Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 276: Wednesday Oct 5

Vanishing Point (Sarafian, 1971):
Deptford Film Club, Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, SE14 6TY, 7.30pm

Now this is a proper treat. A Grindhouse cinema favourite and a film well worth making the trip south of the river for. The ending is especially brilliant. Here are the details of the screening and some information about the club.

Time Out review:


'Having just driven 1,500 miles non-stop from California to Colorado, Sarafian's sullenly uncommunicative anti-hero pauses long enough to grab a supply of bennies, accept a bet that he won't make it back in 15 hours, and zooms off again. It's a marvellous idea: a strange, obsessive odyssey by a man driven like the lemmings by an inexplicable need to keep on going. Marvellously shot on location by John A Alonzo.' Tom Milne


Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid - Day 275: Tuesday October 5

Dekalog Parts V & VI (Kieślowski, 1989): Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, 8pm

This is part of a complete screening of The Decalogue, a ten-part 1989 Polish television drama directed by Krysztof Kieslowski, by those wonderful people at the Close-Up film club. The series consists of ten one-hour films, each of which represents one of the Ten Commandments.

Here are details of Dekalog V (Thou Shalt Not Kill), the story of a brutal and seemingly motiveless murder, and here are details of Dekalog VI (Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery), the story of a man who spies on a woman and falls in love with her.


Here is a fascinating article by critic Philip Concannon on Kieslowski's Dekalog at the Mostly Film website.

The trailer for Dekalog 5 (also known as A Short Film About Killing)

An extract from Dekalog 6 (also known as A Short Film About Love)

Capital Celluloid - Day 274: Monday October 4

1970s TV Movie Of The Week Special: Mucky Pup pub, 39 Queens Head Street, Islington 7.30pm

This is a Cigarette Burns Cinema production. It looks pretty intriguing and is guaranteed to be a lot of fun.

Here is the introduction from the film club's Facebook page: 

Take your mind back to the 70s, a time when televisions had secured their place in peoples homes, a time when cinemas were fighting against this new threat, a threat that was fighting back just as hard. Hollywood Studios were churning out one classic shocker after another and so too were the Television Studios. A battle of epic proportions.

One, which in many ways we are going through right now, with television shows upping the ante once again, and creating must see series like The Wire and 24. But back in the 70s, they had variety shows, half hour sitcoms and The Movie of the Week. Its these little compact 70 minute films that we'll be taking a look at. 


Often starring over the hill Hollywood actors and shot on shoe string budgets, these films went on to inspire recent classics like House of the Devil and just this year, Guillermo Del Toro released his Don't be Afraid of the Dark remake. TV movies are overlooked little masterpieces, and it's high time we take a look at two proper creepy little magic films. There will be a different format for the evening from usual - two films, no shorts, so be on time.

Come down and drink those Monday blues away. If you're unfamiliar, the Mucky Pup is limited in seating, so get down early and be kind enough to share your table.

It's FREE and we promise to have you home before midnight.

Capital Celluloid - Day 273: Sunday October 3

A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick, 1971): Roxy Bar and Screen, 8pm

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.

In fact it's the last screening of the Scala Forever season, sniff . . .

Here is the Scala Forever introduction: Now 40 years old, the film was closely associated with the closure of the Scala after a costly lawsuit from Warners for screening the, then banned, film. But what a masterpiece it is, and a fitting way to bring the season to a close. Based on Anthony Burgess' incredible novel, Kubrick adapted, directed and produced what was to be one of the most controversial films ever made.  Released in 1971, Kubrick asked Warners to withdraw the film from distribution following allegations of copycat killings in the press and it remained officially withdrawn until 2001 when a new print was finally released. We are now able to screen (without fear of lawsuit) one of the most influential and powerful films in history, notable for the language, visual style, performances and music.  Don't miss it on the big screen!

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid - Day 272: Saturday October 2

Midnight Movies and Reel Music present I Could Have Danced All-Nighter

Bugsy Malone (Parker, 1976); Rock N Roll High School (Arkush, 1979); Can't Stop The Music (Walker, 1980) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Sharman, 1975): Roxy Bar and Screen, 11pm

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.

Here is the great trailer for the evening.

Here is the Scala Forever website introduction: Midnight Movies, experts in late-night cult film events, team up with Reel Music, London's No. 1 movie soundtrack club night, to present an all-night dancing special. Costumes and sensible shoes are essential as we expect you to take to the floor and throw some shapes. With a pre-screening party, themed cocktails, prizes for the best dressed/best movers and special audio-visual interludes and much more, this is one night you need to stay awake for!  

You don't need reviews. You need songs:

Here is Speak Easy from Bugsy Malone

Here is Rock N Roll High School by The Ramones from the film of the same name

Here is the trailer for Can't Stop The Music

Here is Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Capital Celluloid - Day 271: Friday Sept 30

True Grit (Ethan & Joel Coen, 2010):
The Scoop, More London Riverside, South Bank between London and Tower Bridges, SE1 2DB, 7.30pm
OUTDOOR FREE SCREENING

It's going to be a balmy evening. An outdoor screening would appear to be just the ticket to enjoy the Indian summer. This is a a terrific reworking of True Grit, much closer to the novel than the John Wayne version from the 1960s.

Time Out review:

'The Coens have made a western that assumes a pleasing position  between stately and earthy. There’s plenty of black humour and the brothers don’t ignore the grim realities of danger and death, but this is no ‘The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada’. They scrimp on neither warmth nor wit. There’s love, too, for the values, language and landscape of the time, and as such it’s a fairly traditional film, as stressed by Carter Burwell’s quietly monumental and wistful score. It could be the Coens’ most straightforward film, but it’s also one of their best.' Dave Calhoun

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid - Day 270: Thursday Sept 29

Ballad of Narayama (Imamura, 1983): ICA Cinema, 8.45pm 

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:

'This harsh and beautiful 1983 film by Shohei Imamura (Pigs and Battleships) marks a turning point in his career, away from the violence and confrontationalism of his earlier films and toward an almost Ozu-like acceptance of human fate. The story is set in an impoverished mountain village, where the law of survival requires that every citizen over 70 be put to death to make room for new mouths at the table. Orin (Sumiko Sakamoto in a sublime performance) is approaching the limit but doesn't want to die until she finds a new wife for her widowed son Tatsuhei (Ken Ogata). Imamura's rough sexual humor is still in evidence, but now it has taken on a dark tone: to make love is to flirt with death. The snow that falls in the final scene is a blanket of oblivion, a complex image that offers hope through loss. In Japanese with subtitles.' Dave Kehr


Here is the trailer.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 269: Wednesday Sept 28

A Canterbury Tale (Powell & Pressburger, 1943):
Roxy Bar and Screen, 7pm chosen and introduced by special guest Tilda Swinton

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.

In a late change to the original programme, Swinton will introduce A Canterbury Tale instead of A Matter of Life and Death. It's an extraordinary piece of work and a rare screening too. 

Time Out review:

'Michael Powell's extraordinary film proceeds from the faintly bizarre story of three characters (a land girl, a British sergeant and a US sergeant) who, arriving by the same train in a small Kent village, make friends and set out to unmask the mysterious 'glue man' who pours glue on to the hair of girls out late at night with servicemen. But the film shows a sharp awareness of the tensions underlying a country community in wartime - from rural resentment of the influx of outsiders to more long-term fears of the decay of a traditional social order. An assertion of stability to counterbalance these is provided by Powell's almost mystical sense of historical continuity, epitomised by Canterbury Cathedral and the Pilgrims' Way as captured in Erwin Hillier's lyrical photography. Though infuriatingly difficult to categorise, the film is bold, inventive, stimulating and extremely entertaining.' Allan T Sutherland

This is all you could wish for from a movie.



Capital Celluloid - Day 268: Tuesday September 27

Dekalog Parts III & IV (Kieślowski, 1989): Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, 8pm

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.

This is part of a complete screening of The Decalogue, a ten-part 1989 Polish television drama directed by Krysztof Kieslowski, by those wonderful people at the Close-Up film club. The series consists of ten one-hour films, each of which represents one of the Ten Commandments.

Details of Dekalog Part III can be found here (Honour The Sabbath Day: On Christmas Eve a taxi driver honours the traditions of the day, gives presents to his family and attends Midnight Mass. Later, his former lover Ewa asks him to help her find her missing husband. Should he stay home to keep the day holy? Or is it his duty to help Ewa?)

Details of Dekalog Part IV can be found here (Honour Thy Father And Thy Mother
Anka is a young drama student who has a close relationship with her widowed father. When he goes on a trip abroad Anka finds a letter revealing that he may not in fact be her real father.)

Here is a fascinating article by critic Philip Concannon on Kieslowski's Dekalog at the Mostly Film website.

Capital Celluloid - Day 267: Monday September 26

Floating Clouds (Naruse, 1955): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm

This is part of BFI Southbank's Passport to Cinema series and will be introduced by Isolde Standish.

Chicago Reader review:

'Mikio Naruse belongs with Ozu and Mizoguchi in the great classical tradition of Japanese cinema, though he remains almost unknown to American audiences. Like his famous colleagues, he specialized in melodrama, but his work rigorously denies both the spiritual transcendence of Mizoguchi and the human connections of Ozu, moving instead toward a sense of defeat and futility. Floating Clouds (1955), which was a huge popular success in Japan and remains his best-loved film today, tells of a young woman's determined love for a man she knows to be worthless; the film piles betrayal upon betrayal, but her hope is never shaken. Naruse's visual style is austere to the point of invisibility; his meanings are contained in his actors' faces and in his distinctive dovetailing of dramatic incidents, a narrative pattern that allows his characters no rest, but affords a strange peace in its constancy.' Dave Kehr


Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid - Day 266: Sunday September 25

Deep Red (Argento, 1975); Tenebrae (Argento, 1982) and Opera (Argento, 1987):
Arrow Video and FilmBar70 Dario Argento triple-bill, Roxy Bar and Screen, London Bridge, 3pm

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.

Courtesy of  cult film specialists Arrow Video comes this excellent triple-bill from Italian master director and Scala favourite Dario Argento.

Anne Billson's review of Deep Red*

'Dario Argento's pulpy giallo crime story (also known by its rather more poetic Italian title, Profondo Rosso) stars David Hemmings as an English pianist who's passing through a piazza in Rome when he witnesses the gory murder of a clairvoyant. He teams up with a feisty reporter (Daria Nicolodi, future mother of actress Asia Argento) to dig around in the past and solve the mystery of something he thought he glimpsed at the crime scene, though not before various characters have been bumped off in spectacularly gruesome ways. (Ouch, those teeth! Eek, that scalding bath!) The result, garnished with a nerve-jangling score by Goblin, is simultaneously trashy and elegant, and up there with Suspiria as one of the director's best.'

*Critic Anne Billson's highly recommended mini-reviews from the TV film listings pages of the Sunday Telegraph can be found here.

Here is the trailer for Deep Red.

Time Out review of Tenebrae:

A hybrid horror, both thriller and slasher, not to mention chopper and shocker, this confirms what Suspiria and Inferno led one to suspect. When it comes to plotting, Argento is one hell of a basket weaver: with holes in his story big enough to sink credibility, he cheats and double-crosses like mad to conceal the killer's identity. Successful crime writer (Franciosa) arrives in Rome to promote his new book 'Tenebrae', an event which triggers off a trail of bloody murders in the manner described in his book. By the end, the entire cast save one has undergone savage cutting, something which would have benefited the film itself, which is unpleasant even by contemporary horror standards. It does confirm Argento's dedication to the technicalities of constructing images - Grand Guignol for L'Uomo Vogue, perhaps - but you'll still end up feeling you've left some vital digestive organs back in the seat.' Frances Lass


Here is the trailer for Tenebrae.


Time Out review of Opera:

'The Visconti of Violence goes straight for the throat (and eyes) in this stylishly sick thriller about a young diva - the setting is a production of Macbeth at La Scala opera house - terrorised by a psycho killer. All the trademarks are here: minimal plot, striking set pieces, baroque camera movements, misogynist violence. As always, though, the most horrific thing is the dubbing. See it, if you must, on the big screen, because its swirling camerawork and imaginative nastiness will be completely lost on video.' Nigel Floyd


Here is the trailer for Opera.



Capital Celluloid - Day 265: Saturday September 24

Scorpion (Ito, 1972); Jailhouse 41 (Ito, 1972) & Beast Stable (Ito, 1973):
Cigarette Burns Film Club's Japanese Female Convict all-nighter Rio Cinema, 11.30pm

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.

I think this is a particularly good example of what has been so exciting about the Scala Forever season. The Scala cinema pioneered all-night screenings and this offering from Cigarette Burns is a wonderful homage to the spirit of the Scala - just the sort of triple-bill the programmers at the King's Cross venue would have put together and screened by perhaps the most innovative film club in the capital right now. Those who have urged me to go tonight tell me the trilogy was a huge influence on Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films.

Here's a feature on the hollywoodnews.com website on tonight's screening, Cigarette Burns and Scala Forever.

Here is the Scala Forever website introduction from tonight's host, Josh Saco of Cigarette Burns: ‘Back in the late 1960s the Japanese film studios targeted the growing teenage audience by combining Pinky or soft porn films with the violent Yakuza and Samurai genres, thus was born: Pinky Violence. Directors' and actors’ involvement was often contractual, yielding a genre full of subversion, pushing the stylistic envelope with experimental and adventurous film making. Top of the list is the hugely influential FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION series. We follow Sasori as she is double-crossed and set up by her high-ranking detective lover. A powerful performance by Meiko Kaji creates one of cinema’s most unforgettable women. Imprisoned, defiant and bent on revenge, they call her Scorpion for a reason.’

Here is the trailer for the Rio all-nighter created by Cigarette Burns.

Capital Celluloid - Day 264: Friday September 23

Some Like It Hot (Wilder, 1959): Nomad Cinema, Fulham Palace, 7.15pm

Going to the cinema does not have to entail driving to the out-of-town multiplex or even to any sort of picture house at all these days. There are plenty of pubs and clubs putting on films while the pop-up cinema phenomenon is becoming far more prevalent in the movie listings. The Nomad Cinema, run by the people at the excellent Lexi Cinema in Kensal Green, is the most adventurous of the pop-up brigade.

Time Out review:

'Still one of Billy Wilder's funniest satires, its pace flagging only once for a short time. Curtis and Lemmon play jazz musicians on the run after witnessing the St Valentine's Day massacre, masquerading in drag as members of an all-girl band (with resulting gender confusions involving Marilyn) to escape the clutches of Chicago mobster George Raft (bespatted and dime-flipping, of course). Deliberately shot in black-and-white to avoid the pitfalls of camp or transvestism, though the best sequences are the gangland ones anyhow. Highlights include Curtis' playboy parody of Cary Grant, and what is surely one of the great curtain lines of all time: Joe E Brown's bland 'Nobody's perfect' when his fiancée (Lemmon) finally confesses that she's a he.' Rod McShane

Here is the trailer.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 263: Thursday September 22

Babylon (Rosso, 1980): Back Room Cinema at The Montpelier, 43 Choumert Rd, Peckham, 8.30pm

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.

Time Out review:

'Although Babylon shows what it's like to be young, black and working class in Britain, the final product turns dramatised documentary into a breathless helter-skelter. Rather than force the social and political issues, Rosso lets them emerge and gather momentum through the everyday experience of his central character Blue (sensitively played by Forde). A series of increasingly provocative incidents finally polarise Blue and lead to uncompromising confrontation. Although the script runs out of steam by the end, the sharp use of location, the meticulous detailing of black culture, the uniformly excellent performances and stimulating soundtrack command attention.'


Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid - Day 262: Wednesday Sept 21

Aguirre, Wrath of God (Herzog, 1972) & Woyzeck (Herzog, 1979):
Roxy Bar and Screen, 7pm

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.

Time Out review of Aguirre:

'As in Even Dwarfs Started Small, the exposition of Herzog's film about the crazy, megalomaniac dream of the Spanish Conquistadors is both functional and extremely concentrated: each scene and each detail is honed down to its salient features. On this level, the film effectively pre-empts analysis by analysing itself as it proceeds, admitting no ambiguity. Yet at the same time, Herzog's flair for charged explosive imagery has never had freer rein, and the film is rich in oneiric moments. The extraordinary, beautiful opening scene illustrates the ambivalence. In long shot, the image of the conquistadors descending the Andes pass brims with poetic resonances: the men are situated between the peaks and the valleys, between conquered land and unexplored forests, between 'heaven' and 'earth', shrouded in mists. In close-up, the procession picking its way down the narrow path is presented and defined with specific accuracy: all the leading characters are introduced, the social hierarchy is sketched (the slave porters in chains, the women carried in chairs), and the twin poles of the expedition's ideology are signified through the loads it carries (a large Madonna figure and an even larger cannon). Neither 'reading' of the action contradicts the other: they are, rather, mutually illuminating.' Tony Rayns

Here is the trailer.

Time Out review of Woyzeck:

'An anarchist's morality play; the tale of an army private tormented in private by visions of apocalypse, in public by the unbearable weight of social and sexual oppression; he flips. Herzog's harsh vision of human suffering beyond despair, adapted from the Georg Büchner play, casts Woyzeck as a proletarian King Lear (Kinski, extraordinary once again), but there are echoes, too, of Beckett and Brecht. A sharp parable on social oppression and dormant rebellion, made with a dispassionate, deliberate formality that some may find hard to take.' Chris Auty


Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid - Day 261: Tuesday September 20

Thundercrack! (McDowell, 1975): The Horse Hospital, Bloomsbury, 6.30pm

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.

Here is the Scala Forever website introduction to what promises to be a special night: Electric Sheep, a deviant view of cinema, is the online magazine for lovers of offbeat, left-field and cult cinema. It celebrates the celluloid dreams of the most outlandish, provocative and visionary directors, the marginal and the transgressive, the poetic and the punk.

Recently publishing a book of film essays The End with Strange Attractor Press, they have joined forces to celebrate the legendary Scala Cinema with a screening of demented horror porno-comedy Thundercrack. The screening will be preceded by a discussion, hosted by Virginie Selavy, from Electric Sheep, about the life and times of the Scala with Jane Giles, former Scala film programmer and currently Head of Content at the BFI, horror maestro Kim Newman and Mark Pilkington, publisher of Strange Attractor Press and a regular Scala visitor. Taking place at the Horse Hospital, Bloomsbury’s home for the avant-garde since 1993.

Time Out review:

'The cult classic of weirdo hardcore, an irresistibly infuriating bad taste whip of raunch and skewed melodrama, like a very horny Soap, that quite literally leaves you unsure of whether you're coming or going. Often seen cut, but in the full-length version there's more of George Kuchar's parodically overripe dialogue, tracking the convergence of storm-tossed travellers (a gorilla included) on cackling Gertie's Old Dark masturbatorium, and giving a slower fuse to the series of casual libidinous explosions there. But there's also more of Kuchar's truly brilliant trash-noir lighting through which to peer at the pickles, the puke, and the polymorphs.' Paul Taylor


Here is the opening.

Capital Celluloid - Day 260: Monday September 19

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Kaufman, 1978): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

There's been plenty of debate in the press about remakes of late - here is a contribution from Guardian film writer Danny Leigh - and this riff on Don Siegel's 1950s classic is certainly one of the better stabs.

Time Out review:

'Though it lacks the awesome allegorical ambiguousness of the 1956 classic of sci-fi/political paranoia (here paid homage in cameo appearances byKevin McCarthy and Don Siegel), Kaufman and screenwriter WD Richter's update and San Francisco transposition of Jack Finney's novel is a far from redundant remake. The extraterrestrial pod people now erupt into a world where seemingly everyone is already 'into' changing their lives or lifestyles, and into a cinematic landscape already criss-crossed by an endless series of conspiracies, while the movie has as much fun toying with modern thought systems (psychology, ecology) as with elaborate variations on its predecessor. Kaufman here turns in his most Movie Brattish film, but soft-pedals on both his special effects and knowing in-jokiness in a way that puts De Palma to shame; even extra bit appearances by Robert Duvall(Kaufman's Jesse James in The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid) and Hollywood archivist Tom Luddyare given a nicely take-it-or-leave-it dimension.' Paul Taylor


Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid - Day 259: Sunday September 18

Liquid Sky (Tsukrman, 1982) & Cafe Flesh (Sayadian, 1982):
Roxy Bar and Screen, London Bridge, 7pm

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.

Here is the Roxy Bar and Screen preview: The evening is hosted by Little Joe, a magazine about queers and cinema mostly, which was launched in 2010 to create a new dialogue around film criticism, to avoid traditional review formats to celebrate and chart a history of lost queer cinema. Previously screening in London, Berlin and New York, Little Joe steps into the Scala’s shoes by presenting a striking double-bill that unashamedly mixes sex and science-fiction.

These were two of the most popular films screened at the Scala in it heyday in King's Cross.

Time Out review of Liquid Sky:


'Film-maker Tsukerman's personal comment on, er, the State of Western Man, magnified through a thoroughly unpleasant bunch of New York junkies, poseurs and twits. Claiming to subvert a host of Hollywood verities, Tsukerman unleashes a parasitic alien being on the New York smack'n'sex demi-monde. Junkies and sex fiends start dropping like flies, and not even the Bruno Ganz-alike scientist can stop the voracious bug. Tsukerman stops short of his original intention of offing the whole cast, allowing for an extraordinary fairy-tale ascension at the end, but his aim of highlighting social malaise gets happily mislaid in a bizarre, often hilarious melee of weird drugs, weird sex and off-the-wall camp SF. Close Encounters for acid casualties.' John Gill


Here is the fashion show scene.


Time Out review of Cafe Flesh:


'Though hardly on a par with the 1898 novel which foreshadowed, in most significant details, the wreck of the Titanic 14 years later, this slice of sci-fi porn does show a certain eerie prescience. Produced on the very eve of the AIDS pandemic, it proposes a future in which, following some plague-like visitation, the world's population is either Sex Positive or Sex Negative. In this tale, though, 'Positive' is good, means you can do it, whereas the unhappy Negatives can only congregate at Café Flesh, just to sit and watch. This is merely the framework for the standard hardcore action that follows - thought-provoking framework all the same.'' Bob Baker

Here is an extract from Cafe Flesh.

Capital Celluloid - Day 258: Saturday September 17

Pink Flamingos (Waters, 1972) & Bride of Frankenstein (Whale, 1935)

Both films are showing as part of Scala Cinema Day (2-8pm) at the Cinema Museum in Kennington which will include screenings, discussions and reminiscences about the legendary King's Cross picturehouse.

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.

The Scala Forever webiste preview: The day will start with Michael Clifford's documentary on the Scala (30mins) before a panel discussion with Scala staff members Jane Giles and Stephen Woolley on the legacy of the cinema. A short break allows a chance to view old Scala programmes and other items from the museum's archive, before a discussion of the legacy of the Scala and the future of repertory cinema in the UK with Jane Giles joined by Danny Leigh of the Guardian, Michael Pierce of Midnight Movies, Phil Wood of Roxy Bar and Screen and Shira Macleod of Riverside Studios. The event will finish with a specially selected tribute double-bill of wild-haired ladies courtesy of John Waters' midnight movie classic Pink Flamingos and James Whale's horror classic Bride of Frankenstein.

Time Out review of Pink Flamingos:

'Waters' exercise in deliberately appalling taste is not for the sensitive, needless to say, offering a series of more or less disgusting gags (a messy copulation involving the killing of a chicken, loads of scatological references, a close-up of a scrawny youth spectacularly flexing his anus) deployed around a plot in which a villainous couple attempt to wrest from Divine 'her' claim to be the most disgusting person alive. The cast camp it up as if auditioning for some long-gone Warhol project. Waters raids de Sade in pursuit of extremes, but the difference between him and Warhol (or that other arch-exponent of extreme disgust, Otto Muehl) is that Waters' grotesquerie is decidedly trivial.' Verina Glaessner


Here is the trailer for Pink Flamingos

Chicago Reader review of Bride of Frankenstein:



'James Whale's quirky, ironic 1935 self-parody is, by common consent, superior to his earlier Frankenstein (1931). Whale added an element of playful sexuality to this version, casting the proceedings in a bizarre visual framework that makes this film a good deal more surreal than the original. Elsa Lanchester is the reluctant bride; Boris Karloff returns as the love-starved monster. Weird and funny.' Don Druker


Here is a short extract from Bride of Frankenstein

Capital Celluloid - Day 257: Friday September 16

The Omen (Donner, 1976): Nomad Cinema at Fulham Palace, Bishop's Park, Fulham, SW6, 7.30pm

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.

Going to the cinema does not have to entail driving to the out-of-town multiplex or even to any sort of picture house at all these days. There are plenty of pubs and clubs putting on films while the pop-up cinema phenomenon is becoming far more prevalent in the movie listings. The Nomad Cinema, run by the people at the excellent Lexi Cinema in Kensal Green, is the most adventurous of the pop-up brigade.

The Omen is a pretty perfect choice for a stormy outdoor screening and if the weather forecast is right the atmosphere should be ideal.

Chicago Reader review:

'Ambassador Gregory Peck finds that he's adopted the Antichrist (and he's a cute little feller too), in the slickest of the many demonic thrillers that followed in the wake of The Exorcist. Richard Donner directs more for speed than mood, but there are a few good shocks. With Lee Remick and David Warner (1976).' Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 256: Thursday September 15

Amy Grimehouse presents the Russ Meyer Night: The Book Club, 100 Leonard St, Shoreditch

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.

Tonight's events include a Russ Meyer double-bill, plus cabaret and dancing at The Book Club. You can find out more details here at the Amy Grimehouse Facebook page.

Here is the Scala Forever introduction: Amy Grimehouse is a change from the traditional cinema experience, screening cinema for the lovers of filth, gore, camp and transgressive cult films. Taking inspiration from movie theatres of the 1920s combining feature films with a stage show, Amy Grimehouse have decided to add their own blend of miscreant performance, dress up as well as photo booths, a great bar and rousing music to entertain London’s grime seekers. Keen to screen the sorts of films that allow for some audience participation, the Grimehouse team are never short of a few props to add to the enjoyment of the cult classics featured.

Thursday 15 September will be their one year anniversary and they plan to celebrate with the movies of Russ Meyer. Expect go-go dancers, DJs and a double-bill from one of the Scala Cinema's most popular directors. 

Capital Celluloid - Day 255: Wednesday September 14

Despair (Fassbinder, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT1 5.45pm

Time Out review:

'This generally ill-received assault (in both senses) on the art house market, filmed in English, toys perversely with its signifiers of 'class' (Nabokov novel, Stoppard script, Dirk Bogarde performance) to both plainly outrageous and oddly hermetic effect. The novel's surprises are merrily given away half way through (when distressed chocolate manufacturer Hermann Hermann decides to opt out of proto-Nazi Germany by murdering a 'double' who in fact looks nothing like him), and Fassbinder increasingly aligns the material with his more personal studies in schizophrenia like Satan's Brew or World on a Wire, while matching his own concerns with illusionism to Nabokov's with delusion. Bold, garish and obsessive, but more than a little irritating.' Paul Taylor


Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid - Day 254: Tuesday September 13

Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (Fassbinder, 1974) & The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Fassbinder, 1972):
Roxy Bar and Screen 7pm

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.


Here is the Roxy's introduction: Two contrasting films from the influential Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Ali… was one of his most critically acclaimed films, a simple story of a relationship between a middle-aged widow and a younger Morrocan mechanic shot in a style seen as an homage to the work of Douglas Sirk. Contrasting this is one of Fassbinder’s most controversial, emotional and visually stunning films, an all-female film based on his own stage play that explores power and desire and attracted most attention for the depiction of lesbian sexuality. Two powerful, contrasting pieces from an icon of German cinema.

Here is an extraxt from Fear Eats The Soul.

Capital Celluloid - Day 253: Monday September 12

Clerks (Smith, 1994) & Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.40 & 8.45pm

Time Out review of Clerks:

'Shot in a New Jersey convenience store for $27,575, this talky, scabrous and very funny first feature is a bargain-price comedy. Store clerk Dante (O'Halloran) and his pal Randal (Anderson), who minds the adjacent video shop, use the gaps between awkward customers to discuss their career trajectories, the ending of Return of the Jedi, the oral excesses of Dante's current girlfriend, and the impending nuptials of his high-school ex. If it's fancy packaging you want, forget it; if scuzzy talk and laugh-out-loud humour are your bag, check this out.' Nigel Floyd


Here is the trailer for Clerks.


Time Out review of Dazed and Confused:


'School's breaking up for the summer of '76. The seniors debate party politics while next term's freshmen run the gauntlet of brutal initiation rites, barely comforted by the knowledge that they'll wield the stick one day. No one's looking much farther ahead than that. This has a free-wheeling, 'day-in-the-life-of' structure which allows writer/director Linklater, in his second feature, to eavesdrop on an ensemble cast without much in the way of dramatic contrivance. There's a quirky counter-cultural intelligence at work: sympathy for those on the sidelines, and a deadpan pop irony which places this among the hippest teenage movies. While the camera flits between some two dozen youngsters (played by uniformly excellent unknowns), Linklater allows himself to develop a handful of stories. Seriously funny, and shorn of any hint of nostalgia or wish-fulfilment, this is pretty much where it's at.' Tom Charity


Here is the trailer for Dazed and Confused. Great soundtrack.

Capital Celluloid - Day 252: Sunday September 11

Repulsion (Polanski, 1965) & The Shining (Kubrick, 1980): Ritzy Cinema, 4pm

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.

The screening is part of the A-Z of Cinema at the Ritzy and this is I for Isolation. Both films are modern horror classics which have grown in reputation since their release. Both have come to be thought of as indicative of their best work.

Time Out review of Repulsion:

'Still perhaps Polanski's most perfectly realised film, a stunning portrait of the disintegration, mental and emotional, of a shy young Belgian girl (Deneuve) living in London. When she's left alone by her sister in their Kensington flat, she becomes reclusive and retreats into a terrifying world of fantasies and nightmares which find murderous physical expression when she is visited by a would-be boyfriend (Fraser) and her leering landlord (Wymark). Polanski employs a host of wonderfully integrated visual and aural effects to suggest the inner torment Deneuve suffers: cracks in pavements, hands groping from walls, shadows under doors, rotting skinned rabbits, and - as in Rosemary's Baby - the eerie, ever-present sound of someone practising scales on a piano. And despite the fact that the girl's manically destructive actions derive from a terror of sexual contact, Polanski never turns his film into a misogynist binge: the men she meets are far from sympathetically portrayed, and we are led to understand her fear and revulsion by the surreal expressionism used to portray her mental state. All in all, one of the most intelligent horror movies ever made, and certainly one of the most frighteningly effective.' Geoff Andrew


Here is the trailer  


This is a link to an excellent Sight and Sound magazine article on The Shining by Jonathan Romney. 


Here is a wonderful trailer.

Capital Celluloid - Day 251: Saturday September 9

Re-Animator (Gordon, 1985); Slugs: The Movie (Simon, 1989); Basket Case (Henenlotter, 1981); Phantasm (Coscarelli, 1978) & Humanoids From The Deep (Peters, 1980):
All-Night of the Bloody Pint at Roxy Bar and Screen, 11pm

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.

Details on films courtesy of scalaforever.co.uk

RE-ANIMATOR

Stuart Gordon plies H. P. Lovecraft with some mightily powerful amphetamines in this riotous and manic movie version of ‘The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward’. Alternately hilarious and horrifying, RE-ANIMATOR is energy incarnate, and features some of the most outrageous and staggering scenes ever burnt to celluloid – including one that casts a new light on the term ‘giving head’! We guarantee you won’t believe your eyes!

SLUGS: THE MOVIE

Where’s the salt! From the pen of UK trash maestro Shaun Hutson and the eye of dearly departed Juan Piquer Simon comes this frankly hilarious account of a town overrun by some very slimy blighters indeed. Featuring some of the choicest dialogue ever recorded for the screen, SLUGS is a near indescribable, uproarious hoot from beginning to end that will certainly have you rolling, not to say squirming, in the aisles.

BASKET CASE
Blood runs thicker than water in Henenlotter’s twisted tale of brotherly love. Endearingly ragged, featuring some fantastic amateur stop motion model work, BASKET CASE is truly a fan’s delight, made by fans for fans…

PHANTASM
Coscarelli’s dream-state fugue has certainly got balls – killer balls. A classic of midnight logistics, this weird and wonderful descent into the sub-conscious packs in enough bizarre imagery to fuel your nightmares for a very, very long time. Deviant dwarfs, an excessively tall man and a heroic ice-cream salesman all add up to – well, your guess is as good as mine. Boy!

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP
Old school monster mayhem abounds in this fishy tale of some very sexed up beasties on the rampage. Featuring some of the best creature designs of the latter half of the twentieth century, HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP dares to portray that which was only hinted at in monster mashes of old. All this and Doug McClure too…

Here is the trailer for Re-Animator.

Capital Celluloid - Day 250: Friday September 9

Kes (Loach, 1969): BFI Southank 2pm; 6.10pm & 8.50pm
The film continues at the cinema on an extended run as part of the Ken Loach season through till September 24.

Time Out review:


'It’s more than 40 years since Ken Loach shot ‘Kes’ in South Yorkshire, taking in school and home life in an area where nature meets the mining industry on the skyline – and now the BFI is giving his most enduring film an extended run as part of a two-month season of his work.

After making television films and ‘Poor Cow’ (1967), Loach made ‘Kes’ (1969), the story of Billy Casper (David Bradley), a smart but wayward schoolboy who lives near Barnsley with his mother and older brother and who, despite a quick mind and tongue, has a reputation as a rogue. ‘Kes’ marked a new maturity and stillness in Loach’s work, which doesn’t mean it’s without energy or humour – it has both in spades. 

Loach found fitting partners in cinematographer Chris Menges – who translated Loach’s eye and ear for documentary-style realism into a quiet form of observation, using natural light – and writer Barry Hines, whose novel ‘A Kestrel for Knave’ the script was adapted from and whose  compassion and knack for everyday dialogue runs through the film.

 The ideas in ‘Kes’ on the role of both teachers and parents emerge naturally and gently from vital, believable portrayals. It’s a bird, of course, that gives the film its name and the scenes with Billy and his falcon are undoubtedly special and tender. But in the end, ‘Kes’ is one of the most astute, engaged films about education and what it takes for kids to be excited about learning or passionate about anything, really, whether in the classroom or roaming the fields with a feathered friend.' 
Dave Calhoun
For a change (from the footy) here's the pub scene.