Thursday, 30 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 205: Sun Jul 24

Innocent Moves (Zaillian, 1993): Prince Charles Cinema, 3.10pm


This 35mm screening is part of the 'Check The Gate' season at the Prince Charles, dedicated to presenting films on film that will run at the cinema from 9th July to August 20th. The film will be introduced by Daily Telegraph film critic Tim Robey.

Chicago Reader review:
One of the craftiest and most satisfying pieces about gender politics to come along in ages (1993)—all the more crafty because audiences are encouraged to see it simply as a movie about a seven-year-old chess genius, based on Fred Waitzkin's nonfiction book about his son Josh. Very well played (with Max Pomeranc especially good as Josh), shot (by Conrad Hall), and written and directed (by Steven Zaillian, who also scripted Schindler's List), it gradually evolves into a kind of parable about how a gifted kid learns to choose his role models and choose what he needs from them. The part played by gender in all this is both subtle and complex, relating not only to chess strategy (e.g., when to bring your queen out) and the personality of Bobby Fischer, but also to the varying attitudes toward competition taken by his parents (Joe Mantegna and Joan Allen) and two teachers (Laurence Fishburne and Ben Kingsley). It makes for a good old-fashioned inspirational story, absorbing and pointed.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 204: Sat Jul 23

Heaven's Gate (Cimino, 1980): Prince Charles Cinema, 11.30am


This 35mm screening is part of the 'Check The Gate' season at the Prince Charles, dedicated to presenting films on film that will run at the cinema from 9th July to August 20th.

"It seems to me, in its original version, among the supreme achievements of the Hollywood cinema."
Robin Wood, Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan

Time Out review:
For all the abuse heaped on it, this is - in its complete version, at least - a majestic and lovingly detailed Western which simultaneously celebrates and undermines the myth of the American frontier. The keynote is touched in the wonderfully choreographed opening evocation of a Harvard graduation in 1870: answering the Dean's ritual address urging graduates to spread culture through contact with the uncultivated, the class valedictorian (John Hurt) mockingly replies that they see no need for change in a world 'on the whole well arranged'.

Twenty years later, as Hurt and fellow-graduate Kris Kristofferson become involved in the Johnson County Wars, their troubled consciences suggest that some change in the 'arrangements' might well have been in order. Watching uneasily as the rich cattle barons legally exterminate the poor immigrant farmers who have taken to illegal rustling to feed their starving families, they can only attempt to enforce the law that has become a mockery (Kristofferson) or lapse into soothing alcoholism (Hurt).

Moral compromise on a national scale is in question here, a theme subtly echoed by the strange romantic triangle that lies at the heart of the film: a three-way struggle between the man who has everything (Kristofferson), the man who has nothing (Christopher Walken), and the girl (Isabelle Huppert) who would settle for either provided no fraudulent compromise is asked of her. The ending, strange and dreamlike, blandly turns a blind eye to shut out the atrocities and casuistries we have witnessed, and on which the American dream was founded; not much wonder the American press went on a mass witch-hunt against the film's un-American activities.

Tom Milne


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 203: Fri Jul 22

The Heiress (Wyler, 1949): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.20pm



This 35mm screening is part of the Olivia de Havilland season at BFI Southbank. Full details here. This film is also being shown on July 24th. Full details here.

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.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 202: Thu Jul 21

Magnolia (Anderson, 1999): Prince Charles Cinema, 8pm


This 35mm screening is part of the 'Check The Gate' season at the Prince Charles, dedicated to presenting films on film that will run at the cinema from 9th July to August 20th. Tonight's double-bill (Daydreaming, the collaboration between Paul Thomas Anderson and Radiohead, is also being shown) was selected by Richard Ayoade.

Time Out review:
Anderson's meandering multi-story megasoap with a message is over-ambitious, self-conscious, self-indulgent, self-important and clumsy into the bargain. But it's also one of the most enthralling and exhilarating American movies in ages. Much in the style of Nashville and Short Cuts (though lacking Altman's light touch), this intimate epic charts the various fortunes, over a day or so, of various individuals living in the San Fernando Valley - including the dying Earl (Jason Robards), his young wife Linda (Julianne Moore), and his nurse Phil (Philip Seymour Hoffman); Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise), prophet of machismo; and numerous people associated, past or present, with a TV quiz show - whose paths cross by design, destiny, chance or coincidence. Insofar as the film is about 'story', little happens save that Anderson initially conceals information, and then slowly scatters snippets so that we can piece the jigsaw together. For all the humour, it's a dark portrait of loss, lovelessness and fear of failure in contemporary America, and not a film that trades in understatement. As the lost souls make their way towards - what? - redemption? - a deus ex machina plot development occurs, as contrived, ludicrous, bold and grandly imaginative as any Biblical flood or plague.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 201: Wed Jul 20

In A Lonely Place (Ray, 1950): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the 'Check The Gate' season at the Prince Charles, dedicated to presenting films on film that will run at the cinema from 9th July to August 20th. Tonight's great Nicholas Ray movie will be presented by Geoff Andrew.

Time Out review:
The place is Hollywood, lonely for scriptwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart), who is suspected of murdering a young woman, until girl-next-door Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame) supplies him with a false alibi. But is he the killer? Under pressure of police interrogation, their tentative relationship threatens to crack - and Dix's sudden, violent temper becomes increasingly evident. Nicholas Ray's classic thriller remains as fresh and resonant as the day it was released. Nothing is as it seems: the noir atmosphere of deathly paranoia frames one of the screen's most adult and touching love affairs; Bogart's tough-guy insolence is probed to expose a vulnerable, almost psychotic insecurity; while Grahame abandons femme fatale conventions to reveal a character of enormous, subtle complexity. As ever, Ray composes with symbolic precision, confounds audience expectations, and deploys the heightened lyricism of melodrama to produce an achingly poetic meditation on pain, distrust and loss of faith, not to mention an admirably unglamorous portrait of Tinseltown. Never were despair and solitude so romantically alluring.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 200: Tue Jul 19

Sympathy for the Devil (Edwards, 2015): Barbican Cinema, 6.15pm

 
Barbican Cinema preview:
John Waters was a visitor. The café, a Swinging London hotspot, gets a passing mention in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. George Clinton used the writings on his Funkadelic albums. Their influence reached into the top-level management of The Beatles. Just who – and what – was The Process?

With access to archive materials and contemporary interviews with former ‘Processeans’, this new documentary sets out to provide a comprehensive account of the life and times of The Process Church of the Final Judgment, one of the most fascinating – and secretive – cults of the 1960 and 70s.

Formed by two ex-Scientologists, operating out of an elegant townhouse in Mayfair, with a Nazi-esque logo and a uniform of black robes with big chrome crucifixes for its recruits, The Process got a reputation as one of the era’s most dangerous satanic cults – one that was allegedly an influence on Charles Manson and the Son of Sam. Peeking behind the veils, this film reveals a more nuanced picture of a radical 60s experiment in community, spiritual adventure and self-realization.

We're pleased to have the film's director, Neil Edwards and former Processean 'Brother Zachary' join us after the screening in conversation.


Here is the trailer.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 199: Mon Jul 18

The Snake Pit (Livak, 1948): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm



This 35mm screening is part of the Olivia de Havilland season at BFI Southbank. Full details here. This film is also being shown on July 26th. Full details here.

BFI introduction:
Olivia de Havilland’s most demanding role was transforming her glamorous self into the gaunt young protagonist of this chilling drama – Hollywood’s first serious chronicle of mental illness. She spent three months visiting mental institutions to develop this authentic depiction of schizophrenia. Her performance in the film compelled 26 states in America to improve conditions and treatment in their mental hospitals.

Chicago Reader review:
A woman (Olivia de Havilland) has a breakdown and winds up in a mental hospital in one of the first Hollywood pictures (1948) to deal seriously with the subject of insane asylums. The film was directed by Anatole Litvak, the story adapted by Frank Partos and Millen Brand from a novel by Mary Jane Ward. De Havilland didn't win the expected Oscar for her performance (it went to Jane Wyman for her role as a deaf-mute in Johnny Belinda), but (if memory serves) this grim drama packs a punch. With Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, and Beulah Bondi.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 198: Sun Jul 17

The Asphalt Jungle (Huston, 1950): Regent Street Cinema, 4.50pm


Chicago Reader review:
John Huston's bleak, semidocumentary account of a jewel heist and its moral consequences. One of the first big caper films, this 1950 feature contributed much to the essence of the genre in its meticulous observation of planning and execution. But Huston's interest remains with his characters, who dissolve as tragically as the prospectors of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and the adventurers of The Man Who Would Be King. The film has been remade at least three times, as The Badlanders, Cairo, and Cool Breeze. With Sam Jaffe, Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, and an early appearance by Marilyn Monroe. 
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 197: Sat Jul 16

The Tingler (Castle, 1959): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm


This film is part of the Cult strand at BFI Southbank and is also being shown on July 14th. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Fine hokum from William Castle, the 50s master of the low-budget thriller. Vincent Price discovers the monster that makes you scream—it lives in your spinal column, and it's an ugly little sucker. When the film was first released in 1959, Castle outdid himself by wiring all the seats in the theaters; when the Tingler escaped, you knew it. Now that's entertainment.

Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 196: Fri Jul 15

Five Easy Pieces (Rafelson, 1970): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.25pm


This 35mm screening is part of the 'Check The Gate' season at the Prince Charles, dedicated to presenting films on film that will run at the cinema from 9th July to August 20th.

Time Out review:
Jack Nicholson was never going to be another Jimmy Stewart. As early as his prefame days (in 1960s TV Westerns and Roger Corman cheapies), there was too much attitude, too much snarl.
Instead, he became the symbolic actor of the counterculture; his Hollywood ascent was as much a signal of change as the rises of Coppola and Scorsese. Five Easy Pieces, a brilliant gem of American psychological realism (where are these movies today?), is Nicholson’s arrival to the A-list. His Bobby Dupea flees a privileged upbringing, replacing it with grimy work in oil fields; there’s some serious denial here, some buried self-contempt.
The beauty of the film, though, co-written by director Bob Rafelson and Carole Eastman (credited as Adrien Joyce), is that it avoids that contempt for its characters. Bobby’s fun-loving girlfriend, Rayette, is mental leagues beneath him, but as brought to life by the boisterous Karen Black, you immediately come to love her Tammy Wynette obduracy and pouty fits. Improbably, the two head back to Bobby’s wealthy home, to make peace with his dying father and stroll down the piano keys of our hero’s prodigy past. The movie is best known for a classic tell-off in a diner, but watch Nicholson’s eyes as he says it. The man is damaged and needs help.
Joshua Rothkopf

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 195: Thu Jul 14

Shivers (Cronenberg, 1975): Barbican Cinema, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Experiments in Living season at the Barbican Centre. You can reed the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
David Cronenberg made his commercial debut with this aggressively unpleasant 1975 horror film on the theme of sexual disgust. A swinging-singles apartment building is overrun by slimy little creatures who carry an exotic form of VD. Hard, if not impossible, to take, the film nevertheless represents a major turning point in the genre—the discovery of the body itself as a source of terror. Cronenberg's later films are superior in technique, though not necessarily in intensity.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 194: Wed Jul 13

Office Killer (Sherman, 1996): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


The Final Girls is a screening series focused on exploring feminist themes in horror cinema and highlighting the representation and work of women in horror, both in front of and behind the camera. Tonight's is a rare presentation of Cindy Sherman's only movie.

Chicago Reader review:
The makers of this pretentiously lit and composed item obviously had aspirations beyond the video store. They apparently intended this formulaic 1996 slasher to be some sort of wry comment on its genre, but it contains no humor or even commentary—instead of subverting conventions it just plods through them. Carol Kane plays a put-upon copy editor who cracks after accidentally killing a superior who'd treated her badly; she starts to kill deliberately, redecorating with grisly souvenirs the house she shares with her demanding mother. Naturally, an incestuous past is revealed in flashbacks, which are even lovelier than the rest of the visuals. The publicity actually promotes this project as having had its origins in a “cocktail party conversation”—as if that were surprising—between photographer Cindy Sherman, who directed, and producer Christine Vachon. Written by Tom Kalin (Swoon) and Elise MacAdam; with Jeanne Tripplehorn, Molly Ringwald, and Barbara Sukowa.

Lisa Alspector

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 193: Tue Jul 12

Thelma & Louise (Scott, 1991): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.15pm


This 35mm screening is part of the 'Check The Gate' season at the Prince Charles, dedicated to presenting films on film that will run at the cinema from 9th July to August 20th.

Check the Gate is a collaborative celebration of the big screen celluloid experience with a touring programme produced by some of the nation’s finest independent programmers, journalists and film fans. Capital Celluloid, Cigarette Burns Cinema, The Badlands Collective, The Bechdel Test Fest, Tim Robey (The Telegraph), Tom Huddleston (Time Out), Sandra Hebron (National Film & Television School) and the team at The Prince Charles Cinema are a few of the curators who have scoured Park Circus’ extensive collection of film prints to compile a diverse programme united by a common passion for film screenings.


Chicago Reader review:
A coffee-shop waitress (Susan Sarandon) and a beleaguered housewife (Geena Davis) in the southern sticks take off for a weekend holiday and eventually find themselves fleeing the law and society in a buoyant feminist road movie (1991) directed by Ridley Scott from a script by Callie Khouri. Scott, who usually offers a style in search of a subject, makes the most of the southwestern landscapes in handsome 'Scope framing and shows an uncharacteristic flair for comedy in fleshing out Khouri's script with a memorable cast of male rednecks (including Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Christopher McDonald, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brad Pitt, and Timothy Carhart); his eye may get a little fancy and fussy in spots, but this is still one of his better pictures after Blade Runner, and Sarandon and Davis bring a lot of unpredictable verve and nuance to their parts.
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 192: Mon Jul 11

Old Joy (Reichardt, 2006): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


This is part of a Kelly Reichardt season at the Prince Charles. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Two old pals, hoping to renew their friendship as they approach middle age, drive into the Oregon wilderness in search of a mountain spring, but the natural purity they find there only accentuates the compromises of their everyday lives. This quiet, elegiac road movie hinges on a few beautifully underplayed scenes between Daniel London and Will Oldham, but director Kelly Reichardt enlarges their emotional context with long stretches of western scenery pouring through the windows of London's car as he drives. As greenery gives way to industrial landscape and daylight fades into night, the two travelers' exhausted relationship begins to mirror a nation's spent ambition.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 191: Sun Jul 10

La Reine Margot (Chereau, 1994): Cine Lumiere, 2pm


This is part of Cine Lumiere's Sunday Classics season. Full details here.

Time Out review:
We lost a major talent with the 2013 passing of director Patrice Chéreau, whose movies are marked by fierce intellect and fleshy eroticism. His stunning 1994 period piece, Queen Margot, adapted from Alexandre Dumas’s based-on-fact novel and now finally being released in its longer director’s cut, is a perfect introduction to Chéreau’s unique worldview.
It’s 1572 in France, and Marguerite de Valois (Isabelle Adjani) has just been married off to King Henri of Navarre (Daniel Auteuil), ostensibly as a peace offering between the warring Catholics and Huguenots. In truth, the union is a ruse by the Queen Mother (Virna Lisi, frightening) to incite a wave of assassinations that will come to be known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre.
Regal pageantry gives way to copious carnage: Swords open necks, wounds spurt crimson rivers, and clothes are caked in muck (you can practically smell the stench). It’s a horrifying and strangely carnal spectacle—imagine a Gallic-history encyclopedia written by Clive Barker—that’s merely a prelude to the slaughter’s fallout. Marguerite begins a passionate affair with Vincent Perez’s Protestant nobleman, La Môle (a tragic outcome is clearly inevitable), and the French royals find themselves on the receiving end of bizarre murder plots, like one involving a poisoned book that makes the victim sweat their body weight in blood.
Chéreau makes us hyperaware of the literal meat of human existence—the deep-rooted longing for companionship and the visceral lust for survival that can be cut short with the flick of an aristocrat’s hand. (These people aren’t the embalmed waxworks of your garden-variety historical epic.) Death seems to linger in every inch of the frame, yet the film lives and breathes like few others.
Keith Ulhich

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 190: Sat Jul 9

Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm


This is the opening night at the 'Check The Gate' season at the Prince Charles, dedicated to presenting films on film that will run at the cinema from 9th July to August 20th.

Check the Gate is a collaborative celebration of the big screen celluloid experience with a touring programme produced by some of the nation’s finest independent programmers, journalists and film fans. Capital Celluloid, Cigarette Burns Cinema, The Badlands Collective, The Bechdel Test Fest, Tim Robey (The Telegraph), Tom Huddleston (Time Out), Sandra Hebron (National Film & Television School) and the team at The Prince Charles Cinema are a few of the curators who have scoured Park Circus’ extensive collection of film prints to compile a diverse programme united by a common passion for film screenings.

Time Out review:
The central storyline – Captain Willard (
Martin Sheen) is tasked with tracking down and executing Marlon Brando’s rogue Colonel Kurtz – is essentially a slender thread upon which Francis Ford Coppola and his co-writer John Milius hang a number of increasingly wild asides. But these brief, brutal and seemingly unconnected incidents work together to drive the film forward: in their very randomness, they build a picture of a war being fought without strategy or clear intent, making Willard’s mission simultaneously clearer and more morally meaningless.

In contrast to Coppola’s earlier ‘The Godfather Part II’ and ‘The Conversation’, ‘Apocalypse Now’ isn’t a conspicuously ‘smart’ film: literary references aside, there are no intellectual pretensions here. Instead, as befits both its tortuous hand-to-mouth genesis and the devastating conflict it reflects, this is a film of pure sensation, dazzling audiences with light and noise, laying bare the stark horror – and unimaginable thrill – of combat. And therein lies the true heart of darkness: if war is hell and heaven intertwined, where does morality fit in? And, in the final apocalyptic analysis, will any of it matter?

Tom Huddleston

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 189: Fri Jul 8

What We Do in the Shadows (Clement/Waititi, 2014): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm


This screening is part of a comedy season at the Prince Charles. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Fans of ‘Toast of London’ will instantly get this comic horror mockumentary from New Zealand about four vampires living in a suburban semi. We meet the gang at a bad-tempered house meeting. Eighteenth-century dandy Viago (basically a gormless Edward Scissorhands in a frilly ruff), is in a tizz about the dirty dishes. His housemates are medieval Vlad (Jemaine Clement from ‘Flight of the Conchords’), a vampire in the orgies ’n’ impaling old-school tradition. Ex-Nazi vampire Deacon is the baby, a slip of a boy at 183. Things start going wrong for the gang when 8,000 year-old Nosferatu lookalike Petyr, who lives in the basement, turns a tattooed student into a vampire. This isn’t much more than a series of ridiculously dotty sketches, and might have worked better as a sitcom, but it’s surprisingly hilarious. Witness the housemates making friends with a computer programmer who introduces them to the wonders of modern technology. What do vampires Google? Pictures of virgins and videos of sunrises, naturally.
Cath Clarke

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 188: Thu Jul 7

Alexander Nevsky (Eisenstein, 1938): Regent Street Cinema, 7.30pm


This special 35mm screening of the Sergei Eisenstein classic will be introduced by Ian Christie.

Regent Street Cinema introduction:
Kino Klassika Foundation and Regent St Cinema are proud to present Alexander Nevsky –  the film that reinvented Sergei Eisenstein. Having been the world’s most famous revolutionary filmmaker at the end of the silent period, he was frustrated for nearly a decade in tackling the new medium of sound film – until Nevsky launched him as the prophet of a new kind of operatic cinema. Working closely with Sergei Prokofiev, he created an ultra-patriotic pageant of medieval Russia defeating its Teutonic enemies that became the USSR’s greatest cultural weapon against Nazi Germany. Like Tarkovsky in Andrei Rublev thirty years later, Eisenstein had reached back to a time so little known that he was able to invent a myth free of Soviet clichés. His film would inspire Olivier’s Henry V and many post-war epics set in the chivalric era.

Chicago Reader review:
Sergei Eisenstein turns the story of the great Russian prince into an abstract exercise in visual and aural counterpoint—it's more theory than movie. But Edouard Tisse's superb photography and Prokofiev's stirring score contribute to a rhythm that is well-nigh irresistible, culminating in the famous battle on the ice. Made in 1938, it was Eisenstein's first sound film—Stalin had sidelined him for a decade.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 187: Wed Jul 6

The Neon Demon (Winding Refn, 2016): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.45pm


The most hotly anticipated film of the moment gets a special preview screening at BFI Southbank ahead of its general release on Friday 7th July.

BFI Southbank introduction:
When aspiring model Jesse (Fanning) moves to LA, her youth and vitality are coveted by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means necessary to get what she has. On his inspiration for the film, Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) told The Hollywood Reporter, ‘one morning I woke and realised I was both surrounded and dominated by women. Strangely, a sudden urge was planted in me to make a horror film about vicious beauty.’

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 186: Tue Jul 5

What's Up Doc? (Bogdanovich, 1972): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


I went to see this film twice in one week on its release. Is that a good enough recommendation?

Chicago Reader review:
Peter Bogdanovich's bright 1972 screwball comedy, patterned after Bringing Up Baby and decked out with lots of references to silent slapstick, plants dim musicologist Ryan O'Neal and freewheeling kook Barbra Streisand in San Francisco and then piles on the comic complications, with assistance from Madeline Kahn, Austin Pendleton, John Hillerman, Randy Quaid, and Kenneth Mars. Much of the slapstick is deftly executed, but there is one unfortunate undertone—ordinary, unassuming workers tend to be the fall guys more often than the pompous rich (a factor that distinguishes this comedy from most of Bogdanovich's classic sources), although O'Neal's character, who stays at the Hilton, certainly has his share of pratfalls. Streisand sings a fabulous version of “You're the Top” behind the credits, and the busy script by Buck Henry, Robert Benton, and David Newman keeps things moving, but the spirit of pastiche keeps this romp from truly rivaling its sources.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

The great trailer is above. This is Eunice Burns.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 185: Mon Jul 4

The Great Garrick (Whale, 1937): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


Here's a proper find, a long-forgotten film by the great James Whale (director of Frankenstein). This 35mm screening is part of the Olivia de Havilland season at BFI Southbank. Full details here. This film is also being shown on Sat 2nd July with intro by Sight & Sound's Isabel Stevens.

Chicago Reader review:
Conceivably the most neglected of James Whale's better works, this hilarious period farce (1937) imagines a hoax perpetrated by the Comedie-Francaise to teach the conceited English actor David Garrick (Brian Aherne) “a lesson in acting.” The only problem is, Garrick is in on the gag, which leads to a variety of comic complications at a country inn. This boisterous movie helps to justify critic Tom Milne's claims that Whale was a kind of premodernist Jean-Luc Godard. Rarely have the art and pleasure of acting, demonstrated here in countless varieties of ham, been expressed with as much self-reflexive energy, and Whale's enjoyable cast (including Olivia de Havilland, Edward Everett Horton, Melville Cooper, Lionel Atwill, Lana Turner, Marie Wilson, Albert Dekker, Fritz Leiber, and the wonderfully manic Luis Alberni) takes full advantage of the opportunity.
Jonathan Rosenbaum


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 184: Sun Jul 3

Brazil (Gilliam, 1984):
Masonic Temple, Andaz Hotel, 40 Liverpool Street, EC2M 7QN,12pm


Terry Gilliam's film is being shown here as part of a double-bill with Dredd (Travis, 2012). The screenings for this weekend at the Masonic Temple have been curated by Josh Saco of Cigarette Burns and are part of the East End Film Festival.

Brazil, which is being screened here from a 16mm print,  has a fascinating history. Universal Studios were horrified on seeing the original cut Gilliam wanted to put out and after a lengthy delay while studio executives dithered the director was forced to take a full-page ad out in trade magazine Variety demanding to know why his film had not been released.

The version of Brazil released outside the United States was very different from the one seen by Americans, which was drastically re-edited and given a happy ending. The Brazil Gilliam wanted the public to see and the one which will be screened here is a bold and superbly imaginative movie with an ending which haunted me for some time when I saw it on its initial release.

Gilliam himself said he wanted Brazil to be "the Nineteen Eighty-Four for 1984". In many ways he  succeeded, creating a nightmarish Orwellian world in which freedom is limited while fashioning a film which leaves its audience dumbfounded and despairing. No wonder Universal could not face unleashing it on an unsuspecting American public.

Chicago Reader review:
Terry Gilliam's ferociously creative black comedy (1985) is filled with wild tonal contrasts, swarming details, and unfettered visual invention—every shot carries a charge of surprise and delight. Jonathan Pryce is Sam Lowry (the name suggests Stan Laurel, and Pryce wears Laurel's expression of perpetually astonished innocence), a minor functionary in a totalitarian government of the near future; his only escape from the parodistically bleak urban environment (resourcefully rendered by Gilliam through a combination of sets, models, and locations) is in his dreams, where he becomes a winged, heroic figure rescuing a ravishing blond. Of course, it isn't long before the blond (Kim Greist) walks into his waking life. Robert De Niro contributes a gruffly funny cameo as the one knight of honor in the ashen land: a guerrilla heating-duct repairman. With Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Peter Vaughan, and Bob Hoskins.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 183: Sat Jul 2

Dead of Night: Exorcism (Taylor, 1972) & Road (Clarke, 1987):
Masonic Temple, Andaz Hotel, 40 Liverpool Street, EC2M 7QN


A brilliant British TV double-header from Josh Saco at the Cigarette Burns Film Club.

Here is his introduction to the event which is part of the East End Film Festival:
Cinema explores the world we inhabit; it’s able to look at the world and highlight ills—past and present— and set up the various possibilities of our future. With The Warning we package these stories into one large narrative, starting with a voice from the past, following through unease, unrest and the inevitable resistance. Sadly this tale takes a dark turn where warnings were ignored and we end up in the seemingly inevitable dystopian future, where the struggles, though different, have continued headlong towards collapse.
The Warning weaves it’s way through Freemasonry’s historical connections to the crafts folk and guilds and their own grand aims of unification and fraternity, while being conspiratorially viewed as a secretive organisation for world domination. What could possibly go wrong? —Josh Saco, Masonic Temple programmer


Dead of Night: Exorcism
Dir: Don Taylor | UK | 1972 | 50 min
At a Christmas dinner in an old cottage, there’s a sudden power failure and the phone goes dead, the wine turns to blood and the turkey makes them violently sick. Then things really get strange…
Road
Dir: Alan Clarke | UK | 1990 | 62 min
A bleak portrait of life in a Lancashire town in 1980’s Thatcher era Britain.


Here (and above) is the opening to Dead of Night: The Exorcism.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 182: Fri Jul 1

We Are The Flesh (Minter, 2016): Hackney Picturehouse, 9pm


This Mexican horror film, which garnered excellent reports at the Rotterdam Film Festival earlier this year, is screening as part of the East End Film Festival. You can find the full programme here.

Variety review:
To say that Rocha Minter hasn’t made the most polite of debut features is putting it mildly. To borrow a casual understatement from one of its characters: “This is not your average party.” Set almost entirely inside a derelict apartment, “We Are the Flesh” has an ace up its sleeve in lead actor Noe Hernandez (“Sin nombre,” “Miss Bala”), here playing a grotesque so demonically charismatic that the way in which other characters fall under his spell just about feels plausible. Every narrative development in the film — from a young woman (Maria Evoli) dropping to her knees to perform explicitly shot oral sex on her brother (Diego Gamaliel), to a soldier relaxing to the point of near-acquiescence as his throat is slashed and drained into a bucket — is driven by little more than the inscrutable will of Hernandez’s unnamed antagonist. 
Enclosed in the womb-like nest of a hellish, rotting apartment, Yollotl Alvarado’s camera becomes the scalpel laying bare the meat of the movie. A thick layer of dirty grease seems to smear every surface, captured in such loving detail that we can almost see the grimy fingerprints. “We Are the Flesh” is also perversely erotic: Sex scenes are shot with frank delight, Alvarado’s lens drinking in the lithe contortions of the extremely game performers, switching in one memorable scene to heat-map imagery as an intense coupling unfolds. Music selections are likewise astute, with a rousing rendition of the Mexican national anthem immediately prior to an extreme bout of bloodletting wickedly foregrounding the inherent violence of its patriotic lyrics. Composer Esteban Aldrete’s score knows when to complement or ironically counter the on-screen action. Perhaps Rocha Minter had Kubrick’s counterintuitively classical selections in “A Clockwork Orange” in mind; it will certainly be a long time before Bach’s lovely Harpsichord Concerto in F Minor is pressed into the service of more outre drama.
Catherine Bray 



Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 181: Thu Jun 30

Collateral (Mann, 2004): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


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

Time Out review:
Los Angeles cab-driver Max (Jamie Foxx) has a dream: to end a decade’s drudgery, set up a limo-rental company, and find some time for himself in the Maldives. And one evening, he realises his fare from LAX airport could be his dream girl: Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith) is sexy, smart – a prosecuting attorney, no less – and sassy enough to hand him her card when he drops her downtown. He’s still reliving their conversation as his next customer – the natty, needlessly provocative and patronising Vincent (Tom Cruise) – starts trying, against regulations, to hire Max’s chauffeuring skills for the whole night. The temptation of fast money wins out, and while Max sits snacking outside the first of Vincent’s stop-offs, the dream turns into a nightmare: his client’s on a killing spree, needs transport, and isn’t about to let Max go off telling tales…

If it’s genre fare you want, there’s very little on offer better than this taut, tight, bluesy urban noir. Right from Max and Annie’s opening duet, it’s clear Mann’s happy on his home turf: the dialogue’s crafted with as much imagination and expertise as the action scenes, while the acting is excellent throughout (Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg and Bruce McGill also impress as cops tracking Vincent’s bloody trail, while Javier Bardem has a nice cameo as the hitman’s employer). Some elements (as when a check on the cab is dropped thanks to a timely call to the cops) are contrived, but that comes with the territory; at least Mann’s close attention to detail makes it all credible according to its own very suspenseful plot logic and pacing. Along the way, he also provides another existential riff on his favourite themes of professionalism, pride, responsibility and the need to take active choices. In short, this cool, clever, elegant piece of precision-engineering is as intelligent, engrossing and exciting as you’d expect from the maker of ‘Thief’ and ‘Heat’. I loved it.

Geoff Andrew


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 180: Wed Jun 29

No1: The American Friend (Wenders, 1977): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Wim Wenders Selectrospective at the Prince Charles Cinema, You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
This gripping 1977 American thriller from Wim Wenders turns back on itself with deadly European irony. Dennis Hopper is an international art smuggler, Bruno Ganz is a Hamburg craftsman. Together they commit a murder and briefly become friends. The film has a fine grasp of tenuous emotional connections in the midst of a crumbling moral universe. Wenders's films (Kings of the Road, Alice in the Cities) are about life on the edge; this is one of his edgiest.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

*******************

No2: One Million Years BC (Chaffey, 1966): Picturehouse Central, 7pm



This looks a fascinating event. Here is Picturehouse Central's introduction:


Usherettes’ torches shining in the dark. Couples kissing on the back row. A haze of cigarette smoke hanging in the air. Young people dashing for the door before the national anthem plays. Cinema-going in the 1960s was a very different experience than it is today, and for one night only, we are bringing it back. With a 50th anniversary showing of Hammer’s ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. and a host of actors recreating 1960s memories both before and during the screening, this evening will take you back in time to a different age of cinema magic. 

Come dressed in your finest sixties attire and join us for an immersive cinema experience like no other. This is an immersive cinema event that will involve interacting with actors before, during and after the film is screened. It has been organised by researchers in the Cinema and Television History Research Centre at De Montfort University, Leicester. Join us at 7.00 to enter the playful world of 1960s cinema showmanship before the film programme starts at 8.00.


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 179: Tue Jun 28

All the Colors of the Dark (Martino, 1972): Barbican Cinema, 8.30pm


This is part of the She’s So Giallo (Women of 1970s Italian Thrillers) season at the Barbican curated by Josh Saco, aka Cigarette Burns Cinema. You can find all the details here.

Barbican introduction:
The remarkable Edwige Fenech stars in this London-set giallo as Jane Harrison. Jane is troubled and traumatised, living with the memory of her murdered mother and the misfortune of losing her unborn child in a car accident. When she seeks help to deal with her emotional problems, she is unwittingly captured by a satanic cult and forced to conduct murders on their behalf. And all the while, Jane is being stalked by a stiletto-wielding stranger. Maybe her misery is being caused by her jealous sister Barbara (Nieves Navarro, billed as Susan Scott) or her distracted lover Richard (George Hilton)? Or is it all in her head? This is a gloriously over-the-top and gory mystery from director Sergio Martino, full of Martino's signature psychedelic imagery and challenging questions about sex and feminism and freedom.
Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 178: Mon Jun 27

Night and the City (Dassin, 1950): Cinema Museum, 7pm


The Cinema Museum present a screening of the original 35mm print of Jules Dassin’s 1950 film noir classic, Night and the City. Andrew Pulver, Guardian critic and author of the BFI’s guide to the film, will be in conversation with poet Sean O’Brien, whose chapbook, Hammersmith, has been inspired by the film’s iconic imagery. The event is co-hosted by Hercules Editions, publishers of Hammersmith.

Time Out review:
Bizarre 
film noir with Widmark as a small time nightclub tout trying to hustle his way into the wrestling rackets, but finding himself the object of a murderous manhunt when his cons catch up with him. Set in a London through which Widmark spends much of his time dodging in dark alleyways, it attempts to present the city in neo-expressionist terms as a grotesque, terrifyingly anonymous trap. Fascinating.

Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 177: Sun Jun 26

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (Craven, 1994): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.10pm


This 35mm screening plays in BFI Southbank's excellent Cult strand and is also being shown on June 22nd. You can find the full details here.

Time Out review:
In this post-modern take on the enervated Elm Street series, the director of the original uses a complex film-within-a-film structure to reassess and revitalise the moribund Freddy Krueger mythology. Craven's conceptual coup is to cast himself; the man behind the Freddy mask (Englund), the heroine of the original (Lagenkamp), and even the supremo of New World Pictures (Bob Shaye) as both themselves and their fictional counterparts. Thus, he explicitly confronts the previous sequels' cynical softening of Freddy's once horrifying persona. During preparations for yet another sequel, Freddy is born again, spilling over from the pages of Craven's script-in-progress to threaten those involved with its making. Skilfully blending fairy-tale clarity with the skewed logic of nightmares, Craven also blurs the boundary between reality and fiction. There is creepy subversive stuff going on here, not to mention sly sideswipes at the censors. The climactic punch-up fails to match the power of the first film's true ending, but in deconstructing his own bastardised creation, Craven redeems both the series and his own tarnished reputation.
Nigel Floyd

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 176: Sat Jun 25

 No1: Western (Bill & Turner Ross, 2015): ICA Cinema, 6.15pm 



Guardian review:
A rhythmic, deeply compassionate portrait of two neighbouring towns on opposite sides of the US-Mexico border, Western immerses viewers in the day-to-day lives of residents and lawmakers alike, so that by the time gangland violence begins to encroach upon their existence, our understanding of the threat posed is informed by our understanding of the people most affected, rather than the other way around. While fiction films such as Sicario offer glossy, morally indifferent depictions of life at the border, Western zeroes in on the delicate patterns of life in any small town, to underline the absurdity of the steel and paperwork that divides these two communities. 
Charlie Lyne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

********************************


No2: Baskin (Evrenol, 2015): Hackney Picturehouse, 11pm


This Turkish horror film screens in the East End Film Festival which runs from June 23rd to July 3rd at various London venues. You can find full details of all the films being shown here.

East End Film Festival introduction:
A squad of unsuspecting cops plunge through a trapdoor – to a Hell created from their nightmares and darkest secrets – when they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building. A rare foray into genre cinema from Turkey, laced with unbearable tension, blood-soaked torture scenes and ominous symbolism. Featuring a cast of terrifically convincing actors, this debut from Can Evrenol is a trip into your own worst nightmare.

Here (and above) is the trailer.