The Legend of King Arthur ***** Presented by The Guildford Shakespeare Company (GSC)

This autumn sees the welcome return of the Spiegeltent, venue for GSC’s new production of The Legend of King Arthur.

This brand new play has been written by Caroline Devlinwho has given us a delightful, action packed, humorous and family friendly tale, just right for this time of year.

More than that, she has produced a script befitting the multitalented company, taking and using recognisably Shakespearean plot devises to great effect.

We have the Fool as narrator, babies separated at birth, family treachery, songs, and so forth.

For children, it is a great introduction to the wider world of live drama.

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The players are very few in number but, by incredible costume and lighting changes, plus our willing suspension logic, the stage is filled with a massive menage of characters.

A young girl changes to aged monk to soldier in moments and we applaud in delight.

The founders of GSC, Sarah Gobran and Matt Pinches, can be very proud of what they have achieved yet again.

I fully recommend this delightful play to anybody who can get to Guildford before it ends on 5th November.

Truly a 5 star production.

 

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Blade Runner 2049 ****

You certainly get value for money from Blade Runner 2049, running at 2 hours 44 minutes.

Fortunately the director has filled that time to great advantage.  Weaving a complex and compelling tale, this story is set in same dystopian world of the original Blade Runner.

If you liked the original, this film answers many of the questions raised by the first.

Ryan Goslings performance is very good, encapsulating his character very well. It has to be said that the film only comes to life towards the latter part when Harrison Ford appears.

If you haven’t seen or did not like the original, I fear this would not impress you and probably leave you wondering why you bothered.

I would strongly recommend seeing the original first if you have not already done so or just to refresh your memory.

So this is a good, possibly great and definitely cult movie.

As a fan, it gets 4 stars out of five from me.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle *****

This is the second film of the Kingsman franchise, and on this form, not the last.

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Yes it’s time to release our 14-year-old selves and suspend disbelief for 141 minutes in our busy lives.

The writers’, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughan, have created another rip-roaring, rooting-tooting extravaganza that keeps the viewer riveted to their seats. The fantastic soundtrack matches the action brilliantly, raising your pulse rate over and over again.

A great cast, obviously enjoying their chance to overact like crazy, do a fine job of representing their comic-book characters perfectly.

I would especially highlight the two animal actors, both puppy dogs, who are used to great emotional effect.

I doubt there will be any major prizes for this film but you will be awarded with a very enjoyable piece of entertainment.

The full 5 out of five stars for this piece of glorious hokum.

American Made ***

American Made takes us on a ride into the CIA created world of Central American Drugs for Guns trade, that lead into the Iran-Contra Scandal of the 1980s.

American MadeThe leading character (Tom Cruise) is not a hero. Much of his motivation is a mixture of greed and cowardice. As such, this makes a nice change from his normal roles.

It also gives him a chance to give us a semi-comic performance that he handles with some limited grace.

Most of the best humour comes from the actions of the surrounding characters and organisations.

So this was, I found, historically interesting but lacking in tension, conviction and drive.

A medium grade of 3 out of five stars so great for fans and wet Saturdays.

 

The Dark Tower **

This film is based on the final book in Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ series.

We are presented with the good guy Roland (Idris Elba) and the bad guy Walter (Matthew McConaughey) ready-made.  There is no real character building attempted so making it difficult to cheer for the hero or boo the baddie.

Neither appears to be totally good or evil, other than wanting to kill each other and destroy or protect The Dark Tower.

UnknownAll we know of this tower is that it is at the centre of everything.

Into this mix comes a troubled boy who has visions of The Dark Tower etc.

This is then all mixed together in a recipe of Sci-fi, Western and Coming of Age genres to produce a very bland, soggy bottomed, sponge of a film.

With little of Stephen King’s trademark horror or complexity, it has clearly been diluted to get a 12A certificate.

I hope the younger audience members will get more from it than I did, even be inspired to read the original stories.

Could easily have been a lot better. Shame.

Just 2 out of five stars this time.

Atomic Blonde ***

A film for adults during the school holidays is always welcome and this one does not by-and-large disappoint.

A spy thriller set at the end of the cold war makes a rich environment for fast paced violent action, peppered with some bare flesh and ‘adult cuddles’ that will sit well with Bond fans. Atomic Blonde There are also enough twists and turns in the plot to keep Le Carré readers happy.

But that is also where the problem lays.

The first hour and thirty minutes give a really good film worth 4 stars if not five.

However, as we reach the climax, it all gets so confusing.

I lost the plot completely.  Call me Confused of Guildford.

It must have taken me a good couple of hours of replaying the scenes in my head to work out who was as the good, the bad and the ugly.  I think I understand now, but I could still be wrong.

If you do see this film, I suspect you may get the ending far sooner than your humble writer.

For that reason alone I give this film 3 out of five stars.