Record audience for Cinema Day

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The first of two Ellon Cinema Days this month was held on Sunday with Big Hero 6, Into the Woods and The Theory of Everything screened.

There was a record audience of 372 and a new volunteer-­run tuck shop made its debut at the Victoria Hall.

Ellon Cinema’s Vicki Morgan reviews two of the films.

Into the Woods

Taken from the original Broadway musical, Into the Woods is a menagerie of fairy­tales with a twist.

A baker and his wife are desperate to have a child but find out from the neighbourhood witch that she cursed the baker’s family due to his father stealing some vegetables from her long ago.

The couple must find a selection of items within three days, including a gold slipper, some golden hair and a red riding coat to break the curse.

They will then have children and the haggard old witch will be young and beautiful once more.

What follows is a melting pot of all the well-­known fairy tales we love, including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood but with a sinister undercurrent.

All the characters venture into the woods to seek what they wish for (like a dashing prince, magic beans, Grandma, etc.). However, the fate of the main characters run parallel to each other and eventually their stories become one.

Meryl Streep is the star of the show, being fantastic as the Wicked Witch and I think she duly deserved her Academy Award. Johnny Depp makes a welcome appearance as the Big Bad Wolf, and James Corden is fabulous as always.

This is a beautifully made film, the costumes are gorgeous and the settings are lovely. As a lass from the North ­East of England I was pleased to see Alnwick Castle being used once more in a film (best known for Hogwarts) and the woodland was very aptly spooky.

Looking beyond the singing which may eventually irritate the viewer, a downside to this film was that it should have ended half an hour before it did. The children did really well to sit through it all and it certainly isn’t a film for the really young, purely because a lot needs to be explained to them.

The musical side to the film may not be to everyone’s taste

musicals and was pleased to sit and watch it and probably would do again.

Gorgeous and thought­provoking but a little too long. 6/10

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything is based on the memoirs of ex­-wife of astro­physicist Stephen Hawking.

The film follows the love story of the Professor and Jane with the pair first meeting as young students at Cambridge University where their eyes met across a crowded room. The romance blossoms and it is clear the couple are a good match, albeit with differing interests and beliefs.

Jane is a devout Church of England member whereas Stephen is an atheist, however, Hawking’s search for the theory of time, the universe and everything fascinates them both with each hoping a solution would prove the other wrong.

Whilst at Cambridge the first symptoms of Motor Neuron Disease manifest and after a nasty fall and bump to the head, the disease is confirmed by doctors. Initially wanting to become a recluse in his university accommodation, Stephen is eventually lured back into the outside world by Jane who confesses her love for him.

Although having been diagnosed as having just two years to live, Stephen marries Jane and, defying all medical predictions, Stephen continues to live, albeit in a debilitated manner. Over the next decade the pair have children, whilst Stephen, although becoming less physically­able, continues his research, earns his doctorate and and eventually becomes a Professor.

The toll of bringing up three children as well as the physically and emotionally demanding task of looking after a totally dependent husband puts a strain on Jane and the couple’s marriage.

Help is found, however, in Jonathan, the local church choir master, who, as a young widower and having no children of his own, offers his services to helping the family. This is greatly received and the now extended family enjoy holidays together, although, rumours regarding the platonic friendship between Jane and Jonathan are rife.

However, it is made very clear in the film that this friendship was completely innocent until the Hawkings’ marriage had ended.

This is an incredibly moving and inspiring film, showing the determination of a man utterly debilitated by a wicked disease and the dedication and gusto of his wife. Eddie Redmayne certainly deserved his Oscar for his portrayal as Hawking, for most of the film I found it impossible to determine between the real Hawking and the actor.

Redmayne played the part so well with every minute mannerism honed perfectly, apparently due to cwatching hours of film footage of Hawking and meeting the man himself. I left the cinema expecting to feel sad and sorry for Hawking but this was not the case.

Well ­cast and well­ portrayed 8/10