Sadly, due to lockdown restrictions we are unable to hold screenings since our last one in February. However, we live in hope …

Our Film Club represents a fun, friendly and sociable night out, meeting regularly to watch some great movies on a big screen in our Parish Hall on Towers Avenue. Entry is free and all are welcome. Tables and chairs are arranged so everyone can sit in comfort and enjoy any food and drink they might bring along.

From Martin Wheeler:

The Holy Name Film Club has been running for over two years now. Ian and I thank everyone who has come to see a film with us, it has been a great pleasure spending the evening with you to watch some fantastic films. Entrance is free and everybody is welcome, so why not come along and see a great film?

While new box office hits can be seen at the local cinema, our Film Club provides us with the opportunity to see on a big screen both classic films one has seen before but also all sorts of enjoyable films, mainstream and more obscure and of every era, of which one might not be aware. And with the company of friends and the opportunity to indulge yourself with any food and drink you might want to take along for yourself during the showing, it represents a fun, sociable and thoroughly enjoyable evening.


On Friday 28 February 2020 Film Club will be showing Legally Blonde, the 2001 comedy directed by Robert Luketic and starring Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair and Jennifer Coolidge. Elle Woods, in a hugely entertaining performance by Witherspoon, is a naturally blonde fashion merchandising college student from LA, dumped by her politically ambitious boyfriend because “I need to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn”. Determined to win him back, she pursues him to Harvard law school, where, unexpectedly, she discovers she has a brain and that there can be more to life than Clinique, beauty and hair care and accessorising. Come and see this witty, charming and hilarious SoCal meets East Coast comedy – and learn a cool trick that is guaranteed to get you the attention of everyone in the room: the Bend and Snap!

On Friday 31 January 2020 the first of Film Club’s guest presenters, John Waddell, chose and introduced The Matrix (1999), written and directed by the Wachowskis and starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving. In this classic of science fiction/action, as John says, “ingenious science fiction and innovative action meets perception of reality and nature of the human spirit”.

In November we featured Mississippi Burning, released in 1988 and directed by Alan Parker and starring Gene Hackman, Willem Defoe and Frances McDormand. Based on actual events, the film tells of the murder by the Ku Klux Klan of three civil rights activists and the efforts of two investigating FBI officers to penetrate the resentful wall of silence from the local people and law enforcement officers. Though the film was criticised on release by some in the civil rights movement, the distinguished critic Roger Ebert described it as having “an acute sense of time and place”; “no other movie I’ve seen”, he said, “captures so forcefully the look, the feel, the very smell of racism”. With great performances by its leads, it’s the work of a great British director at the height of his powers and one not to be missed.

Our previous screening on Friday 6 September, in tribute to the great icon of British popular culture Barbara Windsor, Film Club was Carry On Spying, directed in 1964 by Gerald Thomas and starring Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor, Charles Hawtrey and Bernard Cribbins. An incompetent agent of the British Secret Service and his three trainees is sent on a mission to Vienna to recover a top secret chemical formula stolen by STENCH (Society for the Total Extinction of Non-Conforming Humans). A satire on the British establishment and popular spy films like The Third Man and James Bond, the film received critical acclaim on its release and is one of the best of the series, fast-paced, full of laugh out loud set pieces and comic performances and featuring a fresh-faced Carry On team at the height of their powers.


On Friday 14th June in tribute to the late, great Doris Day, Holy Name Film Club had 50 guests enjoying the 1964 comedy Send Me No Flowers, directed by Norman Jewison and starring Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Tony Randall. In the film self-pitying hypochondriac George Kimball mistakenly believes he is about to die and, with the aid of his maudlin, increasingly inebriated best friend Arnold, determines to protect his wife from the ordeal and ensure she is taken care of when he is gone, but his attempts to find her a new husband go seriously awry. Day/Hudson/Randall comedies were a genre all of their own and, with the perfect comic timing of its three stars and the Technicolor dream world of pastel coloured 1960s suburban Americana, the film is a delightful confection of comic froth and an absolute treat to see on the big screen.


As part of the Jesmond Festival, our screening on Friday 17th May featured the 1958 crime noir masterpiece Touch of Evil, directed by and starring Orson Welles, with Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Akim Tamiroff and Marlene Dietrich. It is a story of crime, corruption, drugs and racial tension, set in a sleazy Mexican-American border town of bars and strip clubs, and the clash between Heston’s Mexican drug enforcement officer Mike Vargas and Welles’ corrupt police chief Hank Quinlan. Deeply atmospheric, by turns melancholic and shocking and full of great performances, the film is revered by directors and critics alike for the brilliance of Welles’ cinematography and is an undisputed noir classic.


On Friday 26 April we viewed the cult 1994 Australian comedy-drama Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, directed by Stephan Elliott and starring Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving. An unexpected critical success on release, it tells the story of two drag queens and a transgender woman from Sydney travelling across the outback in a battered old bus to perform at a night club in Alice Springs. With powerful performances from its stars, an arresting use of the vast landscapes of the Australian outback and irresistible and riotously glam musical numbers (it won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design), the film perfectly combines outrageous comedy with tenderness and humanity, a deeply enjoyable and life-affirming party of movie that should not be missed.


On Friday February 22 February we enjoyed Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Academy Award nominated 1958 psychological noir thriller Vertigo, starring James Stewart, Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes. Stewart plays a retired cop in San Francisco who is caught up in a dizzying vortex of obsession, illusion and murder. Shot in gorgeous Technicolor and saturated with a dream-like melancholy and repressed eroticism, the film’s beautiful, haunting cinematography is matched with a sumptuous, emotionally-charged score by Hitchcock’s go-to composer Bernard Herrmann. Vertigo replaced Citizen Kane as the greatest film ever made in the 2012 British Film Institute’s critics’ poll and will be an utter feast to see on the big screen.


On Friday 11 January we viewed the 2016 comedy Hail Caesar!, written and directed by the Coen brothers and starring a stellar cast that includes George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johannson and Channing Tatum. The film is a hugely entertaining affectionate homage to the art of film making in general and the Hollywood studio system of the 1950s in particular and tells the story of Capitol Pictures producing a Biblical epic along the lines of Ben Hur. The Cold War, American paranoia about Communism and the tyranny of the poisonous gossip columnists all provide a background for a comedic feast of hilarious set pieces, character performances and hugely entertaining musical numbers. If you love 50s Hollywood cinema, Hail Caesar! is not to be missed!

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