Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 343: Fri Dec 9

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


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

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

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 342: Thu Dec 8

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


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

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

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 341: Wed Dec 7

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


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

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

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 340: Tue Dec 6

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


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

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

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 339: Mon Dec 5

Dog Day Afternoon (Lumet, 1975): Picturehouse Central, 7pm



American actress Clea Duvall has curated a short season of queer films for Picturehouse Central cinema that are meaningful to her, the 'Out at Central' season. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
One of Sidney Lumet's best jobs of directing (1975) and one of Al Pacino's best performances (as a bisexual bank robber) come together in a populist thriller with lots of New York juice. Its details are stronger than its structure—the film loses some of its energy before the end—but it's an astonishing fusion of suspense and character, powered by superior ensemble acting.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 338: Sun Dec 4

Night of the Demon (Tourneur, 1957): Picturehouse Central, 1pm


This brilliant horror film is part of the 'Warning to the Curious' season at Picturehouse cinemas. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
A major work in that minor genre, horror movies. Intelligent, delicate, and actually frightening (no kidding), this 1958 feaure was directed by Jacques Tourneur, author of many of the best of Val Lewton's famous series of B-budget shockers. A shot or two of a cheesy monster (insisted upon by the producer) are the only violations of the film's sublime allusiveness, through which the unseen acquires a palpitating presence. Tourneur is attempting a rational apprehension of the irrational, examining not so much the supernatural itself but the insecurities it springs from and the uses it may be put to. With Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins (of 
Gun Crazy), and Niall MacGinnis in a witty, Hitchcockian performance as an urbane warlock.
Dave Kehr
Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 337: Sat Dec 3

Le Samourai (Melville, 1967): Cine Lumiere, 6pm


This film is part of the French Noir season at Cine Lumiere. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Jean-Pierre Melville's hombres don't talk a lot, they just move in and out of the shadows, their trenchcoats lined with guilt and their hats hiding their eyes. This is a great movie, an austere masterpiece, with Alain Delon as a cold, enigmatic contract killer who lives by a personal code of bushido. Essentially, the plot is about an alibi, yet Melville turns this into a mythical revenge story, with Cathy Rosier as Delon's black, piano-playing nemesis who might just as easily have stepped from the pages of Cocteau or Sophocles as Vogue. Similarly, if Delon is Death, Francois Périer's cop is a date with Destiny. Melville's film had a major influence in Hollywood: Delon lying on his bed is echoed in Taxi Driver, and Paul Schrader might have remade Le Samourai as American Gigolo. Another remake is The Driver, despite Walter Hill's insistence that he'd never seen it: someone on that movie had to have seen it.
Adrian Turner 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 336: Fri Dec 2

Blue Velvet (Lynch, 1986): BFI Southbank, 2.30, 6.20 & 8.45pm


This classic is on an extended run on it re-release at BFI Southbank. Details here.

Time Out review:
Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) is the contemporary knight in slightly tarnished armour, a shy and adolescent inhabitant of Lumberton, USA. After discovering a severed ear in an overgrown backlot, he embarks upon an investigation that leads him into a hellish netherworld, where he observes - and comes to participate in - a terrifying sado-masochistic relationship between damsel-in-distress Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) and mad mobster Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). Grafting on to this story his own idiosyncratic preoccupations, Lynch creates a visually stunning, convincingly coherent portrait of a nightmarish substratum to conventional, respectable society. The seamless blending of beauty and horror is remarkable - although many will be profoundly disturbed by David Lynch's vision of male-female relationships, centred as it is on Dorothy's psychopathic hunger for violence - the terror very real, and the sheer wealth of imagination virtually unequalled in recent cinema.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 335: Thu Dec 1

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (Richardson, 1962):
Libreria Bookshop, 65 Hanbury St, London, E1 5JP, 7pm 



MUBI presents Tony Richardson's The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) in collaboration with Woodfall Films. Richardson's son in law, Woodfall Films 'Accidental Curator' Steven Hess and film critic Neil Young will be in conversation.
Time Out review:
As with its French equivalents, much of the British New Wave looks horribly dated in a modern context: all that light jazz, casual romantic disaffection and overeager jump-cutting doesn’t really wash with contemporary audiences. But what’s beyond criticism is the commitment to emotional veracity which fuelled films like ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’. So while the timeworn clichés of the kitchen sink remain intact – grubby class warfare, county-hopping pseudo-Northern accents, the God’s-eye shot of ‘our town from that hill’ – the film is anchored in Tom Courtenay’s remarkable, remorseless performance as the eponymous runner Colin, torn between selfishness and sacrifice, class loyalty and commercial gain, impossible victory and inevitable surrender.
Tom Huddleston


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 334: Wed Nov 30

The Heritage of Love (Vasilev, 2016): Regent Street Cinema, 7pm


This is the choice for the opening night of Russian Film Week. You can find the full programme here.

The Heritage of Love is a Russian drama film inspired by a true story. It is set against the Russian Revolution and subsequent onset of civil war, as well as contemporary Paris. The film is directed by Yuriy Vasilev and written by Natalia Doroshkevich and Olga Pogodina-Kuzmina. The film stars Dima Bilan (in his first film role), Svetlana Ivanova, Aleksandr Adabashyan, Aleksandr Baluev, and Marat Basharov. The film is set in 2016. Andrey Kulikov is a young machinist who goes to Paris to visit an old lady and to buy the oldest Russian-made car, the Russo-Balt. While walking through Paris, Andrey sees a woman, Vera, and so begins the telling of two love stories, separated by three generations and one hundred years ...

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 333: Tue Nov 29

Ordet (Dreyer, 1955): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6pm


This presentation is part of the Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank. Carl Dreyer's film will also be shown on November 22nd. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Carl Dreyer's great 1955 film is concerned with the moral and metaphysical shadings of love: Is it a thing of sex or of the spirit? A force of repression and control or a promise of infinite expansion? A farmwife dies; her brother-in-law, a failed preacher, promises to raise her from the dead. The conflict is crystallized in a famous exchange of dialogue (from Kaj Munk's play), when the father, trying to comfort his widowed son, says, "She is no longer here . . . she is in heaven." The son replies, "Yes, but I loved her body too." Dreyer's direction has been described as too theatrical, perhaps because the action is largely confined to the farmhouse set, yet the spatial explorations of his camera and cutting are profoundly cinematic and expressive. The film is extremely sensual in its spareness, a paradox always at the center of Dreyer's work. 
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 332: Mon Nov 28

Only God Forgives (Winding Refn, 2013): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm


This screening is part of the Nicholas Winding Refn season at the Prince Charles Cinema and you can find the full details here. This film is one of the most remarkable of recent years. Most critics were dismissive but the review below by the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw is a very good summing up of the movie's qualities. It is a one-off and, as Bradshaw argues, "deserves to be seen".
Guardian review (full version here):
Like a thwacked piñata, critical opinion for something provocative at a film festival can swing off in any direction. But it was, for me, surprising to find that one of the very best movies at Cannes this year had such a shrill and hostile reception. Nicolas Winding Refn's brilliant, macabre and ultraviolent anti-revenge movie Only God Forgives – his most interesting work since the Pusher trilogy in the Mads Mikkelsen era – was deafeningly denounced at its first screening. Some booed from their seats, cupping their hands around their mouths so that the sound carried that vital few yards further. Then came the nervy, brushfire social-media consensus – a new feature of criticism at festivals – as insecure pundits checked their Twitter feeds and committed themselves to derision, evidently taking Refn's supposed failure to be the "story", and in any case believing that something has to be seen to take a pasting if the praise-economy is not to go bankrupt. And all the while, middleweight products and franchise mediocrities are cordially waved through.
I can only say that Refn's movie is entirely gripping, put together with lethal, formal brilliance, with bizarre setpieces of sentimentality and nauseous black comedy. It has its own miasma of anxiety and evil, taking place in a universe of fear, a place of deep-sea unreality in which you need to breathe through special gills – and through which the action swims at about 90% of normal speed through to its chilling conclusion. It is a kind of hallucinated tragi-exploitation shocker, an enriched uranium cake of pulp with a neon sheen.
Peter Bradshaw

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 331: Sun Nov 27

The Driller Killer (Ferrara, 1979): Picturehouse Central, 9pm


BFI Cult Programmer Michael Blyth will introduce this screening in the Picturehouse Central 'Culture Shock' season.

Chicago Reader review: 
I put off seeing Abel Ferrara's second feature (which came after his pseudonymous Nine Lives of a Wet Pussy) for years because of its title, but when I finally caught up with it I found it a lot more interesting and substantial than I'd imagined—and only incidentally the exploitation horror item it was apparently supposed to be. Ferrara stars (again pseudonymously) as a painter sharing a downtown Manhattan loft with two women who, gradually driven insane by money problems, a punk band located on the floor below, and other frustrations, starts murdering street derelicts with a power drill. The script by Nicholas St. John (who would become a Ferrara regular) not only anticipates American Psycho but offers a fascinating look at New York's bohemian art scene circa 1979. 
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer,

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 330: Sat Nov 26

Le Doulos (Melville, 1962): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of the French Noir season at BFI Southbank. The film will also be shown at BFI Southbank on November 30th and you can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Jean-Pierre Melville's existentialized gangster films are one of the glories of the French cinema, American forms played out with European self-consciousness. This 1962 effort stars Jean-Paul Belmondo as an informer on the lam, but plot pales before Melville's detailed noir imagery of dingy hotel rooms, back alleys, and subterranean passages. Melville's love for American films (he was a man of taste as well as talent) was one of the most profound influences on the New Wave generation.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 329: Fri Nov 25

Betty Blue (Beineix, 1986): Picturehouse Central, 10pm


Time Out review:
Art movie or sex romp? Please don’t make us choose. For many teens growing up in the mid-1980s, French import Betty Blue represented an opportunity to expand our global horizons, to mature in the presence of some tragic romance—and to gaze upon the bodacious Batrice Dalle. “Few women could dress so casually,” admires Betty’s handyman lover, Zorg (the Adrien Brody--like Anglade), a subtle compliment that combusts in the fire of Dalle’s braless, warmly animal allure.
But if Betty Blue feasts on the bodies of its leads—Dalle plants a tender kiss on Anglade’s “sleepy, warm slug”—it’s this director’s cut that fully establishes the movie’s artistic bona fides. More than an hour of material has been added to the narrative, which begins in a splash of pink paint at a seaside resort, and then meanders to Paris and a cute hamlet where the couple’s attraction blooms. Isn’t it praise to confess that none of these new scenes stood out to me? The movie is still an organic whole, its exuberant lovemaking and drunken carousing alternating with a committed relationship’s natural lulls.
Ultimately, the film has to be discussed in terms of insanity, Betty’s mind slipping from its golden-lit oasis into something scarier. Her flinging of pots and pans feels a touch unnecessary in this longer cut. Amour fou is the force of nature here, not illness. You could watch this couple prepare meals, tease each other and argue for longer. If Betty Blue plays into the salacious archetype of the “liberated” foreign film, at least it repays you with real feelings of earthiness. And now, it’s closer to the serious movie we always said it was, while blushing. 
Joshua Rothkopf

Monday, 14 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 328: Thu Nov 24

The Quay Brothers in 35mm (1986-2015): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


Tonight's special screening includes: In Absentia (Dir. Quay Brothers, UK 2000, 19 mins), Quay (Dir. Christopher Nolan, USA 2015, 8 mins), The Comb (Dir Quay Brothers, UK 1990, 17 mins), Street of Crocodiles (Dir Quay Brothers, UK 1986, 21 mins)

Here is the Prince Charles Cinema introduction:
Two of the world’s most original filmmakers, the identical Quay Brother twins, have been making their unique blend of puppetry and stop-motion animation for over 30 years, spawning an enormous cult following and many high profile admirers, from Terry Gilliam to Christopher Nolan. A passion for detail, a breathtaking command of colour and texture, and an uncanny use of focus and camera movement make their films unique and instantly recognizable. Best known for their classic 1986 film Street of Crocodiles, they are masters of miniaturization and their tiny sets create a landscape of long-repressed childhood dreams. A screening of three new 35mm prints of their work, alongside a brand new short from Christopher Nolan revealing the inner workings of their studio.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 327: Wed Nov 23

Mouchette (Bresson, 1966): BFI Southbank, NFT, 6.20pm


This 35mm screening, introduced by Emily Wilson of Cambridge University, is part of the Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
This 1966 film is probably the most punishing and intense of Robert Bresson's studies of modern martyrdom, a story of a teenage peasant girl whose experiences of the world lead her, irresistibly, to suicide. If you don't know Bresson's work, this isn't the place to start (you may never go back), but it's a remarkable film: dark, compressed, shattering. Nadine Nortier heads a nonprofessional cast; adapted from a work by Georges Bernanos.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 326: Tue Nov 22

Le Corbeau (Clouzot, 1943): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm


This 35mm screening is part of the French Noir season at BFI Southbank. Full details here. The film will be introduced by Catherine Wheatley from King's College London.

Chicago Reader review:
Suffocatingly corrosive and misanthropic, this 1943 thriller was shot in occupied France by Henri-Georges Clouzot (The Wages of Fear), and its story of a small town terrorized by anonymous poison-pen letters so effectively captures the national paranoia that after the war Clouzot was unjustly persecuted as anti-French. The outstanding cast includes Pierre Fresnay and Ginette Leclerc. Otto Preminger remade this effectively in 1951 as The Thirteenth Letter, though his Quebec locations lack the earlier film's period interest.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Ticket holders get free entry to 'Ethics and Existentialism in Le Corbeau and French Film Noir' at the cinema at 8pm on the same night. Details here.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 325: Mon Nov 21

The Godfather Part II (Coppola, 1974): Prince Charles Cinema, 7.45pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Classic Film season at the Prince Charles Cinema. The Godfather is screened at the Prince Charles on November 15th.

Here is an excellent article by John Patterson in the Guardian on the movie. 

Time Out review:
It’s worrying that 1974’s ‘The Godfather Part II’ is now best known for being the film-lover’s kneejerk answer to the question ‘which sequel is superior to the original’? It’s a pointless discussion, because both films are damn close to perfect: two opposing but complementary sides of the same coin. If ‘The Godfather’ was a knife in the dark, its sequel is the long, slow death rattle; if the first film lusted after its bloodthirsty antiheroes, the second drowns itself in guilt and recrimination. Two stories run in parallel in ‘Part II’. In the first, a young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) rises to power in New York, fuelled by vengeance and brute, old-world morality. In the second, set 50 years later, his son Michael (Al Pacino) struggles to reconcile his father’s ideals with an uncertain world, and finds himself beset on all sides by treachery and greed. This is quite simply one of the saddest movies ever made, a tale of loss, grief and absolute loneliness, an unflinching stare into the darkest moral abyss.
Tom Huddleston

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 324: Sun Nov 20

Three Colours Trilogy (Kieslowski, 1993-94): Prince Charles Cinema, 12.45pm


Here is the Prince Charles Cinema introduction for this 35mm presentation:
THREE COLOURS BLUE: Julie (Juliette Binoche) is haunted by her grief after living through a tragic auto wreck that claimed the life of her composer husband and young daughter. Her initial reaction is to withdraw from her relationships, lock herself in her apartment and suppress her pain. But avoiding human interactions on the bustling streets of Paris proves impossible, and she eventually meets up with Olivier (Benoît Régent), an old friend who harbors a secret love for her, and who could draw her back to reality.
THREE COLOURS WHITE: Polish immigrant Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) finds himself out of a marriage, a job and a country when his French wife, Dominique (Julie Delpy), divorces him after six months due to his impotence. Forced to leave the France after losing the business they jointly owned, Karol enlists fellow Polish expatriate Mikolah (Janusz Gajos) to smuggle him back to their homeland. After successfully returning, Karol begins to build his new life, while never forgetting his old one.
THREE COLOURS RED: Part-time model Valentine (Irène Jacob) meets a retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who lives in her neighborhood after she runs over his dog. At first the judge gifts Valentine with the dog, but her possessive boyfriend won't allow her to keep it. When she returns with the dog to the judge's house, she discovers him listening in on his neighbors' phone conversations. At first Valentine is outraged, but her debates with the judge over his behavior soon leads them to form a strange bond.

Chicago Readerr review of Three Colours Red:
The third and best feature (1994, 99 min.) of Krzysztof Kieslowski's highly ambitious “Three Colors” trilogy concentrates on the theme of fraternity (Blue tackled liberty, White equality). The principal characters are a young student and model (Irene Jacob) and a cynical retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant) whose paths cross by chance in Geneva, and in a way their meeting comes to stand for a good many of the other accidental incidents threaded through this densely textured movie, including one that ties up many of the loose ends of the two previous films. The telephone and (to a lesser degree) the TV set both play substantial roles in linking these and other lives, but they are far from the only linchpins in Kieslowski's poetic universe; among others are the color red and the filmmaker's own sardonic identification with the mordant former judge, who eavesdrops on the phone conversations of his neighbors and seems to hate them and himself in about equal measure.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer for the Trilogy.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 323: Sat Nov 19

Napoleon (Gance, 1927): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 3pm


Napoleon is on an extended run at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

BFI introduction:
Abel Gance’s heroic depiction of the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte is an undisputed cinema landmark. Renowned for its groundbreaking technical innovations, including a stunning triptych finale, Gance’s visionary epic traverses many of the formative experiences that shaped Napoleon’s rapid advancement. Cool under pressure, Bonaparte overcomes fierce rivals, deadly seas and political machinations to seal his imperial destiny. The story’s chapters play out in exhilarating fashion, tied together by an incredible feat of editing and technical ingenuity. With an equally enthralling score composed and conducted by Carl Davis (newly recorded in 7.1), this new digital restoration presents the silent masterpiece in all of its grandiose glory, with rich velvety blacks combining with gorgeously coloured tints and tones. Truly a magnificent big-screen experience.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 322: Fri Nov 18

Assault on Precinct 13 (Carpenter, 1976): BFI Southbank,NFT3, 6.20pm


This screening is part of the John Carpenter season at BFI Southbank and is also being shown on November 15th. Full details here.

Time Out review: 
'Just as Dark Star undercut the solemnity of space movies like 2001 with hilarious astronaut situation comedy, John Carpenter's second feature borrows the conventions of protagonists in jeopardy from Night of the Living Dead to produce one of the most effective exploitation movies of the decade. The gimmick is cops and cons besieged in an abandoned LA police station by a group of kamikaze urban guerillas. Carpenter scrupulously avoids any overt socio-political pretensions, playing it instead for laughs and suspense in perfectly balanced proportions. The result is a thriller inspired by a buff's admiration for Ford and Hawks (particularly Rio Bravo), with action sequences comparable to anything in Siegel or Fuller. It's sheer delight from beginning to end.'
Rod McShane


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 321: Thu Nov 17

The Fog (Carpenter, 1980): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.50pm




This 35mm screening is part of the John Carpenter season at BFI Southbank.There will be an intro before the screening by academic and writer Roger Luckhurst.


Time Out review:
The Fog will disappoint those expecting a re-run of the creepy scares from Halloween. Instead, expanding enormously on the fantasy elements of his earlier films, Carpenter has turned in a full-scale thriller of the supernatural, as a sinister fog bank comes rolling in off the sea to take revenge on the smug little town of Antonio Bay, N. Calif. No shotguns pumping; no prowling of dark corners; no tricksy dry-ice chills. Instead you'll find a masterful simplicity of style, a lonely and determined group of characters under siege, and a childlike sense of brooding fear that almost disappeared in the '70s. Carpenter's confidence is outrageous; the range of his models even more so (from Poe to RKO); and the achievement is all his own, despite ragged moments and occasional hesitations.
Chris Auty

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 320: Wed Nov 16

Shadows (Cassavetes, 1958): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm


This 35mm screening (with introduction by BFI film programmer Kate Taylor) is part of the Big Screen Classics season at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'John Cassavetes's first feature (1959), shot in 16-millimeter, centers on three siblings living together in Manhattan; the oldest, a third-rate nightclub singer (Hugh Hurd), is visibly black, while the other two (Ben Carruthers and Lelia Goldoni) are sufficiently light skinned to pass for white. This is the only Cassavetes film made without a full script (it grew out of acting improvs), and rarely has so much warmth, delicacy, and raw feeling emerged so naturally and beautifully from performances in an American film. It's contemporaneous with early masterpieces of the French New Wave and deserves to be ranked alongside them for the freshness and freedom of its vision; in its portrait of a now-vanished Manhattan during the beat period, it also serves as a poignant time capsule. With Tony Ray (son of director Nicholas Ray), Rupert Crosse, Dennis Sallas, Tom Allen, and Davey Jones—all very fine—and a wonderful jazz score by Charles Mingus. It's conceivable that Cassavetes made greater films, but this is the one I cherish the most.'
Jonathan Rosenabum


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 319: Tue Nov 15

The Godfather (Coppola, 1972): Prince Charles Cinema, 8pm


This 35mm screening is part of the Classic Film season at the Prince Charles Cinema and is followed by The Godfather Part II on November 21st.

Chicago Reader review:
The ultimate family film. Francis Ford Coppola gives full due to the themes of clannish insularity that made Mario Puzo's novel a best seller, though his heart seems to be with Al Pacino's lonely, willful isolation. This 1972 feature is sharp, entertaining, and convincing—discursive, but with a sense of structure and control that Coppola hasn't achieved since. With Marlon Brando, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, and Diane Keaton.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 318: Mon Nov 14

Fanny (Allegret, 1932): Regent Street Cinema, 6.30pm


Chicago Reader review:
Marc Allegret's 1932 film of part two of Marcel Pagnol's trilogy. In Marius the boy and girl were separated; now Fanny prepares to marry the kind old merchant—until the unexpected return of Marius threatens to overturn her plans. A marvelously alive film, well suited to the vitality of Pagnol's story, and a perfect sequel to Korda's first installment. Pagnol was to assume directorial control with the next part.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the opening.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 317: Sun Nov 13

They Live (Carpenter, 1988): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.30pm



This 35mm screening is part of the John Carpenter season at BFI Southbank. Carpenter's film got a fairly lukewarm response on release but has increasingly garnered a fan base and is well worth tracking down. This article on They Live by Jonathan Lethem at salon.com is fascinating but be warned: here be spoilers.

Chicago Reader review:
John Carpenter's 1988 SF action-thriller about aliens taking over the earth through the hypnotic use of TV. The explicit anti-Reagan satire—the aliens are developers who regard human beings as cattle, aided by yuppies who are all too willing to cooperate for business reasons—is strangely undercut and confused by a xenophobic treatment of the aliens that also makes them virtual stand-ins for the Vietcong. Carpenter's wit and storytelling craft make this fun and watchable, although the script takes a number of unfortunate shortcuts, and the possibilities inherent in the movie's central conceit are explored only cursorily. All in all, an entertaining (if ideologically incoherent) response to the valorization of greed in our midst, with lots of
Rambo-esque violence thrown in, as well as an unusually protracted slugfest between ex-wrestler Roddy Piper and costar Keith David. Jonathan Rosenbbaum