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Film Review: Northern Soul

15 (102 min)
Director: Elaine Constantine
Cast: Elliot James Langridge, Josh Whitehouse, Antonia Thomas, Jack Gordon, Steve Coogan
English | 2014

Northern Soul is a cracking British film. It achieves its aim superbly of invoking the spirit of the generation. The dissolution and anger of the Northern youth was depicted effectively as they found an escape route in American Soul music on northern dance floors under the influence of narcotics. This was the backdrop for a charming and funny, if a little predictable coming of age film. The performances are great, it’s a gripping ride and there’s even space for Steve Coogan. Nice one.

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Film Review: Magic in the Moonlight at mac birmingham

12A (98 min)
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Eileen Atkins
English | 2014

Magic in the Moonlight is a charming, whimsical tale that is entertaining without ever being enthralling. Set in the 1920s French Riviera, it is shot beautifully and invokes the trademark feeling that I get when sat in front of the latest Woody Allen cinematic slice. Colin Firth is his usual debonaire self, this time as a world famous illusionist with an enormous ego hellbent on exposing fraudulent mystics, and Emma Stone is generally captivating barring a few uncomfortably modern line readings as the fraudster in his sights. It was witty, classy and clichéd. I watched with content which then turned to pride after I correctly guessed the major plot twist 20 minutes before it happened. It has nowhere near the amount of bite as Allen’s last film, Blue Jasmine, but it was a worthwhile 100 minutes spent, even if the predictable love story between the 54 year old Firth and 25 year old Stone is quite gross.

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Film Review: The Riot Club at mac birmingham

15 (107 min)
Director: Lone Scherfig
Cast: Max Irons, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger, Jessica Brown Findlay
English | 2014

I went into this film having read the play on which it is based, Posh, only a few days ago. It was therefore an interesting experience to see how the film made the leap from stage to screen. It’s certainly been Hollywoodified in order to appeal to a broader audience and a new love interest has been woven in who accentuates the class divisions explored in the film. This new take means the portrayal of class division is more blunt and subtlety is certainly not one of its strengths, but the very strong cast featuring some of the leading lights of the new generation of British acting talent charm, dazzle and repulse. As a young fresh faced actor it feels like I’m receiving a constant Chinese burn when watching a 28 year old play an 18 year old but personal gripes aside, Max Irons and Sam Claflin in particular offer superb performances.

Written by Laura Wade and directed by Lone Scherfig, the film offers a hypothetical example of what the high-class youngsters of the Riot Club (based on Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club) could be capable of and what their ideology might be and it is an entertaining ride. It is easy to be seduced by the allure and mystique of the club and its members in the first half before it all turns sour as their behaviour descends into repugnance.

The film also suggests that the club holds enormous influence in who holds high political and financial positions. It is hard to know what to believe about the real elite dining clubs of Oxford but there is something about the concept of out of control over-privileged toffs running amok that is richly intriguing.

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Cannon Hill Collective ’14/15 Week One Blog

Tuesday 7th October

This years incarnation of the Cannon Hill Collective began in terrific style at 6pm today. At least I hope it did, having missed the first 7 minutes due to painstaking traffic on the Bristol Road I have had to fill in the blank (So sorry – I vow to do my utmost to never miss a moment more).

However, upon arrival I was immediately in the grasp of our first challenge, which was centred on ACTIVE LISTENING. Hearing that I was developing this skill left my mum VERY pleased.

After being split into groups, one person was asked to sit in a chair with everybody else sat on the floor around them. Whoever was in the chair then spoke for a minute about anything; themselves, what they do, what they like or maybe how their day had been. Each floor dweller was given a different category, so that when the speaker mentioned something that fit within their category, they would note it down. In my group the categories were:

a) facts

b) passions

c) emotions

d) intuition (meaning what could be inferred either verbally, maybe through the subtext of what they were saying or non-verbally by reading their body language)

Once everybody had a go at being speaker and master of each category, the unlucky Louisa was left as the odd one out having not had a chance to speak. She then did so with every hawk-like member of the collective studying her every word and move.

Active Listening Exercise

(Please excuse my embarrassing scribble)

Some things that came out of the exercise was that we can all be very intent listeners, that whilst some of us feel at ease performing to crowds, to talk openly and honestly about ourselves is out of our comfort zone, and that many of us aren’t aware of our physical ticks and idiosyncrasies.


Another fascinating exercise untaken was silent speed networking/dating. We were handed paper and pens and had one minute to communicate solely by drawing or writing. Amy Martin, our phenomenal facilitator, noted that this exercise is a great leveller that numbs the potency of the loudest voice in the room to dominate networking. My proudest discovery during this task was to find out that Jordanne was best friends at school with my best friend’s sister, who I have known for her entire life. Cool.

The two-hour introductory blast of interdisciplinary and collaborative development ended with parish notices and admin, making sure everybody was on the same page and knew about how the programme will run and what our first bit of homework is going to be!

And that was week one. Hasta Luego.