Sunday, 25 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 186: Fri Jul 7

Song to Song (Malick, 2017): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.15pm

A rare foray into new release territory for Terrence Malick's latest movie, which starts its run at the Prince Charles tonight and will get a limited run in theatres here in the UK. Don't miss. You can find full details here.

Little White Lies review:
There is nothing in cinema that currently compares to the radical five-film symphonic suite made by Terrence Malick between 2012’s The Tree of Life and 2017’s Song to Song. Not Marvel. Not Fast and the Furious. Not Saw. Not anything. Sure, these films aren’t for all tastes, and they’re not at all meant to be. And they do require the viewer to put conventional critical faculties on standby, like you would close your eyes and mouth and hold your nose as a giant wave crashed over your head. They are euphoric, active experiences that demand a small adjustment of perspective. But what is it that makes them so extraordinary? The French director Bruno Dumont once said that he values feelings that don’t correspond to obvious screen drama – tedium, listlessness, confusion, depression. In a similar way, Malick’s late work adopts this counterintuitive approach to almost every aspect of the filmmaking process. He foregrounds difficult emotions, and realises them in bold, unconventional ways. Song to Song exemplifies his unique and ultra-sensual mode of montage-based storytelling, where human characters are constantly submerged in an endless, glowing stream of consciousness. Here, the eyes are not the only the window to the soul – the twitch of the hand, a twist of the neck, the accelerated breathing pattern can also offer vital signs of life. The eyes are less important that what those eyes are looking at, and who’s looking back. The film is a deconstructed musical that’s loaded with all the rhapsodic highs and lows associated with the genre. The actors work hard to make their characters inscrutable but empathetic, especially the sad-eyed Rooney Mara and stone-faced Ryan Gosling. Malick is looking to answer the big questions by focusing on the smallest of nuances. He gets at things and makes breakthroughs without ever really pushing. It’s a majestic and profound film in which human beings waltz with one another and occasionally swap partners.
David Jenkins (full review here)

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 185: Thu Jul 6

Boy (Waititi, 2010): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

Misc. Films is a London-based programming collective dedicated to showcasing unreleased, under-screened or under-appreciated films. This is their latest screening.

Chicago Reader review:
Eagle Vs Shark
(2007), the first feature by New Zealand comedian Taika Waititi, struck me as a fairly obvious knockoff of Napoleon Dynamite, the reigning cult comedy of the day. For this second feature, Waititi has reached into his past for a story that belongs to him alone. The protagonist is an 11-year-old Maori boy (James Rolleston) living in a small coastal village, and because the year is 1984, he’s obsessed with Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The boy’s mother died giving birth to his six-year-old brother, and their hapless father (Waititi) has been doing time in jail; suddenly he reappears in their lives, willing to play the attentive parent long enough to find some loot he buried in the backyard. Waittiti’s comic vocabulary hasn’t changed much—there’s a lot of voice-over narration illustrated with ludicrous, cartoonish tableaux—yet the kids’ genuine longing for their no-good dad elevates this above simple deadpan humor.
J R Jones 

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 184: Wed Jul 5

Paper Moon (Bogdanovich, 1973): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the Close-Up Cinema 'On The Road' season. You can find the full details here. This film is also being screened on July 1st. Details here,

Chicago Reader review:Peter Bogdanovich seems to have chosen John Ford's underrated Will Rogers vehicles of the 30s (Judge Priest, Steamboat 'Round the Bend) as the models for this 1973 Depression comedy; the images (by Laszlo Kovacs) have a lovely dusty openness—a realistic view of the midwestern flatlands fading into a romantic memory. Ryan O'Neal is a con man and Tatum O'Neal is the foundling who may or may not be his daughter. Though their relationship is conventionally drawn, it has a heart that Bogdanovich hasn't been able to recapture.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above ) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 183: Tue Jul 4

Cathy Come Home (Loach, 1965): Genesis Cinema, 6.30pm

Here is the Genesis Cinema introduction to this special free screening:
We'll be welcoming author and activist Glyn Robbins to Genesis on Independence Day to discuss his new book on the US and UK housing crisis 'There's No Place: The American Housing Crisis and What It Means to the UK' alongside a film screening of Ken Loach's classic 'Cathy Come Home'. Glyn will also be reading from his new book and signing and selling copies following the reading & screening.

Time Out review:
Ken Loach’s history-making 1966 television drama about homelessness. Shot in doc-style, ‘Cathy Come Home’ is the story of a family forced out of their flat when the husband loses his job as a driver after an accident. Suddenly their bright and hopeful future vanishes when they’re evicted. As drama, this was so powerful it led to discussions in Parliament and new legislation to tackle homelessness in Britain. It was also fundamental in the launch of the homeless charity Shelter.

Cath Clarke

Monday, 19 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 182: Mon Jul 3

Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.20pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the Classic Film Season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
James M. Cain's pulp classic (1944), as adapted by Raymond Chandler and directed by Billy Wilder. Barbara Stanwyck is perfectly cast as a Los Angeles dragon lady burdened with too much time, too much money, and a dull husband. Fred MacMurray (less effectively) is the fly-by-night insurance salesman who hopes to relieve her of all three. Wilder trades Cain's sun-rot imagery for conventional film noir stylings, but the atmosphere of sexual entrapment survives.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 181: Sun Jul 2

Kramer vs Kramer (Benton, 1979): BFI Southbank, NFT, 5.50pm

This 35mm presentation screens in the Dustin Hoffman season at BFI Southbank and is also being shown on July 4th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
A high class modern weepie. While Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep come to terms with divorce and battle over who gets the brat, Robert Benton forsakes the eccentric and original delights of his earlier films (Bad Company, The Late Show) and turns in a very solid and professional domestic melodrama, helped no end by some very fine naturalistic performances. As sensitive and as unremarkable as your average Truffaut film, and as ambivalent in its sexual politics.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 180: Sat Jul 1

Foreign Correspondent (Hitchcock, 1940): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 3.20pm

This 35mm screening (also being shown on July 22nd) is part of the Christopher Nolan Presents ... season at BFI Southbank, dedicated to showing movies from prints. You can find all the details about the season here.

Time Out review:
Despite the now rather embarrassing propagandistic finale, with McCrea urging an increase in the war effort against the Nazis, Hitchcock's espionage thriller is a thoroughly enjoyable affair, complete with some of his most memorable set pieces. Joel McCrea and Laraine Day are the lovers searching out Nazi agents in London and Holland after the disappearance of a peace-seeking diplomat, while George Sanders, Edmund Gwenn and the normally wooden Herbert Marshall lend fine support. Something of a predecessor of the picaresque chase thrillers like Saboteur and North by Northwest, its main source of suspense comes from the fact that little is what it seems to be: a camera hides an assassin's gun, sails of a windmill conceal a sinister secret, and the sanctuary of Westminster Cathedral provides an opportunity for murder. Not one of the director's greatest - there's little of his characteristic cruelty or moral pessimism - but still eminently watchable.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 179: Fri Jun 30

Paris, Texas (Wenders, 1984): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the Close-Up Cinema 'On The Road' season. You can find the full details here. This film, along with the Larry Gottheim short Harmonica (details here), is also being screened at Close-Up on July 19th.

Time Out review: 
A man in a red baseball cap comes stumbling over the Mexican border and into the Texan desert, mute, bowed but driven by an obsessive quest. When his brother (Dean Stockwell) drives him (Harry Dean Stanton) home to LA, the shards of his broken life are painfully pieced together in fits and starts of talk. Four years ago he 'lost' his family; now he has returned to find them. Reunited with his 7-year-old son, he travels to Houston, where he finds his wife (Natassja Kinski) working in a peep-show. Wim Wenders once more finds himself on the borders of experience, finally achieving an unprecedented declaration of the heart, even if man and wife can only perceive each other through a glass darkly. Wenders' collaboration with writer Sam Shepard is a master-stroke, wholly beneficial to both talents; if Wenders' previous film, The State of Things, was on the very limits of possibility, this one, through its final scenes, pushes the frontier three steps forward into new and sublime territory.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 178: Thu Jun 29

The Graduate (Nichols, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm

The Graduate re-release is the highlight of the Dustin Hoffman season at the BFI Southbank. The film is on an extended run at the cinema until July 6th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Modish, calculated, but hugely popular film which, with the help of an irrelevant but diverting Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack, proved one of the biggest hits of the '60s. Dustin Hoffman, looking for the most part like a startled rabbit, got caught between the rapacious Mrs Robinson and her daughter, and suggested a vulnerability that was sufficiently novel to turn him into as big a movie star as all the he-men like McQueen and Newman. The film itself is very broken-backed, partly because Anne Bancroft's performance as the mother carries so much more weight than Katharine Ross' as the daughter, partly because Nichols couldn't decide whether he was making a social satire or a farce. As a comment on sex in the West Coast stockbroker belt, the film falls a long way short of Clint Eastwood's later Breezy, which makes much more of a lot less promising material.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 177: Wed Jun 28

The Passion of Remembrance (Blackwood/Julien, 1986): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm

This 16mm screening is part of the 'Visions of the Black Feminine' season at BFI Southbank. You can find the full details of the season here. This film will also be shown on June 24th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
This montage of documentary footage and representational dramatic episodes from London's Sankofa Collective offers a series of individual reflections, each bearing a potential for further development. The focal point is the confrontation between a young man and woman, attempting to rationalise the gap which has separated them as they stand before a barren landscape. 'Man' is accused of forsaking 'Woman' in his struggle to raise the consciousness of the black community. Over-extended in scope and tied down by its own rhetoric, the film nevertheless succeeds as it catches the conflicts of gender and generation within the community itself, with visions of a 'black experience' giving way to the more nominal insights of black experiences.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 176: Tue Jun 27

Nocturama (Bonello, 2016): Cine Lumiere, 8.40pm

One of the hits of last autumn's London Film Festival, this tense, complex, surprising and thought-provoking film is screening as part of the La Fete du Cinema season at Cine Lumiere. You can find all the details of the season here.

London Film Festival review:
A group of young people from diverse social backgrounds move through Paris, crossing paths, heading with determination towards a common purpose – to set the city alight. After accomplishing their terrible mission, they hide out overnight in a department store, where – surrounded by the glamorous signifiers of 21st-century materialism – they await their fate. Bertrand Bonello has established himself as one of French cinema’s most elusive and thoughtful provocateurs, exploring different aspects of outsider culture in films such as The Pornographer and House of Tolerance. His latest film will certainly be his most controversial. Conceived before the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere, Nocturama unapologetically addresses a topic that many will find disturbing, while the film’s compelling thriller-style detachment and supremely elegant execution may strike some as a questionable exercise in radical chic. But Bonello undoubtedly has something urgent to say, not just about terrorism, but about violence, consumerism and the decay of idealism in Europe, and he says it in a way that echoes – among others - JG Ballard, Bret Easton Ellis and Alan Clarke’s Elephant. No matter how you react to it, Nocturama is undeniably extraordinary filmmaking, and a work very directly tuned to the current, increasingly troubled European psyche.
Jonathan Romney

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 175: Mon Jun 26

Heat (Mann, 1995): Picturehouse Central, 8pm

Edgar Wright presents a 4K screening of Michael Mann's masterpiece.

Time Out review:
Investigating a bold armed robbery which has left three security guards dead, LA cop Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), whose devotion to work is threatening his third marriage, follows a trail that leads him to suspect a gang of thieves headed by Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro). Trouble is, McCauley's cunning is at least equal to Hanna's, and that makes him a hard man to nail. Still, unknown to Hanna, McCauley's gang have their own troubles: one of their number is a volatile psychopath, while the businessman whose bonds they've stolen is not above some rough stuff himself. Such a synopsis barely scratches the surface of Mann's masterly crime epic. Painstakingly detailed, with enough characters, subplots and telling nuances to fill out half a dozen conventional thrillers, this is simply the best American crime movie - and indeed, one of the finest movies, period - in over a decade. The action scenes are better than anything produced by John Woo or Quentin Tarantino; the characterisation has a depth most American film-makers only dream of; the use of location, decor and music is inspired; Dante Spinotti's camerawork is superb; and the large, imaginatively chosen cast gives terrific support to the two leads, both back on glorious form.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 174: Sun Jun 25

The Holy Girl (Martel, 2004): Barbican Cinema, 6pm

This 35mm screening, which will be introduced by academic and theorist Sophie Mayer of Club des Femmes, is part of the Barbican's Being Ruby Rich season, dedicated to the critic and thinker B Ruby Rich. You can find full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
Argentinean filmmaker Lucrecia Martel follows up her distinctive debut feature, La cienaga (2001), with another tale (2004) whose feeling of lassitude conceals a subtle but deadly family dysfunction. It's set in a specifically Catholic milieu, hovering around a medical convention at a small-town hotel, and once again a swimming pool serves as a kind of center for floating libidos. As Martel points out, the movie is about the “difficulties” and “dangers” of “differentiating good from evil,” and it requires as well as rewards a fair amount of alertness from the viewer. A theremin plays a prominent role in the story.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 173: Sat Jun 24

Double Blind [No Sex Last Night] (Calle/Shephard, 1992): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm

This screening is part of a two-month programme exploring the road as a state of mind within late 20th Century American and European independent cinema at Close-Up. You can find details of all the movies being screened here.

Close-Up Cinema introduction:
"We hadn't been living together for more than a year, but our relationship had worsened to such an extent that we had stopped talking to one another altogether. I dreamed of marrying him. He dreamed of making movies. To get him to travel across America with me, I suggested that we make a film during the trip. He agreed. Our absence of communication gave us the idea of equipping ourselves with separate cameras, making them the sole confidantes of our respective frustrations and secretly telling them all the things we were unable to say to each other. Having established the rules, on January 3, 1992 we left New York in his silver Cadillac and Headed for California." – Sophie Calle

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 172: Fri Jun 23

Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Wright, 2010): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the 'Celebrating Edgar Wright' season at the Prince Charles. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Michael Cera elevates deadpan to an art, starring as a slacker turned action hero in this wildly inventive comedy (2010) that's one of the most vivid and spirited adaptations of a comic book since Spider-Man—;and one of the hippest since Ghost World. When he's not playing bass with his Toronto garage band or video games with a smitten high schooler (Ellen Wong), he sponges off his gay roommate (Kieran Culkin). But then his little life is upended as he falls for a rollerblading American (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and incurs the wrath of her superpowered seven evil exes. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) understands the anarchy and insane hopes of youth, and amplifies the cinema-ready devices of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels by using split screens as mobile panels and CGI to animate words (love floats like smoke across the screen) and demonize one of the exes (a very funny Brandon Routh, of Superman Returns). With Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, and Jason Schwartzman.
Andrea Gronvall

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 171: Thu Jun 22

One Way or Another (Gomez, 1974): Barbican Cinema, 6.15pm

Here is the Barbican introduction to this special 35mm screening:
‘Combining humor with documentary-like exposé… De cierta manera… is the first “post-revolutionary” Cuban film,’ writes critic B Ruby Rich of the first feature directed by an Afro-Cuban woman. Sara Gómez gets to the heart of things, as teacher Yolanda and factory worker Mario confront machismo, racism and the over-development of Miraflores, finding ‘one way or another’ to survive. We are thrilled to have B Ruby Rich introduce the screening with a keynote speech, while after the screening, Rich is in conversation with Michele Aaron (Editor, New Queer Cinema: A Critical Reader).

Chicago Reader review:
This extraordinary film, the first Cuban feature by a woman, has been celebrated as feminist by some critics, partly for its story but also for its narrative style. It follows the relationship between schoolteacher Yolanda (Yolanda Cuellar) and factory worker Mario (Mario Balmaseda), but instead of imposing a patriarchal authorial voice, director Sara Gomez provocatively combines fiction sequences with documentary footage, and her playful use of form is both startling and purposeful. The film begins abruptly, as if in midscene, with a documentarylike record of a workers' meeting; the credits are followed by an actual documentary segment on housing development in the early 60s, complete with didactic voice-over. Sections that seem to be dramatic are later revealed to be documentary, while other apparently dramatic scenes are interrupted by discursive sequences. The film's form questions itself, as do the characters: Mario, torn between machismo and his growing revolutionary commitment, turns a malingering worker in to the group, but then worries that doing so was “womanly.” Most importantly, the editing encourages an active viewing process—when the lovers meet a man named Guillermo, a title asks “Who is Guillermo?” and the film then cuts to a slightly closer shot of the same title—just as the overall film encourages us to seek wider interpretations. Sadly, Gomez died in 1974 while the film was being edited, and it wasn't completed until three years later.
Fred Camper

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 170: Wed Jun 21

The Beguiled (Siegel, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.25pm

Don't miss this 35mm presentation of Don Siegel's excellent 1971 film ahead of Sofia Coppola's remake which is released nationally on June 23rd.

Chicago Reader review:
Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood took time out from their popular series of Universal programmers for this very personal exercise in American gothic (1971)—one that should have played the art houses rather than the drive-ins. Eastwood is a wounded Union soldier stranded in Confederate territory, who finds refuge of a sort in a girls' school run by Geraldine Page. The film is hushed and evocative, full of menace and barely suppressed hysteria.
Dave Kehr 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 169: Tue Jun 20

Vanishing Point (Sarafian, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.50pm

This film is part of the Edgar Wright 'Car Car Land' season at Picturehouse Central. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review of Vanishing Point:
After driving nonstop from San Francisco to Denver, a silent macho type (Barry Newman) accepts a bet that he can make it back again in 15 hours; a blind DJ named Super Soul (Cleavon Little) cheers him on while the cops doggedly chase him. While Richard Sarafian's direction of this action thriller and drive-in favorite isn't especially distinguished, the script by Cuban author Guillermo Cabrera Infante (writing here under the pseudonym he adopted as a film critic, G. Cain) takes full advantage of the subject's existential and mythical undertones without being pretentious, and you certainly get a run for your money, along with a lot of rock music. With Dean Jagger and Victoria Medlin.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 169: Mon Jun 19

The Driver (Hill, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 9.10pm

This screening is part of the Edgar Wright 'Car Car Land' season at BFI Southbank. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'An audacious, skillful film noir (1978) by Walter Hill, so highly stylized that it's guaranteed to alienate 90 percent of its audience. There's no realism, no psychology, and very little plot in Hill's story of a deadly game between a professional getaway driver (Ryan O'Neal) and a detective obsessed with catching him (Bruce Dern). There is, however, a great deal of technically sophisticated and very imaginative filmmaking. The cross-references here are Howard Hawks, Robert Bresson, and Jean-Pierre Melville: a strange, heady, and quite effective range of influences.'
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 168: Sun Jun 18

The New World (Malick, 2005): Picturehouse Central, 1pm

Picturehouse introduction:
2017 sees the 400th year anniversary of the death of Pocahontas, who died in Gravesend in 1617. To mark this anniversary, Border Crossings’ ORIGINS Festival screens one of the greatest films of the 21st Century – Terrence Malick’s THE NEW WORLD. It is a film of astounding elemental beauty, which re-imagines the meeting between Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) and Powhatan princess Pocahontas (in a revelatory performance by Q’orianka Kilcher,) as a romantic idyll between spiritual equals. The action then follows Pocahontas as she marries John Rolfe (Christian Bale) and travels to England. Followed by a Q&A with Dakota Sioux historian Stephanie Pratt.

The film is being screened in 35mm.

Here is the Guardian's John Patterson who hailed the film the best of the last decade – and by some way. This is his article from December in full and here is an extract:
'It may seem like an exaggeration, but with The New World cinema has reached its culmination, its apotheosis. It is both ancient and modern, cinema at its purest and most organic, its simplest and most refined, made with much the same tools as were available in the infancy of the form a century ago to the Lumières, to Griffith and Murnau. Barring a few adjustments for modernity – colour, sound, developments in editing, a hyper-cine-literate audience – it could conceivably have been made 80 years ago (like Murnau and Flaherty's Tabu). This is why, I believe, when all the middlebrow  Oscar-dross of our time has eroded away to its constituent molecules of celluloid, The New World will stand tall, isolated and magnificent, like Kubrick's black monolith.'

Here is the opening.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 167: Sat Jun 17

Eve's Bayou (Lemmons, 1997): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm

This 35mm presentation is part of the 'Unbound: Visions of the Black Feminine' season. You can find all the details here. The film is also being shown on June 21st. More information here.

Chicago Reader review:
Unlike most stories that allude to incest, this intriguingly fractured 1997 narrative acknowledges the complexity of the faddish topic. Samuel L. Jackson plays the roguish father of ten-year-old Eve (Jurnee Smollett), whose mother and aunt seem to tolerate his extramarital affairs. Subplots are woven stealthily into the story, taking the pressure off the central drama, allowing it to be affecting rather than melodramatic, and heightening the atmosphere of the lush Louisiana setting. Aunt Mozelle (Debbi Morgan), who's both clairvoyant and practical, is intimidated by the idea of fate and delivers some of the movie's edgiest dialogue when she worries that she may be cursed because the men she marries keep dying.
Lisa Alspector

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 166: Fri Jun 16

Streets Of Fire (Hill, 1984): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm

This is part of the 35mm presentations at the Prince Charles. Full details here.

Time Out film review:
Continuing his love affair with movies that go bang in the night, Walter Hill here gives us a futuristic rock fantasy which is, at heart, a Western. An itinerant soldier (Michael Paré) returns to his home to discover that his former girlfriend, the local girl who's made it big in the rockbiz (Diane Lane), has been kidnapped by a villainous street-gang. Cue for fisticuffs and fireworks as Paré, aided by a tough-talking female sidekick (Amy Madigan), hikes over to the bad part of town and unlocks Ms Lane from the bed to which she's been handcuffed. Result? Showdown. Streets of Fire is fast and loud, with music from Ry Cooder and, perhaps misguidedly, Jim Steinman; it is also violent, though its violence lies not in the depiction of blood and entrails, but in the sheer energy and speed with which the dark and brooding images rush after one another. The message is that there is no message; if this isn't action cinema in its purest form, then it's pretty close.
Richard Rayner

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 165: Thu Jun 15

Whose Streets? (Folayan, 2017): Rio Cinema, 6.30pm

This presentation is part of the East End Film Festival. Full details of the festival can be found here.

Chicago Reader preview:
Documentary makers Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis spent two years following the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man in 2014. Their movie focuses less on the conflicting details of the shooting or on the global movement it inspired than on the waves of protests and the struggles of local community organizers. But even through this more personal lens, Folayan and Davis take an evenhanded approach: civilians loot stores and burn police cars, whereas police officers fire tear gas and aim rifles at peacefully protesting crowds. The five "chapters" of the film seem arbitrary, though the passage of time allows for some searing moments, like the locals’ fight to keep the city from cleaning up a memorial to the victim, Michael Brown, Jr., in the street where he died.
Leah Pickett

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 164: Wed Jun 14

The Fisher King (Gilliam, 1991): Regent Street Cinema, 7.30pm

Director Terry Gilliam will introduce his great film tonight. Here are all the details of this Criterion Collection presentation.

Chicago Reader review:
An arrogant New York disc jockey (Jeff Bridges) loses his soul after a brash remark of his to a phone-in listener triggers a mass murder. He meets a visionary street bum (Robin Williams), a former professor of medieval history traumatized by the same tragedy, and the two lost spirits manage to save each other, with help from their girlfriends (Mercedes Ruehl and Amanda Plummer). Directed by Terry Gilliam (Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) from an original script by newcomer Richard LaGravenese, this enormously entertaining and wonderfully acted but compromised New Age comedy spectacular represents Gilliam's bid to prove his commercial mettle, and the results are simultaneously highly personal and extremely corrupt—a shameless attempt to “give the public what it wants” that is shot full of brilliance. If you check your brain at the concessions counter, you won't have any problems; if you treasure Gilliam at his best and take his ideas seriously, you'll probably be infuriated as well as delighted. Powerhouse performances by Bridges, Williams, and Ruehl help disguise the crassness of the commercial manipulations by intermittently suggesting real people (Plummer, on the other hand, is hamstrung by a cartoon part), and Michael Jeter and an uncredited Tom Waits enliven the street life. Visually impressive, frequently pretentious, and extremely fluid as narrative (the 137 minutes sail by effortlessly), this mythic comedy-drama presents Gilliam as half seer, half snake-oil salesman and defies you to sort out which is which (1991).
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the brilliant opening to the film.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 163: Tue Jun 13

Straw Dogs (Peckinpah, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm

This film screens in the Dustin Hoffman season at BFI Southbank and is also being shown on June 21st and 22nd. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Released the same year as Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971), this Sam Peckinpah film touched off innumerable debates about violence in the movies. But the difference between Kubrick and Peckinpah is the difference between impersonal sadism and an individual morality strongly expressed; though doubtlessly reactionary, Straw Dogs 
has the heat of personal commitment and the authority of deep (if bitter) contemplation. It is also moviemaking of a very high order. Dustin Hoffman's performance, as the weak mathematician goaded into violence, is still his best. With Susan George, Peter Vaughan, and (unbilled) David Warner.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 162: Mon Jun 12

Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. (Harris, 1992): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm

Chicago Reader review:
“A film Hollywood dared not to do” is how writer-director Leslie Harris described her lively 1992 movie—a brave independent quickie with only a 17-day shooting schedule, about an ambitious and angry black teenage girl (Ariyan Johnson) living in one of the Brooklyn projects who goes into denial (with catastrophic results) when her boyfriend (Kevin Thigpen) gets her pregnant. What's both refreshing and off-putting is that Harris's sense of urgency isn't accompanied by any clear or consistent analysis; her heroine's denial eventually overwhelms the movie. Yet Harris's refusal to treat her heroine strictly as role model or bad example makes her portrait a lot livelier and less predictable—as well as more confusing—than the standard genre exercises most reviewers seem to prefer. What's exciting about this movie is a lot of loose details: frank girl talk about AIDS and birth control, glancing observations about welfare lines and the advantages of a boy with a car over one with subway tokens.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 161: Sun Jun 11

Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (Demy, 1967): Prince Charles Cinema, 3.10pm

This film is part of the 35mm Presentations season at the Prince Charles. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
One might argue for Lola (1960), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), or the lesser-known Une Chambre en Ville (1982) as Jacques Demy's greatest feature. But his most ambitious is this 1967 big-budget musical shot exclusively on location, a tale of various dreamers searching for and usually missing their ideal mates, who are usually only blocks away. The score is Michel Legrand's finest, with various jazz elements, lyrics in alexandrines by Demy, and intricately structured reprises that match the poetic, crisscrossing plot. Demy pays tribute to the American musical yet mixes in accoutrements of French poetic realism: dreams and reality coexist more strangely and stubbornly than in most other musicals. The results may be quintessentially French, but the energy and optimism are clearly inspired by America, and Gene Kelly's appearances are sublime. With Catherine Deneuve.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 160: Sat Jun 10

Two-Lane Blacktop (Hellman, 1971): Close-Up Cinema, 7pm

This brilliant film is part of the Close-Up Cinema 'On The Road' season. You can find the full details here. Two-Lane Blacktop is being screneed in a double-bill with the much-praised short film 'The French Road, Detroit MI. You can find all the details of the programme, which is also being shown on June 22nd, by clicking here.

Chicago Reader review:
This exciting existentialist road movie by Monte Hellman, with a swell script by Rudolph Wurlitzer and Will Corry and my favorite Warren Oates performance, looks even better now than it did in 1971, although it was pretty interesting back then as well. James Taylor and Dennis Wilson are the drivers of a supercharged '55 Chevy, and Oates is the owner of a new GTO (these nameless characters are in fact identified only by the cars they drive); they meet and agree to race from New Mexico to the east coast, though an assortment of side interests periodically distracts them, including various hitchhikers (among them Laurie Bird). (GTO hilariously assumes a new persona every time he picks up a new passenger, rather like the amorphous narrator in Wurlitzer's novel 
Nog.) The movie starts off as a narrative but gradually grows into something much more abstract—it's unsettling but also beautiful.

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 159: Fri Jun 9

Birth (Glazer, 2004): Picturehouse Central, 9.30pm

Here's a special evening. Variety critic Guy Lodge introduces a 35mm screening of Jonathan Glazer's excellent, unnerving movie.

What screening on celluloid first blew your mind or one that’s meant something to you recently? One of the first prints we screened as The Badlands Collective still stands out as a special moment, and that was Jonathan Glazer’s showprint of Birth, developed on silver nitrate. It was in perfect condition, and had a real shimmering quality.
(Ian Mantgani, Badlands Collective)

Chicago Reader review:
In this eerily tranquil psychological thriller, Nicole Kidman's placid countenance is like a Rorschach: you'll project onto it what you want to see. A widow on the verge of remarrying, she's troubled by the arrival of a ten-year-old boy (Cameron Bright) who claims to be the reincarnation of her dead husband. In extreme close-ups, Kidman stares impassively at nothing. Does she believe the kid? Is he crazy? Is she? Director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) unnerves us with an almost sleepy tone, helped by Alexandre Desplat's lush score. The atmosphere is really the point, though I wish the script weren't quite so elliptical.
Hank Sartin

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 158: Thu Jun 8

Bred And Born (Davis/Leece, 1983): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm

This 16mm presentation is part of the East End Film Festival. Full details of the festival can be found here.

BFI review:
An experimental documentary that reflects on the different kinds of relationship between mother and daughters, and the position of women in the family, in a hybrid, disjointed but always involving way. Produced over a period of four years, Bred and Born emerges from two parallel strands: a women's discussion group about mother-daughter relations at a community centre in East London, and interviews conducted with four generations of working-class women from one family in the East End. The film intersperses interviews, footage of the family and local area, archive stills, re-enactments, individual narratives, snippets from the discussion and extracts from published materials on the topic. Thus it draws attention to its own representational codes, and highlights the socially and subjectively constructed nature of women's experience.All the women who speak in the film were to a large degree included in the filmmaking process, with their reactions helping to shape the direction the film took. This leaves a lot of space to think about which parts of the material have been privileged and for what reasons, and how the women perceived their filmic images. They seem to accept their roles within the family as natural or inevitable, but also recognise the limitations of those roles. This awareness is partial, though strong, and it is not until the very end of the film that we can see how the women's consciousness of their position has changed over several years of their attendance at the group discussions. By the end, the women from the East End family start speaking more as complex subjects and less as illustrations of a certain sociological thesis.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 157: Wed Jun 7

Finding Christa (Billops, 1992): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm

This 16mm screening, which is being shown in the 'Unbound: Visions of the Black Feminine' season at BFI Southbank, is also being screened on June 4th. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Directed by Camille Billops and James Hatch, this moving and highly personal 1991 film, which shared the prize for best documentary at Sundance, charts the reconciliation of Billops with her grown daughter Christa, whom Billops put up for adoption four years after she was born. The complex reverberations that this has in the entire family are explored in some depth; this film is one of the rare ones in which the issues of life and those of art and representation become inseparable.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is a discussion on Camille Billops' films.