Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 262: Sat Sep 20

AI: Artificial Intelligence (Spielberg, 2001): Albert & Victoria Museum, 7pm


Victoria & Albert Museum introduction:
Watch A.I. Artificial Intelligence and hear Professor Mark Bishop, a world authority on computer intelligence, introduce the dazzling sci-fi created by Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg.
Tracing its genesis in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, Professor Bishop discusses the movie's robot child with current developments in A.I. technology and philosophy.

This event is part of the London Design Festival at the V&A 2014

Chicago Reader review:
A collaboration between the living Steven Spielberg and the late Stanley Kubrick seems appropriate to a project that reflects profoundly on the differences between life and nonlife. Kubrick started this picture and came up with the idea that Spielberg should direct it, and after inheriting a 90-page treatment Kubrick had prepared with Ian Watson and 600 drawings he'd done with Chris Baker, Spielberg finished it in so much his own manner that it may be his most personal film, as well as his most thoughtful. It might make you cry; it's just as likely to give you the creeps—which is as it should be. This is a movie people will be arguing about for many years to come.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 261: Fri Sep 19

Planet of the Apes (Schaffner, 1968): Genesis Cinema


This Apes double-bill (the cinema are also screening Project Nim) is part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September. Full details here.

Time out review:
Four sequels and a TV series bred contempt, but this first visit to Pierre Boulle's planet, bringing a welcome touch of wit to his rather humourlessly topsy-turvy theory of evolution, remains a minor sci-fi classic. The settings (courtesy of the National Parks of Utah and Arizona) are wonderfully outlandish, and Schaffner makes superb use of them as a long shot chillingly establishes the isolation of the crashed astronauts, as exploration brings alarming intimations of life (pelts staked out on the skyline like crucified scarecrows), and as discovery of a tribe of frightened humans is followed by an eruption of jackbooted apes on horseback. The enigma of the planet's history, juggled through Heston's humiliating experience of being studied as an interesting laboratory specimen by his ape captors, right down to his final startling rediscovery of civilisation, is quite beautifully sustained.
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 260: Thu Sep 18

La Dolce Vita (Fellini, 1960): Genesis Cinema, 6pm


This Roma Bellazza doubl-bill (the cinema are also screening The Great Beauty) is part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September. Full details here.

Time Out review:
The opening shot shows a helicopter lifting a statue of Christ into the skies and out of Rome. God departs and paves the way for Fellini's extraordinarily prophetic vision of a generation's spiritual and moral decay. The depravity is gauged against the exploits of Marcello (Mastroianni), a playboy hack who seeks out sensationalist stories by bedding socialites and going to parties. Marcello is both repelled by and drawn to the lifestyles he records: he becomes besotted with a fleshy, dimwit starlet (Ekberg), he joins in the media hysteria surrounding a child's alleged sighting of the Virgin Mary, yet he longs for the bohemian life of his intellectual friend Steiner (Cuny). There are perhaps a couple of party scenes too many, and the peripheral characters can be unconvincing, but the stylish cinematography and Fellini's bizarre, extravagant visuals are absolutely riveting.
Elaine Patterson

Here is an excerpt.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 259: Wed Sep 17

Plan 9 from Outer Space (Wood, 1959):
Atomic Bark Film Club, Scenario, 97 Stoke Newington Rd, London, N16 8BX



This screening is part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Bela Lugosi died during the making of this low-budget science fiction programmer, but that didn't faze director Edward Wood: the Lugosi footage, which consists of the actor skulking around a suburban garage, is replayed over and over, to highly surreal effect. Wood is notorious for his 1952 transvestite saga Glen or Glenda? (aka I Changed My Sex), but for my money this 1959 effort is twice as strange and appealing in its undisguised incompetence. J. Hoberman of the Village Voice has made a case for Wood as an unconscious avant-gardist; there's no denying that his blunders are unusually creative and oddly expressive.
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 258: Tue Sep 16

Body Double (De Palma, 1984): W London Hotel, Wardour St, London, W1 7pm


One of the highlights of the year, a very rare screening from Little White Lies magazine (with an introduction by critic Matt Thrift) of Brian De Palma's underrated mid-1980s Hitchcockian thriller. Highly recommended.

Chicago Reader review:
It pains me to say it, but I think Brian De Palma has gotten a bad rap on this one: the first hour of this thriller represents the most restrained, accomplished, and effective filmmaking he has ever done, and if the film does become more jokey and incontinent as it follows its derivative path, it never entirely loses the goodwill De Palma engenders with his deft opening sequences. Craig Wasson is an unemployed actor who is invited to house-sit a Hollywood Hills mansion; he becomes voyeuristically involved with his beautiful neighbor across the way, and witnesses her murder. Those who have seen Vertigo will have solved the mystery within the first 15 minutes, but De Palma's use of frame lines and focal lengths to define Wasson's point of view is so adept that the suspense takes hold anyway. De Palma's borrowings from Hitchcock can no longer be characterized as hommages or even as outright thievery; his concentration on Hitchcockian motifs is so complete and so fetishized that it now seems purely a matter of repetition compulsion. But Body Double is the first De Palma film to make me think that all of his practice is leading at least to the beginnings of perfection.
Dave Kehr 


If you want to read more about this movie there's Susan Dworkin's Double De Palma, an on-the-set account of the making of the film, plus a very thoughtful chapter in Misogyny in the Movies: the De Palma Question by Kenneth Mackinnon.

Here is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 257: Mon Sep 15

M (Lang, 1931): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.20pm


This Fritz Lang classic is on an extended run from Sep 5th at BFI Southbank.
Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Peter Lorre stars in Fritz Lang's sympathetic and terrifying story of a child murderer, filmed in Germany in 1931. The underworld joins forces with the police in tracking down Lorre's plump, helpless maniac because his atrocities have interrupted the course of crime-as-usual. The moral issues are complex and deftly handled: Lorre is at once entirely innocent and absolutely evil. Lang's detached, modified expressionist style gives the action a plastic beauty: the geometry of the images is reflected in the geometry of the plot, as every piece of film clicks together on its way to the inevitable climax. Two lines meet, and Lorre is at the center. 
Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 256: Sun Sep 14

The Phantom Carriage (Duvivier, 1939): Cine Lumiere, 2pm


This Sunday French Classics screening, featured every week at the Cine Lumiere, is part of the Scalarama season which runs throughout September. Full details here.

Cine Lumiere introduction:
The creaking wheels of the phantom carriage ridden by Death himself – and driven by the hapless man who dies at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s eve – provide the sinister backdrop for this rare French fantasy film. Pierre Fresnay is remarkable as hard-drinking tough guy, David, whose buddy Georges haunts his nights as the ghostly carriage driver. A woman from the Salvation Army will try to save David from the fate of his friend.

Here is the trailer.