance Armstrong, and an expose and account of how his doping regime in his team led him to win the Tour de France seven times. Armstrong is played as a man hellbent on winning; while there is some sympathy for his suffering Cancer, for most of the film, that desire and dedication to … Continue reading “The Program”, directed by Stephen Frears

“England is Mine”, directed by Mark Gill

Movie, 2017 Biopic of Smiths singer Morrissey. While no whitewash, this feels like a fans’ film and homage to a hugely problematic figure, who’s come a long way and has alienated many who grew up and devoted themselves to The Smiths. Still, the atmosphere of footbridges, smoky pubs, bedrooms and 9-5 day jobs is all pretty effective and transport the viewer back to a mid-1980s, … Continue reading “England is Mine”, directed by Mark Gill

“Love and Mercy”, directed by Bill Pohlad

Movie, 2014 Brian Wilson biopic, focusing on both the recording of The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and a period later in Wilson’s life and his relationship with a used car salesperson, whilst being shackled by a personal minder. The decision to have two actors playing Wilson pays off, with the different times in his life related, but almost inconceivably connected to the same man. The … Continue reading “Love and Mercy”, directed by Bill Pohlad

"Florence Foster Jenkins," directed Stephen Frears

Movie, 2016 Star studded film about a patron of the arts, wonderfully played by Meryl Streep. This is a film about culture, relationships, class and trust, with a great balance between comedy immediately and frequently undercut with touching scenes of deception and undying energy and optimism. The film’s pace and direction are seamless, drawing the viewer directly in with the characters. Some real charm and … Continue reading "Florence Foster Jenkins," directed Stephen Frears