Sunday, 29 March 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 106: Thu Apr 16

Popcorn (Herrier, 1991): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.45pm

This film, part of the Cult strand at BFI Southbank, also screens on 19th April. You can find all the details here.

Here is the BFI introduction:
The spirit of William Castle haunts this affectionate B-movie tribute, in which an all-night horror marathon at a dilapidated movie theatre becomes a veritable bloodbath for a gang of ill-fated film students. This curious precursor to the self-reflexive horrors that flooded 90s genre cinema is hugely fun and highly inventive.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 105: Wed Apr 15

To Be or Not To Be (Lubitsch, 1942): Barbican Cinema, 1942

This film is in the 'Part Of This Made Me Laugh' season at the Barbican featuring movies chosen and introduced by leading comedy figures. Here are all the details.

Tonight's film will be introduced by Caryn Mandabach.

Chicago Reader:
Ernst Lubitsch directed this 1942 film from his own story about a troupe of Polish actors stranded in the Nazi-occupied Warsaw of World War II. It could be his finest achievement, and it's certainly one of the most profound, emotionally complex comedies ever made, covering a range of tones from satire to slapstick to shocking black humor. The issues, as the title suggests, are deeply serious, but it's part of the film's strategy—and the strategy it endorses for its characters—never to openly acknowledge them. Jack Benny, as the leader of the troupe, displays an acting talent never again demanded of him; Carole Lombard, in her last film, is kittenish, slinky, and witty as his unfaithful wife. With Robert Stack and Sig Ruman.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 104: Tue Apr 14

California Split (Altman, 1974): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This screens as part of the 'A Little Taste of Robert Altman' season at the Prince Charles. Here are the full details.

Chicago Reader review:
Robert Altman's masterful 1974 study of the psychology of the compulsive gambler. Elliott Gould, loose, jocular, and playful, and George Segal, neurotic, driven, and desperate, are really two halves of the same personality as they move from bet to bet, game to game, until they arrive for the big showdown in Reno. As in all Altman films, winning is losing; and the more Altman reveals, in his oblique, seemingly casual yet brilliantly controlled way, the more we realize that to love characters the way Altman loves his, you have to see them turned completely inside out.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 103: Mon Apr 13

Bullets Over Broadway (Allen, 1994): Barbican Cinema, 8.30pm

This film is in the 'Part Of This Made Me Laugh' season at the Barbican featuring movies chosen and introduced by leading comedy figures. Here are all the details.

Tonight's film will be introduced by the actress Amelia Bullmore.

Chicago Reader review:
Writer-director Woody Allen mounts a lively farce (1994) set in Manhattan in 1928—in a milieu that interfaces prohibition gangsters with Broadway theater—and has a number of amusing things to say about the interactions between art and commerce, both seen here in their crasser forms. Like Husbands and Wives and Manhattan Murder Mystery, though to somewhat less effect, this shows a certain improvement in Allen's work; the material is certainly lively, though the plot becomes a bit mechanical toward the end. The performances, however, are very enjoyable, with first honors going to Chazz Palminteri and Dianne Wiest. Most of the others—John Cusack as the playwright-director hero, Jennifer Tilly as a gangster's moll forced into Cusack's production as an actress, Rob Reiner, Jack Warner, Mary-Louise Parker, and Harvey Fierstein—aren't too far behind.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 102: Sun Apr 12

Calvary (McDonagh, 2014): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This is part of the Best of 2014 season at the Prince Charles. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
In this eloquent black comedy from John Michael McDonagh, an Irish priest (Brendan Gleeson) is marked for death by an anonymous man who was serially raped by his pastor as a young boy; as the priest counts down the days to his murder, his conflicts with his parishioners deepen into a colloquy on the nature of sin. The premise of an innocent man taking other people's sins upon himself turns Calvary into a passion play even as it places the movie squarely in the 21st century; the cross shouldered by the priest consists, in no small part, of all the ecclesiastical crimes now tumbling out of the closet.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 101: Sat Apr 11

Bless Their Little Hearts (Woodberry, 1984): Tate Modern, 7pm

This is the second film in the LA Rebellion: Creating a Black Cinema season at the Tate. Full details of the films, which are on till April 25, can be found here.

Chicago Reader review:
Scripted and photographed by Charles Burnett and directed by his former film-school classmate Billy Woodberry, this wonderful neorealist look at a working-class black family in South Central LA (1984) is worthy of being placed alongside Burnett's Killer of Sheep. Passionately recommended.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 100: Fri Apr 10

Killer of Sheep (Burnett, 1978): Tate Modern, 7pm

This is the opening night of the LA Rebellion: Creating a Black Cinema season at the Tate. Full details of the films, which are on till April 25, can be found here.

Here is the Tate introduction to the season:
Pioneering, provocative and visionary, the LA Rebellion films form a crucial body of work in post-war cinema. In the late 1960s a number of African and African American students entered UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television, and from the first class through to the 1980s came to represent the first sustained undertaking to forge an alternative Black cinema practice in the United States.

This season will provide the first opportunity in the UK to explore the full extent of this remarkable period and encounter the artists who pioneered counter-cultural and community-based approaches to filmmaking from the 1960s to the 1990s. Ground breaking films range from Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep 1977 to Haile Gerima’s Bush Mama 1975 that are unique reflections on life in the black communities of Los Angeles and recognised as some of the most important films of the 1970s. Drawing on the dynamic social and political climate of the period, the films emerged from the context of the black liberation and anti-Vietnam movements and in solidarity with the international Third Cinema.

Other films re-work conventions of Hollywood cinema to reflect on the black experience from the subtle dramas of Julie Dash to the explosive films of Jamaa Fanaka. Newly discovered masterpieces, from Larry Clark’s Passing Through 1977, one of the best jazz films ever made, to Billy Woodberry’s Bless Their Little Hearts 1984, a remarkable ensemble drama set in south central Los Angeles, have been restored and recognised as landmark films of the period.

Chicago Reader review:
The first feature (1977) of the highly talented black filmmaker Charles Burnett, who set most of his early films in Watts (including My Brother's Wedding and To Sleep With Anger); this one deals episodically with the life of a slaughterhouse worker. Shot on a year's worth of weekends for under $10,000, this remarkable work is conceivably the single best feature about ghetto life. It was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry as one of the key works in American cinema—ironic and belated recognition of a film that, until this recent restoration, had virtually no distribution. It shouldn't be missed.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here and above is the trailer.