Monday, 19 March 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 86: Tue Mar 27

Head (Rafelson, 1968): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

Prince Charles Cinema are presenting this 50th anniversary screening of this extraordinary film.

Time Out film review:
Bob Rafelson's first feature, made when Monkee mania had all but died, Head proved too experimental for the diminishing weenybop audience which had lapped up the ingenious TV series. It flopped dismally in the US, and only achieved belated release here. Despite obviously dated aspects like clumsy psychedelic effects and some turgid slapstick sequences, the film is still remarkably vital and entertaining. Rafelson (who helped to create the group), together with Jack Nicholson (co-writer and co-producer), increased the TV show's picaresque tempo while also adding more adult, sardonic touches. The calculated manipulation behind the phenomenon is exposed at the start, when the Monkees metaphorically commit suicide. The typical zany humour is intercut with harsher political footage and satire on established genres of American cinema, exploding many a sacred cow into the bargain.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 85: Mon Mar 26

Early Spring (Ozu, 1956): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.35pm

This 35mm presentation is part of an Yasijuro Ozu season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the details here.

Time out review: 
A typically low-key domestic drama in Yasijuro Ozu's mournful, defeatist vein: it deals with the break-up between an office-worker and his wife when the husband embarks on a tentative affair, and surrounds both partners with extensive webs of friends, relatives, acquaintances and colleagues. It's shot and edited in Ozu's characteristic 'minimalist' style, with hardly any camera movement, a carefully circumscribed syntax, and an editing method that's as unconventional by Japanese standards as it is remote from the Western norm. Ozu's pessimism is deeply reactionary, and the idiosyncrasy of his methods is more interesting for its exoticism than anything else; but anyone who finds the socio-psychological problems of post-war Japan engaging will find the movie both fascinating and rather moving, simply as evidence.
Tony Rayns

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 84: Sun Mar 25

The Lost City of Z (Gray, 2016): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm

This 35mm presentation, part of the 'Cinematic Jukebox' season and of one of last year's best releases is on offer at £1 for Prince Charles Cinema members.

Chicago Reader review:
Based on the nonfiction book by David Grann, this gripping historical epic chronicles the years-long quest of English explorer Percy Fawcett (played with clear-eyed determination by Charlie Hunnam) to find a fabled Amazonian city whose early innovations may have put the British Empire to shame. Fawcett first traveled to South America as a British army officer in 1906, and his crusade to track down the lost city of Zed, as he called it, was interrupted by the trench warfare of World War I; he and his grown son returned to the jungle as private adventurers in 1925 but were never heard from again. Writer-director James Gray (
Two LoversThe Immigrant) stages all this with an impressive sense of narrative scale, presenting a series of physical conflicts between the explorers and the indigenous peoples they encounter even as he tracks the ongoing ideological conflict between Fawcett and the cultural chauvinists calling the shots back home. With Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Angus Macfadyen, and Tom Holland.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 83: Sat Mar 24

Bill Douglas Trilogy (Douglas, 1978): Deptford Cinema, 6.30pm

Guardian review:
In the early 1970s Bill Douglas came out of nowhere to make three sequential short films that established, practically on their own, a coherent idea of British alternative cinema. Douglas came from Newcraighall, a battered mining village outside Edinburgh, and his films chronicle his bleak and often brutal upbringing. But they are no social-realist tracts: Douglas films with the eye of a Bergman-esque poet, conjuring images of extraordinary power out of the hard Scottish landscape. Douglas had predictable difficulties fitting into the conventional industry after this brilliantly personal start, and completed only one more film, Comrades, about the Tolpuddle Martyrs, before his death in 1991.
Andrew Pulver

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 82: Fri Mar 23

Blanche (Borowczyk, 1971): Close-Up Cinema,7.30pm

This screening is part of the Walerian Borowczyk season at Close-Up Cinema. You can find all the details of the season here. 

Time Out review:
In this remarkable film, Borowczyk, through his commitment to ambiguity (notably in his framing, which forever denies the foreground/background opposition) and his belief in almost entomological observation, transforms his 13th century characters - a foolish old Baron, an overproud King, a lecherous page and a stupidly handsome lover, all of whom are in love with and/or lust after the simple Blanche, the Baron's young wife - into tragic figures caught up in a dance of death over which they have no control. In exactly the same way, the castle and its decor, photographed by Borowczyk as though it were living and its inhabitants were mere dolls for the most part, is seen as the backdrop to a happy fairytale, and at the same time as the root of all evil, as rooms and bizarre machines are opened and set in motion.

Phil Hardy

Here is an extract from the opening of the film.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 81: Thu Mar 22

St Elmo's Fire (Schumacher, 1985): Genesis Cinema, 8.50pm

Genesis Cinema introduction:
After sold-out screenings of The Lost Boys in Brighton and Bradford, and a rare London show of cult comedy D.C. Cab, independent curator and historian Rebecca Nicole Williams brings her look at the career of Joel Schumacher to the Genesis with the director’s breakthrough hit.  Shot on a modest budget by Stephen H. Burum (The Untouchables, Mission: Impossible) with Schumacher’s trademark widescreen aesthetic St. Elmo’s Fire tapped into social and economic pressures on young people brought about by the political climate of the time and took $38 million. Fans of anything ‘80s will go crazy for John Parr’s #1 hit single Man in Motion, the big fashion and Demi Moore’s designer hair. With introduction and a selection of vintage 35mm trailers before the feature, catch the lightning while it lasts!

Chicago Reader review:
Seven recent college graduates try to cope with the harsh realities of the adult world. The screenplay for this 1985 feature is so riddled with character inconsistencies and unmotivated behavior that it plays like science fiction: the unsuspected presence of body-snatching aliens is the only conceivable explanation for the bizarre twists of psychology the film proposes. Joel Schumacher's chief directorial technique lies in cutting away to another grouping of characters as soon as one situation threatens to become too serious, and the film builds to an astonishing conclusion in which all of the groups' problems are cheerfully dismissed as illusory. Still, Schumacher's undisguised bumblings make the film marginally more bearable than its obvious models, the impenetrably slick group gropes The Big Chill and The Breakfast Club: some real-life messiness is allowed to intrude on the director's overcalculated manipulations of his characters' fates. With Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and (most impressive) Andrew McCarthy and Mare Winningham
Dave Kehr

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 80: Wed Mar 21

The Heiress (Wyler, 1949): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm

Film critic Pamela Hutchinson will be on hand to introduce this screening.

Chicago Reader review:|
William Wyler turns Henry James's Washington Square
into a visually concise chamber drama (1949) that starkly renders the characters' cruelty and ambiguous motives. It follows the battle of wills between a homely spinster (Olivia de Havilland); her selfish and condescending father, who can't forgive her lack of grace (Ralph Richardson); and the dandyish suitor who might be after her fortune (Montgomery Clift). Always a confident handler of actors, Wyler exploits the leads' diverse acting traditions (Hollywood studio, Shakespearean, and Method, respectively) to sharpen the conflict and increase the psychological tension. (Both Richardson and de Havilland were nominated for Oscars, though only the latter won.) Wyler's deep-focus, long-take style turns the family's well-appointed New York home into a prison, and then a tomb; the poignant score is by Aaron Copland.
Ted Shen

Here (and above) is the trailer.