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My first column of the year begins not with the ill-informed and poorly thought out rants that readers of this publication will have become accustomed to, but rather with a book recommendation. The book is entitled Hollywood Stories, and was written by Stephen Schochet, a tour guide from Hollywood. Hollywood Stories is a collection of very short stories plucked from the past 100 years of history of the centre of the U.S film industry, and adapted from a one minute radio feature that Schochet hosts.
Unfortunately the book contains a lot of guff. However, if you’re willing to overlook the rather tepid stories about Frederick MacMurray being unwilling to tip a shoeshine boy fifty cents, and the authors experience with some incredibly “witty” colleagues there are some real gems within the book. Without wishing to spoil the highlights of the book, some of my personal favourites include villagers in Uganda becoming convinced Forrest Whittaker was in fact their exiled leader Idi Admin returned from exile, New York University student Martin Scorsese coming to the rescue of the Rocky crew in 1976 after they’d ran out of money, and Marlon Brando suggesting his part in the 1978 movie Superman could be played by a green bagel.
There are three reasons I really enjoyed this book. Firstly, as I’ve just mentioned there are a collection of wonderful stories. There’s a lot of rubbish to get through but it’s absolutely worth getting through. Secondly, while the short length of the stories can be sometimes frustrating, they’re perfect for the kind of person whose attention span is painfully short. Finally, the book cost me nothing as part of Kindle Unlimited (other e-book sellers are available).
Film in Lancaster
If you love film you have undoubtedly made the right choice in coming to Lancaster University. Without ever leaving campus you could see all the latest blockbusters alongside a collection of classic and independent films, take part in discussions with other film-lovers, write reviews of the latest films, and even gain the skills to pursue your own filmmaking career – all for the less than the price of a night out.
Below we run down the best cinemas, events, and societies in Lancaster for cinephiles.
Located right in the centre of town, Vue is undoubtedly the most convenient option to see all of the year’s biggest films – there’s regular screenings, the seats are comfy, and the bus from campus takes less than 20 minutes. However, the convenience does come at a price; often more than £8 for a student ticket. Add in the cost of food and drink and you’re in for a very expensive evening out.
Undoubtedly my favourite venue in Lancaster, and the best place to see the latest independent releases alongside other special screenings. It acts as both a theatre and cinema, and when there are screenings they often only take place twice a day. It’s reasonably priced (just over £5 for a student ticket), they have a fantastic collection of films often not available elsewhere, and the sense of community at the heart of The Dukes ethos helps deliver a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Located in Morecambe, Reel Cinema is to Vue what the cast of Geordie Shore is to the Royal Family; a lot more trashy, and a lot less classy, but still ultimately just as fun. They’ve also got great special offers, the tickets are often even cheaper than The Dukes, and if you don’t care about comfort or cleanliness then this is definitely the cinema for you. Even with the cost of the bus ticket to Morecambe, Reel still comes out cheaper than Vue, and has more regular screenings than The Dukes.
Take 2 Cinema
Take 2 is Lancaster University’s very own student cinema. If you’re willing to wait for the latest releases, Take 2 gives you the opportunity to see some of the year’s biggest releases for just £3. Based in Bowland College, the cinema now has the technical capability to rival any UK multiplex – with a digital projection system, refurbished theatre, and 3D capability.
Lancaster University Film Production
LUFP is a student ran society dedicated to the production of short films. It’s only been active on campus for the past few years, but in that time they’ve produced 12 original short films. This year they’re embarking on 8 new projects, and there are loads of opportunities to get involved with no experience required. They run training workshops in a variety of areas, alongside regular socials.
Lancaster University Film Society
LUFS is a society for all those who love to watch films, and the perfect place to meet others who share that affection. They hold weekly screenings of films from a diverse range of genres, as well as regular bar socials. This year they also plan to run quizzes, film marathons, cinema trips, themed nights out, a screening of the Oscars, and a big event at the end of the year.
If you’re willing to travel less than an hour on the train you’ll have access to some of the most exciting film festivals that the U.K has to offer. In Manchester from the 6th-9th October the 8th edition of Grimmfest takes place at the Odeon Printworks – celebrating the best horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films alongside celebrite Q+As. This is just one of the many festivals that takes place in Manchester across the year, and there’s a similar scene over in Liverpool – both just a short train journey away.
However, once again you don’t have to travel far to find the best cinematic entertainment. March this year saw the launch of the LA1 Film Festival at The Dukes in Lancaster – celebrating the best short films from the Lancaster and Morecambe. The organisers promised to return with an even bigger event this year, so keep your eyes out for more information closer to the time.