Victoria & Abdul

I went to the flicks to see Victoria & Abdul yesterday, not entirely sure whether this was a fictional story or a true one. Dame Judy Dench had always been a favourite, I loved her as M in the James Bond movies in recent years, so when I saw the shorts for this movie recently I knew I wanted to see it instantly.

The story starts with Abdul working in a prison in Agra, India recording prisoners information within a large book. On this day he’s told because he’s tall and has an impeccable record of service he’s to go to England to present a Mohur to Queen Victoria. He and another Indian fellow, a shorter replacement as the taller had fallen from an elephant, head off for England on a tall ship and arrive in ‘sunny’ old England, land of the blood sausage.

They are both quickly schooled in how to behave around the Queen when presenting the Mohur; Abdul breaks the rules much the the Queen’s delight and thus begins their great friendship. During the course of their friendship the Queen will learn Urdu, be schooled in Islam, and learn more about the land she was Empress of, India.

I so enjoyed this movie, it was really well made, and at its end a real tear jerker. Make time to go see.


King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

I headed off to the flicks on Thursday to the opening of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword aware that this movie hadn’t opened to big numbers in the USA. I hadn’t read any reviews, heck I hadn’t actually heard of it until the week before when I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and a trailer popped up.

I’ll start by saying I am not a fan of Guy Richie’s films, he has a quirky style of film making that has rarely appealed to me, and sadly I have to add King Arthur to that list. All was going okay, not fantastic mind, and then it got into Richie’s signature talking style which I absolutely hate, this continued several times throughout the movie and only served to annoy. I think had I bothered to look up the film on IMDB ahead of time and discovered it was Richie directing I might have given this a wide berth.

The movie basically tells how the sword came to be, and why Arthur was able to pull it out of the rock where none other were capable of doing so. It follows his life from boyhood and eventual rise to become King, overthrowing his uncle who stole his throne. The graphics are not half bad, and I don’t think David Beckham was quite so awful as the media had portrayed him, though I do think he’s better suited to the soccer pitch.

Apparently there’s meant to be six films in total, it will be interesting to see if studios are prepared to fund them, poor box office receipts in its opening weekend in the USA mean it’s going to have to rely upon places like China to get anywhere. I’m betting it’ll be a one-horse wonder. Save your dollars for Wonder Woman, I read last night reviewers were saying it’s pretty damned good… not long now.

Hidden Figures: An amazing movie

I saw an amazing movie today, Hidden Figures, though I’d heard not a thing about this movie until just over a week ago; perhaps the title was aptly chosen.


Hidden Figures is the story of three African-American women working at NASA within the Computing department, pre-electronic computing that is. It follows their very real struggle to be seen as equal to their non-African American colleagues; racism and segregation are key themes of the movie, but not forget the obvious brilliance of the women.

There are wonderfully powerful moments during the movie, one in particular when Katherine is questioned where she disappears each day for 40 minutes at a time, her response finally allows her colleagues to better understand her daily struggles; if you can maintain a dry eye in this scene you are better than me. Hidden Figures, like The Help, really serves to educate those of us who fortunate to never experienced racism that we might have a better understanding of what it feels like, how horrible it and its experience is.

Be sure to see this movie, either at the cinema or later on, it is a wonderful movie and I’m so glad they’ve taken time to tell their story. If Hidden Figures doesn’t walk away with a swathe of awards in the coming year I will be utterly surprised, the movie and its actors deserve recognition.


First day of two weeks annual leave kicked off today, nice to get up late rather than roll the wheels and park my arse in the office chair. I decided to check out the movie Snowden starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, telling the story of Edward Snowden from his days in the army hoping to become a member of the Special Forces, to eventually revealing his country was spying on its own people and many many more.

The movie flits back and forth between Snowden telling his story to select reporters in a Hong Kong hotel room, and showing us points in time that help us to understand Snowden’s life and what eventually led him to revealing the NSA’s spying regime. He initially trained at the CIA and received his training, the initial test expected to last 5 hours, he demonstrated clear skill finishing in 38 minutes by thinking out of the box.

Snowden was keen to serve his country, especially given he would not do so as a soldier, and upon completing his CIA training expected to be deployed but learned he would be needed to fight a new kind of war, cyber warfare. He ended up working around the world, Geneva, Japan and Hawaii, and the stress he endured ended up seeing him diagnosed with Epilepsy following a seizure when back in Maryland that eventually saw him agreeing to what would be his final appointment in Hawaii before outing the NSA’s activities.

It was incredible seeing how he managed to outwit security and get data out of a high security facility, so simple but effective given no one would expect it. The end of the movie had a bit of a twist, a good one. Worth a watch if you’ve not seen it, the story may be familiar given its news coverage, but you’ll get a lot more background and all well acted.