Saturday, 17 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 57: Mon Feb 26

Modern Romance (Brooks, 1981): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35m presentation is part of an Albert Brooks double-bill, also featuring 'Lost in America' at the Prince Charles. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Albert Brooks and Kathryn Harrold as two young Los Angeles professionals caught in a roller-coaster relationship. Though this 1981 film was only Brooks's second, it displays a distinctive, original, and highly effective mise-en-scene: Brooks is a superrealist who uses long takes to hold his characters in a tight compression of time and space, while his even, laconic direction of dialogue short-circuits conventional comic rhythms, going beyond easy payoffs into an almost cosmic apprehension of life's inescapable absurdity. The first part of the film is farcical and very funny; from there it shades into a pointed naturalism and ends on a note of near-tragedy. With Bob Einstein and George Kennedy. 
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 56: Sun Feb 25

Moonstruck (Jewison, 1987): Genesis Cinema, 2.30pm


Genesis Cinema introduction:
The Bechdel Test Fest proudly partners with Ruby Tandoh to present an afternoon of film, food and thoughtful chatter at one of our favourite venues, Genesis Cinema. In celebration of Ruby’s nourishing new book Eat Up!, a manifesto that reignites the pleasure of eating, we’ll be co-hosting a 30th Anniversary presentation of Moonstruck in 35mm, a film with food and love at its core with a mesmerising, Oscar-winning performance by Cher. Tandoh is an author and journalist who writes for, among others, the Guardian, Elle and Vice. A finalist on the 2013 Great British Bake Off, she has published two cookery books, Crumb and Flavour.

Chicago reader review:
Good, corny fun develops when Italian-American widow Loretta Castorini (Cher) falls in love with her fiance's brother Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage). Director Norman Jewison and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley milk the New York settings, accents, and folkways for all they're worth—although those familiar with certain Manhattan locations may be dismayed to find them transplanted to Brooklyn—and the broad Italian family humor gets so thick at times that you could cut it with a bread knife. Among the “adorable” secondary cast are Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Julie Bovasso, and Feodor Chaliapin Jr., but most of the show belongs to Cher and Cage, both of whom are at their energetic best. Dick Hyman is in charge of the hyperbolic music, which starts off with “That's Amore” to clue us all in to what we should expect (1987).
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 55: Sat Feb 24

Man Bites Dog (Belvaux/Bonzel/Poelvoorde, 1992): Cine Lumiere, 9pm


This film is part of the 'Focus on Belgian Cinema' season at Cine Lumiere. You can find all the details of the season here.

Time Out review:
Mostly, Ben (Benoit Poelvoorde) is an ordinary sort of guy. One passion, however, is unusual: he regularly commits murder, not exactly at random, but certainly without malice or provocation. So intriguing is Ben's deadly charm that a film crew decide to make a documentary about him; and come to like him so much that they start facilitating, then collaborating in, his crimes. This spoof fly-on-the-wall documentary is funny, scary, provocative, and profoundly disturbing. While the body count is sky high and the violence explicit, it's neither a thriller nor, finally, a psychological study. Rather, it's a witty, uncompromising acknowledgment of both film-makers' and audiences' often unhealthy fascination with the spectacle of violence. Even as you admire its bravura, intelligence and seeming authenticity, such is its rigour that you are also forced to question just why you are watching it. Purely on a gut level, it may offend; but as an exploration of voyeurism, it's one of the most resonant, caustic contributions to the cinema of violence since Peeping Tom.

Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 54: Fri Feb 23

Trouble Every Day (Denis, 2001): Deptford Cinema, 7.30pm


Time Out review:
It begins, innocently enough, with a kiss—tentative at first, but slowly increasing in passion and intensity. (How easy it is to lose yourself in intimacy with another.) We’ll never see these two people again; they’re just some randomly horned-up couple in a car taking advantage of the dark of night. Yet they help set the moody, libidinal tone of Claire Denis’s inimitable horror film—being rereleased in a new 35mm print—in which the real monsters are those microscopic urges that, taken too far, make mincemeat of our humanity.
There are man-size monsters here too, first and foremost newlywed American Shane Brown (Vincent Gallo). He’s ostensibly traveling to Paris with his wife, June (Tricia Vessey), for their honeymoon, but in actuality he’s looking for an old colleague, Léo (Alex Descas), to help him with some cannibalistic appetites that may have resulted from a research trip abroad. Shane’s quest to quash his cravings and keep his spouse safe is contrasted with the uninhibited acting out of Léo’s wife, Coré (Béatrice Dalle, that great gap-toothed temptress), who is similarly infected and literally devours men with rabid glee.
Denis shoots this grisly-erotic roundelay in her distinctively woozy and elliptical style. The deepest connections between characters emerge from silence as opposed to dialogue—Shane gazing hungrily at a hotel maid’s neck, Coré quietly enticing a fresh-faced neighbor boy into her boarded-up lair—while the groggy atmosphere, aided immeasurably by Agnès Godard’s grainy cinematography and the punch-drunk score of indie-rockers Tindersticks, keeps you constantly beguiled.
Gallo and Dalle are sublimely tragic figures; the scene in which Shane stalks around Notre Dame like Frankenstein unleashed is a pitch-perfect encapsulation of the way the film plays with and deepens movie-monster archetypes. Yet it’s June who ends up as the movie’s brokenhearted soul, so loved that she can never be lusted after and—in what is perhaps Trouble Every Day’s most terrifying reveal—all too aware of that fact.
Keith Uhlich

Monday, 12 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 53: Thu Feb 22

Secretary (Shainberg, 2002): Genesis Cinema, 6.50pm


This film is part of the Cult Classic Collective strand at the Genesis Cinema.

Chicago Reader review:
This wicked little black comedy (2002), adapted from a short story by Mary Gaitskill, chronicles the perverse attraction between a young typist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her uptight boss (James Spader), a sadomasochistic tango that strikes unexpected chords in each character. The young woman is a self-mutilator, and when the attorney spanks her for a minor mistake, she knows she's found the right job. The film's romantic conceit turns on the decidedly un-PC notion of female submissiveness, but director Steven Shainberg (Hit Me) twists the story into a sly and stylized study of two lonely souls who come to realize they're made for each other. Spader is both haughty and tender as the sadistic control freak, and Gyllenhaal is even better as the love-starved kitten, crawling around on all fours and meowing for more. Angelo Badalamenti wrote the creepy score; with Lesley Ann Warren as the typist's overly solicitous mother and Stephen McHattie as her self-loathing father. 
Ted Shen

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 52: Wed Feb 21

The Extra Girl (Jones, 1923): Cinema Museum, 7.30pm


The Kennington Bioscope is a regular cinema event featuring live accompaniment to silent films that takes place at the Cinema Museum. The main feature tonight is The Extra Girl (1923), a comedy starring Mabel Normand, directed by F. Richard Jones and produced by Mack Sennett. This screening will be from a 16mm print, and will be introduced by Kevin Brownlow. A programme of silent shorts precedes the main film.

Cinema Museum introduction:

Given the status of Mabel Normand as the leading comedienne of the silent screen, her feature-length films are frustratingly hard to obtain. There are plenty of early shorts from Vitagraph, Biograph and, especially, Keystone, as well as the Hal Roach films from the end of her career (1927’s 
Should Men Walk Home has previously been screened at Kennington Bioscope); of her starring features, few are known to remain. Mickey (1918) survives and dates from the end of her early relationship with Mack Sennett. Most of her subsequent films at Goldwyn are missing. Sennett, convinced that he alone could provide appropriate vehicles for Normand, made repeated efforts to lure her back and secured a loan-out from Goldwyn for Molly O’ (1922), which seems presently to circulate only in a Russian-language print. Their final film together – The Extra Girl (1923) – is, fortunately, available for us to screen in a good (English!) copy. F. Richard Jones – Normand’s favourite director – brings out the best of her talents in this tale of a small-town girl with aspirations to be a movie actress.

Here (and above) is an extract. 

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 51: Tue Feb 20

Enter The Void (Noe, 2010): Deptford Cinema, 7.30pm


This presentation is the culmination of the Gaspar Noe season at Deptford Cinema.

Chicago Reader review:
French director Gaspar Noe has kept a pretty low profile since his 2002 drama Irreversible, notorious for its brutal nine-minute anal rape scene. But this epic, psychedelic mindfuck confirms him once again as the cinema's most imaginative nihilist (a conflicted honor if, like me, you consider nihilism a failure of the imagination). The main characters are a young Frenchman and his sister living at the margins of the Tokyo underworld, he as a drug dealer and she as a stripper; after the young man is shot by police and dies on the floor of a grimy toilet, his spirit floats omnisciently over the city (consistent with his recent study of the Tibetan Book of the Dead) and keeps tabs on his vulnerable sibling. The colored lights of nocturnal Tokyo provide an apt jumping-off point for Noe's drugged-out imagery, and his nicely calibrated story line reveals the siblings' tragic past before circling back to the present and what the future might hold. It's a dark and commanding vision, reaching for the heavens even as it wallows in the muck.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.