Took myself out of town this week to my usual cinephile sanctuary Chapter to get my much-needed movie fix.
The Arts Centre is an absolute magnet for film fanatics like me. And now that it is starting to seriously step up its National Theatre Live showings, I may never ever leave.
So Saturday I nipped up the road to Canton and was soon settled in my fave seat ready for the reel to roll on Official Secrets.
Based on a true story, the movie tells the tale of Katharine Gun. In the lead-up to the Iraq War in 2003, the British intelligence specialist, played by Keira Knightly, receives a memo from the NSA with a shocking directive.
United States is enlisting Britain’s help in collecting compromising information on UN Security Council members to blackmail them into voting in favour of an invasion of Iraq.
Unable to stand by and watch the world be rushed into war, Gun makes the gut-wrenching decision to defy her government and leak the memo to the press.
A true and gripping tale of integrity that shines the spotlight on the Blair and Bush administrations and their security services.
It also shows the role that the Observer newspaper, and organisation Liberty played in fighting Katherine’s corner.
I thoroughly enjoyed the compelling, and what has been described as ‘beady-eyed’ spy drama.
I also, as you may know, thoroughly enjoy Chapter – and it’s cafe, cinema, gallery, theatre…plus those very chilled bottles of my favourite Italian Peroni.
I absolutely adore settling down in their cinemas, both of which are inclusive, intimate, compact and cute.
For me, this is a refreshing antidote to the outrageously expensive big brazen cinema chains.
As a die hard Cinephile, I also relish their extensive range of viewings. They show queer, foreign, and classic, films plus biographies, music and other documentaries.
But it’s certainly not just for the niche. They also show the big Blockbusters too.
Recently, I’ve seen everything from Judy to Bohemian Rhapsody to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to name but a few.
Also seen the highly commercial Bourne movie series there. too. Love a bit of Jason – I think he’s better than Bond.
And, before you ask, yes soon to be school holiday knackered parents, they also show all the Disney and others new releases for the kids.
Be warned though, although you can catch an ice cold Peroni, or a cheeky G&T in the well-stocked bar, there’s no food or drink allowed in the cinemas.
So if your experience has to include a bucketful of popcorn, seven packs of sweets, four Hot Dogs and a litre bottle of a coke in a cup, best trot up the road to Vue.
But if you fancy a different kind of vibe in a busy, bustling venue on the outskirts of the city, then Chapter is for you.
I’ve been going for about thirty years, so it’s about time I cordially invited you all along.
Go on try it, you might like it!
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Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.
She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer girl, done good.