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Another armoured car robbery. Will these men never learn?

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Apart from being one of the all-time great British comedies, The Ladykillers tells the story of a gang of hardened criminals attempting to rob an armoured car. Our next film starts with an identical premise, but what happens next is completely different. Payroll deals with the planning, execution and aftermath of a violent armoured car robbery in Newcastle (filmed on location). The robbery is successful in that the gang gets away with the money, but there are casualties on both sides, and (inevitably) everything begins to unravel very quickly.  There is emphatically no Mrs. Wilberforce in this film, and at first glance it might seem like an unusually macho selection for a film series entitled Ordinary Ladies . The robbers are all men, as are the drivers of the armoured car and the police who conduct the investigation. But that is exactly what makes the film interesting. Having dealt with the robbery, the film deftly pivots and carries on in a completely different direction, and it qui

Vixens & Floozies & Sexy Chanteuses

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 Your typical "heist" movie or "crime caper" tends to have typical stock female characters:  The Temptress.  The Shady Lady.  The Hussy...  …who of course is No Better Than She Oughta Be. These are the Bad Girls; the Femme Fatales (Femmes Fatale?) who are there to seduce the men, and Lead Them Down The Wrong Path. It's practically a requirement of the genre; for every man (or group of men) planning a heist or any other criminal endeavour, there will be a woman on hand to destabilise things, lead them away from the straight and narrow, and just generally Cause Problems.  When everything inevitably goes wrong at the end (remember, crime must always be punished) it's usually the Vixen's fault. Everyone (by which I mean "men") would have been much better off if they had just avoided her in the first place. Allow me to introduce Mrs. Wilberforce.  In The Ladykillers , Alec Guinness leads a group of rogues and vagabonds in a daring Armoured Car Robbe

Shall We Dance 2: Shall We Dancer

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Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers ("Fred & Ginger") made nine films together for RKO between 1933 and 1939. They were an incredibly popular and beloved duo and they helped pull America through the very difficult years of the Great Depression. You probably didn't need me to tell you any of that. This week's film is more about what happened next . Fred & Ginger went their separate ways after 1939; not because they had any kind of "falling out" but because their careers were on different trajectories. If anything, Ginger Rogers had been the more famous of the two of them when they were first teamed up; she was already an established Hollywood actress with a number of films to her credit, while Fred had never made a movie before and was known primarily for his Broadway partnership with his sister Adele (who was widely regarded as the more talented of the pair). Fred hoped to prove that he could be a box office draw without an "&" attached to h

Ordinary Ladies

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 It gives me great pleasure to announce a brand new series of films at the Victoria Park Baptist Church, beginning on Thursday, the 9th of June. Ordinary Ladies In 1989, Lindsay Crouse appeared in an episode of Columbo in which she plays a psychologist who murders her business partner/boyfriend after she discovers that he has been cheating on her. Being a well-respected sex therapist, she devises what she thinks will be the perfect murder. She arranges to meet her partner at a very public but slightly sleazy bar, and dresses up as a high-end call girl. He thinks that they are playing a wonderful new sex game, but of course she is performing for potential witnesses, who will testify that he hired the services of a prostitute who obviously killed him when things went sour. Meanwhile, she sets herself up with an alibi by appearing at a high-profile fund raiser before ducking into the bathroom and changing into her "call girl" persona. Thus bedecked, she walks right past her frie

10 Things I Love About "Kiss Me Kate"

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It gives me great pleasure to announce that we are screening Kiss Me Kate in 3D at the Victoria Park Baptist Church on Thursday, the 26th of May Kiss Me, Kate  (the stage version had a comma; the film doesn't) is of course a re-working of  The Taming of the Shrew . Almost five decades later, 10 Things I Hate About You would also use The Taming of the Shrew as its source, and as an appropriate tribute, I present the following list. 10 Things I Love About Kiss Me Kate 10. It's Shakespeare Okay, so this is one of Shakespeare's more problematic plays, but Shakespeare definitely knew how to write dialogue, and Cole Porter is one of the very few lyricists who could stand alongside him without looking foolish. Many scenes in Kiss Me, Kate are lifted directly from the source material, and some (not all) of the more uncomfortable elements are softened by the fact that the two female leads (Lilli Vanessi and Lois Lane) are shown to be very strong, independent women who are victim