Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 220: Sat Aug 9

Written on the Wind (Sirk, 1956): Barbican Cinema, 4pm

This is part of the Eye-Popping Colour season at the Barbican. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
One of the most remarkable and unaccountable films ever made in Hollywood, Douglas Sirk's 1957 masterpiece turns a lurid, melodramatic script into a screaming Brechtian essay on the shared impotence of American family and business life. Sirk's highly imaginative use of color—to accent, undermine, and sometimes even nullify the drama—remains years ahead of contemporary technique. The degree of stylization is high and impeccable: one is made to understand the characters as icons as well as psychologically complex creations. With Dorothy Malone (in the performance of her career), Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, and Rock Hudson.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 219: Fri Aug 8

Beyond Clueless (Lyne, 2014): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm

This better be good. I helped to fund this film (in a modest way) through Kickstarter. It's been a popular ticket but definitely worth travelling to BFI Southbank on the night for returns.

Here is the BFI introduction:

As part of our Teenage Kicks season, Sonic Cinema presents the London premiere of film critic Charlie Lyne’s bold and stylish feature debut, with live music from critically acclaimed indie-pop duo ‘Summer Camp.’ Part documentary, part essay and part experimental driftwork, Beyond Clueless explores and celebrates the world of the American teenager, complete with its jocks, nerds, freaks, geeks, cheerleaders, angst, attitude and rebellion, as depicted by countless movies made in the wake of 1995’s breakout success Clueless. Lyne combines an intricate collage of scenes from over 200 teen movies with hypnotic narration by cult teen star Fairuza Balk (The Craft) and sophisticated pop from ‘Summer Camp,’ to create a dreamlike and highly original cinematic experience. Followed by a special DJ set in the benugo bar until late.

Here is the Guardian's Henry Barnes' review.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 218: Thu Aug 7

Two Days, One Night (Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne, 2014): Somerset House, 9pm

Each summer, The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court hosts London's most beautiful open-air cinema, the Film4 Summer Screen. The series features a range of films, all showing on a state-of-the-art screen with full surround sound. The UK premiere of the new Dardennes brothers' latest movie will be a highlight this year. Full details of the season at Somerset House can be found here.

Time Out review:
Two Days, One Night features a career-high performance from Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard – by far the Dardennes' starriest casting to date – and has a starting-gun premise: a young mother, Sandra (Cotillard), recently off work with depression, is made redundant from a small factory that makes solar panels. In her absence, 14 of her 16 colleagues have voted to take their bonuses (around 1,000 euros each) rather than let her keep her job. But willed into action by a supportive husband, Manu (Fabrizio Rongione), she persuades her boss to give her one last chance and to host a second vote round of voting two days later. Will she be able to save her job by knocking on doors over the weekend to persuade her colleagues to support her? This is political drama (with the smallest of p's) at its finest and most humane: heady, engaging, gently ingraining ideas about empowerment, taking a stand and how we organise our societies into the fabric of the film. Each one of Sandra's encounters is a surprise and adds shade or a new perspective to what we think the film has to tell us about human nature and how we live our lives. There are no heroes or villains here; everybody is simply getting by, and by the skin of their teeth. After spending 'Two Days, One Night' in the company of Sandra, you'll be punching the air with pride.
Dave Calhoun

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 217: Wed Aug 6

There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007): Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1, 8pm

This promises to be a special screening (also showing on August 7). Here is the Roundhouse introduction:
By arrangement with Miramax and Park Circus Films, Roundhouse is pleased to be the home of a series of world-premiere screenings of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Academy Award-winning There Will Be Blood with Jonny Greenwood’s score performed live by the London Contemporary Orchestra, conducted by Hugh Brunt.

These live screenings will draw together an orchestra of over 50 musicians, including Jonny Greenwood himself, who will play the Ondes Martenot part.

Although widely regarded as one of the most influential soundtracks in recent years, There Will Be Blood was famously ruled ineligible in the Best Original Score category at the 2008 Academy Awards due to its use of pre-existing material. The score features passages from Greenwood’s compositions Popcorn Superhet Receiver and Bodysong (the latter used in the track Convergence), as well as works by Arvo Pärt and Brahms. All these cues have been collated into one ‘performance edition’, offering a complete representation of the original film, shown in a striking new light

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 216: Tue Aug 5

Carrie (De Palma, 1976): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.20pm

This great Brian De Palma movie, part of the Teenage Kicks season, is also being shown on August 1st and 2nd. Details here.

Time Out review:
She wasn’t the favourite to play ‘creepy Carrie’, but it’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Sissy Spacek (looking like she’s stepped into the ‘70s from another time altogether) in the role. Stephen King got the idea for the novel, his first, in the girls’ locker room of a college where he was working as a caretaker. Teenage girls can be pure evil and it’s in a locker room that we meet Carrie, who’s just had her first period and is being told to ‘plug it up!’ by the mean girls. Carrie’s secret is that she has telekinetic powers, which are about to wreak an apocalypse at the school prom. As for the pig’s blood scene, it doesn’t matter how many times you watch it, you’re willing that bucket not to drop. Spacek gamely offered to be covered in real pig’s blood, but in the end was drenched with a mix of syrup and food colouring.
Cath Clarke

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 215: Mon Aug 4

The Deer Hunter (Cimino, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 7.40pm

This multi-Oscar winning movie is on an extended run at BFI Southbank. Details here.

Time Out review:
This is probably one of the few great films of the Seventies. It's the tale of three Pennsylvanian steelworkers, their life at work, at play (deer-hunting), at war (as volunteers in Vietnam). Running against the grain of liberal guilt and substituting Fordian patriotism, it proposes De Niro as a Ulyssean hero tested to the limit by war. Moral imperatives replace historical analysis, social rituals become religious sacraments, and the sado-masochism of the central (male) love affair is icing on a Nietzschean cake. Ideally, though, it should prove as gruelling a test of its audience's moral and political conscience as it seems to have been for its makers.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 214: Sun Aug 3

No1: Thieves' Highway (Dassin, 1949) & Rififi (Dassin, 1955): Cinema Museum, 2.30pm

Chicago Reader review of Thieves' Highway:
Perhaps the most unjustly neglected of Jules Dassin's preblacklist Hollywood pictures, and one of the best noirs ever made, this 1949 release is a terrific, fast-moving thriller about the corruption of the California fruit market business. Adapted by A.I. Bezzerides (Kiss Me Deadly, Track of the Cat) from his own novel, it has a pretty exciting cast as well: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese (in her American debut), Lee J. Cobb (in a role anticipating his part in On the Waterfront), Barbara Lawrence, Jack Oakie, and Millard Mitchell.
Jonathan Rosenbaum 

Chicago Reader review of Rififi:
It's one of the enduring mysteries of the Hollywood blacklist that directors such as Joseph Losey and Cy Endfield had to hide behind fronts or pseudonyms, whereas Jules Dassin was able to direct this atmospheric 1955 French thriller under his own name and still get it shown in the U.S., where it was something of an art-house hit. (Oddly, as a cast member he uses the name “Perlo Vita.”) Shot in Paris and its environs and adapted from an Auguste le Breton novel with the author's assistance, this is a familiar but effective parable of honor among thieves, and though it may not be as ideologically meaningful as the juicy noirs Dassin made for Hollywood—The Naked City (1947), Thieves' Highway (1949), and Night and the City (1950)—it's probably more influential, above all for its half-hour sequence without dialogue that meticulously shows the whole process of an elaborate jewelry heist.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer for Rififi.


No2: The Lady From Shanghai (Welles, 1947): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 2pm

This superb Orson Welles film noir is on an extended run at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

I have written a feature about the drama both on and off the screen involving this brilliant movie here at the Guardian Film website.

Chicago Reader review:
The weirdest great movie ever made (1948), which is somehow always summed up for me by the image of Glenn Anders cackling "Target practice! Target practice!" with unbalanced, malignant glee. Orson Welles directs and stars as an innocent Irish sailor who's drafted into a bizarre plot involving crippled criminal lawyer Everett Sloane and his icily seductive wife Rita Hayworth. Hayworth tells Welles he "knows nothing about wickedness" and proceeds to teach him, though he's an imperfect student. The film moves between Candide-like farce and a deeply disturbing apprehension of a world in grotesque, irreversible decay—it's the only true film noir comedy. The script, adapted from a novel by Sherwood King, is credited solely to Welles, but it's the work of many hands, including Welles, William Castle, Charles Lederer, and Fletcher Markle.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.