Monday, 21 January 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 32: Fri Feb 1

Ladies of Leisure (Capra, 1930): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6pm

This 35mm screening is the first film in the Barbara Stanwyck season at BFI Southbank. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A young Barbara Stanwyck, in her third feature film, is the highlight of this early talkie (1930) by Frank Capra. She's a Broadway baby who falls in love with playboy Ralph Graves; they can't marry because his family objects to her past. The melodrama doesn't bring out the best of Capra's talents, and much of the film is stiff and uninteresting. But Stanwyck, still in the process of assembling her screen persona, has a softness and vulnerability she would later shuck; she's like a tough-talking Janet Gaynor.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the opening.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 31: Thu Jan 31

Zombie /aka Zombi 2/Zombie Flesh Eaters (Fulci, 1979): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm

This film is part of the 'Terror Vision' strand at BFI Southbank. More details here.

BFI Southbank introduction:
Initially billed as a sequel to Dawn of the Dead (despite no connection to Romero’s classic), Lucio Fulci’s film takes place on a Caribbean island, where a young woman stumbles upon an outbreak of the undead as she’s searching for her missing father. Boasting some of the director’s most outré set-pieces (zombie vs shark, anyone?), this eye-popping shocker gained infamy in the UK as an official video nasty.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 30: Wed Jan 30

Séance on a Wet Afternoon (Forbes, 1964): Regent Street Cinema, 12pm & 3.30pm

This rare screening is from a 35mm print.

Time Out review:

Kim Stanley
 can hardly be known to most of today's cinema audiences: she appears in only four films, and her fame rests on her stage work (even that is pretty sparse). She plays degenerating women, yet her technique is not the Mad Medusa writ large, such as Swanson in Sunset Blvd. or Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? She's creepier than that, and more believable. In the movie, she is married to a meek and mild Attenborough - a childless marriage in a gloomy Victorian house. She concocts a scheme to kidnap a child, and then gain notoriety by discovering the child's whereabouts through psychomancy. Her performance is utterly superb, and so too is Attenborough's: with his leather crash helmet, goggles and clapped-out motor-bike, he looks like a reject Hell's Angel from Orphée.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 29: Tue Jan 29

Quick Change (Franklin/Murray, 1990): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.10pm

This rare screening will be from a 35mm print.

Chicago Reader review:
A delightful “small” picture in an era when such things are no longer supposed to exist, this quirky comedy follows the adventures of a trio of bank robbers (Bill Murray, Geena Davis, and Randy Quaid) who pull off an ingenious job but then find it difficult to get out of New York City; Jason Robards plays the police chief who is alternately hot and not so hot on their trail. Based on a novel by Jay Cronley, the screenplay by Howard Franklin, codirected by Franklin and Murray (both making directorial debuts), manages to live up to the demands of a thriller without sacrificing character to frenetic pacing, and the film exudes a kind of sweetness that never threatens to become either sticky or synthetic. All the lead actors are funny and creative while keeping their characters life-size (to my taste, this is Murray's best work), and they're given a very pleasant backup by Bob Elliott (of the former radio team Bob and Ray), Philip Bosco, Phil Hartman, Kathryn Grody, and Tony Shalhoub, among others (1990).

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 28: Mon Jan 28

Women of Niskavouri (Vaala, 1938): Close-Up Cinema, 8.15pm

This film is part of the ‘Drifting Shadows: Masterpieces of Finnish Cinema’ season at Close-Up Film Centre. You can find all the details here.

Close-Up Cinema introduction:
Adapted from a play by novelist Hella Wuolijoki (who initially wrote under a male pseudonym) this is Valentin Vaala's pivotal work of the 1930s and the first in a series of five films chronicling the life of a wealthy farm household across decades and generations. Compared to an equally successful series of "provincial comedy-dramas" made by Marcel Pagnol in France, Vaala's work proves to be visually more adventurous with its camera movements and faster pace.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 27: Sun Jan 27

2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968): Prince Charles Cinema, 5.25pm

This is a 70mm screening on an extended run from January 13th to March 31st. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Seeing this 1968 masterpiece in 70-millimeter provides an ideal opportunity to rediscover this mind-blowing myth of origin as it was meant to be seen and heard, an experience no video setup, no matter how elaborate, could ever begin to approach. The film remains threatening to contemporary studiothink in many important ways: Its special effects are used so seamlessly as part of an overall artistic strategy that, as critic Annette Michelson has pointed out, they don't even register as such. Dialogue plays a minimal role, yet the plot encompasses the history of mankind (a province of SF visionary Olaf Stapledon, who inspired Kubrick's cowriter, Arthur C. Clarke). And, like its flagrantly underrated companion piece, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, it meditates at length on the complex relationship between humanity and technology—not only the human qualities that we ascribe to machines but also the programming we knowingly or unknowingly submit to. The film's projections of the cold war and antiquated product placements may look quaint now, but the poetry is as hard-edged and full of wonder as ever.

Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 26: Sat Jan 26

Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, 1957): Prince Charles Cinema, 2.20pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Akira Kurosawa Selectrospective at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Akira Kurosawa's best film is also his most Americanized, drawing on classical Hollywood conventions of genre (the western), characterization (ritual gestures used to distinguish the individuals within a group), and visual style (the horizon lines and exaggerated perspectives of John Ford). Of course, this 1954 film also returned something of what it borrowed, by laying the groundwork for the "professional" western (Rio Bravo, etc) that dominated the genre in the 50s and 60s. Kurosawa's film is a model of long-form construction, ably fitting its asides and anecdotes into a powerful suspense structure that endures for all of the film's 208 minutes. The climax—the battle in the rain and its ambiguous aftermath—is Kurosawa's greatest moment, the only passage in his work worthy of comparison with Mizoguchi.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.