Sunday, 31 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 244: Thu Sep 1

No1: Out of Print (Marchese, 2014): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


A documentary exploring the importance of revival cinema and 35mm exhibition - seen through the lens of the patrons of the New Beverly Cinema - a unique and independent revival cinema in Los Angeles.

This film, part of 'Celebrating Women's Contribution to Film' at the Prince Charles Cinema, and the wider Scalarama season, was directed by Julia Marchese and I spoke to her about the background to the film. She told me:

"Four years ago, I was working at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles - one of a handful of 35mm-only single-screen repertory theaters. Watching film on film is so important to me, and when the digital changeover started, I was aware of the impact that it would have on all cinemas - but especially the little guys. 


"I wanted to make a film capturing the flux of format changes, and how it effects everyone - from the cinema itself, to its projectionists and customers. The film was shot on 35mm and digital, and it has toured internationally on 35mm, including the Film Archives in Vienna & Frankfurt, several universities and the oldest cinemas in the USA, Canada and The World. It was recently distributed digitally, but concurrently is playing in cinemas on film. 

"For me, Out of Print was just the beginning as far as documenting independent cinemas. Making this film taught me just how important every single independent cinema is to its community and I want to continue to highlight that. While in the UK, I will be creating a series of mini-docs, each one focusing on a single theater and its employees, projectionists and regulars. I want to hear first hand, from the people who love it most, why each cinema is special and create a snapshot of British cinema in 2016."

This is an important movie about cinema's past, present and a possible future and well worth catching for anyone interested in movies and their exhibition.

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

No2: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Milestone, 1946): BFI Southbank, 6.10pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Kirk Douglas season at BFI Southbank and is also being shown on August 3rd. You can find all the details here.

Time Out review:
Superb performance by Barbara Stanwyck (as coldly calculating as she was in Double Indemnity) as the apex of a traumatic triangle comprising the two men who (maybe) saw her club her wealthy aunt to death when they were children. Now a tycoon in her own right, bonded to one of the witnesses (Kirk Douglas) in a guilt-ridden marriage, she finds the other (Van Heflin) resurfacing in her life as both promise of escape and threat to security - and the stagnant waters begin to stir again with murderous crosscurrents of fear and desire. A gripping film noir, all the more effective for being staged by Lewis Milestone as a steamy romantic melodrama.
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 243: Wed Aug 31

The Man Who Knew Too Much (Hitchcock, 1956): Regent Street Cinema, 1.55pm


Chicago Reader review:
Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 film has some of the bluntness of a religious tract; it's sort of a "Handbook on Christian Marriage." James Stewart and Doris Day are the middle-class Americans caught up in an exotic foreign intrigue: their marriage represents an imbalance of reason and emotion, repression and expression, and secularism and faith. When their son is kidnapped, Hitchcock clearly characterizes it as an act of God meant to test their union. The film is uncharacteristically rigid and pious for Hitchcock; it feels more like a work of duty than conviction. Despite the many famous set pieces the film contains (the assassination in Algiers, the attempt at the Albert Hall), the most impressive sequence, technically and dramatically, is a quiet one in which Stewart tells Day that their child has been taken. With Bernard Miles and Brenda de Banzie.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 242: Tue Aug 30

The Blue Angel (Von Sternberg, 1930): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm


This film (also screening on August 28th and 31st) is part of the BFI Southbank's Big Screen Classics Season. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The first film collaboration between Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich (1930), this reeks with decay and sexuality. Emil Jannings plays the professor who tries to stop his students from visiting nightclub singer Lola-Lola (Dietrich) and ends up succumbing to her plump charms. In many ways the film is about the constancy of emotion as well as the destructive tricks it plays. Jannings's repressed little prig, whose first sexual encounter results in his total destruction, is redeemed from contempt by Sternberg's respect for his masochistic passion. In German with subtitles.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is an extract from the film.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 241: Mon Aug 29

Cop Killer (Faenza, 1983): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.15pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Punk London season at BFI Southbank.

Time Out review:
Harvey Keitel is a cop whose secret world of high living (financed by illicit side-dealing) is invaded by John Lydon, who not only confesses to a spate of cop-killings, but seems to know more about Keitel than is comfortable. Two little balls of poison, they become locked together in sadistic games in which the captor needs his victim as much as the victim needs his confessor. The film (shot in English) is very much in line with the Continental habit of turning genres around - like Leone with the Western, this is a spaghetti thriller - and it uses the hard-nosed framework as a prop for its greater interest in the moral complexities of guilt, punishment and transference, rather than the traditional gestures of its US models. Keitel is his usual ineffable self, his features glassy with repressed anxiety and violence; the only miscalculation is the casting of Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), who seems as threatening as a wet poodle.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 240: Sun Aug 28

Mulholland Dr. (Lynch, 2001): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm


This modern film classic, part of the David Lynch season at the Prince Charles, is being screened on 35mm.

Chicago Reader review:
I'm still trying to decide if this piece of hocus-pocus (2001) is David Lynch's best feature between Eraserhead and Inland Empire. In any case, it's immensely more likable than his other stabs at neonoir (Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway), perhaps because it likes its characters and avoids sentimentalizing or sneering at them (the sort of thing that limited Twin Peaks). Originally conceived and rejected as a TV pilot, then expanded after some French producers stepped in, it has the benefit of Lynch's own observations about Hollywood, which were fresher at this point than his puritanical notations on small towns in the American heartland. The best-known actors (Ann Miller, Robert Forster, Dan Hedaya) wound up relatively marginalized, while the lesser-known talents (in particular the remarkable Naomi Watts and the glamorous Laura Elena Harring) were invited to take over the movie (and have a field day doing so). The plot slides along agreeably as a tantalizing mystery before becoming almost completely inexplicable, though no less thrilling, in the closing stretches—but that's what Lynch is famous for.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 239: Sat Aug 27

Day of the Outlaw (De Toth, 1959): Prince Charles Cinema, 9.10pm
(part of The Road to The Hateful Eight all-nighter)


The Andre De Toth film Day of the Outlaw, which starts this 'Road to The Hateful Eight all-nighter (you can find the full details below), was one of the highlights of the 'Ride Lonesome: Psychological Western' season at BFI Southbank this year and has been my personal highlight of the new archive films I've seen so far in 2016.

[These movies, aside from The Hateful Eight, are screened from 35mm prints]

Chicago Reader review:
Arguably Andre de Toth's greatest film, this 1959 western combines a hostage situation with a bleak, snowbound terrain to produce a gripping vision of hopeless entrapment. Robert Ryan stars as a rancher who's about to start a gunfight over land when a motley gang of outlaws led by Burl Ives ride in and take over the town. Because it's at the end of the trail, the outlaws become "prisoners of a white silence," in de Toth's words: isolated, surrounded by snow, they're about to run wild with the townswomen when Ryan leads them on a false escape route through the mountains. Their final ride is one of the most despairing visions in all cinema: the turning course followed by the men seems to twist back on itself, and the stark black-and-white background of rock and snow forms a closed, lifeless world excluding all human warmth.

Fred Camper

Here (and above) is the opening of the film.

The movies being shown in this all-night at the Prince Charles are:
DAY OF THE OUTLAW (1959) 
: In the quiet frontier town of Bitters, Wyo., a dispute between cattleman Blaise Starrett (Robert Ryan) and farmer Hal Crane (Alan Marshal) is about to boil over into a bloody feud. But the fighting takes a back seat to a new threat when a rogue cavalry captain, Jack Bruhn (Burl Ives), rides into town with his band of thugs. Now, with the citizens of Bitters held hostage by Bruhn and his men, Starrett must somehow rescue his town and restore his broken reputation.
THE WILD BUNCH (1969) : In this gritty Western classic, aging outlaw Pike Bishop (William Holden) prepares to retire after one final robbery. Joined by his gang, which includes Dutch Engstrom (Ernest Borgnine) and brothers Lyle (Warren Oates) and Tector Gorch (Ben Johnson), Bishop discovers the heist is a setup orchestrated in part by his old partner, Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan). As the remaining gang takes refuge in Mexican territory, Thornton trails them, resulting in fierce gunfights with plenty of casualties.
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974) :Having concluded a case, detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) settles into what he expects will be a relaxing journey home aboard the Orient Express. But when an unpopular billionaire is murdered en route, Poirot takes up the case, and everyone on board the famous train is a suspect. Using an avalanche blocking the tracks to his advantage, Poirot gradually realizes that many of the passengers have revenge as a motive, and he begins to home in on the culprit.
THE THING (1982) : In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2016) - MULTIPLEX VERSION [Digital Presentation] : While racing toward the town of Red Rock in post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunter John "The Hangman" Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) encounter another bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson) and a man who claims to be a sheriff. Hoping to find shelter from a blizzard, the group travels to a stagecoach stopover located on a mountain pass. Greeted there by four strangers, the eight travelers soon learn that they may not make it to their destination after all.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 238: Fri Aug 26

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Mitchell, 2001): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Pizza & Beer Night season at the Prince Charles. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell), whose halfhearted, half-assed sex change at least got her out of Berlin, fronts the Angry Inch, an obscure rock band playing gigs in small clubs while the rock superstar who dumped Hedwig years earlier plays the stadiums next door. Hedwig tells her tale of woe to a succession of unreceptive on-screen audiences that, by implication, include us. Dramatized with a stylized realism that seems perfectly natural in a musical, this 2001 saga draws on Plato and 70s glam rock with equal aplomb. Writer-director Mitchell originally created Hedwig for the stage with composer-lyricist Stephen Trask, who sings the vocals. With Trask, Miriam Shor, and Michael Pitt.
Lisa Alspector

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 237: Thu Aug 25

Victor/Victoria (Edwards, 1982): Regent Street Cinema, 8pm


This rare screening of Blake Edwards' great film is a 35mm presentation.

Chicago Reader review:
Blake Edwards's 1982 sex comedy has the most beautiful range of tones of any American film of its period: it is a work of dry wit, high slapstick, black despair, romantic warmth, and penetrating intelligence. A tale of transvestism in the Paris of the 1930s is used as a study of socially fixed identities turned gloriously fluid, which Edwards sees as the only way of surviving in a churning, chaotic world. It is a direct thematic and stylistic sequel to 10, with the shallow, telescoped images of the earlier film giving way to deep-focus compositions and a corresponding shift in interest from beautiful surfaces to soulful interiors. Very personal and very entertaining, with Julie Andrews, James Garner, and a brilliant Robert Preston.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 236: Wed Aug 24

Spartacus (Kubrick, 1960): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.30pm


This film screens in the Big Screen Classic season and will be introduced by Lucy Bolton.

Chicago Reader review:
Just as The Ten Commandments (1956) was the apotheosis of Eisenhower conservatism, this 1960 blockbuster, which broke the Hollywood blacklist by crediting screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, seems the quintessence of Kennedy liberalism. Anthony Mann directed the first sequence but then was replaced by Stanley Kubrick, who said he enjoyed the most artistic freedom in the scenes without dialogue. Kirk Douglas and Jean Simmons are appealing as the eponymous rebel slave and his love interest; no less juicy is the Roman triumvirate of Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, and Laurence Olivier, playing one of the first bisexual characters in a major Hollywood film (unfortunately one also has to put up with the embarrassing accents and performances of Tony Curtis, John Dall, and Nina Foch, among others). This may be the most literate of all the spectacles set in antiquity. This restored version, including material originally cut, runs 197 minutes, including Alex North's powerfully romantic overture.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 235: Tue Aug 23

Autumn Sonata (Bergman, 1979): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening (also scheduled for August 25th) is part of an Ingrid Bergman on screen season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago reader review:
Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann howl in the night in Ingmar Bergman's 1978 study of the guilt, recrimination, and tentative forgiveness flowing between a mother and a daughter. The movie makes good chamber music: it's a crafted miniature with Bergman's usual bombast built, for once, into the plot requirements. The nonsense with the handicapped daughter is a little distracting, but the rest is often honest and surprisingly to the point.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 234: Mon Aug 22

Suspiria (Argento, 1977): Picturehouse Central, 9.30pm


To celebrate the release of Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon Picturehouse Cinemas have teamed up with the director for an exclusive season of films that inspired him. Tonight Dario Argento's classic 1970s horror is screening at the Picturehouse Central and is on at a number of Picturehouse venues also on Friday August 19th (full details here).

Time Out review:
From his stylish, atmosphere-laden opening - young American ballet student arriving in Europe during a storm - Argento relentlessly assaults his audience: his own rock score (all dissonance and heavy-breathing) blasts out in stereo, while Jessica Harper gets threatened by location, cast, weather and camera. Thunderstorms and extraordinarily grotesque murders pile up as Argento happily abandons plot mechanics to provide a bravura display of his technical skill. With his sharp eye for the bizarre and for vulgar over-decoration, it's always fascinating to watch; the thrills and spills are so classy and fast that the movie becomes in effect what horror movies seemed like when you were too young to get in to see them. Don't think, just panic.
Scott Meek


Here (and above) id the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 233: Sun Aug 21

The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo, 1966): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 3pm


The Battle of Algiers (which is also being screened on August 22nd) is part of a Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Gillo Pontecorvo's searing documentary-style retelling (1965) of the tough, grinding, and ultimately tragic effort of the FLN to liberate Algeria. Pontecorvo has nearly accomplished the impossible: to make an epic film that convinces the viewer he is watching the real thing. Although the director's sympathies (with the rebels) are never in doubt, the film is tough-minded and fair; the cast (nonprofessional with the exception of Jean Martin as the paratroop colonel) is superb; the editing and the overall production are deft but not slick—in sum, a knockout.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 232: Sat Aug 20

The Last Picture Show (Bogdanovich, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 1pm


This movie will look amazing screened from a print. The 35mm presentation 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:
‘Gettin’ old, that’s what’s ridiculous.’ The different ways people become who they are – rich or poor, cultured or common, honest or treacherous, loving or hateful, sad or satisfied – were never more eloquently explored than in Peter Bogdanovich’s sweetly sorrowful second film. Adapted from Larry McMurtry’s knowingly nostalgic semi-autobiographical novel, it’s the tale of three Texas teens, played by then-unknowns Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms and Cybill Shepherd, whose journeys to adulthood involve death, disaster, ruined relationships, moments of joy and the slow realisation of life’s unfairness. It’s a masterpiece: filmed in sparkling monochrome, relentless in its emotional intensity and unfettered insight and packed with memorable characters, of whom Ben Johnson’s lovelorn, regretful cowboy sage Sam the Lion, quoted above, is perhaps the most iconic. The scene  where Sam imparts his wisdom to young buck Bottoms may be the saddest, loveliest moment in 1970s American cinema. And that’s saying something.
Tom Huddleston

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 231: Fri Aug 19

The Wanderers (Kaufman, 1979) & The Warriors (Hill, 1979):
Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm



This 35mm double-bill 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 of The Wanderers:The Bronx, 1963. Gangland. Rumbles, racism, and rock'n'roll; but the times they are a-changin'. Kennedy's dead and the Marines are calling. This adaptation of Richard Price's episodic novel plays like the urban flip-side of American Graffiti: a macho mini-community grows up and apart in the cultural gulf between Dion and Dylan. The comic indulgence is streaked with hindsight analysis and irony, but thankfully avoids moral schematics as the wonderfully-cast characters confront a world beyond their tenement horizons and, well...wander. The film survives cuts to deliver some great, gross, comic book capers. And rock history gets its most intelligent illustration since Mean Streets.Paul Taylor

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

Chicago Reader review of The Warriors:
Walter Hill's existential action piece (1979), rendered in a complete stylistic abstraction that will mean tough going for literal-minded audiences. The straightforward, straight-line plot—a street gang must cross the length of New York City, pursued by police and rival fraternities—is given the convoluted quality of a fever dream by Hill's quirky, claustrophobic direction. Not quite the clean, elegant creation that his earlier films were, The Warriors admits to failures of conception (occasional) and dialogue (frequent), but there is much of value in Hill's visual elaboration of the material.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 230: Thu Aug 18

Performance (Roeg/Cammell, 1970): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm



This screening (selected by Richard Ayoade) 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 daddy of midnight movies this was a weekly feature of the late-night cinema circuit in London in the 70s and 80s and is showing from a 35mm print. Not to be missed. I'm busy re-reading Colin McCabe's BFI Film Classics book, a wonderful introduction to what the author calls "the greatest British film ever made."

Time Out review:
Nicholas Roeg's debut as a director is a virtuoso juggling act which manipulates its visual and verbal imagery so cunningly that the borderline between reality and fantasy is gradually eliminated. The first half-hour is straight thriller enough to suggest a Kray Bros documentary as James Fox, enforcer for a London protection racket, goes about his work with such relish that he involves the gang in a murder and has to hide from retribution in a Notting Hill basement. There, waiting to escape abroad, he becomes involved with a fading pop star (Mick Jagger) brooding in exile over the loss of his powers of incantation. In what might be described (to borrow from Kenneth Anger) as an invocation to his demon brother, the pop star recognises his lost power lurking in the blind impulse to violence of his visitor, and so teases and torments him with drug-induced psychedelics that the latter responds in the only way he knows how: by rewarding one mind-blowing with another, at gunpoint. Ideas in profusion here about power and persuasion and performance ('The only performance that makes it, that makes it all the way, is one that achieves madness'); and the latter half becomes one of Roeg's most complex visual kaleidoscopes as pop star and enforcer coalesce in a marriage of heaven and hell (or underworld and underground) where the common denominator is Big Business.
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 229: Wed Aug 17

The Hills Have Eyes (Craven, 1977): Regent Street Cinema, 8.30pm


Josh Saco of Cigarette Burns presents this horror classic on 35mm. Unmissable.

Time Out review:
A baby cries, granddaddy is crucified, cannibals with CB radios stalk a land where even the hills have eyes. Somewhere in the desert a clean WASP family of six are stranded; there are murmurs of atomic tests, and at the local gas station, an old man talks of a monster mutant son he abandoned in the wilds. To little avail: the Carters are besieged in their trailer and the nightmare begins. The baby is kidnapped (for supper), half the family die. From there, it's a question of the 'civilised' family acquiring the same cunning as their cannibal counterparts in a fight to the death. Parallel families, Lassie-style pet dogs who turn hunter-killers, savage Nature: exploitation themes are used to maximum effect, and despite occasional errors (the cannibal girl who protects the 'human' baby), the sense of pace never errs. A heady mix of ironic allegory and seat-edge tension.
Chris Auty

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 228: Tue Aug 16

Amarcord (Fellini, 1973): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm screening (selected by Richard Ayoade) 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:
Fellini at his ripest and loudest recreates a fantasy-vision of his home town during the fascist period. With generous helpings of soap opera and burlesque, he generally gets his better effects by orchestrating his colourful cast of characters around the town square, on a boat outing, or at a festive wedding. When he narrows his focus down to individual groups, he usually limits himself to corny bathroom and bedroom jokes, which produce the desired titters but little else. But despite the ups and downs, it's still Fellini, which has become an identifiable substance like salami or pepperoni that can be sliced into at any point, yielding pretty much the same general consistency and flavour. 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 227: Mon Aug 15

Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


This film (also being shown on August 14th) is part of an Ingrid Bergman on screen season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Part of what makes this wartime Hollywood drama (1942) about love and political commitment so fondly remembered is its evocation of a time when the sentiment of this country about certain things appeared to be unified. (It's been suggested that communism is the political involvement that Bogart's grizzled casino owner Rick may be in retreat from at the beginning.) This hastily patched together picture, which started out as a B film, wound up getting an Oscar, and displays a cozy, studio-bound claustrophobia that Howard Hawks improved upon in his superior spin-off To Have and Have Not. Then again, we get Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Marcel Dalio, and S.Z. Sakall, and Dooley Wilson performing "As Time Goes By." 
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 226: Sun Aug 14

It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Kramer, 1963): Prince Charles Cinema, 12pm


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.

Chicago Reader review:
Originally filmed in Ultra Panavision for showing in Cinerama, Stanley Kramer's 'comedy to end all comedy' stretches its material to snapping point but offers happy hours of star-spotting (everyone has a cameo, from Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante and Jim Backus to Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis and the Three Stooges). There are several great sequences, most of which involve Terry-Thomas, whose image of America as a bosom- and money-fixated society is spot on. It's an epic allegory about greed, centering on a frantic treasure hunt for buried bank loot. 
Adrian Turner

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 225: Sat Aug 13

The Right Stuff (Kaufman, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 4.50pm


This 70mm screening, part of an extended run for the movie at the cinema, 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:
From the opening moments it is clear that we have the nearest modern equivalent to a Western: men of quiet virtue going skyward, leaving the tawdry world of log-rolling politicians behind. John Ford might have made it, and director Philip Kaufman matches up to the master of this kind of poetic hero worship. Beginning with Chuck Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier in the late '40s, he uses the great test pilot as a counterpoint to the training and eventual missions of the seven astronauts chosen for America's first space programme. Kaufman (like Tom Wolfe, whose book The Right Stuff this is taken from) is well enough aware of the media circus surrounding the whole project, but still celebrates his magnificent seven's heroism with a rhetoric that is respectful and irresistible.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 224: Fri Aug 12

A Moment of Innocence (Makhmalbaf, 1996): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm


A Q&A with director Mohsen Makhmalbaf follows this 35mm screening.

Chicago Reader review:
This 1996 film by Mohsen Makhmalbaf is one of his most seminal and accessible—a reconstruction of a pivotal incident during his teens that landed him in prison for several years during the shah's regime. A fundamentalist and activist at the time, Makhmalbaf stabbed a policeman; as a consequence he was shot and arrested. Two decades later, while auditioning people to appear in his film Salaam Cinema, he encountered the same policeman, now unemployed, and the two wound up collaborating on this film about the incident involving them, trying (with separate cameras) to reconcile their versions of what happened. Though no doubt prompted in part by Abbas Kiarostami's Close-Up (1990), this is a fascinating humanist experiment and investigation in its own right, full of warmth and humor as well as mystery. The original Persian title, incidentally, translates as “Bread and Flower.” In Farsi with subtitles. 78 min.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 223: Thu Aug 11

Modern Romance (Brooks, 1981): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


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 has been selected by the Badlands Collective.

Chicago Reader review:
Albert Brooks and Kathryn Harrold as two young Los Angeles professionals caught in a roller-coaster relationship. Though this 1981 film was only Brooks's second, it displays a distinctive, original, and highly effective mise-en-scene: Brooks is a superrealist who uses long takes to hold his characters in a tight compression of time and space, while his even, laconic direction of dialogue short-circuits conventional comic rhythms, going beyond easy payoffs into an almost cosmic apprehension of life's inescapable absurdity. The first part of the film is farcical and very funny; from there it shades into a pointed naturalism and ends on a note of near-tragedy. With Bob Einstein and George Kennedy.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 222: Wed Aug 10

The Killing (Kubrick, 1956): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 5.50pm


This brilliant early Stanley Kubrick film is part of a Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank. Full details here. The movies is also being screened on August 12th and 15th.

Chicago Reader review:
Arguably Stanley Kubrick's most perfectly conceived and executed film, this 1956 noirish thriller utilizes an intricate overlapping time structure to depict the planning and execution of a plot to steal $2 million from a racetrack. Adapted by Kubrick from Lionel White's 
Clean Break, with an extraordinary gallery of B players: Sterling Hayden, Marie Windsor, J.C. Flippen, Elisha Cook Jr., Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Ted de Corsia, Joe Sawyer, and the unforgettable Timothy Carey. Orson Welles was so taken with this film that after seeing it he declared Kubrick could do no wrong; not to be missed.
Jonathan Rosenabum

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 221: Tue Aug 9

Walkabout (Roeg, 1971): Somerset House, 6.45pm


London’s groundbreaking open-air film festival at Somerset House, under the Film 4 banner, returns with a prestigious programme of contemporary classics, popular favourites and premieres of forthcoming releases. Projected on London’s largest outdoor screen in full surround sound, there will be special on-stage introductions from the stars at selected screenings and sundown DJ sets before the films begin. The season runs from August 4th to 17th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Nicolas Roeg's second film (made after the massively delayed Performance) is at first sight uncharacteristic: the story of two posh English kids abandoned in the Australian outback and left to fend for themselves when their father commits suicide. In fact, the shimmering light and colour, the conflict of cultures, and the emergence of semi-mystic sexual forces in the desert landscape make this as Roeg-ian a film as The Man Who Fell to Earth or Bad Timing.
Chris Auty 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 220: Mon Aug 8

Submarine (Ayoade, 2010): & The Double (Ayoade, 2013):
Prince Charles Cinema, 6.45pm


BOTH SCREENINGS (the original plus a 7pm showing of The Double and Submarine have sold out but details are here if you want to go on the off chance of getting returns etc)

This 35mm double-bill 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.Director Richard Ayoade will introduce the films and talk about his love of 35mm. Full details here.

Daily Telegraph review of Submarine:
The temptation to overpraise our new movie talent can induce an almost superstitious pang of anxiety, but here goes anyway: Richard Ayoade’s Submarine feels like the most refreshing, urgent and original debut the British film industry has seen in years. This coming-of-age story is set in Swansea and narrated by a teenage boy, but it thankfully gives a body-swerve to the tired clichés in which our industry routinely imprisons such subject matter. There’s no drab naturalism, sulky rebellion or political backdrop, and, best of all, no forced uplifting climax snatched from relentless adversity. Instead writer-director Ayoade, in adapting Joe Dunthorne’s novel, has fashioned an adolescent fantasia that astutely employs its own film-making techniques to represent the thought processes of its unlikely young hero. 
David Gritten

Here (and above) is the trailer for Submarine.

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

The Guardian review of The Double:
For this follow-up to his debut feature Submarine, Richard Ayoade has picked a demanding and in some ways unpromising subject: a new adaptation of Dostoevsky's novella The Double, about a drab loser who discovers that he has a doppelgänger in the workplace – an exact replica of him, but aggressively successful, charming and upwardly mobile. Ayoade translates this to a creepy and crumbling nightmare-world: his unhappy protagonist is a data-input manager in a dreary warren, stuffed with clunky, retro 80s computer equipment and office furniture, and he lives in a similarly grim flat. The only entertainment on offer for inhabitants of this terrible universe appears to be a cheapo Blakes-7-type drama continuously playing on TV sets mounted on wall brackets. All this could have been a tiresome film-school venture in someone else's hands, but it is brilliant: quick-witted, elegant, funny and unsettling. The Double is co-written by Ayoade and Avi Korine, brother of Harmony Korine, who has a producer credit. Jesse Eisenberg plays Simon, a stammeringly shy programmer, whose talents are ignored by his bosses and who is hopelessly in love with co-worker Hannah (Mia Wasikowska). Along comes James (also Eisenberg) who entrances his superiors and the lovely Hannah – to Simon's inarticulate despair. There are funny cinephile touches of Billy Wilder, David Lynch and perhaps even Aki Kaurismäki, and the sex-coaching and life-coaching scenes might call to mind Eisenberg's cinema debut in Dylan Kidd's Roger Dodger. Cathy Moriarty, Wallace Shawn, Paddy Considine and Chris Morris contribute cameos. It's very smart work. 
Peter Bradshaw

Here is the trailer for The Double.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 219: Sun Aug 7

Mildred Pierce (Curtiz, 1945): Prince Charles Cinema, 3.35pm


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. Mildred Pierce will be introduced by Sandra Hebron, head of Screen Arts at the National Film and Television School.

Time Out review:
James Cain's novel of the treacherous life in Southern California that sets house-wife-turned waitress-turned-successful restauranteur (Joan Crawford) against her own daughter (Ann Blyth) in competition for the love of playboy Zachary Scott, is brought fastidiously and bleakly to life by Michael Curtiz' direction, Ernest Haller's camerawork, and Anton Grot's magnificent sets. Told in flashback from the moment of Scott's murder, the film is a chilling demonstration of the fact that, in a patriarchal society, when a woman steps outside the home the end result may be disastrous.

Phil
Hardy

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 218: Sat Aug 6

Joe Versus the Volcano (Shanley, 1990): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.50pm


This 35mm screening is shown as part in the Cult strand at BFI Southbank and can also be seen on August 4th. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Screenwriter John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck) made his directorial debut with this whimsical contemporary fairy tale (1990). Tom Hanks plays a former fireman who's told by his doctor (Robert Stack) that he has only a short time to live. A wealthy businessman (Lloyd Bridges) offers him red-carpet treatment if Hanks will sail to a remote Pacific island (where the businessman wants to gain mineral rights) and dive into a volcano to appease the natives. Meg Ryan plays all three leading ladies, and Abe Vigoda, Amanda Plummer, Barry McGovern, and Ossie Davis are around for other offbeat parts. Borrowing liberally from Delmer Daves's Bird of Paradise, Shanley manages to achieve some striking pictorial effects and a few goofy gags and plot turns; he also tries for some uplift that's less convincing but easy enough to take. 
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 217: Fri Aug 5

Body Double (De Palma, 1984): Picturehouse Central, 6.30pm


To celebrate the release of Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon Picturehouse Cinemas have teamed up with the director for an exclusive season of films that inspired him.  Body Double, Brian De Palma's underrated mid-1980s Hitchcockian thriller, is screening at a number of different venues tonight and you can find all the details here.

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. Manuela Lazic has also written about the movie in a recent blog piece for The Film Stage.

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 216: Thu Aug 4

Single White Female (Schroeder, 1992): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


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 has been chosen by The Final Girls film club*.

*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.

Chicago Reader review:
Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the twisted and lonely roommate of Bridget Fonda in a psychological thriller directed by Barbet Schroeder, based on John Lutz's novel 
SWF Seeks Same and adapted by Don Roos. As a psychological case study this is intelligent and adept, with fine performances by both of the lead actresses, and none of the Hitchcockian implications are lost on Schroeder. 

Jonathan Romney

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 215: Wed Aug 3

O.C. and Stiggs (Altman, 1985): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


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 has been chosen by the Duke Mitchell Film Club and you can find out more details on their website here.

A.V. Club review:
Robert Altman famously managed to bend countless genres and forms to his will: musicals, comic-strip adaptations, detective movies, Hollywood satire, the political miniseries, icy psychodrama, plays, and even one-man shows. But according to conventional wisdom, it was the lowly teen sex comedy, the reviled Mad Dog 20/20 of genres, that ultimately defeated Altman in O.C. And Stiggs. The film was finished in 1984, but received such disastrous test scores that it was shelved for three years and released to vitriolic reviews and nonexistent box-office. Even the screenwriters distanced themselves from it. The pairing of Robert Altman and the teen sex comedy wasn't quite the mismatch it might appear. A prankish, youthful irreverence courses through many, if not most, of Altman's films, even his non-comedies. If '70s cinema were a lowbrow slobs vs. snobs comedy Altman would be the John Belushi-esque Dionysus tossing Peter Bogdanovich in the pool, shattering his monocle, and getting his silk ascot all wet in the process. Altman argues that audiences and National Lampoon wanted Robert Altman's Porky's and were flummoxed when he delivered a satire of teen schlock instead. I think O.C And Stiggs is a satire, but less of teen sex comedies than of the things that always enraged Altman: consumerism and hypocrisy and racism and the narcissistic self-absorption of well-fed Caucasians. Here Altman occasionally comes off like the misanthropic cheap shot artist his critics have always accused him of being – like pretty much all '80s teen sex comedies, this seems to think homosexuality is inherently a laff riot – but behind the snark lies a genuine shiver of revulsion towards the complacency and sun-baked decadence of the Reagan '80s.
Nathan Rabin

Here (and above) is the Duke Mitchell Film Club trailer for tonight's screening.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 214: Tue Aug 2

Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm


Orson Welles's extraordinary debut film (also screening on August 6th) is part of a Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank. Full details here. Kane is being screened from a 35mm print.

Chicago Reader review:
'What can you say about the movie that taught you what movies were? The first time I saw Kane I discovered the existence of the director; the next dozen or so times taught me what he did—with lights and camera angles, cutting and composition, texture and rhythm. Kane (1941) is no longer my favorite Orson Welles film (I'd take Ambersons, Falstaff, or Touch of Evil), but it is still the best place I know of to start thinking about Welles—or for that matter about movies in general.'Dave Kehr

Here is the trailer.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 213: Mon Aug 1

Eureka (Roeg, 1983): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


Welcome to the fourth Capital Celluloid film screening, another important landmark in the history of the blog at which I hope to see as many of you as possible. I saw this film on release, with Nicolas Roeg in attendance. In the Q&A after the movie was screened, the director shocked the audience by telling them they were some of the very few who would see Eureka. Roeg said he couldn't elaborate on that for legal reasons but suffice to say the film received very limited distribution. This is a rare chance to see one of Roeg's finest works (voted in the top ten films of all-time by Mark Cousins) from a 35mm print.
 
This 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. Jeremy Thomas, the producer of Eureka, has kindly agreed to introduce the film.

Time Out review:
The usual nervy Nicolas Roeg cross-cutting has almost vanished in favour of a cleaner but just as distanced narrative, in two plain parts: a prospector (Gene Hackman) in Canada in the '20s finally strikes it lucky, engulfed in a river of gold; and then the rest of his life, immured in his house ('Eureka') in the Bahamas and wondering what on earth there is left. While the weight of Roeg's success is usually stylistic, this is more of a harkback to the cosmic scale of The Man Who Fell to Earth, with enormous themes streaming through a strange tale. Alongside the bass-line of a man who 'once had it all, and now just owns everything', there are games of knowledge and power (voodoo, cabbalahs, magick), a devouring relationship with his daughter (Theresa Russell), and a nebulous running battle with business competitors who want their own share of the planet. The man who raped the earth and lost his demon is finally the victim of 'business interests' in the same way that Jagger was in Performance. It's a great, Kane-like notion - the price we pay for gaining what we want - and overflowing with awkward ideas and strange emotion. 
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 212: Sun Jul 31

sex, lies and videotape (Soderbergh, 1989): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


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. Prince Charles members can buy tickets for just £1.

Time Out review:
Ann (MacDowell) is not happy: her husband John (Gallagher) is a lawyer who, unbeknownst to her, is having an affair with her virtually estranged sister (San Giacomo). The deception only comes to light with the arrival of John's old friend Graham (Spader), a shy, impotent eccentric who gets his kicks from watching interviews he has taped with women about their sexual experiences... Soderbergh's first feature is impressively mature, less concerned with actions per se than with the gulf between deed and motivation, between what we feel and what we say we feel. Despite the title, there is almost no explicit nudity or sexual activity; by avoiding sensationalism, Soderbergh leaves himself free to focus unblinkingly on moral and psychological complexities. No character is entirely without dishonesty or hang-ups; all initially shrink from taking full responsibility for their actions. The actors are superb; working from Soderbergh's funny, perceptive, immaculately wrought dialogue, they ensure that the film stimulates both intellectually and emotionally.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 212: Sun Jul 31

sex, lies and videotape (Soderbergh, 1989): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


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. Prince Charles members can buy tickets for just £1.

Time Out review:
Ann (MacDowell) is not happy: her husband John (Gallagher) is a lawyer who, unbeknownst to her, is having an affair with her virtually estranged sister (San Giacomo). The deception only comes to light with the arrival of John's old friend Graham (Spader), a shy, impotent eccentric who gets his kicks from watching interviews he has taped with women about their sexual experiences... Soderbergh's first feature is impressively mature, less concerned with actions per se than with the gulf between deed and motivation, between what we feel and what we say we feel. Despite the title, there is almost no explicit nudity or sexual activity; by avoiding sensationalism, Soderbergh leaves himself free to focus unblinkingly on moral and psychological complexities. No character is entirely without dishonesty or hang-ups; all initially shrink from taking full responsibility for their actions. The actors are superb; working from Soderbergh's funny, perceptive, immaculately wrought dialogue, they ensure that the film stimulates both intellectually and emotionally.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 211: Sat Jul 30

Under the Cherry Moon (Prince, 1986): Prince Charles Cinema 6.20pm


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.

Chicago Reader review:
Prince directed himself in this 1986 drama, in which he plays a Cote d'Azur gigolo romancing an inaccessibly rich French lass. The Marienbad pretension hangs thick and heavy over everything—Michael Ballhaus's glossy black-and-white cinematography, the would-be elegance, the relentless dissociation of image and meaning (though for Prince, dissociation and linearity are the same thing: every impossible scene invites a literal reading). But why pick the wings off flies? Prince's narcissism is easier to take than than that of his contemporaries Sylvester Stallone or Rob Lowe: he doesn't regard the rest of the world as an insult to his estimable self. With Kristin Scott-Thomas.
Pat Thomas

Here (and above) is the trailer.