Friday, 24 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 75: Thu Mar 16

The Doom Generation (Araki, 1995): Barbican Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the 'What Movies Do To Us' season at the Barbican Cinema. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
More in-your-face aggression from American independent Gregg Araki (The Living End)—a road movie, a romantic triangle (James Duval, Rose McGowan, and Johnathon Schaech playing three goof-offs on the run), and loads of stylized violence (1995). Describing itself in the opening credits as “a heterosexual movie”—mainly because the three lead characters at least profess to be straight, unlike those in Araki's preceding features—this is still very much about homoerotic desire, often given a hysterical edge by the pop expressionism of Araki's visual style. Striking to look at, though often offensively opportunistic, this mainly comes across as a throwaway shocker with energy to spare. There's not much thought in evidence though.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 74: Wed Mar 15

Things To Come (Menzies, 1936): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This screening is part of the excellent '10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival'. You can find the full details here. The movie is introduced by Sir Christopher Frayling, the author of the BFI Film Classics volume on the film.

Time Out review:
HG Wells thought Metropolis to be 'quite the silliest film', but a decade later Alexander Korda gave him enormous creative freedom to write a movie version of The Shape of Things to Come, which turned out to be just as silly. However, like Metropolis, it isn't just silly. It is a spectacular production wherein Wells takes his 'science versus art' preoccupations into the future (as seen from the '30s); and to make it work, only lacks the kind of pure cinematic form which a Powell/Pressburger would have given it, for its scale and love of 'ideas' pre-figure their films and make it just as unique in British cinema history. In the realm of 'prophetic science fiction', it is a genre landmark.
Chris Wicking

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 73: Tue Mar 14

Personal Shopper (Assayas, 2016): Curzon Soho, 6.20pm


This film, one of the highlights of last year's London Film Festival, gets a special screening at Curzon Soho followed by a Q&A with director Olivier Assayas.

Time Out review:
Amid all the shifting mirrored surfaces and hazy ambiguities of Olivier Assayas's bewitching, brazenly unconventional ghost story, this much can be said with certainty: Kristen Stewart has become one hell of an actress. The former 'Twilight' star was easily the standout feature of Assayas's last film, the slightly stilted study of actors 'Clouds of Sils Maria', quietly yanking the rug from under the feet of Juliette Binoche. Here, Stewart doesn't need to steal the film from anyone: she's in virtually every crisp frame of it, holding the camera's woozy gaze with her own quizzical, secretive stare and knotted body language. Her performance is a galvanising human influence on the film, even as her character, introverted American-in-Paris Maureen, seems forever on the verge of voluntary evaporation. An haute couture clothes buyer and general dogsbody to an insufferable A-list celebrity – shades of 'Sils Maria', then, though Assayas is on a very different thematic path this time – practising medium Maureen is haunted, in all senses, by the recent death of her twin brother. Stalking his former abode at night seeking a final communication, she encounters a spirit or two – but whose? And are they following her, or are the insidiously instructive, anonymous texts that start invading her phone from another amorphous entity? As Maureen's already fragile composure begins to fray, it's hard to tell if she's plagued more by absence or uncanny presence: even her boss is barely visible to her, leaving a trail of curt notes and messages in her wake. Among the many things that appear to be on Assayas's mind is the disembodied – and disembodying – nature of modern-day communication and social media, which makes ghosts of us all to those with whom we text far more than we talk. Perhaps no film has ever made the mobile phone quite such an instrument of tension: the on-screen iPhone ellipsis of an incoming message takes on a breath-halting urgency here. For the preservation of enjoyment, no more should be revealed about the film's gliding, glassy sashay through multiple, splintered genres and levels of consciousness – except to say that Assayas, working in the high-concept, game-playing vein of his 'Irma Vep' and 'demonlover', is in shivery control of it all. And he's found an impeccably attuned muse in Stewart, who wears the film's curiosity with the same casually challenging stride that she does – in a key scene of sensual self-realisation – a jaw-dropping silk-organza bondage gown.
Guy Lodge

Monday, 20 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 72: Mon Mar 13

The Conversation (Coppola, 1974): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.20pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the Prince Charles Cinema's Cinematic Jukebox season. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review: 
Gene Hackman excels in Francis Ford Coppola's tasteful, incisive 1974 study of the awakening of conscience in an “electronic surveillance technician.” Coppola manages to turn an expert thriller into a portrayal of the conflict between ritual and responsibility without ever letting the levels of tension subside or the complicated plot get muddled. Fine support from Allen Garfield as an alternately amiable and desperately envious colleague, plus a superb sound track (vital to the action) by Walter Murch—all this and a fine, melancholy piano score by David Shire. 
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 71: Sun Mar 12

Lola Montes (Olphus, 1955): Genesis Cinema, 6pm


This film, a masterpiece by any standards, is part of the '10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival'. You can find full details of the Fashion In Film Festival here. This screening will be introduced by the artist and curator Cathy Haynes.

Chicago Reader review:
A baroque masterpiece by Max Ophuls, his last film (1955) and his only work in color and wide-screen. The producers were expecting a routine melodrama with Martine Carol (a bland French star of the period); when they saw what Ophuls had made—with its exquisite stylization, elaborate flashbacks, and infinite subtlety—they cut it to ribbons. The film was restored in the 60s and impressed some critics, including Andrew Sarris, as "the greatest film ever made," and certainly this story of a courtesan's life is among the most emotionally plangent, visually ravishing works the cinema has to offer. With Peter Ustinov, Anton Walbrook, Ivan Desny, and Oskar Werner.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 70: Sat Mar 11

Opening Night (Cassavetes, 1977): Curzon Soho, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the '10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival'. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
For all of John Cassavetes's concern with acting, this 1977 film is the only one of his features that takes it on as a subject; it also boasts his most impressive cast. During the New Haven tryouts for a new play, an aging star (Gena Rowlands), already distressed that she's playing a woman older than herself, is traumatized further by the accidental death of an adoring teenage fan (Laura Johnson). Fantasizing the continued existence of this girl as a younger version of herself, she repeatedly changes her lines onstage and addresses the audience directly, while the other members of the company—the director (Ben Gazzara), playwright (Joan Blondell), costar (Cassavetes), and producer (Paul Stewart)—try to help end her distress. Juggling onstage and offstage action, Cassavetes makes this a fascinating look at some of the internal mechanisms and conflicts that create theatrical fiction, and his wonderful cast—which also includes Zohra Lampert as the director's wife, assorted Cassavetes regulars, and cameos by Peter Falk and Peter Bogdanovich as themselves—never lets him down.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is a trailer.
s event is part of the 10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival, ‘Wearing Time: Past, Present, Future, Dream’. - See more at: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/soho/film-info/opening-night#sthash.Yj4r4Nbr.dpuf
This event is part of the 10th Anniversary Fashion in Film Festival, ‘Wearing Time: Past, Present, Future, Dream’. - See more at: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/soho/film-info/opening-night#sthash.Yj4r4Nbr.dpuf

Friday, 17 February 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 69: Fri Mar 10

The Love Witch (Biller, 2016): Rio Cinema, 11.30pm



Chicago Reader review:
This spellbinding ode to exploitation films of the 1960s and '70s is impressive not only for its mock-Technicolor hues and period mise-en-scène but also for what lies beneath: a creepy and cunning examination of female fantasy. A widowed witch (Samantha Robinson), heartbroken by the neglect of her late husband, moves to a small town and seduces a string of men with love potions as a way to feel adored. Director Anna Biller—who also wrote, produced, and edited the film, and created by hand many of its vivid costumes and set decorations—embraces the melodrama and vampy camp of ’60s horror while also considering the easy conflation of love, desire, and narcissism. Robert Frost once wrote that “love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired,” and Biller’s witch, both liberated in exploiting her sexuality and repressed by her white-knight fantasies, embodies the idea.
Leah Pickett

Here (and above) is the trailer.