BARBENHEIMER comes to the West Country courtesy of Moviola in November and December! The portmanteau word was coined for the cultural phenomenon of two vastly different blockbuster films being released at the same time in high summer. Barbie has, in the current jargon, absolutely smashed it at the box office. Oppenheimer has been slightly less of a popular hit but has attracted great reviews and many screenings, from multiplexes to arthouse cinemas, plus our own “rural multiplex” with its top film showings across the region (and as far away as Orkney).
Oppenheimer is the most requested Moviola film in November, with screenings at Yetminster (Jubilee Hall), Shepton Montague, Watchet (cinema), Beaminster (Public Rooms), Shrewton, Membury (Devon, Motcombe, Nether Wallop, Warminster (Civic Centre), Calne, Castle Cary (Caryford Hall), Bishops;tone (near Salisbury), South Petherton (David Hall), Crowcombe, Netherbury, Martock and Marnhull.
Starring the charismatic Cillian Murphy (whose credits run from Peaky Blinders to the painfully beautiful film Breakfast on Pluto) as Robert Oppenheimer, it is the story of the American theoretical physicist credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for his role in the Manhattan Project.
The film chronicles Oppenheimer’s career of Oppenheimer, including his direction of the Manhattan Project – the development of the first nuclear weapons during the latter part of the Second World War – and his eventual fall from grace due to his 1954 security hearing. The film also stars Emily Blunt as Kitty, Oppenheimer’s wife, Matt Damon as Lewis Groves, head of the Manhattan Project, Robert Downey Jr as US Atomic Energy Commission member Lewis Strauss, and Florence Pugh as Oppenheimer’s communist lover Jean Tatlock – plus Josh Hartnett, Casey Affleck, Rami Malek and Kenneth Branagh.
There are more screenings of Oppenheimer in December at Highcliffe (community centre), Hawkchurch, Kingsbury Episcopi, Chilthorne Domer, Charlton Marshall, Cheddon & West Monkton and West Camel.
Barbie, Greta Gerwig’s ironic, pink-saturated feature based on the famous Barbie doll, and starring the amazingly versatile Margot Robbie with Ryan Gosling as Ken. Gerwig’s screenplay is the first live-action Barbie film, based on the eponymous fashion dolls by Mattel. The story follows Barbie and Ken on a journey of self-discovery following an existential crisis.
In November, Moviola is showing it at Charlton Marshall and South Petherton (David Hall). It is December’s most requested film, with screenings at Beaminster (Public Rooms), Yetminster (Jubilee Hall), Motcombe, Hanging Langford, Watchet (cinema), Bransgore, Bradford on Avon (St Margaret’s Hall), Ditcheat (Jubilee Hall), Sixpenny Handley, Norton St Philip, Hythe (Parish Hall) and Warminster (Civic Centre).
Another film with several screenings in November is Ken Loach’s latest, The Old Oak, at Bradford on Avon (St Margaret’s Hall), Kingsbury Episcopi, Hanging Langford, Chard (Guildhall), Crowcombe, Frogham, Ditcheat (Jubilee Hall), Kingston St Mary and East Knoyle. In December, the film is being shown at Nether Wallop and Hardington Mandeville.
It is a powerful film set in a once-thriving former mining community in north east England, where the landlord of the village’s last remaining pub is struggling to survive. At the same time, there are rising tensions when a number of Syrian refugees are placed in empty houses in the community.
Other films being screened by Moviola up to Christmas are:
• What’s Love Got To Do With It? In November at Churchinford, Hawkchurch, Winsford, Sixpenny Handley, and West Camel; in December, Kingston St Mary, Shrewton, East Knoyle and Donhead St Mary.
• The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – (November) Codford St Peter (Woolstore Theatre), East Stour, Highcliffe, Bransgore, Hardington Mandeville, Edington (Somerset), Ringwood (Greyfriars, 2.30 and 7.30), Norton St Philip and Halstock; (December) Somerton Parish Rooms.
• And Then Come The Nightjars – (November) Donhead St Mary, Chilthorne Domer and Watchet (cinema); (December) Crowcombe, Winsford, Chard (Guildhall) and Kilmington (Devon).
• Hallelujah – (November) Cheddon & West Monkton and Hythe; (December) East Stour.
• Asteroid City – (November) Somerton (Parish Rooms).
• Local Hero, 40th anniversary screenings – (November) Odcombe and Winterslow.
Pictured: Oppenheimer, Barbie, The Old Oak.