Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 8: Sunday Jan 8

Auto Focus (Schrader, 2002) & sex, lies and videotape (Soderbergh, 1989):
Shacklewell Arms, Shacklewell Lane, E8 2EB, 4.30pm

The double-bill of the year so far clearly and it will be no surprise if it doesn't rate very highly by the year's end. An excellent coupling of films about sex and voyeurism brought to you by Still Advance. You can read more details here.

Time Out review of Auto Focus:

'Improvident sexaholic Bob Crane (Kinnear) came to fame as the star of the '60s TV sitcom Hogan's Heroes, and died, brutally and mysteriously, in a motel room in 1978. Co-produced by the writers of The People vs. Larry Flynt and Man on the Moon, Schrader's film proposes that, in between, Crane's life was one long pile-up of party girls and home pornography, catalysed by his friendship with home-video evangelist 'John Carpenter' (Dafoe). The twist to the tale is the self-image Crane maintains as a straight-up, all-American kind of guy, justifying his playboy lifestyle to anyone who'll listen, even as it devours two marriages and his cherished (if vacuous) 'likeability'. Until some shaky stylisation at the close, Schrader sets up all this with uninflected matter-of-factness, offering Crane as a glib, mildly ridiculous enigma.' N B

Here is the trailer.

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Chicago Reader review of sex, lies and videotape:

'Winner of the grand prize at the 1989 Cannes film festival, this is an extremely well made chamber piece about sexual attitudes and impulses. At the center of this stylish comedy-drama are an up-and-coming yuppie lawyer (Peter Gallagher); his sexually repressed wife (Andie MacDowell); his sexually uninhibited mistress (Laura San Giacomo), who happens to be his wife's sister; and his former college chum, who's just moved back to town (James Spader, who won the prize for best actor at Cannes)—an impotent eccentric who likes to videotape women talking about their sexual experiences. Cunningly scripted and acted, and talky in the best sense, the film is engrossing to watch but not especially interesting to ponder afterward; it's certainly an improvement on formulaic Hollywood, but on a thematic level there's still more windup than delivery—it's a film that ultimately seeks to satisfy more than to provoke. Writer-director Steven Soderbergh works mainly in close-ups and medium shots, and while his close concentration on his quartet of characters makes for a narrative intensity, the relative absence of a wider social context leads to a certain overall preciosity. You should see this, but don't expect any major revelations' Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Here is the trailer.

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