International Women’s Day

I didn’t know there was a international women’s day. Did you? How many years have we had one? I had no idea!  As the only female in our household (even the dog is male, and I wouldn’t be surprised if my husband’s fish were too) you would be forgiven if you felt a little sorry for me.  Hold the sympathy’s though. Even though my life is enveloped in testosterone,  I have a super husband and 2 teenage boys who still give their mom a hug and kiss, not in public mind.   I would say its  women’s day every day.

Now then, I am sure, like me, you can think of many women  who have forged new trails, changed history etc. I am sure you can think of actresses, or movies about women that would be appropriate too. Well, I fancy celebrating women by watching a movie. I have an actress that I admire greatly, in a super  movie based on a true story. Three cheers for women power!

Calendar Girls

A group of friends support one of their own when her husband dies. As member’s of the local chapter of the Women’s Institute, they want to raise money for  a sofa for the local hospital in memory of him. Their idea on how to do that however, draws controversy.

Starring the great Helen Mirren, with support from a whole slew of fantastic English actress’s. Some of whom you should recognise.

Also check out Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine  Two movies about women, who are in a rut and don’t know how strong they are, until they change the course of their lives. 

Happy Women’s Day!


Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr Day

A few years ago, I was doodling around the Netflix website and found this great movie. It was made for HBO and as we don’t get HBO, it was totally new to me.  I decided to give it a try and just simply LOVED it. I love it when I find a gem. I love it even more when I can share it.

Something The Lord Made (2004)

Something The Lord Made, Movie PosterBased on the true storyof  Alfred Blalock a heart surgeon, and Vivien Thomas his assistant and their groundbreaking work in the 1940’s. A relationship that lasted more than 30 years, together they developed a shunt  technique to bypass the aortic coarctation. Yes, wasn’t too sure what that was myself, but stick with me.  It was while they were working on this, they were approached with the condition of what was called “Blue Baby Syndrome“. (heart defects, respiratory distress).  The subsequent experiments culminating in the first operation on a blue baby,  was the first successful heart operation on a human and started a new era of cardiac surgery while saving thousands of lives.

So, why this movie to celebrate MLK Day? Well, apart from it being such an inspiring, historical and well made movie. The relationship Blalock and Thomas shared was more than just a working one. You see, Blalock was white and Thomas was black. So when I say it’s inspiring, I have more than the medical miracle in mind.  On his way to medical school,  Vivien lost his savings in the financial crash during the Great Depression which changed the course of his life, but thankfully not his desire.  Without any further education beyond high school, Vivien rose above poverty and racism to become  a part of the cardiac surgery breakthrough.

The tone of the movie is subtle, yet can pierce the heart at times by such injustice. The performances by Alan Rickman as Blalock and Mos Def are spot on with Def  being a revelation in his role that to be honest, I did not think he had in him!

My son had to do a paper on a famous African American during Black History month a few years ago, he was so frustrated that he saw this movie a week to late to pick Vivien as his subject. Such is the inspiring story of Vivien, what he had to overcome and the grace and dignity in which he conducted himself in such trying circumstances. There was also no doubt as to the extent of his brilliance that matched such character.

So, if you need a family movie tonight, or any night for that matter. Do remember this one. I hope you are as inspired as I was.

Three 2 See

I LOVE Alan Rickman. He’s such a fine English actor. Here are my 3 favourite Rickman movies you may want to check out:

Die Hard” (1988)  Probably his most well known role outside of  “Harry Potter”. A delicious baddie, he practically stole the film from Bruce Willis.

Truly, Madly, Deeply” (1990)  A super little  English movie. He plays a recently deceased boyfriend who returns, (yes, returns),  to help his grieving girlfriend heal. A touching tale of love, loss and healing. Sounds boring and depressing, but there are wonderful comic touches and it’s such a well told story, so please don’t be put off.

Bottle Shock” (2008). The story of the new kid on the block versus the years of superiority of the French wine industry. NAPA Valley wines of the new world in California, take on the french in the 1970’s  to see just who’s wine is better!

IMDb Founder from Manchester… England

I saw a  great little piece in the Manchester Evening News the other day. Total news to me, I had no idea and felt so proud, I was positively teary.  So, for obvious reasons I just HAD to share it!

Put together an obsessed teenage movie fan and a new computer, and this is what you get. Col Needham 44,  loves movies SO much, he started  to compile a list to remember all the movies he was watching.  A self-confessed nerd, once he got  his computer, he started compiling all his information and the rest, as they, is history. The Internet Movie Database was born.

This started as a hobby as he worked his day job as a software developer in Bristol. The downloadable database started in the late 80’s which developed into one of the first internet sites in the early 90’s. Surviving the dot-com crash, it goes from strength to strength, recently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

It continues as the site of choice for movie fans, as well as people who work in the industry,  for the diversity  and clarity of information that has been gathered over the years. The site continues to grow at “an amazing rate” says Col, with about 100 million unique users a month.

Although selling the site to Amazon in 1998,  he is still very much involved with IMDb. He gets invited to film festivals and premieres and has his own team that continues to gather new information for the site. 

The article mentioned that one of his memories was going to the Manchester Odeon for the first Star Wars movie. I remember that too. I used to love going there every Friday.

Now the CEO of IMDb, this Mancunian millionaire is doing very well for himself, but has never forgotten his roots. “I’m just the guy from Manchester who is the founder of IMDb”.

Spoken like a true Manc.

As an aside. It was reported this week in the New York Times, that Manchester is one of the top 20  destinations that you need to visit.  Start spreading the news…    

A good week for the old home town I’d say 🙂