Monday, 3 June 2013

Flash Fiction: G.I. Joe

We do like this week's piece, a humorous accompaniment to the action packed G.I. Joe: Retaliation. It's called Synchronised, and it's by Garrie Fletcher. Enjoy!


‘Synchronise watches.’
‘What's that mean? Is that like those swimmers? I ain't wearing no pink hat. I’m no girl.’
‘It just means set watches to the same time.’
‘Oh. I haven't got a watch.’
‘No, neither have I.’
‘Count down from a hundred and then do it.’
‘Do what?’
‘The plan. You are clear on the plan?’
‘Go on then.’
‘I'm clear on the plan.’
‘Do you know what the plan is?’
‘I've forgot.’
‘God.  A long breath. I distract mum, you sneak into the fridge...’
‘I ain't getting in the fridge...’
‘Just open the fridge door.’
‘Open the door and grab mum's chocolate.’
‘Gotcha. Then what?’
‘Just hide it. Hide it until we get to the cinema.’
‘Yes, somewhere cool.’
‘You boys are quiet, what are you up to?’
‘Shall I make some popcorn for the cinema?’
‘You don't sound bothered.’
‘Well, it’s boring with nothing on it.’
‘Yes, but its healthy, too much sugar...’
‘We know.’

At the cinema
‘Do you need the toilet?’
‘Then stop walking like a cowboy. Wait here, I won’t be long.’

‘Give me some chocolate.’
‘I’m not sure you should.’
‘Give us some.’
‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’
‘Shut up and give. Where is it? Where’d you stash it?’
‘In my pants.’

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Volunteer Profiles: Projectionist

Working behind-the-scenes at a cinema is a fun job, and of all the backstage jobs here at the Regal, the projectionist is the one we get asked questions about the most.

Thankfully, projection today is not the difficult or dangerous job that it was back in the days of 35mm projectors and carbon-arc lamps. Modern digital projectors are operated with computers, and can be easily learnt by anyone with an interest in doing so.

Our projectionists arrive half an hour before the film starts. They turn on the equipment, which includes the projector and the sound system, and then wait for showtime!

Once they've started the film, the projectionist will watch the film to make sure the sound levels are right, and the picture quality is good. If there are any problems, they'll be on hand to fix them - though so far, we've thankfully not had any problems! Once the last member of the audience has left, the projectionist will shut down all of the equipment.

If you're good with computers and would like to learn a new type of technology, then projection is a perfect volunteer role for you. We'd especially love to hear from you if you're available to help us with weekend and weekday matinee performances, but we've also got openings for evening projectionists too. Just get in touch!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Flash Fiction: Sleeping in the Cinema

This week's Flash Fiction piece is by Anna Lawrence Pietroni. If you have trouble with nodding off in the middle of a blockbuster, then you'll identify with it, we're sure!

Do you fall asleep in films? It’s hard not to. It’s warm and dark. The seat is deep.

It doesn’t mean the movie’s bad or boring.

I’ve slept through great films even when I strained to stay awake.

Take TRUE GRIT, the Coen brothers' Western.

Jeff Bridges' low-throat rumble and the horses' hooves? I was clopped and mumbled into sleep and woke only for gunshots and the credits.

Do you fall asleep in films?

Do you get angry with yourself? Does your companion elbow you and scowl? Do you worry that you dribble, that you snore?

“Why pay good money to fall asleep in someone else’s dark when you could switch the lights off in the living room and sleep for free?”

They should institute a Standing Cinema for sleepyheads like you and me. Ushers, crouching, running between rows to pinch the nodders or spray us with cold water.

If you’d rather stay awake today and see the film, do this before it starts, before you get too settled in the dark:

Place your palms on your belly. Feel how it swells with every breath. There is a space between the in-breath and the out.

There. You’ve had your rest. You will not fall asleep here. Not today.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Volunteer Profiles: Usher

Welcome to the first of our volunteer profile spotlights! Today we'll be telling you a bit about what it's like to be one of our volunteers. As it's the first spotlight, we wanted to choose a position that is iconic of the cinema; the usher.

Our ushers are responsible for showing people to their seats, both before the show starts and once the film is running. If you need a hand, they're there with their torches!

An usher's working shift starts three quarters of an hour before the film begins. They help the house manager to set up for the performance, and open up the sweet counter. Once the doors open, they'll check tickets of the audience and help them find their seats. They're also the ones selling you sweets and ice cream.

Some of our ushers will leave once the film has started, but don't worry; if you've got any questions during the film, then the rest of our ushers will be there to help you. They'll stay until the very last member of the audience is gone, before they help pack up, and then go home.

We've got a fabulous dedicated and talented team of ushers at the Regal, but there's always room for more. So, if you fancy being one of the smiling faces we get so many good comments about - get in touch! We'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Flash Fiction: Cloud Atlas

This week's flash fiction comes from Garrie Fletcher, and accompanies the film 'Cloud Atlas'.

 A symphony of lives,
each one a note, each vibration
 echoing, rippling through time,
entropy’s melody linking
them together.

they breathe in, breathe out,
lives loved, lives lost, lives taken.

The tempo picks up, drops off
picks up, drops off
from ocean to ocean,
from diary to transcript
to manuscript.

Each moment
recorded upon the staves,
waiting to be played.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Flash Fiction: Hyde Park on Hudson

Stewart Derry provides this week's Flash Fiction; a piece which goes with the period drama Hyde Park on Hudson.

To be, or not to be: that is the question.

After his surprise Oscar winning turn in The King’s Speech, King George VI returns in the movie, Hyde Park on Hudson. Hoorah! This time our beloved Bertie shares the billing with the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

With the war clouds gathering over Europe, the stage is set for a diplomatic meeting with Bertie’s American cousins. They meet at the presidential home - Hyde Park on Hudson (Dutchess County, New York). Over a long weekend they swop stories, sip cocktails, sample hot dogs and attempt to forge a very special relationship between the two nations.

Unfortunately the president is pre-occupied with a number of other pressing matters, including that of his charming and very attractive cousin, Margaret “Daisy” Suckley.

Can Bertie summon all his royal patience, charm and powers of persuasion to win the day? Will the weekend end with a bang or a whimper? One thing is for sure: the summer of 1939 will be their happiest season for many years to come.

Make yourself comfortable; have your tissues to hand; enjoy one of the things we Brits do best - a great costume drama!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Flash Fiction: Broken City

This week's flash fiction is a slice of film noire in the form of the written word. It's by Stewart Derry, and it accompanied the film 'Broken City'.

It’s not just the city that is broken, its people are too. Their many hopes and dreams are compromised and degraded by lies, power and corruption. Even the hero’s purest sense of right and wrong is blighted by the grim reality of life and death in Broken City.

Broken City contains many of the classic elements of film noir. The Maltese Falcon, Chinatown and L.A. Confidential all inhabit similar worlds to Broken City. Witness the stylised imagery, the archetypal characters, the mysterious crime that draws everyone together, and how each character is possessed with an overreaching passion that gives heat and substance to the drama.

People are rarely what they seem to be in this genre. The outward show of status, wealth or respectability is a thin veneer that hides a troubled inner world. Our pleasure comes in seeing these fatal flaws exposed and the ways in which the protagonists respond to the choices that confront them. The outcomes are rarely happy, often leading to ruin or redemption.

The ancient Greeks, who knew a thing or two about drama, followed a tragedy with a short comedy in order to lift the spirits. I wonder what your choice of film dessert would be after Broken City?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Flash Fiction: Zero Dark Thirty

This week's flash fiction was written by Stewart Derry to accompany the tense drama Zero Dark Thirty. Here it is!

Hollywood loves the epic. It is a place where everything is supersized and on a grander scale than real life could ever be. And the stage is set fair with an impressive title.

Numbers are always a good choice, especially with a rousing adjective in tow -
 The Magnificent Seven
 The Dirty Dozen
 The Roaring Twenties

More recently the numbers alone have done all the talking -
 Se7en - Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as detectives on the trail of serial killer.
 300 - The legendary last stand of the Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae.

The title of this film, Zero Dark Thirty, raises the bar even higher -
 Zero – a number, the number, simply oozing with tragic foreboding.
 Dark – a brooding and troubled adjective, suggesting an epic encounter between the forces of good and evil.
 Thirty – here the badass showdown doesn’t just happen at midnight; it’s a whole thirty
   minutes afterwards! Gulp!! Or, viewed another way, thirty = zero + dark magnified to the power of thirty. Woah! Seriously badass!

My friends strap yourselves into your seats and enjoy the ride.
This is no ordinary place. It is Hollywood. Will you not be entertained?

Monday, 29 April 2013

In the frame

If you come into our foyer this week to pick up some tickets from the box office, you may notice the new additions now adorning the walls!

It was customary for cinemas in the 1930s and 40s to display black and white headshots of the actors and actresses which you might have expected to see on the screen inside. We've updated this tradition, including actors and actresses from the last 100 years of cinema.

Next time you pop in, see if you can name them all! Some are more difficult than others...

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Flash Fiction: A Good Day to Die Hard

This week's Flash Fiction piece ran alongside the new Bruce Willis action film, 'A Good Day to Die Hard'. It was written by Garrie Fletcher.

Two friends enter a cinema, much like the one youre in now, sit down and wait for the film to start.

Andy: So, he's saving the world again then?

Brian: No, he doesn't save the world, he does what needs to be done, you know, things the average person can't do, stuff we can only dream of.

Andy: Huh? You think I want to go round indiscriminately killing people?

Brian: No, not at all. Look, our lives are pretty dull...

Andy: Speak for yourself.

Brian: In comparison to McClane, Mr Willis.

Andy: Yes?

Brian: Well, we all need a bit of excitement, something fantastical...

Andy: Ridiculous.

Brian: If you like, but something we can lose ourselves in and forget about all this...

Andy: What? This cinema?

Brian: No. Life, the day to day.

Andy: So you're saying  that whilst I'm going about life, working like a nutter, stressing over this , that and the other I don't really want to be thinking about my job or how to be a good dad, what I really want to be doing is blowing up skyscrapers, aeroplanes and assorted European bad guys?

Brian: Well, aren't you?

Andy: Hell yeah!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Flash Fiction: Hitchcock

The second of our flash fiction pieces is also written by Stewart Derry, and accompanied the thriller 'Hitchcock', a film about the making of the famous film 'Psycho'.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Alfred Hitchcock. The film you are about to see is based on actual events in my life.
‘What?’ I hear you say. ‘Hitch, as the leading man?’
Yes! I was due a part after so many cameo appearances. You will also be introduced to a new leading lady - Alma Reville. She will, quite literally, take your breath away. She hasn’t a blonde hair on her head!

Surprised, are we? Choking on your popcorn? The master of suspense . . . losing his touch? We seem to have some film buffs in the audience. When you have made as many films as I have, it can sometimes be frightfully delicious to break the rules and confound all expectations.

I haven’t seen the film yet, but I’m sure I’ll follow most of the action. After all, I played the role quite superbly many years ago.

There will, of course, be a MacGuffin. I won’t spoil your pleasure by revealing it.

By the way, if you happen to be sitting next to a pain in the asterix, be careful not to annoy them too much. They may have murder on their mind.


Thursday, 11 April 2013


If you've been up the stairs to our exhibition space recently, you'll have noticed a new addition on the staircase. These fantastic wall quotes were chosen and voted for by our fabulous facebook fans, and they're a brilliant mixture from the classics like the Wizard of Oz all the way to modern words of wisdom from The Hunger Games.

We've still got some more space left on the walls and we'd love to fill it with more of your favourite words from the world of film. Do you have a favourite film quote you'd like us to put up alongside 'There's no place like home' and 'Frankly my dear, I don't give damn'?

Let us know!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Flash Fiction: Sammy's Great Escape

Welcome to the first of our specially written pieces from the flash fiction film project. This piece accompanied Sammy's Great Escape, one of our family films which was screened during the Easter holiday, and was written by Stewart Derry.

A magic story space can be many things: a Punch and Judy booth; a circus ring; a shadow puppet show; or an intimate theatre setting, such as this glorious cinema in Tenbury Wells.

The Regal is a rare jewel in a rather rough and tumble cinema landscape, managing to survive both a flood and the wrecking ball. Suitable film suggestions on these themes anyone? Perhaps one day someone will make a film about The Regal, with all the tears, heartache and love that have gone into making it such an inspiring setting.

It puts me in mind of the great British classic, The Smallest Show on Earth, where the old projectionist, Percy Quill, played by a heavily made up Peter Sellers, works in a battered ruin of a cinema, longing for the good old days to return. I’m glad to say The Regal has fared much better than the one in the movie.

The film you are about to see is full of fantasy and adventure; 90 minutes of ocean hokum to entertain the whole family. We all have great memories of visiting the cinema. We hope your visit today adds to them. And here’s wishing you many more!

Remember, if you'd like to write a flash fiction yourself, do get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Volunteering Profiles

We're going to be starting a new series on the blog, featuring some of our fantastic volunteer opporunities here at the Regal. From front of house to behind the scenes, there's so much to do to keep a place like the Regal running smoothly and we'd love to tell you all about it!

So, is there a job you'd like to know more about?

Ushers, projectionist, lighting technicians... whatever it is you'd like to know more about, let us know, and we'll track down one of our volunteers and get them to tell us about what it's like to do it here at the Regal.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Flash Fiction: Introduction

As part of our aims to increase the reach of the work we do at the Regal, we're running a number of projects this year which take film and look at them through other artforms. One of these projects is the Flash Fiction project which we're running in conjunction with the fabulous Writing West Midlands.

To launch the project, three of WWM's upcoming new authors will be writing flash fiction to go with our April, May and June film programme. For those of you who don't know; flash fiction is basically very short stories, usually under 200 words long.

Look out for the works at film showings in April, May and June. You'll usually be able to pick them up as flyers to read before the film starts.

Once the films have aired we'll be sharing the flash fictions with you here on the blog, so that you can enjoy them even if you missed that particular film.

We're also opening up the floor to any aspiring writers out there who'd like to give this a go, so if you'd like to write your own flash fiction introduction for a film then get in touch! There will be lots of openings in our July-August film programme.


Friday, 29 March 2013

Regal Film Unit: Make Films Like a Pro!

If you've been to see a film at the Regal recently you'll have noticed our new trailer which runs before films, advertising the Regal Film Unit. It's a new project which we're very excited about, and judging by the amount of people talking about it, so is everyone else!

We're working with a local film production company called Flying Machine Media to provide a film project like no other. Working with industry professionals, project participants will learn everything they need to know to create their own films, from script writing and storyboarding to lighting, directing and editing.

The project has its first meeting on Saturday 8th June, and will meet most Saturdays thereafter. It's completely free, and open to people of any age or experience (though children under 11 should attend with an adult).

So, if you fancy yourself as the next Stephen Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino, get in touch!

Friday, 4 January 2013

A Jane Austen Quiz

As some of you may know, January 2013 marks the 200 year anniversary of the first publication of Jane Austen's very famous Pride and Prejudice. A classic in every sense, this novel has been of great value to the film industry in the many film adaptions and reworkings that have been produced over the years, from the period dramas to the looser interpretations, such as Bride and Prejudice (2004) and Bridget Jones' Diary (2001).

To mark the occasion, we have a short Jane Austen themed quiz for you! All of the pictures below are taken from theatrical film or TV movie adaptions of Jane Austen's most famous romantic novels. Can you name them all?







We'll get the answers up for you in February!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Welcome back to the blog in 2013. It's going to be an exciting year, I can tell!

Firstly, we wanted to share the answers from the Scrooge quiz with you. We had people playing along over on twitter, facebook and here in the cinema, and we were very impressed with how many you all knew! Top marks to everyone, but especially to @CheltCinema over on twitter, who got all ten correct!

So, here goes, the Scrooges were;

1. Jim Carrey
2. Michael Caine
3. Alistair Sim
4. Patrick Stewart
5. Bill Murray
6. Albert Finney
7. George C Scott
8. Kelsey Grammar
9. Tim Curry
10. Ross Kemp

We hope you enjoyed that exciting whirlwind of Dickens to round of 2012!

Now, it is of course a new year, so we'll be back soon with a new quiz to test your film knowledge. If you've got a request for a topic for one of our quizzes, do let us know and we'll do our best to oblige.

See you soon!