Northumbria Region’s BIG EVENT on July 24th 2012 at Walbottle Campus – celebrating 30 years of the U3A

The above event went very well indeed.   Seaham Harbour U3A’s presentation was very well received and praised to the hilt.  The theme was, somewhat naturally, our nearness to the sea including the sand, shells, lobsters, crab pots – you name it.  The sea was represented by lovely silky blue fabric which was extremely effective.  Sailors and pirates joined in too!

There were some excellent workshops, demonstrations and stands, including art, crafts, wine-tasting, birdwatching, natural history, bridge, choir, essential oils, line dancing and many many more.

It was obvious that a lot of work had gone into the all-round organisation of the day and grateful thanks are due to the stalwarts from Seaham Harbour U3A who put together our presentation (accompanied by some wonderful sea shanties) and all its accoutrements, and manned the station all morning.

An excellent time was had by all from Seaham Harbour U3A who attended.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – Friday 24 February 2012

This was the first outing of the Seaham Harbour U3A Cinema Group.

A poignant film, focusing on that time of life that can be truly scary, getting old: in this case involving loss of a partner; financial and health worries; a long and unfulfilled marriage; a search for a lost love; loneliness and …  retirement, what to do next?

Our cinemagoers rated the film 10/10, “very good to excellent” and it was enjoyed by all.

There was empathy with, and sympathy for, the characters and their problems and India was honestly portrayed, warts and all.

It was funny …

“I can’t plan that far ahead – I don’t even buy green bananas”

“I’ve still got it.  I just can’t find anybody that wants it”

“I’m single – it’s a choice … not mine”

“If I can’t pronounce it I don’t want to eat it”

“I’m gay … these days more in theory than in practice.”

“When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.”

And Judy Dench’s description of “dunking” (a biscuit) was so surprising, I felt I was hearing about it for the first time and that it must be a simply wonderful experience!

…  it was touching … in its exploration of how its characters evolve to reach a state of acceptance and/or contentment with their lives and status.   We couldn’t fail to note the symbolism of a white bird taking off into the blue skies which we interpreted as freedom from guilt at first, and then later, and in addition, the release of a soul.

In the words of the film …

“Failure is not to try … success is how we deal with disappointment”

“We get up in the morning, we do our best.  Nothing else matters.”

VERDICT:  A really lovely film and well worth seeing

Do you agree with our review?

The Artist

The Artist – Thursday 15 March 2012

There were mixed opinions on this film.  Ratings ranged from  4 to 9, average 7/10 overall.

The Group’s comments were:  film quite flat, with little emotion and not worthy  of all the Oscars; the storyline was weak but probably fitting for a silent movie; clever camera angles and shots; music atmospheric; tapdancing great.

Everyone agreed that the dog stole the film!    Uggie showed that he had more sense than most of the cast, especially when he ran for help when George set his apartment on fire and anxiously pestered his owner as he was contemplating suicide.   The dog was a complete star and without him the film would have been very much the poorer.

The storyline was fairly predictable (with shades of A Star is Born and Singing in the Rain amongst others).  It’s hard to believe that many people at the time thought that talkies wouldn’t last – George amongst them in this case.   The obvious attraction between the two leads never did quite fully develop but a happy ending was certainly implied.   As noted by one of our Group, the somewhat simplistic storyline was conducive to a silent movie script, or vice versa, as a more complicated story wouldn’t have worked in silent mode.

The occasional use of sound is surprising, for example, during the scenes where George realises that SOUND is coming into his world, yet his voice is silent, and after the final tap dancing sequence, when he says “With pleasure” the only words we hear him utter; on the other hand the written word “Bang” was a bit of a shock until we realised it referred to the car crashing into a tree rather than a gunshot.

Jean Dujardin who played the part of George Valentin gave an excellent and riveting performance, his expressive face and eyes were a joy to behold, especially his beautiful and captivating SMILE – very much appreciated by a group of “us laydees”.

Berenice Bejo as Peppy was beautifully expressive too.

Uggie the Dog, simply adorable.

Despite the variable ratings, we were all happy to have seen the film!

VERDICT: Charming – do you agree?


Cinema Group - TrishnaTrishna – Monday 19 March 2010

Our group saw this film at Tyneside Cinema – the Silver Screen showing, following which there is a regular discussion group.

The cinema was nearly full for this screening which leaves no doubt that we need to book in advance for Silver Screen and turn up early too in order to get group seats together.

Our group opinion was that it was a thought-provoking film with a real insight into the Indian lifestyle.  Settings were colourful, chaotic and bustling.   Sandra’s cutting from the Sunday Times “The Indian Highway Code” sprang to mind!

The story, based on Tess of the d’Urbervilles, differed from it not only in the location and time period but in the fact that only one male is involved.   In Tess of the d’Urbervilles, there were two men, one whom Tess hated and the other she loved.   This film combined the qualities of both those males in one.   Someone in the discussion group pointed out the similarities between 19th century England and modern day India as far as acceptable moral values.   Trishna, as a character, is quite one-dimensional, much more subservient and impressionable throughout than Tess, and can’t walk away from abuse.   Tess, although innocent at first, seemed to learn from her experiences and differed from Trishna in that she neither fitted into the class she was born into nor the upper one into which her father tried to push her.   The less said about the male character in the film Trishna the better!  The denouement reflected Trishna’s descent into self-loathing and humiliating family dishonour rather than the result of any judicial retribution.

VERDICT:  Interesting – what did you think? 


Headhunters | Cinema GroupHeadhuntersTyneside Cinema 10 April 2012

Headhunters has been billed as a possible cult classic.  We voted it 8/10

Our group generally felt that the storyline and basis for the conflict was improbable, with weak reasoning given for the extreme, though riveting, violent action with nice twists and turns, delivered with a spot of black humour, which takes up most of the film.

The Villain wants to infiltrate the Hero’s recruitment company as CEO to gain access to its technology.   That was the reason given unless I missed something.  But why he should want to do that when his own company has such amazing technology of its own, I don’t know.  They allegedly created GPS and discovered micro-tracking systems, which comes in handy.

The ultimate conflict between baddy and goody is wildly entertaining and gruesome, with plenty of gasps, cringes and the odd titter from us.  It was nail-biting, with “jump in your seat” moments.

The Hero, not a likeable person to begin with, “finds himself” during his trials, and not to give too much away (although maybe I am?) is transformed into Mr Nice Guy, happy with a simpler life-style.

Verdict: A good enjoyable thriller despite flaws

What did you think about Headhunters?