Screen Gems is our monthly film club for older people, showing an eclectic range of bona fide classics and a selection of outstanding films which perhaps haven’t received the credit and distribution they deserve. Typically taking in films featuring strong roles for older characters, Screen Gems offers an informal discussion group after the screening, with film notes provided. As always, the Lexi bar is open, serving teas, coffee, wines, beers, snacks and soft drinks. Join us for fun, fans, and fabulous films!
Know someone who might want to join us for a matinee screening on the last Wednesday of every month? Fancy coming along yourself? Check out the latest news below…
“Not much action, lots of words, great cinema.” Film 4
“A strangely realistic thriller.” Time Out
“This is a film where tension comes from personality conflict, dialogue and body language, not action.” Roger Ebert
Sidney Lumet’s feature debut is a superbly written, dramatically effective courtroom thriller that rightfully stands as a modern classic. Join us for good company, film notes and guided discussion afterwards.
What happens when you stuff a failed motivation speaker, his wife, the nation’s number one Proust scholar, an elderly potty-mouthed heroin addict, a teen who’s mute by choice, and a bespectacled little pageant hopeful into a mini VW bus for a three day road trip? You get this hilarious but moving satire about a dysfunctional family obsessed with winning. Credit must go to the ensemble cast that includes Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, and Abigail Breslin and the delightfully funny script by Michael Arndt, which first-time directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris handled pierfectly. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
Great film, good company, programme notes and guided discussion after – that’s Screen Gems!
This atmospheric thriller is one of the undisputed masterpieces of cinema and boasts iconic performances from Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles, not to mention a script by Graham Greene and one of the most instantly recognisable soundtracks in cinema history! Combine that with good company and guided discussion and you have the Screen Gems experience.
Bloody Sunday director Paul Greengrass marks the five-year anniversary on the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States with this speculative meditation on the events that took place onboard the fourth hijacked plane, and the actions of the passengers who gave their lives to ensure the safety of others. Told in real time and acted out by a cast of unknowns who were provided with detailed studies of their real-life counterparts, United 93 attempts to reconstruct the airborne tragedy from the view of the ground and flight controllers, the passengers, and their nervous families awaiting word on the fate of their loved ones. As the terrified travelers and crew gradually become aware of the historical events taking place on the ground so far beneath them, the 90 minutes in which a random collection of strangers realized their fate and came together to confront an unthinkable threat are re-created.
On the Waterfront is a 1954 American social realist drama about union violence and corruption among longshoremen. In a career-defining role, Marlon Brando plays an ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman who struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses. The film was festooned with honours, receiving 12 Oscar nominations and winning eight, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Brando), Best Supporting Actress for new-comer Eva Maria Saint, and Best Director for Elia Kazan. And not to forget the wonderful soundtrack, composed by Leonard Bernstein.
The Screen Gems screenings are led by the U3A, and provide a chance to share an interest in enduringly good film with like-minded people. Programme notes are provided and afterwards there is guided discussion, with tea and coffee available from the bar.
A simple-minded gardener named Chance has spent all his life in the Washington D.C. house of an old man. When the man dies, Chance is put out on the street with no knowledge of the world except what he has learned from television. After a run in with a limousine, he ends up a guest of a woman (Eve) and her husband Ben, an influential but sickly businessman. Now called Chauncey Gardner, Chance becomes friend and confidante to Ben, and an unlikely political insider.
Join us for this U3A supported screening: programme notes, guided discussion and good company at no extra charge!
A poor young father in postwar-ravaged Rome who finally finds work putting up Rita Hayworth posters around town, only to have his precious bicycle stolen the first day on the job. This simple plot doesn’t do justice to this film, which formed one of the cornerstones of Italian Neo-Realist cinema.
Guided discussion and good company provided at no charge!
Good company, guided discussion and tea/coffee, all on offer!
The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy cult classic film, written and directed by Mel Brooks and starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop, “Springtime for Hitler.” They take more money from investors than they need and plan to abscond to Brazil as soon as the play closes, only to see the plan improbably go awry when the show turns out to be a hit.
A Screen Gems Screening – £5, guided discussion and good conversation provided at no extra charge!
Canada’s official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 84th Academy Awards is a charming comedy drama about a substitute teacher named Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag, THE BARONS). With his new class in mourning over the tragic death of their former teacher, Bachir works hard to win the pupils over and ease them through this painful time. But he has great anguish in his own heart, as well as an underlying anxiety that, as an illegal Algerian immigrant, he might be deported at any time. This is a sensitive and courageous film about learning to cope with loss and striving to help others no matter how fractured your own life might be.
This is a user review. I am using it because I think it is a very balanced impression of this oddball movie from director David Lynch, and because I feel that, in some strange way, the tone of the review reflects the tone of this movie!
“A truly nice story with a moral about brotherly love” describes this odd David Lynch film. This was especially “odd” because it wasn’t the kind of film Lynch had been putting out in the last 15 -20 years. Those were dark and shocking films (Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, Mulholland Drive) and this is the opposite. I know it disappointed a lot of his fans. Others were delighted by it. Count me as one of the latter, and I own all three of those “dark” films, too.
“This was another supposed-true life story, here detailing an elderly man’s trip in a seated lawnmower from western Iowa all the way to Wisconsin to see his ailing brother who he hasn’t talked to in years but wants to see before the latter dies. Well, I guess that premise – an old man driving a lawn mower 400 miles – still makes this an “odd” film of sorts, so Lynch stays in character with that!
“Richard Farnsworth plays the title role. [Just out of interest, John Hurt and Gregory Peck were also offered the role.] He is the type of guy, face-wise, voice-wise, low-key personality-wise, that just about everyone likes. The wrinkles on his face tell many a story. It was so sad to hear what happened to him in real life a year after this film was released. [He died.]
“The first 25 minutes of this film isn’t much, and not always pleasant as it shows the main character’s adult and mentally-challenged child (Sissy Spacek) and her tragic past, but once Alvin Straight (Farnsworth) begins his trip, the story picks up. I played this for several friends and they thought the film NEVER picked up, but I am more generous with it. I think it’s a hidden gem. To them, it was a sleeping pill.
“I found his trip pretty fascinating but you have to realize in advance this is NOT going to be a suspenseful Lynch crime story. It IS slow and if that’s okay with you, you might like this. Charm enters the picture in some of people Alvin meets along the way, such as a wayward young girl running away and some nice town folks who help the old man out when he gets in trouble. (Henry Cada as “Daniel Riordan, is a standout in that regard.) Harry Dean Stanton gets third billing, but that’s a joke: he’s only in the final few minutes of the movie!
“The Iowa scenery is pleasant. I lived there for several years and can attest to the rolling hills and the rich soil. It’s a nice state with nice people….like this movie.”
Wed 28 Mar, 13:30 a Screen Gems screening, tickets £5
Caramel was distributed in over 40 countries, easily becoming the most internationally acclaimed and exposed Lebanese film to date. It is the first feature film from Lebanese actor/director Nadine Labaki, and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.
The story focuses on the lives of five Lebanese women dealing with issues such as forbidden love, binding traditions, repressed sexuality, the struggle to accept the natural process of age, and duty vs. desire. Labaki’s film is unique for not showcasing a war-ravaged Beirut but rather a warm and inviting locale where people deal with universal issues.
The title Caramel refers to an epilation method that consists of heating sugar, water and lemon juice. Labaki also symbolically implies the “idea of sweet and salt, sweet and sour” and showcases that everyday relations can sometimes be sticky but ultimately the sisterhood shared between the central female characters prevails.
Join is for guided discussion – and good company – afterwards.
Almodovar brings out the best in his muse, Penelope Cruz, in this multi-layered story of the power of a mother’s love. This magical tragicomic melodrama may be Almodovar’s most restrained work to date but it still features his trademarks: a strong attention to color and detail, a celebration of the trials and tribulations of women, and, of course, the inestimable Carmen Maura. The lovely Penelope Cruz hasn’t shone more brightly as she does here.
Join us afterwards for good company and guided discussion of the film.