Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 158: Wed June 6

Jubilee (Jarman, 1978): ICA Cinema, 8.30pm
No more appropriate film could screen in Diamond Jubilee week.

Here is the ICA introduction to the night: Derek Jarman’s 1978 feature-length classic Jubilee is the focus of the special Artists’ Film Club. A 35mm print of Jubilee will be screened alongside a new transfer of the 8mm Jordan’s Dance (1977), a short which would later be incorporated, in part, in Jubilee. Coinciding with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the screening will also be accompanied by a panel discussion including actress Jenny Runacre (Jubilee’s Queen Elizabeth I and Bod), producer and long-time collaborator James Mackay and others.

Time Out review:
'It's almost an understatement to say that Jubilee has a lot going for it. Jarman has conceived the ingenious idea of transporting Queen Elizabeth I through time to witness the future disintegration of her kingdom as marauding girl punks roam a junky and violent urban landscape. Its patchily humorous evocation of this landscape lays the film open to criticism: several sequences stoop to juvenile theatrics, and the determined sexual inversion (whereby most women become freakish 'characters', and men loose-limbed sex objects) comes to look disconcertingly like a misogynist binge. But in conception the film remains highly original, and it does deliver enough of the goods to sail effortlessly away with the title of Britain's first official punk movie: 'Rule Britannia', as mimed by Jordan, should have 'em pogoing in the aisles.' David Pirie


Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 157: Tue June 5

Pola X (Carax, 1999): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.10pm
This film is also screening at BFI Southbank on June 3. Details here. The screening on Tuesday 5 June is part of the Passport to Cinema season and will be introduced by Philip Kemp.

There is a lot of anticipation surrounding Leos Carax's new film, Holy Motors, following its screening at Cannes last week. Here is your chance to see his previous film in a rare screening as part of the excellent Passport to Cinema season.

Chicago Reader review:
'I haven't read Herman Melville's Pierre, or the Ambiguities, but it's reportedly director Leos Carax's favorite novel. What there is of a plot to this 1999 modern-dress adaptation, which Carax wrote with Lauren Sedofsky and Jean-Pol Fargeau, concerns a wealthy author (Guillaume Depardieu, son of Gerard) living in Normandy in semi-incestuous contentment with his mother (Catherine Deneuve). Upon encountering a soulful eastern European war refugee (Katerina Golubeva) who claims to be his half sister, he runs out on his wealthy fiancee (Delphine Chuillot) and retreats to a funky part of Paris to write another novel. There's clearly some sort of self-portraiture going on here. A 19th-century romantic inhabiting a universe as mythological as Jean Cocteau's, Carax (Boy Meets Girl, Bad Blood, The Lovers on the Bridge) has a wonderful cinematic eye and a personal feeling for editing rhythms, and his sense of overripeness and excess virtually defines him. He's as self-indulgent as they come, and we'd all be much the poorer if he weren't. Characteristic of his private sense of poetics is this film's dedication, near the end of the closing credits, “to my three sisters”—it appears on-screen for less than a second. Pola, incidentally, is the acronym of the French title of Melville's novel; X alludes to the fact that Carax used the tenth draft of the script.' Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here is a trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 156: Mon June 4

Reds (Beatty, 1981): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 4.15pm
This is screening as part of the Warren Beatty season at BFI Southbank and is also being shown on Wednesday June 27. Details here.

Chicago Reader review: 
'Warren Beatty's shapely 1981 epic, based on the life of radical journalist John Reed, is a stunningly successful application of a novelistic aesthetic—a film that makes full and thoughtful use of its three-and-a-half-hour length to develop characters, ideas, and motifs with a depth seldom seen in movies. Though it deals with historical events—World War I, the growth of the workers' movement in America, the Russian Revolution—history is not used simply as a backdrop; rather, Beatty focuses on the interdependence of personal choices and historical developments, mingling ideology and emotion in a very human whole. The cast is extraordinary, with Diane Keaton in particular achieving a weight and authority she hadn't shown before. With Beatty, Edward Herrmann, Jerzy Kosinski, Jack Nicholson, Paul Sorvino, Maureen Stapleton, and a good many real-life “witnesses” of the periods and events covered, including Henry Miller and George Jessel.'
Dave Kehr

Excuse the awful trailer.                                   

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 155: Sun June 3

How To Make a Monster  (Strock, 1958) & Dr Phibes Rises Again (Fuest, 1972):
Roxy Bar and Screen, London Bridge, 3pm
Another double-bill from the Classic Horror Campaign, a pressure group trying its best to get horror films back on our TV screens. You can find out more about them via this Facebook page. And more about this afternoon's brilliant double-bill here.


Chicago Reader review of Dr Phibes Rises Again:
'Vincent Price was once asked on a TV talk show how his skull-headed Dr. Phibes had risen again after embalming himself at the end of The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971). Price replied grandly, “He disembalmed himself.” This 1972 sequel to the camp classic is more of the same—which is to say, priceless. Robert Fuest, of the British TV series The Avengers, returns as director, and Peter Cushing puts in an appearance.' JR Jones


Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 154: Sat June 2

Throne of Blood (Kurosawa, 1957): Barbican Cinema, 2pm
This screening will be introduced by Japanese film expert Tony Rayns and feature a Q&A with renowned theatre director Yukio Ninagawa. Details here.

Time Out review:
'Akira Kurosawa's adaptation of Macbeth is reckoned by many, Peter Brook among them, to be one of the very few successful efforts at filming Shakespeare. Translating the familiar story to medieval Japan, with Macbeth as the samurai Washizu (Toshiro Mifune), the adaptation deletes most of the minor characters, transforms the witches' scenes into a magical encounter with an old woman spinning in a forest glade, perches 'Cobweb Castle' high in the hilly moorland where the clouds roll by like ground-fog, and conceives a stunningly graphic fate for the usurper, clinging stubbornly to his promise of glory even as he is being turned into a human pin-cushion by volleys of arrows. It's visually ravishing, as you would expect, employing compositional tableaux from the Noh drama, high contrast photography, and extraordinary images of rain, galloping horses, the birds fleeing from the forest; all of which contribute to the expression of a doom-laden universe whose only way out for its tragic hero is auto-destruction.'


Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 153: Fri June 1

The Turin Horse (Tarr, 2011): Renoir Cinema, Various times - all week. Details here.

A rare foray into first-run territory for what looks an outstanding new film from legendary Hungarian director Bela Tarr.

Five-star Time Out review:

'Never a prolific force, the Hungarian director Béla Tarr has declared that ‘The Turin Horse’ will be his last film. He has also suggested that the reason for hanging up his boots is apparent in the film – which makes ‘The Turin Horse’ even more of a glorious, terrifying mystery. It’s an epic portrait of drudging peasantry, set, biblically, over six days – and it is a film that drills into the core of your soul.
It begins with a prologue explaining how the philosopher Nietzsche witnessed a horse being beaten in Turin in 1889, immediately before his breakdown: ‘Of the horse, we know nothing,’ says the intro pointedly. Is this the story of that horse? Or is it simply a story of anonymous sufferers in a godless world living the sort of miserable, uncomprehending life that may have sent Nietzsche into a spin in the first place? We spend the rest of the film in the company of a grizzled, white-haired father (János Derzsi) and his equally taciturn adult daughter (Erika Bók), who live alone in wild countryside with only a tired horse for company. As the days go on, the howling wind grows louder, several interlopers ominously disrupt their routine and the lightliterally – and, we assume, metaphorically – begins to go out.'
Dave Calhoun


Here is the trailer.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 152: Thu May 31

Sigmund Freud's Dora (McCall, Pajaczkowska etc, 1979) plus Light Reading (Rhodes, 1979):
ICA Cinema, 6.45pm

I Am Dora is a new artists' publication and this is the launch night.

Here is the I Am Dora Facebook page.  And here is the I Am Dora website.

Time Out review of Sigmund Freud's Dora:
'Feminine desire, displacement, obsessive housewifery, the image of the Madonna, smoke... fire. No wonder Freud's fragmented analysis of his rebellious teenage patient has become a feminist touchstone. This witty and ambitious film bends the rules of classic couch cinema, while inserts of telly ads and porno films interrogate woman's status as the object of desire.' Mandy Merck

Here is the ICA introduction to tonight: I Am Dora is an artists' publication focusing on how female characters in film affect womens perceptions of themselves. A subjective and personal study, I Am Dora explores how and why women identify with one another and what this means when the identification is with a flawed or misunderstood character.

Chapter 1 launches with LUX’s restored print of Sigmund Freud's Dora: A Case of Mistaken Identity directed by Anthony McCall, Claire Pajaczkowska, Andrew Tyndall, and Jane Weinstock (1979), and Light Reading by Lis Rhodes (1979). The event will include a short introduction and an informal discussion following the films in the ICA bar. The first 50 tickets sold will receive a complimentary copy of the publication.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 151: Wed May 30

The Wings of the Dove (Softley, 1997): Stratford Picturehouse, 4pm
This film is also screening at this cinema on Sunday May 27 at 4pm. Details here.

The movie is the subject of an excellent BFI Modern Classics monograph by Robin Wood. More here.

Time Out review:
'Kate Croy (Helena Bonham Carter) loves Merton (Linus Roache), a comparatively impoverished, 'progressive' journalist, but the aunt on whom she depends (Charlotte Rampling) prefers a wealthier suitor and forbids them to meet. Reluctant to lose either her lover or her allowance, Kate takes advantage of her blossoming friendship with visiting American heiress Milly (Elliott), travelling with her to Venice and, unknown to her aunt, inviting her 'friend' Merton to join them. But things get still more complicated when it looks like Milly is starting to fall for Merton herself. For the early London scenes, Hossein Amini's adaptation of Henry James' novel (updated to 1910) seems merely an imaginatively designed Edwardian costumer about frustrated love. In Venice, however, it soon becomes noticeably more interesting, with Kate's motives and methods turning increasingly murky as she appears to drive Merton into Milly's arms. The familiar Jamesian conflict of American innocence and Old World intrigue emerges, darker and crueller than a conventional romantic triangle, and a palpable sense of anguish, guilt and confusion takes hold. The performances are sensitive and sturdy, most impressively so in a beautifully judged sex scene (between Merton and Kate) that is authentically despairing.' Geoff Andrew

Here is the trailer.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 150: Tue May 29

Landscape Suicide (Benning, 1986): Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, 8pm

This screening is from the Close-Up film club. Here is their introduction to the night:
For 40 years, James Benning has been a singular, defiant voice in the American independent film scene. In Landscape Suicide, he effortlessly strides the boundaries of narrative and documentary forms as he recounts two infamous murder cases that took place almost 30 years apart.
More details on the Close-Up website here.

Chicago Reader review:
'All of James Benning's features can be regarded as shotgun marriages in which he attempts to wed his distinctive formal talents and interests—framing midwestern landscapes with beauty and nostalgia, using ambiguous offscreen sounds to create narrative expectations—with an intellectual or social rationale. Landscape Suicide (1986) was almost certainly his most successful and interesting foray in this direction since One Way Boogie Woogie (1977). Delving into two murder cases—Bernadette Protti's seemingly unmotivated stabbing murder of another teenage girl in a California suburb in 1984, and Ed Gein's even more gratuitous mass slayings and mutilations in rural Wisconsin in the late 50s—Benning uses actors to re-create part of the killers' court testimonies and juxtaposes them with the commonplace settings where these crimes took place. Boldly eschewing the specious psychological rhetoric that usually accompanies accounts of such crimes, he creates an open forum for the spectator to contemplate the mysterious vacancy of these people and these places, and their relationships to each other. The performances of both actors, Rhonda Bell and Elian Sacker, are extraordinary achievements, and the chilling, evocative landscapes have their own stories to tell; the fusion of the two creates gaps that not even the film's confusing title can fill, but the space opened up is at once powerful and provocative.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 149: Mon May 28

Torture Garden (Francis, 1967): Film Club at Sanctum Hotel, Soho, 7pm

The Film Club at the Sanctum Hotel put on some wonderful movies and you can read more about them here at their Facebook page.

Time Out review:
'The second Amicus horror omnibus and one of the best, with a clever framing device involving Burgess Meredith as a Mephistophelean fairground charlatan who offers clients grisly glimpses of the future, in four Robert Bloch stories which get progressively better until the splendid climax of The Man Who Collected Poe. Terrific performances from Jack Palance as the manic Poe collector who achieves apotheosis by turning himself into a character straight out of one of Poe's more apocalyptic stories, and from John Standing as a concert pianist saddled with a murderously possessive grand piano.'
Tom Milne
Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 148: Sun May 27

Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (Straub/Huillet, 1968): Lexi Cinema, Kensal Rise, 5.30pm
This is a Nos A Amours film club screening introduced by film makers Joanna Hogg and Adam Roberts.

Continuing their mission to make available rare and potent cinema, A Nos Amours presents a film about - driven by – the music of Bach from directors Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, a duo of filmmakers who made two dozen films between 1963 and 2006. Their films are noted for their rigorous, intellectually stimulating style. There are more details on the club at their website here.

Time Out review:
'A film about the past which is lucid can help people of the present to achieve that necessary lucidity.' Straub's account of Bach is nothing if not lucid: it documents the last 27 years of its subject's life (through the mediating eyes of his wife) principally in terms of his music. The music itself obviates any need for a 'drama' to present Bach; Straub celebrates its range and complexity while showing it always in performance, to emphasise the nature of Bach's work as musician/conductor. A narration (compiled from contemporary sources) sets the man in his economic and social context. With his minimalist's sensitivity to nuance and inflection, Straub eschews pointless cutting and camera movement. The beautiful result has the air of a crystal-clear meditation.'
Tony Rayns
Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 147: Sat May 26

The German Chainsaw Massacre (Schlingensief, 1990): Tate Modern, 6pm

Time Out review:
'A bloody and demented blend of Brechtian political satire and Texas Chain Saw Massacre-style horror, this shrieking gore-fest is set during the first hours after German reunification. Fleeing from the East, hapless victims fall prey to a crazed family of human butchers, who introduce them to the pleasures of the Free Market by noisily hacking, bludgeoning and chainsawing them to death. Abrasive, relentless, cruelly funny and enjoyably deranged.'
Nigel Floyd
Here is an extract on YouTube (no subtitles but you get the idea)

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 146: Fri May 25

They Live (Carpenter, 1988) 4pm; The Monster Squad (Dekker, 1987) 6pm; Se7en (Fincher, 1985) 7.45pm & The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Hooper, 1974) 10pm:
I'll Be Your Mirror Festival, Alexandra Palace.

The Prince Charles cinema have chosen the films for Friday night at the I'll Be Your Mirror Festival, curated by band Mogwai and the All Tomorrow's parties crew. More details here of a brilliant weekend that includes Mark Cousins' new film on the Sunday. That day's films have all been selected by Louis Theroux.

Here is Paul Vickery of the Prince Charles with his reasons for choosing tonight's movies:
John Carpenter, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Aliens, OBEY, Subliminal Messaging, overly-long punch-ups... They Live has it all, and then some. We've screened this film at the Prince Charles a couple of times and every time it draws the best audience, but is seemingly ignored by even the most ardent of Carpenter supporters. But we'll continue to champion They Live for as long as the doors to the PCC are open. We feel it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the rest of John Carpenters work AND once you've watched it, you'll know why. It's simply amazing and best served with a crowd so be sure not to miss 
THEY LIVE!
**************************************************************
Last year we set up a new 'REintroducing...' incentive, wherein we would set out to find those lost films of our youth which are no longer available to screen due to dissolving distributors, rights lapsing or even just lost 35mm prints. We had a 'Wish List' of titles we wanted to bring back and top of that list was THE MONSTER SQUAD. It took us the better part of 18 months, but after a world- wide search and countless phone-calls, emails and even faxes, in December of last year a 35mm print arrived at our building and we were proud to 'REintroduce...' The Monster Squad to a Sold Out UK audience. This film 
has now become part of the PCC's history and we couldn't programme a line-up without it.
**************************************************************
Other than film, my biggest passion is music. Before being asked to curate this evenings cinematic entertainment I was already planning to attend I'LL BE YOUR MIRROR and take in my seventh Slayer show (a bit off topic, but I once dislocated my shoulder during their set at the old Astoria way back when), but as soon as All Tomorrow's Parties graciously invited me to pick some films I knew SE7EN had to be there... why? Well, when you're as big a fan of Slayer as I am, for no reason at all you know that SE7EN is Kerry King's favourite film and he is not a man you want to disappoint so it had to make the line-up.
**************************************************************
As with SE7EN, an inherent knowledge of all things SLAYER has influenced this pick too. Tom Araya's fascination with serial killers led to his discovery of famed human skin-wearer, ED GEIN. And it just so happens that Ed Gein was the inspiration for Seasons In The Abyss track 'DEAD SKIN MASK' as well as TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, making this the perfect connection between band and film.

Here is the trailer for They Live.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 145: Thu May 24

The Innkeepers (West, 2011): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm
This Cigarette Burns presentation is an exclusive preview of one of the most anticipated horror movies of recent years. The film is released on June 8 but you can catch the movie early tonight.

More details via the Cigarette Burns film club here

Chicago Reader review:
'Ti West made his name with The House of the Devil (2009), a 70s-style shocker about a college student hired to mind a spooky old house, then picked up a sequel assignment for Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, which he later disowned. Now he's back to his own shtick with this passably creepy chiller about two young people (goofy Pat Healy and cute Sara Paxton) minding a spooky old historic New England hotel the last weekend before it closes. The place offers West plenty of odd, creaky spaces to inspect as the innkeepers' project of capturing ghostly events on video (a joking reference to the Paranormal Activity franchise) begins to bear fruit. The House of the Devil benefited from the presence of trash-cinema icon Mary Woronov; this time West hauls Kelly McGillis (Top Gun) out of the mothballs to play an alcoholic former sitcom actress who now makes her living as a spiritualist.' JR Jones

Here is the official trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 144: Wed May 23

Two Weeks in Another Town (Minnelli, 1962): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm
This film, part of the Vincente Minnelli season at BFI Southbank, also screens on 21 & 25 May. More details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'Though crippled by studio recutting that tried to adjust this neurotic 1962 melodrama for the family market, Vincente Minnelli's adaptation of Irwin Shaw's novel is one of his last great pictures, reversing the Henry James model of innocent Americans encountering corruption abroad—it's the Americans who are decadent here. Intelligently scripted by Charles Schnee, the film reunites the director, writer, producer (John Houseman), star (Kirk Douglas), and composer (David Raksin) of The Bad and the Beautiful, describing the attempted comeback of an alcoholic ex-star (Douglas), asked to help a director friend (Edward G. Robinson) with a new picture in Rome, who encounters both his destructive ex-wife (Cyd Charisse) and a redemptive young Italian woman (Daliah Lavi) in the process. George Hamilton plays a spoiled young actor who falls under Douglas's tutelage, and Claire Trevor plays Robinson's wife. The costumes, decor, and 'Scope compositions show Minnelli at his most expressive, and the gaudy intensity—as well as the inside detail about the movie business—makes this compulsively watchable.'
Jonathan Rosenabum
Here is the trailer.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 143: Tue May 22



This film is screening as part of the Jean Gabin season and is also being shown on May 18 and May 27. Details here.

This is not one of the great director Max Ophuls' best-known works but for those both familiar and unfamiliar with his ouevre it is more than worth a trip across town for. BFI head of film programming, Geoff Andrew, put this in his top ten moviesin the 2002 Sight & Sound poll and repeated viewings in the last couple of years have led me to believe this is a much-underrated movie.

Time Out review:

'Ophüls' second French film following his return from the USA was adapted from three stories by Maupassant. Le Masque describes how an old man wears a mask of youth at a dance hall to extend his youthful memories. La Maison Tellier, the longest episode, deals with a day's outing for the ladies from a brothel, and a brief romance. In Le Modéle, the model in question jumps from a window for love of an artist, who then marries her. Although Ophüls had to drop a fourth story intended to contrast pleasure and death, these three on old age, purity and marriage are shot with a supreme elegance and sympathy, and the central tale in particular luxuriates in the Normandy countryside. The whole is summed up by the concluding line, that 'happiness is no lark'.' David Thompson

If you need convincing here is a masterful essay by critic VF Perkins in Film Quarterly on this somewhat neglected masterpiece of anthology film-making.

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 142: Mon May 21

2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968): Stratford Picturehouse

The Stratford Picturehouse continue their Stanley Kubrick season with this classic, a perfect opportunity to see this before Sight & Sound publish their top ten list of all-time  in August. It made No.6 in 2002.

Chicago Reader review:

'Seeing this 1968 masterpiece in 70-millimeter, digitally restored and with remastered sound, provides an ideal opportunity to rediscover this mind-blowing myth of origin as it was meant to be seen and heard, an experience no video setup, no matter how elaborate, could ever begin to approach. The film remains threatening to contemporary studiothink in many important ways: Its special effects are used so seamlessly as part of an overall artistic strategy that, as critic Annette Michelson has pointed out, they don't even register as such. Dialogue plays a minimal role, yet the plot encompasses the history of mankind (a province of SF visionary Olaf Stapledon, who inspired Kubrick's cowriter, Arthur C. Clarke). And, like its flagrantly underrated companion piece, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, it meditates at length on the complex relationship between humanity and technology—not only the human qualities that we ascribe to machines but also the programming we knowingly or unknowingly submit to. The film's projections of the cold war and antiquated product placements may look quaint now, but the poetry is as hard-edged and full of wonder as ever.' 139 min.


Here is a thrilling extract.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 141: Sun May 20

CANADIAN FILM ALL-DAY EVENT WITH SHIVERS FILM CLUB

3pm The Red Hours (Fallon, 2008) & Deaden (Viel, 2006); 5pm Slashers (Devereaux 2001); 7pm The Hard Cut (D’Amato 2011); 9.30pm Videodrome (Cronenberg 1983)
Roxy Bar and Screen, London Bridge

New film club SHIVERS is designed to shed light on the long neglected contribution to genre cinema that Canada has been making over the last four decades. It is dedicated to bringing artistically influential, cult, and independent Canadian genre films to a UK audience in an exciting series of theatrical events, starting with 'The Influence of Canadian Tax Shelter Films.' Here is their Facebook page for more details.

£8 whole day, individual films £3

The Red Hours John Fallon's short film The Red Hours spent eleven years in development hell with several American companies before he had to fight to get the rights back to his own script, where he shucked the albatross of the American executives to produce his own work independently. The 10-minute, macabre, action-packed, horror film was finally released it to international acclaim in 2008
& Deaden The feature film co-written by Fallon and director Christian Viel, which saw plenty of airtime after a theatrical release in Canada, is a revenge flick in the true grindhouse sense produced and released a full year before the Tarantino/Rodriguez pastiche (and three years before Hobo with a Shotgun).
Here is a clip from The Red Hours.

Slashers The day continues with Devereaux's Slashers, about a group of game show contestants willing to bet their lives against a trio of killers (and each other) for millions of dollars. The film, as told through the eye of the game-show camera in one continuously kinetic shot, was produced in 2001 and released well before Series 7 and the “reality”-style Paranormal Activity. 
Here is a clip.

The Hard Cut A double-feature noir epic where the arrival of a mysterious woman with a large sum of cash peaks detective Roddy Tillinghast. His financial woes motivate him to the center of a cult of deadly femmes who need to put him six feet under. The director of The Hard Cut will also be on hand for a talk about Canadian culture in cinema and a film production Q&A.
Here is a clip.

Videodrome Chicago Reader review: 'This 1983 shocker by David Cronenberg comes about as close to abandoning a narrative format as a commercial film possibly can: James Woods plays the programmer of a sleazy Toronto cable channel who stumbles across a mysterious pirate emission—a porno show called “Videodrome” that features hideous S and M fantasies performed with appalling realism. Knowing a ratings winner when he sees one, Woods sets out to find the producer and quickly becomes involved with a kinky talk-show hostess (Deborah Harry), expanding rubber TV sets, a bizarre religious cult, and—almost incidentally—a plot to take over the world. Never coherent and frequently pretentious, the film remains an audacious attempt to place obsessive personal images before a popular audience—a kind of Kenneth Anger version of Star Wars.' Dave Kehr
Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 140: Sat May 19

Return of the Living Dead (O'Bannon, 1984): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm

This screening is presented by the marvellous Cigarette Burns team. You can find out more about them and this evening's entertainment at their Facebook page and their website.

Here is their introduction to this evening's entertainment:
A special preview screening of Second Sight's upcoming HD release of the classic punk rock zombie flick.

Though it is in fact not Night, Dawn or even Day, but the glorious Return of the Living Dead that Cigarette Burns are delighted to present to you. A new hi def remaster of Dan O’Bannon’s classic 1985 zombiethon, starring James Karen and queen of scream, Linnea Quigley.

Flawlessly stylish, with mischievously witty dialogue, dazzling special effects, and one hell of a bitching soundtrack featuring The Cramps, The Damned and Roky Erickson, The Return of the Living Dead is a delight from beginning to climatic end.


Time Out review:'Any film which features a dead, bald and very hungry punk lurching towards the camera screaming 'More Brains!' gets my vote. Directed by O'Bannon courtesy of George Romero, this is an energetic cross-referencing of genre: not just a horror movie, but a comic apocalyptic zombie horror movie. O'Bannon has his cake, eats it, and then throws it up in the face of the audience. Warehousemen unwittingly release a zombie interred by the CIA (of course) along with a nifty gas which ensures that local graveyards are bursting at the seams with brain-peckish corpses. Most of the film froths and bubbles merrily: there is a deeply artistic sequence where a punkette dances naked on a tombstone before being transformed into a zombie, and another moving bit where para-meds get their heads munched.' Richard Rayner
Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 139: Fri May 18

American Graffiti (Lucas, 1973): Dalston Roof Park, The Print House, 18 Ashwin St, E8 3DL.

Can you think of a more perfect outdoor screening?

Here is the Time Out preview: Back for a second year, this indie set-up at Dalston Roof Park holds screenings on a rooftop. The films should appeal to those who know a good soundtrack when they hear one, and the ambience is extended by DJs playing music tailored to the film of the night, themed food provided by The Long Table and the Background Bar providing refreshments. For American Graffiti, the rooftop is transformed into a wonderland of 1960s Americana, with diner-style food, rollerskating waitresses and DJs soundtracking the evening with music from the era. Here are details of Dalston Roof Park and here are more details of this evening's entertainement.

Chicago Reader review: 'By now, George Lucas's film about the summer of '62 is almost beyond criticism. A brilliant work of popular art, it redefined nostalgia as a marketable commodity and established a new narrative style, with locale replacing plot, that has since been imitated to the point of ineffectiveness. The various heresies perpetrated in its name (everything from Cooley High to FM) are forgivable, but the truly frightening thing about the film is that it's almost become nostalgia itself. Where were you in '73?' Dave Kehr
Here is the trailer: 'Where were you in 62?'

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 138: Thu May 17

And Soon the Darkness (Fuest, 1970): Roxy Bar & Screen, London Bridge 7.30pm


Here is the Filmbar70 film club introduction to the evening's entertainment: With the glory days of the sixties fading fast, British genre filmmakers looked to the contemporary concerns infusing American generic cinema and further back to the rich vein of psychological dramas peppering the British celluloid landscape. Uncertain outcomes, social entropy and a pervading sense of nihilistic despair came to inform the results – our (and indeed, Europe’s) last wave of concerted genre filmmaking. Since consigned to nocturnal cathode ray emissions, the British thrillers of the ‘70s have been largely ignored or dismissed by our cultural commentators. But we at Filmbar70 love these smouldering embers of the British film industry. And what better way to celebrate than to screen one of the best examples – Robert Fuest’s tightly weaved ‘And Soon the Darkness’…

When two young female nurses (Filmbar fave Pamela Franklin and Michele - “oh Frank” – Dotrice) embark on a cycling holiday around southern France, nothing had prepared them for the sheer monotony of their trip. As tempers are tried and bickering flares, the couple decide to split – an action that leaves them more vulnerable than they could have ever imagined. For this alien, expansive landscape has a dark history, a history involving the unsolved abductions of a number of young women...

An excursion into the very, very eerie, ‘And Soon the Darkness’ wrings incredible suspense from its minimal resources. Dearly departed arch-stylist Robert Fuest imbues the wide, sunny spaces of the French countryside with palatable dread and cloying claustrophobia, tightening the screws of tension to breaking point.

We’ll also be sharing with you our top ten Brit Thrills of the ‘70s. Prepare to have memories jogged and opinions outraged as we count down our very favourite films of our very favourite decade… More here.


Here is the Filmbar70 Facebook page for more details.

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 137: Wed May 16

Home from the Hill (Minnelli, 1959): BFI Southbank, NFT1 8.10pm
This film, screening as part of the Vincente Minnelli season at BFI Southbank, will also be shown on May 20 and May 26. Details here.

Time Out review:

'In this small-town America melodrama, Mitchum plays the coolly licentious head of a Texan family, Parker his frigid wife. Both vie for the allegiance of their son (Hamilton), coming to terms with his patriarchal inheritance until he discovers the existence of an illegitimate half-brother (Peppard). Then all hell breaks loose as the sins of the father are visited on the son. Minnelli's intelligent use of scope, colour and all the technical resources Metro could offer would make it watchable enough. His ability to present the network of relationships between his quartet of characters so that all four are presented in a sympathetic light, and particularly his portrayal of the central oedipal psychodrama (Hamilton is excellent), make it explosive viewing.'
Rod McShane

Here is the trailer.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 136: Tue May 15

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Powell & Pressburger, 1943):
Soho Curzon, 6.45pm
A special screening of the restored classic. Here's the introduction:
Curzon Cinemas is proud to bring you a special screening of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1943 epic masterpiece, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. After the screening, we will welcome filmmakers, and Emeric Pressburger’s grandsons, director Kevin (The Last King of Scotland) and producer Andrew Macdonald (Trainspotting) for a post-screening discussion. 


Chicago Reader review:
'It's almost impossible to define this 1943 masterpiece by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It was ostensibly based on a cartoon series that satirized the British military class, yet its attitude toward the main character is one of affection, respect, and sometimes awe; it was intended as a propaganda film, yet Churchill wanted to suppress it; it has the romantic sweep of a grand love story, yet none of the romantic relationships it presents is truly fulfilled, and the film's most lasting bond is one between the British colonel (Roger Livesey) and his Prussian counterpart (Anton Walbrook). Pressburger's screenplay covers 40 years in the colonel's life through a series of brilliantly constructed flashbacks, compressions, and ellipses; Powell's camera renders the winding plot through boldly deployed Technicolor hues and camera movements of exquisite design and expressivity. It stands as very possibly the finest film ever made in Britain.'
Dave Kehr
Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 135: Mon May 14

Some Came Running (Minnelli, 1958): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.20pm
This film is also screening on 13 & 20 May as well as 16 & 26 June at BFI Southbank. See the web page here for details.

Jean Luc-Godard was a huge fan of this movie (read Jonathan Rosenabum here on the influence of the film and Minnelli's 50s melodramas on the French director). Director Richard Linklater named this movie as the film that changed his life. For me this is the highlight of the Minnelli season at the NFT. Go see.

Chicago Reader review:
'Some Came Running (1959) is arguably the greatest of the extraordinary series of 'Scope and color melodramas that Vincente Minnelli directed over the span of a decade, beginning with The Cobweb (1955). Minnelli, known for his handling of decor (he got his start in Chicago designing window displays for Marshall Field's), used his camera to weave character and setting into intense, sometimes garish fabric. In Some Came Running, Frank Sinatra plays a writer who returns to the midwestern town where he was reared, setting in motion a series of struggles between family members and lovers in which everyone seems to be running in place, trapped in patterns of cyclical repetition that are mirrored in carefully arranged, almost entrapping wide-screen images. Finally a carnival scene explodes the screen into a cacophony of colors as characters struggle between selfishness and selflessness, passion and freedom. Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Shirley MacLaine give superb performances that matter most for how they function in the film as a whole, and the script includes some wonderfully cynical comments on small-town America.' Fred Camper
Here is an extract.
And here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 134: Sun May 13

Strike (Eisenstein, 1924): Ritzy Cinema, Brixton 8pm

Here's the introduction to what promises to be quite a show: As part of studioSTRIKE’s Bread and Roses Film Festival, The Cabinet of Living Cinema will perform a live score to Sergei Eisenstein’s seminal work, STRIKE (1924), alongside Srđan Keča’s award-winning film, MIRAGE (2011). Few words can prepare the uninitiated for Eisenstein’s cinema. Scenes of exhilarating editing, cinematic innovation and surreal vaudeville depict the epic struggle between proletariat and capitalist. MIRAGE, a calmer, but equally powerful take on inequality, depicts Dubai’s migrant workers poignantly juxtaposed with the swimming pools and golf of the wealthier inhabitants. The Cabinet’s live score, performed using strings, guitar, hammer dulcimer, trombone, percussion and an array of foley sound effects, will feature Russian and Soviet folk and classical music alongside the Cabinet’s contemporary take on silent film scoring.


Chicago Reader review:
'The story of a strike by Russian workers circa 1912 and its brutal suppression by the authorities, this 1924 film by the 26-year-old Sergei M. Eisenstein was his first full-blown feature. Though flawed and schematic, it's nonetheless a mighty achievement for a young man with primitive equipment and no extensive training in filmmaking. Masterfully photographed by Edouard Tisse ("the Swede"), the film lays the groundwork for Eisenstein's great Potemkin.'
Dan Druker
Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 133: Sat May 12

Laura (Preminger, 1944): RADA, Malet St, WC1E 7JN, 4pm 

New Statesman film critic Ryan Gilbey wrote a love-letter of a review of this classic film noir in a recent  issue of the magazine. He said:

'This is no ordinary flick we're talking about. This is the sort of movie you see once, it changes you forever. Sent my head spinning it did, faster than a turntable cranked by "Goose" Gossage on a caffeine jag. Felt like I'd been bashed on the nut with a bottle of Black Pony -- the same one that turns up in Laura's drinks cabinet after she's been bumped off.

Don't get me wrong. I may have been a green teen but I'd seen a few films noir before. Nothing like Laura, though. Nothing so twisted. Nothing that left me feeling as clammy as a clam in a clambake. You'd have to be on the wrong end of a Mob hit, five fathoms deep and with a bullet in your frontal lobe, not to notice something very fishy is up in the movie's world of creepy guys and shifty gals.'

You can read his review in full here

There's another great review in Little White Lies by Matthew Thrift here

Suffice to say you should go and see it. And before you do, the trailer is here

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 132: Fri May 11

A Night of Troma-tainment: Class of Nuke 'Em High (Haines/Kaufman, 1986); Father's Day (Brooks/Gillespie 2011) and The Toxic Avenger (Herz/Kaufman, 1984) Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm

Troma Entertainment is an American independent film production and distribution company founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz in 1974. Kaufman will be on hand to introduce the triple-bill.


Here is an introduction to the Troma films output from Wikipedia which will give you a flavour of what to expect: Troma films are B-moviess known for their surrealistic or automatistic nature, along with their use of shocking imagery; some would categorize them as "shock exploitation films". They typically contain overt sexuality, nudity, and intentionally sadistic, gory, and blatant graphic violence, so much that the term "Troma film" has become synonymous with these characteristics. Troma reuses the same props, actors, and scenes repeatedly, sometimes to save money. At a certain point, however, this became another hallmark of Troma. Examples include a severed leg, a penis monster, and the flipping and exploding car filmed for the movie Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD, which is used in place of any other car that needs to crash and explode.


Time Out review of The Toxic Avenger:
'Melvin, weedy gofer at the Tromaville Health Club, is bullied by the clientele until he hurls himself into a handy drum of toxic waste and emerges as a disfigured seven-foot, mop-wielding superhero. Despite 'borrowing' from sources as diverse as Frankensteinand The Producer, it all falls apart after an hour, chunks of the preceding entertainment reappearing as random montages, while for the climax the whole of some New Jersey town turns out to grin at the camera as toxic Melvin eviscerates the 300lb mayor.'
Here is the trailer.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 131: Thu May 10

The Red Shoes (Powell & Pressburger, 1948):
Stoke Newington Town Hall, Church St, N16, 8pm
This is a new venture at a new venue for the Flicker Club. Here is an introduction to the film club from their website: The flicker club is a boutique cinema club that redefines the film-going experience by creating a unique way of rediscovering cinematic treasures. We screen movies adapted from short stories or novels and thus celebrate the power of the written word and the silver screen. The club invites surprise special guests from the worlds of entertainment and literature to read the source material before showing its big-screen incarnation. The flicker club are thrilled and delighted to announce that we will have a regular home for 2012 in in the beautiful art deco council chambers of Stoke Newington Town Hall.


Chicago Reader review:
'Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's Trilby-based ballet film (1948, 133 min.) has been the cult property of dance freaks for far too long. A look beneath its lushly romantic surface reveals a dark, complex sensibility, and that surface, rendered in the somber tones of British Technicolor, reflects a fantastically rich cinematic inventiveness. Moira Shearer is the ballerina who, following the outlines of a Hans Christian Andersen tale, trades her life for her art; Anton Walbrook, as her impresario, is perhaps the most forceful embodiment of the shaman figures–magical, outsized, sinister–who haunt Powell and Pressburger's work. The Red Shoes remains the best known of Powell and Pressburger's 18 features, yet it's only the tip of the iceberg–beneath it lies the most commanding body of work in the British cinema.' 
Dave Kehr


Two things fascinate me about this great film: firstly, no one mentions that it could all be the feverish dream of one of the central characters; see if you can spot the key moment I mean. Secondly, the character of Lermontov, superbly played by Anton Walbrook, who is one of Powell & Pressburger's greatest creations. Enjoy.
Here are extracts featuring the aformentioned Lermontov.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 130: Wed May 9

Tuesday, After Christmas (Muntean, 2009): Riverside Studios, 8pm
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Radu Muntean. It's a rare chance to see a film which did not get a British theatrical release but, as Michael Brooke points out in an excellent review in the June edition of Sight & Sound, turned up on quite a few best-of 2010/2011 lists (see this one from Telegraph critic Tim Robey).

Time Out review:
'A startling opening scene of post-coital bliss and romantic teasing sets the mood for the precise study of dialogue and gesture to come: 40-something Paul (Mimi Branescu) is in bed with 27-year-old dentist (Maria Popistasu) with whom he's having an affair behind the back of his wife Adriana (Mirela Oprisor). The film poses a dilemma: will Paul reveal the relationship to Adriana as they approach Christmas? But Muntean is mostly concerned with observing behaviour and extracting naturalistic performances from his actors in a series of fine scenes that he allows to run and run in a style familair from several other films of the Romanian New Wave.'


Watch the trailer.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 129: Tue May 8

La Bete Humaine (Renoir, 1938): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.50pm
This film is also screening at BFI Southbank on May 10 (6.15pm) & May 18 (6.20pm). Details here.

Time Out review:
'Stunning images of trains and railway lines as a metaphor for the blind, immutable forces that drive human passions to destruction. Superb performances from Gabin, Simon and Ledoux as the classic tragic love triangle. The deterministic principles of Zola's novel, replaced by destiny in Lang's remake Human Desire, are slightly muffled here. But given the overwhelming tenderness and brutality of Renoir's vision, it hardly matters that the hero's compulsion to kill, the result of hereditary alcoholism, is left half-explained.' Tom Milne
Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 128: Mon May 7

Dr Strangelove (Kubrick, 1964): Stratford East Picturehouse, 8pm

Watch this trailer. Now try and tell me you don't want to see this film again.

Time Out review:
'Perhaps Stanley Kubrick's most perfectly realised film, simply because his cynical vision of the progress of technology and human stupidity is wedded with comedy, in this case Terry Southern's sparkling script in which the world comes to an end thanks to a mad US general's paranoia about women and commies. Peter Sellers' three roles are something of an indulgent showcase, though as the tight-lipped RAF officer and the US president he gives excellent performances. Better, however, are Scott as the gung-ho military man frustrated by political soft-pedalling, and - especially - Sterling Hayden as the beleaguered lunatic who presses the button. Kubrick wanted to have the antics end up with a custard-pie finale, but thank heavens he didn't; the result is scary, hilarious, and nightmarishly beautiful, far more effective in its portrait of insanity and call for disarmament than any number of worthy anti-nuke documentaries.'
Geoff Andrew

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 127: Sun May 6

Au Hasard Balthazar (Bresson, 1966):
Cinematograph Film Club, Duke of Wellington pub, 119 Balls Pond Rd, N1 4BL 8pm
This is a screening from the Cinematograph Film Club. Details here.

One of the interesting aspects here is the speculation that this film, widely regarded as Robert Bresson's best, may figure in the top ten list for Sight & Sound's greatest film poll which will be released in August. The poll, which happens every ten years, is expected to see changes at the top in 2012 with Citizen Kane set to be toppled as greatest movie in favour of Vertigo.
Chicago Reader review:
"Everyone who sees this film will be absolutely astonished," Jean-Luc Godard once said, "because this film is really the world in an hour and a half." Robert Bresson's 1966 masterpiece defies any conventional analysis, telling a story of sin and redemption by following Balthazar, a donkey, as he passes through the hands of a number of masters, including a peasant girl, a satanic delinquent, and a saintly fool. Perhaps the greatest and most revolutionary of Bresson's films, Balthazar is a difficult but transcendently rewarding experience, never to be missed.'
Dave Kehr
Here is the trailer

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 126: Sat May 5

The Cobweb (Minnelli, 1955): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm
This film is also screening at BFI Southbank on May 4 (6.10pm) and May 12 (3.45pm). Details here.

This ripe melodrama is one of the highlights of the Vincente Minnelli season at BFI Southbank. Critic Keith Uhlich makes the case for the film here in this excellent overview of Minnelli's oeuvre on the BFI website.


Little White Lies website review: 'As Sir Walter Scott once wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!” This suitably fraught and fabulous 1955 melodrama from Vincente Minnelli goes behind the doors of the Castle House psychiatric clinic, delving into the lives of its perilous patients and squabbling staff. And with a plot that revolves around the battle to choose the library’s drapes it could equally be called The CurtainsThe Cobweb is psychologically rich, stylish and occasionally risqué. Minnelli is assisted in his depiction of towering turmoil by a superlative ensemble and by Leonard Rosenman, whose anxious, avant-garde score is a seminal series of compositions and the first predominantly twelve-tone score ever used on film. The film’s original trailer promises, “startlingly different drama” and it most certainly delivers that. From its sizzling, knowing opening to its terrific tongue-in-cheek ending, The Cobweb is a fine mesh of a movie. Soapy and sophisticated, wild and wise, it’s a marvellous monument to madness.' 
Emma Simmonds

Here is an extract on YouTube.

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 125: Friday May 4

The Raid: Redemption (Evans, 2011) & Hard-Boiled (Woo, 1991):

This great late-night Friday action double-bill a couple of weeks back had to be abandoned in mid-screening. It was a sell-out then but has been moved to the main theatre and there are tickets still left.

Already being hailed as one of the best action films of the last decade after a handful of crowd-thrilling festival screenings, Welsh writer/director Gareth Evans’ martial arts blitzkrieg The Raid is a must-see for  any self-respecting genre fan.

Time Out review of The Raid: Redemption

'What’s in a subtitle? In the case of The Raid: Redemption, very little. Renamed a few weeks ago to sidestep a copyright dispute, Gareth Evans’s relentless action thriller offers few opportunities for any of its cold-blooded characters to redeem themselves. In the slums of Jakarta, a merciless kingpin (Ray Sahetapy) has commandeered a tenement building and transformed it into his criminal sanctuary. Felons of all walks are welcome to lie low here, provided they can swing the rent. No cops dare enter this nest of murderers and thieves. Until, that is, an elite SWAT team is assembled to penetrate the structure and neutralize its inhabitants, floor by floor. Guess who’s holed up in the penthouse?
The scenario is so ingeniously simple that one could imagine even the lousiest of genre hacks milking it for a few good thrills. Evans, it turns out, is no hack. Expending mere minutes on setup, the Welsh-born director quickly strands his outnumbered police squad in high-rise hell. From here, The Raid proceeds like a lit fuse. The gunfights have a messy elegance—one suspenseful scene finds our heroes betraying their location in a pitch-black corridor with muzzle flare—but the adrenaline rush really kicks in when the machetes come out. (Martial-arts fanatics will recognize the frenetic throws and strikes of silat, the film’s amazing Indonesian fighting style.) The Raid only loses momentum in its homestretch, when the plot twists begin to outnumber the living characters. But by then, your heart may be grateful for the slackening pace.' A A Dowd

Here is the trailer.

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Time Out review of Hard-Boiled:

'In essence, John Woo's characteristic take on movies like Die Hard: a supercharged thriller in which a renegade cop and an undercover man take on Triad gun-runners who store their munitions in a hospital morgue. Anyone who saw The Killer will have a fair idea what to expect, from the intense male bonding to the hyper-kinetic editing style. What's new here is a rich vein of anarchic humour (will they evacuate the maternity ward before the hospital blows up?) and a bluesy back-beat of philosophical musings on a cop's sad lot. No surprise that Woo (who cameos as a barman) has been courted by Hollywood.' Tony Rayns

Here is the trailer.