Monday, 19 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 59: Wed Feb 28

The Bells of St Marys (McCarey, 1945): Regent St Cinema, 2pm


Chicago Reader review:
Leo McCarey's 1945 sequel to his hugely successful Going My Way (1944), with Bing Crosby back as Father O'Malley, the pipe-smoking priest of the New York slums. Going My Way is probably the worst of McCarey's major films—obvious, coy, fearsomely sentimental—but Bells is one of his finest, a film so subtle in its romantic exposition that it's halfway over before you realize what it's about: a priest in love with a nun. Seldom has a sequel so completely transcended its predecessor: McCarey's invisible hand, nudging the narrative more than directing it, turns looming cliches into the most refined, elusive feeling. With Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers, and William Gargan.
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 58: Tue Feb 27

Zazie dans le Metro (Malle, 1960): Cine Lumiere, 8.45pm


Prior to the screening of this film (at 7pm) cinema experts, scholars and authors Ginette VincendeauAlastair PhillipsMichael Temple and Michael Witt gather to celebrate the releases of Paris in Cinema: Beyond the Flâneur (BFI), and of the second edition of The French Cinema Book (BFI). Together they will discuss a series of cinematic milestones that considers both the artistic ambition and the commercial realities of French cinema, from the earliest days of silent cinema to the most recent releases, taking on board both the cinema of the great auteurs (from Feuillade to Denis) and popular film genres (thrillers, comedy). Major movements (such as the New Wave) will be discussed, as well as the way French cinema repeatedly took the city of Paris as its background, subject and muse, depicting its everyday streets and apartments as well as its famous landmarks.

Chicago Reader review: 
Arguably Louis Malle’s best work (1960). Based on Raymond Queneau’s farcical novel about a little girl (Catherine Demongeot) left in Paris for a weekend with her decadent uncle (Philippe Noiret), this wild spree goes overboard reproducing Mack Sennett-style slapstick, parodying various films of the 1950s, and playing with editing and color effects (Henri Decae’s cinematography is especially impressive), though gradually it becomes a rather disturbing nightmare about fascism. Forget the preposterous claim by a few critics that the movie’s editing influenced Alain Resnais, but there’s no doubt that Malle affected Richard Lester — and was clearly influenced himself by William Klein, whom he credited on the film as a visual consultant. A rather sharp, albeit soulless, film, packed with ideas and glitter and certainly worth a look.
Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 57: Mon Feb 26

Modern Romance (Brooks, 1981): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35m presentation is part of an Albert Brooks double-bill, also featuring 'Lost in America' at the Prince Charles. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Albert Brooks and Kathryn Harrold as two young Los Angeles professionals caught in a roller-coaster relationship. Though this 1981 film was only Brooks's second, it displays a distinctive, original, and highly effective mise-en-scene: Brooks is a superrealist who uses long takes to hold his characters in a tight compression of time and space, while his even, laconic direction of dialogue short-circuits conventional comic rhythms, going beyond easy payoffs into an almost cosmic apprehension of life's inescapable absurdity. The first part of the film is farcical and very funny; from there it shades into a pointed naturalism and ends on a note of near-tragedy. With Bob Einstein and George Kennedy. 
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 56: Sun Feb 25

Moonstruck (Jewison, 1987): Genesis Cinema, 2.30pm


Genesis Cinema introduction:
The Bechdel Test Fest proudly partners with Ruby Tandoh to present an afternoon of film, food and thoughtful chatter at one of our favourite venues, Genesis Cinema. In celebration of Ruby’s nourishing new book Eat Up!, a manifesto that reignites the pleasure of eating, we’ll be co-hosting a 30th Anniversary presentation of Moonstruck in 35mm, a film with food and love at its core with a mesmerising, Oscar-winning performance by Cher. Tandoh is an author and journalist who writes for, among others, the Guardian, Elle and Vice. A finalist on the 2013 Great British Bake Off, she has published two cookery books, Crumb and Flavour.

Chicago reader review:
Good, corny fun develops when Italian-American widow Loretta Castorini (Cher) falls in love with her fiance's brother Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage). Director Norman Jewison and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley milk the New York settings, accents, and folkways for all they're worth—although those familiar with certain Manhattan locations may be dismayed to find them transplanted to Brooklyn—and the broad Italian family humor gets so thick at times that you could cut it with a bread knife. Among the “adorable” secondary cast are Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Julie Bovasso, and Feodor Chaliapin Jr., but most of the show belongs to Cher and Cage, both of whom are at their energetic best. Dick Hyman is in charge of the hyperbolic music, which starts off with “That's Amore” to clue us all in to what we should expect (1987).
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 55: Sat Feb 24

Man Bites Dog (Belvaux/Bonzel/Poelvoorde, 1992): Cine Lumiere, 9pm


This film is part of the 'Focus on Belgian Cinema' season at Cine Lumiere. You can find all the details of the season here.

Time Out review:
Mostly, Ben (Benoit Poelvoorde) is an ordinary sort of guy. One passion, however, is unusual: he regularly commits murder, not exactly at random, but certainly without malice or provocation. So intriguing is Ben's deadly charm that a film crew decide to make a documentary about him; and come to like him so much that they start facilitating, then collaborating in, his crimes. This spoof fly-on-the-wall documentary is funny, scary, provocative, and profoundly disturbing. While the body count is sky high and the violence explicit, it's neither a thriller nor, finally, a psychological study. Rather, it's a witty, uncompromising acknowledgment of both film-makers' and audiences' often unhealthy fascination with the spectacle of violence. Even as you admire its bravura, intelligence and seeming authenticity, such is its rigour that you are also forced to question just why you are watching it. Purely on a gut level, it may offend; but as an exploration of voyeurism, it's one of the most resonant, caustic contributions to the cinema of violence since Peeping Tom.

Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 54: Fri Feb 23

Trouble Every Day (Denis, 2001): Deptford Cinema, 7.30pm


Time Out review:
It begins, innocently enough, with a kiss—tentative at first, but slowly increasing in passion and intensity. (How easy it is to lose yourself in intimacy with another.) We’ll never see these two people again; they’re just some randomly horned-up couple in a car taking advantage of the dark of night. Yet they help set the moody, libidinal tone of Claire Denis’s inimitable horror film—being rereleased in a new 35mm print—in which the real monsters are those microscopic urges that, taken too far, make mincemeat of our humanity.
There are man-size monsters here too, first and foremost newlywed American Shane Brown (Vincent Gallo). He’s ostensibly traveling to Paris with his wife, June (Tricia Vessey), for their honeymoon, but in actuality he’s looking for an old colleague, Léo (Alex Descas), to help him with some cannibalistic appetites that may have resulted from a research trip abroad. Shane’s quest to quash his cravings and keep his spouse safe is contrasted with the uninhibited acting out of Léo’s wife, Coré (Béatrice Dalle, that great gap-toothed temptress), who is similarly infected and literally devours men with rabid glee.
Denis shoots this grisly-erotic roundelay in her distinctively woozy and elliptical style. The deepest connections between characters emerge from silence as opposed to dialogue—Shane gazing hungrily at a hotel maid’s neck, Coré quietly enticing a fresh-faced neighbor boy into her boarded-up lair—while the groggy atmosphere, aided immeasurably by Agnès Godard’s grainy cinematography and the punch-drunk score of indie-rockers Tindersticks, keeps you constantly beguiled.
Gallo and Dalle are sublimely tragic figures; the scene in which Shane stalks around Notre Dame like Frankenstein unleashed is a pitch-perfect encapsulation of the way the film plays with and deepens movie-monster archetypes. Yet it’s June who ends up as the movie’s brokenhearted soul, so loved that she can never be lusted after and—in what is perhaps Trouble Every Day’s most terrifying reveal—all too aware of that fact.
Keith Uhlich

Monday, 12 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 53: Thu Feb 22

Secretary (Shainberg, 2002): Genesis Cinema, 6.50pm


This film is part of the Cult Classic Collective strand at the Genesis Cinema.

Chicago Reader review:
This wicked little black comedy (2002), adapted from a short story by Mary Gaitskill, chronicles the perverse attraction between a young typist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her uptight boss (James Spader), a sadomasochistic tango that strikes unexpected chords in each character. The young woman is a self-mutilator, and when the attorney spanks her for a minor mistake, she knows she's found the right job. The film's romantic conceit turns on the decidedly un-PC notion of female submissiveness, but director Steven Shainberg (Hit Me) twists the story into a sly and stylized study of two lonely souls who come to realize they're made for each other. Spader is both haughty and tender as the sadistic control freak, and Gyllenhaal is even better as the love-starved kitten, crawling around on all fours and meowing for more. Angelo Badalamenti wrote the creepy score; with Lesley Ann Warren as the typist's overly solicitous mother and Stephen McHattie as her self-loathing father. 
Ted Shen

Here (and above) is the trailer.