Saturday, 3 December 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 346: Mon Dec 12

Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick, 1999): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the Prince Charles Cinema's Christmas season (details here).
Here's one of the great films set during Christmas, and an opportunity to see Stanley Kubrick's much-underrated final movie.

If you're interested in reading more about this film I can recommend two BFI publications - Michel Chion's Modern Classics monograph on Eyes Wide Shut and the chapter on the film in James Naremore's book titled 'On Kubrick'.

Chicago Reader review:
'Initial viewings of Stanley Kubrick's movies can be deceptive because his films all tend to be emotionally convoluted in some way; one has to follow them as if through a maze. A character that Kubrick might seem to treat cruelly the first time around (e.g., Elisha Cook Jr.'s fall guy in The Killing) can appear the object of tender compassion on a subsequent viewing. The director's desire to avoid sentimentality at all costs doesn't preclude feeling, as some critics have claimed, but it does create ambiguity and a distanced relationship to the central characters. Kubrick's final feature very skillfully portrays the dark side of desire in a successful marriage; since the 60s he'd been thinking about filming Arthur Schnitzler's brilliant novella "Traumnovelle," and working with Frederic Raphael, he's adapted it faithfully--at least if one allows for all the differences between Viennese Jews in the 20s and New York WASPs in the 90s. Schnitzler's tale, about a young doctor contemplating various forms of adultery and debauchery after discovering that his wife has entertained comparable fantasies, has a somewhat Kafkaesque ambiguity, wavering between dream and waking fantasy (hence Kubrick's title), and all the actors do a fine job of traversing this delicate territory. Yet the story has been altered to make the successful doctor (Tom Cruise) more of a hypocrite and his wife (powerfully played by Nicole Kidman) a little feistier; Kubrick's also added a Zeus-like tycoon (played to perfection by Sydney Pollack) who pretends to explain the plot shortly before the end but in fact only summarizes the various mysteries, his cynicism and chilly access to power revealing that Kubrick is more of a moralist than Schnitzler. To accept the premises and experiences of this movie, you have to be open to an expressionist version of New York with scant relation to the 90s (apart from cellular phones and AIDS) and a complex reading of a marriage that assumes the relations between men and women haven't essentially changed in the past 70-odd years. This is a remarkably gripping, suggestive, and inventive piece of storytelling that, like Kubrick's other work, is likely to grow in mystery and intensity over time.'
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 345: Sun Dec 11

Fanny and Alexander (Bergman, 1982): Curzon Soho, 2.15pm

 
This 35mm screening, being shown from an original Artifical Eye print, is the first event in the new 'Enthusiasm' repertory season at Curzon Cinemas. Watch this space for more details.

Chicago Reader review:
Ingmar Bergman's 1983 feature, condensed from a much longer TV series, is less an autumnal summation of his career than an investigation of its earliest beginnings: through the figure of ten-year-old Alexander (Bertil Guve), Bergman traces the storytelling urge, developing from dreams and fairy tales into theater and (implicitly) movies. The film doesn't so much surmount Bergman's usual shortcomings—the crude contrasts, heavy symbolism, and preachy philosophizing—as find an effective context for them. Tied to a child's mind, the oversimplifications become the stuff of myth and legend. As in The Night of the Hunter, a realistic psychological drama is allowed to expand into fantasy; the result is one of Bergman's most haunting and suggestive films.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

To launch ENTHUSIASM, a new strand of bold and innovative repertory programming across the Curzon circuit, we are proud to present a special screening of Fanny and Alexander, the Oscar-winning culmination of a lifetime’s work by one of cinema’s greatest artists, Ingmar Bergman. - See more at: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/fannyandalexander#sthash.eFYliQAS.dpuf
To launch ENTHUSIASM, a new strand of bold and innovative repertory programming across the Curzon circuit, we are proud to present a special screening of Fanny and Alexander, the Oscar-winning culmination of a lifetime’s work by one of cinema’s greatest artists, Ingmar Bergman. - See more at: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/fannyandalexander#sthash.eFYliQAS.dpuf
To launch ENTHUSIASM, a new strand of bold and innovative repertory programming across the Curzon circuit, we are proud to present a special screening of Fanny and Alexander, the Oscar-winning culmination of a lifetime’s work by one of cinema’s greatest artists, Ingmar Bergman. - See more at: http://www.curzoncinemas.com/fannyandalexander#sthash.eFYliQAS.dpuf

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 344: Sat Dec 10

Car Wash (Schultz, 1976): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20pm


Chicago Reader review:
Not quite a disco musical, this sure feels like one in terms of bounce, verve, and energy. It's basically a comedy-drama built around a string of vignettes related to a day in the life of a Los Angeles car wash, with a very good, largely nonwhite cast featuring Franklyn Ajaye (a particular delight), Antonio Fargas, Bill Duke, Ivan Dixon, Richard Pryor, Tracy Reed, and Garrett Morris; Sully Boyar plays the white boss. The gags tend to be much more concerned with questions of class than one is accustomed to in American movies—and the contrapuntal punctuations of the disco DJ are positively Altman-esque. Michael Schultz (Cooley High) directed a screenplay by Joel Schumacher, and if you compare this movie to Schumacher's somewhat similar D.C. Cab, made seven years later, you may conclude that Schumacher's is the dominant creative voice. Critics seemed to like this less than audiences; personally I had a ball (1976).
Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 343: Fri Dec 9

Christmas Evil (Jackson, 1980): Prince Charles Cinema, 11.30pm


This film is part of the Prince Charles Cinema's Christmas season (details here).

Time Out review:
Or, I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus and it turned me into a raving psychopath. Lewis Jackson’s sole outing as writer-director – also known by its original 1980 US release title ‘You Better Watch Out’ – looks on the surface like just another festive slasher in the ‘Black Christmas’ mold. But this genuine oddity, named by John Waters as ‘the best seasonal film of all time’ (he also delivers a commentary on this new DVD), is a much more compelling and subversive beast. Yes, it’s about a guy in a Santa suit who kills people, but the complex reasons behind his violent spree, and the level of sympathy Jackson and his star Brandon Maggart engender for their hapless anti-hero, mark the film out as something weirdly special. In contrast to most slasher flicks, this isn’t about anything as simple as revenge. Jackson’s concerns are bigger: social responsibility, personal morality, and the gaping gulf between society’s stated aims at Christmastime – charity, hope, goodwill to all men – and the plight of those left on the outside: the children, the mentally ill, the ones who don’t fit in. It’s a great looking film, too: one shot of a suburban street lined with glowing reindeer looks more like Spielbergian sci-fi than low-budget horror. Bizarre, fascinating, thoughtful, and well worth a look.
Tom Huddleston

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 342: Thu Dec 8

A Christmas Story (Clark, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.20pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Prince Charles Cinema's Christmas season (full details here). Tonight's screening is a quirky, popular holiday hit from the director behind Black Christmas and the excellent Murder By Decree. All in all, highly recommended.

Chicago Reader review:
As a follow-up to his excoriated Porky's and Porky's II, director Bob Clark teamed with nostalgic humorist Jean Shepherd for this squeaky clean and often quite funny 1983 yuletide comedy, adapted from Shepherd's novel In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. The bespectacled young hero (Peter Billingsley) lives with his parents and younger brother in northeast Indiana and craves a BB gun for Christmas; the old man (Darren McGavin in one of his best roles) wins a newspaper contest and insists on displaying his prize—a table lamp shaped like a woman's leg in fishnet stockings. Shepherd provides the voice-over of the grown hero narrating, and his prominence on the sound track forces Clark to focus on visual humor, resulting in some wild Our Gang-style slapstick.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 341: Wed Dec 7

Remember the Night (Leisen, 1940): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.15pm


This film, which is introduced by critic Geoff Andrew, is part of the Big Screen Classics season. You can find the full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
District attorney Fred MacMurray falls in love with Barbara Stanwyck—a problem, since he's prosecuting her for shoplifting. The loose, graceful script is by Preston Sturges (one of his last before he turned to directing), and it partakes of a softness and nostalgia that seldom surfaced in his own films. Mitchell Leisen, the director, serves the material very well with his slightly distanced, glowing style.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 340: Tue Dec 6

The Night of the Hunter (Laughton, 1955): Picturehouse Central, 7pm


This screening is part of a 'Jim Jarmusch presents' season at Picturehouse Central. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Charles Laughton's first and only film as a director (1955) is an enduring masterpiece—dark, deep, beautiful, aglow. Robert Mitchum, in the role that most fully exploits his ferocious sexuality, is the evil preacher pursuing two orphaned children across a sinister, barren midwest; Lillian Gish is the widow who protects the children, in a depiction of maternal love worthy of her mentor, D.W. Griffith. Laughton's direction has Germanic overtones—not only in the expressionism that occasionally grips the image, but also in a pervasive, brooding romanticism that suggests the Erl-King of Goethe and Schubert. But ultimately the source of its style and power is mysterious—it is a film without precedent and without any real equals.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.