Friday, 20 July 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 208: Sun Aug 5

The Producers (Brooks, 1967): Rio Cinema, 4.15pm


This presentation includes appearances by director Mel Brooks before and after the movie in an interview recorded especially for this 50th Anniversary screening.

Time Out review:Mel Brooks' first feature, an absolutely hilarious and tasteless New York Jewish comedy about Broadway. Mostel plays a producer determined to clean up by staging the worst flop in history, first making sure that it's over-backed by all of the rich widows hot for him. Mostel and Wilder (as his bumbling Portnovian accountant) ham outrageously, and some of the humour falls flat. But the all-time flop itself could serve as a definition of kitsch, its centrepiece being the number 'Springtime for Hitler', all tits, pretzels and beer steins, in the best tradition of gaudy American burlesque.
Rod McShane

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 207: Sat Aug 4

Velvet Goldmine (Haynes, 1998): Prince Charles Cinema, 5.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Cinematic Jukebox strand at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the details here.

Time Out review:
This witty, evocative re-creation of the heady days of glam rock is loosely structured on the lines of a Citizen Kane-style flashback narrative, with a journalist (Christian Bale) sent back from New York to Britain to investigate, ten years on, the disappearance of Bowie-like star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) after an on-stage assassination is revealed to have been a publicity stunt. Partly a film à clef which retranslates real-life events and personalities into a dazzling fiction, partly an unsentimental celebration of an era of (potential) pan-sexual liberation (complete with unexpected but fitting tribute to Oscar Wilde), and partly a typically Todd Haynesian study of transgression, identity and the gulf between private and public image, it's superbly shot, edited and performed, and exhilaratingly inventive throughout. 
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) are the opening credits.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 206: Fri Aug 3

Old Times (Curtis, 1991): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm



This screening is part of the Harold Pinter season. You can find the full details here.

BFI Southbank introduction:
Pinter’s 1971 stage play makes perfect television in that it combines an intimate power-battle with a hallucinatory framework. On one level, we watch a verbal, physical and musical battle between a successful filmmaker (Malkovich) and a house-guest (Richardson) over possession of the former’s wife (Nelligan). But the play also shows all three characters re-creating the past according to the psychological and tactical needs of the moment.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 205: Thu Aug 2

Strange Cargo (Borzage, 1940): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm


This 35mm presentation, which is also being screened on August 13th and 16th (details here), is parrt of the Joan Crawford season at BFI Soutbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A pivotal film in Frank Borzage's career, Strange Cargo(1940) finds the director moving beyond his concern with the spiritual qualities of human relationships to a broader, more mystical vision of a transcendent harmony between man and nature. Some viewers will object to the film's overtly allegorical structure (a mysterious avatar figure played by Ian Hunter leads a group of escaped convicts through a purgatorial jungle), but Borzage's power lies in his clarity. Adapted by Lawrence Hazard from Richard Sale's novel Not Too Narrow, Not Too Deep; with Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, and Peter Lorre.
Dave Kehr


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 204: Wed Aug 1

Almost Famous (Crowe, 2000): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Cinematic Jukebox strand at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Writer-director Cameron Crowe's autobiographical fourth feature (2000)—after Say Anything . . . , Singles, and Jerry Maguire—concerns the adventures of a 15-year-old rock journalist (Patrick Fugit) touring with a band (the fictional Stillwater) in 1973 for Rolling Stone. This has much of the warmth and feeling for adolescence that Crowe displayed in his first feature, though the slick showboating of Jerry Maguireisn't entirely absent either. Part of what Crowe's exploring here is the ethical confusion that can arise from the differences between being a journalist and being a groupie. With Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Philip Seymour Hoffman (especially good as the legendary rock critic Lester Bangs), Zooey Deschanel, and Anna Paquin.
Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 203: Tue Jul 31

The Pumpkin Eater (Clayton, 1964): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening, which is part of the Pinter season (full details here), is also screened on July 29th (full details here).

Radio Times review:
This is a study of a modern - well, 1964 - marriage, based on Penelope Mortimer's novel, with Anne Bancroft as the mother of several screaming brats and the wife of adulterous screenwriter-husband Peter Finch. She suffers a nervous collapse in Harrods, undergoes psychoanalysis, then a hysterectomy. Bancroft and Finch deliver blockbuster performances and the supporting cast is equally impressive - from James Mason as a boorish party guest and Maggie Smith as one of Finch's lovers. There's beautifully modulated direction from Jack Clayton and scriptwriter Harold Pinter's acidulent signature is all over it - not to mention the influence of Michelangelo Antonioni - for this British movie is so arty and so alienating it almost needs subtitles.
Adrian Turner

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 202: Mon Jul 30

A Face in the Crowd (Kazan, 1957): Institute of Light, 7.45pm


This screening, under the auspices of Duncan Carson of the 'Nobody Ordered Wolves' film club, will feature an extended introduction:

All great art stays relevant, but the times can add extra potency. Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd is the story of a vagabond turned TV star turned politician, abusing his power for personal gain. Caught on tape making damaging comments, marrying a woman half his age... it's hard not to see this 1957 film as a parable for the Trump era. But it's also a universal film about the seductive power of appealing to 'the common man', and the cynicism behind populism. From the writer-director team behind On the Waterfront, this film plays the same trick on the audience as its star, Lonesome Rhodes (Andy Griffith), does on its audience: piling spadeloads of charisma to make us accept anything.  

Chicago Reader review:
Andy Griffith, as a hick radio star modeled on Arthur Godfrey, delivers an astonishing, sinister performance in Elia Kazan's 1957 essay on media demagoguery. Promoted by Patricia Neal, he swells from a local personality to a national political force. The script, by Budd Schulberg, is pat and badly proportioned, but the picture has a sharp, dirty appeal. With Lee Remick (excellent in her film debut), Walter Matthau, and Anthony Franciosa.
Dave Kehr