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The future is bright: you can still see Paddington 2

Script writer Karin Johnstone looks at some upcoming cinema treats…

I recently got back from a conference in Berlin about technology supported learning. The main theme was how workplaces, governments and societies are going to deal with uncertainty. An uncertain future where 65% of jobs are roles that have not even been invented yet. Going to University, training for a job, working until 60 something and retiring is an outdated notion.

We are leaving behind the information age and entering the augmented era. Robotics, big data, artificial intelligence will be where it’s at. It is already here but you probably are not aware of it yet. Your Christmas present this year from Amazon was delivered by a little robot to the packer, a human. Soon a drone will be delivering it to your door – do you offer it a cup of tea? Self-driving cars are already being tested – handy to get you home after a pint or two.

Does this signal a bleak Dystopian future? Apparently not – you will still be able to raise a glass shortly to welcome in 2018. The reason is that robotics is good for some things but you cannot beat the human brain for creativity and adaptability – it why us Homo Sapiens have been around for the last 200,000 years.

What does this mean for you and me? It means that if you are agile enough you can start to create your own future. In my industry of film and television it’s good news. Companies like Netflix are welcoming scripts from writers who would traditionally not get a look in at somewhere like the BBC or large film studios.

The Duffer brother’s rose to fame quite meteorically when Sci-fi Stranger Things became the biggest streamed programme for Netflix in 2017.  If you get your small production team together you can produce a film creating short podcasts or webisodes. The horror film Stake Land (2010) started as a series of webisodes and then got picked up on a funded to become a feature film. You can have your own You Tube TV channel too if you like.

A man who faced the same type of technological challenges in his day was a Mr. Charles Dickens who had to contend with an incredible rate of change in the industrial age of the mid 19th Century. The Man Who Invented Christmas, featuring Dan Stevens as Dickens, is a new take on the Christmas Carol – with a clichéd storyline of a writer who can’t think of a story. Scrooge is portrayed by the charming octogenarian Christopher Plummer. This film is a fun take on the Christmas Carol narrative.

If you haven’t seen Paddington 2 yet then you can catch this at the Errol Flynn Film House. Al, a friend of mine sat grumpily whilst the rest of his family giggled their way thought it. He thought that they could have written better characters for some of the great actors in it such as Jessica Hynes and that there was too much slapstick. I suspect his expectations were a bit high. It is a children’s film and does not have an extra layer of humour for adults.

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If you have joined Trilogy gym with renewed New Year resolution vigour then with your Gold membership you will get access to free movies at Lings Forum Cinema. Check out the drama of The Florida Project, directed by Sean Baker. The film is a window into the parenting styles of young single mothers who live vicariously in a motel in the Florida state. Bobby, played by Willem Dafoe, is the hotel manager. His character is beautifully rendered as a compassionate man who watches over the children and their mothers. We really get the feeling of running around with 6-year-old Moonee and her little mates creating havoc in the area.

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The warm colour palette by cinematographer Alexis Zabe lulls you into a false sense of security – everything being relaxed and lovely. You don’t notice the shift in how deeply immoral and sad this situation is until towards the end of the film. It kind of reminded me of Andrea Arnold’s bleak film Fish Tank, which follows a teenager round a British council estate. Depending on your take of the future and 2018 you can go for a range of feel good movies or deeply depressing ones. Whichever filmic road you choose I wish you all the very best in the New Year.

The Man Who Invented Christmas – Forum Cinema

22nd & 23rd Dec

27 & 28th Dec

The Florida Project – Forum Cinema

10th & 11th Jan

Paddington 2 – Errol Flynn Filmhouse

Dec 29 to January 4

 

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