Film: Twelve Years a Slave

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Film - 12 Years a Slave

three star
And so, as planned, it was off to the local Odeon this evening to the must-see-film-of-the-moment: 12 Years a Slave. Directed by Steve McQueen (no, not that Steve McQueen, that Steve McQueen) and starring Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt (who was also part of the production team) – and the not-so-well-known-but-ultimately-the-main-star: Hiwetel Ejiofor.

The film runs for a bladder-busting 134 minutes and tells the story of Solomon Northup. It certainly doesn’t hold back on the gritty realism of the period nor Northup’s predicament – the whipping scene about two-thirds of the way in had one member of the Kettering audience up-and-leave – and we’re built tough in these parts, forged in the heat of battle, looking for car-parking spaces in town on Saturday and coping with (currently) the most dangerous contraflow on the nearby A14, I’ve ever seen (I really must get a car – that’ll help!).

I digress – It’s a very sad film with hardly any high-points at all. If it had starred Bruce Willis, I’m sure there would have been an extra scene where he shoots all the bad guys who had wronged him! I also find it slightly irritating that when films like this want to cast a really horrible American, then they always seem to find a Brit to take the part – Michael Fassbender was the scariest, most horrible ‘American’, I’ve ever seen at the cinema – you wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley – or indeed, a dark cinema! One scary man!!!

I’m just sooo glad the latest series of Call the Midwife started on the TV tonight, as it gave us something gentler to watch afterwards – In fact, I’m pretty sure an episode of Silent Witness would have been more uplifting!

My verdict? (and I know this seems to go against 99.9% of other views expressed recently): it was a bit long, and the super-sentimental ending (although keeping our American friends happy) was just too convenient for me. That’s not to take away anything from the strong performances from all concerned, as I’m sure it’ll do well at the Oscars.

But, it definitely wasn’t my sort of film – I don’t need to spend my money to get so depressed, as I can easily do that by purchasing confectionery in the Odeon foyer!!

Catching up

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Burghley House
This was a weekend of catching-up with old(er) friends. Steve and Helen Humphrey joined us (all the way from France) and their holiday-let business on Friday evening and Chris and Gill A joined the four of us on Saturday evening – and together we tackled one of Ann’s super-scrummy three-coursers! (bang goes the diet -and it’s only January!!!)

We thought we hadn’t seen Steve and Helen for about five years – on closer calculation, it turned out to be almost 10! Anyway, that didn’t matter at all as we were soon catching-up with each others’ news and trying to work out how and why time had passed so quickly.

Saturday morning began with the short drive to Burghley House – only to find it closed when we got there! So, it was ‘plan B’ and a wander around Stamford trying hard not to spend any money (we failed!)

Then it was back home to start work on the feast – we all mucked-in and when Chris and Gill arrived around 7pm, we were fully prepared for the treat that lay ahead. Everyone did the food justice and the dishwasher (no, not me – the electric one!) worked hard to keep on top of the debris.

Iron Man (that IS me!) stepped in early on Sunday morning to clear the pile of tea-towels, bedding and napkins – and when Steve and Helen left us around 6.30, I was finally winning!

With the house back to ourselves, it was time to catch-up with other bits and pieces – replace the headlamp bulb on Ann’s car and catch-up with all the stuff on the Sky-box.

Sunday evening included a trip to the Odeon to see the film that everyone is saying is tipped for Oscar success – Twelve Years a Slave (sounds like my time at Sainsbury’s except mine was 17, the film was set in America not England – and I actually quite enjoyed my slavery period!) – I’ll comment on the film in my next blog.