A Middle Aged Movie Blog. Being the periodic journal of a film loving middle aged independent science fiction writing father of two and his ongoing adventures in cinema and home video


Watched Hugo again, Martin Scorsese’s 2011 foray into the realms of the family feature, which is that rare thing nowadays, a genuinely original children’s classic that seeks to entertain and educate its audience without resorting to condescension. The film works as one-part children’s fantasy to two parts uplifting meditation on the history and wonder of cinema. An inspired ensemble cast featuring excellent turns from Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Sir Ben Kingsley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law and Ray Winstone elevates the material considerably.


Over the weekend, watched Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017) with my son which was loud, obnoxious, and utterly boring from start to finish. The dialogue was atrocious. The jokes were unfunny and occasionally sexist. The action was ill conceived. Performances were one-note all round.

Hopefully, this will be the last pirate movie for a while based on the Disney theme park ride. The fun and froth of the original at this point seems a dim and distant memory. Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg. Starring Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally and Geoffrey Rush.

The Lampshade Maker plumped for Footloose (1984) on Saturday, having no recollection of ever having seen it.
My memory of the movie is pretty foggy too. The last time I watched it I was wrapped in a duvet in my old student digs at the back end of the 90’s viewing it on a malfunctioning TV. There was no heating in the house cause the boiler had packed in. I was on my own, cause all my housemates had buggered off for the Christmas holidays.

I remember enjoying it back then. I’m not sure I found it as satisfactory this time around. Tonally, the film is a mess. Veering from the bucolic warmth and comedic high jinks of early 80’s John Hughes (kids playing chicken on tractors!) to scenes of domestic violence and assault, the film is never sure what it wants to be. One scene in particular features Lori Singer’s tearaway Preacher’s daughter being viciously assaulted by a jealous ex-boyfriend. The scene itself is handled well enough, though it plays out like an inconsequential aside the film makes no attempt to address for the remainder of its runtime.

Footloose would have worked better as a full-blown musical, but unfortunately, for whatever reason, it lacks the courage of its convictions and is unable to decide one way or another, what genre it is most comfortable in. Still, that said, it remains a worthwhile nostalgia piece, if for no other reason than you get to witness the late Chris Penn learning how to dance.

Followed one coming of age teen movie with another coming of age teen movie in Jordan Vogt Roberts’ The Kings of Summer (2013). About as lovingly crafted a debut from the Kong: Skull Island (2017) helmer as you could wish for, the film is an unmitigated joy from start to finish. The teen leads are warm, funny and emotionally honest. The direction is striking and brings genuine verve and freshness to a well-worn formula. The script is tight as a drum. It has a brilliant grasp of context and humour. Highly recommended. Seek it out if you’ve never had the pleasure. Starring Nick Robinson, Moises Arias, Gabriel Basso and Nick Offerman.

RIP John Singleton. For Boyz N The Hood, and a bunch of other stuff. 23 years old when he made it, against all the odds.

Spent a night in Ulverston. Skipped the Laurel and Hardy museum in order to go to a Print Festival with The Lampshade Maker. Didn’t visit the Laurel and Hardy museum as planned. This was a good thing in retrospect as it means we have a reason to return to Ulverston in the future, a nice, reasonably peaceful town, with decent shops and enough of a unique character to qualify as interesting.

Still not watched Avengers: Endgame (2019). The hype surrounding it and the fact it’s been on every media platform in existence before, during and after its release, with almost everybody on Earth talking and typing about it has put me off. The sheer weight and volume of potential spoilers online and just generally floating round the atmosphere, has made it all but impossible to tweet or Facebook anyone, or indeed spend time with friends since everybody wants to tell me about it and to revel in big twisters.

It’s set to become the biggest movie ever. I have mixed feelings about that.

Off to a Buddhist temple today, up a big hill to check out a monument of some description. Going to see if Harbour Vinyl is open in Ulverston though it’s a bank holiday so maybe not. Then home.

Been watching Game of Thrones week on week, so the internet and work colleagues don’t inadvertently spoiler it for me. Enjoying it a lot so far. There’s a been a lot of hate. Lot of folk griping about what’s wrong with it when there’s nothing much wrong with it at all. Excellent battle scenes. Characters failing and not behaving appropriately. Some political hand-bagging. Plenty of blood and magic. Plenty of big budget TV excitement to pass the time. There has never been a show like it. There isn’t likely to be one as flat out audacious for a while. Enjoy it whilst you have it. We may not see the like of it again for many a year to come…

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