Thursday, 29 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 191: Wed Jul 12

The Children's Hour (Wyler, 1961): Regent Street Cinema, 2pm


Here's a rare chance to see a 35mm screening of this William Wyler film.

Variety review:
Lillian Hellman’s study of the devastating effect of malicious slander and implied guilt comes to the screen for the second time in this crackling production of The Children’s Hour. William Wyler, who directed the 1936 production (These Three), which veered away from the touchier, more sensational aspects of Hellman’s Broadway play, this time has chosen to remain faithful to the original source.
Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, in the leading roles, beautifully complement each other. Hepburn’s soft sensitivity, marvelous projection and emotional understatement result in a memorable portrayal. MacLaine’s enactment is almost equally rich in depth and substance. James Garner is effective as Hepburn’s betrothed, and Fay Bainter comes through with an outstanding portrayal of the impressionable grandmother who falls under the evil influence of the wicked child.


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 190: Tue Jul 11

The Incredible Shrinking Man (Arnold, 1957): Barbican Cinema, 6.30pm


This film is part of the 'Cinema Matters: Bigger Than Life' season. To draw out the philosophical implications of the film, the Barbican welcome Sarah Bakewell, author of At the Existentialist Café (Chatto & Windus, 2016) who counts The Incredible Shrinking Man among her all-time favourites.

Time Out review:
Not merely the best of Arnold's classic sci-fi movies of the '50s, but one of the finest films ever made in that genre. It's a simple enough story: after being contaminated by what may or may not be nuclear waste, Grant Williams finds himself slowly but steadily shedding the pounds and inches until he reaches truly minuscule proportions. But it is what Richard Matheson's script (adapted from his own novel) does with this basic material that makes the film so gripping and intelligent. At first, Williams is merely worried about his mysterious illness, but soon, towered over by his wife, he begins to feel humiliated, expressing his shame and impotence through cruel anger. And then his entire relationship with the universe changes, with cats, spiders and drops of water representing lethal threats in the surreal and endless landscape that is, in fact, his house's cellar. And finally, to the strains of Joseph Gershenson's impressive score, we arrive at the film's philosophical core: a moving, strangely pantheist assertion of what it really means to be alive. A pulp masterpiece.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 189: Mon Jul 10

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (Cassavetes, 1976): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This 35mm presentation is part of a John Cassavetes season at Close-Up Cinema. The film is also being shown on July 21st. Full details here.

Time Out review:
John Cassavetes doesn't believe in gangsters, as soon becomes clear in this waywardly plotted account of how a bunch of them try to distract Ben Gazzara from his loyalty to his barely solvent but chichi LA strip joint, the Crazy Horse West. Or rather Cassavetes doesn't believe in the kind of demands they make on a film, enforcing clichés of action and behaviour in return for a few cheap thrills. On the other hand, there's something about the ethnicity of the Mob - family closeness and family tyranny - which appeals to him, which is largely what his films are about, and which says something about the way he works with actors. The result is that his two gangster films - this one and the later Gloria - easily rate as his best work crisscrossed as they are by all sorts of contradictory impulses, with the hero/heroine being reluctantly propelled through the plot, trying to stay far enough ahead of the game to prevent his/her own act/movie being closed down. It's rather like a shaggy dog story operating inside a chase movie. Chinese Bookie is the more insouciant, involuted and unfathomable of the two; the curdled charm of Gazzara's lopsided grin has never been more to the point. (After its initial release, Cassavetes re-edited the film, adding sequences previously deleted but reducing the overall running time from 133 minutes.
Martyn Auty

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 188: Sun Jul 9

A Nos Amours (Pialat, 1983): Cine Lumiere, 2pm


This 35mm screening is part of the 'Bold Women of French Cinema' season at Cine Lumiere. You can find all the details here.

If you've seen the film before you might want to read critic Nick Pinkerton's take on this troubling movie here from the Reverse Shot website here.

Chicago Reader review:
A 15-year-old French girl (Sandrine Bonnaire, extraordinary) finds refuge from her troubled family in a series of casual sexual encounters. The subject invites a certain social-worker condescension (it's the stuff of TV movies), yet Maurice Pialat's mise-en-scene allows us no comforting distance from the characters. His ragged long takes plunge us straight into the action and hold us there, as if we, too, were combatants in this family war. His unorthodox dramatic construction rejects the symmetry of classical plotting, and the narrative has a quirky, self-propelling quality that allows for some astonishing things to happen. Pialat himself plays the father, whose disappearance sets the action in motion and whose reappearance makes it explode.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 187: Sat Jul 8

Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953): Prince Charles Cinema, 12.30pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the Classic Film season at the Prince Charles. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The film that introduced Yasujiro Ozu, one of Japan's greatest filmmakers, to American audiences (1953). The camera remains stationary throughout this delicate study of conflicting generations in a modern Japanese family, save for one heartbreaking moment when Ozu tracks around a corner to discover the grandparents, alone and forgotten. A masterpiece, minimalist cinema at its finest and most complex.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 186: Fri Jul 7

Song to Song (Malick, 2017): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.15pm


A rare foray into new release territory for Terrence Malick's latest movie, which starts its run at the Prince Charles tonight and will get a limited run in theatres here in the UK. Don't miss. You can find full details here.

Little White Lies review:
There is nothing in cinema that currently compares to the radical five-film symphonic suite made by Terrence Malick between 2012’s The Tree of Life and 2017’s Song to Song. Not Marvel. Not Fast and the Furious. Not Saw. Not anything. Sure, these films aren’t for all tastes, and they’re not at all meant to be. And they do require the viewer to put conventional critical faculties on standby, like you would close your eyes and mouth and hold your nose as a giant wave crashed over your head. They are euphoric, active experiences that demand a small adjustment of perspective. But what is it that makes them so extraordinary? The French director Bruno Dumont once said that he values feelings that don’t correspond to obvious screen drama – tedium, listlessness, confusion, depression. In a similar way, Malick’s late work adopts this counterintuitive approach to almost every aspect of the filmmaking process. He foregrounds difficult emotions, and realises them in bold, unconventional ways. Song to Song exemplifies his unique and ultra-sensual mode of montage-based storytelling, where human characters are constantly submerged in an endless, glowing stream of consciousness. Here, the eyes are not the only the window to the soul – the twitch of the hand, a twist of the neck, the accelerated breathing pattern can also offer vital signs of life. The eyes are less important that what those eyes are looking at, and who’s looking back. The film is a deconstructed musical that’s loaded with all the rhapsodic highs and lows associated with the genre. The actors work hard to make their characters inscrutable but empathetic, especially the sad-eyed Rooney Mara and stone-faced Ryan Gosling. Malick is looking to answer the big questions by focusing on the smallest of nuances. He gets at things and makes breakthroughs without ever really pushing. It’s a majestic and profound film in which human beings waltz with one another and occasionally swap partners.
David Jenkins (full review here)

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 185: Thu Jul 6

Boy (Waititi, 2010): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


Misc. Films is a London-based programming collective dedicated to showcasing unreleased, under-screened or under-appreciated films. This is their latest screening.

Chicago Reader review:
Eagle Vs Shark
(2007), the first feature by New Zealand comedian Taika Waititi, struck me as a fairly obvious knockoff of Napoleon Dynamite, the reigning cult comedy of the day. For this second feature, Waititi has reached into his past for a story that belongs to him alone. The protagonist is an 11-year-old Maori boy (James Rolleston) living in a small coastal village, and because the year is 1984, he’s obsessed with Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The boy’s mother died giving birth to his six-year-old brother, and their hapless father (Waititi) has been doing time in jail; suddenly he reappears in their lives, willing to play the attentive parent long enough to find some loot he buried in the backyard. Waittiti’s comic vocabulary hasn’t changed much—there’s a lot of voice-over narration illustrated with ludicrous, cartoonish tableaux—yet the kids’ genuine longing for their no-good dad elevates this above simple deadpan humor.
J R Jones 


Here (and above) is the trailer.