‘Luke and Jon’ is a heart-warming tale of Jon who, after the death of his mother, moves to a scruffy northern town with his almost entirely mute father who is drinking heavily. Jon meets Luke, a boy in 1950s clothes with a side parting and a twitch. The kids at school refer to Luke as “slackjaw”. Luke has a secret, though, and when Jon finds it out it changes everything for Jon and his dad.
‘Luke and Jon’ is a coming of age story about family, death, depression, friendship and redemption. Robert Williams’ debut novel is really impressively written and has a lot of heart. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, it’s heart warming and, at times, funny.
Shortlisted, rightfully, for several awards, ‘Luke and Jon’ won the Betty Trask Award – and rightfully so.
I’ve woken up this morning to torrential rain and the prospect of a miserable weekend, meteorologically speaking. Let’s face it, even if we went out and about through the day, Saturday night TV is appalling now. So I’ve come up with a list of films to keep you entertained. Not all of these will appeal to everyone but hopefully you’ll find something to keep you busy during these miserable days.
- The Dark Knight: even without all of the hype surrounding Heath Ledger’s death, this film remains an amazing spectacle. Although I’m a total Batman nut, I reckon even non-fans would enjoy this cracking story. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/r32Au9
- My Name is Khan: a little-known Bollywood film about a wonderful man with autism who finds love but goes on a quest to prove his religion’s innocence after 9/11. So moving, one of the best film I’ve ever seen. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/oaBRcx
- Away We Go: a cracking indie comedy-drama about a couple trying to decide where to raise their unborn baby. A stellar cast and an unusual story. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/nKtya3
- Kill Bill Vol. 1: the first Tarantino film I ever watched and what a film! It’s got a great soundtrack, in true Tarantino style and it’s really intelligent. It is full of violence and gore as well as profanities, stay away if you don’t like that stuff! The 2nd one is worth a watch to finish the story but I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/r84qhV
- Hairspray (2007): a great feel-good film with songs that will make you want to sing and dance along. It has got a very serious message at the heart of it too, it’s not all fluff. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/qqnYeX
- A Lot Like Love: a chick flick but a little bit different from the usual narrative. Starring Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet about a couple whose relationship develops over the course of seven years. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/rqrruV
- Crash (2004): Oscar-winning drama about racial and social tensions in LA. The ensemble cast and their interlinking stories paint a realistic, but quite scary, picture. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/qCHeUO
- Gremlins: one of my childhood favourites although I’m not quite sure why I was allowed to watch this during my formative years. A classic set at Christmas-time, featuring lots of black humour. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/mYs4U6
- One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest: Based on the Ken Kesey novel about sane people in insane places and how certain behaviour in certain settings can be misinterpreted. It also is a study on mental illness and friendship. Winner of 5 Academy Awards. The book is also a really great read. Order your copy of the DVD here: http://amzn.to/o1xkN2
- In The Loop: based on the wonderful ‘The Thick of It’ by Armando Iannucci, this film follows behind-the-scenes advisers who are working to prevent or promote a war in the Middle East. A great cast and a hilarious script. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/nrrmEj
- V For Vendetta: a Wachowski brothers thriller based on the Alan Moore and David Lloyd comic/graphic novel. Rather 1984-esque where the totalitarian government in London rule with an iron fist but revolution is coming. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/nhSffw
- The History Boys: featuring the original stage cast – including Dominic Cooper and Jame Corden - about eight grammar school boys in Sheffield in 1983 hoping to get into Oxbridge. Funny and touching. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/p5wULQ
- The Hours: one to watch if you’re feeling depressed, or perhaps not. Based on the Michael Cunningham novel, it follows three women at various stages in time linked by Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs Dalloway’. An intricate study of mental illness. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/ocZq0X
- The Shining: a writer (Jack Nicholson) accepts a job as off-season caretaker of an isolated hotel. Soon after he moves his wife and son into the hotel, they’re cut off by a snow storm and very strange things start happening. A must-see, with the lights on. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/owEJb5
- Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory: another childhood favourite of mine. Gene Hackman embodies Willy Wonka as he invites golden ticket holders into his factory. It’s a sad, funny and ultimately uplifting story. The 2005 remake is not a patch on this. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/q66wNK
- Four Lions: a really original British comedy about a group of British Jihadists who decide to blow up the London marathon. This satire is directed by Brass Eye’s Chris Morris and stars the wonderful Kayvan Novak (Phone/Facejacker). It may not be for everyone due to its subject but if you take it in the way it is intended, it really is very silly and therefore very funny. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/pw1gVL
- Bobby: a fictionalised account of the hours before the assassination of Robert Kennedy at The Ambassador Hotel in LA. The film centres on a stellar ensemble cast going about their business in the hotel but is intercut with actual footage of Senator Kennedy. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/qyupsN
- Donnie Darko: a mind-bending thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a troubled teenager who looks for an answer to the troubling visions he’s been having. Do not bother with the sequel. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/qUuzfX
- East is East: a cracking film about a mixed ethnicity family living in Lancashire in 1971. The father wants his children to behave according to traditional Pakistani rules but they’re increasingly rebellious. It’s not only funny but sad. Such an honest portrayal. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/ppi7ep
- Forrest Gump: one of my all-time favourite films. Funny, moving, intelligently done. Incorporating Forrest into a series of real events was a touch of genius. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/p8Rldr
- The Silence of the Lambs: based on the novel by Thomas Harris, the film focuses on Clarice Starling, a young FBI agent, who asks for Hannibal Lecter’s help in apprehending Buffalo Bill. Scary and gory, a classic. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/nEutsI
- Carrie: another Stephen King adaptation. The story of a social reject who gets her revenge after being humiliated one too many times. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/qc97WU
- Halloween: The first appearance of Michael Myers, one of the creepiest serial killers in cinematic history. Although I have seen every one of the franchise, this remains a classic. Order your copy here: http://amzn.to/nXdOkB
Hope you find something that tickles your fancy…..
When I saw the critics calling this “the female Hangover” I thought it was just a buddy movie for girls. I didn’t realise it was literally going to be like ‘The Hangover’ with plenty of swearing, arguing and toilet humour. I should have known when I saw Judd Apatow’s name on the poster.
‘Bridesmaids’ focuses on Annie, a thirty-something singleton who is at a low point in her life since losing her dream bakery, her boyfriend and all of her savings. Annie shares an apartment with Matt Lucas and his crazy sister, resisting her mum’s advice to move home. Only her friendship with Lillian (played by Maya Rudolph) keeps her going. When Lillian gets engaged she asks Annie to be her maid of honour. Lilian also has her sister-in-law-to-be (the best character in the film), two other friends and her fiance’s boss’s wife - Rose Byrne plays Helen - as bridesmaids.
What follows is a silly but funny, and scarily accurate portrayal of female relationships. Helen and Annie are clearly jealous of each other’s friendship with Lillian but have to spend a lot of time together in the run-up to the wedding. Helen is rich and vain with connections Annie could only dream of. Helen gets the girls into a bridal shop without an appointment, books tickets for a hen do to Las Vegas and overrules Annie at every turn.
Throughout this, Annie is still trying to put her life together, doing a crappy job, seeing a bloke who doesn’t respect her, flirting with a guy who is so much nicer (The IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd) and being evicted but Lillian isn’t around to talk to.
These set-ups provide some genuinely funny and sad moments. I personally enjoyed the jokes that involved less vulgarity but that’s personal choice. I was surrounded in the cinema by women crying with laughter. What I liked about ‘Bridesmaids’ was that it was so realistic in its portrayal of women and their relationships with each other. We’ve all known a Helen and have often felt like Annie. We do have bodily functions, swear and have sex. It’s silly and sentimental – so are we.
This film will not only apply to women but also men, no mean feat.