I’m writing this well in retrospect of July, which now feels like an age ago, but looking back on my diary it was another busy month. It started with a visit to the wonderful and inspirational Impact Hub for the revived Brum Zine Festival, which I’ve written all about here. I returned back there a few weeks later for another great event with the authors of Slay In Your Lane.
I also made it to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to see Dippy the Dinosaur, who was on a national tour from the National History Museum, the Real Bodies exhibition at the NEC from China, and a trip to the Charlecote Manor with my mum.
Thinking back it has been a rather cultural month.
What I’ve been watching…
An interesting month cinema-wise: some a couple of classic films, some wonderful British films and some big blockbusters too…
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Dinosaurs, more dinosaurs, genetically-modified dinosaur, more genetically-modified dinosaurs! I don’t know if it was that I just really needed the loo towards the end of this film but if felt a bit stale. The big bad of the first Jurassic World was a genetically modified dinosaur; genetically modifying an already genetically modified dinosaur for the second film felt repetitive. And it felt like the producers knew this so they threw in the whole weaponisation element and preachy humanity-will-end-itself angle, which all felt a bit stale and 90s, and not in a good way.
- The First Purge – what I wanted the first of the Purge movies to be – horror with socio-political undertones. A bit disappointed in the first one, I’ve not bothered to watch the other Purge movies, but The First Purge lands a well-timed punch to the jaw at political decision-makers. I would’ve liked more of the political commentary, but placing the Purge as a tactic of the ruling right-wing political party New Founding Fathers attempts to ethnically and socially cleanse New York’s Staten Island is timely and makes it feel a bit different to a lot of the ultraviolence genre films of late. But still very much one for fans of the genre.
- The More You Ignore Me – Based on a Jo Brand novel, it is a story set in the 1980s of a teenage girl, her mentally ill month (played by Sheridan Smith) and a love of Morrissey. With Mark Addy playing the kind of character stoic and affable father-figure you expect of him, Sally Phillips as the local GP who has fallen for the father despite treating the mother, Jo Brand as a former psychiatric nurse now shopkeeper and Sheila Hancock as gran it’s a bit of a who’s who of British screen – even Darren from Hollyoaks makes a cameo as a doctor at the local psychiatric facility. It is a charming film with plenty of warmth, which deals with a subject matter with typical British humour.
- Hotel Artemis – a dystopian thriller, where criminals use a member’s-only hospital run by a nurse with a tragic past. On a riots night in LA, the hotel becomes full and a face from the nurse’s past appears.
- Blue Brothers – screened as part of a surprise 50th birthday party for a friend and The Birmingham Breakfast Club blogger, Simon.
- The Italian Job – finally got round to seeing this classic British film with a score by a live orchestra. Read more here.
- Pin Cushion – another British film, this one tells the story of an eccentric mother and daughter who move to a new town and never really fit in. It’s a tragic tale about the affects of bullying.
- Halima’s Path – a grieving mother who loses her son in the Bosnian war must track down her estranged niece.
- First Reformed – the pastor of a small church has a crisis of faith, and a chance meeting with a depressed environmental activist and his pregnant wife only confuse things.
- Skyscraper – The Rock plays a security consultant whose in charge of a tower which is taken over by terrorists. Think Die Hard with less grit, but all the stunts you’d expect.
- Incredibles 2 – everyone’s favourite superhero family are back, with Elastigirl the main focus. Fun, a little too long (aren’t most films these days) and enjoyable, but didn’t feel as strong as the first.
What I’ve been reading…
I started one book, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, but temporarily put it down to read How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne. It’s the stroy of Tori Bailey, bestselling author of keep-it-real snarky self help manual might be flying off the shelves but her real life isn’t quite as perfect as it would seem.
I really enjoy Holly’s books, which are typically more Young Adult, but this first one for ‘grown ups’ which is more aimed at the twenty/thirty somethings and entirely relatable. Lazy reviewers might see the front cover and label it chick-lit, but there are some darker undertones, highlighting similar issues to some of Holly’s books aimed at younger women. I really enjoyed it as a read, a good reminder not to measure your life against other people’s, especially not their highlight reel against your real life. I hope Holly write some more books in this area.