THE TREE OF LIFE (Fox). A difficult childhood: mum is saintly but dad is a terrible disciplinarian. There is a quote from the Book of Job at the beginning. So you know it’s not going to be a bundle of laughs. But I had not realised just how serious, just how cosmic, just how pretentious, just how religious, it was going to be, starting with natural science footage of Creation and ending in a Federico Fellini-like Death reunion scene on a beach. Director Terrence Malick doesn’t make it easy. It’s a very long, fractured, mumbled haul, aimed at only the hardiest and probably best appreciated by Bible students.
SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR (Exposure). This 1948 psychological thriller by Fritz Lang, which has not been seen for a long time, is better than its reputation. A rich young woman (Joan Bennett) impulsively marries an architect (Michael Redgrave, miscast) whose hobby (unbelievably) is recreating murder-rooms in his own home. Lang maintains a creepy atmosphere throughout with homage in the direction of Bluebeard and Alfred Hitchcock; but he should have got rid of the Freudian explanations. The melodrama doesn’t need it.
THE EMPEROR JONES (Odeon) is a former porter, thief, murderer and jailbird, who becomes a tin-pot dictator of an island and goes mad in the jungle. It’s a great role for a black actor. Eugene O’Neill never liked this very loose 1933 adaptation which gives a very poor idea of his expressionistic play; but the film does give an idea of the power and magnetism of Paul Robeson who had acted Jones (one of the 20th century’s most taxing roles) on stage in New York in 1924 and in London in 1925. It’s a film for theatregoers who are interested in theatre history.
BARKING (Acorn) was a little-seen Channel 4 sketch show, which aired in 1998 and introduced a number of comedians who went on to do greater things. There are funny moments, notably with Rhys Thomas as a very eager actor, with Marcus Brigstocke as an idiot airline pilot and with Mackenzie Crook as a useless teacher; but too much of it is just not funny at all.
The upside to downsizing for over 60s - 04 October 2013
Retired renters turn their backs on home ownership - 01 August 2013
Older people will help shape retirement housing - 08 March 2013
Southampton will overtake Bournemouth as a retirement hotspot - 27 February 2013
Campaigns & Issues
Oldest old ‘not a drain on society’
ILC-UK responds to 2011 Census data on the oldest old published today
David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at ILC-UK, responding to the results, said:
"This new evidence reveals that 8.8% for those aged over 85 are still caring for someone. And half of these older carers are providing support for more than 50 hours a week.
The Elders honour the memory of their Founder, Nelson Mandela
The Elders are deeply saddened by the death of their founder, Nelson Mandela. They join millions of people around the world who were inspired by his courage and touched by his compassion. All will mourn his passing.
Mandela – or Madiba as he is known in South Africa – called the Elders together in 2007, urging them to be bold, independent and to speak the truth. He told them to be a robust force for good, and to work in the interests of peace for all humanity.
Competitions & Fun
Fairytale of New York voted top Christmas driving song!
With the festive season fast approaching and Christmas songs becoming a daily feature of radio station playlists, a 1st Central Insurance survey reveals The Pogues' Fairytale of New York is the nation's favourite Christmas song to drive along to.
Whilst drivers surveyed found the radio the least distracting in-car activity compared to mobile phones, children, satellite-navigation systems and chatting to passengers; 1st Central is cautioning motorists to remain focussed whilst behind the wheel this festive season.
Win one of 31 fabulous travel treats from Silver Travel Advisor this December
Enter now and you could win one of the 31 travel treats from our Christmas Stocking.
Silver Travel Advisor is a friendly website packed with advice, tips, information and honest reviews written by and for silver travellers (aged over 50). A team of advisors are on hand to answer queries (for free), and you can share your own experiences too.
Health & Wellbeing
Winterproof your skin
Radiant, glowing skin can be yours whatever the weather. We let you in on some expert secrets
The weather has a huge impact on how you look and feel and the secret to healthy glowing skin is to adapt your skincare regime according to the season. Follow these steps and your skin will repay you with a gorgeous glow that will last right through to spring.
At this time of year cold harsh winds and the drying effects of central heating can wreak havoc on your skin and it may need extra hydration to give back what Mother Nature takes away. ‘The lipid layer, the outermost layer of the skin, needs to be protected to create a barrier that keeps natural moisture intact and stops it from escaping,’ explains dermatologist Victoria Pugh.
Property & Finance
Costly Christmas Needs Careful Budgeting
Nearly a third of Brits won’t be able to make November’s salary last until Christmas
Only 26 per cent have budgeted for the festive expense
The Christmas countdown is on and with three weeks to go, Britain’s number one comparison site MoneySuperMarket.com reveals nearly a third (30 per cent) of Christmas spenders won’t be able to make their November salary last to fund the festivities.
Leisure and Lifestyle
Joyce Glasser reviews Frozen
Frozen is seasonal, family entertainment at its best with Executive Producer John Lasseter (UP, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Brave) working his magic once again. This combination of romantic comedy and musical adventure story was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s 1845 fable, The Snow Queen and features, at its core, an unusual, schmaltz-free sisterly bond.
That might be because the film is co-directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, with Lee, the first female director of animation in Disney’s history, in charge of the script. It’s hard to imagine any demographic that won’t be drawn to its varied characters, settings, and superb 3D animation, not to mention its wise messages and music.
Driving home for Christmas
Chris Rea’s song 'Driving Home for Christmas' is a one that resonates with many of us at this time of the year.
While it’s the time to spend with family and friends, many of us will be embarking on a car journey home before we enjoy the festive cheer.
But before you make that journey home, it’s important to do a few checks to the car.
It’s the best free paper there is! Keep up the good work