Kill List (Wheatley, 2011): Londonwide in various venues
It's a quiet night on the repertory front in town so here's a rare Capital Celluloid recommendation for a new movie. Ben Wheatley's violent hitman horror film is the most talked about movie of the moment and is well worth seeking out in its current run.
Here is the five-star Time Out review:
'Ben Wheatley’s self-funded debut feature ‘Down Terrace’ was an odd beast. It was hard to tell how much of the wordy, ultraviolent gangster comedy’s undeniable power was intentional and how much was derived from its micro-budgeted on-a-wing-and-a-prayer production. Well, here’s the answer: on the strength of ‘Kill List’, Wheatley might be the most idiosyncratic and exciting filmmaker the UK has produced since Shane Meadows.
Much of ‘Kill List’ will be familiar to anyone who caught ‘Down Terrace’ during its brief run last year: the semi-improvised dialogue and naturalistic performances, the close, documentary-style photography and the deep-seated sense of suburban moral decay. But it’s altogether more confident: where the earlier film leavened the darker moments with slapstick and satire, ‘Kill List’ is an unrelentingly grim ride into the bleakest imaginable terrain, its only humour black beyond belief.
For the first 45 minutes, this seems like a fairly standard killer-for-hire set-up. The editing and the audio palette are unusual and unsettling, the performances noticeably superior and the mood unrelentingly claustrophobic, but the plot seems to follow a predictable template. Then something happens – no clues except to say that it involves a hammer – and ‘Kill List’ takes a sharp left-turn into no man’s land.
There will be some who find the resulting series of increasingly brutal and dreamlike events hard to process, and a number of plot points remain unexplained even as the credits roll. But allow the film to take hold and its power is inescapable: the effect is like placing your head in a vice and waiting as it inexorably closes.
It’s hard to remember a British movie as nerve-shreddingly effective since ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ in 2004. Like that film, ‘Kill List’ may not make the impact it deserves upon initial release. But this is a grower, a film which lingers long in the memory: look for it on ‘Best of British’ lists for a long time to come.'
Here is the trailer.
Bedazzled (Donen,1967): Ryan's Bar, Stoke Newington, 9.30pm
This is part of the Scala Forever season, a programme of 111 films and events at 26 venues through to October 2 that will celebrate the wonderful Scala cinema at King's Cross which closed in 1993. Here is an article I wrote in the Guardian on the history of the cinema and the season and here are the details of all the movies and special events on offer, via the Scala Forever website.
Chicago Reader review:
'Long before he became the male Sandy Duncan, Dudley Moore was half—with Peter Cook—of a brilliant comedy duo. Stanley Donen found the perfect format for their talents in this 1967 reshuffling of Faust: Moore is a cook in a fast-food joint granted seven wishes by the devilish Mr. Spiggott (Cook) in exchange for his insignificant soul. The film is bright, inventive, and pointed—one of the finest and funniest comedies of the 60s. With Raquel Welch and Eleanor Bron.' Dave Kehr
There are numerous hilarious scenes. Here is Peter Cook as Drimble Wedge (and The Vegetations)