What is it they say about babies and bathwater ?

So first of all, apologies for the last minute rescheduling of our recent movie The Light Between Oceans. We obviously were tempting fate by having a season with a water theme, because this is the second time we have been rained out. Having said that, we were pleasantly surprised by how many people were able to show up on a Sunday night, particularly our neighbours from Princeton Farms. Thank you for turning out - it gave us pause to think whether Sunday might be a better choice for people. We’re going to stick with the schedule we have for now, but if we have another postponement we’ll probably try this again.

The-light-between-oceans-heroine-alicia-vikander-picturesAs for the movie…if last week’s Promised Land was noticeably lacking in water, then The Light Between Oceans made up for it in spades - and buckets. A windswept rock called Janus Rock, storms a-plenty, boats adrift – lots of climate, but perhaps sadly lacking in atmosphere. The story is unfortunately very workman-like. After losing two infants through miscarriage, the couple at the centre of the story, Tom and Isobel Sherbourne (played by Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander) find a baby adrift in a rowboat. The isolation of their lighthouse home allows them to pass it off as their own, until they come across the grieving mother whose husband and baby was lost at sea. Tom Sherbourne, racked with guilt, leaves her clues to the baby’s origin until the deception is uncovered, and he is jailed. The baby-now-child is returned to her family, and everyone lives unhappily ever after.

328534_214I’m being a bit cynical about the plot, because in all honesty by the end of the movie I really didn’t care what happened to any of the characters, and what should have been an emotional payoff was rather limp. Rachel Weisz, who plays Hannah Roennfeldt – the baby’s birth mother – delivers a rather confusing performance which includes a ‘wisdom of Solomon’ moment when she is prepared to give up her daughter for the common good – this comes completely out of nowhere, with hardly any justification. The coda of ’20 Years later’ – Isobel’s death and the grown Lucy-Grace’s visit to a still stoic Tom seems like a rushed afterthought, and not as profound as it was probably meant to be.

Probably unfairly, I had misgivings that the original book might be of a certain type – a genre dominated by the likes of Nicholas Sparks, producing movies which tend to be saccharine-laced and contrived. The contrivance was certainly on show, but I would probably have enjoyed any kind of artificial flavoring, if it only it provided something more tasty to remember…

FAFC presents THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS - Sat 1st July (and some words about Promised Land...)

With the rain delays, the movies are coming thick and fast. So fast, I am struggling to get into the preview/review/preview cycle with only 6 days between movies.

ImagesLast week, Promised Land seemed to me to contain a little unfulfilled promise. Like so many previous movies we’ve shown, particularly the sports ones, this movie wasn’t about its ostensive subject matter. Like Invictus was not about rugby but national reconstruction, and Bend it Like Beckham was not about soccer, but cultural emancipation, Promised Land was not about fracking. It was about the loss of innocence, nostalgia for the good old days and self-discovery. The story was engaging enough, though the HUGE plot twist was somewhat far-fetched. My main takeaway were the unconvincing nature of Matt Damon’s character, and his conversion. This so-called powerful executive who had just landed a mega-job with his devious energy multi-national was completely thrown off his game and floundered when confronted by a High School science teacher. He then went on to be charmed by the life of this small town and it’s ‘salt of the earth’ people – which was supposedly just the same as the multiple other towns he had previously worked on to build his corporate reputation. This meant that the arrival of the denouement is anticlimactic and just a little confusing. I also had a problem with a crucial hole in that plot twist that went a long way to spoiling the entire premise for me. Ask me about it next time you see me.

AaTheLightBetweenOceans_main-imageThis week, we have The Light Between Oceans, a period piece which promises to be a three-Kleenex number. A hunky, Teutonic couple (Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender) living in a lighthouse find a baby floating out at sea in a lifeboat and raise the child as their own, until…

Please join us on Saturday evening (1st July) for the movie. We are at the height of summer now, so we are starting a little bit later due to the light. We will be setting up around 7.30pm, but will not start the movie till after 8.30pm.

See you there !


After our showing of Manchester By The Sea last Saturday, we've had our own domestic drama which has set me back from putting down some words about the movie. Linda collapsed on Monday night with complications from her surgery and the subsequent diet, and spent a few days in hospital. She's home now recovering, taking things very easy, watching what she eats, and generally being fussed over. In a month or two, we'll probably gloss over some of the details in our recollections of this week, and this will soon be behind us.

MaxresdefaultFor Lee Chandler, Casey Affleck's character in Manchester By The Sea, every detail of the tragic events that threw his life into turmoil are with him every second of every day. I've written before about the different experience of viewing a movie for the second time once the plot points are understood, and here it only serves to amplify what a terrific performance this is from Casey Affleck, from the very start. From the penance-like drudgery of janitorial work in a frozen Quincy, through alcohol-inspired masochistic bar-fights, Affleck's character alternates between self-punishment for the terrible mistake he made, and maintaining the emotional force-field that holds back a torrent of grief that would overwhelm him. The strength of this performance is the under-statement that is his norm - Lee functions robotically, coldly, almost dismissively as a survival mechanism for his grief. When his defences waver, through contact with beer or closeness to the great love of his life, he becomes unstable. He recognises that he cannot keep his equilibrium if he stays - "I can't beat it". Every tiny jab at Lee's emotional core - from the townsfolk, or from his own tortured conscience - is there in Affleck's performance.

Casey Affleck will probably never get a role as important as this one in his career, but when given something as precious as this, he absolutely delivered one of the most impressive performances ever to win the Best Actor Oscar.

5 Days to Opening Night !

479697012You would think I would have no trouble dealing with all this internet-y email-y stuff, but there were definitely some issues getting the switch over right. It means that email invites for this weekend's movie went out late, and that you may have been receiving email alerts with last year's logo. Hopefully this is sorting itself out now, hopefully there is still time for you to make plans.

One thing I was able to get right was my usual little taster of the coming season, which I share here. If you weren't in the mood before, take a look at this and start marking your calendar ! See you on Saturday. 


FAFC presents MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (R) - Saturday Jun 3rd

Mysi2m-b781241081z.120140102115133000gr51hqt0j.3Welcome to the 2017 summer season of Folly Avenue Film Club. With only a week to go, We are starting to get excited about what should be another great season of movies in our backyard, and I am getting back in the swing of something I love, writing about movies.

Looking back, it's amazing how many times I start these blog posts with an apology. More often than is good, that apology is for a lack of timeliness. This post however will contain multiple mea culpas, so please bear with me...

Firstly, we have changed the services we use for sending out website updates and invitations, so you may notice some glitches as we make the transition. We do want to apologise in advance if you had previously unsubscribed from either of these notifications and we have somehow turned you back on again. We tried hard to get this right but if we made a mistake, please let us know. In addition, the event registration looks a bit different - we're using a service which actually treats your registration as a ticket for a free event, so please do not be put off by the language. As always, registering for a movie lets us know who to contact if we have issues with weather or other scheduling problems.

Secondly, we should have been putting out these things out sooner, but as some of you know, we have had some personal distractions over the last week or so, and movie business has been a lower priority. Hopefully there is still enough time for you to make plans for this coming event, and to think about plans for the whole summer season.

As far as the summer program goes, you can see from the previous post what a great selection of movies we have planned - but you'll be pleased to know we will be enhancing that as we go. Look out for us upgrading one of our mid-summer family movies to a full-on family night, and for extra shows, including a showing of The Doo Dah Man, an excellent independent movie co-written and directed by an ex-colleague from Dow Jones.

MV5BYjRhYWIyMTUtZDZmNi00NmZhLTg1ZDktZjU1YmI0N2E5MjAwL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDc2NTEzMwBut to turn attention to our season premiere movie...  Manchester By The Sea is unusual for a Hollywood feature, in that it centers on a heart-wrenching story of loss and grief, but does not end with a nice, pat, 'happy ever after' ending. The message here is that grief is messy, and damn tough to deal with. Anyone who has been through any loss knows the concept of 'getting over it' is facile and trite, and this movie is all the more powerful and real for portraying the truth. While I thought this was a worthy contender for Best Movie Oscar this year, I would have been outraged if Casey Affleck had not won for Best Actor. His performance is superb in this, from suppressed heartbreak to manic flip-out, totally believable. 

If you haven't seen this, I strongly encourage you to join us. If you have seen it, you'l know how many boxes of Kleenex you will need to bring...

Parents Guide at IMdB

Parents Review at Commonsensemedia.org