8:00 PM, 24th August, 2007
A mouse living in the home of Johann Strauss Jr. in 19th-Century Vienna cannot resist dancing to waltz music - which gives the masters cat a chance to catch him. This cartoon, unusually non-violent for Tom and Jerry, won the cat-and-mouse pair their seventh Oscar.'
8:08 PM, 24th August, 2007
I think it takes amazing talent to compose symphonic music, but how do you do it when you cant even hear the music? Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) went deaf in 1802. This film is a dramatised account of the lead up to the first performance on May 7, 1824 of his final symphony: Symphony No.9 in D Minor, Op. 125, when he was profoundly deaf, cantankerous and eccentric. Fictional Anna Holtz (Kruger) is an aspiring composer dispatched by the School of Music to hand copy Beethoven's (Harris) score for the orchestra to rehearse. After a tempestuous start, Holtz's talent shines however she dares to correct compositional errors: something Beethoven considers impossible for any musician, particularly a woman.
Apart from the glorious music, the outstanding element of this film is Ed Harris, who has developed a niche market portraying creative maniacs, e.g. painter Jackson Pollock. Harris's father was a musician, which adds to his interpretation of the volatile nature of Beethoven's behaviour.
Leonard Bernstein regards Beethoven as the best composer ever: see this film and you may recognise the Ninth Symphony's choral finale as the anthem of the European Union. If you are not already a fan you'll comprehend why 20,000 people attended Beethoven's funeral. Warnings: parts of this film are visually dreary, but we are talking early 1820's Vienna, not Versailles. There are also scenes involving mooning and other sexually discriminatory practices employers should not replicate in the modern workplace.'
9:00 PM, 24th August, 2007
Be warned: there is going to be plenty of gushing in the next 200 or so words, as Brief Encounter is one of my Top 5 films of all time.
This is the story of two middle-class suburbanites, Laura and Alec, who, despite being married to other people, start to form an affectionate connection even though it seems that the relationship is doomed from the start. Can true love prevail?
In my opinion, this film is the best, most poignant love story ever committed to celluloid. Every time I see it I get swept away in its narrative. Celia Johnson, as Laura, gives one of the best female performances of all time - I fall in love with her on every viewing. There are also great supporting performances (recognise Albert? Its Eliza Dolittle's dad from My Fair Lady!). David Lean's direction is impeccable. At the end, when the lights go up, the guy sitting in the back row, pretending he has something in his eye: that will be me, because I cry every time I see it!This may not be the film for people who usually like their romance movies featuring Drew Barrymore or Matthew McConaughey - it may be too English for their tastes. However, I strongly urge everyone to experience Brief Encounter at least once in their lifetime, and this is the ideal opportunity.'