Film: Downton Abbey

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Off to our fave cinema – Cineworld at Rushden Lakes – for the just-released TV-series-turned-movie: Downton Abbey.

If you fancy a ‘bit of posh’ you couldn’t do better than this! 😁 Most of the recurring characters from the TV series make it to the big-screen outing, with just a few omissions (due to actors’ unavailability).

“Above Stairs”…
Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham
Allen Leech as Tom Branson
Matthew Goode as Henry Talbot
Harry Hadden-Paton as Bertie Pelham
Douglas Reith as Lord Merton
Penelope Wilton as Lady Isobel Merton
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham
Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley
Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley (eventually ‘Pelham’)

“Below Stairs”…
Jim Carter as Carson, the butler
Phyllis Logan as Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper
Rob James-Collier, as Mr Barrow, the butler
Brendan Coyle as Mr Bates, the valet to the Earl of Grantham
Joanne Froggatt as Anna, the personal maid to Lady Mary
Kevin Doyle as Mr Molesley, footman
Lesley Nicol as Mrs Patmore, the cook
Sophie McShera as Daisy, the under-cook
Michael Fox as Andy Parker, footman and Daisy’s Fiancé
Rachel Cassidy as Phyllis Baxter, Lady Crawley’s Maid

Expect to see some other well-known TV faces too. In particular, Mark Ady (as an ‘alt-Arkwright’) and David Hague, in a part that was surely written for him as The King’s Page of the Back Stairs.

Set in 1920s, it depicts the world of the Crawleys as they prepare for a visit from royalty – King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James).

It’s all class-hokum of course – for a start, the benevolence of ‘upstairs’ with those ‘downstairs’ doesn’t match anything I’d ever read about life in servitude back in the day! 😯

Still, it was wonderful hokum! Call me an old romantic, but Julian Fellowes has done a fantastic job in transferring it all from small to the big screen. The TV series was pretty lavish, but this takes it up a notch (or ten). It was superbly filmed, with the actors effortlessly re-creating their roles like they’d never been away. There are are quite a few plot-lines, some big, some small, but it all comes together very nicely by the final act. Maggie Smith did not disappoint, and has now achieved an AS Level (Advanced Sarcasm) in her specialist subject – so many wonderful cutting lines! 😂

So, spend the next 120 minutes immersed in the rosy world of the idle rich (but do take a tissue as there’s a major ‘blub’ moment towards the end). 😥😥

There’s plenty of chatter online about whether they’ll be a sequel or not – I’d say the chances are very high.

Film: The Lion King

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We headed over to Cineworld at Rushden Lakes this evening to catch the latest cinematic incarnation of ‘The Lion King‘.

Featuring the voice-talents of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (as well as James Earl Jones reprising his role from the original film) the movie is directed by Jon Favreau.

But more about the movie itself a little later!

And what could be better than seeing a movie in a spanking new(ish) cinema? Well, seeing it in 3D… And what could be better than seeing a movie in 3D..?
…seeing it in 4DX of course (whatever that is!).
Everyone knows that 3D is a well-worn tactic for getting people to go to the Cinema, but what about this new fangled ‘4DX’?

What is ‘4DX’ anyway?
According to Cineworld: “With stimulating effects like water, wind, scent and strobe lighting, that thrill you in your moving seat. It’s fun on your own, but better with friends – 4DX is Cineworld’s most exhilarating way to watch a film”.

This was our first experience of this technology to augment a film, and we roped-in good friends Jo and Janet to share the experience! Ahh! that’s what friends are for! 😁

And after our now familiar routine of plugging-in ‘Robert‘ for some free ‘leccy’, courtesy of Pod-Point, we headed for the special ‘4DX Screen’. Given the promised reality of this ground-breaking multi-sensory experience, I noted they don’t provide sick-bags! 🤮

But what about the Film?

Much has already been written about this new release – and it’s only been out for a few days! After all, it was as recent as 1994 that Disney released ‘the all new The Lion King Animated Movie’. So, is the world ready for another remake so soon? Well, if they can do it with SpiderMan, and pull in new audiences, surely something as cuddly as a lion-cub is going to be easy! With visuals touted as ‘hyper-real‘ and ‘photorealistic‘, we’re going into this with high expectations! 🤩

And we weren’t to be disappointed! With those two particular adjectives ringing in our ears, and just when you think animation can’t get any more real, along comes this movie, that blurs the lines between ‘real’ and CGI.

OK, I think everyone knows the story, so I won’t re-tell it here. Instead, let me concentrate how it all felt...
Breathtaking is an under-statement – and that would have been our view without the addition of 4DX. With every hair of the lions clearly possessing a life of their own, you have to wonder what the next big jump in screen animation will be like. At times it really was impossible to tell that none of these animals were actually real (apart from the fact they talked!) With the addition of the 4DX effects (strobe lighting, vibrating and pivoting chairs, scents and smoke), it made a brilliant movie totally unforgettable!

Go see! 😁👍

PS…

Even if the movie doesn’t break records, the weather is heading that way! Up here in Northamptonshire we’ve got it cooler (relatively) than those in the south-east, and across Europe, where temperatures are promising to hit the high 30s! 🥵

Coolio! (relatively)